Flash Fiction Winner!

I’m proud to announce that I won first place at the Sierra College Flash Fiction contest! The prize was an “outdoor” basket, with a gift certificate to an outdoor store, a bag of trail mix, and a canteen. This was my very first time getting “paid” for a piece of creative writing…and it was literally sweet (because of the chocolate in the trail mix. Get it?)

Watch me read the story!

The piece is called “Blood Red” and will be published shortly in the Sierra College Literary Journal. Happy day! If you’d like to watch me read the piece, here you go:

What I’ve been doing, writing-wise

This is a good time to let you all know what I’ve been doing with my life, creative-writing wise, since last we met. It’s been a while since I posted—graphic design school has become an all-encompassing “black hole” of sorts—but I am still here, writing in this lovely, fecund obscurity. Here’s a short list of my doings:

Writing and Producing Theater

Last April and May, 2015, I adapted the first chapter of one of my novels to A One-Woman-Theater piece at Synthetic Unlimited Opera House! It was a life changing experience.

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Solo Show Challenge Flyer!

Suffice to say I got to wear awesome costumes and, without a doubt, learned how to LITERALLY put myself into my characters. As you can see here:

I’m so thankful to this experience, I learned so much about writing and how to really, REALLY put yourself into your story. Also, I learned that it’s fun to be blonde…with a sword:)

After producing the play, I went on to finish the rough draft of the novel that the play was based on. I hope to polish it up this summer.

Creative Writing Class

I took the most excellent Creative Writing class at Sierra College, where I workshopped old and new material, brushed up on basic techniques, and plugged in to a wonderful group of writers.

I also attended the Sierra Writer’s Conference on January 23rd, 2016, which was hosted at the college. I was inspired by a host of fabulous authors:

  • Louis B. Jones read a wonderful piece about writing in and gathering strength from obscurity. To quote him loosely, “Obscurity is the writer’s dark pool of replenishment.” I love that.
  • Kim Culbertson also had a GREAT panel about Young Adult Literature. Culbertson is a local author and awesome woman, who is a HUGE inspiration to me. I love her books so much! I also learned that 70% of YA readers are ADULTS! #Mindblown
  • Wendy Hornsby clued me into the art of the mystery novel. She quoted Somerset Maugham: “There are three rules fro writing a great novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Love that.
  • And Professor Iven Lourie spoke on a publishing panel, and inspired me to start local with publishing and open readings. My favorite quote Lourie shared: “There is something in poetry for the lack of which people are dying.”

Writing, Writing, Writing!

I’ve been writing up a storm!

Novels

I recently finished a romantic comedy that I have been working on for three years! It’s a very silly, light-hearted piece that I turn to in times of stress (like, say, my final semester of school!). I’ve completed the rough draft by hand in a notebook by writing at least one paragraph before bed, and another paragraph when I wake up. It’s a good way to start and end the day. Now I just need to type it all up!

Story a Day

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I’m participating in the Story a Day challenge this May, and aim to write one short story a day. So far, I’m going strong and have only missed one day!

If you are participating in the challenge, come and find my profile!

Getting into the habit of writing every day has done wonders for my craft. Even if you can only manage tiny bits of stories, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Writing every day

In fact, since 2016 started, I’ve been writing every day, or nearly every day, usually for at least 30 minutes. I’m beginning to realize that writing is a great form of cheap therapy. As Kim Culbertson often likes to quote, there’s this amazing saying about Robert Frost:

I remember reading that someone thrust his work into Robert Frost’s hands, and said, “Mr. Frost, should I go on writing?” and he said, “Well, see if you can stop.”

Well, I don’t seem to be able to stop and I don’t want to! I’m hoping that when I’m finished with school, I’ll be able to publish a few pieces and work on my novels.

Until then, I’ll be scribbling furiously into a notebook by the fitful light of a flashlight under the covers while my husband mutters for me to quit writing and go to sleep already.

