Category Archives: Addicts & Basements

I Got The Boot

Hi friends…

Post- AWP bottom has set in! And it doesn’t even take bottomless mimosas to make it happen. I swear, every year the Monday after is the lowest low. And today, in Milwaukee, the sunny blue skies and near 50 degree temperatures are doing their best to make me smile. So, I’ll try. Despite the, well, challenges, that came up during the conference.

SO NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU– so many new faces at the AWP Conference this year. Among them, Windy Lynn Harris, Jennifer Kircher Carr, Liz Pettie, Maureen Langloss, Levis Keltner, Diem White, Jan Elman Stout, Grant Faulkner, Christine Texeira, Jensen Beach, Sherrie Flick, David Galef, and too many others to count.

OH, IT’S YOU AGAIN? Reunions are always the best, and most of mine in D.C. began with “WHAT HAPPENED?” Still, always terrific to see Kyle Semmel, Angela Woodward, Bill Yarrow, Roxane Gay, Lori Brody, Gay Degani, April Bradley, Dorianne Laux, Christopher Allen, Kathy Fish, Nancy Stohlman, Jeff Landon, James Thomas, T.L. Sherwood, Matt Bell, Mary Akers, Joe Millar, Nita Noveno, Matt Lewis, Michael Seidlinger, Janice Lee, Rae Bryant, Ben Tanzer, Joseph Lawrence Dougherty, Anna March, Robert Russell, Lee Krecklow, Jeffrey Phaller, David Atkinson, John Wentworth Chapin, Wendy Ortiz, Brandon Hobson, Gloria Mindock, Annie Pluto, Pamela Painter, and numerous others.

FROM A DISTANCE… I saw you, but there was no way I could run to you… or I might have…   Sara Lippmann (pictured above), Lidia Yuknavitch, D. Foy, Kim Suhr, Stephen Gowin, Joani Reese, Chiwan Choi, Joanna Valente, Alex Kalamaroff, Chelsea Hodson, Joshua Mohr, Alice Anderson, Alexander Chee, Jeff Jackson, John Madera, Garth Greenwell, J. Bradley, Michele Filgate, Amber Sparks, Chelsea Bondolillo, Sarah Rose Etter, Mark Doten, Julia Fiero, Henry Hoke, Amelia Gray, Michael Kimball, and too many others. It’s always such a delicate balancing act, that AWP.

WHERE WERE YOU? It felt like you were there the entire time. Dream or otherwise. Meg Tuite, Bud Smith, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Meredith Alling, Gabino Iglesias, Josh Denslow, Brandi Wells, Michael Taekens, xTx, Ben Loory, Jules Archer, Seth Berg, Katherine Seluja, Sheila Hanrahan, Cyrus Cassells, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Aaron Apps, etc.

WHAT I LEARNED: Don’t use the bathroom in the middle of the first night, ever. If you trip, you just might break your ankle. (Could have been my neck). Hairline fracture, right fibula. Never ever would have imagined this. I have to thank my gracious Physician’s Assistant, Clarence M. Chan, at the George Washington University Hospital for his tender, consistent care and my splint.

GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM: Len Kuntz, Karen Stefano, Robert P. Kaye- you saviors, I love you all! And Meg, your constant online support and love was (is) stellar, and Andrea & David, you always make me laugh- love you both. And Satchi, who offered to air lift me home- my heart, my soul, always.

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RECAP: My favorite panel was From Flash Fiction to Micro Fiction and included luminaries Pamela Painter, Grant Faulkner, Nancy Stohlman, Sherrie Flick and James Thomas. I sincerely apologize to Joani and my Hot Pillow compadres- I was there in spirit! Also to host John Madera whose reading I had to cancel. And to WordTango: Jennifer and Elizabeth, for sponsoring my Saturday FUNHOUSE signing, you guys ROCK! 

Thanks, everyone, or anyone who said a version of “SPEEDY RECOVERY!!!” I am obeying your wishes.

