Category Archive: Julie

Jun 01

Blot Lit Reviews: Lantern Lit, Volume 3

Lantern Lit Series, Volume 3Dog On A Chain Press, 2016

Lantern Lit Series, Volume 3 Dog on a Chain Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-9855291-6-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dog on a Chain Press does it again with their highly regarded Lantern Lit Series. Volume 3 consists of three poetry chapbooks contained in one book by authors William Graham, Mat Gould, and Alan Catlin. Each has a …

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Jan 20

Blot Lit Reviews: The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners by Michael Gillan Maxwell

The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners, Michael Gillan MaxwellUnknown Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners, Michael Gillan Maxwell Unknown Press, 2015 ISBN:099635266X Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson You know when you really like something you are reading when it inspires you to find out more. It’s like  when you discover a bit of knowledge, something that intrigues you, and set sets you …

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Dec 10

Blot Lit Reviews: Road Trip by Lynette D’Amico

Road Trip, Lynette D'AmicoTwelve Winters Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

Road Trip, Lynette D’Amico Twelve Winters Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-9895151-9-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   Ever have a relationship that you hang onto just because it is comfortable or maybe it is a crutch that you lean on way too much. Maybe it is a reason you aren’t moving forward? Maybe it is a security …

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Nov 30

Blot Lit Reviews: The Crawford County Sketchbook by Tom Janikowski

The Crawford County Sketchbook, Tom JanikowskiRed Hen Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

The Crawford County Sketchbook, Tom Janikowski Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-59709-533-4 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson The cover of Tom Janikowski’s first full length novel in shorts, The Crawford County Sketchbook, is a telltale sign of the rural, down-home weirdness you will find inside. Written in three main sections, with the first offering 36 flash …

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Oct 21

Blot Lit Reviews: The Existentialist Cookbook by Shawnte Orion

The existentialist cookbook

  The Existentialist Cookbook, Shawnte Orion NYQ Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-935520-92-4 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson The Existentialist Cookbook by Shawnte Orion attempts to tackle the realities and absurdities in society, addressing everything from moon cheese to Keith Richard—getting to the heart of existential thought. The cover art by Carol Roque is exceptional and makes TEC …

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Sep 19

Blot Lit Reviews: Tables Without Chairs #1 by Brian Alan Ellis and Bud Smith

Tables Without Chairs #1, Brian Alan Ellis & Bud Smith House of Vlad, 2015Reviewed by Julie Larson

Tables Without Chairs #1,  Brian Alan Ellis and Bud Smith Illustrations by Waylon Thornton House of Vlad, 2015 ISBN: 978-0996352659 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Everyone loves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even though separately both taste so good, spread them together on a cracker and you just can’t stop eating the stuff. The same …

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Aug 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Where the Meadowlark Sings by Ellaraine Lockie

Where the Meadowlark sings

Where the Meadowlark Sings, Ellaraine Lockie Encircle Publications, 2015 ISBN-10: 1893035239 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dear Ellaraine, Here, in the middle of urban metropolis commercialism, where I have spent most of my living and will remain for some time, there seems to be an alter ego with a bullhorn in my head trying to lead …

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Jul 11

Blot Lit Reviews: Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust

Paradise Drive, Rebecca Foust Press 53, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

Paradise Drive, Rebecca Foust Press 53, 2015 ISBN: 977-1-941209-16-5 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson I am not even sure where to begin this review because Rebecca Foust’s Paradise Drive, winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry, has taken me on a surprisingly emotional journey. Paradise Drive is a contemporary collection of sonnets that is critical …

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Jul 06

Blot Lit Reviews: The Hook and The Haymaker by Jared Yates Sexton


The Hook and The Haymaker, Jared Yates Sexton Split Lip Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9909035-2-9 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Jared Yates Sexton’s short story collection, The Hook and The Haymaker is a solid example of blue collar/working class, down-and out, winter of our discontent writing. Detailed and character driven, Sexton’s stories explore relationships—the good, the bad, …

