Friday, May 24, 2013

Give Me Couches or Give Me Writer's Block

Between catching up with old friends and making a dent in my reading list, I've been writing everyday. I think I've become a bit more simplistic with what I need in order to write these days...

1. New glasses. My prescription hasn't changed, but I splurged on a new pair of glasses to change my look. I needed a bit of refreshing, considering that I had my old pair for five years. So I got giant hipster glasses that I'm madly in love with (pictured above). Totally makes me want to write... even though I'm getting used to that extra weight balancing on my nose, haha!

2. Netbook. I'm entirely dependent on Spell Check and Google while writing, so I couldn't possibly write without my trusty netbook in my lap! Yes, that is a Rarity sticker. Mr. Daydream is there too, reminding me to write weird stuff.

3. Couch. Maybe I haven't met a chair I liked, but I write best when I'm sitting on a comfy couch.

4. Notes. Even though I don't write my projects on paper, I do take a lot of notes. I carry little notebooks with me wherever I go. Whether I collect my notes on paper or on my netbook, it usually consists of snippets - things my characters will say, plot twists, backstories, etc.

Music and snacks tend to vary per project. I don't actually eat while writing, but if I'm stuck and I pace around the house, I may reach for Cherry Twizzlers Bites. I've been listening to a lot of show theme's (Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who) and Sea Wolf albums while writing.

What do you need in order to write? Have your habits changed recently? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Deathless Press: Spring 2013 Review

Allow me to introduce you to a neat little press. Deathless Press is in the business of publishing fairy tale chapbooks. Now, it's already pretty cool that the focus is on fairy tales, but what I also love is that all the chapbooks are prose.

Until recently, chapbooks have been ruled by poetry. Perhaps it's because poetry is made for the chapbook format: small, bite-sized delights on every page. Prose can't possibly compete... right?


Short fiction, in its various forms, is becoming popular. There are literary journals out there dedicated to publishing nothing but flash fiction, some pieces as small as under 150 words. has writing contests that rarely go over 1k. And these short stories are collected, bound, and reaching readers near and far.

Deathless Press's first round of books share the feel of springtime; mysterious woods, flowers blooming in their cases, sweet nothings whispered between girl and frog. I ordered the bundle pack and devoured all three books. I'm happy to share my thoughts about them, so that you may also discover these stories.

The Frog Prince by Evan Perriello

When the bus running between Phoenix and LA stalls, the passengers have no choice but to deal with the suffocating heat until the technician arrives. The narrator's grandfather falls into conversation with with the man sitting next to him - a handsome old man who confesses that he has once been a frog. The initial scene works as a framing device; the handsome old man tells his story in the middle, and at the end, we're back on the stalled bus as the heat becomes unbearable.

Once the handsome old man begins his story, I couldn't put the book down. He has such a strong voice, inviting you to feel sympathetic for both him and his "princess," Emma. The dark ending, full of regret and inevitable heartache, was the perfect way to finish.

The Bouquet by Kate McIntyre 

A finicky bride-to-be seeks out a famous florist to find the perfect bouquet for her wedding. Instead of meeting a trendy, young florist, the bride-to-be is faced with a peculiar old woman with hair that "stuck out like a thistle." While the story is told in third person, the bride-to-be's perspective is so strong that you feel like you're trapped in her head - and I say trapped, because her thinking is so stilted and kind of sad, in a humorous way.

At the end of the story, the bride-to-be gets her bouquet... but you can't help but feel that she's been royally tricked by the crafty florist. It's wonderful. I only wish that this story was a lot longer - I enjoyed the McIntyre's writing style very much!

The House of Zabka by Marcus Slease 

Carrie is the daughter of a pig butcher; she loves her father, even when he throws pig's blood on her when she misbehaves. She decides to take her sausage dog with her on a trip through the woods, running into such odd characters as pigs and wolves, elves, and Dog Woman.

I was excited about reading The House of Zabka when I read Slease's blog post about it; he mentioned that he wrote this book in a style similar to Aimee Bender and Shane Jones. I love both those authors and, as you've heard many times, Jones' Light Boxes rocked by world in terms of structure. Slease's book has some delightfully weird moments, like Carrie's sausage dog (I mentally pictured Hot Dog Princess from Adventure Time) and the plastic dragon that breathes fire when you sent it a text message.

But, sadly, those awesome characters only appeared once in the whole book; they faded into the background while other characters took the spotlight. I had trouble following the plot - one minute we're with Carrie in the woods, and then we're with Marek, the pig butcher, as he goes through a strange operation. The shift was a bit jarring, especially when Carrie seemed to be the main character up until that point, and the ending leaves me wondering if any of it actually happened - though, honestly, I can't tell you what happened. I suppose this book was just too surreal for me.

You can purchase your own copies of these Deathless Press books over at the etsy shop, HERE.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Graduation: A Post in GIFs

Here's the moment you've all been waiting for: I'm officially done with grad school. I've been yammering about this for such a long time already, so now that the time has come, I find myself speechless and utterly unable to express what it's like to be finished with a shiny MFA degree in my hands (well, hypothetically. It'll be mailed in a few weeks).

Strange to think that this blog started in my first semester of graduate school.... so there's never been a not-in-school moment for I Wear Milk Crowns until now.

1) My initial reaction to the end of grad school:

2) What I said to students who had asked me why academia still looks down on genre fiction:

3) Cleaning out my office and turning in the key:

4) Finishing April's CampNaNoWriMo at 15k - and proud (even if I was off by 5k from my goal):

5) Kicking off the summer by watching all of Sherlock:

So, yes, lots of feels going on. I'm still trying to process everything that's happened, but I'm looking forward to what the future brings! What's going on with your end of the semester?