Smokelong Quarterly

Hi friends,

At the end of 2015, Megan Giddings, Executive Editor at Smokelong Quarterly, asked both Kathy Fish and me if we’d like to guest edit for this venerable online magazine. Of course, we both eagerly agreed. My week to read the submissions arrived in mid-February 2016, and they began to roll in. Fortunately, I am familiar with Submittable, where SQ makes it easy- sets the guest editor up with their personal account on their site, so every submission is queued and waiting to be read.

All ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN of them. Yeah, that’s a lot of stories, at one thousand words or less!

And still, as one might imagine, I quickly narrowed the field down to ten. Then five. Then three.

And then this very one.

When I first read “Prismatics” by Eileen Merriman, it felt like it was written for me. I can’t explain coherently why; perhaps the numerical form, with missing numbers. Maybe the sisterly competitiveness over love interests. Even the title was familiar, in a former life, the name of a haircutting system I used to teach for a manufacturing company.

More than anything, it was the haunting essence of this startling story that I loved, first read, and continue to admire, several reads later. The story stays with you, it is lasting. And I sincerely apologize to Eileen, who turns out, lives in New Zealand- because “Prismatics” was originally published on April 11. Still, here it is:

Prismatic

(Art by Katelin Kinney). Thanks Megan Giddings, and staff at Smokelong Quarterly for this opportunity to guest edit your magazine.

Readings Etc.

Hi Friends,

I do a lot of readings. They’re fun, and typically, if in a group, by listening closely, I learn a thing or two from others. I always bring a notebook, and fill a page or more with notes.

Recently, I realized that I have photos from each of my four book launches. Here they are:

Microtones

This was a reading for Red Oak Writers, hosted by our fearless director, Kim Suhr, soon after Microtones was published by Cervena Barva Press in 2012.

Diptychs

This was a reading in Chicago in early 2014 with Meg Tuite and David Tomaloff, hosted by Bill Yarrow. I’m reading from the newly published Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps). My pal Meg’s entire family came (or nearly). It was a blast!

A & B

I think this was shot at the Seattle AWP#14. Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) had just been released. Jane Carmen’s “Festival of Language” typically kicks off the AWP Conference with an ambitious line-up on Wednesday (opening day), 5-10 p.m.

RIFT

And last, but certainly not least, a RIFT (Unknown Press) photo! This was taken by uber-talented Nancy Stohlman at her F-BOMB Flash Fiction Showcase last July in Denver. I was able to read with Kathy Fish, co-author and celebrated writer.

I recently returned from this year’s AWP Conference in Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to read in two different readings. The first, States of Terror’s “Creature Features” included many writers whose work I admire. One of them, Gabino Iglesias, wrote a stunning review of RIFT, and upon his return, published this great article about readings at Dead End Follies:

http://www.deadendfollies.com/2016/04/essay-why-most-readings-suck-and-how-to.html

I sure hope that Gabino was not referring to me! In any case, I took note, Gabino, and thanks for the succinct list.

We have a few spots left for our August fiction workshop in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, August 20-26. Please contact Kathy Fish or me. More info at www.kathy-fish.com.

Also, please join us at the Marion Center tomorrow (Thursday, April 14th) night for our Red Oak reading, a mix of writers from several of our roundtables, to honor our years spent at this venerable institution. I will be reading, too! Pot luck starts at 5:30- 5:45 and reading begins at 6:30 p.m.

AWP Recap & More

Hi friends,

Last week was the annual AWP#16 writer’s conference, hosted in downtown Los Angeles. Here are some photos and a recap:

AWP UP TableUNKNOWN PRESS AWP

My publisher, Unknown Press, shared booth #1442 with Digging Through the Fat’s Gessy Alvarez, and sister, Cynthia (pictured above). Also, Len Kuntz (above) premiered his new book, I’m Not Supposed to be Here and Neither Are You. We sold a lot of books!

Book Show peeps20160331_190929

The States of Terror “Creature Feature” held their reading at BOOK SHOW bookstore on Thursday. Hosted by Matt Lewis and Keith McCleary, my friends Len and Bob attended. Also saw Jim Ruland, Meredith Alling, Gabino Iglesias, and met many more. I read “Sweet Surrender is All I Have Left To Give,” which will appear in States of Terror Anthology #3 this fall.

