Community News & Updates December 2021


2021 Alumni Reading Series
Join Stonecoast in celebrating our 2021 alumni authors! We’ll be hosting two virtual readings to showcase the work of nine alumni authors who published a book this year.

Thursday, December 2nd RSVP:

Thursday, December 9th RSVP:

The Stone House Readers’ Series
The Stone House Readers’ Series hosted by Troy Myers (Poetry, S’15) and produced by Amanda Pleau (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) is almost ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary! This semi-weekly live series invites current students, alumni, faculty, and staff to share 15-18 minutes of their work on a Sunday afternoon in a relaxed, community-oriented setting. Check out the recent archive on-demand here. Interested in participating? Get in touch at 


Shannon L. Bowring (Fiction, 4th semester) recently had her story “Epitaphs for Almost-Strangers” published in Raleigh Review. She also received word that one of her lyric essays has been accepted for future publication in Permafrost. She will be co-hosting a virtual monthly writing workshop through the Patten Free Library, details for which can be found on the PFL website. In more good news, Shannon has teamed up with Stonecoast alums Natalie Harris-Spencer (Fiction, S’21) and Darcie Abbene (Fiction, S’21) on a new side hustle, Aspiring Author, which offers business advice for writers at all stages of their careers.


Laurie Lico Albanese (Creative Nonfiction, S’16) has published a piece in the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review (Spring 2021 issue), “The 1832 Cholera Epidemic and the Book Nathaniel Hawthorne Never Wrote.”

L.C. Barlow‘s (Popular Fiction, W’19) second novel of her Jack Harper Trilogy, Perish, is a Publishers Weekly editor’s pick. Perish‘s review was published in the November 8th, 2021, issue. The third novel of the trilogy, Peak, is also a Publishers Weekly editor’s pick; Peak’s review was published in the November 15th, 2021 issue.

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) has been promoted to Senior Editor at Seven Seas Entertainment. He will continue to edit a variety of manga titles, but will also work with the other Senior Editors to help drive growth for the company.

Jennifer Marie Brissett’s (Popular Fiction, S’11) novel Destroyer of Light (Tor Books, 2021) has been placed on Kirkus Reviews‘ list of Best Fiction of the Year as well as Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year.

Teri Elam’s (Poetry, S’19) poem “Superman Retires” is in the anthology The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry. She recently started writing for Incluvie, a site that rates movies based on the inclusion of women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ representation. Her first review, ‘The Harder They Fall’: This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Spaghetti Western, is now up on the site.

Terri Glass‘s (Poetry & Creative Nonfiction, S’13) haiku won 2nd place in the annual Splash Awards held by the River Otter Ecology Project; Camille Dungy was judge. Terri will also be holding her first in-person reading from her book Being Animal at the Del Norte Library in Crescent City, California, on December 4th at 2:00 p.m., sponsored by Poets & Writers.

Natalie Harris-Spencer (Fiction, S’21) has launched the resource Aspiring Author, offering business advice for writers looking to become commercially successful. It’s the sweet spot where right brain meets left brain, where art meets business, and where craft becomes career. In her day job, Natalie is Director of Digital Marketing for a global digital advertising technology leader, with a wealth of experience delivering world-class web content and global digital strategies. Fellow Stonecoasters Shannon L. Bowring (Fiction, W’22) and Darcie Abbene (Fiction, S’21) are Contributing Editors.

Clifford Royal Johns’ (Popular Fiction, W’18) short story “All That is Left and All That is Found” is scheduled to appear in the Winter issue of The Summerset Review coming out in December. His science-fiction short story “The Quality of Death” was reprinted in the 2021 edition of the BOULD (Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring) Awards anthology, which has been published in two volumes and was released in November (his story is in volume two).

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) announces the publication of the first chapter of her Stonecoast thesis, Change Orders, as a short story titled “December 1, 1969,” in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 10, published by Southwest Missouri State University Press. One of her short stories previously published in Woman’s World was chosen for their holiday anthology.

Jeff Kass (Fiction, S’09), whose most recent poetry collection Teacher/Pizza Guy was a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, has his brand-new YA debut Center-Mid, available from Fifth Avenue Press. The story of the trials and travails of a high-school field hockey team, Jeff hopes Center-Mid will be the first of a three-book series. Here is comment on the book from noted YA author Patrick Flores-Scott: “Champions make winning look easy. But behind every perfect team is a group of imperfect individuals battling to make sense of their messy, complicated lives. Jeff Kass captures the journey with humor, heartbreak and electrifying field hockey action. Center-Mid is everything I love about Y.A.” Here’s what former USA Field Hockey National Team stalwart Maren Langford says: “Jeff Kass’s Center-Mid is an intimate picture of the complexities of modern adolescence while highlighting how sport can ground individuals and provide a platform to address difficult topics. Kass’s female characters battle their inner and outer demons, yet at the end of the day these same characters find that those who may be different from them really aren’t. Center-Mid is an absolute page-turner where the reader roots for the success of females on and off the field.” Find Center-Mid here in time for the holidays!

