“Mouth Crimes: Featuring Sally Reno & Gay Degani” Jan. 19th at The Mercury Cafe in Denver!

Please join us at Denver’s Mercury Cafe for the 1st F-Bomb reading of 2016! I’ll be hosting two PHENOMENAL writers and friends, Sally Reno and Gay Degani! The event starts at 7:30 and will feature an open mic, so bring your own amazing flash fiction to read as well! images-4

sallylSally Reno’s fiction has appeared in more than a hundred print and online journals and anthologies, has been among the winners of National Public Radio’s 3-Minute Fiction Contest, the Moon Milk Review Prosetry Contest, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in a fumeous, vaporish, ivy-festered grotto where she serves as Pythoness to Blink Ink Print and Haruspex for Shining Mountains Press.

DSC_0683_2603Gay Degani has had three of her flash pieces nominated for Pushcart consideration and won the 11th Glass Woman Prize. Pure Slush Books released her collection of stories, Rattle of Want, November 2015. Her suspense novel, WhatCame Before, was published in 2014 and a short collection, Pomegranate, features eight stories around the theme of mothers and daughters. Founder and editor emeritus of Flash Fiction Chronicles, she is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly and blogs at Words in Place where a complete list of her published work can be found. RATTLE OF WANT 2

F-Bomb, founded and curated by the amazingly talented and charismatic flash fiction writer, teacher, performer, Nancy Stohlman, is a long-running flash fiction reading series you should check out if you haven’t already! See you Tuesday night!MERCURY CAFE

My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Many thanks to my friend and amazing author, Myfanwy Collins, for inviting me to participate in this Writing Process Blog Tour. (If you haven’t see it, here is her terrific post.)

1) What are you working on?

Two things: I’m pulling together a new collection which may turn out to be a novella of connected flash-length stories. It is moving in that direction and I’m excited about it.

I’ll be a little coy about the second project and just say it involves an invitation to teach flash fiction and I’m extremely excited for the opportunity.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure my work fits into any specific genre. I do write a lot of literary flash fiction, as well as prose poetry and regular length short stories. Sometimes I go a little experimental with my writing. I’m not really sure what distinguishes my work from other literary writing beyond my own style, which of course is unique to everyone.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I was recently asked this question for Flash Fiction Chronicles. And while I write things other than flash, much of the answer pertains to all of my writing so I’ll just link my answer here: “Why I Write Flash Fiction.”

4) How does your writing process work?

I’m constantly going over the same material. Most things I publish now I can trace back to some embryonic scribbles in a notebook from months, if not years, ago. That’s why I always describe myself as a slow writer. There is some feeling that there’s something there in a line or an image that keeps drawing me back to it.

Another part of my process is a tendency to weirdify my past (which is weird enough already). I like to look for the strangest aspect and just run with it. And I love to write down weird bits of overheard dialogue. I love to listen to strangers’ conversations. I love to watch people in airports. All pretty typical writer stuff.

I have asked the following terrific writers to go next. Look for their responses July 24th (James Tate Hill is going to honor me by posting his response here on my blog):

Berit Ellingsen is a Korean-Norwegian writer whose stories have
appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Unstuck, Birkensnake, and other
places. Her short story collection, Beneath the Liquid Skin, was
published by firthFORTH Books in 2012, and her novel, Une Ville Vide,
by PublieMonde in 2013. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart
Prize, the British Science Fiction Award, and included in the Wigleaf
top 50 longlist. Find out more at http://beritellingsen.com.

Rebecca Meacham is the author the flash fiction collection Morbid Curiosities, which won the 2013 New Delta Review chapbook contest. Her story collection, Let’s Do, won University of North Texas Press’s 2004 Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection. Read more at: http://rebeccameachamwriter.com

James Tate Hill’s fiction has appeared in Story Quarterly, Sonora
Review, The South Carolina Review, and other outlets. He has been a
finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award and the Hudson Prize, and in
2012 he was a semifinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
His book reviews and interviews can be found at Bookslut, and he
serves as Reviews Editor for Monkeybicycle. A native of Charleston,
West Virginia, he teaches writing at North Carolina A & T State

At Flash Fiction Chronicles: Why I Write Flash Fiction

my copies of TWCBIThanks to Jim Harrington, for inviting me to contribute a short piece at Flash Fiction Chronicles about why I write flash fiction. I don’t see myself as just a flash writer, but it is what I mostly write. For me, it is the art that most closely approximates the way I see the world and how my mind works. You can read my post here at Flash Fiction Chronicles. Oh and leave a comment there, too, if you’d like. I’d love to hear what brings you to flash, as a writer and/or reader.

Gratitude, Submitting, Grace Paley & What I've Been Up To

This past week I sent out a short story to 13 journals and two short story contests. It feels like a gigantic accomplishment in itself. For various reasons, it has been a “quiet” couple of years for me as a writer. At one point, I felt I’d never write a short story again. I felt that removed from my creative life. So regardless of what happens with this new story, I feel a renewed sense of hope and enormous gratitude for having this new story in my hands, a story I’ve worked hard on and like a lot.

And I read a really smart (and timely, for me) article about submitting one’s work by Joseph Scapellato at the Gulf Coast blog. I loved all of it, particularly this:

“Whatever you do, don’t wait until you feel 100% certain that your strongest, biggest, or sharpest work is 100% ready. Instead, wait until you are 75% certain that your strongest, biggest, or sharpest work is as ready as it can be at this point in your life as a writer, right now, today.”

That just makes so much sense. The rest of the article is here.

Grace PaleyI read an amazing interview at the Paris Review with Grace Paley here: Grace Paley awesomeness.

She said this and it is exactly how I feel, too: “The sound of the story comes first.”

And she said this about what she was doing before she was a published writer, valuing that time and seeing how it led her to writing her stories:

“I was working part time. I was hanging out a lot. I was kind of lazy. I had my kids when I was about twenty-six, twenty-seven. I took them to the park in the afternoons. Thank God I was lazy enough to spend all that time in Washington Square Park. I say lazy but of course it was kind of exhausting running after two babies. Still, looking back I see the pleasure of it. That’s when I began to know women very well—as co-workers, really. I had a part-time job as a typist up at Columbia. In fact, when I began to write stories, I typed some up there, and some in the PTA office of P.S. 41 on Eleventh Street. If I hadn’t spent that time in the playground, I wouldn’t have written a lot of those stories. That’s pretty much how I lived. And then we had our normal family life—struggles and hard times. That takes up a lot of time, hard times. Uses up whole days.”

I read this perfect quote from Flaubert: “Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”

I read all the tweets from people who attended AWP and felt nearly equal parts despair and relief. I recognized the fact that my hurting hip would not survive one hour at the book fair let alone four days walking around the conference and snowy Boston. I’ll be in better shape for Seattle.

I judged a flash fiction contest for Flash Fiction Chronicles. I wrote a book review for Necessary Fiction. I wrote a tiny craft article for the beautiful Lascaux Review. I was interviewed. I read beautiful fiction that inspired me and an amazingly well-written essay on growing up in the Cold War years by Susan Detweiler in the current Missouri Review.

It is already March, but I have a sense of excitement and hope around 2013. I can’t even really say why, but it feels so good and I am grateful.