My upcoming collection, “Rift,” with Robert Vaughan!

Things are moving quickly with the upcoming co-authored short fiction collection with Bud Smith’s Unknown Press. Robert Vaughan and I are busy exchanging edits and deciding the layout and order of our stories. We have found an amazing photographer for the cover art (which I’ll reveal soon!), and we are actively seeking blurbs. And once again, I’m knocked out by the generosity of my fellow writers and literary heroes who are providing blurbs for us on very short notice! These are exciting times and I’m both thrilled and grateful. Look here for updates on the book’s progress, but we are hoping for a December launch!

fish tankJust last weekend I finished up with another two-week Fast Flash© Workshop AND a weekend flash fiction workshop with Word Tango. Both, I believe, were a success! The two-week group were extremely talented and hard-working and just all-around great. I’m happy to hear they have formed their own workshop now and they’re calling it:  “The Fish Tank!”

Word Tango , the brainchild of Jennifer Kircher Carr & Elizabeth Pettie, is a fabulous new resource for writers. They  will be offering critiques, networking opportunities, and weekend workshops, so check out their services. I’m very honored that they entrusted their first workshop to me! And what a wonderful group that was too!

And this made me very happy:

Twenty Female Short Story Writers You Should Be Reading RIGHT NOW in Entropy Magazine. The list includes: xtx, Amber Sparks, Roxane Gay, Paula Bomer, Alissa Nutting, Jen Conley, Heather Foster, H.L. Nelson, Steph Post, Amanda Gowin, Rebecca Jones-Howe, Christy Crutchfield, Berit Ellingsen, Letitia Trent, Mary Miller, Jac Jemc, Audrey Hirsch, Leesa Cross-Smith, Andrea Kneeland, and, incredibly, me. Many thanks to Entropy Magazine and Kevin Catalano!

That’s it. I have another Fast Flash© Workshop starting later this month. I am enjoying these so much! October is going to be VERY BUSY!

My Favorite Reads of 2014

As usual, my favorite reads were published predominantly by small presses, written by writers unafraid of taking chances with their work:

I bookended the year with collections by the innovative Robert Vaughan: Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (blurbed, reviewed on Goodreads) and Addicts & Basements, also reviewed on Goodreads.

Every Kiss a War by Leesa Cross-Smith, just a beautiful collection, I blurbed and reviewed on Goodreads and interviewed Leesa here on this blog!

I also read and blurbed Nancy Stohlman’s book Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories. Nancy is another original who performs her stories live as well as she writes them.

I read Avital Gad-Cykman’s chapbook recently released from Matter Press: Life In, Life Out, and reviewed it on Goodreads and interviewed Avital right here on this blog.

If I Would Leave Myself Behind: Stories by Lauren Becker, which I also talked about here.

Understories by Tim Horvath, which is terrific and I gave five stars to on Goodreads.

I read two Gay Degani books in 2014, her collection, Pomegranate Stories and her novel What Came Before, which I blurbed and reviewed on Goodreads. I also interviewed Gay right here and she has lots of smart things to say about writing in general.

Bald New World by Peter Tieryas, reviewed on Goodreads. This book was recently nominated for the Folio Prize in the UK.

Bones of an Inland Sea by Mary Akers, reviewed on Goodreads.

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller, reviewed on Goodreads.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay, reviewed on Goodreads.

My Mother Was An Upright Piano by the talented and versatile writer of flash as well as longer works, Tania Hershman, reviewed on Goodreads.

Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp by Edward J. Rathke, reviewed on Goodreads.

Doll Palace by Sara Lippmann, this book was one of my favorite short story collections of 2014 and one of my favorites, ever…reviewed at The Lit Pub.

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro, a great inspiration in 2014 and mentioned in various posts on this blog.

I reread The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (who incidentally drafted the novel in four weeks according to this article in The Guardian).

Understudies by Ravi Mangla, reviewed on Goodreads.

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Don’t Tease the Elephants by Jen Knox. blurbed and reviewed on Goodreads.

Quarry Light by Claudia Smith Chen, reviewed at The Lit Pub.

