Thanks, all of you, for submitting to--and allowing your work to be included in--what we'd hoped would be a TS print anthology.

However, it looks like it won't be happening.

We hope you submit your exceptional pieces elsewhere, and that you have much success in your writing lives.

Thanks for being a part of TS, whether as writers or as readers,

K & S



by Hoa Ngo
95 words

On a rectangle of paper, a series of antique creases. Like the wrinkles or furrows that surround, form an old wound.

A forgotten artifact I am compelled to read. Your handwriting still immaculate but as foreign to me now as hieroglyphs. I am excavating the tomb of our experience, deciphering the origins of the fall of our empire.

Soft sentences when first inked. They have grown sharp, honed by time to a fearful edge. Even that word. The word which for years you have no longer used, caught in the fold of a scarred letter.

Hoa Ngo is a graduate of the University of Missouri's Ph.D. program and the recipient of an NEH Fellowship. He lives in central New York where he teaches Karate to exactly one student. His website is located at hoango.com.


The Sin of Proximity

by Grant Hettrick
94 words

She wore camel colored Uggs and had visible panty lines under gray chiffon sweats. Her straw hair peeked from under a hot-pink alpaca hat. A snowsuit bundled toddler held her hand and their boots made tiny footprints on the gossamer layer of snow-brushed sidewalk.

Arbitrary gusts of winter wind seemed intent on flaying every inch of exposed skin from victims whose only sin was proximity. The pessimists cursed the bitter chill, the stoics endured, the optimists dreamed of summer. Mother and child twisted and twirled as they tried to catch snowflakes with their tongues.

Grant's work has or will soon appear in Peeks and Valleys, Heavy Glow, Toasted Cheese and Ruthless Peoples Magazine. He likes to eat bowls of Honey-Oat Cheerios and play Sorry Sliders with his wife and and children.

Time Travel Machine

by Marilyn Peake
55 words

Haze danced, grotesque phantom above primordial soup. I checked the time travel machine’s destination point. Had I traveled backward? No, I had moved clockwise within history. Earth had found its remedy, dumping humanity through cataclysmic funnel into oblivion. I hoped for parody, replication of that moment when life quickened within the womb of elemental stuff.

Marilyn Peake is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. Her writing has won numerous awards, including a Silver Award and three Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, three Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, and Winner of both the EPPIE and Dream Realm Awards. James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief of the Midwest Book Review, describes Marilyn Peake as a "story teller of considerable narrative skill". Margaret Marr, reviewer for NightsAndWeekends.com, describes Marilyn as "one of the best e-authors on the Internet.” Further information about Marilyn's work is available at: http://www.marilynpeake.com

I Don’t Want To Know

by Rachel Yoder
99 words

Please don’t tell me you used the word “celestial” in a poem, or about that girl you almost fucked, but instead left in your bed while you masturbated in the living room. I don’t want to know about the bus you rode through the mud hole. Please don’t speak of your mother, happiness, all the letters you haven’t sent. I hate hearing about
Panama, and the way you say how’s your Spanish? Resist the urge to justify your jeans.

Look, it’s raining. Tomorrow’s Tuesday. Let’s stick to weather, orienting facts. How it’s colder now. How I’m renting a room.

Rachel Yoder attends the Nonfiction Writing Program at the
University of Iowa. Other tiny writing of hers can be found in Quick Fiction, flashquake, and Juked.

Bedroom Art

by Lorraine Descallar
66 words

The dark grey factory erupts on the skyline, churning out carcinogenic smoke. The warmth of the buttery-yellow terrace house left behind, just as the sky turns from royal to cold azure. Wheeling your pushbike along the narrow street, before cycling to work. Flat cap dipped down against the bitterness. The loneliness of the early shift. Monday to Friday, overtime Saturday.

On the opposite wall is

Lorraine Descallar is a scientist who finds creative writing hard.


by Edmund Sandoval
100 words

My father is drinking. I am with him and drinking also. He's been telling me about success and how to walk the tightrope without falling. He's saying it's easy. Just walk and think of nothing else, he says. He minces the air with his fingers to make a pair of legs. He walks his fingers across the bar and up my arm. I see lint on his jacket sleeve; I see yellow sweat and dirt stains on his collar. He leaves his hand on my shoulder. Tightropes, he says. His hand is heavy as anything and I let it rest.

Edmund Sandoval likes running up hills in
Southwest New Mexico and looking at the emptiness of the hills. He likes bourbon. He has had stories in Hackwriters, Drunk and Lonely Men, Dogzplot, and the Thieves Jargon.


by Jenny Halper
90 words

Why do fireflies light only at night, the girl asked her mother, who was swirling a tube of dust into a glass of wine. When her mother didn't answer the girl took a jar from the highest shelf, a jar her mother used to store jam they ate on cracked wheat bread, and went outside to capture fireflies. Later, the house was filled with candles and clinking glasses, and the girl stayed in her room with the jar buzzing black and the light off, hoping that no one would notice.

Jenny Halper's fiction has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Juked,
Helicon, and New England Fiction Meetinghouse, and her stories have been finalists in contests run by Glimmer Train and the Sonora Review. As a journalist she’s written for papers including the Boston Phoenix, amNewYork, and examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/x-8509-NY-Film-Examiner). She recently earned an MFA at Emerson College.


Race Me?

by Caitlin McGuire
86 words

I decided it was time for a race around the world, so I dared you to meet me back here as fast as you could. You must be really fast, because when I came back in three weeks, you were sitting on my couch watching TV, with a container of kung pao on your lap. You told me Hong Kong was nice in the springtime. I conceded defeat, and sat down next to you, ignoring the receipt from the Chinese restaurant downstairs stuck to your foot.

Caitlin McGuire is a student at UC Berkeley. She has been published in the First Kiss Project and Ruined Music, and is an Assistant Editor at the Berkeley Fiction Review. She writes short stories because they fit her five-foot frame.

My Heavenly Bride

by Tom Lassiter
100 words

My bride-to-be lived as a modest woman and I as a good Christian man, so it was not until our wedding night that I discovered she had three breasts. I prayed on the matter, and like only God can make clear, the answer revealed itself starkly.

I took in each of my hands one of her breasts rising from the familiar places, caressing, and with my lips and then mouth fondled the unusually placed third. Thus I served all, and so was blessed with the heavenly sight of not two but three engorged areolas and as many erect nipples. Amen.

Tom Lassiter lives in South Florida. His work has appeared in Tropic magazine, New Times, many newspapers, and at verbsap.com


by Dave Erlewine
74 words

Now that we’re fighting all the time my wife insists I take our son to his weekly appointments.

She’d love me to call her on it. She’ll get that look on her face and say since you brought it up I do think it makes sense for you to take him. Don’t you?

And perhaps I’ll reply well who pushed me on the bed and whispered in my ear that stutterers deserve kids too?

David Erlewine’s stories appear in Tuesday Shorts, elimae, The Pedestal, SmokeLong Quarterly, and a number of other journals. He blogs, weakly, at http://www.whizbyfiction.blogspot.com/

bleeding words

by Matt Leibel
94 words

I started bleeding words. I went to a doctor and tried to explain my situation, but my linguistic arsenal was shrinking by the second, plus I was losing a lot of blood and feeling lightheaded. The doctor disinfected the cut (which seemed, at least, to keep me from losing more dirty words). He told me not to worry about it, language is overrated—words just end up causing problems, getting misinterpreted. Besides, not having words meant never again having to say I love you or I’m sorry. I’d kill for that, the doctor said.

