Witches: A Haiku

gather my witches:
the women who burned at stake
for the sins of men

gather my witches
save them from the salt marshes
let their bones breathe free

gather, my witches,
let us ride out and show them
fire cannot break us

gather, my witches,
we are the phoenix, and they,
are nothing but ash

Find more autumn and Halloween-themed haiku on my Medium page. And if you like what you’ve read, please consider leaving a tip. All donations will be used for reading fees to poetry and lit magazines.

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Death: A Haiku

when I think of death
I don’t imagine Heaven,
pearly gates open wind

when I think of death
I see only a void, and
hear only silence

when I think of death
I wish I could believe God
waits with open arms

I am not a religious person but sometimes I wish I was. I think it can be a comfort to people in hard times.

Find more autumn and Halloween-themed haiku on my Medium page. And if you like what you’ve read, please consider leaving a tip. All donations will be used for reading fees to poetry and lit magazines.

Other ways to support me:

Black: A Haiku

black lacquer shimmers
I file my nails to deadly
points of gothic dread

I’ve mentioned a couple times I’m currently working on a series of haiku based on a list of autumn and Halloween-inspired art and writing prompts I found on Twitter. I’m a year and 25 days late to this challenge, but I’m hopeful I can finish it before the end of the month. With the holiday season fast approaching, I’ll be wanting to do focus on something else. Maybe even a winter and Christmas-themed series of haiku is in order.

If you’re interested in reading the other haiku in this series, please check out my Medium page.

The button at the bottom is of this post takes you to my shiny new Buy Me a Coffee page. Or, in my case, Buy Me a BOOK page. I’d greatly appreciate any tips, which will go towards reading fees for poetry and lit mags.

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Mountains Out of Molehills

there in the distance
hazy peak reaching for blue
my mountain to climb

journey forward and
up a jagged precipice
my fingers bloodied

determination
I will not be left to rot
upon this dark rock

this mountain, though of
my own creation, will not
be my final death

It’s been an odd handful of days for me. I’ve been laser-focused on writing, blogging, and trying to think of ways to further my success. It’s still my dream to someday be able to make a living off my writing. I’m not sure where this burst of motivation came from, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Over the past year or so, my confidence in my writing ability has grown tenfold. I used to be someone who hated everything I wrote and always struggled to share it with the world. I read my writing now and I don’t immediately cringe doing so. There have been a few pieces I’ve liked enough to want to submit them–and was successful doing so. Maybe this is a sign of maturity, or maybe my friend Katie Staten, with her constant support, has finally convinced me I’m not a terrible writer.

I wrote this connected series of haiku when I was in a really dark place. I was considering giving up writing for good. I thought I’d never accomplish anything with it. I knew, though, if I did, I’d be unhappy for the rest of my life. Hard as it may be, I love writing, and without the release it provides, I’d probably go insane. So I wrote this poem to remind myself that, though the going may be tough, the end of the journey is always worth it. So like the little engine that could, I just keep chugging along. I’ve got a long way to go yet but, right now, it feels doable.

If you’d like to read more of my poetry, stop by my Medium page. I’ve been working on a series of autumn and Halloween-inspired haiku that are, in my not-so-humble opinion, cute and a lot of fun. I hope to see you there!

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Invisible Enemies

I admit, when I started this page (or any of my social media accounts), I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t to stare at my lack of engagement and feel like all my effort is for naught.

Maybe my expectations were just too high.

Let’s be real: building a social media presence is hard. Marketing is hard. WRITING is hard–and when I fail at the first two things, my rewards-motivated brain just nopes out if it doesn’t get instant gratification (thanks ADHD).

And if I don’t write…well, I’ll never achieve my dream of publishing a book and maybe, someday, making a living solely off writing.

The most frustrating thing is it feels like I’m battling an invisible enemy: Algorithms. I can write and draw until my fingers ache, but if I can’t beat the algorithms at their game, no one sees any of it.

