Three Poems at Page and Spine, Art at Black Rabbit!

A relief of Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. She takes a trip to the underworld as part of her initiation.

Surreal Poetry Published Today at Page & Spine

Hello friends! I just had three poems published by the incredible Page & Spine, which you can read now for free!

  • The first poem, “Even Inanna,” is about a little trip to the underworld, and is one of my favorite poems I’ve written, so I’m super honored that it’s up at one of my favorite magazines!
  • “Strange Dreams and the Forest” is about a surreal dream and disassociation.
  • “I Will Turn Green” is about how to deal with jealousy, shadow-sister style.

Read the three poems!

Water and Air Painting Published by Black Rabbit

So this publication happened during the holidays, and I could have sworn I blogged about it, but then when I checked my blog…nope.

So here it is, world! My surreal and abstract painting Water and Air is on page 5 of Black Rabbit’s November issue. 

A lot of people ask if it is an oil painting, but it’s actually acrylic with mixed media. I used the palette knife a lot to create a thick impasto.

This painting was also up from November to December for the “Howl” exhibit at the Cult of Gemini in Nevada City, CA.

Thank You!

I have to give a big shout out and thank you to YOU, my fabulous readers.

Before every publication, there are many, many rejections. I can see you writer types out there nodding your heads and sighing. Yep.

The rejection process can be pretty discouraging, but thanks to the support I get from you all, I am able to keep going until I get that sweet, sweet acceptance letter.

Many thanks dear ones. Here’s a cute hummingbird of appreciation  (so pretty!).

hummingbird with flowers

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OMG, the Sierra Writers Conference Rocked!

A fountain pen on an open journal

I just got home from the Sierra Writers Conference, and I’m so pumped! It was an all-day event with so many fabulous speakers, including

  • Gary Noy
  • Dimitri Keriotis
  • Patricia Dove Miller
  • Sands Hall
  • Rachel Howard
  • Kim Culberson
  • And so many more!

I love writers conferences because they get you so excited about writing. Creative writing can be such a solitary affair, so it’s nice to have community and support.

Writing Conference Highlights

I wish I could have cloned myself for the day and made it to all of the breakout workshops. Alas, I am only mortal.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the day:

Dimitri Keriotis: Building Interiority in Characters

Dimitri got me thinking about character building in a new way.

His workshop was all about how to integrate the physical description of a character into their psychological portrait while adding to the tension of the story.

We broke out into groups and did some free writing about characters we are currently working with. I was pleasantly surprised to discover and share some details about my character that emerged.

I happened to be in a group with Sands Hall, which was awesome. I’m really thankful for the feedback she gave me!

Sands Hall: Strategies for Strengthening Point of View (POV)

"Tools of the Writer's Craft" by Sands Hall

This is a great book on all things creative writing.

Sands was a pure powerhouse and had the packed room riveted for the full hour. She was all about how an author selects essential details that reveal the character to the reader.

We went in deep about how to capture a narrator’s, or character’s, voice through setting, the activity, and objects. Plus, how to use the vocab, sentence structure, and grammar that your character would use.

As an added bonus, she signed my book:) Yay!

Kim Culbertson: Publishing Fiction

My copy of Kim Culbertson's book "The Possibility of Now"

I’m obsessed with “The Possibility of Now” by Kim Culbertson. I actually keep it next to my self-help books instead of with fiction. Truth:) And yes, this is an autographed copy 🙂

And of course, I had to go to my annual pep talk with Kim. What I love about this workshop is I’ve gone to the same one with Kim three years in a row, and every time, I learn something new. It just goes deeper and deeper.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of agent finding and publishing, Kim gets you to ask the crucial questions. Why do you write? Why do you want to publish? Getting clear about your goals is the first step forward in the process.

Plus, she grounds out the whole publishing discussion. She reminds us that writing and publishing are two very different things that only sometimes overlap. 

Kim says that what’s important is to “keep a sacred space for your work” and remembering that you are a writer because you write—not necessarily because you publish.

Getting the Inspiration to Keep On Writing

The best part of these conferences, especially in my small town, is seeing all my writer friends and having some profound discussions. Sharing experiences is so meaningful and motivating. It’s so sweet to know that there is a whole community of writers in my town and beyond.

Big thanks to Sierra Writers for producing the event.

What about you? Are you a writers conference person? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below.

A Sisterly Haiku Published!

Selfie with me and my little sister

Selfie with my amazing little sister. She just turned 15! Hopefully, she won’t kill me for posting this picture on my blog:)

On the same day when I was totally bummed about another poetry rejection, I got my favorite little haiku published in the Haiku Journal! Queue that Bob Marley song about when one door closes, another opens.  Read the poem for free now (it is toward the end, under “T” for Teferet).

The poem is my favorite because it’s about my little sisters, aged 19 and 15. When I was visiting home last May, we went to a neighborhood bonfire for the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer and had a good heart to heart.

My little sisters are some of the most amazing people I know, and that moment was a special one. So it is really sweet that this haiku about that night got published:) I can’t wait to tell them!

Here’s the link to latest issue with my piece along with a lot of really excellent haikus. I’m toward the end (under “T” for Teferet!). Thanks for reading!

NaNoWriMo for the Win: Enemies Vanquished, 35K Words Written

A person in a crazy super hero costume pointing to the words "Write every single day!"

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): Sneaking in the Word Count

I had a lot going on this November. While all my activities did reduce my noveling time, that is okay. Sometimes, living life is just more important than writing!

I originally set my goal at 20K words, because I had so much going on last month! I’m happy to say, even though I was a Busy Lizzie, I managed to sneak in an extra 15K words over my expectations. Booyah!

