New story out today!

Good news everyone! The first installment of my serialized short story “Broken Heart Symphony in Four Movements” is out today in Zetetic.

Writing this story was an interesting process. I’d actually written the first two parts of the story separately, in my Freshman year of college for my Intro to Creative Writing class. A lot of the stories I workshopped in that class were actually things I’d written in high school that I felt the need to re-hash for some reason, but these pieces were new. The first piece in particular, the one posted today, had a pretty strong reaction from my classmates; it was possibly the first time in that class where I felt that people emotionally connected with my work, as opposed to simply analyzing it for the class.

I shopped them around a few places separately, but they weren’t really going anywhere. Despite being well written, I suspected that they were unfinished, but I didn’t see them connected to each other, or as being part of a broader whole.

Until Fiction 1 last semester with Dr. Ted Lyons. Dr. Lyons instructed us to write a story approximately 3000 words in length. I procrastinated, per usual, and my scribbled short story (a story about a girl both invisible and blind, someone I’d been daydreaming about for a while) barely cracked 1000. I realized I needed to boost my word count by incorporating something I’d already written, because padding the blind girl story was going to drag it out unnecessarily. I dug into my old stuff and read “this is why we can’t be in love” and “the girl with two hearts” back to back, and suddenly, everything clicked.

I brought them both in, and revised the story about the blind and invisible girl to meet at the same point. They’re about all the different ways a heart gets broken, and when I composed the fourth set, the one most overtly about longing, I realized I had something that really worked.

The feedback from my Fiction 1 class was invaluable, and after one other brief revision, preventing myself from undercutting my own themes, I started sending it out. This time, it was picked up on the second try.

I’m really thankful to George Wells, Zetetic‘s editor, both for giving this story a shot and for the consistent communication via email throughout the publication process, especially when minor changes had to be made to the story. If you’re a novice or amateur writer, I highly recommend getting feedback from someone at E&GJ Publishing group, who also produce the annual Sparks anthology.

Also, last but not least! In addition to paying semi-professional rates, Zetetic is committed to ensuring creative writing and the arts are valued by allowing people to make donations to the artists they feature. On the right-hand side of the page for each story, there’s a PayPal donation option. When you make a donation, 90% goes directly to the artist in question, and the rest goes to keeping E&GJ Press running. No pressure about this or anything; just think of it as passing the hat:

An Interview with Spike Trotman and Gavin Grant

Last semester I took a class called Editing & Publishing, a class that takes an in-depth look at the publishing industry with the goal of potentially breaking in (or, possibly to make one run screaming in the other direction). One of the best elements of the class was a project in which I was given the opportunity to write, edit, and design a copy of a magazine around the publishing-related theme of my choice, and I immediately took the opportunity to interview some of my favorite small press editors.

In one article, I put a spotlight on the editors at Braddock Avenue Books, one of my favorite small presses, about the nuts and bolts of running a small press. I’ll run excerpts from that article later in the week. In this article, the focus is on small press marketing.

Here’s are three-question excerpts from those interviews.

From the interview with Spike Trotman, editor of Iron Circus Comics and writer of Templar Arizona

Indie Lit: What was your experience when making the leap from simply creating and producing your webcomic to running a full-blown indie comics press? Is there anything you would do differently in retrospect?

Spike Trotman: My experience has been thoroughly grassroots. I had no classes or lessons in pre-press, I didn’t know how to request a quote, I didn’t know how to promote a project or coordinate creators. I learned along the way. so, naturally, i would do EVERYTHING differently. More systematically, more organized. I’d be better about sharing information and keeping everyone updated. and I’d be a lot less timid around the people I HIRED, like printers. I was paying THEM, they worked for ME. Took me awhile to let that sink in.

IL: What tools, websites, or social media platforms do you find the most useful when creating a new anthology, whether in the curating submissions stage or in the stage of promoting the kickstarter and the book itself?

ST: Twitter and tumblr are where the vast, VAST majority of my project funding comes from. I find interviews on industry sites like Comics Alliance or Robot6 bring in a couple thousand dollars; Twitter pulls 20 times that. People value recommendations from friends or people they trust a lot more than formal interviews. And tumblr pulls in loads and loads of submissions; even people with no interest in the arts will reblog something they think their artistic friends might be into. Reblogs are invaluable forgetting the word out.

IL:Why is it important for an independent publisher to connect with their readers in-person (at conventions or bookstore / library events)? How is this best achieved?

ST: Twitter is good. tumblr is good. Conventions are good. All of those help you meet readers, and just meeting a reader and being cool, making their experience of actually talking to you fun, is enough to win a little loyalty, or encourage someone to check out your stuff when they might otherwise pass. when you’re small press, you have to grow organically; you can’t just expect for people to find you. You’re your own PR department, and you should act like it.

For more of Spike Trotman’s advice to novice comic-writers, check out her downloadable comics This is Everything I Know,” and “Let’s Kickstart a Comic and Not Screw It Up.

From the interview with Gavin Grant, who once wrote a comprehensive article for Strange Horizons called How To Start a Small Press. Gavin Grant is the co-editor of Small Beer Press with Kelly Link. 

IL: First, what do you think has been the biggest change, either in terms of cost or publicity, of the small press publishing landscape in the past ten years?

GG: The fracturing of both reader attention and media outlet influence. While having fewer gatekeepers (reviewers/editors at newspapers/radio) meant it was hard to get coverage for works coming from outside the larger publishing houses, now there are millions of media channels competing for attention. The good news is that people still read books so even as people spend their time keeping up with social media they are also talking about books with friends — and strangers and writers and publishers and translators and critics, etc., etc.

IL:What are the best tools an editor has at his or her disposal when marketing a small press book?

GG:To start with the obvious: a great book, which in turn will inspire readers to find other readers to share the book with. A personable author is always useful, but not at all necessary — an uncomfortable author makes for uncomfortable interviews and such. Getting early copies into the hands of enthusiasts is alway helpful, but everyone is busier than they were. Just about everyone I’ve queried in the last year about whether I could send them an advance copy to read has said something along the lines of, “Yes, but . . . I’m buried in these things!”

IL:What challenges do small press editors face at the marketing stage, and how can they be best met?

GG: Budget! A challenge that can best be met by 1) large anonymous checks from supporters (well, it’s never happened but it might), 2) using channels such as Edelweiss to distribute review copies as widely as possible, 3) attracting review attention/pitching books or authors for off-the-bookpage coverage, 3) national radio attention.

Gavin Grant is also the editor of the bi annual literary magazine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.


Hey, so, this is my website! It’s got all the things, or at least it will eventually. Samples of my art, links to my writing, ideas in my brain, all that cool stuff.

I went on a social media purge a little over a year ago so I could focus on my honor’s thesis: my first ever novel. Now it’s officially my Senior year at Kent State (um, again), I’ll be wrapping up the novel by December, and I feel like it’s time to slowly resume social media activities and other internet things.

I have some fairly exciting news I’ll be sharing on Friday. In the mean time, find me other places.



That’s, um, that’s about where I’m at right now.