Happy Holidays 2016

img_0910img_0914 (L): Sharon Foley reads poetry; (R) Christine Baerbock reads a haunting short story ***** In New York City, at the venerable KGB Bar, I read in two events: F-BOMB on Friday, Oct. 21 hosted by Bud Smith, and Best Small Fictions on Saturday, Oct. 22,  hosted by Paul Beckman: img_1138img_0964 (L) me reading “Mother/ Father/ Clown”; (R) Karen Stefano reading Secret Games of Words      (F-BOMB Reading) img_1455img_1043img_145114567554_10202170992232644_2023302213058823055_o Top: (L) Meg Tuite reading from lined up like scars; (C) Len Kuntz reading I’m Not Supposed To Be Here and Neither Are You; me reading “A Box” (Best Small Fictions). Bottom: (L to R): me, Dawn Raffel, Dianca London Potts, Eliel Lucero, Tina Barry, Paul Beckman, Nancy Ludmerer, Britt Haraway, Anne Elizabeth Weisgarber, and Courtney Sender. ***** November 10th, Jonnie Guernsey and Laurel Landis launched A Picture And A Thousand Words. I read “Behind the 8-Ball” and we all used their excellent photography as prompts, hosted at Sugar Maple in Bay View, WI: img_1506 ***** On November 14th, I was featured in the Traveling Mollys, hosted by Nina Corwin at Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, Chicago. The other featured reader was Bill Yarrow: img_1561img_1567img_1562-1 (L) Buzz Cafe, Oak Park; (R) Bill Yarrow reading from The Vig of Love Bottom: Daniel Weinberg reads his letters to MAD Magazine ***** On November 19th, I attended Robin Chapman’s course for Red Oak Writing: “What Poetry Can Teach Writers of Any Genre.” It was terrific, and thanks, Kim Suhr, for setting up so many great Saturday workshops throughout 2016. More information here: http://redoakwriting.com. 4621636807_791d6de73c_b-300x225 ***** Update on FUN HOUSE: my fifth book! Publisher and I hope to get FUN HOUSE to you by December, 2016! We have an astounding cover (thanks artist Ron Kibble), and almost all blurbs are accounted for. FUN HOUSE has four sections: micro/ flash fiction; 26 kids in a classroom with kickass art by Bob Schofield; prose poems assembled by master crafter Eryk Wenziak, and longer short stories. Stay tuned!          ]]>

New York, New York: Big City of Dreams

states-of-terror On Saturday night, Paul Beckman hosted the Best Small Fictions 2016 reading! Same spot, KGB. This reading included mostly authors selected for the recently published anthology, expertly edited by Stuart Dybek and Tara Masih. Including, but not limited to: Britt Haraway, Anne Weisgerber, Dawn Raffel, Nancy Ludmerer, Courtney Sender, Ilana Masad, Dianca London Potts, Tina Barry, Eliel Lucero, Michael G. Maxwell, Karen Stefano, Paul Beckman, Len Kuntz, Meg Tuite, Bud Smith and me. I read my piece, “A Box,” which was chosen for the Best Small Fictions, 2016 (originally in RIFT, my co-authored book with Kathy Fish). kgb-riftbrooosbsf-group-shot And then, there was the general pizazz of being in in a city I love more than any other, with writer pals/ friends I adore, admire, revere, love: yesr-l-s-kwestvillemeg-mgm-me Overall, I would do this again, and again. Soulful, inspiring. Deeply satisfying. Please, sir, may I have some more?  ]]>

