Tag Archives: J Brooke

Community News & Updates September 2020

CURRENT STUDENTS

Darcie Abbene’s (Fiction) flash fiction “Burn” was published in Capsule Stories Autumn 2020: Burning Up. The story was inspired by the Hayman Fire, Colorado’s largest wildfire.

Natalie Harris-Spencer‘s (Fiction) short story “Fish Out of Water” will be published this month in the fourth annual Issue of Oyster River Pages, under their Emerging Fiction Voices category. In addition, Natalie’s ghost story, “Open Heart Massage,” has been selected for publication in the CultureCult anthology of science fiction, “Breathe.” Publishing details to follow.

FACULTY

Tom Coash (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts, Writing for Social Change) will be teaching a Character Development workshop as part of the terrific “A Literary Season Online” assembled by the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival. Although the Conference won’t physically be in Mexico this time (Covid cancel), this new online format makes the Conference available to everyone everywhere! Really exciting line-up of speakers and teachers (including Margaret Atwood among many others).

In August, Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) was featured by New Rivers Press in their Writer’s Routine series. In script news: Elizabeth is one of the top 5% QuarterFinalist script writers, chosen out of over 7000 entries, for the 2020 Academy Nicholl Fellowships, which are run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/the Oscars. Finally, Elizabeth is “Riding for Food” via team Food Link. Elizabeth and her son are longtime volunteers at Food Link, which helps to feed those in need, and she aims to ride the entire MinuteMan bike trail by October 4th to raise much-needed FoodLink funds; please click here.

Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) invites you to join her online September 10, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., when she’ll be talking narrative medicine, writing that has carried so many individuals (including Suzanne) along and through tough times. She’ll look at some great examples of the genre, and spend some time getting attendees started on their own.

 

 

ALUMS

The short film Elisabeth Tova Bailey (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) adapted from her Creative Nonfiction book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, has been accepted by the SuperFest Disability Film Festival in San Francisco. A special film cut is being prepared to make the film fully accessible to viewers with visual and hearing impairments. Bailey has just completed the writing of a narrative script of audio descriptions, which will dovetail with the main narration. Audio descriptions tell the non-verbal action in a film along with the visual details in order to make a film accessible to those with visual limitations. Kiki Samko (Boston) has been cast as audio description narrator. Soundscape captions will also be added to the film for viewers with hearing impairments. This August marks the book’s 10th year in print, and Elisabeth will give a reading from the book for the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association’s 2020 conference this fall.

Neptune, a film produced by Allen Baldwin (Scriptwriting, W’19), is now available on iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft, and Prime. Neptune features an all Maine cast and crew and is now being self-distributed through Baldwin’s company, The Story Board. The film is set in the late 1980s on an island off the coast of Maine; an orphan girl raised by the church becomes obsessed by the disappearance of a classmate, and her haunted dreams and visions propel her to push past her sheltered life. The film’s website is here.

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) is a finalist for the Ignyte Award for Best Fiction Podcast for his work with PodCastle, alongside co-editors Jen R. Albert and Cherae Clark, assistant editor Setsu Uzumé, and former co-editor/special editions editor Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali. You can read the official announcement here and PodCastle‘s statement here. The awards are open to all members of the speculative fiction community, so please vote!

Ryan Brod (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) is excited to teach a Creative Nonfiction course at the University of New England this fall. You can check out a profile he wrote in the most recent issue of The Drake magazine.

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) has an essay, “Hideous,” in the Embody section of The Maine Review.

Anthony D’Aries‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) essay “No Man’s Land” will appear in the 25th anniversary issue of Sport Literate

Jaq Evans‘s (Popular Fiction, S’20) weird eco-gothic short story appears in Issue 2 of Fusion Fragment, and the poem generated in Katherine Larson and Deb Marquart‘s environmental workshop appears in Issue 20 of Typehouse Literary Magazine.

Josh Gauthier (Popular Fiction, S’17) and Daien Sanchez (Popular Fiction, S’18) have started a monthly livestream series titled Writers, Readers, and the Stories We Love. Featuring a new guest each month, each conversation includes discussion of writing craft, book recommendations, and storytelling across forms and genres. Information about upcoming streams can be found on Josh’s Facebook page. Past videos are available on his YouTube channel.

Lesley Heiser (Fiction, S’11) is now an associate Creative Nonfiction editor at jmww journal. She recently published a piece in the How We Are blog, which features responses to life during the pandemic and features several Stonecoasters.

Clifford Royal Johns (Popular Fiction, W’18) has placed his novel Velocity Blues with Vernacular BooksVelocity Blues was written at Stonecoast and was Cliff’s thesis work. Expect it next summer.

Nina B. Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) is glad to announce that she has launched “Now You See Me”—an affordable author website building service. We all know it’s important to be “out there” in the virtual world, but not all of us are “tech-y” or willing to pay big dollars for our first site (until we sell our book for a great advance, at least.) Her rates start at $300 for a basic website, one that will shine and show off your work, personality, and esthetics. She promises personalized & prompt service. You can reach her at nblichtentein@gmail.com.

Tom MacDonald‘s (Fiction, W’09) short story “Nashua River Floater” will be published in crime anthology Coast to Coast: Noir, which is coming out on September 28; Tom was assigned the city of Nashua, New Hampshire, for his story. The anthology is edited by Paul D. Marks and Andrew McAleer. Later this fall, Tom’s 5th Dermot Sparhawk detective novel, Sleep Long, Sleep High, is due out.