Does anyone else miss the good ol’ days of social media, before algorithms became the new “it” thing? It seems all they’ve done is make a mess of things.

There are some things I can try to boost my engagement: change up my hashtag game, post in the morning on weekdays (Google says this is the best time), and avoid outbound links. Hopefully it’ll do some good.

I’m trying my very best not to get discouraged with the low amount of engagement on my posts, here or otherwise. But I’m having a hard time of it. Any encouragement or support anyone has to offer would be much appreciated.

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It Came! It Finally Came!

I was so happy to receive my contributor’s copy of the Inaugural Edition of Copperfield Review Quarterly. After all, I was a contributor! I never dreamed I’d attempt to write a Shakespearean sonnet about Henry VIII, much less that it would be published in such an esteemed literary journal of historical fiction and poetry.

I would like to thank the editor of CRQ, Meredith Allard, for this amazing honor.

I’m proud to finally share with everyone A Day in the Life of Henry VIII. Such an infamous monarch’s daily to-do list couldn’t possibly contain such mundane things as cleaning and errands. In this sonnet, Henry VIII takes it upon himself to change his marriage, the church, and God Himself, all in the pursuit of securing his progeny.

The image of God in his ire does speak
that a more painful hell than this awaits.
But I am King and this one change I seek:
‘tis my desire and creed which should dictate
the right of man to set aside his wife
who through devilry and spite does founder
to achieve her purpose to create life;
whether by ties or death should he sever
them from this most sacred and solemn vow,
he can be assured of his rightful choice
and take such succor as offered him now,
be it food or skin above a rich bodice!
Whoever she be, shall she be my queen
or be hanged for failure to make a king?

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New Avenues

I’m always searching for ways to branch out with my writing–or maybe I’m just someone who likes to start a lot of projects and overwork myself until I, inevitably, shut down.

I suspect it’s a little of both.

That being said…I signed up for an account on the social media network for writers: Medium! It seems like a fun place. As most writers know, it can be hard to connect with other people and get them to engage with your writing, so that’s what I’m hoping to gain from Medium.

Another of my goals is to post a little something every day. I just started an October art/writing prompt challenge that will keep me busy for a little while. Afterwards, who knows? I don’t want to post only poetry and short fiction pieces, so I might cook up some personal stories and listicles too. The point is to write more frequently. I’ve got to build better writing habits, or none of my writing projects will ever be finished.

I’ve posted a couple things already. Check out my profile, cheer me on, and follow me. Let’s be friends!

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The Boneyard: A Short Story Teaser

Last year, it was my intent to enter a flash-fiction contest, but I could never quite get the story to fit into 1,000 words or less, so I tabled the project. Since it’s October, I figured it’s the perfect time to work on it again. Since I’m no longer constrained by such a restrictive word count, I’ve begun to expand it. I really like where it’s going to so far. I hope to finish it this month and afterwards, I’m going to look into submitting it to a lit mag.

Here are the first ~500 words of my horror short story, The Boneyard.

Please leave a like and a comment telling me if you like it, if you don’t, what works and what doesn’t, and any other thoughts you might have.

The house on 777 Darling Lane was anything but. Whoever had addressed it either knew nothing of its evil reputation or had a sick sense of irony.

Desta was banking on the latter.

She stood on the sidewalk, her face pressed to the wrought-iron gate, and gazed up at the house. It was a large, ugly thing. The red-brick, ivy-covered façade was almost black with decades of dirt and grime, and most of the windows had long been broken. To Desta, they were like eyes, lidless, lashless; the house was watching her too.

Desta scoffed. Nonsense. She was acting no better than the ghost-obsessed townspeople she derided.

She didn’t believe in ghosts, or that the house was alive, or that by standing so close, she was opening herself up to attack. She couldn’t deny, though, that it was a ghastly place, and she understood better why no one in town liked the house. If it was this terrible on the outside, what might it be like inside? Multiple attempts to demo it had been attempted, but the Council always refused the motion. Most people tried to ignore its existence, but it was hard when it skulked on the outskirts of town like a sleeping giant poised to crush them if awoken.

