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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: fiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,183
26. Body Language: Eye Contact

The eyes are the windows to the soul. They are one of the most expressive features of the face.

Humans are not the only animal that finds eye contact important.  Staring at a cat conveys aggression. A slow blink conveys love. All the posturing male animals perform is a waste of time unless they have an audience watching their moves.

Especially on first meeting, good eye contact conveys that you are confident, trustworthy, and in control. It can express admiration if accompanied with a smile. Good eye contact is a general indicator of self-esteem. Though, lowering one's eyes can be a sign of respect in some parts of the world.

Eye contact during conversation conveys interest and connection. Engaging in eye contact shows that you are truly interested. Breaking eye contact can signal it is someone else's turn to talk.

A gaze can tantalize, mesmerize, and hypnotize.

Refusing eye contact can mean yourr character is angry, sad, guilty, or embarrassed. Keeping one's head down or averting a gaze can be a signal of insecurity, deceit, or low self-esteem. Widened eyes or narrowed eys convey shock, disbelief, and anger. People blink more when they are uncomfortable.

A person covers his eyes when he does not want to see something or is afraid that someone will see an emotion he does not want to reveal.

Eye blinks, winks, fluttered lashes, etc.can be a flirting game. He looks at her. She looks at him. They both look away. He chances a longer look. Does she look back and hold contact? Should he approach? The answer often lies in this exchange of glances.

Fast blinking can indicate agitation. Slow blinks can indicate shock or exhaustion.

The first part of the body a character looks at can reveal a lot about them. Do a male character's eyes always focus on a woman's chest? Does a female character always look at a man's ring finger?

Staring is generally considered rude or stalker creepy, but could signal surprise, startle,  disbelief, trying to remember where you saw someone, or noting something out of place.

If someone's gaze flits around the room, they are either looking for someone specific, or could be a spy, or cop on the job. Sherlock Holmes is the master of noticing small details others miss. A trained observer can tell a lot about another person with a single glance.

Gazes can convey entire conversations and serve as signals.

Public speakers and performers are taught to look out into the audience, picking specific people or cues, moving from one side of the room to another to make everyone feel included.

Eye contact can become a battle of aggression. He who looks away first, loses.

Normal eye contact for one culture could be considered rude to another. In Muslim countries, eye contact with women is discouraged. Intense eye contact between people of the same sex can mean the person is sincere and telling the truth.

In the hierarchy of Asian cultures, subordinates should not make eye contact with superiors. Lowered eyes can be a sign of respect.

In some African cultures, prolonged eye contact is considered aggressive.

Utilize gestures appropriately, particularly when writing about specific geographic locations. Do your research. If you are making up a completely new word, decide what the normal parameters are and keep it consistent.

The eye roll, while it is physically impossible, is a term that is generally accepted in American culture. Technically the orbit rotates within the eye socket. However, that is akward. Most people don't care if it is technically correct. They know what it means. Just don't use eye rolls in every chapter.

Eyes close, fill with tears, open wide, blink, wink, and scrunch. Eyes cannot travel, roll, graze, skewer, etc. It is one's gaze that moves. Make sure you do a search and kill for the word eye and replace it with gaze when appropriate. Make sure the eye movement is essential to the scene and is not overused.

Next time, we discuss lying.

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27. Wanderville: Review Haiku

Sweetly old-fashioned,
like a Mickey Rooney/
Judy Garland movie.

Wanderville by Wendy McClure. Razorbill, 2014, 211 pages.

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28. Operation Bunny: Review Haiku

It doesn't always
make sense, but you'll still enjoy
the ride. (Love Fidget!)

Operation Bunny (Wings & Co. Book #1) by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts. Square Fish, 2014, 192 pages.

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29. Review – The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

9780356502564This book draws immediate comparisons to Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. But where Life After Life was about a character who kept reliving their life over and over without knowing they were doing so, this is about a character who keeps reliving their life over and over and remembers everything. And this difference changes everything.

I loved Life After Life and this feels in no way treading over familiar territory. In fact I would compare it more to Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls (minus the serial killer part) as there is a large mystery to solve that spans multiple times, places and of course lives.

Through Harry August we are introduced to people who live multiple lives. We meet Harry on the deathbed of his eleventh life where he has just been informed (by a seven year-old girl) that the world is ending. All the worlds; past, future and present. Time is literally running out.

9780316399616The story jumps back and forth between Harry’s past and future lives as he tries to slowly piece together what is bringing about the end of everything. Harry must race against the length of each of his lives to find out who is responsible and if they can be stopped. And the closer he gets the more high stakes the game of cat and mouse becomes.

