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Elizabeth Donald Posts

November linkspam

I love the fall. Of course, I prefer it when it’s not 80 degrees, because that’s what July is for according to my Massachusetts-raised equilibrium. But the leaves turn their beautiful colors and fall on my car, we buy pumpkins for the sole purpose of cutting them up and putting them on the front doorstep, the cobwebs in the corners become “decor,” and I’m busier than I ever am the rest of the year.

If you’re a horror writer and you’re not busy in October, are you really working? This very newsletter took a week to put together because I was madly dashing about the country, and it won’t let up until December, if the calendar can be believed.

The various shenanigans at work this month will be detailed below, but a highlight for me was the news that four (4) of my submissions have been accepted by the River Bluff Review, in the last year I will be eligible to submit to them. The RBR accepted a short story (my first literary acceptance!); two poems (another first!); and a photograph, which is this month’s featured photo at the end of this newsletter.

I’m deeply honored that the student editors of the RBR chose to accept all four of my submissions, and look forward to celebrating with them and the other writers sometime in the future.

Finally… my actual diploma arrived this month from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, declaring that I have received a master of science degree in media studies as of August 2022. No take backs: I’m now The Master. (Cue the Doctor Who jokes.) I will be participating in the December commencement, which feels a little silly because Zod willing I will be graduating again in May with the second masters. But any excuse for a party!  Seriously, that degree has been finished for months now, but there’s something marvelous about the tangible proof. Two degrees down, one to go…


Publicity/Appearances

I’m happy to report our charity book sale at Leclaire Parkfest raised more than $900 for the American Cancer Society, and the leftover books were dispersed to the SIUE Head Start program, to Phi Kappa Phi for distribution to area Little Free Libraries, and the rest to Metro East Literacy to support their programs throughout the region. Many thanks to the volunteers who made it a fun, productive day!

This is a cause that means a great deal to me, moreso now than ever. If you follow me on social media or read “Under the Orange Tree,” you know that cancer took my Uncle Brian from my family at the end of October, adding yet another name of my loved ones to the cancer rolls. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their sympathy to me and my family in our time of grief; it was deeply appreciated. 

I was also happy to participate in a group signing at the Smithton (Ill.) Public Library in October, and will be returning to the Collinsville Public Library in December.

Of course, one of the highlights of my year is the annual Society of Professional Journalists conference, which took place the last week of October in Washington D.C. The travelogue began while I was still in DC, complete with photos, but the more extensive look at the historic sites I visited and photographed is pending.

Did I mention you can get all those awesome travelogues by subscribing to my Patreon? I haven’t? Well, you should totally do that, for $1 a month.

I was also quite pleased to participate in a panel on Freelancing 201 at the conference, which kind of tickled me since I still feel like a 101 level after four years. The audience was great, with good questions and they laughed at (some of) my jokes. That’s all I ask, folks!

All this month I’m running Nanowrimo for the Eville Writers, as well as the events below. The calendar for next year is starting to take shape, so if you were interested in inviting me to your local convention or book festival, speak up soon!

And for you Patrons: Anyone who subscribes to my Patreon gets a discount at the Literary Underworld booth. Just give your name (or the name you used when you registered on Patreon) to the Minion working the booth. 

Coming up:
• ContraCon, Kansas City. Nov. 11-13 
• Books-a-Million, Edwardsville, Ill. Nov. 19
• Collinsville (Ill.) Library Holiday Market, Dec. 3
• Writers of the Riverbend, Alton, Ill. Feb. 4, 2023
• AWP Conference, Seattle, Wash. March 8-11 (attending)
• Authorcon, Williamsburg, Va. March 31-April 2 (tent.)
• GRADUATION, May 5
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (tent.)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. Date TBA. 
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (tent.)
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1

Journalism/Blogs

• Helping books find a home for the cause (ElizabethDonald)
• Archon 45 is a smash! (ElizabethDonald)
• Changes coming to Highland’s school construction project (Highland News-Leader)
• Worker’s Rights Amendment aims to protect Labor rights in Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• City Council moves forward to annex land for school (Highland News-Leader)
• Large solar farm under construction near Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• U.S. Department of Labor awards apprenticeship grants in Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland leaders hope to expand business district (Highland News-Leader)
• Gov. Pritzker makes major push for Worker’s Rights Amendment (St. Louis Labor Tribune
• Want to know what’s going on in Highland? There’s an app for that (Highland News-Leader)
• One on One: Julie Lock of Food Outreach (Feast Magazine)

Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls. 

