Hello cherished readers, beloved blog followers, and inquisitive newcomers. I’m excited to announce that Likely Red Press released the first installment in The Fancy Arm Hole Series today. You can find my story, “The Squatter’s Inn,” in anthology number one. I hope you’ll check out my work and the other lovely creations in this series. And if you do, as always, thanks for reading.
Here is the list of everything short I read this past month. I’m going to cheat this time and include some nonfiction and poetry with the flash fiction and short stories. Please remember: this list is not necessarily meant to act as a review, a show of favor, or a “best of” list.
Feel free to share your own findings in the comments!
“Prom Night” by Jayne Martin (Crack the Spine)
“Life Without Anesthesia” by Kristen M. Ploetz (Crack the Spine)
“Death and Dying in America” by Bailey Bridgewater (Crack the Spine)
“Forever Jung” by Leah Mueller (Crack the Spine)
“The Diamond Girl” by Courtney Bird (Fairy Tale Review)
“The Clowns” by Rodney Gomez (Fairy Tale Review)
“Ashes” by Aimee Pokwatka (Fairy Tale Review)
“Delicate” by Jasmine Sawers (Fairy Tale Review)
“Interrogation” by Michael Chin (Prime Number Magazine)
“Devil’s Hopyard” by Donald Hubbard (The Harpoon Review)
“The World for a Heart” by Kenneth Otani (The Harpoon Review)
“Trajectories” by Alex Miller (The Harpoon Review)
“Otherwise Panic” by Mary Kuryla (Shenandoah)
“Resort” by Mary Miller (Wigleaf)
“Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work” by Meghan Phillips (Wigleaf)
“Parliament of Owls” by Jeff Ewing (Smokelong Quarterly)
“Princess Shipwreck” by Tessa Yang (Smokelong Quarterly)
“Ueno Zoo” by E. J. Koh (Smokelong Quarterly)
“חלב חם” by Lea Klibanoff (Smokelong Quarterly)
“New Yorker Story About Michigan” by Carolyn Nims (Smokelong Quarterly)
“The Jumper” by Geoff Kronik (Smokelong Quarterly)
“The Cartographers” by Joshua Jones (Smokelong Quarterly)
“The Noises from the Neighbors Upstairs: A Nightly Log” by Amber Sparks (Smokelong Quarterly)
All the shortlisted flash fictions for the VERA (Vestal Review)
[Note: James R. Gapinski’s story, “Tuxedos and Evening Gowns,” appeared in F(r)iction #6]
“Moorish Architecture” by Erinrose Mager (The Adroit Journal)
“Check My ID” by Krys Malcolm Belc (The Adroit Journal)
“The Cry of the Butterfly” by Matthew Baker (The Adroit Journal)
“Chinaman, Run” by Kathryn Hargett (The Adroit Journal)
“Harvest” by Stephen Case (Bracken)
“poltergeist ii” by Candice Wuehle (Sonora Review)
“We Are Trying to Understand You” by Joy Baglio (TriQuarterly)
[Note: I’m pretty sure I missed a few.]
With eight books now read, I am closer to my goal of reading 52 books this year. For the short month of February, I decided to check out the collected novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin and revisit some of the books I read in college.
The following reviews will cover what worked well in the books. If you wish to discuss what didn’t work in the books—or better yet, your own reading goals for the year—I’d encourage you to comment on this post.
Without further ado, here are the mini-reviews for this month. (Mild spoilers may follow.)
With Ursula K. Le Guin‘s passing, I felt the need to read her collected novellas as an act of mourning. She was such a talented writer and the breadth of her work could not be contained by any one genre.
Summary from the Simon & Schuster website:
Ursula K. Le Guin has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honor, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but never as a complete retrospective of her longer works as represented in the wonderful The Found and the Lost.
-Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
-Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight
-The Matter of Seggri
-Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea
-A Man of the People
-A Woman’s Liberation
-Old Music and the Slave Women
-On the High Marsh
This collection is a literary treasure chest that belongs in every home library.
The inaugural issue of Laurel Magazine launched today and it is gorgeous! You can download it here. I hope you’ll take the time to check out all of the beautiful things this issue has to offer. My thanks to the awesome team of editors that collected all of these shining gems into one place.
Hi friends! My poem “War Song” is now available to read in STARK, a poetry journal. It was fun to be among so many talented artists on the long list for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award 2016. Let me know what you think if you check out the poem! As always, thanks for reading.
Bear with me, because this is relevant. Those who know me well know I have an aversion to romance. I find phrases like “rippling muscle” and “love canal” gag-worthy and unattractive. If I read one more novel where two characters have “their eyes meet” and they don’t immediately try and kill each other afterward, I might stab a book. (Side note, I’m actually nice—or try to be. It’s been a long day.)
I know what you guys are thinking. But LeeAnn, we see you promoting romance novels on your Twitter all the time! Yes, observant friends, you do. That’s because there are great writers out there who write romance—a genre equal in awesomeness to all the others. I’m friends with quite a few romance writers. Some very kind ones let me join their writing group and I’m a better writer for it. I actually dig a lot of mentioned romance writers’ stuff.
