Publication Announcement!

The above picture was created using https://inspirobot.me/ – it seemed appropriate for some of what the past couple months have felt like

I submitted my first piece of COVID-19 related writing. And…

Stigma Fighters published my poem Alexithymia in 2020 America! Hop on over there and check it out? Leaving a comment and sharing it would be even better.

This is also a good time to mention that I have a poetry collection called “One Hundred Different Skies” coming out in Summer 2020. Once I have the cover art finished I will be making the collection available for digital pre-order.

I’ve already received great feedback from a couple of beta readers and I’m loving all of it. This might sound weird, but I love hearing when someone dislikes one of my poems if they can tell me why they dislike it. I find it really helpful to me because as I’ve been working through cases where someone can tell me why they dislike something, I find that I can understand their viewpoint and am willing to edit and try to rewrite sections to improve the work.

I accept that there are few things harder than editing poetry in the world of writing. But there’s nothing more rewarding than a poem that accurately captures an experience. My beta readers are AMAZING.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you haven’t heard it today: you are loved and you are valued.

Short Story Announcement: “Waking Up” Part 1 “The First Day” and Life Update

My first multipart series is upon us! It went live on Monday, but I’ve been preoccupied with this whole coronavirus thing and writing book reviews.

This first part is short.

I didn’t mean to time the release of a story related to waking up in a hospital with a pandemic. Today is Day 17 of a fever of ~100-101 F (37.7 – 38.3 C). I have ice on the back of my neck as I write this. There will be a delay in the release of part 2.

It’s all surreal, right?

I grew up among hardy people that believed in staying put when the hurricane came and destroyed the town (this literally happened and I was out of school for 2-3 months in high school while we rebuilt the town). One of the places I lived was almost wiped off the map by the 1918 Influenza pandemic. Entire families died – their bodies buried in mass graves next to their homes by the brave neighbors who ventured into the houses later. The houses and all of their belongings were either burned or were left to rot until us, curious, mischievous rural kids with nothing better to do broke in and wandered around those unwired houses like the generations and generations of kids before us. Look but don’t touch. The objects are cursed and haunted by the disease. Even then the belief was that the ghost of the disease persisted and could kill.

On that note, stay tuned for a short story exclusively posted here since I’m taking a week off. Don’t expect it to be edited well because, frankly, I feel like s***.

Take care and I hope everyone is staying well. As always, thank you for reading. Without you I’m writing words into a void.

UPDATE (26 March 2020):

Today WaffleHouse closed 365 of its 1,627 US locations. That thing I mentioned above about being from an area that was regularly destroyed/impacted by hurricanes and my town was DESTROYED by a hurricane?

Check out this thing called the Waffle House Index – it’s used by FEMA to determine how bad a natural disaster is in the United States based on the number of Waffle Houses still open in an area. I’m not joking. It’s a real thing. Waffle House is historically known for being open 24/7/365 and has called itself a “trucker shelter” during inclement weather.

We live in interesting times.

Book Promotion! "And Then We Vanish" by D. H. Schleicher

Hi Everyone! While I finish up working on another book review, I’m going to post something a little bit different. As some may recall, in October 2019 I read D. H. Schleicher‘s book “Then Came Darkness” and loved it. I had the pleasure of beta reading a couple short stories for Schleicher’s new collection “And Then We Vanish“. In exchange I received an ARC. I feel it would be unethical for me to call anything I write a “review” given I helped with feedback. That said, I like the author’s writing style and attention to detail. They are one of the authors that helped me develop my rating scale. I genuinely enjoy the stories and as an unpaid favor I want to support their book here.

I did have the chance to chat with Schleicher about the process behind putting together a collection of short stories. The stories in “And Then We Vanish” are everything from petrifying to hilarious, but they all share a common theme: disappearing. Using a theme, he narrowed down which stories to include and edit for the collection from the vast collection of short stories authors accumulate over the years.