Matt Leibel's has published work in Quarterly West, DIAGRAM, Failbetter and other places. He has more stories at http://web.mac.com/mattleibel

Charity Begins at Home

by Scott Wilson
76 words

Volunteering to collect donations for a charity called. ‘Homeless Christmas Goblins’, you vow only to eat food that you can farm; meaning Christmas dinner is hamsters and marijuana. Due to the mistake of revealing your holiday plans to relatives, they plot to destroy your genes.

Because of this, you are fired at the end of a holiday text message and a powerful Deity decides to smite you with poor E-bay feedback and a creepy dating rating.

Scott has been writing for half as many years as he's been breathing now. Over thirty of his short stories and flash fiction have been published by various ezines and publications.


by D.C. Porder
63 words

Sarah drowns in the sky. I stand on the earth and throw life-preservers at her but they turn into words and in the stratosphere they lose their meaning. I steal an airplane and sail it towards her, though she is infinitely far away. I realize I am a line in calculus, edging forever towards zero. When I arrive I am still not there.

D.C. Porder is pursuing his BA in creative writing at The New School. His work is forthcoming in decomP and Word Riot. Read more at www.dcporder.blogspot.com.


Handle with Care

by Corey Ginsberg
100 words

First a finger arrived, jammed into a jewelry box in an unmarked white envelope.

Then on Tuesday, a package with "Handle with Care" stamped across the side showed up at Judy's cottage. Inside, an entire hand, bloated digits stained with blood, middle finger up.

Thursday, a tube with a fully extended arm wrapped in bubble paper arrived. A Timex on the wrist, stopped at
12:28—her birthday.

Saturday, when the UPS man pushed a tall narrow box onto her porch and asked her to sign for it, she scribbled help me on the sheet and hoped it wasn't too late.

Corey Ginsberg is an MFA candidate in nonfiction at
Florida International University. She is currently on the job market, so please hire her. She will write for food.

Parable 1

by G. David Schwartz
95 words

It is like the king who found himself alone at the boarder of his kingdom. When he heard the growling and prancing of a lion approach, the king prayed to be saved. He found the strength in himself to run to a tree as the lion gave chase. The king climbed out of the way just as the lion leaped. The king climbed higher and higher to avoid the stalking lion below. When he was near the top of the tree, an eagle that thought the king was invading her nest plucked out his eyes.

G. David Schwartz - the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue. Currently a volunteer at
Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book is now in stores or can be ordered.

It Won't Work, Melissa

by Apryl Fox
97 words

There was the time Melissa tried to get me into a singing career; there was that agent at the Billowing Pig, who knew someone in Hollywood who knew some casting director at American Idol and was looking for new faces. I don't care about
Hollywood. I care about reading books. So, Melissa, if you are reading this, no, I am not going to be an actress or a singer in Hollywood, no matter how well I sing. I'd rather learn how to make birds out of loose leaf paper. I'd rather learn how to make paper cranes.

Apryl Fox loves to write and currently resides in
North Carolina.


by Robert Scotellaro
66 words

He had a heart pickled in loss and other bitter brines. Its removal was simple—like lake ice cracking. From a sternum to a well they drew from. The Bible, which replaced it, had fly wing-thin white pages.

Nights, when his wife could not sleep, she'd lay her head on his chest—listen to her favorite passages, in lieu of crickets, banging away in the dark.

Robert Scotellaro's short fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in: Dogzplot, Ghoti, mud luscious, 971 Menu, The Laurel Review, Storyscape, Battered Suitcase, Red Rock Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Macmillan collections and others. He is the author of several literary chapbooks, two books of poetry, and the recipient of Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry. Born and raised in Manhattan , he currently lives in California with his wife and daughter.


The Wandering Eye of Harold Krapp

by Sabrina Stoessinger
100 words

Had the clerk at Ellis Island better penmanship, the Knapp family would have been spared generations of humiliation. Had Eugenia Krapp ignored the traditional practice of passing family names, her son may have escaped his formative years relatively unscathed. Had Harold exercised caution in pursuit of his tormentor (reciting the familiar “Hairy Crap” limerick) he would still have his eyesight.

The fourth escape of Harold's prosthetic eyeball proved exasperating and he immediately petitioned the local judge for a legal name change. To begin his life anew he would be Ignatius Patch; it was, after all, his favourite fictional literary character.

Sabrina realizes she misjudged Ottawa, Ontario upon their first meeting and is now willing to reconcile and give it a second chance.

Wood Pile Bird

by Edmund Sandoval
100 words

There's a turkey by the wood pile next to the splitting stump with the maul in it, blade heavy and dull. The turkey's dead. When I first saw it I thought it was a hawk - it was the feathers, dusky brown and white. My brother said, Nope, that's a turkey. Been there for months but nothing will eat it. Must've been sick.

I wanted to fling it into the field with the tall yellow grass. Grass that's spindly, cutting. I pick up the maul and wind up to hit the bird but my brother stops me. No, he says.

Edmund Sandoval likes running up hills in Southwest New Mexico and looking at the emptiness of the hills. He likes bourbon. He’s had stories in Hackwriters, Drunk and Lonely Men, Dogzplot and The Thieves Jargon.



by Tom Doughty
98 words

I call you to come over, knowing what a big deal it is to escape. People to mislead, arrangements to be made, tracks to be covered. I suspect the hassle is part of the allure, a penance for the sins about to be committed.

You show up out of breath, saying it wasn’t easy getting out, hair disheveled, face and chest flushed. You look like you just rolled out of bed after a polite marital missionary fuck. Maybe you did. You certainly have the scent of excitement wafting from you. Fresh for me or just warmed up leftovers?

Tom Doughty spends too much time inside his own head. He doesn’t see it as that big a deal but family and friends keep encouraging him to, “get out, have some fun, find a nice girl and settle down. . .You’re not getting any younger you know.”

Those Nights

by Ethel Rohan
100 words

The couple at table nineteen want to send back their dinner. The guy is pale, slight, with chiseled features. I've brought home worse.

He says, "the first and last time I get duck."

The woman, greasy hair, skin, tongue, says, "way too much cinnamon in my mousaka."

They don't want anything else, just the check for their wine.

I lift the plates, cross my arms. "Did you want to try swapping?"

"Excuse me?" she says.

He smiles.

I carry their plates out the front of the restaurant and into the cool air, drawn to the streetlight and its buttery cast.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. She received her MFA in fiction from Mills College, CA. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from several literary magazines including Cantaraville; SUB-LIT; Word Riot; Prick of the Spindle; Identity Theory; and mud luscious. She is a brazen chocoholic. Her blog is www.straightfromtheheartinmyhip.blogspot.com.

On the Porch

by M. Stowe
100 words

Charlie stands under the pale porch light. “Your mom dumped me on her coffee break, kid. I’m leaving for Austin in the morning.”

In the darkness of the hall, hair up and glasses on, she is the image of her mother. “You stink.”

“Been drinking.”

