New Website and New Pen Name

I’m using a pen name now.

-Because I want to make my writing professional and I want to separate professional like A (the writing) from professional life B (the day job).

-My surname is the same as someone famous.

-My pen name fits the genre better.

What is the new name???

Jessa Forest 🙂

It’s my middle name and a variant of my given name. So I still know it’s me and I won’t get confused.

What’s new with my blog?

-I’ve started working with an editor and project manager so hopefully things will get a little less chaotic and random around here. I’ll be able to make news updates more consistently. And more fun stuff for you to read.

What’s new with The Slaughter Chronicles?

-Everything I’ve previously published, all 1 short story and 1 novella, will be re-published in a short fiction collection I’m working on (Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles).

-All of my fiction will now be released under the name Jessa Forest.

What’s new with my poetry?

-Girl + Muse and Lupercalia have been re-launched with my new name and are only available for download directly from me on this site. They are still free 🙂

-All previous publications in print and online magazines still carry my real name. They will not be changed.

-All new poetry publications, self-published and published in literary journals, will be under the name Jessa Forest.

I really appreciate y’all sticking with me and being patient while I get things organized.

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Research Road Trip: Queen Whilamena State Park

(I’ve edited and re-published this post from last year because I wanted to add more pictures and remember a fun road trip while I am sheltering in place. I hope all of you who read this are safe and healthy and I wish nothing but the best for you during these difficult times. I love you all!)

Last Summer (as I write this) I drove down to Mena, Arkansas with the intention of hiking in the morning at Queen Whilamena State Park and driving around in the afternoon exploring the teeny-tiny towns surrounding the state park.

The drive down was really pleasant. But then it started raining. Thankfully, by the time I got to the Queen Whilamena Lodge and Restaurant the rain had stopped BUT there was fog EVERYWHERE!

I had not checked the weather on my phone. I didn’t even think about the possibility of anything but clear skies and humid air (Summer in Arkansas, y’all). But that is not what I got.

There was a fleeting moment where my heart sank and I thought, “I drove all this way and now I have to go home…”

But then I took another look at the fog, which was literally getting thicker by the minute and I thought, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS PERFECT WEATHER FOR A HORROR NOVEL!”

I mean look at that! That’s amazing!

If I’d gone on a “normal” day I’d have hiked, got some nice pictures of trees and buildings, and gone home with nice things to think about but this–the fog, the rain–gave my setting character. Or my setting looked at me and said, “Acknowledge that I am a force of nature!” while slapping me in the face.

And there was this really nifty fungus on the trail that was all glistening and fleshy. I almost walked face first into a MASSIVE spider webs trying to photograph it.

A new beginning to Havoc’s Moon bloomed in my mind. I got to make rough stage blocking for an action scene and took pictures of this one specific outcropping from multiple angles for reference later. I was so inspired IT WASN’T EVEN FUNNY!

So the moral of this story here is think about what your setting is like in bad weather. You never know what will happen. But also, it’s important to visit, if you can, where your book is set because you’ll get to think about concrete details you may not have considered from your chair at your writing desk.

And I learned that my main character’s favorite food is not pizza like I thought it was, but fried green beans.

You never know what’s going to happen when you go out on location.

Good luck and happy writing!

In the Voice of My Poetry

My poetry is about finding lost things.

If drinking makes you sick, don’t drink.

Find a clean puddle and dip your cup in that; drink the moon on the water.

My grandmother never wanted my grandfather to leave (he was an alcoholic). She had one sister who thought she was prettier than everyone else. Her grave has dead plants on it. And pink marble.

My poetry is about falling across the road as a bloody smear and making a new boundary, a new border.

My poetry is about an imaginary map.

Borders blur and the ink runs when it rains.

Wild roses are my favorite. The ones with all their petals falling off and thorns everywhere.

My poetry is about rotting and returning to the earth.

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This post is inspired by Bhanu Kapil’s Blog

Photo by Felipe Santana on Unsplash