John Christopher Nelson (Fiction, S’15) was featured on Episode 5 of DUM DUM Radio where he had the opportunity to chat with Julia Gibson and Taleen Kali, the fine folks behind DUM DUM Zine. You can listen to him BS and wax literary here.

A short piece by Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) is included in the new anthology Flash Nonfiction Food (Woodhall Press). She has work forthcoming in the next issue of Tiferet and in Adelaide Journal and was interviewed recently about memoir writing at A Healing Spirit. Lisa has expanded her one-on-one private teaching, coaching, and editing business, working with writers on book-length memoir, novel, short story, or essay manuscripts, or individual short pieces, proposals, query letters, and submission strategy. Details are here.

“The Fifth Direction,” an essay (and photos!) by Tamie Parker Song (Creative Nonfiction, S’12) appears in the August issue of Terrain.org. It is an exploration of gender, violence, trauma, and reaching for a different way, in the context of the Alaskan wilderness.

Rhiannon J. Taylor (Popular Fiction, S’19, writing as R. J. Howell) had two short stories published in August: “A Most Professional Demon” has been published by Translunar Travelers Lounge in issue 3 (available online and in ebook) and “Oresa” has been published in Beyond the Stars: Infinite Expanse (available in ebook, print forthcoming).

Two poems by Meghan Vigeant (Creative Nonfiction, S’20), “East Troy Street” and “She Writes the Kama Sutra,” appear online in the summer issue of Hole in the Head Review.

Anne Witty (Poetry, W’10) published a feature essay in the September 2020 “Best of Maine” issue of Down East Magazine, in which she reflects on her home territory of Seguinland in mid-coast Maine. She also has a piece entitled “The Double Portrait” forthcoming in The New Guard Review X.

 

 

 

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Community News & Updates June 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

THE STONECOAST MFA VIRTUAL WRITING SERIES
Join us Monday, June 8th, 6:00-7:00 p.m. for “Rolled in Sugar: Food as an Entry into a Moment” with Stonecoast Director Justin Tussing. Like Proust’s madeleine, we’ll talk about food and writing and where both can take us. Link to join is here. The Stonecoast Virtual Writing Series is an effort to connect our community and continue learning together from afar. Led by a faculty member or guest instructor, sessions are held monthly.

 

CURRENT STUDENTS

Lauren Erin O’Brien‘s (Fiction, S’20) poem “After She Reads the Court Records” is forthcoming in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of Witness.

 

FACULTY

Martín Espada‘s (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) new collection of poems, called Floaters, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in January 2021.

John Florio (Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) writes about sports, crime, and social issues. In May, he wrote a feature about baseball for ESPN’s The Undefeated: J.L. Wilkinson Stood Out as the Only White Owner in the First Official Negro League. His next young-adult book is due out in 2021. Doomed: The Tragic Story of Sacco & Vanzetti tells the controversial story of two Italian anarchists wrongly convicted of murder and later executed in Boston, MA.

Elizabeth Hand’s (Popular Fiction, Fiction) forthcoming Cass Neary novel, The Book of Lamps and Banners, was named one of fall’s most anticipated titles by CrimeReads/LitHub. She was interviewed by The Coode Street Podcast, discussing pandemic reading. Her recent reviews include Megan Capisi’s Sin Eater and N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, both for The Washington Post.

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) was profiled in The San Diego Union Tribune on Saturday, May 24.

Authors Ryan Craig Bradford and Nancy Holder

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) and her theater cohorts are finding ways for the Shows to Go On in these challenging times: Michael Teoli, composer and “co-conspirator” with Elizabeth on Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, performed two of his and Elizabeth’s songs from their rock opera in May on the Los Angeles-based Stealing Focus Digital Cabaret.
In a new May interview, the stars of the 2020 TheatreZone production of Tonya & Nancy—Whitney Winfield and Nikki Miller—discuss their “joyous” experience doing the rock opera in February and also the new realities of the theater world since then, on ZoomIntoTheZone.

Elizabeth and composer Michael Teoli, who did the music on Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, with book & lyrics by Elizabeth

Join Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) online June 1 at 1:00 p.m. for a conversation with Meredith O’Brien, author of the newly released Uncomfortably Numb, her memoir on the life-altering diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and on the practice of narrative medicine. The free event will include some details about Bay Path University’s upcoming Narrative Medicine Certificate. Please register for the webinar here.

 

ALUMS

Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, was mentioned in a recent New York Times essay by Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk. Macdonald’s essay on pandemic quarantine and birdwatching is available at this link.

Lindsey Barlow (Popular Fiction, W’19) was interviewed on episode 92 of a podcast called Thrill Seekers Radio with Alex Dolan to help advertise The Jack Harper Trilogy (Pivot, Perish, and Peak).

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) appeared at the 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference on the “Finishing What You Didn’t Start: Editors Making Projects Their Own” panel.

Jennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) had a short story published in the May-June issue of Uncanny Magazine called “Through the Veil.”

J Brooke’s (Poetry, S’19) essay “Kaden has Covid” was a winner of Beyond Words Literary Magazine’s Dream Challenge and appears in the June issue online and in hard copy (essay can also be read in eir website jbrookewrites.com).

The ephemera reading series has gone virtual! Co-chaired by KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) and editor Jen R. Albert, ephemera is a monthly reading series showcasing diverse SFF. Catch the next event on June 17th, 7:00 p.m. ET, live on YouTube. ephemera was also recently nominated for an Aurora Award in the Best Fan Organizational category. It is funded by the Ontario Arts Council.

