Life Update: Summer 2019

 Not long ago, I did a quick check-in on my 2019 goals. That gave a bit of a glimpse into my life as of late, but I think we’re about due for a summer 2019 life update! My last update post came in January, and I’ve been oh-so-busy since.

As I mentioned in my goal check-in, 2019’s been a rather rough year. From my own array of health issues to family concerns, it‘s really been one crisis after another. But, I’m determined to focus on some of the more positive bits of life lately which, despite the negatives, really are plentiful.

Writing

First and foremost, I’ve made tremendous strides in my writing career, progress that I tend to remember less frequently than I should. Just last year, I was still desperately awaiting that very first acceptance! Since then, I’ve had more than a hundred pieces (mostly poems, but also stories, essays, and photos!) published, with more forthcoming. I’ve put in countless hours of writing, editing, and submitting, but I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky for these chances to share my work with the world.

Along the way, these pieces have appeared in online and print magazines, anthologies, and even another book! I published my teeny tiny microchapbook, Micro, just a few short weeks ago, while testing out the format for my small press, Nightingale & Sparrow (more on N&S below!). I haven’t had any NYT Bestseller-level sales numbers, but the response this little book‘s received has been lovely!

Speaking of books, I’ve also been hard at work writing. In addition to my novel (which will be published under a pen name), I’m now working on my sixth book of poetry. Six! Mistakes Were Made and Micro are both out in the world already, with How My Cat Saved My Life and Other Poems, Boleyn, and Sun Puddles all either forthcoming or under consideration with various publishers.

Technically, I’ve got a few different works in progress—poems about Zelda Fitzgerald, about Ed and Lorraine Warren, about my zodiac sign, about chronic illness, about Tiffany’s, love poems…. But my primary project is my first full-length collection, Centre Stage. Each poem in this book (well over 100 of them!) is inspired by a song that’s had an impact on me through some moment or memory. We’ve got oldies and Broadway hits and country and rock. It’s like one huge playlist I’m putting together, with a bit of commentary on why I love that song or what it means to me. It’s still very much a work-in-progress (and stalled a bit thanks to recent computer difficulties), but I’m super excited for the progress it shows.

Publishing

Now, as I mentioned, I haven’t been publishing only my own work; I’m also hard at work on my lit mag and small press, Nightingale & Sparrow. As I write this, we’re digging into edits on our third issue, heat, out 15 August. This one’s our biggest issue yet, featuring more than 70 amazing creators from around the world! And, with a horrific heatwave just clearing up here in my part of the world, it’s been all too relevant.

In addition to the magazine, though, we’re also branching out into books! Our very first chapbook submissions period is coming up on 5 August, with more to come. I recently did some scheduling (one of my favourite pastimes!) and figured out that we plan to release about 15 books in total each year, plus the quarterly magazine! That might be a bit lower a number for 2020, as we get our footing, but I’m so excited for what’s to come!

We‘re also producing an anthology on sexual violence through our activist imprint, Vociferous Press. Screaming from the Silence is an anthology of poetry, prose, and visual art submitted by anonymous survivors of sexual abuse/assault. These topics are covered by a lot of other projects, but we wanted to provide a space specifically for those who don’t feel comfortable sharing their story with their name attached, for whatever reason. We hope to provide a safe space for those who might not have had it otherwise. Submissions will be open 1 August through 1 November, so please feel free to spread the word!

With all this, we’re also looking to grow our team! We’re an all-volunteer staff currently (though I hope this can change down the road, as we continue to grow!), so these are unpaid positions. We’re looking to bring on two associate production managers, an editorial assistant, section editors, and an additional social media manager! Just in case you happen to be interested, you can learn more on the N&S website.

Think you might want to get involved as a writer? In addition to our upcoming chapbook submissions and submissions for Screaming from the Silence, we’ve got a reading period for our fourth issue, nevermore opening 26 August, plus more to be announced soon.

That was a lot about N&S—can you tell it’s made up a huge chunk of my life? Anyway...

Personal

It wouldn’t be a life update with a bit about the rest of my life!

I’ve also been working hard at trying to build my freelance business. It’s been a painfully slow road to travel, and I’ve still been working my transcription job to keep the bills paid, but there’s progress, slowly but surely! I‘ve got a wide variety of offerings, and friends are often asking me how exactly I find time to sleep/breathe, but I’m slowly getting more gigs and opportunities.

Looking for someone to help you with a writing project, a new website, a resume, and so much more? Check out some of my freelance offerings! Head to the work with me tab above for some related to the blog, as well as links to my Fiverr profile and other services on my writing site. If you look through and don’t see a related job listed, reach out! There’s a good chance I’ll have experience with it (and I’ll be willing to take on the project!), so please shoot me an email. I’d be happy to work with you!

Fitz is doing well, fortunately! He’ll be headed to the vet early next month for his annual checkup and shots. But, more importantly, his birthday and gotcha day are both coming up quickly! Since we rescued him, we aren’t sure of his exact birthday. But with the vet’s estimate and his personality (he’s such a Leo!), we celebrate it on 24 July. Then, he came into my life on 28 August 2017.

He’s definitely not a fan of the recent heat, but he’s been a good boy. His nanny (my mom) got him a Litter Genie as a bit of an early birthday gift, which has been just as great a gift for me as for him! Of course, he’ll be getting lots of treats and toys, too.

I’ve been working on my various projects more often than not, with a bit of volunteering thrown in, like with Yuengling and IM ABLE.  But I’m planning to visit a friend soon…. Hopefully there’ll be a bit more of a social aspect in my next life update!

I’ve also been making more friends through Twitter’s writing community, which has been amazing.  Despite blogging for so long, I’ve only really connected with a few other bloggers that I’d consider to be friends. For the longest time, it was the same way with writing—but that seems to be changing for the better!

Blogging

I’m finally starting to get back into the swing of things here at For the Sake of Good Taste! I’ve got months of content planned (with lots to still write and schedule!), and I’ve been doing a lot of personal development work, with plenty of workshops and courses giving me more ideas and information than I can even list here.

For a while there, I was struggling to find the necessary motivation to put the work in here—in the interest of full disclosure, I actually considered shutting down the blog. Thankfully, I decided against it! Growth may be slow, but at the end of the day, I really do love this little corner of the internet and I’m trying my hardest to learn what I need to to keep this going.

Right now, I’m working to schedule new content and revamp old posts. I‘m still planning to get new photos taken for the ones lost with site issues a few months back, and I‘m going to work on our Pinterest even more, too (join our group board here!). New graphics, updated content, and a whole slew of new information? I hope that sounds as exciting to you as it does to me!

I’ve still got big plans for products, too. I’m looking at launching Swap it! in January. From there, I’ve got a few different ideas, including our full vegan lifestyle course. Plus, I’m considering maybe an eventual For the Sake of Good Taste cookbook? If that’s something you think might be a good idea, let us know in the comments!

I’ve also been doing a ton of work in the background for my book blog, Pencils & Pages. I’ve got biweekly reviews planned through March 2020! Between reviews with HFVBT, NetGalley copies, Goodreads giveaways, and even review copies sent by authors and publishers directly, there’s a whole array of genres and a mix of new releases and some that have been out a bit longer. I share most, if not all, of these reviews and other bookish posts on our FTSOGT social media, and you can always check the book blog directly for new posts. I’ll be sharing a list of the books I’ve read as part of my 101 in 1,001 list soon, too. I’ll be sure to link to any reviews there as well! 

Life Update - Summer 2019

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