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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Books! Books! Books!
There are some exciting books coming out soon and I'm sure you'll want a copy of each:

I'm beyond delighted that I will soon have in my possession a copy of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness! This collection of four chapbooks ( Laughter, Applause, Laughter, Music, Applause by Kathy Fish, Wanting by Amy L. Clark, Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix by Elizabeth Ellen, and The Sky Is a Well by Claudia Smith) is sure to please. Here's what the brilliant Pia Z. Ehrhardt has to say about it:
The four brilliant chapbooks that make up A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness are disarmingly, unabashedly intimate collections by women who know how to tell a story and aren’t afraid to drag the unspoken out into the light of day.

Kim Chinquee is not only a wonderful, supportive person, she's also a talented writer and I'm excited that I will soon own a copy of her forthcoming collection: Oh Baby. To tantalize you further, here's the blurb:
A wonderful debut collection of prose poems and flash fictions, short short stories of beautiful precisions and understated passions. While the bricks with which Chinquee constructs her fictions—failed or failing relationships, childhood friendships, the intricacies of family life—are not uncommon, the architecture she creates with them is rare indeed: stories now full of light, now somber, now opening the reader’s eyes to an utterly new space.

I'm a huge fan of Xujun Eberlin--not just of her writing, but of her person. She is an incredible human being who writes more beautifully and clearly in English than many native speakers. That being said, you will want a copy of her soon-to-be-released book APOLOGIES FORTHCOMINGHere is a blurb from Livingston Press:
A totally illuminating collection of stories centered around China's Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, which, as we learn, continues even today-with both sides still holding out, with "apologies forthcoming." Xujun Eberlein lived in China during that tumultuous period and now makes her home in America. This, her first story collection, is both disturbing and enthralling.

These books not only represent the fine work of some talented women writers, but also they exhibit the quality work put out by small presses. Go on and support 'em, why don't you?

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posted by Myfanwy Collins at 6:15 AM  2 comments

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Blogging for Patry Francis
I first encountered Patry Francis a couple of years ago when she left a nice comment on my blog. Since then, I have become a huge fan of her blog (simply wait) and her writing (when I was guest editing SmokeLong, I asked Patry if she would submit a story and she sent me this gorgeous flash: It). Prompted by posts on LitPark and Laura Benedict's blog, today I am blogging for Patry Francis, whose excellent book The Liar's Diary is set to be released in paperback on 1/29. I read this book nearly a year ago when it came out in hardcover and here's what I had to say then:

You better set yourself aside a good chunk of time when you pick up The Liar's Diary (the stunning debut novel by Patry Francis) because I can tell you from personal experience that once you start reading, you're not going to want to stop until you've finished.

On the surface, this is a book about the seemingly perfect Cross family, living their slightly flawed lives out in the suburbs (the only flaw appears to be the superficial flaw of the son who is overweight) and the woman, the unwanted element, who enters their lives--Ali Mather. Below, the surface, however, this is a book about betrayal; it's about secrets and lies and years of abuse and denial and how all of these things if not uncovered and dealt with in some healthy way, can lead to disaster, which in this case, they most certainly do.

It is also about Jeanne Cross's awakening and her realization that she has been stuffing down her emotions for close to 20 years. As is typically the case with such repression, when the pressure cooker reaches its limit--it explodes.

Most heartbreaking of all, this book about errant mothers, abusive fathers, and lost children. And while there are certainly villans (Gavin Cross being the most obvious choice for villan, but Ali being cast as one as well from time to time), these villans are also human beings, who are damaged and hurting and acting out in the only way they know how.

I will not (because I don't want to ruin it for you) go into details of the plot (there are many surprises in store, though!), but I will say without hesitation that if you don't pick up this book and read it, you're going to be missing out.
posted by Myfanwy Collins at 10:35 AM  4 comments

Saturday, January 26, 2008
Juked #5 Shipping Soon

The newest print version of one of my favorite online magazines (and another great place for flash fiction) is now available for order. Juked #5 includes fiction and poetry by Marianne Villanueva, James Belflower, Shawn Fawson, Catherine Brown, Liz Prato, Shawn Fawson, Ben Kopel, Toni Jensen, Nathan Oates, Lisa Bower and many more, plus an interview with Claudia Smith. To view the full table of contents, click here.
posted by Matt Bell at 9:22 AM  1 comments

Saturday, January 19, 2008
Some things we've never published
I've just spent a fair amount of time reading (and, alas, rejecting) submissions, and a few of them brought to mind things we've never published. Or, if we have, I can't recall them. I'm not saying we'd never publish flashes with these things in them, but it's probably pretty telling that we haven't before now. Maybe seeing these things in a list will be of benefit to submitting writers. Maybe not. But here are a few:

1) Guns. Chekhov talked about the fact that if a gun was seen onstage in Act I, it would have to be used in Act III (or something to that effect). Flash almost never has three acts. To set up the use of a gun in less than a thousand words isn't impossible (Pearl Jam does it very well in the song "Jeremy"), but it ain't easy. The writer has to overcome a lot to make a gun's presence work in a flash.

