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Cara Cilento

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  1. I know it is only September, but I decided to start my Halloween season now. Usually, I don’t plan ahead, but I am married to a Halloween fanatic, so I was gently encouraged (insert eye roll) to book activities every weekend. We started by going to a horror movie convention. Then, we booked a paranormal convention and a ghost hunt, not to mention haunted houses and haunted trains we are taking part in. We have solid plans every weekend. Somehow, I overlooked this past weekend, so we watched the new James Wan movie. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it seems like it needed a thorough
  2. My kids went back to school in person this week. It has been a time of setting new routines and schedules and a brand new normal. I forgot what it was like to wake up at five-thirty so the kids could be at the bus stop by six-thirty. They forgot too. They also forgot how loud the hallways were and how they had to walk from the basement of the high school to the third floor in two minutes between classes. Nobody ate dinner after the first day back to school. They fell asleep by seven. As much as we craved going back to our new normal, I can say with certainty it was confusing, it was
  3. I don’t watch a lot of television. I write and I read, but my wife told me I should watch American Horror Story and Nine Perfect Strangers because they featured writers and imposter syndrome. I looked up from my computer screen, cocked my head to the side, and gave it a whirl. Now I can’t get either out of my head. We, as writers, knew imposter syndrome was a force to contend with, but these stories bring it to a new level. If you don’t know what Imposter Syndrome is, it's essentially the sense of not being accepted, the feeling of being a fraud. For authors like us, we feel we are not t
  4. I was outside with my brother trimming back branches from my house (you know I had to make room for that monstrous fence I mentioned in previous posts) when I noticed the trees looked tired. Every once in a while, a leaf tumbled across my lawn, not from my trimming,but because it made an autumn test run. Soon, an onslaught of leaves will be upon me, unless my brother and I can prune them all. Regardless, the trees want to start anew. After a tumultuous year with the pandemic, I can relate. I bet a lot of people can. I know my colleagues do. My phone has been blowing up because nobody kno
  5. I took my kids to the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, NJ. For you that don’t know what that is, it’s the East Coast’s answer to the Mall of America... only bigger. It boasts of having a waterpark, amusement park, aquarium, and ski park. The day had endless possibilities. I didn’t know what to expect, so I packed a bit of everything... swimsuits, change of clothes, hats… how do you dress for a day that brings two weather climates together at the same time under one roof? We decided on the waterpark. Of course, my sons picked the highest, longest family slide to tackle first.
  6. What is high concept fiction? I am going to boil it down for you. It’s a premise that has not been done before but still attracts an audience, therefore, having high market ability. This is a much different opening line than my usual life reflections from my back porch, isn't it? Don’t worry… I’m about to get my coffee. This weekend, I had to read another book to help my son trudge through his English Lit. This time, it was A Separate Peace by John Knowles. As I got to the sixth chapter of A Separate Peace, I knew I was reading a Knowles's version of Lord of the Flies. It conveyed the pr
  7. It’s that time of year again where parents, like myself, are in a crunch to get their kids to complete their summer reading. This year, my son’s reading list included The Great Gatsby, to which I replied, “Oh, I hated The Great Gatsby.” I couldn’t stop the words from leaving my mouth, but I had a flashback. I was sitting in my English class faced with the challenge of writing about Jay Gatsby and the green light. Besides traffic, what did I know about a green light at fifteen? I couldn’t connect and neither would my son. I prepared my fifty-year-old self for the long nights ahead, explaining t
  8. I had surgery in March. It wasn’t a big deal, but I had to take a week off from work. When I returned, I did not receive the warm welcome I was expecting. I didn’t know why I thought I would get one. After all, everyone’s attendance at work was spotty, with COVID restrictions. Instead, I publicly scolded by the front end secretary who lambasted me for not following a procedure that was put in place during my absence. I explained it was my first day back, and I didn’t know, but she informed me I should have called ahead to find out. She then stood up, turned her back to me, and raised her hand
  9. Last night I was laying in bed watching a T.V. series where a person falls in love online. The person procures the services of a dynamic duo to search for the love interest, hoping it’s not a sham. Sometimes, it works out but, in my opinion, the chances that the meetups work out are far less than what the love seeker intended them to be. It’s a display of hope and rejection laid out for the world to see. After another predictable outcome, I scrolled through my social my media feed. There, in one serendipitous moment, was a picture of a person who wanted to date me in an embrace with one o
  10. I really wish I had something to report from my porch, but I don’t. My neighbor’s home has been quiet since he left the comfort of his not-so-carefully tailored sanctuary for the Jersey Shore. The fox has been quiet too, as he was locked out of his protected den. Consequently, the deer feed off the smorgasbord of plants in front of the neighborhood homes. Personally, I don’t mind. The deer have to eat. My other neighbors, however, have taken to feeding the deer as an attempt to divert them from eating our plants. Now, if I looked at this situation as a reader, an observer of a story unfolding
  11. I come to you from my porch of inspiration once again. As I sit here, I am thinking about how August makes way for the fall and soon my porch sitting will be over. I will have to suspend my neighbor’s fence updates. I will find another seat of inspiration to write from. Besides, how long can I go on about a fence? Just because Home Improvement used a fence successfully doesn’t mean I can. Speaking of, my neighbor has put Jacktop fencing around the bottom of his porch. He is trying to block the fox, who eats his meals there quite regularly, from taking up permanent residence. I had
  12. Yes, it is much later than my usual post time, but I had a change of plans. I was supposed to be on vacation but because of a Covid spike; we canceled it. My kids were very upset. We have been going to the same place every year for seven years. We meet up with the same people and have developed a circle of friends from all over the United States. When I speak about our vacation week, I always say, “It’s like a different world.” I watch my children become risk takers without the watchful eye of the neighborhood peer pressure. I take in the sighs of relief from all the parents who I think of as
  13. Much to my chagrin, I am a little late in my morning post and coffee. I am sitting on my porch and I am staring at my neighbor’s fence again. I can’t help but wonder how the world outside his fence helps build his world inside his fence. Yesterday, there was an obvious breach between the fox, its meal, and my prying eyes. Were those three things part of the reason he put up such a huge fence? When I say huge, I mean huge. Totally goes against town code and is high enough for Jurassic Park, but I digress. I came across this article by Stina Leicht which does a great job at explaining worldbuild
  14. After a few days of torrential rain, I’m back to porch sitting with my coffee with my Edgar Allen Poe mug but this time I was surprised to see that a fox had taken up residence under my neighbor’s porch enjoying a righteous kill. The irony of the situation was that my neighbor put up a ten-foot fence to keep the wildlife out. He wanted to do what we, as writers, do: worldbuild. Just like Poe in “The Descent into the Maelstrom”, my neighbor wanted a space where his story could take place. Unfortunately, the fox had other ideas. Maybe my neighbor should have read this great piece by M.D. Presley
  15. Today I'm trading my seat of inspiration that sits on my porch for my couch of contemplation in my living room. Why might you ask? Because a storm rolled through last night...figuratively and literally. As it rained I worked on my MS and asked myself a crucial question..."What in the world do I write for my synopsis?" and in so doing, revealed that my MS had an identity crisis. Check out one of AAC's Cathy Hall's article "Do you know what your story is about, I mean really about?" https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/16886-do-you-know-what-your-story-is-abo
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