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Tag: appearances

June 2023 Linkspam

We were prepared for some time that there would be what the bigwigs call a “gap in employment” once I graduated. May was the first month of my hiatus. Yet somehow I ended up almost as busy as I was in grad school! Of course, the month kicked off with the graduation and celebrations, all of which was detailed in last month’s newsletter. We had more than 50 people at the big graduation barbecue, and I didn’t think I knew that many people, much less could fit them in my house!  Then came figuring out this whole don’t-have-a-job thing. Which isn’t really true: I have my freelancing work, and as I’ve always found, you get out of freelancing what you put into it. To be honest, I didn’t put in as much as I anticipated, because I’ve been kind of in recovery mode. I’ve been sorting out my house, doing my physical therapy, cleaning out my inboxes, covering my meetings and so on. I’ve been reading books – for fun! I remember what that was like – and crunching on some long-delayed deadlines for fiction work. I caught up on the nonprofit/volunteer work – sorta – so that Eville Writers, St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, Relay for Life, AWP adjunct caucus (proposed), and the St. Andrew’s Book Sale all got some attention. We also had a long-awaited visit from the Awesome Stepkids, and so I was wrangling the most energetic twentysomethings in the Central Time Zone last week. 

Publicity/Appearances

No public appearances in May – like I said, recovery mode – but June is kicking off with ConCarolinas! As I write this, my plane is delayed, but I’ll be in Charlotte sooner or later to run my mouth about various topics and hobnob with my fellow wizards.  Unfortunately this means I’ll miss Relay for Life this Saturday, which was rescheduled from April due to an unplanned tornado. The Awesome Husband will be running the show in my absence, and my team has already raised more than $3,000 for the American Cancer Society (some of which is not showing, but it exists). If you’d like to kick in a last-minute donation, you can find us here. Then it’s off to Paris! This is a family trip, a very kind gift from my mom and stepdad, who will be meeting me in the City of Lights next week. I’ll be tweeting as possible @edonald and @edonaldmedia, and full travelogues and photo essays will be on the Patreon. Subscribe now for the whole thing and all my backlist, starting at $1 a month!  In other news, the TechWrite STL grammar chat has been set for July 11, and there’s a possible trip back to the old homestead in Tennessee in September. Stay tuned… 2023 calendar: • ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author) • TechWrite STL, St. Louis. July, 11. (presenter) • Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author) • Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Aug. 31-Sept. 4 (guest author) • SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter) • Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only) • ContraKC, Kansas City, Date TBA. (guest author)

Journalism/Blogs/Essays

• Cafe Birdie’s menu evokes the casual, coastal feel of a beach cafe (Feast Magazine) • Child pedestrian injuries surge in summer, Highland police warn (Highland News Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada) • Paramedics get a raise, new contract in Highland (Highland News Leader) • Renovation of Highland City Hall delayed by higher-than-expected bids (Highland News Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada) • Ceremony honors fallen workers in Madison County Federation (St. Louis Labor Tribune) • Highland’s oldest structure, a bell tower, donated back to city (Highland News Leader) • Illinois launches pre-apprenticeship program for climate-related fields (St. Louis Labor Tribune) • Highland student disciplined for airsoft gun on campus (Highland News-Leader) Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls. 

Fiction

• Infinity, Pt. 1 (Patreon) • Infinity, Pt. 2 (Patreon)

Patreon/Medium

Coming soon: this is the Summer of Bond, as I received a boxed set of all the Bond movies for Mother’s Day and I’ll be unpacking the action, awesomeness, misogny and racism with bonus snark all summer long. Watch for that on Patreon!  • Be water: Neil Gaiman on comics, craft and a cup of tea (Medium and Patreon) • Traveling Woman (Patreon) • Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (Patreon) Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.

Photography

Not much to report, but I expect that will be significantly different when I get back from the June travels! There is a pair of cardinals nesting right outside our dining room window, and it is the great frustration of my life as a photographer that I simply cannot get a good angle to see into the nest without going outside and therefore disturbing them. Other than that – and a whole bunch of silly candids from the Awesome Stepkids Weekend – it’s been mostly taking pictures of food for my culinary writing exploits and some spot news photography. 
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Once more unto Second Life, dear friends

I was honored and pleased to join the good folks at the Fantasy Faire LitFest on Second Life this afternoon, giving a brief craft talk and reading a short story. Since all but one attendee had never heard of me before, I defaulted to “Sisyphus,” which reads well and people seem to enjoy it. 

