About Me

My photo
My work can be found in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, New Delta Review, 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 Associate editor for Narrative Magazine. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I have a feeling it's gonna be a great one.


Myfanwy Collins

was interviewed by a reporter of the Boston Globe.

Friday, December 29, 2006

American Short Fiction

This is a great issue with four solid pieces: a excerpt from Tiphanie Yanique's novella "The International Shop of Coffins: Simon Peter; Roy Kesey's powerful story "Any Deadly Thing," about killer snakes, a grieving snake killer and snake handlers; a story by Jess Row about grief and lost people after 911; and "The Secret Heart of Christ," a long essay by the late Matt Clark that I'm in the middle of now and it's just amazing.

The editor writes in his note that "each of these stories has
strong community ties," and that's true, but they also seem to involve themes of grief and identity and acceptance. It's a great issue.

My Cat Olivia

Flash Flood

interviews one of my favorite bloggers, Sarcastic Fringe

Monday, December 25, 2006

Six Little Things

has published an exquisite short piece by my friend Cliff Garstang called The Learned Lama.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

SmokeLong Quarterly


also announced is the winner of the Kathy Fish Fellowship.

Guest editor Matt Bell was amazing to work with and expresses his thoughts about each piece selected.

I fall in love with the flash fiction form once again as SLQ fills its pages with so many incredible pieces. I know you'll enjoy--each story is a beautiful, brave world.

Don't forget to read the interviews--and the answer to the one question Randall Brown asks of all of them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In Addition

to his journal and literary blog, Steven J. McDermott has a new author website in which he also offers podcasts of his stories and has announced the publication of his collection "The Winter of Different Directions," forthcoming near the end of 2007!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh Man I Would Love

to go to this writers' conference. Maybe someday...

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I won't be writing full reviews for a while as I'm busy with working on my novel, family things throughout the holiday, and moving to our new house in the next town over. That said, I'm too obsessive (or something) to let all these good books I read go without at least leaving a line or two of comment:

Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch. I would read a cookbook by this man--I first fell in love with his collected stories and as always, he makes writing look so much easier than it is. This follows a few zany people--some related, some not, around Thanksgiving. There are some unforgettable characters, outright hilarious, and frankly, an unforgivable character--unforgivably passive and weak. And it's the characters, the richness with which Bausch has drawn them, that make this book a great read.

Between Here and the Yellow Sea by Nic Pizzolatto. A wonderfully rich story collection. I enjoyed all the stories but one of my favorites was the first, "Ghost Birds." I loved the image of the main character BASE jumping off the St. Louis Arch and the connection he makes with a young woman who wants to learn how to do it herself. The other favorite was the title story which follows a young man and his high school coach as they travel to California to "rescue" the coach's daughter from being a porn star.

Last Seen Leaving by Kelly Braffet. Smart and edgy, I devoured this novel. A woman tries to find her grown daughter who's disappeared. Years before, the woman's pilot husband mysteriously disappeared as well, under suspicious circumstances. Back in the present, there's a serial killer on the loose and the reader wonders if the woman will find her daughter before the killer does.

Forgetfulness by Ward Just. An ex-pat lives in France with his wife and is host to old friends from the states when his wife goes out for a walk up the mountain behind their house and doesn't come home. This is a thoughtful, quiet thriller, but powerful in its subtlety. Just is an elegant storyteller.

Seek the Living by Ashley Warlick. This novel follows a young woman as she struggles to deal with the unsettling relationships of her past and present: her brother, a womanizer who is haunted by the mystery behind the bones he's been digging up in his back yard; her husband who's seldom home and is haunted himself by things unseen by her; her past lover who died a mysterious death in Mexico before he was to marry someone else. Brilliant, dazzling writing in an assured voice. Warlick chooses the unusual, and therefore the most precise, words in her sentences to make them sing.

Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan. Perhaps my favorite of the bunch, Donovan manages to take an unforgivable act and make it seem almost forgivable. The characterization in this book is a master lesson for writers. Stunning in its brilliance. One of my favorite books of the year.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Taraxa, a Norwegian journal, is running a special flash-fiction issue on December 1rst and has included my story "Tracks," first published in Word Riot.

I'm honored to be in such fine company.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Writers at the Beach

What could be better than a writers' conference at the beach? Here's one to consider.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kristen Tsetsi

is interviewed by Steven McDermott, editor of Storyglossia, on the writing of her prize-winning story "They Three At Once Were One." Read McDermott's reasons for awarding Tsetsi first place and her thoughts about writing it.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Steven McDermott: Why "They Three at Once Were One," where’d this story come from?

Kristen Tsetsi: How not this story?

Someone in the military serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is reported dead every day. (According to a recent story I heard on NPR, the average is three a day.) The stories might sadden people a little, they might think, "Oh, no. Not another one . . . ," but then the following story—this year's fashions and how to make sure you're stylin' in the snow—takes over, and the next thing people are thinking about is whether to buy an orange or purple plaid scarf.

And I'm not being accusatory—I've done it, too. It's just the way desensitization works. And while everyone is thinking about their scarves—and maybe even being angry about the toll war takes—the person whose dead friend or family member or true love was just listed as one of the day's casualties is sitting somewhere shattered (if they even know, yet . . . at that moment, they might be trying to remember whether John was on that convoy, or where in Baghdad he was fighting, and if one of those three might be him). ...

Bravo, Kristen! And Bravo for writing such a beautiful story.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


After my month-long struggle on whether or not to write my next project as a novel or a short story, I came to the conclusion I'd allow the project to dictate the length rather than me. (My notes say it looks like it's going to be a novel)

So. The serendipity part: There's a great discussion between Aaron Hamburger and Maxine Swann over at Small Spiral Notebook.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Editor Steven McDermott has more commentary and interviews with the winners of the fiction contest on Storyglossia's blog.

Monday, November 20, 2006

More Pushcart News

I just received notice my story "Bighead" has been nominated for a Pushcart by The Jabberwock Review.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ron Currie

This time author Ron Currie is interviewed and reads from his amazing debut "God is Dead."

There are also other interesting interviews on the site.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Mini-Rant

A friend (thanks, Myf!) sent me a link to this article in the Burlington Free Press.

Here's what I think. The whole notion of being offended by the sight of a mother nursing her baby is completely, unforgivably, ridiculous. You see, I covered, but sometimes, I didn't cover, because frankly I nursed about a thousand times a day and didn't always have the time or inclination to protect anyone's potential offenses (it's a boob people get the fuck over it!) and sometimes it was too damn hot to cover for baby and me and I stopped seeing the breast as anything but a way to feed my baby the second I started.

People have to get over themselves. Finding the natural use of the breast offensive is childish. Grow up and get over it, people!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Elizabeth Severn

This time Steven McDermott interviews Elizabeth Severn on the writing of her prize-winning piece, "Dumpster Digging for Daddy."

Again, scroll down for Steven's comments on the story.

John McNally

author of "America's Report Card," "The Book of Ralph" and others has a great post on his blog about rejection.

Jim Tomlinson

I think I'm going to call this interview week because here's another insightful interview, this time Velocity interviews the amazing Jim Tomlinson.

Jim's latest installments of his short story "Birds of Providence" are also available.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hal Ackerman

In yet another insightful post, Steven McDermott interviews Hal Ackerman on the creating of his prize-winning story Hunting and Fishing.

Scroll down to read Steven's thoughts on the "Hunting and Fishing."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Theresa Boyar

Steven McDermott, editor of Storyglossia, interviews Theresa Boyar on the writing of her award-winning story, "Waxing Razal."

You can scroll down to read Steven's thoughts on Theresa's story.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I was surprised and delighted to learn Steven McDermott, editor of Storyglossia, has nominated my story "Snake Dreams" along with five other stories from the Fiction Prize Issue. Thank you, Steven! And congratulations to Kirsten, Steven, Theresa, Christiana and Gabrielle.

I was also honored with a Pushcart nomination from Rebel Press. Thank you Rebel Press! And congratulations to Susan DiPlacido, Tom Saunders, Don Capone, T.J. Forester and Marcus Grimm.

I also picked up the 2007 Pushcart and read Kim Chinquee's "Formation" and noticed Xujun Eberlein received special mention for her piece, "The Death of a Red Guard." Both women are extremely talented and I'm happy to see they've been recognized with this honor.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Two More Interviews...