See you all in Tampa for AWP18. NO wheelchairs.

Happy Holidays 2016

Hello friends! We are coming up on Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. Family, terrific food, nice wine, and over-eating. Can’t beat that combo.

I wanted to extend some gratitude for these events in which I’ve participated:

On October 20th, Kim Suhr of Red Oak Writing hosted a terrific Writer’s Showcase:

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(L): Sharon Foley reads poetry; (R) Christine Baerbock reads a haunting short story

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In New York City, at the venerable KGB Bar, I read in two events: F-BOMB on Friday, Oct. 21 hosted by Bud Smith, and Best Small Fictions on Saturday, Oct. 22,  hosted by Paul Beckman:

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(L) me reading “Mother/ Father/ Clown”; (R) Karen Stefano reading Secret Games of Words      (F-BOMB Reading)

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Top: (L) Meg Tuite reading from lined up like scars; (C) Len Kuntz reading I’m Not Supposed To Be Here and Neither Are You; me reading “A Box” (Best Small Fictions). Bottom: (L to R): me, Dawn Raffel, Dianca London Potts, Eliel Lucero, Tina Barry, Paul Beckman, Nancy Ludmerer, Britt Haraway, Anne Elizabeth Weisgarber, and Courtney Sender.

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November 10th, Jonnie Guernsey and Laurel Landis launched A Picture And A Thousand Words. I read “Behind the 8-Ball” and we all used their excellent photography as prompts, hosted at Sugar Maple in Bay View, WI:

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On November 14th, I was featured in the Traveling Mollys, hosted by Nina Corwin at Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, Chicago. The other featured reader was Bill Yarrow:

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(L) Buzz Cafe, Oak Park; (R) Bill Yarrow reading from The Vig of Love

Bottom: Daniel Weinberg reads his letters to MAD Magazine

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On November 19th, I attended Robin Chapman’s course for Red Oak Writing: “What Poetry Can Teach Writers of Any Genre.” It was terrific, and thanks, Kim Suhr, for setting up so many great Saturday workshops throughout 2016. More information here: http://redoakwriting.com.

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Update on FUN HOUSE: my fifth book! Publisher and I hope to get FUN HOUSE to you by December, 2016! We have an astounding cover (thanks artist Ron Kibble), and almost all blurbs are accounted for. FUN HOUSE has four sections: micro/ flash fiction; 26 kids in a classroom with kickass art by Bob Schofield; prose poems assembled by master crafter Eryk Wenziak, and longer short stories. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

New York, New York: Big City of Dreams

Last weekend I had the great fortune of visiting my old haunts. Staying downtown in New York City, and reading at the venerable KGB, in their relatively new third floor “Red Room.” Friday night was hosted by Bud Smith, for the roving F-BOMB flash fiction event. Readers included Bud, Meg Tuite, Len Kuntz, Karen Stefano, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Gay Degani and me. I read an assortment of stories: “Mother/Father/Clown” from Diptychs + Triptychs; “Recruitment” from Addicts & Basements; and “Sweet Surrender is all I Have Left To Give” included in the newly published States of Terror, Volume 3 (at Amazon).

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On Saturday night, Paul Beckman hosted the Best Small Fictions 2016 reading! Same spot, KGB. This reading included mostly authors selected for the recently published anthology, expertly edited by Stuart Dybek and Tara Masih. Including, but not limited to: Britt Haraway, Anne Weisgerber, Dawn Raffel, Nancy Ludmerer, Courtney Sender, Ilana Masad, Dianca London Potts, Tina Barry, Eliel Lucero, Michael G. Maxwell, Karen Stefano, Paul Beckman, Len Kuntz, Meg Tuite, Bud Smith and me. I read my piece, “A Box,” which was chosen for the Best Small Fictions, 2016 (originally in RIFT, my co-authored book with Kathy Fish).

