Archive for July, 2011

by Jim Harrington

Addition

  • Atticus Review (1,000, weekly) publishes literary fiction

Update

If you’ve tried subbing to Night Train, you’ve noticed the site isn’t working. According to editor Rusty Barnes, this is a temporary setback. The host computer crashed while the owner was overseas. Rusty says the site should be back online soon. In addition, the crash effected Rusty’s other publication, Fried Chicken and Coffee.

I don’t know if it’s related, but the GUD: Greatest Uncommon Denominator site also is not working. Duotrope lists the journal as temporarily closed.

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Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His Six Questions For. . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” He’s also the Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles’ Flash Markets Page. He can be contacted at jpharrin [at] gmail [dot] com.

by Rumjhum Biswas

My passion in life is to celebrate and inspire women with my writing. My passion is also to help create peace on earth. I believe that women are, at this phase in our development, the more likely and the more willing segment of our species to make peace a reality. Still, we need all the help we can get from all the men who share our dream of peace, of reverence and love for all that is sacred, who, in the words of my friend, husband, and fellow-adventurer Michael Schulte, want to make this “planet a littler saner and safer for children, pets, poets and anyone more interested in caring than in killing.”  –Beate Sigriddaughter

In its tenth edition now, The Glass Woman Prize, renowned throughout the writing world, is an important international prize for woman writers . In this interview I am taking you, my readers, up close with the founder, and indeed the force behind The Glass Woman prize: Beate Sigriddaughter. A woman of many parts, Beate is a graduate of Georgetown University and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as an accomplished ballroom dancer and teacher. She has won awards and accolades, including Pushcart nominations for her stories and is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild. There is much to write about Beate and about the Glass Woman Prize  , but it is all there in her website .  This interview is a window into the passionate and energetic world of Beate Sigriddaughter.

Rumjhum Biswas: We know why you created the Glass Woman Prize; can you tell us what was the exact event that directly led to the creation of the Glass Woman Prize? A kind of immediate catalyst?

 Beate Sigriddaughter: There was no immediate catalyst. I’d been thinking about the Glass Woman concept since spring 2004—I still have a box full of notes on a possible nonfiction book on writing in a woman’s voice. Three years later it turned into the Glass Woman Prize instead.

 RB: By now you must have read hundreds of stories, and chosen so many. Which stories do you still remember and would go back to?

 BS: It is easiest to remember the stories I actually got to post on the Glass Woman Prize page, whether they are winners or top contenders, and I am partial to all of them. Out of 4614 stories submitted to date, I have posted 66 so far. I’ll tell you the 6 stories that, retrospectively, still have the greatest emotional impact on me: Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz – “The Story of My Life (So Far);” Kristy Logan –”The Man from the Circus;”  Sarah Evans – “How Not to Be Unfaithful;” Julie Innis – “Sanctuary;” Susan Gibb – “Wanderer;” and Marlee Cox – “Collapse.” I also remember two stories that somehow didn’t make it into my winners list—they probably should have, as they still resonate with me: Jan Haniff – “The Seagull” (which I managed to publish in the online magazine Moondance, where I was fiction editor for a while) and your own story “Tall Girl in the Rain.”

RB: Recently, flash fiction has won prizes in The Glass Woman Prize. What is your take on this form of fiction?

BS: I think flash fiction suits our age of impatience and conceptual overload very well. When well done, it is powerful. A few words. A lot of punch.

RB: Do you think flash scores over regular short fiction? What in your opinion are the challenges and opportunities in flash?

 BS: I don’t prefer one over the other. On the opportunity side, flash fiction compels the reader to focus and to dwell on a single or limited scenario, i.e., it almost invites the reader to pay more attention, NOW, rather than being led by the hand in a longer piece where a reader tends to relax more and goes for a more leisurely and passive ride. The challenges? No room for fluff.

 RB:  Who were your earliest influences in your writing, in fiction, poetry, everything?

 BS: This one is easy. Fairytales. Mythology, especially Greek and Germanic mythology. To this day, I often play with rewriting standard tales and myths, especially when it comes to the female characters.

 RB: After the preliminary selections have been made, what pulls you closer to one Glass Woman Prize entry over the next?

 BS: I’ve partly already answered this. I go with my gut feeling and that usually means moving toward a story that has more emotional impact on me than others. It is a very subjective thing, and I feel that the subjectivity simply cannot be avoided. I feel if a story really grabs me, there will be others who will also be grabbed by it and so I want to single it out for attention.

 RB: The Glass Woman Prize is practically of women, for women and by women. However, in a general category, if you were to judge a regular short fiction award, what winning characteristics would you look for?

BS: The short, but vague answer: A story has to grab me. The longer answer: I like passion in a story, an author telling me something she or he thinks must be told. I like an authentic voice, one that doesn’t posture in a certain way, for example because it’s trendy. I also very much like compassion for the human condition in an author’s voice.

 RB: How do you switch from the writing mode to an adjudicator-of-stories mode? Does it involve any conscious mental shifts?

 BS: I’d have to say it’s all the same mind. No shift. It’s sometimes more relaxing to engage with something that’s already done than engaging with new, as yet uncreated stuff, that wants to be written, but both have their exciting moments. I guess it’s the shift from listening to speaking, and I’m at a loss to describe it.

 RB: How do you fit in your own writing in the multiple roles that you play? When is your favourite time to write and where?

 BS: Sometimes I’m petrified that my own writing is getting short shrift. Like most women I’ve been trained into an “others come first” mode, and I definitely want to keep my commitments that I have made to others, such as evaluating Glass Woman Prize entries by a certain date. That said, I try to keep commitments to myself as well. My favourite time to write is morning and early afternoon. Nights too, when the muse whispers especially urgently. My favourite place is my desk in my fourth story condo bedroom, overlooking a balcony, overlooking a piece of forest with tall trees. But in a pinch when home becomes too crowded, I happily write at the library.

RB: Describe a day in your life.

 BS: I start (and later end) with a brief breathing meditation, then journal for a few pages. Next I usually go for a bicycle/jog to a trail by a saltwater inlet. That is my thinking time. Then I work on my current project till lunch time or later. Lunch usually includes playing the flute for half an hour, another kind of meditation/thinking time. Afternoons I usually read Glass Woman Prize submissions and do related administrative work, and when I get around to it, to submitting my own stuff or working on smaller projects (I have a few thousand stories begging to be told). Evenings I spend with my husband and stepson and reading. I read a lot. Once a week I go out dancing, by myself, as neither my husband nor my stepson dance—I count that as research time, incidentally, as my current large project is called “Tango” and deals with the inescapable theme of relationships between women and men.

 RB: Where do you see The Glass Woman Prize after say a decade? Any plans for an anthology of Glass Woman winners and finalists?

 BS: I am not sure at all. I plan to restructure the Glass Woman Prize beginning with the 11th cycle. Currently I have no income and what I have put aside for the Glass Woman Prize from past income is running out with the 11th cycle, despite adding every 10% of every small lottery win and tax return and Christmas gift. More importantly, the Glass Woman Prize is taking more and more of my time, despite many, many generous women helping me out with the reading of entries. Also, I am not 100% enamored of the competitive nature of the prize. I love honoring the winners and top contenders. I do not love the silence toward the other submitting authors (609 silences for the Ninth round which was just recently completed), but I cannot possibly engage with all of them, and yet they have offered me their writing. I know I will find some way of continuing the prize and the concept, but at the moment the future is vague. I definitely do not plan an anthology other than what I have onlined on the Glass Woman Prize page, again chiefly because of time constraints. I am currently spending upward of an hour each day on the Glass Woman Prize (which translates roughly into more than 9 ordinary 8-hour work weeks per year). I know, however, that there will be something in the future, because I want to continue honoring passionate women’s voices. I feel that making women visible and audible is part of my mission in life, and I am grateful for the joy the Glass Woman Prize and the direct and indirect results it has given me to date.