She pulls her robe tightly around her neck. “Were you in my room last night?”

Charlie spits into the withered azaleas. “I want you to come with me.”

The wrong response will bring him through the door. His anger is quick.

“Pick me up at seven.” She closes the door and listens for his footsteps.

M. Stowe is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His work has appeared in Peeks & Valleys, Riverwind, and decomP.

How I Talk to Myself

by Eric Bennett
100 words

I write letters, sorry so few. The telephone just doesn’t work for me, too many flying verbs. I’ll remain in vocal exile.

I miss our hip action, our 1988 love. But, I’m terrified of our 1996 anger.

I misplaced everything; you gave me everything. And now, I can’t remember where anything is.

The crows in the front yard heckled me. So, I left, left, and left. I left the shot glasses we bought in Vegas and the towels we stole from that dive on 66. I left our cat.

I still talk to you, but you don’t answer. Not anymore.

Eric Bennett lives in New York with his wife and four children. He loves trees without leaves, the silence between previews at a movie theatre, and writing short stories. His work appears or is forthcoming in Why Vandalism?, Gloom Cupboard, Bartleby Snopes, Smokebox, Apt, decomP magazinE, The Battered Suitcase, Dogmatika, Up the Staircase, and Dogzplot blogspot.


by Tom Lassiter
99 words

Molly sets her menu aside and orders blueberry pancakes “with crispy edges” she’ll drown in maple syrup. At 10, she’s sure in her wants and unafraid to ask.

“The same,” I tell the waiter.

Molly hunts among the crayons in a tin bucket and chooses red, the color of her hair. She turns to the fairy princess outlined on her place mat. We breakfast every Saturday morning, then do whatever strikes us. On Sunday, I return her to her mother.

The crayon, flickering like a sparrow’s wing, pauses.

“Come home.”

“Oh, sweetie, I--”


Yes, yes, but how?

Tom Lassiter lives in South Florida. His work has appeared in Tropic magazine, New Times, many newspapers, and at verbsap.com.

Love Lost

D.E. Fredd
72 words

If you won’t lead, I can’t follow. Therefore I lie awake, a Newtonian body at rest, motionless, stagnating in the doldrums, choked by a Sargasso Sea of hopelessness, waiting for gravity to pull me into your universe,

Failing that, my fervent wish is to decay then disintegrate into a fine powder and, caught by the prevailing breezes, track you down as Stanley did Dr. Livingston. Whereupon, we shall become one, I presume.

D. E. Fredd—lives in Townsend , Massachusetts . He has had fiction and poetry published in several journals and reviews including the Boston Literary Magazine, Connecticut Review, The Pedestal, Storyglossia, SNReview, eclectica and Menda City. Poetry has appeared in the Paumanok and Paris Reviews. He received the Theodore Hoepfner Award given by the Southern Humanities Review for the best short fiction of 2005 and was a 2006 Ontario Award Finalist. He won the 2006 Black River Chapbook Competition and received a 2007 Pushcart Special Mention Award. He has been included in the Million Writers Award of Notable Stories for 2005, 2006 and 2007. A novel, Exiled to Moab, published by Six Gallery Press will debut in 2009.


Interview with Henry Baum

Henry Baum and the
Self-Publishing Review

"I really do want to improve the attitude towards self-publishing – it’s not just a delusion to justify not getting published traditionally. I have been published traditionally. So I understand the difference between traditional publishing and not. I think the new wave of self-publishing opens up incredible doors that weren’t possible before and I’m fine with being an advocate for what that offers, rather than hitting it big immediately with a mainstream publisher." - HB

It's been said that those who can, do, and those who can't, teach/review/edit/agent/find other ways to dump on those who can.

I didn't say it's true; I said it's been said. Usually by people who get bad reviews or can't find an agent.

It certainly isn't true in 36-year-old Henry Baum's case. Not only does he not dump on anyone, but Baum--indie rock musician, songwriter, professional blogger and web content writer, novelist, and creator of the relatively new website Self-Publishing Review (SPR)--certainly can.

His recent novel, North of Sunset, was listed in Entertainment Weekly as the #1 self-published novel. He's had agents. He's had publishers (Canongate and Hachette Litteratures, The Golden Calf's Another Sky Press).

So, clearly, this L.A. native is doing something right with his writing, but the sad truth is that it often takes more than good writing for most to find, and keep, a publisher. When it doesn't work out, for whatever reason, many authors with something good to sell will very likely, at some point, turn to self-publishing.

Unfortunately, there's a seemingly indestructible stigma attached to self-published work. All self-published work. However well-written or however strong the story, if the author self-published, having that work taken seriously is a not-so-pretty challenge, and making money off of it is --


Baum, however, doesn't think the stigma is indestructible, necessarily, and will do what he can to erode it with the help of SPR.

The Self-Publishing Review has a growing list of contributors who, along with Baum, conduct author interviews, submit insightful --and sometimes painfully honest--commentary, and review self-published work (the good and the bad). The site also provides a wealth of advice, resources, links, and marketing tools for the self-published author.

And people are reading it.

"I've been happy," Baum says of traffic to the new site, whose biggest day thus far saw around 400 hits. He adds that an average day's traffic hovers around 100 - 150 unique hits per day, with anywhere from 300-400 page views.

"People are sticking around and reading. It's been growing steadily and people have been linking to different posts around the blogosphere, so things are happening quickly," he says.

The attention the site is receiving may have something to do with a changing trend in publishing, one even the New York Times sees happening. Motoko Rich, in an article for Books section, writes, "Louise Burke, publisher of Pocket Books, said publishers now trawl for new material by looking at reader comments about self-published books sold online. Self-publishing, she said, is 'no longer a dirty word.'”

Says Baum, "I think the Self-Publishing Review’s come at a good time, because a fair amount of the stigma is fading."

Visit his website and you'll discover his reason for being so unbelievably positive. One article written by Baum links to a piece from The Atlantic, in which political blogger Andrew Sullivan writes, "The future is obviously print-on-demand, and writers in the future will make their names first on the web. With e-distribution and e-books, writers will soon be able to put this incompetent and often philistine racket behind us."

Another SPR article, also written by Baum, praises the distribution and readership possibilities open to self-published work with the advent of the Espresso Book Machine:

"[T]he Espresso Book Machine could revolutionize how people buy books and how people regard print on demand, so it is a significant development for publishing on the whole."

While self-publishing may be on its way to being taken seriously, it's not fully there yet. Baum, in the following interview, discusses his decision to self-publish and how he plans to help revolutionize the perception of self-published writing.


Tuesday Shorts: Do you think authors who self-publish should first try the traditional agent-query route?

Henry Baum: It depends on the book and depends on the patience of the writer. If you’re releasing a non-fiction book that’s very topical then you should think about self-publishing. If you’ve written something that deserves to be published but would have a hard time finding a publisher – I’m thinking of a book I reviewed recently called Broken Bulbs, which would have a hard time aside from a chapbook house – then self-publishing makes sense.

But if you’re looking to start a career and want the furthest reach possible, you’re going to want to find an agent and go the traditional route. As Frank Daniels has written on the SPR site, the paradigm is shifting where self-publishing is becoming legit, but having a book in every Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. is the best way to sell a book – especially if you’re combining it with all the online marketing stuff that self-publishers do.