I really enjoy these Second Life readings. I can do them from home in comfort, and my avatar has this whole Sophia Loren thing going that looks pretty awesome. I found her a dress spattered with blood – it’s on point for my work, at least. 

Photo courtesy of Nicole Rodovsky

It is a little disconcerting not to have the visual cues for feedback – did they laugh at the joke, did they seem enthralled by the story… In live readings, I’ve had an audience member literally throw herself out of a chair (ah, Abaddon, such a fun opening number) and people who literally gasped at the twist in “The Train.” 

But longtime SL people use the local chat to indicate when they’re surprised or amused, and that kind of makes up for the lack of eye contact. It’s a really interesting experience, and one I hope to repeat in the future.

Fantasy Faire is going on through May 8 with a variety of experiences, and the entire program is to benefit the American Cancer Society. As you all know, I’ve been a Relay for Life team captain for going on two decades now to raise money for ACS, and I always seem to have new names to add to my lists of reasons why I do this.

Unfortunately, another name was added to that list yesterday: my friend Wez Nicholson, whose wife Mitzi was a bridesmaid in my wedding and has been a dear friend for many years. We are all heartbroken to lose Wez, and angry that we must add another verse to the chorus of Fuck Cancer. I have been looking for two days to find a picture of me and Wez, and I know there are a dozen, but they are stubbornly hiding and it is bothering me to a disproportionate amount. Please keep Wez’s family and especially Mitzi in your thoughts.

If you aren’t on Second Life and thus can’t wander past the giant mushrooms and sleeping dragons to click the donation kiosks, you can donate to the American Cancer Society here, with my thanks.

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RBR reading Tuesday

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining the other authors in this year’s edition of the River Bluff Review for a group reading on Tuesday.

I was honored beyond words (uncharacteristically) that the staff of the River Bluff Review chose to include a short story, two poems and a photograph from my submissions in this year’s edition. I’m looking forward to hearing all the other writers share their work, and have been instructed to read both prose and poetry at the event.

That means the short story, “Tiny Monsters,” and one of the poems, which will probably be “Seasons.” You can find them in the online publication of the magazine here.

The reading will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 at the Cougar Bookstore in the Morris University Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The public is welcome to attend.

The photo they chose to include is seen at the top of this post, titled “Edgar.” It was shot in 2018 at the grave of Edgar Allen Poe in Baltimore. Prints are available on my webstore.

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SL reading set for April 29

I’m delighted to announced that I have been selected to join the Second Life Fantasy Faire as a guest author, and will be reading an excerpt of my work on Second Life at 4 p.m. SLT (that’s 6 p.m. CST, if I calculated correctly).

Fantasy Faire is a weeks-long celebration of all things fantasy in Second Life, and it is a benefit for Relay for Life. Those of you who have read me for a while know that I am a Relay for Life team captain, and my team has raised more than $50,000 for the American Cancer Society over the past 15 years or so.

My own Relay for Life just got postponed from this weekend to sometime in June, but my team has already met its goal for fundraising (not that we’re stopping). It’s bittersweet as always, because there are far too many good, close friends who are no longer here because cancer took them too soon. Most recently I lost my Uncle Brian to cancer in October , and earlier this week honored my dear friend Andy, who was a year younger than me and lost his fight in 2020. 

It’s a delight and an honor to be selected to join the authors reading for this important cause, in the hopes that someday we can stop adding names to the list of those cancer has taken from us. 

Fantasy Faire opens up on April 20, and when I have more specific information and landmarks for you, I’ll be sure to share them. In the meantime, my team’s progress is being charted here

Now to pick something to read…

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April 2023 linkspam

What a weird month March was! I kicked off with my much-anticipated trip to Seattle for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs convention, which I wrote about in exhaustive detail for Patreon (see links below). I also posted a great deal on social media and photography is pending, so if you’re interested, you should subscribe to the Patreon and get access to all my previous posts! (See how I subtly worked that in?) I fell completely in love with Seattle and enjoyed the hell out of my time at AWP, returning fully reenergized to make all the words!

Unfortunately, three days after returning from Seattle, I started getting sick. I thought I’d caught the usual confluenza, but by the end of the week I was in hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. I had top-notch medical care, solid insurance coverage and my husband with me the entire time, so I count my blessings while acknowledging the privilege I have to be treated and recover without fear. I’ve been out of hospital a week at the time of this writing, and I’m not yet fully recovered – they say it may be a month or two before my lungs are back at their previous capacity, and I’m also looking at physical therapy for a while. 