2) Dead babies. I'm cheating on this, because I know we've published at least one dead baby story. But most dead baby stories rely too much on the sympathy/empathy of the reader. Most dead baby stories, I'd argue, aren't all that honest, either. They sit heavy on the grief, without ever touching other emotions, more negative emotions that we may honestly feel, but are too ashamed to acknowledge. It's the stuff we don't want to acknowledge that's interesting. Grief happens, yes, of course, but... can we see something else? (And for anyone who reads the next issue of Per Contra, I know I'll probably get called out for this item. The story of mine they'll be publishing was written specifically in response to one of my favorite writer/editors challenging me to write one, since she knows how I feel about them.)

3) Dead grandmothers. See #2. Actually, take a look at all dead relatives. Interestingly, dead fathers occupy a different place. These tend to be the stories where the anger spills out, and the fathers are reduced to archetypes. Yawn.

4) Abuse. See the bit about fathers in #3. I keep a general rule in my head when reading abuse stories: can the genders of the characters be reversed without it becoming offensive? Very, very few stories pass this test.

5) Full names. Really, does knowing a character's last name in a flash do anything other than waste a word? In a lot of cases, when we see full names, they're used as an attempt to paint the class/race/social station of a character. It's cheap. Often, the full name appears as the first two words of the story. When I see this, my eyes roll out of the back of my head.

6) Digital clocks at night. Seriously, can the writer think of no other way to set the time? Think of this: have you lived in more than one place? Did 3:00 am feel different in those two places? I know the regular sounds of the El passing by my apartment in Evanston were entirely different from the sounds of the alley below my studio on Capitol Hill. And if I woke up in the middle of the night, it wasn't the clock that awoke me, and it wasn't the clock that wedged me back into reality from dreams. Get rid of the clocks, okay?

7) Anthropomorphic animals. Really, do I need to say more than that?

And, to give representation to the other side very briefly, one item that seems to appear in more stories we've published than one would expect:

1) Fish. I'm not sure I could say why, but we do seem to have been predisposed to liking stories with fish in them. All kinds of different fish, too. For whatever reason, several writers have used an array of fish to help set stories in ways that really resonated with us. Go figure. Maybe it's because we love Kath so much?

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posted by Dave Clapper at 9:44 PM  4 comments

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
In Profile: STEFANI NELLEN, Writer and Steel City Review Co-Editor

Stefani Nellen kicks off the 2008 season of the Writer Profile Project. Read what she has to say about Steel City Review, star-gazing, the world of board game designers, speculative fiction, and a TON more. Click here.

Stefani Nellen co-edits the Steel City Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Inkwell, Mad Hatter's Review, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, flashquake, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, FRiGG, SmokeLong Quarterly, and more. Her story "The Attraction of Asphalt," originally published in issue 17 of SmokeLong Quarterly, was selected for Dzanc Books' Best of the Web 2007 Anthology, edited by Nathan Leslie and Steve Almond. Stefani splits her time between the US and the Netherlands.

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posted by Kelly Spitzer at 8:51 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Stefanie Freele Is 2008 Fish Fellow
Stefanie FreeleAfter poring over 90 applications, the editors of SmokeLong are ecstatic to announce that Stefanie Freele will be our Fish Fellowship "writer in residence" for 2008. This was not an easy choice—the quality of the applications we received was outstanding. Our final eight were as follows:

22: Stefanie Freele

Honorable Mention:
52: Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau
72: Elizabeth Oliver
74: Glenn Shaheen

Short List:
13: Stephanie Harrison
55: Kate Hill Cantrill
59: S. J. Powers
86: Sophie Rosenblum

The numbers, incidentally, were the names by which we knew the writers until after we'd reached our decision. They reflect the order in which their applications arrived. We're only just now getting used to thinking of Stefanie as "Stefanie," rather than as "#22."

There were many, many writers who brought outstanding work to their applications who didn't make the short list. In all, 21 writers received at least one strong yes vote from a member of the staff, and several others just missed that threshold. It was truly an impressive group.

