Success at Last!


The time has come. The email arrived. And not only one but two stories have been published this season in the Fall 2012 edition of the Gila River Review! This is amazing news, and makes for a very Merry Christmas indeed! Both ‘Wild Turkeys’ and ‘You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy’ are now forever posted on the Review’s website, emblazoned with my name.

Please, click here to view this edition of the Review. Enjoy my stories, as well as the other works, especially those of my friends Audra and Lynne; congratulation ladies!


And along with this fabulous news comes a new responsibility. I must get to writing! I’ve only one finished story left that hasn’t been published, and if I want to submit next season, I’d best have more than one story! So the ‘Ghost Story’, as it’s so poorly called for now, is in full swing, with a longer “short” story being outlined for after, as well as a sci-fi comedy told in three parts for after that. Busy lady from here on out, that’s me!


Thanks to everyone who follows this blog and helps keep my pen to paper, wouldn’t be here without you.



The Return, At Last


I’m back, and not just in reference to this blog.

The Gila River Review has picked up at least one of my stories. I sent them two, and won’t know until the first week of December which one they chose, and it could even be both!

This is beyond exciting news! Obviously it feels great to know that a team liked my work enough to put it in their magazine. But the other thing is this, if the Review picked both stories, that leaves me with only one story that hasn’t been published. Which means it’s time to start writing!

And so today I wrote a quick page and a half of my “Ghost Story” while sitting at Starbucks. It’s the most I’ve written in months, and it feels amazing! To quote a great movie, “I’m back in the game!”

Now to just get down a rhythm and keep myself accountable!


Thanks for following along,




P.S. Happy Holidays, if I don’t post again before they’ve passed.

Deciding Not to Wait

Hey Blogland,

I have now heard back from Damselfly Press, The Storm Cellar Quarterly, and Unmanned Press. They have all turned down my story Fallen Star.

Now before we get all down in the dumps, lets remember that this is what we do. We write something, we initially feel great about it. Great enough to send it out to let the world see it. And then we get rejection letter after rejection letter, until we’re convinced we’ve been foolish. We mope. We berate ourselves, begging what were we thinking?

But, lets skip over that and own what it is we do. We write stories, and then search to give them the perfect home.

And so, I’m still waiting to hear back from the Gila River Review about “You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy” and “Wild Turkeys”. But in the meantime, it’s time to continue submitting!

So let’s leave it at this: the more you submit, the better your chances are!




Submission Update


I submitted both ‘Wild Turkeys’ and ‘You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy’ to the Gila River Review! Hopefully I’ll hear something before too long! Naturally these stories are going to be removed until I find out their publication status.

Still no word from Damselfly Press, though they just finished their submission period on the 15th, so I’ll have to give it some time.

Is anyone else submitting this season?



Relapse and New Beginnings


Sorry for the gap in posts. I’ve been a bad little writer. I’ve ignored my novel for a solid month. I didn’t finish it by today, and so in the spirit of being bad have extended my personal deadline to Christmas. I know… bad decision. But sometimes you have to shoot yourself in the foot a little.

In the interim I’ve focused on life here in Oregon. I’m making new friends and missing old ones. I’m enjoying a life that suddenly feels so more adult. So many milestones, most small and only important to me. Having my own car and medical insurance policies chief among them. It’s taken more out of me to adjust to life here than I’d originally anticipated. What I thought was life settling down, was really just my brain realizing that this is where I live. And after that came accepting it.

I’ve spent the last month or so being intermittently morose and euphoric. A pride and joy like I’ve never known has filled me with every wooded view and cool breeze, and yet, in the still of the night I imagine the dry warmth of Arizona evenings. A sheer layer of sweat covering my body in a way I may never know here. The embrace of desert crickets, so much more high-pitched in their cries than the wood dwelling one in the bush outside my apartment here. And stars… drive into the middle of nowhere in Arizona and I could point out constellations to you from muscle memory. But here the heavens are cockeyed and foreign. It’s the little things that tell me that I’m farther from home than I bargained for. And so, as often as I’m thrilled in learning this new land, I’m saddened at all I’ve left behind.

But enough of my griping. This is a blog about writing!

Today is the first of September, meaning that fall is just around the corner, and most schools are back in session. This means that Literary Journals and Magazines are opening their pages to new works! And this means that I need to get to editing and submitting stories! Which is exactly what I did today!

I have three stories I’m prepping for submissions. Wild Turkeys needs quite a bit more work before I’ll send it, but it will be ready before the month is out. You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy is nearly done, but a piece as short as that one, every word must be carefully considered, so it still needs more attention. And then there’s Fallen Star. Just a single line needs added and it’s ready to go. I’m not sure where I want to send this story, because I think it’s great… But I’m not sure I have the self-confidence to send it to any magazines I feel are “above” me.

Anyway, once these are all ready and out, I’ll get back to the novel. Because it’s not until the novel is done that I’ll let myself start writing anything new. But, I know which work is next in line! I’m really excited to try it out. It’s a great idea, but complicated in application. The story is paranormal in nature, and my friend December will be excited to know that this story is the next one I’ll be working on. She’s been waiting a couple years to see it finished.

Outside of the novel and this one story I have a novella/teen piece, a Fantasy trilogy, a teen novel, and another Fantasy series planned. Obviously this is several years’ worth of work, but at least I know where I’m headed!

If any of you readers are writers looking to submit this Fall, don’t forget to consider The Gila River Review! I’ll be posting about it, so keep an eye out for more info. And if you’d like more lists of journals and magazines, check out this website!


Anyways guys, thanks for reading, as always. I really do appreciate it.



The Lord of the Three Act Structure

It’s that time folks!

Spring break is over, and it’s high time that I posted another blog!

