Merry (Almost) Christmas! It occurred to me today that I had a story come out in October and I completely forgot to post a link. “The Aftermath of Giving Up” is a story I wrote a long time ago as an undergrad. It actually won an award in UC’s English department and was the story that got me into grad school, which was validating at the time, but it has taken 6 years to actually find it a publisher (which was substantially less validating). While it is dark, it’s also a huge departure from my usual style – it’s slower, domestic realism. I’m so grateful for The Scarlet Leaf Review for giving this story a home.
I am beyond thrilled that Disney+ is finally here (and yes, I did pre-pay for 3 years of service already!) After a busy week and an even busier start to the weekend, I am spending the next 36 hours just chilling out and watching Disney+. This is the perfect time of year for it to launch too because I feel like this is the time when I’m most nostalgic for my childhood – so what better way to recapture my youth than to do nothing but watch Disney movies from my couch?
I have exciting news! One of my favorite short stories is now available to read FREE on Fiction on the Web. I wrote “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” as an undergrad, and it took a really long time to find it a home. It’s a psychological horror story about a character I was developing at the time for a novel that I finished but was never happy with. I know I’ve grown so much as a writer since this story (this was pre-MFA!) but I just have always liked the concept and couldn’t give up on it.
Going back through the short stories I’ve workshopped over the years has really reminded me that I prefer shorter mediums. I just don’t think I have the attention span needed to be a good novelist, and I honestly prefer the brevity and experimentation that are allowed in short stories and flash fiction. Hopefully, I’ll have more stories to share soon!
It’s already June! It’s crazy to think about how quickly this year is flying by, but it’s been a great one so far.
Regarding writing, I’ve had three acceptances so far this year: two short stories and one poem. The more I try to write longer works, the more it seems apparent that writing shorter things just comes more naturally. So, I think that’s what I’m going to focus on for a while.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in and share a bit:
Here’s one of the short stories from this year – “Appendix A”
And here’s a poem that won’t be in print until February but is available online already – “The Vanishing Act”
And stay tuned for July 8th when my short story “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” comes out in that issue of Fiction on the Web. It’s one of my favorites of all the stories I’ve written, and it’s taken literally 7 years to find it a home!
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:
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!
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.
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 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).
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
I have a great life update that I’m so excited to share – My MFA in Writing Fiction from Lindenwood University is now complete!
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! 🙂
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!