We can't wait to start working with Stefanie, and we think you'll love her writing, which will first appear in our March 15 issue. For those wanting to know a bit more about Stefanie (as we did), we googled a bit and found this bio from the January '08issue of Flash Fiction Online:

Stefanie Freele was born and raised in Wisconsin and currently lives on a river on the west coast. Her recent fiction credits include American Literary Review, South Dakota Review, Permafrost, Westview, Hobart, and Contrary. She will have forthcoming work in Talking River, Etchings, and in a speculative fiction anthology titled Futuristic Motherhood. She has completed a novel and is working on her MFA thesis with the Whidbey Writers Workshop in Washington.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 6:49 AM  7 comments

Monday, January 14, 2008
Storyglossia's Crime/Noir Issue
Submissions are now closed for Issue 27, the issue guest-edited by me. Anthony Neil Smith will be guest-editing Issue 28, a special crime/noir issue. Should be a great issue!

guidelines are here.
posted by katrina at 12:47 PM  1 comments

Get Real: Writers and Editors discuss the Publishing Process
Ellen Parker, the editor of FRiGG, and I, have started a new series called Get Real: Writers and Editors discuss the Publishing Process. We expect the series to last quite a while, and cover such topics as The Truth about the Slush, Online vs. Print publishing, The Money Factor, and much more. The first installment is now live on my website. Check out what writers have to say about rejection letters. Editors' responses to follow... HERE.
posted by Kelly Spitzer at 9:39 AM  0 comments

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Karl Pohrt's Speech at the Beijing Book Fair

Karl Pohrt, owner of Ann Arbor, MI's Shaman Drum Bookshop, is traveling to the Beijing Book Fair as part of a Reed Exhibitions/BookExpo America cultural exchange. While there, he'll be giving a speech entitled "The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Booksellers in a Post-Literate World," which can be previewed now at Three Percent. It is an impressive transcript, and a well-considered set of arguments and challenges for the future of bookselling.

I still don't know what the future holds for us writers and readers and publishers and booksellers, but I do know that there will always be a need for people this intelligent and well-spoken to be a major part of the discussion.

[via The Emerging Writers Network]

posted by Matt Bell at 7:45 PM  0 comments

Vermin on the Mount
The first Vermin on the Mount reading of 2008 (hosted by Jim Ruland, guest editor of issue 19) is right around the corner with an eclectic line-up of writers from near and far on Sunday January 13 at 8pm:

JAMI ATTENBERG (The Off-Season, issue 19), author of Instant Love, returns for her second Vermin appearance to celebrate the release of The Kept Man, a novel about "art, love, death, sex, drugs, comas, donuts, Mount St. Helen's, cab drivers, Christinas, punk rock, holding on, and letting go."

VERONICA GONZALEZ'S debut novel, twin time: or, how death befell me, is a modern-day fairy tale that ranges from Los Angeles to Mexico City. Gonzalez has recently appeared at the UCLA/Hammer Museum and on KCRW's Bookworm.

DOUG CORDELL is a playwright and a regular contributor to National Public Radio's "Marketplace" program. He is also a recent transplant to Los Angeles from New York where he was involved in a number of radio and performance venues.

SAM QUINONES is a freelance journalist and California native who has been writing about both sides of the border for a decade. He is the author of two collection of nonfiction stories: True Tales of Another Mexico and Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream.

Plus, when you come celebrate the 20th Vermin on the Mount, you could win a signed print by acclaimed artist Jorge Prado, one of the owners of the Mountain!

Get your lit. Support the arts. Win a print. At The Mountain, 475 Gin Ling Way, Chinatown, L.A.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 4:03 PM  0 comments

Southeast Review Short Short Story Contest
2008 World's Best Short Short Story Contest

Submit up to three short short stories with a $15 reading fee. Each short-short should be no more than 500 words. Include your name and contact information on a very brief cover letter. Your name should also appear on the first page of each story submitted. Robert Olen Butler will judge. One winner will be chosen and awarded $500. The winner and nine finalists will be published in early 2009. Label envelope: WBSSSC.

All submissions must be typed and accompanied by a cover letter with contact information. The fee for The WBSSSC is $15 (US) per submission (up to 3 short shorts). Make checks or money orders payable to The Southeast Review. Postmark deadline: March 1, 2008.

Friends and current or former students of the judge and those who have been affiliated with Florida State University within the last five years are ineligible.

It is not necessary to send an SASE. Winners will be announced on the website in late spring. Please note the importance of including your contact information in a brief cover letter; all contestants will receive the issue in which the winning submissions appear.

The Southeast Review
Department of English
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

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posted by Dave Clapper at 3:45 PM  0 comments

How to Win Hobart #8 and the Hobart Calendar

Hobart 8 is a "flip issue," featuring writers from America and Canada. Batting for the Americans is, among others, Chris Bachelder, Tod Goldberg, Benjamin Percy, and Catherine Zeidler. The Canadian team includes Stephany Aulenback, David Bergen, Sheila Heti, and more.

