Archive for March, 2010

March 29, 2010

Author Privacy in the Digital World

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I treasure my privacy. For an aspiring writer, however, treasured privacy might be a suicide wish for publication in today’s hyper-tech world where everyone is expected to “put themselves out there.” As Nathan Bransford points out, publishers want authors who are “Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, and everything they can do to get out there.” New media is an obvious part of modern publicity and promotion, not only of one’s work, but of one’s self. To take it a step further, I think publishers want authors who can utilize new media in highly effective ways because new media is where the new audience is. Young people (the under 30s) are connected with technology in intimate ways and any author who can exploit that connection through regular blog posts, twitter updates, and a basic ability to put oneself out there continuously will naturally have a better chance to connect with those young people who will be the book purchasers of the future.

Would J.D. Salinger have survived the pummel of promotion today to become a beloved and enduring author, given his reclusive stance? If Thomas Pynchon had been twittering his life this whole time, what effects would that have on the reading public’s perception and acceptance of his work? (Imagine Pynchon tweets: #notanauthor Took baby to park, hung with other parents. Decided to include defecation sex scene for in-progress novel, Gravity’s Rainbow)

Then again, writers aren’t like pop music stars or actors. Their public image is still a private one, based on their writing that, in all likelihood, has less readers and fans than even a mid-grade actor like, say, Steve Bushemi. In her promotions for the film The Incredibles, writer and NPR commentator Sarah Vowell was asked about her experience on the red carpet. She said it was horrifying, with paparazzi chirping her name left and right while snapping pictures with enormous flashbulbs. “We don’t have paparazzi in public radio,” she said. Author privacy, though a little less private in today’s world, certainly still exists.

March 27, 2010

Write Away #29

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March 25, 2010


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Head’s up: Issue #3’s submission deadline is April 15. The issue should go live in May.

Send us all you’ve got as long as it’s good!!!

March 25, 2010

Write Away #28

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March 24, 2010

YA Literature For Grown-ups

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Recently, a Los Angeles Times article mentioned that more adults are reading YA (young adult) novels than in previous years and sales of YA books are one of the few bright spots in a floundering publishing industry. Over at Flavorwire, the editors picked their selection of the ten best YA books for adults.

Adults loving YA literature is nothing new, of course, as the number of adult Harry Potter fans shows. However, outside of massively successful children’s and YA literature that is deemed acceptable for older audiences despite its younger targets, literature for the young is often received with disdain by “serious” readers.

Well, “serious” readers have no fun in life and probably spend their time drinking unsweetened tea and munching on rice cakes. The dividing line between adult and YA literature is a wavy, inconstant one and, despite the supposedly recent trend, not new. While there are plenty of trashy and terribly written young adult books, there are an equal if not larger number of trashy and terribly written adult books. However, just as The Catcher in the Rye is beloved by teenagers and adults alike, so The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime or The Book Thief can transcend the too often limiting label of “young adult” that prevents excellent books by fine writers from falling into adult hands.

A smart bookstore will have YA books adults can enjoy and adult novels that adolescents can enjoy in both sections of their store. Further, a smart bookstore will have a well-read staff that isn’t limited by the demarcation lines of publishing house imprints. The same goes for smart libraries and librarians. Reading is for pleasure, not shame. Much of what prevents adult readers from seeking out and reading books otherwise categorized as “young adult” is the belief that if “it’s intended for someone younger than me, it must be beneath me.” Adult readers need to get over this limiting and fallacious belief because, not only is it silly, but it also shows a lack of sophistication about writing and books.

This is one of the reasons why this actively encourages book reviews about YA books. We understand that, while not all YA literature is superb and not all of it will engage or interest adult readers, there are plenty of YA titles that adults can and should enjoy without feeling ashamed, idiotic, or a less serious reader.

In this Issue #2, Rachel Heston Davis reviews Alison Croggon’s The Naming. In future issues, we look forward to bring our readers thoughtful reviews of adult and young adult literature. We feel it’s important to recognize writers outside of whatever publishing house imprints their books come from and without much regard to the average age of the target audience.

March 22, 2010

Write Away #27

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“Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

March 19, 2010

Book Reviewers Wanted!

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We’re on the hunt for excellent book reviewers for this Issue #3, as well as book reviewers we can add to our roaster of regular contributors.

Our goal is to regularly post book reviews on our blog and, with each issue, publish a handful of really exciting reviews.

To review books you don’t necessarily need any experience but your review must be well written and require little or no editing.

this accepts reviews of recently published fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, films, online or print journals, music, and young adult novels. If you’re uncertain if a review fits, send it our way and we’ll let you know. Queries about reviews of soon to be published books are welcomed.

Some of our past reviews can be found on our website. To submit a review, please note our submissions guidelines and then e-mail

March 18, 2010

Write Away #26

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That pounding, that terrible, vicious, animal pounding at the temples and Freddy couldn’t find the aspirin, the little white pills to save him before Bianca arrived.

March 17, 2010

Green Literature: St. Patty’s Day Edition

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In honor of St. Patty’s day (and to hoping you don’t kill all your brain cells tonight), here’s a tasting of some recommended Irish literature.

John Banville, The Infinities
The Infinities is a playful yet reflective novel with an unusual cast of mortals and Gods (and those mortals who dubiously believe they are Gods). Told in turns by the dis-functional family of an unconscious physicist and the Greek god Hermes, all of whom keep vigil at the dying’s bedside, The Infinities is Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville’s latest novel. For those in the dark, Banville also writes mystery novels set in Ireland under the pen name Benjamin Black.

Listen to an interview with John Banville here.