One is with Richard Bausch, interviewed in a new-to-me online journal Our Stories. I'm reading Richard Bausch's newest novel "Thanksgiving Night" and am loving it.

The other interview is at Storyglossia with Gabrielle Idlet for her prize-winning story "Vacancies."

Scroll down and read editor Steven McDermott's thoughts on "Vacancies."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And Speaking of Interviews...

the brilliant, hilarious and lovely Susan DiPlacido has been kind enough to interview me on her blog.

Thanks, Susan!

(I tried to thank you on your blog, but apparently beta-bloggers--I'm a beta-blogger--and regular old bloggers do not mix company yet. Ha!)

Chris Sheehan

is interviewed by editor Steven McDermott on the conception and delivery of his prize-winning story "Roots and Limbs."

Ron Carlson

is interviewed by Pia Z. Ehrhardt in Quick Fiction.

After reading the interview I have to say I thought it was one of the most thoughtful interviews I've read. Both Pia's questions and Ron's answers were especially compelling and articulate.

Over on LitPark

Susan Henderson talks with Iowa Short Fiction Award Winner, Jim Tomlinson

Monday, November 06, 2006

Congratulations to Roy Kesey

whose short story collection "All Over" has been chosen to be the first book published by the new press, Dzanc Books:

November 6, 2006

Dzanc Books is proud to announce we have found the book that will become our first title: Roy Kesey’s extraordinary debut short story collection, All Over. Dzanc Books will publish All Over in October 2007.

Roy Kesey has been hailed as one of our best young writers, and All Over presents 19 of his most original and latest stories. George Saunders called Kesey’s writing, “beautiful and powerful... mythic, vivid, heart-rending." Roy's work has appeared in over 50 top flight literary journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and The Georgia Review. Several of the stories in All Over first appeared in journals such as Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, Other Voices, and The Iowa Review.

Roy currently lives in Beijing, where in addition to writing incredible fiction, he also writes two regular columns – “Dispatches From Roy Kesey, an American Guy Married to a Peruvian Diplomat Living in China,” for the McSweeney’s website, and “Little-Known Corners,” which appears monthly in That’s Beijing. Kesey’s writing in All Over is filled with great inventiveness, his characters and stories at once unique and familiar. Roy believes that “ … there has to be something fundamentally human threaded through all that--fear and pain and love and worry and jealousy and generosity and spilled juice, say--for it to be worth writing or reading.” (Interview with Richard Cooper at Satori Kick).

Roy Kesey has previously published the novella, Nothing in the World (2006, Bullfight Press). Tom Bissell described it as "Beautiful, brave, and I will not soon forget it." Dzanc Books is delighted to be able to expose more of Roy’s writing to a much wider audience by publishing a collection of his short stories. As a young writer whose novella was unanimously well received, and with a lengthy story publishing resume, Roy is on the verge of exploding onto the scene. We here at Dzanc Books are thrilled to be able to announce the forthcoming publication of All Over.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Storyglossia Issue 16

Storyglossia's Fiction Prize issue is now live!

The editor, Steven McDermott, will be posting his thoughts of each story as well as some interviews so be sure to check it out.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


to TothWorld #60, a podcast of Claudia Smith reading her work; TothWorld #61, a podcast of Myfanwy Collins reading her work; and many many more.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Storyglossia Fiction Prize 2006

the results are in!

Congratulations to Kristen Tsetsi and all the other winners and finalists!

I'm delighted to see "Snake Dreams," took 1rst runner up!

A huge thanks is due to Steven McDermott, my Zoe friends who endured a couple of revisions of this story (ha!) and Dorothy Allison and her workshop at Tin House this year.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rebellion a finalist in the US Book News Best Book Awards

Rebellion, an anthology of Zoetrope writers is a finalist in the USA Book News 2006 Best Book Awards!

Fiction & Literature: Anthologies

Winner: Untangles: Stories & Poetry from the Women and Girls of WriteGirl, WriteGirl Publications, 0-9741251-4-8

Finalist: Rebellion: New Voices in Fiction, Rebel Press, 0-9786738-0-8

Finalist: Writing the Cross Culture, Fulcrum Publishing, 1-55591-541-8

USA Book News

Writers include:

Robin Slick • Susan DiPlacido • Tom Saunders
Steve Hansen • Katrina Denza • Myfawny Collins
Marcus Grimm • T.J. Forrester • Grant Jarrett
Matt St. Amand • Tripp Reade • Donald Capone

Also available directly from the Rebel Press website

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Conversation with Robert Vivian

Robert Vivian, author of "The Mover of Bones," the haunting and lyrical novel about a man carrying a dead girl across America has graciously agreed to answer a few questions:

Your book deals with complex themes: sin, horror, grace, redemption. What
name would you give to the most prominent theme?

I didn't start out with a particular theme in mind, though I did know Jesse and the girl were on a head-long journey across America. That stark but simple quest gave me permission in a sense for various stops and encounters along the way: this richness of encounter--or multiple encounters--created the patchwork of the book; that, and listening obsessively to Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der erde (Songs of the Earth). Hopefully, readers will infer their own sense of theme. What I was really after was a kind of tone, a kind of urgency, as vague as that must sound.

Jesse Breedlove is a fascinating character—at times he's utterly gruesome
and yet at other moments he's beautiful—I’m thinking specifically of his
love for the dead birds and how at times he was the one to offer grace to
lost people. Who is Jesse Breedlove and where did the inspiration for such a
character come from?

I see Jesse all the time in the small town I live in--in men driving pickup trucks, coming back from work, from farms, idling at red lights. They're usually wearing flannel shirts with feedcaps, with cigarettes aglow. And some seem to embody a kind of intensity, restlessness. I used to live next to a scrapyard--and I'd just notice some of the workers getting off from their shifts, completely covered in rust and dirt, piling into their trucks. That was me up until a few years ago, when I went back to school and so forth.

Your prose is stunning. "The Mover of Bones" is filled with surprising,
lovely imagery. How long have you been writing? Do you also write poetry?
And how long did you work on this novel to get it to its lyrical and
thematic richness?

I've been writing seriously for about 17 yrs. now. I do write poetry, but I'm finding that the possibilities of the novel can incorporate all the genres--and then some. I worked on Mover for about three years--and it truly was one of the great love affairs of my life, even though it deals with strange, some might even say macabre material. I was in transition myself at that time in my life, driving a lot, and these same peregrinations helped me to understand where the novel was going.

The abandoned father and daughter really captured my heart, and this
line, which sums up their relationship, is about the best line I've read in
fiction all year: "We communicate through touches, like two balloons bumping
into each other in a quiet room where nobody goes." What words of comfort
would you offer that father?

Alas, I don't think I could offer any words of consolation to the father. But these brief, incandescent encounters with other people are part of what makes life not only bearable but worth living. But one can't predict these things--they come as gifts, and vanish almost as quickly. But sometimes that's enough--more than enough.

Crows show up in several of the chapters. I'm curious about their

I've been interested in crows for a long time now: I wrote an essay about them in my first book called "The Dark Hangnails Of God." To me they're beautiful birds, if a bit foreboding. Perhaps they're even my spirit bird, I don't know. I seem to notice them everywhere. And oddly enough, they confer peace as often as unrest.

What's next for you?

Mover is the first part of a trilogy, all of which I'm relieved to say will be published by the Univ. of Nebraska Press. And here I have to mention my editor Ladette Randolph, whose guidance and friendship I'll never be able to repay. She has impacted my life as much as anyone. If I go on, I'm afraid I'll gush and embarrass myself. But she's really the one who believed in Mover--and believes in Bomb-Maker's Son, Part II of the trilogy (which I have finished but am in the process of revising), and Part III, which is entitled Lamb-Bright Saviors. I'm currently working on Lambs right now. So I feel very fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful editor--and a publisher that makes such beautiful books.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Mover of Bones by Robert Vivian

Once in a while you come across a book that invites the reader to fully engage, that keeps the reader on edge, trying to figure out both the surface meaning, and the deeper metaphorical meaning hidden in the text. "The Mover of Bones" by Robert Vivian, published by University of Nebraska Press, is such a book.

