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Tag: conflation

March 2024 Linkspam: Return to the swamp

In the late 2000s, I wrote a media tie-in novel titled Dreadmire. It was a dark fantasy adventure tied to a d20 RPG published by Spellbinder Games, sourcebook by Randy Richards. The medievalesque high fantasy Randy created was inspired by the ecology and culture of the Louisiana bayous, and I found it a fascinating setting. I was hired to write a novel set in the world, a mixture of Randy’s creatures and my own machinations. It was a delightful romp in the swamp, and I was very pleased with its release. When it went out of print, Inkstained Succubus Productions picked it up for a re-release and it had a good run until Inkstained sadly went out of business.

From time to time I’d get questions about Dreadmire, and I always had to tell them their only hope was the used bookstores. However, as Dreadmire approaches its 15th anniversary, Randy and I have figured out the contracts and Dreadmire will be released once again on an unsuspecting public. 

More about this in the fiction section below, and there’s plenty more going on this month! I did some hard-news work on election coverage (and there will probably be more coming), got my first public-radio byline, did a deeper-dive in the growing epidemic of suicide among construction workers, and more! Read on…
 

Publicity/Appearances

This month was both AWP and Conflation, which thankfully had a week between them so I had a chance of catching my breath. AWP was an absolute delight, which I narrated daily in the Patreon, so check the links below for specifics. I didn’t do much in the way of photography in Kansas City, as I’ve hit that city several times to date, but mmm barbecue.

Conflation closed out the month, which is always like a big family reunion for me. I love the relaxacons, which allow me to sell books out of my room and close the door for a nap when I need it. I taught a writing workshop based on using images, which comes from some of my MFA work and the workshop I taught last year, and I’m continuing to refine it for con requests. 

Coming up this month is Midsouthcon! It was the first convention I attended as a pro, if I remember correctly, and the one I haunted as an undergrad lo these many eons ago in Memphis. We are deep in our mischief-plotting for our return to the weird Escher hotel where MSC will be hosted; the last time we were in the Hotel of Many Ramps was 2009, which doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. If you’re going to be in the area, please come by! 

2024 calendar:
• Midsouthcon, Memphis, Tenn. March 22-24 (guest author)
• Sigma Tau Delta conference, St. Louis, Mo. April 3-6 (attending)
• SPJ regional conference, St. Louis, Mo. April 13 (speaker/coordinator)
• National Federation of Professional Women, St. Louis,Mo. June 2022 (speaker)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis, Mo. July 10 (speaker)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 19-21 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Sept. 5-9  (guest author)
• Edwardsville Book Festival, Edwardsville, Ill. Oct. 12 (tent.)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Oct. 4-6  (guest author)

Journalism

• Madison County Board chair calls censure for campaign finance ethics violation ‘a lynching’ (St. Louis Public RadioYahoo NewsBelleville News-Democrat)
• $18 million awarded to Illinois Works pre-apprenticeship programs (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Illinois workers owed more than $5 million in back wages (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Community rallies around Highland athlete fighting for life after car crash (Belleville News-DemocratAOLYahoo News)
• Suicide is growing national crisis; construction workers are at high risk (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Unions added 139,000 members in 2023, but density remains stubbornly low (PortsidePopular ResistanceSt. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Nippon pledges not to move production jobs overseas (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Foxes Boxes union bakery celebrates one-year anniversary (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland plans to extend two TIF districts, create a third (Highland News-LeaderYahoo News)
• Highland residents have mixed views of new ‘containerized’ trash service (Highland News-LeaderYahoo NewsAOL)
• United Steelworkers union files grievance over U.S. Steel’s plan to sell to Japan’s Nippon Steel (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Olin Winchester cited, fined over death of union worker (St. Louis Labor Tribune)

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

 

Blogs

With the new year, I started two new blog features. Each week (more or less) I have posted on DonaldMedia.com a roundup of Show Your Work: updates in the journalism world and a rundown on what was total garbage on the internet this week. Like you, I am tired of seeing rampant misinformation mindlessly reposted on social media without the simple Google search that would show it’s completely false. I also have begun posting BookNotes on ElizabethDonald.com that not only updates on the latest kerfuffle in the publishing and speculative fiction universes, but follows the ongoing issue of book banning and censorship in the U.S.

This proved to be more work than I could reasonably keep up with given the rate of freelance work I’m getting and also had to be canceled on weeks when I travel. I am considering shifting them to Substack on a biweekly schedule, but that requires more research. As always, whatever I write is offered to Patreon subscribers for free, because they’re already paying for my work. (Which is why you should totally subscribe.) I intend to keep this up, as I believe both of these topics need attention, but the format might shift as we go forward.

• BookNotes: Don’t say race (Elizabeth Donald)
• BookNotes: Nevermore (Patreon)
• Show Your Work: Zappa to me (Patreon and Donald Media)
• Show Your Work: ProPublica kicks all the ass (Donald Media)
• Show Your Work: Sesame Street News (Donald Media)

Fiction

Dreadmire is leading the news this month! If you want a taste of my dark swamp (ew), you can read the prologue here for free. The image posted above is the preliminary cover; it may see some tweaking between now and the release, which I hope will be soon. Book publishing moves faster when it’s already been edited extensively by the staff of two (2) publishers, but it still takes some time. 

Also out this month: the St. Louis Writers Guild 2024 anthology includes a short piece by me titled “Not.” I’m honored to be included in this anthology for the first time, and with a piece of literary fiction, which is a departure from my usual ghosties and beasties. You can preorder adead-tree version here, or get it for Kindle here
 

Patreon/Medium

• Pearl-clutching at the restroom door (MediumPatreon)
• Review: Life Signs by James Lovegrove (Patreon)
• Your obituary, brought to you by robots (Patreon)
• AWP: Onward (Patreon)
• AWP: Success is making words (Patreon)
• AWP: The poetical political (Patreon)
• AWP: The long walk (Patreon)
• Review: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (Patreon)

Note: All Patreon entries are indexed going back to its 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

My shoots this month were pretty much work-related: union protests, lots of food shoots, a few pieces of future blackmail evidence from Conflation, some spot news photography, and KITTIES. Yes, I got to shoot a cat cafe for Feast Magazine, and it should be published sometime soon. I got to hang around adorable kittycats and eat espresso cookies for my job. Sometimes this gig rocks. 

Almost all of the images in the galleries are available for purchase, so if you see something you like that isn’t in the store, email kyates@donaldmedia.com and we’ll get you a quote. A few might not be available for purchase due to copyright issues.

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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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