And Thus Ends My Undergraduate Career

The final assignment of my undergraduate career was to compile a table of contents for the imaginary poetry publication I am putting together.  I have done so.  Behold, my mythical poetry journal.

Table of Contents

Cynthia Cruz


Notes on the Disaster/2

The Great Destroyer/3


Nancy Botkin

The Lost Serenade/4

Geometry/ 5

The History of Ourselves/6


David Dodd Lee

Two Strangers/7

Dry Creek Bed/8



Allen Peterson

Epistemology Follows/10


Grey Areas/12


Clayton Michaels



The Art of Sweeping Things Under the Rug/15


LeeAnn Brown

Black is the Color/17


Todd Boss

Two Cameos/19

Robert Campbell

Zombie Dialectic/21


Emanuel Moses

Second Elegy/23


Angela Rydell

I’m Alone and You’re a Bottle/24


Emily Fragos


Patrick Donnelly

After a Move/26


Becca Hall

To Speak This/27


Keith Ekiss



Christopher Howell

The Mysterious Courtesy of Fondness/29


Dan Manchester



Robyn Art

Why Skaggs Junction Has No Town Hall/31


Martha Ronk

When a Photograph Arrives by Mail/32


Anemone Beauvlier

Bedtime Story/33


Brenda Hillman

For One Whose Love Has Gone/34


Scott Keeney

The Proletariat’s End/35


Stacey Waite



Laurie Lambeth

Upon Reading the Radiologist’s Report/37

Why I Kept the Lilies/38


Ivan Young

The Bike in the Ditch/39


Adrian Belvins

This Little Catalogue of Losses/40


Gina Bernard



Fire Ant/43


Rob McClennon

A Single Streak, Pure White of Sky/44



Nicole Walker

El Nino/46

Bees, Keys, Sealed/47


Molly Bendall

Season of Perpetrators/48

Monday Guardian/49


Anne Elvoy

The Wind/50


William Cordeiro

Just Because, Just Because/51


Suspended Animation/53


Sterling Plumpp

Mississippi Suite Part I/54

Mississippi Suite Part II/55


Angela Jackson

My Father’s Prayers/56

Summer and the City/58


Ada Limon

Tattoo Theory/59


Kathleen Ossip

Funeral of my Character/60


Molly McCully Brown



Erick Piller

What to do When it Happens/62


Evie Shockley

I Declare War/63


John Graham



Michael Burkard

Fargo, North Dakota/65


Brigitte Byrd

Withered Away/66


Brendan Galvin

Carolina Déjà vu/68


Priscilla Becker

A Minor Language/70


Tom. C. Hunley

At the End of a Long and Varied Career/71


Cassie Sparkman

Cupid and the Party Dress/72


Lynne Knight

Vermont Barn/73


B.L.P. Simmons

Garden of the Material/75


Jason Gray



Jaclyn Dwyer

Praise Poem for American girls/78


Tony Hoagland

The Complex Sentence/79


Jamal May

Masticated Light/81


Jay Nebel



Carl Phillips

Chromatic Black/83


Jake Adam York

Letter Written in Black Water and Pearl/85


Rebecca Hazelton

Book of Absence/87


Nina Puro

The Diversion/89


Gregory Djanikian

The Invention of Death/91


Katy Didden

Excavating the Cyclops’s Eyesocket/93


Jeffery Morgan

The Grizzly/94


Jill Osier

Left to Itself the Heart Considers Its Length of String/95

Brief Study of Parades/96


Kathryn L. Pringle

Obscenity for the Advancement of Poetry 6/97

Obscenity for the Advancement of Poetry 7/98


Joyelle McSweeny

Toussaint L’ouverture/100

The Pennsylvania Sweets/101

Avarice Reverie, USMC/103


Dean C. Robertson

Otron and his Dark Horse/105


John A. Nieves


Altitude Sickness/107


Joshua Kryah


The Children’s Crusade/109


Emily Kendal Frey

From Sorrow Arrow/111


Josh Fomon

To Find a Priceless Home/112




Adam Day

Driving Home Through Virginia/117


Julia Cohen

You’ll See My Design Inside a Lemon/118



Anne Cecelia Holmes

A Test for Safe Zones/119


Anne Marie Rooney

My Year with Flowers, Unshrinking/120


J. A. Tyler

Hallucinations Brought on by Inclement Weather/122



Wendy Xu and Nick Sturm

I Was Not Even Born When You Turned Me Into a Baby/123

I Was Not Even Born When Your Face Was Looking at Mine/124

I Was Not Even Born When You Started Paying Great Attention/125


Gary Jackson

Letters to my Daughters: Siri/126

Letters to my Daughters: Kimberly/127


Jason Bredel

Sunset Fever/128

Terror Bird/129

Panther Pride/130


Justin Sirois



Matthew St. Amand

The Teacher and the Tuner/134


Maureen Thorson



Marc McPhee

And the Lord Made Garments of Skins/138


How We Respond is What it Means/141


Grant Souders

Early in the Field/143

Ships Before Me/145


Sally Wen Mao

On the Sorrow of Apiary Thieves/147


Roy Mosh

Letter to my Penis/149



Matthew Minicucci




Tracy Thomas

It Means Bread/154

Breaking News–Author Interview with Susan Dorsey

We interrupt your program to bring you some breaking news.  Author Susan Dorsey has stopped by to talk about her new book that comes out next week!