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Jun 20

Blot Lit Reviews: A Condensation of Maps by Roberto Carcache Flores

A Condensation of Maps

A Condensation of Maps, Roberto Carcache Flores Dink Press, 2015 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dink Press has a nice niche going on in the realm of chapbooks. Their primary focus is on emerging poets who have great potential for future growth, and that comes through in Roberto Carache Flores’ A Condensation of Maps. This nineteen …

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Jun 10

Blot Lit Reviews: The Paul Simon Project by Karen Lillis

The Paul Simon Project

The Paul Simon Project, Karen Lillis Night Ballet Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-940996-74-5 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson There is something to be said about the music we love and the poetry in the lyrics. We identify with the messages and make those that resonate with us the backdrops of our lives. So, I was really excited …

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Jun 03

Blot Lit Reviews: The Dark Sunshine by Len Kuntz


The Dark Sunshine, Len Kuntz Connotation Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9914613-0-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Wonderful! That is my first thought after I read Len Kuntz’ shorts collection The Dark Sunshine. Indicative of the title, these little ditties have glimpses of the appalling, humorous, and hopeful nature of the human condition. I found myself rooting for …

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May 19

Blot Lit Reviews: Blasphemer by Bill Yarrow

Blasphemer by Bill Yarrow Lit Fest Press, 2015 ISBN: 1943170010 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson On the back of Bill Yarrow’s second poetry collection, Bud Smith states that “Blasphemer doesn’t fuck around.” And it doesn’t. Blasphemer is everything a worshipper of contemporary poetry is looking for and deserves a critical in-depth analysis. However, word count and …

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May 16

Blot Lit Reviews: Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kaye

Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet / Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kayealice blue books, 2013Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

                        Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P Kaye alice blue books, 2013 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kaye is a beautiful …

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May 02

Blot Lit Reviews: Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan


                        Addicts & Basements, Robert Vaughan Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2014 ISBN: 9781937865238 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Addicts & Basements demonstrates Robert Vaughan’s versatility as a writer, showing mastery in technique as the collection moves freely from poetry to prose. This eclectic collection is divided …

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Apr 22

SLAG by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

    Slag by Leslie Anne Mcilroy Main Street Rag Publishing, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-55942-492-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   Holy Crap! Leslie Anne Mcilroy’s poetry collection SLAG rips any taboos associated with sexual abuse to shreds and spreads the bits all out in the open that challenges the comfort zone. The collection, presented in three parts, …

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Apr 01

Blot Lit Reviews: Unfounded by Michael Trocchia

Unfounded by Michael Trocchia FutureCycle Press, 2015 ISBN: 1938853601 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Michael Trocchia’s Unfounded (FutureCycle Press, 2015) is rooted in the abstract with just enough concrete images to get the gist of what he is trying to accomplish in this short poetry collection of 28 poems. Arranged into three sections, the poems almost …

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Mar 21

Blot Lit Reviews: The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales by Laura Madeline Wiseman

The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales by Laura Madeline Wiseman Les Femmes Folles Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-692-36231-0 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson In another successful venture with small press publishing house Les Femmes Folles Books, Laura Madeline Wiseman offers The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (HCSTT) this time around. This collection of …

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Feb 04

Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems by Cindy Huyser

Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems, Cindy Huyser Blue Horse Press, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Cindy Huyser’s chapbook collection, Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems, 2014 co-winner of the Blue Horse Press Chapbook Contest, is a reminder that writers are immersed in all corners of society and not just coming out of academics. Blue …

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Jan 14

Intimates and Fools by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sally Deskins

Intimates and Fools Poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman Art by Sally Deskins Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   This time around, versatile poet Laura Madeline Wiseman teams up with artist Sally Deskins for a collaboration that is full of whimsy, yet reflective of how women identify, judge, and love their bodies. Intimates and Fools, …

