Good Riddance, 2020! This has been the weirdest year, and I’m sure we’re all happy to put it behind us. Still, while it’s easy to sort of marinate in the awfulness of 2020, I wanted to reflect on some of the better moments too. Here are some good/productive things I can still be proud of from this year:
At least the pandemic gave me enough free time to finish up my debut novel: Suburban Secrets. This mystery has been a project I’ve worked on since grad school, so it was nice to finally see it through.
Other Published Works:
I didn’t submit quite as much as I’d have liked to this year, but I did have a few smaller things published as well:
I wanted to make it a priority to focus on my artwork this year, and while I didn’t do nearly as much as I expected, there were still a few nice moments. I was able to complete Inktober on Instagram. I had a painting purchased as artwork for a mental health journal, and I had two paintings featured in a local art show.
Transitioning to Publisher:
This year also marked the debut of my two literary journals: Ephemeral Elegies and Dreaming in Fiction. It’s been such a great experience meeting and supporting other authors from around the globe. I can’t wait to feature more writing in 2021.
Well, I guess 2020 wasn’t so bad after all. Still, I’m looking forward to a 2021 filled with health, happiness, and (hopefully) new adventures!
What are you most proud of this year? Please, let me know in the comment section so I can celebrate with you!
What a weird year this has been! I’m sure I’m not the only one who would prefer to never repeat a year such as this one. Thankfully, though, I did have a lot of time to read this year (both new books and some re-reads of favorites!) Here are the best books I read (or re-read) this year:
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Goodreads Description: Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here too. . . but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the highest aspiration he can imagine for a Chinatown denizen. Or is it? After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today’s America.
My Thoughts: This book was the well-deserved winner of the National Book Award this year. It is one of the most unique books I’ve read. Partially in second person and partially written with script-esque dialogue, this is a strange but engrossing reading experience all about the harmful impact of internalizing and externalizing stereotypes.
When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy
Goodreads Description: Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape. Smart, fierce and courageous When I Hit You is a dissection of what love meant, means and will come to mean when trust is undermined by violence; a brilliant, throat-tightening feminist discourse on battered faces and bruised male egos; and a scathing portrait of traditional wedlock in modern India
My Thoughts: This one was very difficult to read but I couldn’t put it down. The raw, vulnerable honesty was such a necessary addition to the wider societal conversations about domestic violence.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Goodreads Description:Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.
My Thoughts: This was a really fun book! It is an exciting mystery combined with a lot of interesting character development. I loved the exploration of the female friendships.
Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Goodreads Description:Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dune fields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.
My Thoughts: This was the best poetry collection I read this year. The poems were exquisite and showed a lot of range when it comes to both theme and emotion. I can’t wait to read more from this poet!
My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams
Goodreads Description: Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams’s new friend Anna Delvey, a self-proclaimed German heiress, was worldly and ambitious. She was also generous. When Anna proposed an all-expenses-paid trip to Marrakech, Rachel jumped at the chance. But when Anna’s credit cards mysteriously stopped working, the dream vacation quickly took a dark turn. Anna asked Rachel to begin fronting costs—first for flights, then meals and shopping, and, finally, for their $7,500-per-night private villa. Before Rachel knew it, more than $62,000 had been charged to her credit cards. Anna swore she would reimburse Rachel the moment they returned to New York. Back in Manhattan, the repayment never materialized, and a shocking pattern of deception emerged. Rachel learned that Anna had left a trail of deceit—and unpaid bills—wherever she’d been. Mortified, Rachel contacted the district attorney, and in a stunning turn of events, found herself helping to bring down one of the city’s most notorious con artists.
My Thoughts: This was a fascinating memoir about a woman who was conned by someone who she thought was one of her best friends. I remembered hearing about Anna Delvey’s trial a while back, and I really enjoyed learning more about this case. I think two tv shows about this are currently in-development, and I’ll absolutely be watching those too!
Did you have more time to read in 2020? What are your top picks for this year? Be sure to let me know in the comment section!
Today marks my first day of being 29! I can’t believe I only have one year left of my 20s! To celebrate, I wanted to offer my book Suburban Secrets for FREE from September 25th – 27th. Head on over to Amazon to claim your free copy!
Suburban Secrets is available on Amazon for $2.99 (or FREE if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber!)
Here’s the description from Amazon: “Angela Carmichael feels like an imposter in her idyllic neighborhood. Surrounded by seemingly perfect families, Angela is just doing her best to stay afloat as a single mother and freelance writer. But when a neighborhood boy goes missing, and danger seems to lurk behind every white picket fence, Angela becomes determined to uncover the secrets and lies of her community in order to keep her daughter safe.”