TS: Did you try to get The Golden Calf published through traditional methods?

HB: Yeah, I did. I’ve had many agents in my life. An agent took on a novel I wrote before TGC called “Dishwasher” – which she wanted to title “Dishboy,” because it was “funkier,” which signifies my relationship with agents. That book was a sort of slacker/Bukowski novel. It didn’t sell and I wrote The Golden Calf, which was a better book, but the agent hated it. She sent it out begrudgingly and it got rejected. I remember one rejection clearly: “I cannot see a market for a novel that is slight and lacking in any meaningful message.” I started submitting the book myself to small publishers and Soft Skull took it on. It was their first full-color, perfect-bound book. They’d been printing up at Kinko’s at that point.

TS: What did you find most frustrating when trying to deal with the
mainstream publishing industry?

HB: That they wouldn’t take me on seeing that I was a writer of possible promise and that maybe my best work would be three books down the line. You know, nurture a career, rather than try to make an immediate profit on one book. Which is unfair pressure and not how art evolves. Ever, in any medium.

TS: Why do you think mainstream publishers aren't picking up the truly good work that ultimately gets self-published?

HB: Well, I’ll give publishers a little benefit of the doubt. Of course, they worry about marketability and that’s a shame, but also there are more people writing than ever before – along with fewer people reading. That’s a tough combination, so someone’s going to have to be left out. To be honest, I don’t work in an editor’s office, so maybe there are people who are championing more-challenging work but they’re getting talked down by “the suits.” And then publishing gets blamed on the whole, sort of like self-publishing gets blamed for the worst writers, not the exceptions.

That, or people are just very bad at recognizing good writing – which is very possible.

TS: Did you hear from any publishers or agents after the publication of the EW article listing North of Sunset at #1?

HB: I actually got the dream letter based on that Entertainment Weekly article. A very high-profile agent sent me a request to represent the novel sight unseen. Which was amazing. Then again, I didn’t have the greatest contact with him. Literally never talked to him on the phone, so the book was totally treated as a product. He sent it to 10 or 15 places and it didn’t find a taker. I’ve come right up to the edge of getting a book deal and I’ve been lucky in some regards, but I’ve never gotten a major break.

TS: What was it that finally prompted you to create the Self Publishing
Review? There must have been a "that's it" moment.

HB: My “that’s it” moment was, “Fuck it, I have to do everything myself.” I’m working on a novel and I just don’t have the heart or will to go through the query process again. Perhaps I don’t have the same ambition of “making it” anymore. And this novel has some of the issues of North of Sunset – it’s not in any one genre. NoS was partly crime, partly literary. The new novel is partly science fiction, but I’m not a science fiction writer, and it’s not a traditional science fiction novel. So I foresee a lot of the same rejection notes that I’ve gotten for other books.

There’s a whole new world for book marketing than there was when I first self-published only two years ago. So I wanted to start the site that I wished existed when I self-published years ago. Taking self-publishing seriously as a legitimate way to get the word out.

I’d become so jaded to publishing that I wanted a way to start thinking about the topic again. I’d lost some serious faith in publishing, even in writing itself, as it had been unfaithful to me. But I think self-publishing is a great development because a writer like me, a writer who doesn’t suck, can have an outlet even if no one decides to take the book on.

TS: Are you still working on being published in the traditional way?

HB: No. It would be great if my next novel got picked up by a publisher after it was self-published – because I want the traditional distribution. But I’m not going to submit the book to agents or editors. Querying is boring, frustrating, and often a waste of time. And if somehow the novel did get picked up after being self-published that’s an extra story to tell about the book.

TS: How much time do you spend on the website, and what are you doing when you're not tending to it? (What's your day job? How do you find time to review books and work and take care of the website and make music?)

HB: I try to get in five or so posts a week. And I’ve tried to find new writers to write posts as well. I’ve had some great people involved with the site so far. Normally, I write web content and blog professionally for sites all over the web. That was another impetus for starting a professional site. Instead of having to hustle for freelance work, I could create a site of my own – a topic I care about and I think is fulfilling a need online. Of course, I probably won’t make much money from the site, but at least it’s a possibility.

TS: Who else writes for SPR?

HB: A number of different self-published writers. Frank Daniels has a great, but brutal, piece about going from Lulu to Harper Perennial. Chris Meeks, who I’d met online because his book was also in Entertainment Weekly. I’d built up great relationships with other writers by self-publishing, which was proof enough to me that it’s a valid enterprise. He knew some other writers who’ve also contributed. Francis Hamit, a historical fiction writer, is writing pieces he’s going to collect in a book on book marketing in the future.

The site is looking for contributors so please contact the site if you’re interested.

TS: What do you ultimately hope to do with the website? The dream goal.

HB: Well, I’d love to be able to sell some copies of my next novel through the site, as well as other writers’ books. And I’d love for the site to make some money. If I can’t make a living writing fiction, I can make some money off of writing about the industry Yes, I have a profit motive. I’d love to devote my time to something I care about, rather than some of the mind-numbing web content I have to write day to day (If any of my employers read this, I’m not talking about your project, I’m talking about the other ones).

Eventually, I’d like to have a network of these sites – a music review site as well. I play and record music by myself and I’m active in communities online where people do the same, so I’d like to start a site for people who home record. Maybe indie film as well because the technology’s coming along where people can make professional quality movies for cheap. But I’d need some serious help writing sites like that because I’m not much of a gear head.

Aside from my self-serving goals, the main manifesto of the Self-Publishing Review is sincere: to help get self-publishing taken seriously as a totally legitimate route, not a place for the pathetic and under-talented. There’s great writing being self-published and crappy books as well – same with traditional publishing. Only for some reason with self-publishing the crap represents self-publishing on the whole. But with Youtube, Wikipedia, blogs – all self-publishing platforms to some degree - people are much more amenable to the process. I think the Self-Publishing Review’s come at a good time, because a fair amount of the stigma is fading.

TS: While there are certainly a number of worthwhile self-published books, there are probably ten times more not quite ready for public consumption. It's for this reason that most big-name reviewers won't even look at self-published work, which leads to that work not being introduced to the public except in the small circles a self-published writer can afford to market to, which then leads to the writer not making enough money with her or his self-published work to be able to afford to not work and sit home and write another book... Do you see any end this seemingly hopeless cycle?

HB: I don’t think it’s snobbery at all to not review self-published books. There are already too many traditionally-published books and reviewers have to draw the line somewhere. But I think as the stigma fades about self-publishers, reviewers will start reviewing those books that get good reviews other places – litblogs and the like. And there’s an increasing number of places that are amenable to reviewing self-published works. When North of Sunset came out, there were around five blogs devoted to self-publishing, now there are 50 and counting.

The real problem I see is not reviews, because even the worst book can get a good review, but the fact that self-published books can’t be found in bookstores. People really do need to pick up a book, flip through it, feel it, to decide to buy a book – even if they might buy the book later online. I’ve got high hopes for the Kindle and ebook readers becoming more commonplace – not just as a publishing issue, but an environmental issue. It’s stupid that so much printed paper goes to waste. And that could be a major thing to help promote ebooks.

TS: What are you doing to promote your website?

