Wigleaf Top 50!

Artwork by Philip Bond

Artwork by Philip Bond

Well. I am astounded and grateful that two of my stories were chosen by Matthew Salesses for the 2015 Wigleaf Top 50. Both stories, “Ripe” and “Tool” were published by Lauren Becker, editor of the wonderful Corium Magazine. I also thrilled that my story “The Children Called Him Yuck-Yuck” published by Ellen Parker in FRiGG, was chosen for the long list. I’m very honored to be among the fantastic writers on both lists.

Thanks so much to Selecting Editor, Matthew Salesses, as well as Series Editor, Marcelle Heath and all of her team of readers. And thanks, of course, to Scott Garson, editor of Wigleaf. This is a huge effort every year to recognize and showcase the best flash fiction published online. As Marcelle Heath says in her foreword:

Flash fiction opens up the page, becomes larger and more fluid, and gives back to us so that we can see what remains: vitality, provocation, enchantment.

Again, thanks so much. I had a few painful years of hardly writing at all. This and all the recognition my stories have received this past year mean the world to me.

New stories, nominations, a podcast, and more…

I have so much to be thankful for as 2015 draws to a close. The short short collection, RIFT, co-authored with the great Robert Vaughan, is set to officially launch from Unknown Press on December 1st. Huge thanks to Bud Smith and Unknown Press! When Robert was in Denver for the F-Bomb reading, the talented and energetic Levi Andrew Noe interviewed us both for “Rocky Mountain Revival: Audio Art Journal” and you can listen to the interview and Robert and me reading some of our stories. It was great fun to do and thanks so much to Levi for being such a generous host!

My story, “Grip,” was nominated for Pushcart by R.K.V.R.Y. and you can read it here. Many thanks to everyone at R.K.V.R.Y., particularly editor Mary Akers. “Grip” is included in RIFT.

On the heels of that news, Scott Garson, editor of Wigleaf wrote to tell me he’d nominated my Wigleaf Postcard for inclusion in Best Small Fictions, 2016. And you may find that by going to Wigleaf and scrolling down a ways. It was published in April.

Both “Grip” and my Wigleaf postcard are works that mean a great deal to me personally, so I’m especially grateful for this recognition.

My story, “Giant” is up now in the Fall 2015 Issue of New World Writing, edited by Kim Chinquee, who is now also the Senior Editor there. Much gratitude, always, to Kim. The issue includes work from Bobbie Ann Mason, Claudia Smith, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, Robert Lopez, T.L. Sherwood, Tiff Holland, Pamela Painter, and more!

Also! I’m pleased to have two new stories forthcoming soon in New South and Alice Blue. (This week I believe.) This will actually be the final issue of Alice Blue, a great lit journal that’s been publishing for ten years. Sad to see them go. Edit: My story, “Sea Creatures of Indiana,” is up now and the issue is jam-packed with goodness. Go read the whole issue, because it’s stellar.

We have a page for RIFT now up at Goodreads and already have a review posted by David Atkinson, who read with Robert and me at F-Bomb. Many thanks to David!

Finally, the F-Bomb reading, hosted by the amazing Meg Tuite, was a huge success and great fun. Nancy Stohlman has created this great series of readings aimed entirely at furthering flash fiction, with monthly guest hosts and guests. November’s reading included Robert Vaughan, Len Kuntz, Kona Morris, Leah Rogin-Roper, Katharyn Grant, David Atkinson, Levi Andrew Noe, and more!

I will be hosting the next event on January 19th, featuring terrific writers and friends Sally Reno and Gay Degani. More details here!