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Jan 07

Blot Lit Reviews: Einstein’s Beach House Stories by Jacob M Appel

  Einstein’s Beach House Stories by Jacob M Appel Pressgang, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Warning: this review is a sappy love story  between Julie Demoff-Larson and the contents of Jacob M Appel’s collection of short stories, Einstein’s Beach House. Now that my adoration has been stated and the element of surprise squashed, I will state the reasons …

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Dec 30

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Laura Madeline Wiseman

  Laura Madeline Wiseman has been a great friend to Blotterature and we are always excited when she has a new collection for us to review. She is one of the hardest working small press writers out there today, fearless in her marketing and generous with her time. Kayla Greenwell gave a glowing review of …

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Dec 18

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Evan Guilford-Blake

Sometimes we discover  kindred spirits within the our writing clan. Evan Guilford-Blake is one such spirit, and as I sit here going over his interview I discover similarities of where we both have lived, the music we love, and the writers who have influenced us most. I am especially keen on his commitment to the writing community and what that should …

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Dec 11

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Steph Post

Steph Post’s interview below is indicative of her writing style, precise and warm. Even though A Tree Born Crooked is on the edgier side, Post draws the reader in with down-home comfort. This shines through her responses too. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our …

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Dec 10

Blot Lit Reviews: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post

A Tree Born Crooked, Steph Post Pandamoon Publishing, 2014 Reviewer: Julie Demoff-Larson Reading Steph Post’s debut novel, A Tree Born Crooked (Pandamoon) is like riding in a beat-up old truck through the backwoods of small-town U.S.A., holding on as every twist and turn comes. The story, set in the Florida Panhandle, is set up as a stirring mystery that …

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Dec 04

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Tyree Daye

After Sea Island Blues received a rave review from Janine Harrison, Blot Lit Reviews is pleased to introduce Tyree Daye to our friends. His incredible talent is undeniable and big things are expected in the future (no pressure there). Read where Tyree’s passions and ideas come from in the interview below. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place …

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Nov 27

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Pedro Ponce

Blotterture is always thrilled when we are introduced to new writers, especially those who offer a fresh perspective on something familiar. In Michelle Quinn’s review of  Stories After Goya, she notes that Pedro Ponce’s ekphrastic collection is layered and built for interpretation. We like that! Below you can read about the inner workings of Pedro’s mind. Enjoy. Blotterature has a strong …

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Nov 20

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Yvonne M. Estrada

After a shiny, happy review of My Name on Top of Yours, it is only fitting to introduce our readers to the author. Yvonne M. Estrada is a good fit for Blotterature because she is like many of us, down to earth and connected to the community where she lives. Blotterature has a strong connection …

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Nov 19

Blot Lit Reviews: My Name on Top of Yours by Yvonne M. Estrada

My Name on Top of Yours by Yvonne M. Estrada Silverton Books, 2013 Reviewer: Julie Demoff-Larson     Yvonne M. Estrada’s first poetry chapbook, My Name on Top of Yours is written as a crown of sonnets in which the last line of one poem becomes the first in the next. It is easy to forget …

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Nov 13

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with John Swain

In Elizabeth Mobley’s review of Ring the Sycamore Sky , she describes the collection as “[s]ituated in nature and captivatingly sensual, these poems reach into the depths of the soul.” To know John Swain is to know that the description also concisely depicts his person. Passionate and deeply intellectual, Swain lives poetry. In the interview below, you will be drawn in …

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Oct 16

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with Bud Smith

The editors at Blotterature ponder why Bud Smith has not been picked up by a large publishing house yet. His style and technique are far more superior to others floating around on the best seller lists. However, we love that Smith is a small press poster child, and we can all learn a trick or …

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Oct 02

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Poets from Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence

 Blotterature, as most of you know, is rooted in the Northwest Indiana corridor and is actively involved with the growing literary arts scene in our area. On Saturday, October 11,  Indiana Writers’ Consortium is hosting their first Creative Writing Conference in Merrillville, Indiana. In the mix of presentations, Laura Madeline Wiseman has invited six poets …

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Sep 25

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with William Taylor Jr

When Blot Lit Reviews takes on a project, the reviewer does not read the interviews before writing. We don’t want anything to persuade or alter the opinions expressed in the piece. So, after I read William Taylor Jr‘s interview, I thought that maybe at least one aspect in the review of The Blood of a …

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Sep 24

Blot Lit Reviews: The Blood Of A Tourist by William Taylor Jr

The Blood Of A Tourist by William Taylor Jr. Sunnyoutside Press, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson William Taylor Jr’s forthcoming poetry collection, The Blood Of A Tourist, is an in-depth look at personal and social loneliness and the indifference that surrounds us. However, speckled throughout is hope and revelations on how to conquer the despair. …

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Sep 20

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with Tresha Faye Haefner

After the beautiful review by Janine Harrison of Tresha Faye Haefner’s chapbook Take This Longing, we thought it would be fitting to add an interview (so is such our standard). Enjoy! Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our writing. Tell us where you are and …

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Aug 07

Blot Lit Reviews: This is Poetry, Volume 1: Women of the Small Press

This is Poetry Volume 1:Women of the Small Press Citizens for Decent Literature Press, 2014 Editors: Michele McDannold and Brian W. Fugett Anthologies and collections from women typically focus on a specific issue such as gender inequality, violence, or the mundane lives of happy homemaking. And although This is Poetry, Volume 1: Women of the …

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Aug 06

Blot Lit Reviews Interview: Jacob M. Appel

    Last week, Blot Lit Reviews highlighted Jacob M. Appel’s novel The Biology of Luck. Due to website issues, the interview portion of the review was delayed. Each author interviewed is asked the same series of questions just to see what is floating around in those heads. Appel does not disappoint.  At times his responses …

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Jul 18

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Momma, aka Michele McDannold


Michele McDannold, Momma to those she has helped along the way, has been an avid ally of writers struggling to find a home outside of  the popular marketplace. She is the founder  of The Literary Underground , a grassroots effort to bring writers and the small press together through collaboration and events. Her newest endeavor, This is Poetry, gathers talented poets for an …

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Jul 10

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with Meg Eden

  Meg Eden, author of The Girl Who Came Back, has become a great supporter of Blotterature in last few months and we appreciate the heck out of her. She is highly talented and motivated. In this interview, we get to see her personality shine through and makes you wish that you could hang out …

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Jul 06

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with John Yamrus – lover of Stella

Stella Yamrus

I have to give it to John Yamrus for striving to make a human connection in a digital world. Since the beginning of our review process, John’s commitment to keeping me informed and the conversation going has been heartwarming at times. On the heels of Blot Lit’s review of Alchemy, we  offer these insights into John’s creativity and …

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Jun 01

Blot Lit Reviews: A Few Extra Thoughts on Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence

Violence against women comes in many forms and permeates every societal construct. It shapes our behavior and dictates our reactions. And in a media driven world, how can anyone manage to fight the images that reinforce women as  subordinate, submissive, and dependent? Caricatures of womanhood in the home and workplace are grossly misrepresented, causing young women to …

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May 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with Writers from Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence Part III

Blotterature would like to thank Laura Madeline Wiseman, and each participant,  for giving the opportunity to learn more about you, the writer outside of the poem. Their courage in truth-telling is not to condemn or alienate the male counterpart as a whole, but rather to raise the level of awareness and educate on the ofttimes …

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May 29

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with writers from Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence Part II

Continued from yesterdays discussion. (Part 3 of 4 ) Did your mother or grandmother influence how you regard your position as a woman and writer? Have you been an influence on older generations of women in your life?  Carly Sachs: Definitely. I grew up with strong women who always encouraged me to speak my mind and …