She said the stale bagels would be fine. She doesn't look like they're fine.

She said the stale bagels would be fine. She doesn’t look like they’re fine.

E: Welcome to my blog, Susan!  Glad you could make it on such short notice.  Here, have some stale bagels.

S: Thanks much, Erin!  Stale bagels and an interview?  Not too shabby!

E: You have a brand new book coming out next week.  What’s it called, and what can we expect to see, and when can we get it?

S: A Haunted Death will be available from in paperback and Kindle versions on May 1st, 2013.  This is the third in the Jane Brooks mystery series, but you don’t have to read the first two to follow the story. 

sample (1)

Jane and her fellow hairdresser, Rodney, get invited to a séance at a client’s barn.  Jane doesn’t really expect to see a ghost there, but then again, she didn’t expect to see a corpse either.  The ghost-hunter dying in the barn is bad enough, but when other people at the séance start turning up dead, Jane and Rodney must discover if they are being hunted by a human or haunted by a ghost. 


E: How did writing this book differ from writing the earlier books?  Was it easier because you had the characters all set up, or was it more challenging because you needed to keep them fresh and interesting?

S: Each chapter of the Jane Brooks series starts with a quote.  The first book, A Civil Death, dealt with the Civil War history in the East Tennessee area.  The second book, A Discriminating Death, revealed the Melungeon heritage abundant here.  It was relatively easy to research both of those books; a lot has been written about both topics.  A Haunted Death was a bit trickier.  I couldn’t find any good source books about hauntings in East Tennessee.  Instead, I turned to my friends and neighbors for their stories.  Almost everyone would deny that they had any ghostly experiences, and then they would pause and say, ‘well, there was this one time….’  It was wonderful to hear what people had seen and heard.   Several people were kind enough to let me quote them at the start of a chapter.  I love reading their stories.  I think it sets the tone for the whole book.

I do think that the actual writing of A Haunted Death was easier because I was very familiar with the characters.  It was easy to put them in a variety of situations and know which way they would jump when the trouble went down. 

E: What was your process like?  Do you have any outlines, reminder notes, whatnot, or did you just jump right in and see where you ended up?

S: My writing process has become more and more organized.  I believe that plotting is extremely helpful in the mystery genre.  There are just certain things that absolutely have to happen at certain points in the book.  I also don’t have a lot of alone time to write, two kids and the husband and all, so I need to make the most of what I’ve got.  It does me no good to get halfway through a chapter and then realize I needed to do it differently.  My last outline was actually color coded to include the main mystery, the subplot, and key elements in the character’s development.  That method helped me see where the story lagged and how to move the action around to keep the momentum.

E: You just finished up a new book, too.  We have words for people like you.  Luckily, I was taught not to repeat them in public.  I’m kidding.  Sort of.  Can you tell us about it?

S: Oh, I am so happy to have just finished the first draft of a new series.  The working title is The Witches of Greasy Creek.  It is a mix of murder and Appalachian Granny-magic.  It has taken me six months to research, plot, and write.  It was a blast to research.  I found out all kinds of interesting things!  For instance, if you want to curse somebody, all you have to do is think about them while you burn some cornbread.  Then, you just toss the cornbread to the birds.  My sweet mother has been burning cornbread and feeding it to the birds for years.  It makes me wonder what she was really up to this whole time!  

E: Who has been your biggest influence with your writing?

S: The best writing advice I have found comes from Chuck Wendig.  He has an amazing blog at  He’s not for everyone.  He curses like a drunk sailor that has had something heavy drop on his foot.  His advice is dead-on and often laugh-out-loud funny.   I go back and reread his books periodically to get me motivated.  It works. 

E: This one is unspeakably cruel.  That’s why I’m going to ask it.  If you could only read one more book ever, which book would you choose and why?

At this point Susan stares at me openmouthed with an “I can’t believe you just asked me that” look on her face. 

S: I can’t believe you just asked me that!  No really, this one isn’t quite as hard as you would think.  I have at least narrowed it down to one author.  Hands down it has to be Terry Pratchett.  I love that man.  I have read everything he has ever written.  I would read a grocery list if he wrote it down.   My favorites are the witch books.  I would choose Wyrd Sisters.  Or maybe I would choose Witches Abroad.  Or Maskerade.  Or Lords and Ladies.  Okay, I’ll have to think about this one some more.

E: What’s one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting out?

S:  Honestly, I wish I would have known how kind other authors are.  I thought being a writer meant being alone at the computer, which is true, but even then you don’t have to go it alone.  I’ve met so many authors on Facebook that have really helped me not only with my work, but with my life.  I’m a member of the Knoxville Writers Guild and I have an amazing writing partner that meets with me once a week.  I read her stuff and she reads mine.  Getting a novel ready to submit is hard work, finding a publisher is hard work.  It’s nice to know you don’t have to do it all by yourself.  Authors are awesome people.   

The new book comes out May 1, so why not check out the first two books while you wait?  Susan also has a short story based on the same characters.  You can find Susan on her website, blog, and Twitter.  We now return you to your previously scheduled programming.