Here are all the crazy things I did this November on top of writing 35,000 words for NaNoWriMo:

Finished My Copyediting Certificate from UC San Diego

I completed Copyediting 3, arguably the most grueling advanced editing class. I spent every Saturday night in October and November doing 5–6 hours of homework. Sometimes Sunday morning was sacrificed too.

You can learn more about the copyediting program at the UC San Diego website. I will write an in-depth blog about it in the future!

Not only did I receive an A in my final class, but my certificate is now complete. I’m a real editor!

Submitted One Poem or Story a Week for Publication

I joined a new writer’s group on Scribophile called Literary Liaisons. The rule is simple: submit one creative writing piece a week or get kicked out of the group. So far, I haven’t missed a deadline!

Volunteered as an ML for NaNoWriMo in the California: Elsewhere Region

Municipal Liaison badge for NaNoWriMo 2017

On top of writing my own novel, I spent months prepping for the event with other volunteers in the California: Elsewhere region. Sure, that ate into my noveling time, but I was helping other people write their novels! So that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I also organized some fabulous write-ins and parties in Nevada City during November.  You can check out our local group on our NaNoWriMo Nevada City Facebook page. Big shout out to Alicia Frost for covering our last two write-ins, because…

I Visited My Amazing Family in Philadelphia

By the end of October, I got hit with some serious homesick blues. I decided to visit my family back East, and I’m so glad I did. I made it home in time for my little sister’s 15th birthday and got to spend Thanksgiving with the people I love.

…I also got dragged to the King of Prussia Mall—one of the biggest uber malls in the country—on Thanksgiving night by my little sisters. But I’ll forgive them.

As a bonus, I managed to write 2,000ish words on an Amtrack to New York and 8,000 words on my looooong plane ride home. How’s that for sneaky?

What Went Down During NaNoWriMo: Final Stats

My stats for NaNoWriMo 2017

I crushed my word count in 2017!

Here’s what I set out to accomplish:

  • My mission: to type up my handwritten manuscript and to write an ending to my novel
  • My goal: hit 20,000 words while staving off insanity

I exceeded my expectations:

  • Amount of handwritten material typed: about 23,000 words
  • New material for ending: 12,000 words
  • Wrote 35K words total

Is the ending finished? No. I still have a bit more to go—maybe another 10 or 15 thousand words. But I’m a lot closer than when I started!

Am I finished typing my handwritten manuscript? Nope. I have a ton more to type! But I did get through one of my notebooks!

What’s Next: More Writing!

Me and a friend gesticulating at the end of a competitive word sprint for NaNoWriMo

Picture from our local write-in (I’m on the right, my friend Amy is on the left). I think this is the end of a word sprint. T-rex hands everyone! Photo credit: Alicia Frost

NaNoWriMo lit a fire under my desk chair. This December, I plan to write the end to my novel and finish typing the rough draft.

Our Thank Gosh It’s Over Party is this weekend, so I may post a clip of me reading an excerpt from my novel. So stay tuned!

How Did Your NaNoWriMo Go?

Did you manage to write 50,000 words in one month? If so, my hat is off to you! Tell me about your novel adventures in the comment section below.

“Blood Red” Flash Fiction Up on Manawaker Podcast: Listen for Free!

A single rose on a dark background. Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash.

My flash fiction story “Blood Red” is live on Manawaker Podcast, and it sounds fantastic! CB Droege did an incredible job with the voice acting. I couldn’t be happier.

Listen to “Blood Red” for Free on Manawaker!

It really is a trip to hear your work read by a professional voice actor. I am grateful to be a part of the Manawaker podcast magic.

About “Blood Red” Flash Fiction

In May 2016, “Blood Red” won the Sierra College Flash Fiction Contest and was published in the college’s literary journal, which I wrote about in a previous blog.

For the contest, we were given photo prompts. I chose a picture of a girl sleeping with a book—only the book had a flower growing out of it. I liked the surreal image and let it percolate in my mind.

Writing and Critiquing

I wrote the story over the course of one weekend, though it took me two or three drafts to get it right. Since it’s original publishing, I’ve workshopped it in a few critique groups. Though the story ended up being less than 500 words, it took many hours of editing!

Special thanks to my friends on Scribophile for all their helpful suggestions!

Story Inspired by Death of a Classmate

During the 2016 Spring Semester, I was a student at Sierra College. One of my classmates died suddenly during that time from a drug overdose.

It was a shock to the whole class, but especially to me. I had sat next to the student for a few weeks. We had traded jokes back and forth. Suddenly, he was gone.

In a lot of ways, this story helped me to work through the sudden loss I felt.

Biblical References

I grew up steeped in Jewish culture, so biblical references crop up in my work a lot.

In this story, the narrator throws a book into the fire, but it does not burn. To me, this is a metaphor for speaking directly to the collective unconscious, just as in the story of the burning bush.

Fire burning at night. Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash.

Listen to “Blood Red” Now Manawaker!

You can also listen to it on Patreon.

The story is also available on Youtube.

Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy the recording!

“Blood Red” to be Published by Manawaker Studio as a Podcast

A little girl with funny glasses shouting

I’m totally stoked! My flash fiction “Blood Red” will be published by Manawaker Studio as a podcast! This is my first time having one of my stories broadcasted, and I’m excited.

In May 2016, “Blood Red” won the Sierra College Flash Fiction Contest and was published in the college’s literary journal, which I wrote about in a previous blog.

I’ll let you all know when the podcast goes live. Until then, I hope your NaNoWriMo is going well!