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Literary News presented by SmokeLong authors and staff

Saturday, March 29, 2008
"Wake" a New York Times Bestseller
Lisa McMann's "Wake" is the #9 best-selling Children's Chapter Book on the New York Times April 6 Bestsellers List!

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posted by Dave Clapper at 9:55 PM  0 comments

Fremd High School Writer's Week Wrapup
I've been meaning to post about Writer's Week for some time. I've had difficulty finding the words to summarize what a great experience it was. Yesterday, however, I found a thick packet of letters from students in my mailbox. Rather than use my own words, I'm going to borrow some of theirs, which moved me more than my own ever could:

"Thank you so much for speaking at Writer's Week. You just happened to be the first author I saw, and I was glad I did. Being a freshman, I had originally thought that getting to see authors was another way for teachers to assign more homework. But I remember how you started out saying you were Fremd's mascot, and you wrote about sex. This made me laugh, and made me realize this week was going to be fun."

"I like writing, but I don't really write that often. But now after your presentation I feel more motivated to write. I don't mean write for English class, but write to show my creativity and express myself."

"I've always been told to write what I know. However, what I know is not what is generally considered as socially acceptable: drugs, sexual and physical abuse, teen pregnancy. However, hearing your writing and some of the topics they cover hast taught me that I can break the social norms and still be accepted by my peers."

"I liked the fact that you went to Fremd, so you could tell stories about your years here. It was entertaining to hear that you were THE Fremd Viking and that you were able to show us a picture of you all dressed up."

"For the past 9 years of my life I've been learning all the rules of writing. You told me to break them. I'm pretty sure all my previous English teachers would not be happy with you. I tried writing without paying attention to the rules and I was happy with the outcome. Thank you for that tip. I think writing is a way to express yourself, and if everyone wrote by the rules, all writing would be the same. I think breaking the rules makes you stand out from everyone else. It captures people's attention."

"I also enjoyed how you told it like it is, like when you said you couldn't swear even though we're saying worse things in the halls and our parents just want to pretend we aren't."

"SmokeLong Quarterly also seemed interesting because of what happens when a piece gets published. Having an artist read your piece and designing a specific piece of artwork for that work seemed appealing to my ears. I hope that one day I might get published in your online literary magazine."

"I think it is a nice thing to publish students' writing. There are so many opportunities that are not given to teenagers. Thank you for helping us get our dreams in reach. I cannot wait to see you next year if you are coming."

"I really liked your quote when you said, 'If there is something you want, just go for it and don't let anyone get in the way.' That was very inspiring and familiar because that is exactly what my father tells me. So when I heard those words, it made me sit up in my chair."

"I loved how you talked about failing, however never giving up because writing is your passion. I also liked how you shared with us that everything didn't always go smoothly, and that sometimes you are going to face disappointments. I believe this is not only true in writing, but in life altogether. These things truly inspried me to follow my dreams, too."

"Some of your pieces were really funny, especially Stupid's Rising Up. I found that piece funny because of the way you described how people don't really think about what they are going to say before they speak. This is very true for most people because they just blurt out what they think or how they feel and that isn't always the best choice."

"It's nice to know that there's someone somewhere out there that actually understands that highschoolers aren't the innocent little angels our parents want us to be. You understand that we can take it We can be mature (when we want to be) and that we know more about the world than we are expected to know or even should."

"I liked some of the short stories you read to us, especially the one about the boy and the girl who experimented together and got pregnant. The story was pretty deep in that it covered a very serious situation that might arise in the world of today. Much of the details were left to the imagination of the reader, which adds to the experience and allows everybody to think thwat they would see as best in a story. The way which they interpret the story could also say a lot about them."

"Also, I want to let you know that I have visited your website and found some very good stories. Another question that I have is how do your parents feel about you writing? Do they support you and your writing or do they disapprove?"

"Though I had haven't had a chance to read any of your books yet, I am looking forward to reading them. The fact that you couldn't read them on stage has a strange purpose for me because now I HAVE to read it."

"I want to be a nurse practitioner and I needed a little push to get motivated because it's a lot of schoolwork and I wasn't sure if I could have done it. But when you kept on saying things like never giving up throughout your performance, it made me feel better about myself. I feel that I can become a nurse practitioner and that I can do it."

"I also thought it was cool that you were the Fremd Viking and went to school in these very halls. When you said, 'the cat-walk is the best make-out spot,' I found it hilarious and could not stop laughing."