Fiction/Photography

• Not (Patreon)
• Fright Fest (Patreon)

Patreon/Medium

• Art for art’s sake (Patreon)
• Ms. Donald goes to Washington Pt. 1 (Patreon)
• Ms. Donald goes to Washington Pt. 2 (Patreon)
• Ms. Donald goes to Washington Pt. 3 (Patreon)
• Under the orange tree (Patreon and Medium)

A nightmarish funhouse turned deadly.
A couple trapped in a futile journey through time.
A single baleful eye watching from the deep.
An assassin waiting in a snow-covered tree.
A toy that seems to have a life of its own.
A pair of soldiers trapped between death and something worse.
A tenebrous hand reaching out of the shadows.

These are the award-winning tales and terrors of Elizabeth Donald, writer of things that go chomp in the night. This new anniversary edition is being released 20 years after the first story was published, now including a bonus short story and the author’s reflections on twenty years of twilight tales.

In that space between evening and nightfall, between consciousness and sleep, the moment when the light fades and the shadows take over… These are the lands of the Setting Suns.

Signed copies direct from me
Amazon
Kindle

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Helping books find a home for the cause

As most of you know, I’ve been a Relay for Life team captain for more than 15 years, raising money for the American Cancer Society. For several years, my team has organized a used-book sale at Leclaire Parkfest, a local festival celebrating the history and culture of this little village (which was swallowed up by Edwardsville sometime in the 1930s, I think?) 

It’s not a small undertaking. The books are set aside all year long by the volunteers at the St. Andrew’s Book Sale, which has about 20,000 volumes offered in a quarterly sale. For Parkfest, we have to load all the books into trucks and vans, haul them to the Park, set up at least a dozen tables and set out all the books. Then at the end of the festival, we pack up the remaining books to donate to other nonprofits.

This year books went to the Head Start program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, to SIUE Phi Kappa Phi to distribute to area Little Free Libraries, and to Metro East Literacy Project. The volunteers came from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Phi Kappa Phi and SIUE Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society foolish enough to elect me as president this year.

We had a fabulous time, and our volunteers were awesome. Want to know how awesome? Some of the books left over last year had been stored in a church member’s barn, and when we were unloading, we discovered that several of them had brought unexpected visitors. To be more specific, we opened a bin and a mouse jumped out onto a volunteer’s arm!

We have since dubbed Olivia “The Disney Princess of Sigma Tau Delta,” as clearly she can charm the wildlife.

The mice apartments, as we started calling them, were taken to a nearby wood and set free by the students. The damaged books had to be thrown away, of course, and I supposed I’m going to have to get used to sacrificing books when I take over running the St. Andrew’s sale next year. But my philosophy has always been, every book should find a good home – and we did that this year, with all but two boxes of books sold or given away to literacy causes that will make good use of them in our ongoing efforts to celebrate the written word.

The gross total for the sale was $946 for the American Cancer Society, which was actually higher than I anticipated while not quite meeting the amount last year. It will be reduced a little by expenses, but not many; now that we have Frodo the Bookmobile, we don’t have to rent U-Hauls anymore for hauling large quantities of books.

A million thanks go to our terrific volunteers, who didn’t just endure the mice and keep hauling books. They stayed, they came back to pack up, they hauled tables back to the church, and three of them even followed us all the way to O’Fallon, Ill. to deliver the last of the books to Metro East Literacy.

Here’s a few pics from Leclaire Parkfest, with my thanks to everyone involved. It’s a great start toward our fundraising for 2023, and I’m happy so many books found a home.

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Archon 45 is a smash!

We had so. much. fun. at Archon last weekend – so much fun, indeed, that it’s taken me six days to write it up because I’ve been recovering.

Archon is always one of the highlights of our year, and it’s our home con, so it’s also a family reunion. Literary Underworld authors were out in force, including Sela Carsen, T.W. Fendley, Nikki Lanahan and Michales Joy. At any given time you might have seen any of us at the booth, or our Minions, Cole and Ian – who have actual minion badges now. We’re very proud of that. Our good friends from Pro Se Publishing and Yard Dog Press were also there, and it was great to catch up with them in meatspace. We also launched preorders for A Woman Unbecoming, a charity anthology from our friends at Crone Girls Press to benefit reproductive healthcare advocacy. Click here to preorder your copy.