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Rumjhum Biswas is a writer from Chennai. She blogs at Writers & Writerisms

Flash Fiction Chronicles talks with Milo James Fowler about Write1Sub1. You may remember him from his article in December about a website he and two other writers began in order to “follow in Ray Bradbury’s footsteps” in terms of productivity.  You can find the original article here: Goal: Story a Week. The community now has 145 writers participating, so we thought it would be a great idea to find out more about how things are going. Milo lives in Southern California, teaches junior high English, and writes whatever he can, whenever he can. He blogs in medias res.

FFC: What was the genesis of Write1Sub1 exactly?

MJF: Once upon a time, Ray Bradbury was a struggling young writer in love with the craft. He wrote a short story every week, polished it up, and submitted it to a magazine. Rejection letters flooded in, mainly due to his prolific number of submissions: the more you write, the more responses you get. There were also acceptances along the way, and they inspired Bradbury to keep doing what he loved: telling stories as only he could.

Last fall on my blog, one reader commented that I seemed to be announcing a short story publication every month. I responded by saying that compared to Bradbury, I was nowhere near as successful, but that I hoped to be someday. Simon Kewin (a prolific UK writer) and I then started bouncing ideas off each other via my blog and email until we came up with a general idea of the Write1Sub1 challenge. We invited Steve Ramey (a prolific Pennsylvania writer and editor) to join us.

As a result of our combined insanity, we decided to have weekly and monthly participation levels, awarding all participants who meet their goals, and a “Hall of Fame” where we post publication successes by author, title, and market. Simon, Steve, and I rotate our responsibilities every month on the site, posting new content on Sundays and Wednesdays, and we have a strong collaboration going that can’t be beat.

FFC: What’s happened over the last few months?

MJF: 145 writers have decided to follow in Mr. Bradbury’s footsteps by joining Write1Sub1. Some of us write and submit a new story every week, and some do so every month. So far, over fifty of our participants have had their work accepted by over seventy different markets—from Twitter fiction to pro-paying short story venues—and we’ve cheered each other every step of the way. But we’ve also been there to commiserate with the disappointments and rejections, because that’s what Write1Sub1 is all about: community.

FFC: So community plays a big part.  Has anything else contributed to your growth?

MJF: We’re also heavily into “persperistence.” What is persperistence? It’s a word invented by Steve Ramey to embody what it takes to be a successful writer: perspiration + persistence. Give it all you’ve got, and never give up! We’re determined to create high-quality work, and we’re dedicated to submitting them until they find good homes.

When I heard Ray Bradbury speak at a public library in November of 2009, he said, “If you can write one short story a week—doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing—at the end of the year, you’ll have fifty-two short stories, and I defy you to write fifty-two bad ones. Can’t be done.” His words resonated with me; I vowed that someday I would try to follow his advice.

“Someday” turned out to be this year, and we started our quest on January 1st. I can’t believe we’re already past the halfway point. Time sure flies when you’re doing what you love! Speaking for myself, I know this challenge has caused me to improve as a writer; I’m creating some of my best work this year, and some editors seem to agree.

But here’s the cool thing: writers are continuing to join up every week. So can you!

FFC: So what exactly do writers do if they decide to “Take the Bradbury Challenge?”

MJF: Visit Write1Sub1 to participate alongside fellow writers devoted to honing our craft either as a weekly or monthly participant, and you can post the corresponding badge on your blog to tell the world about the adventure you’re embarking on this year. As with any epic quest, all it takes to start is that first, fateful step.

FFC: The participants must be excited about having a place to go, kind of like an office to check into every day.  What are some of the things they say about the site?

MJF: We have gotten quite a bit of positive feedback.  I just happen to have some comments in my pocket.

“I’m writing and submitting and doing it all at a much faster rate than I ever have before. To me, W1S1 is common sense. And that’s the beauty of it. ”
– Brenda Stokes Barron

“For me, W1S1 is about community. It’s about focus. It’s about challenging myself to do better: for me, for the stories, and for the readers.”
– Madeline Mora-Summonte

“Knowing there are other writers persevering towards similar goals on similar schedules, and being able to share encouragement and commiseration with them, is a huge thing.”  — Samuel Mae

“I am not alone. All over the world there are people doing the same things as me: writing, subbing, laughing in the face of rejection, and celebrating the occasional acceptance. It’s good to be part of a community. That’s the best thing about Write1Sub 1 for me.” — Deborah Walker

FFC: Anything else you’d like to say, Milo?