"I hope that in the future you are able to come back and present again to those who are younger than I am, and influence them the way you influenced me."

"I wanted to take a minute and thank you for coming to speak at Fremd. And although you may not have realized it, you really inspired me and helped me realize that writing could still bea part of my life. So thank you for the impact you had on even one student here at Fremd."

"I also liked when you said, 'Follow whatever it is that you really like, and follow it passionately.' I really liked it because it got me thinking about my future and what I wand to do with my life. I learned from you that I need to give one hundred and ten percent in everything I do so that I can have the opportunity to do what I want with my life."

"I can relate to you in ways because I used to do theatre and I still play in band but I play sports, too. So I don't think you have to be a dork to be in the theatre productions or anything. I thought it was cool how you were just willing to say, 'Why yes, I was a very big dork in high school.'"

"i have to say your stores were so deep that they made me want to know more and more. The stories had such real poeple and such feeling that you would feel sucked into it. I still wonder what those people are doing now if they are real or unreal."

"I always wondered what the process of getting published was like and it's very interesting how difficult it was. It's good to know though, that I can just go on your website if I wanted to find out more about it. Is it hard to decide which people to publish?"

"I also love how you said don't be afraid to break the rules. I came form a strict Catholic school before Fremd and I feel like I can get away with anything when it comes to writing now."

"Not to mention that you are reading poems about teenagers losing their viriginity, On the Berm This is not a topic most adults are comfortable talking about with this type of audience. I am really glad that you did read this poem; it isn't ever day that you get to see the vulnerability boys feel in high school or the other side of sex. The side that isn't about passion or lust but about connecting with someone you trust and care about. How you got my peers to act so mature while you openly spoke about a topic that is so touchy I don't think I will ever fully understand."

"It is always exciting to see past Fremd graduates that have done something very cool after high school and visit the school again. This helps me know that I can also become successful at the things I love to do, just as you do with writing."

"I love the fact that you said how you like when people break the rules of writing on purpose and I just thought that was so cool."

That's one snippet from each of the letters I received. Some of the things in the letters that I haven't shared here particularly moved me, in how much of their personal lives they allowed me to see. In particular, the letter with the quote about "write what I know" blew me away. I am deeply humbled and grateful for the trust that was in all of these letters, but particularly that one.

The entire experience was amazing. I may yet write more about it from my own recollections, but for now, the students have done an excellent job of summarizing much of it for me. Thank you, all of you, so much for your letters. And thanks, too, to Gary Anderson and Tony Romano and all the staff at Fremd for putting together this amazing event and allowing me to present at it.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 12:25 PM  1 comments

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Universidad Nacional del Comahue
I believe I've mentioned a few times here recently how far behind I am on posting about any number of things. Perhaps the single item about which I've been most negligent has been the Advanced English class at Universidad Nacional del Comahue, taught by Magdalena Zinkgräf. In Magdalena's words, "One of the aims of this course is to help learners (teacher- and translator- trainees in the last years of the programme) to be able to write reviews of short-short stories." To that end, students in her class wrote reviews piece in Issue 17. Magdalena was kind enough to share some of the reviews her students wrote, and I'd like to share here the review we felt was best-written among those, penned by Angélica Verdú. Many thanks to Magdalena and her students.

For long, mainstream literature has been strictly ruled by the Cannon. Yet in today's ever-changing world, who is to say where the artistic lies or even what art is in the first place? No doubt about it, the flash fiction genre engenders the seed that will propel the literary world into a new level where canonical standards will not be the least bit significant, especially when considering that all that matters, these days, is engaging demanding audiences and providing them with a breath of fresh air that transports them out of their quotidian duties, regardless of the way.

Indisputably gifted Claudia Smith surely knows how to weave a masterfully rendered tale that will utterly enchant alert readers with a most strikingly imaginative take on thorny issues such as childhood traumas and sixth senses and Prow is living proof of her unrivalled talent in this respect, as even the title attracts readers' attention from scratch.

Set in an indefinite place and time, this utterly abnormal, bizarre narrative provides a most detailed insight into out-of-the-ordinary Louise Hennesy's supernatural experience when she reports having been threatened with death by a male psychopath during a telephone conversation at the age of 12. Doubting about the actual occurrence of this most unfortunate event as an adult seems to reflect either a possible delusion or an attempt at putting this weird memory off her mind as the lead character in Cadwallader's Oblivious does. Yet, when her mother states she is changing her telephone number, Louise's traumatic fears are taken back to her present day, 20 years later, under the reader's watchful eye.

