Updates

Bolt of Inspiration

I started 2023 with very few writing goals because too many start to feel like obligations, and that’s the last excuse I need to skip writing time. My main goals were massive projects to work on all year: I also knew I wanted to take more workshops, and kicked off the year with two: one…

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,…

Nominated for Best Microfiction

I’m excited and honored that Atlas and Alice nominated my piece “No Place Like Home” for Best Microfiction 2023!  

Two Month Celebration on YouTube!

I used to have a YouTube channel when I was in library school. Or maybe not a channel, but I recorded and uploaded videos every so often at How I Feel About Books. Video isn’t really my format—I do much better with text. But I’ve done a few readings for my chapbook and wanted to…

“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…

After Twitter Dies

With everyone wondering what will happen after Twitter dies, I keep thinking back over my internet experience. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also in the middle of an extracurricular essay for March Fadness, which requires me to revisit my high school years in a way that completely consumes me, as the internet consumed high school…

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…

“A Love Story in Pantoum” Shortlisted by Visual Verse

My micro, “A Love Story in Pantoum,” was shortlisted by Visual Verse! I wrote this inspired both by the image and from Sarah Freligh’s micro class, where her last prompt asked us to use a poetry form for a micro or flash piece. I’m honored it was shortlisted for the Visual Verse contest!

“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…

ALL TOGETHER NOW online reading

I’m excited to announce I’ll be reading with some AMAZING writers I work with at Split/Lip Press! The reading is online via Zoom on Tuesday, November 1st at 7p CT. Hope you see you there! Register here!

Review from Janet Writes

I met Janet Dale in a fiction writing workshop in 2009 and we became friends and writing partners. We’ve written together, edited together, and collaborated on many pieces. We wrote a chapbook together and are currently working on another series of pieces for a collection. Her poetry chapbook ghosts passing through came out on September…

Happy Book Birthday!

Today’s the day! My debut chapbook, Won’t Be By Your Side, is out from Alien Buddha Press. Get your copy here and share a photo with me! Check out all these sightings in the wild… Visit the publisher’s spotlight to read the first story in the collection. You can also listen to me read it…

Taylor Swift as Books

If you’re not active on bookstagram you might be unaware of Taylor Swift as Books, an amazing account that perfectly matched Taylor Swift’s style to indie books. In the spirit of the account, I made my own (because I’m not cool enough to REALLY get one…yet?):

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…

Won’t Be By Your Side Blurb from Brett Biebel

I’m honored to share this blurb for my forthcoming chapbook, Won’t Be By Your Side. 48 Blitz was the first book I was completely on board for in my initial role at Split/Lip Press, which means Brett Biebel was the first author I got to work closely with and really hype up on social media.…

Photography in Rock and a Hard Place Magazine

I’m thrilled to have a photograph, “Diversion,” in issue 8 of Rock and a Hard Place magazine! “Rock and a Hard Place Press is a lit-noir publisher, focused on stories of struggle, tales of the powerless and marginalized, characters on the fringes of society … and what they do next.” Don’t miss out on all…

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…

Happy Book Birthday to ghosts passing through

My friend Janet Dale’s debut poetry chapbook, ghosts passing through, is out TODAY from Alien Buddha Press. These poems are haunting memories you grasp for and miss but can never forget. I’m honored that she created some in our shared writing workshop, and that she wanted to use a photo I took of the dilapidated…

CHAPBOOK COVER REVEAL!

I’m so excited to present the cover (and title!) for my debut flash fiction chapbook…

Nominated for Best of the Net

I’m so honored that The Daily Drunk nominated my essay, “Douglas Fir Give Me Heartburn,” for Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net!

Cover Tease #3

The third and final cover tease, preparing for the GRAND REVEAL on Saturday, September 3rd… drumroll…

Cover Tease #2

The first cover tease was a photo taken during the same shoot, but that and the color scheme are the only common threads with the cover image itself. This tease is getting a little closer to the source…

Cover Tease #1

Spoiler alert: The cover of my upcoming chapbook is a photograph I took a few years ago. I’m never one to take a single photo and feel satisfied, so I usually take dozens (okay, hundreds) each shoot. I culled this specific shoot down to about 12 images, then picked my eight favorites. One is the…

Chapbook Week: A Special Announcement

I’ve already reviewed seven titles for Chapbook Week, but I had to end with a special announcement: My debut chapbook from Alien Buddha Press is coming September 23rd! I’m excited to share the cover reveal, blurbs, and inspiration behind each piece in this collection.

