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.

Blue River Now Open for Submissions

Blue River, literary journal, Creighton University, writing, reading, submit, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writer, writers

My fellow writers, I have exciting news. Blue River, a non-profit literary journal produced by Creighton University’s MFA program, is now seeking submissions. There is also a chance to win $500.

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Update: Life is Crazy and Fantastic

victory, chess, game, playing well, writing, career, step up, working hard, another victory

So I’ve been REALLY busy these last couple of months, as you may have been able to tell by the lack of posts to my blog. I’m still going to post reviews, opinions, etc., but I wanted to give some explanation as to my recent absence.

All of the things that have been keeping me busy are wonderful.

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

Francine du Plessix Gray, art, reading, writing, life, The Monday Post, links, readers, writers

Inspired by a similar type of post found on Electric Literature‘s website, The Monday Post is a collection of articles for writers and readers as well as a sampling of interesting works and publications from across the internet. 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. In addition, each new month will feature a new and interesting quote from an established expert in the literary field.

Writers and readers may find additional links and featured writers in The Monday Post archive. Please follow my blog for writing prompts, commentary, reviews, and more!

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What Makes Characters Memorable

What is it that makes characters memorable? I was wondering this when watching Peaky Blinders, reading Braggsville, and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (not all at the same time, but sometimes two at a time). What is (or are) the magic ingredient(s) to making a character real?

It’s actually simple, and yet difficult. Let’s start with Morrigan, from the Dragon Age series. She knows a bit about magic.

“A man will always believe two things about a woman; one, that she is weak and two, that she finds him attractive.” —Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

Francine du Plessix Gray, art, reading, writing, life, The Monday Post, links, readers, writers

Inspired by a similar type of post found on Electric Literature‘s website, The Monday Post is a collection of articles for writers and readers as well as a sampling of interesting works and publications from across the internet. 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. In addition, each new month will feature a new and interesting quote from an established expert in the literary field.

Writers and readers may find additional links and featured writers in The Monday Post archive. Please follow my blog for writing prompts, commentary, reviews, and more!

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Weekend Writing: The Fleeting Dream

fox, dream, cunning, story, weekend writing, writing, interpretation

Once again, I have a prompt inspired by true events. Sometimes, after consuming chocolate and espresso an hour or so before bed, I have really vivid dreams. Last night, I dreamt about a fox that signified major events in the life of a man I’ve never met (might be writing about it later, so apologies for the vagueness). I’ve had a few dreams (or nightmares) in my life that were so vivid and jarring I remember them to this day. In the Bible, there were people that helped interpret particular dreams by asking God about the meaning. Is the delirium of the subconscious fodder for great stories? That is this week’s challenge. Are you up to it?

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

Maya Angelou, writing, reading, quote, advice, The Monday Post

It’s a day late. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Have fun reading. 🙂

Inspired by a similar type of post found on Electric Literature‘s website, The Monday Post is a collection of articles for writers and readers as well as a sampling of interesting works and publications from across the internet. 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. In addition, each new month will feature a new and interesting quote from an established expert in the literary field.

Writers and readers may find additional links and featured writers in The Monday Post archivePlease follow my blog for writing prompts, commentary, reviews, and more!

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THE MONDAY POST: LINKS FOR READERS AND WRITERS

Maya Angelou, writing, reading, quote, advice, The Monday Post

Inspired by a similar type of post found on Electric Literature‘s website, The Monday Post is a collection of articles for writers and readers as well as a sampling of interesting works and publications from across the internet. 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. In addition, each new month will feature a new and interesting quote from an established expert in the literary field.

Writers and readers may find additional links and featured writers in The Monday Post archive. Please follow my blog for writing prompts, commentary, reviews, and more!

Author Note: There is a special section today for a survey from authors about their publishing partners. Check it out!

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Weekend Writing: The Raven

The raven has a bad reputation. In literature, it’s considered an ominous sign that points to death. This most likely has to do with the birds’ diet of carrion and their gleaming, black feathers. But there have also been positive representations of the raven throughout history, although they may be less known. So how would you write about the raven? That is this week’s challenge. Are you up to it?

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

C. S. Lewis, reading, books, writing, literature, stories

Inspired by a similar type of post found on Electric Literature‘s website, The Monday Post is a collection of articles for writers and readers as well as a sampling of interesting works and publications from across the internet. 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. In addition, each new month will feature a new and interesting quote from an established expert in the literary field.

Writers and readers may find additional links and featured writers in The Monday Post archive. Please follow my blog for writing prompts, commentary, reviews, and more!

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Another Important Discussion for Diversifying Literature: Religion in YA

While reading the article “How to (Effectively) Show Support” by Dahlia Adler, I noticed a very curious link under point three of the article titled “Promote other people’s promotions.” It was a discussion of religious young adult books spearheaded by Karen Jensen and Ally Watkins in the School Library Journal. At first I was so excited by this possibility of discussion in religion that I almost didn’t believe it to be real.

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Weekend Writing: Spring Forward

*Technical difficulties this week, folks. Here is the late installment of your next weekend writing prompt. I hope you still have a chance to enjoy the challenge.

The time change is often a bother. For many, giving up an hour of sleep is downright torturous. But for others who, say, forget about the time change, it might pose a major problem. That’s this week’s challenge. Are you up to it?

