Personal, Update

April 2019 Favorites

I can’t believe that April is almost over! It’s been a good month, filled with self-discovery and moving forward. But it also flew by without giving me much opportunity to reflect and blog. Still, I wanted to share my top 4 favorite things for this month:

pink cherry blossom flowers
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Reality TV

I am such a sucker for the drama of reality TV. After years of getting caught up on Bravo, I can finally say that I have officially seen EVERY episode of EVERY show in the Real Housewives Franchise! My favorite is the spin-off “Vanderpump Rules” (and not just because Stassi liked one of my tweets once upon a time!) RHOBH and RHONY are also amazing!

 

Vogue

Earlier this year, I stopped being a beauty blogger because it had stopped being fun – but I’ll never lose my passion for fashion. Vogue will always be my favorite magazine for exploring the glitz and glam of the fashion world. I like to read the US version as well as Vogue UK, Vogue Paris, and Vogue Italia. In fact, I think that when something fashion or beauty related REALLY excites me, I might just post about it on here since sometimes I still want to share even though I don’t want to post about it five times a week again.

 

Sandals

I am loving the warmer weather (even though it’s been awfully rainy in Cincinnati!) Sandals are my favorite footwear because they show off a pedicure, come in a variety of fun styles, and can include a heel. I just bought two gladiator-inspired pairs and I’m super excited to wear them. I think I also want to get more colored sandals for Spring/Summer instead of just sticking with black and silver.

 

Lavender 

Lavender is one of my favorite scents, and I’ve been gravitating towards it a lot recently. There’s something really relaxing about lavender. I’ve been incorporating it into my life in a variety of ways: scented candles, bubble baths, deodorant, room spray, perfume, etc. My favorites are blends that also include vanilla, like the fragrance in Bath and Body Works’ Aromatherapy Line.

 

Well, those are the things I’ve been loving this month! I’m going to try to post on here a bit more regularly with reviews of books, movies, products, and more (as well as any updates on other writing projects).

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal

March 2019 Favorites

Another month is basically gone – I can’t believe how fast this year is flying. I wanted to check in really quick and list four of my favorite things for the month:

  • Tilda Swinton – I realized this month that Tilda Swinton is the common link shared by many of my favorite horror movies: Only Lovers Left Alive, Suspiria, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She is extremely talented and versatile!

Image result for tilda swinton only lovers left alive

 

  • Cozy Mystery Audiobooks – I adore the fun, lighthearted nature of cozy mysteries where you get to solve a murder alongside an amateur sleuth and a cast of colorful characters set against an endearing, small-town backdrop. Lately, I’ve been making my way through the Magical Bakery series by Bailey Cates and the Needlecraft Mysteries by Monica Ferris.

Spells and Scones (A Magical Bakery Mystery Book 6) by [Cates, Bailey]

 

  • Knitting – Even though warmer weather is creeping in, I’m still knitting away to create hats and scarves for the homeless through the charity Warm Up Ohio. It’s both relaxing and rewarding!
four green yarns on chopping board
Photo by Surene Palvie on Pexels.com

 

  • Kindle Paperwhite – While I love my Kindle Fire, the e-ink screen of the Kindle Paperwhite makes it so much easier on the eyes to read for long periods of time. It’s also so thin and portable that it will squeeze into even my smallest purse – because I obviously need to be connected to my library at all times!
kindle technology amazon tablet
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

Well, that’s what I loved in March! I’m hoping that April brings more adventure into my life 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany Renee Harmon

Personal, Update

Where I’ve Been/Where I’m Going

The most discouraging thing about writing is the feeling that my productivity needs to be consistent. I look at writers who are churning out at least a book a year, and I wonder “What’s wrong with me? I can’t even blog regularly anymore.” I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I’m just not the type of person who can always be productive because periodically I have periods of depression that require me to take a step back and recharge and hibernate. That’s where I’ve been this year so far – recharging, rediscovering, relearning. If you would like to learn more about how this feels, or if this is something you go through as well and you want to read something you can relate to, I would absolutely recommend the upcoming book The Radiant Midnight: Depression, Grace, and the Gifts of a Dark Place by Melissa Maimone. This book comes out April 2nd and offers a realistic insider’s perspective on depression.

asphalt dark dawn endless
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m happy to say that, for now at least, things are feeling better. I’m starting to feel creative again, and I’m cautiously optimistic about the future. I’ve started writing fiction again, and I’m even sending out some short works. In fact, one of my stories “Appendix A” has been accepted for publication in Clever Magazine. I have a lot of things I need to work on both personally and professionally, but I can feel myself moving forward and that’s been really relieving.

So, where am I going? Forward into the unknown.