Drumroll Please…My Chaucer Project

Some of you might recall me complaining about this Chaucer project I was assigned.  I am pleased to say that I completed it over the weekend, so I thought I might share it with you so you finally know why I’ve been complaining so much.  😀

I’m not going to bore you with the report that went with this, but there was a six page report that went with this.  The assignment was to choose a tale, adapt it to fit within the major themes of the Canterbury Tales, write a Prologue to the tale to insert the new tale, and finish with an Epilogue to transition out of it.  I decided to give the tale to the Yeoman to tell, he tells his tale after the Cook’s tale (which, coincidentally, is my favorite), and I’ve modified the tale so that it addresses the Knight’s tale, the Miller’s tale, the Reeve’s tale, and the Wife of Bath’s tale.  And because I am a serious overachiever, I wrote the tale in iambic pentameter and in heroic couplets to mimic the construction of the Canterbury Tales.  The tale I chose was The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Anderson.


“Well wasn’t that an interesting tale,”

The Host said as they went upon the trail

“But I had more to say,” the cook replied

“We haven’t time for more,” the Host then lied,

“We must continue on to someone new.

Good Yeoman, we have not yet heard from you.

Is there a tale that you could tell us now

To adequately quit these folks somehow?”

“I do believe there is one I could tell,

And if it’s bad then may I rot in Hell.”



Here begins the Yeoman’s tale:



A soldier marching home along the road

And burdened he was under such a load

As was his knapsack and his sharpened sword

He walked because it’s all he could afford.

Along the way he met a frightful witch

Who said, “Good Sir, would you like to be rich?

There is a place inside this hollow tree

That no one knows.  It’s known only to me,

And deep inside there sits atop a chest

A dog with teacup eyes, and there he rests.

But do not worry, Sir.  He’ll cause no harm.

He’ll give no cause for you to be alarmed.

I give to you this apron checked with blue

And tell you to the dot what you must do.

First, spread the apron out upon the ground

And take the dog off of the chest you’ve found

And place him on the apron, he’ll sit still,

And will not move while you your pockets fill.

Be warned this chest holds only copper here

But if you want for silver, never fear

For in the second room you’ll find inside

A chest, and on its lid there will reside

A dog with eyes like plates, but as before

Spread out the apron, lay it on the floor

And set the dog atop it, he’ll not twitch.”

And so the soldier listened to the witch

And heard her tell of gold coins he could take

If either of those coins he would forsake.

And place the last dog with the grandest eyes

–The largest towers could not match their size!—

Upon her blue checked apron on the ground

And fill his pockets with the coins he found.

“I’ll do it,” said the soldier, “but one thing—

How many of the coins am I to bring

And give to you?  What constitutes your share?”

The witch just laughed and said, “I have no care

For gold and silver coins inside a tree.

There is one thing that you may bring to me.

A tinderbox. That’s all I’ll ask of you.

And if you bring it to me, we’ll be through,

But you must make this promise, swear this vow.”

“I’ll do this thing for you and do it now,”

He swore and wound some rope around his waist.

He climbed the tree and dropped inside with haste

And found the chamber doors as she foretold

And grabbed all of the coins that he could hold.

The soldier filled his pockets to the brim

And grabbed the tinderbox to take with him

He climbed out of the tree and found the crone

Waiting for him silently alone.

He asked, “What do you plan to do with this?”

She only waved her hand as to dismiss

The question that he had no right to ask

Since he agreed to do for her this task.

“Give me the box,” said she. “You made a deal.”

“You’ll answer what I ask, or else you’ll feel

My sword. Now answer what I want to know.”

“You give to me what you brought from below.”

His answer was to cut away her head

He took the box, the coins, and went ahead

To walk the road until he came to town.

He found a place to put his burdens down

Inside an inn where he could take his rest

With clothes and food, he only bought the best.

He purchased lavish fabrics, gifts, and more,

And always had a gold piece for the poor.

He heard about a princess in her tower

As delicate and pretty as a flower.

The soldier longed for her to be his bride

But she was not allowed to be outside.

The king had learned of ancient prophesy

A soldier off to war across the sea

Would return home and make his child a wife.

He would not let her lead that lowly life,

To see his princess and a soldier wed

And have that soldier enter her in bed.

There was no one allowed to see her face

And common men must learn their proper place.

He had no choice, he must obey his king

But vowed one day that she would wear his ring.

His gold was running low and soon was gone

The friendly invitations were withdrawn

And no one came to see him at his room

He tried in vain to chase away the gloom

By striking flint across the tinderbox.

Before his eyes came bursting through the locks,

The dog with teacup eyes came to his call

And said he’d retrieve items great and small.

The soldier sent the dog to bring more gold

And he returned with all that he could hold.

So thought the soldier what more could he bring?

It swore it could retrieve most anything.

And then he knew what he desired most

He sent the teacup eyed dog like a ghost

Into the tower where the princess sleeps

And silently the dog went through the keep

Until the princess’ room he found at last

He carried her asleep across the grass

And brought her to the soldier to his glee

Before he disappeared back to his tree.

The teacup eyed dog made this trip each night

And took her to her room before first light

The princess thought she was just having dreams

And did not know they were more than they seemed.