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Weekend Writing: The Waiting Room

writing, waiting, writing prompt, weekend writing

Inspired by real life events, I give you the weekend writing prompt about waiting (I’m currently in a government building waiting for my number to be called). So what could you possibly write about when a character is not moving and not talking? That is this week’s challenge. Are you up to it?

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Weekend Writing: Old News

news, old news, writing, writing prompt

There was a time when every story was new and exciting. Before it became history, it sparked discussion and debates and reviews and reactions. How would your character respond to the news? That’s this weeks writing prompt. Are you up to the challenge?


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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

ice, winter, writing, editing, reading, edited from original, http://pixabay.com/en/abstract-blue-cold-crystal-drop-22122/

I apologize that this post is a day late.

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. I’m also adding a few new categories. If there are any particular topics you’d like to read about, please feel free to suggest them in a comment on this post.

*AUTHOR NOTE: Readers I would love to hear feedback. Do you enjoy reading a certain type of article? What were some of your favorite featured works? Do you have a creative piece you’d like to see featured (email me, must be in a literary journal, must not be your own work, genre must be evident)?


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Book Review and Exclusive Offer: Winter Woven

Written by Garrett Curry and illustrated by Kyle Ragsdale. Copyright Garrett Curry and Kyle Ragsdale, fine artist, children, adults, multigenerational, Winter Woven
Written by Garrett Curry and illustrated by Kyle Ragsdale. Copyright Garrett Curry and Kyle Ragsdale.

[Copyright Garrett Curry and Kyle Ragsdale and associates.]

The day after Christmas, a package arrives for Piper. She is not excited about it. Great Aunt Fran sends her something every year that contains an item that’s itchy and handmade, which she is then forced to wear. This year she gets a scarf. This year will be different from all the others.

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Weekend Writing: The Apartment Home

By WTF Formwork (Wall-Ties and Forms, Inc.) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Concrete housing construction in Dominican Republic using aluminum concrete forms.
Source: Wall-Ties and Forms, Inc.
Author: WTF Formwork

Apartment complexes are rarely completely full. Landlords try to fill the empty apartments as quickly as possible to avoid losing money, but other tenants move out and that creates another vacancy. But what if you owned an apartment complex and couldn’t fill a single room? This week’s prompt focuses on that idea. Think you’re up for the challenge?

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Weekend Writing: The Toothless Dentist

Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Zahnärztliche Maßnahmen bei einem Kind (1950)
Copyright Deutsche Fotothek

Have you ever experienced something so unexpected that you went along with what was happening because you were so shocked? These “life shocks” are what inspired this writing prompt (the idea came from my genius husband). Are you ready for the challenge?

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Book Review: Black Moon

Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)
Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)

No one can sleep. This is no ordinary case of insomnia in a few people across the globe. Millions — maybe billions — are dying of a disorder that has no name and no origin. It slowly became an epidemic, spreading to others without warning or cause. In this world where only a few can sleep, violence and madness are what is left for those still able to dream.

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Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)
The Big Bad Wolf Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)

The news industry is a fear-making machine. True, it also publishes some wonderful unicorn-n-rainbow stories that make us feel like fluffy clouds in a blue sky — but their specialty is Freddy Kruger horror stories of the nonfiction kind. While the cynical deem this another part of daily life, it is definitely hard to ignore.

Electric Literature came up with a fantastic Halloween writing prompt based off of news headlines. You won’t believe some of these. Check out the details here.

Weekend Writing: A Horrific Love Story

Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)
Copyright L. N. Holmes (LeeAnn Adams)

If you’re easily frightened like I am, then you can only tolerate so much horror. But even if you are a horror genre fan, finding new ways to entertain is important. So that’s why I am proposing a mash up of genres in celebration of Halloween. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, check out the details below. Continue reading

Flash Fiction Challenge #2: A Monster’s Email Correspondance

By Jotquadrat (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Graffito (Stencil) Boris Karloff als Frankensteins Monster in der Ohmstraße (südlich Bahnhof Jannowitzbrücke), Berlin-Mitte
Copyright Jotquadrat

This is another flash fiction challenge I am attempting from Chuck Wendig’s blog terribleminds. The idea is to take a spam email and morph it into a horror genre flash fiction piece. After some hard thought, I decided to tweak it just a smidgen. I hope you enjoy it.

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Artist Interview: John Carenen

Copyright John Carenen

John Carenen
Copyright John Carenen


 

L. N. Holmes: “Where is your hometown?”
John Carenen: “My home town is Clinton, Iowa, an old Mississippi River town and the birthplace of Lillian Russell, the first sex symbol in the movies.”


L. N. Holmes: “What is your chosen artistic profession?”
John Carenen: “My artistic expression is words, fictional, novel-length.”

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Back to the Daily Grind: Goals, Mail, Coffee (Not in that Order)

Copyright LeeAnn Adams (L. N. Holmes)
It's still a long road ahead. Copyright LeeAnn Adams (L. N. Holmes)

I would like to be a light to others in many ways. A light illuminates one’s surroundings, provides a bit of warmth, and can enable one to move forward with confidence. As I travel through the unknown territory of the literary world, I hope to create a small path for those behind me that will make their own journeys — if only for a moment — a bit easier.

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