Cracking the Whip

One of the many projects that I’ve been working on is being the webmistress for my university’s Creative Writing Club.

fever-whiplash-zoom

The only thing that should wear this much leather is a cow.

I won’t lie, some mornings (translation: all week) I wake up and I just don’t want to deal with it.  And then I pull up the blog and start in on the day’s writing prompt.

I have not had the chance to write on any of them because of all the other stuff going on.  If you get the chance, you should check them out.  The book I’m pulling the information out of was one I used for my advanced fiction writing class and the end result of the class was the publication of Celia.  These are especially great if you’ve always wanted to write, but had no idea where to start, what to do, or was too scared of ridicule to try.  You have to be local if you want to attend the club’s weekly workshops, but you can participate online almost as much.  You’ll meet people who just started writing and who have been writing for awhile.

Stop on by and then tell me what you think of things.

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Updates and Whatnot

I’ve been battling a second round of flu this week, but I’m happy to report I’m finally on the winning side.  Still sick, but not begging people to rob pharmacies anymore.  Yes, I actually did this.  No, there were no pharmacies robbed as a result of my illness.  Before you judge me, you should know that at one point my face looked and felt like this from all the sinus pressure:

Puffer fish photo

The week wasn’t all bad, though.  I received word that I was unanimously accepted into my grad school program.  I start in the fall and I have my classes already picked out.  It’s only six more weeks until graduation.  As part of my multimedia writing class, I have to build an online portfolio.  I’ll be sure to post links to that once it’s up and running.  I plan on including a book trailer for Celia, so if you’ve been waiting to get it, hopefully it will convince you to wait no longer.  Since I’ve been sick, and all of my efforts have revolved around breathing properly, Recommend It Monday will be put on hold next week.  Instead, I’ve invited Lori Michelle over to vist for the first ever author interview.  I wanted to add this as a Tuesday blog feature, and will in the future, but this week I’m going to cheat a little bit.  At least I’m honest about it.  I was recently interviewed about Celia as well.  That interview will be posted on April 24th, and I’ll provide links to that.  The poetry chapbook is almost finished.  I’m waiting to get some feedback on the MS before I decide I’m officially done with it.  Hopefully, I’ll have some official news on it in the next few months.

Born Magazine and the Baltimore Review

One of the benefits of being up all night from the disease you’re harboring, if such benefits can exist, is you find some cool stuff on the internet.  Because really, who would rather sleep than miserably surf the web?  Well, I would, but that’s not the point.

I came across a couple of neat online writing journals: Born Magazine and The Baltimore Review.The thing I love about these journals is the multimedia experiences you get because they are housed online.  That’s more a factor with Born Magazine, but they both go beyond the traditional print experience.  For example, I like how The Baltimore Review has an author photo for everything on the site.  There’s also a tab for blog content.  However, if you’re a die hard printist (Is that even a word? It doesn’t matter.  I’m an English Major and I can create language as I have need for it.) you can purchase print copies of the journal.  But that’s not all!  The very last category link is “Visual.”  “Landing” is amazing.

Born Magazine, though, marries multimedia content with written works.  You can view the text of a poem, or you can watch the movie for the poem, such as “Like Wings Abandoned from Some Future Score.”  “Ways to Carry You” is probably the single coolest thing I’ve seen all week.

I should probably be talking more about the poems, but I’m taking a multimedia writing class so I’m really interested in the ways these sites incorporate more than just the words on the screen.  There are a lot of drawbacks to providing content online.  The need for a device to access content (PC, Mac, a Tablet of some sort), the need for electricity to power the device or the finite battery life, the additional eye strain caused by reading on an electronic screen, and potential formatting headaches are just a few of them.  There’s a versatility to online content, though, that makes it worth it.

You really should check out “Ways to Carry You.”

Recommend It Monday–Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant

Jamie Marchant stopped by and asked me to review her book, The Goddess’s Choice, for RIM.  It’s fantasy, and who doesn’t love fantasy, so I said, “Sure!  Shoot me a copy and I’ll give it a read.”  She sent me a copy and I settled in to read.  The book is based on the Norwegian fairy tale “The Princess and the Glass Hill.”

Overall, this was a rather entertaining read.  There were some flaws, however, both in craft and basic nuts and bolts.  For the ebook version (I have a Nook Tablet), the formatting was all over the place.  Since it was an entertaining read, I’m won’t consider that a deal breaker.  It was pretty disctracting, though.  I do not know if the paperback version of the book has the same formatting issues.  I also found a typo or two while I was reading.  I’m a bit less forgiving on that point.  For craft, the first chapter went out of its way to make sure you knew that everyone considered Robbie a demon.  It was a bit heavy handed.  Also, the book makes a big deal out of Solar keeping the peace between the joined kingdoms, but we really don’t get a lot of why that matters.  I’d let it go, but there are several places where the importance of maintaining the peace is mentioned.  In fact, the bulk of the story revolves around Samantha refusing to marry the court suitors, which she needs to do to help maintain the peace.  It would have been nice to find out some of that history.  Oh well, moving on to the good stuff.

