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Go read this interview with YA author Amelinda Berube!

Amelia Denyven Ross

This summer I participated in Pitch Wars—a competitive author mentorship program, which concludes with an agent showcase—and I was fortunate enough to work with Amelinda Bérubé as my mentor. Amelinda has a flair for crafting creepy stories and characters that will haunt your memory. She was kind enough to discuss a little about her writing process with me.

What is your favorite stage of writing, and why? Research? Brainstorming? First drafts? Revising?

Revising, absolutely. It’s so much less excruciating when the words are out there on the page and all you have to do is make them better! Research is a close second, though; it never fails to get me excited and lit up about a project, no matter how frustrated or stuck I am.

Are you a plotter, pantster, or both? Or does it vary throughout the creative process?

I’m an unhappy hybrid of the two, I think. Plantser?…

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This is a lovely poem by Samantha Nock. Go forth and check her out.

my kokum used to tell me:

“if you wear your shoes on the wrong feet

a bear will eat you.”

when i moved to the city

my kokum cried

because cities have never been kind to us

and there are threats bigger than

bears chasing a toddler

with her left shoe on her right foot.

she calls me to say:

“don’t leave your drink unattended”

“don’t walk alone at night, my girl”

she taught me how to knead bannock

and how to say the lords prayer

she showed me where she saw

hungry spirits at the lake

she taught me how to say “i love you” in our way

she taught me how to

be scared of the dark

when you’re a lone woman

walking from the bus stop to

your front door.

my mother taught me

that no man is anything to you

and that you can pick up…

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Just… Just go read this poem by Shirley Wang. ❤


your hair’s wet because we went night swimming
the mothlight furring my forehead
together and pulsing with the spectral heave of the moon
these tides knowing me the way i know myself
pensive and cold and slick along the insides.
hoarse siren song and the fuzzy swan-curve of my neck
the waves carving me into the rind of your back
the shell of something once living hot in your mouth
sunbathing in the dark, smashing sea glass with so much
care and wearing it in the dips of our fishbone bodies
drinking warm soda with our flapping caved-in lungs,
kissing the water and capsizing in our own holiness
sheeted over with salt, dissonant with our hands,
pruned and pink and tender from years on the sand
conscious that i love you like a skin-psych
these rough and seismic things only making us softer.


Shirley Wang is a Chinese poet…

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Poem – Shiver

Originally posted this on Syrens, but figured I should stick it up here as well. 😉


My skin is
hungry flutter in
my chest
aching for touch
smooth my hands over
fingers trace the line
of lip and collarbone craving
hot shower
hot chocolate
burn my tongue on the absence
of a lover’s mouth
lonely body
longing for all that
to make me

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Femme representation (pet peeves & recommendations)

As someone who writes femme/femme, this is still relevant to my interests.

Teile des Ganzen

Recently, Corey Alexander wrote a great series of tweets about butch representation (especially in fiction) and what kinds of butches and butchness are overrepresented and which ones could use a lot more representation. (Aside from the fact that butches/butchness in general could use a lot more representation, of course. See this Twitter thread and this blog post from Corey for more on that.)

Their thread inspired me to write a list of my own femme representation pet peeves (not just in fiction) as a companion to that thread. And since I’m bad at being brief, I’m making this into a blog post.

Before we start: A few words on my perspective and use of language

I’m writing this as a butch-loving femme who actually enjoys and eroticizes many of the more stereotypical representations of butch/femme dynamics. Nevertheless, many of these representations still miss the mark for me, usually in nuances…

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#26: Maintaining Story Momentum

Notes to self… (Go check out this piece from Story Nurse).

Story Hospital

Dear Story Nurse,

You mentioned in #22, Passion Projects and Practice Projects, that you felt plotting was one of your weak points. I wondered if you had any anecdotes on how you work to overcome this and any advice for the bare bones of creating a plot that keeps moving?

I’ve been told that my writing is best when it focuses on characters and my most successful stories have been tight 1,000 word flash fiction competitions with a time limit of a weekend. I seem to be able to craft memorable moments and interactions pretty solidly. When it comes to working on bigger projects I tend to get stuck because I don’t know how to turn a solid character-based idea or series of moments into a plot that moves along.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas for plots, and I have two longer stories I’ve stalled at. One is…

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#14: Where Do Characters Come From?

This was awesome. So is the whole blog.
Go take a look. (And also support the creator’s patreon). 😀

Story Hospital

Dear Story Nurse,

A recurring problem I encounter in my writing across the board is that I’ll come up with very cool ideas for worlds and settings, but then become completely stumped with inventing characters and stories for them.

I’d hazard that part of this problem stems from the fact that I come from a fanfiction writing background where characters are pre-supplied, though I’ve been working on original stories for several years now. I’ve got no problem worldbuilding, either in an already-extant canon nor an original world of my own.

When I have a story idea come to me already with characters and rudimentary plot, I’m fine—the problem only shows up when I have a world but no story, and then I find myself stumped, brain running in circles as I try to force a plot to happen. I sometimes feel like I’m just picking random plots out of a…

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The Anatomy of Fire | Jane Bradley

Not mine. Jan Bradley’s. Guh.


In science class we learn the anatomy of fire, the three elements it needs. Fuel, oxygen, heat. Kel and me, we’re not allowed to sit together. I’ve gotta sit up front, where they can watch how I behave, where I can’t do any damage without them seeing straight away. She’s on the back bank of desks, with the window and the blossoming tree; vision seared by sun and hot pink petals each time I sneak a peek. They haven’t clocked that Kelli, in the corner, keeps stealing the scalpels, the ones designated for dissecting frogs. Every week she slides another up her sleeve, faster than I can confiscate. Just in case.

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Femme House


hard femme poetics

Femme House

Leah said breathe into the things that hold you up
I felt the back of the chair, my feet on the floor,
the basket of your intertwined fingers that catches my heart every time

first it was Amelia whose home was calling her
then Trudy, and adventure
Justine, and the sun
Sara, and the break
Allison, and her dreams
and then it was just me
expected to explain my sadness to him.
All I can do is sit quietly in the cave of it, in awe of its shape
I reach out to touch it, and run my finger along its gritty grooves and pits

I photocopy poems and send them in the mail
I write letter after letter
I get in planes, taxis, rental cars
I bring books, I send dresses
I send Mac and Cheese
I write you a poem and then another poem

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Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian # 8: LGBTQ Magic Realism

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

My friend L writes:

Any (well written!) magic realism books with LGTBQ characters? Preferably not YA or NA.

Any books where a queer woman protagonist is a scientist of some kind and that’s not used as a shorthand for her queerness?

Hello friend!

Well isn’t that sneaky of you, getting in two questions for the price of one!  I think for now let’s deal with LGBTQ magic realist books and I will save queer lady scientists for next time.  I’m excited about this question, because magic realism is so fun to read.  Also, this is a challenging question for a few reasons: a) there seems to be more queer magic realism in the YA category than others, for some reason and b) defining what is magic realism and what is not is kind of tricky.

So what is magic realism exactly, and how is it different from fantasy and other…

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