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And then, there was the general pizazz of being in in a city I love more than any other, with writer pals/ friends I adore, admire, revere, love:

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Overall, I would do this again, and again. Soulful, inspiring. Deeply satisfying. Please, sir, may I have some more?

 

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.

Robert G. Vaughan Recognized by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Publication – PR.com

What a terrific surprise to wake up to this news yesterday:

Source: Robert G. Vaughan Recognized by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Publication – PR.com

Happy Weekend everyone!

The Small Prestivus Festival: Readings, Workshops, and More

Hi friends!

Tomorrow I leave for Griffith, Indiana for the first Small Prestivus (Small Presses) Event!

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Here is the tentative schedule for the entire weekend:

Saturday, August 1–Book Fair 12-5; Workshops 1-3 or 3-5 (my workshop, “The Art of Fiction and Witty Dialogue” is 3-5 p.m). Featured Reading & Participant Open Mic 8 PM (my reading slot is 9 PM).

August 2–11:30 a.m. Q & A with Joani Reese on Submissions and Publishing. Readings 12-5 sponsored by Lit Fest Press.

Where: Griffith, Indiana–Broad Street, Franklin Center, and Pokro Brewery (all in the same block)

The festival will include writing workshops; an outdoor book fair with singer/songwriters, open air readings, and visual art demonstrations; a Saturday evening event featuring performances by Bud Smith, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Joani Reese, Michele McDannold, Bill Gainer, Sarah A. Chavez, Rachel Bell, Lois Berg and Robert Vaughan.  Also a one-shot open mic where participants will have a chance to read, and an all day Festival of Language where all participants will again have a chance to read on Sunday sponsored by Lit Fest Press.

Producer Julie says this festival is to showcase writers in the small press. If you would like to reserve a table please message Blotterature Lit Mag or Lit Fest Press. Tables are $10 for individual writers and $20 for presses.

Sounds like a blast! Plus, I get to hang out with some of my favorite writers!

 

A Reading and Other Events

Hi friends,

Tomorrow I am off to Denver, Colorado for the FBomb Flash Fiction Reading Series. Here is a wonderful photo of our host, Nancy Stohlman:

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How fortunate for me that she seems happily engrossed in Addicts & Basements!

The event is Tuesday, July 21st at The Mercury Cafe, 7:30 p.m.

Other featured readers include Paul Beckman, Karen Stefano and Meg Tuite.

Also reading are Kathy Fish, Sally Reno, Kona Morris, Rob Geisen, Jonathan Montgomery, Nick Morris and many more! PLEASE COME and join us!!!

Also, I did a little sleuthing, and you can now get Addicts & Basements in the following countries:

Paperback and Kindle: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, and United Kingdom

Kindle Only: Australia, Brazil, Spain, Japan and The Netherlands

And, recently I participated in a chat with Karen Stefano, on her new podcast radio talk show, from Rare Bird Lit. Listen here as we discuss her fantastic book, THE SECRET GAMES OF WORDS and Addicts & Basements. Thanks for this opportunity, Karen:

I’m also going to be a reader/ presenter at the Small Press Festivus on August 1 & 2, 2015 in Hammond, Indiana. Save the dates… more information forthcoming!

Happy Trails, everyone! What’s your summer reads so far?

 

 

A review, q & a, and recommendations

Hi friends!

Addicts & Basements had a lovely review from the good folks at Blotterature Review:

http://blotterature.com/2015/05/02/blot-lit-reviews-addicts-basements-by-robert-vaughan/

Also, Julie, added a question and answer, part two of the review:

http://blotterature.com/2015/05/03/an-interview-with-robert-vaughan/

Thanks to Julie Larson, and Michelle Quinn! I’ve also been invited to participate in their Small Press Fest on August 1 & 2 in northwest Indiana. Other readers will be Bill Yarrow, Michele McDannold, and Bud Smith- more information forthcoming.

I’m also scheduled to read in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, July 21. More information forthcoming about this great event, too!