New stories in Wigleaf plus postcard with apologies to the state of Nebraska

IMG_1094 (1) copyThis week I have two new short shorts in one of my all-time favorite zines for flash fiction, the wonderful Wigleaf, edited by Scott Garson. The first is a triptych, called “Enigma” and the second is a blocky, one-paragraph flash called “Game Show.” Scott also gives his authors an opportunity to write a postcard to Wigleaf. I’ve never done this before, but as I was on the road when the acceptance came, I actually stopped and got the postcard you see here and wrote exactly how I was feeling at the time. And for that, I have to apologize to the state of Nebraska. I was not feeling kindly toward you when I wrote it and nothing that happened was your fault. Except for the mean clerk at the Oasis Travel Center…

Anyway, here is the link. Hope you enjoy. While you’re there, if you’re not a regular Wigleaf reader I recommend you read the other stories. It’s consistently stellar flash fiction and I’m proud to have my work there. Wigleaf.

A Thousand Perfect Strangers

It’s here and it’s beautiful. Smokelong Quarterly’s brand new website. I really love it. It’s suitably minimalist without being stark. The artwork accompanying the stories, which has always been great, is amazing. Kudos to Tara Laskowski and all the Smokelong staff. Issue 47 is dedicated to Roxane Gay, for making it possible for Smokelong to pay the contributors of this issue. Anyway, go and check it out! There’s great flash fiction along with author interviews and Tara has written lovely editor’s comments.

As part of the Smokelong campaign to raise funds, one of the perks offered was that a donor would get to be in a story written by me. That lucky donor was longtime friend and master flash writer, Randall Brown. I really struggled with this “assignment!” I wanted Randall to like whatever I wrote for him. He assures me he likes it very much. This is my first science fiction story ever. It was fun to write. You can read it here: A Thousand Perfect Strangers. Randall also interviewed me and you can find that on the site as well. Hope you enjoy!

FullSizeRender (4)In other news, I was asked to take part in the beautiful series my friend Myfanwy Collins curated at the Pank blog, called “Pieces of Me.” The idea was that each writer would post an old photograph and write something based on it and Myf left that wide open. The stories are so strong and gorgeous. My piece is dedicated to my brother, Tom, who recently passed away and you can find it here “For Tom”. That’s him, in the photo, holding me on his lap. Tom was my hero and protector growing up in that houseful of boys. There was no one like him and I will miss him very much.

Also, I have two new flashes and a postcard upcoming in one of my all-time favorite flash fiction zines, Wigleaf, edited by Scott Garson. I’ll let you know when that’s available to read!

Some New Things: Interview with Brad Watson, Jeff Landon flash, & Lauren Becker's book…

Brad Watson is apparently a kindred spirit:

“I’m old-fashioned and believe that the writer’s only real job — day jobs aside — is to write, and to write the best work one is capable of writing. I’m happy to go out, give readings or talks, visit classes or clubs — when and if anyone is interested — but even that is pretty distracting, work-wise. It interrupts work you’ve inevitably already begun on something new. I don’t really believe anyone knows for sure, yet, whether or not using social media to promote yourself works all that well. Maybe it does in those rare cases when someone does or creates something that, as they say, “goes viral.” In any case, my personality is not a good fit with self-promotion.”

I, too, have always felt uncomfortable with self-promotion and don’t like spending too much time on social media because I resent the time it takes away from real life and writing…however! I’ve made wonderful contacts with other writers that I wouldn’t have without it and for that I’m forever grateful. Writing is a tough and lonely gig. Read the rest of Watson’s interview in Fiction Southeast. Watson is the author of Aliens in The Prime of Their Lives, a collection of short stories I really liked and recommend. watson book

I was thrilled to see new flash fiction by a favorite writer, Jeff Landon, in Wigleaf. It’s called “Bobs” and here is an excerpt:

“We drink bourbon and beer, gobble pizza puffs, and watch the slide show of our gone lives with Amy: Bad teeth Bob with Amy on the boardwalk, her hands in his hair gone now from the chemotherapy. We watch the pictures and we are kindred and moony and Bob.”