Clear and intense character portrayals as well as meticulous event reconstruction with a helping of witty dialogues add to the author's crowning achievement in skillfully threading a memorable, artful tapestry that undoubtedly displays Smith's unparalleled writing genius.

All in all, on providing a most grippingly engaging challenge that will leave readers wondering about Prow's true meaning, Smith compels her audience to step up and offer their own interpretations, while feeling they can contribute to the "writing" of the story. Entertaining, evocative, life-changing.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 10:05 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Every Burning Thing--order it today!
I am overjoyed to announce the release of Beverly Jackson's debut chapbook Every Burning Thing. Beverly has been both a friend and a mentor to me. She has also helped countless writers and artists along their path and she has worked tirelessly at her craft.

She deserves every success coming her way.

In addition, she has a worthy cause: When you purchase a copy of her chapbook, you will not only find yourself with some gorgeous poetry on your hands, but you will also be helping the poet fund her trip to visit her WWII-hero father's grave in France--the backstory regarding her father and his gravesite can be read here: The Big Bitch (WARNING: Keep some kleenex handy when you read this story!).


posted by Myfanwy Collins at 6:03 AM  0 comments

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Lisa McMann's "Wake"
I'd meant to post about this the day it came out in stores, but was swamped under by both work and getting ready the most recent issue of SmokeLong. I'm very proud of SLQ co-founder Lisa McMann, whose first novel, Wake, is now available in stores everywhere. Kirkus Reviews said, "McMann lures teens in by piquing their interest in the mysteries of the unknown, and keeps them with quick-paced, gripping narration and supportive characters." For more information about Lisa, "Wake," and her tour schedule, please visit her at


posted by Dave Clapper at 10:35 AM  0 comments

Joseph Young's "God Not Otherwise"

Joseph Young has a new broadside published by Publishing Genius and titled God Not Otherwise. Joseph is one of my favorite flash writers, and continues to force his stories into tighter and tighter spaces, pursuing a minimalistic aesthetic I can only admire and never imitate. Every year his stories seem shorter, and every year they seem even better than I remembered.

Here's an excerpt, from the broadside's second piece, titled "Second Certainty, Physic":

To begin with, there was the girl in the gold dress, the angle of her collarbone in the heat. There was the man in the red jumpsuit too, steady hands on the wheels and levers of things. Both were fixed, imprinted with light against the backdrop. He felt himself shimmer, knees unbuckle, the sun's neat sugarpill.

God Not Otherwise is available for free as a .PDF, in formats made for the screen and for printing, and takes approximately five minutes to read, so there's really no excuse. Get reading!

posted by Matt Bell at 10:24 AM  0 comments

1) Night Train 8.1 is live. Go on and read it!

2) Check out the work of Claudia Smith at Wigleaf and Elizabeth Ellen and Darlin' Neal at elimae

3) It's been a while, but Exquisite Corpse is back and better than ever (with a snazzy redesign which looks sort of like the New York Times site). I like it!

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posted by Myfanwy Collins at 7:04 AM  0 comments

Monday, March 17, 2008
SLQ Issue 20
Issue 20 of SmokeLong Quarterly, guest edited by Claudia Smith, is now live.
Issue TwentyIssue Twenty (March 15, 2008): The Cockroach by David Barringer «» Trestle by Matt Briggs «» Worried & Wondering by Aaron Burch «» Dead Dog Rising by Kate Hill Cantrill «» Tinder by Chanel Earl «» Scrape by Utahna Faith «» Arlo's Big Head by Stefanie Freele «» Wei-Ch'i by Vanessa Gebbie «» Last Fall by Katherine Grosjean «» David Dreams of Australopithecines by Savannah Schroll Guz «» The Last Stop by Jenny Halper «» Blue by Stephanie Harrison «» Cadet by Tiff Holland «» Slam by Liesl Jobson «» Beret by Darlin' Neal «» Camp by Elizabeth Oliver «» We by Patricia Parkinson «» Seconds Are Ticking By by Nik Perring «» Brother by Sue Powers «» Carol by Sophie Rosenblum «» Elizabeth Bishop by Glenn Shaheen «» Favorites by Gail Siegel «» Blank by Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Medicinal by Girija Tropp «» Interviews: David Barringer «» Matt Briggs «» Aaron Burch «» Kate Hill Cantrill «» Chanel Earl «» Utahna Faith «» Stefanie Freele «» Vanessa Gebbie «» Katherine Grosjean «» Savannah Schroll Guz «» Jenny Halper «» Stephanie Harrison «» Tiff Holland «» Liesl Jobson «» Darlin' Neal «» Elizabeth Oliver «» Patricia Parkinson «» Nik Perring «» Sue Powers «» Sophie Rosenblum «» Glenn Shaheen «» Gail Siegel «» Claudia Smith «» Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Girija Tropp «» Cover Art "Male Figure" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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posted by Dave Clapper at 12:50 PM  0 comments

