Author Jim Bishop once wrote, “autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” In September, the writers of Women Who Submit had lots of gold in their pockets.

From “When Depression Steals Your Voice,” by Alana Saltz in The Mighty:

I don’t know what to do now that depression has stolen my voice. I poise myself over a blank page, clench a pen and notebook in my hands, and nothing comes out. My brain is full of white noise that drowns out anything I might say. It’s like a switch has been flipped. Where there used to be words, there is emptiness.

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Behind the Editor’s Desk: Erin Elizabeth Smith

For the past sixteen years, Sundress Publications has been publishing chapbooks and full-length collections (including WWS co-founder Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo’s forthcoming debut collection Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge), as well as hosting online journals and the Best of the Net Anthology. Managing Editor Erin Elizabeth Smith answered a few WWS questions about being an editor, and what makes Sundress unique.

How did you get started with Sundress?

I founded Sundress in 2000 to serve as an umbrella site for a number of online journals, including Stirring, Samsara, and several others. We still maintain this sisterhood of lit journals by hosting or promoting journals including Stirring (under new management) Rogue Agent, Pretty Owl Poetry, Wicked Alice, and cahoodaloodaling. In 2006, we began the Best of the Net anthology in order to promote the work publishing in online venues.

We began publishing chapbooks in 2003, but after our first three, we realized that we weren’t ready to give the time and finances needed to properly publish and promote books. It wasn’t until 2011 that we really decided to jump into print publishing. We started slowly, understanding that it was going to be a learning process and also understanding that we needed to build our reputation as a consistent and engaged publisher. We now publish seven print books a year along with our e-chapbook series. We also have three imprints, our journals, the Best of the Net, the Gone Dark Archives, and much more! Continue reading


Highlight on WWS-Las Vegas: An Interview with Chapter Lead, Jocelyn Paige Kelly

Women Who Submit: How would you describe your city and your local literary community?

Jocelyn Paige Kelly: Vegas is becoming a vibrant literary community. We have very supportive local bookstores that showcase local authors: The Writer’s Block and Books or Books.

There are also lots of opportunities for poets. We have three paying markets for poets: Desert Companion, Downtown Zen magazine, and Helen: A Literary Magazine. There are numerous open mics, a local slam team (Battle Born, named after the state motto), and readings that go on throughout each month. A few local groups have also started to sponsor awards and contest for local poets as well. We also have our first Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson who does a lot to support the local poetry scene.

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Lunas on the Road

by  Karineh Mahdessian and Sophia Rivera
(intro by Ramona Pilar)

Las Lunas Locas is a Los Angeles-based poetry collective who aims to empower women through their different identities and cultures. They have a writing circle that has been meeting on Mondays for the past few years to “create a safe space for a community of self-identifying womyn to write, right and rite.” They also host/present/produce and organize a plethora of events and writing workshops in Los Angeles.

This is an amazing group of literary artisans who are inspiring in their level of energy commitment to community, and dedication to forging their own path (literally as you’ll see below) whether or not the mainstream takes notice.

Earlier this year, a group of about 30 of the Lunas embarked on a four city reading tour that began on a whim. Initially an invitation for poets to read at a bookstore San Francisco ballooned into “a wonderful, serendipitous event that grew to be too big to be contained,” according to Karineh Mahdessian, one of the co-facilitators of the Monday meetups  and Lunas organizational juggernaut who helped to make the reading tour materialize. I followed their journey via social media and was blown away all that they were able to accomplish with the power of The Ask and a strong community.

In the tradition of a road journal, Karineh writes about that journey and what it took to take a group of about 30 women to Northern California for a reading tour.


Las Lunas Locas, a womyn’s writing group from Los Angeles, formed into existence in July of 2014 and has met every Monday night at Here and Now in El Sereno. For the past two years, we have participated in various community poetry readings.

In November of 2015, five of the Lunas had the opportunity to read with the Poet Laureates of Los Angeles and San Francisco at Avenue 50 Studios in Highland Park. Continue reading


Are you really, really ready to attend an M.F.A. in Creative Writing program?

(I wasn’t, but I did learn some valuable lessons!)

by Sarah Rafael García

If you would’ve asked me about a year ago if I’d recommend Texas State University’s Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program to other writers (particularly women and writers of color), you would probably have to sit through a rant containing an array of emotions—anger, depression, regret and countless examples of microaggressions I experienced.

Although I still regret attending that program, I have also come to terms with the outcome. After all I became a stronger writer and mentor, not because of the MFA program but because the adverse experience forced me to seek support and resources outside of the MFA world, resources I’m not sure I would’ve sought otherwise. Continue reading


The WWS Fall Workshop Series

Women Who Submit is excited to hold its first workshop series with three LA-based professional poets and writers who will share personal writing and accountability tools for success in order to help writers craft their next poem, essay, or story and build confidence in their own process. This workshop series offers an opportunity for people of all genders, genres and skill levels to gain practical take-aways from three of Los Angeles’ most fresh and exciting WWS authors and work with an organization dedicated to growing a socially conscious and diverse community focused on supporting women and nonbinary writers in the pursuit of equal representation in publishing and writing programs.

The Women Who Submit Fall Workshop Series, in partnership with PEN Center USA and Avenue 50 Studios, is a not-for-profit event created as a fundraiser for future WWS programming, events, and conference presentations. It is open to people of all genders, orientations, and creeds.

On Silence in Poetry with Ashaki M. Jackson
Saturday, October 1, 2016
10am-1pm at PEN Center USA
Tickets: $80 regular / $60 WWS & PEN

On Writing and Movement with Jay O’Shea
Saturday, November 5, 2016
10am-1pm at PEN Center USA
Tickets: $80 regular / $60 WWS & PEN

From Public Notebook to Book with Wendy C. Ortiz
Saturday, December 3, 2016
10am-1pm at PEN Center USA
Tickets: $80 regular / $60 WWS & PEN

Each workshop, led by a WWS member, leans into their own particular approach to developing work from inception to execution. A $200 ($150 for PEN and WWS members) discount is available for purchasing all three workshops.
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The summer wraps up with an inspiring list of publications and acceptances from Women Who Submit members.

Check out Issue 42 of Coffee Lovers Magazine to read Rachel Sona Reed‘s “Reconsidering the Percolator.”

Congratulations to Kate Maruyama whose short story, “Akiko,” will be reprinted in Horror Writers for Peace, a horror anthology. All proceeds from sales of the book will go to Lambda Legal Defense Fund in response to the Orlando Massacre.

Tanya Ko Hong published two poems, “Breathing Free” and “Mustard Flowers Falling” in the Berkeley Korean Literature Society.

From Désirée Zamorano‘s “A Woman of Privilege” in Akashic Books’ Mondays are Murder:

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