Twin Cities Book Festival

October 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

Coming to the Twin Cities Book Festival this weekend? You should drop by and say, “hi,” while I’m working at the Red Bird Chapbooks booth! We’ll have lots of chapbooks, old and new, for sale, as well as info about how to get involved with the press as a volunteer or author.

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Not coming to the Twin Cities Book Festival? What’s a matter, brainless–don’t you know it is the best literary fun you can have in Minnesota all year long?

There’ll be lots of presses if you’re interested in finding a publisher and lots of schools, workshops, and MFA programs if you’re looking to improve your craft.

Plus, the place will be lousy with awesome authors: TOJitW favorite Mark Rapacz will have a table for his new book Boondoggle (there will be a review here shortly after I get my copy at the fest) and a new favorite of mine,Andre Alexis, will be talking and signing–his Fifteen Dogs has, so far, been the funniest and most surprising book I’ve read this year (I can’t wait to see him at 2:30, so just don’t drop by the booth then).

And if you just want books, there’s no better way place to get your hands on both the hottest and most obscure tomes out there! You can get all the details and the full schedule here.

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Possibilities

July 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Got some great short stories that form a cohesive unit? A dozen flash fiction pieces that explore a theme? Or just one, gorgeous longer short story?

I hope so, because we’ve just opened our 2016 Possibilities Period at Red Bird Chapbooks! For the duration of July and August, we’ll be accepting collections of fiction, poetry, CNF, and everything in between, so send us your best. You can find the full guidelines here.1435580753

Didn’t think chapbooks were for fiction? We’ve been trying to combat that misconception for years, and I think we’re finally getting some traction. When I started with Red Bird, we had a handful of brave authors sending their manuscripts, while last year there were nearly a hundred fiction chapbooks to choose from, and even with Beth Mayer joining the team, I felt like there was more good work in the pool than we were able to choose for publication. Though I know how awful it feels to hear that as a writer, it is a great problem to have as an editor! We’re publishing six incredible and diverse collections of fiction in 2016, whereas we didn’t even have six submissions that first year. This year we’ve added a third fiction editor, so we will be publishing nine fiction chapbooks in 2016!

Interested in knowing more? Here’s an interview I gave to Bonnie ZoBell at Everyday Fiction a few years ago, detailing what I’m looking for in a chapbook and what makes them such a great format for a fiction writer.

Cedar

November 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

I thought I’d offer up a bit of an update after nearly a month away from the blog and my literary social media in general.

I’m proud to announce that Cedar Hart McDougal Kingston was born early on October 26th! It was a traumatic birth, though, and my wife, Cedar, and I had to spend the next ten days in the NICU. As a result, the only writing I’ve been doing lately has been updates to our Caring Bridge site (where you can hear Cedar’s whole story, if interested).

I’m happy to report that he has been home for over a week now, though, and is doing great: eating, pooping, peeing, and screaming as well as any other baby I’ve seen. That said, I still haven’t had much time to write, as he is ravenous for food and affection and too damn handsome to deny. I am having all sorts of crazy ideas for stories when he’s got me up drinking coffee at two in the morning, though, so I am looking forward to putting them all to paper soon.

Lastly, I have had time to work on my editing for Red Bird (check out our new website!), picking a killer line-up of chapbooks to publish in 2016: an interdisciplinary (maybe even antidisciplinary) exploration of identity and power through discussions of Wolverine, Eazy-E, and Michel Foucault, among other diverse enthusiasms; a charmingly dreamlike collection of real person fan fiction pieces written in gorgeous prose; and a collection of perfectly composed short stories exploring beauty in ruin. Last but not least, I’m excited to announce that we’ll also be publishing a print version of David Oppegaard’s heretofore e-book only “Breakneck Cove”. You should click on over to Onyx Neon Shorts and get yours right now–the story is such a stunner that I have no doubt that you’ll be wanting to get the physical copy on your shelf anyway once it’s available!

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Scrivener Soapbox

September 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

The interview I gave to TJ Redig for his awesome and insightful Scrivener Soapbox podcast is now up on his site and iTunes! Click here to listen: we talk Slash, my writing process, and serialization, while also digressing to N.W.A. and Dragonlance, which is a pretty unique pair of enthusiasms, I guess.

