Free Writers Studio Tucson class this Saturday, April 10 and information about my upcoming Spring 2021 workshops.
The 39th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is coming up in two weeks! Registration is available on our website for poetry workshops taught by our featured poets on Saturday, April 17, 2021. They will also be reading that evening and there will be an open mic (would you like to read one of your own poems?!) on Sunday afternoon, April 18, 2021.
A lot of my friends and family were concerned when I reported side effects from my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I appreciate your love and concern and I’m so sorry that I scared you! You make me feel cared for and loved!
I want to be clearer about this than I was last time: a sore arm, mild fever, headaches, body aches, and/or other side effects over a period of 24-48 hours are all healthy signs that your immune system is doing its job, without killing you in the process! Your immune system is reacting to something that is, fortunately, practically harmless, and this will prime your immune system to recognize and respond safely to something far more dangerous than a vaccine: the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The high anxiety I felt in March and again in the summer hasn’t materialized in the same way with the latest, even greater peak of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which may reflect complacency and exhaustion during this never-ending pandemic. My outrage and despair that much of the Federal government, several state governments, and many fellow Americans have totally abandoned us, however, has never been more acute. It’s a stab to the heart and the collapse of my stomach every time I fathom the true scale of this inhumanity.
I really love every story in this issue. Everything had the right amount of tension, chills, and ambiguity. There’s an image of attendees at a party after the party is over in “Girls Without Their Faces On” by Laird Barron that will haunt me forever. As will the Dorset Ooser from “We, the Folk” by G.V. Anderson, which can you can find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It’s real. AHHH!
Fantasy Magazine has been on hiatus for several years, but new editors Arley Sorg and Christie Yant have relaunched the magazine starting with Issue 61 and four short or flash prose pieces and two poems, along with interviews. In their opening editorial, Sorg and Yant discuss why they’re bringing the magazine back now; it’s a timely relaunch, to be sure.
There’s a humorous tone to some of the stories in the latest issue of Lightspeed Magazine I don’t think I’m really in the right place emotionally right now to completely appreciate, which might explain why my favorite story in this issue is probably “Burn the Ships” by Alberto Yáñez. It’s dark, but also deeply satisfying by the end.
Know that this franchise is mostly awful and an embarrassment to horror. I honestly don’t know why this franchise is popular. Terrible. Just terrible.
My flash fiction story “A Bird Watcher’s Guide to Malformed and Buzzing Things” earned a spot on the close-but-no-cigar shortlist shout-outs for the annual Flash Monster contest from The Molotov Cocktail!
I truly love Autumncrow by Cameron Chaney, a perfect-for-October and Autumn book, with fun and wicked, but frequently dark and troubling, stories that whisper to me about my own trauma and personal history, suggesting dark and light new ways for me to look at things. Chaney has a knack for seeing right into the soul.
“I must / still look for / him. My constant / resentment. / Unrequited.”
A mix of flash and short fiction, Stories We Tell After Midnight from Crone Girls Press and editor Rachel A. Brune is an uneven mix, with several gems.
To participate in the fight against fascism and bigotry and for social justice, as well as to manage despair, I’m going to need assigned tasks between now and the election. It looks like the RGB Memorial Challenge will provide some of that guidance and discipline.
“I see how police officers and forces and governments react when they are challenged for their violent policies and racist behaviors. I see how they empower and embrace white supremacy groups and vigilantes while targeting Black people, people of color, peaceful and agitated demonstrators. I see how so many Americans have opinions about rioting and looting but stay quiet about the murders, violence, and oppression that prompted the latest historic demonstrations and remonstrations.”
True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is a difficult book to read, for sure, but what’s so remarkable about it and why I continued reading is how the author navigates this brutal material.
One of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had this year. I’m enthusiastic because in a year of great anthologies, Coppice & Brake from Crone Girls Press and Editor Rachel A. Brune is an absolute favorite. I love every single story, which I cannot say about most anthologies.
“Beyond the scarred surface, I saw the bones of the Moon, / the geology of a crime. He would not speak of it.”
The University of Arizona Poetry Center, Arizona Public Media, and the Pima County Public Library have launched a poetry contest for K-12 students in Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise County in Arizona, with submissions accepted between June 16 and July 16, 2020.
