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)

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…

August Linkspam and Future Musings

It was a quiet month here at Donald Media, largely in transition between the daily news beat and the brave new world of freelancing. I imagine bylines will be much rarer, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing.

My official last byline for the News-Democrat centered on the turbulent history of the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses of Southern Illinois University, as another president is forced to resign. I was a bit nervous writing this story right before I switched gears, but since both sides seemed to feel it was fair, I breathed easier. If both sides are happy or both sides are mad, you’ve done your job. It ran a week after I left.

On CultureGeek: a review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  and Christopher Robin.

On the Patreon:

• A essay titled “First Rough Draft of History” musing on departure from daily news, available to subscribers $5 and up.

• Blog posts on “Freelance Folderol, Part 1,” and on grad school: “First Class” and “Paradigm Shifts,” available to all subscribers.

• A photo essay from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Chinese Festival, available to subscribers $3 and up.

• A fiction excerpt from Banshee’s Run, the work currently in progress, available to subscribers $10 and up.

On the home front, we spent much of August in a mad frenzy of mucking out the house (which got about 75 percent done) and setting up my office again. It had devolved into a dumping ground of storage, and still is only halfway mucked out. But I have shiny new computers in the Tower now, which should greatly expand my capability to make art and words to entertain you endlessly. Now all I need is time…

Buckle in, because I imagine the movie reviews over on CultureGeek are going to largely center on journalism movies for a while, since that’s what my grad school research will focus on. I’ve had to (at least temporarily) discontinue the Linkspam posts and the Fake News Roundups here on Donald Media, because honestly, there’s only X amount of me to go around. Those are fun features, but time-consuming, and frankly the hit counts don’t justify continuing them until or unless I acquire more hours in the day.

I’ve been asked if I intend to write political essays now that I am no longer working for the newspaper. It is very tempting, and Zod above knows there’s plenty of material these days. Here’s the thing: I don’t know what form my freelancing will take. Most freelancers I know develop a niche and specialize in a particular kind of content. I haven’t done that – if anything, I’ve been a generalist my entire career, hopping from subject to subject from day to day. In short, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that I will still be called upon to write politics, and thus it would still be inappropriate to opine about the issues of the day.

But yes, it is tempting.

Coming up this month: lots and lots of school, more Patreon work as the membership grows, the Student Boot Camp for SPJ, and the annual Excellence in Journalism Conference in Baltimore, which I will be attending to represent St. Louis SPJ. Watch my @edonaldmedia Twitter for the journalism-related material, and @edonald for personal and photographic evidence. As you might know, I lived in Baltimore for a time as a teenager, and I have fond memories of Charm City. I am really looking forward to five days staying right at the Inner Harbor, and will be shooting photos of anything that will stand still. If only I ate seafood.

In the meantime, the freelance folderol continues, the photo backlog is piling up, and the Patreon is (understandably) getting a large amount of my attention. You might consider subscribing

Linkspam roundup

Here’s some of the work I’ve had out lately:

• News: “Racist message found on blackboard at SIUE,” and its follow-up.

• News: “‘A 1940s news aggregator’: Family donates World War II scrapbooks to SIUE.”

• News: “Study: Historically black colleges boost local economy, grads’ earnings.”

• CultureGeek: “You can see Justice League with a clear conscience.”

• CultureGeek: “RIP: Robert Guillaume, a voice from another era.”

• Blog: “Giving thanks,” of loss at Thanksgiving.

• Blog: “A literal sucker punch,” a tale of bereavement and getting punched in the head.

• Blog: “A man with no statue,” a personal obituary of Rudy Wilson.

As always, you can find extensive samples of my work at Contently.