Saturday, March 15, 2008
Stats for Issue 19
Here are the stats for issue nineteen:
Issue Nineteen (live from 12/15/07-3/14/08)

12/15-12/30: 49709 page views
1/1-1/31: 83313 page views
2/1-2/29: 68714 page views
12/1-12/14: 42398 page views
Total Issue 19: 244134 page views

And we see a jump of 28.89%. That's more like it!

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posted by Dave Clapper at 1:06 PM  0 comments

Friday, March 14, 2008
Rose Metal Press Program Schedule
Rose Metal Press announces its 2008 reading schedule, featuring readings by Claudia Smith, Kathy Fish, Elizabeth Ellen, and Amy Clark, the winner and finalists of Rose Metal's first annual chapbook competition, respectively. The four authors and their individual chapbooks will be featured together in a book titled A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness, due out at the end of March.


Tuesday, April 15: Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness in The Foundation Room at Pine Manor College, Newton, MA, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Pine Manor College
The Foundation Room
400 Heath Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Friday, April 25: Claudia Smith reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness with local poet Dan Boehl at Book Woman Bookstore, Austin, TX, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Book Woman
5501 North Lamar #A-105
(between North Loop and Koenig Ln.)
(512) 472-2785

Saturday, April 26: Peter Jay Shippy reading from How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic in the PEN/New England Reading, Boston University Bookstore, Boston, MA, 4:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Boston University Bookstore
660 Beacon Street (Kenmore Square)
Boston, MA
(617) 267-8484


Thursday, May 1: Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness and doing a book talk with creative writing students at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Cambridge, MA, 12:00–1:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education
42 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
Ph: (617) 547-6789 x247

Friday, May 2: Kathy Fish reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at Miss Prothero's Books, Denver, CO, 6:30 to receive guests, 7:00 pm to read. Free and open to the public.

Miss Prothero’s Books
1112 Santa Fe Dr
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 572-2260

Wednesday, May 7: Elizabeth Ellen reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness with local author and professor Kim Chinquee at Shaman Drum, Ann Arbor, MI, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Shaman Drum Bookshop
311-315 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662.7407

Saturday, May 10: Peter Jay Shippy reading from How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic and Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness with Emerson College poet and memoirist Richard Hoffman at Jamaicaway Books, Jamaica Plain, MA, 2:30 pm. Free and open to the public.

Jamaicaway Books & Gifts
676 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Tel: 617-983-3204

Thursday, May 15: Peter Jay Shippy reading from How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic and Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at Rhythm & Muse, Jamaica Plain, MA, 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.

Rhythm & Muse
470 Centre Street
(between Boylston St & Huntington Ave)
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 524-6622

Thursday, May 1: Claudia Smith reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness in the “Just Buffalo” Reading Series through the Just Buffalo Literary Center, Buffalo, NY. Reading at Rust Belt Books at 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Rust Belt Books
202 Allen St
Buffalo, NY 14201
(716) 885-9535


Sunday, June 1: Peter Jay Shippy reading from How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic and Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness reading at The Book Rack, Newburyport, MA, 2:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

The Book Rack
52 State Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Thursday, June 19: Amy L. Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at Longfellow Books, Portland, ME, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Longfellow Books
One Monument Way

Thursday, June 26: Claudia Smith reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at The Twig Bookshop, San Antonio, TX, 5:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

The Twig Bookshop
5005 Broadway
San Antonio, TX 78209


Wednesday, July 16: Peter Jay Shippy, Amy L. Clark, and Geoffrey Forsyth reading at The Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446

Late-July or early-August date TBD: Claudia Smith reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness with local poet Dan Boehl at BookPeople Austin, TX. Free and open to the public.

