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Peeling

Today is my newborn son’s three-month birthday.

For anyone who has never been pregnant, or has never had a child, maybe this doesn’t sound impressive. But trust me: when you’re a father, every step of the journey is an important one, a memorable one.

Even the pregnancy itself is fraught with drama and tension, some of it very positive (boy or girl?), some of it nerve-racking (when are we going to get pregnant? will we have a healthy child?), and while it might seem very ordinary to outsiders, it can definitely put a strain on the individuals in a relationship.

On that note, I thought I’d share a quick writing update that coincides perfectly with my son’s three-month birthday. I’m grateful to Necessary Fiction for publishing this piece, a short story called “Peeling,” which is my best effort at capturing the real emotional strain on a couple who has difficulty getting pregnant.

It’s also about beer. Craft beer. Microbrews, from Cigar City in Tampa (my favorite) to Sweetwater in Atlanta.

Hope you enjoy the story. It’s the most honest I’ll probably ever get about the journey toward pregnancy and having a child.

The story is here.

New e-book collaboration with Lindsay Hunter!

The folks over at Artistically Declined Press have been doing some great things in print and online, including a full catalogue of short pdf e-books. All are free, and all can be easily downloaded and then added to your Goodreads shelf.

Recently, I was able to do a comic collaboration with the always-entertaining Lindsay Hunter (scroll down on my blog and you’ll find a “review” I wrote of her book Daddy’s). The story is called “Kitty,” and I tried to adapt it into a children’s book, with the main character looking almost like a Dr. Seuss creation. He’s not quite human, not quite dog, not quite bear…just sort of fuzzy and odd. But because Lindsay Hunter writes some gritty (and sometimes dirty) stuff, I thought I’d make the children’s book extra-dirty too. So it’s a one-of-a-kind collaboration and comic, a dirty twisted filthy children’s book that you would never want your children to read.

Check it out at Artistically Declined! Remember, it’s a free download, and you can add the book to Goodreads and write a review.

Kitty

(If you’ve only stumbled across this site because I write about Eminem, do me a favor and support some of my other work. It’s just a quick click and download. Costs you nothing, and you’ll hopefully be entertained!)

A Round-Up of Updates

Got a lot of cool links to share:

First, a fantastic review of 15 Views of Orlando at Saw Palm, the literary journal of the University of South Florida. The editor of the journal, John Fleming, is fantastic, and he’s working hard to cultivate literary community in the Tampa Bay area (much like Burrow Press in Orlando). It’s an extremely well-written and thoughtful review, so I would have been stoked no matter if it was positive or negative, but I’m extra-stoked that it’s positive!

(As a side-note, remember to order your copy of 15 Views from the Burrow Press web site. All proceeds go to support writing workshops for public school kids in Orlando.)

Next up: check out my story “Angela’s Baby” at Hobart online. I had the pleasure of meeting editor Aaron Burch at AWP this past weekend (and actually, we served on a graphic narrative panel together), and–though I didn’t know him when I submitted to his journal–our encounter made me even more proud to appear in Hobart. It’s an amazing publication, highly creative, and I bought several of the books from their innovative Short Flight/Long Drive book imprint (one is structured as a composition journal, and another as a passport). I also learned that their recent issue just had two stories selected for this year’s Best American Short Stories anthology. Two stories from the same issue. Unbelievable. The hype is high, and I’m excited to start reading all the material I scooped up from their bookfair table. To be completely honest, if I’d have known all of this before I submitted a story to Hobart, I probably would’ve been too intimidated to submit.

And hey: while I haven’t been posting new blog entries every month for new installments of “Clutter,” I figured now was as good a time as any. “Clutter” (my graphic narrative structured as a home decor catalog) just hit episode #7, and things are about to get pretty rough between the happily married couple who just purchased their first home together. If you haven’t been reading, then…well, I guess you’d better start!

And finally: I have a “Reading List” here on my blog site, just to remind myself of what I’m reading, and when, and any thoughts I decided to record about the books, but now I’ve also got a recurring essay series on my reading life at Burrow Press. It’s called “Reading Books While Burping My Baby,” and I take a look at how my own reading habits and preferences have changed since the birht of my son in early January. In the first installment, I discuss (among other things) Roxane Gay’s Ayiti, Ryan W. Bradley’s Prize Winners, Ben Tanzer’s Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine, Artifice Magazine, and The Best American Non-Required Reading 2011. It’s an adorable premise, isn’t it? I mean, seriously. A man and his baby? You’d have to be heartless not to follow that link.

The Less United States of Kudera

Not everyday you get a shout-out from a writer you really admire. Many thank to you, Alex Kudera!

The next installment of my comic adaptation of Kudera’s novel Fight For Your Long Day is not due for several weeks, but in the meantime, make sure to order a copy of his book and see the story in its original form.

Favorite Fiction Writers

Was just reading through an interview on Duotrope’s Digest with the poet J Bradley, and saw that I was mentioned under his list of favorite fiction authors. That’s the sort of thing that really brings a smile to your face…unexpected, and a cool compliment. Thanks, Mr. Bradley!

