Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dispatches from the Desk: August 23, 2012 – Distractions

by Libby Cudmore & Matthew Quinn Martin

…hello all, your president and vice president here with our new semi-regular featured blog post.


We’ve all been there. Maybe you are now. You sit down to write, all geared up, notes in hand, perfect story on the tips of your fingers. You’ve got the whole day just waiting to be seized. Nothing but you and the words. No distractions this time.

But you can’t be expected to write on an empty stomach. So you go ahead and make yourself some breakfast. Bacon, eggs, toast, a banana and some Tim Horton’s coffee you stocked up on during the reunion. Delicious. Now back to the keyboard or the yellow legal pad.

…dude, just got the new Call of Duty…and speaking of “duty” would it kill you to change the litter box?

Ten minutes later the cat is meowing, and to ignore him would be cruel. And besides, all that meowing is so distracting! Maybe he’ll shut up if toss the mousie at him a few times, snuggle him a little. That seemed to work and now back to work.

Then the phone rings. It’s your mother. Much as you’d like to, you can’t ignore her. Then just as you get her off the line, it buzzes again and now it’s  a friend you haven’t spoken with in months. You should just turn that phone off, but what if your boss calls, or there’s an emergency?

OK, back to work––right after you check your email. It’s been a while since you’ve gotten a rejection from McSweeny’s. And low and behold, you are in luck. A form rejection, your tenth in as many weeks, waits for you in your inbox.

You’re too depressed to write now. Maybe something to take your mind off it all for a bit. Monster High dollies were meant to be played with after all. You wouldn’t have put them on your desk if they weren’t there to inspire you. That bass guitar you save up for months to buy seems to be getting a little dusty. It stares at you reproachfully from the corner of your office.

DON’T judge me

Good thing it’s lunchtime. You eat fast. But then you feel a bit bloated. Maybe just a half hour of boob tube while you digest.

You’re getting worried. If you don’t get something on paper soon, this book will never get done. No book no advance. (or for those more literary types, no publications no tenure…no grant money). And then how will you afford health insurance? Good thing it’s only a year and a half until Obamacare kicks in.

But what if  Mitt Romney  gets elected? Maybe a quick peek at today’s tracking polls will put your mind at ease. Jeez look at that in the sidebar…Todd Akin said what! And that Lindsey Lohan had another nip-slip! She’s always getting into trouble.

Why are you so sleepy all of a sudden? Maybe a quick nap will actually help reenergize your brain. Twenty minutes turns into an hour. And hour turns into two. Luckily, the cat wants to play again, so he wakes you up.

Crap! Dinnertime already? Guess you could write after you watch your favorite show, right before you hit the hay. Man, where did this day go?

As writers, we’re naturally drawn to stimulation––physical, mental, spiritual, you name it. All those conversations, news stories, web articles, TV shows, new movies, are just there waiting…and any one of them might inspire you! You owe it to your writing to read the latest issue of Glamour, or scour the internet for hours in the name of “research.” But often what we reach for in the name of support simply becomes another distraction.

So, dear Alumni, what do you find gobbling up the most of your writing time? And what strategies do you have to share for slaying the dragon of distraction?

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Meet Your SCAA Board of Directors

Matthew Quinn Martin – President (PF S’10) – Matthew’s original screenplay Slingshot was made into a feature film it and is currently on DVD, distributed by the Weinstein Co. His prose fiction has been published in Transition Magazine, Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp Anthology, MFA/MFYou Literary Journal, JMWW, A Twist of Noir, Eastern Standard Crime, The Oddville Press, Aphelion and The Flash Fiction Offensive, as well as Arkham Tales, and Big Pulp (both co-written with Libby Cudmore) Currently is at work on two novels, one techo-thriller and one young adult (also co-written with Libby Cudmore). More at

Libby Cudmore – Vice President (PF/CNF S’10) – Libby’s essays and fiction have been published (or are forthcoming) in PopMatters, Pank, Knee-Jerk, Citron Review, Hardboiled, Thrilling Detective,Crime Factory, Needle, Curly Red Stories, The Southern Women’s Review, Pulp Pusher, Celebrities in Distrage, Thrilling Detective, Arkham Tales (co-written with Matthew Quinn Martin), Mysterical-E, Sunsets and Silencers, Big Pulp, Powder Burn Flash, Shaking like a Mountain, Nefarious Muse, Xenith, Espresso Stories, All Things Girl, True Confessions, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Thrillers, Killers, and Chillers,Shaking Like a Mountain and A Twist of Noir. Her short story “Unplanned” won the August Bullet Award and in 2010 was nominated for a Short Mystery Fiction Society Derringer Award. In 2004 she was awarded The Subway Chronicle’s Essay of the Year, and Long Story Short named her its Author of the Year. She blogs at recordofthemonth.

