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Tag: journalism

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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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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August 2023 Linkspam

Let me start with the big one: my screenplay for “Infinity” was finalist at the Imadjinn film festival, complete with a nifty little trophy for my office. This was the first screenplay I ever wrote, as part of a workshop at the university under Professor Valerie Vogrin, and I was so pleased at its warm reception. 

It’s August, which means travel and fun is winding down in favor of preparing for the fall semester. I’m teaching at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville this fall. The semester starts in two weeks, so if your professor friends seem mopey and distracted (well, more distracted than usual), have sympathy on them. Bring them coffee and sugary treats. Soon, it will be the running of the bulls, and resuming our recitation of “it’s in the syllabus.”

July 27 was Freedom Day, the five-year anniversary of becoming a full-time freelance writer. Of course, those five years were also grad school, but I’ve always loved being my own boss and I’ve deeply enjoyed writing the projects I choose. Each year I’ve written a reflection on Freedom Day, and this year I didn’t, because so much of my career is in flux right now. But we still marked the occasion with ice cream, as my family chooses to celebrate. No regrets.
 

Publicity/Appearances

July was busy! First, I spoke to TechWrite STL on the thrilling subject of grammar. Look, you can make almost any subject interesting with enough snark and memes. By the audience response, they found it a fun exercise and we managed to cover the major pitfalls of the English language without resorting to diagramming sentences.

Next was Imaginarium, where I was honored to share a dinner table with Terry Brooks and had a terrific time catching up with my fellow authors. The Literary Underworld was there in force, and so was the Traveling Bar (always the highlight of the event for us). 

I also joined my fellow members of Cuppa Words at the Alton Night Market on July 20, which saw the collapsing end of my poor traveling table. It was also the Mississippi Valley’s version of OMG are you kidding why do I live here hot. As I have frequently complained as the summers get hotter: If I wanted Tennessee weather, I would have stayed in Tennessee. 

Next up is Dragoncon! It’s been a long time since I joined 75,000 of my closest friends in the Hotlanta marathon. I’m delighted to return and am looking forward to my panels and catching up with the Atlanta crew. My full schedule will be posted on ElizabethDonald.com as soon as I have everything confirmed. If you’re going to be at Dragoncon, please come by my reading! I’d love to see you. 

Sadly, I have had to cancel my appearance at Archon this year. I haven’t missed an Archon since 2007, and that only because my father and stepmother were holding their wedding celebration that weekend. But this year, Archon conflicts with the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual conference. I am still president of the St. Louis Pro chapter, and thus am obligated to attend. I’ve offered to participate in any virtual panels at Archon, should any take place. I have also had to cancel the Edwardsville Book Fair, as I will be running the St. Andrew’s charity book sale during that weekend. 

However, please note that the Literary Underworld WILL be present at Archon! The show can go on without me. My husband Jim Gillentine will be running our booth at our usual table, with the assistance of LitUnd Underlords Sela Carsen, Nikki Lanahan, Mary Koppenhofer and others. Please drop by and say hello! Sadly, we will not be able to offer the Traveling Bar, but we promise to come back in a big way next year!

Added to the fall schedule: the Spine Book Fair in September; a book signing in Las Vegas during the SPJ conference; the Melting Pot in Granite City, Ill. on Oct. 7 and Writers of the Riverbend on Oct. 14. And that’s in addition to the previously scheduled stuff! Whew.

2023 calendar:
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Aug. 31-Sept. 4 
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 9 (charity sale only)
• 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)
• 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 (tent.)
• Sigma Tau Delta conference, St. Louis, Mo. April 3-6 (tent.)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. May 31-June 2 (tent.)

Journalism/Blogs

• AFSCME council reaches tentative agreement with state of Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Next phase of Rebuild Illinois includes millions for local construction (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland offers places to escape dangerous heat (Yahoo! NewsSportsCanada and Highland News-Leader)
• Budzinski urges grants for pro-union contracts (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• After four years in restoration, Highland’s bell tower is back in place (Highland News-LeaderSportsCanada and Yahoo!News)
• Speakeasy Parlor now taking reservations in Maryville (Feast Magazine)
• Conservation plan will save soil, pollinators and tax dollars, city says (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo!News)
• St. Louis Public Radio votes to form union, first in state history (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland sues developer over proposed amenities (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo!News)
• Worker dies in Olin plant explosion (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Imaginarium! (ElizabethDonald blog)
• Night Market at Alton (ElizabethDonald blog)
• Medium changes ahoy (Donald Media blog)
• Two pieces go national (Donald Mediablog)

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

 

Fiction

• To Protect and Serve (Patreon)
 

Patreon/Medium

• The original guilty pleasure (Medium)
• Review: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Patreon)
• The whispering woods (Patreon)
• Everything wrong with The Flash and comics movies (Patreon)
• Runner-up (Patreon)
• Wearing the pants in my own damn life, or the IDGAF jeans (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

• Paris Je T’Aime: Notre Dame (Patreon)

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July 2023 Linkspam

The Summer of Job Hunting has definitely been a challenge to my patience and stress management, on a number of levels. But that isn’t to say I’ve been sitting around my living room breathing into a paper bag, either! 