Chapbook Week: An Inventory of Abandoned Things

My seventh review for Chapbook Week is An Inventory of Abandoned Things by Kelly Ann Jacobson. As the title suggests, each story is about an item that pulls you right into the setting. The narrator is navigating a pregnancy and long-distance relationship while trying to get used to the Florida ecosystem, so there are some…

Chapbook Week: Shiny Insect Sex

The sixth title of Chapbook Week is Shiny Insect Sex by Stephanie Lane Sutton. The vivid stories in this collection are a blend of science and gender, and I loved how each story pulled me into a new world and taught me something about what’s around me. One of my favorite stories is “Survival Town,…

Chapbook Week: Abstinence Only

The fifth title for Chapbook Week is Abstinence Only by Meghan Phillips. I first heard Meghan Phillips read early-ish in the pandemic, when all events were on Zoom and you felt exhilarated that you could see authors that were normally too far away. After her first reading, I went to so many more because I…

Chapbook Week: The Quiet Part Loud

The fourth book for Chapbook Week is The Quiet Part Loud by Tyler Barton. This chapbook was one of the first Split/Lip Press books I read when I started working for them in 2020, and I was blown away. The stories cover that time period between the teenage years and adulthood, when you should maybe…

Chapbook Week: Girlmine

The third entry for Chapbook Week is Girlmine by Erica Soon Olsen. The “Daphne” stories are among my favorite because of the way the well-known character orients you to an extent, then completely turns what you know upside down. The sense of place in every story is perfection, and I couldn’t help but notice it…

Chapbook Week: Love Letter to Biology 250

My second title of Chapbook Week is Love Letter to Biology 250 by Chella Courington. The stories in this chapbook blur the line between biology and everyday life, often in a surreal, almost magical way. Each piece gave me a pleasant flashback to college biology courses, which is amazing because I didn’t enjoy the class…

Chapbook Week: The Swell of Seafoam

I’ve been reading a lot of amazing fiction chapbooks lately and want to highlight them. First up is The Swell of Seafoam by Keely O’Shaughnessy. I met Keely when I worked as a Priority Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine and got to know her writing from there. This micro-chap contains five pieces of flash fiction…

“No Place Like Home” published at Atlas and Alice

Today my piece “No Place Like Home” is live at Atlas and Alice. Like many of the other pieces I’ve had published recently, this started in a Kathy Fish workshop. It’s a piece of microfiction, so we already had strict word constraints (150 words or less). To add to the challenge, Kathy gave us a…

Craft Essay: How to Develop Characters in Flash Fiction

I wrote a craft essay for Flash Fiction Magazine about creating characters in flash fiction. With such constraints, it’s easy to think something’s gotta go – plot, characters, a turning point. How can you find room for it all? Read the article for my insight.

Poetry and Photography in Versification

If you didn’t know I was a poet… well, you’ll soon find out why I keep that side of me under wraps. In all seriousness, I’m proud of this acceptance because it came from THE ANGRY ROBOT running things at Versification Zine. It took me five tries of five line poems before I earned this…

Three Photographs at Thimble Lit Mag

I’m excited to share three photographs published in the latest issue of Thimble Lit Mag. Breakfast Winding Drink Me I’m honored to have work included with so many talented authors and artists. Check out the whole issue at Thimble Literary Magazine.

Four Flash Pieces published at The Write-In

I love celebrating National Flash Fiction Day by reading flash pieces by my friends and new-to-me authors. I especially love the 25 writing prompts over 24 hours! This year a friend and I got together to write for some of those prompts on Saturday night. Sunday we polished our work and submitting pieces to The…

Those Who Scream: a Collaborative Novel

November is commonly known as National Novel Writing Month for writers, whether you participate or not. I’ve tried it off and on over the years, winning some, giving up some throughout the month. I’ve written a young adult book, a middle grade book, and a few story collections. But overall it’s hit or miss for…

