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List of poets in Issue 11 of Impossible Archetype, to be released on 31 March 2022

“ad perficiendum”

“Everything breaks down. During a season of harms, / every disaster looks premeditated. You imagine things.”

Wintery image of a tree in a field of snow under a bright blue sky and rising sun. Text: Give the Gift of Creative Writing at The Writers Studio. Email Liz Kingsley at liz@writerstudio.com to pay for a class or make partial payment toward a class for friends or family

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.

tempImage97E9Rb Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger, paperback and hardcover editions on bookshelf

Review: 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.

Tucson Poetry Festival logo with a white Ocotillo illustration against a black background. Underneath is "Tucson Poetry Festival" in black stylized font against a white background

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.

Book cover for Stories We Tell After Midnight Volume Three with list of authors, title, edited by Rachel A. Brune and an image of a skull and skeleton fading into the black background

“From Them Prostrate I Flee”

“I don’t have any trouble remembering my dad, though. I have no trouble remembering his rage, my fear, and the way the ground opened up and it was the only way out that April night in 1987.”

The Molotov Cocktail Elemental Flash Issue cover with a golden person or god perhaps on fire descending into a green gas or the atmosphere of a planet, with other planets or moons and a starscape in the background

“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 during those scenes. I don’t forgive the films these scenes.

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 films today.

Tucson Poetry Festival 2021 Poster with illustration of mountains and details about dates and featured poets: Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, 2021 with workshops taught by Linda D. Addison, Raquel Gutiérrez, Eduardo C. Corral, and Jake Skeets, a reading, and an open mic

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?!) on Sunday afternoon, April 18, 2021.

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 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.

‎⁨Rocky Mountain National Park⁩, ⁨Estes Park⁩, ⁨Colorado⁩, ⁨United States⁩

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 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.

Nightmare Issue 93 June 2020 cover art by Grandfailure / Fotolia with character in full face mask and red digital eyes, surrounded by haze and pixelated rectangles of various colors. Text: Nightmare Horror & Dark Fantasy, list of included authors G.V. Anderson, Laird Barron, Ashley Deng, and Robert Shearman, Issue 93 | June 2020, Edited by John Joseph Adams

Review: 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 G.V. Anderson, which can you can find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It’s real. AHHH!

Fantasy Issue 61 November 2020 Cover art by Alexandra Petruk/Adobe Stock Image with tree-like deity holding a human in their branch hands and staring at them intensely. White text for magazine title and issue information, with editor names and names of included poets and writers.

Review: 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 timely relaunch, to be sure.

Lightspeed Issue 126 November 2020 cover art by Roman3d / Adobe Stock Image with character in headgear and mask with heads up display crossing forearms in an x in front

Review: 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 by the end.

Friday the 13th (1980) theatrical poster.jpg

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!

Book cover for Autumncrow by Cameron Chaney with farmer's skeleton holding a carved pumpkin on Halloween with the town of Autumncrow Valley and a full moon in the background

Review: 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.

Black header to support Black lives matter

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 looting but stay quiet about the murders, violence, and oppression that prompted the latest historic demonstrations and remonstrations.”

Review: 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 book cover with illustrated crows standing on top of an illustrated doorway open to a picture of trees stand stark and tall in the snow

Review: 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.

Screen shot of table of contents of Issue 37 of online journal Eye to the Telescope

“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.”

Banner for K-12 Poetry Contest presented by Arizona Public Media, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, and Pima County Public Library, with illustrated Arizona desert and sky scene in background

Submission Opportunity: 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.

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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.

Book cover of the SFPA 2020 Rhysling Anthology with a waterfall falling from a large mushroom mountain

Review: 2020 Rhysling Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Book cover of the SFPA 2020 Rhysling Anthology with a waterfall falling from a large mushroom mountain

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.

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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.

Book cover of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo with white text including text that appears shattered over a black background

Review: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Book cover of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo with white text including text that appears shattered over a black background

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.

h+ logo with falling leaves in header 2020

h+

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.

Painbow Header with rainbow gradient against white background

Painbow

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 Header 2020 with silhouette of radio telescope

RADIO Frontier Channel

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.

Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center from The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth - This view of Earth's horizon as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crew member onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible." [Credit from Wikipedia]

Frontier Channel

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.”

Flashpocalypse Short List

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

Review: 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, becomes unputdownable.

Review: 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

Review: Phreak by JE Solo

Book cover of Phreak by JE Solo with shadow of a person in hoodie against a chainlink fence

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.

Review: Snow by Ronald Malfi

Book cover for Snow by Ronald Malfi featuring a tree with a eerie blue figure peering out at the snowy landscape and a gate

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.

Review: We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk

Book cover for We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk with a man in shadows and a straight jacket

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.

Screen shot of table of contents of Issue 36 of online journal Eye to the Telescope

“Witch House”

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

List of Impossible Archetype Issue 7 poets under journal logo, release date, and URL

“Passage”

“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.

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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!

Coppice & Brake book cover with illustrated crows standing on top of an illustrated doorway open to a picture of trees stand stark and tall in the snow

“The Yogurt Swimmer”

“A snout breaks the surface of Greek yogurt in the 32-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. Mel is at daycare, Bill at his office. I’m between jobs and spend my days looking for work and being the stay-at-home dad, which includes grocery shopping

“I’m not eating this.”

“Rail Work”

“You ended up back here at the train station after you burned your mom’s house to the ground. You sit down on a bench under the eaves, and the dark clouds that followed you back drop a curtain of rain between the platform and the tracks. The vanishing point of the rails isn’t far off in either direction. The world isn’t shrinking; it has imploded.”

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.

NaNoWriMo Calendar

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.

Orange painted blue and sliced in half, on blue surface

Upcoming Appearance: 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, the dark, and the unreal.”

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launch on August 12 2005

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.

Partial solar eclipse through the shadows of leaves on pavement at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona on August 21, 2017

Shadow Award 2019 Short List

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

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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.

Review: Kids by The Midnight

Album cover for Kids by The Midnight

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

Recommendation: “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.

List of Impossible Archetype Issue 5 poets under journal logo, release date, and URL

“Distraction”

“I watch light flicker under the bathroom door. / I watch the clock. / I watch one foot with a sock on jealous of the other.”

Review: 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.

Macbook Lamp Notebook Desk writing

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…

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

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

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.

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.

Frontier Channel Mars Header 2020 with website text next to image of Mars

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 Ultima Thule”



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.

New Year, New Day, New Image of Ultima Thule

01 January 2019 image of Ultima Thule by New Horizons spacecraft and sketch of object and rotation courtesy James Tuttle Keane

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.

New Horizons at Ultima Thule

Image of Ultima Thule taken by the LORRI onboard the New Horizons spacecraft in the Kuiper Belt

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.)

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