Friday, July 26, 2013

SAD: summer affective disorder

I enjoy summer. Yet there is inevitably a mid-point where I begin to freak out about how fast time seems to go, how quick summer wraps up… and this midpoint is usually in July. It’s at this time, when there is still a full month or more of sunny days to enjoy, that I begin to miss summer while she’s still here. It’s the equivalent of missing a person who is sitting across the table from you right now.

And, yet, this lament makes perfect sense to me. Once the Fourth of July wraps up, retail establishments stock their end-caps and seasonal aisles with back to school deals. Television commercials begin rolling out advertising about nabbing the hottest trends for fall. A trip into Macy’s will reveal fall jackets, cute boots, and maybe even a wooly scarf or two. The tents, BBQs, and pool toys are now on sale. These are items of nostalgia, they say, with their red clearance stickers crying out against the more necessary, or more timely, oversized backpacks and spiral notebooks.

It doesn’t help that this past week has featured temperatures more suited to fall. I feel as though, at any moment, a gang of costumed children will walk up to the house and demand treats. I have indeed been tricked. It feels like fall, but it shouldn’t.

I enjoy back-to-school shopping as much as the next writer. It’s a time of new pens, notepads, binder clips, and more. The panic, then, is not about fall approaching. It is about summer’s departure. It is a necessary reminder that time is short, the long days and well-lit evenings will soon come to an end. It is a reminder that there is still time to play, if I take notice.

Friday, July 19, 2013

new low-res MFA at U King’s Halifax

I’m thrilled to be one of the mentoring faculty members in the new Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is a two-year low-residency program that includes two summer residencies in Halifax and two winter residencies alternating between Toronto and New York. Summer residencies take place in August, while winter residencies take place in January.

Visit the program website to learn more.

View the MFA program brochure on

This promo video on YouTube was done by Natascia Lypny, who graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Journalism degree at King’s and is now a summer intern at the Ottawa Citizen. The video was produced by Nance Ackerman, an MJ grad and photojournalist.

King’s also offers Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Journalism programs.

Program director Stephen Kimber was interviewed in The Low-Residency MFA Handbook. Preview the book on  

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Friday, July 12, 2013

new issue of Poets' Quarterly

The summer issue of Poets' Quarterly is now live, with 19 reviews, 4 essays, and 3 interviews.

Check out the latest at 

Be sure to look at Kevin Brown’s essay, “What I Learned as a Literary Journal Reader.” Here’s a quick preview:

"We often hear about the challenging job market and how any small error can cause one to have his or her resume pulled from the pile. The same is true when it comes to submissions."

And, if you're a writer and/or reviewer, check out the Submission Guidelines! The fall issue deadline is September 30th. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Novel Debut from Lauren Catron

Michigan author Lauren Catron has been busy since graduating with her MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. With the launch of her debut novel this summer, Catron has been putting her effort into finessing her website—and writing a sequel. Changeling Eyes is the first book in the series.

“In a way, The Aesir Chronicles are an alternate history of earth,” Catron says, “one that explains why we have legends of unicorns, fairies, Elves, trolls, dragons and many more. It is also a place if you will, where science, magic, and religion are all part of a whole rather than each excluding the other, as we always seem to think they must.”

The first book introduces Lrill and her struggle with her powerful heritage, and the revelation that there is a core of truth at the center of every legend. “I plan for the series to span from the creation of the world to its destruction and rebirth,” says Catron. “And since I’ve chosen to make this an alternate history of earth, I have every myth from every culture to play with—sort of like what Jim Butcher does in the Dresden Files. So you can anticipate cultural crossovers.”

Changeling Eyes is hot off the presses with Booktrope Publishing. Catron says she admires their publishing model that relies on a solid team to work toward the success of the book. The author, editor, proofreader, cover designer, and book manager all work together to ensure the best for the book. “This also gives the author a great deal of input into their cover design,” Catron says “The author can also commission work from a designer who does not work for Booktrope, and Booktrope will usually find a way to accommodate this choice.”

Catron is already at work on a sequel. “I also have a few Graphic Novel ideas," she says, "though those are a couple years out in my plans. Most of my writing centers around The Aesir Chronicles and I find that whenever I dream up as a standalone novel idea, I can find an excuse to tie it back into the main series. Having the entire world’s pool of myth and legend to work out of it makes it easy to tie things together. I have some vampires and a little steampunk, and maybe ninjas.”

Readers will find more news and updates about the series on Lauren Catron’s website, Order Changeling Eyes from

Friday, July 5, 2013

review: 'Conquistador of the Useless’ by Joshua Isard

Hey, folks. Head on over to, where I’m pleased to share this book review of Conquistador of the Useless by Joshua Isard:

"Author Joshua Isard crafts a tale full of wit and insight into a world where youth and adult choices collide." - read more of my review here.
Conquistador of the Useless by Joshua Isard