HB: Like I’ve said, I have contacts with other self-published writers, so they’re helping to spread the word. I’ve emailed every site owner affiliated with self-publishing. I’ve submitted the site to a mind-numbing number of directories. I add posts to social networks. This stuff is my normal job - writing and promoting content – so I’m just doing it for my own site. The site is relatively new and it’s already getting a good amount of traffic.

TS: What genres of self-published work does the site review? Is it limited to novels, or will you also look at poetry, plays, etc.?

HB: Ideally, I’d like to review everything. Including get rich quick ebooks people are hocking all over the place. Which is why I’d like to bring new writers and reviewers on board. To be honest, my window into fiction is limited. For instance, I just reviewed a romance-based novel. It wasn’t a full-fledged romance novel, but it had some qualities. And I’ve never read a romance novel before, so I couldn’t quite review the novel as it related to the history of romance writing. So I’d like to find some authorities of different genres.

TS: What should authors expect when they send their work to SPR for review?

HB: That reviews are going to be tough, but I’ll never rip into a book mercilessly. I don’t see the point in that. Also, my taste in fiction is a bit darker and I don’t have a great interest in mainstream writing. That said, I can appreciate something when it’s page-turning, when it does what it sets out to do very well. So I don’t judge stuff on whether or not it’s literary, which is a kind of genre in itself, but if it succeeds at what it’s trying to do. We have a growing stable of reviewers so I’ll farm something out if it’s really not my boat.

TS: What three things should every self-published author know?

HB: 1) Don’t expect to sell a lot of books. 2) That doesn’t matter because connecting with new readers – however many – is the goal.
3) There’s no shame or defeat in self-publishing if you satisfy #2.

Many thanks to Henry for taking the time to answer so many questions, which were followed by follow-ups which were then followed by follow-up follow-ups. - KT



by Dave Erlewine
74 words

Bleeding from his lip, his eye darkening, my son cowers in front of the door.

"Did you throw a hook, at least a jab?"

He whispers something I'd need to bend down to hear.

"The other kid, he explaining anything to his dad or high-fiving him?"

My son's eyes, especially the darkening one, look glazed.

"Get in," I say, moving my leg, not watching him pass, afraid a hug might turn into a strangle.

Dave Erlewine is a fiction editor at Dogzplot. His stories appear (or soon will) in Tuesday Shorts, The Pedestal Magazine, Word Riot, and a number of other literary journals. His sad little website is www.whizbyfiction.blogspot.com.

Check Out

by Noel Sloboda
100 words

Richard had hoped Mary wouldn't see Karli behind them in line. But Mary had sharp eyes, which darted at his former lover. Richard just looked down at the cart, pretending to inventory bran bars and mangos.

Mary radiated the same iciness that nearly drove him from their home after he'd confessed the affair. Richard kept his eyes lowered, but he couldn't ignore the chill coming from Mary.

"How are you going to pay?"

Richard had so many answers inside his head that the cashier had to repeat her question twice before he realized she was the one who'd asked it.

Noel Sloboda currently lives in
Pennsylvania with three dogs, two cats, and one wife. He is the author of the collection Shell Games (sunnyoutside, 2008).

Leaf Death

by Sean Ulman
97 words

As aspen leaf butter-based spades fluttered to his feet the welder understood that each leaf was touching-down its only time. He believed the leaves still breathed as they lay on the ground, fragrant pre-parchment, supple, smooth. The wind gusted. Besieged by the beauty of so many leaves lives ending, he focused on one leaf. As it shuttled toward him his hand involuntarily shot out. But thinking it best to not interrupt its journey, he returned his hand to his pocket. No event in his life matched the magnitude of each leaf’s life ending, and he knew it.

Sean Ulman received his Master's degree in fiction from the Stonecoast MFA program through the
University of Southern Maine. He has two poems forthcoming in the inaugural issue of the Main Street Journal at the University of Delaware. He is working on his third novel.

Chess and Clarabelle

by KJ Hannah Greenberg
97 words

Clarabelle took comfort in that youngster, regularly hugging the baby to her stomach and sipping in his gurgles or his bubbling saliva. She watched her hands in relationship to his face. While she toyed with ideations of not supporting the baby’s head and spine, she, nonetheless, remained careful. Sometimes, though, Clarabelle left him in a wet diaper until Alex came home.

She smiled at the thought of Alex lifting up a sodden child. Such delays kept Alex from reaching for her and from adding one more bruise. Such deterrents did nothing, though, when the baby stayed asleep.

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s layered language has been published/accepted in an eclectic mix of dozens of venues worldwide, including: Australia ’s Language and Culture Magazine, and Antipodean SF, Israel ’s Mishpacha Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, and The Shiur Times, the UK ’s Morpheus Tales, The Mother Magazine, and Winamop, and the USA ’s AlienSkin Magazine, The American Journal of Semiotics, and The Externalist. KJ Hannah Greenberg is a former National Endowment for the Humanities scholar, the mother of adolescent sons and daughters, and the caretaker of an entire hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs.

Sweet Tooth

by Shome Dasgupta
52 words

At the age of eleven, Cornelius tried to hang himself in the attic. The rope, made out of Glide dental floss, tore. He crashed through the attic floor and into the kitchen, where next to the sink, was a box of cookies. He stood up and fixed himself a glass of milk.

Shome Dasgupta holds an MFA in Creative Writing from
Antioch University-Los Angeles. His fiction and poetry have appeared in print and online magazines, including Word Riot, Cafe Irreal, MeadoW, DiddleDog, Sylvan Echo, Gertrude Press, Bartleby Snopes, Shelf Life Magazine, and Two Hawks Quarterly. Forthcoming publications include appearances in Mud Luscious, Dogzplot, Abjective, and Paperwall. He is a regular contributor to The Footnote.

Shelley Pulled Out of the Sea

by Willie Smith
81 words

Model airplanes make me fly. Provide the glue makes me wonder why. All the parts nowadays stuck on backwards. Model plane wrecks more like it.

I have become a champion of debris. Visions of cities burning. Babies napalmed. Vaporized hospitals. Daisies cut. The very worms obliterated.

Close my eyes and hell erupts.

Trouble is, could I trouble you a sec, get you to say – are my eyes open? If not – this somnambulation got a plug on it a saint might pull?

Willie Smith is deeply ashamed of being human. His work celebrates this horror. His novel OEDIPUS CADET is available from amazon.com. Please visit: www.youtube.com/wsmith49 to see him further embarrass himself.


100% Proof

by Culbin Forrest
97 words

And didn’t the Scots knock all the duty off whiskey after they got independence?

And didn’t the Whitehall redcoats slap it right back on?
And wasn’t that the Solway smugglers back in business, after three centuries?

Now Willie Nobutt was a double-dealing, two-faced liar.
Didn’t he tip off the excise men?

Mind you, Logan Carr was no better.

Hadn’t he filled all but one of the bottles with tap-water, and that the one they drank on the beach to seal the deal?

Sure, and there’s no law against running tap-water, and nobody mentioned the Trades Description Act.

Culbin Forrest mostly writes short stories, but also poetry, and he’s tried the odd play. He’s won a few prizes locally, has been published here and there (mostly there), and had been featured on the Liars League website from time to time.