She told her nanny one day over tea

And with the princess nanny did agree

That these were nothing more than dreams at night

But nanny told the king about her flight

He ordered her to follow where they went

And creeping through the shadows where she bent

To keep herself from drawing the dog’s stare

The dog, it seemed, had known that she was there

So when the nanny marked the soldier’s door

The dog went out and drew on several more.

The king’s men went to where the nanny said

And followed her exactly where she led

But they soon saw that all the doors were marked

And they returned from where they had embarked

To tell the king that in his quest they failed

Against the men’s incompetence he railed

And told them that he had a better plot.

He tied some silken pieces in a knot

And with some scissors cut a corner tip

So barley flour was able to slip

And mark the path the princess took at night

The king did find her come the morning light.

The king’s men seized the soldier as he fell

And locked him in a dark and dingy cell.

They told him he would hang, this much was sworn

When roosters cuckooed that the night was morn.

They led him through the streets, his head was bowed

And when he saw an orphan in the crowd

He asked him to retrieve his tinderbox

To go back to his room, undo the locks

And bring it back to him before he died

The orphan soon returned back to his side

And slipped it to the soldier at the rope

Who said, “Good folks, I don’t have any hope

So I would ask that you grant one demand

That I could smoke before the Kind’s command

Will kill me dead.” The crowd said that he could

And so before the hangman slipped his hood

Over his head he struck the box three times

Before the church’s bells could sing their chimes

The dogs, all three of them, came to his aid

And all of them did just as they were bade.

They killed the judge, the hangman, and the King

They spared no one, and when they did this thing

The princess was the only one alive

Whose claim to royal blood was to survive.

The soldier said to her, “You’ll be my bride”

And even though the princess stood and cried

The soldier married her inside the square,

Declared himself the king and swore to spare

The common lives if they would but obey.

And so began his rule that summer day.

Here ends the Yeoman’s tale.

“Well done, well done indeed” the Reeve exclaimed.

“That soldier was entitled to his fame.”

The Miller and the Knight said naught, nor smiled

As one by one the pilgrim’s horses filed.

So there you have it.  I’m so glad I’m done with it.

Recommend It Monday–Author Interview with Max Booth III

Today I’ve conned….er, asked…I mean asked Max Booth III to stop on by for a chat.  Funny, but I thought he’d be taller.

No matter what he says, I'm not responsible for the picture.  Don't look at me like that.  I had nothing to do with it.

No matter what he says, I’m not responsible for the picture. Don’t look at me like that. I had nothing to do with it.

E: So Max, welcome to my lair…er, blog.  That’s what I meant.  Blog. 

M: Blog? Then why all the torture devices? Wait, whose blood is that? What? No, I’m not going to put that on!

E: You’ve got a ton of things going on at the moment.  Why don’t we start with Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, what you do there, and the latest collection you released, So it Goes: a Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut.

M: I am the editor-in-chief of PMMP, and the co-founder (along with my partner, Lori Michelle). It is mainly a two-person operation, with some additional assistance by Jay Wilburn, T. Fox Dunham, and Laramore Black.

Lori’s duties involve bookkeeping, layout design, book formatting, and other various odds and ends. She does an amazing job—if you want proof, you need to check out our upcoming title, Sirens by Kurt Reichenbaugh. The interior of that book rocks. As for me, I read all the submissions, do most of the editing, maintain our various social media outlets—stuff like that. But really, it’s a company that could not exist without both myself and Lori doing what we’re doing. It’s like a seesaw, you need both sides to balance the weight.

So it Goes: a Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut is the first volume in a series of anthologies that we are publishing through Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. It is a book composed of 22 short stories by a ton of great, talented authors who just wanted to honor one of their favorite authors. And let me tell you, their stories—they blew me away. We are actually currently holding a contest for the book: if you review it in a specific style, you will be entered in a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Click here for the details.

E: Have you done any other tribute collections?  Do you have any planned for the future?

M: Actually, right now I am accepting submissions for Volume 2 in the Tribute series—Long Distance Drunks: a Tribute to Charles Bukowski  . The deadline for submitting isn’t until December 31, so there is plenty of time to get a story in. I hope to do one of these every year. They are a lot of fun to put together.

E: You mentioned before that you have a bizarro book coming out in June.  What the heck is bizarro, and what’s the name of your book?

M: The book is called They Might Be Demons, and it isn’t being published until this June by Dark Moon Books. I actually didn’t know that it was classified under the “bizarro” genre until after I finished it and someone else told me, so now you understand how important genre titles really are to me. But basically, bizarro is bizarre, weird, humorous, crazy-ass fiction that no normal human being should ever have to consume.

they might be demons

They Might Be Demons can be considered both a story collection and a novel. It is a series of short flash fiction stories with interconnecting plot-lines and characters. It all takes place in the same town, on the same day. The stories can be read in any order and they would stand out on their own, but if you read the book in chronological order, it forms a loose novel. The basic question that is behind the book is: what if Hell one day decided to take a vacation—and what if their vacation spot happened to be a small, unsuspecting USA town in the middle of nowhere?

E: Any other projects in the works that we should know about?