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May 28

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Writers from Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence

Facilitator: Julie Demoff-Larson  Part 2 of 4 This past March, I had the pleasure of listening to the poets in this interview (minus one due to illness) read at Split this Rock! Poetry Festival in Washington D.C. Each poet had a distinct voice, powerful in conviction, even when subtle. As the event concluded, I was inspired by …

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Just a little hometown journal…

Seven months ago, we set out to establish a journal that represented our blue-collar, working class roots and merge them with the education we sometimes value. We never wanted to be high-brow, but instead accessible to everyone. As we got over the hump of the first issue, Blotterature realized we were capable of much more. Northwest Indiana has slim pickins when it comes to a vibrant lit scene, but by collaborating with writing groups and organizations in the area we can make it grow. We plan on hosting future readings and working with students from one of Indiana’s fine universities. Just think, if our little hometown journal with leadership issues can host a night of readings with 150 people coming through, we can think even bigger the next time. Let this be an inspiration for anyone looking to get something going in their area. People are starved for a scene and will jump at the chance to be involved.




 So what did you miss out on last Saturday? You missed out on good food, good drink, kick-ass music, and some damn good readings by some of our featured writers in the first issue of Blotterature. Partnering with White Ripple Gallery & Co for their soft opening was a no brainer and the art was top-notch.

Community and family and friends!

We want to thank all of the readers for coming from down the street and from as far away as Wisconsin even though it was cold as hell. Blotterature featured readers included Nicole Mantalvo, Kayla Greenwell, Joe Gianotti, Janine Rivette and Kathe Davis.

Special thanks to Mike Poore for reading from his hopefully soon to be released novel, Reservation Blues and Ryan Snellman for leaving the balmy air of Seattle to read poetry for thirty seconds and drink Jameson with us.

We especially thank our sponsors from various businesses for their support. Killer grub was provided by Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop, Butterfingers, Grindhouse Café, AddyCakes, Panadaria Santa Maria Bakery, Super Submarine, and Freddy’s Steakhouse. And Shadows in the Attic for providing photography and security.


Tim Murray, Michelle Quinn, and Julie Demoff-Larson

Dec 26

Things Learned in the Year 2013

By Julie Larson 1. Attend all conferences where my literary heroes will be guest speaking and get there early enough to guarantee awesome seating because it might be the last chance I will have to hear their genius. Goodnight, Mr. Heaney. 2. Name the period of time given to a writing project “independent study.” Non-writers …

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Nov 28

Contemplations while Traveling Along I-65 South

By Julie Larson HELL IS REAL―thank you for warning me of the Indiana doldrums. That is the only hell I know. Cherish life – not your own – but the unborn souls waiting to be sucked dry by religion. The McDonalds at the Morocco exit has an extra-large bathroom―most likely to accommodate the Satanists that hold annual parades …

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Sep 22

Genius Lies in Dialogue

By Julie Demoff-Larson Are your stories plot driven? Are they filled with action that keeps the story moving forward? Action tends to lend itself to a specific genre such as horror, mystery, and thriller in which character development is not necessarily needed to keep the story interesting. Just imagine how the dynamic would change if …

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Aug 24

Thoughts on Writing Under the Influence

By Julie Demoff-Larson and Sirenna Blas Julie I hate those rotten bastard writers who can put a well-developed character and plot line down on paper after drinking a fifth of gin. I guess that is what keeps my bad habits at bay. That is, I cannot create if I am under the influence. When I …

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Aug 16

Jesus is the Reason for Work-shopping

By Julie Demoff-Larson  Unfortunately, it is usually the hangover that is more impressive than what comes out of a session trying to emulate dead alcoholic heroes. Most writers know how valuable a writing group is. We meet at coffee shops, bars, and libraries to chop, criticize, and castrate. We also praise, revel, and glorify the …

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