Lissa Kiernan (Poetry, S’11) is delighted to announce the soft-launch of AIM Higher, Inc., the new fiscal sponsor of her organization The Poetry Barn. The 501(c)(3)’s mission is to help women artists, innovators, and mentors sow paths to success by supplying the tools and community needed to live a self-sustaining creative life. AIM Higher will feature an artist mentoring and opportunities network, residencies, promotional consulting services, and more. Stay tuned for details in early 2022. Feel free to join their growing community. They are currently seeking qualified mentors in all art and literary disciplines. If interested, email

Kristin Leonard (Fiction, S’18) published a collection of poetry called The Ninetieth Day: Poems about Love, Loss, and Leftovers for Breakfast. The collection seeks to explore the everyday moments and musings in life that linger between love and loss. 

Laura Navarre (Popular Fiction, W’12) released her steamy, angsty, enemies-to-lovers MMMF Star Wars sci fi action romance Renegade Angel on December 1 with Ascendant Press. Renegade recently won second place in the 2021 Romance Writers of America Chesapeake Romance Writers Rudy Contest (erotic romance category) and is the sequel to Interstellar Angel, which debuted on the Amazon category bestseller list for LGBTQ+ sci fi. 

Jenny O’Connell‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) craft essay on vulnerability, “Sing It Loud,” which was published in Creative Nonfiction and spotlighted in their November newsletter, is the foundation for her seminar at this January’s Stonecoast residency on crafting the third-semester project into a marketable publication. Jenny has two new magazine pieces out: The Material Has More to Give You” in Decor Maine, in which artist Benjamin Spalding reimagines the forced march toward production in the creative arts; and “The Next White Blaze” in maine. magazine, a profile of thru-hiker Briana DeSanctis and the power of the Appalachian Trail. Speaking of the Appalachian Trail…last September, Jenny piloted a backpacking and writing retreat in Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness (ask graduating student Catherine Palmer about her experience!). Inspired by the transformational experience had by all, the trip is returning for 2022! Registration opens December 6th, and there’s a 10% discount through the end of this year. 

Suri Parmar’s (Popular Fiction, W’17) short digital series concept Excaliborn, which she is developing with filmmaker Ryan Couldrey and producer Robin Osmond, was selected for Blood in the Snow Film Festival’s 2021 Horror Development Lab in November. During the lab, Suri attended industry panels and presented her series to distributors, developers, and funders. Also, as part of Yahoo! RYOT Studios’ production and creative team, Suri is very proud to have helped produce a video tribute for the Hetrick-Martin Institute that spotlights the 2021 Emery Award honorees and the Kiki community. You can watch a teaser for the tribute on YouTube

Bruce Pratt‘s (Fiction, S’04) story “Breezy” will appear in the December issue of Portland Magazine, on newsstands and in subscribers’ mailboxes soon. His play “Radio Silent” will be featured in the 2021 Maine Play Festival with a Zoom staged reading on Saturday, December 4th, at 7:00 p.m., to be directed by Amy Roeder; details will be available of the website. Bruce’s short story “OM Land Security” is available in the new Clackamas Literary Review.

Kevin St. Jarre (Popular Fiction, S’10) has a new novel coming in April 2022 from Encircle Publications, titled Absence of Grace. His historical novel The Twin, about the lost years of Jesus of Nazareth, was published in October 2021.

Olive L. Sullivan (Fiction/Poetry, S’15) wrote a dramatic monologue, “The Pocket Guide to Desert Survival,” that was one of 13 pieces presented at the Monologue Showcase, which kicked off the Power of Words conference in Santa Fe in October. The conference is sponsored by the Transformative Language Arts Network. The monologues were presented to conference attendees on Zoom by professional actors. Her poem “Turquoise Ring,” about her dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, appeared in The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative

Rhiannon J. Taylor/R. J. Howell’s (Popular Fiction, S’19) weird west short story “A Cold Dark Line to Cross” was published in Wicked West: A Summerstorm Press Anthology (link redirects to your choice of reading platform).

The Angle of Flickering Light, Gina Troisi‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) memoir, was recently named a finalist for the 2021 Independent Book of the Year Awards for Memoir, and it was also named a finalist in the 2021 Best Book Awards American Book Fest for Autobiography/Memoir. Gina will also be running a Goodreads Giveaway during the month December, with an opportunity for 100 people to win e-copies of the book.

Christopher Allen Varlack (Creative Nonfiction, S’10) has been appointed Associate Director of the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action at Arcadia University, where he currently serves as Assistant Professor of African-American Literature and Director of University Seminars. The Center will focus on encouraging cutting-edge research on the structures of racism and white supremacy while advocating for minoritized populations locally, nationally, and globally.

Melanie Viets (Creative Nonfiction, W’17) has a short piece up in Little Toller Books’ The Clearing. “Leavings” is paired with work by Yves Berger, the artist who inspired Melanie’s third-semester Stonecoast project. Thanks to Debra Marquart and Rick Bass for long-ago comments on the essay. 


Faith Adiele‘s latest Hyperallergic review features “Lunchbox Moments,” the widely popular charity ‘zine created by 3 San Francisco-based food writers, and in her latest Sleep Story on the Calm App, “The Land of Springs” (narrated by Phylecia Renae, music by Bill Laswell), she wrote about circumnavigating the turquoise waters and green jungles of Jamaica by boat.

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) was interviewed by Stonecoast alum Natalie Harris-Spencer for the Aspiring Author website. Read about Aaron’s insights into the MFA experience, how he got started as a writer, and his advice for writing students! 

Morgan Talty’s (Fiction Faculty | Fiction, W’19) short story “The [Unintelligible]” will appear in the winter issue of The Georgia Review. Morgan is also contributing to The Millions’ “A Year in Reading: 2022” and his piece will appear in December. 


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