Central IL

Ignite Peoria & 500 wishes

Ignite Peoria is a creative arts event in my city. It’s happened a few years now, but this was my first year attending.

Of course I had to dress creatively for the event, and had to get a picture of my fun outfit:


It’s not quite like most creative arts fairs where you attend and look at artists booths and buy so many beautiful things. It has that aspect, but it’s more interactive. ¬†There’s speakers and performances. My friend Kim and I enjoyed learning about whips – and of course discussed how to implement that into our stories ūüôā

I don’t actually know how many people attended and hung wishes on the tree, but about 1000 were “Interested” in the event on Facebook, and about 500 clicked “Attending” on the Facebook event. So I figure 500 is a good estimate.

As you entered the event, there was a breathtaking display with a Wishing Tree and tables and tables of trinkets to create a visual representation of your hopes and dreams:






Kim and I created our trinkets and hung them, but the end result of so many Peoria wishes was stunning:


All in all, we had a blast and can’t wait til next year. We met some great people and had a great time exploring so many of the art forms:


Oh, and of course there was this gorgeous floral backdrop, and Kim insisted “We have to get a picture of the back of your head there!” She knows my brand, and let that be a branding lesson for you all ūüėČ haha


Central IL, for the Writers

Central Illinois Creative Writing Lessons

I have BIG news! BIG!!!!

If the following applies to you (or someone you know), pay attention!

  • High Schooler
  • Located in Central IL area
  • Interested in creative writing
    • (experience optional)

I have news for these people! This fall I am beginning creative writing lessons.

How does this work?

Whether you’re interested in poetry, novels, short stories, or creative nonfiction, these lessons are for you. You’ll be grouped with people of a similar skill level. No experience is required. Whether you are just now interested in writing, or whether you have novels finished and want to know about the publishing options, your lessons will be catered to the group’s needs. Lessons are one hour a week and cost $10. There will also be online components with access to¬†resources and¬†peer feedback.

You can learn about:

  • Fighting Lies: Inadequacy, Narcissism, Writers Block, and Quick Turnaround (haha! Riiiight)
  • Finding an Agent
  • Writing a Logline, Query, or Book Proposal
  • SelfPublishing Versus Traditional Publishing
  • Creating Your Brand
  • Marketing
  • Editing
  • Story Structure
  • Beta Readers & Critiques
  • Balancing Your Creative Life and Other Obligations


If you’re interested, check out my pages on¬†Creative Writing Lesson details, Frequently-Asked-Questions, or go ahead and sign up.

Not in the Central IL area and bummed you can’t join in? Keep checking back, I’m mulling over ways to¬†offer options to you too! You can like my Facebook or follow my Twitter to keep updated.

Blog Signature - Crisper

Central IL

3 Reasons You Should Still Consider Eureka College

Things are heating up in the world of Eurekans, but as of right now mostly only students, staff, and alum are aware of any of it. Eureka College is a small private college with its largest boast probably being the great faculty-student ratio that provides a more personal environment with many leadership opportunities.

There are currently 11 empty faculty positions, 8 of which from this school year and 3 from the year before not being filled. Remember this is a small school, so that’s actually about 25% of faculty. The student paper recently released an article that expressed student’s concerns – with administrative decisions, with the upcoming accreditation review, and with their hopes of graduating without transferring or taking an additional semester due to the potential of certain courses not being offered next fall. This relatively small matter for the college only escalated when a faculty member – acting alone and not from the school’s request – removed any remaining papers from the stand so that the article would not be read. Suddenly social media was abuzz with the debacle – it wasn’t Facebook Trending, but it was My Newsfeed Trending. This wasn’t just an issue of taking the right classes or graduating on time or having an accredited degree; it was an issue of censorship and freedom of the press, and the students made that very clear.


The newspaper article was posted by someone who had grabbed a copy before they were removed, for the dual purpose of letting students read the article, as well as to inform alumni as to the situation. (I for one am very grateful,¬†since I didn’t realize so many faculty were leaving or that there was any concern.) It was then clarified that a faculty member acted alone to remove the paper from circulation and that efforts were now being made to redistribute the newspaper the following week. What could have blown over escalated yet again when a board member posted unprofessional comments I am certain the college could not have approved. This wasn’t just an issue of censorship now; it was an issue of professionalism, basic social media etiquette, and attacking students/faculty. What a PR fiasco.

Sure, there are obvious concerns, for me as an alum, as well as for current and prospective students. Concerns that I believe will be addressed, if for no other reason than because of this situation escalating to such proportions. I want to bring to light the side of this that will probably not be recognized Рthat this event is the exact reason to consider going to Eureka College.

