Posts by J.L. Smith

I am a writer/political scientist based in Eagle River, Alaska. I hold a BA degree in English/Creative Writing and a MA in International Relations. Best of both worlds, I write everything from naturalistic poetry to Russia and the former Soviet Republics. Recent publications: Academic Nonfiction: The Syrian Dilemma: Moscow's Motives in the Syrian Uprising (2013). ISBN: 9781304283931 Creative Nonfiction: "The Important Things" - Alaska Women Speak - Winter 2015 issue Fiction: How to Eat a Bagel - 50-word Stories - Sept 15, 2015 The Devil and the White Room - Down in the Dirt - July/August 2016 Poetry: "Sara" - Grassroots - Fall 1999 "Femininity" - Cirque - Summer 2015 "Sitting in the Bathroom" - Yellow Chair Review - July 2015 "A Happy Poem" - Eunoia Review - August 2015 "Willow Rebuilds" "Spectators" "Fire Angels" - Alaska Women Speak- Fall 2015 "Dark Clouds Descend Low" - Three Line Poetry - Issue 33 - Sept 2015 "Da!" - Peeking Cat Poetry - 8th issue - Oct 2015 "Three times my baby's stroller passes by" - Eunoia Review - Oct 2015 "Babushka's Samovar", "If I May Speak", and "High Tea and Fancy Things" - Alaska Women Speak - Winter 2015 Issue "Joanna's Child" - Cirque - Winter Solstice issue 2015. "Away with the Bitterness!" - Peeking Cat Poetry - 9th Issue - Dec 2015 "Away with the Bitterness!" - Alaska Shorts (49 Writers blog) - December 22, 2015 "The Reflex", "The Drop Off", and "Crossed Eyes" - Eskimo Pie - Feb 2016 "The Fragments You Carry", "The Fireweed Dies", and "Crabapples" - 13 Chairs - Spring 2016

Alaska Women Speak

AWS: After the Blitzkrieg

Song Poems


One of two notebooks in the Trapper Keeper, circa 1987. For the heck if it, I thought I would review them. Cringe. Poems of idealistic love and yearning, lol. Like I said, cringe. #embarrasingworks#idealisticlove #firstwriting

Trapper Keeper and Other Silly Things

The origins of my writing career, a Trapper Keeper. Over 30 years old, containing 107 song poems I wrote between 1987-89? Priceless and surprisingly intact. #writing #songpoems #loveandinnocence

Getting Real


So, it is getting real. I have 8 chapters that are due to the editor at the end of September. Tingling with excitement, but heart racing the oh-my-goodness-this-is-happening moment. #goals #completion #medusa

Multiple Projects

Those who don’t write often ask me, how do you work on multiple projects at once?

Yes, I have been known to put out a lot of work within a short period of time. I often joke, well, I took so much time off between my first publication and my second that I had to make up for lost time! 16 years no less!

But, seriously, I had so much to throw down that a lot happened at once. For my first four years of publishing (this time around), I have published at least 20 works (mostly short works) a year.

That is a lot.

This year is a bit different, as I have taken a step back to focus on longer works and less on shorter ones that find themselves published quickly.

Yet, even while taking a break from the whole “I must publish x amount of works this year” mentality, I am still working on multiple projects: 1 fantasy novella, 1 full length women’s fiction, a creative writing prompt book, and a collection of poems inspired by containment/lockdown.

The trick is that I don’t actually work on all of these at once, or even all within the same week. These are my goals for the year, as that is how I plan my work flow. It is the ultimate project management.

How this all works (at least for me)

The Fleeting Lights project will reach its first pass through read at the end of this week. The global edits to the plot will be made, including timeline hiccups. Let it sit.

On Monday, the 24th, I will embark with my editing coach, the final revisions to Medusa, my novella poetry to fiction conversion project about the infamous gorgon. Timeline not fixed yet, but I would like to have it completed by Thanksgiving. This does not include all the steps in between, like, if it goes to beta readers, new cover, and final production steps.

The prompt book will probably be squeezed into a small slot before the Christmas holiday, as will the poetry collection, before I return to finishing Fleeting Lights beginning in the new year.

Note: how the timeline flows and how you take one project on, while another one is in different stage of production. It also helps that none of the projects are of similar nature. This allows for flexibility and breaks without taking too many actual breaks in writing.

#1 You have to have a timeline for completion, but allow for flexibility

#2 Have the different projects in different stages of development, allowing time for you to see the work with fresh eyes when you return to it

#3 Allow small breaks. It happens, but get back to work.

#4 For accountability, it helps to have a writing partner or coach to keep you motivated. Non-writing friends help, too, as they will bug you–I mean encourage you–to finish the project.

Really, you got to keep going. No matter what it takes.

Write on, my friends.

It’s Getting Real, Folks

You know you are a writer when you are afraid of the words you have written. I am looking at you, fellow writers. I think many of us have had a work that has hit us hard. You know it. You slayed that first draft. In my case, 98,000 plus words, and as difficult as that task was, I know I am not anywhere close to being done. So, I roll up sleeves and dive in.

Say, good words of encouragement for me, folks.

So, the work will no longer remain nameless.

The Fleeting Lights’ origins started in 2004. Oh yes, it has been chopped, reformed, restructured like that mystery meat in a MRE. But, alas, its first draft was finished the first of this year–and darn it–the second draft will be completed by the end of this year.

I put myself on the spot.

Second draft read starts now. Pray for me, LOL. 0 pages in.

Progress to be posted soon.