Finally: The Edwardsville Author Fair

I’m delighted to finally attend the Edwardsville Author Fair in person!

They’ve been holding this festival of the written word for a few years now, and each year it has conflicted with another major event: Dragoncon, the Society of Professional Journalists, etc. Then last year the event was virtual, of course, because the Voldevirus required all such things to be in Zoomland. Thus I was actually able to participate after a fashion!

I thought I was going to have to bow out this year again, because I am president of the St. Louis chapter of SPJ and will be representing them as delegate at the annual conference next weekend…. which was supposed to be in New Orleans. Sadly, the Voldevirus strikes again and I will not be chowing down on beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The SPJ conference will be entirely virtual. (Of course, it’s likely it would have struck a landmine anyway, since Hurricane Ida is aiming at the Gulf Coast with a fury.)

But that leaves me home and free-ish to finally participate in my hometown’s book festival! I’ll be stepping in and out of the festival to participate as needed in the SPJ conference events, but my husband will be on our booth selling our books and my art throughout the day. Look for us in the author section of City Park 9am-2pm Saturday, Sept. 4.

 (Crossposted with elizabethdonald.com)

August linkspam – better late than never!

The above image is Setting Suns, the first book of mine to appear in print. I’d had a novel out before it and a second one was pending, but both were released in ebook-only in an era when ebooks weren’t really considered “real books,” so it was only when Setting Suns came out that I was considered a real live author. (Seriously, one of my first cons changed my bio to call me an “aspiring author” because I was in ebooks.)

But beyond what the publishing industry thought… Setting Suns was the first book where I opened a box and saw my name on the cover, and any author will tell you that’s a life-changer. See the links below for my essay on this moment.

Setting Suns was in print for 15 years, which is something of which I have always been proud. It’s a great run for a small press title, and I am always grateful for it and for the doors it opened for me. That run came to an end on July 31, and the book is now officially out of print. (I do still have a couple of copies, so if you were thinking of snagging it, click here and grab them before we run out.) 

In other news, I finally got the new author website going. I bid farewell to the moldy old website I’d been maintaining since the mid-2000s using iWeb, of all things. The demise of Setting Suns hastened its launch and I’m not entirely done with the design, so please feel free to offer feedback. Gently. 

In other other news, progress is actually… progressing? on Ye Olde Thesis and even on some fiction. By the time next month’s newsletter comes out, school will have started. Thus much of my time the next three weeks will be taken up with preparing my syllabus for the two classes I am teaching, as well as Year Two of the MFA. And finishing that thesis.

So… why is this newsletter super late this month? Because my Bungee Tour is undergoing constant changes! See below for details on how we might actually see each other in meatspace this weekend!

Publicity/Appearances

The Bungee Tour kicks off this weekend! I’m sorry to say a return to Louisville is off the menu, as the author fair I hoped to attend has been postponed to April. As of this writing, I plan to be in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Aug. 14. The coffeehouse stop has been canceled, but I’ll be shooting in and around the Opryland area, so if you’d like to meet up and snag a book, contact me ASAP and we’ll make it happen! Then I’ll be at the Tamp & Tap Coffeehouse in Memphis, Tenn. at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15 with books in hand. At this time I’m not planning to bring art unless I get a special request, so if you want some, look at elizabethdonaldphotography.com and let me know!

Imaginarium was the highlight of July, with a new venue and hybrid format that worked really well. It was delightful to see many authors and publishers from the con circuit and to share a few (dozen) drinks. I always come away from Imaginarium reinvigorated with new ideas, and this one was no exception. Many thanks to my publisher Seventh Star Press and the terrific gang at Tomorrow Comes Media for hosting us, and to LitUnd henchman (new title!) David Tyler for hauling all the boxes of books and booze and standing as bouncer for the Traveling Bar, not that we need much security among the friendly folk of Imaginarium. That’s not always the case. Some of y’all get rowdy!

Sadly, the other event this month had to be canceled due to weather. The Alton artisans’ market may be rescheduled at a later date when the skies aren’t raining cats, dogs and small barnyard animals. 

