About Me

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Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. 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. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Done!

In more ways than one.

I've finished my first draft of my novel (63,000 words) though four of the chapters (about 20,00 more words to go) are just sketched out. But I have the whole thing written down from start to finish and have come to the conclusion I cannot. write. another. f****. word.

I'm done.

I'm DONE!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm going on vacation two days early and when I come back to the novel in mid April, when my son is back in school, I'll fill in those chapters and start revising!!!!!

Many thanks to all who encouraged me and inspired me!!

Now I'm off to take a much needed brain break. Before I write something stupid and embarrass myself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SmokeLong Quarterly Issue 24

The new issue is live and is loaded with wonderful reading!!

And as usual, Marty Ison's cover is amazing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Read: A New Story by Myfanwy Collins

Read Liar at Pank.

Yet another great story by the very talented, Myfanwy Collins.

Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions

I've recently signed up to volunteer for this worthwhile project:

The DCWS is founded on the principle that many authors' lifestyles do not afford them the opportunity to obtain feedback on their writing - be it where they live, their work schedule, or finances. We feel that all authors deserve the opportunity to have their work reviewed. Unlike most of the current workshop opportunities - MFA programs, Low-Residency programs, colonies, online classes, etc. - the DCWS is unique in that it allows the writer to determine the parameters for their own review sessions. With the DCWS, you sign up for what you want and need, not some pre-determined program.

The DCWS is set up to provide a one-to-one working relationship with a published author, allowing you the benefits of their experience, in many cases both writing and teaching. Nearly 100 great authors have already agreed to volunteer their services as mentors in our DCWS program. The names you'll find in our database include award winning authors and teachers such as: George Singleton, Myfanwy Collins, Dawn Raffel, Peter Markus, Leora Skolkin-Smith, Katrina Denza, Laura van den Berg, Kevin Wilson, Nancy Cherry, Jeff Parker and Mike Czyzniejewski. From this list, writers paying to participate in the DCWS may select an available author to work with. Participating writers will then have their work critiqued and can discuss in detail their writing and any other areas of writing in general they wish to explore with their DCWS author.

The DCWS will utilize email to reduce the difficulties writers such as yourself have when looking to find feedback on your work. Our workshops remove the limitations of both time and distance as you'll send your work and questions to your mentor when and where you have access to the internet. Each participant will determine how many hours of mentoring they need, as well as how to progress - you asking specific questions about your work, or you asking for your manuscript to be edited (10 pages per hour), or simply looking for a back and forth conversation about your work after the mentor you select has read the work.

The program is being offered at an extremely low rate - many of the instructing authors volunteering their time to Dzanc do similar work as freelancers and charge much greater rates than are being offered here through the DCWS. Other workshops and writing programs charge a lump sum of several hundred dollars up front. Not only does the DCWS allow you to control and target your expenses, but 100% of the money brought in by Dzanc by our DCWS goes to supporting the writing programs we run for students grades 4-12. These additional programs - currently being run nationally by Dzanc - are offered free of charge to students who would not otherwise be able to afford and experience these sort of writing programs.

The DCWS sessions are set up in hourly blocks and can be ordered as follows:

1 hour - $20
2 hours - $30
4 hours - $50

The DCWS eliminates your need to travel to a university. It also eliminates your need to lay out a few hundred dollars up front for an 8 or 10 week online course. It allows you to jump in and out when you are available, and also allows you to select from the list of authors that have generously volunteered their time to this project. A full list is available at our website. This list includes published novelists, short story writers, flash fiction writers, poets and non-fiction writers. If you don't feel the need to select a specific author, we'll simply assign a writer to you.

For more information on our Creative Writing Sessions program, please send an email to info@dzancbooks.org.

In order to sign up now, head over to visiting the DCWS page at our website http://www.dzancbooks.org/creative.html and select your author. After deciding how many hours to work with your mentor, click on the Paypal button that corresponds to that number, and fill in the mentor name in the appropriate field and we'll get you started.

Sincerely,

Steven Gillis
Dan Wickett
Dzanc Books
www.dzancbooks.org

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Words of Wisdom

from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Prey, Love, among others.

