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CURRENTLY READING
  • Train Dreams: A Novella
    Train Dreams: A Novella
    by Denis Johnson
  • Bluets
    Bluets
    by Maggie Nelson
  • We the Animals: A novel
    We the Animals: A novel
    by Justin Torres
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Thursday
Jul122012

A Quick Update

I like this website of mine. I do. Jane designed it, and I have to say: I think it looks pretty dope.

That said, I don't post things to the blog here nearly as often as I should. I have, however, been posting things at several other places. As I said above, it's not that I'm just not into this website of mine; it's just that I haven't had much to say that's worthy of an honest-to-goodness blog entry.

I haven't posted the cover for Tell Everyone I Said Hi to this blog yet, so I should do that. Here it is:

I haven't posted the blurbs I've received yet either, but I'll save that for another day.

In the meantime, I post occasional things over at my Facebook page. It's an author page, so I can't interact with people much, but if you 'like' it, then when I post something or other over that way, it'll show up in your feed.

I also tweet things every now and then. Most of the time, I'm trying to be funny; it doesn't always work out so well. Occasionally, I post some of the Instagram photos I've been taking.

And lastly: I now have a tumblr. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with this thing yet, but I've been updating it fairly regularly. And I like the people I've been interacting with over there. If you're on tumblr or know of any blogs I should follow on there, holla.

For those of you who've made it this far through the post, here's some news I haven't posted anywhere else: I've been working on a lot of revisions lately, mostly on new stories and essays. And I've lined up a few new pubs, at Five Chapters, Wigleaf, Fiction Southeast, and a new online magazine that hasn't yet published an issue, Better. I'm pretty excited about all of them--and about the new stuff I've been finishing up and submitting. And: I'm feeling pretty lucky.

Saturday
May122012

For Out of the Heart Proceed

A couple months ago, not long after Jensen Beach and I read at the book-release party for Eugene Cross's Fires of Our Choosing in Chicago at AWP, Alexander Chee directed a comment toward Eugene on twitter that said something like, "Only you would be kind enough to share the stage at the release party of your debut collection."

Before I attended the event, which was the first time I'd met Jensen in person, I would have guessed that Alex was right: Nobody is quite so kind and generous as Eugene. After the event, after I got to spend some time with Jensen, though, I realized that he, too, is one of the nicest guys around.

And then a few weeks back he emailed a small crew of writers who have their debut story collections coming out this year--Ted Sanders (Graywolf), Eugene (Dzanc), and me (U of Iowa Press)--to ask if we'd read a little bit at his own book-release party. Though the odds were against it, I guess Alex ended up being wrong.

If you're in the Champaign this Saturday, May 19th, we'll be drinking and celebrating Jensen's book of stories, which arrived at my house in the mail earlier this week courtesy of Dark Sky Books. I haven't yet dug into the thing, but I can't wait to. I've read a number of the stories already the past few years, and I'm excited to read them one after the next to see how they work with and against each another.

Full details about what's going down this Saturday can be found on my Events page. And Jensen has a Facebook page for the event that can be found here. I hope to see a couple of you there.

Saturday
May122012

Wigleaf

Several years ago, Scott Garson contacted me and asked if I'd be the inaugural selecting editor for Wigleaf's Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions. The idea: He'd worked to cull two hundred stories written in fewer than 1000 words published online during the previous year, and he wanted me narrow the list even further. I gladly agreed, and spent the next couple months reading through the stories very slowly, finding something to admire in pretty much every one of them. Eventually, I chose fifty--actually, I think I chose fifty-five--and wrote an introductory essay, and it all went live.

Since then, Scott has aimed much higher, and has landed some awesome writers to serve as selecting editor. There was Darlin Neal, and Lily Hoang, and Brian Evenson. I've had some stories make the long list, and my story "Let x" cracked the Top 50. This year, Dan Chaon, probably my favorite short story writer, served as the selecting editor, and he had a pretty amazing list of two hundred stories to choose from. Really. The two hundred stories on that list I had in my hands were great, but it seems the quality of (very) short fictions published online keeps getting better and better each year.

I had two stories on the long list this year, and one of them, "Moussaoui Remembers Fire," made the Top 50. Kathy Fish chose to publish this story last December when she was serving as Writer-in-Residence over at Necessary Fiction, and I can't thank her enough for including my story among the many fine pieces she published that month. Thanks, too, to Steve Himmer. And to Scott Garson and Ravi Mangla, for taking the time to sift through all those fictions looking for their favorites.

Tuesday
Feb282012

Fires of Our Choosing

I'm not actually registered to attend AWP this year, but I am going to be in town. The reason: My bestie, Eugene Cross, is celebrating the release of his debut collection, Fires of Our Choosing.

You can find full details about the book release party on my events page. Or the event's Facebook page.

I'll also be hitting up the bookfair on Saturday, where I'll touch a lot of books and magazines and spend a lot of money and hopefully run in to a few of you.

Saturday
Feb042012

Tell Everyone I Said Hi

Janey took the above photo somewhere off I-80 west of Iowa City at the end of December. We'd spent the night in Iowa City mostly so we could shop at Prairie Lights and eat some good food before the new year began and I had to go back to school.

About a week later, I received a phone call from the University of Iowa Press letting me know I'd won the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award, juried by Jim Shepard*, for my story collection, Tell Everyone I Said Hi.

I've spent most of the past month ecstatic, wanting badly to share the news, and yesterday it finally became official. You can read the press release here, and you should, since it also contains some info on Marie-Helene Bertino and her 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award-winning collection Safe as Houses.

I quit Facebook about a year and a half ago, but Janey's starated an author page for me, hoping people will 'Like' it. Which is always the case, it seems. You make the thing and hope somebody out there finds it and spends some time with it, that they find that time they spent worthwhile.

*Jim Shepard! Whose stories I love. Whose novel Project X is one of my favorite little books.

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