The current schedule is:

• Bungee Tour, various. Aug. 14-17 
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 4 
• Archon, Collinsville Ill., Oct. 1-3
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Mo. Nov. 5-7
• Writers of the Riverbend, Alton, Ill. Nov. 20

And don’t forget I will be in New Orleans Sept. 1-6 for the SPJ National Conference. I am not presenting this year and there isn’t a signing scheduled at this time, but I will bring books if anyone local wants to meet up. EDIT: Never mind! SPJ has been converted to an all-virtual conference, so I will be attending from my comfy home office. Sorry, N’awlins!

Journalism/Essays

• Highland students to go maskless (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland reduces support for Madison County Fair (Highland News-Leader)
• Mask mandate remains unclear for fall (Highland News-leader)
• Town Square finishes renovations (Highland News-Leader)
• Freedom Day (Patreon)
• Farewell, old friend (blog)

Fiction

• Excerpt: The Cold Ones (Patreon)
• Excerpt: Tanglewilde (Patreon)

Patreon/Blogs

• Review: Old (Patreon)
• Review: The Alice Network (Patreon)
• Review: Black Widow, finally (Patreon)
• On the road again… (Patreon)
• Pardon our dust! (blog)


Photography

• Happy Independence Day! (Patreon)

July linkspam!

If you’re hiding from the Evil Daystar in a cloud of Hoth-like air conditioning, then you’re having the same summer as I am! 

This first full month of summer has been mostly bound up in writing, getting back into the circuit with signings and appearances, making travel plans, and reorganizing my house as my son moves out. It’s a lot of changes going into this next phase of our lives at the same time as life is trying to return to whatever “normal” will be after the pandemic. 

That, and I’m working on the bloody thesis. It’s like stabbing a vampire over and over but not quite hitting the heart. So help me that sucker will be dust by summer’s end. 

Stay cool!

Publicity/Appearances

This past month I returned to public appearances at the Melting Pot in Granite City on June 5 and the Route 66 Festival in Edwardsville, Ill. on June 12, both as a solo act. It was great to see humans again and talk about my work, both in the writing and photography realms.

Next up is Imaginarium, rolling into Louisville, Ky. next weekend! I’ve been at every Imaginarium from its launch up until last year, and it’s always a great time. Jim will not be able to join me due to his new job at the university, but my minions and I will be there (and serving the booze!). 

The Cuppa Words local author group has a heavy calendar of events this summer, and I’m happy to be joining them after having to take most of last year off and hide. 

The current schedule is:

• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 9-11
• Alton Market, Alton, Ill. (tent.) July 31
• Peach Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Aug. 8
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 4 (Jim only)
• SPJ National Conference, New Orleans, Sept. 2-5 
• Apple Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Sept. 19
• Archon, Collinsville Ill., Oct. 1-3
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Mo. Nov. 5-7

Journalism/Essays

• Highland streetscape program continues (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland turns down dog groomer in zoning dispute (Highland News-Leader)
• School board approves amended budget (Highland News-Leader)
• Survey shows Highland businesses recovering from pandemic (Highland News-Leader)
• Show Your Work: The 2021 Awards (Patreon and Medium)
• The Amazing Adventures of Michael Chabon (Medium)

Fiction

• Flashback: Deep Breathing (Patreon)

Patreon/Blogs

• Review: Luca (Patreon)
• Review: In the Heights (Patreon)
• Review: Hid From Our Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Patreon)
• Review: The Conjuring – Devil’s Food (Patreon)
• Review: A Quiet Place Pt. 2 (Patreon)
• Review Roundup! (Patreon)
• Show Your Work: The 2021 Awards (Patreon and Medium)

Photography

• Our Town: A photo tour of Edwardsville (Patreon)

June Linkspam!

Once upon a year, my husband graduated from college. We planned this big celebration, with a huge party and barbecue followed by a trip to Disney World, which is a very special place from my family’s history with Disney and because my husband proposed to me there.

But lo, the Wicked Witch of the West visited a plague on the world, and we all had to sit inside for a year. No graduation, no party, no Disney. 

