Beyond Surviving: My 2020 in Review

reaching for the light
Reaching for the light. Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

“If I get through this year, no matter how badly, it will be the biggest victory I’ve ever done.”

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, November 5, 1957

Looking back on the events of 2020 is surreal — January feels like a century ago, some months have blurred together into non-existence, and others contained a constant amalgamation of mundane stress and anxiety that bubbled through the walls of my apartment space.

I find myself asking, what did I even do this year, anyway? Does it even mean anything?

Let’s be real, 2020 came along and kicked us all in the sensitive bits — and then kept on kicking. Like many people, I’m grateful to have just survived. This year has been brutal and normal measurements of one’s accomplishments seem inadequate. It’s enough to just be standing (or sitting) here, having made it to 2021.

At the same time, I want to dig through the mushy mess of this year and pull out the good things — because there were indeed a few good things that happened.

Continue reading “Beyond Surviving: My 2020 in Review”

TWELVE is Available & Other Goings On

Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm - poetry book

Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tale is officially available from Interstellar Flight Press. 

I mean . . ., okay, technically, it’s been out in the world since September. I just haven’t got around to saying it until now.

You may as well as me, Why? Aren’t you excited?

And the answer is yes, I’m very excited. Yet, somehow I’m having a hard time sharing that excitement with people.

Maybe it’s just the general 2020 vibes and all the anxiety and weirdness that comes with it. I’m sure that’s at least a part of it — however, another part is some strange block I have about promoting and celebrating my own work.

Example One. Sitting around a campfire with my aunt, cousins, and sister, we were taking turns saying the things we felt most proud off this year. When it was my turn, I rattled off a few things (of which I don’t remember). When I finished, my sister was flabbergasted. “I thought you were going talk about your book coming out. How could you not talk about your book coming out?”

“Oh, yeaaaah,” I said. “Yes, yeah, of course, I’m super proud of that, too.”

Continue reading “TWELVE is Available & Other Goings On”

Only 14 Days Left to Preorder TWELVE

The official launch of my new chapbook is only 14 days away! As I sit here waiting for the exciting day, I decided to make a video showing off my author copies of Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. I also talk a bit about the original “Twelve Dancing Princesses’ story and how it inspired me to start writing these poems.

I continue to be amazed and humbled by the kind things people are saying about Twelve, such as this review on The Biblioshelf:

“In Twelve, Andrea Blythe manages to pull off a modern retelling in spectacular fashion whilst retaining the elements of fairytales and storytelling which all of its fans love. Taking each sister one by one, Blythe dedicates each of the Twelve Princesses with their own unique voice and identity giving fresh substance and purpose to the once subservient, archaic damsels-in-distress in search of their prince.”

Preorders the book are still open at AmazonB&N, and Indiebound. And, if you’re the giveaway loving sort, then you might like to know that Interstellar Flight Press is currently offering a chance to win copies of Twelve over on Goodreads.

Other Good Things

This morning, I wrote about “Dealing with a Sense of Collective Grief” on my newsletter. The world feels heavy right now, and like many people, I’m figuring out how to deal with it.


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TWELVE Now Available for Preorder!

Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm

Life has been pretty overwhelming of late, so much so that I haven’t had time to announce some pretty exciting news.

My new chapbook of prose poetry — Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tale — is available for preorder at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Twelve is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underrealm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes.

“Andrea Blythe’s collection of the retold (and often feminist) Brothers Grimm fairytale, ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses,’ is a breath of air at the bottom of the ocean. It’s not only fresh, but it’s so different and unique that it deserves multiple reads. One of my favorite lines in the book is also something we should all ask ourselves, ‘Do you mean it?’”

— Joanna C. Valente

Honestly, it’s been a delight working with Interstellar Flight Press to bring this chapbook into being. From the editing process to the cover design to the layout, this has been a wonder collaborative process, resulting in a book that I’m incredibly proud of writing.

Twelve is scheduled to launch this September (assuming all goes well, considering the current world situation).

Preorder and Get Swag

If obtaining a copy of my shiny new book is not enough of an incentive by itself, Interstellar Flight Press is offering swag to the first 50 people who preorder. The swag bag includes gorgeous red-edged, hand-numbered broadside with lines from from the book, as well as stickers and various surprise items.