Part unique and intriguing mystery, part philosophical look at life, memory and time travel this story kept me totally gripped from the opening words to the mind blowing finale. Now all I want to know is who is the pseudonymous Claire North?

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30. Review of More of Monkey & Robot

catalanotto more of monkey robot Review of More of Monkey & RobotMore of Monkey & Robot
by Peter Catalanotto; illus. by the author
Primary    Jackson/Atheneum    58 pp.
3/14    978-1-4424-5251-0    $14.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5253-4    $9.99

Monkey and Robot are back (Monkey & Robot, rev. 1/13) in four stories for new readers. Monkey continues to make a mess, and Robot patiently helps him fix things. First Monkey worries about what to be for Halloween. No one wants a repeat of last year when he went as a dentist and stuck his fingers into people’s mouths. He ends up putting a pot on his head, pretending to be Robot (he wants to dress up as “something that everybody likes”). In the second chapter, Monkey and Robot are at the beach, but Robot can’t go into the water, and Monkey won’t go swimming without his friend. In the third, the two figure out the best use for a tire Monkey finds in the front yard. In the final story, Monkey is confused by the clock and unsure whether it is morning or nighttime. Catalanotto weaves humor into each easy-to-read story, inviting the reader to help Monkey with his confusion…and to feel a little superior at the same time. It’s unusual to see such clear personalities in a book for the very young, but Catalanotto has created two distinct and likable characters — unlikely pals who understand each other. Black-and-white pencil illustrations that provide helpful visual cues and lots of easy-to-decode text fill each page, making this the perfect bridge to chapter books for new readers looking for the next book.

share save 171 16 Review of More of Monkey & Robot

The post Review of More of Monkey & Robot appeared first on The Horn Book.

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31. Review – Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto

GalvestonI have been completely and utterly addicted to (and obsessed by) True Detective so when I found out the show’s creator and writer had written a crime novel I had to read it. And what a cracking book it is. Using some of the same elements as his television show Pizzolatto has constructed a highly atmospheric, slow burning thriller.

Roy Cady is a bagman who has just been diagnosed with cancer and sent on a job where he thinks his boss has tried to have him whacked. Now on the run he must navigate his way from New Orleans to East Texas with a young woman and her sister in tow. Roy is conflicted between his own short-term survival and that of the two girls now under his protection.

Just like True Detective Pizzolatto shifts time perception to perfection, drip feeding you bits of information, past and future, that leave you craving to know more.The raw emotion of Roy Cady is brutally and poignantly displayed and the way Pizzolatto describes the gulf coast landscape is an amazing blend of desolation and beauty.

We already know from True Detective that Nic Pizzolatto knows how to tell a story. Galveston proves that this talent was evident well before his HBO series.

Via Buzz Feed A list of dark, weird, and southern gothic books that every fan of HBO’s True Detective should read.

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32. Five, Six, Seven, Nate!: Review Haiku

Dammit, I should LOVE
these books, but I just . . . well . . .
kinda . . . don't. Merrily!

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. S&S, 2014, 304 pages.

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33. Call for Submissions: Portuguese-American Review


OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS APRIL 1st – SEPTEMBER 1st 2014.

The Portuguese-American Review is now accepting submissions in Portuguese and English for its first in-print volume that will appear in early December of 2014. We are looking for poems, short stories, and essays.
--Your submission must include the author’s name, address, phone number, email, and a brief bio.
--Please do not submit more than three poems (single spaced), two fiction (up to 5,000 words), and two nonfiction (up to 5,000 words) or previously published work. 
--Please tell us if your submission is being considered elsewhere, and tell us immediately if it is accepted by another publication.
--Submit via email to:
 BoavistapressDOTorgATgmailDOTcom (Change DOT to . and AT to @) 

Each author will also receive one complimentary copy, and may purchase more copies at a reduced rate.

2014 Guest Editors
Ana Catarina Teixeira (University of Georgia)
Loida Pereira Peterson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The Portuguese-American Review is an annual literary journal that provides a space for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by Portuguese-Americans and other Portuguese-speaking communities in the United States.

We are committed to publishing literature by promising writers. The Portuguese-American Review accepts work in Portuguese and English that represent a wide range of form, language and meaning. In other words, do not worry if your work is not specific to Portuguese-American issues, we just want your point of view.

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34. Call for Prose Submissions to Anthology: Out of Many: Multiplicity and Divisions in America Today

We are seeking outstanding prose for the anthology Out of Many: Multiplicity and Divisions in America Today. Out of Many, which will showcase emerging writers for an emerging generation, is already under contract with an academic publisher and will feature a broader spectrum of voices than those typically found in prose readers for college undergraduates. 5000 words maximum; shorter is better. Minorities of all stripes are encouraged to submit. Experimentation welcomed. Humor appreciated. Writers will keep their copyright.