“The Man Who Would” published at Livina Press

I’m thrilled my story “The Man Who Would” found a home at Livina Press! This is the journal’s first issue and it’s a beauty. You can read my flash fiction on page 198 and see my photography on page 205. Check out the whole issue online here. A print issue will be available in the…

“At Least I Have Nothing” published at Rejection Letters

Today my piece “At Least I Have Nothing” is live at Rejection Letters. Back in December of 2021 they had a call for “One Sentence Shit” and I knew I had something to submit! This story came from a prompt in the SmokeLong Quarterly workshop to write one breathless sentence. I was listening to the…

“Witches Do That Sometimes” published at MicroLit Almanac

Today my piece “Witches Do That Sometimes” is live at MicroLit Almanac. I get Kathy Fish’s newsletter, The Art of Flash Fiction, and try to make time to do her writing prompts because they’re fantastic. After a rough day at work in February, I knew I needed to stretch my creative muscles. I saved her…

Photography Published at FERAL and vulnerary magazine

I’ve always loved March because it’s (usually) the beginning of sunshine and spring weather. We’ve had some snow and storms lately, but it’s still my month. I had a blast with the March Faxness competition and had a flash piece, “Freshman,” find a home after 12 long years. Now I’m wrapping up my favorite month…

“Freshman” published at Discretionary Love

I’m happy to announce that my flash fiction story “Freshman” was published by Discretionary Love. Read it here. I wrote this piece in the first semester of my MFA program, and it was several hundred words beyond the limit for flash. I vividly remember a classmate waiting for me after workshop, saying, “Women only write…

Revisiting Past Writing

Sometimes I see a submissions call for works on a theme and I think, I have something like that somewhere. And I scroll through my archives and dust off something old and revise it a little bit before sending it out. Because much of my past writings are short stories that I had to push…

March Faxness – Rock the Vote!

As someone who loves brackets and hates sports, March Xness is one of the best things to happen to me—especially since I got to write a piece for the competition this year. I spent three months obsessing—I mean, researching—Aerosmith, Run DMC, and “Walk This Way” before I really sat down to work on it. (For…

2021 Writing In Review

Since April, I’ve submitted 44 times to 32 different outlets. For someone who hasn’t been on a submitting spree since… 2011? I’ll take that. Out of those submissions, five are still out. Five were accepted. My one-sentence flash is published HERE. “Just a Little Crush” is published in an anthology you can find HERE. “Douglas…

Essay at The Daily Drunk

My essay “Douglas Fir Give Me Heartburn: Exploring the Magic of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street” is up on The Daily Drunk, just in time for my annual rewatching! There’s so much I could write about this film, but cutting it down to less than 800 words suits it, I think. Anything more and I’d…

Mall Rats: An Anthology

I’m excited to announce that Mall Rats: An Anthology came into the world on December 7, 2021. Many writers gathered together to celebrate this birth with a reading, as is the custom. Everyone is so talented and it was a treat to hear everyone’s words in their own voices, spotlighting each personality. Something I’ve come…

Few and Far Between

Apparently, I’m lucky to blog once a month, getting this one in just under the wire. And I’m only writing because I’ve been reading about blogs lately, like old-school blogs. Blogs you read if you were in your 20s in 2008. Blogs that connected you to others or inspired you or created friendships. I’m someone…

Dreams Come True

All my life, I’ve wanted built-in bookshelves. It’s something I’ve dreamed of since seeing Beauty and the Beast. Except I don’t need the rolling ladder, because I’m already tall enough. My dad is a talented carpenter. You can point to anything in my parents’ house and many things in my house asking, “Where did you…

All is Not Lost

I recently lost 15 years of data due to a corrupt external hard drive. Three and a half degrees’ worth of research and projects. Graphic design. English. Creative Writing. Library Science. Fifteen years of photography portfolios and outtakes. Art. Band photos. Portraits. Personal images. Notes, journals, and photographs of my travels up and down the…

Blurred Lines

Today I’m thinking of the time a male classmate walked out of workshop with me. He said, “I find that when women write stories like yours, they’re usually true.” I’m thinking of the editor that rejected my story. He said it seemed like I didn’t understand depression, so I shouldn’t write about it. I’m thinking…