Julie C. Day (Popular Fiction, S’12) is thrilled to announce the charity anthology Weird Dream Society: An Anthology of the Possible & Unsubstantiated in Support of RAICES is now available as both a paperback and ebook! This book is a culmination of a long year of work and a lot of help from some amazing creatives with Julie at the helm as Editor-in-Chief. Playful, whimsical, or dark, but always thoughtful and tinged with the inexplicably weird, the Weird Dream Society brings together twenty-three stories from the most innovative creators in speculative fiction, including Nathan Ballingrud, Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18), Gregory Norman Bossert, Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13), Christopher Brown, Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, Michael J Deluca, Gemma Files, A.T. Greenblatt, Nin Harris, Chip Houser, James Patrick Kelly (Popular Fiction faculty), Marianne Kirby, Kathrin Köhler, Matthew Kressel, Jordan Kurella, Premee Mohamed, Sarah Read, Sofia Samatar, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Popular Fiction, S’13), Steve Toase, and A.C. Wise. All proceeds from the anthology go to RAICES, which envisions a compassionate society where all people have the right to migrate and human rights are guaranteed.
Paperback: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound.org
eBook: Amazon | Kobo | B&N Nook | Weightless Books
What Others Are Saying

  • “I adore it…These stories are what weird should be. Each one is a different subgenre and [yet] its own beast all together…I’m just feeling electrified by the stories in this collection…they are all connected in the places that matter. They are weird, they are genre, and they contain fantastic prose I’ll keep coming back to over and over again.” ~Paul Jessup, Vernacular Books Guest Review
  • “..the dream-like quality of the stories delivers on the promise of the title….the collection as a whole weaves in moments of profound strangeness, places where the rules of the universe seem to bend and buckle….There are ghosts of a shopping mall, and little girls with superpowers, and a man who can change skins….For fans of dark fantasy and science fiction, there’s a whole lot to like….And there are still moments of hope and clarity, tucked in among the shattered dreams the collection catalogs.” ~Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews  

In addition to the anthology, Julie’s story “After the Apocalypse There Will Be Memory Poems” can now be found in the May 3rd issue of Vol.1 Brooklyn as part of their Sunday Stories series. This is a redrafted version of a piece from Julie’s thesis and a story that demanded a home. Julie’s story “Speculative Execution” is out this month in the anthology The Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories, edited Stonecoast alums Eric M. Bosarge (Popular Fiction, W’12) and Joe M. McDermott (Popular Fiction, S’11). It’s a story about A.I.-infused glass, theft, and friendship in a networked city where no one is entirely alone.

Jessica de Koninck‘s (Poetry, S’11) poem “Virtual Seder” was a winner in the Writer’s Almanac Pandemic Poetry Contest. In an interview, Garrison Keillor discussed the poem with her as well as reading her poem “Repairs.” The full Zoom interview can be seen on the Writer’s Almanac website.

Jess Flarity (Popular Fiction, S’18) published a flash creative nonfiction piece, “The Simplest Recipe,” in Hippocampus.

Paul Kirsch (Popular Fiction, W’11) won a Nebula Award in the category of Game Writing for his work on The Outer Worlds, a spacefaring RPG that values player agency, player choice, and tells a story as morbid as it is fun. This is Paul’s first nomination, his first award, and as of writing this he’s celebrating with his cat. He’s currently working on an expansion to the game, launch date TBD.

Nylah Carpenter Lyman (Poetry, S’10) has had a poem titled “Making a Field” selected for Poetic License, a written word and visual arts exhibition, managed in collaboration by The Poetry Barn and the Arts Society of Kingston, NY. The process first involved having her poem chosen by the editorial team at Poetic License as a finalist.  Those poems were then forwarded on to visual artists at ASK. Once there, her poem was one of those selected by a visual artist, and so it will be mounted with the artist’s interpretation in an exhibition to be held in August 2020 at ASK’s gallery. If possible, the poets will be invited to come and read at the exhibition’s opening. The poems, and the paintings that were inspired by them, will be posted in a special issue on our sister site, The Poetry Distillery. While the gallery has been closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, they plan to reopen in June.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards picked Tom MacDonald’s (Fiction, W’09) Dermot Sparhawk crime series—The Charlestown Connection (2011), Beyond the Bridge (2103), The Revenge of Liam McGrew (2015), Murder in the Charlestown Bricks (2018)—as a finalist in the series category. Also, the crime anthology Coast to Coast: Noir will publish a Dermot Sparhawk short story called “Nashua River Floater” in its 2020 edition, due out in June.

Daily Science Fiction published Dan McMinn’s (Popular Fiction, W’20) short story “Advice for Newbies at WoodCon” on May 5th.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W‘06) is pleased to have her short story “Gridlock” in the spring 2020 issue of Solstice Magazine. It was wonderful working with Lee Hope again!

Starting Saturday, June 6th, Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be teaching Memoir 101: Writing the Stories of Your Life, a weekly live Zoom class for five Saturdays, 10:00-11:30 a.m. EDT. For more information, click here.

John Christopher Nelson‘s (Fiction, S’15) creative nonfiction piece, “Things You Gave Me When You Left,” is online at The Real Story. Also, John was recently interviewed for a quarantine podcast by the folks at DUM DUM Zine, where it will be featured online shortly.

The concrete poem “Tree,” by J. Stephen (Steve) Rhodes (Poetry, W’11), will appear in the next issue of The Comstock Review.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) story “Barking Dog Nocturnal” appeared in The Offing.