The point is I’m not romantic, therefore I don’t like sappy writing. What I appreciate about Uhaul: A Collection of Lesbian Love Poems by Emily Ramser is that, while definitely romantic, it is also honest. These are the types of poems you write about your crush in your journal and then hide in your shoe box under your bed because they are soul-bearing and unpretending. These are poems of sheer adoration.
Ramser writes in plain language that the average reader can understand. For example, the poem “One Day, You Will Eat” begins with a humorous list of things that the person the speaker is referring to will not eat: “You don’t like mushrooms,/hamburgers, cinnamon, lettuce…”. However it ends with a nice sort of twist, with words that seem simple but actually will resonate with many readers.
There are two poems that leave me scratching my scalp. The poems seem odd editions to the collection. I am still at a loss after reading “The Day I Spoke With Your Gray Hair” and am frustrated with the somewhat successful but ultimately eyebrow raising, “I give you my body for your own.” They’re not bad, necessarily, just different and somewhat out of place.
As expected, Ramser brought back the birds in this collection with the poem,”I will sing to you.” It’s in this poem, arguably, that she writes her most memorable description: “how you hide your smile behind your thumb.” Again simple, but spot on, and ironically proceeded by how the speaker found it difficult to describe this action.
The poem I find most surprising is “I’d Steal You a Skillet”. This poem interested me—not because of the romantic elements, but because of this odd and fascinating tradition. I also got the sense that the speaker was as surprised as I was—not by the tradition but by the romantic elements.
The artwork for this collection is stunning. Sara Tolbert’s work adds another, beautiful layer of meaning to the poems. I was very impressed and kept gazing admiringly at the black-and-white drawings.
Overall the collection is interesting and honest—even if romance is not my favorite subject. What’s more, Ramser is an impressive person. She is an editor at many different publications with four published collections while still an undergraduate student at Salem College. She has a lot of things to write still. I’m curious to see what comes next.
Whoever said the summer months were for vacation probably wasn’t a writer (or an editor). My graduate school classes don’t start up again until late August, but I’m as busy as I’ve ever been. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not complaining. This past month especially has been wonderful! What’s more, I have some new published stories up and some fantastic opportunities to share.
New Flash Fiction Stories:
As some of you already know, I have two new published stories that are now available to read online.
- “Trace” can be found at Vestal Review online (issue 49) and it is forthcoming in print (issue 47). This story deviates greatly from my normal style. I wrote this to see if I could stretch myself as a writer. Though it may not be what you expect, I hope you enjoy it.
- “Spacefall” is the fourth installment of a Dually Noted group writing project. The writers used the phrase “Hold this—it’s supposed to relieve stress” as a prompt. It was really fun to write and I hope you enjoy it. It’s a personal favorite of mine.
Other Available Writings:
- “Articulating Agony: The Writer as Antihero” is up on the Blue River blog. While my attempts at being funny may be somewhat laughable… I hope you enjoy it anyway. I would encourage everyone to read the writings of my fellow staff members as well.
- “Helly Luv: The Pop Star Fighting ISIS“ has surfaced on GERM Magazine. I found this spectacular woman via social media and decided to do a brief feature. She’s a pretty cool artist.
- As a note: My women’s college and women writers series will be continuing according to one of the editors. You can find a complete list of my GERM Magazine contributions here.
- Roger May at Change Seven
- Molly Rose Quinn at Tethered by Letters
- Tyler Barton at Tethered by Letters
- “War Song” in The Stark via Wisehouse/Editorial l’Aleph
- Book Reviews:
- All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders at Tethered by Letters
- UHaul by Emily Ramser on my blog
Opportunities for Readers and Writers:
I’ve had some exciting adventures with Tethered by Letters lately. As a summer intern for this amazing nonprofit, I have seen first hand how wonderful Dani, Leah, and the staff are to their writers, readers, and business partners. If you’re curious check out what they offer:
- Readers, participate in the #LitStory Series giveaway for a chance to win a copy of F(r)iction #2, #3, or #4! Here are the details.
- Free Editing Program: The FEP is a great opportunity for writers. Feedback from an editor is often hard to come by and it can help a writer transform a piece from a fifth draft to a polished work. This program is indeed free once you join the Tethered by Letters community (also free). Here are the details.
- F(r)iction #5: The anticipated release of this beloved journal of fine art and literature is about to happen—and let me tell you, it is gorgeous. Tell your friends. Tell your friends’ friends. Tell the dude crossing paths with you on the sidewalk—you get the idea. The Kickstarter is up!
- Dually Noted: Do you want to be part of a group writing project? Submit your story by Friday for your chance to be part of the current TBL story cycle. Submissions are voted upon by a select group of editors and then the chosen story is posted on the website for readers. Try your luck, writers! Submit your awesome 500 word addition—details here—and tell them I sent you.
As fiction editor for Blue River, I’ve been reading some exciting work from graduate students that have submitted to our journal. The great news is that there is still time to submit for the chance to win the Blue River Editors’ Award of $500 (USD). The editors will be giving feedback for each submission. We’re looking for great stories from graduate writers for the first issue and—if you’re a writer in a graduate writing program—we hope to see your work!
Thanks for tuning in and, as always, thanks for reading!