Hi, friends! The good people at Rhythm & Bones published “Shadows Cannot be Seen in the Pitch-Black” recently. You can find the story here if you’re interested in reading it.

It’s been a tough year for the editors of Rhythm & Bones. As Tianna mentioned in the issue’s “Letter from the Editor,” “We weren’t quite sure we would make it to the end of the year, but here we are: strong as ever; stronger, even. Our passion and motivation have not flickered out, if anything they have grown.” I’m grateful not only for the publication of my flash fiction amid all of the challenges Tianna and her team faced, but I’m also grateful for the story’s early release. I admire Tianna and her team for their hard work, tenacity, and persistence. I hope you will join me in supporting the lovely literary magazine they’ve worked so hard to create.

Hi, friends! “Buried in the Ground” is up at Barren Magazine today if you’d like to read it.

Here is an excerpt:

You begin with the vegetable garden because it’s the likeliest place to bury something. You slip the blank paper into your bag and get to work, not daring to put it down until your dad goes back into the house. The ground is still soft in the garden from spring’s tilling and makes the digging less painful. But when you dig up the carrots, you regret your decision. It isn’t until you’re under the soil that you realize the vegetables are still slivers of orange root, born too early. The leafy carrot tops trick you, making the roots appear more mature than they really are.

I hope you’ll check it out! If you do, thanks for reading.

Quick Reads (September 2018)

Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list. Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Rabbit Hat” by Marcus Slease (Nice Cage)

Watch Them Glitter” by Tommy Dean (Ellipsis Zine)

Comfort, Dogs” by Matthew Fiander (Barren Magazine)

Fantastic Fabrics” by A.E. Weisgerber (Barren Magazine)

Chinese Bleeding on a Friday” by Peter Ngila (Barren Magazine)

Sweet Violets” by A.E. Weisgerber (New Flash Fiction Review)

The Funny Thing” by Michelle Ross (Nashville Review)

All of #22, Volume XII, Issue 1 of the Whitefish Review

Salt and Calcium” by Sarah Roth (Columbia Journal)

One Lifetime With a Stranger” by Matthew Caldwell (The Esthetic Apostle)
[Note: Matthew attended Creighton University’s MFA program around the same time I did.]

Unmentionables” by Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice (Paper Darts)

Back Talk” by Danielle Lazarin (Copper Nickel)

Nebraska” by Brian Hoey (New Orleans Review)

A Girl Walks on the Moon” by Ruth Joffre (Vestal Review)

Muriel” Elizabeth O’Brien (Newfound)

The Difference Between Reading and Reading Well” by Collin Huber (Fathom Magazine)

A Son” by Rachel Rodman (Apparition Literary Magazine)

Inversions” by Meghan Xanthos (The Bookends Review)

Mullenville, Population 82” by Sandra K. Barnidge (Allegory Ridge)

Wings and Sand” by Sean Patrick Whiteley (Obra/Artifact)

Counting Elephants” by F.E. Clark (Rhythm & Bones)

The Farewell” by Gem Caley (The Ginger Collect)

Out and Out” by Latifa Ayad (The Masters Review)

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Here is a sneak peek of the print cover for Space, Collisions. This a screenshot, so it’s a bit grainy.

It’s been nearly a month since Ghost City Press released the digital version of Space, Collisions. Thanks to Jennifer Potter, the print cover is shaping up nicely as well. Stay tuned for the release date! And a big thanks to my amazing cover artist.

I received some really great news last night. Rhythm & Bones Lit agreed to publish two of my flash fiction stories! You will be able to read “Shadows Cannot be Seen in the Pitch-Black” in issue three of the magazine and “How to Suffocate a Shark” in issue four. Many, many thanks to Tianna, Renee, and Charlie for the kind acceptance letter. I can’t wait!

Quick Reads (April 2018)

Due to starting a new job, I wasn’t able to read as much as usual. I managed to get a few stories in despite being so busy. Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list. Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Fathers” by Amanda DeNatale (Toasted Cheese)
[Note: Amanda is a good friend of mine. She also graduated from the Creighton MFA program.]