For beta reading, I read “Upon The Unfortunate News Of My Death” and “Blue Heather”. While I loved them both, particularly the latter, I will focus on the former because it is incredibly relevant. There’s also something poetic about having the opportunity to harpoon one’s metaphorical white whale. My teaser:

In the digital age information can get misconstrued. Between all of the likes, comments, and shares when does real action need to take place beyond the armchair activism? What if we get it all wrong? As if poor Kayla Spaulding hasn’t dealt with enough insanity in her life, here’s one more fire to put out. At least we can enjoy some sadistic revenge.

I hope you consider picking up a copy of “And Then We Vanish” to read about Kayla Spaulding and the ten other stories. Did I mention that these stories are inclusive of a variety of well-researched and presented diverse characters?

There is a story in this book that opens with a school shooting. Please don’t let that deter you from reading the story and instead act as a content warning. It is one of the most moving stories in the entire collection in my opinion and is a reminder that Schleicher is talented at painting emotions onto pages with words. I am glad I had to wait to read it.

Thanks for reading and check back soon for another book review. As a friendly reminder, wash your hands and call your loved ones.

Short Story Announcement – February 10, 2020

Image Source: Brooke Campbell Unspash

The first version of When A Demon Comes To Dine is live on Coffee House Writers. Head on over there to read it.

I mentioned on Twitter recently that I will be posting short stories biweekly with the goal of releasing a collection of short stories at the end of the current year (December 2020). The collection will include edited versions of these stories and other previously unreleased stories.

As a general content warning to my readers: in the next year you will see fictional stories addressing childhood trauma, mental health, suicide, body horror, LGBTQA issues, assault, medical horror, unhealthy relationship dynamics, death, dead bodies, loss of bodily autonomy at the hands of family members, and maybe I’ll find a happy ending somewhere in one of those. I’m not good at happy endings. I’m working on itpromise.

If you’re wondering, I have found 3 things I plan to change in this story before publishing in the collection. I’m curious what feedback others have.

I got published! And a note on trigger warnings.

I’m excited to share that After Alexei published my short story “l’appel du vide”.

I learned that though we all experience invasive thoughts that constantly sit in the back of our minds, sometimes reminders can be deeply affecting.

For that reason, I’m not sorry for writing it. This story came from me writing these thoughts down to manage them. It’s a fictional story where all of these images invade the narrator, too. In 2008, when the first draft was written, this was a way to manage these thoughts.

I am both sorry and thankful that …

… my readers have this shared experience to the extent that my story makes a connection.

… you’ve ever thought about these things to the extent that I have.

…this exposed the wounds we share and made you feel vulnerable enough to talk to someone about it.

I’m thankful that my friend is getting help. I am here for anyone that wants to talk if this story brings up anything difficult or uncomfortable. Email me lopotterwrites@gmail.com or contact me through twitter @dreaminventor

I have learned 2 lessons from this:

1. Writing has the ability to force people to examine their own experiences. This is sometimes very painful.

2. Not everyone is ready for that. It’s okay to need a warning about graphic content regarding suicide, or suicidal ideation.

I love every single person that reads this story. You are a beautiful part of my life. I honor you and your struggles. If you are currently suicidal or feel that you may be at risk, please do not read this story. If this story brings up any difficult feelings, 24/7 help is available via these hotlines:

Argentina: +5402234930430

Australia: 131114

Austria: 142; for children and young people, 147

Belgium: 106

Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05

Botswana: 3911270

Brazil: 188 for the CVV National Association

Canada: 1.833.456.4566, 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)

Croatia: 014833888

Denmark: +4570201201

Egypt: 7621602

Estonia: 3726558088; in Russian 3726555688

Finland: 010 195 202

France: 0145394000

Germany: 08001810771

Holland: 09000767

Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000

Hungary: 116123

India: 8888817666

Ireland: +4408457909090

Italy: 800860022

Japan: +810352869090

Mexico: 5255102550

New Zealand: 0800543354

Norway: +4781533300

Philippines: 028969191

Poland: 5270000

Portugal: 21 854 07 40/8 . 96 898 21 50

Russia: 0078202577577

Spain: 914590050

South Africa: 0514445691

Sweden: 46317112400

Switzerland: 143

United Kingdom: 08457909090

USA: 18002738255

Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1 800 273 8255/ text 838255

With that, here’s the actual link to my story:

l’appel du vide