Circle of Friends – a poem from collection ‘Chemotherapy for the Soul’

This poem was first published in Tips for Writers Magazine (2013) and republished in my poetry collection, Chemotherapy for the Soul, launched by Canadian publisher Fowlpox Press (2017). It appears on page 1 in the collection.

 

Circle of Friends

Leilanie Stewart © 2017



We drifted in and out of bars back then

But when I drifted across the ocean

And came back, things were different

The talk was still the same,

Though the laughter had changed-

I had changed

And all of you had grown stagnant,

Bitter in your old age, simply because

You’d had a lifetime filled with

I’ll do this, and

What if that-

None of which amounted to anything

What a shame

What a waste

A circle of friends

Whose hopes and dreams and morals

Had no way of escaping a circle

That never had a beginning

Or an end in the first place.

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Reflecting on 2017 and Happy New 2018!

Now that we’re at the end of it, I can safely say that 2017 was a better year than 2016. Joseph Robert and I achieved a lot in terms of our writing goals; to put this in perspective, it was no mean feat, especially with a newborn and no less than 2 house moves, one during pregnancy and the other with a 6 week old baby. Whew! Even writing that leaves me exhausted! Let’s have a look at what we got done:

1. January 2017 kicked off with the launch of my new poetry collection from Canadian publisher, Fowlpox Press. Chemotherapy for the Soul can be bought as a paperback from my publisher, or read online as a PDF Ebook. We also moved house and had a brief writing hiatus to get ourselves sorted out.

2. In March, a selection of my poems were published in Lagan Online’s journal, Four x Four Issue 19 (page 12).

3. Joseph Robert and I launched Bindweed Magazine Issue 4 in April 2017.

4. In May 2017, Joseph Robert and I were jointly published in Inane Pure Slush Volume 14, from Pure Slush books. The anthology can be bought as a paperback or you can read our individual stories on Google Books for free: This Really Happened by Joseph Robert and Fear of the Mould by Leilanie Stewart.

5. In June 2017, aside from wrapping up my day job to start maternity leave, we published Joseph Robert’s story, The Libertarian’s Prison on my blog.

6. July 2017 was a big month for literary goings on. My author interview appeared on website Too Full to Write, while Joseph Robert and I did a joint interview as Bindweed Magazine’s editors, published in Lagan Online’s Around Ireland feature. We also published Bindweed Magazine Issue 5. Meanwhile, my novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart was published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Summer 2017. This was a milestone, as not only was it my longest work to be published as a stand-alone in an anthology, but the theme is similar to my recently finished novel, which was completed in~

7. August 2017. After 5 drafts, my debut fantasy novel was finally finished and ready for a proof draft!

8. A literary hiatus in September as life events took over writing and Joseph Robert and I enjoyed family time.

9. In October, Joseph Robert’s story, A Life in Books, was published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Fall 2017. We also moved house, to a bigger place for our newborn.

10. My fantasy novel went out on submission in November.

11. We celebrated our literary round-up for December 2017 with Joseph Robert’s story, The War, published in Scarlet Leaf Review. We also completed our quarterly Magazine editing run by publishing Bindweed Magazine Issue 6.

And that’s our year in summary. Here’s hoping for more exciting literary ventures in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Joseph Robert’s fiction in Scarlet Leaf Review 

Another of Joseph Robert’s short stories, The War, has been published in Scarlet Leaf Review. You can buy a print or digital copy from the link here for the October issue.

 

This one, a gruesome tale of corporate violence, appears in the Halloween issue. But, even though we’re closer to Yuletide now than Samhain, it’s a good gory read for any time of year!

Perception as Truth – Poetry in Neon Highway magazine

PERCEPTION AS TRUTH


What if the sky was made of Papier-mâché
and the land a giant bathtub
with its stopper in New Zealand?

And what if the lines of latitude
were rings of wire suspending the paper dome
above the earth?

What if it’s all illusion and we’re simply make believe
and our eyes are telling us
what they perceive to be the truth?

What does it really matter?Why do we even care?

Leilanie Stewart © 2017

First published in Neon Highway Issue 19.

Fantasy novel finished and out for submission

This week marks a major milestone in my writing career: after 5 drafts and a concept that was born 4 years ago, my fantasy novel is finally out on submission. Considering that over the past 4 months, we (Joseph Robert and I) have had a newborn and a house move to contend with, this has been no easy feat. 

