Tuesday, September 15, 2015


After much consideration, I've decided to create an author website. 

I've used this blog recently to act as a professional site.  The problem is that this isn't a professional site, its a blog.  With my dayjob, the boys, writing, school...maintaining a blog is not so easy.  I am hesitant to say I will no longer blog, but as of right now, I won't be maintaining this site.

For links to my work, my bio, and other valuable information, please check out my website at tyresecoleman.com.

Thank you all for your readership.  I will not say good-bye, just so long for now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Stories!!!

I am excited to share two new stories with you all!

 Reaction GIF: excited, Eric Stonestreet, Cameron Tucker, Modern Family

1:1000 is a fantastic online journal with the premise of turning a picture into a thousand words.  They provide a gallery of images to choose from.  You claim a photo and then submit a story that uses the photo as its inspiration.  A friend suggested the website as a place to send a story that I've been having trouble placing.  I decided instead to follow their creative model and write a story specifically from the photo I selected.

beauty animated GIF Uncle Pug is inspired by my real life uncle whose name was Pug.  He was also an amputee and had a thing for Blanche Devereaux.  Everything else in the story really just came to me from the image I selected, this wonderful shot of an old house taken by Garrett Carroll.  

The entire process with the editorial team at 1:1000 was so much fun.  They work almost like a workshop where each editor comments on the story's strengths and revision opportunities and then, if accepted, the writer has an opportunity to review those comments and edit the final draft.  I found the experience to be more than just helpful for this piece, but it illuminated "ticks" of mine that I need to pay attention to in all of my stories.  Overall, fantastic experience, fun editors, and, in submitting to them, I didn't break any of my submission rules (although they do not pay, they do not charge a fee either).

I am also blessed to have a short piece in the current issue of Tahoma Literary Review.  I am full of emotion when it comes to this piece.  Going through the experience of having this story published made me feel like a professional writer for the first time.

I say that for a number of reasons.  First, there is nothing more professional than seeing your name in print, on REAL paper.  Don't get me wrong, a byline is a byline and online is where its at.  But, there is something tangible about a story on paper.  I can touch it, hold it, press it against my face, smell the pages.  Its special and the reason why I know physical books will never become extinct.

Secondly, I got paid.  TLR is one of the few journals that strives to pay their contributors and remain transparent when it comes to their compensation practices.  I didn't have to search Duotrope to find out whether or not they pay contributors.  The editors have it all laid out in black and white on their website.  I respect that so much.  To me, it is an expression of how much they value their contributors AND those who submit to their journal.

Third, I felt like my piece was in great hands with the editors of TLR.  They were pleasant yet professional.  I also feel like they have done a marvelous job at promoting my work on social media and their website.  I penned a blog post for them as well provided audio for my piece.  They are the reason why I decided to finally get with it and join Twitter (yes, I am old).  In fact, my experience with TLR has actually made me really consider what it means to be a professional writer, whether part-time or full-time (maybe, hopefully, one day).

All in all, I feel blessed to have been a part of these two wonderful magazines.  Now, I back to pretending to work on my thesis.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rejection is a Mother...Shut Yo Mouth!

100 rejections...100 rejections...  Why would anyone pledge to receive 100 rejections?

I've been sailing on a stream of luck the past several months.  Most of the pieces I've submitted for publication have ended up being accepted somewhere.  Generally, I send something out to several places and the really fast markets get back to me with a sound rejection early on.  I've tried the whole "analyze the rejection" thing, but I find that most of them don't tell you anything, especially the form rejections that are clearly templates where the journal/magazine don't even have the decency to address you by name.

There have been the occasional personal rejection.  Those I do analyze, almost obsessively.  I read them over and over and over again, finding some happiness in the fact that they at least liked the story enough to personalize a message to me.

Its a strange thing submitting to journals.  It feels as if I am the unpopular girl in high school trying to get the attention of the football star or the sexy cheerleader.  I want them to notice me, to want me back.  And just the hint of a smile across the cafeteria, I instantly turn to mush and start writing my name using their last name with hearts and a purple marker.  I hate this feeling.  It's a one way relationship where I have no control, and I am very much a control freak.  Waiting to be noticed, hoping someone will like me, makes me feel impotent and silly.  But, just like a lonely high school girl, I would rather feel that modicum of hope garnered from the personal rejection, than feel nothing at all.