Rainbow, Fungus, Rainbow” by Liam Johnson (The Molotov Cocktail)

The Clearing” by Alexi Zentner (Orion Magazine)

To Live and Die in E.V.” by Oscar Mancinas (Storm Cellar)

No One Worships What They Find Under Their Fingernails” by Kathryn McMahon (Booth)

Better than Healed” by Michael Harris Cohen (Apparition Literary Magazine)

Quick Reads (March 2018)

Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list. Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


The Town of Milkcarton Kids” by Ali Rachel Pearl (Redivider)

No Girls Allowed” by Anna Valente (Fairy Tale Review)

Raw Materials” by c.a. schaefer (Superstition Review)

Forty-Five Feet” by Joshua Jones (Split Lip Magazine)

Girl in Dog House” by Carol Guess and Aimee Parkison (New Delta Review)

Red City” by Ashley Kunsa (Sycamore Review)

Rattle and Spin” by Jeanette Sheppard (Bare Fiction)

Investigations on the Theft of Heaven” by Abhishek Sengupta (Outlook Springs)

TOMWABFAM” by Matt Tompkins (Puerto del Sol)

The Ones Who Chose the Rain” by George Edwards Murray (Daily Science Fiction)

Everything Red” by Emily Lackey (Monkeybicycle)
[Note: I met Emily at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts during her residency there.]

Alien Love” by Jennifer Lynn Christie (Atticus Review)
[Note: I read this on the 2017 Best of the Net website.]

Rut” by Maria McLeod (The Journal)

Swayze” by Natalia Hero (The /tƐmz/ Review)

What Strangers Do” by Christopher Allen ([PANK])

A Priest of Vast and Distant Places” by Cassandra Khaw (Apex Magazine)

Quick Reads (February 2018)

Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. I’m going to cheat this time and include some nonfiction and poetry with the flash fiction and short stories. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list.

Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Paper Shackles” by Sean Enfield (Lunch Ticket)
[Note: I worked with Sean—namely, performed some minor edits—on his piece “Colorblind Passengers,” which was printed in F(r)Online.]

Prom Night” by Jayne Martin (Crack the Spine)

Life Without Anesthesia” by Kristen M. Ploetz (Crack the Spine)

Death and Dying in America” by Bailey Bridgewater (Crack the Spine)

Forever Jung” by Leah Mueller (Crack the Spine)

The Diamond Girl” by Courtney Bird (Fairy Tale Review)

The Clowns” by Rodney Gomez (Fairy Tale Review)

Ashes” by Aimee Pokwatka (Fairy Tale Review)

Delicate” by Jasmine Sawers (Fairy Tale Review)

Interrogation” by Michael Chin (Prime Number Magazine)

Devil’s Hopyard” by Donald Hubbard (The Harpoon Review)

The World for a Heart” by Kenneth Otani (The Harpoon Review)

Trajectories” by Alex Miller (The Harpoon Review)

Otherwise Panic” by Mary Kuryla (Shenandoah)

Resort” by Mary Miller (Wigleaf)

Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work” by Meghan Phillips (Wigleaf)

Parliament of Owls” by Jeff Ewing (Smokelong Quarterly)

Princess Shipwreck” by Tessa Yang (Smokelong Quarterly)

Ueno Zoo” by E. J. Koh (Smokelong Quarterly)

חלב חם” by Lea Klibanoff (Smokelong Quarterly)

New Yorker Story About Michigan” by Carolyn Nims (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Jumper” by Geoff Kronik (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Cartographers” by Joshua Jones (Smokelong Quarterly)

The Noises from the Neighbors Upstairs: A Nightly Log” by Amber Sparks (Smokelong Quarterly)

All the shortlisted flash fictions for the VERA (Vestal Review)
[Note: James R. Gapinski’s story, “Tuxedos and Evening Gowns,” appeared in F(r)iction #6]

Moorish Architecture” by Erinrose Mager (The Adroit Journal)

Check My ID” by Krys Malcolm Belc (The Adroit Journal)

The Cry of the Butterfly” by Matthew Baker (The Adroit Journal)

Chinaman, Run” by Kathryn Hargett (The Adroit Journal)

Harvest” by Stephen Case (Bracken)

poltergeist ii” by Candice Wuehle (Sonora Review)

We Are Trying to Understand You” by Joy Baglio (TriQuarterly)


[Note: I’m pretty sure I missed a few.]

