If you haven’t yet read “The Housekeeper”, or are looking for a print version, the anthology is a good one. Here’s more:
of Love & Death: heartburn, headaches, and hangovers features award-winning writers Kate Braverman, Kirstin Allio, Myfanwy Collins, Tom Bonfiglio, Danny Goodman, Sam Decker, Daniel Grandbois, and many, many more. Structured in three parts, the anthology first explores the joy and pain of early relationships, then marriage, and finally family. of Love & Death is subtle, profane, tragic, lewd, thrilling, insightful, sad, provocative, painful, hilarious, insane, occasionally murderous, and authentically powerful–capturing the beauty and ugly of real life in all its variations. 15 stories in three parts–a rare thematically structured anthology that can be read as a composite novel of life.
I’m usually better about announcing these sorts of things–so I apologize for being late to the party on this one. For more about “The Housekeeper” and its multivaried path to publication, check out what I wrote about the story here, here, and here.
[Ed. note: It looks like my review of Christopher Narozny’s novel Jonah Man is scheduled to go up on Kenyon Review Online on November 7. So forget all those annoying election post-mortems and instead opt for some timeless literary criticism.]
June turned out to be all about new short stories for me. I completely reworked one short story, wrote a new one, and put the final touches on yet another. I’d planned on drafting new material for the novel this month, but was really swept up in the short form for a few weeks and had to put off any new writing for the novel. It had been so long since I had much passion for writing short fiction, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. It felt pretty good to pump out a few stories in a small period of time, after working on one project for nearly two years now. To hear some new voices, to deal with different types of problems—those faced by married people, by people alive in this century, by those from the middle class—was kind of nice. It will also be nice to have some new stories to send out to journals this fall, which hasn’t been the case for a while.
In other news this past month:
-Mixer Publishing released my short story “The Housekeeper” on Amazon, available for download on Kindle or PDF. The story was originally published on Flatmancrooked earlier this year, but they have apparently taken down their entire site. That sucks.
-And if you’re already on Amazon, you might as well download the spring issue of The Kenyon Review, which features my short story “How to Die Young in a Nebraska Winter.”
-A story that just so happened to be reviewed on the blog Perpetual Folly as part of itsShort Story Month 2011.
“We talked about marriage for a long time. About the good stuff, then the bad, then the qualifications and excuses of what we’d said before. Something happened to Anna, she was emotional, she calmed down, something else happened a few weeks after that, and it wasn’t until later that she remembered the first thing, the original outrage, and by then it was too late for her to do something about it. My stories were the same, structurally. Eventually we turned listless and bleak, hearing about each others’ marriage wounds. They lacked finality. We wanted firm endings, closure, but that wasn’t possible.”
Personal Rejection Notes, Requests for More, and Other Nice Versions of No Thanks
Florida Review for “Attend the Way.”
The Names by Don DeLillo. I’ve read nearly all of DeLillo’s work now, and this is by far the most underappreciated novel of his I’ve come across. It’s really pretty good. One from his espionage meme, with a domestic twist, about a spy for the CIA who doesn’t know he’s working as a spy for the CIA. The only thing I can think of to explain its lack of recognition is that The Names, for one, comes from DeLillo’s first period of work, before he was famous, and, secondly, that it covers a lot of similar ground as some of his later intelligence novels, like Mao II, Underworld(my favorite!) and, to some extent, Libra.
For Day 8 of Mixer Publishing’s countdown to the launch of their web site, they released my short story “The Housekeeper” via Amazon.com in Kindle format. This is pretty cool. I love the art they are using (see right) which I believe is the cover for their forthcoming anthology of Love and Death: heartburn, headaches & hangovers.
Mixer calls the story a “dark Chekhovian gem.” Here’s what else they have to say:
In “The Housekeeper,” Scott Ritter is haunted by the embarrassing memory of his father Frank, an author of seedy pulp novels. Does he struggle with his father’s ambiguous sexual preferences, or his own? Like Chekhov, Theodore Wheeler paints a devastating psychological portrait of denial, and refuses to wrap the answers up with a pretty bow.
Thanks so much to Steve Owen, Rebekah Hall, and everyone involved with Mixer. It all seems to be coming together very nicely for them as they launch the venture. The aesthetic is sharp and some great writers are on board. I’m excited to be a part of it. As you may remember, “The Housekeeper” was originally slated to appear in Flatmancrooked 4, but that didn’t happen, of course, once FMC shuttered. Steve, formerly an editor there, stepped up and saved the anthology, reviving it for Mixer. I’m so happy he did, as it looks to be an excellent compilation.
You can find links to the other stories featured in Mixer’s launch countdown here, on their Facebook page, and on Amazon. There’s work by Myfanwy Collins, Kate Braverman, Daniel Grandbois, R. Neal Bonser, and more. You will also be able to find them at mixerpublishing.com very soon.
So word officially came out this week that Sacramento-based independent publisher Flatmancrooked is no more. This is really too bad, as FMC did quite a few innovative projects in their three years of existence. They’re probably best known for the Zero Emission Book Project, what with the front page coverage provided by Poets & Writers. It was a nice bit of success that took on a life of its own, although the excitement seemed to fizzle a bit once the book actually came out, and to not so great reviews. The LAUNCH program was, and is, a good idea, and excelled at hooking talented young writers into FMC’s effective promotions network. Their off-site events at AWPs Denver and Washington DC were very well done and were highlights for me both years. The Literati Gong Show this February was particularly awesome.
You can read Elijah Jenkins’ farewell note here. Here’s the main thrust of it:
You’ve might’ve heard the rumors by now and, unfortunately, the rumors are true. Flatmancrooked is closing its doors. The reasons for this are varied but are largely due to my decision to leave publishing in order to focus on my family and health. Various editors, including our illustrious Senior Editor Deena Drewis and Associate Editor Steve Owen shall remain in the game, producing good work with new entities. Deena will be continuing with a novella press much in keeping with LAUNCH and the novellas we put out at FMC–stay tuned here: nouvellabooks.com; Steve is starting a journal and press called Mixer, which promises all the whimsy and brains of a mixed-genre, experimental endeavor; details TBA, so keep your eyes peeled.
I’m glad Deena is keeping LAUNCH going. It’s a worthwhile venture and something that will fill a need in the marketplace. In my experience at conferences, there always seem to be a really good fiction writer who writes very long stories, and subsequently has trouble getting them published in large part because of their length. Nouvella Books would seem to be perfect for folks like this. So be sure to mention it if the opportunity arises.
Two of my short stories were published by FMC. Impatiens (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2) was featured on their website and in Flatmancrooked’s Anthology of Great Writing Done During an Economic Depression. The anthology is for sale at a deep discount ($3) at their online store. If anyone’s interested, you can find it here. (The saucy cover art is featured above.) A second story, The Housekeeper, was on the website in January and was slated to appear in Flatmancrooked 4, but that isn’t going to happen now. Steve Owen (Mixer Publishing) is trying to keep the anthology together and publish it as Mixer’s first offering. I hope he can work it out, as it was something a lot of us were looking forward to.
I mentioned this on Facebook, but it bears repeating. I feel very blessed to have been able to work with Flatmancrooked these past few years, and am saddened that they won’t be able to continue on. Everyone knows that independent publishing is a particularly difficult endeavor and no excuse is required for hanging it up when the time comes. I wish nothing but the best for Elijah, Deena, and all the others.