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?    ]]>

Readings, Raffles and more

10426125_10205375485565130_1045649562077628047_nLen Kuntz Sa Fe 2015 We went to Santa Fe for the TWISTED Reading Series, hosted by our pal, Meg Tuite: El Flacco and Meg Santa Fe Our featured reader was the exceptional Kate Braverman, and once Karen Stefano and James Claffey arrived, everything was A-OK! Meg’s Santa Fe reading circle rounded out the twelve readers. Also the Denver writers, with Sally Reno, Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman (at a Karaoke Lounge after the reading) : Kate Braverman and meReading in Santa FeThe gang Santa Fe 2015Len and me Santa Fe Last photo of me actually reading a new piece, “Keep it, Curt”: 10945029_1029094903774721_5854911798826018526_n Overall, it  was a festive event and a great extended weekend! RAFFLES: The winner of the January Raffle is…Julia Fiero!!! There were seventy-four entries and I asked a non-writer to select a name out of a hat (blind). Congratulations, Julia- I hope you enjoy Luke Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours as much as I did! February Raffle is Together We Can Bury It by Kathy Fish! To enter, simply comment here or on my Facebook Post, Twitter or Tumblr. This is another book you simply must have! And, my piece called The Fallow Heart, which is in my Addicts & Basements book, you can read at Fictionaut: “The Fallow Heart” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut And that, sugar plums, is a wrap…stay warm and informed.  ]]>

Reviews and Year End List Mentions

Oh Omega, What a Week.) Many events transpired that week, among them, as Michael recently reminded me, my apparent declaration in the Omega cafe during a rare moment of self- assuredness, that I was on the verge of publishing a first collection, with many more to follow. In retrospect, Michael called those observations “prescient” (believe me, they weren’t!) Still, in the years since, I’ve had three books published, all by different independent publishers. And my very kind, astute, multi-talented and dear associate, Michael, wrote a wonderful review, which published here: MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews | Three Works by Robert Vaughan. Also, thanks for friends like Meg Tuite, Bill Yarrow, Joani Reese, and Bud Smith for helping spread the word about MGM’s review. Then, today, the uber-talented Kathy Fish (read her!) published her “My Favorite Reads of 2014” and both Diptychs + Triptychs (which Kathy blurbed) and Addicts & Basements are mentioned: My Favorite Reads of 2014 | Kathy Fish. Thanks, Kathy! I am thrilled to read with you in the Santa Fe TWISTED READING on January 24th. More information forthcoming on that! I’m finally reading Luke B. Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours. LOVE THIS! What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man! Tomorrow, the last day of 2014, I’ll publish my entire 2014 reading list. It’s staggering how many great books I read this year. Very few snoozers! What are your favorite reads? Least favorite reads?  ]]>

HUMP Day Holla

http://pankmagazine.com/piece/three-poems-51/ 2) NPR talks about Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi: http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/357428287/tom-magliozzi-popular-co-host-of-nprs-car-talk-dies-at-77 3) Meg Tuite, Michelle Reale and Heather Fowler won Artistically Declined’s 2013 Twin Antler’s Prize: http://artisticallydeclined.net/poetry/twin-antlers/bare-bulbs-swinging/ 4) Jen Michalski at Nervous Breakdown with ‘Origin Story: Sara Lippman’s Doll Palace’: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jmichalski/2014/10/origin-story-sara-lippmans-doll-palace/ – more-119571 5) Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish re-blogs Ellen Bass’s “Prayer” from her new Like a Beggar collection: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/10/15/a-poem-for-tuesday-9/ 6) Seems fitting for “Democracy” by Dorianne Laux, at Young Chicago Authors: http://youngchicagoauthors.org/blog/artist-feature-dorianne-laux/ 7) Ocean Vuong’s “Descent” in Drunken Boat 17: http://www.drunkenboat.com/db17/ocean-vuong 8) BOMB magazine’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Sussler, has published BOMB: The Author Interviews at Soho Press: http://sohopress.com/books/bomb-the-author-interviews/ 9) Len Kuntz is straight from the heart at his blog, People You Know By Heart: http://lenkuntz.blogspot.com/ 10) If you are near the NYC area on November 16, The Sunday Salon reading series is hosting three Massachusetts writers who are not to be missed: http://www.sundaysalon.com/nyc-november-16-2014.htm.    ]]>

HUMP day: leaves

http://www.everyday-genius.com/2014/10/tobias-carroll.html 2) Bud Smith’s “Falling Horse, Stacked Demons” at theNewerYork: http://theneweryork.com/falling-horse-stacked-demons-bud-smith/ 3) The Guardian expands its roster of US Opinion Writers: http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-us-press-office/guardian-expands-roster-us-opinion-writers 4) Amber Sparks and Mike Meginnis will be talking books live today, at 6:30 EST here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1iysoAY-uM 5) Tanya Olsen’s “Ain’t I Pretty” at PANK: http://pankmagazine.com/piece/aint-i-pretty/ 6) Will Chancellor chats with Sheldon Compton at Revolution John: http://revolutionjohnmagazine.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/lightning-steers-the-world-an-interview-with-author-will-chancellor/ 7) Sara Lippmann at David Abrams’ The Quivering Pen talks about “My First Time”: http://www.davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-first-time-sara-lippmann.html 8) Matthew Simmons and Litsa Dremousis with “The Challenge” at Hobart: http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/the-challenge-an-interview-with-litsa-dremousis-on-writing-about-death-grief-and-getting-better 9) Mallory Ortberg “Talks Shit About Hemingway and Thoreau” at Flavorwire: http://flavorwire.com/485203/talking-shit-about-hemingway-and-thoreau-with-the-toast-founder-and-texts-from-jane-eyre-author-mallory-ortberg 10) Wendy Ortiz’s new memoir, Excavation, in the Los Angeles Times: http://touch.latimes.com/ – section/-1/article/p2p-80884386/ Also, I want to congratulate Kim Suhr, and the Red Oak community for a fantastic, inspiring reading last night at Saz’s. What a superb turnout! Stellar words from Pam Parker, Jonnie Guernsey, Beth Huwiler, Jack Douthitt, Jessi Vertz, Jennifer Vanderheyden, Jo DeMars, Christine Baerbock, Bruce Campbell and Jennifer Rupp. More information about Red Oak Writing. Please join us this Thursday, October 30th, for our next installment, Middle Coast Poets reading at Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust Street, 7 p.m. Frank Berg, Marilyn Windau, Paul Scot August and Robert Vaughan (me). We hope to see you there!]]>

Two for Tuesday: Sheldon Compton and Len Kuntz

Excavation: A Memoir by Wendy C. Ortiz I’ve just been waiting for the chance to write and tell somebody about Wendy C. Ortiz’s memoir Excavation. Now’s my chance, by god. I cannot overstate the pure courage Ortiz brings to the table in this memoir, which covers her teen years while preyed upon by her middle school English teacher, Jeff Ivers. Feels good to exclaim his name here publicly. That’s the kind of impact this book can have on you. It changes you. The book, working beautifully in a broken up narrative scheme that shifts from her childhood to the present day, follows Ortiz from a thirteen-year-old girl who is amorously attracted to her teacher who then, in turn and disgustingly, returns this emotion and spends the next five years manipulating her in a pseudo-relationship. Before reading Excavation I thought I had seen bravery in action through the written word. I had seen hints of it. Ortiz not only trumps any other attempt at this, but also does so with the most beautiful and readable prose I’ve come across in possibly the last decade. And speaking of time-frames for best-of lists, I’m going to go ahead and so that, so far, this is the best book I’ve read this year. It would take a motherload of a book to unseat it at this point. http://www.futuretensebooks.com/futuret/books.html Paperback: 242 pages, Future Tense Publishing (July 18, 2014) Excavation Galaga by Michael Kimball I’m going to tell it to you straight: I had no idea when I received Michael Kimball’s Galaga for review from Small Press Book Review that it was about the game Galaga. Let’s skip how I could have been so unintelligent about the gaming world and move on from there. When I discovered I was, in fact, reading a book about the arcade game, I balked. I had made a mistake and was now committed. Oh well, at least it was Michael Kimball. I never could have imagined how well he came to bat on that expectation. Kimball’s fantastic novel currently holds the number two spot for best books I’ve read this year. The book is about so very much more than the game Galaga, yet exactly about the game. Yep, it’s a beautiful thing to see, full of heart and hurt and perseverance and so much more. I wrote my review, gushing and gushing, and was not the least bit embarrassed. I felt like I was telling the world a golden secret. To entice, here’s the first paragraph of that review from SPBR: “Galaga is Michael Kimball’s love letter to the game of the same name, his textbook, his instructor’s manual, his encyclopedia and fan fiction, and is so much more than any of these things. The book covers every nuance of the game, references in pop culture, merchandising, and just about any other thing related to Galaga.  Tattoo anyone?  He’s got those to talk about, too.  No worries.  And that’s fine and good, but there’s something Kimball displays with this book – courage and love and survival.  How’s that for a magic trick?” Yep, it rolls like that. http://bossfightbooks.com/products/galaga-by-michael-kimball Paperback: 136 pages, Boss Fight Books, (July 1, 2014) GALAGA-cover-nospine-shadow-wide_1024x1024   Sheldon’s bio: Sheldon Lee Compton lives in Eastern Kentucky. He is the author of The Same Terrible Storm (Foxhead Books). His work has appeared in numerous journals, has been nominated for several awards, and has been widely anthologized. He is the editor at REVOLUTION JOHN and blogs here: BENT COUNTRY. ******************************************************************************* Two for Tuesday: LEN KUNTZ The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter This is a wonderful stew of rich and individualized characters, all walking the tight rope of love.  Anything that begins with this opening line has to be good: The man—me, this pale being, no one else, it seems—wakes in fright, tangled up in sheets. From there our narrator leaves his bed in the middle of the night, walks to the University of Michigan football stadium, plops himself down in the stands and spots a young couple making love on the fifty yard line. Full or delightful surprises, gut-searing emotion and peppered throughout with enough humor to keep the ship righted, The Feast of Love is perhaps my favorite book ever. http://www.amazon.com/The-Feast-Love-A-Novel/dp/037570910X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414445076&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Feast+of+Love Paperback: 308 pages, Vintage (May 1, 2001) Charles Baxter The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar HiJuelos Lush, vibrant writing infiltrates every sticky sentence of this book.  There is love, betrayal, sex (lots of it, steamy, too), music, movie stars, you name it—all set in 1949, where two young Cuban musicians make their way up from Havana to the grand stage of New York. HiJuelos has such a flare for capturing the mix of different ethnicities, and how these mingle or tug at each other.  The writing is so vivid that you’ll feel like you are there are on the street corner, or up on stage, or being thrown about on a mattress. Early in the book we get a taste of what we’re in for with this zinger: She expected to turn around and find the devil himself standing beside her, a smile on his sooty face, saying, “Welcome to America.” I’ve recommended this book to every person who’s ever asked.  Read it.  You’ll be glad. Paperback: 448 pages Hyperion (May 4, 2010) http://www.amazon.com/Mambo-Kings-Play-Songs-Love/dp/B0043RT8M2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414445192&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mambo+kings+play+songs+of+love Oscar Hiluelos   Len’s bio: Len Kuntz is the author of The Dark Sunshine (Connotation Press) and an editor at the online literary magazine Literary Orphans.  His work appears widely in print and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com. ******************************************************************************* Thanks so much, Sheldon and Len; these are all great books. Remember to support your local bookstores, and attend readings (like tonight, a Writer’s Showcase at Saz’s in Tosa, 7- 9 p.m.) Read often, and share your passion with others! What are you reading?    ]]>

Recap: My Week in New York City

Saturn Series Poetry Reading Every Monday Nite. There was an open mike at the beginning, then three featured poets: Adeena Karasick, Larissa Shmailo, and Jonathan Penton (all of Mad Hat). Then Bud and I both read in the latter open mike. I read “Three for Carol” (which was my poems devoted to Carol Novack, original editor of Mad Hat), and “Hummingbirds.” Bud slayed three entirely new poems from his forthcoming collection: “In Their Pool,” “point taken,” and “Cherry World.” Tuesday, writing at Cafe Pick Me Up, then lunch with Andrea at Cafe Mogodor in East Village. My New York family. LOVE HER! We’d attempted Yaffa Cafe, but it was closed, so adjacent was Mogodor, and it was fantastic. I also met Andrea’s acupuncturist, Dr. Richard Hazel. My pal, Cyrus arrived in the afternoon. We walked over to SoHo, had a quick bite on a patio at Prince and Lafayette, then I found my local watering hole: Westville! One block from the Sheraton Four Points. Dinner at Spice Market, food fantastic, company even better: spice Wednesday, October 1, we went to McNally Jackson, where poets Kevin Simmonds and Ellen Bass read. A fantastic literary event, sponsored by The Poetry Society. Then, Bud and I went to Westville for IPA’s (Meg, we toasted to you!) at the bar. I highly recommend Ellen’s new book, Like a Beggar: Ellen Bass – Like a Beggar LikeaBeggar200px Thursday, October 2, was the reading at Mellow Pages in Brooklyn! This amazing lending library hosts events regularly http://mellowpageslibrary.com/: Jacob Perkins at Mellow PagesHost Jacob Perkins (and Matt Nelson) Mellow Pages Library readingReading “Temporary” from new book 10403236_653303894766909_5535559670162446680_nStill “Temping!!!” Bud Smith really rocked this reading, too. He did this cool thing where he turned off the lights and read from his phone. Killer! Thanks to friends Rae, Valentin, Cyrus and John Madera among others who turned out in support of Bud and me. Friday night party at The Smith- Buleri household (Haven Ave…appropriate name!) Prior I met my publicist, John, at my new favorite vegetarian restaurant, Blossom on Carmine Street. We had a great time! At the party, I saw so many friends, including the hosts, also Michael Maxwell was in the house, Julie Allen, Chuck Howe, Erin McParland, Gessy Alvarez, and many more. Because it was our dear friend Meg’s birthday, we took silly photos and posted them on her Facebook page. Silly, goofy fun: 10624972_871036116247522_7792553798582006191_nGlasses courtesy of Unknown Press Saturday started with watching videos of Sylvia Plath on YouTube, recorded at the BBC in 1962, only months before her premature death. “Did I escape I wonder?” So many great lines in her Ariel poems. Dear friend David met me at Cafe Pick Me Up, and we strolled around the East Village in search of a bag for his new bear poem books, a gift from Cyrus. Andrea and Ian met us for an early bite at Caravan of Dreams on E. 6th Street. That evening, we had our group reading for Too Much: Tales of Excess Anthology, edited by Chuck Howe, published by Unknown Press: Unknown Amazon.com: Too Much: Tales of Excess (9781500216771): Chuck Howe, Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Melanie Page, Puma Perl, Ron Kolm, Robert Vaughn, James H Duncan, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Gus Sanchez, Ryder Collins, Ashley Perez, Sophia Sturges, Ted Jackins, John Saunders, Irene Stone, Bekah Steimel, Dave Roskos, Tracey Lander-Garrett, Meg Tuite, Heather Dorn: Books. Such a blast, Bud was a great host, and Chuck plied us all with his banjo strumming to wrap, while host of Jimmy’s 43 supplied us with free Stillwater Existent black IPA’s. Oh what a night! Outside Jimmy's 43Arriving at Jimmy’s 43 with Bud and MGM Bud SmithBud Smith, host and vivant reader David and MGMDavid Carter and Michael Maxwell Audience at Excess ReadingA great audience at Jimmy’s 43 And that, my friends, is a New York wrap! Also, I have a new poem at Fictionaut. “Solaris,” my first piece there in months: “Solaris” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut. Just as I was preparing to leave NYC, I saw this image on a boarded up excavation site adjacent to my hotel, and I knew I was ready to get back home: unnamed Thanks everyone for a great New York City week, big city of dreams! I’ll be back.  ]]>