Sept. 22, 2013: An update on my short stories with PhoneFiction: voting for the contest will close on Oct. 15, 2013, NOT Sept. 15 as I previously announced. So you still have time to read and vote for my work! Later in October they’ll announce the winners for the Reader’s Choice Award ($500), the Editor’s Choice Award ($500), and the PhoneFiction Journal Prize ($1,000).
They have a number of other cool projects moving forward as well:
Audio Content: Eventually they hope to produce a high-quality radio station for short literature. In the meantime, authors will have the choice to record their own stories and post the audio files on the PhoneFiction site.
Education: The PhoneFiction team is currently running a pilot program in a local (Columbus, OH) high school’s AP Literature program and working with faculty from The Ohio State University’s English Department and English as a Second Language division. The primary goals of this are to provide new short literature to engaged young people and to facilitate relationships between classrooms and authors. Authors interested in visiting classrooms (including via Skype) to discuss their work with students—which I am interested in—will receive a “Class Friendly” designation.
Author Pages: Each PhoneFiction author will have a unique page built for them on the site as soon as the design is finished, allowing readers to follow authors, find links to their work online, and more.
I’ll post additional announcements on all of these developments as I learn about them.
I also have a number of older announcements to catch up on:
My sonnet “Germinate” was named a finalist in the sixth Great River Shakespeare Festival Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. It will also be considered for inclusion in a possible upcoming anthology.
My writing workshop “The Golden Road to Samarkand (or Any Other Destination, Including Home): Writing About Place” has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming Wordstock Festival in Portland! It will run on Sunday, Oct. 6, beginning at noon. This from their website:
“Wordstock began in 2005 and is already the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, during the festival, we bring together hundreds of small presses, independent publishers, non-profits, and independent booksellers along with 150+ authors. Because Wordstock is dedicated to connecting you to contemporary writers, the festival includes a series of knowledge and skill workshops for practicing writers called Wordstock for Writers.”
High-school and college teachers seeking a compelling, contemporary, cross-cultural reader for their classes may consider adopting The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays, which Foreword Reviews recently awarded a Silver Medal in the Foreword Book of the Year Awards.
Included are extensive, in-depth discussion questions for book clubs and instructors, and fun, challenging “NET assignments” for high-school and college students. Instructors may request a digital desk copy from the publisher. For more information, please visit the listing on the publisher’s website.
Finally, a letter/“essay” I wrote to my brother while I was overseas has been published online by the journal Ontologica. Titled “A Dacha in Kazakhstan,” it can be found in their latest issue. Clicking on the cover under “Issue 5.1—Summer 2013” will take you to a PDF of that issue.
July 5, 2013: Vote for me!
No, I’m not running for political office. I have five previously published short stories in a unique and forward-thinking contest called PhoneFiction.
One story will win a $500 Editor’s Choice Award, while the Readers’ Choice Award will be chosen by votes. The story that wins the Readers’ Choice award will additionally earn $1,000 for the journal that originally published it, a cool way to honor both authors and publishers.
To vote, you must sign up and log in. This prevents robots from voting and also ensures one vote per story, per user. Sign up takes about 30 seconds and is free here.
Once you’re logged in to PhoneFiction, the option to vote for my five stories will become available (links below):
“Nuclear Toughskins” (originally published in Many Mountains Moving)
“Accomplices to a Tradition” (originally published in Rosebud)
“The River” (originally published in Crab Orchard Review)
“Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air” (originally published in The Pinch)
“The Cat People” (originally published in Fjords Review)
If you want to read but not vote, no problem! You need do nothing but follow the links above directly to my stories or visit PhoneFiction to peruse a sampling of others’ stories.
There’s a lot of great contemporary fiction to be found there, which I encourage you to read before this contest ends on September 15, 2013. Whether you sign up and vote or not really doesn’t matter. Please just consider taking this opportunity to enjoy whatever most strikes your fancy.
May 16, 2013: My review of The Barrios of Manta: A Personal Account of the Peace Corps in Ecuador, a memoir by Rhoda and Earle Brooks, may be found on the following link to the Peace Corps Writers website. Recently republished in honor of the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, the book is an important document of the Peace Corps’ earliest work and an engaging portrait of the Brookses. They did an admirable job of capturing the essence of what it means to be Peace Corps volunteers.
May 7, 2013: My guest blog “The Writing Life” for the Potomac Review has been posted and may be found here. Please feel free to leave a comment and to check out the many other interesting entries on their website.
Honors for The Chalk Circle continue to pour in: it has been named one of three finalists in the 2013 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards competition, in the Multicultural category. The winner will be named at the awards ceremony on May 29 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Also, this month I’ll be taking part in the Trillium Project, a revolving residency program that takes place during spring wildflower season at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, which will allow me to continue the work I began at the Andrews Forest.
April 3, 2013: A reception and book signing will be held for the photography and poetry exhibit “Ekphrasis: Photos Speak Out” today from 12 to 1 p.m. in the South Santiam Hall Gallery at Linn-Benton Community College. I will be among the poets reading and available to sign a limited number of the books that will be for sale.
In addition, a silent fundraising art auction will be underway in the conference room adjacent to the gallery to benefit the Valley Writers Series. The auction items will be on display and open for bidding until April 19, with the final week of bidding continuing online at tinyurl.com/vwssaa.
The main gallery exhibit, featuring 20 pairs of photographs by the Willamette Valley PhotoArts Guild and the poems they inspired, runs through May 3.
March 18, 2013: I’ve completed my two-week residency at the Andrews Experimental Forest—what a rewarding and productive experience at a fascinating and beautiful place! Many, many thanks to the Spring Creek Project for sponsoring me, and to all the good people at forest headquarters who greatly assisted me.
More honors for The Chalk Circle anthology, in which one of my essays appears: it has been named a finalist for a ForeWord Book of the Year award. Winners will be announced by the end of June.
My nonfiction piece “A Dacha in Kazakhstan” has been accepted for publication in the next issue of the online journal Ontologica, which will go live at the end of July.
Feb. 27, 2013: “An Extended Beatitude for the Twenty-First Century” is now available to read here in the latest issue of About Place Journal, which this quarter has the theme “Wall Street.”
Since moving to Oregon, I’ve been fortunate to regularly attend meetings of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club, and I just participated in a wonderful group reading as part of this year’s Unity Celebration at the college in honor of Black History Month. Kudos to all those who participated; it was an electric, emotionally moving event.
An upcoming joint project between the Poetry Club and the Willamette Valley Photo Arts Guild involves a poetry/photography exhibit and book, both titled Ekphrasis: Photos Speak Out. The opening reception for this project is currently scheduled for April 3; more on that later.
Jan. 16, 2013: My poem “An Extended Beatitude for the Twenty-First Century” has been accepted for the next issue of About Place Journal, due in mid-February 2013. The editor for this issue is Black Earth Fellow Marcella Durand, author of Traffic & Weather (Futurepoem, 2008).
My micro lyric essay “A Christmas Star, Surgery, and a Soul Mate on TV” was a semi-finalist for the CutBank Online Flash Fiction-Prose Poetry Prize.
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN the page to read my news updates for this year. To access updates for each year going back to 2006, when I first created this webpage, click on the links to the right.