Gina Troisi‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) short story “What Remains” was recently published in Volume 26 of Quarter After Eight. Her short story “Eve” was named a finalist for Iron Horse Review‘s Trifecta Award in Fiction. Her memoir, The Angle of Flickering Light, has been accepted by Vine Leaves Press and is forthcoming in April 2021.

“Church Camp,” a story by Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11), appears in the Spring 2020 issue of Trajectory, a journal based in Frankfort, KY.

 

 

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Community News & Updates May 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

STONECOAST MFA VIRTUAL WRITING SERIES
In an effort to connect our community and continue learning together from afar, Stonecoast is launching a monthly writing session led by a faculty member or guest instructor! Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) kicked off our first session in April with a fantastic Mindfulness and Creative Writing class. We are thrilled to present Susan Conley (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Social Change) on Monday, May 18th, with “Voice Across Genre: Tone and Pitch and How to Really Say What You Are Feeling,” followed by Justin Tussing (Stonecoast Director) on Monday, June 8th, with a pre-residency generative writing session.

Information and Zoom links will be distributed to current students and faculty via email, and to the greater community via the Stonecoast Portland Meetup group and the Friends of Stonecoast MFA Facebook Group. If you are unable to access any of these platforms, email Special Projects Coordinator Jenny O’Connell (jennifer.a.oconnell@maine.edu) to be added to the list.

You can also receive weekly writing prompts from faculty on the Stonecoast Facebook Page.

 

CURRENT STUDENTS

Natalie Harris-Spencer (Fiction) has been selected by Oyster River Pages for publication under their “Emerging Fiction Voices” category, established to showcase new writers who are just beginning to submit their work to journals. Her short story “Fish Out of Water” will be published in the Fourth Annual Issue of Oyster River Pages, due Summer 2020 (publication details to follow). ORP is a literary journal that embraces the reality that the personal has become the political and actively seeks to publish those who bring balance and diversity to historical institutions of power.

Nina Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction) recently had another piece up on the Brevity blog about how the lockdown has provided her with a much welcomed focus on writing, stripped of the otherwise regular and non-essential diversions. She has also embarked on a new project and is looking for contributors: If you know someone who is a Jew by choice, the planned anthology Our Stories, Our Tribe: Personal Essays by Converts to Judaism is looking for diverse voices in essays between 1500-4000 words. Email Nina (nblichtenstein@gmail.com) if you would like a copy of the Call for Submissions to share.

 

FACULTY

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) was happy that her novel We Got Him was chosen to be featured in April on Snowflakes in a Blizzard, which highlights books by Indie press writers. As noted in this piece, We Got Him, which was published by New Rivers Press, is also out in a 2018 audiobook version—published and narrated by star Stonecoast alumna Tanya Eby and her audiobook company, Blunder Woman Productions.

 

ALUMS

The film short The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, adapted by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) from her memoir of the same title, won a Special Jury Mention from the ÉCU—The European Independent Film Festival in Paris, and an Honorable Mention from the USA Film Festival’s International Short Film & Video Competition in Dallas, Texas.

Jennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) made a guest post called “The Sophomore Book” about writing her next book on Fantasy Cafe for Women in SF&F Month. She also had a new poem published by The Free Library of the Internet Void called “Remember.” And AAWW Radio posted Breaking into Speculative Fiction, a panel discussion with Jenn and Malka Older, moderated by Tim O’Connell.

j brooke’s (Poetry, S’19) essay “Hybrid” was the Nonfiction Winner for Columbia Journal’s Womxn’s History Month Special Issue.

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’14) is excited to announce that she has found a means to get out and share her book The Bone Cutters during this pandemic. From May 11 to June 11, Renee is doing an online book tour, where her work will be featured on 50+ blogs. There will be a video reading, an interview, an excerpt or two, as well as free giveaways. Here is the link to find out how and where to check it all out. Stay safe, everyone!

teri elam’s (Poetry, S19) poetry manuscript was recently named a semi-finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Prize. During April, a film based on her poem “Butterflies” premiered during Visual Poetry Project’s online film celebration of National Poetry Month.

Andrea Lani (Fiction, W’14) was thrilled to have her essay “Faith in a Seed,” about motherhood and the extinction and rebirth of the American chestnut tree, published in the current issue of Spire: The Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability.

Alison McMahan‘s (Popular Fiction, W’10) short story “Harlem in Havana” was released April 7, 2020, in the anthology The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchelledited by Josh Pachter, published by Untreed Reads. Anthology authors Alison, Alan Orloff, and Elaine Viets taught a class on Writing Suspense via Zoom on April 26, 2020.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) and Robin Talbot (Stonecoast Associate Director) invite the Stonecoast community to a Virtual Book Event at PRINT Bookstore in Portland on May 13, 2020, at 7:00 pm. Co-hosted by Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA) via Zoom, Ellen will read from her new novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, and talk with Robin. To register, visit here or here.

John Christopher Nelson‘s (Fiction, S’15) stories “Sola Fide” (originally featured in the summer 2016 issue of Able Muse), “Avoidance,” and “Meaning As Use” are all featured as the fiction portion of Lights, the inaugural issue of Pleasure Boat Studio‘s new zine, available as a free PDF. John also read his story “Good Friday,” originally featured in Volume VI of The New Guard, on Good Friday for West Seattle’s own Pegasus Book Exchange.