I’m going to try to blog more regularly. I plan on posting movie and book reviews soon. I want to continue writing and submitting short stories to journals. Maybe I’ll even pick up the novel and the screenplay I started last year. But I know better than to make lofty promises or outrageous goals, so all of this is going to go at whatever pace I can reasonably muster each day.

Thank you for following reading and following along on this journey!

-Tiffany Renee Harmon

 

Personal, Update

Update On My Disappearance

Well, hello there. It’s me again. Yes, you might have noticed that I disappeared again. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to do, so this blog has been a bit neglected since my 31 Days of Horror series.

black and white blank challenge connect
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, one of my goals for 2019 is to create more reasonable goals for myself! I know that Haute Couture Society will still be taking up most of my blogging/networking time, but I want to do a better job at keeping up with this one too. So, to help with this, this blog is going to be a bit more casual. I’m planning to have general updates here about writing projects and information about things I’m liking (books, movies, etc). Some posts may have a combination of a lot of different things.

To get started, here are some things I’m loving this December:

  1. Candles – There are so many great scents that come out around the holidays. Since I have a fake Christmas tree, I have been loving my Christmas Tree scented candle for some extra ambiance.
  2. Krampus – From cheesy movies to funny t-shirts, I have been obsessing over Krampus this year. (If you don’t know who this folklore figure it, check it out here). This is the perfect combination of Christmas and horror!
  3. Reality TV – Vanderpump Rules is back!! I’m a huge fan of all things Bravo, but this Real Housewives spin-off is my absolute favorite!

Here are some things I’m hating this December:

  1. Bumble – Being single during the holidays sucks. I’ve been trying to use the dating app Bumble, but it’s been so discouraging. I just don’t seem to have much in common with single guys in the Cincinnati area.
  2. Vegetables – I’m on a diet and it’s going pretty well. But even though I’m forcing myself to eat more vegetables, I still loathe them…and always will.
  3. Darkness – Despite my love of horror, I still get really sad when it’s dark both when I leave for when and when I’m coming home from work.

Well, thanks for reading! I promise, I’m going to try to do a better job to keep up with this blog, share my favorites, and update people on my writing projects.

Happy Holidays!

-Tiffany

Industry News, Personal

Creative Aspirations Publishing

Well, I’ve done it! I have finally decided to launch my own publishing company: Creative Aspirations Publishing! Creative Aspirations will be launching three magazines in 2019, and we’re open to submissions!

cropped-creative-aspirations-publishing-logo1.jpg

Here’s more information about our three digital magazines:

Haute Couture Society (Launching January 2019!)

Explore fashion trends and the latest beauty breakthroughs in this life and style magazine. Other regular features include essays about relationships, stories about women in power, and articles about body positivity. Haute Couture Society is committed to inclusivity.

haute couture society logo

 

The Genre Journal (Launching February 2019!)

Read fiction from emerging writers in all genres with this periodical. Whether you love romance, mystery, science fiction, horror, fantasy, or even westerns, we have stories to entertain and enlighten you in each issue.

genrejournal

 

Abstraction & Allegory (Launching March 2019!)

Art and poetry collide in this quarterly journal. Peppered between pages of poetry, you’ll find visual art from all over the globe.

abstraction and allegory logo

If you’re a writer, poet, fashionista, beauty blogger, photographer, or artist, I hope you’ll consider contributing. Please visit our submissions page for more information.

I’m really nervous and excited about this endeavor. Stay tuned for more details (and potential subscription coupons!)

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Personal

First Acceptance Since Grad School

The life of a writer is filled with rejection. After a while, you learn to not take it personally in order to stay sane. The other day, I noticed an email from a publisher in my inbox, so I started reading the email. I guess I’m so accustomed to hearing “no” that it took me a while to realize I was reading a “yes!”

Free stock photo of hands, woman, girl, blur

One of the short stories (“Nature’s Graveyard”) from my MFA thesis is going to appear in the Emerging Ohio Writers anthology published by Z Publishing. This book will be available for purchase in September! (Just in time for my birthday!)

Anyway, I wanted to share the good news, especially since this is my first acceptance since completing my MFA at the end of March. I hope there are many more to come!

 

Personal, Update

Big Update! The MFA is Finished!

I have a great life update that I’m so excited to share – My MFA in Writing Fiction from Lindenwood University is now complete!

Apple Magic Mouse on Brown Table

My thesis, a collection of 8 short stories about motherhood (mostly fear of motherhood haha) was approved, and I finished my degree with a 4.0 GPA. The experience was so great. I learned so much, especially discipline. If I can get a master’s degree while working a full-time job, I know that I can write a novel while working full-time too!

I’m leaving Lindenwood with so many exciting ideas. I have two novels outlined that I’m going to start ASAP. I’m shopping around my short story collection, and I’m intrigued by the possibility of looking for an adjunct professor job too.

