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Tag: fiction

A haunted swamp, a dancer and the Angel of Death…

It sounds like the opening of a joke, but there are three new items up for order (or preorder) this month! 

First: We are now accepting preorders for Dreadmire, the 15th anniversary edition of my first quest fantasy. It’s a dark one – not for the kiddos – and I’ve always had a great fondness for my haunted swamp and the band of merry adventurers who face more than monsters in their quest. 

Dreadmire was first published by Spellbinder Games, as a media tie-in novel for the d20 RPG by Randy Richards. Later it was re-released through Inkstained Succubus Press, but went out of print again when Inkstained sadly went out of business. I’m delighted that Randy and I could work out the paperwork to put Dreadmire back out into the world again, and am always grateful that he allowed me to play in his sandbox. 


A float trip into hell, Dreadmire follows four adventurers on a quest through the dark, dismal haunted swamp that lies on the edge of their land as a living nightmare.

Tam is a Moor Knight whose dearest love, the half-elf Wynter, has vanished into Dreadmire on a quest to destroy the evil at the center of the swamp and set free the people terrorized by its half-dead creatures.

But it has been a long time since anyone heard from Wynter.

Tam and his best friend, Kancethedrus, enlist the help of guide Alesia and seer Angiss to help them find Wynter – and perhaps complete her mission to destroy the evil Somesuch that has controlled the life, death and unlife of the swamp for so many years.

But the way through Dreadmire is not easy, and that’s not just because of monstrous mosquitoes, sentient weregators and cannibalistic undead elves living among the predatory flora and fauna of this twisted bayou.

What’s more dangerous than a demonic tree that can eat you alive? The perils of the human heart… and what a man will risk for the woman he loves.

Based on the legends of the Louisiana bayou with a sword-and-sorcery flair, this amazing novel based on the game by Randy Richards will turn your skin cold as a gator’s stare and your heart hotter than a Cajun summer. Preorder your copy today!

“Elizabeth does it again! Raw action and high intense scenes that you don’t read–you absorb! A must read!”

— Shane Moore, author of The Apocalypse of Enoch and the Abyss Walker series


 

Now in stock: the December 2023 edition of parABnormal Magazine features an original short story by me, originally written and developed in my MFA workshops.

“Azrael” asks what might happen if the Angel of Death, wearily collecting souls throughout history, meets a woman who wants to die… and cannot.

We have a limited quantity of these magazines, and I’m pretty sure once they’re gone we won’t be able to get more. Snag yours!

 

 

 


Also now in stock: the 2024 anthology of the St. Louis Writers Guild includes a short story by me that has no ghosts, no monsters, no creepy-crawlies! It’s also not a story of unicorns and rainbows, because y’all have met me. Yes, I write literary fiction based in the alleged real world, and I’m rather fond of this particular piece, as it stems from a challenge much more difficult than it sounds: can you write a story where one word appears in every single sentence save the last one? I managed, but it was a serious challenge. 

There are more than 30 other authors from the Guild in this anthology, and I’m honored to be among them. I hope you’ll enjoy! We have a small quantity in stock and I am not sure if I can get more, so you might want to get this one before it disappears. 

 

 

We should have the anthologies in hand at Midsouthcon next weekend, so if you’re going to be there, order now and choose pickup/personal delivery for the shipping open. We will reserve a copy for you at the booth. Odds are slim that Dreadmire will be in hand at the convention, but we will take preorders and ship them as soon as the books arrive. Thank you for your support!

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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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The One Where Elizabeth Wins

I’m honored to share that I’ve been awarded an AWP Community Scholarship to attend the 2024 conference in Kansas City.

I was lucky to attend last year’s conference in Seattle, and I absolutely loved it. AWP is one hell of a conference, with about 25 panels per hour aimed for writers and writing programs. It’s got a heavy literary bent, but there is also programming for commercial and genre writers and a LOT for the teaching of writing. And unlike the very white-cis-male spaces we find in publishing, AWP has more diversity in all forms than just about any other space I’ve seen.

