March Madness

“Bed” by Robert Vaughan → Fictionaut “Triptych: Glass, Miasma, Pernicious” by Robert Vaughan → Fictionaut “My Father, Your Mother, Our Breakfast, The Ghost” at HOUSEFIRE: HOUSEFIRE | NEW FICTION from Robert Vaughan Housefire is a recent division of Metazen, and run by the zany editor Riley Michael Parker. Becoming involved with this writing collective prompted me to add yet another dimension to my ever-growing arsenal- TUMBLER: One Writer’s Life (I used the same name as my current writing blog) and the story up at my site is “The Passenger,” which was originally published at TrainWrite by Karen Eileen Sikola: TrainWrite I am also now on Twitter…add me @rgvaughan. I have no idea what I’m doing there. (If you thought you were confused, imagine what it’s like trying to keep organized in my mind!) Ha… I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of the 52/250: A Year of Flash community. The editors Michelle Elvy, Walter Bjorkman, and John Wentworth Chapin are fantastic. We have a weekly theme, and the pieces are all 250 words or less. Here are my latest: Movie Night by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash Password Profile Users: God, Love, Lust, Money and Private by Robert Vaughan 52|250 A Year of Flash (this piece will also be published by Fwriction, edited by Danny Goodman in June) The Capitalist by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash No More I Love You’s by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash The Avoidance by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash Moving to Los Angeles by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash (this will also be published in April at Pure Slush, edited by Matt Potter) Dew Drop Inn by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash New Pets by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash At 52/250, we are currently at week 46, the theme is “Another World.” If you like the work, enjoy the new stories, posted every Friday. And it’s never too late to submit…I joined exactly halfway into this fantastic project. I will also have a piece, “Elements of K” in the upcoming 52/250 quarterly: Thirty Nine. My poem, “Tami Miami” is up at The Camel Saloon. Thanks Russell! The Camel Saloon: Tami Miami “Rude” is up at 50 to 1, thanks new editor Paul Mullin! 50 to 1: Rude by Robert Vaughan “Anything But Red,” is up at Orion headless, thanks editor Sara Comito! Anything but Red | Orion headless Also, I reviewed Howie Good’s poetry book, Heart with a Dirty Windshield and the recent issue of Prick of the Spindle published it here: Prick of the Spindle: Reviews: Vaughan: Heart with a Dirty Windshield by Howie Good. Thanks to Cynthia Reeser, editor. This was a fun stretch, and I hope to review some other 2011 collections for Thunderclap and JMWW, the magazines that I help edit (they both published this review previously). I have work forth-coming (accepted) in Blink-Ink, Used Furniture Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Tryst, Negative Suck, The Other Room Journal and Rufous City Review. I’ve been reading voraciously the past two months, and here are some note-worthy books: xTx Normally Special- A fantastic collection of published work from Tiny Hardcore Press (Roxane Gay)! Just simply amazing work. Alissa Nutting- Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls from Starcharone Books- wow! Get it immediately. Timothy Gager- Treating a Sick Animal- as bizarre and kooky as it is wonderful. Meg Pokrass- Damn Sure Right– no better flasher exists. Mike Young- Look! Look! Feathers– exotic, wierd and right up my alley. Judy Bridges- Shut Up & Write– the best book on writing bar none. Please join us this Sunday at Avol’s in Madison for the next installment of Judy and her traveling authors on the road! Judy Bridges | Shut Up & Write! | Redbird Studio | Writing Classes and Retreats | Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Be there or be square! I recently watched the entire “Classics of American Literature,” a series produced by The Great Courses, taught by Arnold Weinstein, professor at Brown University. It was really incredible, brought back so many memories from high school and college, books that I relished (Red Badge of Courage), or had difficulty muddling through (As I Lay Dying). Classics of American Literature Last, but most certainly not least, we are still producing the Flash Fiction Fridays on WUWM’s Lake Effect. Here are links to our January, February and March shows, a huge thanks to my co-host Stephanie Lecci: WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Friday Returns! (January, 2011) WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Friday: Families & Tension (February) WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Friday: Danger & Endings (March) If you are writing stories of 500 words or less, please feel free to use our submission manager: WUWM: Flash Fiction Friday. All of the rules are listed there. I’ve watched some episodes of the new NBC show, “Do You Know Who You Are?” It asks deep, probing questions as actors like Rosie O’Donnell or Steve Buscemi delve into their genetic ancestry. So… Do you know who you are? Do I? A writing prompt perhaps! Enjoy.]]>