MJF: Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for inspiring us! Oh, and follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook to spread the word.

by Jim Harrington

New Markets

  • 100 Word Stories (100 exactly, monthly) publishes literary fiction
  • Fiction Southeast (1,000, biannual) publishes literary fiction
  • Unshod Quills (1,500, quarterly) publishes literary fiction
  • Spilt Milk (500, quarterly) – publishes stories “with teeth” (deadline for next issue is 8/12)

New Editor Interviews

  • Apocrypha and Abstractions
  • Fix It Broken

The Craft

The Writer’s Knowledge Base

The Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) is a searchable collection of articles that are highly relevant to writers. The articles are diverse and cover such topics as the craft of writing, getting published, promotion, etc.

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Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His Six Questions For. . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” He’s also the Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles’ Flash Markets Page. He can be contacted at jpharrin [at] gmail [dot] com.

by Susan Tepper

For fifteen-some years I had this stinking old refrigerator.  It was a side-by-side that came with the house.  Old when I acquired it.  It hardly held any food.  It was too damned narrow.  The freezer side couldn’t even fit a standard Carvel ice cream cake.  You had to put it on its side and hope it was frozen enough not to squish.

In the refrigerator side food used to get lost.  Sometimes for years.   Once I found a tin of Easter biscuits shoved way in the back behind six rotting lettuces.  I figured those Easter biscuits had to be a decade old.  I opened the lid and they looked so perfect nesting in the waxed paper.  Except… My mother who had baked them way back when suggested I try one.  Are you nuts?  I said to her.

Anyway, the food thing was getting me down for years.  I would open the fridge and it was all so stuffed and sloppy.  Kind of dark and spooky looking inside.  Jars of things that looked old and evil.  Plus it hadn’t been scrubbed out since my mother did it for me about seven years earlier.  The only reason we hadn’t contracted a food-borne disease was because everything was kept in packages, or containers, or some such thing.  Yep, it was a scary place— that old side-by-side.

Then one day I woke up and said to myself “enough is enough.”  I sent my husband out to get us a new fridge.  He went to a small appliance store and ended up in an argument with the old guy who owned the place.  I didn’t get my fridge.  I suffered another few years with my stinking side-by-side.  Then one day last month I woke up and said to myself “enough is totally enough.”

And I went to the old guy’s appliance store and ordered a new fridge.  We didn’t argue.  Of course, things being things, they couldn’t get the stupid old side-by-side out the door and ended up ripping the doorframe.  Then they brought in my brand new fridge and it was the wrong model.  Too small and no ice-maker!  Damn!  I’d waited this long, I was definitely getting an ice-maker.  So out it went.

Finally the right one was delivered.  And I cleaned it lovingly and put all my food inside.  Now I can see all my food.  There’s a lovely covered bin for cheese.  A roomy slide-out cold cut bin.  A nice big freezer for my bag of coffee and box of frozen waffles.  Now you are reading this and saying to yourself: So how did all this change her as a writer?  Well, I’ll tell you how.  It made me feel I had accomplished the un-accomplishable.  Somehow that old side-by-side was holding me back.  Then I got my new gorgeous white fridge.  And here I am writing non-fiction!

I never wrote non-fiction.  People used to tell me I should write non-fiction.  No, I’d say.  Not me.  No non-fiction.   I am a fiction writer and poet, I’d say.  Well here you are!  This is my fourth non-fiction piece in a month!  Since the arrival of the new fridge.  I also did a few other things I won’t mention here.  But blame it on the fridge!  And I made a solemn promise to the fridge:  I will not cover you with magnetized photos and all that other fridge junk.  At least one of us will stay virginal forever.

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Susan Tepper has published well over 100 stories, poems, essays and interviews in journals worldwide. She writes a bi-monthly interview column called MONDAY CHAT on the Fictionaut blog, as well as the advice column “Madame Tishka Advises on Love & Other Storms” at Thunderclap Press. Tepper curates the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in New York City, and has received six nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Deer, the title story of her collection, was nominated for NPR Selected Shorts.