The calendar contains photos of Jim Ruland, Aimee Bender, Benjamin Percy, and a final scene with Aaron Burch and Elizabeth Ellen.

Hot, right? Right!

What do you do now? Go HERE for details.


posted by Kelly Spitzer at 2:26 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, January 08, 2008
RedividerThe latest issue of Redivider is out and includes fiction by Joel James Davis, Debra Liese, Dan Pribble, David James Poissant, Rebecca Hall, Michael Czyzniejewski, Mattox Roesch, Hannah Tinti, and our own Kelly Spitzer.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 9:53 AM  1 comments

Friday, January 04, 2008
The Short Review issue 3
the short review

The third issue of The Short Review is live, and includes reviews of ten short story collections, including Breaking it Down by Rusty Barnes (Certitude, issue 4, Love and Murder, issue 7, No One Left to Care About the Fat Man, issue 11, and There Swells and Jets a Heart, issue 16). Also included is an interview with Rusty.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 4:07 PM  0 comments

insolent rudder winter 2008

The latest issue of insolent rudder is live. It includes flash fiction by Digby Beaumont, Michael J. Bernard, Tina V. Cabrera, Dawn Corrigan, Richard Rippon, and G. David Schwartz, and the author spotlight shines on the beloved Kathy Fish.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 11:09 AM  1 comments

Monkeybicycle Issue #5 guest-edited by Eric Spitznagel available for order
Here's the scoop from their website:
Looking for something to read after you put the kids to bed? Then Issue Five of Monkeybicycle is for you. It's bursting at the seams with humor that is not for innocent minds or faint hearts.

Our fifth issue is filled with the kind of humor that would make any good man blush, and it's delivered from some of the best in the business. Just take a look at this killer line-up:

Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Myfanwy Collins, Johnny Ryan, Davy Rothbart, Wendy Molyneux, Aaron Burch, Bret Scott, Elizabeth Ellen, Matt Craig, Timothy Bennet, Pete Grosz, Liliana V. Blum, Katie Schwartz, Tyler Smith, Michael Frissore, Antonius Wiriadjaja, Amy Guth, J. Marcus Weekley, Matt Summers-Sparks, C. J. Kershner, Ben Tanzer, Jennifer Dziura, Peter Bognanni, Charlie Anders, David Hart, Noria Jablonski, Bob Fingerman, Vince LiCata, Jack Pendarvis, Christopher Monks, and an introduction by David Cross.

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posted by Myfanwy Collins at 5:57 AM  4 comments

Thursday, January 03, 2008
News Catchup
I was out of town for the holidays, and didn't have much chance to get caught up posting news bits, so this will be sort of a catchall post.

First off, huge congratulations to former guest editor Alicia Gifford (Broodiness, issue 6) for her winning of a $100 prize in the StoryQuarterly Fall 2007 Fiction Contest for her story "Wreckers."

Second, regular readers of the News may have noticed that there haven't been any SmokeLong stats posted recently. Our service provider upgraded their servers at the beginning of December and managed to completely break the stats from that point forward. For the stats that I could see, we were well on pace to be over 200,000 page views for the last issue, but without stats for the final two weeks of the issue, I can't guarantee that held up.

Eclectica has a new issue live, and it features work by Jason Jackson (From Halliville To Grice's Town, issue 18), Cally Taylor (Hoover, issue 10), Jayne Pupek (Black Mollies, issue 3), William Reese Hamilton (Crossing the Orinoco, issue 18), and lots of other fine folks.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 1:42 PM  1 comments

Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Top Ten Page Views for December 2007
Another new number one in December! John Leary and Elizabeth Ellen trade places at 1 and 2. Lots of stuff from the latest issue here, too.

1. (2) Ten Very Short Stories by John Leary (3/15/07)
2. (1) 8x10 by Elizabeth Ellen (12/15/06)
3. (7) Pornography by Steve Almond (6/15/05)
4. (NR) The Off-Season by Jami Attenberg (12/15/07)
5. (3) When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny by Steve Almond (9/15/07)
6. (NR) Holiday Inn by Kim Chinquee (12/15/07)
7. (NR) How 9) Strange by Laird Hunt (12/15/07)
8. (4) Raymond Carver by Dan Chaon (9/15/07)
9. (NR) Taco Foot by Jack Pendarvis (12/15/07)
10. (NR) A Company Function by Grant Bailie (12/15/07)

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posted by Dave Clapper at 12:03 PM  0 comments

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