 

Quick Reads (January 2018)

Hey, everyone! How is your New Year going? Are those resolutions a habit yet or are they falling by the wayside? What goals have you made for your writing or reading this year?

One of my less rigid goals for 2018 was to read more flash fiction and short stories. I figure it’s cooler to read and share, so these monthly posts will cover all of the individual pieces that I’ve read in a 28+ day period. This list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list—so please keep that in mind when I’m sharing these stories. Hopefully, my resolution to do this will become a habit and not fall by the wayside. 🙂

Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!


Something Elemental” by Alyssa Jordan (CHEAP POP)
[Note: Alyssa works for Tethered by Letters, where I volunteer.]

Wind Warning” by Traci Skuce (Varnish Journal)
[Note: Traci’s work is in Issue #2 along with my flash fiction story!]

In the Corner Under Baby Jesus on the Cross” by Dawn Wilson (Paper Darts)
[Note: Dawn leads Inklings, which is a new writing group I attend.]

Aphorisms of Someone More Famous Than You” by Frankie Bielfeld (Laurel Magazine)
&

The King’s Last Meal” by Philip Charter (Laurel Magazine)
[Note: both flash fiction stories appear before my flash fiction story in this issue!]

Nature.” by Cheryl Pappas (SmokeLong Quarterly)

There Are Songs That Only Echo in the Belly of the Sea” by Rebecca Saltzman (SmokeLong Quarterly)

Mechanical Martyr” by Rachel Levy (Atticus Review)

Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” by Gwen E. Kirby (Guernica)

The Beast” by Megan Cummins (CRAFT)

Pigeon Forge” by Jenny Xie (The Offing)

The Changeling” by Matt Jones (Ruminate)

In the Lakewater” by Monica Wang (The /tƐmz/ Review)

The Little Transient” by Lorri McDole (Prime Number Magazine)

Homecoming” by Noël Rozny (Prime Number Magazine)

Nebraska” by Nathan Knapp (The Collagist)

Sleeping Beauty is Not Well” by Cezarija Abartis (Bennington Review)

Fantasy World Has Fallen Into Disrepair” by Alexandra Tanner (Nashville Review)

On Top of the World” by Len Kuntz (Wigleaf)

Clemency” by Cady Vishniac (The Lascaux Review)

Excerpts: Half of What I Say by Anil Menon (Mithila Review)

After the Holidays: A Writing Update

There is no rest for the working writer—but I’m not complaining. A lot of good has happened lately. I owe you an update.

I’m going to do this list style. Here goes:

Judging the Teen Poetry Bash

Saturday, December 12, I went to listen to some talented teens speak their piece at the Teen Poetry Bash, held at the Omaha Public Library. Because of my past work with the Nebraska Writers Collective as a Louder Than a Bomb judge, I was asked to be one of the judges for this competition as well. It was such a privilege to be on the panel and to listen to some local talent. I was impressed with all the poets that chose to speak their words. It was a fun event—one that will only keep going if these young ones keep participating, I’m told.

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The finalists are chosen and invited to participate in the second round.

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The winners pose with OPL’s representative.

My Interview with The Other Stories

Thanks to the wonderful editors at Tethered by Letters and writer Ilana Masad, I was recently featured on The Other Stories podcast for my story “When Continents Collide” from F(r)iction #2. It was really fun (and I was super nervous)! You can listen to the story and my interview here.

My Professor Won an NEA Fellowship

I am blessed to be learning from amazing writers and professors at Creighton University. Brent Spencer, Mary Helen Stefaniak, Susan Aizenberg, and—this semester—David Mullins. You may have heard in recent news that David Mullins won a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship. I’m pretty stoked to be participating in his workshop soon. All of my professors have really challenged me so far. I’m so excited to start classes again.