I liked that Samantha was an aurora and Robbie was an amihealer.  I enjoyed the way those abilities complicated the story for the characters.  I thought the divide within the Church of Sulis was very well done.  I had not heard of the fairy tale she based the story on prior to reading the book, and I don’t think you really need to.  The elements don’t need the tale to justify them being in the story.  If you are familiar with the tale, you will definitely recognize the elements from it that Marchant incorprates.  The story was paced well, and there is a good mix of romance with action.  There are some rather graphic scenes, so there’s that.  I’m not off-put by them, but if you’re considering letting a younger person read it…well, perhaps you should reconsider that.  I did appreciate that the graphic nature of the scenes accomplish a purpose beyond just being graphic.  Duke Argblutal is a very bad man and these scenes do a good job of showing that.  The one thing I had a very big problem with was when Samantha was hearing about Captain Tremayne and how he raped a young woman.  I think it was the woman’s father who exclaims that it’s an experience worse than death and the author has Samantha thinking it was no such thing.  Bad move.  For some women, death would be far kinder than the hell they’ve experienced at the hands of a rapist and for the author to not only suggest otherwise, but to do it from the strong female heroine, is inexcusable.

So, there you have it.  Beyond the one major gaffe, the story is an entertaining read.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I’d give it 4 out of 5 without the rape apologist comment.  This is book one in a series of books, so I’m hoping that the future books will be better proofread and better formatted.  Also, leave the rape apologetics at home.

New Publication Announcement

I just received word that my short story “Blood and Rain” will be published through Analecta, the Indiana University-South Bend’s literary journal.  Traditionally, Analecta has hated me, so I’m very excited to be included in it this year.  I haven’t heard back on the poetry I submitted, but I’m guessing that it was not accepted.  I’m ok with that, though.  My fiction piece made it in.

In other rejection news, I still have not heard back from Yale on the writers conference this summer.  The hear back date was March 20th, and I sent a follow up email after that date with no word.  I am assuming they did not accept me into the conference.  I’m sad, but it was a lot of money to come up with in short notice.  Instead, I found a conference in Ireland at Lismore Castle.  And by me, I mean someone else entirely.  It costs more, and it’s international so travel will be more plus that whole passport thing.  Still, it’s good to dream and the conference isn’t until December so it’s also good to save.  I may pull it off yet.

No word, yet, on the status of my grad school application.  I’ve been told not to worry because I’m going to be accepted, but there are a lot of things I can’t do until I’m officially in the program.  Things like picking out my classes.

In a few weeks I should be hearing back on all the scholarships I’ve applied to.  Grad school will be less stressful if I can pay for it.

Chapbook Update and New Work

I’ve been playing around with Lulu for my chapbook project so I can start getting a feel for what I’ve got.  I’ve decided to title the book In Pieces, although I still need to write the title poem.  I’m shooting for around 32 pages.  It’s coming along really well and I’m pleased with it overall.  I’d like to send it off into the world to see who might be interested in it, but I haven’t completely ruled out self-publishing.  I guess it depends on the kind of response people have to the project.  A few days ago, I posted a new erasure poem I wrote out of a poem from Larry Levis.  I’ve decided I kind of like doing erasures, so I did another one.  This is from Louise Glück’s poem, “The Fear of Love.”

 

Winter

 

That body

seemed to

have spoken

 

It was winter

the sun rose

mirrored in the moon

passed over

as though

to leave no shadows

only dents

stretched before us

impenetrable

 

we lie there

arm in arm

the gods

we built

New Work–Into Sodom and Reruns

One of the things I’m discovering about putting together this new chapbook of poetry is that as I write new pieces for it, some of the older pieces are no longer fitting in so well.  I’ve decided I’m going to take those older pieces out and write some new pieces to replace them.  I was sitting in class last night and ended up writing two new pieces.  They are very rough, so commentary is appreciated.

 

Into Sodom

 

I wanted him to stop

told him as much

I’m not done yet

he said with his body

 

He took me into Sodom

mistook me for the Angels

He showered while I cried

 

 

Reruns

 

this place feels familiar

the snow across the TV picture

stays behind my closed eyes

and the TV doesn’t work

the horizontal hold slips

flips the scene, grabs again

my belly distends like an Ethiopian child’s

he is starving, I am pregnant

I wish we could switch shows