And, of course, there was the Traveling Bar. As is our custom, we opened our doors both nights to serve drinks and talk shop. Jim served as bouncer with backup from our good friend Scott Cousins, and Sela was our Social Butterfly keeping the conversation light and friendly and alerting either of us if there was a potential problem. At this point, we’ve got it down to a science.

On Friday, we opened the doors at 9 p.m. and I started serving drinks about 90 seconds later. My arm literally did not stop moving until I yelled union break at 11:45 so I could hide in the bathroom and stretch my poor arms for five minutes. Then I was back behind the bar until we yelled last call at 1:30 a.m. Saturday was almost as crazy – there were a couple of five-minute spells where I didn’t have anyone asking for a drink, which did not occur on Friday.

Oh, was I tired. I’m still tired just thinking about it, and I’ve slept since then. But everyone had a fantastic time, and that’s the important part. Well, that and making a living, of which Archon is always a major part. But there’s something really fun about being the bartender at a con party, and that’s the people. Most people are happy when they come in and happier with the drink in their hand, but some people are so happy, so grateful, and greet me so cheerfully, it creates this lovely positive energy that I absolutely love. It really felt like the vibe at Archon was back to normal, or as close to normal as we can get with the spectre of the Voldevirus still looming over us.

And around the corner were our friends at SausageFest, raising money once again for cancer research. Sadly I did not get over there to try this year’s snausages, but fortunately everyone else at the con did, or so it seemed. If you want to kick in a little toward their fundraising, click here. They are the bestest neighbors.

Many thanks to all our friends who greeted us so warmly, to our customers who bought books, to our guests who drank the booze and partied with us, to the Underlords and member presses who were there or who supported us from afar, and especially to Minions Ian and Cole, who hauled all the books and booze back to the van and to LitUnd’s dungeon until the next time. (Okay, it’s a storage unit we like to call the warehouse when we’re feeling grandiose, but “dungeon” suits, don’t you think?)

And what would Archon be without the costumes?

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Fall into terror! It’s… August.

A funny thing happens to college instructors when July turns into August: we start to panic.

With so many college instructors and professors on my social media, it’s funny watching us all begin the scramble to get ready for the new semester. I’ve spent much of this week planning my schedule for my English composition classes, figuring out my physical schedule, picking up textbooks, looking up the new Required Syllabus Language at both universities, and so on. 

I moved into my new office at The Jesuit School last month, but my computer wasn’t installed until this week. It’s a shiny shiny Mac Pro, so I’m looking forward to playing with it as soon as I can get over there. At Ye Olde University, I’m still in my cubicle in the Hall o’ TAs, hopefully with actual company this year, though most of the fellow grad students I’ve worked with have graduated by now. Because how many idiots deliberately choose to be in grad school for five years doing two degrees?

*crickets*

For those playing the home game, that’s three (3) offices for me including the home office, which is where I’ll be working three days a week when I’m not bouncing all over the world two days a week this fall. When I say “physical schedule,” I mean days I’m driving across the river or I’m on the local campus or  I’m driving all over the universe to union meetings or I’m ensconced in my home Tower. There’s a spreadsheet and two color-coordinated calendars. 

With regret, I have dropped the class in Black speculative fiction I intended to take this semester. It’s absolutely killing me, because come on – to spend a semester reading Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemison and exploring Afrofuturism and horror and get credit for it? 

Indeed, my one regret as I approach my final year of MFA Land is the number of classes I won’t get to take. Just this semester alone, my department is offering the above class in Black speculative fiction, young adult literature, African-American rhetoric and oratory, quest fiction, Black music as literature, Black women’s writing, as well as the usual lit classes. 

In previous semesters I’ve seen classes on heroes and villains in fiction, an entire semester on Toni Morrison, “inventing America through writing,” American literature and social change, dystopian/apocalyptic fiction, semester-long comparisons of Poe and Hawthorne or Whitman and Dickinson, the American dream as represented in literature, “nasty women” in fiction, and so on. 

I think I could happily sit back and take these classes till doomsday. I’ve been so delighted that the reputation of MFA programs as a) relentlessly white/male, b) abusively cruel to their students, and c) stultifyingly resistant to genre and popular fiction have been absolutely untrue. I’m sure some programs deserve the reputation, but if anything, my experience and my observations at AWP indicate that the current-day programs are well ahead of the industry itself in diversification and openness for writers and writing styles. 