Beautiful Broken Things

by Mercedes M. Yardley
94 words

You think that your role is to destroy beautiful things. She thinks her role is to support your ugliness.

My role is to stand between you and the things that you hurt. Your nails get caught in my clothes while I hold The Broken Things in my hands. They mewl and sigh and heal while you scrabble at my skin and snarl your fingers in my hair. When The Broken Things aren’t broken anymore, I let them fly away while you shriek.

Your scream is the sweetest sound on earth. I smile every time.

Mercedes M. Yardley often wears poisonous flowers in her hair. You can learn more about her at www.abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com.

firing hope

by E. Miller
100 words

cloaked by clouds and the green-grey sound of silence, your eyes flickered farewells that were beyond syllables.

time blurred clarity, but as i climb years like mountains, i remember that gaze - fearless though inevitable, unbroken though incomplete.

when you returned, you opposed memory. i tried to find yesterday buried with the bones of men you killed or did not save (what's the difference, anyway) but your innocent irises have decayed with sun.
reading engraved names, my tears mix with whispers. i recite the losses that they do not list:

your heart, your spirit, your love
and god, those eyes

e. miller is fifteen years old and just now learning to breathe. Her previous publications include Boston Literary Magazine.


by J. A. Tyler
100 words

There was a baby, at some point, born as it should not have been. That baby was taken care of. That baby was rectified, adjusted. And there was another baby too, never born at some point, unliving in the air, in the sky, flying. So there were these two babies at least, both girls, existing where they shouldn’t have. And one is flying now, pointed in an unknown direction, while the other, the one of two babies who became where they shouldn’t, that one was set down on a stump and adjusted, rectified. That baby was easily unborn at least.

J. A. Tyler is the author of the forthcoming novella Someone, Somewhere (ghost road press) and the chapbooks The Girl in the Black Sweater (Trainwreck Press) and Everyone in This is Either Dying or Will Die or is Thinking of Death (Achilles Chapbook Series). He is also founding editor of mud luscious / ml press and was recently nominated for a Pushcart. Find more info here: www.aboutjatyler.blogspot.com.

A Boy, Falling

by Alex Keegan
93 words

Today, as we flew kites, as we ate ice-cream, a boy fell from the sky. A ploughman ignored the crashing plane, the boy, falling.

I thought, God, let the boy fly. I want more than I have ever asked, I know, but at any moment things will strike the ground. It will be horrible. Is this so much to ask, God, that a boy can fly? I am only suggesting, this, but let the boy live, let him become a man; allow him to smell a woman’s hair, to taste her skin.

Alex Keegan is widely published in print and on-line including Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Eclectica and Archipelago. He runs an on-line writing group called Boot Camp Keegan. In December 2008 a collection of his prize-winning stories was published by SALT Publishing, Cambridge, England.


by Paul Griner
99 words


Your incompletely trashed “I’m leaving you” draft.

Leaving first.

Believing that, far enough away, I couldn’t be ditched.

Eight hours, twenty-seven Mai-Tais.

Meeting Sulani on number twenty-three.

Proposing to Sulani.

Marrying Sulani, wearing borrowed blue shorts and a new, painful nose ring on a Bali beach.

The one-eared priest.

The bible-holding, iridescent green monkey.

Calling you, exultant.

A hangover, with open windows and clacking palm trees.

My useless heart, which contracts and expands.

Tears, after Sulani, ear pressed to my chest beneath her warm fanned hair, listened to that two-beat rhythm and asked in accented English, Who’s Sarah?

Paul Griner has published two books with Random House, Follow Me (stories) and Collectors (a novel). His third book, the novel The German Woman, will be out with Houghton Mifflin this June. His work has been translated into half a dozen languages and appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Southeast Review, Bomb, Zoetrope, Story, and Juked, among others. He is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.


The Matrix Never Stops

By C.C. Petersen
100 words

Race along the corridors of ones and zeroes, moving at the speed of light, never stopping, always searching for meaning, for words, thoughts, ideas, questions, answers, always finding answers and ideas and thoughts and more questions buried in words and images that move evermore across a web of meaning and thought and translight chambers where memes and themes and ideas and thoughts battle it out for space in front of the eyes of users who, in their infinite curiosity, send out more spiders to search out more ideas and images and words and thoughts and themes and memes without end.

C.C. Petersen is a science writer by trade and specializes in astronomy and space science and blogs at: http://www.thespacewriter.com/wp


By Thomas Dean
76 words

My mother went once and never came back.

My father took me there and I prayed, while he sat in the car, his window cracked, and smoked cigarettes. I’d imagine him asleep, the car on fire, but when I returned he was always alert: cigarettes scattered among the gravel beside his door. A smile playing on his lips, he’d always ask, “Found the secret of life yet?”

A breath of ash before I’d say, “Still looking.”

Thomas Dean is a MFA candidate in fiction at the Queens University of Charlotte Low-residency program. He has been previously published in Pens on Fire. He is currently working on an untitled short story collection.

She's Gnawing Solo

By Kent Oswald
99 words

It wasn't bad enough she missed out on love. Sheri Lynn didn't get any barbecue either.

If only she had chosen quicker between the pre-prandial mint cacao chip and the peanut butter swirl there would have been time. (A double dip would have done it.) Instead, she arrived too late at the reunion to bump into high school sweetie Stanley Aaron, who'd given up looking for her. And there was nothing left to eat but cauliflower dip and carrots. An odd metaphor for gluttony or indecision. Or something that could have been a teaching moment in Sheri Lynn's life.

Kent Oswald is a freelance writer (have pay, will write ... anything) and also the producer of The Whinydad Chronicle, whinydad.blogspot.com.

The Penis Has a Muscle

By Alex Keegan
29 words

It is a mistake to think the penis has no muscle or a brain. It wasn’t working out. You stopped loving me, and my penis knew, before I did.

Alex Keegan is widely published in print and on-line including Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Eclectica and Archipelago. He runs an on-line writing group called Boot Camp Keegan. In December 2008 a collection of his prize-winning stories is published by SALT Publishing, Cambridge, England.

All Consonants

By David Erlewine
100 words

Will from next door always glances as he strides by.

He glares at Mom’s friend, Amos, whenever he comes to party. Then Will sighs at my closed window and says things like “your mom blows.”

Here he waits for my two decent fingers to assemble magnetized Scrabble letters onto the little device affixed to my chest. It was the oldest model they had; my only gift for stroking out on Meth.

I know he has to get to work bagging groceries but I’m having trouble.

Last week my younger brother stole another letter, the final “u”.

I’m all consonants now.

David Erlewine’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in Tuesday Shorts, Pedestal Magazine, decomP, Monkeybicycle, and a variety of other print/web journals.

His sad little website is www.whizbyfiction.blogspot.com

Surfing the Solar System on an Elliptical Plane

By F. John Sharp
100 words

I'm moving to Pluto. Yes, I'll suddenly be two and a half months old in Pluto years. I'll need a new watch, and my Rigid Tool calendar will only be useful for masturbation, but I'll save money on sun block and cable TV. I'll take a comfortable chair so I can watch as we buzz by Neptune on our jauntily angled orbit. I'll yell "Up Uranus" and giggle. Every time Jupiter gets between me and the sun I'll do a shot. And the nearest I will ever be to you is 2.6 billion miles, which will still seem too close.

