About Me

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Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. I'm also working on two novels and a short story collection. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Superb new story from Ink Pot #6 by Pam Mosher

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Books I read in May:


“The Evil B.B. Chow” by Steve Almond

“Towelhead” by Alicia Erian

“The Perfect Stranger and Other Stories” by Roxana Robinson

“In My Other Life,” stories by Joan Silber

“Come Up and See Me Sometime,” stories by Erika Krouse

“The First Desire” by Nancy Reisman

“Stop That Girl” by Elizabeth McKenzie

“Case Histories” by Kate Atkinson

“Asking for Love” by Roxana Robinson

“A Glimpse of Scarlet” by Roxana Robinson

“People I Wanted to Be” by Gina Ochsner

I liked all of my book choices this month but I especially loved the elegance and kick-ass writing of the Robinson collections; loved the wild symbolism of the Ochsner collection; enjoyed the fun of "Case Histories;" and loved the fun of "Stop That Girl."

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The Missouri Review has a gorgeous new look.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

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Here's an old interview with Swink's editor, Leelila Strogov

Friday, May 27, 2005

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A Party of Widows by Nin Andrews at AGNI

Monday, May 23, 2005

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Find out what Dan Wickett thought of recent issues of Swink; Night Train; Orchid; Frostproof Review; and others: Lit Journal Round Up

Sunday, May 22, 2005

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Parker by Steven Gullion

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Okay, I read LTC's recommendation, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson and was not disappointed. But certainly wondered if I would get through the slow start. If you can work your way past page ten, you will be rewarded. The design of this is most fun: Atkinson weaves three mystery storylines together throughout the book and the reader slowly learns of things that connect them. The first case is the disappearance of a little girl; the second a shooting of a man's daughter; the third, the mental break of a mother whose need for perfection proves to be her downfall. And there's detective Jackson Brodie, with a mysterious past who is called to solve these cases. Right up to the end, Atkinson keeps the reader guessing. Although due to excellent characterization by Atkinson, I did know who one of the actual killers was before it was revealed. Great fun!

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Elizabeth McKenzie's novel-in-stories, Stop That Girl is one of the best books I've read this year. The book follows Ann Ransom, the quirky, thoroughly lovable narrator from childhood to adulthood. What ties the individual stories together other than the gorgeously flawed characters is McKenzie's crystaline prose and sharp wit.

In the beginning story, young Ann is sent to Europe with her grandmother (mumsy but Ann calls her simply "Dr. Frost")while Ann's mother has her second child. When her mother has recovered sufficiently from the birth, Ann and the doctor fly back to LA and Ann meets her sister for the first time. In the airport she picks her up against her mother's wishes:

"That's it. I start to run. After carrying my suitcase all over Europe, she's only a tiny bundle.
My mother says, 'Wait! Stop!'
It was the beginning of my future, and I had the thought at that moment there was no one in the world who would ever understand my version of things. I plunged through the crowd, holding my sister close to me. I heard my mother crying out, my grandmother barking commands, and Roy Weeks shouting, 'Stop that Girl!' But no one seemed to connect them to me, so no one stood in my way."


If you want a laugh-out-loud read, this is the book for you!

Friday, May 20, 2005

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What's wrong with the modern book review?

The Book Seller

Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Writer Max Ruback reviews Amy Hempel's latest collection: Stop Smiling Online

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Anyone know why one of my stories is being used by this site to teach english as a second language: The Hub?????

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Thanks to Dave Clapper for the news Insolent Rudder is coming back.

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An article on the relationship of history and novel writing: The Yemen Observer

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An interview with India's Tarun Tejpal, a journalist turned novelist: The Independent Online

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Apparently The Paris Review's former editor, Brigid Hughes, is starting her own journal: WBZ1030.com

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Here's a bit on Nancy Reisman at Book Page

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Nancy Reisman, author of the award-winning short story collection has published her first novel: The First Desire." It is an amazing well-written, controlled book, with rich layers of characterization.

What does it mean to remain loyal to your family? What part of you would you have to hide in order to do so? Or would you be more inclined to disappear all together? This book takes a look at each member of the Cohen family and how they deal with their own familial ties. After the death of her mother, eldest daughter Goldie Cohen disappears. Her father believes she is dead, and if she isn't in reality, she is to him, so he holds shiva; Jo lives her entire life afraid to claim her sexuality; Sadie who lives her life in the ways she'd expected wonders at the end if she's chosen wisely; and Irving, a gambling man who can't settle down with one woman lives a double life: one his family can approve and one that feels closer to who he is. Finally, there's Celia, the slightly unstable, fragile member of the family whom everyone works hard to protect.

Monday, May 16, 2005

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Lit-Blog Co-op has announced its first book: LBC

I have this one in my pile (of course).

Friday, May 13, 2005

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Stunning flash fiction from Beverly Jackson

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Writer and good friend Myfanwy Collins has a flash fiction featured on Riley Dog

Thursday, May 12, 2005

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More about Nicole Kraus and her new book, "The History of Love."

I really must pull it off my shelf soon.

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Here you can be a part of the vote for the month's best literary sex scene: Henry Miller Awards.

Steamy.

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Yesterday while driving I listened to Brooke Shields discuss the circumstances that inpsired her memoir, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression." I was impressed by the candid, beautifully articulate, and graceful Ms. Shields, and realized how helpful such a memoir can be for those not familiar with the seriousness and dangers of PPD.

You can listen to her interview with Terry Gross here: Fresh Air

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Foer a Ghost?