Anyway, go read the whole story and Jeff’s accompanying postcard here and you can read a whole bunch of Jeff’s stories in Truck Dance, his collection of stories published by Matter Press. If you’re a fan of and/or writer of flash fiction, I can’t recommend it enough. Jeff’s writing is like none other, beautiful, heartbreaking, and funny.truck dance

I recently read Lauren Becker’s novella + story collection, published by Curbside Splendor books, If I Would Leave Myself Behind and it’s fantastic. I highly recommend this smart, edgy, vulnerable, exquisitely written collection. Here’s a taste:

“Tuesdays are quiet. If you don’t make them louder, you invite the tiny, final earthquake that turns cracks to holes.You should remember that early Tuesday nights are different from late Saturdays and maybe go to bed instead. The fault line shifted when he left, right after, like always. Sometime in the night or morning, I emptied the condom I found in the trash and made it irrelevant.”

if i would leave myself behind

Lastly, I have sort of quietly begun offering my services giving editing suggestions and feedback for flash fiction. Are people interested in this? I am considering putting an actual page up on this blog with a form to fill out and everything, so it all looks legit and professional. Stay tuned and let me know if you’re interested! Thanks.

Some Good Things

1. I am bundled, or rather, my book Wild LIfe is bundled, with Jeff Landon’s book, Truck Dance for the low, low price of ten bucks plus two dollars shipping. I’ve read Truck Dance and can tell you, it’s superb. So go get ’em, at Matter Press!

2. I’m so happy to have a stamp story in the latest edition of Wigleaf, with so many fantastic writers. Read all the stamp stories here: Stamp Stories. This is to introduce the now available Mudluscious Press Stamp Stories Anthology, which I’m also proud to be a part of. And you can get that here: Get this book which contains the work of these fine people:

James Tadd Adcox, Jesse Ball, Ken Baumann, Lauren Becker, Matt Bell, Kate Bernheimer, Michael Bible, Jack Boettcher, Harold Bowes, Jesse Bradley, Donald Breckenridge, Melissa Broder, Blake Butler, James Chapman, Jimmy Chen, Joshua Cohen, Peter Conners, Shome Dasgupta, Andy Devine, Giancarlo DiTrapano, Claire Donato, Elizabeth Ellen, Raymond Federman, Kathy Fish, Scott Garson, Molly Gaudry, Roxane Gay, Steven Gillis, Rachel B. Glaser, Amanda Goldblatt, Barry Graham, Amelia Gray, Sara Greenslit, Tina May Hall, Christopher Higgs, Lily Hoang, Tim Horvath, Joanna Howard, Laird Hunt, Jamie Iredell, Harold Jaffe, A D Jameson, Jac Jemc, Stephanie Johnson, Shane Jones, Drew Kalbach, Roy Kesey, Sean Kilpatrick, Michael Kimball, M. Kitchell, Robert Kloss, Darby Larson, Charles Lennox, Eugene Lim, Matthew Lippman, Norman Lock, Robert Lopez, Sean Lovelace, Josh Maday, Dave Madden, John Madera, Kendra Grant Malone, Tony Mancus, Peter Markus, Chelsea Martin, Zachary Mason, Hosho McCreesh, Alissa Nutting, Riley Michael Parker, Aimee Parkison, David Peak, Ted Pelton, Adam Peterson, Ryan Ridge, Joseph Riippi, Adam Robinson, Ethel Rohan, Joanna Ruocco, Kevin Sampsell, Selah Saterstrom, Davis Schneiderman, Zachary Schomburg, Todd Seabrook, Ben Segal, Gregory Sherl, Lydia Ship, Matthew Simmons, Justin Sirois, Amber Sparks, Ken Sparling, Ben Spivey, Michael Stewart, Terese Svoboda, Sean Ulman, Deb Olin Unferth, Timmy Waldron, William Walsh, Rupert Wondolowski, James Yeh, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé.

3. I am still thinking about Michael Kimball’s book, US, which pretty much wrecked me, in the best way. Review to follow. But I highly recommend it. Here’s the Goodreads page for this book, published by Tyrant Books: Us

4. I’m going home to Iowa, the day after Thanksgiving to join in the celebration of my brother, Tom’s, 60th birthday. He’s the one who saved me from drowning when I was three years old, so, well, I owe my life to the man.