Los Angeles and AWP

That’s right, ladies and gents, I’m going to L.A. in March/April for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference. It’s going to be a wild drive there and back (and probably on the L.A. streets). Four of us are going to make the pilgrimage. I’ll live tweet some of the madness. If you’re going to the conference, come check out the Blue River booth and say hello!

Writing for Change Seven

Recently, Change Seven editor Sheryl Monks has asked me to write for their magazine. I will be doing this in addition to my work at Germ Magazine. My work for Change Seven is still in the beginning stages, however, so I’ll have more concrete updates for you as I work on my first assignment.


Well, that’s all folks! I hope all of you had happy holidays (or happy recent days, if you don’t celebrate holidays). As always, thanks for reading (or listening to podcast audio).

Two Universities, One Reading, New Voices

Creighton University, New Voices, University of Nebraska Omaha, reading, students, fiction, poetry

From left (for Creighton University): our lovely liaison and poet Allison Hraban, poet Aubree Else, and prose writer Nicole Koneck-Wilwerding.

This post is a little late, but I wanted to tell you all about an exciting reading I attended November 19. It was a special event—hosted by Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)—known as New Voices. Like the Fair Use readings, it is a series for young and emerging writers who want to read their work aloud to an audience.

There were four writers total, given roughly five minutes to read their work.

Nicole Koneck-Wilwerding began with her funny short story, appropriately titled “Thanksgiving”. It was a series of letters from the main character to her siblings, discussing her upcoming Thanksgiving dinner and the potential problems on the horizon. Through humor, wit, and awkward political battles, Nicole entertained us with a character that is more complex than she originally seems. It was an excellent and engaging piece.

Ashley, a representative of UNO, read next. She read a small collection of poems including “New Moon”, “She’s Human”, “Tabasco Sauce”, and others. Her poems at times were surprising, amusing, and thought-provoking. Some of her images were really interesting and strong. I enjoyed hearing Ashley’s work for the first time.

Nick, another representative for UNO, then read part of his short story “Mile Marker”. His story starts with a dead dog and has this mysterious mixed feeling of a combined Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel and a Stephen King novel. I thought Nick did well with surprise and power dynamics in his piece. I really enjoyed hearing his work for the first time.

Aubree Else finished up the night with a collection of her poems. Some of them I was familiar with from the Fair Use reading like “North G Street House” and “The World Ends for a Fifth Time”. She also read some poems I was not familiar with, like “The Indian Leopard Sticks His Head Into a Pot” and “Waste Places”. I really enjoyed listening to all of them. The last one was my favorite thus far, but each one compelled me to listen and pay attention.

The New Voices readings sometimes feature graduate students, but there are often undergraduate students as well. If you have a chance to attend the next one, I’d encourage you to do so. It’s always wise to support your local writers.

A Talented Trio: Creighton University’s First Fair Use Reading

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From left, our host and fellow writer Shelby Snedeker stands next to our featured writers Amanda DeNatale, Aubree Else, and Quentin Chirdon.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Have you been to an author reading lately? Thursday evening, I went to see three of my talented classmates read some of their work at Solid Jackson Books in Benson. I knew they were good, but I was mind blown by how amazing their writing was.

Amanda DeNatale read first. Her short story was about a young man who is haunted by past addictions. He struggles to find a “healthy replacement” for his lack of stimulants to avoid losing his family. But this poses its own set of problems, which eventually climaxes in an unexpected, strange, and fascinating way. I won’t give away what happens, but remember our fellow writer’s name, so you can be one of the first to read her amazing work in published form.

Aubree Else was the next to read. She read a small collection of poems. Her writing discussed her loves for fall and her childhood home. She even had a poem, cheeky and thoroughly enjoyable, about the end of the world. I found her poems to be thought-provoking and riddled with interesting images and sounds. I’d definitely suggest her work to anyone.