At the moment, I’m looking for both literary agents and fantasy publishers who read unsolicited manuscripts. Whilst there remain clear benefits to self-publishing certain types of novel – crime novels or erotica spring to mind – I’m still of the opinion that traditional publishing is the best route for debut novels of other genres. Knowing how to market and promote your book can only take an unknown author striking out on their own so far. Ideally, my aim is for my work to reach the widest possible audience; for me, that involves leaving it to the pros. In any event, I’ll be updating on the progress in forthcoming posts. Here’s hoping!

Joseph Robert’s Halloween fiction in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Fall 2017

Just in time for Halloween, Joseph Robert has a new short story published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Fall 2017.

 

His story, A Life in Books, appears on page 54. This is a good creepy one with a surprise ending. The morgue photo appearing on the last page of his work is a good fit for the piece…but no more spoilers! You can buy a copy from the link highlighted above or at editor Cinsearae S. Santiago’s Createspace page for the magazine.

The London Plane – Fiction in Monomyth Magazine

The London Plane 

Leilanie Stewart © 2017

Gladys put both hands on the tree and pulled herself up from the ground. She could see the waning moon through the bare branches. The sky was indigo blue, her favourite colour. The great artist had painted it all for her. She felt it.

“I was here before. I touched this tree once.”

Once, under a tranquil sky.

Her knees were still bleeding. She could see grit and fragments of leaves stuck to the grazed flesh. There was nothing she could do for now. More important things mattered. Like finding out how to get home.

She could feel the bark cracked and dry beneath her splayed fingers. As she stepped back, she let go of the trunk and looked at the medley of colours; brown, red, yellow like flax. There was a tree exactly like it outside her apartment back in England. A London Plane. A beautiful tree. Her favourite. She loved how they shed their outer bark in layers to reveal a multitude of colours beneath. A divine way to rid themselves of pollution.

Impulse overcame her. Her fingers worked like pale crabs, scuttling across the woody surface, peeling flakes from the tree. Fresh bark showed underneath the dead dregs of autumn. Around the trunk she walked, tearing at the tree. As the last flake of old fell, impulse gave way to addiction. Slivers of new green growth fell atop the pile of dead bark.

The trunk became thinner as she worked and Gladys noticed too that it was changing shape. As she peeled, the branches fell around her, exposing the nakedness of the moon. The tree was now a stump of its former self, standing barely five inches above her height. She pulled from the top, ripping lignin strands like threads of celery, until a dome appeared. Running her hands over the smooth surface following the line of the wood, she saw two distinct broad mounds, like shoulders. Yes, the shape she had carved was definitely human. Male.

Continue reading

Literary hiatus

Joseph Robert and I will be taking a writing – and online – hiatus for a short while as we contend with other exciting life events. Nevertheless, do keep stopping by to check our recent literary endeavours to date and we hope to be back with you again soon! 

Second novel finished! Why Lulu is great for printing a proof copy

This post is technically a month overdue (no pun intended, considering I am on maternity leave), but between being busy with two author interviews for Too Full to Write and Lagan Online, as well as publishing Issue 6 of Bindweed Magazine and promoting my recently published novelette in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine Summer 2017, updates on my novel pursuits have taken rather a backseat. So here goes:


Why Lulu is great for printing proof copies:

I finished my final draft on 30 June. Since I was so immersed in the story and knew it would be hard to read objectively for typos and inconsistencies, etc, I decided to print a proof copy on Lulu.com. My thinking behind this was that if it looks like a finished novel, it would be easier to read as a book rather than a manuscript draft, and less tempting to write all over with pen. I’ll admit, I did end up doing the latter when I decided to tweak the ending after all that, but the reading part still stands. Lulu is great for printing for several reasons:

1) It’s simple to use. Keep reading below for more info on this.

2) The books are of professional quality with a solid binding for a low price.

3) You can choose to print without publishing the book.

4) You have a lovely keepsake of your book whether it goes on to be published or not.

Here I am enjoying my proof copy in the park: Continue reading

Leilanie Stewart interviewed on Too Full to Write

This month has been a busy one for interviews: my second appearance is on website, Too Full to Write, hosted by author and entrepreneur, David Ellis. Rather than wearing my editor and publishing hat as I did earlier in the month, when Joseph Robert and I were jointly interviewed for Bindweed Magazine by Lagan Online, this one focuses on my own writing career and creative inspirations. I also add a few aspiring author tips for anyone thinking of getting into the business side of poetry or fiction. Enjoy!