Wes Davis (editor), An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

Maybe you love the Irish. Maybe you love poetry. An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry contains work by more than fifty contemporary poets who have called Ireland home, including Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland (a personal favorite), and David Wheatley. The heft alone will convince fellow commuters that you mean business, at least where your poetry is concerned.

William Trevor, Cheating at Canasta

Generally considered a master of the short story, William Trevor’s 2007 story collection Cheating at Canasta pits a range of characters against the slow and often uneventful march of everyday life. A review in Publisher’s Weekly says “the book as a whole recalls Joyce’s Dubliners in making melancholia a powerful narrative device.” More recently, Trevor published the slim novel, Love and Summer.

Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy

O’Brien’s novel tryptic follows the lives of two friends, Kate and Baba. Raised in a strict Roman Catholic upbringing in the Irish countryside, they move to London, where they find love, sex, and marital disillusionment over the course of the three novels. The books were originally banned in Ireland for the frank treatment of women’s sexuality.

Bram Stoker, Dracula

The vampire novel that started it all, Bram Stoker’s Victorian masterpiece swept vampire legend and mythology with a raciness that has inspired everyone from Anne Rice to Stephanie Meyers.

March 15, 2010

Head’s Up: Website

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FYI: The ‘zine website will be down Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll let you know as soon as it returns!

March 14, 2010

National Book Critics Circle Awards

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The honorees for National Book Critics Circle Awards for 2010 are:

General Nonfiction: The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Autobiography: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
Biography: Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey
Criticism: Notes from No Man’s Land by Eula Biss
Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout
Fiction: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

March 14, 2010

Write Away #25

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She turned quickly and the screen door closed behind her.

March 7, 2010

Write Away #24

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“Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.”
~Arthur Schopenhauer

March 7, 2010

The Return of Write Away!

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In the midst of reading submissions and designing our new website, we’ve been more than pathetically lax with posting Write Away. Well, it’s back!

For those new to the blog (or who have just plain forgotten), Write Away sprang from this little post (reprinted below in case you’re too lazy to click the link):

      In her book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott encourages writers to find time to sit down at their desks everyday and to write, no matter how difficult it is or how impossible it seems. Just write, even if it’s only 300 words.

      When I read this I thought, easy cake. 300 words is nothing to write everyday. And then I tried it. Like knitting or teaching kindergarteners, I realized, shit, this is hard. Especially for someone who can’t turn off the internal editor as she writes and strives to make every sentence perfect, 300 words everyday is asking quite a lot.

      One afternoon in the middle of cursing out Anne Lamott and her little challenge as I stared down my computer screen with simmering rage, willing the end of the short story I was working on to fall from my fingertips, I realized, wait a minute. She said I just have to write 300 words. She didn’t say I had to write 300 words that I would ever use again or 300 words of pure, blissful, Amy Hempel-quality, or even 300 words towards the story I was currently working on. I just had to write 300 damn words!

      Feeling like I’d decoded the top secret message to finally grant my entry to the inner circle, I opened a book to a random page, slid my finger halfway down, and wrote 300 words using the sentence my finger landed upon as the springboard. Was it the best 300 words I’d ever written? Certainly not. But it did loosen me up for a bit, yes, absolutely.

      I don’t always write 300 words from a writing prompt before I get down to work, but sometimes it helps. Sometimes, like with taxes, you need a nice distraction in between your I-9 and your 1040. Some writing prompts don’t go anywhere and that’s okay. Some are incorporated into stories I’m working on, either directly or indirectly. Some grow into an entire life of their own.

      I think writing prompts are more fun and often open up more creativity if they come from outside yourself (hence, the random book page). Beginning today, this zine is going to post one writing prompt everyday under the title “Write Away.” Why that title? First, I think if you love to write and intend to write, you often have an itch to write right now, right away, sometimes when it’s least convenient. Second, the idea of the writing prompt is to read it and go, without thinking, and just write away, without stopping to edit. You can edit later. For now you are only going to write. Maybe all you can get out is 300 words before you’re spent. Maybe you’re lost to another world the next four hours, writing away. It doesn’t matter what happens, so long as you take the time to devote at least 300 words to your writing.

      And hey, if it leads to something you send to us, wouldn’t that be great too?

Our initial goal, of course, was to bring you a new Write Away everyday. That remains our goal but hey, let’s face it, sometimes life intervenes, sometimes you need a vacation, and sometimes your MacBook just won’t corporate (that last one actually isn’t true–the MacBook always corporates).

The point is:
GOAL: to bring one new Write Away each day.
REALITY: to bring a new Write Away often enough to assuage our guilt about abandoning you for so long and to get you writing.

Let the writing day begin.

March 5, 2010

Facebook — Finally!

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this finally joins the world of Facebook.

You can become our fan here.

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March 4, 2010

Macmillan E-book: Update

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Macmillan (of the Amazon vs. Macmillan fame), will begin to publish e-books as a simultaneous release to newly published titles, says CEO John Sargent in a press release on the publisher’s website. Sargent states that the e-books will be available at a variety of prices.

In related news, The Atlantic online gets snippy about the “expenses” of publishing a hardcover book.

March 1, 2010

New Issue, New Website & More!

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Our new website is finally finished! We inaugurate it with the second issue of this, featuring:

–poetry by Rachel C. Fletcher and Liza Sparks
–fiction by Ian Penrose
–erotica by Niki Graff
–an interview with Christine Stoddard, Founder and President of the Greater Washington Indie Arts Festival
–a short film by Erica F.
–a book reviews of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves, Alison Croggon’s The Naming, and Jennifer Scanlon’s Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life and Times of Helen Gurley Brown.

Don’t forget to join our fan page on Facebook! If you are logged in to Facebook, this link will take you directly to our fan page.