Sunday, January 25, 2015


I've been having nightmares about hackers and cyber terrorism lately, so I figured I had better post here because what better prompt?

My dream went like this: I woke up in the middle of the light, and my phone was buzzing and lighting up. When I picked it up, a screeching sound came from the tiny speakers and a rough-chinned man with a hoodie on glared at me from the screen. He told me my online persona no longer existed, and that he owned it now. He told me all my accounts were now his, and that it would take years to rebuild everything. He told me he didn't want to be me, only to show me how fleeting it all is. Then my screen went black. I tried to turn on my laptop, and it too was dead. I looked out my back window, and the guy was there, hands in pockets, then I woke up with the feeling that this was happening across the country.

Scary? Mmmhmmm. So this week's prompt:

Write a flash piece about technology terrorism and how a victim of online identity theft would handle the situation. Write for 20 minutes, then stop. Go back and revise later. 

That's it. Go!

My new collection of fiction, AFTER THE GAZEBO, is more experimental than anything I've ever done. As I work with Rain Mountain Press to finalize everything and get ready for the spring release, I wanted to invite you all to vote on the cover. Everyone who votes will be entered to win a free copy when it comes out. See the options on my website. We are leaning toward one of the three, but I figure it will be a fun giveaway.

I probably won't have time to post next weekend due to the literary citizenship festival, but meet me back here in two weeks. That is, if I'm not cyber destroyed. :)

xo Jen

Friday, January 16, 2015

What is Literary Citizenship?

I have been invited to speak at Otterbein College, where I earned my undergraduate degree in English, to speak on the subject of Literary Citizenship. Although speaking and participating in panel discussions (not to mention reading from my work) will be a great honor, I have to admit that I am most honored and engaged by the topic itself. In order for there to be literary citizenship, there must be literary community. Although I will put together a more complete argument, here's what I've teased out so far:

The literary citizen must adopt four different roles to be an active citizen:


I recently read Julia Cameron's fantastic book, The Artist's Way. In it she suggests that people adopt shadow professions in place of the artistic professions they desire. One example was the teacher who secretly wants to be a novelist. I agree with much of what is in this book, but I think literary citizenship is about adopting all roles. The novelist is made stronger by engaging in the literary world as a teacher as well as a reader and audience. If I could make the above a circle, it would be more in-line with what I believe. I hope I can portray my thoughts on the matter in a coherent way when I go. I am very, very excited.

In place of a writing prompt today, also, I have an announcement:


I signed the contract yesterday. It is a full-length collection entitled After the Gazebo, after the story here. It will feature band new stories and much of my work over the last two years. More soon, but if you'd like to get one of the very first copies, email me: :)

*If you're in the Columbus area, here's the agenda.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A restful prompt

The first week back to a cubicle job, after quite a few days off for holidays, is rough. I ended up making it to the weekend (almost) and then wanting nothing more than to collapse. I've been doing some freelance work that ended up taking most of my free time, however, so my resting time was cut a bit short. Then I realized I was late for yoga. Even though I find my work stimulating and teaching/freelancing gratifying, I realized how much I was craving rest when, after a yoga class, I sat down on the couch to read and fell from conscious reality fast.  I woke dazed and relieved.

My non-stop pattern of work has been recurrent in my life. As a writer, I have always wanted to do and try everything, at least once, so I can't say no for fear of missing out on knowing just what this or that would be like. What ends up happening, however, is that my schedule becomes so tight I barely leave room for air.

I love being busy, but it also comes with real challenges. First, everyone needs rest. Second, every writer needs to write. Otherwise, we go rather batty. To put it nicely. In the past, when I haven't listened to my body's pleas for rest, it has slowed me down with force - either illness or injury - and I thought this would make an interesting prompt.

Write about a person who is going non-stop, maybe a corporate Type A or a Type B with delusions of grandeur (or, ahem, both). Start with this person in the middle of his/her work routine, then bam! Slow this person down. How does the character change? This is a simple plot, but it has potential to be quite dynamic. 

Have a great week, everyone! Don't forget to breathe. xo Jen

Observations: Dublin Vacation

Dublin seemed the obvious destination. We would be close to various restaurants and tourist attractions. It would be easy to call a cab or...