“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
– Barbara Kingsolver

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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

Fair Use Reading, writers, writing, reading, fiction, poetry, Nebraska

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!