I want to thank all the people who sent their well-wishes to me in the hospital and after my release, who sent supportive messages to my husband as he fretted, and offered to help out as best they could with any of our needs. It makes an enormous difference in the isolation and claustrophobia of a hospital room to hear that people are thinking of you and praying for your recovery.

Of course, it had to hit six weeks before graduation, and now I am significantly behind in all the projects I am spinning as I prepare to finish grad school. That also means very little freelance work was done this month. I am canceling most public appearances and reducing much of my “extra” work in an effort to recover physically and catch up on my work. I know you will understand, and rest assured this summer you won’t be able to shut me up. 


 

Publicity/Appearances

As mentioned above, my illness required canceling most appearances this month, including the Second Life writing workshop scheduled for April 1. I’m in communication with VRazetheBar to reschedule the workshop for a later date, after my voice and lungs return to full capacity. I’m looking forward to resuming events in metaverse and real life soon!

The event I couldn’t cancel was the Banned Books roundtable on March 28. As president of both the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists and SIUE Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, I was the moderator, and no one was more nervous than my poor understudy when I was in the hospital. Fortunately I got out in time to rest up for the roundtable, my voice held out and I didn’t have a horrible coughing fit in front of a live studio audience. The event was very productive, with a robust conversation ranging over a lot of topics relating to book banning and the current backlash on education. There was news coverage in advance of the event and of the event itself, which I really appreciated. I’m not sure everyone understands exactly how much worse this issue is compared to previous years, but as one of the panelists put it, this is one issue on which journalists cannot afford to stand by the sidelines. The First Amendment protects us all, and it needs us to defend it. 

I’m also keeping my guest lecture on the practical application of journalism ethics for SIUE’s Mass Comm Week, which will also include the First Amendment Free* Food Festival co-sponsored by St. Louis SPJ and the SIUE Alestle every year. That’s when we offer students the opportunity to sign away their First Amendment rights for free pizza, and it always turns out to be a terrific object lesson in the importance of the First Amendment. Other than that, I’m trying to rest until ConCarolinas and Paris in June! 

I’m also glad to announce that I was accepted at Dragoncon once again, and will be returning to the Labor Day marathon after a long absence.

2023 calendar:
• SIUE Mass Comm Week: Ethics, Edwardsville, Ill. April 18 (presenter)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. Date TBA. (presenter)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. (guest author)
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Date TBA. (guest author)

Journalism/Blogs/Essays

• Budzinski introduces LEAP Act to expand apprenticeship programs (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland’s budget for 2023-24 looks promising, city manager reports (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada)
• Post Commons becomes cornerstone coffee shop in Alton, Ill. (Feast Magazine)
• Budzinski signs on as co-sponsor to PRO Act (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Illinois contractor forced to pay back wages and fines under Prevailing Wage Act (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland man charged in death of 3-month-old infant son (Highland News-Leader)
• Job training, support for Illinois workforce top governor’s agenda (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Funding for annual Highland art festival in limbo as council weighs options (Highland News-Leader)
• Steelworkers union could block sale of Granite City Mill (St. Louis Labor Tribune and Illinois Business Journal)
• Hotel-restaurant complex coming to Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• Granite City hospital sale to California corporation is final (Belleville News-Democrat)
• What Illinois’ paid leave law means for union workers (St. Louis Labor Tribune)

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

 

Fiction

Currently bustling away on a screenplay for my adaptation class, the MFA thesis and some badly overdue fiction work I owe to editors who are being astoundingly patient. Nothing to see here yet, move along… 
 

Patreon/Medium

• Ten tips for AWP (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: That’s a wrap (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Attack of the inkstained wretches (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Hey, there’s a convention here (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Klondike Gold Rush (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: The Emerald City, Pt. 1 (Patreon)
• Quote unquote: Ray Bradbury (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: So many evergreens (Patreon)

Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.

Photography

• Seattle photodump! (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: The Emerald City, Pt. 2 (Patreon)

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March 2023 Linkspam

What do Seattle, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Paris have in common?

Me!

In a few days I am off to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, which ticks off another city and state I’ve never visited on the life list. I’m looking forward to my first AWP and all the awesome literary lore I can soak up, as well as exploring a brand new city.

As is my habit, I’ll be posting daily from the conference and sharing a travelogue of the nifty things I find in Seattle, so join the Patreonif that interests you! They get all the good stuff first.