Jenny O’Connell‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) recent tribute to the late, great Ryan West—which doubles as an ode to the ultimate frisbee community—was published in Ultiworld magazine. Her essay “Valley of the Bulls” won the 2019 Appalachia Journal Humor in the Wild Contest, and is now available in print. An outdoor contributor for Maine Magazine, Jenny’s profile on camp owner and adventurer Chloë Rowse was published in March, and she has a forthcoming feature on ice climbing in Maine later this year. In April, Jenny signed with agents Jamie Chambliss and Steve Troha of Folio Literary Management, who will represent her book project, Finding Petronella

Suri Parmar (Popular Fiction, W’17) was recently awarded a media grant from the Ontario Arts Council for her experimental short You’re Smart, her first foray into non-narrative filmmaking. While production is presently on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she hopes to complete her film in the following year.

Three short pieces from sid sibo’s (Fiction, W’19) in-process collection Familiar: Stories have been awarded the Neltje Blanchan Memorial award from the Wyoming Arts Council for best writing “informed by a relationship with the natural world.” Two other stories from the collection have earned Honorable Mentions, one of which, “Bull,” will be published online in Cutthroat magazine. The pen name can be traced to Stonecoast 2019 alum sidney woods.

Patricia Smith’s (Poetry, S’08; former faculty member) poem “Now He’s an Etching” appeared in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day email for Thursday, April 16th.; the poem can be read and heard on the poets.org website.

Jacob Strunk (Fiction, W’07) was featured in April’s Voyage LA, an online magazine celebrating the artists and eccentrics that define Los Angeles. The profile features no revelatory bombshells, but there are some fun photos.

Lisa C. Taylor (Poetry, S’04) will have upcoming poetry published in Lily Poetry Review and Soul-Lit. Her book review of Rebecca Foust’s The Unexploded Ordnance Bin was published in Mom Egg Review in April. Lisa’s short story “Lucky” was shortlisted in the 2020 Fish Short Fiction contest, judged by Colum McCann. She has been a mentor through the AWP W2W program this spring, working with a fiction writer from Georgia. And Lisa will have a new collection of poetry published by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press in the spring of 2021.

Rhiannon J. Taylor’s (Popular Fiction, S’19, writing as R. J. Howell) dark fantasy/horror story “What You Lost in the Wildermere” has been published by Arsenika in their sixth issue. Additionally, her story “Parasites” is forthcoming from Frozen Wavelets.

As reported by Locus, Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09) won the 2020 Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF), which sends a fan from North America to CoNZealand, the 78th Worldcon. Paul Weimer, the North American DUFF administrator, said, “With ConZealand being a virtual Worldcon this year and Corvid-19, Erin will not be traveling to New Zealand this year, but hopes to travel to Australasia in the DUFF tradition in 2021, health and world events permitting.” Erin will also take over from Weimer as the new North American administrator.

Marco Wilkinson (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) is now the nonfiction editor at The Los Angeles Review. He is looking for fresh, engaging essays; in particular at this moment, he’d love to read about life during COVID-19. You can submit here.

 

 

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Community News & Updates March 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

STONECOAST AT AWP 2020
Are you attending AWP 2020? Stonecoast MFA will host a gathering from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at The Rose Bush (2301 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, Texas 78212). We’ll have free appetizers, a short reading in honor of our new WISE (Writing for Inclusivity and Social Equity) program, and plenty of time to socialize and reconnect. The venue is BYOB. We hope you’ll join us!

ALUMNI WORKSHOP AT THE STONECOAST 2020 SUMMER RESIDENCY
This June, Stonecoast will once again offer a personalized writing experience for our Alumni. Held in conjunction with the Stonecoast summer residency, Elizabeth Hand will lead workshops that get alums to immerse in their writing within a peer setting again. This post MFA workshop is open to fiction writers of all stripes—short stories, novels, mimetic fiction, genre fiction, autofiction, meta-fiction et al. Participants will focus on both old and new work, with an aim towards polishing the former as well generating new ideas and expanding notions of what fiction is and can be in the 2020s. The conference fee includes four 2.5-hour workshop sessions, plus full access to all presentations, seminars, readings, pop-up classes, receptions, and special events. Participants will also have the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with a literary agent.

  • Dates: June 21-25, 2020
  • Cost: $650.00 workshop fee, plus room and board (~$750 for 4 nights) or commuter fee ($285). Includes daily lunches and afternoon tea at the Harraseeket Inn.
  • Contact Lindsey Vazquez  to reserve your spot! Only 8 slots are available, and we expect this workshop to fill quickly. Once your participation is confirmed, a non-refundable deposit will be required to confirm your place in the workshop.

Testimonials from Susan Conley‘s Winter 2020 Alumni Workshop:

  • “One year post-graduation, Susan Conley’s alumni workshop was just what I needed. The workshop gave me the opportunity to drop into an intensive working environment and hit the ground running. The benefit of working with a seasoned Stonecoast instructor and writers who share a common language of craft and critiquing was invaluable—not mention the amazing support. I will definitely do this again and highly recommend it.”  ~Lee Bodkin
  • “Being back at Stonecoast was such a gift—from the workshops to the seminars, returning to Maine to write and be with ‘my people’ was just the motivation I needed to return to my heart’s work. The writing during those mornings was some of the better writing I have done in months.” ~Heather Wilson

Martha McSweeney Brower (Creative Nonfiction, W’19) shared this information for anyone interested in submitting to Maine Seniors or Maine Women:

CURRENT STUDENTS

Natalie Harris-Spencer’s (Fiction) short story “Labor Day Weekend” is due to be published this Spring in Volume 2 of Allegory Ridge‘s fiction anthology, Archipelago, due out April 21st. Allegory Ridge is a magazine for open-minded millennials that publishes travel writing, short stories, poetry, artwork, photography, and personal essays. More details to follow.

