Summer is Here!

FUNHOUSE had a very lovely KIRKUS review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-vaughan/funhousex/ I want to thank the editors at KIRKUS, and also all of your lovely compliments after reading the review. Also, at the international online magazine, Levure Litteraire, my dear friend Helene Cardona published three of my FUNHOUSE pieces: http://levurelitteraire.com/robert-vaughan/ Then, at the LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, there was a fine essay called Protean Miniatures: The Adaptability and Sustainability of Flash Fiction by Sean Hooks, in which he mentions RIFT, my last book with Kathy Fish (about halfway through the article). This was a shock, and a very pleasant one! https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/protean-miniatures-adaptability-sustainability-flash-fiction/ And many of you already know I am the Managing Editor at (b)OINK. Well, many things are happening with our magazine, including our Inaugural Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge Kathy Fish: https://boinkzine.submittable.com/submit/87025/boink-flash-fiction-contest-with-guest-judge-kathy-fish And we have a new (b)OINK poetry editor, Jamal, and an intern, Corey, as well as a new office in Walker’s Point, a diverse and fun neighborhood in Milwaukee. More new things forthcoming! Our first (b)OINK presents reading will be on Thursday, June 29th, at Sugar Maple in Bay View, WI. 7-9 p.m. Emceed by Dora Diamond. Surprises and gifts abound! I had the great fortune of attending Marjorie Pagel’s book launch (The Romance of Anna Smith and other stories) at Anodyne yesterday. I was so thrilled she had standing-room-only crowd and her book is available at Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Romance-Anna-Smith-Other-Stories/dp/1545412413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498235510&sr=8-1&keywords=Marjorie+Pagel. Enjoy summer. Read as much as possible. Looking for a workshop? Check this out: http://bendinggenres.com.  ]]>

Interview at Midwestern Gothic

Midwestern Gothic magazine: http://midwestgothic.com/2017/03/interview-robert-vaughan/ I also want to thank editors-in-chief and founders Jeff Phaller and Robert James Russell. I had the honor of my work appearing at MG in two of their early print journals, and also Kathy Fish and I were interviewed for our book, RIFT, at the MG website in 2016. Midwestern Gothic has expanded into the book business (MG Press) and offer “The Lake Prize” for Midwestern authors to enter. Be sure to check them out, especially if you live in the VAST MIDWEST!!! I’m reading Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women. Love it so far! What are you reading? Any words about it? Also, an image from last night’s Red Oak reading at Comedy Sports (which was fantastic). Me wearing my all-new Ron L. Kibble wearable art hoodie (Ron painted the amazing cover of FUNHOUSE). Thanks RON, and thanks Jonnie for the shot: ]]>

WordTango Cross-Genre Deep Dive

Cross-Genre Deep Dive, hosted by WordTango, the online writing community. I had the terrific pleasure of meeting Liz Pettie and Jen Kircher- Carr at the AWP Conference in Washington D.C. recently. We didn’t go swimming, or even diving. But life can take you into deep waters, or leaping, plummeting from various heights, for innumerable other reasons: debt, accidents, secretive meetings. The list is endless! If you are unfamiliar with my writing, I’ve just published my 5th book, FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press). It’s a good example of cross-genre work in one book: flash fiction, prose poetry, and longer short stories. (See the tab “My Books” for more information.) I hope you will consider taking the WORDTANGO course. More information is here: http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=fc8698610dd752def107a548c&id=72030255b0 Please let us know if you have any questions. And thanks, Kathy Fish, for the solid recommendation. Happy Writing!]]>

I Got The Boot

SO NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU– so many new faces at the AWP Conference this year. Among them, Windy Lynn Harris, Jennifer Kircher Carr, Liz Pettie, Maureen Langloss, Levis Keltner, Diem White, Jan Elman Stout, Grant Faulkner, Christine Texeira, Jensen Beach, Sherrie Flick, David Galef, and too many others to count. OH, IT’S YOU AGAIN? Reunions are always the best, and most of mine in D.C. began with “WHAT HAPPENED?” Still, always terrific to see Kyle Semmel, Angela Woodward, Bill Yarrow, Roxane Gay, Lori Brody, Gay Degani, April Bradley, Dorianne Laux, Christopher Allen, Kathy Fish, Nancy Stohlman, Jeff Landon, James Thomas, T.L. Sherwood, Matt Bell, Mary Akers, Joe Millar, Nita Noveno, Matt Lewis, Michael Seidlinger, Janice Lee, Rae Bryant, Ben Tanzer, Joseph Lawrence Dougherty, Anna March, Robert Russell, Lee Krecklow, Jeffrey Phaller, David Atkinson, John Wentworth Chapin, Wendy Ortiz, Brandon Hobson, Gloria Mindock, Annie Pluto, Pamela Painter, and numerous others. FROM A DISTANCE… I saw you, but there was no way I could run to you… or I might have…   Sara Lippmann (pictured above), Lidia Yuknavitch, D. Foy, Kim Suhr, Stephen Gowin, Joani Reese, Chiwan Choi, Joanna Valente, Alex Kalamaroff, Chelsea Hodson, Joshua Mohr, Alice Anderson, Alexander Chee, Jeff Jackson, John Madera, Garth Greenwell, J. Bradley, Michele Filgate, Amber Sparks, Chelsea Bondolillo, Sarah Rose Etter, Mark Doten, Julia Fiero, Henry Hoke, Amelia Gray, Michael Kimball, and too many others. It’s always such a delicate balancing act, that AWP. WHERE WERE YOU? It felt like you were there the entire time. Dream or otherwise. Meg Tuite, Bud Smith, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Meredith Alling, Gabino Iglesias, Josh Denslow, Brandi Wells, Michael Taekens, xTx, Ben Loory, Jules Archer, Seth Berg, Katherine Seluja, Sheila Hanrahan, Cyrus Cassells, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Aaron Apps, etc. WHAT I LEARNED: Don’t use the bathroom in the middle of the first night, ever. If you trip, you just might break your ankle. (Could have been my neck). Hairline fracture, right fibula. Never ever would have imagined this. I have to thank my gracious Physician’s Assistant, Clarence M. Chan, at the George Washington University Hospital for his tender, consistent care and my splint. GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM: Len Kuntz, Karen Stefano, Robert P. Kaye- you saviors, I love you all! And Meg, your constant online support and love was (is) stellar, and Andrea & David, you always make me laugh- love you both. And Satchi, who offered to air lift me home- my heart, my soul, always. I I RECAP: My favorite panel was From Flash Fiction to Micro Fiction and included luminaries Pamela Painter, Grant Faulkner, Nancy Stohlman, Sherrie Flick and James Thomas. I sincerely apologize to Joani and my Hot Pillow compadres- I was there in spirit! Also to host John Madera whose reading I had to cancel. And to WordTango: Jennifer and Elizabeth, for sponsoring my Saturday FUNHOUSE signing, you guys ROCK!  Thanks, everyone, or anyone who said a version of “SPEEDY RECOVERY!!!” I am obeying your wishes. See you all in Tampa for AWP18. NO wheelchairs.]]>

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!          ]]>

Bath Flash Fiction Awards: October 2016

th I was completely transformed by judging the recent fourth Bath Flash Fiction Awards: bffa-head When founder/director Jude Higgins asked me to do this, I was excited, but also unprepared. You can read Jude’s comments about the October judging here: http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/award-round-up-october-2016/ And also, my own comments about the contest are here: http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/october-2016-judges-report-robert-vaughan/ I was so smitten by the amount of talented submissions, repeatedly baffled by these word masters, and prose slayers! Writers and readers who appreciate this genre know how difficult it is to write flash fiction, let alone to reach new levels of gravitas, brilliance, wit, and pathos- all in a page or two. And imagine: 748 submissions from 28 different countries! Astounding. First, I received the vetted Long List of 50 top stories: http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/october-2016-award-long-list/ From these, I narrowed it down to a Short List of Top 20: http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/october-2016-award-short-list/ And so, drumroll please, THESE ARE THE WINNERS: FIRST PLACE: Helen Rye, “One in Twenty-Three” http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/helen-rye-october-2016-first-prize/ SECOND PLACE: Christopher M. Drew, “The Perfect Fall” http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/christopher-m-drew-october-2016-second-prize/ THIRD PLACE: Julianna Holland, “White Matter” http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/julianna-holland-october-2016-third-prize/ TWO COMMENDED (honorable mentions): Caroline Reid, “Lost Dog” http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/caroline-reid-october-2016-commended/ Michelle Elvy, “Whale Shark” http://bathflashfictionaward.com/2016/10/michelle-elvy-october-2016-commended/ Deep thanks, Jude, for allowing me to judge this worthy competition. Congratulations to the winners, and also to every single person who entered. Thanks for making my job so complicated. And yes, the Bath Flash Fiction Awards are now officially OPEN!!! Next judge? Kathy Fish. Best of fortune to all who enter!]]>

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!]]>