If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Jane Austen, or the meaning and impact of her work, this brief video will entertain and inform. Austen is probably my all-time favorite author so I couldn’t resist sharing this with you.


Literary Video of the Week: Jane Austen

Agency of the Month: The Aponte Literary Agency

The Aponte Literary Agency seems to seek, among other manuscripts, historical fiction. You can check out the agency at: aponteliterary.com.

Reminder: I have not worked with or spoken with anyone at this agency. I’m sharing because it seems like a worthwhile agency to research if you have a manuscript to submit.

Book Cover of the Week: The Bones of Grace

I like this cover because of its colors, and the subtle flower and leaves detail on the left side. Overall, it has both an organic and inorganic feel to it, with a mixture of soft shapes and straight lines and boxes. Click on the picture to learn more about the book.



The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam


3 Characters Who Beat All the Odds

What is it about an underdog or a character that’s fighting against the odds that inspires us? Is it the fact that we, as readers, can relate to them because we feel like, in a similar situation, we would have the same misfortunes? Or is it their spirit? I think it’s a little bit of both. That’s why this week’s mini-listicle is all about characters who beat the odds.


Aliena of Shiring, Pillars of the Earth

Aliena is one of my favorite characters of all time because she is completely torn down–socially, politically, economically, physically, and emotionally–yet she manages to rise above. She does this by working within–and breaking–the confines of her world. Author Ken Follet did a fantastic job of balancing her missteps and victories in Pillars of the Earth.

Jo March, Little Women

Jo is one of my all-time favorite characters because she is so ahead of her time. Yet, she is frustrated at so many turns by the limitations placed upon women in the mid-nineteenth century. All the same, she finds her way–despite a stubborn streak–to realize her unconventional goals. Author Louisa May Alcott beautifully writes Jo as a relatable character who leaps off the pages of Little Women.

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

To me, Katniss’s draw isn’t that she can fire a bow with near-perfect accuracy. It’s not her Robin Hood attitude. It’s the way she changes throughout the course of the Hunger Games. It’s the way she adapts in order to preserve both hers and Peeta’s lives. I won’t get into the third book, where she hides in a cupboard for most of the first half, but aside from that, Katniss’s strength comes from the fierce love she bears those select few with whom she’s close. Author Suzanne Collins brought to life one of humanity’s greatest capabilities in Katniss.

Who would you add to this list?

Who are your favorite underdog characters, and why? You might notice that all three of mine are female. That’s not to say male characters cannot fit this role; only that my favorites happen to be female.

MFA Update: First Semester is almost over!


It’s so hard to believe that my first semester is more than 3/4 over. I sent my third submission a week and two days ago, which means I should receive my mentor’s feedback in about five days. She’s been great about getting her comments to me within two weeks.

For my last submission of the semester…

I’d really like to submit revised chapters for this next deadline, if only because I’d love to have a few rounds of revision before submitting them for the winter residency peer critique. There’s not enough time to get her feedback on them between submitting them and the deadline for the critique pages unless I send my last submission in about a week and a half. I’ve already done some editing, so that might be possible.

On the other hand, another part of me wants to press forward. I know my mentor is a proponent of doing so as well. A good compromise might be to send her new material and submit my edited material for the residency workshop.

That would be the equivalent of working on two submissions at the same time, but I think I might be able to handle it.

I taught a lesson on comma splices…

And it went really well! I’m really enjoying my role as a TA. I worked with the professor, who is one of the department coordinators, to create a 15- to 20-minute lesson on comma splices. Despite the fact that grammar doesn’t really excite the students, most of them participated willingly, though in reflection if I taught the lesson again, I might gamify it a bit and offer candy rewards.

I’m not above bribing students to participate when:

  • It’s raining out,
  • It’s the middle of the afternoon,
  • It’s on a holiday that, until that year, students would have had off from school, or,
  • It’s grammar.

Again, I like grammar. But that’s not the case for everyone, and I understand that.

I may have filled my tutoring quota…

Just kidding. I was joking with a friend who tutored last semester because all semester long she only met with six students, and there I sat yesterday with no students. I’d already met with six since the beginning of the semester.

I wish the tutoring was by appointment, but I understand why the learning center offers walk-in tutoring. I forgot to bring my Kindle with me yesterday, and yes, I was in a library. I could have grabbed a book, but I didn’t want to leave my post just so I’d have something to read.

With my luck, that would have been when a student walked in looking for a writing tutor.

The six students I’ve tutored this semester have all been great to work with, and I’ve learned a lot from them as I hope they have from me.

I may be dead tired today, but…

That doesn’t mean I’m not writing in my head. I am. I’m staring down this last submission of the semester and trying to narrow down the three mentors I will put on my list for next term. I drove up and back yesterday. It wipes me out, but I’ve decided to hold off on looking for an apartment for now because I can’t do that, work two jobs, fulfill my TA duties, and get all my schoolwork done.

Something had to give. Bye, apartment (for now)!

Weekly Writing Prompt: Dialogue


This week’s prompt focuses on dialogue. Write a 500-word scene that uses only dialogue. No tags. No actions. If it’s not said between quotes, don’t write it.

Feel free to share a link to your story in the comments below!