The book opens with the scene of a drunken janitor in the cellar of a church. He's there to dig up the bones of a murdered child. The scene is riveting and eerie with its abandoned religious statues looking on as Jesse Breedlove works frantically to free the hair of the girl that has continued to grow beneath the ground. We don't know if Jesse has killed her, or if he has merely witnessed her killing, but he knows she's there, and that knowledge has undone him.

Vivian has given us eighteen characters, eighteen distinct voices, through which we follow the path of Jesse Breedlove as he carries the bones of the girl across America. Each character is at a point of despair in his own life or is strangely touched by the sight of the pair: A truck driver is forever changed when he bears witness to both the dead girl's singing bones in the back of an abandoned vehicle and Jesse, a cross burned onto his chest, emerging from the woods; A disenchanted sixteen-year-old walks away from her birthday party and even after seeing the horrifying image of Jesse and the mutilated girl, she insists she wouldn't have traded the experience; a gas station owner uses heroin to ease the pain of his missing feet and wishes the man he sees carrying the bones of the girl could bring his feet back to him; an infantile man hoards the bones of a dog and hopes to use them to scare away the men who come to have sex with his mother; a repentant womanizer holes up in a hotel while he waits for death to take him, and while there sees Jesse in the room next door; a formerly abused woman sees Jesse and the girl in the woods playing with her missing son and becomes determined, after that precise moment, to conquer her fear of her ex-husband. These are just a few of the people who are touched in some way by the sighting of this haunting pair.

Throughout the book, readers can ponder the significance of Jesse: did he really kill the girl? Who is he? Is he the soul of America? Is he the second coming? Is he the devil? Or is he simply the embodiment of human regret and anguish? My bet's on the latter, though it's still anyone's guess. And that's part of the beauty of the novel. Another is the drop-to-your-knees poetic prose. Lines such as these:

From Earl Dodson, the reporter following Jesse and the girl across the country:

"My words no longer are, if they ever were, ethereal fairies I summon to feel smug about my talent, but tiny and blind earthworms moving the earth one precious square inch of soil or shit at a time."

From Nathan Webb, an anti-abortion activist:

"I would not kill the doctors who kill the babies, only ask them to eat their dinners at night bathed in the blood of their innocent victims. I would ask them to shower in that same blood and take a bath in the afterbirth that never was, just mucous and dead baby brains of those who wanted a chance to think on the glory of God."

From Little Woodpile, the man who sets fire to his mother's couch:

"The crows are in the trees like the small dark marks you see in books."

and this from Ed Jakowski who's wife has left him to care for his severely handicapped daughter alone:

"We communicate through touches, like two balloons bumping into each other in a quiet room where nobody goes."

There are many disturbing images in "The Mover of Bones." Vivian doesn't shy away from death, or ugliness, or cruelty. But there are many beautiful images as well, and then there are the inexplicable mysteries. It seems to me this book contains every gorgeous, awe-inspiring, horrific thing life has to offer.

Check Out This Artist

at Baltimore Interview.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference

is coming up. C.M. Mayo, literary translator, writer and poet is offering a travel writing workshop.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Special Congratulations

to my talented friend, Laila Lalami whose debut novel has just been shortlisted for another prize, this time it's the 2006 Oregon Book Awards.

Jim Tomlinson:

A conversation

Loved this interview! What a lovely, intelligent person Jim is.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

If you haven't read this book yet, you're missing out on a treat. Ellen Meister's debut novel is great fun and the writing is witty, sexy and smart. Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA follows three women as they work together to get a movie producer to help their school obtain a stadium and bring George Clooney to town. Each woman has problems of her own though, and readers will cheer her on as she overcomes them. This is a laugh-out-loud funny book--but don't be fooled. It's also a book about serious issues and Meister handles them with compassion.

I'll be looking for more work from this author.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Reviews of Lit Journals

If you're wondering which journals to buy, the latest reviews are up at New Pages.

Also Cliff has another LitMag Wave going (scroll down) and Dan has some comments on lit journals over at EWN.

Laila Lalami

has an excellent essay in the Boston Review.

A related side note: Laila taught a special class at Bread Loaf 2006 on working in native speech in a piece of English prose. It was very informative.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Carry Me Down by M.J. Hyland

In M. J. Hyland's latest novel a boy whose large size already casts him as being different, strives to set himself apart officially, by making it into his favorite book, the Guiness Book of World Records. John Egan believes he can do this by being the world's only human lie-detector. In the background, his family struggles with his father's choice to pursue his dream rather than keep a steady job and John suffers humiliation from his peers after he wets himself in class. Hyland's writing is clear and lovely; her characters, unforgettable and charming.

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell

One of the most important things I can tell you about this book is it's a must-read. An absolute must-read.

Ree Dolly is a young woman whose life is harsh beyond imagining. She lives in the Ozark mountains, in an area populated by Dollys, a clan of law-breaking, crank-cooking, tough-spirited people living in poverty. Her house is shared by her mentally-broken mother, Ree's two younger brothers and her father--except her father's disappeared and left her alone to fend for the family. Ree must find her father and bring him back by a set date or they will lose their home, their land, everything.

Woodrell's language is clear, poetic, take-your-breath-away gorgeous. Ree Dolly is a heroine of the kind not often seen in modern-day fiction.

From the opening paragraph you'll be swept right into Ree Dolly's world and not want to come out:

"Ree Dolly stood at the break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavor, sweeten the meat to the bone."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Three Recent Reads:

All of which I'd recommend:

Torch by Cheryl Strayed. Beautiful story of a family's grief. Classy, elegant writing; full range of emotions and characters.

Halfway House by Katherine Noel. Sharp, poignant rendering of a young girl's mental illness and its affect on her family. The writing is fresh and evenhanded.

and lastly The Professor's Daughter by Emily Raboteau, an accomplished, artful novel-in-stories. One of the characters is a brilliant young boy sent to private school on a scholarship and brutally harrassed by his white classmates; one of the characters is another brilliant boy who sees color in sounds and who suffers a senseless accident; and one of the characters is a young woman caught in between:

"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable."

Side note: all three talented authors were fellows at Bread Loaf this year.

Friday, September 15, 2006

SmokeLong Quarterly

Issue 14 is now live!

This is a special issue designed to complement "Flash Fiction Forward" an anthology edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas.

Enjoy! There is, as always, amazing work within.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Exciting New Press:

(Ann Arbor, MI) - Steve Gillis, author and founder of 826michigan, and Dan Wickett, founder of the Emerging Writers Network are pleased to announce the launch of Dzanc Books, a not-for-profit literary venture.

Dzanc Books is a 501(c)3 organization set up to operate exclusively for charitable, literary, and educational purposes. Our mission at Dzanc is 3-pronged: To assist literary journals in reaching the largest reader base possible; to develop educational programs within the schools in the areas of reading and writing; and, beginning in 2007, to publish two excellent works of literary fiction per year.

As Publishers, Dzanc's mission is to provide a home for some of the amazing, talented authors out there. Both Steve and Dan are intimately aware of the current state of publishing, which finds well-intended presses unable to offer their authors the necessary editorial or marketing support, particularly when a manuscript doesn't fit neatly into a clear market. We at Dzanc have no such fears. If the manuscript is excellent, we will provide editing guidance and do whatever it takes to find the audience a work deserves. We aren't concerned about a Dzanc book falling into some special niche to market towards as our strategy is far more expansive. Everyone at Dzanc is well connected and aligned with editors, distributors and public relations folks who have years of experience working with literary fiction on a national scale. While Dzanc operates as a non-profit, our authors will receive full payment just as any for profit house. More about submitting can be found at www.dzancbooks.org/excerptsubmissions.html.

Beyond publishing, Dzanc Books will assist literary journals with the promotion of their publications. Dzanc Books believes literary journals constitute an invaluable venue for authors to gain exposure for their work. With this in mind, Dzanc plans to provide financial and networking aid in order to assist literary journals in their subscriptions, distribution, fundraising, and overall exposure to the reading community. Dzanc has no interest in influencing any of the editorial decisions of these literary journals. We only want to help journals succeed in achieving their missions, and hopefully relieve some of the stresses that go with doing so. All of our services to literary journals are 100% free, provided as part of our ongoing commitment to bring greater exposure of fantastic writing to the public.