249135_ioOZidtO1goggles018-3

Also, Thursday afternoon, Kathy Fish and I taped Otherppl podcast with Brad Listi (no, not in his Searcher camper!) in his garage on W. 4th in L.A. We had such a blast! Walking away from this experience, Kathy and I agreed it felt as if we’ve known Brad all our lives.

four freaksLen and Bob

Of course, AWP is all about our writer friends, allies, and support networking. Where would we be without that? Above left, is Len Kuntz, Kathryn Grant, me, and Karen Stefano. Photo shot by Robert P. Kaye. Dinner was the local Mexican restaurant, closest to our JW Marriott. We recommend the table side guacamole. Above right is Robert and Len in our Marriott lounge.

IMG_1351Joani host

My other reading was Hot Pillow, Joani Reese Above, right) hosted. This came with an assortment of lovely instructions, which my posse quickly turned over to Bob. It is held in a hotel (sort-of) room, and by personal invite. The reading is always the highlight of the entire AWP for me. Exquisite work shared. I read “A Box” from RIFT.

The Best Small Fictions 2017 Announcement Final-3

Just before we left for AWP, Kathy and I heard from Tara Masih, series editor of Best Small Presses that three of our stories from RIFT had been selected for the Best Small Fictions, 2016 (edited by Stuart Dybek). Needless to say, we are both over the moon thrilled about this! Our two pieces that will be included are “A Box” (mine) and “A Room With Many Small Beds” (Kathy).

Also, John Madera compiled this amazing list of “Most Anticipated Books of 2016” at Big Other, and included RIFT as a book to not miss (published in December 2015): https://bigother.com/2016/04/07/most-anticipated-small-press-books-of-2016/

Back to AWP and Los Angeles:

rapturels

Shalom Sherman, accordionist at Palermo Restaurant on Vermont Avenue. I’ve been a loyal fan of this place since the mid 1980s. We had a sublime dinner, terrific food, fantastic time.

All, in all, Los Angeles AWP was probably my favorite conference experience thus far. They just get more fun, less stressful, and it’s always great to see friends, meet new people, try new experiences. So until next year, see you all in D.C. in 2017!

RIFT gets Press!

I’ve been remiss in adding all of the fantastic news about RIFT, my collaboration with the talented Kathy Fish! I want to thank every single person who has read RIFT, who has referred another friend or family member to read it. We had so much fun writing the entire book in 2015, and again, without Bud Smith at Unknown Press, it might be sitting in someone’s drawer still. Here are the places you can read more about RIFT:

  1. A.E. Weisberger’s review at Change Seven: http://changesevenmag.com/2016/01/26/rift-stories-by-kathy-fish-and-robert-vaughan/

2. Leonora Desar’s Q & A with Kathy Fish and me at Bartleby Snopes:       http://blog.bartlebysnopes.com

3. Rachel Hurwitz’s Q & A with Kathy Fish and me at Midwestern Gothic: http://midwestgothic.com/2016/02/interview-kathy-fish-robert-vaughan/

4. Necessary Fiction let us publish our RIFT Research Notes: http://necessaryfiction.com/blog/ResearchNotesRift

5. Ray Nessly reviews RIFT at Literary Orphans’ The Tavern Lantern: http://literaryorphans.org/ttl/ray-nessly-reviews-rift-stories-by-kathy-fish-robert-vaughan/

6. Gabino Iglesias reviews RIFT at Dead End Follies: http://www.deadendfollies.com/2016/02/book-review-kathy-fish-robert-vaughan.html

Also, please check out some other great write-ups at Goodreads, like this one: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/9908220-rift-by-robert-vaughan-and-kathy-fish

Mainly, thanks again to every reviewer, and every single reader. It means so much to both Kathy and me!

Please do consider joining us for the Fiction Course at the venerable Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico, August 20-26, 2016. Spots are gradually filling up! You can look at the accommodations at www.mabeldodgeluhan.com. More information and registration information at www.kathy-fish.com. She’s fun to follow, too!

I’ll also be teaching the Mixed Genre course at The Clearing in September 11-18. More on that in another post.

Stay tuned for more RIFT news coming your way! Thanks.

 

Happy Birthday “Boys From Pele!”

