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Everybody seems to want something to shake dust and mold from assumed stagnant foundations. Ask any independent literary webzine editor what she wants and the words “original” and “new” will inevitably nestle into the response. This original and new work may come by way of various splintered isms, for better or worse.

Literary isms sprout often, and lately it seems that so many of them tout the same anti-mainstream agenda. From Brutalism to The Offbeat Generation to self-depreciative referents like Joseph Ridgwell’s fictional The Shambleists, angst against the establishment propagates widely. I get it, I truly do. I’m for it. But if everything is new, will there be anything left for academia to latch onto in order to generate necessary conversation regarding trends? This is a genuine question, in want of discussion.

The role of academia is to legitimize underground isms and propagate discourse about their work in order to better understand the limitations and potential of a society.… Read the rest

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Pear Noir! Issue #1 is now out (and proud) (unless it is being persecuted for its sexual orientation) (Sorry for outing you, Mr. Noir).

With a editor named Daniel Casebeer, does it really matter that the content surpasses much of what I’ve read in lit magazines lately? Does it really matter that every single story (yes, every single story; even my comparatively lame attempt) touches on brilliance? Does it matter that this new mag has the word ‘Noir’ in its title, but is colored unabashedly pastel shades of green and pink? It doesn’t.

pear-noir-1I’ve rarely picked up first issues of lit mags with great expectations (the last being Colored Chalk #1, but only because Master Caleb J. Ross edited the thing – but will, from now on, be called Caleb J. Barrelwhiskey when assuming the editor’s role).

Author’s note to my story, “The Camel of Morocco”:

Vein Letting is a real thing…gross.… Read the rest

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Shit! As a word-smith I would normally attempt to describe my elation with greater pungency. But…shit! Co-editor, Richard Thomas, has taken this new issue of Colored Chalk, theme: Waking Up Strange, and exceeded all expectations. So…shit!

coloredchalk_issue6coverNot only has he designed a stunning issue, but he has also managed to corral stories by some of the best writers around. I won’t ask his secret, for fear of being an accomplice to something. Look at this list:
Joe Meno (whose collection “Demons in the Spring” is a finalist for the fifth annual Story Prize for outstanding short fiction), Joey Goebel (author of the fantastic “Torture the Artist” as well as last year’s “Commonwealth”), Rayo Casablanca, author of the forthcoming “Very Mercenary,” follow-up to last year’s “6 Sick Hipsters”), Alex Cassun, William T. Allen, Axel Taiari, Christopher Dwyer, Craig Wallwork, Nik Korpon, Joe Dornich, Jeff Macfee, Richard Martin, Edward J. Rathke, Chris Deal, Simon West-Bulford, and sadly, Caleb J.Read the rest

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Chris Goldberg’s recent article at the Huffington Post states that men, in general, simply do not read. “But is it our fault?” he asks. “Or have publishers just given up trying to publish and market books that we want to read?” A sadly self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s true that we need writers, and publishers with the balls to market them, but in this case I think change must start with the audience.

It wasn’t until college that I finished reading my first full book. As a child, I would watch my mother devour entire Danielle Steele novels weekly, appalled by the twisted logic that would bring a person to waste their time like that (with reading, not necessarily with the chosen author). I had video games to play.

Then, in college, I found Octavio Paz’s “The Blue Bouquet.” Later Chuck Palahniuk. Then Craig Clevenger. Then Brian Evenson. And on. In a land of Adult Swim cartoons and beer bongs, both of which I loved (and still do, to an extent) I discovered that there was room for books.… Read the rest

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The path to book sales shouldn’t be paved with white smiles and checkerboard slacks. When dealing with a product that has neither life-sustaining value nor infomercial superfluence, sales might best be treated as a byproduct of a well-manicured relationship. One between author and audience, as well as among the audience members themselves. Book groups exist. George Foreman Grill groups do not.

Which is why world of mouth is a valuable route to book sales. People talking and sharing opinions, with no explicit intention of selling a product = a perfect, mutually respectful form of consumerism.

Word of mouth has adopted a kindred form online, though isn’t really “of mouth” in this mutated guise. Fan lists such as Amazon’s Listmania! help connect like-minded readers, which would logically seem to drive sales (though no hard sales data exists that I could find; although online customer reviews seem to have a “casual” effect on book sales).… Read the rest

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Another fine yarn from ye olde Caleb J Ross takes valuable web space away from more needy charities. This one, an excerpt from my unpublished novel, Stranger Will, is called Formaldehyde and appears at the never disappointing Red Fez.

Formaldehyde is a bastardized version of the opening chapter of Stranger Will, very much pulled apart and reassembled into something with its own horrible intentions. This is all to say that if you don’t like this story, then you may still love Stranger Will. However, if you do love this story then I take back what I said above; this story is exactly like the rest of the novel.… Read the rest

banner_gdThe new issue of UK’s Gold Dust Magazine is available for sale. Also as a free .PDF download. Acquire by any means necessary.

gd14Featuring fiction by Alan Kelly, Jim Meirose, Robert Edward Sullivan, Robert Dando, the always impressive Christopher J. Dwyer, the always disappointing Caleb J Ross, THE Richard Thomas, V Ulea, Sam Szanto, and the get-your-autographs-now-because-he-will-be-dead-(and-famous)-someday Nik Korpon. Also, crammed inside is an interview with China Miéville.

I’m so damn happy to share page space with names like these.

And now for the self-petting portion of the post. Author’s notes:

I’ve long been interested in the artist’s (in this case, writer’s) lack of control once a piece has its frame and audience (in this case, its binding and reader). The audience truly has more control over a work of art, writing, whatever, than the creator. A jury of our peers, sort of thing. Authorial intent is important for the sanity of the artist, but intent often doesn’t matter to the audience, sadly.… Read the rest

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