Professor Geta LeSeur at the University of Arizona introduced me to Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech, a speech I now read or watch being read every year on this day.
Editor-in-Chief Janel Spencer and Editor Lynn Finger have launched Harpy Hybrid Review, a new online literary magazine based in Tucson, Arizona.
Tucson teachers Lela Scott MacNeil and I will be online for a free writing class this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to provide a writing exercise, explain The Writers Studio method, and discuss how our program can support your personal writing goals.
What bliss to read the latest Rhysling Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, but what torture to select the best three short and long poems nominated for the 2020 Rhysling Award.
This summer 2020, I’m teaching both a Tucson Workshop and “Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds”, reading a lot of speculative poetry, and writing.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo is a great place for White people to start, learn a little humility, and start building stamina for grappling with race and racism. I learned a lot while experienced many head-smack moments and moments of shame while reading this short, accessible, blunt, and necessary book.
I condemn J.K. Rowling and her continuing transphobic views, including her recent social media posts and response to the backlash.
The 2020 SFPA Poetry Contest runs from June 1 through August 31, 2020 and is open to both non-members and members.
Richard designed, developed, and maintained the original h+ Tucson website as well as the expanded h+ website for multiple chapters and new transhumanist-related content, including a gallery of transhumanist art, links, and other resources.
Richard Leis created Painbow after he witnessed and experienced two incidents of discrimination. His idea was to briefly describe each situation, include the hurtful statement itself, and provide a short response.
RADIO Frontier Channel was a podcast from Frontier Channel hosted by Richard Leis in 2005 that included science and technology news and interviews with scientists at the University of Arizona.
The Frontier Channel website edited by Richard Leis provided news and commentary about the “Great Frontiers of cyberspace, outer space, the ocean, and destinations in between.”
My flash fiction story “The Canal” was shortlisted for The Molotov Cocktail’s latest quarterly flash contest: Flashpocalypse!
Lightspeed’s May 2020 issue includes stories by some of my favorite authors, and some new favorites.
At 94 pages, In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland is a quick read, but be warned that the mounting tension might require an occasional break to catch your breath. You’re going to need the oxygen: the final third of the book, when the breathless pace escalates and characters become even more desperate, becomes unputdownable.
Cricket Hunters subverts the usual tropes and nostalgia of coming-of-age horror by reaching for something even darker in this tale of friendship and rivalry
I have definitely been in the mood for ghost stories, and Midnight in the Graveyard, the first anthology from Silver Shamrock Publishing, delivers the ghostly goods!
Phreak often worked against my narrative expectations with its fragmented, time-jumping, and vignette-style approach, and in the process delivered a singular character whose clear and deeply felt recollections warn us how close we are to delivering a similarly bleak future to the next generation. You’ll want to get your hands on this novel as soon as possible.
This little novella full of big revelations and emotions really got to me.
The rapid pace doesn’t get in the way of good details and atmosphere; I felt the cold, eeriness, and rising tension along the way. What they encounter is creepy as hell and led to heart-pounding horror and heartbreaking deaths.
It took me several pages to adjust to the direction Kirk takes later in the novel, but I was rewarded with an unexpectedly humane, emotional, and satisfying ending. Despite its challenges, We Are Monsters left me with a lot to enjoy and think about.
Thank you to members of the board, featured poets, and attendees for a successful and sustaining 2020 Tucson Poetry Festival.
The 2020 Tucson Poetry Festival will include workshops, a reading by the featured poets, and an open mic.
“Little girls in white dresses skipping rope / & chanting singsong in slow motion we stole / from an 80’s horror film.”
When Director Melanie Madden suggested the theme for this year’s annual Tucson Poetry Festival—”Poetry to Sustain Us”—none of us on the Board could have predicted how even more necessary this sustenance would become in 2020.
“I drove Pacific Northwest November numb / through trees like tall green drifts to the ocean / seething with chaos.”
In this new post, I will provide tips and resources so that my workshop students and other writers can submit their best work to potential markets.
In addition to my usual 8-week Writers Studio Tucson Workshop, I’m bringing back my popular online “Crafting Fantastic and Imaginative Worlds” workshop for poets and writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror!