Nina Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction), a.k.a. The Viking Jewess, recently had a food essay published in The Canadian Jewish News, which was fun, because when she had originally submitted a version of it to a Maine food pub, they asked her to remove references to her Jewish background, which made her (pissed off) pull the submission. You can read the brief food essay here.

 

FACULTY

Tom Coash‘s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts, Writing for Social Change) play Bubble, Bubble will be produced in Sydney, Australia, as part of the worldwide Short & Sweet Festival. His short musical Stepping Into Fire will be produced at the National Performing Arts Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

John Florio (Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) writes about sports, crime, and social issues. In February, he wrote a feature for ESPN’s The Undefeated: Rube Foster was the Big Man Behind the First Successful Negro Baseball League. His next young-adult book is due out in 2021; it will tell the controversial story of Sacco & Vanzetti, two Italian anarchists wrongly convicted of murder and later executed in Boston, MA.

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) talks about his novel Nirvana Is Here and all things Nirvana in an interview with Rolf Potts for the podcast Deviate.

The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Boston Review recently profiled Elizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) and her novel Curious Toys. On February 29th, Leap Day, she and bestselling Swedish novelist Niklas Natt och Dag appeared at The English Bookshop in conversation about their fiction (and a mutual fascination with artist Henry Darger). Hand’s new story “The Owl Count” will appear in the forthcoming issue of the literary magazine Conjunctions.

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) was invested into the august company of the Baker Street Irregulars, a worldwide literary society whose 300 members devote themselves to the Sacred Writings (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of Sherlock Holmes).  Her investiture name is “Beryl Garcia,” a character in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. She was invested in January at the annual Baker Street Irregulars Dinner at the Yale Club in New York City. In other news, Kymera Press, Nancy’s comic-book publisher, is holding a Kickstart to create a trade paperback out of four of her comic book adaptations of short stories written by women during the long nineteenth century. Nancy also wrote the introduction for three books:

  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, which is the debut offering of the Horror Writers Association’s Haunted Library.
  • Across the Universe, edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Randee Dawn. This anthology collects short stories starring versions of the Beatles in alternate universes.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Domino Lady, an anthology featuring short stories about a pulp character from the 1930’s. She has also written short stories and comic books starring Domino Lady in the past, and is currently working on a commissioned DL story for Moonstone Books.

The February 2020 TheatreZone production of Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction Scriptwriting) Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, starring Broadway’s Andrea McArdle, was reviewed as an “exemplary show…Seeing a scandal unfold never felt so good.” Elizabeth received a generous shout-out in the same review: “It all seemed bizarre beyond belief nearly 30 years ago, and someone had the brilliant idea to deliver it in a joyous theater package. We can credit playwright Elizabeth Searle for that and thank you, thank you, thank you.” Elizabeth was thrilled to work with Andrea, the original ANNIE, who earned raves in her dual role as the Mom(s). The show received media coverage in the Naples Daily News, including an interview with Elizabeth, and on the Naples ABC affiliate, Channel 7, featuring an interview with the show’s stars. New productions are in the works; for updates and pictures, see www.tonyaandnancytherockopera.com.

Above: Elizabeth and Broadway great Andrea McArdle as well as Tonya & Nancy leading ladies Whitney Winfield (Nancy) and Nikki Miller (Tonya) and producer Paul Boghosian from the Feb 2020 production of Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera

 

ALUMS

Elizabeth Beechwood (Popular Fiction, S’14) is happy to announce that her story “Yes, Yes, Yes, We Remember” was selected for the Third Flatiron Best of 2019 anthology with an illustration of the Rusalka on the cover. You can listen to “Yes, Yes, Yes, We Remember” as a free podcast, too. Also, Elizabeth’s short story “Just Beyond the Shore” was included in the Stoker-nominated anthology Nox Pariedolia. This sale is especially sweet because a long-ago draft was included in Elizabeth’s submission to and workshopped at Stonecoast!

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) has a fiction essay among the top seven finalists for the North American Review’s 2020 Kurt Vonnegut Prize.

KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) has a story in the upcoming anthology Invisible Threads, from Apex Publications. Engaging a wide array of marginalized creators, Invisible Threads interrogates and deconstructs the social, cultural, and economic ties that hold us back. The Kickstarter runs until March 18th—see here for more information and backer rewards! She will also be assisting at the PodCastle booth at Toronto ComiCon, March 20-22. Come listen to PodCastle episodes and catch a hilarious live show!

Lauren M Davis (Poetry, S’15) is teaching courses in English writing, creative writing, and philosophy at the University of Saint Francis and Indiana Institute of Technology.

Teacher/Pizza Guy, poetry collection by Jeff Kass (Fiction, S’09), has been named a Michigan Notable Book for 2020. Here is a link to an article about it in MEA Magazine.

Alan King (Poetry, W’13) created two videos for his poems “Beacon” and “Into the Light.” Both poems were inspired by his experience as an organ donor when his wife lost kidney function because of lupus.

Paul Kirsch (Popular Fiction, W’11) has been nominated for a Nebula Award for his writing on The Outer Worlds, a dark sci-fi satire about consumerism and corporate greed in space, full of fun shooty combat and opportunities for creative roleplay. His fellow nominees include Leonard Boyarsky, Kate Dollarhyde, Chris L’Etoile, Daniel McPhee, Carrie Patel, Nitai Poddar, Marc Soskin, and Megan Starks. This is the second year the Nebula has recognized video game writing.

