Reading & Writing

How to Submit to a Literary Journal

IMG_20170817_083920When I started submitting to literary journals, it was mostly ink and paper. I must have filled hundreds of manila envelopes with my manuscripts, stamped so many self-addressed envelopes, at least half of which were never returned. What was returned, when the editors bothered to respond, was a paper slip: “We regret to inform you,” blah blah blah. On a rare occasion, there’d be a note from the editor–we really liked this but the ending falls apart/we love your voice/we can’t accept this piece but please submit to us again.

Nowadays, it’s all online. Some places kept paper submissions going longer than others, but I’m pretty sure they’ve all phased it out now. This actually makes it a lot easier for writers to submit; the various online submission managers are easy to use and help you keep track of what you’ve submitted and how it was received. You no longer get rejected with a paper slip, which, if you’re one of those people who makes the best of rejection by turning it into art, is probably pretty disappointing. But think of all the trees it’s saving! Because, man, do literary magazines get a lot of submissions. Even the small ones. The pile of paper would be staggering.

Anyway, like I said: submitting is easy. You don’t need me to walk you through the steps it takes to get your work to an editor, because the internet will do that for you. However, as a former fiction editor and assistant managing editor for a literary journal, I can offer you some insights on how to help make sure your work is well received. Continue reading “How to Submit to a Literary Journal”

Fun & Games

Sundays at the Aquarium

IMG_0104For a long time, the weekends were a mixed bag. Sometimes we’d plan an outing but often we’d sit at home thinking we should be doing something fun, but all we’d manage was a trip to Home Depot. And then Monday would come and we’d feel like we hadn’t had a weekend at all, and that was disappointing. Then we got a membership at the Seattle Aquarium.

img_0111.jpg Continue reading “Sundays at the Aquarium”

Cooking & Eating

Blackberry-White Chocolate Tart and Other Happy Accidents


It’s blackberry season here in Seattle (and elsewhere) which means that the nuisance thorn bushes that grow on our hills and encroach on our yards–that spread their sprouts far, wide, and deep–have transformed into beautiful berry bushes, brimming with fat, fresh, tart, sweet, juicy berry goodness.

Wow, that was a lot of adjectives.

I wait all year for blackberry season. It’s one of the few things I like about summer, along with fresh corn and tomatoes.


It’s been especially fun this year because we’ve gotten to share the experience of blackberry picking with our kids. They don’t really pick much fruit and when they do they often go for unripe red berries, but they love to trundle out toward the bushes with their Halloween trick-or-treat buckets and let Mommy and Daddy fill them with fruit. If I can pick them faster than Violet eats them, we bring them home to freeze for future projects or to make delicious desserts. For example: blackberry tarts. Continue reading “Blackberry-White Chocolate Tart and Other Happy Accidents”