Quentin Chirdon read the openings to two short stories and an opening to a nonfiction essay. I found myself enthralled by the disturbing images in his work and taken aback by the surprise of humor that surfaced in the midst of the strange. His first story I was somewhat familiar with, so it was wonderful to hear a longer excerpt. I definitely want to read the rest of it. His second story was so funny and convincing, even though he made up an art form that actually doesn’t exist, we believed it anyway. His nonfiction essay, another I had a chance to peek at, discussed the space age in an intimate way that was emotionally moving. Definitely give his work a read if you see his name surface in any publication.

Shelby, our host and a fantastic writer herself, treated us to wine, cheese, and festive Halloween candy (side note, I don’t drink, so I just had the yummy snacks) before the event. Solid Jackson Books was a wonderful venue, with great vintage records and reads to peruse, and an open but intimate space for us to gather. Overall, it was an event that I’m glad I didn’t miss, featuring some of Creighton University’s great writers.

The Fair Use Readings are a series of events. Watch for the next one, which will most likely be held in December. We hope to see you there!

Blue River Now Open for Submissions

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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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L. N. Holmes, F(r)iction, Tethered by Letters, short story, speculative fiction, new story, art

Hello! I wanted to provide an updated link to F(r)iction #2, now available for purchase from Tethered by Letters. You can find my short story “When Continents Collide” in this issue of the literary magazine.

I would encourage you to also consider the other works that are available in this issue—some literary leaning, others genre leaning—that are all high quality. I read most of Rose Hartley’s story before my professor at school asked to borrow the magazine and that story alone is reason to purchase F(r)iction #2. The full-color, commissioned artwork is also amazing!

I hope you will seriously consider purchasing a copy of this innovative and modern literary magazine. As always, thanks for reading!

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Thank you to everyone who has decided to follow my Twitter, Facebook, blog, or other social pages!

I’m one follower away from 200 on my blog and I wanted to do something special as a thank you. So I’m reaching out to you! If you have any suggestions I’d love to read them. Please remember I’m a Christian, so I might refuse to do some things—like streak naked downtown—based on my own moral values.

I look forward to your suggestions!

If you’re unfamiliar with A Vase of Wildflowers, and love reading and writing, I’d encourage you to check out my other blog posts and consider following.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Hello bloggers, readers, friends, and colleagues! I wanted to let you know that a short story of mine, “When Continents Collide,” will soon be available to readers. You can preorder the issue it will be featured in right now.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you read it! I’d love to hear your opinions. I’m writing to connect with people, after all.

If you guys don’t know about Tethered by Letters, the parent company of the F(r)iction Series, I’d encourage you to visit their site. They offer support to writers and give readers lots of great work to peruse.

As always, thanks for reading.

Why I Don’t Review Everything I Read

reviews, writing, books, short stories, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry

Let start with the obvious. There are some books that I am obligated to review because I received the book for free from a company. There are also some books I am assigned to review as an opportunity with a company that mostly displays content online.

That being said, there are many books, short stories, poems, creative nonfiction essays and memoirs, articles, news stories, etc. outside of my obligations that I read. I often read the content of certain literary magazines and journals to familiarize myself with the writing contained within—although there are a few I continue to read afterward, because I enjoy the content so much. Articles and news stories I generally read for information. Books, however, I almost always read for fun.

And yet, I will not review everything. There is a reason for this, obviously. Several, in fact—but I’ll just name a few for books.

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The Monday Post: Links for Readers and Writers

old farm equipment, antique, writing, reading, write, read, Joyce Carol Oates quote, quote found on Flavorwire, Copyright L. N. Holmes
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. 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.

*I’m adding a new section for literary magazines and journals.

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Thoughts on Mockingjay Part 1

By b.m.a.n. Uploaded by MyCanon (Jennifer Lawrence) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By b.m.a.n.

[Jennifer Lawrence, image by b.m.a.n.]

I saw Mockingjay Part 1 last night. It wrecked me. That’s the best way to describe it. The brutalities of war, the pain and the suffering, and the psychological manipulation by the opposing parties were too real.

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