Now that the world is apparently starting to come back to life, we all got the vaxx, my husband’s long-delayed graduation ceremony finally happened, and we finally got to go to Disney World after four reschedulings. Per the request of some of my Patrons, I chronicled each day of our trip as “The Masked Mouse,” which turned out to be even more bizarre because the nationwide mask rules abruptly changed halfway through the week.

So that’s what ate May! Here’s the rest of what I’ve been up to:
 

Publicity/Appearances

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be returning to Imaginarium this summer! I’ve been at every Imaginarium from its launch up until last year, and it’s always a great time. Jim will not be able to join me due to his new job at the university, but my minions and I will be there (and serving the booze, if allowed!). 

The Cuppa Words local author group has a heavy calendar of events this summer, and I’m happy to be joining them after having to take most of last year off and hide. First up is the Melting Pot in Granite City, Ill., taking place on the town square on June 5.

Next I’ll be at the Route 66 Art Fair in Edwardsville, Ill. as a solo act, June 12 in the city park beside the library. 

The current schedule is:

• Melting Pot with Cuppa Words, Granite City, Ill. June 5
• Route 66 Art Fair, Edwardsville, Ill. June 12
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 9-11
• Alton Market, Alton, Ill. (tent.) July 31
• Peach Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Aug. 8
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 4 
• SPJ National Conference, New Orleans, Sept. 2-5 (tent.)
• Apple Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Sept. 19
• Archon, Collinsville Ill., Oct. 1-3
• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. (tent.) Oct. 17
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Mo. Nov. 5-7
 

Journalism/Essays

• Highland approves former police chief as city manager (Highland News-Leader)
• Survey shows Highland businesses recovering from pandemic (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland ramps up efforts to help local businesses (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland approves new budget with electric rate increase (Highland News-Leader)

Fiction

• Fiction: A Matter of Honor experiment (Patreon)
• Poem: A Single Tear (Patreon)

Also: Patreon subscribers finally received their annual bonus! The print limited-edition chapbook of Yanaguana went out in May, only two months behind schedule. There are a few extras, and I’ll be deciding soon what do with them… 
 

Patreon/Blogs

• Travelogues! At last! (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Preshow (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Arrival Day (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Disney on Wheels (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Eating Around the World (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (Patreon)
• The (Un)Masked Mouse: “Rest” Day (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Animal House (Patreon)
• The Masked Mouse: Last Call (Patreon)
 

Photography

Memorial Day: Nashville National Cemetery (Patreon

It looks like all the other photos this month center around a big castle ruled by a giant rodent! Never fear, I hope to get some good shots in the coming weeks now that the semester is over. 

I haven’t had the chance to process art photos from Disney yet, but I hope to get to them shortly. Also on the list of potential shoots: the life-size origami at Missouri Botanical Gardens, a possible trip to Marceline, Mo. and a definite trip to Louisville, Ky. As always, the travelogues go to the Patreon first, but will eventually appear at elizabethdonaldphotography.com

May linkspam!

(Wait, Elizabeth, where did the April newsletter go?? This is it. I decided it was stupid to headline each newsletter for the preceding month; y’all can read.) 

If the linkspam this month looks light, it’s because it’s the end of the semester. Spring is always a time for spinning plates while rollerskating, and this year is no exception. I am finishing my first full year teaching English composition, which will be its own reflection once the dust settles. I’ve spent this semester deep in workshops, with both fiction and poetry portfolios to complete during finals this week. 

This summer will be largely freelance writing, the resumption of photography trips (yay!) and local signings, and looking to resume something like a con/tour schedule in the fall, barring disaster. I’m so grateful to be fully vaccinated against the Voldevirus, and looking forward to seeing friends and family and readers on the road. Of course, I am also finishing my thesis, so look for the grad student endlessly banging her head against a brick wall sometime in July.

In the meantime, I’ve been elected vice president of two honors societies at the university: Phi Kappa Phi (general honors) and Sigma Tau Delta (English honors). With SPJ, that makes three honors cords to wind around my neck at my (eventual) graduation, which should be truly hilarious. 

