A Long Time Coming

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Here I am with some of my classmates after the hooding ceremony at Creighton University.

How’s it going, friends? How’s your writing and reading life? Feel free to post in the comments section about your own journeys.

In the meantime, I’ll give you an update on where I am with my journey. It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on my blog, so I feel as if there is a great deal to catch up on. That being said, I’ll give you the condensed version—we all have a lot of reading and writing to do, right?

Graduation

As of mid-May, I’m officially an alumna of the Creighton University MFA program. It was an honor and a privilege to study under Dr. Brent Spencer, Professor Mary Helen StefaniakProfessor David Mullins, and Professor Susan Aizenberg. Each of them taught me important things about the craft in their own ways.

I was exceedingly grateful to put together a collection of short fiction for my thesis with Mary Helen’s guidance. I’m hoping to have a few more of the individual short pieces published—but my thesis project overall may be a collection I eventually submit to publishers for consideration. More revision would be involved before any such decision could be made with certainty.

My longer works, however, continue to be problematic. Two of my novels died in the MFA program—or rather, I filed them away for now to work on my current novel. That being said, I learned a great deal about my particular weaknesses and hope to overcome them with my new project.

I’ve finished with my Blue River responsibilities. It was an interesting start to a journal that I hope will continue to be published by the Creighton MFA program. The latest issue recently came out, so don’t forget to snag a copy.

Post-graduation life is, simply put, calmer and more manageable.

The Day Job

After an intense summer internship last year, I started working as a contract employee for Tethered by Letters. It’s been a learning experience—I’ve never worked as anything other than a regular employee before—but the challenges have helped me grow as a writer, editor, and publisher. I’m currently the publishing assistant for TBL and I work as the editorial assistant for F(r)iction—TBL’s triannual literary and art journal. Broadly, my responsibilities concern everything from intermediate updates to the website, to social media marketing, to F(r)iction assginments and editing, to pretty much everything F(r)Online.

F(r)iction recently was picked up by Barnes & Noble and other select chain, independent, and college bookstores—so we’re in the brick and mortars nationwide (and Canada too)! Pick up a copy of the journal at a bookstore near you and check out the amazing art and literature that we publish.

Recent Published Work

My most recent publication, “One Woman’s Junk,” is a flash fiction story that was featured in Newfound‘s web issue: Vo. 8, Other Worlds. I’ve read and admired the flash fiction Newfound has published for some time now—so to have my work published by them is quite an honor. The editors are also incredibly kind. Be sure to check out and support this wonderful nonprofit publisher.

In January, my flash fiction story, “Force Play,” was published in issue #1 of Obra. This excellent digital magazine, produced by the MFA of the Americas, makes for a great read. I was thankful to work with the considerate editors on staff. Go check out what great literature and art they have to offer.

The online and print versions of Vestal Review #49/#47—in which my flash fiction story “Trace” was published—are also now available to read. Vestal Review has been publishing flash fiction since 2000 and are “the world’s oldest magazine dedicated exclusively to flash fiction.” They also recently published their fiftieth issue, which you can read here.

Up Next

This summer is shaping up to be a busy one. I’ve been submitting many of my short stories and flash fiction creations to journals and magazines. I’ll be participating in workshops in Omaha and online—because quality critiques often lead to better work. I’m working on that novel—consistently, desperately. And when things get overwhelming, I’ll be playing in my garden dirt.

Thanks for stopping in again, friends. And as always, thanks for reading.

Book Review: Uhaul by Emily Ramser

Bear with me, because this is relevant. Those who know me well know I have an aversion to romance. I find phrases like “rippling muscle” and “love canal” gag-worthy and unattractive. If I read one more novel where two characters have “their eyes meet” and they don’t immediately try and kill each other afterward, I might stab a book. (Side note, I’m actually nice—or try to be. It’s been a long day.)

I know what you guys are thinking. But LeeAnn, we see you promoting romance novels on your Twitter all the time! Yes, observant friends, you do. That’s because there are great writers out there who write romance—a genre equal in awesomeness to all the others. I’m friends with quite a few romance writers. Some very kind ones let me join their writing group and I’m a better writer for it. I actually dig a lot of mentioned romance writers’ stuff.

UhaulThe point is I’m not romantic, therefore I don’t like sappy writing. What I appreciate about Uhaul: A Collection of Lesbian Love Poems by Emily Ramser is that, while definitely romantic, it is also honest. These are the types of poems you write about your crush in your journal and then hide in your shoe box under your bed because they are soul-bearing and unpretending. These are poems of sheer adoration.

