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nashostomoGet ready, prose writers: the poets are about to pass the pen to you!

May is Short Story Month!

Read all about it here: http://shortstorymonth.com/about/

Find interviews, prompts, contests, challenges, and other juicy tidbits here: https://storyaday.org/

If you need encouragement, Ann R. Allen offers 13 reasons why you should write a short story this month: https://annerallen.com/2015/05/13-reasons-why-you-should-write-shor/

And if you are all written out for the nonce (I feel you, fellow poets!) the Emerging Writers Network has a list of 74 short story collections that were slated for publication this year: https://emergingwriters.typepad.com/emerging_writers_network/short_story_month/. Some of these will no doubt be in your local library.

My own recommendation for a short story collection is Tom Hanks’ Uncommon Type, which I picked up earlier this year at our very own Eastside Branch. The stories are quite different from one another, but I enjoyed them very much, not the least because I could hear Hanks’ voice in my head as I read.

If new fiction just isn’t your cup of tea, break out something more classic:
Mark Twain, Marge Piercy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Shirley Jackson, Saki, Doris Lessing, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Jack London, P.L. Travers, Stephen King, Ursula LeGuin, Kazuo Ishiguro . . .

There are 31 days in May. Make sure you set aside part of at least one of them for a short story.




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Today is the last day to get the lower early-bird rate for the Carnegie Center’s 2019 Books in Progress Conference. For full information and to register, visit


BIP 2019

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Turning over a new leaf

leaf 10oct17

(Not this one. This is an old leaf.)

With the year winding down and new calendars waiting in the wings, it’s a good time for dreaming about where we want to go with our writing next year. Regardless of whether that dreaming leads to concrete milestones or wish lists, it signals our intent, to our selves and anyone else who may be paying attention.

In a blog post at Smack Dab in the Middle, Claudia Mills describes the gift she most wants for the coming year: the gift of taking on new challenges. She then outlines six (yes, six!) new things she wants to tackle in 2019.

The gift of taking on new challenges is also one she wants to give to her fellow authors. I’ve decided my first new challenge is to determine what unfamiliar territory I would like to cover as a writer during the coming year.

So now I pass the gift along to you:

What new challenges do you want to face in your writing life this year?


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We’ve reached the halfway point of November and NaNoWriMo. How is your writing going?

Maybe you’ve fallen off the pace or missed several days of writing or just never got it together. That’s okay. You could decide to start right now. And when people ask what you did in 2018, you could answer, “I started my novel/short story/memoir/poetry collection/non-fiction book.” It’s really that easy.

If the thought of writing 50K gives you the willies, set a goal that works for you: 50 words, 50 pages, 50 minutes, 50 hours. You can even sign up at NaNoWriMo with your custom goal. Because every writer deserves support and encouragement — and heaven knows we all need it.

To that end, check out this blog post by Geoff Le Pard with some lovely pictures and ideas that may inspire or comfort or just plain make you smile. Enjoy!

And then get to work. NaNoWriMo is not about winning; it’s about seizing the opportunity to write.

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What is it about autumn that seems to energize the writing community? Maybe it’s the break in summer temperatures; maybe it’s the changing foliage or receding light; maybe it’s the general back-to-school vibe (here in the northern hemisphere). Whatever the reason, there are lots of opportunities to get your writing into gear.

fall 2018 catalog coverLocally, the Carnegie Center has an entire catalog of classes, workshops, readings, and other events to stimulate those creative juices. You can get more information and  register at their web site: http://carnegiecenterlex.org/.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, NC, is offering several one-day intensive workshops this fall on poetry, voice, creative non-fiction, memoir, and publishing. Details and registration can be found at https://www.twwoa.org/workshops.html.


nanowrimo shieldLast but not least, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and Lexington has a very active and engaged Wrimo community. Check out their calendar of events and other connections at https://nanowrimo.org/regions/usa-kentucky-lexington.

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nashostomoShort story is my favorite literary category, so imagine my delight when I discovered that May is Short Story Month. Learn more about the origins of this celebration at shortstorymonth.com and Fiction Writers Review.

I adore short stories because they are compact, intense, and really pack a wallop. As a kid I devoured them like peanuts, cracking them open and popping them one after another. As an adult with more to do than there are hours in the day, I love that I can (usually) finish them in one sitting. The reduced time commitment also makes me willing to take a chance on different genres, and I’ve discovered many beloved authors through their short fiction.

So grab a print magazine or journal (they do still make those) or look up a few of your favorite novelists — chances are pretty good they wrote some short fiction you’ve not read. You might also want to try your hand at short story yourself: the Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition is a great place to start. The prompts are fun and clever, and the deadline is June 4, 2018.

However you choose to celebrate, happy Short Story Month!


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Okay, people, you know the drill: It’s National Poetry Month! That means it’s also NaPoWriMo!

Try your hand at a little poetry this month, especially if it’s not what you normally write. C’mon — haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Anyone who can count can do that!

If you’re simply not up to writing poetry, at least make a point of reading some. Don’t care for modern poetry? Read something classic, like Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Dickinson. Have bad memories of “literary” poetry from your school days? Read Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash.

Still not feeling it? Poets Trish Hopkinson and Luanne Castle have each assembled a terrific selection of resources for reading and writing, including prompts designed for prose as well as verse:





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flying bookAttention poets: Poetry Super Highway is once again sponsoring a world-wide poetry exchange. Sign up to send someone a book of your poetry, and someone else in the exchange will send a book of poetry to you.

For complete information and to register, visit


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libra scalesToday we are balanced at the very center of October, with fifteen days before us and fifteen days behind. (What a perfectly Libra thing to say!) That means you still have more than two weeks to prepare for NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month (also known as November).

Lexington has almost 3,000 writers signed up to participate so far. Check out the Lexington page on the NaNoWriMo site to find out about meetings, parties, and write-ins scheduled throughout the month: https://nanowrimo.org/regions/usa-kentucky-lexington. (If you’re not from Lexington, click on the Regions link at the NaNoWriMo site to find your own local WriMo tribe.)

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Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoHave you ever wondered why April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. (and other places as well)? Perhaps because both Geoffrey Chaucer and T.S. Eliot open epic poems with references to the month: “Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote” (Canterbury Tales) and “April is the cruellest month” (The Waste Land). Or perhaps because many English-speaking children learn this simplest of rhymes almost as soon as they can speak: “April showers bring May flowers.”

April is also National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. If you want some writing inspiration, any number of sites offer daily prompts:

(These work just as well for other types of writing, if poetry isn’t your thing.)

Whatever writing you do this month, take time to appreciate the poetry that already surrounds you in song lyrics, in mnemonic devices (30 days hath September…), in the everyday speech of your community.

Happy Poetry Month!

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