Twenty years ago, Tori Amos released her masterful CD, Boys From Pele. I was already a fan, and David Carter, Andrea Falkenstein and I would listen to her endlessly while watching the Doonies pass us by at Jones Beach, area #6. That August 25, we had the rare chance to see Tori perform at the outdoor Jones Beach amphitheater. It was hypnotic, emotional, and we were transported by her words, songs carried on the ocean winds.

Today, at Entropy, a literary website, Patsy Petunia put together an assembly, 18 artists and writers interpret the 18 tracks included on Boys From Pele. We could create anything in relation to the specific song we chose. I came late to the project and there was only one song left: Twinkle, track #18. It’s one of my least favorites. Or- I should say, it was. But this is the thing about Tori that makes her so great- her music is infectious. The more I listened to that song, “Twinkle,” the more I began to see why I LOVE it. And I do. You can read all of the pieces here:

YOU MAKE ME FEEL #12: BOYS FOR PELE 20th ANNIVERSARY

Then go get (or listen to) your own Boys For Pele. And marvel at the rest of these monumental songs. Tori Amos is a treasure, and her music lives through us all.

Fiction Workshop: 2016

Exploratory Fiction: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice

courtyard_view-banner

with Kathy Fish & Robert Vaughan, co-authors of RIFT

at The Mabel Dodge Luhan House- Taos, New Mexico

August 20-26, 2016

Visit www.kathy-fish.com for a daily itinerary, a link to the MDL House, and to reserve your spot!

Questions or inquiries, please do ask either Kathy or me! Spaces are limited.

 

 

 

 

2015: Looking Back

Hi friends!

Books I read in 2015:

Reading list of 2015

Fourteen Stories: None of Them Are Yours- Luke B. Goebel (short stories)

The Secret Games of Words- Karen Stefano (short stories)

The Tears of Eros- George Bataille

The Marbled Swarm- Dennis Cooper

Asuras- Jayinee Basu (poetry)

Maelstrom- Doug Bootes (poetry)

The Vixen Scream and other Bible Stories- Nancy Stohlman (flash fiction)

Not My Father’s Son- Alan Cumming (memoir)

Lunette- Pamela Davis (poetry)

Ohey- Darby Larson (flash fiction)

Chloe Sevigny- (photos/ text)

A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastiao Salgado by Parvati Nair

Sting and Nest- Barbara Rockman (poetry)

Edge of Taos Desert: Escape to Reality- Mabel Luhan Dodge (memoir)

F-250- Bud Smith (novel)

Smoke- Dorianne Laux (poetry)

Today I Am A Book- xTx

Prelude to Bruise- Saaed Jones (poetry)

An Apology for Apologies- Matt Nelson (poetry)

The Small Backs of Children- Lidia Yuknavitch (hybrid)

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall- Will Chance (novel)

All Day, Talking- Sarah A. Chavez (poetry)

Drink- Laura Madeline Wiseman (poetry)

Soft- Ryan Werner (hybrid)

Part Time Shaman Handbook- Michael Gillan Maxwell (hybrid/art)

Night Chorus- Joani Reese (poetry)

catalog of unabashed gratitude- ross gay (poetry)

The Rooster’s Wife- Russell Edson (prose poems)

Peek- Paul Beckman (flash fiction)

Gutshot- Amelia Gray (stories)

The Secret and the Sacred- Erin Parker (stories)

Ongoingness- Sarah Manguso (hybrid)

Tangled in Motion- Jane L. Carmen (hybrid)

Dept of Speculation- Jenny Offill (novel)

Tables Without Chairs #1- Bud Smith and Brian Alan Ellis (fiction)

The Disordered- Anhvu Buchanan- (flash fiction chapbook)

David Wojnarowcz: a definite history of five or six years on the lower east side (interviews)

Orphans Burning Orphans- Gene Kwak (flash fiction chapbook)

Inheritance- Joseph Fasano (poetry)

So You Know It’s Me- Brian Olio (flash fiction)

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson- Jeff Guinn (biography)

Visions and Revisions- Dale Peck (non-fiction)

Every Kiss A War- Leesa Cross- Smith

M Train- Patti Smith (essays/ memoir)

Witches of America- Alex Mar (non-fiction)

When You Cross That Line- Sam Slaughter (chap flash)

Mall Flower- Tina Barry (hybrid)

Two Truths and A Lie- Leah Rogin- Roper (hybrid)

