AWP recap and more

Hi friends!

AWP…mind meld and time warp! What an amazing experience it was, being in Seattle for the recent AWP Conference, February 26- March 2. Transformative, and hypnotic, the conference was attended by over 15,000 writers (apparently) and the book fair was filled with authors and sellers young and old, writers seeking new roads for their writing, and presses or grad schools looking for new talent. Then there were the readings and panels and discussions in all areas of the city- from Seattle conference center, to The Westin where I stayed, to Pike’s Public Market.

The night before I travelled to Seattle, I had the great fortune of reading at local bookstore, Boswell Books, with Gina Frangello, on her book tour for A Life in Men:

Boswell Books with Gina Frangello

We had a great turn-out, and thanks for all of my writing buddies from Red Oak Writers, as well as several local friends who made the event so meaningful to me. We sold every single copy of Addicts & Basements! And thanks Daniel, and Gina for making this possible:

Welcome to Boswell Book Company’s website! | Boswell Book Company


I also read in four events at the Seattle AWP:

Festival of Language

Festival of Language, hosted by Jane Carmen. This is my third year reading in this event, always takes place the first night, Wednesday, of the conference, so it’s also a “reunion” of sorts.

Robert Vaughan Hot Pillow

On Friday, I read in two separate events: HEAT, hosted by Anna March and Laura Bogart (who was off-site with a broken ankle) and proceeds raised all went toward VIDA, a wonderful organization. That afternoon, I was interviewed by Literary Orphans editor Mike Joyce back at the Westin for an upcoming interview series in his stellar magazine. Then, this photo (above) was taken at the Hot Pillow event, hosted by Joani Reese, Jen Knox and Meg Tuite, at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Left Bank Books Left Bank Books Seattle

Saturday, I read at the venerable Left Bank Books, on Pike Street at the Public Market. This bookstore, with the legacy of hosting such luminaries as Bukowski,  Kerouac, and Grace Paley, was both a tremendous highlight of the conference, and also made me proud to represent my newest publisher, Civil Coping Mechanisms: Left Bank Books

Overall, the AWP conference leaves one with a complex, mystical feeling; like yes, I belong in this sea of misfits, but also, everyone in the entire world is a writer! Get back to the notebook, head down, and plow through those empty pages.

There is a very nice mention today at Indie Authors Network of my new book. Thanks Alan Kealey for this:

New Indie Book Release: Addicts & Basements (Robert Vaughan) | Indie Author News

And huge thanks to anyone who purchases, mentions (or intends to) Addicts & Basements!!!

A reading, An Indie Press Preview, and An AWP Conference

Hi friends,

The day has arrived. Tonight I’m launching Addicts & Basements, my new full length collection from Civil Coping Mechanisms. I’ll be opening for Gina Frangello who is touring with her new novel, A Life in Men. We’ll be at Boswell Books at 7 p.m., Monday, February 24th! Here is a link for more information: Upcoming Events | Boswell Book Company

My latest publisher, Michael Seidlinger,  worked endless hours on this massive and incredible Indie Press Preview for 2014: The Great 2014 Indie Press Preview | The Outlet: the Blog of Electric Literature. Published at Electric Literature, it has many wonderful choices from leading writers in the indie community. Thanks to Brian Allen Ellis for mentioning Addicts & Basements.

And so, AWP, the largest annual writer’s conference descends: February 26- March 2. I will be available at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth, L15 most mornings. Please come by, chat and shop:


“Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.”   Stealers Wheel from “Reservoir Dogs”

I am also reading in these four events:

Feb 26, 5- 10 p.m. A Festival of Language, Rock Bottom in Seattle

Feb 28, 1-5 p.m. HEAT: Burning Down the House (Proceeds to benefit VIDA), Daily Grill; also Hot Pillow Reading (TBD)

Mar 1, 7-9 p.m. Left Bank Books: Civil Coping Mechanisms/ Lazy Fascist Press/ Broken River/ Two Dollar Radio reading

There are some great sites with suggestions about what to expect if this is your first AWP, including this from Roxane Gay: Association of Writers & Writing Programs

And these tips from writer Mitch Parker, nail the entire experience:

“My AWP survival tips: show up, talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you do know. Attend a couple of events. Go to a couple of readings. Have a few drinks. Go to the book fair. Don’t worry much about much.”