F. John Sharp lives and works in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He has been published online and in print, but since his hard drive was wiped and the list of credits is on an external hard drive in another location, he'll leave it at that. If you're dying for the list of credits, email him at fjsharpjr@gmail.com. He is shopping a novel for young adults that he is co-writing with a friend. He is also the fiction editor at www.RightHandPointing.com.


Happily Ever After is Hard

By C. C. Petersen
98 words

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet and wondered what the hell a tuffet was. She was damned tired of curds and whey, but since that was the diet she'd chosen, she had to stick to it. Only 23 pounds left to go and she'd be giving Cinderella some serious competition at the big Harvest Ball in a few weeks.

Cinderella, on the other hand, was just glad that Coldwater Creek had a sale and that stuff still fit after all the parties she'd attended. Keeping up with the courtier's dress code was a pain in the arse.

C.C. Petersen is a science writer by trade and specializes in astronomy and space science and blogs at: http://www.thespacewriter.com/wp

My Father, Kafka

By Howie Good
100 words

Here’s an old photo of my father oddly alone on a city street, he’s as slim as a novella and dark as a gypsy prince, he looks like Kafka, thick, black hair slicked back and comet-bright eyes, the wariness of someone suddenly summoned to appear at such and such a time at such and such a place, the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute, and he’s on his way there now, hands thrust deep in his pockets as if to hide certain deformities, but, of course, this is not K., and that is not Prague behind him, and I am not born.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry chapbooks, including the e-book, Police and Questions (Right Hand Pointing, 2008), available free at Right Hand Pointing.


By Peter Cherches

91 words

I singed my hair for a lark. I wanted to see how it sounded, how it smelled, and it sounded like a lark, like a songbird. Hair singeing, singing, it must have been a mating call because a lark landed on my head and started singing, and it was a beautiful duet, my hair singeing and the lark singing, a beautiful song, and it kept going through my head long after it was over, so beautiful that I didn't care that I was now completely bald and burnt to a crisp.

Peter Cherches blogs about food, travel, dreams and writing at http://petercherches.blogspot.com

To Lessen the Bite

By David Erlewine
99 words

I’m making a Rum and Coke when Billy stomps a stray cat in our backyard. It stumbles into a milk crate and vomits.

I bang on the kitchen window. Billy stares at me with hollow eyes, mouths “sorry”.

I should haul him inside, demand an end to this crap.

I take a sip, add a little more Coke to lessen the bite. He’s not the only kid to freak after a parent’s death.

I can’t help but wonder if doing it makes him feel any better. Perhaps I'll give it a try, just to see what I’m dealing with.

David Erlewine has flashes and short stories published in a variety of print and web lit journals, including In Posse Review, Literal Latte, Pindeldyboz, Slow Trains, Smokelong Quarterly, and Word Riot. Flashes are forthcoming in Dogzplot, Elimae, Right Hand Pointing, and Drunk and Lonely Men.

Allot Your Time

By Hector Duarte
86 words

So that nothing interrupts the valuable time meant for ME and YOU -- time that comes few and far between now that you’ve blossomed into a mature orchid.

Why answer the call when we’re in the middle of a conversation? I can hear the male tone on the other end. It bores into my head at night after you leave, taunting me awake.

A giggle. I thought I was the only one so successful at that feat?
Allot your . . . Hell, what’s the point?

Hector Duarte Jr. is an inspiring writer who resides in Miami, Fl. and loves the smell of fresh cotton laundry detergent.


By Phil Abrams
100 words

The Associated Press reports this week that a number of churches and synagogues are installing global positioning system chips inside nativity scenes and menorahs so that they can be quickly located if they are stolen.

- Overheard on N.P.R.

Concerned for this year’s baby Jesus (last year’s was stolen off our lawn), I invested in a high-tech unit for manger security. News stories proclaimed churches were seeking GPS products to safeguard their Chosen Ones. Upon cutting open the box though, I realized that the Jesus Undercover Detection Alarm System was simply less than divine. Flimsy lights, cracked plastic poles, cheap kinked-up wires (thin as spun sugar) were revealed, along with instructions in Greek, or possibly Latin. My wise wife was right. Yea, I was deceived. No, betrayed! “What did you expect for only 30 pieces of silver?” she chimed.

In alphabetical order, Phil Abrams is an actor, father, husband, shadow teacher, and sometime writer. Favorite Popsicle is Trader Joe's lime Fruit Floe.


Tuesday Shorts interviews N. Frank Daniels

Recent Nashville transplant N. Frank Daniels, who calls Atlanta home, is one of those lucky few self-publishing success stories. Most self- published authors can dream of "making it," but realistically, most won't. It's possible Daniels had a feeling he would, though - and if not a feeling, a sense of determination. The copyright page of his self-published version of futurproof identifies it as the "P.O.D. edition." Which implies there will, someday, be a different edition.

He was right.

Futureproof, released in bookstores January 27, was first published in 2006 as a P.O.D. book through Lulu.com.

Daniels, who had spent almost two years trying to find a publisher for his book, was about to give up the search when he received a call from Harper Perennial, a division of HarperCollins.

"I had literally not a month earlier given up on getting futureproof published," Daniels says. "Sept. 20, 2007 - a day I'll never forget. It was like all that work had finally paid off, and in the most unexpected way."

Daniels explains how they found out about futureproof:

"My book was reviewed by PODdy Mouth, then the most influential POD reviewer on the Web, and it just so happened that two weeks later Entertainment Weekly did a small piece on PODdy Mouth and highlighted her last five book reviews," Daniels says. "'Futureproof' was one of them."

[The others making up the top three on the list were (1) Henry Baum's North of Sunset and (3) Susanne Severeid's The Death of Milly Mahoney.]

Of course, Daniels is more than a self-published writer-turned Published Author. He would have to be, or his success would be relatively short. There are a lot of one-hit wonders in the book world (none to be named here), but the reviews of Daniels' work and his plans for his writing future indicate he'll be around for a while.

In the following interview, Daniels discusses futureproof, the transition from self-published to published, and his future plans.

TS: What kinds of things were you writing before you started work on futureproof?

N. Frank Daniels: I wrote about everything, really. I saw myself as a sort of social commentator. A lot of what I wrote was specifically for my college newspaper--more column-type stuff than actual news. Also short stories, poetry, etc. Writing has always been something I have used to get my head clear and in order to navigate my way through life without going completely batshit insane.

TS: Where can people find some of your short stories?

NFD: I have never published a short-story and have never attempted to publish one. I have around three that I've considered sending out but is just so much work to get one story published that I figured I would wait until after I published a novel (my main goal in getting published) before I took the time to pursue having a short story in print.

TS: Why did you write Futureproof? That is, was it something you felt you could do well, or was it something you felt you needed to do?

NFD: I wrote FP because it was a story that needed to be told. I wanted to kind of chart the fall of someone who had never really risen in the first place. I guess that’s the case in most stories involving drugs, but there was just something undeniably heart-wrenching about a kid who has nothing really, and then makes all sorts of decisions that leave him with even less. The book is really just about being loved and how terrible it is to not feel loved at all.