Third, it is the mindset of Dzanc Books that bringing literary fiction into the schools is extremely important. We plan on developing workshops and Writer-in-Residency programs in middle and high schools - having an author spend weekly class time with students throughout an entire school year, teaching and developing their creative writing talents, with the end result being a self-contained anthology. Dzanc Books also plans on furthering current relationships with college professors in order to get literary journals taught at that level, as well as continuing to develop partnerships with some of the wonderful programs currently operating in the schools. While located in Michigan , it is Dzanc's ambition to extend its educational outreach to other schools who wish to participate. As with our other programs, author workshops and Writer-in-Residency programs are 100% free.

Dzanc Books is a culmination of a dream Dan and Steve have had for some time. It is the vision of Dzanc to do all it can to assist writers, journals, and students to continue to experience literature on the highest scale. We are a well-organized, fully-funded and well-oiled machine and we look forward to working with all of you in the future.

For more information:

Dan Wickett – dan@dzancbooks.org Steve Gillis – steve@dzancbooks.org

Monday, September 11, 2006

You Must Check Out

the new online Small Spiral Notebook!!

It's full of great things!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Half of a Yellow Sun

Thanks to Dan at EWN, I learned Chimamanda has a beautiful new website to promote her latest novel Half of a Yellow Sun.

I'm looking forward to reading this new one--she's an amazing talent!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Sycamore Review

on cover letters.

An excerpt:

"I'll say this right off the bat, though: a weak cover letter (or lack thereof) will not keep a strong submission out of the magazine, and a strong cover letter will not get a weak submission in, no matter how many top-notch publications the author lists or who they name check. So stop freaking out."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Baltimore Interview

has its latest installment with artist Jason Hughes.

A Dog Named Steve

Susan Henderson has a delightful story about her dog named Steve, among other things.

He's a handsome guy, that Steve.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jim Tomlinson

on MJ Rose's Backstory.

Here's an excerpt:

"...The stories of Things Kept, Things Left Behind are set in and around the fictional town of Spivey, Kentucky. The details of the place – the Appalachian foothills, the coal history of the place, the particulars of attitude, idiom and dialect – may be peculiar to this place. But the stories told are stories of yearning, stories of the human heart, and in this they are universal."

Now this sounds like my kind of book. And I'm looking forward to my copy arriving any day now.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Per Contra

The Fall 2006 issue is now live.

The Good Works of Ayela Linde by Charlotte Forbes

I've just finished this delightful, lyrical novel. What makes it so special is its structure. It's a wise choice. Forbes allows several characters their chance to tell what they know of the novel's central character, Ayela Linde. It's through this fractured, many angled lens readers can best see the whole picture, can hold the most truthful version of Ayela in their minds. It's a novel driven by character through time, and time through character. A wonderful read.

Friday, September 01, 2006

SmokeLong Quarterly

is open for fall submissions.

Spiraling Down

Kyle Minor in his interview with Chad Simpson spoke eloquently of how hard writing honestly and deeply was on him and his family:

"There's something rather selfish about allowing oneself to spiral down into that kind of darkness for the sake of a piece of writing when other people are depending upon you. I know that during the time I was working on "You Shall Go Out with Joy," I was significantly less available to my wife and my son, and not just in terms of time, but also in terms of emotional availability. Somehow, to write as honestly as I wanted to write, I had to become twelve years old again, and strip away perfectly good defense mechanisms so I could revisit pain that I'd buried long ago."

This particular part of the interview spoke to me as I know exactly what he's refering to. There are pieces of my novel that wring me dry everytime I work on them, make me moody and difficult to deal with. Anyone who knows me knows this is out of my character and yet it happens. I wonder how we can go through these periods of spiraling down into truth without alienating those we love or without losing the tether to the ordinary joys we've set in place in our lives.

I find I need some decompression time. Maybe just a few minutes between the time I stop writing and the time I emerge from my office to see my family. Ideally, a walk would be even better, but not always possible. What do you do? How do you as writers dive down and come back up unscathed?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Many great things to check out:

Myfanwy Collins has been bloggasmed!

Jim Tomlison's award-winning debut "Things Kept, Things Left Behind" is now available for purchase!

Ellen Meister's Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is also available!

Jim Ruland reviews Ben Fountain's short story collection.

Chad Simpson interviews the fabulous Kyle Minor and don't miss the chance to purchase a copy of Twentysomething Essays.

Sean Carmen shares his thoughts on books he read on Maud Newton.

The latest issue of Storyglossia is now live.

A Note to Flight Attendants:

Please consider the momentary, but powerful, responses evoked by announcing shortly after takeoff, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a slight problem." Only to, after a long pause, tell the people on the plane there is not enough ice to go around in everyone's drinks. Granted, the problem is slight. But maybe there's a less dramatic way it could be conveyed?

After almost a month away, it's so good to be home.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bread Loaf

It's day 6 here on Bread Loaf mountain and I haven't determined if it feels like forever or if I just got here. It's the halfway point and I'm enjoying every bit of it.
The awkwardness of the first day at school is long gone and I've slipped into a comfortable routine, sometimes demanding, sometimes laid-back. My instructor, Kevin McIlvoy, is a sharp, kind, supportive teacher and my understanding of certain aspects of the craft have increased dramatically thanks to his insights in each workshop and craft class he teaches, and also due to the quality of lectures here. I feel inspired to work on my novel and to write more stories when I leave, and there's no greater feeling for me than that. (Okay, so maybe an acceptance is good too) :)

I've met some fabulous people, both those I've known online for some time and new. It was great seeing Laila Lalami again (I'm looking forward to her craft class and to her reading), meeting Cliff Garstang and Mary Akers for the first time, and many many others.

Miss you all and hope you're writing and reading is going well.


Saturday, August 05, 2006


Posting will be sporadic during the month of August. I'm traveling to New England and on to Bread Loaf.

Be well. Write your hearts out. Hope your reading inspires you.


Friday, August 04, 2006

"Disintegration" by Kelly Spitzer:

A review.

and the story.

A Pacifist's Prayer

International Prayer for Peace

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

Nikc Miller

is the latest artist featured at Joe Young's Baltimore Interview.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA"

Today is the release day of Ellen Meister's debut novel Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA!!!

The Canadian Chick has an interview with Ellen, as does Myfanwy Collins all this week!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Joe Young

has an excellent essay/review up at The Angler.

Rebel Press

Rebellion—New Voices of Fiction

Thomas Jefferson said,
“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

We agree.

Rebel Press is proud to present an alternative to the safe and familiar names put forth by the major publishers.

This anthology offers fiction that is off the beaten path, by authors who write for art’s sake, for the love of the craft, authors who aren’t afraid to extend the boundaries of the short story.

Please enjoy these fresh new voices.

Join the rebellion.

Robin Slick
Susan DiPlacido
Tom Saunders
Steve Hansen
Katrina Denza
Myfawny Collins
Marcus Grimm
T.J. Forrester
Grant Jarrett
Matt St. Amand
Tripp Reade
Donald Capone

Rebel Press

Ellen Meister

Myfanwy Collins is interviewing author Ellen Meister all this week to coincide with the release of Meister's debut novel Secret Confession of the Applewood PTA.

Two smart women. One smart conversation.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tin House Highlights Part 3

Dorothy Allison

When I chose Dorothy Allison for a workshop leader it was because years ago, when I read Bastard Out of Carolina I was wowed by Allison's ability to write about horrible people with love and compassion. It was an early ah ha moment, well before I started writing again myself. I'd also heard from a friend who'd been in workshop with her before that Allison was funny, generous and smart, smart, smart. I discovered she's all that and more.

Her presence in a room is like a great mother bear. She's direct, kind--always kind, encouraging, and validating.

Some bits of wisdom from her workshop:

*Writers are all neurotic.

*Tell the story you're most afraid to tell.

*invent a new language with sound.

*white space is important in a manuscript.

*character should take inventory when they walk into a room.

*Take a cliche and change it for the reader.

*Characters think in dialogue.

*writing bad is the key to writing good. Take risks. Break rules.

*Take your structure apart scene by scene to get a sense of it.

*SOBs are necessary in fiction.

*Nothing trumps fear for main character in creating narrative tension.

*Writing is being naked in public.

Dorothy Allison read from an early draft of a story she's working on. One of three versions she's written. It was the most powerful reading I've ever heard--more performance art than a reading--and the experience of it was amazing. She's amazing.

