I’m a reader and writer from Chardon, Ohio, on Cleveland’s far (far) east side and not far from the shores of Lake Erie (that’s it, above). Full disclosure: I now live in Maryland, and have lived south of the Mason Dixon Line since I left Ohio at 19 to pursue a ballet career. Injured while a trainee at the Richmond Ballet, in Virginia, I decided (eventually) to go to college and find a new creative outlet.

I received my B.A. in English and MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. My short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Sou’wester, Carve magazine, Little Patuxent Review, Flock literary journal, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can hear me read my story, “Recruit,” on Flock‘s beautiful site.

In October, I did a creative reading and presented on a panel about publishing at Lit Youngstown’s Fall Literary Festival in Ohio. In January, I read at the Little Patuxent Review issue launch–and I hope to read out more in the near future. In May, I became the Features Editor at Parhelion Literary Magazine, so come find me there, too.

You’ll see my handy dandy categories above to help you find bits and pieces of my published stories, along with those I’ve gleaned from bloggers and photographers in the Rust Belt. You’ll find author interviews and book reviews (did you think I’d leave you out, Hillbilly Elegy?). And…my tales of publishing woes, successes, and stalling, along with inspirational writerly advice from the pros I try to take. I hope you’ll stick around and explore.

Why Rust Belt literature? Because it’s worth reading, writing, and sharing. And because I guess I’m a little homesick.

I’m a Rust Belt girl at heart. I freely admit that I do say ya’ll, although I refuse to say all ya’ll. And I no longer order pop at a restaurant, because waitresses here will look at me funny. But despite losing a little of my native tongue, a good-sized chunk of my heart is still in Ohio.

Just where is the Rust Belt I speak of? There’s always some debate: some say the belt consists of the easternmost plains states. Others would extend it into western New England. Most agree Ohio is smack dab in the middle of it. Basically, the Rust Belt is the post-industrial Upper Midwest. Anywhere that was powered by steel, rubber, or auto production (and a lot of human toil)–that’s certainly a Rust Belt place.

Why do we writers write? To question, understand, and connect. Since I can’t easily invite you over for a perch dinner, pierogies, or pop, let’s connect here. For more Rust Belt reading and writing fun, find me on FB. For snark, super-cute kid pics, and all the rest, see @MoonRuark on Twitter and IG.