Monster Storm

“10,000 Dollar Pyramid” by Robert Vaughan → Fictionaut Within 24 hours, it had been read over 50 times, commented on more than any other piece I’ve ever posted there (I’ve posted ten prior) and shot up the list of Fictionaut’s “recommended” stories to #1! The top position of every story submitted. And a completely new experience for me. I am still reeling from the excitement. Perhaps this is why I was meant to stay home from D.C.? Thanks to everyone for the support, insightful comments, motivating feedback. I am forever grateful. Here are the links to some pieces of mine published in December, 2010 and January 2011. Please feel free to comment here or at the sites if you so desire: The Comet Train at Fix It Broken Robert Vaughan – Fix It Broken Two- Wheelin at Magnolia’s Press                                                                                    “Two-Wheeling,” Robert Vaughan | Magnolia’s Press Say Yes at IBAS-  Say Yes by Robert Vaughan « In Between Altered States Beckoning- Short, Fast & Deadly  Beckoning – Short, Fast, and Deadly Best of 2010 Anthology (print):  Short, Fast, and Deadly: Buy Print Editions Proposal at Steel Toe Review “Proposal” by Robert Vaughan | Steel Toe Review Bear Necessities at Indigo Rising Indigo Rising Magazine Clueless at Amphibi.us 2010 December 11 | amphibi.us Last Exit From Liberty at Pure Slush Last Exit from Liberty – Pure Slush Blowing Bubbles at New Wave Vomit 162 One Night Out at Clutching at Straws One Night Out « Clutching at Straws And several stories at 52/250 (and check out the others if you have a few hours!) Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash I would be remiss if I failed to mention the fantastic support and feedback I receive from the Tuesday roundtable group at Redbird- Redoak. An amazing gift for any writer, to participate in an insightful, committed group. RedBird-RedOak Writing Also, we finally launched Flash Fiction Fridays at WUWM! Here is the link to listen to the January show where local authors Kim Suhr and Guy Yasko read their work: WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Friday Returns! If you are interested and want to submit a story for consideration, please use this form and thanks to Stephanie Lecci for her support of this adventure: WUWM: Flash Fiction Friday If you are able to join us, please come hear a reading at Cafe Fixx in St. Francis: fixx-reading-poster.Feb_.11.jpg 1546×2000 pixels I won’t be reading, but will attend to hear those who are! Happy writing and reading! If you travel soon, be safe. Stay warm. Hugs all around.]]>

First Flurries

Rude | Eunoia Review “Quite a Life” at A Handful of Stones:a handful of stones: Quite a Life “Cadaver Chris” at Girls with Insurance: Cadaver Chris | GwI “Three Episodes” at BlazeVOX: http://www.blazevox.org/10fl-rv.pdf “Time for Desert” at Thunderclap’s LOVE issue: http://thunderclappress.com/ (I also edited the remaining flash fiction for this issue!!!) “Winter” at The Camel Saloon: The Camel Saloon: Winter “Recruitment” at In Between Altered States: Recruitment by Robert Vaughan « In Between Altered States “”Moving Out” at InkPlots: http://www.wrwa.net/inkplots/InkPlots-2010-December.pdf “Rocky Raccoon” at Indigo Rising: Indigo Rising Magazine “Back Room Banter” at 52/250: Back Room Banter by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash “Three Questions for Any Doctor” at 52/250: Three Questions for Any Doctor by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash “The Visit” at 52/250: The Visit by Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash Also, 52/250 accepted my postcard art collaboration (with my best pal Andrea Falkenstein) for their “Postcard theme” which is published this week. Here is the link to the Two/Tree art project: Two/Tree by Andrea Falkenstein and Robert Vaughan | 52|250 A Year of Flash Thanks to the following editors for making my dreams happen: Ian, Fiona, Dawn, Geoffrey, Amanda, Ana, Russell, Aleathia, Tannen and Michael, Candace, Michelle, John and Walter!!! After a quick trip to Texas for the most immense wedding I will ever probably attend (in Corpus Christie) I returned to spend a day at The Calatrava Art Museum for the 2010 Young Authors Conference. I had eleven high schoolers in my group from various places around Milwaukee, and shared the responsibilities with Robin, a teacher with MPS. We discussed art, then wrote memoir style pieces and roundtabled them. Last night, I participated in a reading hosted by Next Chapter bookstore in Mequon: Next Chapter Bookshop | “Celebrating one year as your local, independent bookseller!” We were there for Judy Bridges book launch, Shut Up & Write! Other writers who read included Sheila Hanrahan, Sara Rattan and Laurel Landis. We had a great audience and if you have not purchased your copy of Judy’s book yet, they make great stocking stuffers! Check it out here: Judy Bridges | Shut Up & Write! | Redbird Studio | Writing Classes and Retreats | Milwaukee, Wisconsin Okay, time to get writing! How do you plan to spend your holidays?]]>