But I digress, unhappily, back to abandoning a class I really wanted to take. At least I still get to take slipstream fiction, which should be a lot of fun, and I will begin my planning and research for my community project – Writer in the World, required of all MFAs, and buckle in because it’s going to be my whole year. 

Meanwhile, I am teaching two completely full sections of English composition at Ye Olde University and commuting into the city two mornings a week to teach newswriting at the Jesuit College. That’s approximately 75 students to wrangle. In addition to the Writer in the World practicum, I’ll be working on my MFA thesis novel, and my non-MFA fiction writing (more on that soooooon). 

Then there’s Donald Media, which includes my freelance work for various news publications including McClatchy, the Labor Tribune, Feast Magazine, etc. There’s keeping up with the four (4) blogs I manage, the Patreon, the Literary Underworld, attending two cons and a journalism conference, the ethics committee, St. Louis SPJ and its fall boot camp, not to mention being president of the Sigma Tau Delta honors society and gearing up to take over the quarterly charity book sale in my town that I’ll start running in 2023.

Something had to give. I mean, I have a family. I hear they’re nice. 

At least one thing will be off my plate, one way or the other: this Friday is the final defense for my media studies masters thesis. So far none of my committee have emailed me to yell that it’s a worthless piece of garbage and I have to go back to the drawing board because I’m a looooooooser. Who’s nervous? Hopefully their suggestions will be quickly feasible, as next week is my last of the summer “vacation” and my ability to give the bloody thing my undivided attention before the fall chaos descends. 

Assuming nothing goes sideways, technically I am done with that degree, and would have the right to walk in the December graduation except that feels silly when I’m allegedly graduating for good in May! 

Then whatever will I do with all my spare time?

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August linkspam!

Gee, Elizabeth, this newsletter sorta skipped a month. What happened to July?

Well, folks, there was this thesis… Only two years late! Technically not “late,” as one has six years from the point where one finishes the coursework to complete a thesis in order to get their masters degree. There was this pandemic, you see, and pivoting to teaching online, and then I launched a completely different masters program, and and and… 

But this summer, I dug in and finished the thesis. It is currently awaiting defense and final approval by the Graduate School. It is my sincere hope that by the next newsletter, I will be the recipient of a masters of science in media studies, and embarking on my final year of the MFA.

In the meantime, freelance nonfiction work is really picking up, and I’ll be returning as an adjunct professor and graduate instructor at two universities in the fall. I also had the pleasure of working with high-school students for two sessions at the SIUE Youth Writing Camp this summer, and continuing my usual appearances at book fairs, libraries, festivals and conventions. I also took another class toward the MFA, on teaching creative writing via memoir. What, me busy?

And there’s this other thing. Which I can’t share. Not yet. Once the contracts are signed, I can *mmmmmf* 
 


Publicity/Appearances

Reviewing June and July: I launched the summer tour at ConCarolinas in Charlotte, N.C., which was a terrific time and a great chance to see folks I haven’t seen since before the world ended. In July, I got to see practically everyone else on that list at Imaginarium in Louisville, Ky. I held two workshops there: the first on “So You Wanna Be a Writer” going through the creative process with an eye to publication, and “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” on the business side of being a writer. These workshops went really well, and I may develop them further as I go into my “Writer in the World” project this fall in MFA-land.

I also spoke to the Plethora of Pens writers’ group in Glen Carbon, Ill. on July 11, and added the Collinsville Library Book Fair at the very last minute on July 30.

Coming up in August: It’s actually pretty light! Much of my schedule was cleared to deal with the thesis defense and whatever revisions will be necessary, and then the semester begins in about three weeks. So we’ll call that “free time.” 

Also: the latest issue of Quill Magazine referenced the controversy a few months ago when my chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists challenged the governor of Missouri to stop threatening prosecution of journalists for *checks notes* doing journalism. Here’s the report if you’re interested.

I was part of an author roundtable on Sean Taylor’s excellent writing blog in June, discussing how we balance ideas and projects. “I’ve been told that perhaps I focus too much on the salability of a project, perhaps to the detriment of the art. That’s possibly true, but there’s also a lot of privilege to the idea that we should do art first and market second. When you have the rent paid by other means, maybe you can do art first. But when you feed your family by the written word, you need to prioritize what you can sell and keep your work out where the eyeballs can find it.” Full column here.