“A snout breaks the surface of Greek yogurt in the thirty-two-ounce container I have freshly opened and set on the counter. It sniffs cautiously, then sneezes and sprays yogurt everywhere. I yell. It pokes its entire head out and chirps.”
So this is what today’s pro-level horror looks like.
“Call it the Singularity or the Rapture, everywhere else in the world, people are young again, transitioning, becoming whatever mind becomes when there are no biological limits.”
What I like the most about Ghosters 3 are the characters and their personality quirks and other details that make them individual and interesting.
After years of focusing on literary poetry and fiction, including completing my undergraduate education in creative writing and taking writing workshops, I’m finally embracing my original genre aspirations.
“Lava, perfectly happy to flow / like water smoothly around / obstructions”
I really, really, really want to reach 50,000 words in November and I want to do it in 2019 before the new decade starts and we’re in the far future.
Five of the writing instructors from The Writers Studio Tucson read unreal, dark, and surreal passages from a novel-in-progress, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry.
“Aliens are here”
I’m joining the other Writers Studio Tucson teachers at Antigone Books for a public reading from our latest works that focus on “the unusual, the dark, and the unreal.”
I have learned a valuable lesson about writing this year as a result of teaching writing workshops. This led to a breakthrough in writing poetry that has transformed my poems in the past few months. Here is what I have learned.
Tucson writer and instructor Philip Ivory dives into “31 Days of Classic Horror” films on his “Write Yourself Sane” website, starting with 1931’s Dracula.
In the 2019 Shadow Award from The Molotov Cocktail, one of my entries landed me on the short list.
I’m preparing lesson plans and writing new exercises for two fall workshops at the Writers Studio.
One musical act in particular is responsible for my current retrowave obsession: The Midnight.
“Teenagers / grip their friends / to hold off the fact / of a classmate’s death.”
I’m currently preparing lesson plans and writing lessons for two summer 2019 workshops.
Lots of good poems this year, but when I read the poems I later selected while voting for the Rhysling Awards, they really leapt out at me and I love them fiercely.
I’m teaching a new 6-week workshop titled “Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds” and it uses The Writers Studio method of persona writing and critiquing. It begins Saturday, July 27, 2019.
Dana Diehl’s latest flash fiction piece titled “Forever Baby” and inspired by the game Stardew Valley is available on Cartridge Lit in the new “The Double Click Temple Issue.” Her story is awesome, sad, allegorical for so much, and you don’t need to know anything about Stardew Valley to appreciate it.
Two options for the beginning level writing workshop: Saturday morning with me and Wednesday evenings with Lela Scott MacNeil.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America sets the minimum payment rates for professional short fiction markets. In September, this rate rises from 6 cents per word to 8 cents per word.
Assimilate isn’t the cheap and nauseating found-footage film the trailer led me to believe it would be, but instead an effective low-budget thriller that relies too much on jump scares but tempers these with earned emotions and suspense.
“I watch light flicker under the bathroom door. / I watch the clock. / I watch one foot with a sock on jealous of the other.”
Anders Carlson-Wee’s poems in The Low Passions feel like they have exactly the right words; the perfect, accessible, blunt, beautiful, challenging, and surprising words.
I was not prepared for how much worse imposter syndrome would get once I started writing regularly, getting published, participating in public readings, teaching…
I’m now a writing instructor at the Writers Studio in Tucson, Arizona and I’ll be teaching an 8-week introductory workshop in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction beginning Saturday, April 20th!
I condemn reinstatement of this bigoted ban by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court.
13 January 2019🎥 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fantastic movie! I love the energy, art style(s), story, and characters. If this is the future of the Spider-Verse (and Venom 2 turns out to be a major improvement on the first one), then I’m eager for the franchise to expand.
📚 I participated in a fantastic craft class today with Alice Hatcher, author of The Wonder That Was Ours. She was interviewed by Reneé Bibby, Director of the Writers Studio Tucson, and local students in the Master and Advanced workshops.
Recommended: “What’s Done Can’t Be Undone” by Reneé Bibby and “CARBORUNDORUM > /DEV/NULL” by Annalee Flower Horne
How does the writer of genre fiction approach difficult subject matter like sexual assault? Two excellent and potentially triggering recent short stories by two fearless writers suggest two effective approaches.