Send us your best, your most delightful, your most insightful, your most alive, your most beautiful…. Submit your creative non-fiction or fiction to:


OutOfMany2015ATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

as an attachment and include a brief biography. Manuscripts should be double-spaced, paginated, with the author’s name and submission title on each page. Deadline for submissions is Friday July 23, 2014.

Possible multipliers or dividers may include ideology, religion, class, race, gender, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, language, generation, color, nationality, aesthetics. This is far from an exhaustive list.
Possible subjects for Out of Many: Multiplicity and Divisions in America Today should be seen as a suggestion, and are of course open to interpretation. What matters most is the quality of your story: the bigness of its heart, the freedom of its language, the power of its words, and the beauty of its vision.

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35. Call for Submissions: Marathon Literary Review

Marathon Literary Review, an online journal based out of Arcadia University's MFA program, is open for submissions until April 30. Authors and artists are invited to submit in one of the following categories:

Fiction/Flash Fiction
Multimedia/Photography/Art
Nonfiction
Poetry
 

Details and guidelines can be found here.

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36. Call for Submissions: Rose Red Review

Rose Red Review is now accepting submissions for its Summer 2014 issue!

Rose Red Review is published four times a year, in homage to the passing season. In fairy tales, the future is unknown, often summarized by the vague phrase “happily ever after,” but each character is influenced by his or her past, and we, like the characters, live in the moment as we read their story. Rose Red Review seeks to publish art, fiction, photography, and poetry that best reflects the magic in the every day–work that honors the past, the moment, and the uncertain future.

Read more about the publication here.


Please send your submissions here.


Please visit Rose Red Review on Facebook. On Twitter.

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37. Call for Submissions: Segue

Segue, the online literary journal of Miami University Middletown, is accepting submissions of high quality fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and cover art for its 2014 issue, to be published in August 2014.Submission deadline is April 30, 2014.

First published in 2002, Segue's dual mission is to serve as both a high quality online literary and as an educational tool for faculty, students, and writers everywhere. To that end, Segue publishes multimedia of its authors performing their work, authors’ essays about the writing process behind their work, and more. Past authors include Terese Svoboda, Denise Duhamel, Diane Glancy, Brian Kiteley, Katherine Haake, Rich Murphy, Edward Byrne, Lafayette Wattles, Ren Powell, and many more.

Visit Segue for full submission guidelines, free past issues, and other intrigues.

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38. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e April 4th, 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Make Submitting Work Your Superpower (Jane Friedman)
http://janefriedman.com/2014/04/04/submitting-superpower/

Women’s Fiction, Book Club Fiction, Literary Fiction: Interchangeable Terms? (Kathryn Craft)
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2014/04/womens-fiction-book-club-fiction-literary-fiction.html

My Too-Practical Maybe-Blunt Advice To Writers (Natalie Whipple) Jon’s Pick of the week
http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-too-pratical-maybe-blunt-advice-to.html

Presenting to School Students: top tips (Juliet Marillier)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/04/03/presenting-to-school-students-top-tips/

The Author-Agent Partnership: Finding the Right Fit (Mary Keeley)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/author-agent-partnership-finding-right-fit/

10 Tips about Process (Brunonia Barry)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/03/31/10-tips-about-process/

Is your project ready to submit? (Janet Kobobel Grant)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/project-ready-submit/

Think Like an Editor, Sell Like a Pro (Jennifer Brown Banks)
http://elizabethspanncraig.com/1950/freelance-writing-think-like-editor-sell-like-pro/

Is Writing Success Like a Lottery System? (James Scott Bell)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/03/is-writing-success-like-lottery-system.html

The Short Life and Strange Death of Entranced Publishing (Victoria Strauss)
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-short-life-and-strange-death-of.html


If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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39. Call for Submissions: Hyphen Magazine

Hyphen magazine, an Asian American magazine based out of San Francisco, is looking for submissions by APIA fiction writers and poets for Issue 29: Health. Deadline is May 15.
Full guidelines on our website.

"Health" can be interpreted however you like (physical, medical, spiritual, mental, emotional). While adhering to the theme is strongly preferred, it is not necessary.

One-two poems (from the same writer) and one story will be selected for publication. The issue will be published in December.

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40. Body Language: Gestures

Gestures are not random. They have purpose. They illustrate. They convey the words we do not speak. They confirm, deny, or emphasize what we say. People "talk with their hands."


Gestures vary from person to person and culture to culture. People can have nervous ticks. They can have "tells" that indicate they are lying, anxious, or unhappy. Use gestures wisely.

