A Recommendation…

This week I have a blog and website I would like you to check out. It provides good resources for writers, editors and readers. 


I frequent this website to see the new content posted on the daily life of a writer, an editor, their personal experiences within the publishing industry and community. Writers in the Storm blog is all about what other authors and writers have learned and they share it with you.

https://writersinthestormblog.com/resources/

A lot of writers may feel alone, but they are not. This blog proves that authors, writers, editors, and readers all share experiences and it can shape our view and helps us find the way treading through the literary waters.


So take a time of solace and read an article or blog or two, do you share some of the same experiences?

The Storm Experience that Wreaked Solace (and Some Submission Updates)

If you would not like to read the experiences, scroll down to the important information at the end about submissions!

My brother (third-shift worker), 8/10/2020

I woke up with the house shaking, swaying, shifting, my fan cut off in mid-spin, and my tired mind raced with what could be making a deafening howling sound. I ripped the covers off and tried to walk unbalanced to the front living room window. There I saw tree branches whipping the truck, leaves and sticks racing through the road on the wind going by, and whole trees being snapped in half and pulled up from the earth to crash with thunder to the ground. I immediately called you freaking out. Seeing where you were and the amount of damage raging outside was so shocking, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My next-door neighbor, Barb, 8/10/2020

I was so terrified, I took my dog and we hid in the bathroom, cowering in the tub. Wishing all of the rain, thunder, noise, wind, horror to be washed away. I have survived many storms in Iowa, but this storm truly terrified me, never have I felt my house shake with such force.

Neighbor three streets over, Tom, 8/10/2020

I was watching the news, eating a bowl of ice cream for my afternoon snack. I slowly rocked in the recliner, I am a bit deaf, so the TV is loud enough to drown out my neighbors, the busy street, and anything else. I didn’t notice the storm outside until I heard a crack so loud it made me wonder if the TV was broken. I stood up to get the remote when another crack sounded. I muted the TV and then a bang felt by the entire house, I looked over to the left and a tree rushed down onto the house and my kitchen was gone, just wiped from the side of the house. Nothing is left now but a tarp hanging off the house as a silent reminder: I need to turn down the TV.

Me, Nicole, 8/10/2020

I was in no hurry to make my way more east to my parent’s house. I was to spend the week for my birthday up there, taking a motorcycle class, and getting my license, my small but rewarding birthday gift to myself. I was jamming to music when I noticed to the right, a very large wall of clouds and rain and thunder. There was no rain yet, but if the winds switched, it would be raining in no time. Ellie Mae and Thunder Storm were peacefully sleeping in the back seat and I thought nothing of it and kept driving my steady pace. About 30 minutes go by and a large gust of wind hits me from behind, the semi-truck in front of me swerving all over the road and made me swerve to try and gain control back over my own vehicle too. A large crash from the farm on the left and a storage grain steel building crumbles to the ground, signs bend over, and large billboards, are blown through. With two grips firmly on the wheel and the semi-truck now controlled and pulled over on the side, I slowly crept up to a speed I could manage. My dogs fully alert, Ellie in the passenger seat and Thunder’s two front paws leaning on the armrest and the rest of his body on the backseat, were worried. As corn was pushed to the ground, cars and trucks on the side slowed and forced their way through the wind looking odd, as if some invisible force was holding them back, and some force was pushing me forward. I got to Dubuque safely, I talked to my freaking out brother, who had to chainsaw people out from their houses and to their cars on the street. 14 days later, damage to the roof, foundation, truck, and outside décor has the insurance and city engineer threatening to make my house unlivable as many of the houses behind me are. I only got electricity Monday, the 24, and still no internet. The derecho storm of 2020 in Iowa, will be marked in the brains of those who lived through the land hurricane forever.

Everyone who submitted should have received by now a notification from Green Submissions, please check there. Next week an email will be sent with an acceptance note and revisions/edits for the upcoming fall journal. This theme of mysticism fits so well because one thing after another seems to get stranger and weirder about this year. For those who were not accepted, we are very honored you submitted and were glad to read the talents out there. You can resubmit to the non-themed journal with submissions opening in October. Follow us on social media @borrowedsolace for much more information and updates (we’re even on TikTok and posted a video of what my neighborhood looks like now if you’d like to give us a follow!)

