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Issue OneI’ve been a member of an online writing critique group for a few years, out of which I’ve not only gained a growing understand of craft, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve developed close associations with some fantastic writers. Each year around November we return for another year of ego-brutalizing kinship, which leaves us deflated and disoriented, but not without a mutual understanding that every single moment spent suffering is a moment we’re allowed to nurture precious scar tissue.

But even with the necessary humility we gain, there comes a time when a writer wants to experience the role of an editor. Who are those eyes able to tell the reading public what constitutes publishable fiction? Why them? Out of this curiosity came the Colored Chalk zine.

For each bi-monthly(ish) issue a single editor will nurture the zine from theme to content selection to layout and design. This approach promises to produce material both diverse and representative of the overall sensibilities of the close-knit writing group as a whole.… Read the rest

6 Sick HipstersRayo Casablanca’s debut novel, 6 Sick Hipsters is now officially out and available for order.

Rayo was nice enough to send me an ARC of his novel a few months back, which I reviewed for Dogmatika, here.

Casablanca is truly a great writer and all around great guy. He can probably dance, too, which makes me even more jealous. Get his novel.

From the review:

“6 Sick Hipsters carries the rogue camaraderie of Joey Goebel’s The Anomalies—punk attitude and hipster lifestyles included—along with a less passive social critique found in Coupland’s Generation X. Fans of slick conspiracies and vinyl records rejoice.”

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UPDATE: The contest has ended.

My short story, “A Trench is No Place for God,” is now live at Nefarious Muse. And not just live, but live as part of the 2008 Nefarious Muse Short Fiction Competition. Please, go to their great fiction site, read the entries, and vote for the best. Of course, I am hoping your vote goes to my story. In case you vote otherwise, realize that I know where you live; thank you IP Address and Google maps.

Nefarious Muse Fiction Competition Click on the icon to the left to go straight to the comp homepage. Voting is open until March 14th, so don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to help me win a prize.

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UPDATE AGAIN: The semi-finalist pages have been taken down. The final 10 will be announced on March 3rd.

UPDATE: I received notice that my excerpt of Torch has survived another round of cuts, this time down to 100. The next round, down to 10, happens in early March.

A few months ago I submitted a 5,000 word excerpt from my novel Torch, on a whim, to the Breakthrough Novel contest. I’ve been exposed to contests like these before, both in the form of warnings and depressing tales of stomped egos; never in the form of optimistic encouragement. Bookseller-sponsored writing contests have a certain stigma, not unwarranted, I’m sure.

But, here’s hoping those warnings are just the foul remnants of those taken by less legitimate contests. I received notice today that Torch has survived the initial dwindling of 5,000 to less than 900.

I’m happy. Despite the humility and caution that I should display, I instead embrace a smile.… Read the rest

The Bizarro journal, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, has published my short-short piece “The Barber Who Calls Himself Ferguson” in their recently released Issue 7, available as a free .pdf download here.

Other writers include John Edward Lawson, D. Harlan Wilson, Jason M. Heim, and others.

“The Barber…” is quite a bit different than what I usually write, as my aesthetics since this story was originally written (2004) have changed. This is by no means a denouncement, just a way to say we change. I do love the story, though; I wouldn’t have okayed it for publication otherwise.

Author’s Notes:

My first attempt (of many) at being Brian Evenson. I hope that if I ever get to meet the man—more than the passing book signing plea—he doesn’t beat me for abusing his name like this. Luckily, though, most readers probably wouldn’t draw a comparison to Evenson because really, would you compare a Montana Mike’s Buffalo Burger to a McBurger?

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No Record Press has just posted my story, “Car Dodging.” More importantly, the editor for No Record Press, Miles Newbold Clark, has written a fantastic novel called None of This Will Do. Now What? which I called, in my Depraved Press review, “one of the best novels of 2007.” I know what you are thinking – favors, right? – but know that I didn’t even know about None of This Will Do. Now What? until Mr. Clark notified me that my story would appear at No Record.

So, read None of This Will Do. Now What?, first. Then, if you have time and energy enough after taking in that true work of art, head over to No Record Press to read my story, “Car Dodging.”

Here’s the author notes on the story:

Easily one of the most polarizing intros I’ve ever written. I love this intro, and though it might be admittedly shock-driven, it still serves the greater story.

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I thought I’d do something different this time around. I recently read Jeremy Robert Johnson’s story collection “Angeldust Apocalypse” (which is absolutely amazing); with it JRJ does something unique. At the end of the collection he as a section called Author’s Notes, which are a series of anecdotal behind-the-scenes snippets on each story. Here’s hoping it catches on.

So, with my newest publication I figure I would do the same. Present Magazine has just posted my story “Dry Dot.” Here’s the thoughts:

At every rain I wonder—though the drop patterns are likely random—if there is a single spot somewhere within the downpour where no drop falls; where the concrete remains dry. Give water’s tendency to pool together, could there be an untouched dot? Further, how would we explain it? Science? Maybe, but wouldn’t that argument just be destroyed by politics? Global warming, anyone? It seems even the earth is subject to abiding by the party with the most supporters.

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