About Me

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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, 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.
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