If that sounds like it might be something that would interest you, I hope you’ll consider getting a copy!
I’d love to share a bit about this experience. This project began in grad school and was born out of my love of mystery and my fear of motherhood. I think that being a parent is probably the hardest job in the world, so I really wanted to explore that throughout this mystery. Full disclosure: I am not a parent, so this is very much my way of experiencing something I’ve really only observed.
Here’s the Amazon description of the book: “Angela Carmichael feels like an imposter in her idyllic neighborhood. Surrounded by seemingly perfect families, Angela is just doing her best to stay afloat as a single mother and freelance writer. But when a neighborhood boy goes missing, and danger seems to lurk behind every white picket fence, Angela becomes determined to uncover the secrets and lies of her community in order to keep her daughter safe.”
I hope you’ll consider getting a copy if this sounds intriguing to you!
Dreaming in Fiction will be the home for short stories and flash fiction across the genre spectrum. From supernatural stories to compact capers to heartfelt romance and even some terrifying tales, we’ll be exploring every facet of fiction. One new story will be published each Saturday, so your next adventure is never too far away!
I hope you’ll consider submitting to Dreaming in Fiction or exploring it post-launch to support and discover some new authors!
Wishing you all heath and happiness during this pandemic!
Welcome to day 137(?) of quarantine! While the need to social distance has made it seem like time is now irrelevant (seriously, I’m thinking about buying day-of-the-week underwear to help me keep track), I’m excited to announce that I’ve found homes for two poems:
This has been a strange year for us all! But I’ve honestly been enjoying the extra quiet time at home to explore different creative avenues. Becoming a publisher this year with Ephemeral Elegies has been an exciting new challenge, and I’ve been continuing my charity knitting projects with Warm Up Ohio. I’ve also been doing a lot of editing for Suburban Secrets, my debut novel coming out this summer.
The world may seem kind of stuck right now – but that doesn’t have to mean we remain creatively immobile. What are some passion projects you’re excited to be working on? Please, feel free to share in the comment section. I think that we should all be celebrating any sort of victory or milestone these days, and I’d love to know how to cheer for you!
April is National Poetry Month! This time of year, I love hearing about new and emerging poets who are using this month to hone their craft and take new chances with their work. So, as we go throughout the month, I just wanted to send a quick reminder that Ephemeral Elegies is open to submissions! In this time of uncertainty, I’m sure lots of people are processing what’s going on with the world by exploring the creative process of writing confessional poetry. We still have a few openings for our May issue, and we’re already looking forward to the summer!
I hope everyone reading this is doing well! Here in Ohio, everyone is pretty much quarantined until further notice (well, at least the next two weeks). Anyway, it’s been a while since I blogged and I wanted to share a few updates of what I’ve been doing:
Ephemeral Elegies, an online poetry journal I run, is still doing well. We’re currently accepting submissions for our May and June issues. I’ve been really enjoying interacting with and supporting some great emerging poets. Check it out if you have some extra time (and/or submit some of your own work!)
Warm Up Ohio
I also run the local branch of Warm Up America: Warm Up Ohio. Although Spring is bringing warmer weather, I knit and crochet all year long so that I have enough to donate each winter. Since we’re a really small chapter, the focus has been less on squares and more on clothing. Hats and Scarves are simple and fun projects – and they are great donations for the many amazing Homeless Shelters in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.
Surprise! Here is the cover reveal for my first novel Suburban Secrets – coming out later this year! It’s a work of romantic suspense that I began in grad school and finished last year. I’m still in editing mode, but I’m getting really excited about this project and can’t wait to share more with all of you when the details are all finalized.
So, those are my big projects for this Quarantine time. Please, let’s all do our part to stay in and help Flatten the Curve!
What are you doing with your extra quarantine time? Let me know in the comment section!
An unseasonably warm February has put me right in the mood for spring. I’m so glad we got to skip winter almost entirely. This year is really starting to feel like a year of change and growth already, and the seasons seem to agree.
The Ampersand Project, the publisher that accepted my first painting, decided to make it a featured post instead of just using it to illustrate a story or essay. They really liked the story behind it, and (while obviously biased) I do too! Anyway, I just wanted to share.
And to wrap up this brief update, I just wanted to share that Ephemeral Elegies is going well – we’re currently scheduling our May issue, so feel free to send over any confessional poetry you have sitting around!