And even if you’ve alreadycover170x170 tired of hearing me talk about myself and my work due to years of acquaintance, I recommend subscribing to the show and checking out his other episodes. In addition to being a great way to find new indie authors, they are always filled with useful insights into the world of writing and self-publishing that are sure to help writers with their own work.

And if you’ve headed over here because of the podcast, here are some convenient links to the collected edition of Slash at Amazon and Smashwords and Etsy.

Redbird Chapbook Submission Period Now Open!

July 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Got some great short stories that form a cohesive unit? A dozen flash fiction pieces that explore a theme? Or just one, gorgeous longer short story?

I hope so, because we’ve just opened our 2015 Possibilities Period at Red Bird Chapbooks! For the duration of July and August, we’ll be accepting collections of fiction, poetry, CNF, and everything in between, so send us your best. You can find the full guidelines here.1435580753

Didn’t think chapbooks were for fiction? We’ve been trying to combat that misconception for years, and I think we’re finally getting some traction. When I started with Red Bird, we had a handful of brave authors sending their manuscripts, while last year there were nearly a hundred fiction chapbooks to choose from, and even with Nancy Hedin joining the team, I felt like there was more good work in the pool than we were able to choose for publication. Though I know how awful it feels to hear that as a writer, it is a great problem to have as an editor! We’re publishing six incredible and diverse collections of fiction in 2015, whereas we didn’t even have six submissions that first year.

This year we’ve added on Beth Mayer for a third fiction editor, so we will be publishing nine fiction chapbooks in 2016! That said, after impressing a lot of folks from all over the country with our lovely, handmade books at AWP this past spring, we are expecting even more great work will come pouring in this year, so make sure to send your best stuff.

Interested in knowing more? Here’s an interview I gave to Bonnie ZoBell at Everyday Fiction a few years ago, detailing what I’m looking for in a chapbook and what makes them such a great format for a fiction writer.

On Lumbersexuality

May 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

I have an short piece in the latest issue of AutoAnatta, probably the most revealing and honest personal essay I have ever written. If you click over there and read “Am I a Lumbersexual?”, you’ll be privy to my inner psychological workings, and you’ll even get a glimpse into my bedroom activities. Check it out—here—then poke around to read and listen to the other great pieces this month.

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The Most Heart-Wrenching Spam Comment in the History of the Internet

April 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

If you have a blog, you get a lot of spam comments–sometimes, more than actual comments. You’ll write post of deep intellectual honesty and emotional bravery (or at least some of the finest dick jokes known to man) and someone (some robot?) going by the name of drebeatsdiscount will post a comment of barely intelligible gibberish, seemingly cut and pasted from some dark corner of the internet. The goal, I think, is just to have their name up as a link to their sales and/or malware based website.

I guess the part I don’t get is who would ever click on one of these links? “Oh, here’s someone with nothing apropos to say about anything… Maybe I should see what their personal website is all about… And now that you mention it, I do need a good discount on generic viagra!” How many people need to be naive enough to click on these things to make it a worthwhile use of a grifter’s time?

Up until this morning, I was also unsure of who would even approve one of these comments to appear on their website. Is there anyone out there desperate enough for internet attention to treat each and every comment as a badge, no matter how obviously it doesn’t engage with your content? Or is there something else at work that gets these comments to stick?

I found MY answer this morning, when I received, as a comment to a post I wrote a few years ago about Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy, this message from “gold jewelry hallmarks”:

“We find that talking to our son helps enormously but the pain of never seeing his physical presence is
too hard to bear right now.”

One glorious sentence, complete with artful line-breaks, exploring the relationship between hope and pain, I found that this spam was just too beautiful, too haunting to delete. I had to approve it because to do otherwise felt like silencing something that needed to be said. Even if it was some bot created by some con-artist that needed to say it.

But then I couldn’t just leave it hanging there, so I did a little writing exercise to warm up for my other work of the day, trying to come up with a little “poem” that matched the tone of a lot of these spam comments while saying something that might speak to what gold jewelry hallmarks was trying to convey. You can see the results below, or over at the original post.

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Just don’t click on the link, no matter how much it breaks your heart.

 

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