Grace Notes- Meg Tuite, David Tomaloff, art by Keith Higginbotham (hybrid)

The Suicide of Claire Bishop- Camiel Banansky

Choose Wisely- 35 Women up to no good- edited by H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam

Although of Course you end up Becoming Yourself- David Lipsky (non-fiction)

Bad Sex- Clancy Martin

The Free- Willy Vlautin

Speedboat- Renata Adler

People Like You- Margaret Malone (stories)

Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser

W-3 by Bette Howland (novel)

Shadows of the Sun: Diaries of Harry Crosby

The Best Small Fictions 2015, edited by Robert Olin Butler and Tara Masih

Currently reading:

Kinda Sorta America Dream- Steve Karas

****PLACES I VISITED, events in which I PLAYED:

January: Mexico for Satchi and Michael Hauser’s birthday!!!

New Mexico at La Fonda for a reading, hosted by Meg Tuite, writers Kathy Fish, Len Kuntz, James Claffey, Nancy Stohlman, Sally Reno and so many more talents.

April- Minneapolis AWP- too much fun. My first panel experience with Literary Orphans.

May- Truth & Beauty Conference in Taos, New Mexico with Pamela Davis

June- Green Lake reunion with Dorianne Laux at the WFOP Conference

July- Snohomish, Washington- a week in paradise with Len and Tonja Kuntz; Denver reading for F-BOMB hosted by Nancy Stholman- readers Paul Beckman, Meg Tuite, Karen Stefano, Kathy Fish.

August- Indiana Indie Book Fest- Bud Smith, Joanie Reese, Blotterature staff, etc.; my birthday week in New York City with Satchi at the SoHo Grand. Saw Andrea, Ian, Bud, Rae, etc.

September- Connecticut with my sisters, and family time.

October- The Clearing in Door County- my second week teaching Mixing Genres. A great experience!

November- Denver #2 reading for F-BOMB, hosted by Meg Tuite. Readers Len Kuntz, Leah Rogin- Roper, Meg Tuite, Kathy Fish.

December- Spartanburg for Christmas with Satchi- family time with Mom, Dad, Yogi, Erin, Siddhartha and Navarre.

Submissions/ Stats:

I sent out 15 submissions this year (my lowest in the past decade). I had seven acceptances. Thanks to magazines like Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Short, Fast & Deadly, Literary Orphans, Scabies Anthology, This is Poetry, Volume 2: The Midwest Poets, and The Airgonaut.

The big news, of course, is that RIFT became a book on December 1. Huge thanks to my co-author, Kathy Fish. 2015 was so much more fun because of you! Also, Bud Smith, for whom I am ever so grateful. And our fourth musketeer, Michael Maxwell. NIGHT OWL CAFE rules!

You can see more information about RIFT here: www.unknowneverything.com/books/rift. Also it is available: http://www.amazon.com/Rift-Robert-Vaughan/dp/0996352600/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451588231&sr=8-1&keywords=rift+robert+vaughan. To all who have said encouraging things about RIFT already, Kathy and I are so grateful: Daniel Handler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Michael Martone, Ron Carlson, xTx, Luke Goebel, Jenson Beach, Michael Seidlinger, Ryan Ridge, Megan Bergman, Robert Lopez, Sheldon Compton, Steph Post, Cheryl Zovich, Len Kuntz, Meg Tuite, Karen Stefano, David Atkinson, Christina Dalcher, David Abrams, Dennis Mahagin, Tina Barry, Joseph Spuckler, Rachel Sherman, Loren Kleinman. Your words mean so much. (If I’ve forgotten anyone, I assure you it is not intentional.)

And for anyone looking for an amazing course in 2016, Kathy Fish and I will be leading a week long fiction workshop, more information here: http://www.kathy-fish.com/?page_id=1588.

And that, my friends, is a wrap! Here is to a kickass 2016…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press for RIFT

Hi friends!

Happy Solstice! It’s been a busy time of year, as the end of 2015 draws closer. Our last roundtable at Red Oak was on Friday, and we had a festive lunch at Saint Francis Brewery to honor another venerable year of writing, and honest feedback, and support.