  1. Students That Care – Maybe it’s the whole Liberal Arts Education thing that makes us outspoken. We don’t stand by and let stuff happen to us, we want to be involved, have an opinion and make it heard. We might be drama queens about it, but in the end I bet you won’t find as many (percentage-wise) students or alum making such a racket over¬†faculty leaving or school politics/administration in general. We want to make a difference, so we won’t be shut up easily.
  2. Great Faculty – If Eureka College had subpar faculty moving on to their next 9-to-5, do you think any students would be in an uproar over a board member calling them troublemakers and liars? I don’t think so. We care, but we care about stuff that matters. And you can bet with this upheaval, that great faculty will be exactly what Eureka College is looking for. Is there a chance you’ll have crap teachers? Of course, there always is, but know at Eureka College, I think the odds are in your favor.
  3. Real-World Experience – I said it before, that Eureka is big on leadership opportunities. That comes with mistakes and successes, with the world being your stage. Here’s a lesson – power of the press. Even more-so now than before, with the digital footprint you leave. You can pull newspapers off a rack, but you can’t delete photos and screenshot comments (what many students did with the board member’s unprofessional comments in case he chose to delete them later.) It’s there for all to see…..forever. We hear it all the time, but now we know it from one crazy personal experience. I bet some people on *both* sides of the issue posted something they will at some point regret….I hope I’m not that person. But it’s a learning experience, to address the big issues and take a stand without regretting words later. Obviously Eureka College did not intend for the lesson to be learned in such a way, but the small-school atmosphere magnifies situations like this. And it’s an excellent learning experience better than any facebook photo of a teacher holding a sign saying “My students don’t believe this will travel very far….share to prove them wrong.”

Calling this a revolution may be a tad¬†exaggerated, but it’s evident that students are rallying for change and information and a voice in their education. I can’t wait to hear from administration on this and have more of a full picture of the situation and what concerns are actually present and what’s hearsay. This appears to have at least the potential for serious repercussions and I hope Eureka College the best, because I really think it is the best school in so many ways. In all the mud-slinging and worry and fear, let’s remember there’s some real positive aspects to what has been dubbed the Eureka Riot of 2015 (remember, we’re a lil dramatic about this stuff.)

Central IL, Fashion, Musings of a Creative

Olde English Faire 2014

Here come the freaks!

I don’t write fan fiction. I don’t do role-playing games. I don’t enjoy gaming or anime or cosplay. I’m not a Trekkie or a Belieber or a Whovian, and I try not to come across as a Gleek. In fact, I try to avoid coming across as a fangirl of any sort. Why? Good question.¬†

For one thing, I don’t enjoy those things (except Glee. That I can’t help. And for the record, I’d be a fan of Dr. Who if I watched it, I just haven’t gotten around to it.) For another thing, I’m not generally that obsessive over those things. (What I am obsessive over¬†can be saved for another blogpost.) But also because there’s a stereotype there – a stereotype of weirdos who jump off the deep end with everything –¬†unreasonably obsessive, unable to hold a conversation outside of their niche, and¬†prone to bouts¬†of squealing. That stereotype. You can see why I want to avoid it.

And yet, there is one location these obsessive types gather that I can’t help but join. The Olde English Faire.


Me (on the left) and a couple of my writer's group friends at last year's Olde English Faire.
Me (on the left) and a couple of my writer’s group friends at last year’s Olde English Faire.

Olde English Faire is Coming to Town

Jousts, dancing, archery, knights, maidens, pirates, and people/creatures from all time periods, all worlds, all stories gathered in one place. It’s like a more manageable-sized ComiCon. Kinda. I may have exaggerated that a bit. But the ability to encounter characters and create characters and become characters – it’s a writer’s/reader’s dream come true.

For the record,¬†I hear Bristol is huge and makes Peoria’s seem boring. Until I have the exciting opportunity to experience that though, this is a nice alternative. Don’t bash our humble villager celebrations.

What girl turns down a chance to dress up? – whether in a little black dress for a special night out, a bridesmaid dress, or a fancy gown from another era. For me, it may not be entirely accurate midieval-wear. And I’m fine with that. I like to dress up as characters I make up, from worlds that may be entirely different or fairly similar to our own.


Are You Going?

It’s this weekend. If you’re in the area, don’t miss it! Note that tickets are cheaper for those in costume ūüėȬ†If you’re not in the area, it may be time for a roadtrip (okay, not really –¬†save your money and¬†roadtrip to Bristol later.)¬†¬†

Will give an update here later on the event.


What About You?

Do you attend an Olde English Faire anywhere? Do you dress up?