3 Weeks of Writing

I did it. I dedicated three weeks to creative writing. Of course I still did paid work. I also did housework, parenting, mowing, and managed a few unexpected things that were fairly stressful in their own right. But I did it all. And I produced over 18,000 words of new material. I started with Jami…

Making Time for Creativity

I’ve been freelancing and ghostwriting for ten months now. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, even if I didn’t know the specifics of how it’d work. I had a vision of me sitting at a desk, writing, and supporting myself that way. I didn’t know what I’d be writing…

SMOL Fair

For as much as I felt “Zoomed out” last Spring, I’ve been loving how connected I’ve felt to the literary community lately. This past week’s SMOL Fair was no exception. SMOL Fair is an online book fair for small presses, created because most indie publishers felt AWP was charging too much for a virtual fair.…

Cliffhanger

Is it a cliffhanger if you kind of forget you left it hanging? Why not. Ironically, I forgot about sharing my personal writing news because I was busy with professional writing deadlines. But the fact that I couldn’t finish a follow-up post makes all of the other pieces fall into place… I’ve been writing flash…

Shifting Priorities

I previously wrote about how I was finally making a living as a writer, but I used it as more of a “Farewell, 2020” post than a substantial update about the state of my own life. But honestly, sometimes all I need to say is: I’m making a living as a writer. What? I still…

Ending 2020

I know tomorrow is another day, but I’m the type of person who likes the idea of a new year being a fresh start. I think this year we’re all feeling that way, and I also think that by December 31st we’re all sick of people rolling their eyes and wishing 2020 away. Because we’re…

What Matters to You?

Another morning feeling like I’m struggling to keep my head above water, another morning of Writing to Transform from UNCW – which thankfully helps me keep my head up. This morning was “Send Word” with Anna Lena Phillips Bell, and the purpose was to inspire us to send postcards to connect with family and friends.…

Alive in the Same Room

I started my “first” poetry notebook earlier this spring. I say “first” because I’ve written poetry before and took a poetry workshop in college, but this was a notebook only for poems. I wrote in it from March 9th to August 17th, and though I still have a few blank pages left, it’s time for…

Writing to Transform

This morning I joined UNCW’s Writing to Transform session “Who Said Nights Were for Sleep: The Power of Aubades and Nocturnes” with Aimee Nezhukumatahil. I’m a huge fan of Nezhukumatahil and have been attending many enjoyable Zoom events for her new book, but this one was a nice change of pace. While I love hearing…

Sunday Expert

Scrolling Twitter can be a good experience or a terrible one, but I try to follow a lot of writers, publishers, and librarians so that my timeline is filled with creative, book-loving, often amusing information. One of my favorite tweets lately really got me thinking, so I wanted to share it here. I love the…

Daily Delights

Last fall, when times were tough, I found a blank notebook and pushed myself to write two sentences about good things that happened each day. Sometimes it was hard, and my sentences were just “The day is over. I can sleep now.” or something along those lines. But it still pushed me to see the…

Shade Sails for Outdoor Learning Spaces (Writing Sample)

Schools across the country are trying to figure out the safest way to reopen their doors for students this fall. In addition to covid health screening precautions, many school buildings are discovering that they need more space to properly adhere to the 6 feet required for social distancing. With the first day fast approaching, school…

Time Passing

The last time I wrote was July 2nd, and I don’t even remember that. It’s just over a month ago, but it feels like ages. Isn’t that how time is passing these days? Isn’t that what we all say? I wrote about Camp Nano, which ended recently without me winning or even finishing. I wrote…

In Dreams

Day Two of Camp NaNo and I’m on track with my “suspense” novella, even though I haven’t added any elements of suspense yet. I read The Last Flight by Julie Clark on Saturday, a great new suspense novel with a lot of twists and potential and, best of all, two strong women characters. A nice…

Young Adult Book Reviews for Cleaver Magazine

Where You End by Anna Pellicioli, reviewed by Allison Renner 6/9/2015 Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth, reviewed by Allison Renner 8/25/2015 Best of 2015 Staff Picks, contributions by Allison Renner 11/28/2015 A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, reviewed by Allison Renner 4/27/2016 The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs, reviewed by Allison…