If a gesture begins before the words, it is a sign of honesty.

If a gesture lags after the words, it's considered a sign of dishonesty.

A gesture can be involuntary but squelched by the character. This is especially true if he is angry with someone he cares about or fears.

Gestures include: 

air kisses 

averted gaze 

bared teeth 

biting cuticles, hair, lips, or nails 

blowing raspberries 

bowing 

chewing inside of lips or cheek 

crossing ankles 

crossing/uncrossing arms 

crossing/uncrossing legs 

curtsey 

cuticle picking 

elbow bump 

eye rolling (or eye-ball rotating) 

eyebrows lift 

eyebrows wrinkle 

finger curling 

finger pointing 

fist shaking 

fist swinging 

flapping hands 

flicking fingernails 

fingernail tapping 

genuflecting 

grasping elbows 

gripping hands 

hands behind back 

hands over face 

hands over heart 

hands together 

hands wide 

hat tip 

index finger raised 

kowtow 

lip curls or purses 

looking down 

looking up 

looking to the side 

lowering arms 

lowering hands 

middle finger raised 

mooning 

mouth purses 

mouth tightens 

nodding 

nose thumbing 

nose wrinkles 

pointing 

pouting 

raising arms in the air 

rubbing earlobe 

rubbing fingers 

rubbing hands 

scratching 

scratching chin, ear, nose, or throat 

shaking head 

shrugging 

sneering 

sticking out tongue 

swinging legs 

slash throat with hand 

smoothing hair 

tapping fingers or toes 

tucking legs under 

thumbs up 

thumbs down 

thumb to the side 

tightening fist 

tugging clothes 

tugging an ear 

tugging hair 

saluting 

sweeping hands 

waving 

Keep this list handy and add to it. 

When revising, cut repetition and make sure the gesture is used for a good reason at the right time.

Next week, we'll discuss eye contact.

All of the information on body language can be found in Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers.

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Building-Blocks-III-Revision/dp/1475011369

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Building-Blocks-III-Revision-ebook/dp/B007SPPL68

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41. Gone Girl

Gone GirlI’m probably the last person in the universe to getting around to reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, so let me preface this blog with: I finally got round to reading it after (and despite) being subjected to its enormous hype.

I’m also an aspiring book writer, so commercially and critically successful books invoke in me a complicated mix of envy and awe. Suffice to say, I wasn’t an entirely objective Gone Girl readerer.

The Cliff Notes version of this blog is I will concede Flynn is eminently talented and Gone Girl is fantastically wrought. It’s definitely worth a read. But does it warrant such breathy discussion as it’s inspired? My jury’s still out.

That annoying twist that everyone eludes to before saying, ‘But I can’t say any more without spoiling it’? I spent at least half the book going: Is that the twist? Because if it is, it’s not that great. Is that the twist? Because if it is, that’s not that great either. When it came about, I have to admit I thought not about how clever it was, but: Finally. Then: It’s not that ground-breakingly spectacular.

Had I not had so much forewarning there was a GIANT TWIST coming, I might have been gushing like everyone else did. Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not. I wouldn’t put this book quite in the hype-worthy, game-changing realm of something like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. But it was solid in the way that solid is a compliment.

Love is the world’s infinite mutability; lies, hatred, murder even, are all knit up in it; it is the inevitable blossoming of its opposites, a magnificent rose smelling faintly of blood (Tony Kushner, The Illusion) is the epigraph setting the book’s theme. I rarely go back and re-read epigraphs, but Gone Girl’s was apt and striking, especially by the time I reached the book’s final page.

Flynn has an undeniably excellent way with words:

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily. I’d know her head anywhere.

It’s an ominous opening in a book that we know involves a woman going missing and her husband, the narrator, being suspected of having something to do with that disappearance.

My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian fluttering of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist-dummy click of the lids: The world is black and then, showtime!

It’s a recognisable and yet fresh way of describing a way of waking up. So is: ‘Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.’

But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you are, like me, coming late to the book, here’s what you need to know: Man (Nick) and woman (Amy) are married. They’ve relocated from New York to small-town Missouri, his childhood home, because his mother is terminally ill.

Native New Yorker Amy isn’t enjoying the move, and their relationship begins to fracture. Then she disappears the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. All clues point to Nick as the guilty husband. Except he’s not guilty (at least, that’s what he’s telling us).

Flynn uses the old unreliable narrator technique, which is one I’ve long found a little annoying. So I’ll not deny I wasn’t entirely involved in the plot—more aware of the practices she was using to red herring us readers and keep us tenterhooked. Likewise, the Amy-as-muse-for-books and warped effect that infused her relationship with her parents seemed a little contrived.