However, if you can’t afford to purchase the book, I totally understand. Times are tough right now, after all.

Buying a book is not the only way support authors. So, here are a few other ways that you can help out:.

  1. Shout Out the Book – Tell your friends about it, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. Word of mouth is major ways that people find new books.
  2. Request the Book at Your Local Library and/or Bookstore – Asking for the book at a local store lets them know that there is interest in the book. As a result, they’re more likely to stock it on their shelves. Same with libraries.
  3. After You’ve Read the Book, Leave a Review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Elsewhere – As with all of these suggestions, leaving an honest review out there in the world helps spread the word about books.

Thank you so much for being a part of my community, for reading this blog, and for providing what support you can along the way.

May you continue to survive and thrive

The Vibrant Effusive Creative Spark

“When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into_ 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.”
Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Creativity is a strange, nebulous thing — shifting between vast emptiness and the glorious noctilucence of starlight.

I’m currently in a state of vibrance, and Neil Gaiman’s quote about writing novels has never felt more appropriate. The world at large is facing massive challenges (to put it lightly) on a number of fronts, struggles that should be acknowledged and addressed — but, hey, I’m also in a state of vibrant creativity, so as far as my brain goes, it’s not all bad.

Here’s a few of the news and projects that have me in a state of joy right now:

• My chapbook, Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale (forthcoming from Interstellar Flight Press) has been up on NetGalley for a few weeks now — and the responses coming in have been mostly positive, such as this lovely review.

• For a long time, I’ve wanted to have my own places to write about horror movies, TV shows, video games, and dark lore. Although I’ve written about some of those things here, I’m finding it a bit too cluttered and I would like this blog to be dedicated to books and writing. Thus, I’ve finally created Once Upon the Weird, a place for all things unsettling and strange. A website is in the works, but in the meantime I’ve launched a newsletter (first issue to go out tomorrow). I’m honored by the early response. Thank you to everyone who has already subscribed.

• I’ve returned to working on my YA apocalyptic horror novel (which I started in November), progressing into the third act. A part of me feels like this should be the final section of the book, another part wonders if I need to explore the characters more before I wrap up. But the important bit is that the work is progressing and I’m feeling good about where it’s going.

• I’m starting work on a new horror movie script idea that swooped in and smacked me upside the head. Last week, I cleared my bedroom story board so that I could start putting up characters, scenes ideas, and other notes in order to begin preliminary work on the script. Movie scripts are such a different and interesting beast from any other kind of writing, and I’m fascinated by the unique challenge.

• Another new horror novel idea also came to me in the form of a Stephen King-esque nightmare, in which a girl with psychic powers takes up residence in a small town, where there’s a haunted apartment block. The idea is in the early, early stages, but I’ve started taking notes and have even dropped down a few loose scenes. This may be what I work on after I finish my current novel.

And that’s just to name a few ideas and projects that are in progress right now.

Moments of creative flight can be fleeting. Just as quickly as creativity floats into view, it can drift away again. I’m attempting to seize the moment and engage with the work as much as possible while this spark is present in my life.

As I’m in abundance, I send this blessing out to you, friends. May your creativity spark with new life, may it thrive and grow, may it cultivate and bear fruit. May your art, your words, your craft, your cooking, your endeavors gather and linger in your days and fill you with joy.


More Good Stuff

A Purrfect Fit: 80 Years of Catwoman Costumes by Jessica Plummer examines the many various ways that artists have interpreted what it means to be a sexy, desirable woman.

Chuck Wendig on how Bill Watterson through Calvin and Hobbes prepared us for quarantine and the world we live in:

“Calvin went to school, had a loving family, but even still, he felt alone. And his imagination gave him a way not to feel that anymore.

In lockdown, we’re allCalvin.”

Study shows that the majority of authors have the uncanny experience of hearing their characters speak.

“I would rather wonder than know,” said May Rueffle in a recent Tin House interview. “…I think wondering is a way of inhabiting and lingering. There seems to be more dwelling. To dwell, inhabit, and linger. I’m interested in those things. And you can do that when you don’t know.”