Cliffhangers

I’m re-watching Dead to Me so I can fully appreciate the second season. I remember some things about the show, but not all, and the way it’s crafted, I can really appreciate the suspense and the slow revelations. I wrote about the show before, which I previously binged during a reading slump. I’m kind of…

One Year In

One year of daily writing. With everything going on, it doesn’t seem important, but I still don’t want to let it pass without acknowledging it. One year of putting down my thoughts every day, whether it was morning pages, poetry, or fiction. One year of pen to paper, ink staining my fingers. One year down,…

Flash Fiction Contests During Quarantine

It has been interesting to see how small businesses and non-profits, especially in the arts sector, are getting creative and innovative with our usual forms of self-expression and entertainment not open for business. Many are adapting with virtual museum tours and art gallery exhibitions. Since Playhouse on the Square can’t have shows onstage, they are…

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, which I love because I love themes and “holidays” and celebrations of the literary persuasion, especially those that help me with library and creative writing lesson plans. I love a month to push myself to read more poetry, because I have a growing collection I dip in and out of,…

Writing Daily Scenes

Ten months of daily writing, and what a strange month it’s been. As I mentioned, I decided to step up my morning pages, and in March started writing daily scenes. The first half of the month was interesting, purely on the writing front… I feel like writing a scene a day rather than writing about…

The Heyday of Blogging

Back in 2008 I started a blog, Allison Writes, just to have a place to put my thoughts. I had been online journaling off and on since Diary-x was a thing, and LiveJournal still holds a major piece of my heart. I’ve made many good friends through LiveJournal and the blogs that came after, and…

Daily Writing

I’ve been writing every day for nine months now. It’s an accomplishment, and I should be proud (and I am…), but in true me fashion, I have to analyze it to death. See, I’ve been writing morning pages. Sure, I’m getting up before 5:30am and putting pen to paper (literally), but it’s just a brain…

High Fidelity

I’ve been watching High Fidelity on Hulu, trying not to binge because it’s so good, I want to make it last. I read High Fidelity in high school – maybe freshman or sophomore year? When music meant everything and a book, and book character, that understood that was like my bible. I saw the movie…

Just for Fun

Last semester I taught a Creative Writing club for 3rd – 7th graders. Besides learning a lot about how to teach writing, and how to encourage creativity in young kids, I learned a lot about my own writing. About how it’s one thing to write to pursue publication, but also that it’s important to have…

Curb Your Enthusiasm

I’m re-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm because, lets be honest, I re-watch the same shows every couple of years. But also because this show is basically a MasterClass on storytelling and dialogue. If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, then Curb Your Enthusiasm is a show that makes something out of nothing. The pants tent. The…

… Sometimes

[As in, the title should be “Allison Renner Writes a Blog … Sometimes.”] NaNoWriMo has taken over my writing world this year, and it’s one of the best feelings ever. I’m still behind in terms of word count, but I’m catching up every day. And while I’m catching up, I feel like my story is…

NaNoWriMo

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for the 9th time since 2007. It’s interesting, scrolling back through my project history on the site, and having no recollection of a few of the WIPs. The ones I didn’t finished, incidentally, which kind of makes sense. I remember most details of 4 of the 5 novels…

Tweeting the Night Away

In 2009 I made a Twitter account because… because. But as a result, I made so many wonderful friends. We tweeted every morning to the extent that it felt like we had our own morning show. I tweeted my morning commutes from Midtown to East Shelby because there was so much to share. This was…

PostSecret

I remember reading cards on PostSecret and thinking “Yes! That is exactly what I’m feeling right now.” I remember creating cards I never sent to PostSecret, thinking “I hope people will be able to relate to this feeling.” Now I feel things and I keep them inside. I don’t ask other women, other parents, if…

Little Cat Feet

(Be warned: if you send me a picture text, I’m likely to use it as a writing prompt. After asking permission, of course – I’m not a monster!) This picture was sent to me one early morning by Janet, a fellow writer who most likely knew this type of image would inspire a story. I’m…

Picking Up Where I Left Off

From 2008 to 2017 I had a personal blog called Allison Writes. It was initially allisonwrites.blogspot.com, until someone convinced me to buy AllisonWrites.com. I did, and I blogged thrice a week for many, many years, until it fizzled out. To be fair, “fizzling out” coincided with having a toddler and my dream job, so blogging…


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