Jonathan Safran Foer's Last Post Ever

Thanks to Girija Tropp for the original link.

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The Perfect Stranger

The thirteen stories in Roxana Robinson's newest collection all share an amazing elegance, clear insight into human nature, and at times, breath-stopping tension.

In "Family Christmas," a young girl witnesses an event that opens her eyes to an adult world full of complexities, contradictions and class divisions. In "The Face Lift," a woman gets together with an old school friend who possesses a vitality she once envied. The woman soon discovers things are not always what they seem and no one is impervious to danger. The ending of this one is brilliant. In "Choosing Sides," a woman not only finds out her son has fathered a child but that he doesn't want to stick around to parent it. The woman must decide if she wants the child in her life.

Two of the most riveting stories in the collection, "At the Beach" and "The Treatment," showcase Robinson's command of a story and how much tension it should deliver and when. "At the Beach" captures perfectly the panic experienced by a beach full of people who for one moment fear the worst has happened, and "The Treatment" stars a woman with a terminal illness who eventually feels forced to protect her faith in her body's ability to heal.

I cannot say enough about how powerful and beautifully written this collection is. A fully satisfying read straight through.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Alternate Realities:

Here's what I missed this afternoon:

A pair of geese walking across our yard followed by their babies.

Here's what I didn't miss:

Alexander getting his first bicycle helmet and sharing an icecream with me.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

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Read "Sea Girls" by Theresa Boyar in Avatar Review.

Stunning.

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The new issue of Word Riot is up with many wonderful stories, flashes and stretching forms. Don't miss the book reviews like this one of Amy Hempel's Dog of a Marriage. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my pile and I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 06, 2005

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Night Train's Tom Jackson interviews novelist Grant Bailie before he enters his isolation writing cubicle.

Good luck to Grant and the others!

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Letters of condolence sent to Virginia Woolf's family are now being published.

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Interview with literary agent, Noah Lukeman

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

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In Towelhead, Alicia Erian’s debut novel, readers are offered a view of what it might be like to grow up a child of two parents of different cultures. We may not leave with any more idea about that than we had coming into the novel but we will get a glimpse of a whole lot more than we probably bargained for.
Thirteen year old Jasira, the main character of the novel, is at once notably naive and sophisticated as she determines the best way to walk across the thin ice of her parents’ making. Her mother, a controlling, self-centered, unloving school teacher won’t show Jasira how to shave her bikini line so that Jasira may feel comfortable at the swimming pool. For some unknown reason, Jasira’s mother is uncomfortable with Jasira’s developing body. Her mother’s boyfriend steps in and does the shaving, swimsuit on, and when her mother finds out, Jasira is sent away to live with her father.
If the reader is looking for some relief for Jasira in the home of her father, they will be disappointed because Daddy turns out to be even more uncomfortable than her mother with not only Jasira’s body, but the very idea of her existence. Not only are Daddy’s rules unreasonable but they are unpredictable and Jasira has to second guess everything that comes out of her mouth.
Next door lives a pedophile who throughout the book seems to be the one abuser of the three (mother, father, neighbor) that holds any amount of conflicting feelings and guilt regarding his actions whereas the mother and father remain oblivious to their offenses.
Added to the mix are the politics of war (although Erian does not dig all that deep in this area); adolescent sexuality; and racial issues.
Jasira is lucky to find an advocate in another neighbor: a pregnant newlywed with more of a world view than others around Jasira, who ultimately rescues her from both of her parents and the pedophile.
Among the criticism Towelhead has received, one fot he things that stood out to me was the complaint the narrator sounds younger than her thirteen years. Initially I thought the same thing. The first sentence: “My mother’s boyfriend got a crush on me, so she sent me to live with Daddy,” sounds as if it came from a girl a couple of years younger than Jasira’s thirteen. It’s only after reading further that I was able to gain some insight as to why Jasira’s mental and emotional health may have seemed arrested at times. Under the constant emotional and physical abuse of her parents it would have been more unbelievable if she had come across as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually together.
This is a book that is not easy to read—Erian’s straight storytelling does not make the abuse Jasira endures more comfortable for the reader. For that reason among others, I recommend you do read it.

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Why Steve Almond writes short stories.

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Writer Mary Akers on government and religion.

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New at Salome: Almost the Same Desert

Monday, May 02, 2005

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Article on Alicia Erian Here

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You can listen to Alicia Erian, author of "Towelhead" and short story collection, "The Brutal Language of Love" read one of her stories.

I've just finished her novel "Towelhead," and will be writing a review shortly. I've also recently purchased her collection and am looking forward to reading it.

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Uncle Frank on book awards: New Pages

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News from Carve:

2005 Raymond Carver Short Story Award:

First Prize, $2,500, Adam Stumacher
Second Prize, $1,000, Peter Fong
Third Prize, $500, Stephanie Kallos
Best Story by a non-North American Author, $250, Judy Crozier (Australia)
Editor's Choice Award, $150, Brian Meckley
All six remaining finalists received $100

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Books I read in April:


“Mrs. Kimble” by Jennifer Haigh

“Flesh and Blood” by Michael Cunningham

“Pearl” by Mary Gordon

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

“A Year of Pleasures” by Elizabeth Berg

“The Laws if Invisible Things” by Frank Huyler

“The Quarry” by Damon Galgut

“The Good Wife” by Stewart O’Nan

“Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona,” stories by Ryan Harty

“Follies,” stories by Ann Beattie