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Small Field Notes notebook full of handwritten poetry fragments next to an ink pen for scale

SFWA Membership

I’ve reached a new milestone as a poet and writer, and this is one I’ve been dreaming about since I first heard about professional writers organizations as a science fiction and fantasy-obsessed kid: I’m now an associate member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA.) The purpose of the Science Fiction and Fantasy…

Black Tide by KC Jones

Black Tide by K.C. Jones My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Oregon Coast becomes the site for a spectacular and unexpected meteor shower, followed by a grueling struggle to survive by two people already struggling to survive their day-to-day lives. I grew to care about these characters as their story unfolds over an action-packed…

Girls From the County by Donna Lynch

Girls From the County by Donna Lynch My rating: 5 of 5 stars Haunting, heartbreaking, and highly accomplished. The razor-sharp poems in Donna Lynch’s latest collection mix the real and all-too-common with folklore as powerful commentary about the dangers women face, most often from men, but occasionally from themselves, too, especially while dealing with the…

“ad perficiendum”

You discover everything around you is falling apart and breaking down. And then, so are you.

A Guide to Workshops at The Writers Studio

It can be difficult to sort through all the offerings from the Writers Studio to pick which classes are best for you or the writer in your life to which you would like to gift a workshop. Here, then, is a guide to our offerings, depending on your writing goals and interests.

Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger

Cradleland of Parasites might be Sara Tantlinger’s best collection yet, a sequence of frightening, gruesome, breathtakingly beautiful poems about the Black Plague and other very real pestilence horrors up through modern times.

House of Zolo’s Journal of Speculative Literature, Volume 3

The future is frightening, often radically different, sometimes bleak, sometimes hopeful, sometimes both in the beautiful poems and short fiction included in the latest volume of House of Zolo’s Journal of Speculative Literature.

Tucson Poetry Festival Fundraising Event on Saturday, December 4 at Fini’s Landing

Help raise funds for the Tucson Poetry Festival by dining in or ordering take out or delivery at Fini’s Landing restaurant in Tucson between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Mention it’s for “Tucson Poetry Festival (Ocotillo Literary Endeavors)” before ordering your meal. You can RSVP on the fundraising announcement site.

“From Them Prostrate I Flee”

A teenager finds an unexpected escape from trauma in the garage, and it will haunt him the rest of his life.

“Goodbye to Rock”

“We remind them that road trips and human exploration lead back, without adding ‘if all goes well.’ Ride an explosion, walk on another rocky surface, collect some samples, more vials, return with the samples on top of another explosion. We can be there to cheer them on.”

“It Was Another Time”: James Bond and Andrew Cuomo

I love the James Bond films. This weekend, I finished the fourth in the series—Thunderball (1965)—in my latest rewatch.

I acknowledge, however, that most of the films in this franchise are filled with offensive and derogatory content, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny. There are too many of these scenes. I don’t love these films…

Review: Final Destination (Film Franchise)

I resisted watching the films in the Final Destination franchise for a long time because I was afraid of how extreme the gore might be. I’m getting a little braver and I kept hearing good things about the first one, so I finally watched the first film last night.

And then binge-watched the other four…

The 39th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is Coming Soon

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?!)…

Second Dose of Vaccine & I’m Thankful

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…

Life Update: December 2020

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…

Nightmare, Issue 93 (June 2020)

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…

Fantasy, Issue 61 (November 2020)

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…

Lightspeed, Issue 126 (November 2020)

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…

Review: Friday the 13th (Film Franchise)

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.

Flash Monster 2020 Short List

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!

Autumncrow by Cameron Chaney

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.

RBG Memorial Challenge

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 and It’s Not Nearly Enough”

“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…

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik

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.

Coppice & Brake Edited by Rachel A. Brune

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.

“In a Mirror, Dimming”

“Beyond the scarred surface, I saw the bones of the Moon, / the geology of a crime. He would not speak of it.”

K-12 Poetry Contest

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.

Harpy Hybrid Review

Cover of Harpy Hybrid Review Issue 1 with cover art by Elena Valdés Chavarría and cover typography by Annelies Zijderveld featuring a painting of an angel with wings folded in front

Editor-in-Chief Janel Spencer and Editor Lynn Finger have launched Harpy Hybrid Review, a new online literary magazine…

Free Writers Studio Tucson Class Online This Thursday

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses 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.

2020 Rhysling Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

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.

Summer 2020 Writing and Teaching

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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 by Robin DiAngelo

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…

SFPA Poetry Contest

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.

Flashpocalypse Short List

My flash fiction story “The Canal” was shortlisted for The Molotov Cocktail’s latest quarterly flash contest: Flashpocalypse!

Lightspeed Issue 120 (May 2020)

Lightspeed’s May 2020 issue includes stories by some of my favorite authors, and some new favorites.

In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland

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,…

Cricket Hunters by Jeremy Hepler

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

Phreak by JE Solo

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…

Snow by Ronald Malfi

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.

We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk

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.

“Witch House”

“Little girls in white dresses skipping rope / & chanting singsong in slow motion we stole / from an 80’s horror film.”


“I drove Pacific Northwest November numb / through trees like tall green drifts to the ocean / seething with chaos.”

A Submission Process

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.

Writing Workshops for Spring and Summer 2020

Out of focus circles of light of different sizes and warm and dark colors

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!

“The Yogurt Swimmer”

A man must hunt down a magical creature in his home before his husband and daughter see it and he loses them forever.

“Rail Work”

You return home, leaving everything, including your future, behind.

Learning to Horror

Trees, sky, light on water in Daphne, Alabama

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.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2019

Writing Progress Sticker Calendar by NaNoWriMo for November 2019

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.

Upcoming: UNREAL at Antigone Books

Announcement for UNREAL reading at Antigone Books, featuring blue text over blue background and an orange painted blue but sliced to reveal the color orange inside

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,…

Move It to the Top

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.

Shadow Award 2019 Short List

In the 2019 Shadow Award from The Molotov Cocktail, one of my entries landed me on the short list.

Fall 2019 Writing and Teaching

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

I’m preparing lesson plans and writing new exercises for two fall workshops at the Writers Studio.

Kids by The Midnight

One musical act in particular is responsible for my current retrowave obsession: The Midnight.

“Forever Baby” by Dana Diehl in Cartridge Lit

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.

Movie Review: Assimilate (2019)

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.”

The Low Passions by Anders Carlson-Wee

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.

The Limits of Success

I was not prepared for how much worse imposter syndrome would get once I started writing regularly, getting published, participating in public readings, teaching…

New Writing Instructor at the Writers Studio Tucson

Sonora Desert scene with cactuses on hills

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!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

🎥 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.

Alice Hatcher Craft Class

📚 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.

Space as Solace During a Government Shutdown

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.

Meet Arrokoth

Meet Ultima Thule (later designated 486958 Arrokoth.)

New Year, New Day, New Image of Arrokoth

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 486958 Arrokoth.


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