Updates

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 … Continue reading Review from Janet Writes

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 … Continue reading Happy Book Birthday!

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 … Continue reading Alien Buddha Reading Sunday 9/18

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

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 … Continue reading Cover Tease #1

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: 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 … Continue reading Chapbook Week: Abstinence Only

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 … Continue reading Chapbook Week: Girlmine

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.

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.

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 … Continue reading Revisiting Past Writing

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 … Continue reading 2021 Writing In Review

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 … Continue reading Essay at The Daily Drunk

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 … Continue reading Mall Rats: An Anthology

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 … Continue reading Few and Far Between

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 … Continue reading Dreams Come True

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 … Continue reading All is Not Lost

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 … Continue reading Blurred Lines

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 … Continue reading 3 Weeks of Writing

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 … Continue reading Making Time for Creativity

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. … Continue reading SMOL 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 … Continue reading Cliffhanger

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 … Continue reading Shifting Priorities

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 … Continue reading Ending 2020

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. … Continue reading What Matters to You?

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 … Continue reading Alive in the Same Room

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 … Continue reading Writing to Transform

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 … Continue reading Sunday Expert

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 … Continue reading Daily Delights

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 … Continue reading Shade Sails for Outdoor Learning Spaces (Writing Sample)

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 … Continue reading Time Passing

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 … Continue reading In Dreams

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 … Continue reading Young Adult Book Reviews for Cleaver Magazine

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 … Continue reading Cliffhangers

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, … Continue reading One Year In

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 … Continue reading Flash Fiction Contests During Quarantine

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, … Continue reading National Poetry Month

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 … Continue reading Writing Daily Scenes

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 … Continue reading The Heyday of Blogging

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 … Continue reading Daily Writing

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 … Continue reading High Fidelity

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 … Continue reading Just for Fun

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 … Continue reading Curb Your Enthusiasm

… 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 … Continue reading … Sometimes

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 … Continue reading NaNoWriMo

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 … Continue reading Tweeting the Night Away

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 … Continue reading PostSecret

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 … Continue reading Little Cat Feet

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 … Continue reading Picking Up Where I Left Off


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