The Book Club Swaps: Nicole and Addey

I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon the book Red Queen, probably in a bookstore while I roaming around the young adult section. Usually, titles and covers that speak to me, or interest me, are the ones I pick up to read the inside cover summary. What probably got me to buy this book and to take it home was the dangerous chess game, with elements of fantasy, betrayal, power plays, and beating the impossible. I have read up to the third book in the series, and I find Victoria Aveyard’s writing fresh and intriguing. The way she plots her books is very interesting, and she keeps everything exciting yet familiar to the reader.

I selected this book for Addey to dabble in the world of young adultness because it has an element of refinement that I very much see in Addey. I like to think books fit certain personalities and interests of people, so I carefully chose this one. Not only that, but this book holds a lot to traditions and history of the land and the way of the people, which Addey reads historical fiction and literary stories, so I thought it would fit in her wheelhouse of being comfortable to at least try and read this book. I am interested and excited to read and see what Addey has thought of this book!

Now that Addey’s finished reading the book, here are her thoughts…

I definitely think Nicole was right in thinking that I would like this book! It was intriguing to me almost from page one, and got even more interesting the more I learned about the world that Red Queen takes place in. It does have some elements of the historical fiction that I usually read. The world has many traditions and characteristics that harken back to earlier times but also mixed with technology and modern tendencies. It was an interesting combination, but one that I think worked!

I also liked the plot of the book–it was unexpected and kept me guessing. I also appreciated that there was romance involved, but it wasn’t too hot and heavy (something that I wish more books adhered to.) The characters were believable but also easy to root for (or hate.)

I do think that there were times the dialogue felt a little bit unnatural and the description of characters’ actions didn’t always flow or make sense, but it was minimal enough that I didn’t really care! I am planning to read the next books in the series, for sure, so I am excited to see if that improves as the books go on and the characters become more fleshed out.

Overall I really liked Red Queen! Nicole did a good job choosing this book for me to read in our book swapping series, and I would definitely recommend the book to all of our readers out there.

Image Source

Stay tuned for more from the book club as we all read books picked for each other and write our reviews here.  And if you want to join the club and recommend books for us to read, or take a stab at our recommendations, leave your comments and suggestions below!

Where’s the Magic?

There are two weeks left to submit to the fall journal!

We have been excited reading the submitted stories and poems.

We want to say more about what we want. For nonfiction, have you had a dream or nightmare that didn’t make sense but mystified you? I want to read that! Or what about a break in the pattern of your normal life, what was different, and how did it affect you? What is the magic going around you and your life, is pointing to the sky and telling what a cloud shape looks like to you? Or one moment in your life—not COIVD-19—that turned your world upside down? Were you saved by a bit of magic that mystified you? Like, for me, I was caught in a muddy landslide, but I magically made it to the bottom without a scratch and it was a cliff that nature shifted when I was just 16 years old. During that slide, I also saved my little cousin and my dog from sliding down with me and threw them up on a ledge before I went down.

I want to see what made you change religions, stop believing, or started to believe. Religion doesn’t just mean believing in a “god”, it is also a set of rules to live your life and abide too. What is mystical about you?

For fiction, Amber is pretty open to all. She wants you to mystify her. Whether it be mystery, suspense, the paranormal, the horror, magical myths you created, show her—ahem—I mean telling her by showing her in your writing what kind of magic imagination is!

For poetry, Addey wants to see the mundane written about in a mystical way. She wants to see captivating stories told in as few words as possible and read poems that explore what haunts the speaker. She wants to see life summarized on the page the mystical way that only writers can do it!

So there’s a little bit more about what we are looking for. We can’t wait to read what you submit.

Happy Submitting!!

P.S. Submissions close July 31st, as a reminder. 

Ship of the Sky

This week on the blog we are bringing back the exquisite corpse! A little morbid sounding, this is just a writing exercise where you work collaboratively with another person (or more than one person) to add bits and pieces of language together to make a complete poem (or story, or song, or whatever you’d like!) This week, I was joined by Addey to create a poem over text message. So here it is:

Ship of the Sky

By Nicole McConnell and Addey Vaters

The raindrops fall like heavy boulders onto my shoulders.

No matter how hard I tried to harden myself, they soaked me, not rolling off or crumbling.

All the while I stood still in this eye of the storm you created, not moving, not waiving…

Instead waiting for an outcome I knew wasn’t coming.

But I wasn’t alone, the ocean surrounded me.

The crashing waves matched the crushing doubt consuming my soul,

And from that a ship rose out of the water next to me, the moon its sails, the muted sun its hull, the stars it’s deck

It sprung to life out of the nothingness of the sea as if beckoning me aboard…

A string of stars pulled me up onto the deck,

And the churning wind blew into the sails, propelling me into destiny.