TS: Your book also touches on some other topics, such as classicism and racism, as well as the human tendency to cast judgment. The Rocky Horror Picture Show scenes were particularly revealing of the differences in people, but at the same time, the sameness of all of us. What comment, if any, would you make about human nature and the way it affects a person's sense of his or her place in the world?

NFD: I think that any person that really takes time for serious introspection can see that we are, to a one, all alone most of the time. When you do realize this, I think it makes it harder to define where your place is in the world. People are defined most by their jobs and their income and their standing in the social strata. So when you feel like "no one understands" and that you are all alone in the world, to find a few other people who feel the same things--it somehow makes it easier to be alone, even if you essentially remain alone. "Well, at least all of these people are alone too", you know?

TS: I understand you're also working on a memoir—will you be writing more fiction, too, and if you are, do you already have a story in mind?

NFD: I'll always write fiction. I already have a third novel in the preliminary stages. It will be the last chapter in the story of Luke from futureproof and involves porn, lie detectors and the complete absence of love.

TS: How does the experience of writing as an author with an agent and publisher differ, if at all, from the experience of writing as someone who had neither?

NFD: The only difference between writing when you have an agent and/or publisher is that you know that at least a few people are going to read your work. I don't feel any need to compromise anything I write for anyone, but I also know that it is pretty much a given that eventually I am going to have to compromise to some degree with what the final product is. Just part of the game. And honestly, I like having these guys question some of what I write because it ends up just being another part of the writing and editing process. It can only help make the books better. You just have to have an eye and an ear for what truly makes the book as good as it can be and let that be the guide more than ego or pride or any of that.

TS: Many people who want the book publishing dream fantasize about what it would be like to have an agent and publisher. How does the reality of it compare to what you imagined?

NFD: The reality of having an agent and having a book published is everything you can probably imagine. It's nice. We strive our whole lives for that kind of final acceptance and when it happens you have to be thankful. I most definitely am. I've gotten a really good agent and editor. I really hope for great things in the future.

TS: Self-publishers enjoy the freedom of having the opportunity to choose their own book covers and tend to muse over the covers they believe they would have if they were to find an actual publisher. Did you have any say in the cover that was chosen for your book?

(original cover)

(new cover)

NFD: I can only speak for Harper Perennial, but I'll tell you that with them I was always given a choice. We went through seven or eight fully designed covers before we settled on the final cover. They asked me if I had any ideas, I told them what they were and we messed around with possibilities until we were all happy. I like the new cover better than the one I chose for the self-published version of the book.

TS: Your past blog posts--back when you were struggling to find a publisher--more than hinted at your dissatisfaction with the publishing industry and its reluctance to publish a certain kind of fiction, opting instead for fiction that is easily marketable and more commercial. Have your thoughts about publishers changed now that you've been given access to the "other side"?

NFD: If I said my thoughts about publishing changed I'd be a total fucking hypocrite. No, its still business as usual. I guess the difference now is that I see that it isn't some kind of thing only focused on publishing. Its everywhere.

Being an artist and trying to break through in any field is soul-crushing. There are millions of people trying to be represented in the market place and there are only so many markets. A best-selling album these days has to sell far fewer copies to be considered 'best-selling' because everything is so cut up and spread around the different demographics. There really isn't a single popular culture reference point any more. So in one way that's good because a lot more people can get a piece of the pie. That piece will just be far smaller than it was before. So that being the case, I'm sure you can see where my frustration originated. With there being such small pieces of the market share, only the stuff that these large entertainment conglomerates deem as appealing to the largest number of people is going to get through.

Luckily for me I found the perfect publisher in Harper Perennial. There's a story that was published in The New York Observer about Harper Perennial publisher Carrie Kania and how she has made Perennial into a "clubhouse for losers" that only publishes "the most literate schlemiels." Doesn't sound very flattering (and this was supposed to be a puff piece!), but it is what it is. Ms. Kania has made a niche for herself and for writers of a certain kind of fiction. They have the complete Bukowski back catalog as well as other outsider writers such as Sylvia Plath and Aldous Huxley.

In this way I could not be happier with the position I am in with my writing career. Harper Perennial is a fucking awesome imprint and as far as I'm concerned is the new trend in how publishing can actually work if there is someone like Carrie to really nourish it and the authors she finds to represent it well into the future.

Thanks for taking the time, Frank. Best of success to you in your writing - and general - future.

- Kristen


By Foster Trecost
99 words

The playground was always empty, like the children had been plucked away. This fear forced me to find a new route, but avoiding the playground didn’t help, so I returned to my prior course.

Soon after, I heard an early morning mother’s voice. She laughed and called her son’s name. I smiled; she took shape, standing before a swing, pushing it gently.

“You’re a bird,” she said. “You’re free!”

Then enthusiasm surrendered and she wept.

Closer, the truth became clear with the confirmation of my fear: a lonesome mother left behind by her child who wasn’t there, plucked away.

Foster Trecost began writing in Italy; he continues in Philadelphia. His stories appear or will appear at Insolent Rudder, The Linnet's Wings, Pequin, and Static Movement, among other places.

Bling-Bling, Bang-Bang

By Elizabeth Creith
55 words

Joe Bowie retrieved both bullets, each cast from an heirloom crucifix, from the werewolf's body, pocketing his for recasting and chucking the other. The novice werewolf hunter, cooling beside his quarry and killer, had shot true; his ammo had let him down.

Hell of a way to find out your family silver was just plated.

Elizabeth Creith has written flash fiction for the last four years. Her 55-word flash "Companion Animal" placed twelfth in the 2008 Writers' Union of Canada Postcard Fiction Contest. It also served as the seed of a novel currently in progress. For ten years she wrote humour for CBC radio, both regional and national. She is passionate about art, good writing, country life and animals, and currently pays the bills by working part-time at the pet store she and her husband own in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Elizabeth lives, writes and commits art in Wharncliffe, Northern Ontario. Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/


By Jane Banning
93 words

My son brought home a tarantula. It's a pink-toed, non-poisonous tarantula. It has fangs. There are hairy legs twitching in the next room. What if it escapes its cage and I find it under my bare foot in the shower, in a dark drawer, or blinking at me from the linen closet? I'll flail out with a flattening squash, not meaning harm. But then I imagine the crunch and the grayish, sticky sludge. The quiet creature would be gone and my son, sad. I can't imagine why boys do this to their mothers.

Jane Banning lives in Oregon, Wisconsin with her husband, son, Jack Russell/Beagle, and Harry. Her work has been published in Brava Magazine and soon, the U of Iowa Daily Palette.


By Kyle Hemmings
99 words

In a room of taffeta dresses and dust, I pay the spider-limbed gypsy to straddle my thoughts. Now sitting across from her at a table made for two and a half discounted souls, she reads my palm. You're really dead, she says, you died in a car accident yesterday or the day before. She describes the exact car that t-boned mine. Then her face disappears in undulations of cigarette smoke. Outside I watch the procession of people who perhaps have left their bodies somewhere else. On my cell phone, a text message from myself: Please call. It's kinda urgent.

Kyle Hemmings wishes he could play surf guitar like Dick Dale and sing like Brian Wilson. Then, he would call himself Dale Wilson. He lives and daydreams in New Jersey.