So, first, before I dig in to today’s topic, I want to say that it is a lovely day here in Chandler, AZ. Crisp, clear, and with the recent rain, all the greens are greener. It’s a wonderful day to people watch on campus, and for writing a blog out of doors.

Slightly off topic, this Thursday, the 22nd, if you’re in the area, there will be a New Voices Reading at Phoenix College, in the Willo Room at 6:30pm. I will be reading an excerpt of a short story, so come check it out!

Also, one last memo, the deadline for submissions to The Gila River Review is March 30th, so get those things in!


So, the topic of the hour is….. Three Act Structure!

Now, when I say act, you’re probably thinking plays or scripts, but that isn’t the only format that can benefit from this structure.

Think of your story in the most base of terms. It has a beginning (act 1), middle (act 2), and an end (act 3). See! Just by the very nature of storytelling your story is built in three act structure!

But, it can get quite a bit more in depth than just the components of the story. For instance, take into consideration that each act has goals and purposes.

Act 1 should introduce your main characters and the natural world. It should set up the story goals and the danger/conflict should be introduced. Act 1 will usually be relatively short, just a handful of chapters. It should also springboard into the next act.

Act 2 is the meat of the story. This is where the crap starts to go down and people start getting in deep trouble. Your characters will develop and face challenge after challenge in this act, before facing the climax of the story. Act 2 is a large amount of your story, and should be quite a bit larger than the other acts. It should also act as a springboard into the last act.

Act 3 is the climax. That epic last battle between the good and bad guys. There is usually some form of character epiphany, and then some sort of resolution, although plenty of stories end as soon as the conflict does.

Think of the Lord of the Rings movies. In The Fellowship of the Rings, everyone is introduced, and the goal of the story (destroying the ring) is introduced. In The Two Towers, arguably the best movie of the series, everyone is gathering resources, and facing challenges that lead up to the final one. The Return of the King is act 3. Everyone has come together for the final challenge of destroying the ring. The character epiphany is that Frodo couldn’t do it… After all that time! But, the story goal is still achieved thanks to fate and Gollum.

Now, in The Lord of the Rings, they don’t end as soon as the ring is destroyed. There’s about another 30 minutes of wrapping up every last little detail and personal history. Not my favorite ending for a movie, but it was extremely consistent with the novels, so I appreciate it.

Here are some other great examples of 3 Act Structure:

Star Wars (the original trilogy)
Mass Effect 3
Pretty much every play written by Shakespeare

So, take a look at your story and see if it doesn’t already naturally fit into the three act structure. Just fitting your story into the structure can tell you loads about where your story is going and where it really needs work.


Thanks guys,


Revision: When To, and When Not To

Hello blogland,

The semester is in full swing, and I am really starting to feel it. I’ve got my first big test next week, I’m still reading and writing chapters for my novel writing class, I’m reading submissions for The Gila River Review (the deadline is March 30th!), I’m working almost full time, and I’m editing old stories in preparation for the forming of my “portfolio”. And that’s what brings us here today.

As the title hopefully informed you, this post is about when, and when not, to revise your work.

First, let’s get “when not” out of the way. DO NOT revise your work as you’re writing. This is a terrible idea that writes you into circles and corners. I can’t remember who said this, it certainly isn’t my original phrase, but, don’t let the critic sit down with the artist. When you’re in the process of creating new material, keep writing. No matter how many forms of “to be” are penned, or how many adverbs are included, no matter what, keep moving forward. That’s how books get finished.

It took me a long time to realize that a “finished” story and a publishable story are not the same thing. A finished story, as I now understand it, is one that has a beginning and an end, with some sort of plot and character arc linking them. Only after this has been accomplished should you sit down with that red pen and tear it to shreds.

So let’s get to my favorite part: the red pen.

I know this may seem weird, but I honestly love editing more than I do writing. That’s not to say that I don’t love writing, I just really freaking love editing! I feel more accomplished after sitting with a story for a couple hours and seeing all the changes I’ve made on paper (I ALWAYS edit on hard copies) than looking at what I’ve written in a couple hours. That could have something to do with the fact that I don’t ever seem to write enough, but that’s a topic for another time.

So when do you edit?

Right now I’ve got a pretty good system going. I write my current story, which is the Kevin Foxx novel. That is the only story that I am focusing on creating more content. Advancement of plot, characters, etc. While that’s happening, if I find my attention wandering to new ideas, I outline those. That way, I’m not really writing any new work, but when it’s time to, I have full outlines that will help me focus and remember all those great ideas I had. And then, in order to relax the creativity muscle, I edit stories that are “finished”. I currently have five short stories, all varying from as little as three pages to fifteen pages, that are in some stage of editing.

Now, normally I wouldn’t have so many going at once, I’d focus on one at a time, but my portfolio class meets every other week to discuss how to make one of my stories better, so I’m multi-tasking.

Some of my stories need more work than others. For instance, “Goodbye Marla”, “Wild Turkeys”, and “Fallen Star” all need some minor tweaks to make them the best stories they can be. But, the other two stories, a micro-fiction called “You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy” and my only Sci-Fi piece so far “My Final Frontier” are in desperate need of overhauling.

One of my stories in the process of being edited.

Obviously, if you loath editing, you’re not going to follow the same patterns as I do. This method is what works for me, and I’m still figuring it out. I’m constantly reorganizing how I approach writing, because I believe that things can always be made more efficient. The more organized I am the saner I feel, and the saner I feel, the happier I am with my decision to commit to writing.

So, experiment. Find out what works for you. Maybe this will. or maybe you’ll try this and tweak it to your own needs and create a unique ritual all your own. Either way, I’m glad you’ve made it this far!