I realized earlier this month that this might be the craziest year ever for me and travel. Last weekend was Conflation, which at least wasn’t a long drive! This month it’s Seattle for AWP, then after graduation it’s ConCarolinas in Charlotte, N.C. My husband and I are road-tripping to Charlotte, with hopes of a quick stop in Nashville on our way to meet up with some of our Tennessee miscreants – er, friends. 

Right after that it’s PARIS. Yup, watch out Europe, because I’m going to the continent! My mother is taking my sister and me to Paris for a life-list week where we eat our weight across the City of Light, and you better believe I am visiting Shakespeare & Co. and at least taking a picture of Notre Dame even though I can’t go inside. Do you know something nifty to see in Paris? Please let me know! 

Once I’m back in the U.S., it’s off to Louisville for Imaginarium in July, and then (drum roll) I’m back at Dragoncon! It’s been *checks watch* at least seven years since I darkened Atlanta’s doorstep, but now I’m returning to enjoy the company of 70,000 of my closest friends. Hello to Peachtree Street! 

Theoretically I’m also going to my 30th (???) high school reunion, followed by the SPJ conference in Las Vegas, and wrapping up with Contra in Kansas City. And then I unpack. Whew! 

I’m just saying, if you were ever considering signing onto the Patreon for travelogues and photos and food reports and musings on faraway places, now is a good time. 

If you’re going to be in the vicinity of any of these events, please stop by and say hello! I’m looking forward to getting back on the road, even if I may occasionally forget what state I’m in. 


Publicity/Appearances

In February I was honored to lecture at the Wednesday Club about Edgar Allan Poe and “The Raven,” which was a terrific experience. I felt quite warmly welcomed by the good people of the Wednesday Club, and not just because they laughed at my jokes – though that’s always a way to get on my good side!

The month also saw Writers of the Riverbend, always a blast at Maeva’s Coffee in Alton. Two student journalists at The Bridge, a student newspaper at Lewis & Clark Community College, chatted with me at the event, and whaddya know – some of my comments made it into their story

Conflation took place in late February, and there’s a write-up pending as we experimented with simulcasting my reading/workshop in Second Life as well as in person at the convention. It was a nifty experience, and one I’m looking forward to repeating. Many thanks to the good folks at VRazeTheBar, which organized and managed the whole thing with the technogizmos I don’t understand. They have already scheduled me for a workshop on April 1!

This month is the aforementioned AWP conference, my first academic convention since AEJMC in 2019. Also, my Writer in the World workshop offered this semester in partnership with Shameless Grounds comes to an end this month, with a public reading by my students on March 4. 

2023 calendar:
• Conflation, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 23-25 (guest author)
• Writer in the World reading, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 4 (emcee)
• AWP Conference, Seattle, Wash. March 8-11 (attending)
• SIUE Banned Books roundtable, Edwardsville, Ill. March 28 (moderator/panelist)
• Writing workshop, Second Life. April 1 (presenter)
• SIUE Mass Comm Week: Ethics, Edwardsville, Ill. April 18 (presenter)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. Date TBA. (presenter)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. (guest author)
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (attending)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Date TBA. (guest author)

Journalism/Blogs/Essays

• Illinois expands pre-apprenticeship program for construction trades (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Electricity rates on the rise in Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• New playground proposed for Silver Lake (Highland News-Leader)
• Foxes Boxes brings pastries, bread to new space in Bethalto (Feast Magazine)
• Highland public safety faces changes in law enforcement (Highland News-Leader)
• What Illinois’ new paid leave law means for union workers (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Foodie: Grasshopper Brownies (Donald Media)

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

 

Fiction

I’m happy to announce that this year’s River Bluff Review is live on the interwebs! It features one short story, two poems and a photograph from me, which was truly unexpected and humbling in my last semester. Click here to read them, and be sure to check out the other creative work offered by the writing community at SIUE. Also note the blog entry I wrote about these pieces, especially “Tiny Monsters.” 

Sadly not much else to report, as I am madly writing two seminar papers, my thesis stories and the Blackfire compendium coming out next year. Whew! 
 

Patreon/Medium

• Fiction: Help Me (Patreon)
• Fiction: Perchance to Dream (Patreon)
• River Bluff Review (Patreon)
• The falling chandelier (Patreon)

Photography

• Grounded (Patreon)

Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.

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Con report: Conflation returns

I have to give the good folks of Conflation massive credit for the most creative way to keep a con alive during the pandemic: move the whole thing to the metaverse. 

