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.

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!

thank you, followers, blog, A Vase of Wildflowers, writing, reading, books, literary magazine, literary journal, L. N. Holmes

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!

Check Out My Short Story ‘When Continents Collide’ in Friction #2!

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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

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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.

Continue reading

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In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to draw attention to Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Kolbert, for her book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. She writes about the devastating impact mankind has had on many other species occupying the planet. It is important for us to consider her words and to act to preserve the vital and delicate ecosystems both near and far from our homes. This is not only responsible, it is also necessary for our survival.

You can check out the list of Pulitzer Prize winners here. Were you excited about the winners? Do you plan to read any of the writing by the winners?