A few of the panels I’ve got my eye on:

  • Social justice on the page: How writing and activism feed each other
  • Writing practices for neurodiverse and disabled writers
  • Mapping the creative and pedagogical terrain of community colleges
  • Breaking the rules on chapbooks: New approaches to an old form
  • Women of new fabulism and speculative literature
  • Be Shameless: Everything you need to know to nail promotion
  • Writing life post-MFA: Unearthing the realities
  • A turn of the page: From journalism to creative writing
  • Greater than the sum of its parts: Writing and structuring essay collections
  • The fine art of the craft talk
  • Writing the literary sex scene: Dethroning the male gaze
  • Show (Me) Don’t Tell: Missouri writers grappling with the state of their state
  • Ableism off and on the page
  • How do you eat? Writers talk plainly about funding their writing lives

And about two dozen others among the hundreds available. In addition to the daytime panels, AWP really comes alive at the evening off-site events. Readings are constant, wine-and-cheese receptions and gatherings in dozens of locations every night until the wee hours. I made the grave mistake in Seattle of skipping the nighttime events for the first couple of days, thinking it was like a con room party: fun but skippable. It was only on the third day that I realized it’s where so much of the creative energy of the convention comes from. 

In fact, I wrote a column on ten tips for attending AWP, which you can read here. Tip No. 3 was “The real beauty is in the offsite events.” 

I strongly recommend AWP for beginning writers, established writers, poets, librarians, students, editors, publishers, creative writing teachers, memoirists… basically if you put pen to paper or teach others to do the same, there’s something for you here, particularly in academic and literary circles. 

Having graduated out of student rates, I was very afraid I could not afford to return even though it’s so close to me this year: Kansas City is a mere four hours according to Google Maps, which always means five hours for me. The scholarship makes a huge difference, and I’m incredibly grateful to AWP for its generosity and those of the donors who kick in to help underserved, disabled and low-income writers join in the fray.

If you’re interested, check out the website at awpwriter.org. And let me know if you’ll be there! All adventures are more fun with a fellowship. Didn’t Tolkein teach us that?

 

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New items in the store!

First: We are about to stock copies of parABnormal Magazine, December 2023 edition, which includes an original short story by moi. We only have a small quantity coming in and likely won’t be available for long, so if you want one, you might want to snag it soon! Click here to order.

Also, the site has been updated with a lot of new images, including shots from Paris, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Washington D.C. and other places. As always, anything available on elizabethdonaldphotography.com can be custom ordered, but check out the store for a quick print order – it’s not too late for the holidays!

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September 2023 linkspam

The image above was a sign on the wall of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, one of the five host hotels for Dragoncon. I was delighted to return to Dragoncon after an absence of eight years, which was just long enough to remember where the food court is, and completely forget which level you need to find the habitrails. 

And if you’ve ever been to Dragoncon, you know why that sign is hilarious.

I had a delightful time at Dragoncon, plus or minus the usual exhaustion and realizing I am too old for late-night partying (but not too old to hobble about the site). Capping attendance has eliminated some of the congestion – certainly better than it was in 2015 – but it’s still one I wouldn’t recommend for people who have problems with heights, crowds or noise. 

A full daily travelogue of my return to Dragoncon posted on the Patreon for all Patrons – and why haven’t you subscribed yet? If you want to see Obi-Wan KENobi, Starlett O’Hara and other awesome costume pics, you should totally sign up
 

Publicity/Appearances

Appearances slowed down a bit in August, what with Dragoncon and the launch of the fall semester. I’m teaching four classes this fall, which kind of takes a little time and attention. But there’s plenty on the way for the Fall Deathmarch! 