Thanks for reading:)

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. What writing adventures have you been up to?

Spontaneous Amalgamation at Synthetic Unlimited

This Saturday night, I had the privilege of participating in SPONTANEOUS AMALGAMATION at the Synthetic Unlimited Opera House in Grass Valley, CA. Hosted by the fabulous Micah Cone, this event had an unlikely premise: “Musicians and poets pair up and perform live for the very first time on this special night of verbal and musical adventure!” In other words, without practicing, without the musician reading my poem before hand…we PERFORMED!

Coaxed into the whole hoopla by my friend and poet/playwright Alicia Frost, I was sweaty and shaking as I got up to perform with guitarist Jesse Sabin. And here we are:

The first poem I read, “no god,” is a piece I have been struggling with for a few years. I FINALLY finished the poem with about an hour to showtime, and I am, at last, pleased with the piece. I originally was not going to read it, but was moved by the spirit of Passover which I had mostly neglected this year. Something about the desert imagery and breaking through old blocks really inspired me to read it, and I’m glad I did! The other two poems, “The Bones of Themis,” and “I Eat the Bones,” are a set of works from a larger compilation I am working on called “The Bones of Themis.”

This was the first time in about a decade I got up and recited poetry to an audience. I had a great time! Thanks so much to Synthetic Unlimited—https://www.facebook.com/SyntheticUnlimited—for a magical night of revelry!

NaNoWriMo and Necon E-Books Publication!

Hello lovelies! I’ve got two important announcements! One: my flash fiction “Fire Season” is part of the Necon E-Books Flash Fiction Anthology for 2013, now available here. It’s a great anthology, and more than worth the $2.99. It’s always nice to get published, and it’s even nicer to be published alongside so many great writers. Thanks Necon E-Books!

In other news, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month! I started off writing a book about mermaids, but it got a bit too emo for me. (I know. I got depressed about mermaids. Seriously. Just…seriously.) So I switched novels mid-race and am working on completing a romantic comedy (emphasis on the comedy). Recently, my protagonist accidentally ate a pot-brownie while trying to navigate her first date. Can you say disaster?

I just love getting my creative juices flowing with NaNoWriMo. While my schedule is a bit too busy to write every day, the fact is that I am WRITING! I’m just at about 23,000 words, and while I might not reach the goal of having 50,000 words at the end of the month, I am having a ton of fun. (But then again, I might make it–who knows? The fun is in the trying, after all:)

Here’s to the muses!

Anyone out there in the blog-o-sphere doing NaNoWriMo? Let me know how it’s going for you!

Cover Design for “No Punchline” By Jeff Suwak

I’d like to announce my very first cover design for the very fabulous story by Jeff Suwak called: “No Punchline:
Or, The Night Chale Thayer Blew his Head off at the Punch Drunk Comedy Club.”

As some of you may know, I have two blogs: this one here is for creative writing, and my second one, at Rachelrosestudios.com, is for fine art and graphic design. I’ve posted the main article about my cover design at my second blog, but I wanted to mention it here, since it obviously pertains to creative writing!

So I invite you to check it out! Please let me know what you think.
http://wp.me/p4dhjY-3j

Scheherazade is My Homegirl: My Top Ten Books

Alexis Hunter threw down the gauntlet by tagging me in her blog on her “Top Ten” book list. Thanks Alexis:) Now this isn’t just my favorite books of all time: these are the books that have morphed, reshaped, and evolved my brain as a writer and as a human being. Whoah! It’s hard core.

So here’s my list, in chronological order of when they changed my life forever:

1. The Midrash

adam-and-eve-from-the-stanza-della-segnatura-detail-1511I was raised in a religious (Jewish) home, and studied the bible, both in school and in yeshiva, for a very large chunk of my life. My favorite parts of bible study were always the Midrash—a collection of lively stories the rabbis wove to help explain puzzling parts of the bible. Basically, it is ancient fanfiction (don’t tell my rabbi I said that:). They are great stories. The Midrash for the book of Genesis has been particularly branded into my mind, and I draw on the imagery and narrative a lot in my poetry.

2. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin Mckinley

hero-and-the-crownHands down, my favorite book, of all time. I’ve read it at least ten times since I first picked it up at the age of eleven, and upon every reading, I get a deeper and deeper appreciation of this book. I reread it recently and it still blows me away. Just…beautiful. A strong female protagonist named after a Celtic Goddess who slays dragons, written in such a grounded way, you really feel like you are right there with her. This book change(d)(s) my life:)

3. Mercedes Lackey: The Heralds of Valdemar Series

by-the-swordOf course, the best books in this series, in my humble opinion, are “The Magic’s Pawn” series and “Oathbound” through “By the Sword.” Good old fashioned fantasy, and some of my favorite books as a middle-schooler. Kerowyn, from “By the Sword,” is one of my favorite female protagonists of all time. She’s just…so bad-ass.

4. Grimm’s Fairytales

grimmGrowing up, I had this HUGE collection of Grimm’s Fairytales (the Jack Zipes translation). I would plow through that thing and re-read my favorites all the time. I’ve recently re-read a bunch of the Grimm tales for a Coursera Class on Science Fiction, and was amazed at what a critical reading unearthed in these classics. There is definitely a large chunk of my brain dedicated to the symbols in these stories.

5. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Mist-of-AvalonThe legends of Arthur from women’s point of view. What’s not to love? I got really deep into this book when I was twelve, and it informed me a lot about mystical experience.

6. Homer’s Odyssey

The-Odyssey-Book-CoverAnother favorite. I read this beast of a book in my freshman year of high-school, and revisited it again recently as a free audiobook from LibriVox. I’ve always been in love with ancient Greek myth. Though I wish, like Grimm’s Fairytales, it had more strong female protagonists. *Sigh*

7. Ovid’s Metamorphosis

metamorphoses-ovid-cd-cover-artI read this one in high-school, and again in college. What a beautiful book. I continue to be captivated by the theme of “metamorphosis” in all the different stories, how the characters physically change their forms to echo spiritual themes. Among my favorite myths are Daphne, who turns into a laurel tree, and Echo, who becomes an owl. These stories inspired a lot of my artwork, back in college.

8. The Arabian Nights

arabian-nightsOh yeah, Scheherazade is my home-girl. I read this one for a college class and I instantly fell in love with it. I really enjoyed how the quality of magic depicted in these tails differed so much from western fairytales.

9. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood

oryx-and-crakeBlew. My. Mind. Gave me nightmares for months. Atwood’s vivid prose always blows me away, but I found this book in particular to be the most haunting, and so seamlessly well-crafted, it left me slack-jawed in wonder that a human could write such an amazing book. Atwood remains one of my all-time favorite writers and influences.

10. Japanese Manga: Naruto, by Kishimoto

narutomanga485Manga are kind of like comic books, but so much more excellent:) Out of all the Manga I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot!) I think the one that’s influenced me the most is actually Naruto. Though the current arc leaves much to be desired (please authors, never zombie-ify all your dearly departed characters wholesale unless you can do it right), overall I’ve really enjoyed this series. It’s got great character development, and many of the arcs are quite dramatic and intense. And I love when ancient Shinto myths influence the story line. In general, I love how Manga reveals an approach to life that is so different from Western culture, especially the treatment of the spirit world, openness to other dimensions of reality, and the integration of magical abilities.

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Wow, looking back at my list, it’s a bit all over the place! But a common theme that unites all my top choices is a deep exploration of archetypes and symbols, and a strong reference to mythology. I think I’ve always been interested in the psychological relevance of stories, and these books have all struck a deep chord in me. Give them a try sometime and you won’t be disappointed!

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Tag! You’re it!

I’m tagging Gabrielle Peralta, a twitter/fb friend, and J.C. Wolfe of http://jaycwolfe.com. What’s your top 10?😉