Ramser writes in plain language that the average reader can understand. For example, the poem “One Day, You Will Eat” begins with a humorous list of things that the person the speaker is referring to will not eat: “You don’t like mushrooms,/hamburgers, cinnamon, lettuce…”. However it ends with a nice sort of twist, with words that seem simple but actually will resonate with many readers.

There are two poems that leave me scratching my scalp. The poems seem odd editions to the collection. I am still at a loss after reading “The Day I Spoke With Your Gray Hair” and am frustrated with the somewhat successful but ultimately eyebrow raising, “I give you my body for your own.” They’re not bad, necessarily, just different and somewhat out of place.

As expected, Ramser brought back the birds in this collection with the poem,”I will sing to you.” It’s in this poem, arguably, that she writes her most memorable description: “how you hide your smile behind your thumb.” Again simple, but spot on, and ironically proceeded by how the speaker found it difficult to describe this action.

The poem I find most surprising is “I’d Steal You a Skillet”. This poem interested me—not because of the romantic elements, but because of this odd and fascinating tradition. I also got the sense that the speaker was as surprised as I was—not by the tradition but by the romantic elements.

The artwork for this collection is stunning. Sara Tolbert’s work adds another, beautiful layer of meaning to the poems. I was very impressed and kept gazing admiringly at the black-and-white drawings.

Overall the collection is interesting and honest—even if romance is not my favorite subject. What’s more, Ramser is an impressive person. She is an editor at many different publications with four published collections while still an undergraduate student at Salem College. She has a lot of things to write still. I’m curious to see what comes next.

Book Review: I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me

blackout poetry, poetry collection, poems, new book, copyright Emily Ramser
Copyright Emily Ramser

Emily Ramser’s new collection of poetry, I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Mepublished by Weasel Press, is superb. Rarely is Erasure–or Blackout–poetry done so well. The compositions are woven together with agony and beauty, reality and mythology, the natural world and the supernatural world. The words are carefully chosen and pieced together, the other words blotted out with expressive swirls and strokes, to create a work of art on each page.

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

Copyright L. N. Holmes, truck, old, black and white photography, J. K. Rowling, quote
Copyright L. N. Holmes

I am continuing a series (inspired by Electric Literature) where I post important links for writers and readers on Mondays. They may be old links or new links, but they’ll be ones that I find the most interesting or helpful. If there are any particular topics you’d like to read about, please feel free to suggest them in a comment on this post.

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Short Story Review: ‘The Last Day’

Diverse Energies, short story, short story reviews, collection of short stories, Ellen Oh

The world has been in a state of constant war for over a decade. All that remains are the lands won by the President of the West and the Emperor of the East. Kenji lives in a city controlled by the Emperor and his cronies — a place that conscripts children into the army at the age of fourteen.

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About L. N. Holmes

L. N. Holmes, author, writer, editor, Nicole Gentles, autumn, Salem College

L. N. Holmes (Photo by Nicole Gentles.)

LeeAnn Nichole (Holmes) Adams writes under the pseudonym, L. N. Holmes. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in literary journals and magazines such as Newfound (web), Obra, STARK, Vestal ReviewF(r)iction, and Good Morning, among others. Her longer works include a nearly completed collection of short fiction and the first draft of an ambitious novel (both of which she hopes to finish and publish within the next three years). In addition to her creative writing, she’s written many book reviews, literary journal reviews, interviews, news articles, and more.

Short Work | Books

Holmes has received many honors and awards for her writing. She won the 2012 Katherine B. Rondthaler Award for Poetry, the 2013 Salem College President’s Prize for Creative Writing, and a first place for nonfiction in a literary journal from the North Carolina College Media Association in 2013. She was also a half-fellow in the Creighton University MFA program and her poem, “War Song,” was long listed for the 2016 Wisehouse International Poetry Award.

Graduating from Salem College in 2013, Holmes received a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with minors in English and history. Later she attended Creighton University, where she received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2017. In addition to formal education, she’s actively sought out other opportunities to learn and has attended writing conferences, workshops, and readings in many different states.

She currently volunteers as a junior editor for Tethered by Letters. In the past, she volunteered as a fiction co-editor for Blue River and, before that, the co-editor of Incunabula. She also has experience working in the editorial departments of other publications and contributes work occasionally to places like Change Seven Magazine and GERM Magazine.

A native of Wilmington, Ohio, Holmes currently lives in Bellevue, Nebraska. She’s married to her wonderful husband, Collin, and has three furry pets—a dog, Cattleya, and two cats, Rex and Hadassah. She’s a Christian who believes in protecting the planet, equal pay for women, and loving your neighbor. She also believes writers should be paid for their work. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—but she’s the most active on Twitter, where she tweets about literary stuff and video games.

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