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. A fascinating, harrowing read.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp, another inspiring read, also mentioned a time or two on this very blog.

Smokelong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years 2003-2013, a book I contributed to and reviewed on Goodreads.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill, reviewed on Goodreads. I loved this book so much I read it twice.

"Making Cowboys": A Chat with Leesa Cross-Smith, author of EVERY KISS A WAR


“A lot of people…when they’re hurting, they turn hard and want to close themselves off and love less….but what about the people who open up even more…want to love even more than before? Those people interest me. Those are my favorite kind of people. God bless those people. That’s the kinda person I want to be everyday.”

One of my new favorite writers in the small press universe is Leesa Cross-Smith. She’s extremely talented, supportive of other writers, funny, kind and smart. And she has a brilliant short story collection coming soon from Mojave River Press, called EVERY KISS A WAR. I approached Leesa about having a chat here on my blog in advance of the launch of collection (APRIL 21ST!). But we wanted to do something a little different, so we decided instead of talking about the entire collection we’d talk in depth about just one of the stories. We settled on one of my favorites,”Making Cowboys.” The story may be found here at Little Fiction.

KATHY: Leesa, I love “Making Cowboys” so much. It’s such a warm, gentle story, filled with love. I was struck, rereading it, how there’s very little overt tension/conflict in this story, yet….the reader knows it’s there. We have the newlyweds, who have been married previously, have had their hard times and their hearts broken. That they love each other is so apparent. The tension of the story lies in this feeling of a new start for all of them, and all the giddy joy and fear inherent in that.

So I asked myself, what drives this story? Why was I so drawn in here? We are always told, make your characters want something. Here, Charlotte so wants this new life to work. She loves them all, her own son, Wyatt and Wyatt’s daughter and the story is all about Wyatt and Charlotte returning from their honeymoon and about to spend their first night, all together as a new family, in Wyatt’s home. I realized that that was what it was. You created such wonderful, relatable characters, gave just enough of their background to make your readers fall in love with them and root for them. That’s what drives the story, what makes the reader keep reading. It’s simply and beautifully, and confidently told. It works on every level.

So! My first question is this: Talk about the writing of this story a little bit. Was the cowboy hat your starting point, as it is in the story? And did you mean it to be a symbol (the “family hat”) or did that just arise on its own?

LEESA: When I started this story, my intention was to give both Wyatt and Charlotte something new. Like, two items that signified their new lives. Talismans, amulets, even. And I wanted them both to be a bit uncomfy with those new things. Wyatt doesn’t “feel” like a cowboy, even though he has a cowboy name…so something about the cowboy hat makes him self-conscious…like he’s playing at being someone he’s not. And he chooses a sexy, busty mudflap cowgirl belt buckle with a wink as a gift for his new wife. It’s not something she’d usually wear, either. So while they’re comfortable with kinda becoming these new people in this new life…there’s a bit of hesitation there because new things are scary!

So I had this idea that while Wyatt wants to wear the hat because Charlotte loves it and loves him in it, he’d take it off from time to time because he wasn’t used to it yet. And it’s the kinda hat that would get a lot of attention, so it’s the first thing someone would notice when they talked to him. (Like Raylan Givens wears in Justified or any hat like that…it’s the kinda hat that couldn’t go unnoticed. People feel compelled to compliment it/mention it in some way.) So when he shows up on his ex-wife’s doorstep to pick up his daughter, his ex-wife of course makes a comment about it and he immediately takes it off. But! He puts it back as soon as he’s done talking to her because he’s a new man! The hat isn’t for her anyway. It’s for Charlotte and his new family.

I did mean for it to be a symbol! But I think it came together in an even better way than I originally imagined. 🙂 I didn’t overthink it, I just kept writing and let the characters pass it around kinda like a game.

I’m a big believer in starting over. In forgiveness and second chances, so I really wanted to bring that home in this story. The idea that there can be a sweet love story after two failed marriages and teenagers. I’m a hopeful romantic.

KATHY: I love the idea of giving your characters “amulets” that serve as symbols, but also drive the story in some way. It really works for me, this manner of storytelling, and you do this seamlessly. I think in the hands of a lesser writer this method could be heavy-handed and obvious. But not with you, with this story.