Friday, July 28, 2006

EWN Short Fiction Contest

I am excited to announce what I hope to be the first annual Emerging Writers Network Short Fiction Contest. The winning story will be posted on this blog during the month of December 2006, and will also find itself published inthe Spring 2007 issue of Frostproof Review. The author will also receive $500.

While the stories will all initially be read and evaluated by myself, 20 finalists will be passed along to this year's Guest Judge: Charles D'Ambrosio!! He will select a winner out of these 20 finalists and write a brief introduction as to what it was that jumped out at him, and elevated it to the top of his pile. Charles D'Ambrosio has published a short story collection, The Point, as well as a collection of essays, Orphans. In April 2006, his second collection of stories, Dead Fish Museum, will be published by Knopf.

Now for the W's:

Entry Fee: $10

Deadline: All stories must be physically mailed and arrive with a postmark of August 15, 2006 or earlier (and feel free to start sending as early as today)

Length: Stories must be between 3000 and 8000 words in length

No former classmates of either Charles D'Ambrosio or Dan Wickett are eligible to win.

No students, former students, or former instructors of either Charles D'Ambrosio or
Dan Wickett are eligible to win.

No family members of either Charles D'Ambrosio or Dan Wickett are eligible to win.

Of the 20 stories selected by Dan Wickett as finalists, at least half will come from non-EWN members (to ensure no pro-EWN member bias on my part, unintentional or not). This caveat relies on having received at least 10 submissions from non-EWN members.

The 20 finalists will be sent to Charles D'Ambrosio with no author names - he will be selecting his winner blindly. Once he's made a choice - we will verify that D'Ambrisio has never been a student of, or with, the author; nor a former classmate of the author; nor a family member of the author. At that point, we will announce the winner.

The 20 finalist titles and authors will be listed on this blog (www.emergingwriters.typepad.com) in the winner announcement post, again, in December 2006.

As this is an EMERGING WRITERS network - only authors who have (or will have) published three books or less as of December 31, 2006 will be eligible to win.

Manuscripts, and checks of $10 (made out to Dan Wickett) per entry, should be mailed to:

Dan Wickett
EWN 2006 Short Fiction Contest
1334 Woodbourne Street
Westland, MI 48186

Rusty Barnes

Read his latest piece in Opium.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Joan Silber

Sarah Adair Frank interviews Joan Silber

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tin House Highlights Part 2

Here are some of my notes from a couple of lectures:

Aimee Bender:

In fiction, 2 plus 2 should equal more than four.

Flannery O'Connor's stories have despicable characters who have a moment of redemption

In fiction, the link between actions and motives isn't always clear and taking on a motivation can be demeaning to a character.


*Trust what you don't understand
*Look for an action you can't explain

Steve Almond:

All writing comes from oral stories and from song

Our effort to express painful, complex, sometimes ecstatic emotional states brings the piece closer to song

A matter of pacing--slow down characters hurt or in danger

The lyric moment must be earned--must feel organic to what comes before

It's the effort to capture truth that makes beauty on the page. Path to truth is through shame.

3 problems in a story:

*nothing changes: failure to recognize plot as mechanism to force characters up against their desires

*bail out in peak emotional moments

*Lapse into sentiment--asserted by author not felt by character

Editor's note:

You see, I was paying attention, despite my incessant yawning.

SLQ Review

Randall Brown reviews"Remember" by Myfanwy Collins.

Friday, July 21, 2006

New Issues

of Elimae and FRiGG are available for your reading pleasure.

Lots of good reading within!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A New Feature at SLQ

I'm late announcing this, but in case you haven't seen it yet, SmokeLong Quarterly has added a reviews section to their already stellar journal. The purpose of this addition is to promote excellent flash fiction on the web, or as editor Dave Clapper says:

"Recently, The Angler reviewed two flashes, one of which had appeared in SmokeLong. Soon after, a blog called On Life as a Sarcastic Fringhead took the time to review every piece in our thirteenth issue, and Steven J. McDermott soon followed suit with several mini-reviews (and he'd also earlier reviewed two other pieces from SLQ). We thought this was a great service to writers and we decided that we wanted to further the mission of calling attention to great writing. With that in mind, we hope to present one new review each week of a flash that has appeared in another publication. We'll also do our best to post links to reviews of SLQ that have appeared elsewhere in hopes that we can repay them, if ever so slightly, in traffic. We hope you enjoy the stories we highlight here."

Dave Clapper has begun with a review of "Blood," a story by Elizabeth Ellen and Steven Gullion reviews "After My Nephew Reads My Poem About the Cow Who Got Stuck in a Tree," by Carla Panciera.

My latest limag reviews are up

at Moorishgirl.

All five of these journals impressed me. I thoroughly enjoyed each of them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tin House Highlights Part 1

The days followed pretty much the same routine:

I was awake by 5:30/6:00 every morning

Took a shower (the first morning I couldn’t figure out how to get hot water so my shower was pure torture—in fact I think I opted for leaving the soap in my hair. Now that’s a look I don’t want to do often)

Finish any “homework” I didn’t finish before passing out from exhaustion the night before. Of course, the first morning I was chipper from being pampered by a night in a hotel.

Walk to the “Dining Commons” (sounds much nicer than cafeteria, doesn’t it?) and circle it waiting for first cup of caffeine and food to follow. (I’ll get to the food later)

After breakfast, workshops began at 9:50 and carried on until 12:30 or 1:00.

Then the race to lunch!

Race through lunch and race to the other side of campus for lectures!

After lectures, a half hour free-time until happy hour. (I opted out of most happy hours. I was happy already and exhausted. Any more happiness and I would have passed out on the grass.)

Dinner at the Dining Commons

Nightly readings and interviews starting at 8:00

Reception (more booze and schmooze) at 9:30

Nightly homework.

For some reason I seemed to be stuck in the food department. I normally eat things like sushi, fish, salads, pasta, healthy vegetables, fruits and cheese, etc. At Tin House, however, somehow I thought that eating a cheeseburger everyday was easier than trying to figure out which thing on the line was least likely to kill me. I think I managed to eat a cheeseburger five days in a row before my body revolted. I won’t eat another cheeseburger for a year. And breakfast? Ha! My normal breakfast is yogurt. At Tin House I ate greasy hash browns, scrambled eggs, and bacon every single day. Oh, and I did eat the yogurt, too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Surprise

I'm looking forward to the next stage--painting over the hot pink. :)

The Spirit of Tin House

Throughout the week, if you walked up to any Tin House participant and asked them if they were enjoying the sometimes brutal schedule, their workshops, or the conference in general, you would most assuredly hear that person say yes and why. How is it that a conference can embody such a feeling of support and excitement and joy that it infects everyone involved?
It begins with the people who run it. People like Emily Bliquez, administrative director of the conference who never stopped offering a gracious and friendly smile from beginning to end; people like Rob Spillman, editor of Tin House magazine who generously offered insights on the journal and who ran the conference with friendly class. In fact, everyone involved with running things looked as though they were thoroughly happy to be there, as though there was no other place on earth they wanted to be than right there, in beautiful Portland Oregon with all of us wild writers and poets.
And how about the Workshop leaders? Could you find any better writers and poets than Dorothy Allison, Steve Almond, Aimee Bender, Ann Cummins, Charles D'Ambrosio, Anthony Doerr, Nick Flynn, Mathea Harvey, Karen Karbo, Lee Montgomery, Lorrie Moore, Antonya Nelson, Michael Ondaatje, D.A. Powell, Elissa Schappell, Jim Shepard, and Anthony Swafford from which to learn?
For me the whole experience was an embodiment of love. Love for one another, love for the act of writing, love for learning. I came away with a sense I am not alone, even though writing is by nature an insular act. Tin House Conference was an invaluable experience, and if you get the chance to take part in it yourself, I'd recommend you do. You won't forget it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What I Came Home To:

* No luggage. Yes, once again, Delta didn't send my luggage home. Exactly what happened on my last trip. Apparently in all the musical gate-change games Delta had to do in Atlanta last night the baggage people gave up trying to keep up and went outside for a smoke instead.

*A HUGE strong-armed hug from my four-year-old who was both delighted to be up after midnight(!) and to see his mommy.