But I sound like a positive grump. I will say Gone Girl is smart. The cover art is minimal and great. The title is memorable and intriguing. Flynn’s writing is exquisite. The kind of cut-above that makes any and every other writer feel more utterly inadequate than usual.

She uses such words as ‘uxorious’ and, not packing it in my everyday vocabulary repertoire, I had to via a dictionary remind myself it stands for having, or demonstrating, a great or excessive fondness for one’s wife. I mean, with that definition, it is the most impossibly perfect word for this book. Which is why Flynn’s book is attracting the attention it is.

The Secret HistoryGone Girl isn’t the first time Flynn’s writing has been lauded. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, won two CWA Dagger Awards and was shortlisted for both the CWA Gold Dagger Award and for an Edgar.

Her second, Dark Places, was a bestseller. So she released Gone Girl to a relatively established and rather rapturous audience. Not having read her previous two books, but basing it on the hype I’ve witnessed, I’m guessing this is her best work yet (feel free to correct me if this isn’t the case).

With passages like the below, I’m inclined to admit I’m impressed with Flynn’s writing (and impressed enough to want to check out her previous two books):

The camera crews parked themselves on my lawn most mornings. We were like rival soldiers, rooted in shooting distance for months, eyeing each other across no-man’s-land, achieving some sort of perverted fraternity. There was one guy with a voice like a cartoon strongman whom I’d become attached to, sight unseen. He was dating a girl he really, really liked. Every morning his voice boomed in through my windows as he analysed their dates; things seemed to be going very well. I wanted to hear how the story ended.

Flynn exquisitely captures the in-fighting and the gradual wearing away of each other that occurs in marriages. She blends that with the in-jokes and resentments and us-against-the-world-ness married life brings. ‘Who are you?’ the book asks. ‘What have we done to each other?’ They’re invaluable questions as the book reveals it’s possible to both know and not know the person you’re supposed to know better than anyone else.

I felt the backstory build-up to the big twist was too great, although my are-we-there-yet knowledge that the twist was coming up probably contributed to that. For others, it may have offered an enthrallingly detailed examination of a complex marriage between complex people.
Either way, Gone Girl inspires discussion beyond the page, which Flynn and her publisher oblige, offering bookclub questions at the back of the book—and solid, thought-provoking ones too. It also provides a Q&A with Flynn on her insights into the characters and tale and why she wrought them as she did.

Hindsight makes you a smart ass, but I have to say I’d probably have picked the twist even had I not been forewarned there would be one. Still, it’s not enough to temper my agreement that Flynn is a talented writer and Gone Girl—if you are, like me, in the not-yet-read-it minority—is one you should brave the hype and attempt to lower your expectations for, as you’ll likely find you really quite like it.

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42. Bad Houses: Review Haiku

Love among the ruins:
estate sales and hoarding,
graphically told.

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan, illustrated by Carla Speed McNeill. Dark Horse Comics, 2013, 160 pages.

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43. I Started a Small Press (and Then Things Got Weird)

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The author in repose.

BY J DAVID OSBORNE

I tried retail for a while, and that was fun, in the way that puking on yourself at a family gathering is fun: you have a story. After a time, though, it stops being a story you laugh at and starts being one that you cry over. Usually into a beer. Next came moving furniture. For a time, that was good, physical work. I genuinely enjoyed it. And the stories I heard there, man, the meat of my second novel is mostly that. My imagination’s not that good. But then here comes nature and that heavy time and all of a sudden my back is in ruins and I got sick of carrying marble armoires up three flights of stairs. Then came restaurant work. That was fun.

Through all of this, I wrote. My first novel dropped in that weird interim before I started the moving job, when I was living in my car. The second hit and I was getting these royalty checks, but aside from the first one (which paid my rent), it wasn’t paying my rent. It hit me: “I’ve gotta find a way to make a living off of words or I’m going to die.”

I’ve been a fan of crime fiction since before I can remember. It started with Ellroy. I read White Jazz and threw my hands up and hollered. You can say this much with so little? I was hooked. I got the classics in, then I got voracious with it: Mosely, Sallis, Willeford, Pelecanos, Westlake, Parker, on and on.

I loved the opportunity crime fiction presented to peer into the human condition, and the (usually) clipped, no-bullshit delivery. What I didn’t like were the formulas, the staunch sexism, the rampant racism. I really wanted to carve something out that could represent everything that makes crime fiction beautiful, minus the stuff that made me cringe. That, and I didn’t want to sell hot dogs anymore.

I gathered a nice group of brilliant writers, who for whatever reason decided to hook me up with some manuscripts. I started a Kickstarter (pause for groans) in which I detailed five books my new indie press would put out, and—wonder of wonders—people thought it looked cool. I got the money and I was off to the races.