I also like that while it was your starting point, and your intention, it moved organically beyond your original idea and worked even better than you’d imagined. That’s an argument for letting go of one’s own creation a little bit and letting the good stuff come on its own.

I loved this: “I’m a big believer in starting over. In forgiveness and second chances, so I really wanted to bring that home in this story. The idea that there can be a sweet love story after two failed marriages and teenagers. I’m a hopeful romantic.”

I think this is exactly why I love your work so much. Charlotte and Wyatt and those kids…I love them. So my next question is: Would you consider writing more of this family? Extending to novel length? And I guess the complimentary question is: Have you ever written a novel? If not, have you considered it, with these characters or any others?

LEESA: I love reading novels about families! Getting to see issues and events from different sides/different points of view. I had to make myself write about the family in Making Cowboys in third person. I originally wanted to write it from first person but wanted to do something different, stretch myself a little bit. It feels very much like Charlotte’s story…but I wanted to step outside of it. So the short answer is yes! 🙂

I’d like to write more about them…to talk more about Wyatt’s past and Charlotte’s too…I’d really love to write more about their first few dates…and Charlotte flirting with him at the baseball games. And Wyatt being slow about making the first move because dating wasn’t really even on his radar…he was staying busy with other things…and also he’s a newly-rediscovered gentleman. I’d love to write about how raising a teenage daughter changed his brain a lot about how men treat women in society. I gave them both children of the opposite sex so that Wyatt could connect with Charlotte’s son, Joshua, on a base level (baseball pun!?) since he was already his baseball coach and if they had nothing else in common, they have that…and the fact that they are both dudes.

And same for Charlotte and Karis. If nothing else…they are both girls and can sweetly roll their eyes together about the things the dudes do…and bond over girly things. I love writing about the sameness/differences between men and women and how those things affect and brighten and confuse our relationships. So yes, I think there are lots of things there to explore and I’d like to someday! Selfishly, I put little things in my stories as placeholders…for me to obsess over and come back to later. The equivalent of folding a page down…or something like that. So I made Wyatt a baseball coach. I love reading about/writing about baseball…so this way I have an “excuse” to research the things I don’t know. For example, a friend of mine is a high school baseball coach so I’ll text him HEY DO YOU GUYS EVER HAVE PRACTICE ON SATURDAYS AND IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO. And he’ll gimme the secrets. 🙂 And also I love writing about domesticity. So I like thinking of Charlotte setting up her new house…the little things she’d do to make it her own and to make it cozy for her new family. It’s kinda boring writing it out that way, but those little things rocket-fuel my brain to create new things.

And in the story, it is mentioned that Wyatt and Charlotte’s children hadn’t really gotten into any real trouble…so we know that’s coming. I feel like Joshua and Karis would get involved in teenage shenanigans fersure. That’d be fun to write. Both that, and Wyatt and Charlotte reacting to it.

I’ve written a YA novel that I’m not quite sure to do with and I’m okay with that for now. And I’ve written a novella expanding on my story “Whiskey & Ribbons” that I am excited about. I am currently writing a novel re: my character, Violet, who is the main character in three of the stories in my collection, Every Kiss a War. The novel is about Violet and her ex-husband and her boyfriend. It’s coming along! I feel like I could write about her forever because she’s so wild-hearted. There’s a lot a baseball, a lot of kissing and a lot of 90s music b/c Violet has a youngish cool aunt who was real into riot grrrl and Violet was raised on that stuff.

KATHY: LOVE this answer. I feel like I could keep asking you questions forever (especially about the other novel ideas, the novella for Whiskey & Ribbons, etc.) I’m so happy to hear you’re oriented towards expanding on your characters into novel length. I’d love to read any book you write.

I want now to look at the language of your stories and this one in particular. One thing I’ve noticed that new writers do is they latch on to any words/diction that pleases them and sounds cool without thinking about the particular “voice” of their story. It makes for pretty sentences! But not a feeling of cohesion. I feel like you stay true to your own voice or the voice that fits your stories with your attention to language. Here are just a few examples:

Like I’ve got a can of dip in my back pocket and only listen to country music,

Being together like that was as fresh and crisp and new as the striped linens on the king-sized bed in their honeymoon cabin

Swam like little lake creatures baptized in wet, North Carolina moonlight.