M: Oh, yes. Too many, in fact. Seriously, I am dying of work overload here. But let’s see. On the editing front, I am reading submissions for two anthologies: Long Distance Drunks and Truth or Dare? An All Hallows’ Eve Anthology. The latter book won’t be released until October 2014 (through PMMP), but I am already really freaking excited about it. It’ll be featuring original stories from people like Ray Garton and Benjamin Kane Ethridge and Richard Thomas, along with other prominent names in the game that I can’t talk about yet. I will also be co-editing an all horror poetry anthology soon with Stan Swanson for Dark Moon Books; look for the open call within the next couple weeks.

As for my own personal writing, I have They Might Be Demons coming out in June. My debut book, True Stories Told By a Liar was released last November. I have a nonfiction book called The Ultimate Survival Guide for Humanity (co-edited with Stan Swanson) coming out early 2014. I have two other novels finished and being considered by publishers: Black Cadillacs Outside a Funeral and The Mind is a Razorblade.


I am currently working on four different novels, each one at a different stage of completion. Drinking Whiskey with Dead Pretentious Authors is my main focus at the moment. It tells the story of a night auditor and aspiring author who begins hanging out with famous deceased writers; like Charles Bukowski and Ernest Hemingway, for example.

Light Chasers is the first and possibly only zombie novel I will ever write. Think of it as Dawn of the Dead meets Deadwood. It’s a little over halfway finished, but I’ve taken a break until I can bring myself to write about zombies again. I find them exhausting sometimes.

I am also in the process of co-authoring two books. One of them is basically The Amazing Race if Christopher Moore was the host and it featured mythological gods. That one I’m writing with Araminta Star Matthews.

The other book, Figment, I am co-authoring with ‘Anna DeVine. I don’t want to say much about that one at the moment, except that it will most likely be the most intense book I’ve ever been attached to.

E: PMMP just released a poetry book.  I just finished a poetry book.  Isn’t that…interesting?

At this point, Max just shifts uncomfortably in his chair and remarks about the wonderful weather we’re having today.

E: I can take a hint.  Sheesh.  So, outside of horror and bizarro, are there any other genres you like to dabble in?

M: I really like crime fiction. Elmore Leonard is my god. I’ve been writing a lot of neo-noir stuff lately, which translates to “new black”. I also have 17 erotica novels published under my penname—“Johnny McSex, Esquire.”

E: Who are some of the authors who have influenced you?

M: Well like I previously mentioned, I am a big fan of Elmore Leonard. Same goes with the usual suspects—Stephen King, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, Jack Ketchum, Chuck Palahniuk, etc. Other writers that are still making a name for themselves that constantly influence me in my own writing would be Joe McKinney, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Thomas, Craig Wallwork, T. Fox Dunham, and Jay Wilburn. Including a ton more I don’t have time to name. They are all great.

E: Since you’re on both sides of the publication fence, are there any pet peeves of yours as a publisher that you’d like people to stop doing?

M: If a publisher has any specific guidelines on their submissions, it is most likely for an actual reason. If you ignore the guidelines and just blindly submit, you’re not doing yourself a favor. So—just start paying better attention to submission guidelines. Oh, and for the love of God, stop putting two spaces after every sentence. We no longer live in the dark ages, people.

E: One last thing before you go: pie or cake?

M: This question has left me emotionally drained, so I am going to choose cheesecake, since that is sort of a combination of both. I just can’t pick between the two. They are equally delicious and they both stand the chance of giving me diabetes.

Well played, my friend.  Well played.  Max can be founded lurking in the shadows of Facebook, Twitter, and on his own website.

The Finish Line is in Sight

I’m finally caught up enough on everything that I’m no longer freaking out about it on a regular basis.  If you are in the area and would like to go, there is a reading at The Well on April 28th (next Sunday) at 2pm.  I’ll be the featured reader at that event and I plan to read the first chapter of Celia, my short story “Blood and Rain,” and if there is time, a couple of the shorter pieces from Some Reassembly Required.  If you are local and would like to read at this event, there are some open slots left, so leave a comment or send me an email, or invite me over for refreshments and let me know.  I can get you in touch with the proper people for that.

Graduation is just over two weeks away.  The ceremony will be held on May 7th at the Joyce Athletic Center on Notre Dame campus at 7pm.  It’s free, so if anyone would like to attend that, you are most welcome to.  I hope to have some pictures, so I’ll post a couple so you can see my spiffy honors cords.  😀

One Small Change

It was pointed out to me that perhaps the name of my poetry book isn’t completely accurate.  I considered this for a moment and decided that was, indeed, the case.  So, I’m modifying the title slightly.  Be sure to look for Some Reassembly Required later on this year.

On a Personal Note…

I don’t normally post much on here about strictly personal things, but I’m making an exception.  My son Jarod turns 10 today.  It’s a big deal, going from 9 to 10.  He’ll never be a single digit age ever again.  I fully expect to cry at some point today.  I would not be surprised if it lasted a while.



I lost all my current pictures of him when my hard drive died, so I’ll have to take some more so I can post a recent one.  My baby’s almost a man.  /tear

A Preview…of Sorts

I’ve mentioned that Some Assembly Required will have interior art as well as custom cover art.  I wanted to give you a preview of the amazing that’s in store for you.

It's mine, and I will cut you.  Jussayin'.