Coming up:
• Edwardsville (Ill.) Book Festival, Sept. 17
• St. Louis SPJ Journalist Boot Camp, Sept. 24
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 30-Oct. 2
• SPJ National Conference, Washington, D.C. Oct. 26-29 
• ContraCon, Kansas City. Nov. 11-13 

Journalism/Essays

• Tharp sworn in as state senator (St. Louis Labor-Tribune)
• Highland residents to pay higher trash fee (Highland News-Leader)
• Judge candidates elected despite write-in ballot (St. Louis Labor-Tribune)
• HCS subscribers to get refund following outage (Highland News-Leader)
• Illinois moves to make ‘right to work’ illegal (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland police get three-year contract (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland passes $40 million school referendum (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland will open public restrooms during festivals – providing people behave (Highland News-Leader)
• Developer plans high-end apartments for historic hotel (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland votes to move forward on controversial storage facility (Highland News-Leader)
• New program allows low-income kids outside district to get library cards (Highland News-Leader
• Highland board declines proposal for storage facility (Highland News-Leader)
• Family tax relief from Democrat-sponsored bill (Highland News-Leader)

Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls. 
 

 

Fiction

*mmmmmmf* I can’t tell you. Shh. Shenanigans afoot.

Patreon/Blogs

• A second life (Medium)
• The coffeehouse chairs (Medium)
• Freedom Day 2022 (Patreon)
• Hey new people! (Patreon)
• Kitty! (Patreon)
• Imaginarium is a wrap! (Patreon)
• The beauty halo (Patreon)
• Follow me, scribes (Patreon)
• So where do you get your ideas? (Patreon)
• Where are you from? (Patreon)

Are you a subscriber to my newsletter, which has this and much more, including photo of the month, coupons and freebies etc.? Well, you should! Don’t worry – I’m way too busy to spam you more than once a month. Click here to be assimilated.
 

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June linkspam!

The summer is now in full swing, as the temperatures rise in concert with my desire to hide under an air conditioner until Halloween. 

What else is in full swing? My summer employment! I am fully launched at the St. Louis Labor Tribune as I continue with the Highland News-Leader (and pretty much any other publication that will pay me). I’m working with the SIUE Alestle and at the youth writing camp, which is an entirely new experience soon to be detailed for the Patreon. I’ve never taught kids younger than 18 before, and it is a different world.

I’m also in a class this summer: teaching creative writing with a focus on the memoir, which is now in its second week and quite interesting. Our first reading was The Bluest Eye, which is funny because I just read that for my Morrison class, but now we’re on to W.E.B. DuBois. 

In addition all the work stuff I’m doing this summer, my Relay for Life team is wrapping up its efforts this month. My team has been raising money for the American Cancer Society since 2005 and we’ve raised more than $47,000 for cancer research and support services for patients. This is going to be the year we break $50,000! The local Relay event happens on June 11, and I’ll be raising money before and after to help my team make its goal. If you know someone who has fought cancer or died from it (and really, is there any human who DOESN’T know at least one?), please consider supporting us with a donation

Finally, I want to remind you all about my Patreon. I really feel the pieces I’m posting there are some of the best work I’ve ever done, and to be frank, we rely heavily on the Patreon income each month. If only 5 percent of my Facebook followers subscribed at $1 a month, it would nearly double that income; 10 percent would be amazing. If you have the means, please consider subscribing, and enjoy the essays, travelogues, book and movie reviews, photography and fiction I’m posting there, along with the free books and chapbooks you get each March. 
 


A nightmarish funhouse turned deadly.
A couple trapped in a futile journey through time.
A single baleful eye watching from the deep.
An assassin waiting in a snow-covered tree.
A toy that seems to have a life of its own.
A pair of soldiers trapped between death and something worse.
A tenebrous hand reaching out of the shadows.

These are the award-winning tales and terrors of Elizabeth Donald, writer of things that go chomp in the night. This new anniversary edition is being released 20 years after the first story was published, now including a bonus short story and the author’s reflections on twenty years of twilight tales.

In that space between evening and nightfall, between consciousness and sleep, the moment when the light fades and the shadows take over… These are the lands of the Setting Suns.