Exploratory Fiction at Mabel Dodge Luhan House

IMG_3700IMG_3697 The day was perfect, and I hadn’t been there since 1987. Quite amazing memories, and new ones, also. Our workshop participants arrived all day on Saturday, and we began the event after dinner. All week, our focus was on creative, generative writing time, supported by contemporary writing examples of exploratory fiction we all read together each morning (e.g. Lucia Berlin, Lydia Copeland, Yennie Cheung, DJ Berndt, Eileen Merriman, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Aubrey Hirsch and Casey Hannon). teaching MDLH Above is Juniper Hall, where we experienced some stimulating discussions about flash fiction. Also, we had terrific fiction exercises that we used in class or as possible prompts all week for the workshop participants to pursue. IMG_3757IMG_3758IMG_3791IMG_3810Meg Taos Top (L to R): Len Kuntz outside Big House; Levi Andrew Noe on Patio Middle (L to R): Jonathan Cardew in Gazebo; Katherine Seluja in Big House Bottom: Meg Tuite in Room 1 of Juniper House We also held roundtables from 3-5 pm every day. The two groups would meet with either Kathy Fish, or me. Each writer would take a turn reading her/his new story aloud, then receive insightful comments. It was truly inspiring, both to hear the new work, and the amount of distance each writer traveled in terms of risk, support, adventure, and willingness to play at 100%. The meals were terrific: ’nuff said. All three, every single day. The staff: beyond the best! entire crewMDLH kitchen Workshop participants on L Mabel Dodge Luhan Kitchen staff on R. In addition, we held a panel discussion Tuesday night about publishing with independent presses: Ts Panel MDLH (L to R): Len Kuntz, Kathy Fish, Meg Tuite, Robert Vaughan. And on Wednesday afternoon, we had a docent tour of the Big House, which is exquisite: DHL windowsunnamed-1 Left: Bathroom windows painted by D.H. Lawrence! Right: Painted stairs to Mabel and Tony’s rooms. K and me “Salon Talk” in Mabel’s room, Robert Vaughan and Katherine Seluja! homies MDLH Robert Vaughan, Meg Tuite and Len Kuntz on Tony Luhan’s original sleeping couch! Our last evening in Taos, Thursday, we held a reading, hosted by Meg Tuite…all ten participants shared a new work that they’d crafted during the workshop. Also, Kathy Fish and I did. My story was called “Speed Trap.” KF readingIMG_3958 None of this would have happened without my partner and cohort, the uber-talented Kathy Fish. Thanks for everything you did (and have done), to make this all a realized dream: KF as MTM And here’s the good news: we are already making plans for a 2018 return to Mabel Dodge Luhan House. In the meantime, visit Kathy’s site at www.kathy-fish.com. And I’ll be adding my teaching dates for 2017 very soon! Taos, we miss you so very much. Endless great memories made during our Exploratory Fiction: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice workshop: Cqi_fRcVUAANVM7groundsIMG_3776IMG_3860    ]]>

Readings Etc.

Microtones This was a reading for Red Oak Writers, hosted by our fearless director, Kim Suhr, soon after Microtones was published by Cervena Barva Press in 2012. Diptychs This was a reading in Chicago in early 2014 with Meg Tuite and David Tomaloff, hosted by Bill Yarrow. I’m reading from the newly published Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps). My pal Meg’s entire family came (or nearly). It was a blast! A & B I think this was shot at the Seattle AWP#14. Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) had just been released. Jane Carmen’s “Festival of Language” typically kicks off the AWP Conference with an ambitious line-up on Wednesday (opening day), 5-10 p.m. RIFT And last, but certainly not least, a RIFT (Unknown Press) photo! This was taken by uber-talented Nancy Stohlman at her F-BOMB Flash Fiction Showcase last July in Denver. I was able to read with Kathy Fish, co-author and celebrated writer. I recently returned from this year’s AWP Conference in Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to read in two different readings. The first, States of Terror’s “Creature Features” included many writers whose work I admire. One of them, Gabino Iglesias, wrote a stunning review of RIFT, and upon his return, published this great article about readings at Dead End Follies: http://www.deadendfollies.com/2016/04/essay-why-most-readings-suck-and-how-to.html I sure hope that Gabino was not referring to me! In any case, I took note, Gabino, and thanks for the succinct list. We have a few spots left for our August fiction workshop in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, August 20-26. Please contact Kathy Fish or me. More info at www.kathy-fish.com. Also, please join us at the Marion Center tomorrow (Thursday, April 14th) night for our Red Oak reading, a mix of writers from several of our roundtables, to honor our years spent at this venerable institution. I will be reading, too! Pot luck starts at 5:30- 5:45 and reading begins at 6:30 p.m.]]>

