Let me start with the big one: my screenplay for “Infinity” was finalist at the Imadjinn film festival, complete with a nifty little trophy for my office. This was the first screenplay I ever wrote, as part of a workshop at the university under Professor Valerie Vogrin, and I was so pleased at its warm reception.
It’s August, which means travel and fun is winding down in favor of preparing for the fall semester. I’m teaching at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville this fall. The semester starts in two weeks, so if your professor friends seem mopey and distracted (well, more distracted than usual), have sympathy on them. Bring them coffee and sugary treats. Soon, it will be the running of the bulls, and resuming our recitation of “it’s in the syllabus.”
July 27 was Freedom Day, the five-year anniversary of becoming a full-time freelance writer. Of course, those five years were also grad school, but I’ve always loved being my own boss and I’ve deeply enjoyed writing the projects I choose. Each year I’ve written a reflection on Freedom Day, and this year I didn’t, because so much of my career is in flux right now. But we still marked the occasion with ice cream, as my family chooses to celebrate. No regrets.
July was busy! First, I spoke to TechWrite STL on the thrilling subject of grammar. Look, you can make almost any subject interesting with enough snark and memes. By the audience response, they found it a fun exercise and we managed to cover the major pitfalls of the English language without resorting to diagramming sentences.
Next was Imaginarium, where I was honored to share a dinner table with Terry Brooks and had a terrific time catching up with my fellow authors. The Literary Underworld was there in force, and so was the Traveling Bar (always the highlight of the event for us).
I also joined my fellow members of Cuppa Words at the Alton Night Market on July 20, which saw the collapsing end of my poor traveling table. It was also the Mississippi Valley’s version of OMG are you kidding why do I live here hot. As I have frequently complained as the summers get hotter: If I wanted Tennessee weather, I would have stayed in Tennessee.
Next up is Dragoncon! It’s been a long time since I joined 75,000 of my closest friends in the Hotlanta marathon. I’m delighted to return and am looking forward to my panels and catching up with the Atlanta crew. My full schedule will be posted on ElizabethDonald.com as soon as I have everything confirmed. If you’re going to be at Dragoncon, please come by my reading! I’d love to see you.
Sadly, I have had to cancel my appearance at Archon this year. I haven’t missed an Archon since 2007, and that only because my father and stepmother were holding their wedding celebration that weekend. But this year, Archon conflicts with the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual conference. I am still president of the St. Louis Pro chapter, and thus am obligated to attend. I’ve offered to participate in any virtual panels at Archon, should any take place. I have also had to cancel the Edwardsville Book Fair, as I will be running the St. Andrew’s charity book sale during that weekend.
However, please note that the Literary Underworld WILL be present at Archon! The show can go on without me. My husband Jim Gillentine will be running our booth at our usual table, with the assistance of LitUnd Underlords Sela Carsen, Nikki Lanahan, Mary Koppenhofer and others. Please drop by and say hello! Sadly, we will not be able to offer the Traveling Bar, but we promise to come back in a big way next year!
Added to the fall schedule: the Spine Book Fair in September; a book signing in Las Vegas during the SPJ conference; the Melting Pot in Granite City, Ill. on Oct. 7 and Writers of the Riverbend on Oct. 14. And that’s in addition to the previously scheduled stuff! Whew.
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Aug. 31-Sept. 4
• Edwardsville Book Fair, Sept. 9 (charity sale only)
• Spine Book Fair, St. Louis, Mo. Sept. 23
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter/book signing)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• The Melting Pot, Granite City, Ill. Oct. 7
• Writers of the Riverbend, Alton, Ill. Oct. 14
• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. Oct. 15 (charity sale only)
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Nov. 10-12 (solo and LitUnd)
• Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 7-10
• Conflation, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 23-25
• Midsouthcon, Memphis, Tenn. March 22-24 (tent.)
• Sigma Tau Delta conference, St. Louis, Mo. April 3-6 (tent.)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. May 31-June 2 (tent.)
• AFSCME council reaches tentative agreement with state of Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Next phase of Rebuild Illinois includes millions for local construction (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland offers places to escape dangerous heat (Yahoo! News, SportsCanada and Highland News-Leader)
• Budzinski urges grants for pro-union contracts (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• After four years in restoration, Highland’s bell tower is back in place (Highland News-Leader, SportsCanada and Yahoo!News)
• Speakeasy Parlor now taking reservations in Maryville (Feast Magazine)
• Conservation plan will save soil, pollinators and tax dollars, city says (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo!News)
• St. Louis Public Radio votes to form union, first in state history (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland sues developer over proposed amenities (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo!News)
• Worker dies in Olin plant explosion (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Imaginarium! (ElizabethDonald blog)
• Night Market at Alton (ElizabethDonald blog)
• Medium changes ahoy (Donald Media blog)
• Two pieces go national (Donald Media blog)
Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls.
• To Protect and Serve (Patreon)
• The original guilty pleasure (Medium)
• Review: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Patreon)
• The whispering woods (Patreon)
• Everything wrong with The Flash and comics movies (Patreon)
• Runner-up (Patreon)
• Wearing the pants in my own damn life, or the IDGAF jeans (Medium)
Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to its launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.
• Paris Je T’Aime: Notre Dame (Patreon)