Short Story Month Giveaway


I’m excited that May is short story month. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m going to give away a signed copy of my collection of short fiction, I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND.

Here’s what you have to do: in the comments to this post on my blog, list your favorite short story and tell me why it’s your favorite. I will keep the comments open all month long and choose a random winner at the end of the month (but that person must have followed the rules in order to win).

Check back here at the end of the month to see who won and please do spread the word. Thank you and Happy Short Story Month!

Enter for your chance to win a copy of I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND

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 I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND is forthcoming from [PANK] Books in January 2013.

Click here and enter for your chance to WIN one of two signed copies. And please spread the word!



Hard to Say, by Ethel Rohan


I do believe that Hard to Say, a painfully beautiful linked collection of stories by Ethel Rohan, will leave you as speechless as it did me. The book begins with a young woman whose own desire not to speak her family’s many secrets chokes her. It is not until she envisions herself speaking, through a dream of bloodletting, that her stories are set free.

Long kept hidden away in the narrator’s secret spaces, the stories burst onto the page with confessions of wrong doing–both that which is done to the narrator and that which she does out of necessity and survival and desire. Indeed, the book reminded me of the first time I went to confession. I remember being disappointed because the priest was not in a booth as I had anticipated. Instead, we sat in a small room together, nearly facing each other. I could not possibly tell him all of my sins face-to-face.  Instead, I told him those I thought he could most easily swallow. Had I been able to speak freely in a dark booth, away from his eyes, I might have told the truth as the narrator does in these stories.

While all of the stories moved me, the one that broke me was the final story, “Mammy,” which is peeled back to the first word and possibly the final word any human being thinks or says and that is a name for mother: Mammy, Maw, Ma, Mummy, Mommy, Mama, etc.  The narrator, leaving her ailing mother in Dublin as she flies back to the US, watches a documentary about girls’ circumcision in a Ugandan village. She is on the plane and her thoughts are, obviously, with her mother, as are mine while I read it. I have been on that plane, flying back and forth to and from my sick mother, wishing for relief from the anguish of it all. And then the final lines which pierced me deep in my heart and continue to:

Then, on the plane, from the TV, those girls’ cries from that hut in Uganda, calling their mothers, Mammy, Mammy, Mammy. Cries that stabbed me, that should have cracked the earth.

It’s a gorgeous book. Read it.

Best of the Web 2008 Contents Announced

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Best of the Web 2008 Contents Announced

Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2008 anthology hits stores next Tuesday and can be ordered online, or pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or by your favorite store today! Ryan Call recently reviewed the collection at, ending his review with:

“The book both recognizes a wide range of quality online writing, and gives its readers a comprehensive look at the field from which its contents come – two characteristics of a good anthology. As for the fate of the series, I do not doubt that it will continue to appear each year, given the tremendous success that Dzanc has had since its founding in 2006. Such a development could not have come at a better time for online literary publishing.”

We’re working on others, but there are two readings confirmed, Tuesday, July 15 at Pacific Standard in Brooklyn, and Thursday, July 17 at McNally Robinson in Manhattan.

In order to whet your appetites – here is the listing of contributors and their works – plus the anthology has introductions by both Series Editor, Nathan Leslie, and this year’s Guest Editor, Steve Almond, short interviews with four of the authors, and an appendix with editorial and submission information for over 300 online journals!