Added to the schedule: I’m honored to be hosted by the Martin (Tenn.) Public Library this Saturday! For those who don’t know, I did my first two years of high school at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore and the second two years at Martin Westview High School, and this weekend is my 30th (!!!) reunion. The library is hosting me for a signing before the reunion, and I’m honored to be there.

Then there’s the Spine Book Fair in St. Louis on Sept. 23, followed by a signing at the Society of Professional Journalists conference in Las Vegas on Sept. 29. Also coming up this fall: the Melting Pot in Granite City on Oct. 7 and Writers of the Riverbend on Oct. 14.

As previously announced, I will not be at Archon as it conflicts with SPJ, but the Literary Underworld will be there under my husband’s supervision, so you should be sure to grab books from us at the show! 

Note that my workshop for Plethora of Pens originally slated for Sept. 11 is being rescheduled. I’ll announce the new date when I know it. 

Added to the schedule: presenting at the RWA/St. Louis Writers Guild conference hosted at the St. Louis Central Library on Oct. 21, and I am confirmed as a guest for Midsouthcon in Memphis next March.

Finally: Don’t forget Leclaire Parkfest! It’s not an official author appearance, but I run the St. Andrew’s charity book fair in Edwardsville and we do an extra sale at Parkfest to benefit the American Cancer Society. The festival is Sunday, Oct. 15 at Leclaire Park in Edwardsville, Ill. and it’s a lot of fun! Come by and say hello.

Whew! 

2023 calendar:
• Martin Public Library, Martin, Tenn. Sept. 9 
• Spine Book Fair, St. Louis, Mo. Sept. 23 
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter/book signing)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• The Melting Pot, Granite City, Ill. Oct. 7
• Writers of the Riverbend, Alton, Ill. Oct. 14
• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. Oct. 15 (charity sale only)
• RWA/St. Louis Writers Guild, St. Louis Central Library, Oct. 21
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Nov. 10-12 (solo and LitUnd)

2024 calendar:
• Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 7-10
• Conflation, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 23-25
• Midsouthcon, Memphis, Tenn. March 22-24 
• Sigma Tau Delta conference, St. Louis, Mo. April 3-6 (tent.)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. May 31-June 2 (tent.)

Journalism

• What’s causing enrollment to drop in Highland schools? (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo News)
• Construction gets underway at Highland’s new primary school (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo News)
• U.S. Steel rejects buyout proposal (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Lemon House Bakes crafts artful sugar cookies (Feast Magazine)
• Speakeasy Parlor taking reservations (Feast Magazine)
• Union resistance stalls sale at Granite City Works (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Community helps Highland police end burglaries (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo News)
• Installation of solar panels projects millions of savings for Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• AFSCME Council ratifies contract with Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Illinois establishes hubs for ‘clean jobs’ (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• AFSCME Council reaches tentative agreement with state (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Rebuild Illinois includes millions for construction (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland provides escape from deadly heat (Highland News-Leader)

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

 

Blogs

• Fall Deathmarch (Elizabeth Donald)
• Signing added in Martin, Tenn. (Elizabeth Donald)
• Dragoncon Schedule (Elizabeth Donald and Patreon)

Fiction

I’m happy to announce that my short story “Azrael” has been picked up by parABnormal Magazine at Hiraeth Publishing! Details are here on the blog

• Flashback: Silent (Patreon)
 

Patreon/Medium

• Review: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Patreon)
• Archival evidence (Patreon)
• Free to wear pink (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: Everybody walk the dinosaur (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: 100,000 of your closest friends (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: A roomful of readers (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: Hi Barbie! (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: The roar of unbridled avarice (Patreon)
• Dragoncon: Denouement (Patreon)
• The whispering woods (Medium)

Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon 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

It’s all on the Patreon! So many awesome costumes at Dragoncon. You should really subscribe

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New story pending…

I’m happy to announce that my short story “Azrael” has been picked up by parABnormal Magazine (Hiraeth Publishing).

