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Writing Advice #15

ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOURSELF

This one is going to be short and sweet.

When you submit your work to a magazine and they ask you to write a cover letter…

DON’T

FORGET

TO

ADDRESS IT TO SOMEONE!

Don’t say “Dear editor”

or “To whom it may concern”

Go to the magazine’s website, find their masthead and PICK OUT A NAME.

And for the love of god don’t start your cover letter with “Dear, ____________”

and then forget to fill in the blank.

It makes you look like a fucking moron.

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Note: I just did that. I wrote “dear” and forgot to plug in someone’s actual name before I hit the submit button. Don’t be like me.

Photo by Cata on Unsplash

She Goes Away

Mothers who love their children take them along.—Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior

When my mother goes away

she visits men in cages;

she has always known

the words:

revolutionary,

dissident,

are synonymous depending

on who locks the gate.

When my mother goes away

she takes me with her

sometimes and we walk

along the causeway,

looking for gates.

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This poem was first published in my collection Lupercalia.

Photo by Matias Jacobi on Unsplash

A-Bomb Anniversary

“On August 6 in 1945, the a-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I was a fourteen year old student. But I didn’t go to school. Instead. I worked in a factory.”

So writes Yasuhiko Shigemoto at the end of his second haiku collection, commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima 74 years ago.

The poems within are devastating, haunting, and viscerally beautiful.

This is why poetry exists.

Don’t forget.

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A-Bomb Dome photo credit

Publication Archive

Here you will find all the links I could find to print and online magazines that have previously published my work.

Sadly, a few magazines that published my work in the early 2010’s have been discontinued but you can find all of my poems from my earlier writing days in my free poetry collection, Lupercalia.

Depending on the publication date, my name is listed as either Jessica Otto or Jessica Forest, names from my previous lives.

Book Cave Author Blog: Being a Writer With a Day Job

Bread & Beauty Literary Magazine: Eating Perfection: On Writing

Poem of a Poet I Admire: Requiem Magazine

Boulevard: Requiem Magazine

Portrait: The Idle Class

River Girl: Pink Litter

Not an Epistle: Pink Litter

Oracle: qarrtsiluni

Anatomy Lesson: The Idle Class

View from Sunset Motel: Black Heart Magazine

*Note: if any of these links don’t work, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

July 2019 Stats

Word Count:

15,541

Days I didn’t write:

16

Submissions:

Zero sent out, zero accepted or rejected.

Project Notes:

So I spent the first week of July on a successful Camp NaNoWriMo writing streak. I think I jinxed myself because I shared in our cabin chat that I’d never successfully made my word count and won camp before. And while everyone was supportive and not negative by any means, I completely fell off the map that second week and I was not able to recover.

I had many false starts and many stuttering attempts at writing in the second and third weeks of July. But then on the fourth week I had an epiphany. I wasn’t writing one book, I was writing two. And they needed to be told from different perspectives.

Once I separated the two plot lines, characters who were sullen and silent in my brain became active and positively vivacious.

So while this month was NOT a productive wiring month at all, my projects are better off for it.

Another thing that I did this month was completely (again) re-organize my publishing schedule. I threw all my plans out the window. And I’m thinking, from now on, unless I KNOW FOR SURE WITHOUT EVEN THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I will be able to finish a project, I will not be announcing any specific publication dates. On my About page you’ll find a list of all my projects and the year in which I plan to release them. But I will not be getting any more specific than that until each book is done.

For more details about what’s going on with my series The Slaughter Chronicles, check out this update post here.

For news about my new short story project, click here.

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Photo by Grégoire Bertaud on Unsplash