Recently I’ve had the great fortune to read some incredible new books by friends:

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Loss Angeles by Mathieu Cailler won the Short Story American Prize for Short Fiction. A must read!

Also, this one:

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I remember reading Amelia Gray’s first collection, AM/ PM. I’ve read everything she has written since, and this new collection of stories does not disappoint!

I hope you are enjoying Spring. Any trips on the horizon? What are your summer plans?

Back to Life, Back to Reality

AWP #15 in Minneapolis is over! Five glorious days of crazy, chaotic, anxiety producing, joyful, hysterical fun are behind me, and now it’s back to the grindstone.

But before the experience slips by, here are some of my best memories, in words and pictures.

On Wednesday night, the Festival of Language reading was hosted by Jane L. Carmen, who also premiered her new press, Lit Fest Press, which includes books by some great authors such as Bill Yarrow and Joani Reese. I read three new short pieces: “What Lies Ahead,” “No Face World Champ,” and “Keep It, Curt.”

Karen Stefano read from her new thrilling book, The Secret Games of Words. (middle photo)

And, Meg Tuite read her astonishing work, introduced the moment she walked into Brit’s Pub from her flight!

FOL meKaren with bookMeg at FOL

That evening, we ate at The Hyatt, in the Washburn room. A lovely game ensued in which we all chose one short story from another writer, and read them aloud. Here is Bill Yarrow taping Len Kuntz reading a Meg Tuite story:

Bill Y and Len

Thursday morning we had a meeting with the Literary Orphans staff at Muffin Top Cafe. Mike Joyce and Scott Waldyn, the current editors were on task and organized. There were twelve of us present. I currently serve as member of the Advisory Board.

After lunch at Pinq’s, Len and I took in about half of the Book Fair. It’s vast, overwhelming and can make one wonder what am I doing in this sea of talented writers! And I met/saw these illuminati:  Jim Ruland (Forest of Fortune), Wendy Ortiz (Excavation), Sean H. Doyle (This Must Be the Place), Antonia Crane (Spent), Brandi Wells (This Boring Apocalypse), Marie Howe (What The Living Do) and so on, and so on…

Friday was the HEAT reading, proceeds donated to VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. Championed by Anna March and Anna Short, and emceed by Antonia Crane. The room was lowly lit, jazz music played between sets of readers, a full bar in the corner. Was quite the speakeasy ambiance! In the first set, Extie Ecks,  and Wendy Ortiz slayed it; and in our set, Richard Peabody, Matt Bell, Meg Tuite, Len Kuntz and Bill Yarrow all dazzled.

I read two short pieces: “No Face World Champ” and “Keep it Curt.”

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That evening, we took in the stellar Sara Lippmann, reading from her amazing short story collection, Doll Palace, with other Dock Street Press readers, including host Dane Bahr who is editor-in-chief (right), and Robert James Russell (bottom):

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Saturday I was on my first AWP panel: Literary Orphans Presents: Desire, Grief, Joy, Shame, and Fear. An Intimate Exploration of Identity. I was graciously asked to replace another writer who had taken ill, and was unable to make it to AWP. Our host, Mike Joyce, introduced us. And moderator, Anna March was superb. The other panelists included Zoe Zolbrod, Antonia Crane, Marie Lee and Brian Spears- they were all terrific, insightful, brave and inspiring. We had a packed audience, and the entire experience was transformative:

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After we wrapped up our q & a, I blasted over to hear Meg Tuite on her Flash Fiction panel (The Flash Fiction Marketplace: What Editors are Looking For) with Tom Hazuka, Kim Chinquee and Lex Williford). Meg was fantastic, had so many insightful points about craft and read a story by Sara Henning called “My Grandfather’s Photographs” which is terrific. Originally published by Connotation Press (where Meg was former Fiction editor): http://www.connotationpress.com/fiction/2423-sara-henning-fiction

Meg and Sarah

Overall, the entire AWP #15 was outstanding. Saturday, I finally had a chance to see my publisher, Michael Seidlinger at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth. He told me that Addicts & Basements sold out, as well as most of the other CCM titles. Fantastic news! Can’t ask for more than that.