Cover with blurbs

And then these lovely first mentions, news and reviews about RIFT, and made Kathy Fish smile. And me giggle. So grateful:

First, my brother Sheldon Compton at Revolution John: https://revolutionjohn.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/the-world-set-shaking-kathy-fish-and-robert-vaughans-rift/

Joseph Spuckler at Evil Cyclist: https://evilcyclist.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/book-review-rift/

David Abrams at The Quivering Pen: http://www.davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com/2015/12/a-year-of-reading-best-book-cover.html

Dennis Mahagin (“Ancient Bassist”) at Amazon (among all the other amazing reviews!): http://www.amazon.com/Rift-Robert-Vaughan/dp/0996352600/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449355153&sr=8-1&keywords=RIFT+RObert

Sheldon “Lil Joe” Compton, part 2: http://bentcountry.blogspot.com/2015/12/my-top-ten-books-of-2015.html

My dear sister, Cheryl, at CurTales: https://curtalefarm.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/rift-a-book-review/

Loren Kleinman at THE HUFFINGTON POST: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/loren-kleinman/a-rift-in-the-clouds-an-i_b_8824102.html

Steph Post with two part RIFT interview, here’s Kathy Fish: http://stephpostauthor.blogspot.com/2015/12/rift-part-one-interview-with-kathy-fish.html

Steph Post with two part RIFT interview, with me: http://stephpostauthor.blogspot.com/2015/12/rift-part-two-interview-with-robert.html

Steph also included RIFT here: http://stephpostauthor.blogspot.com/2015/12/stephs-super-awesome-2015-end-of-year.html

I have to say, it’s been a wild ride so far! I want to give thanks to everyone who has purchased, reviewed, and said gracious or kind comments to Kathy and me. RIFT took the same gestation time as making a child: nine or so months! It would never have been possible without Satchi, Bud Smith, my siblings, Kathy (of course) and so many more contributors. Please help us spread the word. Get a copy of RIFT for a friend. Read more! Happy holidays.

 

 

Blog Talk Radio’s Kayla Greenwell: Robert Vaughan & Kathy Fish talk about RIFT with theliteraryunderground

BLOG TALK RADIO interviews Kathy Fish & Robert Vaughan about RIFT, their new collaboration:

Cover with blurbs

TURN THE PAGE Host Kayla Greenwell interviews the literati and oddball creative-types with a focus on DIY and grassroots initiatives. This week, Kayla interviews Robert Vaughan and Kathy Fish about RIFT, their new collaboration of flash fiction from UNKNOWN PRESS.

Source: Turn the Page with Kayla Greenwell: Focus on Robert Vaughan & Kathy Fish 12/02 by theliteraryunderground | Writing Podcasts

RIFT and more

Hello friends!

We are nearly there. Here is the latest images of my new book, RIFT, short fiction co-authored by Kathy Fish:

Cover with blurbs

Thanks for the cover image, Casey McSpadden! : www.caseymcspadden.com.

Also the creative blurbs from Ron Carlson, Daniel Handler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Michael Martone, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Robert Lopez, Michael Seidlinger, Ryan Ridge, Jensen Beach, xTx, and Luke Goebel.

Odd to think, I was just in Denver (again!!) for the F-BOMB Flash Fiction reading event. Here are some images from that magical evening

IMG_9545IMG_9535

KF RIFTLeah Rogin-RoperRV Rift

Our fearless host, Meg “Marge” Tuite, and featured readers: Len Kuntz, Kathy Fish, Leah Rogin-Roper and me. Kathy and I read new pieces from RIFT!!! Thanks to Nancy Stohlman, and the Denver Flash community for a great night!

Then rushed back to Milwaukee, to a busy Thursday, shipping over 150 copies of RIFT to the Nervous Breakdown Book Club:

TNB booksIMG_9576

Thanks Bud Smith, publisher at Unknown Press, and Brad Listi founder of Nervous Breakdown, and Jonathan Evison, book club selection guy!

And finally, both Kathy Fish, and my first stories in RIFT were published, in perfect “teaser” timing, for the arrival of RIFT. Here is Kathy’s “A Room With Many Small Beds at Threadcount Magazine: http://threadcountmag.com/issue-5-fall-15/kathy-fish/.

And here is my “Galloping Into The Future” at The Airgonaut: https://theairgonautblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/galloping-into-the-future/

I hope you enjoy them! More information forthcoming about RIFT, how to order, and also about the fiction writing course that Kathy and I are teaching at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, August 20-26, 2016.