And no, not that lame Meta-verse that the artist formerly/currently/whatever known as Facebook is attempting to pass off on us, but the original-ish metaverse of Second Life. Conflation’s organizers recreated the entire con, right down to the design of the Comfort Inn at Westport where it’s taken place for umpteen years, including the recalcitrant automatic doors and funky stairwell and not-actually-a-fireplace in the lobby. Only when you walk out the back door, instead of a shuttered pool and parking lot, you would see a vast playground of oceanfront walkways and hot tubs and dance floor with swirling lights and other fun things. For two successive Conflations, we partied in Second Life, and it was delightful – and introduced me to Second Life, about which I have written before.  

Conflation returned to meatspace last week, and it was glorious. As is the tradition for a relax-a-con that puts emphasis on socialization and relaxed schedules rather than panels and workshops, we sell out of our rooms and open/close as we see fit. I’ve vended at Conflation for umpteen years, running the Literary Underworld Traveling Bar and hawking the books in the same place, and I love it. 

Proof of life. Sorta.

This time I was solo, as my scheduled minion contracted the Voldevirus and had to quarantine. Fortunately I have many pals at Conflation and elsewhere who helped me unload the van, set up the tables, and watched the booth while I did my workshops. Special props go to the Branson-Koppenhofer-Rendleman family, author Elizabeth Lynn Blackson, and Conflationites David Szucs and Brad Hicks for doing extra duty helping me out

And that leads me to the unusual part: with so much success in Second Life during the pandemic, they opted to simulcast my reading in SL while I was speaking in real life at the con. My avatar looked smashing. (As I said at the time, she’s a lot prettier than I am and her dancing is a vast improvement.

Later, I gave a two-hour writing workshop that is essentially a condensed version of the workshop I developed this year in the MFA program, and I will conduct that workshop again in Second Life on April 1.

It was a first for me, plus an international audience I’ve rarely had, and I thought it was a great success. It’s a little disconcerting to read to a roomful of avatars, as I never quite realized how much I key off body language when reading – are they bored? Excited? Distraught? Checking their phones? Surprised? Making eye contact? Avatars aren’t stone still; they have scripts that make them move or shift, but it’s automatic and subtle, and it’s impossible to read their reactions.

I read “Sisyphus,” which I’ve probably read too often, but it’s always well-received and kind of my default reading. I wasn’t sure of the audience, and I wasn’t sure they would be ready for something more obscure like “The Train” or, god save us, the popobawa excerpt. I made the mistake of reading that one once and it freaked out several members of the audience. No, wait! Buy the book! Fortunately the majority of listeners in real life and SL had never heard “Sisyphus” before, so the ending comes as a surprise.

I made good on my personal vow to always attend at least one panel I’m not on, and I got to spend time with some of my favorite humans and enjoy the festivities we once enjoyed before the world ended. It was a wonderful kick-start to the convention season, and a blessed return to a little bit of the World That Was.

 

Note: I took several photos of awesome costumes with permission, but I did not explicitly ask if I could post said pictures, therefore I have omitted them. Darn ethics.

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River Bluff Review

They didn’t tell me! The annual release of River Bluff Review is live, and I didn’t know. I was honored to see one short story, two poems and a photograph accepted for publication in my final year, and you can see them all here. 

“Tiny Monsters” has extra weight for me, as it is not only one of very few stories I’ve seen published with no speculative-fiction or supernatural content, but also draws a great deal from my life in the past. I found that the more I delved into literary fiction, the more I was exploring parts of my life and self, some of it deeply uncomfortable. Fiction shouldn’t be therapy – or at least it shouldn’t be only therapy, or you get bad fiction. But I was surprised by how much of myself and things I buried deep came to the surface as I experimented with this kind of writing.

Likewise, I hadn’t written any poetry since I was seventeen, because everyone writes poetry when they’re seventeen. My youthful poetry is buried at sea where it can’t get loose and hurt anyone. But then I took an advanced poetry workshop a few semesters ago, and two of those poems appear in River Bluff Review. That makes them the very first poetry I’ve ever had published. 

Finally, if you click “visual art” in the header, you’ll see my photographic depiction of “Edgar” among the other art accepted for the issue. It’s interesting that it goes live now, because I’m finishing my presentation on Edgar Allan Poe and “The Raven” I’ll be giving next week, and I’ve got Edgar on the brain.

Well, now I’ve got something to put in this month’s newsletter…

In other news, I’m signing at Writers of the Riverbend on Saturday, so if you’re local to Maeva’s Coffee in Alton, Ill., come by and see us 11:30 to 4 p.m.! 

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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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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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