Sort of.

The books were edited and designed and off to the printers. They dropped, and then there I was. Floating.

There were many times I’d go out to my porch and smoke a cigarette and my house would shake as the trains rolled by out across the road, and I’d wonder what I could do to actually get people to look at these titles, to pick them up. I’d gotten a massively talented artist (Matthew Revert

) to do all of the covers for them, and they really popped. I’d sent out some review copies to places I thought would dig them.

Still waiting to hear back from most of those places.

I got tired of sitting on my hands. I took the books and grabbed a friend and hit the road. We went from Oklahoma to Wichita to Denver to Salt Lake City to Boise to Seattle to Portland to Sacramento out to the Bay to Los Angeles to El Paso. We performed in punk squats and abandoned warehouses and bookstores and back alleys. At one performance we lit a mannequin head on fire while I paced the floor with paint on my feet, tracing a chalk outline of an eye, rambling about a cyclops. At another I read the audience the end of my first novel and ripped out each page and burned it as I went. Though I didn’t sell copies at every stop, I talked to as many people as I could about the books. And I noticed an uptick. We live in an age of social media noise and rampant void screaming. There’s only one way to get things going, especially if you live in Oklahoma: you have to get out there and talk to people.

You have to ask them to dance.

There are other things you have to remember, too. Running a small press, it’s important to utilize social media, despite my prior assertion that it’s a dying medium. You have to be a person online, first. I see folks every day, inviting me to their “book releases,” which are really just Amazon launches of e-books. That’s annoying. You’re more likely to see me posting pictures of my dog, or complaining about how I could really go for a cigarette (quitting is tough, but, hey! nine days) than you are to see me talking about the books or writing or editing. The first reason is that places like Facebook and my blog are my escapes. The second is that you just turn into a spambot and fade into the background, and good luck swimming out of that lagoon.

Another thing: finances. Be careful. Keep your receipts. Where I live, there are crazy tax breaks for small businesses. Make sure you know exactly what you owe your authors. If you don’t pay them right, everyone will know, and you will be ostracized. And rightly so.

On the topic of writers: they are, for the most part, a funny bunch. They care about this stuff. So they’ll have things to fix, last-minute requests, bizarre neuroses. You have to learn to bend, to understand that your voice is not the voice. And if they want changes, you make them. Mark Twain once said that a novel is never finished, only abandoned, and I think that’s true, but Broken River authors abandon their children with a packed lunch (complete with smiley face note written on napkin), surplus army jacket, mace, a Swiss Army knife, and one of those flashlights you put on your head. And a ‘mommy loves you’ and a peck on the cheek. God love them for that. They care. And you have to, as well. If you don’t, well … you know.

I’m not a father so I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but I’m assuming there’s a feeling you get when you hold a baby for the first time. Does it get real? I figure it gets real, then. When you spend months and months eating tuna from a can and pecking at a keyboard and making sure the kerning and keeping and hyphens and headers look right in InDesign, and then you send it to a printer and they send you copies and they are physical, real objects, resting there, looking up at you, you can almost see these big blue cartoon eyes, these helpless things that need you. So, you start to feel an obligation.

When you start a small press, you lack resources, usually. And that should make you hungry. You need to provide for these babies. Your authors, they spent years writing these things, invested their lives into them. Now here they are. Your responsibility. You’ll want to quit, lord I know you will, because the whole thing is so big, like pressing your body up against the edge of everything. But you have to get out there, you have to keep your mind right, and you have to make people sit up and take notice. You didn’t pull a sword out of a stone; no one ordained you the Chosen One. You chose you. It’s your responsibility. So go do it. If you love something, take that big Christmas dinner in your heart and break it down into MREs and dish it out to every person you meet, in small, manageable doses. They’ll feel it. They’ll know you’re down.

And then, you ask them to dance.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

brb

J David Osborne lives in Oklahoma with his wife and dog. He’s the author of two novels, a freelance editor and the editor-in-chief of Broken River Books. Please query at jdavidosborne@gmail.com.

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44. Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys Kissing David Levithan

After Tariq is beaten for being gay, Craig comes up with an idea, and his ex-boyfriend Harry is the only one who can help. Craig wants them to break the world record for kissing.

Tariq is filming and live-streaming it from multiple angles, so no one can question it. They’re doing it in public-- on the lawn of the high school.

We also have other stories woven through-- Peter and Neil, who live a few towns over and have been dating for over a year, Avery and Ryan, who meet at a gay prom the night before the kiss begins, and Cooper, who is closeted and struggling when his parents find out.

