Acquisition Notice: Aquarium by the Ocean

The new daily online literary journal, Aquarium by the Ocean, scheduled to launch in March 2013 under the editorship of Roger C. Pao.

The poem acquired, ‘Soon I Will Graduate’, was written for my mother during my last semester of college, and is a mini refection on the relationship of mothers and daughters as they grow into themselves.

Hurrah for my first acquisition made in 2014!

Things I Do to Stay Sane: Learn a New Language

Growing up, I always liked the process of learning new languages. I took French, Spanish, and minimal Swahili (before my missions trip to Kenya back in 2010) when I was in high-school, and in college I took a year-long course in beginners Latin (which is dominantly translation-based rather than speaking-oriented). The differences in words, how sentences are created, what sounds are associated with what, how entire cultures form around simple re-structuring of grammar and social associations through what ‘older’ words are combined to describe new experiences has always fascinated me.

I can by no means speak, or translate, fluently in any of these languages. I can speak haltingly in French and Spanish, and usually only remember the words when I’m not in need of it. Most of it would only be helpful in greeting people, introducing myself, and asking for the bathroom in any case.

Seeing as I am now out of school for the first time, however, I find that my brain is going to need me to give it more stimulation than I normally would on ‘break’. I’m writing, that’s true, and I’m working, which is a different kind of brain work- but if I’m not learning something new in a strong structure I have this fear that I’m going to lose more of my cognitive control, that I will stagnate in my creativity, and that I will come up against a road-block in my writing that I will not be able to overcome. These are not ungrounded fears, either. It happens every winter break, when I take most of my time to ‘relax’. I find that, without pushing myself to learn, I have little motivation, and even less inspiration, in order to write or to be productive in any meaningful way.


So, for my graduation, I was given the Irish Gaelic Rosetta Stone. So far I’m on the second unit of the first level, core lesson three. At this point it’s mostly numbers and introductions and colors, but already the difference in just how the language sounds has been keeping me up and going, writing wise. I chose Irish because it was so radically different from the languages I had already ‘learned’, and so was the most intriguing  As a woman of Irish heritage, I also thought it might be fun to be able to tap in to my own roots with it. Furthermore, me, Monkey and my little brother will be learning the language together in order to help me in social situations with both my autism and my triggers. By the end of the year I may not be fluent in Irish Gaelic, but I will hopefully have learned enough to be able to tell my brother and boyfriend when ‘I’m scared’ or ‘I don’t like/trust this person’, ‘I want to go home’, or ‘I’m feeling just fine. I’m just tired’, without feeling the anxiety that comes with other people, strangers or not-close-enough acquaintances knowing that there is something ‘wrong’ with me- and they can tell me ‘Be a little quieter’, ‘Be careful’, ‘You’re being rude’, ‘That person is happy/sad/angry’ (for when I can’t read expressions) or ‘This person is coming’ without having to feel socially awkward about saying it out-loud with other people understanding them. So my end goal for learning this language is, I suppose, all encompassing- I want to be able to use it to better myself, and my experience of the world, both personally and professionally. I’m going the Rosetta Stone route because I learn better in solitary settings where the method is immersion, rather than translating or note-taking. I think the way in which one learns a language can effect one’s reception of it, and that if you want to learn a language for whatever reason you should do so in the way that best connects to your own personal way of learning, so that it can benefit you the most in the long run.

So here’s a question for my followers: If you were to learn a new language, what language would it be, and why? Would you do language software, or a class?



2014 Resolutions!

2013 was a huge year for me, but I can’t just stop at what I accomplished last year. 2014 is going to be my year of renewed commitment to my craft- to getting better, writing more, and pushing forward. So, in honor of that, I’ve thought up some New Year’s Resolutions that I think will keep me on track.

1) Blog no less than twice a month here on the Amber of the Moment.

2) Be more active on my social media sites-Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn,- becoming more active in the author-reader community online.

3) Attend more open mics in my local community (goal:once a month ). I had been doing that for awhile, attending some really awesome open mics at the Tattered Cover and local coffee shops, but in the hecticness of graduating I kind of let that go by the wayside. I want to be more active in my physical, local community as I am trying to be more active online.

4) Learn Irish Gaelic, getting to at least a beginner’s level by the end of the year if not farther. More on how that’s at all relevant to my poetry in the next ‘Things I Do to Stay Sane’.

5) Find publishers for my two completed manuscripts, The Shattered Deity (religious poetry, waiting for some of the poems to be published before I can submit it) and The Stickiest of Honey (coming-of-age-through love poetry).

6) Take care of myself, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Can’t be the writer I want to be without being a good person, and can’t do that if I neglect my self-care.

7) Read and review more poetry collections. I have a couple that I need to purchase so I can read them, but if any of my readers have review copies that they’d like me to have a go at I would be more than happy to accept review copies for poetry collections for the time being. I’ll be posting reviews to both Amazon and my Goodreads account.

Here’s to a good year!

2013 in Review


Well this sure has been a huge year for me- besides graduating from college this month, all year long I’ve been breaking my own goals for writing and taking the first several leaps that I need to become serious about this whole being a poet-and-author thing.