Fight For Your Long Day, a comic adaptation

I’ve been hard at work adapting Alex Kudera’s very funny/sad novel, Fight For Your Long Day, a satire of the employment structure for teachers in the university setting. It’s an important book, and one that just keeps building and building in support. My comic adaptations are generally short, just a chunk of a chapter at a time, and will appear monthly at Atticus Review. Check it out here!

The Gift, a comic adaptation

Check out my latest comic adaptation, over at LITnIMAGE. I worked with the mighty Ben Tanzer, a Chicago indie-lit god, on his short story “The Gift” (which was originally published at The2ndHand). Check it out at the link here, and let me know what you think. This is probably my favorite comic adaptation I’ve created so far, so hopefully you’ll dig it.

15 Views of Orlando – RELEASE PARTY!!!

The above subject heading uses three total exclamation points, which–in the words of my old mentor Jeanne Leiby–is the lifetime total allowed to a writer. And man, I used them all at once.

But the subject certainly calls for some exclamation points.

If you didn’t know (i.e. you don’t ever talk to me, or you don’t follow my facebook status updates, or you just randomly stumbled upon this blog), I’ve got a brand-new book coming out: it’s an anthology called 15 Views of Orlando, and it’s an attempt at finally offering an honest portrayal of the city of Orlando in literary fiction. I assembled 15 Orlando fiction writers to write one long loosely-linked story that wanders through our fair city, and the result is indeed impressive and surprising. (I love me some self-congratulation.) And because Orlando writers love our community, all proceeds from book sales will directly benefit Page 15, a literacy non-profit which conducts writing workshops for Orlando public school kids. If you don’t live in Orlando, buy a copy of the book and feel good about your purchase supporting a great cause. If you do live in Orlando, you need to get to our release party.

Details of the release party follow here, in a blog post from Burrow Press publisher Ryan Rivas:

Remember: we’ve got a huge book release happening in exactly one week.

That would be the 15 VIEWS OF ORLANDO book release:

Tuesday, JANUARY 31st
6pm to 9pm @ Urban ReThink
625 E. Central Blvd.
 
In addition to photography, booze, and music, there will be readings by: J. Bradley, Hunter Choate, Ashley Inguanta, John King, and J. Christopher Silvia, at 7:30pm.Folks who pre-order 15 Views for pick-up, or purchase 15 Viewsat the event, will be able to buy other BP books for $5.

15 Views editor Nathan Holic, and authors Hunter Choate and J. Christopher Silvia, were recently interviewed on WMFE’s Intersection. You can listen to that interview and excerpts from the book here. Pre-order the book while you’re at it. There’s no better way to support what we do; and, in this instance, the profits from the book are going to benefit Orlando kids.

 Whether you can make it to the party or not, please spread the word.

New Comic Adaptation

This past year, I’ve been privileged to work with a number of excellent small-press authors, crafting comic adaptations of their short stories (and excerpts of their novels). I’ve already posted links to my adaptation of a scene from Lavinia Ludlow’s Alt.Punk and Steve Himmer’s The Bee-Loud Glade.

So here is my adaptation of J. Bradley’s “Just Do It,” which translated very well to the comic format. The original story (which wasn’t so much a “story,” as it was a piece of “flash fiction,”  not really bound by traditional story concepts) was published in Bradley’s chapbook The Serial Rapist Standing Behind You is a Robot, which is also worth checking out (just visit his web site, and you can find copies).

This comic is available at Ham Literature online, as part of their debut issue.

The Jeanne Leiby Chapbook

In a few weeks, I’ll post a link to my own tribute/ memorial to my former mentor Jeanne Leiby (which will run on the Burrow Press blog), but in the meantime, I want to share some news about the award that has been established in her honor. Details follow below, and were lifted from the UCF College of Arts & Humanities web site. If you write fiction, you should strongly consider submitting.

 

Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award

The Florida Review is proud to announce the first annual Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award in Fiction or Graphic Narrative. For more information, write flreview@ucf.edu or call 407-823-5329.

  • Judge: David Huddle
  • Deadline: December 1, 2011

Prizes

  • First Place: $500 and chapbook publication (letter press and hand-bound by Hoopsnake Press)
  • Second Place: Tuition at Sanibel Island Writers Conference
  • Third Place: Registration for The Florida Writers Conference

Guidelines

  • Submit up to 35 pages (double spaced and in MS Word or pdf if prose fiction)
  • This is a blind-read contest. The manuscript should not have your name or other identifying information on any page
  • Submit a cover letter with your name and the title (or titles) of the submitted writing
  • Any combination of long or short stories or flash fiction will be considered
  • Graphic Narrative must be black and white and in jpeg format, up to 35 pages
  • Entry fee of $25 includes a subscription to The Florida Review
  • All submissions will be considered for publication in The Florida Review
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK as long as they are withdrawn immediately upon acceptance elsewhere
  • Submissions accepted until midnight on December 1, 2011
  • Notification of results will be posted on The Florida Review website by February 2012
  • In the unlikely event that no submitted manuscript is selected by the judge as fitting chapbook publication, only the second and third prizes will be awarded
  • Submit here to The Florida Review