Thursday, August 9, 2018

"The House in the Northwest Corner" picked as story of the year @ Vestal Review

Assistant Editor Gillian Walker and Managing Editor Mark Budman, the folks at Vestal Review, picked my short story "The House in the Northwest Corner" as their story of the year for 2017.

That pleases me a great deal. Vestal Review is the oldest journal publishing flash fiction, celebrating its 18th year this year. So to have my story recognized in this way at this particular journal adds to the gratification factor.

Here's the announcement and link to the story if you'd be interested at all in reading it. It's short and doesn't take much time to get through. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Two reviews and a talk with Chris Offutt

I'll have a really good interview with Chris Offutt up at Enclave within the next week, along with my review of his last two books - My Father, the Pornographer and Country Dark. The interview and reviews will also appear later at Plumb - A journal of Appalachian concerns. Look for all of it.


"Victory Party" published @ X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine



A new short story of mine called "Victory Party" was published recently at XRAY Literary Magazine. I'm thankful to James, who liked the story when so many others rejected it on its way to him. Good eye, sir. Good eye.

Read the story HERE

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Three of my new stories on the horizon in three great journals

Distressing news first.

I sent out a manuscript to some important people and realize now it was in critical need of about three more drafts. There's no way to fix this, so I have to simply eat this one and hope they see the potential with drafts in mind.

Moving along to better news.

I have some stories that are going to published soon.

— Scheduled for the October issue of formercactus is a story of mine called "Low Breeders" that deals with a mistreated pit bull and a mistreated miscreant and the dots connected between the two. I tried my best to do this in any case. I'll let the readers decide what dots are there and which ones I might have imagined. Of course I believe the story can work either way, and I'm thankful the staff at formercactus agreed.

— Much sooner, my story "Victory Party" is coming out in a mere two days, this coming Monday, at X-R-A-Y. It's deals with a common theme of mine (relationships between parent and child) but it's the first time I've explored the father/daughter dynamic, and from the point of view of the daughter, no less. I'm really grateful to the editors, Jennifer Greidus and Chris Dankland.

— Adam Van Winkle, the shotgunning editor of Cowboy Jamboree (and one of the people I unknowingly sent a shabby manuscript to this past week - Sorry Adam, I can make it better!) has agreed to publish a second story of mine in his upcoming issue. The story, "The Great Ones Eat Up the Little Ones," is my take on one possible origin story for the street corner preacher, at least the kind you run into in my hollows and outcroppings.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lincoln in the Bardo: George Saunders wrote a fine book that could have also been a fine short story but was a fine book afterall

Image result for "Lincoln in the bardo" cover

George Saunders's Booker Prize-winning book Lincoln in the Bardo is a powerfully good book. One of my favorite reads this year by far. 

The unique structure and the chops it took for Saunders to write so well and so distinctly in so many different voices while still maintaining the narrative was nothing short of miraculous. 

It had more funny moments than poignant, though, in case you've heard otherwise. Most of the heart of the book was in sections that went deeply into Abe Lincoln. It may sound strange, but Saunders, I think, invoked Day-Lewis's performance in Lincoln with those sections. They just felt dead on perfect. 

Now, although I loved that Saunders basically invented a new form to write this book, I will say that it did also up the page count, an important consideration for a short story writer's first attempt at a novel. With this in mind, I believe whole-heartedly that this novel could have worked, and worked better, as a longish short story. There's a lot of of open space on each page due to the breaks. Take out those breaks and you've got what most people would consider more of a novella, probably. I'm not sure. 

All in all, read this book. I don't really care if he was fluffing with breaks for length or not. It doesn't matter. The book still works beautifully and deserves the Booker, something I wasn't convinced of before reading it, to be perfectly honest. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

China MiƩville might try too hard to not be understood

Image result for "Three Moments of an Explosion"I liked some of the stories in Three Moments of an Explosion, such as the story "A Second Slice Manifesto," but, most of the time, I found myself looking to see how many more pages I had until the next story. I always read collections straight through. I know if I don't then I'll never go back and read the ones that were too long or slow to get started, etc. 

In this book, I felt like MiĆ©ville tried too hard too often to be, I don't know, obscure in what he was giving the reader. It was like he used this technique we all know as writers how to use but just went way beyond what was needed. Some stories were insanely frustrating because of this. "The Design" comes immediately to mind. 

All in all I suspect he's a better novelist than a short story writer. If I read another of his it'll be Kraken I think. But it might be awhile. 

"The House in the Northwest Corner" picked as story of the year @ Vestal Review

Assistant Editor Gillian Walker and Managing Editor Mark Budman, the folks at Vestal Review, picked my short story "The House in the No...