Category Archives: Readings

Exploratory Fiction at Mabel Dodge Luhan House

Hi friends!

I just returned yesterday from our week long workshop. Kathy Fish and I led an Exploratory Fiction workshop: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice. It was held at the venerable Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. There are so many favorite moments, captured in snapshots from the entire, phenomenal week. I will include them in this post when possible.

Len Kuntz and I arrived a day early, and toured Bandolier National Monument:

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The day was perfect, and I hadn’t been there since 1987. Quite amazing memories, and new ones, also.

Our workshop participants arrived all day on Saturday, and we began the event after dinner. All week, our focus was on creative, generative writing time, supported by contemporary writing examples of exploratory fiction we all read together each morning (e.g. Lucia Berlin, Lydia Copeland, Yennie Cheung, DJ Berndt, Eileen Merriman, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Aubrey Hirsch and Casey Hannon).

teaching MDLH

Above is Juniper Hall, where we experienced some stimulating discussions about flash fiction. Also, we had terrific fiction exercises that we used in class or as possible prompts all week for the workshop participants to pursue.

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Top (L to R): Len Kuntz outside Big House; Levi Andrew Noe on Patio

Middle (L to R): Jonathan Cardew in Gazebo; Katherine Seluja in Big House

Bottom: Meg Tuite in Room 1 of Juniper House

We also held roundtables from 3-5 pm every day. The two groups would meet with either Kathy Fish, or me. Each writer would take a turn reading her/his new story aloud, then receive insightful comments. It was truly inspiring, both to hear the new work, and the amount of distance each writer traveled in terms of risk, support, adventure, and willingness to play at 100%.

The meals were terrific: ’nuff said. All three, every single day. The staff: beyond the best!

entire crewMDLH kitchen

Workshop participants on L

Mabel Dodge Luhan Kitchen staff on R.

In addition, we held a panel discussion Tuesday night about publishing with independent presses:

Ts Panel MDLH

(L to R): Len Kuntz, Kathy Fish, Meg Tuite, Robert Vaughan.

And on Wednesday afternoon, we had a docent tour of the Big House, which is exquisite:

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Left: Bathroom windows painted by D.H. Lawrence! Right: Painted stairs to Mabel and Tony’s rooms.

K and me

“Salon Talk” in Mabel’s room, Robert Vaughan and Katherine Seluja!

homies MDLH

Robert Vaughan, Meg Tuite and Len Kuntz on Tony Luhan’s original sleeping couch!

Our last evening in Taos, Thursday, we held a reading, hosted by Meg Tuite…all ten participants shared a new work that they’d crafted during the workshop. Also, Kathy Fish and I did. My story was called “Speed Trap.”

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None of this would have happened without my partner and cohort, the uber-talented Kathy Fish. Thanks for everything you did (and have done), to make this all a realized dream:

KF as MTM

And here’s the good news: we are already making plans for a 2018 return to Mabel Dodge Luhan House. In the meantime, visit Kathy’s site at www.kathy-fish.com. And I’ll be adding my teaching dates for 2017 very soon! Taos, we miss you so very much. Endless great memories made during our Exploratory Fiction: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice workshop:

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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!

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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.

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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!

Fiction Workshop: 2016

Exploratory Fiction: Tap In, Dig Deep, Discover Voice

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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.

 

 

 

 

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

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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:

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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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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?

 

 

Readings, Raffles and more

Hi friends!

A quick recap of my recent trip to Santa Fe: WHAT A BLAST!!! The view from our room 630 at La Fonda, and my pal, Len whom I shared the glory with:

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We went to Santa Fe for the TWISTED Reading Series, hosted by our pal, Meg Tuite:

El Flacco and Meg Santa Fe

Our featured reader was the exceptional Kate Braverman, and once Karen Stefano and James Claffey arrived, everything was A-OK! Meg’s Santa Fe reading circle rounded out the twelve readers. Also the Denver writers, with Sally Reno, Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman (at a Karaoke Lounge after the reading) :

Kate Braverman and meReading in Santa FeThe gang Santa Fe 2015Len and me Santa Fe

Last photo of me actually reading a new piece, “Keep it, Curt”:

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Overall, it  was a festive event and a great extended weekend!