So, I get rejected and then lo' and behold the next email is an acceptance!  Woo Hoo!  Hallelujah!  This has been the pattern of my submissions so far this year.  Regardless of the fact that has been the pattern, it doesn't mean it will always be this way.  Just over the past few days, I've received one acceptance and two rejections for different pieces.  Who is to say that those two rejections will ever turn into an acceptance?  I don't know.  And the not knowing is what kills me. 

But, my husband says I am a junkie for this kind of stuff.  He says, "you love it."  That I love the emotional roller coaster.  He should know, he's in academia -- rejection is his third arm.  He could be right.  Maybe I do love it.

In the spirit of accountability, here are my stats so far:

Stories/Essays: 7
Submissions: 55
Acceptances: 4
Rejections: 12
Withdrawals/Never Responded: 30
Pending: 9

Friday, June 26, 2015


Ever since I read "The Ceiling" by Kevin Brockmeier, I've called stress and negativity in my personal life "the ceiling."  Sometimes I've felt it moving down and down, closer and closer to the ground to crush me, flatten me like that steel machine that warms tortillas at Chipotle, heavy and hot.  Recently, the ceiling has been coming for me.  I was sued, someone screwed up our insurance application, I have a busted tail light, I got yet another rejection.  And not just my personal life.  The killings in South Carolina really had an emotional affect on me.  Everything combined made it feel as though that ceiling was moving closer and closer, down and down, so that I felt suffocated.

But if you ever believe in signs...

Langston went to the doctor and he now weighs over 22 pounds.

I settled the lawsuit.

I've written three short essays, one flash piece, and revised a longer short story all within the last two weeks.

I have four pieces out on submission.

SCOTUS made my marriage even more legitimate by ensuring that everyone else can get married too.

The Confederate flag is on its way down.

James now says, "I'm okay," when you ask him, "are you okay?"

I go on vacation in two weeks.

There are good things happening.  Today is a good day.  I am alive.  I am blessed.  I am happy. 

And although the ceiling will never go away, I just raised the roof.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

News and Links

I'm all over the interwebz and thought I would post a few links to indulge my braggadocios tendencies.

First, thank you to Jacqueline Bach for profiling me on her blog series, The Process Project!  The interview was fun and really made me consider just how I go about putting my thoughts together when I write.  I love this series.  Writers always want to know what other writers do and how they create, hence the popularity of books on craft or The Paris Review's "The Art of Fiction" series.  But it is nice to see a project that embraces beginning writers, like myself, along with more established folks to show how we all do what we can to make our dreams happen.  What a fantastic idea!

So to Jacqueline,

Second, a small personal essay I wrote for the online magazine mater mea went live today.  mater mea "is a website that tells the stories of women at the intersection of motherhood and career. Launched in 2012, the site offers a more realistic depiction of black women in the many spaces they occupy: as mothers, daughters, employees and employers, lovers, and friends." 

It is one of a few essays I've written about my twins' difficult birth and the lessons I've learned trying to navigate my feelings around it.  A larger essay will be in Quaint Magazine's next issue, but I am not certain when that issue will be available.  I am currently working on another short essay related to parenting, covering a topic that also deals with my sons' prematurity. 

For some reason other than the obvious reasons, I feel inspired lately when I think about them, and I am writing about them more.  Maybe because it has been two years since their birth, and now I finally feel able to discuss that event without breaking down in self-shattering guilt and panic.  Maybe it is because I am entering a new phase of parenting, the toddler phase (aka, "my kid is an asshole" phase), and I have more to learn and therefore more to write about.  I have a feeling that I will continue to write about my kids for a long time to come, even when they are bigger than me and have moved out of the house.  But, for right now, I am trying to deal with the fact that others will soon know how I went into early labor, and it freaks me out a little.  This first foray in autobiography has been positive though, so I will lean on that for a little while longer.

So for me and my self-promoting, no humility having ass...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Personal Rules for Submitting to Lit Mags

Every one and their mama has written a blog post about submitting to literary magazines.  When I see one of these posts, I typically devour them, reading them closely, memorizing the sacred text so that I can increase my chance of obtaining the impossible "Yes!"

