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Monday, December 22, 2008
The annoying family Christmas letter prompt
Imagine one of those annoying family Xmas letters you get too many of. Where everything seems incredible, unless you read between the colorful lines. Write your main character as a family members who feels cheated by the way it's worded about her/her. Maybe the mom writes the letter in a way that subtly puts her husband down (I'm just saying). Your narrator will be that person, the one who gets put down. Or your narrator can be someone observing this chronic seasonal abuse!

Here's some prompt words to get you going:

Ann Landers
big deal

-Meg Pokrass
posted by Meg Pokrass at 12:14 AM  0 comments

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Randall Brown - Mad To Live - Review
Read the review of Mad To Live: A Collection of Very Short Fiction by (Lead Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly) Randall Brown.

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posted by Stefanie Freele at 9:29 AM  0 comments

Smoking with...Kim Chinquee
SLQ's Meg Pokrass slides next to the always-busy Kim Chinquee and puts her under the microscope. Check it out here.
posted by Randall Brown at 4:02 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
stats for issue 22
Because issue 22 was posted about two weeks later than it should have been, I'm going to break out the stats a couple different ways. One is based on the idea of it having come out on September 15 as it should have; the other is based on the dates it was actually live.
Issue Twenty-Two (live from 10/2/08-12/14/08)

10/2-12/14: 268,923 page views

9/15-12/14: 329,308 page views

So... for the actual times that issues 21 and 22 were live, issue 22 is down 14.80%. However, if issue 22 had gone live when I was supposed to get it live (and a lot of people showed up on the 15th to check it out, under the assumption that it would), traffic was up by 18.79%. One thing I'll say after having checked out the stats for the top ten the last few months: issue 21 was the first issue of SmokeLong that generated over 100,000 page views in every month that it was live. And, based on the stats for this month so far, we're well on pace to shatter that again.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 3:13 PM  0 comments

Issue 23 is live!
New issue went live yesterday, and it's a beauty. Please come and explore!

Issue Twenty-ThreeIssue Twenty-Three (December 15, 2008): Ants by David Aichenbaum «» Earthrise by Christopher Bundy «» The World Before This One by Jon Chopan «» Ghost Bike by Thomas Cooper «» The Sway of Trains by Lydia Copeland «» Impressionists by Debra A. Daniel «» Danseuses Nues by David Harris Ebenbach «» The Head Fields by Terry Ehret «» Shadows by Sherrie Flick «» Heroin Girl by Larry Fondation «» She Doesn't Ask Where He Goes by Stefanie Freele «» Caved In by Barry Graham «» Chicago World's Fair, 1893 by Kyle Hemmings «» Coat and Shoes by Tania Hershman «» Thirteen by Tai Dong Huai «» Phoenix by W.P. Kinsella «» Nearly Free by Dorianne Laux «» Alien Lunch by Liane LeMaster «» The Society for the Preservation of Everything by Kuzhali Manickavel «» 216 East Boalt by Jeannie Vanasco «» Potatoes by Spencer Wise «» Interviews: David Aichenbaum «» Christopher Bundy «» Jon Chopan «» Thomas Cooper «» Lydia Copeland «» Debra A. Daniel «» David Harris Ebenbach «» Terry Ehret «» Sherrie Flick «» Larry Fondation «» Stefanie Freele «» Barry Graham «» Kyle Hemmings «» Tania Hershman «» Tai Dong Huai «» Dorianne Laux «» Liane LeMaster «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Spencer Wise «» Cover Art "morpheus" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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posted by Dave Clapper at 1:12 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Prompt #2
Words to get going with: use as many as you can!

roof, screen, swollen, primitive, rise, traffic, sulfur
yard, shuffling, signage, Frank Sinatra, Spanish moon, business
vacant, rosy, elbow, silvery, appraise, joking, ribbing, enlarged
noise, naughty, gargoyle, feminine, one-handed, monotone, cop-like
plodding, poodle, sincere, sidesplitting, commercial, okay, drive
skirt, crap, foot, on-line, card, buffet, luck, Fuddruckers
snorts, fixed, narrow, touch, stiff, sleeve, laugh, pocket

Scene setting: something celebratory that doesn't feel that way. like a wedding that you don't want to be at (just an example).

Line length: vary them. alot. One word lines. 50 word lines. Repetitions. The main character has a problem repeating negative behaviors.

Enjoy! -Meg Pokrass

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posted by Meg Pokrass at 11:57 AM  0 comments

Thursday, December 04, 2008
Smoking Prompts -- a new feature of writing prompts at SmokeLong Quarterly
Potluck Prompt.

spray painting

write a piece that takes place around a holiday.

try to scatter as many prompt words in the mix like chocolate chips in batter. see where they take you.

Happy writing! -Meg Pokrass

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posted by Meg Pokrass at 6:24 PM  0 comments

Whidbey Writers' Workshop Student Choice Contest
Whidbey Writers' Workshop Student Choice Contest:

Send Us Your Best Shorty
Anybody else feeling unsettled after this autumn's roller coaster ride? The election, Wall Street's meltdown, and now the holidays - who has time or attention to write long? Lucky for us, the short short provides a perfect antidote for days like these. You can practically write them in your head.