The kiss itself is the central plot-point, but what I found most powerful about the book is the narrator-- a generalized “we” of the gay men who died of AIDS in the 70s/80s. It was devastating and made me unexpectedly sob. I wonder if teens will find it as moving as I did, as they leave a lot unexplained. They mention how no one cared until a movie star and teenage hemophiliac died. When talking about the hate and violence, they mention the 19-year-old strung up along the highway. These are small, passing references to things I know and remember. Ok, I don’t remember Rock Hudson dying and he never meant much to me, but I do remember Ryan White. I remember his advocacy and his death. I most definitely remember Matthew Shepard's murder. I know what a huge effing dealPhiladelphia was when it came out. Do teens? And this isn’t to say they won’t “get” the book, or enjoy it, but just that the emotional impact readers of a certain age are getting won’t transfer over.

I love love love love that there’s a trans character. I love that while it creates fear and uncertainty in his life (well, I don’t love that bit, but it’s realistic) it’s not a big deal for the narrators. They never question that Avery is a boy, that he’s a gay boy. They just feel for him that much more because he’s carrying around that much more. Handled so well.

And, let’s just talk about the cover, shall we?

Two boys kissing. You know what this means.

For us, it was a secret gesture. Secret because we were afraid. Secret because we were ashamed. Secret because it was story that nobody was telling.

But what power it had. Whether we cloaked it in the guise of You be the boy and I’ll be the girl, or whether we defiantly called it by its name, when we kissed, we know how powerful it was. Our kisses were seismic. When seen by the wrong person, they could destroy us. When shared with the right person, they had the power of confirmation, the force of destiny.

If you put enough closets together, you have enough space for a room. If you put enough rooms together, you have space for a house. If you put enough houses together, you have space for a town, then a city, then a nation, then a world.

We knew the private power of our kisses. Then came the first time we were witnesses, the first time we saw it happen out in the open. For some of us, it was before we ourselves had ever been kissed. We fled our towns, came to the city, and there on the streets we saw two boys kissing for the first time. And the power now what the power of possibility. Over time, it wasn’t just on the street or in the clubs or at the parties we threw. It was in the newspaper. On television. In movies. Every time we saw two boys kissing like that, the power grew…

Every time two boys kiss, it opens up the world a little more. Your world. The world we left. The world we left you.

And now there are two boys kissing on the cover of a major release book aimed at teens.


Book Provided by... my local library

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45. Writing Competitions: The New Guard

MACHIGONNE FICTION CONTEST: $1,000 for an exceptional fiction in any genre. Submit up to 5,000 words: anything from flash to the long story. Novel excerpts are welcome if the excerpt functions as a stand-alone story. We do not publish illustrations.
 

Submit to both contests online.

Judged by "Letters to Wendy's" author JOE WENDEROTH.

KNIGHTVILLE POETRY CONTEST: $1,000 for an exceptional poem in any form. Three poems per entry. Up to 150 lines per poem.

Judged by National Book Award Finalist and author of "Fast Animal" TIM SEIBLES.

THE NEW GUARD VOLUME IV contest readers are looking forward to reading your work! You can submit online via this submissions manager. The entry fee is $15. We no longer accept submissions by postal mail.

We accept .doc or similar files–no PDFs, please. We do pay strict attention to word and line count. We accept previously unpublished work only. Any size print run or online publication (including blogs and/or social networking) disqualify an entry. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, provided we're notified upon publication elsewhere. If we accept your story or poem for publication, we trust you will remove that story or poem from all other contests upon our acceptance of your work.

Contest winners and all finalists get one free copy of The New Guard, and each submission will be carefully considered for publication. Final judging is blind.

TNG retains standard first publication rights; all rights immediately revert to the writer upon publication. We are presently accepting contest submissions only.

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46. Call for Interactive Fiction: Inky Path Literary Magazine

Inky Path Literary Magazine is now accepting interactive fiction pieces for its second volume.

Inky Path is seeking new and previously published works of interactive fiction, stories where readers make choices. These are traditionally choose-your-own-adventure pieces and parser-based fiction, but since it is such a new genre we're open to other experimental pieces that fall under the category.

We're seeking everything from choice-based poetry to gamebook epics, so we look forward to seeing what you have!

Inky Path's website.

Inky's Submission Guidelines.

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47. Call for Submissions: Sliver of Stone

Call for Submissions: Sliver of Stone

Submit online.

Sliver of Stone's 8th issue is now available online.

We are a bi-annual, online literary magazine dedicated to the publication of work from both emerging and established poets, writers, and visual artists from all parts of the globe.

Authors featured in this issue include J. Michael Lennon, Yaddyra Peralta, and Dave Landsberger.