* A pink and orange house. Cough. Cough. At first, when I saw the strange eerie pink glow on our porch as we were pulling into our driveway I thought, "Tom must have put in a tacky lightbulb." And at 3:30 in the morning I wasn't sure it was really real, this color on our formally moonstone-colored stucco house. Then I woke up. Apparently the hot pink that is our house is the primer. Huh. People are driving by and taking pictures folks. This will not do for an insular writer like myself.

*A HUGE hug from my teenaged son and a wonderful "I missed you, Mom."

* A pink and orange house. I think I have the hope if I write about it enough it may go away.

*My sweet and very fat cat, Olivia, who told me a story about all she did while I was gone.

*And from my husband? Orange roses (to go with the house) and a very nice welcome home. :)

*I would take a picture of this pink and orange house but I can't. My camera is somewhere in Akron Ohio, or Raleigh NC, or Memphis Tenn, or Daytona Beach. It probably is right where the baggage agent said it is though: Atlanta GA. Like I said, the guys gave up and had a smoke.
When and if my bag returns I will post a pic.

*To be fair to my wonderful husband, terracotta painted in an Italian style with faux-aging techniques IS something we agreed on together. It just sounds much more dramatic and interesting to suggest it was a complete surprise. I mean it was a suprise, the doing of it, just not the idea of it. :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tin House--Sleep Anyone?

Sunday is a travel day for most Tin House people. I kept waking up this morning paranoid I'd miss my taxi-ride because I don't have an alarm clock. At home, my child is my alarm clock. He was not at Tin House.
I shared a taxi with Xujun Eberlein, since that would bring me closer to the airport(caffeine)faster. Wonderful. Great. Except that my flight didn't begin at 10:40 as I thought, but at 12:46 and I arrived at the airport at 8:00. Five hours earlier than I needed to. Which is why I'm sitting at this little airport cubicle making this post.

I won't mention the amount of sleep I could have had (at least three or four more hours).
No, I won't even go there.

I will be posting about the conference and related events as soon as I've had more than five consequent hours of sleep...so more to come.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tin House

I'm not sure when I'll begin my posting about my experience at Tin House--perhaps after I've had enough sleep to write a single sentence without having to stop and correct my mistakes every third word. I've been on the run ever since I got here--so much to hear, learn, do, and not quite enough hours to do them in. It's Wednesday, and I'm just beginning to feel adjusted to Pacific Time, so maybe by the last day of the workshop I'll be able to offer something worthwhile about this time. Or maybe not. :)

In the meantime, Stephanie has highlighted things nicely.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jim Tomlinson

Felicia Sullivan reviews this talented author's debut collection "Things Kept, Things Left Behind."

"The eleven stories in Jim Tomlinson’s award-winning debut offer up a rural Kentucky where pride and familial honor are sacrosanct, old flames don’t extinguish quietly and secrets are hard to keep..."

Wasyl Palijczuk

on Baltimore Interview.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

John Baker

Be sure to check John's blog throughout the next couple of weeks. This talented writer from England has asked several bloggers, myself included, five questions. He'll be posting the answers while he's away on vacation.

First up: Donavan Hall

Monday, July 03, 2006


Here's one with Sarcastic Fringe.

Here's one with writer and translator C.M. Mayo.

And you can listen to Laila Lalami on To the Best of our Knowledge radio show.

More comments

on SmokeLong Quarterly Issue 13 by Steven J. McDermott, editor of Storyglossia. Thanks, Steven!

And if you haven't already, please check out the reviews on Sarcastic Fringe.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I've been busy preparing for Tin House, reading and commenting on lit journals (my next column will be coming out soon), working with my husband on getting another house ready to move into, and just overall busi-ness. It's a good thing. But sometimes my blog is left to wilt on the vine. Posting will be sporadic at times through the summer, but after Tin House I'll be posting about my experiences there, as well as after Bread Loaf. In the fall, I'll have book reviews and I hope to add a couple of new features. So...have a great summer! I'll be in and out, and of course, checking your blogs out as well.


Thursday, June 22, 2006


I love this new site--tons of reviews and lit news.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Narrative Magazine

The latest issue of this extraordinary online journal is live with lots of great fiction, interviews and nonfiction--one of which is by the talented Pia Z. Ehrhardt.

Cezanne's Carrot

The Summer Solstice issue is live.

Check out

the first issue of the new journal, The Picolata Review. There are lots of wonderful things inside including an interview with EWN's Dan Wickett

Monday, June 19, 2006

Box of Books

I just discovered this interesting blog through MetaxuCafe. She has a couple of interesting interviews.

A Review in The Angler

Joseph Young discusses the strengths of "The Photograph" by Kathy Fish.

Adrienne Brodeur

Susan Henderson interviews the Founding Editor of Zoetrope.

Mary Akers

read Multi-Colored Tunnel Life by Mary Akers in R.KV.R.Y.

And Clifford Garstang has a story in the journal as well as Mike McManus.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Word Riot

The June issue is live with work by Steven J. McDermott, Cheryl Chambers and more!

SmokeLong Quarterly Issue #13

I'm excited to announce Issue 13 is live.

Thank you to the talented, passionate writers within who made being guest editor a complete joy: Roberta Allen, Christopher Battle, Matt Bell, Lisa K. Buchanan, Jai Clare, Ron Currie, Jr., Steve Cushman, David Erlewine, Kathy Fish, Mike Hagemann, Jennifer A. Howard, Jeff Landon, Steven J. McDermott, Srdan Papic, Ellen Parker, Mary Lynn Reed, Chad Simpson, Claudia Smith, Girija Tropp, and Joseph Young.

Thanks also to Dave Clapper, Randall Brown, Thomas White, Steven Douglas Gullion, and Marty Ison for making it such a great experience I didn't want to stop.

More of Gina Frangello's Essay

Community Part III

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Susan Henderson

has a lot of cool going on this week on her blog!

(I watched Cars this past weekend and thought it was great)

Book Review--Voodoo Heart

I have a review of Scott Snyder's fabulous Voodoo Heart up at Moorishgirl.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's Not Just A Waste of Time

Writer and translator Madam Mayo talks about the reaction she received from a publisher when she mentioned she had a blog.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fiction Contests

Remember there's a new Fiction Contest at Emerging Writers Network and also a new one at Storyglossia.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Storyglossia Issue 14

I love this journal. And I admire its hard-working, talented-in-his-own-right, editor.

This looks like another cool issue with talented writers such as Alicia Gifford, Jai Clare among others.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scott Snyder

is interviewed by the talented Susan Henderson.

If you haven't yet bought his short story collection Voodoo Heart and you need a bit more convincing, I'll have a review up next week at Moorishgirl.com

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The new issue is live, guest-edited by Sharon Hurlbut.

There's a lot of good stuff here!

Jim Tomlinson

joins other Kentucky Writers Outraged by Mountaintop Removal. He writes of his experience taking the tour.

Here's the horrifying view from space.

Ellen Meister

Don't miss her debut novel this summer!

I love her new website. Also check out Lisa Kudrow reading excerpts on the Audio clips.

Lit Mag Survey

Cliff Garstang has a one question poll for you to answer.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Laila Lalami in The Nation

read her recent essay.

Alicia Gifford in Per Contra

Read her story Inertia in the new issue of Per Contra.

Alicia is exquisitely talented. One of my favorites.

I am so impressed with this ezine--the quality is outstanding!

I also want to highlight a piece by Randall Brown (one of the editors of SLQ and a damned good writer)

and don't miss the "TIME OUT: The United Nations' Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Rebel Press

I'm excited to announce Rebel Press has brought together 12 authors for one of its debut books! Look for its release near the end of June, beginning of July. You can also buy it via Paypal on the website.

Read some excerpts.

Edifice Wrecked

Their new issue is up

India's doing it...

Jane Smiley's story was made into the movie, "Secret Lives of Dentists," and of course everyone knows about "Brokeback Mountain." India's television directors also know how valuable a short story is.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Katie Weekley

Recently, when I asked writer and extraordinarily hilarious woman, Katie Weekley how the movie business was going, I was referring to her business as usual movie business. Little did I know she's been very busy (along with partner Goeff) on making a movie of her own!

Congrats, Katie and Geoff!