603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-5050


Wednesday, August 18: Elizabeth Ellen and Kathy Fish reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR, 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.

Powell’s City of Books
1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209 USA

Thursday, August 19: Elizabeth Ellen and Kathy Fish reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at the University of Washington Bookstore, Seattle, WA, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

University of Washington Bookstore
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Toll Free: 1.800.335.READ


Sunday, September 7: Geoffrey Forsyth reading from his award-winning chapbook In the Land of the Free and Elizabeth Ellen reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at Myopic Books, Chicago, IL, 7:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

Myopic Books
1564 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 862-4882

September date TBD: Amy L Clark reading from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness at the UUA Bookstore.

UUA Bookstore
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

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posted by Kelly Spitzer at 9:10 AM  1 comments

Monday, March 03, 2008
The Fifth Annual Million Writers Award
Passing on this info in case you haven't already heard:

The 2008 Million Writers Award for best online short story is now open for nominations from editors and readers. Once again, the Edit Red Writing Community is sponsoring the contest, which means there is a $300 prize for the overall winner.

For those who don't feel like wading through the rules, here's the award process in a nutshell:

Any story published during 2007 in an online magazine journal is eligible. The caveats are that said online mag or journal must have an editorial process--meaning no self-published stories--and the story must be at least a 1,000 words in length.

Readers may nominate one story for the award. Editors of online publications may nominate up to three stories from their publication. All nominations are due by March 31.

A group of volunteer preliminary editors will go through the nominated stories--along with other stories that catch their interest--and select their favorites. These will become the Million Writers Award notable stories of the year. I will then go through all the notable stories and pick the top ten stories of the year. The general public will then vote on those ten stories, with the overall winner receiving the award and cash prize.

Complete information on all this, along with links to where people can nominate stories, is available on the award website. I will also be regularly publishing comments and information on my blog and website as the award process as it unfolds.

Jason Sanford

posted by Myfanwy Collins at 9:30 AM  0 comments

Saturday, March 01, 2008
Top Ten Page Views for February 2008
Not a lot of change this month. In fact, I had to check after writing up the first three to make sure I'd changed my stats view, since there's no change in the top three at all. Also, it's really cool to see Heidi Durrow's piece making an appearance here again.

1. (1) 8x10 by Elizabeth Ellen (12/15/06)
2. (2) The Off-Season by Jami Attenberg (12/15/07)
3. (3) Ten Very Short Stories by John Leary (3/15/07)
4. (8) A Company Function by Grant Bailie (12/15/07)
5. (NR) Ethnic Lego Girls Carry Spears by Heidi W. Durrow (9/15/07)
6. (7) Holiday Inn by Kim Chinquee (12/15/07)
7. (10) What Happened to My Purple Flip-Flops by Arwen Dewey (12/15/07)
8. (NR) Pornography by Steve Almond (6/15/05)
9. (9) Killer Pair by Trinie Dalton (12/15/07)
10. (NR) Food Spectrum of the Rainbow Family by Melissa Bell (12/15/07)

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posted by Dave Clapper at 12:21 PM  0 comments

Per Contra
The latest issue is live with amazing pieces by Kathy Fish and Dave Clapper and the winner of the Per Contra Prize for Short Fiction, Vanessa Gebbie.

Congratulations to all the finalists!
posted by katrina at 8:25 AM  1 comments

January 2005, February 2005, March 2005, June 2005, August 2005, September 2005, October 2005, November 2005, December 2005, March 2006, April 2006, May 2006, June 2006, July 2006, August 2006, September 2006, October 2006, November 2006, December 2006, January 2007, February 2007, March 2007, April 2007, May 2007, June 2007, July 2007, August 2007, September 2007, October 2007, November 2007, December 2007, January 2008, February 2008, March 2008, April 2008, May 2008, June 2008, July 2008, August 2008, September 2008, October 2008, November 2008, December 2008, January 2009, February 2009, March 2009, April 2009, May 2009, June 2009, September 2009, June 2010, August 2010, September 2010, December 2010, Current Posts

Writers, Editors, Publishers, Agents, etc.: If you have Flash-related news (readings, publications, etc.), please email us at We'll try to get your news posted as quickly as possible.
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