Mikhu Paul – Treasurer  (S’10)  – bio and pic forthcoming.

Jessica De Koninck – Secretary – bio and pic forthcoming.

Lynette James – Director (PF S’12) – bio and pic forthcoming.

Adam Kreutz Gallardo – Director (PF S’12) – Adam has published three comic book series: Star Wars: Infinites — Return of the Jedi (Dark Horse Comics), 100 Girls (Simon Pulse), and two volumes of Gear School (Dark Horse Comics). He’s currently preparing to send his horror YA novel, Zomburbia, out into the void to try and find an agent. He lives and works in Oregon where he’s a full-time stay-at-home dad to his two sons. He blogs (sometimes) at

Mike Langworthy – Director  (CNF W ’11) – Among the jobs Mike’s had:  busboy, dishwasher, factory worker, credit investigator, lawyer, pension consultant, standup comic, television writer. Currently he writes “The View From Away” for The Forecaster, a weekly newspaper serving Southern Maine. Co-creator and executive producer of “Club 86,” a radio comedy series. He’s also writing a memoir about working and raising a family in Hollywood, as well as developing scripted projects for television and the web.

Bunny Goodjohn – Director (F P’07) – Bunny graduated in  in poetry after jumping from the fiction ship mid-channel. She puts Admiral Wormser squarely behind her defection. Her novel Sticklebacks and Snow Globes was published in America (Permanent Press), Australia (Scribe) and Russia (Centrepolygraph). She has published in various journals includingThe Texas Review, The Cortland Review,  Zone 3, and Connecticut Review, and recently won Reed Magazine’s Edwin Markham Poetry Prize. Bunny teaches English at Randolph College in Virginia and is working on a novel entitled The Beginning Things and on Running 24 North, a collection of poetry. She blogs at

Erin Underwood – Director (PF’09) – Erin’s fiction, non-fiction, and interviews have appeared online and in print. She is the co-author of “The Bag of Holding,” a regular column published by the SFWA Bulletin. Erin is also the founder and editor of the popular fiction literary blog UNDERWORDS and co-editor of Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science with fellow Stonecoast alumnus Hannah Strom-Martin. She is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program and lives in Marblehead, MA with her husband.

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Community News & Updates August 2012

As you may have heard Stonecoast is transitioning to a printed newsletter that will be published twice a year and will likely not have room for publication announcement and other news related updates from community members. So, the SCAA is going to take over the news and updates, which will be published on a monthly basis. To get your info included in the update, please email Robert Stutts and include the words “August News” or “September News”  in the subject line. Also, please remember to type your news as you’d like to have it printed in the news post. If there is an associated cover image, you must supply the URL. The news will be published once a month around the first of each month.


The first bit of news is that the SCAA is looking for a volunteer to manage the news for the Community blog. All you have to do is collect emails from people, compile their news into a single/monthly post and publish it Easy. If you’re interested please contact Erin Underwood.

**UPDATE: **Alumnus Robert Stutts PF W’10 is the new News Editor for the Stonecoast Community Blog. If you have news items, please be sure to email them to Robert. You can get his email address by clicking on this link to “Email your news to Robert.”


Linda K. Sienkiewicz (fiction, S ’09) has a poem titled “What Every Mother Hopes For” in the Summer 2012 issue of Mobius, A Journal for Social Change Linda also won an Honorable Mention from Springfed Arts for a short story titled “Gut Wrenched in Barnstown.”

Erin Underwood (popular fiction, S’09) sold her short story “The Foam Born” the Ticonderoga Press for publication in their new anthology Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar–available October 2012.



Vanquished, the final book in the Crusade series, by Nancy Holder (popular fiction) and her coauthor Debbie Viguie will be available on August 28, 2013.


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Stonecoast Writing for Social Change Project Update

Thanks to all of you who responded with your interest in the Stonecoast Writing for Social Change project.

The first step is to collect and share the stories of Stonecoast community members (students, faculty, and alumni) who are actively using writing to promote social justice. If you’ve been involved with work like this, I’m hoping you’ll send me a short (150-200 words) description, preferably including a jpg photo (of you or the activity), and at least one resource (e.g. book, website) to help others get involved with similar projects. I’m hoping to have these available to post on the Stonecoast website by mid-October.  Please send to

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