Kristin Leonard (Fiction. S’18) published an academic article, “First-Person Adolescent Storytellers and Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. The article is a re-constructed version of her third-semester project. It begins with the opening line: “I first discovered Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style while preparing for a fiction workshop with Breena Clarke at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA creative writing program…”

Emily Levang’s (Creative Nonfiction, S’19) article “Can We Protect Nature by Giving It Legal Rights?” was recently published in Ensia.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W ’06) will be a featured reader at the upcoming AWP on a panel discussing novels about families torn apart by history and war. Her essay on the same subject, “When They Take the Children,” was recently published in Mom Egg Review. Her fourth novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, will be published on April 7, 2020.

Bruce Pratt‘s (Fiction, S’04) short story “Last Rites” appears in the February March issue of Portland Monthly Magazine, on newsstands now, and two of his poems, “I Know Why a Man” and “In this year of stingy snow and illness,” appear in the most recent edition of The Maine Edge.

After the Parade, a second book of poetry by Dana Robbins (Poetry, W’13), was published by Moon Pie Press of Westbrook Maine. The book is available for purchase here.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08), has a flash list essay, “Marriage by the Numbers,” in the 10th anniversary issue of The Writers Circle Journal. She has additional essays forthcoming in Tiferet Journal and Flash Nonfiction Food. In late April, Lisa will appear on a panel presentation, “The Borderlands of Grief,” at The Calandra Italian American Institute’s Annual Conference in New York City with authors Nancy Caronia and Joanna Clapps Herman.

Morgan Talty‘s (Fiction, W’19) story “The Citizenship Question: We the People” will be published this spring in The Georgia Review‘s special issue on the 2020 U.S. Census. Talty’s two short craft essays, “Story, Speak” and “One-Edit,” will also appear in Shenandoah.

Gina Troisi‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) essay “A Hunger” was recently published in Sycamore Review (Issue 31.1).

Christopher Watkins‘ (Poetry, W’08) poems “We Take Our Color From The Mines,” “The Sea Was Never A Friend To Us,” and “We Are Forced To Face One Another” have been accepted for publication by The Write Launch and will be included in the March 2020 issue. Additionally, Christopher, under his performance name “Preacher Boy,” has just released his 12th album, entitled See No Evil (Coast Road Records). The album is now available across all digital music platforms. Coast Road Records has published an Enhanced Lyric Booklet to complement the album’s release, which is now available for Kindle or as a free PDF.

 

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Community News & Updates February 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Alumnus Jacob Strunk (Fiction, W’07) has undergone heart surgery in January and some Stonecoasters are among those supporting a GoFundMe effort right now to help with expenses. If you’d like to donate, visit Jacob’s Big Dumb Heart.

BOSKONE 2020

This year’s Boskone—New England’s longest running science fiction convention—features many Stonecoast faculty and alumni on the program participant list, including: KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16), Julie C Day (Popular Fiction, S’12), David Anthony Durham (Fiction, Popular Fiction faculty), Theodora Goss (Popular Fiction faculty), James Patrick Kelly (Popular Fiction, Playwriting faculty), Mur Lafferty (Popular Fiction, W’14), Robert V. S. Redick (Popular Fiction faculty), Erin Roberts (Popular Fiction, W’18), and (of course!) Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09). Word is that many other Stonecoasters will be in attendance as well. Feel free to join us! Boskone – February 14th to 11th at the Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston.

FACULTY

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) interviewed novelist Garth Greenwell about his new novel Cleanness for Electric Literature.

In 2021, New Rivers Press will publish Debra Marquart’s (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing for Social Change) next poetry collection, Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems. Her poems have recently been included in three anthologies: “Come November” in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, edited by Elizabeth Dodd, Simmons Buntin, and Derek Sheffield (Trinity University Press, 2020); “Dylan’s Lost Years” in Stone Gathering: A Reader 1.1 (Summer 2019); and “How Bad News Comes” in Send My Roots Rain: 52 Weeks of Poetry to Heal Your Grief, edited by Kim Langley (Paraklete Press, 2019). She published an essay, “The Unhappy Hour,” in Ascent Magazine in November 2019. Debra received a small grant ($4000) from Iowa Arts Council to complete a Poet-Laureate-in-the-Schools initiative in the 2019-2020 school year, and she was interviewed by Frontier Poetry in May 2019. In addition to writing, Debra did quite a lot of speaking:

Cate Marvin (Poetry) received the 2020 Maine Artist Fellowship Award in Literature (in this case, poetry) from the Maine Arts Commission.

More recent-vintage Stonecoasters might remember the collaboration seminar Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) and painter pal Susan Tilton Pecora gave at a winter residency a few years back on a book project to benefit their neighbor, Blue Star Equiculture. The draft horse rescue will be closing in a few months due to a lack of donations and volunteers so Suzanne and Susan have turned their work into a series of notecards (each featuring painting and essay) to more quickly help pay final bills at the 11-year-old draft horse rescue. The set of ten blank notecards, priced at $25, includes five different signed images and essays from throughout the rescue’s history. Checks should be made out to Susan Tilton Pecora and sent to her at PO Box 195, Thorndike, MA, 01079; pay via PayPal at sess7@comcast.net. All donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by Blue Star Equiculture, a registered nonprofit. Please note on checks or on PayPal payment how many sets of cards you’d like. The horses and their humans, including these two longtime friends and neighbors of Blue Star, thank you.

