Tag Archives: historic fiction

Setting Intentions for 2022

25 Jan

January is almost over. Is it too late for a blog post on setting intentions? I would venture not! The pandemic and being a new parent (do I still get to say “new” now that my child is one?) is a constant reminder to be gentle with myself and find the right level of ambitious that I find fulfilling without giving myself a migraine.

Sculpture of a bald man with closed eyes and mottled concrete over one eye and under the other eye, emerging from a brown container ringed with triangles poking toward his collar bone.
What soldiering through a migraine feels like?

So what are my writing and publishing goals for this year? With my second novel releasing from Lanternfish Press in late September, I have to be mindful of the marketing and publicity work just around the corner. I learned with my first novel, Daughters of the Air, that marketing and publicity can be ::e n d l e s s:: I do like it! But I also need to keep space for work-work, creative writing, and life.

I started writing my second novel two days after I began submitting my first novel—with a haiku workshop as a palate cleanser in between. I started writing my third novel, my current work-in-progress, just a year after starting my second novel. It’s a long story as to why that I won’t get into here, but I was heartened to learn that Jess Walter juggles multiple book projects simultaneously, and I’m sure many other writers do as well. Welp! The big hope for this year is I “finish” that third novel. (NB: Here’s my silly essay “How to Finish a Finish a Novel in Only 15 Years“; I love that this essay landed in The Nervous Breakdown.)

My other writing goal is write two more essays for the collection that I began the same year as Novel #3. I’m taking an essay writing class through Atlas Obscura, where I’ve been having a great time teaching fairy tale writing. It’ll be my first time as a student since taking a wonderful Hugo House class in 2016 with Alexander Chee on making fictional characters of historic figures, and I’m really looking forward to it. My plan is to write one piece arising from the class and one essay after finishing reading A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays, which I have ordered from one of my favorite Chicago bookstores, Exile in Bookville, which is located in one of my favorite buildings in the city.

That’s it for my writing. I think those are plenty of goals for the year, given what I’ve got on my plate. I stopped aiming for 100 rejections per year a few years ago, though I do think it’s a good goal to have if you’re starting the submissions process and need to develop a callous against rejection. By my calculations, I had a 17% acceptance rate in 2021 so I do need to aim a little higher as my general goal, per advice from Creative Capital, is 10%. But I’m not going to tear my hair out over this one. As I say to my son, “Gentle! Gentle!”

My last goal is to continue to help emerging writers stretch their craft and hone their approach to getting their work out in the world. If you have short stories or a novel you’re working on and if you’d like to work one-on-one with me, you can check out my coaching and consulting page at Hugo House here.

What are your goals for 2022? Any special plans for writing, reading, publishing? Or maybe you want to learn to cook something special this year? My cooking is toddler-centric now, but I’ve been dipping in and out of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I love her opinions: “Powdered rosemary must be shunned.” Onward & upward & twirling, twirling, twirling!

“Hinges” in Gordon Square Review

30 Nov

I’m delighted to have a new short story out today in Gordon Square Review, a journal based in Cleveland that spotlights writers from Northeast Ohio alongside those from around the world. Here’s how “Hinges” begins:

“In fact in Vienna I starved a little.”

continue reading

If you’d like to hear me read a snippet of the story, and snippets from the stories, essays, and poems in Issue 7, register here for the virtual launch party happening tomorrow at 7:30 pm EST! (And, if you’d like to hear me read tonight, I’ll be discussing the politics of then and now in historic fiction virtually at Greenlight Bookstore with Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams, and Tauno Biltsted, author of The Anatomist’s Tale; register here for tonight’s event.)

Many thanks to Prose Editor Nardine Taleb, Editor-in-Chief Laura Maylene Walter, Issue 7 Prose Readers Jackie Krogmeier, Alexandra Magearu, and Valli Jo Porter, everyone at Gordon Square Review and Literary Cleveland!

%d bloggers like this: