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): 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!]]>

RIFT gets Press!

I’ve been remiss in adding all of the fantastic news about RIFT, my collaboration with the talented Kathy Fish! I want to thank every single person who has read RIFT, who has referred another friend or family member to read it. We had so much fun writing the entire book in 2015, and again, without Bud Smith at Unknown Press, it might be sitting in someone’s drawer still. Here are the places you can read more about RIFT:

  1. A.E. Weisberger’s review at Change Seven:
2. Leonora Desar’s Q & A with Kathy Fish and me at Bartleby Snopes: 3. Rachel Hurwitz’s Q & A with Kathy Fish and me at Midwestern Gothic: 4. Necessary Fiction let us publish our RIFT Research Notes: 5. Ray Nessly reviews RIFT at Literary Orphans’ The Tavern Lantern: 6. Gabino Iglesias reviews RIFT at Dead End Follies: Also, please check out some other great write-ups at Goodreads, like this one: Mainly, thanks again to every reviewer, and every single reader. It means so much to both Kathy and me! Please do consider joining us for the Fiction Course at the venerable Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico, August 20-26, 2016. Spots are gradually filling up! You can look at the accommodations at More information and registration information at She’s fun to follow, too! I’ll also be teaching the Mixed Genre course at The Clearing in September 11-18. More on that in another post. Stay tuned for more RIFT news coming your way! Thanks.  ]]>

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 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.        ]]>

2015: Looking Back

Reading list of 2015 Fourteen Stories: None of Them Are Yours- Luke B. Goebel (short stories) The Secret Games of Words- Karen Stefano (short stories) The Tears of Eros- George Bataille The Marbled Swarm- Dennis Cooper Asuras- Jayinee Basu (poetry) Maelstrom- Doug Bootes (poetry) The Vixen Scream and other Bible Stories- Nancy Stohlman (flash fiction) Not My Father’s Son- Alan Cumming (memoir) Lunette- Pamela Davis (poetry) Ohey- Darby Larson (flash fiction) Chloe Sevigny- (photos/ text) A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastiao Salgado by Parvati Nair Sting and Nest- Barbara Rockman (poetry) Edge of Taos Desert: Escape to Reality- Mabel Luhan Dodge (memoir) F-250- Bud Smith (novel) Smoke- Dorianne Laux (poetry) Today I Am A Book- xTx Prelude to Bruise- Saaed Jones (poetry) An Apology for Apologies- Matt Nelson (poetry) The Small Backs of Children- Lidia Yuknavitch (hybrid) A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall- Will Chance (novel) All Day, Talking- Sarah A. Chavez (poetry) Drink- Laura Madeline Wiseman (poetry) Soft- Ryan Werner (hybrid) Part Time Shaman Handbook- Michael Gillan Maxwell (hybrid/art) Night Chorus- Joani Reese (poetry) catalog of unabashed gratitude- ross gay (poetry) The Rooster’s Wife- Russell Edson (prose poems) Peek- Paul Beckman (flash fiction) Gutshot- Amelia Gray (stories) The Secret and the Sacred- Erin Parker (stories) Ongoingness- Sarah Manguso (hybrid) Tangled in Motion- Jane L. Carmen (hybrid) Dept of Speculation- Jenny Offill (novel) Tables Without Chairs #1- Bud Smith and Brian Alan Ellis (fiction) The Disordered- Anhvu Buchanan- (flash fiction chapbook) David Wojnarowcz: a definite history of five or six years on the lower east side (interviews) Orphans Burning Orphans- Gene Kwak (flash fiction chapbook) Inheritance- Joseph Fasano (poetry) So You Know It’s Me- Brian Olio (flash fiction) Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson- Jeff Guinn (biography) Visions and Revisions- Dale Peck (non-fiction) Every Kiss A War- Leesa Cross- Smith M Train- Patti Smith (essays/ memoir) Witches of America- Alex Mar (non-fiction) When You Cross That Line- Sam Slaughter (chap flash) Mall Flower- Tina Barry (hybrid) Two Truths and A Lie- Leah Rogin- Roper (hybrid) Grace Notes- Meg Tuite, David Tomaloff, art by Keith Higginbotham (hybrid) The Suicide of Claire Bishop- Camiel Banansky Choose Wisely- 35 Women up to no good- edited by H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam Although of Course you end up Becoming Yourself- David Lipsky (non-fiction) Bad Sex- Clancy Martin The Free- Willy Vlautin Speedboat- Renata Adler People Like You- Margaret Malone (stories) Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser W-3 by Bette Howland (novel) Shadows of the Sun: Diaries of Harry Crosby The Best Small Fictions 2015, edited by Robert Olin Butler and Tara Masih Currently reading: Kinda Sorta America Dream- Steve Karas ****PLACES I VISITED, events in which I PLAYED: January: Mexico for Satchi and Michael Hauser’s birthday!!! New Mexico at La Fonda for a reading, hosted by Meg Tuite, writers Kathy Fish, Len Kuntz, James Claffey, Nancy Stohlman, Sally Reno and so many more talents. April- Minneapolis AWP- too much fun. My first panel experience with Literary Orphans. May- Truth & Beauty Conference in Taos, New Mexico with Pamela Davis June- Green Lake reunion with Dorianne Laux at the WFOP Conference July- Snohomish, Washington- a week in paradise with Len and Tonja Kuntz; Denver reading for F-BOMB hosted by Nancy Stholman- readers Paul Beckman, Meg Tuite, Karen Stefano, Kathy Fish. August- Indiana Indie Book Fest- Bud Smith, Joanie Reese, Blotterature staff, etc.; my birthday week in New York City with Satchi at the SoHo Grand. Saw Andrea, Ian, Bud, Rae, etc. September- Connecticut with my sisters, and family time. October- The Clearing in Door County- my second week teaching Mixing Genres. A great experience! November- Denver #2 reading for F-BOMB, hosted by Meg Tuite. Readers Len Kuntz, Leah Rogin- Roper, Meg Tuite, Kathy Fish. December- Spartanburg for Christmas with Satchi- family time with Mom, Dad, Yogi, Erin, Siddhartha and Navarre. Submissions/ Stats: I sent out 15 submissions this year (my lowest in the past decade). I had seven acceptances. Thanks to magazines like Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Short, Fast & Deadly, Literary Orphans, Scabies Anthology, This is Poetry, Volume 2: The Midwest Poets, and The Airgonaut. The big news, of course, is that RIFT became a book on December 1. Huge thanks to my co-author, Kathy Fish. 2015 was so much more fun because of you! Also, Bud Smith, for whom I am ever so grateful. And our fourth musketeer, Michael Maxwell. NIGHT OWL CAFE rules! You can see more information about RIFT here: Also it is available: To all who have said encouraging things about RIFT already, Kathy and I are so grateful: Daniel Handler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Michael Martone, Ron Carlson, xTx, Luke Goebel, Jenson Beach, Michael Seidlinger, Ryan Ridge, Megan Bergman, Robert Lopez, Sheldon Compton, Steph Post, Cheryl Zovich, Len Kuntz, Meg Tuite, Karen Stefano, David Atkinson, Christina Dalcher, David Abrams, Dennis Mahagin, Tina Barry, Joseph Spuckler, Rachel Sherman, Loren Kleinman. Your words mean so much. (If I’ve forgotten anyone, I assure you it is not intentional.) And for anyone looking for an amazing course in 2016, Kathy Fish and I will be leading a week long fiction workshop, more information here: And that, my friends, is a wrap! Here is to a kickass 2016…                    ]]>

Press for RIFT

Cover with blurbs And then these lovely first mentions, news and reviews about RIFT, and made Kathy Fish smile. And me giggle. So grateful: First, my brother Sheldon Compton at Revolution John: Joseph Spuckler at Evil Cyclist: David Abrams at The Quivering Pen: Dennis Mahagin (“Ancient Bassist”) at Amazon (among all the other amazing reviews!): Sheldon “Lil Joe” Compton, part 2: My dear sister, Cheryl, at CurTales: Loren Kleinman at THE HUFFINGTON POST: Steph Post with two part RIFT interview, here’s Kathy Fish: Steph Post with two part RIFT interview, with me: Steph also included RIFT here: I have to say, it’s been a wild ride so far! I want to give thanks to everyone who has purchased, reviewed, and said gracious or kind comments to Kathy and me. RIFT took the same gestation time as making a child: nine or so months! It would never have been possible without Satchi, Bud Smith, my siblings, Kathy (of course) and so many more contributors. Please help us spread the word. Get a copy of RIFT for a friend. Read more! Happy holidays.    ]]>

Blog Talk Radio's Kayla Greenwell: Robert Vaughan & Kathy Fish talk about RIFT with theliteraryunderground

Cover with blurbs TURN THE PAGE Host Kayla Greenwell interviews the literati and oddball creative-types with a focus on DIY and grassroots initiatives. This week, Kayla interviews Robert Vaughan and Kathy Fish about RIFT, their new collaboration of flash fiction from UNKNOWN PRESS. Source: Turn the Page with Kayla Greenwell: Focus on Robert Vaughan & Kathy Fish 12/02 by theliteraryunderground | Writing Podcasts]]>

RIFT and more

Cover with blurbs Thanks for the cover image, Casey McSpadden! : 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: And here is my “Galloping Into The Future” at The Airgonaut: 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.        ]]>

RIFT cover and more

RIFT, co-written with Kathy Fish, is nearly here. We have a new cover: RIFT cover Thanks designer, Casey McSpadden: Also, here is what some writer folks are kindly saying about RIFT (so far): “RIFT made me laugh my face off, cry my guts out, and remember why writing matters: stories save us from our idiotic but lovable selves.”- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children (HarperCollins, 2015) “These stories made me not sit still. They turned me around and turned me around.” –xTx, author of Today I am a Book (CCM, 2015) “The stories in RIFT are peculiar and exciting and riveting and mournful and veer into places I hadn’t noticed in my peripheral vision. You know, like life.” Daniel Handler, author of We Are Pirates (Bloomsbury, 2015) “These stories by Kathy Fish and Robert Vaughan are rich, textured, and physical – they smart with tension and possibility. RIFT is peppered with appealing, complex characters and atmospheric details.” – Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Almost Famous Women (Scribner, 2015) “Each vivid piece in RIFT, this sharp collection, clutches the reader suddenly — needing to offer its secret with the urgent elegance of the very best short short fiction.” Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine (Penguin Books, 2014)   If you are interested in receiving an Advanced Review Copy of RIFT, please contact our publisher, Bud Smith at Unknown Press. ******************************************************************************* I am also getting all the last minute information together for my upcoming week long workshop called Poetry & Fiction: Writing from the Well of Diverse Genres, October 18- 25 at The Clearing in Door County. I am gaining so much excitement as the week draws closer. Any pumpkin picking plans in your Fall schedule? Hay rides? Bonfires? Star-gazing?  ]]>