Elizabeth Crane – Promise – failbetter
David Willems – A Girl Made of Glass – Hotel St. George Press
Melanie Carter – Fish Catcher – storySouth
George Saunders – Some Brief and Frightening Tips from George Saunders – Konundrum Engine Literary Review
Richard Jespers – Basketball is Not a Drug – Blackbird
Tess Taylor – Route 1 North, Woolich, Maine – Memorious
Ron Tanner – My Small Murders – Wheelhouse Magazine
Christopher Rizzo – Zone – H_NGM_N
Amy Minton – Overhanded – Hobart
J.W. Young – Pageant Queen – Apple Valley Review
Juan Jose Millas – Translated by Peter Robertson – To See Them Again – Mad Hatter’s Review
Anne Dyer Stuart – [envy is a nude door] – 2River Review
Jacques Rancourt – Fireflies – Rumble
Kris Broughton – The Black Fokls’ Guide to Survival – Eclectica Magazine
Stevie Davis – Corner Knows the Dust – Failbetter
Amy L. Sargent – Shotgun – Wheelhouse Magazine
Justin Taylor – The Jealousy of Angels – Del Sol Review
Carmen Gimenez Smith – So You Know Who We Are – diode
Seth Harwood – Tattooed People – Storyglossia
Arlene Ang – Ceremonial Spoon – Caffeine Destiny
Paul Yoon – Postcards from My Brother – Memorious
Abby Frucht – Blue Shirt – Brevity
Kim Whitehead – The Split – Terrain
Christina Kallery – Swan Falls in Love with Swan-Shaped Boat – Failbetter
Michael Bahler – The Stiff Jew – Swink
Jared Carter – Prophet Township – Valparaiso Poetry Review
Sarah Sweeney – Tell Me if You’re Lying – fringe
Cara Hoffman – Waking – Our Stories
Zachary Amendt – Casa de Serenidad – Underground Voices
David Bottoms – Thirst and the Writer’s Sense of Consequence – Kennesaw Review
Claudia Zuluaga – Okeechobee – Narrative Magazine
Maurice Manning – The Doctrine of an Axe – Cortland Review
Jenny Pritchett – Bugaboo – Fiction Attic
Thomas King – Household Poisons – Contrary
Nancy Cherry – Yearly Trek to Bear Valley – Green Hills Literary Lantern
LaTanya McQueen – The Women of My Father – BluePrintReview
Garth Risk Hallberg – The One That Got Away: Why James Wood is Wrong About Underworld (and Why Anyone Should Care) – The Quarterly Conversation
Edward Byrne – Island Fever – Apple Valley Review
Robin Behn – Childbirth in Alabama – Brevity
Edward Hirsch – The Minimalist Museum – Per Contra
Sandra Huber – Eels – Danforth Review
Anna Kushner – Olor a Cuba – ep:phany
Andrew Sorge – Bruxism – Menda City Review
Andrea Cohen – Still Life with Childhood – Memorious
Elaine Chiew – Huckleberry Thumb – Juked
Bill Mohr – Headway – Pemmican
Valerie Loveland – Anatomy Test, Eleventh Grade – wicked alice
Okey Ndibe – My Biafran Eyes – Guernica
Benjamin Buchholz – The Cabalfish – Storyglossia
Stefani Nellen – The Attraction of Asphalt – SmokeLong Quarterly
Bruce Fisher – Flat at Dawn and at Twilight – The King’s English
Leigh Anne Crouch – I am not a man; I am dynamite – Blackbird
Charlie Geoghegean-Clements – Woodbury Notes – Furnace Review
Frannie Lindsay – Walking an Old Woman Into the Sea – Valparaiso Poetry Review
R.T. Smith – What I Omitted from the Office Personnel Services Report – Per Contra
Myfanwy Collins – The Daughters – Monkeybicycle
Michael Wood – with introduction by Jonthan Ames – The Mystery of Henry’s Bicycle – Konundrum Engine Literary Review

Oh Baby, by Kim Chinquee

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Be prepared: Oh Baby, Kim Chinquee’s debut collection, will knock you on your ass.

It’s a book about love: mother for child; child for mother, for father; man for woman; woman for man and man and man. Love for running. Love for vodka.

It’s a book about women: a runner, an artist, a nurse, a mother, a girlfriend, a wife, a daughter, a friend. A drawer of blood.

A woman who lives in England, in the midwest, in some nameless place.

A woman.

But mostly, it’s a book about identity in which the author constantly scrutinizes these women to find out which one is the one. In “Purple” she asks: “Me, who was I?” and then never answers the question. And then in “Wig” she talks of buying a wig and says: “When I got back to the hotel, I put it on and thought I looked like Kim Chinquee.”

And this is what we’re all looking for: that time and place where we most feel like ourselves. When we are no longer pretending and donning our wigs. Do we ever find it?

Taken seperately, these stories will hurt you; taken together as one in this collection, they will clobber you and rob you of your breath.

Read it.