And AWP is also about friendships, and writing community comrades:

Antonia LenHomiesBill and MegSara LenRobert and LenKS me

Unforgettable memories, great moments. Thanks everyone for another truly remarkable experience. Los Angeles- here we come!!!

 

 

 

 

Gearing up: AWP Minneapolis 2015

Prior to any large conference, it’s best to create a checklist. I like lists, and the sense of accomplishment that can come when crossing off the items. And that’s the trick- don’t include things that you’ve already done. Ha! Here are ten of mine:

1) Consider the days you will be gone, the tasks that are normally yours. How will they get handled? Who is responsible for keeping status quo at home? Pets? Family? Missing anyone’s birthday, nomination, divorce?

2) Confirm your reservations for flights, cars, transportation, hotel, etc. Nothing worse than arriving to find you were never booked at The Hyatt after all, or the only cars they have available at Hertz are minivans.

3) Create a daily flow chart- possible panels, events, speakers, readers. What days are best for you to hit the selling floor- it’s noisy, chaotic, and can be draining. But those bargains, and running into Roxane Gay or Extie Ex- incomparable!

4) Save time for registration morning; bring your registration code to make it go quicker. Consider doing some of your at home regimen- workouts? I remember running into Christopher Allen at some ungodly hour (like 5:30 am)- he got up every day to wander around Seattle (AWP 2014) just to take in the city. It’s what writers do best, experience a city in all of its sensory luxury.

5) Might want to make plans for that hug, or drink, or meeting prior to arriving in Minneapolis. Kathy Fish? Matt Nelson? Once there, you’ll most likely settle into what’s known as the AWP TIME WARP: Where am I? What city are we in? “Help, Meg- how did we get here?!!!”

6) Remember a sheet with all of your passwords on it- emails, blogs, PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Fictionaut, Square, iTunes, Submittable, LinkedIn… (you get the picture). Also remember to pack clothes that “peel off.” A coat, gloves and one scarf don’t hurt. Sunglasses. An umbrella (although most hotels lend them). Comfortable shoes- you’ll be standing way more than sitting.

7) Pick a time to write- I have coffee with Len K, my conference bro, but prior to meeting him, because I am always up at the crack of dawn, I’ll do some stream-of-consciousness notes, or journaling, or just jot down some desires, wants, lists, or other. If it’s just not coming, then I’ll make something happen later that morning. And one thing my dear pal Karen S is great at is selecting one day, and getting to see some of the host city- a museum or a neighborhood, or just a fantastic meal at the highly recommended Italian restaurant can be a terrific memory.

8) Bring books, business cards, flyers, pens, t-shirts, booze (MJS, Bud Smith) and every other thing that will help to get the word out about your latest book, project, website, etc. You’ll be amazed by all of the creative projects around the selling floor. Bring extra money too- books, books, books. And if it’s your first AWP, buy another bag in Minneapolis for all of your purchases.

9) The off-site events are the rage- so knowing this, go to the AWP website, or when you arrive look through the immense catalogue. See where you might hear Lidia Yuknavitch or Lydia Davis read? Also pre-select a few panels, and get to them EARLY. These can be completely full, and don’t be turned away. Typically we just send our buddy MGM to attend these for us, but he is unable to come to AWP this year, so I have to change strategies.

10) Plan to be overwhelmed, anxious, hurt, sorry, sad, befuddled, wondering: WHY AM I A WRITER? Everyone and their mother/father/niece/godson is. And that’s true. But also plan on having a blast, laughing your butt off, feeling exhilarated, exhausted, and returning home planning on how you will attend Los Angeles in 2016. How do I know? This is my 5th in a row. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.