Growing my Writing with Vine Leaves, by Theresa Milstein

Thanks for joining me this week for a guest post by Boston area writer Theresa Milstein. Her collection of poetry and prose vignettes is currently available for preorder (see the links below). Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a prize during her blog tour. I’ve asked her to talk a little about how Time & Circumstance came to be. 

Welcome, Theresa!

I didn’t set out to write a collection of poetry and prose. For years, I’d concentrated on writing middle grade and YA manuscripts. Then I started writing short stories to gain experience and maybe earn a few publishing credits along the way. Around that time, I also took a series of poetry workshops. When Vine Leaves Literary Journal began in 2012 to give a platform for the vignette, the first question I asked was, “What’s a vignette?” Unlike a story, which has a beginning, middle, and end, a vignette is “a brief evocative description, account, or episode.” (Google)

Once I learned and practiced writing vignettes, I started submitting to Vine Leaves Literary Journal. They rejected several pieces, but they accepted one prose piece and one poem. Even though I rarely submitted my vignettes anywhere after that, I continued to write them and sometimes share them on my blog. I used to regularly post in response to a blog that is no longer active, “Magpie Tales,” which posted photos as inspiration. I wrote many poems as a creative outlet and also for a YA verse novel hybrid manuscript, and didn’t have any other grand plans for them.

At some point, I sent the editor Jessica Bell a few poems for a project she was considering putting together. The project fell through. Jessica was concentrating more energy on expanding Vine Leaves Press. She asked if I had enough pieces to make a collection. I knew I didn’t have enough poems, so I asked if I could include prose too. She said yes. I sat on the idea for months. One day, I put all my vignettes in one document. I asked myself a few hard questions: Were these any good? Did they have any coherence? Was I brave enough to take a chance and submit them?

When I could finally say yes to all three questions, I submitted the document. A few more months later Vine Leaves Press accepted them.

Since vignettes can be both prose and poetry, I’ve played around with both forms. It’s hard to pinpoint when I determine if something will be a poem or prose. Most often, I turn to poetry. A line will pop in my head. If it’s lyrical and I can imagine the next line below, I write a poem. But my poems tend to have short lines and few stanzas. When I want to explore a subject in a larger space, I write prose. I’d say I’m more confident writing prose—I have more experience writing full-length manuscripts, and my prose vignettes tend to have more poignant subject matter. During the editing process, Vine Leaves suggested that a few poems become prose-poems, so I even have a hybrid of the two forms!


Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press on March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat. 

Visit Theresa’s blog:
Visit Theresa’s website:


TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available for preorder

$3.99 AUD (eBook)
Kindle AUS
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
iBooks | Kobo | Nook

$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble

Book Depository
Chapters Indigo


Leave a comment and you’re eligible to win a prize during my blog tour!

1 $25 Amazon gift card
1 signed paperback copy
1 ebook

Answer the question:
“If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”

Extra entries if you share on Facebook or Twitter and link it to me.
@TheresaMilstein on Twitter
@Theresa Milstein on Facebook
#ReliveMoment or #TimeandCircumstance

Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017

17 Replies to “Growing my Writing with Vine Leaves, by Theresa Milstein”

  1. Theresa is wonderfully talented! She happens to one of my close writer friends and CPs, too, but I’m not being biased. Her writing is beautiful. Thank you for having her here to celebrate, Wendy! (Don’t enter me in to the giveaway. Got my own copy on the way.) BTW – love your premade hashtags, T! They are perfect.

    1. Theresa’s writing *is* beautiful, Sheri. She’s inspired me to return to my own poetry. Thanks for stopping by!

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