2022 Writing in Review

Last year, my Writing in Review covered April to December with 44 submissions and 5 acceptances. For coming off an (almost) decade-long drought, that felt pretty good.

This year, I submitted the entire year, with 74 submissions across flash fiction, essays, poetry, and photography. Eight pieces/photographs/chapbooks are still out. I published one poem, 14 photographs, one essay, and 11 flash fiction pieces.

I had a chapter published in the Thirty West #antiwriomo novel, Those Who Scream. I wrote it last November and the book came out in May.

I got my first Best of the Net nomination for my Daily Drunk essay, “Douglas Fir Give Me Heartburn: Exploring the Magic of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street,” published last December.

I got my first Best Microfiction nomination from Atlas and Alice for my flash fiction piece, “No Place Like Home.”

I submitted three different chapbooks or microchaps, and one was accepted and published! Won’t Be By Your Side came out September 23rd and I’m very proud of the stories in that book, along with the cover design, which uses my photograph.

I also designed the cover for my friend Janet Dale’s chapbook, ghosts passing through, which uses another of my photographs.

I also submitted a collaborative chapbook to three places, and it’s still out at one.

I submitted a chapbook pitch to a publisher, which felt amazing even with a rejection because I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my mind since 2011 without any clarity of what to do with it. The pitch pushed me to figure out how to share these ideas, so I hope to work on this project more in 2023.

I also submitted a flash sample to Reflex Press and was accepted to write a piece for their collaborative novella-in-flash. My time will come at the end of February 2023, but I’ve loved getting the pieces in my inbox and letting my imagination run wild with what I might add to this amazing project.

I didn’t keep strict track of the workshops taken, but I think I took 9, either one-off generative workshops or more involved week-long or three-week courses. This is up from… maybe 3 in 2021? I love workshops and feel like I create a lot of material from them, so that’s something I’m going to try and make time for in 2023. I’m already signed up for 3 in the first quarter alone.

I also have other major writing goals for 2023, but since this is a time of reflection over 2022, I’ll recap with a general overview of satisfaction. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much since 2021, and of course the years before that were a desert, so I’m proud of where I am now. I feel like there are still goals to strive for and ways to have fun with my writing instead of always pushing myself to do more.

“Colors in the Air” published at Visual Verse

I now spend the first of the month eagerly awaiting the image shared by Visual Verse. You have an hour to write a micro or flash ranging from 50 to 500 words, based on or inspired by the image. I’ve always felt like such a visual writer anyway, with a scene or person encouraging me to make up a story, and so far I’ve been so inspired by their images.

I’m honored that they’re sharing my piece, “Colors in the Air,” this month.

GIVEAWAY! One Month Celebration

CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the giveaway on Twitter and Instagram. Lauren Voeltz is the winner!


I can’t believe my book has been in the world for one month now! So many friends have posted pictures on social media and shared their favorite stories. Oh, and David Sedaris has a copy of it! I went to his reading last week and gave him a copy at the signing. He asked what it was about and said “I look forward to reading it.” !!!

To celebrate, I’m hosting a giveaway. You’ll get a signed copy of the book, a super-cool Venus tea trap, and two delicious teas from my favorite companies.

The Pomegranate Punch Decaf Black Tea from Plum Deluxe has a fresh citrus flavor mirroring the clementine from my story “Lost and Found.”

The Firebird chai from Wendigo Tea will make you feel “Electric Inside” like the first story in the book.

Comment below with your favorite hot beverage, and visit Twitter and Instagram to see how to earn extra entries!

Contest open until Saturday, October 29th, at midnight Central time. I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!

“Leaving the Canyon” published at Misery Tourism

Today my piece “Leaving the Canyon” is live at Misery Tourism.

This story is based on an experience I had when I was traveling the US alone in 2011. Back then I blogged on Allison Writes (see how “grown up” I am with Allison Renner Writes is now?!) and shared the true story. When Misery Tourism announced they were closing up shop, I knew I had to shoot my shot.

I went to the site and the randomizer told me “How about submitting a Randian objectivist tabletop game about death, you fucking misanthrope?” So I used the framework of that trip and added some game/Choose Your Own Adventure elements.

Alien Buddha Reading Sunday 9/18

Listen to the recording HERE. My section starts around the 53 minute mark.

This Sunday from 1-3pm CST, Alien Buddha Press is hosting a reading. It’s audio-only through Twitter Spaces, so grab your phone and listen in without needing to primp for Zoom vide. You’ll see a colorful ring around @thealienbuddha‘s profile picture when we’re live. If you follow the press already, the Space will be at the top of your newsfeed. Whichever approach you use, just click to join and listen to these great writers:

Won’t Be By Your Side Blurb from Keely O’Shaughnessy

I’m honored to share this blurb for my forthcoming chapbook, Won’t Be By Your Side.


I met Keely O’Shaughnessy when I was a priority editor at Flash Fiction Magazine. She’s the managing editor and fearless leader, and an amazing writer to boot! I kicked off Chapbook Week showcasing her book, The Swell of Seafoam, which you can get right now (free!) from Ghost City Press. The microchap is stunning, with the mysterious sea taking on a prominent role in each story.

Since then, Keely’s second book, Baby Is a Thing Best Whispered, came out with Alien Buddha Press. Once I stopped staring at the gorgeous cover, I dove in and the stories swept me away. The relationships in this book are realistic, even when that means they’re fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. Keely deftly inspires those emotions in the reader.

A few of my favorite stories include:

  • “Some Girls are Just Trashy and No Good,” about girls at the fair testing the limits of who they are and what they could become, with descriptions so vivid you can smell the food in the air as the colorful lights flash before your eyes.
  • “Adult Teeth,” about a family of women that hammer their baby teeth into a tree.
  • “Hidden in the Margins of a Gideon’s Bible,” a micro flash which… you just have to read.
  • “Love Is Riding the Log Flume at Splash Town in Late Summer,” which is about love and loss and the passage of time, told with heart-wrenching, brutal honesty.
  • “How to Bake Cookies When Your Child is Dying,” giving you step-by-step instructions on how to make cookies and think of anything other than your child dying, while deftly inserting emotion into each part of the recipe.

I need to stop before I highlight every story, but you get my gist. This flash fiction collection is one you don’t want to miss!