Posted in Writing

Phoenix

WOW.

That’s how I felt when I found out my story “Phoenix” had been selected as a runner-up in the WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest.

I’ve been a WOW! reader for years. I first discovered their quarterly flash fiction contest back in 2013. I submitted a couple of times, without success. My writing wasn’t at the level they sought, and I didn’t yet have a good grasp of what flash fiction really meant. But I started reading their blog, The Muffin, where I drew inspiration from their writing tips and anecdotes, eventually becoming a guest blogger myself, twice in 2014 (in September and November) and again in 2016. I was honored to have my words share space with the women who had motivated me.

This fall, I decided I was ready to give the flash fiction contest another try. I submitted my 748-word story “Phoenix” and crossed my fingers.

“Phoenix” is a subtly witchy story about the power of nature and the power we hold within ourselves. It’s about persistence and sacrifice and a love for unwanted things. It’s unlike most of the pieces I write, and I didn’t know how it would be received, so I was ecstatic when I learned it had placed in the top ten of the contest.

(A visual collage of “Phoenix”)

I want to thank the editors at WOW! for selecting my story as a finalist and Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency for choosing it as a runner-up. I appreciate you giving Gwen and her story a home.

Go to this link to read all the winning stories from the Fall 2018 Flash Fiction Contest. Or, to skip straight to “Phoenix,” simply click here.

WOW! will be publishing an interview with me on The Muffin, so if you’re interested in hearing the background story of “Phoenix” and what the writing process was like, stay tuned…

Posted in Random, Writing

Guest Post, Horror, YA, & The Mysterious Disappearance of March

 

March is almost over, which is just weird. Where did it go? No, I mean, seriously, where did March go? I feel like I blinked and missed it. But then I look at my to-do lists and my all-done lists and I realize that a lot of it went where months always go—into books and poems and computer screens and dog walks and libraries and schools and, sometimes, into the very bottom of bags of Milano Double Chocolate cookies. And that’s okay.

I wanted to post here one more time before March waves its final goodbye, to catch you up on some things you might have missed and some things that are happening now and some things to look forward to in the future.

First and foremost… this is my new favorite t-shirt.

Am_Writing

 

Awesome, right? I think so too. Ok, moving on.

Guest Post News

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guest post called “Tuning in to Good Writing” for the WOW! Women on Writing blog. If you missed it, you should check it out here. Feel free to leave a comment on their site about what kind of music you listen to when you write.

Horror News

My short story “The Other House” is out now in the latest issue of Under the Bed. You can download it here it for just $3.99. And if you buy it by Friday, April 1, 2016, you can enter the coupon code SPRINGSALE to get 50% off. $2.00 for five stories is a pretty good deal. My story was inspired by my friend’s three-year-old daughter and her vivid imagination. I hope you enjoy it!

UndertheBedVol04No06

YA News

Lastly, I am SO excited to announce that my short story “Teardrops and Watermelon Seeds” has been accepted for publication in Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things and Spark: A Creative Anthology. Writers, like parents, probably aren’t supposed to have favorites among their literary children, but this coming of age YA story with magical realism holds a special place in my heart, and I’m thrilled that it’s found a home in these beautiful publications. I don’t yet know which issues will include my work, but I promise to keep you posted.

EmberAndSpark

Well, that’s it. Now March can blow on out of here and April can have its turn. Let’s all agree to slow down a bit and enjoy it, shall we?

Posted in Poetry, Writing

Updates & Announcements

FallLeaves

Hello all!

I hope everyone’s having a happy holiday weekend. I’m on vacation too. In fact, I’m not *really* posting this right now. I’m really eating pie(s) and playing games with my family. This blog post is all an illusion. Kinda spooky, huh? (Sorry, I think I’m a little lightheaded from all the sweets.) Anyway, I’m going to keep it short today so that you can get back to your own pie-eating, football-watching, and gift-shopping ASAP.

I just have a few announcements to make.

First, my flash fiction piece “My New Place” was published at MicroHorror earlier this month, and somehow I forgot to share it! Check it out here when you have a minute. It won’t take long to read—all of MicroHorror’s pieces have to be 666 words or less.

I’ve also received some good news regarding my poetry. Sirius Education Solutions asked for permission to reprint my poem “Enchanted Rock in September” in their Grade 7 STAAR Reading Review and Preparation workbook, and I agreed. So if you’re in the seventh grade or if you teach seventh grade reading, be on the lookout for it. I’m interested to see what questions they ask about my poem.

I entered several poems in this year’s Poetry Society of Texas’ annual awards competition, and twelve of them placed in the top ten in their contests, ranging from 2nd to 10th place. I’d like to share one of them with you here. “Old Soul” earned eighth place (out of fifty-two entries) in the Oscar A. Fasel Memorial Award.

Old Soul

Not even two years old,
but already I see your puppy face changing,
taking in the world, gathering knowledge,
new epiphanies every day.

It’s not hard to look down the road a ways,
and see you in your later years—
I can picture your graying muzzle,
and the sigh you will make
as you lower your aging bones to the ground,
the way you’ll ease yourself onto the sofa
or maybe need a little help.

You may be young, but you have an old soul.

Even now,
you look at me with those insightful eyes,
full of answers, of understanding,
full of the simplicity of a life
I make so complex.

There’s no doubt in my mind
you’ll be a wise old dog someday,
a quiet companion, a peaceful protector,
content to rest on the porch
watching the squirrels in the backyard,
thinking of your youth
and the days when you chased
their great-grandparents
up trees.

My inspiration for "Old Soul"
My inspiration for “Old Soul”

And last, but definitely not least, today I have another guest post on the Muffin, the blog of WOW! Women on Writing. Click here to read “The Gifts We Are Given.”

Okay, that’s it! You can go get another piece of pie now. Or take a nap. Or maybe a walk. Whatever you think is best. 🙂

[Note: Comments are turned off for this post, but feel free to share your thoughts on “My New Place” or “The Gifts We Are Given” on the MicroHorror or Muffin websites.]