The first volume of TOWER Magazine is here, with the theme of END. My prose poem in it, “The Game of Castle Adventure,” pays homage to the titular computer game from my childhood, where you used a combination of direction keys and two-word commands to navigate a black-and-white setting populated by simple characters—literal characters, as in keyboard symbols. I played it back in the ’90s as a kid and decided, as an adult, to really put myself inside it with this piece.
I got really into prose poetry last summer, wanting to expand my skills as a poet and play around with where the format and expectations between verse and story start to get muddied. The TOWER editors and I even briefly questioned which indentations to use (we went with the same they use for more traditional poetry). This is the first time I’ve had a prose poem published. My second one, which I actually wrote right before this one, is due out in the anthology Wind Guide You, also about digital gaming. More to come on that.
Today I want to share a couple of recent reveals for projects I’m involved with.
First, Sword & Kettle Press posted images of the covers of all the chapbooks in the New Cosmologies series, and I am in love with all of them! Monica Robinson has truly knocked it out of the park with these covers. (And I’ve gotten to see the layout of my chapbook, The Inca Weaver’s Tales, and trust me, Naseem Jamnia has done an equally stunning job with the interior.) So excited for these to come out, hopefully later this year!
Second, TOWER Magazine posted a list of the contributors to Vol. 1: End, including the final words from each of our pieces. So cool! The volume is due to come out in less than two weeks. Keep an eye out for additional lead-up posts about some of our favorite endings from a variety of media.
My new story, “The Galapagos Widows,” is included in the Spring 2023 issue of LatineLit. This is probably one of my most personal stories yet. I based it on some family lore from my dad’s side, along with details from a couple of my trips to South America, including visiting relatives in Ecuador and studying abroad in Chile. This story is dark, and it deals with real life tragedies. I of course made things fictionalized and speculative. I finished the first draft in the span of a week, which is inordinately fast for me, and it took a lot out of me. I’m not my character Beatriz, but I appreciated getting to process my emotions through her.
Next week, on April 11th, I’ll be speaking at the Willamette Writers Hillsboro Chapter meeting on the topic Incorporating Your Cultural Roots into Your Writing. This will be a hybrid event, so you can register in advance to join online, or you can show up in person at the Hillsboro Brookwood Library.
Then on April 16th, I’ll be leading an online generative workshop. It will feature some writing prompts designed to help folks generate potential submissions for the Discover Beaverton anthology, but of course you can do whatever you want with the new work you generate.
Both of these events are free to attend and open to all writers. Tell your friends!
I’m excited to share that I’ve sold a new story, “In Defense of Plant Life,” to On Spec, and a prose poem, “The Game of Castle Adventure,” to TOWER Magazine! I also recently worked through edits on my story “The Galapagos Widows,” due out soon in LatineLit.
I continue to chip away at other projects, mostly tweaking some existing story drafts and feeling stymied on a couple of unfinished ones. I’m also working on a presentation and a workshop for next month. Onward!
If you’re not yet a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) but have been considering joining, now is the time! Not only is it a great organization, if you’re a member you can send us your beautiful dark verse! This year I’m one of the judges for the HWA’s annual poetry showcase, along with Colleen Anderson, Timothy P. Flynn, Eugen Bacon, and this year’s showcase editor, Angela Yuriko Smith. We’re celebrating a decade with this one. Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with. Submissions for the Poetry Showcase Volume X will open in April.
I’m back from AWP’s annual conference, held this year in Seattle. I got to meet some of my favorite living writers, including Naomi Shihab Nye, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Christopher Coake, and Brenda Peynado. I met many other writers whose work I’m excited to check out.
I also got to meet up with NaBeela Washington, editor of Lucky Jefferson and my collaborator on the Discover Beaverton anthology, and I got to catch up with one of my professors from my undergrad days and reminisce about my first rejection and acceptance letters (which I still keep to remind myself how far I’ve come).
I enjoyed some downtime at Pike Place Market. I didn’t make it to the Space Needle this time around, but if, fingers crossed, Worldcon 2025 ends up in Seattle, that’ll definitely be on my list. As close as Seattle and Portland are, relatively speaking, I don’t get up to that area very often.
Once I’ve settled back in, I’ll share a couple pieces of news, one fiction related and one poetry related.
I can finally share that I will be the Guest Editor for Lucky Jefferson for their upcoming anthology, Discover Beaverton, all about my hometown of Beaverton, Oregon! Local writers and artists, the call for submissions is open now through the end of April. I can’t wait to see how you celebrate our community with your art. Please visit the Lucky Jefferson website for additional details.
The Hyacinth Review has reprinted my poem “The Ichthyocentaur Beyond Marginalia,” which originally appeared in Honeyguide Literary Magazine. I always enjoy seeing what art The Hyacinth Review pairs with its pieces, and this time it’s an image of a sculpture of Silenus hitching a ride on one of the titular creatures. Similar to my fascination with sphinxes, I love the mix of human and animal parts that make up the ichthyocentaur. I’m sure there’s an analogy for writing in there somewhere.
Call it snowpocalypse. Call it snowmaggedon. Call it what you want, this past Wednesday was the worst winter storm to hit Portland since 1943, and I got caught in it big-time. Portlanders can’t drive in the snow, even if it’s a light dusting—which this wasn’t, it was an onslaught that immobilized the entire metro region. I hate driving even in perfectly good conditions, but I had to buckle down and channel some Mad Max combat driving. Okay, more like inching along up various bridges and slanty streets while trying not to get hit by large vehicles spinning out around me.
Things worked out fine for me overall, but my heart goes out to everyone who ended up in precarious situations, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all the good Samaritans out there who offered to help total strangers. My family helped me through the ordeal, even from afar. Once they knew I was safe, they all said I should write a story about my experience. I just might someday. It’s still too raw right now.