I'm author and editor Holly M. Kothe. Thanks for stopping by my writing and review blog.
Literature is as addictive to me as a hot hazelnut latte, so grab a mug and have a look around.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Importance of Being Published (and more Fiction)

I’ve recently come across an astounding online journal. It boasts many magnificent authors of fiction and poetry. I’ve been reading a lot of their stories lately. Not only because a story of mine has just been accepted by them (!!!) but also because these people know how to put out addicting fiction, readily available and FREE to anyone who wants a good, short read. I see myself sitting in the coffee shop, getting through a few great stories before getting through that first cup of coffee. Yum. Give Blood Lotus Literary Journal a gander:


I love their format—easy on the eyes, digital pages turning with the tap of an arrow. The site is also equipped with a useful author's library--links to the published novels of any and every author featured on Blood Lotus that has them.

One of my favorite stories I happened upon in the journal is “Red” by Eva Langston, found in Issue #12. The narrator is a fifteen-year-old girl with dyed, blood-red hair and some food issues, among others. Some might say there are no more original stories to be told about girls with eating disorders, but I beg to differ. The narrator meets an unusually hairy friend (or villain) on a bus trip to Grandma’s, and you are left wanting so much more from this well-written, unsettling story.

In other exciting happenings—did I mention my story has recently been accepted to this awesomely awesome journal? I feel beyond flattered and enthused to be accepted at Blood Lotus among this caliber of authors. The Journal is heavily poetry, with a very select few short stories published in each issue. It’s an honor to have this place as a home for my work. I wrote the editors back, accepting their offer. They thanked me and let me know that after the holiday, I would get a date of when the forth-coming issue would be out. It’s funny. I keep waiting for them to take it back, to let me know that they made a mistake in saying they want “The Veiled Lady” to appear on their website. Hasn’t happened yet. But these are the kind of irrational fears one may deal with when hearing news of an unexpected publication. This particular short of mine was one of my first few attempts at serious, determined fiction. I thought for sure it would never see the light of day. Then these guys come around and let me now they want it. OK, yeah, take it! Please! Are you sure?

For those boldly snooty ones that say write for the love of your craft, not because you crave the validation of other human eyes wanting to read your work…I have to say, no! Validation is important to the ego of the fragile, emerging writer. Especially one who already lacks confidence. Yes, you must write for yourself and love your own work and put it through the ringer of edit, revise, re-write before you can expect anyone else to take on the task of reading that intimate part of your creative soul, but you also do want just that. You want someone else to want it. A writer wants to share his or her art. It’s all part of the high. It’s a must. If I write a story that I never share, does it make a sound? Like the tree in the woods, get it? Yes…even if no one reads it, even if I don’t just read it aloud for a passing squirrel, it is good practice for the writing process. Maybe I am proud of a work of fiction and no one I know could bother to get past the second sentence, that is OK, because it helps me to learn what is good and what is total crap writing. But publication = encouragement of the ongoing goal—writing full-time. For a career.

Enough self-indulgent promotion. Here’s some recent must-read (or maybe read) fiction that I’ve been loving and wanting to share.


By  Deb Caletti

This is one of my favorite YA authors, whom I’ve mentioned on this site multiple times. She has an affinity for the psychologically damaged teen story, and that is one of my favorite angles, as a reader and especially as a writer. She has written about anxiety disorders, depression and bi-polar disorder, to name a few. Her characters are believable and well-researched, and her writing is gorgeous.

Stay is a sort of fairy-tale with a warning. It depicts an abusive relationship, complete with manipulation and stalking. Hey, we’ve all been there. But it’s in the way we handle things, and our reactions and fears can sometimes make it worse. This story is something teens should read. Love can be an intense and dangerous drug.

The book, however, was not without it’s problems for me. Again, I loved the writing. But I found the subject matter at times unoriginal and just not in-depth enough. I liked the creativity of following the narrator, Clara, back and forth from her past relationship with a former emotionally abusive boyfriend, to the present budding relationship with a new, timid love. But I found myself wanting more info about the former relationship. I wanted to be closer to that first story. Stay seemed to be a lot of stuff almost happening. But still, a lovely read with lovely, poetic words. I can’t get over this author’s affecting style.


By Augusten Burroughs

Read this. Read it, now. I loved this autobiographical memoir. It reads like a fantastic fiction novel, but it’s all true. It’s a heavy a depressing tale about Augusten, a witty and alcoholic writer in and advertising job he hates. We travel with Augusten through the advertising biz, rehab, the loss of a former boyfriend and best friend. It’s sad and real and filled with hilarious one-liners, like:

My mitochondria want to make friends with his mitochondria.

Seriously. How better to describe the intense, chemical, gravitational pull of budding love?

 Like cubic zirconia, I only look real.

I feel like I’m in a sanitary napkin commercial and she’s about to discreetly ask, “Kelly? Do you ever feel…you know, no so fresh?”

These are the kind of lines that make me pissed of for not thinking of them myself. Dry is a read I couldn’t put down. Augusten Burroughs is not unlike a more cuddly Chuck Palahniuk for me. I now love him, and want to read everything he’s ever written.

Alright. Let me stop myself here. So much to read, so much to say. Check out the reads, the shorts, and Blood Lotus Online Journal (especially the future issue, in which “The Veiled Lady” makes its long awaited debut).

Love and hugs and words,



  1. Thanks for the shout-out about my story in Blood Lotus! I haven't read Stay, but I'll put it on my list. I definitely have a penchant for disturbing teen fairy tales.

  2. Sure, Eva. "Red" was a great read. I look forward to checking out more of your stuff. Thanks for reading the blog! I'll be putting your website up on my list of Fave Booky Blogs.


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