Category Archives: Flash Fiction

My short fiction pieces that are published either online or in print

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 “Prismatic” 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 “Prismatic” 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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

RIFT cover and more

Hello Friends!

Fall is in full bloom, the leaves danced off the trees all day yesterday!

My next book, RIFT, co-written with Kathy Fish, is nearly here. We have a new cover:

RIFT cover

Thanks designer, Casey McSpadden: http://www.caseymcspadden.com

Also, here is what some writer folks are kindly saying about RIFT (so far):

“RIFT made me laugh my face off, cry my guts out, and remember why writing matters: stories save us from our idiotic but lovable selves.”- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children (HarperCollins, 2015)

“These stories made me not sit still. They turned me around and turned me around.” –xTx, author of Today I am a Book (CCM, 2015)

“The stories in RIFT are peculiar and exciting and riveting and mournful and veer into places I hadn’t noticed in my peripheral vision. You know, like life.” Daniel Handler, author of We Are Pirates (Bloomsbury, 2015)

“These stories by Kathy Fish and Robert Vaughan are rich, textured, and physical – they smart with tension and possibility. RIFT is peppered with appealing, complex characters and atmospheric details.” – Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Almost Famous Women (Scribner, 2015)

“Each vivid piece in RIFT, this sharp collection, clutches the reader suddenly — needing to offer its secret with the urgent elegance of the very best short short fiction.” Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine (Penguin Books, 2014)

 

If you are interested in receiving an Advanced Review Copy of RIFT, please contact our publisher, Bud Smith at Unknown Press.

*******************************************************************************

I am also getting all the last minute information together for my upcoming week long workshop called Poetry & Fiction: Writing from the Well of Diverse Genres, October 18- 25 at The Clearing in Door County. I am gaining so much excitement as the week draws closer.

Any pumpkin picking plans in your Fall schedule? Hay rides? Bonfires? Star-gazing?

 

The Small Prestivus Festival: Readings, Workshops, and More

Hi friends!

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

GriffithIN

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!

 

My music playlist at LargeHearted Boy

David Gutkowski, the editor at LargeHearted Boy wrote this about Addicts & Basements:

“Robert Vaughan’s collection brilliantly straddles the line between prose poetry and flash fiction, defying categorization while impressing with its unlikable characters that repeatedly earn the compassion of readers.”

Thanks, David! Also a nod to John Madera at Rhizomatic Publishing: LARGEHEARTED BOY Publishes Robert Vaughan’s “Book Notes” for ADDICTS & BASEMENTS | Rhizomatic

Check out my playlist: Largehearted Boy: Book Notes – Robert Vaughan “Addicts & Basements”

Also, congratulations to mentor and friend Roxane Gay, her publication day of Bad Feminist, a collection of her Essays, is out now. Get your copy, you won’t be disappointed:

unnamed

Enjoy the week! Happy Birthday to my room-mate Gregory from college.

 

 

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.