It’s mine, and I will cut you. Jussayin’.

This is not for the book.  This is a one of a kind art piece that the ridiculously talented Pamla Tindall made for me as a graduation present.  This book will be the most amazing thing you will buy this year, if not for the poetry, then for the hand drawn art inside.  But the poetry doesn’t suck, you know.

Recommend It Monday–Author Interview with Nate D. Burleigh

Only a few more weeks until graduation!  That means that RIM can get back to its regularly scheduled program.  In the meantime, though, author Nate D. Burleigh decided to come keep me company.

E: Hello, Nate.  Welcome to Erindipity.  I bought some new refreshments to avoid any…unpleasantness.  Would you care for some?

N: Sure, smells delish.

E: Your book is Sustenance.  What inspired you to write it and when did it come out?

N: I’ll answer you in reverse. Rainstorm Press published Sustenance for the second time on March 31st 2012. So, been out over a year now. It was originally published in the UK by a now defunct publishing company. Prior to about 5 years ago, I’ve never really written anything or even thought I could be a writer. It wasn’t until I was coaxed into writing down a story I was telling my kids one night that I actually realized I might be good at it. The story went on to be my first published work and enticed me to pull out and dust off an old autobiographical journal I started about 13 years prior while working as a tech support specialist. That journal warped into Sustenance.


E: Can you tell us a little something about it?

N: Sustenance is a supernatural thriller set in the late 80s which follows 17-year old Coert as he battles the most notorious Succubus of all time, Lilith.  Coert awakens a dormant gene during a fight with another student which leads to a visit from the shadows.  This entity begins training Coert on how to gain sustenance by draining the energy of others to feed his insatiable hunger.  While resistant to the change, Coert begins to realize that his teacher is also his savior and only chance to defeat Lilith.  Sustenance draws in readers of every genre, satisfying their need, while offering a dynamic story of love, sacrifice and a twisted rite of passage.

E: What are you currently working on?

N: I’ve just finished my second novel Progeny‘s final edit and am waiting on the Art Work. While I’m waiting on that, I’ve been polishing up the manuscript for my third novel, The First. Both are supernatural thrillers. Progeny has a Sci-Fi component to it and The First is Horror. Also beginning to work on my Young Adult series, Elfen.

E: Who are your biggest influences?

N: The usual suspects, Double K’s (King, Koontze), Ann Rice, Laurel K. Hamilton, Tolkien.

E: Are you strictly a horror writer, or have you written in other genres?

N: I consider myself a Speculative Fiction Author who specializes in horror. My passion is the supernatural creatures. Not so much ghosts.

E: If any of your stories could be made into a film, which one would it be and who would you cast as the leads?

N: That’s a tough one. I’d like all of them to become movies, but Progeny has the big Summer blockbuster action. I’d cast Angelina Jolie as the mother and have to find a bunch of young unknowns for some of the kids. Would love the evil brothers to be played by some well known character actors. Maybe Ed Lauter, Tim Curry, and James Cromwell.   

E: Any parting advice for people who are just starting out?

N: Keep to it. Remember, writing almost always has an audience. But you won’t find that audience unless you get your stuff out there for others to read. I recommend writing communities like They are a great way to get your work critiqued. 

Nate can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and on his website.

Awards Ceremonies and College Football

You probably don’t know this, but my boyfriend is obsessed with the University of Michigan football program.  It’s so bad that I would have to name my only daughter, should I ever choose to have one (and I don’t, so there’s that) Maisey Blue after their school colors.  My dog was moments away from being named Victor because their fight song is “Hail to the Victors.”  It’s bad.  I mention this obsession because today is the U of M Spring Game and he wanted to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan to see it.  The problem, because of course there is one, is that today is also my awards ceremony for “Blood and Rain.”  It’s going to be cold in Ann Arbor.  He should be thanking me.

Dr. Amina Gautier was this year’s guest judge for the writing awards.  Her short fiction collection At Risk won the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction so you can imagine how excited I am that she chose my story to win.  She’ll be at IU-South Bend for a Q&A at 4 pm in 1001 Wiekamp Hall if anyone is local and would like to attend.  It’s open to the public and it’s free.  The awards ceremony itself will be at 7 pm in the same location.  I will get my award for my story and Dr. Gautier will read from her award-winning collection as well.  The Analecta, the journal my story appears in, will be released after the ceremony.  Those are also free to the public, so if you want one, you should pop on by and grab one.

New Book Coming–Some Assembly Required

No, you don’t need to assemble the book.  Some Assembly Required is the title of my new poetry book coming out in September 2013.  If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recognize some of the pieces in the book.  If you’re new to Erindipity, clicking on the “New Work” category is an easy way to find the early drafts of these poems.  The cover art and book illustrations will be by Pamla Tindall.  That’s right, there will be featured artwork!  I’ll be sure to debut the cover art once its finished, but you’ll have to wait and see what’s to come.  I think you’ll be blown away by Tindall’s artistry.  I’ll post links to some of her other work as they become available.

I realize this place has been a bit quiet, but the end of the semester is in sight and I’m losing my mind.  I received a letter from my university yesterday announcing that I will be graduating With Distinction, and I found out the day before that I will be presenting my paper on the roles of Christianity and Obeah in negotiating a post-colonial Caribbean identity at our Undergraduate Research Conference.

