Hailing from Chardon, Ohio, on Cleveland’s far (far) east side–and not far from the shores of Lake Erie–I now live in Maryland. Full disclosure: I have lived south of the Mason Dixon Line since I left Ohio for Virginia at 19 to pursue a ballet career. Injured while a trainee at the Richmond Ballet, I decided to find a new creative outlet, or two or three. Today, I sing in the choir and as a Mass cantor and funeral and wedding soloist for my parish. I also like to dance while I cook, much to the chagrin of my twin, tween boys.

But mostly, my life is spent reading and writing–and also hyping the voices of my fellow writers from the Rust Belt and beyond. I’m a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. Find a selection of my published fiction and nonfiction below, and be sure to check out Parhelion Literary Magazine, where I serve as features editor (and sometimes writer), and fiction reader.

This blog is my love letter to my native place, and I’m glad to share it with you. Two of my interviews with Rust Belt authors were WordPress Discover Features, and many of my posts have reached readers the world over. See my categories above to help you find author interviews and book reviews, along with writerly advice from the pros I try to take and essays on whatever literary thing is on my radar. 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.

For more Rust Belt reading and writing fun, find me on FB. For snark, cute kid and dog pics, and all the rest, see @MoonRuark on Twitter and IG.

Published Short Fiction

“The Pearl Diver,” CutBank, Issue No. 94, 2021 (print and excerpt online)

“Breaking Waves,” a novel excerpt, The Halcyone Literary Review, Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 2020 (print only)

“The Virgins,” Barren Magazine, Issue No. 8, 2019 (online)

“While Our Grown Men Played,” Little Patuxent Review, Issue 24, Winter 2019 (print only)

“Scooter Kid,” Parhelion Literary Magazine, Issue No. 4, February 2019 (online)

“Recruit,” Flock, Vol. 20, 2018 (print and online with audio)

“Six Places I Have Slept,” DASH Literary Journal, Volume 10, Spring 2017 (print only)

“Betting Blind,” Sou’wester, Vol. 45, No. 1 & 2, Spring 2017 (print only)

“Sleeping Naked,” Carve Magazine, 2002, Volume III, July / Issue IV (no longer accessible), but you can get a snippet here.

Published Nonfiction

“An Ode to an Ode About Hands,” a short essay, in Vita Poetica Journal, Winter 2022

“Singing Ave Maria for an Audience of One,” a short essay, at the Dappled Things blog, posted Oct. 21, 2021

“Poets and Prophets in the Wilderness,” a book review, at the Dappled Things blog, posted Mar. 16, 2021

“Advent is the Great Longing,” a short essay, at the Dappled Things blog, posted Dec. 17, 2020

“Fresh First Poetry Collection Draws on Women of Myth,” a book review, NewPages Blog, posted June 15, 2020

In “Readers’ Notes,” Ruminate, The Everyday / 54, Spring 2020, a short reflection