See you in Seattle! Hopefully not sleepless, but you never know!


Writers Round-Up: How to Organize a Fiction Collection

Hi friends,

Writer and friend Bonnie Zobell assembled a great mix of writers and posed the question: how would you put together your fiction collection? What pieces might go first or last? Is an overall theme important, and if so, how?

So here is an assembly of diverse and vastly talented writers, including xTx, Amber Sparks, Ethyl Rohen, Sean Lovelace, Kristine Ong Muslim, Cynthia Litz and me. Our “essays” on this topic are all different, and somehow similar: we are all figuring this process out on the fly! Here is the article, thanks to Flash Fiction Chronicles, Jim Harrington, and Bonnie Zobell, for asking me to be involved:

Writers Round-Up: How to Organize a Fiction Collection, Part 1 « Flash Fiction Chronicles

Also, I’m teaching a workshop for Red Oak Writing on April 26th, (9:30- 12 noon) called Publishing Your First (or Next) Collection. Here is the course description:

Publishing Your First (or Next) Collection « Red Oak Writing.



Rumjhum Biswas reviews Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits at Flash Fiction Chronicles

Today at Flash Fiction Chronicles, Rumjhum reviews my second chapbook, Diptychs + Triptychs. This is quite an extensive and thorough review, and I must thank both Jim Harrington, editor at FFC, as well as Rumjhum for her interpretive gesture:

Book Review: Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits by Robert Vaughan « Flash Fiction Chronicles

One of the things I appreciate most about this review is how Biswas does not shy away from citing two or three pieces in Diptychs + Triptychs which did not move her, or was not “one of the better pieces.” I feel this information is equally useful to any writer as are compliments, or ‘what works’ in a collection.

In addition, two other talented authors have given reviews at Goodreads, and I’d like to share them here for those of you who are not Goodreads members:

‘The stories Robert Vaughan wrote in this chapbook are delightful, funny and heartbreaking, “life affirming, desirous, and melodic.” I recommend this beautifully written and surprising collection. As soon as you open the cover, “the never heard song begins to play.”’

- Helen Cardona

‘It is the people that were once in our lives that make us who we are. We carry them with us when they aren’t here anymore. And that’s the secret: they never really leave. I wasn’t prepared to ache so much when I read this collection. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been able to read more than a couple of pieces in one sitting. It took me a few weeks, this slim, slim book. Seven Shades of James and Elements of K. My God, the words cut like paper. So surgically precise that I didn’t feel the blood until I was wiping tears from my eyes in silence, at once seeing and missing everyone I have every lost.’

- Erin Parker

Thanks so much, Helena and Erin, for your lovely words! I really appreciate them, and you both!

Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) publication day!

It’s a rare thing to publish a book. To imagine the thrill, to write every word, to see the project come together page by page.

And then to hold it in your two hands. And to smell the cover, and pages. To see what a great designer flourish was put into creation.

Best cover shot]



You can order the new book here: Addicts & Basements: Robert Vaughan: 9781937865238: Books

And to think, at this time last year, MICROTONES had not yet been released. And DIPTYCHS + TRIPTYCHS + LIPSTICKS + DIPSHITS was just a quadrophonic idea. And yet, both chapbooks are available also! You can look under My Books for more information! Life is good.

Please help me spread the word. It’s how books get noticed, purchased, shared… read. I so appreciate the support. Eternal thanks to Michael Seidlinger and Civil Coping Mechanisms.


Mark Kerstetter reviews Diptychs + Triptychs at The Mockingbird Sings

Hi friends,

I’ve had the great fortune of traveling to India three times thus far in my lovely life. During one of those trips, in a family member’s kitchen, I heard a very sweet bird song, and asked, which bird is this we are hearing?