I’ll try to post graduating pictures in case anyone is interested in that.  Really, I just want to show off the honors cords I get to wear.  😀

Recommend It Monday–Interview with Author Brent Kelley

Today I was lucky enough to chat with author Brent Kelley when he popped in for cookies.

This is Brent.

This is Brent.

E: So, Brent.  Welcome to Erindipity.  Lori Michelle ate all my cookies when she was here last week.  Can I offer you a half-eaten donut instead?

B: No cookies? I was told cookies. I don’t know if this is going to work out. All right, fine. Let’s see the half-eaten donut. Ooh, it looks like a jelly! Wait a second. The jelly’s been sucked out of this half! I’m outta here. Whoa, take it easy! You don’t need that… Look, I’m sitting down. See? Just put down the crossbow.

E: Your book is called Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. Where did you get the idea for your book and what was your writing process like?  Did you have a rough outline of what you thought would happen, or did you decide to see where it took you?

+Chuggie Cover

B: Years back, when I was still in college, I beseeched the cosmos to send me a muse. I was hoping for a pretty lady in skimpy clothes, but I got Chuggie. I was an art major at UW-Stout, so I spent more time drawing him than writing about him. I started scribbling tiny scenes with Chuggie, but I didn’t have any direction. After college, I realized I was working on a book. My girlfriend Keri (who is now my wife) lived about 3 hours from me. Driving to see her on the weekends, I always traveled with my voice recorder (whose name is Booster). So Booster and I would cross through the Wisconsin countryside, and I’d tell him about Chuggie. Eventually, a real story unfolded, but I’d never written a book before. Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater took around a decade. No outline, just me jabbering into a voice recorder along Highway 64. I didn’t know how to write good back then, though. Critiques and workshops! Now I can write a little good. And the second book took far less time.

E: You have a blurb from Piers Anthony on your Amazon page. How did that come about?

B: I contacted Piers through his web page, and his staff gave him my message. I got very lucky with the timing, and he was able to fit Chuggie into his reading stack. He reminded me that he wasn’t guaranteeing a positive blurb, just his honest thoughts on my book. I was driving with my wife one night when my pocket started to vibrate. I pulled out my phone and handed it to Keri. She says “It’s from Piers Anthony.” So I says, “Read it! … No! Don’t read it!” In the end, Piers liked Chuggie’s first adventure, and we got some great quotes for the back cover. Piers Anthony is such a cool guy!

E: The book is from Omnium Gatherum Media.  What has your experience with them been like?

B: Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but my experience with Omnium Gatherum has been a nightmare. And by “nightmare”, I mean Super Action Happy Fun Time! As with the Piers Anthony blurb, I feel pretty lucky to have gotten in with Omnium Gatherum. Chief Editor Kate Jonez is wonderful to work with. Her editing has really helped me elevate my craft. She’s got a great eye for talent, too, so OG has a whole cavalcade of kickass books. Publishing alongside the other OG authors is really an honor. Someday we’re all going to unite for an Omnium Gatherum Gathering. When we last discussed it, we agreed it should take place at a haunted insane asylum. I just worry that fellow OG authors Ennis Drake and Dean Harrison are going to get me into trouble at the Gathering. I’ll have to bring my A-game, that’s for damn sure.

E: If I understand correctly, this is the first book in a series.  Can you tell us when the next book will be available?

B: Yes, Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater is book #1 of a bunch. It was published in November of 2011. It follows the perpetually-intoxicated embodiment of drought, aka Chuggie. Ol’ Chuggers is a loose-talkin’, junk sellin’ drifter, and he stumbles upon the remote city of Stagwater. There he gets stuck between various vile forces vying for control of the town. The next book, Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways, is due for release in May of 2013.

E: What can you tell us about it?

B: I can tell you it’s going to be GLORIOUS! It picks up with Chuggie just a few days after the events in Desecration of Stagwater. Chuggie’s got some work to do and people to find. His recently acquired bone dagger, the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu, has some secrets to reveal. The Steel Jacks are becoming increasingly interested in Chuggie’s activities. If you don’t know, Steel Jacks are these energy creatures that live in 8’ metal suits. They came from another world through a rift, and they’re stuck on Mag Mell (Chuggie’s world). There’ll be monsters aplenty in Bleeding Gateways. There’ll be booze, babes, mayhem. All the good stuff. And plenty of Chuggie’s drunken ranting about people he knew or events that may or may not have actually taken place.

E: What authors have you been influenced by?

B: In a lot of ways, Chuggie is a response to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Other authors who influence me are folks like Frank Herbert, Hunter S. Thompson, Terence McKenna, Douglas Adams, and Robert E. Howard. I’m a fan of Warhammer 40k. Of course, Mr. Piers Anthony is another. There’s a graphic novel series called Requiem: Vampire Knight that blows me away – done by Pat Mills and Oliver LeDroit. So, from that list, you can get an idea where I’m taking Chuggie. His stories are meant to be nightmarish, gruesome, and profane… but also funny, whimsical, and reverent. All with cosmic resonance. The biggest influence of all, when it comes to Chuggie, is the musical artist known as Tom Waits. In his live shows, he’ll stop between songs and tell these wild stories in his gravel voice. You can find that on YouTube. If they ever make it into a movie, I’d want Tom Waits to play Chuggie.