Desta had grown up hearing stories about all the terrible things that happened in and around it—she never heard anything about the family who owned it, though, and this was what interested her the most. No one could tell her who they were, where they had come from, when the house had been built, or if they were even alive. They hadn’t been seen in years, but every so often, a curtain would move in one of the remaining windows, or a light would flicker on and go out just as quickly.

The only thing anyone knew about the house was that the land it’d been built on had once been called The Boneyard.

It was this mystery Desta was so desperate to get to the bottom of: Who, if anybody, lived in the house? If someone did live there, why did they never come out? And because she couldn’t quell all superstitious curiosity, what was the mystery of “the boneyard?”

She pressed her front against the cold bars of the gate. If she was only a little smaller, she could slip through the bars and get closer, maybe even go inside. What wonderful and terrible things must be hiding behind its walls, and what secrets Desta might learn the truth of. The Council would be grateful to her for setting the record straight. The townspeople would hail her as a hero. Her classmates, always so quick to underestimate her, would be awed by her bravery.

She had to get inside.

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She’s Ba-aaack (Kinda)

Ack! It happened again. My apologies. My mind is as fickle as the weather sometimes. I also haven’t been writing lately, so I haven’t had much to say on that front. I have been reading, but as you can see, I haven’t kept up with my monthly wrap-up posts.

Failures all around.

Unfortunately, I don’t foresee myself getting back on the writing horse anytime soon. I’m going back to work November 1st, and all my attention has been laser-focused on preparing for that. Mostly I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do for childcare. This shouldn’t be so hard, but here we are. It’s ridiculous how expensive it is. Why should I go to work to pay someone $1,000 a month to raise my children? That’s an entire mortgage payment!

I’m going to end it there, before I get myself worked up. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I’m able to find a cheaper option.

I miss writing. It’s always this time of year, with NaNoWriMo looming on the horizon, that I feel the worst about my inconsistencies as a writer. I have the creativity and the talent, but none of the discipline writing requires. It makes me fear I’ll never finish a novel, or any writing piece longer than a short story–and I can barely finish those!

It’s so frustrating. I wish brain transplants were a thing. Since they aren’t, I should probably follow through on seeking out the therapy I’ve needed for a long time, but I can never make myself take that step. If only I was still of an age when my mother took care of all my medical business, then I’d have no choice!

House Cleaning

I’ve made some changes around here! Finally, my website reflects the new, married me. As do all my social media links, and let me tell you, it was not easy to change over. My married name is ten times more common than my maiden name, and it took me dozens of tries to find usernames that work. I never used to like my maiden name, but it was, at least, distinguishing.

The name of my website isn’t the only thing that’s changed. I began this site to launch a freelance editing career, but that has fallen by the wayside. I admit, I was naïve and very ignorant to how hard it actually is to break into the market. I realize now, it might not be something that’s achievable for me. At least, not without a degree and experience to back me up. Though I have confidence in my ability to help authors, I know it’s my word against…nothing.

I’d still like to offer editing services to those in need of it, especially to freelance or up-and-coming authors who need an editor but can’t pay the exorbitant prices of established editors. If that’s you or someone you know, let’s chat! I’d love nothing more than to assist you.

But editing is not the focus of this website anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time.

In the past year, I’ve come to a realization. One I never truly believed I would reach. It turns out, I CAN make a splash in the literary world, that my poetry IS something publishers are interested in, and that’s become my main focus. I’ve had three poems published, one in an acclaimed literary magazine, and I just sent out a micro-chapbook to a contest. I can’t say whether or not I’ll win, but I am confident in the quality of the chapbook. If it doesn’t win the contest, there are other avenues I’d like to explore with it.

I’m loving falling in love with poetry again and gaining more confidence in my writing. And that’s what I’d like to focus on now. I hope this only means good things for my career as a poet.