AWP Recap & More

AWP UP TableUNKNOWN PRESS AWP My publisher, Unknown Press, shared booth #1442 with Digging Through the Fat’s Gessy Alvarez, and sister, Cynthia (pictured above). Also, Len Kuntz (above) premiered his new book, I’m Not Supposed to be Here and Neither Are You. We sold a lot of books! Book Show peeps20160331_190929 The States of Terror “Creature Feature” held their reading at BOOK SHOW bookstore on Thursday. Hosted by Matt Lewis and Keith McCleary, my friends Len and Bob attended. Also saw Jim Ruland, Meredith Alling, Gabino Iglesias, and met many more. I read “Sweet Surrender is All I Have Left To Give,” which will appear in States of Terror Anthology #3 this fall. 249135_ioOZidtO1goggles018-3 Also, Thursday afternoon, Kathy Fish and I taped Otherppl podcast with Brad Listi (no, not in his Searcher camper!) in his garage on W. 4th in L.A. We had such a blast! Walking away from this experience, Kathy and I agreed it felt as if we’ve known Brad all our lives. four freaksLen and Bob Of course, AWP is all about our writer friends, allies, and support networking. Where would we be without that? Above left, is Len Kuntz, Kathryn Grant, me, and Karen Stefano. Photo shot by Robert P. Kaye. Dinner was the local Mexican restaurant, closest to our JW Marriott. We recommend the table side guacamole. Above right is Robert and Len in our Marriott lounge. IMG_1351Joani host My other reading was Hot Pillow, Joani Reese Above, right) hosted. This came with an assortment of lovely instructions, which my posse quickly turned over to Bob. It is held in a hotel (sort-of) room, and by personal invite. The reading is always the highlight of the entire AWP for me. Exquisite work shared. I read “A Box” from RIFT. The Best Small Fictions 2017 Announcement Final-3 Just before we left for AWP, Kathy and I heard from Tara Masih, series editor of Best Small Presses that three of our stories from RIFT had been selected for the Best Small Fictions, 2016 (edited by Stuart Dybek). Needless to say, we are both over the moon thrilled about this! Our two pieces that will be included are “A Box” (mine) and “A Room With Many Small Beds” (Kathy). Also, John Madera compiled this amazing list of “Most Anticipated Books of 2016” at Big Other, and included RIFT as a book to not miss (published in December 2015): https://bigother.com/2016/04/07/most-anticipated-small-press-books-of-2016/ Back to AWP and Los Angeles: rapturels Shalom Sherman, accordionist at Palermo Restaurant on Vermont Avenue. I’ve been a loyal fan of this place since the mid 1980s. We had a sublime dinner, terrific food, fantastic time. All, in all, Los Angeles AWP was probably my favorite conference experience thus far. They just get more fun, less stressful, and it’s always great to see friends, meet new people, try new experiences. So until next year, see you all in D.C. in 2017!]]>

Fiction Workshop: 2016

Exploratory Fiction: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice courtyard_view-banner with Kathy Fish & Robert Vaughan, co-authors of RIFT at The Mabel Dodge Luhan House- Taos, New Mexico August 20-26, 2016 Visit www.kathy-fish.com for a daily itinerary, a link to the MDL House, and to reserve your spot! Questions or inquiries, please do ask either Kathy or me! Spaces are limited.        ]]>