These are just from the first few paragraphs. Anyway, I want to talk about how you approach language when writing. Do you go with what comes naturally? Or are you thinking of creating that voice? To me, it’s about authenticity. EVERY KISS A WAR works so well, feels so complete and cohesive, partly because you maintain a very authentic voice and aesthetic throughout. Nothing feels forced and what I want to know, is do you ever override your own voice for the sake of a story, to make it “sound” different?

This is an odd question, sorry! I’m hoping you sort of understand what I’m getting at here….

LEESA: Thank you much for all of this kindness, Kathy! When I start a story, I always go with what comes naturally. Creating a strong voice in my writing has always been easy for me., so I really don’t have to overthink it. There are lots of things that don’t come easy for me but that is one of them, so fortunately I don’t have to think about it too-too much. When writing Making Cowboys, I originally intended it to be the lead-off story in an entirely different collection. So I wasn’t concerned with whether or not the voice sounded too much like the other stories because it was gonna be something else entirely. But when I (& my publisher, Michael) decided to make it a part of EVERY KISS A WAR…because it felt similar…and it worked out that way…I did read it a lot with that in mind.

Was the voice unique? Were there moments that didn’t feel true? I felt a little freer with this one because of writing from a third person POV when I usually write from first person. I felt like I could take my hands off the wheel for a bit and let whatever was gonna happen, happen. I saw these characters in this country western store in my brain…this man feeling uncomfy in a cowboy hat and his new wife trying to convince him he was adorable in it. And then I just started tippitytapping.

I haven’t felt like I’ve needed to override my own voice for the sake of a story to make it sound different very often. And when it has happened, I’ve gotten frustrated and taken a step back. Whenever I feel the need to force something in my writing, it never works. So I have to let it rest and come back to it. There have been times when I’ve worried that my female narrators sound “too much” alike…but I really don’t worry about that anymore. I write the women I want to write and have grown more confident with simply letting my style be my style…and letting that speak for itself.

I try really hard to write things down to the bone…and then make them special. And sometimes someone really is just opening a door or making dinner…and nothing needs to be added. But if can squish things together…like talk about how they waited until their wedding night to have sex and get the reader from another scene in the present to the flashback honeymoon cabin, all in one sentence…I go for it and see if it works!

Kathy, you’re one of my favorite writers because your stories seem so magical…even when they’re about ordinary things! That’s really what I try to do. Make ordinary moments magical.

And that’s kinda what happens re: my writing process. So much changed for me in my writing brain/writing world when I gave myself 100% permission to write what I wanted to write however I wanted to write it. Magic!

KATHY: There is never a moment in your writing that doesn’t feel true or authentic, Leesa. There’s never that feeling of, oh, clever writer! You know what I mean? Anyway, this is a terrific answer.

I have two final things:

1) This is a typical interview question but I really want to know, ha….should someone make a movie about this family (and I hope someone does!), who would you cast?


2) Here’s where you get to come up with a question you wish I’d asked and answer it (optional, but you know sometimes the one thing you want to talk about doesn’t get asked!)

LEESA: I love this question! I always do! 🙂 Wyatt was always Chip Esten in my brain. Or Chip Esten-ish! He plays Deacon on Nashville and he has such a gentle sweetness about him. And he says words with an “l” in them the same way Wyatt does. People who know what I’m talking about, know what I’m talking about! 🙂 I call it the “North Carolina L” b/c it’s usually someone from North Carolina who says it like that…or someone trying to sound like that. It’s a very specific thing and I love it so much.



Also, I usually write men who are men-men, but also have a gentle sweetness about them because I live with a man exactly like that. (My husband is everything that is beautiful about being a man’s man while also being sugar-sweet so he’s my inspiration for characters like that, fersure.)