The recent space activities I’m writing and posting about provide solace during this government shutdown that has furloughed most NASA and related departments employees and contractors.
And Ultima and Thule, according to New Horizons’ principal investigator Alan Stern at today’s NASA press briefing, the informal names the team have given the two lobes of the red object out in the Kuiper Belt New Horizons spent New Year’s encountering. The contact binary connected by a neck of material indicates two objects that came together and stuck sometime in the distant past when these kinds of interactions were leading elsewhere in the solar system to accretions that would eventually form the planets and their moons.
During a morning press briefing aired on NASA TV on New Year’s Day 2019, New Horizons mission team leaders revealed the latest best image of Ultima Thule. Still a blur, the Kuiper Belt body’s shape is more apparent in this latest image. Still unclear: are the two lobes connected or are they in fact two separate objects orbiting each other? The pole of the object was pointed toward the spacecraft, meaning Ultima Thule rotates from that perspective like a propellor. Artist and planetary scientist James Tuttle Keane has helped visualize this geometry in his illustration included next to the image.
6.5 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away from where some Earthlings are celebrating New Year’s Eve, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is beginning its close flyby of a tiny world in the Kuiper Belt known as Ultima Thule (2014 MU69.)
New Kickstarter for HERE: Poems for the Planet, from Copper Canyon Press.
As we do, the HiRISE team took a high resolution image of the InSight lander safe on the surface of Mars.
Horror 101: The Way Forward edited by Joe Mynhardt explores a tremendous territory of information, advice, and experience with essays written by many different creatives who work in the genre.
The tone and humor might be a little dated, even insensitive and problematic at points, but there’s no question that Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book packed with useful, easily digestible, but comprehensive information.
I’ve written an entire novel before, a few of them in fact, but I’ve never completed 50,000 words during National Novel Writing Month in November.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is beautiful, emotional, full of love, humor, and hope, and also horror and tragedy. It’s devastating.
The highlight of this issue is most definitely the interview with Joe Hill. I haven’t read any of his work yet, but I’m really interested now that I’ve read this interview.
The Wonder That Was Ours by Alice Hatcher is a deeply moving novel that makes smart use of its narrator—the collective “we” of cockroaches—to explore the legacy of colonization. Hatcher’s collective cockroach narrator is funny and astute, and finds the disturbing and heartbreaking parallels between our species, while pointing out the ways humans might be far worse.
An issue of mostly Lovecraftian horror (including an essay asking what the hell that even means.)
With TV Girls—six incredible flash fiction stories in one fantastic chapbook—Dana Diehl’s compassion for reality TV stars flattened by the medium recovers their individuality and complexity by exploring in gorgeously-crafted prose how they are vulnerable, exploited, and managing the relentless attention.
1. Work on one project at a time until finished.
2. I’ll be done when I’m done: Don’t set or worry about deadlines; finish and move on to the next task.”
“Divert the river from the ocean! / Divert the stream from river, / from lake. Divert the rain / from ground, / from rooftop, / from cloud.”
I’ll keep this with me for a long time, and you should, too.
“The Mushroom Hunters” by Neil Gaiman is one of the best poems I’ve read this year. It was my top pick when voting for the 2018 Rhysling Awards, and must have been for many others because it recently won in the long poem category!
How you participate in class can mean the difference between a rewarding learning experience and an utter waste of your—and everyone else’s—time and money.
Neil Gaiman’s “The Mushroom Hunters” was my personal favorite in the collection, along with Mary Soon Lee’s “Advice to a Six-Year-Old” and all her other poems, Linda D. Addison’s “Sycorax’s Daughters Unveiled”, Cislyn Smith’s “Hot”, and Shannon Connor Winward’s “The Raven’s Hallowe’en.”
Boston Dynamics occasionally uploads these short videos demonstrating their latest robotics technology and capabilities. I’m always amazed by the leap forward in movement smoothness and efficiency. 🤖
“the lizard / in the bathroom / where I left it alone / now dead”
“I knew not to reach for your back without rectangle welder’s glass.”
“To see a man / My man / Invisible man / I plan accidentally to / meet every day”
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