Publicity/Appearances

The SIUE CAS Honors Day ceremony was virtual, of course. I was technically part of it as the recipient of the Mimi Zanger Award for Literature. If you actually enjoy honors ceremonies, feel free to access the ceremony here. My brief appearance (nonverbal) is at 21:10.

Somehow I neglected to link this interview I did several months ago, talking about Yanaguana and my adventures with the Blackfire series. 

The schedule is starting to fill up! The Cuppa Words local author group has a heavy calendar of events this summer, and I’m happy to be joining them after having to take most of last year off and hide.

You might notice there is a conflict already in my schedule. We do not yet know what’s going to happen with the SPJ National Conference; it may be online, which would permit me to attend the Edwardsville Book Fair, or in realspace in New Orleans, which would require some finagling. We’ll see! As with just about all public gatherings this year, everything is subject to change.

The tentative schedule is:

• Melting Pot with Cuppa Words, Granite City, Ill. June 5
• Route 66 Art Fair, Edwardsville, Ill. June 12
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. (tent.) July 9-11
• Alton Market, Alton, Ill. (tent.) July 31
• Peach Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Aug. 8
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 4 
• SPJ National Conference, New Orleans, Sept. 2-5
• Apple Fest with Cuppa Words, Pere Marquette (tent.) Sept. 19
• Archon, Collinsville Ill., Oct. 1-3
• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. (tent.) Oct. 17
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Mo. Nov. 5-7 

Journalism/Essays

• F-1 tornado strikes Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• New mayor sworn in (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland raises electricity rates in new budget (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland ramps up efforts to help local businesses (Highland News-Leader)

Fiction/Patreon/Blogs

• One week only! (Donald Media)
• Revisions and portfolios and poems, oh my (Patreon) (includes new poem!)
• The Amazing Adventures of Michael Chabon (Patreon)
• Confessions of a Godzilla widow (Patreon)

Photography

My photography is featured this week only in an online art show at the university. A portion of the proceeds will go to the SIUE Photography Club, which provides workshops, seminars, guest speakers and other opportunities to student photographers. The sale closes Sunday, May 9, so click here to shop! There’s some nifty stuff besides my photo prints: cyanotypes and digital art and some really fascinating photography. 

That’s all the news that fits for this month, folks. Keep in mind that much of the best stuff is going on the Patreon first, as befits the folks who kindly help pay my electric bill. Feel free to join them for as little as $1 a month!

One week only!

Over the last year and a half, I’ve been privileged to be part of the SIUE Photography Club. We haven’t been able to meet in person all that often thanks to the Voldevirus, but we’ve made good use of Zoom and even had a couple in-person workshops that unfortunately I was unable to attend.

Now we’re part of an online art show, and I am proud to have five images included. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the photography club, which (in normal years) provides workshops and seminars, guest speakers and sometimes group outings for photo shoots.

There’s quite an eclectic collection, from cyanotypes to digital art to traditional photography. While I’d be thrilled if you buy me, of course, there’s some wonderful work by my colleagues I think you’ll enjoy.

The sale is only running for one week, so click here to shop before Sunday, May 9.

And, of course, if you want to check out the rest of my photographer, please visit my online portfolio. Most images are available for purchase through my personal shop (which also carries my books), and a limited selection is available on etsy.

March 2021 Linkspam

So…. it was March, and that means I turned 39-plus-tax. Again. Shush, you who can do math. For Patreon subscribers: I have made it my tradition to send my loyal patrons a free bonus item in the month of March, usually something they can’t get anywhere else. Why March? Because it’s my birthday, so YOU get a present.

But grad school is still a thing, so the project has been delayed. It’s moving forward and I hope to have your bonuses in hand and into the mail within the next month. So since I am slow, if you sign up for the Patreon in April, you also get the annual bonus! (Make sure you include your snail mail address when you sign up!) It’s available to all levels, which begin at $1 a month. 

Now for the rest of what’s been going on….