RAFFLES:

The winner of the January Raffle is…Julia Fiero!!! There were seventy-four entries and I asked a non-writer to select a name out of a hat (blind). Congratulations, Julia- I hope you enjoy Luke Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours as much as I did!

February Raffle is Together We Can Bury It by Kathy Fish! To enter, simply comment here or on my Facebook Post, Twitter or Tumblr. This is another book you simply must have!

And, my piece called The Fallow Heart, which is in my Addicts & Basements book, you can read at Fictionaut: “The Fallow Heart” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut

And that, sugar plums, is a wrap…stay warm and informed.

 

Reviews and Year End List Mentions

There are so few rare gems that I’ve had the treat to meet during week long workshops. Among them is Michael Gillan Maxwell. We met in 2011, at Omega Institute in upstate New York, during a week long poetry retreat. (I blogged about it here: Oh Omega, What a Week.)

Many events transpired that week, among them, as Michael recently reminded me, my apparent declaration in the Omega cafe during a rare moment of self- assuredness, that I was on the verge of publishing a first collection, with many more to follow. In retrospect, Michael called those observations “prescient” (believe me, they weren’t!) Still, in the years since, I’ve had three books published, all by different independent publishers. And my very kind, astute, multi-talented and dear associate, Michael, wrote a wonderful review, which published here: MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews | Three Works by Robert Vaughan. Also, thanks for friends like Meg Tuite, Bill Yarrow, Joani Reese, and Bud Smith for helping spread the word about MGM’s review.

Then, today, the uber-talented Kathy Fish (read her!) published her “My Favorite Reads of 2014” and both Diptychs + Triptychs (which Kathy blurbed) and Addicts & Basements are mentioned: My Favorite Reads of 2014 | Kathy Fish. Thanks, Kathy! I am thrilled to read with you in the Santa Fe TWISTED READING on January 24th. More information forthcoming on that!

I’m finally reading Luke B. Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours. LOVE THIS! What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!

Tomorrow, the last day of 2014, I’ll publish my entire 2014 reading list. It’s staggering how many great books I read this year. Very few snoozers!

What are your favorite reads? Least favorite reads?

 

HUMP Day Holla

HUMP Day Holla:

1) Peter Schwartz with 3 poems in PANK: http://pankmagazine.com/piece/three-poems-51/

2) NPR talks about Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi: http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/357428287/tom-magliozzi-popular-co-host-of-nprs-car-talk-dies-at-77

3) Meg Tuite, Michelle Reale and Heather Fowler won Artistically Declined’s 2013 Twin Antler’s Prize: http://artisticallydeclined.net/poetry/twin-antlers/bare-bulbs-swinging/

4) Jen Michalski at Nervous Breakdown with ‘Origin Story: Sara Lippman’s Doll Palace’: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jmichalski/2014/10/origin-story-sara-lippmans-doll-palace/ – more-119571

5) Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish re-blogs Ellen Bass’s “Prayer” from her new Like a Beggar collection: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/10/15/a-poem-for-tuesday-9/

6) Seems fitting for “Democracy” by Dorianne Laux, at Young Chicago Authors: http://youngchicagoauthors.org/blog/artist-feature-dorianne-laux/

7) Ocean Vuong’s “Descent” in Drunken Boat 17: http://www.drunkenboat.com/db17/ocean-vuong

8) BOMB magazine’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Sussler, has published BOMB: The Author Interviews at Soho Press: http://sohopress.com/books/bomb-the-author-interviews/

9) Len Kuntz is straight from the heart at his blog, People You Know By Heart: http://lenkuntz.blogspot.com/

10) If you are near the NYC area on November 16, The Sunday Salon reading series is hosting three Massachusetts writers who are not to be missed: http://www.sundaysalon.com/nyc-november-16-2014.htm.