This year alone, I have:

-Been published in thirteen journals

-Had twenty-three  poems published

-Participated in my first 48-hour Film Festival as a writer and associate director

-Published a thesis through my college (Lumen Metaphoram: The use of metaphorical reality theory to evangelize in the modern Roman Catholic Church)

-Have  fifteen  poems already acquired for the year 2014 in seven journals

Which brings my career total to:

27 unique journals publishing my work

59 poems currently published

15 poems acquired and awaiting publication

Not too shabby! Let’s see if I can break that total in the coming year!

Acquisition Notice: Time of Singing!

Third time’s the charm! My poem ‘Gospel’ will be included in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of Time of Singing– the third time I’ve been published in this magazine of Christian poetry. This particular poem was written about the sometimes-chaos of mass and how to appreciate it, one of my personal recent favorites.

Anniversary Giveaway: Winners

It’s December 7th- a year ago today, Drunk Dialing the Divine was released by eLectio publishing as my debut collection of poetry.

For my anniversary giveaway, 423 people entered and 5 people were selected randomly by Goodreads as winners.

Congratulations to the giveaway winners:

Melissa Pollard

Dustin Judah

Katrina Knittle

Brigitte Short

Mariam Mahamah


I will be sending out the winning copies Monday!

Things I Do to Stay Sane: Read Poetry (Lots of It)

     One of the things I’ve been most surprised by, as I enter in to the world of professional poetry and writing in general, is how little beginner writers tend to actually read. Especially poets. A lot of the times when I go to poetry groups, clubs, or readings and I’m talking to people afterwards, it’s hard for me to get an answer to the question: who is your favorite modern poet? 

       I’ve got to admit, I was definitely one of these kinds of poets when I was in high school. I read only the poetry assigned, as I believed that all modern poetry was just a bunch of hokey, beat-style hooey that could never recapture the magic of seventeenth-century poetry while being able to relate to modern sensibilities. I decided that only I, with my passionate sixteen-year-old soul, could write the poetry of my generation. 

     Which was absolutely ridiculous, of course- but I didn’t know that until I actually decided to suck it up and read some modern poetry, dang it. (And of course, by modern, I meant anything written after Shakespeare’s time in my mind). Sure, there was some of that beat poetry that I didn’t like, and the abstract modern poetry that I still don’t like because it’s too pointlessly obtuse. But there were other things too- there was sprung rhymes, spoken word slam, new ways to play with line breaks that read more like a conversation between souls than just a normal conversation. There was poetry from the point of view of refugees, minorities, people with different physical and mental disabilities, from different genders, sexualities and cultures. There was so much beauty to be admired in these new, modern words that I could have never even imagined! 

       To think I had once thought myself alone! Some times, the sheer amount of wonderful modern poetry made me doubt my own abilities. Could I ever become as good as these people? But then, reading more poetry has made me much more capable of recognizing the individuality of the poets- to celebrate the places that they are coming from, the insights that they bring, without feeling that my own talent or career or wellbeing is at stake just because I can see theirs! Even with the small moments of stress professionally, it still is overall much more beneficial for me to be well read in poetry. I love being able to try out new trends (or old forgotten trends) in my own writing, to see what new or old topics are being talked about by other poets, to see where I fit in not just as some individual, unique artist, but as one artist in a sea of talented people creating an ocean of emotion and creativity. It keeps me grounded, it keeps me lifted, and it keeps me going.

     Some of my personal favorites recently include Warsan Shire’s Teaching my Mother to Give Birth, Nayyirah Waheed’s salt., Kathleen Norris’ Little Girls in Church, Joanna Kurowska’s The Wall and Beyond, Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure, anything by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and SETH’s Black Odyssey, and Simon Ortiz’s from Sand Creek. What are some of your own personal favorite modern poets? 

Updates: Goodreads

While this month has been almost entirely subsumed by my participation in NaNoWriMo (so far I’ve been keeping on track with my word count- I might actually make it!) I haven’t forgotten my dedication to my poetry, I promise.

So to give you all some updates on what I’ve been doing:

Today, I updated my Goodreads profile. Just like I have separated my writing specialties between two names, so now will I split the list of what I’ve read. Under Amber Koneval, now, will only be the poetry that I have read, both modern and classical. I won’t be able to get into the stuff I’ve read before until I can get back into my boxes of books at home, but I figured this would be a good way for you all to get to know me as the reader of poetry that I am, and not just a writer of it.

I’ve also been updating my next full length manuscript. At the moment, it sits at forty-five poems. I have some decisions to make about how to structure the collection and whether or not I want to add to it, but ultimately I have shaped it a whole lot more. I will have to wait on submitting it as many of the individual poems are acquired for publication, but not published yet, and I want to be respectful to those journals that have first publication rights. My poetry collection of love poems is circulating the submission pools at the moment, and I will let you know the moment I get any positive response on it.

Around three more weeks before graduation now, so I will be focusing a lot on that- and then I will be sitting down and giving myself better structure to help me become a better professional writer for the months to come.

Anniversary Giveaway: Drunk Dialing the Divine

Can you believe it’s almost been a full year since I first announced the publication of my first poetry collection, Drunk Dialing the Divine? I sure can’t!

Drunk Dialing the Divine by Amber Koneval

To celebrate, I’m running an anniversary giveaway through Goodreads from now until December 7th- the anniversary date for the collection’s original publication date. Through this, I’ll be giving away five free, signed copies of the collection, which will get to you just in time for the holiday season! So go on, enter to win (or, if you don’t want to take your chances, you can get your copy securely through the publisher– when you buy the paperback, you get an e-copy as well!)

Good luck to all my entrants!