Happy Earth Day 2010

Adbusters, The Ecopsychology issue. Without giving too much away, this issue’s table of contents contains five sections: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Sound familiar? It would seem so. But what I love about this provocative and stimulating magazine is it causes me to look, feel and consider different perspectives on such things as the EARTH. Such things as humanity, politics, government, nature, beauty, money or death. Another thing I did was devote more time to my latest favorite reads: Lydia Davis’s Collected Stories, Kim Chinquee’s new release Pretty, Dan Chaon’s Among the Missing. I adore stories, love to read them, yearn to write them. And speaking of writing, I have been submitting. And submitting. I use an online resource called duotrope’s digest. It’s like having a personal assistant without the hassle of sharing one’s office. Duotrope serves as a research prompt, a file to save your online and print submissions, a way to find out which magazines are “Slothful, Swift, Challenging, or Approachable.” Of course, it is reliant on each writer to enter your own “data.” There is another category I like to watch called “Fledgling markets.” Like anything new in life, there is a learning curve to duotrope. It takes some time and patience to learn more about duotrope, but I feel as if I am on a ride, and I approach the writing market as I would any part of my “job” as a writer. At latest count (as of January 1, 2010), I have over 50 different pieces in circulation (being considered). Some  are called “simultaneous submissions,” meaning I’ve sent the same piece to more than one magazine (only certain magazines allow this). And I have had some success, as many of you know! Three of my shorter short stories have been published. If you would like to read them, I will post the links here: “Double Barrel” published at 50 to 1: http://50-to-1.blogspot.com/ “Gingko” published at Postcard Shorts: http://www.postcardshorts.com/ On April 25th, “Gone Before Dawn” published at Short, Fast, and Deadly: http://www.shortfastanddeadly.com/ I am exceeding grateful to these editors for selecting my work for their online magazines. Last weekend I had the great fortune to be in the company of Karen McQuestion. She taught a workshop at Redbird- Redoak Studio called Self- Publishing. Admittedly not an expert, Karen’s insight and sharing her success through Amazon and the Kindle market was astounding. I have known Karen for several years, and at times, we’ve worked closely together on certain writing projects. She had excellent handouts, full of information about any question one might have about getting your work into the hands of others. As some of you know, I write frequently with a small group and we do “prompt” writing. We pick a line, create a word bank, pick something in the room, use a quote. Whatever the “prompt,” we write for ten minutes. Then, we take turns reading them aloud. Many of my previous blogs came from these prompt sessions. Since all of my writing buddies are attending a WOMEN’S ONLY retreat (discrimination? LOL) this weekend, one shared some prompt ideas with me. Thanks, Sheila! So, I will do the same: here are some prompts for you to consider writing this weekend: 1) “This year, we doubled our stock of grandchildren, from two to four.” (from Robert Knisely, ’62 from Harvard Magazine) 2) ‘Clarity, clarity, clarity.’ (from The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White) 3) ‘The history of paper is complex.’ (from Great Ancient China: Projects You Can Build Yourself) Lastly, on this great EARTH DAY, I want to leave you with a message from Thoreau: “Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives,” Thoreau began one of his essays, noting that since time was short, he would “Leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism,” as was his way. “What is it to be born free and not to live free?” he asked his fellow citizens. “Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast?” (from Adbusters, May/June) In that classic song Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…” So, what am I holding on to? What’s keeping me from being free?]]>

Busy Holiday Weekend

Good Wives River first. We’ve met twice already- the first time was to hammer out details about how the group might work. In November, we shared the first 50 pages of our books. Mine is in its second draft. The feedback I received from Pam, Laurel and Carol was fantastic! These writers all catch numerous details that I would never even see. Whether it seems “negative” or “positive” doesn’t matter to me, and there is a balance of both. More importantly, there’s a great opportunity for me to make additions, deletions, and tighten the book even further. After Good Wives River, we chatted about Pilgrim’s Progress (Laurel), then Carol’s short story collection, then Pam’s Katya’s Song. Once we finished the work, Sheila joined us for some chat about the holidays, parents, college room-mates, and more. I blasted home to get ready to see Avatar, the new 3D movie by James Cameron, director of Titanic. We jammed up to Mequon to North Shore Cinemas to see this adventure sci-fi film. I try not to get too hyped prior to seeing a movie, but as it had been ten years since James Cameron’s last movie, my curiosity was just a little more than stilted. The movie delivered on some levels. Surely, the 3D element made me feel like I was on the alien planet, Pandora, and one of the Na’Vi (a little close to native, no?). I felt saturated by the sensory details, and for someone like me, a rather touchy feely guy, it was right up my alley. I was able to overlook the awkward, somewhat banal dialogue, and the typically themed American palate (Romeo and Juliet or good versus evil) in favor of the special effects which were phenomenal, and the action which, though violent, was supercharged, infused with new technology. I liked the way that the Na’vi moved their ears. Go see it and wear those 3D glasses yourself. Last night another classic was on TV: Wizard of Oz. It struck me while watching this movie for the umpteenth time, it stands up remarkably for turning 70 years old in 2009. Even its ending, sappy and mellow-dramatically delivered by Dorothy: “There’s Noplace like Home!” seems apropos at this holiday time. Today, I got one of my holiday gifts: a new 20 inch MAC desk top. I never left the house.]]>