And Charlotte would be Joy Bryant. I love her a lot and she’s so, so beautiful. I kinda wanna cast her to play all of my girls. And most of my couples are interracial…I do that without thinking about it most of the time! I’d cast Cole Hauser as Charlotte’s ex-husband in flashbacks. And maybe Nia Long as Wyatt’s ex-wife.



As far as the kiddos, I don’t really have anyone in mind for Joshua, but Karis is my oldest niece’s middle name and that’s why I picked the name b/c I love it and I love her.

“Here’s where you get to come up with a question you wish I’d asked and answer it (optional, but you know sometimes the one thing you want to talk about doesn’t get asked!)”

—> What is your Story Song for Making Cowboys?

My story song for this story is “Two” by Ryan Adams. In it, he sings “I got a really good heart, I just can’t catch a break. If I could, I’d treat you like you wanted me to, I promise.” Such a sweet song. I never get tired of it.

It reminds me of Wyatt. He’d tried to make his marriage work, but it didn’t and he’d spent some time being crushed about that and he’s still a bit tender, so now what? Where does that desire to love someone and be kind to someone go? That desire to treat someone well and really love them…what does he do with that b/c it’s not going away.

A lot of people…when they’re hurting, they turn hard and want to close themselves off and love less….but what about the people who open up even more…want to love even more than before? Those people interest me. Those are my favorite kind of people. God bless those people. That’s the kinda person I want to be everyday.

I love thinking about Wyatt driving his truck home from Charlotte’s place after their first date and maybe he stops for a coffee or a Coke and maybe his tires are making that whispery-swishy sound on the road because maybe it rained a little bit when he was at Charlotte’s place and then he hears this song on the radio. And he’s like uh oh b/c he’s already fallen in love with Charlotte and the song is singing everything he couldn’t say yet. And he thinks about turning around and knocking on her door and telling her that stuff but he doesn’t wanna freak her out. So instead, he goes home and texts her: I had a really great time tonight and thank you for kissing me. Next time, my turn.

KATHY: Aw, I love that. Leesa, thanks so much for chatting with me!

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. Her debut short story collection Every Kiss a War is forthcoming from Mojave River Press (April 2014.) Her work has appeared in places like Midwestern Gothic, Carve Magazine, Word Riot, Little Fiction and SmokeLong Quarterly, among others. She and her husband run a literary magazine called WhiskeyPaper. Find more at

New flash – "Go Dog" in Sundog Lit


The woman’s lover died quickly and unexpectedly on his front porch. He’d been drinking whiskey and now the sun was low and shown on his dead face. His dog licked his chest, right above the spot where his heart had seized up, until his wife came and found him. She put her hand to her mouth, collected the bottle and the broken bits of glass, and went inside to make the calls she had to make.

The rest may be read HERE.

Many thanks to Leesa Cross-Smith for asking me to contribute to the Kissing Booth, a collection of works inspired by her forthcoming collection, EVERY KISS A WAR, and to Justin Daugherty, extraordinary literary citizen and publisher of Sundog Lit. While you’re there, check out all the Kissing Booth stories, poems, photographs, and creative nonfiction on offer. It’s beautiful work.

Some very kind reviews for Together We Can Bury It…

my copies of TWCBI

I’m very grateful for the kind reviews I’ve received so far for my recently re-issued flash/short story collection on Goodreads, NANOfiction, Fictionaut, and elsewhere. Here is a sampling:

“Most of what I know about flash fiction I learned from reading Kathy Fish’s work. She’s a consummate master of the short form, and I’m so glad Lit Pub ran a second printing of this collection. These are the sort of stories that deepen and intensify with each rereading. Keep them close at hand.” Ravi Mangla, author of Understudies Goodreads

“This book is a Bible of the short form, meant to be savored then reread again and again. No one does compressed fiction like Kathy Fish. Her precision is unparalleled. Every detail, every line, every word does double, triple duty. Every beat is flawless. The stories in this stunning collection brim with such fullness and depth, they will break you up and cut you down – and leave you utterly mystified, wondering about the lives of these characters long after you finish reading. How does she accomplish all this in so few words? There lies the astounding genius of Kathy Fish.” Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace 