ALUMS

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) joined a full voice cast to narrate Kyle Kirrin’s story “Yo, Rapunzel!” for the January 28th episode of PodCastle. You can listen to it here.

Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) is pleased to announce a new story, “Nightmare Spinner,” in Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories, edited by Eric Bosarge (Popular Fiction, W’12) and Joe McDermott (Popular Fiction, S’11) (Vernacular Books) and two reprints: “Snow as White as Skin as White as Snow,” in Weird Dream Society, edited by Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18), Julie C. Day (Popular Fiction, S’12), Chip Houser, and Steve Toase (The Post-Apocalyptic Writers Society); and “Cadaver Feet,” in The Binge-Watching Cure II: An Anthology of Horror Stories, edited by Bill Adler, Jr., and Sarah Doebereiner (Claren Books, October 2019).

Sunspot Literary Journal chose the opening to one of J Brooke’s (Poetry, S’19) essays, “Before and After,” as finalist for their Inception Contest (voted one of 2019’s Best Writing Contests by Reedsy) and published eir essay in the most recent issue. Of possible interest is J worked on this piece second semester at Stonecoast and received editorial suggestions from Stonecoast Director Justin Tussing on it, which e incorporated.

Susan Casey’s (Fiction, W’10) book Rock On: Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Sibling Grief is being released on February 14, 2020. The book launch is at the Frontier Café on February 15th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Links to register here and here.

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’ 14) will be reading from her horror/psychological thriller novella The Bone Cutters on Saturday, February 22nd, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. at the Lewiston Public Library. The event is free to the public and will conclude with book sales and signing. Renee is also thrilled to announce that she has signed a comic book deal with Phi3 Comics. She has been commissioned to write the book #4 finale, “Gateway of Destruction,” for the current Spiralmind storyline of “Muses’ Rise.” Publication date is TBD.

teri elam’s (Poetry, S’19) poem “High School Dancerettes at Half-Time” was published in the Winter 2019 issue of Prairie Schooner. teri’s poem “Butterflies” (a reflection on the criminalization of school-age black girls) was chosen as part of 2020’s Visible Poetry Project and will be brought to the screen by filmmaker Christina Sloan Stoddard.

Gail Hovey (Creative Nonfiction, S ’11) is delighted to announce that her memoir, worked on at Stonecoast and beyond, will be published this fall by Exposit/McFarland. The title for this story of the long reach of childhood sexual abuse by a seminary-trained woman is still being worked on, as the publisher says it’s a hard book to title. Watch this space.

Clifford Royal Johns (Popular Fiction, W’18) will be conducting a writing workshop on writing in first person on February 15th at 2:30 p.m. at the Capricon science fiction convention (February 13-16, 2020). He will also be a panelist at the convention on the following panels:

  • Detectives in the Wild – Thursday, 5:00 p.m.
  • Nonfiction for Fiction Writers – Friday, 10:00 a.m.
  • Lessons I Learned as a First-Time Novelist – Friday, 8:30 p.m.
  • How Not to Kill Yourself over a Deadline – Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Publisher – Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) sold a mini-mystery, “Who’s That Valentine?”, to Woman’s World magazine, which is in the issue that hits your grocery/drugstore checkout lines on February 6th.

Rebecca Kightlinger (Fiction, W ’14) announces that a new, enhanced edition of Megge of Bury Down: Book One of the Bury Down Chronicles will be released by Rowan Moon on February 1, 2020, in advance of publication of Book Two of the series this summer. The book’s epigraph is from a poem by Annie Finch.

Fiona Lehn (Popular Fiction W’15) has a new speculative novel, Transformation Junkies, published by Wicked Publishing. Click here to read more about the project, and here to view the book trailer.

Joe M. McDermott (Popular Fiction, S’11) sold the short story “Wind Gets Her Own Place” to Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Matthew Quinn Martin (Popular Fiction, S’10)’s film (co-written with director Doug C. Williams) Being is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray nationwide, exclusively at Wal-Mart (with more big box stores and streaming to follow). The film starts Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1), Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Millennium), Ahd Kamel (Collateral), Robert Burke (BlacKkKlansman), Jason Iannacone (The Irishman), and James St. Vincent (The Price). The trailer can be viewed here.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) is pleased to be a featured presenter at AWP in San Antonio. She will read from her forthcoming novel Her Sister’s Tattoo and talk with Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, and Kristen Young, about themes of families torn apart by history and war. Ellen’s recent New England ARC tour was featured in Shelf Awareness on January 10.

On February 22nd from 10:30 to 12:30, Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be at the Belfast Free Library teaching Memoir 101 through the Maine Writers and Publishers’ Alliance. The workshop is free to MWPA members and $5 for non-members.

Anne Britting Oleson (Poetry, W’05) will have her fourth novel, Cow Palace, published by B Ink Publishing in March of this year. She is also gratified to have had her fourth poetry chapbook, Magic Somewhere Else, contracted by Clare Songbirds Publishing, to appear at the end of the summer.

Tamie Parker Song (Creative Nonfiction, S’12) was invited to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a residency in writing. There, nested in the Great Smoky Mountains, she worked on a long essay she is composing about commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, what that experience gives her to understand about gendered violence, and how we might alchemize it into something transformative and new.

Kevin St. Jarre‘s (Popular Fiction, S’10) has signed a new book deal for his novel Aliens, Drywall, and a Unicycle with Encircle Publications, with a publication date of November 6, 2020.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) story “Where You Linger” appears in the January/February issue of Uncanny Magazine and is available to read free online later this month.

 

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