Introducing Theresa Milstein

I’ve known Theresa for ages now – although I can’t remember how or when we met. That’s usually how writers appear in my life, surreptitiously, hanging around my blog or Facebook when I’m lost in a series of scenes and popping up with useful advice. I’m delighted to have her on my blog to help celebrate the launch of her new book, Time & Circumstance, which I reviewed on Goodreads recently. Take it away, Theresa…


When Vine Leaves Literary Journal began to give a platform for the vignette, the first question I asked was, “What’s a vignette?” At that point, I’d written a few manuscripts and short stories for children and teens, and I’d taken several poetry workshops. My heart was in the novel. I’d only started submitting short stories because I’d heard it was a good way to gain writing experience and it gave me a few publishing credits. The poetry workshops became a creative outlet, but I hadn’t taken it seriously.

Vine Leaves rejected my first submission, which was all telling and not at all a vignette. I read their first issue. There, I truly got the idea that a vignette is a moment in time captured. Vine Leaves accepted my second, a prose piece. The third time I submitted a poem, and it was accepted.

I became a regular vignette writer. I’d write because something impacted me, and the only way to come to terms with it was to say something about it in a small space. I’ve found that vignettes fill the void when I’m letting a full-length manuscript sit. There was one blog I turned to regularly for inspiration. It no longer posts, and I miss it. I’ve learned that I’m a competitive person: give me a picture prompt and a phrase of some sort, and I’m typing away. Several years later, I’d accumulated enough vignettes to make a collection.

I’ve been asked what determines if a piece of writing becomes poetry or prose. Often the first line directs me. If it’s lyrical, and I sense a rhythm in the next line, it becomes a poem. I wind up with many more poems than prose. But if the subject needs more freedom than the space a poem will take, prose works better for me. I know there are people who write poetry with long lines or that go on for many pages. I recently went to a poetry reading, and the woman recited her poem for about fifteen minutes. That’s not my style.

When editing my vignette collection with Vine Leaves Press, I appreciated the editor’s perspective. Several of my poems became prose poems, which is a poem that appears as prose. So, sometimes what works best for my writing is a compromise between the two forms!


photoTheresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press in 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.



TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available for preorder.

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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.

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Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017




41 thoughts on “Introducing Theresa Milstein

    1. Thanks, Alex. We all have different writing styles. I have never come up with an idea for a murder mystery or horror. I did one science fiction short story, but I really pushed myself.


      1. It gives me a good brain break between projects, and distracts me from looking at the same manuscript over and over when it’s supposed to be resting or with other readers.


  1. Thank you very much to Annalisa for hosting me. And thanks so much for the book for the book review! I can’t remember when I met you officially either. Must’ve been blogging because I knew you before your submission of You. I. Us. to Vine Leaves.


  2. Hi Annalisa and Theresa – no idea when I met you both …but probably via one of the A-Z Challenges – the way many of us meet … but I love that you can just write and get your work out and published … Time and Circumstance seems an ideal title for your vignette – good luck with the spread and sales: it will happen for you both … cheers Hilary


  3. Such an amazing cover! Love it! I also enjoyed the explanation of what defines a piece as poetry or prose.

    As for a moment I would like to relive- I am not sure. So many wonderful moments. Maybe reading Harry Potter for the first time. I love rereading it, but it would be amazing to read it with the same surprise and awe I had that very first time. 🙂

    Best of luck to Theresa!


    1. Oh yes, I remember when I first read Harry Potter – I was lucky, my in-laws bought the first 4 for my son so I was able to read them in very quick succession 🙂


  4. Congrats to Theresa! Also fascinating to read about her writing process. A vignette is something I have yet to master. I’d also never heard of prose poems – intriguing. Relive a moment in time? I’d have to say the moment my daughter was born (although my wife may disagree!) I was trying to capture it on camera and my phone chose that moment to die, so I didn’t appreciate it properly.


    1. Nick, thank you. A prose poem is in paragraph form, but it has a rhythm like a regular poem. The paragraph sort of speeds up the reading, and the short lines make it snappier.
      That sounds like a great moment to relive (I’d skip the pain part personally)–looks like you need a do-over with a fresh battery!


  5. I like the title, cover, and concept. And I understand how sometimes a poem works, other times a story. And I’ve converted or transformed either way also. I think the word vignette is descriptive – just a dabble of a moment, almost like a picture in a frame. Good luck with sales and promoting your work. You are on your way with an appearance on Annalisa’s lovely blog.


  6. Hi, Theresa and Annalisa, I’m pretty sure we met on Vine Leaves Press Staff and Authors FB page. This is such a great little post, Theresa, and I think you nailed the definition of a vignette. I’ve been writing fiction, a bit of poetry, and novellas for some time now, and I love your definition, if I got it right, a moment in time. I kind of thought of vignettes before in this manner, and for me kind of like tiny character sketches since I’m more character than plot centered in my writing. I can’t wait to read your book and find out more about vignettes. Hi to Alex. (We know each other from Anne R. Allen’s Writers blog. My best to all, Paul


    1. Paul, you really do try different types of writing! Delving into character through a vignette is definitely an interesting way to write a vignette. I used to be focused on beginning, middle, and end. Now it’s nice to explore character or mood or setting and just linger there a while.


  7. I love the thought of “vignettes filling the void while a full-length manuscript sits.” Perfect! It renews my interest in vignettes. Good luck, Theresa.


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