“So much attention is paid to the lyricism in each of the stories that a reader can’t help but find the beauty in each scene and through each character’s perspective no matter how familiar or mundane it may at first seem. There are so many examples of this lyricism at play in the collection but the language in “Rodney and Chelsea” stood out to me the most. In this story, the two titular characters, teen neighbors, are about to engage in their first sexual experience together. It’s a moment of great anticipation and anxiety, yet the narrative sweeps around them meticulously, not only registering their expressions and subtle movements, but their life histories, the space they share living next door to each other, and essential connections they share with family, friends, and neighbors. The entire moment is exquisitely rendered in just four pages, and it’s such a virtuoso accomplishment of prosody that I had to reread it twice more just before I could move on.” Peter Fontaine, NANOfiction NANOfiction

“If I were teaching a course in the form of very short fiction (not all of these stories are very short), I would certainly put Kathy Fish’s collection on my syllabus. In fact, I might just teach a course because I’ve read her collection. In sudden fiction, the writer/reader has no space for meandering or groping through the narrative for a story. Each move must stick, and in Fish’s stories every move does. Each beginning draws the reader in, and every ending satisfies. The middle is bursting with realism that does not seem constructed to be realism; it feels real and, yes, meaty.” Christopher Allen, author of Conversations with S. Teri O’Type (A Satire) Books at Fictionaut

“Fish’s writing is like a light gleaming up from the bottom of the lake, distorting itself as refracted waves curl or undulate. Her characters ring true yet they keep an appropriate aloofness. We both feel as if we know these people, as if they are friends or acquaintances in our own lives, yet it is often like we are watching these friends behave badly on screen so that we’re powerless to intervene.” Len Kuntz, author of The Dark Sunshine and forthcoming, I’m Not Supposed to Be Here and Neither Are You People You Know By Heart

“Read this on a train back to Baltimore. On the train were people in McDonalds uniforms making loud and beautiful jokes because they’d stolen a bunch of mayonnaise. If inside a jar of stolen mayonnaise you found a tiny Nina Simone singing her cover of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” and you get to the part where she goes “Well that’s it folks, that’s it,” you would actually be getting to the sad and wan stories in this collection. And then this book sneaks the mayo back to where it stole it from, but it listens to Nina Simone on its off-brand MP3 player while drinking ginger ale at the mall, just wandering and wandering and remembering and trying not to regret anything.” Mike Young, author of Look! Look! Feathers! and Who Can Make It Big Noö Journal

“The worlds in this collection are often a little lopsided, a little worn, sometimes dark and piercing, yet always beautiful in one way or another. They never tip over into sentimentalism or conceit and give the feeling that anything can happen, good and bad. But whatever does happen, you know it will be brave and honest, in the most human sense of the word.” Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin Berit Ellingsen’s blog

“A sweepingly excellent collection of 40 stories, a sort of retrospecticus of Kathy Fish’s writing career so far. Everything about this book is well-done…The stories themselves: amazing. There’s no filler: every story is aching and gorgeous.” Kevin Fanning, author of Jennifer Love Hewitt Times Infinity Goodreads

“These stories possess a clear and believable voice that is at home in the company of Lydia Davis, Russell Edson, Kim Chinquee. Fish breathes life to the page, so much so, the characters and actions stay with the reader long after the book is closed…The book is filled with so many strange and amazing moments the reader cannot avoid becoming a part of the lives and choices and passions discovered in it. This can only happen when the writing is of the highest quality and a true pleasure to read. “Highest quality” is the perfect descriptive for Together We Can Bury It – a collection that should not be missed.” Sam Rasnake, author of Cinéma Vérité and Inside a Broken Clock Used Furniture Review

“Kathy Fish’s Together We Can Bury It is so creative and beautifully written, it’s hard not to marvel at the richness in each of the pieces.” Peter Tieryas, author of Bald New World and Watering Heaven The Whimsy of Creation

“Within, you will find stories that will touch you, leave you breathless, make you laugh, make your heart ache. You will run the gamut of emotions–I promise you that–and you will find yourself living in the moment of these stories as filled with despair and hope as many of the characters are, waiting for change that may never come, but always waiting, never giving up.” Myfanwy Collins, author of Echolocation and I Am Holding Your Hand and forthcoming, The Book of Laney Myfanwy Collins’ blog

