Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We Can't Help it if We're From Florida Release Party

Hi, all!  I don't want to get to cliche, but I had the most magical time at the release party for We Can't Help it if We're from Florida. You might recall that I had the honor of reading my essay from the anthology earlier this month at The Miami Book Fair! The turnout was incredible. (Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with me, especially my dear friends, Rita and Arielle!)

After my reading, I got to sign several copies of the anthology and also meet one of my writing idols, Lindsay Hunter! I cannot begin to thank Burrow Press and Shane Hinton, enough for including me. It was one of my proudest moments.

If you have a chance please check out We Can't Help it if We're From Florida--we Floridians are more than just Disney World.

Here are a couple more photos from the event. (Me with Lindsay and my dear friends!) Above is a photo of me signing!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Reading at the Miami Book Fair!

Hi, all! Words cannot even begin to express how honored I was to read at the Miami Book Fair! I haven't really posted about it because life has been too crazy as usual, but I had a short essay published in the anthology, We Can't Help it if We're From Florida. I am alongside some of my favorite writers such as Lindsay Hunter, Sarah Gerard, and Lydia Yuknavitch! Even cooler: my creative writing professor John Henry Fleming is also in the anthology. It's a wonderful feeling to know that my work was included in the same book as the professor who helped to mold the beginning stages of my writing. Last, the anthology got the official stamp of approval from National Book Award finalist, Lauren Groff! 

Now that I've gushed about the anthology, it's time to gush about the Miami Book Fair! I was lucky enough to be invited by Burrow Press to read from the anthology. In case you haven't heard of the Miami Book Fair, it is the largest book fair in the United States. So many awesome authors attend each year. This year, one of my favorites, Edwidge Danticat, sat in the audience while I read. Talk about a lot of pressure. The reading went well, and even though my time was short, I'm glad that I had the opportunity. I will forever be grateful. 

Here I am pictured with my dear friend, Letisia Cruz, who came out to hear me read! 

More photos from the festival:

Monday, October 23, 2017

New YA Short Story in The Thrill of the Hunt: Welcome to Whitebridge Anthology

Hi, all! I am so pleased to announce that I have a new YA short story in the latest Thrill of the Hunt Anthology! If you're not familiar with the Thrill of the Hunt anthologies from Palmas Press, the mastermind behind it is LE Perez. My short story, The Heart is a Strong Muscle is in the third book in the series. The story follows Isabelle, a teenager who just lost her parents in a tragic plane crash. When she is sent to live with her estranged grandparents in the mysterious town of Whitebridge, she notices immediately that something isn't quite right. She discovers the bone-chilling truth about why her parents stayed clear of Whitebridge.

If you know me at all, then you know that I find it difficult to write short stories of more than 1,000 words. I tend to be short-winded in general. It was a challenge to write a short story that was not only outside of my genre, but outside of my ideal word count. It came in at a little over 4,000 words. Nevertheless, I'm happy to say that I am quite pleased with the result and I'm really glad that the editor pushed me.

You can read my story by purchasing a print copy or eBook (which I highly recommend! So many talented authors alongside me!). My story will also be available as a standalone from Palmas Press starting next month!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Short Story Publication!
Artwork by Katiana Robles

Hi, all! I am thrilled to share that I have a new story out this month with Ghost Parachute Literary Magazine! It's called Saved and you can read it via the Ghost Parachute website. This is my second time publishing with this particular literary magazine and I am so very honored to be included again. (You can find my other story, In the Dark, here.) I'm beyond thankful to the Editor-in-Chief, Brett Pribble, for championing my work. If you have a few spare moments it takes about five minutes to read! I'd also love to hear your thoughts. While you're there be sure to read some of the other wonderful authors I'm alongside, such as John King, J. Bradley, and more!

P.S. How amazing is this artist? Thank you Katiana Robles for creating this artwork to accompany my story!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Publication in Reaching Beyond the Saguaros

Hi, all! I'm thrilled to announce that I have a short prose piece in the anthology, Reaching Beyond the Saguaros: A Collaborative Prosimetric Travelogue. The anthology is edited by Heather Lang (I can't thank her enough for including me) and it's out now from Serving House Books! If you'd like to support my work, the work of other phenomenal writers, and a fantastic indie press, then please consider buying a copy! You can go directly to the Serving House Books site or to the Amazon link. Thanks for reading!

Here's a little about the anthology: "In Reaching Beyond the Saguaros, a book titled for its beginning roots in the Southwest, contributors write themselves around the globe, connecting pieces of their individual hometowns. Inspired by the seventeenth-century haibun's concision, imagistic tendencies, and subtle interplay between poetry and prose, this contemporary travelogue features writing by RenĂ©e Ashley, Carol Fragale Brill, Letisia Cruz, Walter Cummins, Nina Foxx, R. G. Evans, Racquel Henry, H. L. Hix, Thomas E. Kennedy, Minna Zallman Proctor, and others."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Publication - Past Ten

I have a new short essay out over at Past Ten! Past Ten was created by Donald Quist and involves writers reflecting on the differences between who they were and who they are.

