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My Family Voted for Trump: Searching for Understanding Amid the Fear

My Family Voted for Trump: Searching for Understanding Amid the Fear

Several members of my family and friends supported Donald Trump in the presidential election. I’ve been trying to understand why, while grappling with the fear of an uncertain future. Fear is a familiar concept to any marginalized group. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I’ve experienced it all throughout my life. And in the wake of this historic presidential election, I’m feeling fear that I never hoped I would have to face again and fear that I’ve never quite faced…

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Prolific and Diverse

Prolific and Diverse

  "Learning to be prolific would be high on my list of the most valuable writing skills a professional writer can have." – Brent Hartinger The quote above, which Brent Hartinger recently made on his Facebook page, landed in my newsfeed at the most convenient time – a time when I was yet again questioning my future as a writer. As I’ve documented plenty of times on the blog, my journey has been stalled by rejection after rejection, even after…

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The Unfinished Manuscript

The Unfinished Manuscript

"I won't leave any unfinished manuscripts." – Harold Robbins (Good for you, Harold. I can't make such a bold statement.) Question for writers: How many unfinished books are collecting digital dust in your computer's filing cabinet? There’s a folder on my desktop called Writing. Within that folder are several additional folders for each of the projects I’ve worked on over the years – novels, screenplays, short fiction, poetry. There are outlines, character biographies, and of course the manuscripts themselves. Some of them are…

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Writing Actually is Rewriting

Writing Actually is Rewriting

You've heard it a thousand times: "writing is rewriting." Yawn! But actually, it's so true that it's punch-you-in-the-gut frustrating. I’ve documented the writing process of my first manuscript, Welcome to Straightville, ever since I started this website, and it’s a process that is still in motion. In a nutshell, I started writing the book during a semester break in graduate school back in 2008. I worked on it slowly over the next few years before I decided that a writer…

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How to Build a Book Tree, Part Deux

How to Build a Book Tree, Part Deux

In my last post, I provided a step-by-step guide to building a book tree for the holidays. I approached the project with limited research and a limited number of books, ending up with a rather small tree that, while cute, was just a little too little for my liking. If Charlie Brown had built a book tree for the Christmas play, it would've looked a little something like mine. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad. But after staring at the…

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How to Build a Book Tree

How to Build a Book Tree

I'm a holiday decor minimalist. I haven't put up a Christmas tree since adopting pets (because I learned the hard way that cats and Christmas trees don't mix). Instead, I've opted for a novelty Charlie Brown tree and some garland around my fireplace mantel. But I was recently at Cathedral Cafe, a charming little eatery in Fayetteville, W.Va., and was quite taken with their giant book tree. Despite the fact that it's mid-November, I raced home to give it a try myself.  There…

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Writing is Rewriting

Writing is Rewriting

This whole novel writing without novel selling thing has been a blast, but… For those of you who may be new to my little corner of the Internet, let me catch you up before telling you how I plan to spend my summer rewriting pretty much everything I've ever written. 2008: I started writing my first novel. 2011: I finally finished what I thought was a decent draft of that novel and began querying literary agencies (far too soon, I…

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Stanzas 4: Together We Move On

Stanzas 4: Together We Move On

This is the fourth entry into Stanzas, a feature on the blog in which I share some of the poetry and lyrics I've written over the years, along with the stories of what inspired them. Together We Move On Don’t be afraid. The stars are rearranging And the moon at night Will lead the way until the dawn. The tears we cry Form a river to the ocean. Leave the past behind you, Together we move on.   A new horizon…

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Books as Baby Shower Gifts

Books as Baby Shower Gifts

Lately, I’ve found myself immersed in children’s literature. I primarily write Young Adult fiction, so I’m never too far from books with a youthful slant, but I’m talking about even younger than that. As discussed in this post, the cool folks at Read Aloud West Virginia are all about such books right now, and I was excited when their mission spilled over into my day job. Then, I started shopping for a couple of good friends who were expecting their…

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Stanzas 3: Wander

Stanzas 3: Wander

This is the third entry into Stanzas, a feature on the blog in which I share some of the poetry and lyrics I've written over the years, along with the stories of what inspired them. Wander "Oh, Francis, it's so good to see you," they said. "It's been such a long, long time. Come and sit with us here at the table And stay with us for a while."   Francis sat down and told of his travels, Describing these places…

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