Publicity/Appearances

The AWP Conference kicked off my March with five days of intensive panels and discussion among my fellow writers and MFA denizens. AWP is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and it was my first conference that isn’t journalism or specifically geared to SFFH. I live-blogged the entire experience on Patreon, as part of my ongoing series sharing the MFA experience with my patrons, and I hope you find it interesting and helpful. I gained a great deal from it, including the terrific keynote performance by U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo, as well as discussion of some issues in the freelance writing world that will consume much of my professional life in the months to come.

Last month I warned you that my author website will be coming down shortly for a massive overhaul after *mumblety years of the same static design. Guess what STILL didn’t happen? After having created and launched about four websites on WordPress, I decided it was time to actually know what I’m doing, and so I am taking a class (in my spare time, ha ha) to teach me the finer points of WordPress. Better website ahoy!

Note that I’ve also consolidated my webstore to offer books and photography from the same site. Never fear, I’m still part of Literary Underworld! And my work is still available on Amazon, of course. But if you’ve been interested in picking up an Elizabeth Donald book or photograph, try the website first. 

Up this month: Not much, since it’s the final lap of the semester! The Society of Professional Journalists’ regional conferences are virtual this year, and will be taking place on April 10. 

Whew! Let’s see, what else has been going on?

Journalism/Essays

Highland has tornado touch down with no fatalities (Highland News-Leader)

Highland’s long-time mayor dies weeks before stepping down (Highland News-Leader)

Highland schools plan for graduation, fall (Highland News-Leader)

Unopposed candidate set to take over as Highland’s mayor (Highland News-Leader)

Three people run for two seats on Highland City Council (Highland News-Leader)

Flashback: Miracle Girl (Patreon)

Fiction

FREE short story on the Patreon as part of the current previews: Sergeant Curious (which was originally published in River Bluff Review in 2020)

Setting Suns is on sale this month only, celebrating its 15th anniversary! Get my first collection of short stories for only $12.50. This book was first published in 2006 and is still in print after all this time! 

Photography

New posters! A new line of posters incorporating my photography with famous quotes is my latest project, and they’re now on display in the photography portfolio and in the store, and on etsy. Check them out! Have any quotes you wish were on an awesome poster? Let me know!

Patreon/Blogs

Experiment: Cento Poetry (Patreon)

Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill (Patreon)

AWP: And we’re off! (Patreon)

AWP: Wednesday/Thursday (Patreon) – finding agency as a woman writer, life in academia without tenure, women writers over 50 (not there yet!), nonfiction of the apocalypse, code-switching, southern short fiction, sociopolitics in fiction, #PublishingPaidMe… whew!

AWP: Friday (Patreon) – the art of the craft essay, anthologies, building literary magazines, agents, small press publishing

AWP: Saturday (Patreon) – Finding our own paths to creativity, genre-bending fiction, ageism in publishing world, small press books

AWP: Sunday (Patreon) – digital thesis repositories

February Linkspam

So this has been a pretty nifty month here at Donald Media Tower, because I won an award. *cue confetti* I was informed this month that I am this year’s recipient of the Mimi Zanger Award for fiction writing, which is the first time in several years that I’ve snagged a fiction award.

You can take the woman out of journalism, but…. no, you can’t. As soon as I heard, I started researching Mimi Zanger and found that her husband was one of the early English professors at my university and both of them were influential in developing the artistic and literary culture that thrives in my town. (She was a puppeteer, among other things!) It turns out that they lived not far from our house in the historic neighborhood of Leclaire, which has its own cool history I will narrate someday. It also turns out that their relatives still live here in town, one of their sons operates a cool restaurant near the library, and one of their nieces is a friend of mine! Small town, small world. 

At any rate, I was honored and briefly speechless to receive this award, and very grateful to my professors and mentors at the university for their support as I develop my craft.

For Patreon subscribers: It’s March! You know what that means…. okay, maybe you don’t. I have made it my tradition to send my loyal patrons a free bonus item in the month of March, usually something they can’t get anywhere else. Why March? Because it’s my birthday, so YOU get a present. And if you sign up for the Patreon before my birthday, you also get the annual bonus! (Make sure you include your snail mail address when you sign up!) I think you’ll like this year’s offering…

(BTW, you could get all this plus a bonus photo per month if you subscribed to my newsletter.)