Check out our past contributors, such as Lynne Barrett, Kim Barnes, Joe Clifford, John Dufresne, Denise Duhamel, Allison Joseph, Winty W. Moore, Matthew Sharpe, and many talented others. Past interviews with Edwidge Danticat, Dean Koontz, Susan Orlean, Les Standiford, and Mark Vonnegut.

We're now looking for submissions for our 9th issue!

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48. Call for Submissions: Lake Region Review No. 4

We Seek
Quality fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by writers in Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas, especially from those with a personal connection to this region. Your submission does not need to be grounded in this region, though we admit a fondness for seeing it represented in creative and engaging work.

New Work
Your submission must not have been previously published.
Your submission must not be simultaneously submitted elsewhere.
Deadline: June 1, 2014


Limitations
You may submit in more than one category.
Poems – Up to three poems, submit each poem separately.
Fiction – One story up to 3,000 words.
Nonfiction – Memoir, essay, travel – one entry up to 2,000 words.


Format
Be sure your name is entered as you want it published.
Use 12 point font size.
Times New Roman font is preferred. No script or exotic fonts, please.
Double-space and paginate all prose manuscripts.
State word count in upper left-hand corner of the title page.
Submit each piece separately in .doc or .docx files.

Submissions
Submit here.

Review
The editorial team includes experienced writers/educators from the Board of Directors of the Lake Region Writers Network who recruit writing teachers and accomplished authors to assist in the review process.

Notification
Contributors will be notified about the final status of their submission by August 1, 2014.
For additional information, go to our website.

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49. Writing Competition: The Bellevue Literary Review


Bellevue Literary Review Prizes in Fiction, Nonfiction, & Poetry
The Bellevue Literary Review Prizes recognize exceptional writing about health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body. First prize is $1,000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of the Bellevue Literary Review.

$1,000 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction (Judged by Chang-rae Lee)
$1,000 Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction (Judged by Anne Fadiman)
$1,000 Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry (Judged by Major Jackson)

Deadline: July 1, 2014

Prose should be limited to 5,000 words. Poetry submissions should have no more than three poems (max five pages). Work previously published (including on the internet) cannot be considered. Entry fee is $20 per submission. For an additional $10, you will receive a one-year subscription to the BLR.

For complete guidelines, visit our website.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions: 
 
infoATBLReviewDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

The judges:

Chang-rae Lee is the author of the novels Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, Aloft, and The Surrendered. His newest book, On Such a Full Sea, is was published in January 2014 by Riverhead Books. Native Speaker was awarded the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and an ALA Notable Book of the Year Award. A Gesture Life won the Anisfield-Wolf Literary Award, the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, and the NAIBA Book Award for Fiction, and was cited as a Notable Book of Year by the New York Times, Esquire, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times. Aloft was a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book. The Surrendered won the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a nominated finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has also written stories and articles for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Granta, and many other publications.


Anne Fadiman is an author, essayist, editor, and teacher. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, her account of the crosscultural conflicts between a Hmong family and the American medical system, won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her best-selling essay collection Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is a book entirely about books — from purchasing them, to reading them, to handling them. Fadiman’s most recent collection is At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays, in which she discloses her passions for (among other things) staying up late, reading Coleridge, drinking coffee, and ingesting large quantities of ice cream. Her essays and articles have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among many other publications, and she has won National Magazine Awards for both reporting and essays. Fadiman has also edited a literary quarterly, The American Scholar, and two essay anthologies. She is currently working on a book titled The Oenophile's Daughter due in Spring 2015.


Major Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company, Hoops, and Leaving Saturn, which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He is the editor of Library of America's Countee Cullen: Collected Poems and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, and many other periodicals. Major Jackson has received awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and an honors from Witter Bynner. He was an arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Jackson is a core faculty member at the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the Richard A. Dennis Professor at University of Vermont. He serves as the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.

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50. You

You Charles Benoit

You're a largely misunderstood kid that everyone thinks is a troublemaker. You know better but they don't, so sometimes you just go with it. It's what they expect of you anyway. It starts with the blood, something gone horribly wrong. It ends there, too. The in-between is the girl you like. The in-between is the new kid who likes you for some reason. You like him too, until it's all gone wrong. So very wrong.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read. The quick pace of the plot and the second-person narration help drive the reader to turn the pages quickly and draw you in. I liked it but didn't think it was anything special. And then someone pointed out that's a retelling of Othello and my mind exploded. Because it totally is. It's a Shakespeare retelling that will appeal to struggling and reluctant readers-- a fun read with some source material that's really subtly woven in (and then once it's pointed out to you, all you can do is shout OMG DUH and feel stupid for missing it.)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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