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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!)

Ready for Fall

We here at borrowed solace are ready for fall, how about you? Fall brings lots of things that all of us editors appreciate, but, most importantly, it brings the fall issue of borrowed solace!

We’re working hard to finalize submissions, figure out the fall design, and get the journal out soon. In the meantime, if you are unsure whether your piece(s) have been accepted, be sure to log into the submissions manager for updates.

Are you ready for pumpkin spice, bonfires, changing leaves, crisp mornings, and fall borrowed solace? I hope you are because it’s coming at you soon! Stay tuned for more updates here on the blog and on all of our social media. And, of course, have a very happy Friday.

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. 

Writing Your Way Out of a Slump

Have you ever run into a writing wall?  Have you felt inspired and written non-stop for months on end only to burn out?  I know I have, and it’s hard!  I find that writing tends to come in waves for me.  I shuffle between times where I can’t turn off the faucet of writing ideas in my brain and times where I’m in a creative drought.  It’s especially hard to keep going when I’m in one of those times of writing struggle periods—writing is the thing I love to do and the thing that inspires me, but when I’m searching for inspiration and coming up empty-handed, it’s really hard to keep going!

So if you are like me and cycle in and out of writing periods in your life, and could use some inspiration, here are some ideas to get your creative gears turning again:

1. Write in a different genre than you usually do.

Writing in a different genre for fiction writers can be an amazing tool to get you excited about writing again.  Every writing genre has its own quirks and stereotypes.  Maybe lean into those as you go along—write a romance that follows all the tropes.  Come up with the best meet-cute story you can think of and write an outlandishly by the book romance worthy of Harlequin.  While you may not end up finishing the story or writing anything actually worthy of publication, it can get you excited about writing your usual genre again and give inspiration.

2. Write in a completely different format than you usually do.

Try writing a journalistic piece, or some experimental poetry.  Write about real life rather than the fantasy world you usually write in.  Try a more formulaic concept like writing a villanelle or even a simple haiku.

3. Try journaling.

I’ve mentioned this before, but journaling is the only form of writing that I consistently do—it usually doesn’t end up in a creative landslide of ideas for me, but it can definitely help with weeding through the overgrowth that clogs my brain and stops me from wanting to write.  I find that even stream-of-consciousness journaling can lead to some unexpected places and new writing ideas!

4. Keep a list of things you want to write about in the droughts and the downpours.

This is my most useful tip—any time you have an idea or a thought that inspires you to write, take a few minutes to actually write them down!  This is the same concept as a writer’s notebook that you keep stashed in your back pocket wherever you go, but for me, it’s a Google doc (many pages long) that has ideas for articles, poems, or stories.  Keep a list so that when you get stuck and don’t know where to go next, you have a roadmap, of sorts, to get you back on track with writing something.

5. Take your inspiration from pop culture.

One of the easiest ways to get writing inspiration that can help write you out of a funk is to take it from elsewhere!  One of my favorite things to do is to take the headlines from a newspaper or the titles of the shows in your Netflix queue/Spotify playlist and use them to write something new.  Take the first three titles you see and roll with it.  Or take the longest headline you can find and create a story using every word in it.  Make a game for yourself to get going, and pretty soon you’ll be back to writing non-stop.

I hope this list helps you if you are going through a writing drought.  Remember that it’s okay and normal to have periods of no writing, but that you don’t have to stay there forever.  Write yourself out of that slump and get back to doing what you were meant to do.

All About Masterclass: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Nicole and I have been trying out Masterclass lately. It was definitely Nicole’s idea, and she’s the one who set everything up, but we’ve both been enjoying learning about writing from a variety of different people. The first Masterclass that we tackled was from Margaret Atwood and was all about–you guessed it–creative writing.

Today we are going to share our thoughts on the Masterclass so that you can hear a bit about what Atwood teaches in case you are interested in Masterclass. Or if you are interested in learning more about creative writing, like we always are!

Nicole’s Thoughts:

Atwood had an interesting perspective on short stories and how to start them. She doesn’t think about structure until she was about ¼ into her stories. She writes out her skeleton and then she goes back to add information to support the story structure. You put up the frame of the house and then go back to pick out the siding, color of the shingles, the size of windows and curtains, etc. Because to her, the story is what happens and that is the plot and structure is how you tell the story.

Atwood also talked about starting the story right there in the middle of the action. What is breaking the main character’s pattern? Pick one event that makes the main character’s life no longer perfect and that is the place you start. For then onwards, every action the mc does, reveals the character and everything the mc does, should build their character. They are there to interact with the events of the story, if you have a character that does not serve that purpose, consider getting rid of him or her, or maybe merge with another one. Characters should all serve a purpose, and their purpose in the story should not be wasted. 

Addey’s Thoughts:

I definitely think that Atwood had some unique and clever ways of looking at writing. She is, of course, an amazing and successful writer, and I don’t think writers can every go wrong listening to those who have made a career out of writing.

The first thing that stuck out to me when watching her Masterclass is something that Nicole also mentioned–a story needs a break in a pattern to get it going. In order to write something good and unique, you need to start from somewhere slightly off-kilter and different than the typical “pattern.”

Atwood also started out with the idea of never starting with an idea. This is an interesting concept to me because it seems to be the exact opposite of what I’ve always thought to be true. She encourages immersing yourself in writing and getting something on the page. Atwood says that is where your story/idea comes from.

So those are few things that stood out to Nicole and me in Margaret Atwood’s Masterclass. There are countless other tidbits of useful information for writers that Atwood weaves into each short lesson. We’re definitely still new to exploring Masterclass, but we’ll take you along with us and let you know what we find out!

Season Two Update

That’s a wrap on season two of borrowed solace: the podcast! We’re so grateful to everyone who has taken the time out of their day to listen and participate in the discussion. We plan on coming back for season three in the fall, so keep your eyes (and ears!) peeled for updates on the next season!