Every Kiss A War

April 23rd, 2014 — 12:40pm

every_kiss_FINAL_storeimg_400wEarly this year I was honored to be asked by Leesa Cross-Smith—an author you need to know—if I’d be willing to read and blurb an advanced copy of her debut collection, Every Kiss A War. Already a huge fan of her work, I gladly accepted. And here’s what I said:

“Leesa Cross-Smith’s Every Kiss A War is an emotional battlefield, a perfectly written anatomy of the human condition—the good, the bad, the quiet moments that define our relationships—that you can’t help but pick yourself out in the pages, can’t help but be pulled into her sumptuous writing, her words becoming your favorite quilt to cover you from the cold.”

Leesa’s writing, her use of language, is just astounding. It’s lyrical and raw in the best way and each story in this collection is just perfect—legitimately, there isn’t an ounce of fat to cut here. She has a unique voice, one all her own, and it’s exciting to see her get the attention she so deserves.

You can order a copy of Every Kiss A War from Mojave River Press.

In addition, the fine folks at Red 14 Films made an incredibly beautiful book trailer for her collection, which you can watch below.

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New story “Hungry Ghosts” at Cedars

April 22nd, 2014 — 1:29pm

I’m delighted to have my story “Hungry Ghosts” in Issue 5 (Spring 2014) of the online literary journal Cedars:

I decide after Jill and I have dinner at her flat and smoke an enormous joint that I need to call Tyler, a conversation I’m not particularly looking forward to. I leave and she’s not happy, but I tell her I have homework and we kiss a little bit standing by her door. She tries to grab my crotch to entice me to stay, pleading with that crooked smile. I leave anyway.

And of course, many thanks to everyone at Cedars for publishing this one!

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Paul Bunyan love

April 17th, 2014 — 10:45am

“The state of Michigan declared Oscoda, Michigan, as the official home of Paul Bunyan because it had the earliest documented published stories by journalist James MacGillivray.”

My love for PB runs deep, which is why I’m so swoony over this new header on the Midwestern Gothic site.


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New story “The Rough and Tumble Sort” at Joyland

April 16th, 2014 — 1:42pm

Family trips to Missouri, guns, and the glory days of AOL chat rooms:  I’m beyond excited to have my story “The Rough and Tumble Sort” published at Joyland as part of their Michigan Stories Series:

It culminated when, a year before, during our annual haul down south, he chased me and my cousins around with his belt in one hand, Coors in the other, fire screaming in his eyes and coal-black beard bouncing along as he lumbered after us in the yard of my great aunt’s place. At first we kids thought it was a game, all this chasing and screaming, and initially everyone—my folks included—thought so too. But it soon became apparent that the man was out for blood and would not rest until he had some—from any of us.

Honored to be in such great company, and you should definitely check the rest of the Michigan stories out.

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New piece “She Lived Hard and Fast and Could Never Love Me” at Visual Verse

April 4th, 2014 — 9:22am

Really excited to have my piece “She Lived Hard and Fast and Could Never Love Me” up at Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words:

I looked down the length of the barrel across the expanse of beige at the can of light beer balanced atop the stake stuck deep in the ground and shot full of holes already. “Thing’s taken a lot of abuse, huh?”

She scuffed her workboots against the earth and cracked her knuckles and laughed. “I bring all my boyfriends here.”

Visual Verse is an online journal that asks authors to be inspired by a different image for each issue. Really felt this one and am excited to be a part of it.

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MG Issue 13 (Spring 2014)

April 1st, 2014 — 11:19am

Midwestern Gothic Issue 13 (Spring 2014)—now available—marks our third anniversary and I couldn’t be happier. We started with a simple mission—trying to showcase writers from the Midwest, those inspired by it, pieces with a sense of place like no other in the world—and while we continue to do that, it’s great to see how we’ve expanded since then. MG Press is still new, but it’s exciting territory, and the many great things on the horizon  are only possible because of the warmth at which we’ve been received by the literary and publishing communities—and I am forever grateful to everyone who has supported us over the years.

Pick up a copy of Issue 13: $12 (Print), $2.99 (eBook).

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New story “We Were Young and Nothing Was Simple” published at GLR

March 31st, 2014 — 12:36pm

I’m thrilled to have my story “We Were Young and Nothing Was Simple” included as part of Great Lakes Review‘s Narrative Map feature:

We talked about doing doughnuts next winter in the parking lot of the school and compared notes on how best to achieve one. Of driving vanfuls of friends to the movies, no longer being dependent on our parents or older brother and sisters. About how cool it would be to finally be able to go on real dates, to drive—ourselves—to pick up the girls, open the door for them and park at Saint Mark Lutheran—way in the back, where you can’t be seen from the road—play a CD and just see what happens.

For those not in the know, GLR is collecting stories from all over the Great Lakes Region in the hopes of creating a robust narrative map. It’s a fantastic idea—and they already have some magnificent pieces—so definitely check it out.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing

March 25th, 2014 — 11:56am

I’m excited to announce that I will be an instructor at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing during the upcoming 2014 session.

Per the website:

The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing was founded in order to give writers the opportunity to develop their craft among established authors. The Institute offers a comprehensive week-long focus on writing, providing writers with the necessary time to devote to their art, in the idyllic setting of the Vineyard. Each summer, the institute invites award-winning authors and poets, literary journal editors, and university creative writing faculty from around the country to lead writing workshops, work one-on-one with individuals, and provide the necessary tips and tools for editing and publishing their work.

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This year’s session runs from July 13-18, 2014. I’ll be leading two courses on the fiction track: The first will cover how to extrapolate the “place” from memories to strengthen setting in the writer’s work in order to produce a fuller, richer story. The second will be a general overview of editing and submitting processes for writers.

I’m ecstatic to be working alongside mega-talents Keith Leonard, Wendy Rawlings, Marcus Wicker, and MVICW director Alexander Weinstein. It aims to be a tremendous week.

In addition, there are need- and merit-based scholarships available for potential students. You can find additional information about that here.

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March 19th, 2014 — 12:13pm

I, for one, am beyond geeked to re-visit the world of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo in the new limited-run series (of the same name) debuting on FX. Fargo is one of my very favorite movies—and easily one of Coens’ best—and it perfectly captures a particular place in the Midwest that is often overlooked (and I am all about giving due to these flyover places with their own stories and mythologies).

Also, it just looks really, really good.

Finally, a seemingly worthy filler for all the True Detective emptiness inside me.

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Midwestern Gothic Issue 13 (Spring 2014) cover

March 17th, 2014 — 1:14pm

The release of Issue 13 will mark our three year anniversary since starting Midwestern Gothic. I waxed poetic about how long we’d been doing this when we broke through into double digits with Issue 10 last summer, but I can’t help but think about it again. I mean, it’s unbelievably nutty to think that we’re still here, chugging along, and that the submissions we’ve been receiving have just continued to be nothing short of incredible. I mean, any journal worth a damn is only worth a damn thanks to the submissions they’re fortunate enough to snag. And let me tell you: I am forever grateful to anyone and everyone who’s recognized what we’re trying to do with Midwestern Gothic, who sees the importance of our message that the Midwest is more than just flyover states. Without these folks—the writers and readers and everyone between—I don’t know where we’d be.

A side note: We have a who’s who of talent in this issue, and I’m especially delighted that we’re featuring a story by Bonnie Jo Campbell. She so perfectly encapsulates that Midwest aesthetic we’re going for, and it’s an absolute treat to feature her here.

Check out the cover for Issue 13 below. It’s slated to release April 1, 2014.


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