Now for the rest of what’s been going on….

Publicity/Appearances

I was delighted to “attend” the virtual edition of Conflation this weekend, and it was an absolute blast. I’ve been to a few virtual conventions since the pandemic began, and while they were all very educational and interesting, none have managed to recreate the socialization aspect of a con as well as Conflation did! It helped that they got us all into Second Life, which I can easily see will suck all my spare time out of my eyeballs… on the other hand, if I just reduced the amount of time I waste on Facebook and waste it there instead, I think my blood pressure might mellow out.

Next up for me is the AWP conference, which begins this week and runs for five days. In the alternate universe where the pandemic was quickly routed and none of us had to go into our caves for a year, AWP would have meant five days eating barbecue in Kansas City instead of tied to my tower desk with a ham sandwich, and I’m. not. bitter. at. all. AWP is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and my first conference that isn’t journalism or specifically geared to SFFH, so it should be a neat learning experience. I will be blogging about it, so watch Donaldmedia.com for updates.

Last month I warned you that my author website will be coming down shortly for a massive overhaul after *mumblety years of the same static design. Guess what didn’t happen? I really shouldn’t schedule major projects like that mid-semester. At any rate, I hope it will happen this month. 

Note that I’ve also consolidated my webstore to offer books and photography from the same site. Never fear, I’m still part of Literary Underworld! And my work is still available on Amazon, of course. But if you’ve been interested in picking up an Elizabeth Donald book or photograph, try the website first. 

Whew! Let’s see, what else has been going on?

Journalism

• End of an era as mayor plans to step down (Highland News-Leader)

• Highland High plans in-person graduation (Highland News-Leader)

• Refinancing allows Highland to plan construction (Highland News-Leader)

Fiction

• FREE short story on the Patreon (see below): Sergeant Curious (which was originally published in River Bluff Review in 2020)

Also, Yanaguana is still available. Hint hint. 

Photography

New posters! Last month I promised you a new line of posters incorporating my photography with famous quotes, and they’re now on display in the photography portfolio and in the store, and soon on etsy. Check them out!

Also, a selection of my work was on display in the art show at Conflation – which meant it was also on display in a gallery in Second Life! That’s a nifty new venue I had never considered. 

Unfortunately, I am sorry to report that due to the pandemic, Highland Arts is moving to a new space that is roughly one-third the size of their old studio, and will no longer be able to offer most of my artwork in their shop. They will continue to carry my Highland collage poster, but the rest of my work has been picked up. I wish them the best of luck in their new space and am happy to be associated with them. 

Patreon/Blogs

As part of our Conflation promotion, I added a few free offerings to the Patreon this month along with a free ebook to any new subscribers. I will extend that promotion until my birthday on March 17, so if you were just sitting at home pondering, “Whatever can I give Elizabeth for her birthday?” consider subscribing to the Patreon! Subscriptions start at $1 a month, and you get weekly content out of the bargain!

• FREE Travelogue: The St. Louis Art Museum (Patreon)

• FREE short story: Sergeant Curious (Patreon)

• Me am poet. You poem too? (Patreon)

• And the winner is… (Donald Media and Patreon)

• My own half-blood prince (Patreon and Medium)

• MFA experiment: The Artist (Patreon)

And the winner is….

Me!

I’m pleased (almost) beyond words to announce I have been honored with the Mimi Zanger Award for fiction writing. This is an award granted by the English Department at Southern Illinois University, where I have begun my coursework for an MFA in creative writing (in case you’ve missed all the other references to my MFA here and on my Patreon …. somehow).

The story I submitted for the contest’s consideration was written in workshop last semester. My first inclination was to share it, of course. However, it is currently under submission to a literary magazine, and thus it would be inappropriate to publish. I sincerely hope I will be able to share it with you soon.

Near as I can tell, the award is named after the wife of Dr. Jules Zanger, a professor at SIUE before it even became the university we know it today. Dr. Zanger grew up in Brooklyn and fought in World War II, as did many of his generation. After the war, he earned his degrees and met Mary Proctor – known as Mimi – while finishing his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. Like many academics, the Zangers bounced around from Ohio to Chicago and so on before moving to Alton, Ill. and settling at SIUE. Dr. Zanger taught at SIUE for 35 years, retiring as professor emeritus after receiving Fulbright grants to study in Brazil, France and Czechoslovakia.