Anyway, I’ve mentioned school on this blog before, so I just wanted to update everyone and let you know that it’s now all over! 🙂

XOX

Tiffany

Personal, Update

MFA Update and 5 Writing Tips

I just finished my sixth quarter at Lindenwood University. For those of you who don’t know, I’m working on an MFA in writing fiction. I can’t believe I only have two quarters left! If everything goes according to plan, I will be finished in March 2018.

Overall, my experiencing in the MFA program has been very positive. I think that I’ve grown so much as a writer, so I wanted to share some things with aspiring writers. Here are my five top tips for writers:

  1. Discipline is so important. It doesn’t matter that you have millions of great ideas if you never get them down on paper. It is a great idea to come up with a writing routine so that you get in the habit of writing every single day.
  2. Editing is crucial. No one’s first draft is perfect. Yes, publishers provide editors if they decide to take on your project, but it’s important to do your best so that you can even get to that point. Make sure you’ve done all you can to make your project the best before you send it out.
  3. Feedback is so helpful. You can’t objectively analyze your own writing. You just can’t. It’s so important to have a beta reader you can trust that will provide you with honest feedback of what isn’t working in your project.
  4. Rejection is unavoidable. Whether your peers hate your story in workshop or several publishers say no to you, every writer will face rejection at some point. In fact, rejection is going to happen a lot more than acceptance. If you want to be a successful writer, you’ve got to develop a thick skin. Don’t let rejection get you down. Let it inspire you to become a better writer.
  5. Conventions exist for a reason. Sure, rules can be broken, but most publishers won’t take a chance on something too experimental. There’s a reason that children’s books are shorter than adult books – children don’t have a long attention span. There’s a reason that most novels aren’t written in second person – it’s hard to sustain for longer projects. Have you noticed that most horror movies are exactly 90 minutes long? It’s difficult to create suspense and have escalating tension for much longer than that. Learn why the conventions exist in each genre before trying to break the rules.

I hope that these suggestions can be helpful to anyone reading this blog who is considering becoming a writer or sending things out to publishers. Writing can be discouraging – only about 4% of writers can live off what they make from their writing – but it’s also very rewarding to see your name in print. Honestly, I think that the process of writing is so enjoyable that it makes up for all the rejection and poor pay. Still, if you want to pursue writing, make sure you’re doing it because you love it and not because you think it will make you rich.

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal

My MFA Experience So Far 

Well, my summer break is up! Two more classes start for me tomorrow (a novel chapter workshop and a contemporary poetry class). I’ve made it a quarter past the halfway point, and I’m on track to graduate in March, so I wanted to check in and write about my MFA experience so far.

I’ve been really pleased with my decision of choosing Lindenwood University for my MFA. I can complete the entire thing online, which is so ideal because I have a full time job and other time commitments. The work is still rigorous, but I’ve also loved that this school has been genre-friendly. We’re not just writing literary fiction. All genres are encouraged, as long as we’re writing well. The online format is also really conducive to workshopping. We’re able to critique each other’s writing online really well. I think that the fact that we’re not meeting face-to-face means that everyone is just more honest (and this is helpful because future publishers won’t spare our feelings).

I’ve grown a lot as a writer throughout this program already. Someone once told me that I’ll know I’m no longer an amateur when I start writing characters that are nothing like me. I thought this was silly advice at the time, but I completely understand it now. I feel like I’m finally able to start writing characters who have different personalities and experiences than myself because I am comfortable writing stories other than my own and I no longer need to be my own protagonist.

Throughout the past year, I’ve been struck with so many ideas for future novels (plus the one I’m currently writing for my thesis project). Lindenwood has just been so great at fostering creativity. Sure, like any school, there are pros and cons and professors I love and professors I really don’t like, but I can honestly say that I’ve grown as a writer and learned something about myself during every single class.

Pursing this degree has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I grow in confidence every day, and I’m ready to finally finish a novel that’s good enough for other people to read. Each day is a new step in my journey towards becoming a novelist, and if you’re reading this post, I just want to thank you for coming along for the ride and supporting me.

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Personal, Update

Life Update: Poem Published

Yellow Spiral Notebooks

I just wanted to thank Outcast Poetry for publishing my poem “Dreaming.” You can read it HERE if you’d like. It’s been about two years since I’ve had something published, which is definitely my fault. I went for a whole year and a half where I didn’t send anything out for submission. I went through a big slump! Part of this was because life was so busy and part of it was just due to being discouraged. I think discouragement is a big part of life for most writers because it’s hard to edit and send things out and get rejected over and over again.

Thankfully, since beginning my MFA program at Lindenwood University, I’ve been a lot more productive. I think I’ll do a whole post about my experiences there soon because it’s already impacted my life quite a bit.

Anyway, over the past two months, I’ve sent lots of things out to journals. Now, I’m waiting for those inevitable rejection letters and maybe another acceptance somewhere!