“Azrael” is a funky little story with a weird genesis. I was sitting in one of my favorite coffeehouses, happily typing away with a cup of caffeine beside me. A young man walked up to my table and I looked up at him.

“You die now,” he said. Then he turned and walked out of the shop.

After a few blinks and “what the hell was that?” I started writing. Because that’s what we weirdos do.

“Azrael” went through a few iterations (and titles), was workshopped extensively in the MFA program. Eventually it was included in my MFA thesis portfolio, and I told the tale of its inspiration at my MFA jury. I’m so delighted that it will see print. Many thanks to editor H. David Blalock for picking it up, and I look forward to working with him.

It’s slated for the December edition of parABnormal, and I’ll let everyone know when it’s live so you can snag a copy. I will try to get a batch myself for sale at events and signings. (Such as this Saturday in Martin, Tennessee! Click here for details.)

So thank you, strange young man whom I’ve never seen again. Your inspiration is much appreciated.

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Dragoncon Schedule

I’m delighted to be returning to Dragoncon after a long time away! Below is my schedule, where I get to meet up with some old friends and new faces as well. It’s a fairly light schedule, so I may have free time (!) to meet up and chat!

I will have a limited quantity of in-print books for sale at my reading and signing. If you want a book, you might message me in advance to reserve it. As I am flying, I can only bring so many. 

See you in Atlanta!

 

FRIDAY

2:30 p.m. Signing with Timothy Zahn (Overlook, Westin) 

SATURDAY

11:30 a.m. Vampire variety in urban fantasy (Chastain 1-2, Westin)

3:30 p.m. Reading (Marietta, Hyatt)

10 p.m. 101 Interesting ways to kill off a character (Embassy EF, Hyatt)

SUNDAY

10 a.m. Writing effective short horror fiction (Peachtree 1-2, Westin)

MONDAY

2:30 p.m. Forecasting the future of fantastic fiction (Embassy EF, Hyatt) 

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Con Report: ConCarolinas 2023

There’s something wonderfully invigorating about con, the freewheeling friendly atmosphere and hobnobbing with one’s fellow wizards, surrounded by people who get the crazy fun stuff that fascinates you even when the mundane world says, “Huh?”
Who knew this many people can fit in a hotel room?
ConCarolinas is very much a writers’ con. There’s also a film festival, paranormal circuit and gaming track, among others, but since I didn’t interact with those, I couldn’t say how valuable they are. The writers’ track, however, has some truly useful and interesting panels, and hot and cold running writers everywhere.

I shared my table with Rachel Brune, my editor at Crone Girls Press and newly minted acquisitions editor for Falstaff Books’ new horror imprint, Falstaff Dread. Rachel and I go waaaaaay back to the early 2000s and our mutual membership in the Sarah Connor Charm School, and it’s always a delight to see her.

 