E Panel: Writing Women's Voices

Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers Network has another wonderful

"The following is a live e-panel conducted with Lauren Cerand, the fifth such panel since we began the concept last March. This one, as Lauren explains in the introduction, ran a little differently as Lauren actually joined in to co-moderate, and two of the particpants actually did so via e-mail after the chat due to either scheduling, or technological issues..."

Young Writer

My four-year-old son peered into his glass of sparkling orangeade and told me "the bubbles looked like a crowd of people dancing."

Yes. I'm proud.

It also underlines how natural creativity is to kids. When I taught art, the four to eleven-year-olds had an innate sense of design and their work took my breath away. The same is true for writing. Kids don't seem to listen to "inner critics." Instead, their minds are free. A great lesson for us adults: listen to your inner kid! ;)

Kay Sexton

If you haven't seen Kay Sexton's new blog, check it out. Offering writing tips, publishing savvy and plenty of encouragement, it's useful for writers at all stages of experience.

Heather Sellers

It seems I'm always falling in love with new work. Heather Seller's work is not new--she has five books under her belt, but her short story collection, "Georgia Under Water," bought directly from Sarabande Books has drawn me right into the wonderful mind of Heather Sellers. In Georgia she's created a memorable, delightful, funny character, a young woman in love with her body, her sexuality (even before she knows exactly what it all is) and her father. One of the best collections I've read all year. Sellers' honest and fresh writing brings to mind the work of this writer which has similar qualities.


One of the things I like about the ezine Lily is its photos and occasional interview with a photographer. For May, they offer an interview with Manny Librodo, a photographer from the Philippines.

The Literature List

Budd Parr, administrator of Metaxu Cafe is the editor of the new PubSub list, The Literature List.

While I'm not sure what all the data means, it looks interesting and it offers links to a lot of litblogs.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dan Wickett

writes about community on Gina Frangello's blog.

Gina Frangello follows up with Community Part II

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Story

by Steven J. McDermott in Thieves Jargon

Thanks to Dan at EWN for the original link!

Friday, May 26, 2006

SmokeLong Quarterly

I have had a blast guest-editing issue 13. I'm so excited about the stories that will appear and it's been an honor and a privilege working with such talented writers.

Here's the line-up:

Roberta Allen
Christopher Battle
Matt Bell
Lisa K. Buchanan
Jai Clare
Ron Currie, Jr.
Steve Cushman
David Erlewine
Kathy Fish
Mike Hagemann
Jennifer A. Howard
Jeff Landon
Steven J. McDermott
Srdan Papic
Ellen Parker
Mary Lynn Reed
Chad Simpson
Claudia Smith
Girija Tropp
Joseph Young

Issue 13 will be posted June 15.

And I'm also delighted to announce I've been invited to remain on staff! This thrills me as I've enjoyed the aesthetics and concept of this jazzy journal and its supportive staff since its beginning.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Storyglossia Fiction Prize 2006

Storyglossia is sponsoring a new fiction contest--looks to be excellent! The deadline is October 1, 2006.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


After five days and four nights at the coast I'm back rejuvenated and ready to dig in to the hard work of reading and writing. (Someone has to do it) ;)
I had a fabulous time. One thing troubles me though. How did I not know there were gators in North Carolina??? I thought I knew everything to fear here, the black widows, the recluse spiders, the cotton mouths, rattlers, copperheads, the water moccasins. The alligators were a complete surprise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An Essay by Laila Lalami

in the Huffington Post

New Lit Journal Reviews

are up at New Pages.


I'll be away for a week enjoying the coast of North Carolina. I hope you all get lots of reading and writing in.

To my friends in rainy New England, I hope you get some relief.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Public Space Announces...

(It sounds great. I wish I could go.)
A BEA Event: Please Join Brigid Hughes and A Public Space, along with
Charles D'Ambrosio, Kelly Link, John Freeman, and Rick Simonson for a
Conversation about the Short Story

We're currently witnessing a renaissance in short story writing. But
selling short story collections (to agents, publishers, booksellers,
and eventually to customers) remains a challenge on many levels.
Please join A Public Space for a discussion about the short story
from three perspectives: the writer—Charles D’Ambrosio and Kelly Link—
the critic - John Freeman - and the bookseller - Rick Simonson. With the
help of committed editors, publishers, critics, and literary
journals, short fiction collections have the chance to become more
than just the novel's weaker sibling.

Embracing the Short Story Collection
Friday, May 19th, 2:30 - 3:30PM, Room 202B

Charles D’Ambrosio - author of The Dead Fish Museum
Kelly Link - author of Magic for Beginners
John Freeman - President of the National Book Critics Circle
Rick Simonson - Bookseller, Elliott Bay Book Company

Moderated by Brigid Hughes - Editor, A Public Space

Tom Roberge
A PublIc Space
323 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
tel: 718.858.8067
email: tom@apublicspace.org

Laila Lalami

Congratulations to Laila Lalami--she's been shortlisted for the Caine Prize!


Elimae's new issue is live

Roy Kesey

My friend Myfanwy has reminded me it's Roy Kesey week at The Elegant Variation. His new book Nothing in the World is now available for preorder!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

O'Henry Prize Stories 2006

Ever since I started writing a few years ago, I’ve made it a point to buy the “year’s best” anthologies. The O’Henry Prize Stories is a must-read for me; it showcases stories which for various reasons, someone determined to be the best of the year and I want to read them for myself to see why. Every year reading these winning stories elicits joy, awe, and excitement in me and deepens my love for the short story. Some of these I'd read before in short story collections or in literary journals (and loved even more after another reading) and some were new.

This year the stories were chosen by series editor Laura Furman and three jurors, Kevin Brockmeier, Francine Prose, and Colm Toibin chose their personal favorites. In the back of the anthology is a section for writers to talk about the inspiration for their stories (I love this section) and each juror writes why his or her favorite story stood out among such an excellent group.

Edward P Jones begins the series of twenty stories with “Old Boys, Old Girls,” an amazing story in which he illuminates the life of one of Jones’ earlier characters, Caesar Mathews, as he endures his days in prison and beyond.

Jackie Kay’s “You Go When You Can No Longer Stay” is a hilarious and poignant story of a couple’s break-up.

Lydia Peele’s “Mule Killers” is an achingly sad story of loss and acceptance. (This one made me weep)

In “The Broad Estates of Death” by Paula Fox a man travels cross country with his new wife to see his father for the first time in over two decades.

“Pelvis Series” by Neela Vaswani is the gorgeous story of a woman who communicates, using ASL, with chimpanzees.

David Lawrence Morse’s “Conceived” works on so many levels. Not only is the story rich and beautiful, but this multi-layered story of a man living on the spine of a giant fish with his village offers much to examine and explore.

William Trevor writes of a man’s guilt over an accident in “The Dressmaker’s Child.”

In Stephanie Reents’ “Disquisition on Tears,” an ill woman is visited by a woman carrying her head in her hands.

David Means’ characters are hard and wild in his gritty “Sault Ste. Marie.”

In Karen Brown’s “Unction” a young pregnant woman finds love and attempts to match make.

A family travels to New Zealand looking for safety in Teresa Svoboda’s “‘80s Lilies.”

In Alice Monroe’s “Passion,” a woman recalls a turning point in her life upon returning to her home.

In George Makana Clark’s “The Center of the World,” the new world encroaches on the old in Rhodesia.

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer writes of a woman’s despair in “Wolves.”

Douglas Trevor writes of class differences in Boston in his story, “Girls I Know.”

In Louise Erdrich’s “The Plague of Doves,” stories are handed down through generations.

The narrator in Xu Xi’s “Famine,” flies to New York and tries to quiet feelings of desperate pain through opulence and abundance.

In Lara Vapnyar’s “Puffed Rice and Meatballs,” a woman recalls two moments in her Russian childhood.

A young battered woman writes to people who have touched her life in Melanie Rae Thon’s “Letters in the Snow.”

And allow Deborah Eisenberg to take you on a journey with her amazing story “Windows.” This is a fine example of a writer following the story rather than dictating the story. Stunning.

I liked each of these for different reasons, but my personal favorites were:

“Old Boys, Old Girls”
“You Go When You Can No Longer Stay”
“Mule Killers”—it’s not often a story can make me weep.
“Disquisition on Tears”

Pick up a copy and see which ones will be your favorites. Happy reading!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

painting by Mary Cassatt

Celebrate life.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Susan Henderson has news of a reading in NYC and news of what others are reading on her blog.