My assigned date was March 15th 2007. It was interesting to see how different things in my life were at that point. If you have a second, check out the site and check out my essay. I'm grateful to be included among so many talented writers. My thanks to Donald for publishing my work.

Loose Lips Reading - March Edition

Loose Lips is a monthly reading series hosted by Tod Caviness in the Orlando area. Readers read prose or poetry and the only requirement is that the piece has to be inspired by the given month's news headlines. I had a fantastic time reading at the March show along with Josh Dull, Darlyn Finch Kuhn, and John King! If you couldn't attend the reading, or if you're not local, you can listen to the live recording on Episode 250 of The Drunken Odyssey with John King Podcast. I'm the second reader.

Many thanks to The Drunken Odyssey with John King Podcast and Shawn McKee for recording the reading and providing us with a fancy link!

AWP 2017 Recap

This past February I had the honor of being on the panel, "Declaring Independence: Surviving Outside of Academia" at AWP 2017 in Washington, DC. My fellow panelists included, Angela Mitchell, Vanessa Blakeslee and Colette Sartor. We discussed what it takes to start teaching your own creative writing classes in the nontraditional environment (meaning outside of an institution of higher learning). We had a great turnout and the audience asked some thought-provoking questions. It was a pleasure to talk about how I started Writer's Atelier.

Black Fox Literary Magazine also had a spot at the LitLando table. We were alongside local literary buddies, Burrow Press, Ghost Parachute Magazine, The Jack Kerouac Project Writing Residency, and The Drunken Odyssey with John King Podcast.

Below are some additional photos from the trip. I'm looking forward to next year when AWP comes to Tampa, FL!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Interview with Jenny Torres Sanchez

Hi, all! As some of you may know, I'm a contributing editor for Fantastic Floridas, an online lit journal by Burrow Press. I had the privilege of interviewing Jenny Torres Sanchez about writing YA and also her new book, Because of the Sun (Delacorte/Random House, 2017). It's published on the Burrow Press website. Check it out if you get a chance! Here's the link to the interview. By the way, if you haven't had a chance to read Because of the Sun, what are you waiting for? Get out to your local bookstores (support indies!) and grab a copy! It's SO GOOD and it contains a bear attack. Need I say more?

I'm In: New Member of The YA Chicks!

Hi, all! It's official...I'm now a YA Chick! I've admired the original YA Chicks, Amy Christine Parker, Christina Farley and Vivi Barnes for quite some time. I've even had them come to Writer's Atelier to do guest workshops. When they asked if I'd like to join the YA Chicks, I had to pinch myself! I'm so excited to join along with Lynne Matson and Lucienne Diver! Here's the link to the announcement on the brand new YA Chicks website. We're also hosting a giveaway to win a copy of 6 books! Don't miss out!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Publication: In the Dark

Hi, all! It's a fantastic thing when you start the year with a new publication credit. I am happy to report that my flash story, In the Dark, was published on January 1, 2017 with Ghost Parachute Literary Magazine. If you have a second to read it, please do. I'm alongside some very talented writers, such as Rachel Kolman and Whitney Hamrick. I am ever grateful to the fantastic Editor-in-Chief, Brett Pribble, who liked the story enough to include it in the January issue. If you have a flash story of your own, I would highly recommend submitting it to Ghost Parachute!

Reading with Lauren Groff

Hi, all! I didn't have a chance to post it (it has been a busy year!), but I had the honor of reading with the fabulous Lauren Groff, National Book Award finalist and author of Fates and Furies. I have been following Burrow Press for quite some time (since I was in Tampa). They host a quarterly(ish) reading series called Functionally Literate.  When I finally moved back to my hometown of Orlando, I promptly looked up the next function and committed to going. It was also during the time I was starting Writer's Atelier.

I was blown away by the event itself. It was so well organized, the readers were super talented, and people actually cared to show up to a reading. I thought about me publishing my own book and eventually being a reader for the series--but that was a long way off.

Or so I thought.

One afternoon I got an email from the publisher, Ryan Rivas, asking if I wanted to be an opening reader for Lauren Groff. The Lauren Groff. It would be me and another ultra talented writer by the name of Hunter Choate who would open up for her. I read it over and over again, checking to make sure that it wasn't a mistake that he had sent it to me. I immediately responded that I would be thrilled to be a reader, even though reading in font of anyone terrifies the hell out of me, let alone reading with The Lauren Groff.

At the time, the reading was four months away, and I spent a good deal of time agonizing over what I would read. I settled on a novel excerpt. I met Lauren the day of and she was so nice. We discussed writing and running a writing center. Once I got up on that stage, it felt good to be there. What a privilege. Overall, it was a pretty magical experience indeed.

If you want to watch the clip of me reading, you can find it here.