Signed copies direct from me
Amazon
Kindle

Publicity/Appearances

This newsletter is delayed because the first weekend of the summer was taken up with ConCarolinas! A full con report is pending for the blog and Patreon, but the shorthand is that it was a fantastic time, with old and new faces and some wonderful opportunities that *mmmmmf* I can’t talk about yet. A gazillion thanks to Rachel Brune, publisher extraordinaire of Crone Girls Press, who was kind enough to share her table with me and room with me so we could both save expenses. Rachel is a great writer and a good friend and now she knows what my hair looks like first thing in the morning. 

May concluded with a signing at the Smithton, Ill. library, but unfortunately the Alton Market on May 21 was canceled due to weather. I hope to reschedule my appearance there later in the summer. 

Coming up in June: a guest speaker appearance at Plethora of Pens in the Glen Carbon (Ill.) Library on June 11 and Imaginarium in Louisville, Ky. on July 8-10. Literary Underworld will have a full booth at Imaginarium and yes, I’m bringing the bar and a henchman to assist. 

Coming up:
• Smithton (Ill.) Library signing, May 28
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 3-5
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 8-10
• Plethora of Pens speech, Glen Carbon, Ill. July 11
• Edwardsville (Ill.) Book Festival, Sept. 17
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Oct. 7-9 
• SPJ National Conference, Washington, D.C. Oct. 26-29 
• ContraCon, Kansas City. Nov. 11-13 (tent.)

Journalism/Essays

• Highland Library to launch Cards for Kids program (Highland News-Leader)
• Irish pub under way in Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland tech director pushes for broadband access (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland superintendent pushes for construction funds (Highland News-Leader)
• Happy Pride! (Literary Underworld)
• But why does it always have to be political? (Medium)

 

Fiction

*mmmmmmf* I can’t tell you. Shh. Shenanigans afoot.

Patreon/Blogs

• The Coffeehouse Chairs (Patreon)
• Review: Firestarter (Patreon)
• Review: A Day Like This (Patreon)
• Toni Morrison: The Measure of Our Lives (Patreon)

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Catching figs

As my semester draws to a close, one of our projects has been an online anthology of work centered on “Imagining Madness,” a semester-long examination of madness in fiction. Not to be confused with actual mental illness, it centered on people perceiving the world differently or whose ideas or behaviors violated the normatives of their society. 

My contribution to the anthology was “Catching Figs,” an essay examining Esther of The Bell Jar and what it reflects of second-wave feminism. I was also selected to present this paper at the SIUE Graduate Student Symposium this semester, and my poster slide from that is included below.

If this kind of literary analysis interests you, you can read my revised essay here. Then click around the other offerings and see what people have written. There are poems and character studies and much more. It’s really been a delight and a fascinating discussion all semester, and I’m going to miss it.

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Independent Bookseller Day!

Just a quick update that April 30 is Independent Bookseller Day, and we will be joining the celebration at our local indie, Afterwords Books! Look to the lawn surrounding this lovely little store in Edwardsville, Ill. for authors in tents, selling and signing. We have a long-standing relationship with Afterwords and are happy to celebrate their part in the literary community of our town.

The local paper did a write-up, along with a list of the authors participating. 

If you’re not local, celebrate the day at the local shop of your choice! 

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April 2022 linkspam

It’s no coincidence that this month’s meme is Toni Morrison. All this semester I have been studying Morrison, as I am privileged to attend a university that offers a class solely focused on her writing. The nuances and intentionality of her prose are powerful and inspiring, and I’ve greatly enjoyed exploring her work. So far we’ve done deep dives on The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, with side trips into her essays and academic writing. I can already tell that I’ll be digging out Beloved and Paradise over the summer.

My Deep Thoughts on Morrison and my other studies in the MFA program are a continuing feature on the Patreon. I recognize that I have an enormous privilege to be able to pursue an MFA in creative writing and spend three years developing my craft and studying literature, and not everyone has the financial or practical freedom to do so. Therefore I am sharing what I learn on the Patreon, so that my readers get an MFA by proxy! Or something like that. 

As we enter the homestretch of the Longest Semester of My Life, the travel schedule is picking up. As I write this, I’m one week back from Memphis and heading to Wichita later this week, with more travel on the horizon. Am I coming to a show or festival near you? If not, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. 

Meanwhile, I’m delighted that the anniversary edition of Setting Suns is out now! “But wait, Elizabeth, I already read that book.” Sure you did, but this anniversary edition has a new short story, a new afterword and other tweaks. I am very happy with the way it came out, and many thanks to Kody Boye Publishing Services, who did a great job on the book.