I sure wish I could attend that reading in New York. What a group of talented writers!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

An Essay by C.M. Mayo

Here's another must-read by a highly accomplished writer.

Charles D'Ambrosio

Thanks to Moorishgirl for the link to this interview.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Writers have a lot of experience with rejection. And we learn to deal with it in different ways. I’ve heard the stories of writers who paper their walls with form rejection slips, who ritualistically burn the letters they receive in sacred ceremonies (okay I made that one up) but for me, receiving rejections has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, they’ve been proof of how serious my commitment is to writing. They’ve also been like some sort of editor-code which I’ve spent the last four years or so trying to crack. At least I thought they were.

Since 2002, when I started to send things out for publication, I’ve kept each story in its own folder (a real one, one I can hold in my hands) and I’ve piled in all the rejections with it. Some of my folders are mighty fat. Considering I’ve sent out approximately 10 long stories (my short ones I tend to not sim-sub so much) that’s a lot of rejection letters hanging around my house. The other day I asked myself why I wanted to keep them at all. What purpose could these varied, but boring slips of paper serve? I know I’m committed. I don’t need the growing pile of forms to tell me I want to write. Now, I just write. I don’t need them to try to convince myself not to write, because if I listened to my negative side I wouldn't be writing at all (bear with me).

So with great satisfaction I cleaned out all my story folders. I threw away all the little forms, all the handwritten records of when each journal responded (I’m trying a carefree approach: when they arrive, they arrive; patience is a life-long so far unlearned lesson for me) and even the forms with the inky signatures and hastily-scrawled Thanks or Sorry. (I used to try to divine meaning out of the tiniest of pen marks.) The only rejections I’m keeping are the ones in which the editor took the time to write whole sentences, ones that tell me specifically what the editor liked or didn’t like, ones that might offer encouragement during those bleak moments of doubt. These rejections (and the pile is sadly thin) are placed in a special bowl on top of my letter writing desk. These are the only rejections out of the hundreds I receive that actually mean something. Even if only to me.

Some fun rejection links:

Slush Killer
Ten Things About Literary Rejection
Handling Rejection

and the amusing

Paper Napkin Email Rejection Service (Ouch)

Rusty Barnes Interview Part 3

Wayne Yang interviews Rusty Barnes, editor of Night Train.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Must Read

This essay by Gina Frangello is an absolute must-read.

Hunger Mountain Fundraiser


We hope you will join in to help support Hunger Mountain's non-profit Fundraising Auction, featuring items of literary interest for writers, readers and collectors. Many of these items will be made available exclusively during this auction! To view Hunger Mountain's Fundraising Auction items, use Ebay's search tool to find "Hunger Mountain Fundraising" and you'll get a full list of the available items, each with full descriptions and images. www.ebay.com.

New items will be added each Monday through May. This week's new items up for bid: William Blake, "Songs of Innocence", 1911 rare collector's edition with illustrations by Honor C. Appleton; Robert Lowell, "Day by Day", first edition in perfect condition; Patchwork Farm Writer's Retreats Weekend Workshop or a discount on the Scotland Retreat for Writing and Yoga; Nantucket Writer's Workshops for Women 4-day or Weeklong Workshop; and two Manuscript Critiques by Alison Hedge Coke and Bob Hicok. More items are listed below; more Manuscript Critiques and workshop opportunities are forthcoming.

This auction is also the premiere of the Stinehour Broadside Award. Award winners for Hunger Mountain's first three years are Alice Hoffman, Neil Shepard and David Rivard. The Stinehour Broadside Award Series of limited edition, signed and numbered broadsides will be available exclusively through the Fundraising Auction, while supplies last. Broadsides offered in the auction will begin with number ONE of 100, and continue on a consecutive basis as bids are won.

All donations are tax-deductible and support Hunger Mountain's mission to publish outstanding creative work by both established and emerging writers and artists.




Alice Hoffman, Stinehour Broadside Award. This broadside features an excerpt from Alice Hoffman's short story "The Token," selected by Bret Lott from the Fall 2003 Issue of Hunger Mountain, and includes feather artwork. Each broadside is letterpress printed by Stinehour Press of Lunenburg, Vermont, in a one-time edition of 100, each signed and numbered by the author.

Robert Duncan Broadside, signed & numbered

Two Brad Richard Broadsides, signed & numbered

Four new poetry broadsides, measuring 16 x 20 each, published by Alfred A. Knopf, each presenting a selection by a distinguished poet: Arabian Night by James Merrill; Puzzle Piece by Mary Jo Salter; Colored Stones by Richard Howard; Kitty and Bug by John Hollander.

Neil Shepard, Stinehour Broadside Award, This broadside features Neil Shepard's poem, "Leap Day," from the Spring 2004 Issue, selected by Lynn Emanuel, and artwork based on a Sabra Field woodcut. Each broadside is letterpress printed by Stinehour Press of Lunenburg, Vermont, in a one-time edition of 100, each signed and numbered by the author.

David Rivard, Stinehour Broadside Award. This broadside features David Rivard's poem "Self Portrait as a Blind Snowy Owl," from the Spring 2005 Issue, selected by David Wojahn. Each broadside is letterpress printed by Stinehour Press of Lunenburg, Vermont, in a one-time edition of 100, each signed and numbered by the author.


A signed copy of the manuscript pages of Bret Lott's novel-in-progress, Ancient Highway (due from Random House in 2007), excerpts of which have already appeared in Georgia Review, Colorado Review, and Gettysburg Review. Signed confidentiality agreement required.


A copy of A Postcard Memoir signed by author Larry Sutin accompanied by 15 vintage postcards from Larry's personal collection.

A Poetry Chapbook Collection from Chapiteau Press including poets Jody Gladding and Wyn Cooper.

James Laughlin, Gists & Piths, A Memoir of Ezra Pound, in a 1982 Limited Edition hardback, one of only 250 copies.

Beautiful editions of new, signed cookbooks from two of Vermont's most renowned country inns: The Dorset Inn in Middlebury (Flavors from the Heart signed by author Sissy Hicks) and The Inn at the Round Barn Farm in Waisfield (Recipies & Reflections, signed by authors Anne Marie Defreest and Annie Reed Rhoades).

The Floating World: The Story of Japanese Color Prints by James A. Michener.

Sonnets From The Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, with illustrations by Fred A. Mayer, printed by The World Publishing Company as an Illustrated Edition in 1937.


Thanks for your support!
Caroline Mercurio, Managing Editor
Hunger Mountain, The Vermont College Journal of Arts & Letters


Please join us at the 18th Street Lounge for a party sponsored by A Public
Space, Bomb, Melville House Books, and Small Beer Press

Friday - May 19th
6:30 - 9pm

The Gold Room
18th Street Lounge
121 18th St (18th St & Connecticut Ave)

rsvp: bea@apublicspace.org

Monday, May 08, 2006

Playful Writer Summer Workshops

Author Roberta Allen has passed along this announcement:

"Hi to everyone!

I have 2 Playful Writer Workshops coming up.

"As a writer, Roberta's class excites me because I get detailed, thoughtful criticism that inspires me to go home and write and revise." --Patricia Hawkins, Kingston, NY

"Roberta's encouragement and guidance has inspired me to discover a love and talent for writing." -- Leah Rothchild, Former dancer, Joffrey Ballet

"With Roberta's help, I am revising my memoir and loving every minute of it!" -- Ann Cappozzoli, Kingston, NY

"Roberta is a gifted teacher. I started writing--and writing well--after not having written for years! Her "energy" method really works." --Barbara Pokras, Saugerties, NY

New York: The new Tues. night workshop starts June 7
from 7:30-10 PM. It meets twice monthly for 8 sessions (4 months).
and costs $400.

Woodstock: The new Mon. night workshop starts June 12
from 7-9:30 PM. It meets twice monthly for 8 sessions (4 months)
and with the special $50 discount only costs $350. Trial class for first
timers costs $50.

I also have an opening in my ongoing Sat. workshop from 1-3:30 PM that also meets twice monthly.

Space is limited so sign up soon!"
I have two of Roberta's books: Certain People--excellent! and The Playful Way to Serious Writing. I liked the latter so much I bought a few for friends and relatives.
Web Analytics