E: Before you go, what one piece of advice can you give aspiring writers that you wish someone had given you?

B: I wish someone would have told me to shave my head and grow a beard as early as 2004. I was good looking back then, sure. Nobody’s denying that. But I’m GREAT looking now, and I owe it all to shaving my head and growing a beard! As far as writing goes, I’m no expert, but I know a little bit. I advise aspiring writers to get involved with other writers. Try one or more of these: workshops, critique groups, writing forums. Make friends with other writers of all levels. We all have a lot to learn from each other, and you never know how important those connections will end up being.

Thanks a lot for stopping by, Brent.  Oh, and there’s no hard feelings about the crossbow, right?  Brent’s on Facebook, Twitter, and on the web.

New Book Trailer and Website

I’ve talked about my multimedia writing class before.  For part of the class, I had to design and build an online multimedia portfolio.  It’s still in progress, you it’s live so you can check it out.  It has a couple of short stories of mine, so if you’ve ever been tempted to read my fiction instead of the poetry I’ve posted, it’s there.  I plan on adding a couple more stories, but there are two up now.  The coolest feature is the trailer I just made for my book, Celia.

I’m pretty thrilled about the way it turned out.

And the Winner is…

Wow, today has been a very busy and exciting day for me.  First off, my short story “Blood and Rain” won first prize in the IU-South Bend English Department Writing awards.  There will be a formal awards ceremony for that next month and a ceremony for Analecta, the journal that published “Blood and Rain” in two weeks.

On April 28th, I’ll be the featured reader at The Well.  Local writers will be reading their work and I’ll be doing a short reading from Celia and then reading “Blood and Rain.”  If you’re in the South Bend, Indiana area, you should try to make it.  It should be a great time.

And last, but certainly not least, the amazing Susan Dorsey had me over to chat on her blog today.  We chat about Celia and a bit about my current work in progress, Enraptured.

Recommend It Monday–Author Interview with Lori Michelle

Since I only have around five weeks until graduation, I’m going to do something a little bit different for RIM.  Instead of adding five new books to my already crazy workload, I’ll be doing a series of author interviews.  Once I graduate, this feature will move to Tuesdays.  So, without further adieu, let’s welcome our very first guest, Lori Michelle!


E: Hi, Lori!  Welcome to Erindipity.  You’re the first guest I’ve had.  I’m not much of an entertainer, I guess.


L: I am so honored to be the first person. Hey you brought cookies, so we’re good.


E: First off, let’s talk about your book, Dual Harvest.  What can you tell me about it?


L: It is an erotic thriller, with a serial killer and a police detective.  Of course it has a twist, but I can’t tell you what it is.  I actually wrote it for the National Novel Writing Month in 2009. It’s doing really well and has gotten high ratings on Amazon.  Now if only I could sell a million copies.


E: What gave you the idea for the book?


L: Without going into too much detail, I was going through a rough period in my life.  It just happened.


E: What was your process like?  Did you outline and plan before you started writing, or did you jump in and see where it took you?


L: Typically, I think of the way I want a book or story to end before I start writing, but I am not much of an outliner.  I normally have a vague idea of where I want to go and jump in with two feet.  And since this was a NANO novel, there isn’t time to plan on where you are going, you just have 30 days to go!


E: Do you have any other books in the works?


L: I do, two of them.  One of them is about a woman being haunted by ghosts and the other about aliens (yes I know cliche, but it’s more than that).  I can’t seem to find my alien file though, so I guess I should concentrate more on the ghost one.  It’s been a long time since I have had the time to sit and write, so I need to revisit what I have done and perhaps get my rear in gear about finishing.


E: What authors are you influenced by?


L: VC Andrews.  Her mind was so psychologically twisted and her characters were so horrific.


E: What drew you to horror?


L: Funny enough, I never realized I liked horror until a few years ago.  Yes, I always loved reading VC Andrews and Stephen King, but I was never one for the Nightmare on Elm Street Movies or any of that.  The horror I adore isn’t your standard vampire/zombie/slasher horror though.  I tend to like the things that are more psychological and twisted.  The more realistic it can be, the more I like it.


E: You’re more than just an author.  What else do you have going on?


L: A whole lot!  First off, I am the managing editor of Dark Moon Digest and Dark Eclipse.  So, once a month I put together an e-magazine and once a quarter, I put together a print magazine.  Then I am also in partnership with Max Booth III over at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.  I take care of all the layout design and all the bookkeeping.  Recently, PMMP has joined together with Revolt Daily Magazine, so I will be in charge of layout there too.  It’s all very exciting.  Coming in September, I am going to be putting together a horror anthology called Bleed where the proceeds will go to the Children’s Cancer Fund.  My own son has leukemia and children’s cancer is a subject that really hits me hard.  The CCF has been really great to my son and I want to do something to show my gratitude and to help other kids who are afflicted. Top that with being the single mom of two kids.  Yes, I am insane, thank you for noticing.

Thanks for dropping by!  You can connect with Lori Michelle on FacebookTwitter, and through her blog.