10 October 2020

Come see me at the Japan Writer's Conference on October 11, 2020!


Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash

This year I'm participating in the Japan Writer's Conference, which will be held online for 2020 via Zoom due to the coronavirus. Check out the schedule of events!

I'll be appearing in a panel discussion with authors John Gribble (host), Warren Decker, Percival Constantine, and Alec McAuley about

The MFA: The Good, The Bad, The Expensive

Here's the official program description of the panel:

Should I get an MFA or other graduate-level degree in writing? Aren’t they expensive? Are they difficult? Are they any good? What sort of program should I look at? What kind of benefits should I expect to receive? These questions and others will be addressed in this session.

Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and other advanced degrees with a writing emphasis have become a viable option for those seeking to improve their writing skills and advance themselves professionally. Some programs are full- or part-time on a university campus, some are on-line, some are hybrids, blending elements of both. The panelists, all with advanced writing degrees, will each talk about the programs they attended, their own experiences and answer your questions.

I'll be talking about my experiences with the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction program, where I received my MFA in 2013. Spoiler alert: the program changed my life for the better! 😃 

Please join us -- we'd love to see you there! 

31 August 2020

#52writing cards: Prompts from Shaun Levin's Writing Maps - no. 14

A version of this prompt appears on the Writing Art Writing Map illustrated by Alex Green.

Seafoam Green

Neither the internet or myself can agree on what color constitutes seafoam green, but all three of the colors above are in my apartment. 

When I first got to Japan, the colors consisted of an off-white wall, pale pink futon closet doors, and a very loud seafoam green door (the color on the left above). I seem to have a disorder with matching things, so I opted for the apartment to match the door instead of all the pink, because it was the loudest color in the apartment...and I'm not partial to pink as a decorative color. 

It turns out the shade has a pretty calming effect for me. I've paired it with white bookcases and gray furniture, and it's a haven of comfort for me. I will be sad when I say farewell to all of this when I return to America because I think I've truly done an amazing job with my decor. 

My computer desk is white with a seafoam plate glass tabletop. 

My curtains are white with Moroccan-style seafoam patterns. 

My candleholders are glass seafoam green. 

My binder holders are seafoam green. 

My pens are seafoam green. 

My paperclips are seafoam green. 

The sand in my hourglass is seafoam green. 

The picture frames on my wall are seafoam green. 

The plastic holders in my shower room are seafoam green.

The bathroom has small shadowboxes with seafoam green frames and sand dollars and starfishes inside. 

The art on my wall consists of two prints of cotton plants, but the shading on the plants is seafoam green. 

The vinyl stickers of Moroccan tile prints I put up in the kitchen has seafoam green in them. 

This seems like a ton of the same color, but I promise these are mostly accents, and the loudest seafoam green comes from the door and from the curtains. Everything else is just a small splash here and there. 

I think the constant theme that runs through the house is the sense of calm that comes from the color. I love the sea, and the shades of it bring me peace as well as the rhythm of the waves coming in and out. The color of seafoam doesn't actually match the sea from any time I've looked at it in real life, but the color still evokes that sense of peace for me. It's like humans found this color to suggest the idea of what we think the sea could be, and that's how we came up with seafoam.

My home is my haven from the rest of the world. It is my safe space. I worked very hard, knowing that I would be in Japan for five years, to make this place beautiful and peaceful. I am devastated to leave it all behind but it's my hope that I can recreate some of the magic of this place back in America when I return in 2021.