A Mystical Update

We are excited to read from our submitters about what truly mystifies them in this world. If you missed the workshop where we talked about the upcoming theme, you can email us at editors@borrowedsolace.com to get the workshop handout if you would like one sent to you. Just put “handout” in the SUBJECT field with a quick message, “I would like to be sent the workshop handout.”

You can also listen to the podcast we published this week–an episode with a quick update and recap of the workshop. You will have to watch for upcoming events–we plan to have more workshops in the future! If you have a great topic you would like to see us cover in a workshop, you can always email us or submit a contact form on the website for us to review.

Don’t forget: if you want to submit an article for the blog, you can do so as well in green submissions.

Last little tidbit, next week we will have a print book in our hands for proofing!! Stay tuned on how print is coming along for the very first journal we ever published online, and what recent journal might get published in hard copy.

Submissions Are Open

…and the fall 2020 theme is Mysticism!

This may be a hard noun, word, abstract concept to conquer. But this team of editors believe in you! Look below to see what each editor is looking for. All we ask is that you have fun with writing and submitting these stories, poems, and art.

fiction editor Amber Porter:

I’m not asking for much, just what mysticism means to you. I want to be mystified.

poetry editor Addey Vaters:

For me, the theme of mysticism doesn’t need to be direct. Sure, send me your poems re-imagining ancient myths and telling spooky stories, but also send me your poems about lost loves that still haunt, magical days spent in the sunshine, and everyday life described in fantastical ways. The idea of mysticism may seem like it has to entail a surreal or fairytale experience, but I’m most interested in poems that make the mundane and the mystical collide.

nonfiction editor Nicole McConnell:

Telling the real tale of mysticism might be a struggle, so I am looking for anything that has brought magic to your life, mystery, or even the paranormal. I want to see what kind of magic you have found in life, a turning point of when faith stopped or when you started to believe, a good and real ghost story encounter, a scary and mysterious story. I want to be mystified as well because everything is a little bit more possible with a little bit of magic and this universe is filled with it.

art

What seems magical, abstract, paranormal, strange, concrete, and so much more around you? We want to see art and photos of the strange, yet not strange, world we live and the art we can create from that strangeness.

To submit, visit our submissions manager. Happy submitting!

If you are feeling unsure about what to write, or if your story fits in with our theme, here are some examples of words/feelings/ideas that could be a good mystical fit:

A Quick Update from Your Editors on COVID-19

Addey

I am able to work from home, which has it’s own challenges but means that I am so much better off than many. I am grateful for this time, even though it is confusing and stressful. I’ve been using my time at home to work on my reading list and actually finish a short story I’ve been working on for ages. While the current set up is inconvenient for most of us, I know that we will be able to look back on this one day once we get to the other side, and that’s what keeps me going. This, too, shall pass.

Amber

Well, it hasn’t really changed much for me. I’m an introvert who doesn’t go out all that often anyways. I just hope family and friends are being cautious and taking care of themselves.

Nicole

My family is safe and I am blessed that I am able to work from home. But it is also a double-edged sword as working with customers and having a puppy barking at everything, climbing on top of the coffee table, chewing through blankets at the seams, and having both of your dogs following you around as a second shadow is hard. Though, like Amber, I have no problem staying at home without contact with the outside world in person.

Journal Updates: Do you want to be featured?

1.       Next week: we will give hints leading up to the reveal of our secret theme for the fall journal, which we are excited about! We will also let you know when we are opening back up for submissions.

2.       Podcasts: we are calling anyone who wants to participate in our creative careers series! Do you have a creative career and want to tell people about it? Let us know and you could be interviewed on the podcast! Shoot us an email at podcast@borrowedsolace.com if you are interested in being featured. We are also going to be releasing and episode next week about how to create during this time of chaos with helpful tips about reducing anxiety and stress.

3.       The blog: we are calling all people who want to submit a blog post or article! We are looking for content to help other writers and artists. Do you have any tips on what makes a good short story? A great poem? A way to get published? A unique way to create art? If so, you can click on the link below and submit your article for review:

Submit to the blog!

Update on Issue 3.1

For this week, we are doing an update with the blog.


We are putting the finishing touches on the Spring 2020 journal coming out, drum roll please…. Friday, March 27th!


Please look for this amazing journal coming your way and if you are part of the journal, congratulations and thank you for being a part of this journal.


We are also discussing the next theme for Fall 2020. We haven’t completely decided yet, but we do know the subgenre will be somewhere in the horror category! 


As always with this crazy world, stay safe and well.