“There’s a movie’s worth of character and plot and insight in every blooming one of these short fictions. I finished this book feeling stuffed, dazed, and amazed by how much Kathy Fish gets done in such tight spaces. It’s a thrill to be privy to what she thinks about, the wonder she carries inside.” Pia Ehrhardt, author of Famous Fathers Goodreads

“Some authors have a way of mak
ing a reader forget the world, forget that she’s reading, allowing pure enjoyment of the art of story. This is especially difficult to pull off with reading author/teachers. We feel the pull to be critical, cautious, and read with our defenses up, ready to find something that jostles us from the narrative. Very few authors have the ability to make such a reader forget, and even fewer flash fiction and short fiction writers have this ability because the form means creating numerous worlds and engaging the reader wholly again with each new story. Some authors can do it, though. Kathy Fish is one. This book is a gift for a reader like me.” Jen Knox, author of Musical Chairs and To Begin Again Goodreads

“Beautiful collection by a master of the flash fiction form. These stories pack more loneliness, heartbreak, and despair into smaller spaces than ought to be possible, given the laws of narrative physics. But as one of Kathy Fish’s characters tells us: “this is an infinite universe and in an infinite universe all things are mathematically possible.” And yet, I still don’t know how she does it.” Mary Lynn Reed Goodreads

“1. I LOVE these stories. “Skinny Lullaby at the Lizard Lounge: Schenectady” where she writes: “The lady on the stage is skinny-singing something Joni Mitchell. We drink fuzzy navels. Get sleepy. Slide into each other like river otters.” I really LOVE “Snow” and “Wake Up” and “Be My Be My Baby” and “This is Dwight” and “Lens” and “Orlando” and “Tenderoni.” What I’m trying to say is that I love them all.
2. I love how Kathy Fish writes about: men & women, snow, food, cocktails, homes and music.
3. I love how Kathy Fish describes colors.
4. My husband is a VERY persnickety reader. I read a lot of these little stories aloud to him and he loved them as much as I do.
5. And I don’t feel this way about all stories/books I read but Kathy’s stories make me want to WRITE. And that’s probably my favorite thing about all of them.” Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss a War Goodreads

Writing Wisdom: Harding, Horrocks, & Cross-Smith

Some things I’ve read recently by some of my favorite writers that have fired me up, taught me something, and/or inspired me and maybe you too!

This, from Paul Harding, author of Tinkers (one of my favorite novels) and Enon (which I haven’t read yet):

“Your books will suffer from bad readers no matter what, so write them for brilliant, big-brained and big-hearted people who will love you for feeding their minds with feasts of beauty.”

The rest of his 5 Writing Tips can be found here, at the Publisher’s Weekly site,

And this, from another favorite writer, Caitlin Horrocks (you should read her collection, This is Not Your City, if you haven’t yet…I reviewed it at the Lit Pub). Here is what Horrocks says about “the bad idea”:

“…as a writer, the things that are difficult are the things I want to do, and I want to encounter work as a reader that takes the same attitude. I don’t want short story writers to willingly give up any more ground, to decide before they’ve begun that the story form just can’t encompass a densely lyrical, multigenerational suspense story. With a car chase.”

The whole article, part of the Kenyon Review Credos, written by KR editors, can be found on their blog here: “The Glory of The Bad Idea.”

And lastly, this, from the lovely, generous, and extremely talented Leesa Cross-Smith, whose debut collection, EVERY KISS A WAR, is now available for pre-order from Mohave River Press (and you should get it because it’s a gorgeous book):

“I know it’s gonna sound generic, but FIND YOUR OWN VOICE. Also THERE IS ROOM FOR YOU! It can be very, very overwhelming when you see how many (other) writers there are, but there is room for you too! You have something to say, to teach! You never know how you can be a blessing to someone. And work hard at it. Never, ever give up.”

This is part of her interview at Kerry Winfrey’s Welcome to Ladyville blog as part of a series of interviews with Creative Ladies. You can read the rest here: Creative Ladies: Leesa Cross-Smith.