RIFT and more

Cover with blurbs Thanks for the cover image, Casey McSpadden! : www.caseymcspadden.com. Also the creative blurbs from Ron Carlson, Daniel Handler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Michael Martone, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Robert Lopez, Michael Seidlinger, Ryan Ridge, Jensen Beach, xTx, and Luke Goebel. Odd to think, I was just in Denver (again!!) for the F-BOMB Flash Fiction reading event. Here are some images from that magical evening IMG_9545IMG_9535 KF RIFTLeah Rogin-RoperRV Rift Our fearless host, Meg “Marge” Tuite, and featured readers: Len Kuntz, Kathy Fish, Leah Rogin-Roper and me. Kathy and I read new pieces from RIFT!!! Thanks to Nancy Stohlman, and the Denver Flash community for a great night! Then rushed back to Milwaukee, to a busy Thursday, shipping over 150 copies of RIFT to the Nervous Breakdown Book Club: TNB booksIMG_9576 Thanks Bud Smith, publisher at Unknown Press, and Brad Listi founder of Nervous Breakdown, and Jonathan Evison, book club selection guy! And finally, both Kathy Fish, and my first stories in RIFT were published, in perfect “teaser” timing, for the arrival of RIFT. Here is Kathy’s “A Room With Many Small Beds at Threadcount Magazine: http://threadcountmag.com/issue-5-fall-15/kathy-fish/. And here is my “Galloping Into The Future” at The Airgonaut: https://theairgonautblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/galloping-into-the-future/ I hope you enjoy them! More information forthcoming about RIFT, how to order, and also about the fiction writing course that Kathy and I are teaching at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, August 20-26, 2016.        ]]>

The Small Prestivus Festival: Readings, Workshops, and More

GriffithIN Here is the tentative schedule for the entire weekend: Saturday, August 1–Book Fair 12-5; Workshops 1-3 or 3-5 (my workshop, “The Art of Fiction and Witty Dialogue” is 3-5 p.m). Featured Reading & Participant Open Mic 8 PM (my reading slot is 9 PM). August 2–11:30 a.m. Q & A with Joani Reese on Submissions and Publishing. Readings 12-5 sponsored by Lit Fest Press. Where: Griffith, Indiana–Broad Street, Franklin Center, and Pokro Brewery (all in the same block) The festival will include writing workshops; an outdoor book fair with singer/songwriters, open air readings, and visual art demonstrations; a Saturday evening event featuring performances by Bud Smith, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Joani Reese, Michele McDannold, Bill Gainer, Sarah A. Chavez, Rachel Bell, Lois Berg and Robert Vaughan.  Also a one-shot open mic where participants will have a chance to read, and an all day Festival of Language where all participants will again have a chance to read on Sunday sponsored by Lit Fest Press. Producer Julie says this festival is to showcase writers in the small press. If you would like to reserve a table please message Blotterature Lit Mag or Lit Fest Press. Tables are $10 for individual writers and $20 for presses. Sounds like a blast! Plus, I get to hang out with some of my favorite writers!  ]]>

A Reading and Other Events

FBomb Flash Fiction Reading Series. Here is a wonderful photo of our host, Nancy Stohlman: unnamed-1   How fortunate for me that she seems happily engrossed in Addicts & Basements! The event is Tuesday, July 21st at The Mercury Cafe, 7:30 p.m. Other featured readers include Paul Beckman, Karen Stefano and Meg Tuite. Also reading are Kathy Fish, Sally Reno, Kona Morris, Rob Geisen, Jonathan Montgomery, Nick Morris and many more! PLEASE COME and join us!!! Also, I did a little sleuthing, and you can now get Addicts & Basements in the following countries: Paperback and Kindle: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, and United Kingdom Kindle Only: Australia, Brazil, Spain, Japan and The Netherlands And, recently I participated in a chat with Karen Stefano, on her new podcast radio talk show, from Rare Bird Lit. Listen here as we discuss her fantastic book, THE SECRET GAMES OF WORDS and Addicts & Basements. Thanks for this opportunity, Karen: https://soundcloud.com/rarebirdlit/karen-stefano-with-robert-vaughan-final-01 I’m also going to be a reader/ presenter at the Small Press Festivus on August 1 & 2, 2015 in Hammond, Indiana. Save the dates… more information forthcoming! Happy Trails, everyone! What’s your summer reads so far?    ]]>