We premiered it at Midsouthcon this past weekend, and had a great time seeing our old friends and meeting some new ones. The official release event is slated for April 15 at Spine Books here in St. Louis, and I hope to see you there! 

More about the Setting Suns release on the blog, but in the meantime, here’s where you can pick up a copy:

Signed copies direct from me
Amazon
Kindle

A nightmarish funhouse turned deadly.
A couple trapped in a futile journey through time.
A single baleful eye watching from the deep.
An assassin waiting in a snow-covered tree.
A toy that seems to have a life of its own.
A pair of soldiers trapped between death and something worse.
A tenebrous hand reaching out of the shadows.

These are the award-winning tales and terrors of Elizabeth Donald, writer of things that go chomp in the night. This new anniversary edition is being released 20 years after the first story was published, now including a bonus short story and the author’s reflections on twenty years of twilight tales.

In that space between evening and nightfall, between consciousness and sleep, the moment when the light fades and the shadows take over… These are the lands of the Setting Suns.

Publicity/Appearances

In March I simultaneously attended the national conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Midsouthcon on the same weekend, which was a hilarious bit of scheduling. Many thanks to my husband and our fellow Literary Underworld authors, J.L. Mulvihill and Rachel Brune, for their patience as I dashed up to the hotel room for AWP panels, then back downstairs for a Midsouthcon panel. Rinse, repeat. 

Kimberly Richardson of Viridian Tea House gave a wonderful review for Nocturne Infernum with five out of five cups of tea. “This is one hell of a book,” she declared. Check it out here!

I am so excited to be reading and signing Setting Suns on April 15 at Spine Books here in St. Louis. Spine Books specializes in indie and small-press publishing, primarily from local writers, and I’m honored to be featured in their Friday night showcase series. The fun starts at 6 p.m. – check out the Facebook event for details!

Other highlights of the coming month include the SPJ Region 7 Conference in Wichita next weekend, where I am presenting on the practical applications of the SPJ Code of Ethics; our annual (ha ha) SPJ Trivia Night (postponed five times due to COVID); the First Amendment Free* Food Festival; and the Afterwords Bookfest in Edwardsville, Ill. on April 30. Whew! It’s going to be quite a month. 

I’m also pleased to announce I will be attending ConCarolinas this summer as a guest author. I’ve never been to this particular con, so I’ll have to see if I know anyone there…

Coming up:
• SPJ Regional Conference, Wichita, Kan. April 8-9
• Spine Books signing, St. Louis, Mo. April 15
• Afterwords Bookfest, Edwardsville, Ill. April 30
• Smithton (Ill.) Library signing, May 28
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 3-5
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 8-10
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Oct. 7-9 
• SPJ National Conference, Washington, D.C. Oct. 26-29 (tent.)
• ContraCon, Kansas City. Nov. 11-13 (tent.)

Journalism/Essays

• Highland council considers deficit budget (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland residents have options for rising utility bills (Highland News-Leader)
• Voters to decide on $40 million school construction referendum (Highland News-Leader)
• Embracing the werewolf (Medium)

Fiction

I premiered a few pieces at my Midsouthcon reading, including two literary fiction stories from my MFA workshop and a selection from Setting Suns. Happy stories about bunnies and unicorns, of course. 

In the meantime, read a bit about how this anniversary edition of Setting Suns came to life in “Twenty years of fever dreams.”

Patreon/Blogs

• Old Home Week at Midsouthcon (Literary Underworld)
• King Lear, identity chameleons and Andy (Patreon)
• Housekeeping and linkage (Patreon)
• Five cups of tea for Nocturne Infernum (Patreon and Elizabeth Donald)
• On the road again (Elizabeth Donald)
• Welcome to Crone Girls Press (Literary Underworld)
• Another slingshot around the sun (Patreon)
• My birthday present to you! (Patreon)

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Five cups of tea for Nocturne Infernum

Kimberly Richardson of Viridian Tea House gave a smashing review of Nocturne Infernum on her YouTube channel this week!

“I flew through this book,” she says, and declares that the erotica scenes gave her hot flashes. “A couple of times my boyfriend asked, ‘Are you going to be okay?'” She gave it five out of five cups of tea. 

Check out Kimberly’s review of Nocturne Infernum and another vampire novel by Kurt Amacker on YouTube!

“This is one hell of a book.” — Kimberly Richardson, Viridian Tea House

Now I want some tea… 

 

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