But you will want to put your short piece, whether fiction, fact, or poetry, into your computer. That way you can send it to the December Whidbey Student Choice judge for a chance to find $50 under your tree and a publication on your resume. Remember to keep the word count under 1000 because our judge has been roller coastering, too.
For more information, to find the submission mailbox, and to read a sampling of past winners, go to
posted by Stefanie Freele at 5:40 PM  0 comments

Absinthe Literary Review Could Use Your Help

Hat tip to Dennis Mahagin for passing this along:

Allo all.

I just received a message, from Charles Allen Wyman.

Please help him fight some creepy cyber pirates who have
hijacked his kick-ass website. Here's the skinny, from CAW:

* Due to aggressive spam filters on a new email server, our original decade-owned URL,, lapsed during our hiatus and was snatched up by cybersquatters, Maxory LLC, an off-shore St-Kitts / Nevis-based LLC that deals exclusively in this kind of questionable business. They are now trying to sell books online using our trademark, but be assured: ALR is no longer associated with our former URL nor with this shady ghost corporation. They are also attempting to auction the site, which has moved them into the legal definition of bad faith in cybersquatting under the ACPA. We're asking for your help in this situation.


1. While we proceed with expensive and lengthy litigation, please help us diminish the tarnishing and dilution of ALR's reputation by linking to our new URL and informing current link owners across the web about the now spurious nature of our former URL. Also, do not visit our former URL as traffic is what they most desire.

2. Anyone able to uncover the names and addresses of any officers or employees of Maxory LLC so that we can pursue them directly (hopefully in US courts) will be doing us a great favor we won't soon forget.

3. Any longtime readers wishing to contribute to our legal fund, please contact us at for details.

I'm a big fan of ALR, so I'm passing this along in hopes it'll help. And I'll be heading to our links page shortly to ensure we have the proper linkage set up.

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posted by Dave Clapper at 1:39 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
SmokeLong and Social Networking
While compiling the top ten list for November, I got curious about where some of the page views were coming from, particularly for older pieces that cracked the top ten again after a long absence. One thing jumped out at me: a lot of hits for Holly Selph's The Color of Moths were coming from StumbleUpon. Well, that was the second time I'd seen an older story gain a lot of new audience from StumbleUpon, so I figured it was finally time to do a little research on it. And perhaps to take a look at other social networking sites that drive traffic, like Digg, Delcious, etc.

While looking around, I found a very cool application called ShareThis. It gathers together links to a ton of different social networking sites and makes it easy to click through and recommend the page a reader is on. Since our copyright notice is in one file that's linked on every story page, it was easy to add the code there and instantly have ShareThis on every story's page.

The results are phenomenal. I quickly Stumbled each of our six Pushcart Prize nominees. Today alone, each of them has generated about 40% of the total page views that the top flash usually gets in a month! What an incredible tool to promote the incredible writers we're publishing.

So... if you read a story and you just absolutely love it, click on the little green icon and recommend the story using whatever service you might already be using. Our writers will thank you for the additional readers exposed to their work.

Also, if you want to keep abreast of the latest news, you can either subscribe to our RSS Feed and/or join our Facebook group (in which you can find over 80 of the writers previously published here).

Welcome to the 21st century, eh?

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posted by Dave Clapper at 3:29 PM  2 comments

Monday, December 01, 2008
Top Ten Page Views for November 2008
Sarah Hilary retains her top spot, and Almond almost falls out of the top ten altogether. Interesting to see two from March '07 jump back onto the list.

1. (1) Two Minute Silence by Sarah Hilary (10/2/08)
2. (3) The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines by Matt Bell (6/15/08)
3. (4) Innocence, Briefly by Jenny Arnold (10/2/08)
4. (NR) Ten Very Short Stories by John Leary (3/15/07)
5. (5) How Anything Got Done by Paul Elwork (10/2/08)
6. (8) Tenderoni by Kathy Fish (10/2/08)
7. (NR) The Color of Moths by Holly Selph (3/15/07)
8. (6) Asian Girl by W.P. Kinsella (10/2/08)
9. (7) Tapioca O's by Natalie DeClerck (10/2/08)
10. (2) Pornography by Steve Almond (6/15/05)

Last month, I wondered whether the monthly page views would stay above 100,000 in months without new issues. Sure enough! 101,408. Woo!

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posted by Dave Clapper at 9:32 AM  0 comments

SmokeLong Quarterly Pushcart Nominations
SmokeLong Quarterly is thrilled to announce its six nominations for the Pushcart Prize:

"How 9) Strange" by Laird Hunt SLQ #19, December 2007
"Taco Foot" by Jack Pendarvis SLQ #19, December 2007
"Trestle" by Matt Briggs SLQ #20, March 2008
"The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines" by Matt Bell SLQ #21, June 2008
"Fatback" by Jeff Landon SLQ #22, October 2008
"Tenderoni" by Kathy Fish SLQ #22, October 2008

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posted by Randall Brown at 6:16 AM  1 comments

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