A New Album and Poetic Crossroads

Hi guys,

Today I’m doing a blog swap with my writer buddy Julia Munroe Martin! If you aren’t already following Julia, you should be. She’s a smart, kind, and talented writer who’s always made me feel welcome. We’ve known each other online for a long time now, plus she and I became contributors to Writer Unboxed at the same time, which has been great fun.

For the first part of our swap, there’s a new album up at The Decorative Writer. I encourage you all to go check out Julia’s lovely home office in Maine and read about her favorite things. You can also see her bio and get the links to find her elsewhere on the web.

For the second part of our swap, Julia has been kind of enough to host me with a guest post on her blog. You can read about my experience creating my poetry manuscript over there in “Poetic Crossroads.”

Comments will be closed here, but please feel free to comment on Julia’s album and/or on my guest post. Thanks so much,


Posted in Updates & Announcements | Leave a comment

Full Circle

photo by Michal Dzierza

Five years ago tomorrow, 9/18/2009, I submitted my very first piece of short fiction to my very first market: Black Static by TTA Press, a British horror magazine that dominated the field with its exquisite fiction and high-quality publication (they still do). Back then it was snail mail submissions, and I went through quite a bit of trouble figuring out how to get an IRC (international reply coupon) so they could send me a response from overseas. The fact that I had the gumption to send my first story to the top market pretty much sums up my career; aim small, miss small. Top down. Shoot, as they say, for the stars. Needless to say, my story got a form rejection.

[Some of you might be confused, because I’ve said before that I started writing in 2007. I spent that whole year on my first novel. I took 2008 pretty much off to deal with my dad’s estate. So I didn’t try my hand at short-form fiction until 2009, when I joined my critique group.]

Why am I telling you this? Because today I have a story accepted to Black Static.

I’ve pinched myself several times, but it’s still true. In fact, editor Andy Cox even added me to The List! It’s officially official; my flash fiction story “Hide” will be published in issue 43 of Black Static this November. I’m going to try really hard not to explode before then.

It’s hard to explain how this feels. I’m ecstatic. I’m honored. I’m deeply, incredibly grateful. And yes, I’m pretty freakin’ proud, too. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had other stories accepted to some truly fantastic markets, and I don’t mean to downplay them – but there’s something undeniably nostalgic and fulfilling in coming full-circle right at the five-year anniversary of my short fiction beginnings. And the news has come at a time when I desperately needed a win. I really, truly needed affirmation that hard work and perseverance pay off. Obviously, they do.

Black Static, y’all. Black Static.


Posted in Updates & Announcements | 37 Comments

How to Remove the Label Residue from your Demon Bottles

If you’re like me, the approaching fall season fills you with the desire to get crafty. If you’re like me, you’ve also been saving things all year (like empty iced coffee jars) just in case you can use them for something crafty later. There are tons of neat projects you can do with cool-looking jars and bottles, so I always save the ones I like. (I recycle the ugly ones that have brand names embedded in the glass, etc.) Example: Jack-o’-lantern jars!

Obviously, an expert craftologist like myself is well-versed in the removing of labels – or so I thought until I came into contact with the preternatural adhesive used on Starbucks iced coffee bottles. I peeled them off, but the glue left behind wouldn’t budge. I tried the old standby of letting them soak in a sink full of hot, soapy water. I tried scrubbing. I tried Goo Gone.

But when even the Goo Gone didn’t work, I knew I was dealing with something more. Something bigger. Something… other. Demon bottles! What else is a girl to do when backed into a crafting corner but take it to the Twitterverse?

Pam Carlson (‏@pcarlson001) suggested rubbing alcohol, and June Weiss ‏(@BijouxIce) a razor blade. Michelle Collins ‏(@EmCeeCollins) said she had some previous success with cooking oil, and Paige Duke ‏(@ThePaigeDuke) vouched for lemon essential oil, which I don’t have. Finally, Michael McMullen ‏(@mimcmullen) said it came down to calling an exorcist or giving up. Guess what, folks? I never give up.

I’ve boiled, I’ve troubled, I’ve scrubbed and bubbled. I’ve found the secret sacred combination to remove the adhesive, and now I’m sharing it with you in case you want to overcome some demons of your own. Enjoy!



demon bottle (empty iced coffee jars)
an unbreakable will
cooking oil spray (I used Pam)
glass scraper (flat razor blade)
dish soap
dish brush or scrubbing sponge
cleaning cloths or paper towels
rubbing alcohol
holy item of your choosing
priest (optional)


One thing that I didn’t think to add was rubber gloves. If your skin is as sensitive as mine, those would be good. My hands were so red by the end of this I had to put a blue filter on the photos, so my apologies if you’re a filter hater.

Step 1


Enjoy your delicious beverage while you can. Try not to think about the fact that you’re succumbing to a demon’s sweet temptation. Suggested: fantasize about what cute things you can do with this bottle later.

Step 2


Wash out your empty bottle and peel off the labels.

Step 3


Stare in frustration at the odd residue left behind.

Step 4


Perform a brief exorcism. If you’re wary of such things, invite a holy person to assist. If your faith is exceptionally strong, skip to step 9.

Step 5


Coat the residue with cooking oil. A bottle of spray is convenient, but if you don’t have spray, rubbing a liquid on with your fingers would probably work too.

Step 6


Use a glass scraper to tediously loosen the residue. Pro tip: scrape away from the hand holding the bottle. Also, scrape “vertically,” not “around.” Razor blades and round surfaces don’t mix well; be careful.

Step 7


Rinse the bottle, then add dish soap and scrub the entire surface of the bottle with a dish brush. I mean really scrub the hell out of it. Rinse again.

Step 8


Dry the bottle surface. By now the glass should be mostly clean and smooth, but just to be safe – and to make sure the glass is as clean as possible pre-craft – use a folded paper towel or cleaning cloth to rub the adhesive areas with rubbing alcohol. Again, put some elbow grease into it.

Step 9


Let dry fully. Give thanks to any assisting deities, holy persons, and/or kindly spirits. You’re ready to begin the fun part.


Congratulations! You’ve just gone to extensive lengths to fulfill a relatively frivolous desire. Happy crafting! ;)

Posted in DIY | 19 Comments

All Gifts

Today I’m going to share with you one of my poems. “All Gifts” was first published in A Texas Garden of Verses, the Poetry Society of Texas 2013 summer conference anthology. Enjoy!

All Gifts

“And speech [Hephaestus]
the herald of the gods put in, and named the maid
Pandora, since all those who hold Olympian homes
had given gifts to her, sorrows for hard-working men.”
           –Hesiod, Works and Days

He hunches over his work,
shoulders bunched
with surprising power,
feels sweat drip from his
straight Greek nose,
hears it sizzle as a drop hits the fire.

Made of gifts.

He drags his leg
irregularly behind him
as he moves
from fire to water,
dipping hot metal frame
to solidify shape.

She will be perfect.

When the fire of creation
has cooled,
he plumps her up
with fresh earth,
a shell of clay,
a robe of skin.

Sent as punishment.
The breath of life
washes warmly
from his misshapen lips,
mild with stutter,
gentled by fear.

She… She will be perfect.

And then he must give her up.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2011.
All rights reserved.

Posted in My Works | 16 Comments