Here's a snippet from an interview she did for Barnes and Noble Meet the Writers Series:

I can't get behind the ambition to be "discovered" as much as I can get behind the ambition to write beautifully and honorably and steadfastly. Here's what I believe about creativity. I believe that creativity is a living force that thrums wildly through this world and expresses itself through us. I believe that talent (the force by which ephemeral creativity gets manifested into the physical world through our hands) is a mighty and holy gift. I believe that, if you have a talent (or even if you think you do, or maybe even if you just hope you do), that you should treat that talent with the highest reverence and love.

Don't flip out, in other words, and murder your gift through narcissism, insecurity, addiction, competitiveness, ambition or mediocrity. Frankly -- don't be a jerk. Just get busy, get serious, get down to it and write something, for heaven's sake. Try to get out of your own way. Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results -- the only thing it craves is the PROCESS. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless. Just love the work. --Elizabeth Gilbert

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rest in Peace, Bob Arter

Bob was such a big-hearted part of our online writing community at Zoetrope and beyond. And he was also a damn good writer and to read his work aloud is to know how amazing his talent was.

Rusty Barnes wrote a nice tribute to him with a link to one of Bob's many great pieces at Night Train.

There are more links to Bob's work and a tribute to him on SmokeLong Quarterly's blog as well.

Bob was greatly loved and respected and we will miss him.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Books, Links, Inspiration, News, and Where I'm At...

The last month or so has been an amazing transformative time for me in terms of my process. I've been working on a novel for over two years and I'm little over halfway finished with the first draft. I'm a slow writer, it's true, but unlike short stories that came before, this project has been particularly excruciating because the chapters refused to come to me in a straight linear fashion, but rather in stand-alone story form, and therefore would require me to not only write the story, revise and revise until it worked as a viable stand-alone, and then publish it (Okay, maybe that part has more to do with my insecure writer self than the process), after which I would need to go back in, alter the stand-alone so that I could weave it seamlessly into my forced linear narrative. All painstakingly slow work. And I was frustrated, dismayed, frightened, that all my novels to come would have to be written down in this way and well, it didn't make me give up, but nearly.

But! Along comes this other novel, a novel that I had begun three years ago but had put aside to write the other. And here it comes back to me, knock, knock, knocking on my door to write. it. now.

For three months or more I thought about it and worried about it and wondered can I just stop writing my first novel in the middle like this to write another. What am I thinking? Am I to now spend the next two years toiling over an elusive idea that refuses to allow me to tame it just to end up with TWO half finished novels? Ai! Even more daunting is the fact that while I may write the first draft of a short story in a week or two, it takes me months, sometimes a whole year, to revise that story. So, with this knowledge of my process and my so very limited abilities, I sweated over this decision until I finally decided to let go of any preconceived notions of what a writer should do, and just write what I want to write. What am I doing if I'm not writing for my own enjoyment? This is my journey after all and who says I need to walk it a certain way? As soon I gave myself permission to write this other story, the one that's burning to be written, and for no one else, at this point, other than myself, it started flowing. And after a few weeks of listening and writing, I've learned that to respect my own process is key, that I can actually write in a straight linear fashion (hooray!!), and that my writing this book will be key to learning how best to write my other book.

I'm going to follow this spark until it fizzles out. I've been putting in hours upon hours a day and the words are coming in a flurry and I'm writing as quickly as I can. And I know after I'm finished will come the fun part: revision, the whole part of the process I most love.

And when I'm finished with the first draft I have some amazing reading waiting for me:

Precious, by Sandra Novack; Nothing Like an Ocean by Jim Tomlinson; Big World by Mary Miller; Secret Son by Laila Lalami; The Greatest Gift and Women Up On Blocks by Mary Akers; and the latest by two of my favorite writers: Antonya Nelson and Mary Gaitskill.

These are the carrots that are keeping me in the chair. Happy reading when I'm finished!

In writing news, I'm excited that REAL, a journal that has published three of my stories previously, is publishing another one in April.

And lastly, because I saw this first on Sandy Novack's site and was so inspired that I wanted to have it here, too:

Friday, March 06, 2009

Trailer: One World



This is such an amazing project with a wonderful spirit. I will most assuredly be buying a copy. I'm proud to know many of these generous writers.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Trailer: Secret Son

Laila Lalami's Secret Son is coming out in April! Here's the trailer to whet your appetite:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

wigleaf

I have a micro piece up at wigleaf:Peace

I really admire the work editor Scott Garson publishes so I'm thrilled to have another piece in his journal.