Friday, August 28, 2009

Feast AND Famine

It happened again, you know. I just stepped out of another rough agent adventure--this time the agent contacted me, out of the blue, because she'd read a snippet of my novel on a private site. So I sent her the book, but it didn't do what she thought it would. Then I sent her the other, but even though she loves the writing, the characters, etc, it wasn't what she wanted either. So that was hard news, but quickly followed by notice from Cooper Renner that he was going to nominate "Render, or to Transmit to Another" for the Dzanc 2010 Best of the Web anthology. He published the story in elimae in December, and that was thrilling enough, but to have the story make Wigleaf's Top 50 and be nominated by CR--I'm over the moon.

Yes you are a good little story, mommy loves you very much.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Online Fiction Writing Course (Part 3? 4?)

Howdy! Taking a break from writing my syllabus to take a break from writing my syllabus, so I have a couple of minutes to Tell You The Good News About Indie Lit! Seriously, I've only been a consistently active participant in the scene for about a year and a half, and already the questions--online vs. print, micro vs. macro--seem old and non-productive sometimes, like going to a big family picnic where they find out you're an English professor and you get all those loud question-attacks from Uncles who are proud to be ignorant. Crimey/Noiry/Southerny fiction writer and reviewer Art Taylor gets it (for reasons a light cyber-stalking will reveal), and he is enthusiastically in the business of explaining it to diverse and curious populations, reminding me that my presence at the picnic might be useful after all. Art is in the process of putting together a brief piece for the George Mason community about new fiction, for which he has interviewed Mason alums (Me, Scott Garson, and Tara Laskowski).

Of course, these days I don't need to explain much to my advanced fiction writing students about what's going on, and the unit descriptions in my syllabus are really for the salary committee more than anyone else.

Here's an inappropriate answer I gave to one of Art's questions about writing big and small (I'm pretty sure I stole the image, but from where? And DE, did I use this gag at the conf panel?): Think about seeing a clown in an emergency room with a BBQ fork in his thigh. That's one narrative experience, about the observer's immediacy. Now think about that clown as an abused child who grew up to flunk out of the police academy and has just discovered he has "feelings" for his best friend. That's an entirely different narrative experience, using the exact same base material. Oh, and neither one is poetry.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

too much something, no doubt

I'm pretty much out of stories. I'm working on/up another wee elvis thing, but it's not revealing itself to me in any hunka-burning love kind of way. I'm not worried, though. I wrote HARD April through July, so a dry August seems right.

At the cabin Friday night my dogs had me pinned on either side, and they fidgeted a lot, traveling up and down especially before dawn. I dreamed they were Facebook status updates for Pank and Barrelhouse. Newton (pictured) was Barrelhouse.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let God sort 'em out: tired and pale, or tan and naughty

Read Erin Fitzgerald's stories in Pank. Now.

Like FRiGG, Pank posts sets of stories by a single author from time to time. I like that? Sometimes not. Erin's set rocks, leaving you with that feeling that you have finally read an effective ghost story. (They aren't ghost stories)

And in other news, Dean points out that the poetry in >killauthor is pretty oogie stuff. Lotta vomit and surgery.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New story up at >killauthor # 2

The Pinter issue, which is awesome. I know everyone else is drooling over the debut of The Collagist, and they should, but when you're done there
check out "The Elvis"

That's right. Elvis. This Elvis comes from my Louisiana novel. This thing was brilliantly edited by Meg Pokrass, whom I LUFF.

In the issue with amazing folks:

Ben Spivey | Donald Illich | Emma J. Lannie
George Anderson | J. Bradley | Jesse Tangen-Mills
Jimmy Chen | K. Walker Graves | Lauren Becker | Laurie E. White | Luke Drotar
Nate Innomi | Peter Schwartz | Roxane Gay
Sam Pink | Sarah Layden | Stephen Daniel Lewis
Steven J. McDermott | Vaughan Simons
William Walsh

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No need for me to be cool

Adam Robinson nominated my story "The Temple Dog" (from Everyday Genius)for Dzanc's 2010 Best of the Web anthology. I was gonna keep my bloggy mouth shut about it, but he just posted his noms and alts on the Publishing Genius blog.Congrats also to Joseph Young, Cindy Loehr, Jamie GP, and Theresa Columbus.

Adam is so cool.

Way cooler than this guy. I dare you to listen to all the clips and and retain your sense of self.

Monday, August 10, 2009

it's always like this, exciting

checked my email. got a "sorry I'm not the right agent for you" message (I knew it, this was a wild ass query), followed by "I've nominated your story for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010 anthology" message.

I won't say what or by whom out here out loud (seems tacky). my life is weird/fun/slap n tickle.


Dean came up with this one, a reality show called Slushpile! where desperate novelists try to pitch their manuscripts to agents. Funny and depressing!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New stuff at The Northville Review . . .

. . . knocked my work off the front page. That's okay though, because my good friend Danny Collier is there explaining an inside musical joke

Also I hear Tara Laskowski will have work at TNR soon. Tara, Danny, and I all work at the same Uni, so it's kinda neat that we're all messing in Erin Fitzgerald's sandbox.

Aside from excellently bent work featured in TNR, this is one of the few lit sites that I can reasonably access on dial-up, which is my weekend situation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Just sent off the revised Louisiana novel to an agent who is way too cool. I hope she likes it, but at this point I am pretty realistic about how this stuff goes, so no heart pumping anxiety here.

And I'm a bit bored of writing about writing for the moment, and I'm thinking about adventures. My friend is stranded on Fogo Island due to a recent ferry fire, and another friend's comment reminded me that real life adventures, at least the ones I've had or witnessed, tend to come from being stranded. Take this monkey, for example. He's from Cahuita, Costa Rica, and he's from a colony of monkeys who are delightful, even when 'batin' overhead, as long as you are with friends and a tour guide.

But imagine if you are LEFT BEHIND because your sea sickness prevents you from taking a quick boat back to town, and you have to wait at the end of a jungly, yellow-snaky trail, for a guide to bring you back the long way. Now imagine that you have opened a cookie bar and suddenly the trees are full of hungry monkey bastards. THAT's adventure.

And that's what we did to Lucy. Left her with the monkeys.

What's that quote about adventure belonging to the unprepared?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Announced, Winners of The 2009 Canteen Awards in Poetry and Fiction

Big Congratulations to Paul Byall, who placed second in the Canteen fiction contest, with a story that I was privileged to read in its early stages.