The answer: A Mockingbird.

We do have them in the U.S.A., and they have them there, also.

And, of course, there is the infamous To Kill A Mockingbird.

This bird, you see, is known for mimicking the songs of other birds, often loudly and in rapid succession. They symbolize both gay abandon and innate mirth.

And today, due to several reasons, I felt this very way.

Also, when reading Mark Kerstetter’s blog, I remembered how the thrill of hearing a new birdsong makes my heart sing. You might see why:

A Review of Robert Vaughan’s Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits | The Mockingbird Sings

Thanks Mark, for adding your harmonious thrill to my day!

Addicts & Basements Goodreads Giveaway Contest

Hi friends,

My new book, Addicts & Basements| Civil Coping Mechanisms is scheduled for release on February 1, 2014. To honor this huge event, I’m hosting a Goodreads giveaway!

From today until March 1, 2014, all you have to do is register here, at my Goodreads page, and you are eligible to win a copy of Addicts & Basements! Details are also at this site:

Goodreads | Book giveaway for Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan Jan 24-Mar 01, 2014(showing 1-8 of 8) entries:

Please help spread the word? The more entries we get, the merrier…and best of luck! Win your copy of Addicts & Basements today!

Michael Gillan Maxwell reviews Diptychs + Triptychs at Your Own Back Yard

A lovely review of Diptychs + Triptychs by Michael Gillan Maxwell is up at his writer’s blog at Your Own Back Yard:

Book Review: Diptychs +Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits by Robert Vaughan 2013 | Your Own Back Yard ~ Writing and Art ~ Michael Gillan Maxwell

Michael is not only a super talented writer, but also an artist, a teacher, and an all around great guy! He and I crossed paths at a writing conference in 2010 at the Omega Institute and have been friends since. We share work often, and offer solid critique. He is also a writer who enjoys mixing up genre, and his writing has won awards. Check him out! And deep thanks, Michael, for your words and support.


Diptychs + Triptychs review at HTMLGIANT

Hi friends!

Today I am thrilled to let you know about my excellent review, by David S. Atkinson (author of Bones Buried in the Dirt and forthcoming The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes). This is so wonderful, and I am deeply grateful to both David, and Janice Lee who is the Reviews Editor at HTMLGIANT: Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits by Robert Vaughan | HTMLGIANT.

Also, I’ve been on such a high since my editor and publisher, Michael Seidlinger at Civil Coping Mechanisms posted the new photo of the first copy of Addicts & Basements, my new book, available February 1:

First copy of finished book

Life is good, despite the the wind chill dipping us below zero. Who cares? Party time!!!


“The Bagpipe Refrain” to be included in Literary Orphans Anthology

Hi friends,

I am really excited to get the news today that my piece, “The Bagpipe Refrain,” will be included in the very first Literary Orphans Anthology. This must have been a very onerous and difficult process to select exactly what might be included:

Best of Literary Orphans, Year One Anthology [SELECTIONS]

“The Bagpipe Refrain” originally appeared in the Marilyn issue: The Bagpipe Refrain by Robert Vaughan.

I also had a poem, “Aretha,” in the Wordsworth issue: Aretha by Robert Vaughan. And in the same issue, John Riley reviewed Microtones, my first chapbook: A Review of Robert Vaughan’s Microtones by John Riley.

Editor-in-chief of Literary Orphans, Mike Joyce, has been a friend and a writer with whom I have exchanged many great writerly ideas over the past year (or two) since Literary Orphans took shape and blossomed into the distinctive literary magazine of such high quality it currently is. I look forward to this first anthology and to many more of our wonderful, friendly exchanges. Congratulations, Mike, Scott Waldyn, Doriana Lareau and all of the other staff! So thrilled, and proud of you all.

Both of these pieces, “The Bagpipe Refrain” and “Aretha” are included in my upcoming book, Addicts & Basements from Civil Coping Mechanisms, coming February 1, 2014: Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan | Civil Coping Mechanisms.