Mimi died in 1991. Dr. Zanger continued with his research and extensive travels, eventually remarrying and relocating to Frankfurt, Germany, where he died in 2014. His obituary states that he was “a great lover of good books, good food, good wine, good music, and good conversation. He loved fine restaurants, but was also a skilled home chef, preparing many memorable meals for friends and family. He loved and frequently attended the opera, never understanding why everyone didn’t.”

When Dr. Zanger died, his survivors indicated that memorials should be made to the Mimi Zanger Award endowment, so that it could continue to support students like me who seek to explore the joys of the written word.

It sounds like the Zangers would have been terrific people to know.

As I write this, I am playing Don Giovanni, in honor of the opera lovers, and hope that I can be worthy of their legacy. I am humbled and grateful for the honor and support of my mentors in the writing program, and look forward to all I have to learn from them.

February linkspam!

One month of 2021 down, 11 to go, and hasn’t it been entertaining so far? I don’t know about you, but I could use a little less excitement in my news… and also a little more sunshine, because this has been the longest, grayest January I can remember.

This is Women in Horror Month, and just in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a horror writer and a woman. I’d like to recommend this essay by Mary SanGiovanni, who is a terrific writer and very smart human, as she discusses some of the challenges facing us as women horror authors. It spurred me to do a rare Twitter rant on this issue, and I hope you’ll consider Mary’s call to do more than scan the ubiquitous lists of women writers: read them, discuss them, share their work. 

But now let’s talk about what’s been going on! For one thing, I’ve slightly altered the Patreon. In addition to the new MFA Adventures posts, I’m adding book reviews (and maybe movies if we EVER get to go see them again) at the $3 level. This is in part because I’m doing so much reading and finding such neat stuff as I work through the MFA, and in part because my pandemic-induced isolation means I have very few photo shoots and no travelogues. I’ve got plenty of backlog, mind you! But until I can move around again, y’all deserve fresh content. 

Meanwhile, the semester has begun at Ye Olde University. I am teaching English composition again, and studying fiction and poetry writing. This should lead to some interesting posts in the Patreon! 

Publicity/Appearances

I’m sorry to say it looks like all the conventions for the first half of the year have been canceled. We’re still waiting to hear on the July-Dec. cons and conferences, and assuming I can get a jab in the arm, I’m looking forward to seeing folks again! However, I plan to attend Conflation in its virtual format later this month, and we’ll see what other shenanigans I can manage from my Rapunzel tower!

Not quite publicity but important: Be aware that my author website will be coming down shortly for a massive overhaul after *mumblety years of the same static design. I am not a programmer and I really suck at site design, yet I manage something like five sites. *shrug* We’re a work in progress.

In the meantime, take note  my photography portfolio at elizabethdonaldphotography.com. I’ve also consolidated my webstore to offer books and photography from the same site. Never fear, I’m still part of Literary Underworld! (Which has two nifty new titles this month, you should check it out.) And my work is still available on Amazon, of course. 

And I have a Patreon. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in the last two paragraphs….
 

Journalism

• Highland schools move forward with building projects (Highland News-Leader)

• COVID-19 still plagues city, schools (Highland News-Leader)

• High levels of lead found in Highland water (Highland News-Leader)
 

Fiction

• MFA Experiment: The Artist (Patreon)

Also, Yanaguana is still available. Hint hint. 
 

Photography

We have some new posters in development! Right now there’s just the one new poster available on the photography portfolio in addition to the older poster designs, but there are several others in the works that will be available in the store and on etsy. Stay tuned!
 

Patreon/Blogs

• Review: Pat Conroy (Patreon)

• Review: The Writing Life by Jeff Strand (Patreon)

• Essay: Hidden Joy (Patreon)

Also: Big news coming that I can’t share yet, but I can’t help but add it here because vaguebooking is fun. See you soon…