But, just practicing the dance of publishing lets you figure out which moves are graceful and which will leave you flat on your face (or back given my luck, damn sciatica). 

These would definitely get you kicked off of Dancing with the Stars, the fiction edition: 
  1. Not proofreading your draft with so much vigor it is like you are searching for a small pebble in sand;
  2. Revising after its been submitted (one sure way to drive yourself mad);
  3. (In relation to #2) Not submitting the final final final draft.  Meaning that its been workshopped (if that is what you do) or that you have let at least one person read it before you submit it and then completed edits accordingly, read it out loud, and you've done all that you can to make it work;
  4. Submitting to magazines that DO NOT publish what you write, regardless of how good it is;
  5. Not submitting at all;
  6. Getting butt-hurt and/or depressed over rejections so that you stop submitting;
  7.  Becoming a know-it-all when you do get published (i.e what I'm doing now in writing this, I suppose one could argue...);
  8. Not researching the magazine you are submitting to, especially when simultaneously submitting;
  9. If simultaneously submitting, not making sure that all the mags/journals in each round of submissions are on the same level with one another (i.e. sending a story to an esteemed journal like the Paris Review and a virtually unheard of journal like the Po-dunk Review at the same time.  Although slim, what if the Paris Review does accept your piece and you don't find out until you withdraw because Po-dunk accepted it first?  Moral code says you have to go with Po-dunk and you will be kicking yourself forever because of that.), and
  10. Not sending your best work (whatever that means).
Outside of these moves, which I'm sure is the standard for most writers stuck inside the crab bucket like I am, I have come up with my own personal rules that I follow in addition to those above:
  1.  My submission fee cut off is $5 for a non-contest submission and $10 for a contest submission.  Paying a fee to be published goes against every single principal of common sense I have.  Ideally, I want to be the one who gets paid from this situation.  I give you my hard work, in return, you pay me.  It is generally the way of the world.  However, I am no one special.  I am not famous (yet) and I know absolutely no one in the publishing world.  So, I cannot make a grand statement that I will never pay a submission fee.  Maybe one day, God-willing, I will be able to live a life where I actually make a profit from selling stories.  Until then, I am going to have to pay to get my name out there.  But, I will not be taken advantage of. 
  2. If I pay a submission fee, it will be for a journal/mag that pays its contributors.  I don't care if the pay it $100 or $10, its the principal of the thing for me.  If your model is to make people pay to be published and then you pocket said funds and not pay those on whose backs you stand, then you are running a scam in my opinion. 
  3. Barely, if ever, submitting to contests.  I blame this rule on my mother.  She plays the lottery religiously.  Sometimes she wins, but most often, she does not.  And at the end of the a non-winning week, who is receiving the benefits of her lotto playing habit?  The State lotto commission, not her.  I understand contests are designed to help keep underfunded, barely read journals and magazines afloat, allowing them to generate large sums of money in a short amount of time.  And, it would be AWESOME if I won first place and received thousands of dollars and the recognition that comes along with an esteemed prize.  But, like the lotto, my chances of winning is probably something like 1 in 8 million thousand six-hunnet forty two.  Therefore, I limit contests to a very minimum. (wow, these first three rules make me sound really cheap...)
  4. Always having at least one piece out at any given time.  This is my way of gauging my work output.  At my day job, we have certain performance measures and goals.  Our promotions, salary increases, etc are based on meeting these measurements and performing at or above the required standard.  Right now, I am still figuring out how to monitor my "performance" for my writing job.  If I ever want this to become more than just a part-time hobby, I need to create concrete goals for myself.  Since I am still in school, I don't think it is reasonable to expect anything more of myself than making sure there is at least one piece out always.  Also, I am a slow writer and could probably go months, even years between projects if I let myself go.  This is my way to make sure I am constantly creating and revising.
So, now that I've laid out my rules for publishing, I guess I should go ahead and write something...


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

And One More Thing...

[PANK] Magazine decided to interview me about my piece "How To Sit!"  Here is the link!

This is the first time any one has ever asked me questions about my work that didn't include the phrase, "why the hell did you...?"

The questions were intimidating and thought provoking!  I feel a little legit now now...