There was plenty of discussion of representation in horror, of A.I. and its implications for creatives, of the surge in book banning, the implications of the WGA strike, of various esoteric topics from cryptobiology to warding off evil spirits that could be useful for speculative fiction research. As usual, I only got to attend a fraction of the panels that interested me, as I was working.
My first round was a 9 a.m. panel (because obviously I have angered someone) on trunk novels and other work that will never see daylight. My buddy Jeff Strand and I were on this one. We talked about those early (and not-so-early) works that were, shall we say, learning experiences.
Naturally, I talked about Sanctuary, as an example of a trunk novel that stays in the trunk because of an internal factor – i.e. I believe it’s not good enough to be released. At the time, I trunked it because I knew I was not a good enough writer to tell that story in the manner it deserved. And I think this was the first time I have talked about the sequel, which I wrote sometime around 2001-02 exploring my idea of an interstellar Underground Railroad. This was a very ambitious novel attempted by a twentysomething baby writer who had no idea what she was doing, and had the audacity to think this was her story to tell. I am so glad Amazon KDP did not exist back then.
I still love that universe, and a couple of short stories have made their way to publication based in it. I sometimes wonder if now I am a good enough writer to do those novels justice, and the novels I have outlined to follow them. But for now, it’s trunked.
That’s an example of a novel trunked for an internal reason. External reasons, for example, might be a novel that you feel is strong and powerful, but others have told you it sucks, or now is not the right time for it, or it’s been rejected too many times, etc. There are times when those external factors might be overcome with tenacity, better timing, or reevaluating your approach.
Next up was “what to do after finishing your book,” which I was delighted to discuss with Gabino Iglesias, Gail Z. Martin and others. Some of you know I have a whole two-hour workshop about what you do after you write The End, so naturally I had plenty of things to say. In fact, I think I’m doing that workshop solo at Imaginarium next month, if you’re planning to join us in Louisville.
I really enjoyed some of Gabino’s anecdotes, and so I picked up his Coyote Songs – alas, too late to snag his autograph. Next time!
This was followed by “body shape as the last frontier,” which allowed me to discuss with a friendly audience some of the prejudices we see particularly as women of size. I’ve written before that I see a significant difference in how I am treated in various professional capacities as I grew older and rounder and became disabled. The conversation was very honest, discussing not only weight but male-gaze objectification, disability, race, gender presentation and the body image issues faced by men as well. We could have talked for another two hours on these issues.
This also allowed me to put on my Media Studies Masters hat and talk about cultivation theory for why this issue is important beyond making us feel better about ourselves: what we see in our media tends to impact our impressions of real life. If we see umpteen images of a fat person obsessed with food and gobbling sweets every time she passes the buffet, we will assume that every person of size is that way because they can’t control their eating. (And I delete a rant, but there’s a column in my future on this topic.)
Finally, I got to put on my MFA hat for “Vaguely Based on the Title of the Novel,” a discussion of film adaptations both good and nauseating. Having just finished an entire semester studying adaptation theory, I was the Annoying Academic of the panel. Unlike several of my fellow panelists (Jeff again!) I have never had a work optioned for the screen and while I have written a screenplay for a short film, it’s never been considered by anyone. Thus I presume my academic studies and my work as a film critic were the reasons for putting me on the panel.
Other panels I had to miss included writing morally gray characters, misogyny in romance, avoiding scams in publishing, writing an alternate history, developing a magic system, the author/editor relationship and much, much more. For beginning writers, I can strongly recommend the programming at ConCarolinas for an excellent three-day tutorial.
Because I flew to Charlotte for the con, Rachel collected booze, and so the Literary Underworld (Mini)Bar was open both nights to a full house. Not too shabby a collection for castoffs! Perhaps next year I’ll be able to drive, and Jim and I can bring the full Traveling Bar.
I had a wonderful time in Charlotte (though unfortunately did not get to see anything of the city itself), and learned a great deal as well as connecting with old friends and new. I was delighted to clap for Nancy Knight, writing track director for Dragoncon; and author Nicole Givens Kurtz, who each received lifetime achievement awards from the convention.
Me and Ari!
Also, the media guest of honor was Ari Lehman, the actor who played Jason Voorhees in the first Friday the 13th movie. He’s now a punk rocker (his band name is First Jason) and a big proponent of the Jason film series. My son was madly texting me during opening ceremonies because as a film nerd, he’s a big fan and asked me to tell Ari he really appreciated all that he’d done for the franchise even after he was finished with the role.
I happened to catch Ari right after opening ceremonies, and not only did he offer a selfie, he asked to record a brief video for my son, addressing him by name. I am now Mom of the Year, and Ian was delighted.

 

I share this because we hear so many stories about actors and other performers being selfish shitheels or egotists, and I think people deserve to get kudos when they take the extra step to thrill a fan. 

Now home, for the next leg of the summer travel: PARIS. I’ll be doing a daily travelogue from the City of Lights for

my Patreon


, so consider subscribing! 

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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. 
Leave a Comment

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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