June kicked off with the long-awaited Paris trip, which was an amazing experience happily shared with my mom, stepdad, and sister. Patreon readers got a daily travelogue of my adventures in Paris, and a full travel essay on Notre Dame is pending. Check out the links below for more details! (What, you’re not a Patreon subscriber? My dudes, it starts at $1 a month and I really feel it’s some of my best work. Make with the clicky and join today!)

In the meantime, I received the incredible news that I’m one of five finalists for the Knost Award. The Michael Knost Wings Award is granted to a writer who is either a new, up-and-coming voice or someone who’s been around for a while and hasn’t gotten the recognition they deserve. I can only assume I’m in the latter category, because 20 years is a long time to be up-and-coming. (What’s the old saying? It takes 20 years to become an overnight sensation?) I was uncharacteristically speechless at the nomination, and very grateful to the committee for considering me – and I’m in fine company, as well. 

To add to the fun, my first screenplay made the finalist list for the Imaginarium Film Festival’s screenplay competition. This screenplay, titled “Infinity,” is based on a novella I wrote several years ago and was developed in workshop during my final semester of grad school under the guidance of Prof. Valerie Vogrin. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the ceremonies next weekend in Louisville!

At the moment, I’m working on the next couple of books for Falstaff, doing as much freelancing work as I can scrounge, and continuing the Great Job Hunt as the fall semester looms. Wish me luck! 

P.S. I am still on Twitter as both author and journalist, as well as Facebook and Instagram with very rare postings on YouTube. I’ve now added TikTok with guidance from my son, who is much hipper than I am, because apparently it’s required. I think that’s enough social media for the moment… 
 

Publicity/Appearances

June kicked off with ConCarolinas, which was a delight as usual. It was great to see old friends like Rachel Brune and Nancy Knight and my awesome publisher, John Hartness. I always enjoy the show, though I keep meaning to schedule an extra day sometime so I can actually see something of Charlotte, N.C. besides the airport and the hotel. 

Paris came only 24 hours after returning to St. Louis, and it wasn’t technically a work trip except I wrote travelogues the entire time, so it counts! Highlights of the trip included Shakespeare & Co., the Opera Garnier (also known as the hangout for the Phantom of the Opera), the Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower and much more. Again, check out Patreon for the details!

Coming up this month is a presentation for TechWrite STL, followed by Imaginarium in Louisville on July 14-16! Terry Brooks is the guest of honor and the film festival is rocking, so if you’re in the vicinity, come see us! We will be bringing the whole Literary Underworld and the Traveling Bar, so you know it’ll be a blast.

2023 calendar:
• 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

• Olin worker dies in plant explosion (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• SWIC expands manufacturing training program (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Multi-family housing approved for Highland (Highland News-Leader and YahooNews)
• Highland officials trim budgets from local groups (Highland News-Leader and YahooNews)
• Staffers at St. Louis Public Radio to vote on unionization (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Illinois unions made significant gains in recent legislative session (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Aging Highland swimming pool closes nine days after opening (Highland News-Leader and YahooSports Canada)
• Bill to address Illinois food deserts could grow union jobs (St. Louis Labor Tribune)

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

 

Fiction

I’m happy to report that the much-delayed annual bonus is finally on its way to my Patreon subscribers! Watch your emails for your survey, Patrons. 
 

Patreon/Medium

• Wearing the pants in my own damn life, or the IDGAF Jeans (Medium and Patreon)
• Con Report: ConCarolinas 2023 (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 1.0 (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 1.5, sipping champagne at Notre Dame (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 2, or adventures in ordering (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 3, the farmer’s market (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 4, of bravery and beauty and books (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 5, “I specifically said Box 5 was to be kept open” (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 6, or dreaming beauty in pictures (Patreon)
• Paris Je T’aime: Day 7, always moving forward (Patreon)
• The MFA Reading List (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

Just about all of the important photography this month happened in Paris, with the best shots on the Patreon. Some of them will appear on the photography site soon and will be available for purchase! Stay tuned.

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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. 
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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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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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Fall into terror! It’s… August.

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

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

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

*crickets*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then whatever will I do with all my spare time?

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August linkspam!

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

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

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

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

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


Publicity/Appearances

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journalism/Essays

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

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

 

Fiction

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

Patreon/Blogs

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

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

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April 2022 linkspam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed copies direct from me
Amazon
Kindle

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

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

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

Publicity/Appearances

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journalism/Essays

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

Fiction

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

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

Patreon/Blogs

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

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