SUBMIT NOW! Mighty Sword Studio “Spare Ghosts”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A publishing opportunity for misfits and creeps*

William Blake. Always good ‘n’ wicked freaky.


Starting right this minute and
continuing through All Saints Day Nov 1,
please submit your flash fiction and creative nonfiction
to the spanking new “Spare Ghosts” contest.
They will/might/just maybe be published today through midnight Nov 1.

FAQ

Deadline: Submit Now!
Oct 31, all day and night
Nov 1, all day and night

What: Original spare (of length) stories and essays guaranteed to creep out at least one reader. 600 words max. No kidding.

How to submit: Attach a Word doc or pdf to an email—or paste your text into the body of the email—and send to PauletteLivers(at)gmail(dot)com

Are cliches okay? You bet. As long as the cliche doesn’t feel as though the writer does not recognize it as a cliche.

Is 6 words enough? Yes, Ernest, even 5 words are enough. Shoes optional.

Is 601 words too many? Yes, DFW. Spare Ghosts is the title of this opportunity, after all.

May I submit a piece that’s been published elsewhere? Yes, but please get needed permissions, and please include a reference to the original publication.

What about excerpts longer pieces? As long as it’s fairly self-contained and makes me afraid to go to sleep, or makes my hair stand ever so slightly, excerpts are fine.

I have this thing I wrote when I was 14 . . . If someone over 19 reads it now and is genuinely freaked out, by all means, submit. Whatever you send, use brutal discretion.

What do I get out of this? Glory everlasting, at www.PauletteLivers.com.

*We’re talking you, Kelly Link, Brian Evenson, Lidia Yuknavitch, Stephen Graham Jones, and all your ilk. If you, dear reader-writer, follow/read/stalk such uber-creepy writers (e.g. above) consider this your call to pen, or keyboard, or sword, or what-have-you. 

Demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump during the Women's March inside Karura forest in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya NYTCREDIT: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

They Did March for Me

In the photo above, demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump during the Women’s March inside Karura forest in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, January 21, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/ NYT: Thomas Mukoya, Nairobi

____________________________________________________________________________________

As we settled into bed on the Sunday night after the January 21 Global Women’s March, my husband read a post that had been shared on a family member’s Facebook page. The gist of the post was that several million women, men, and children who marched did not speak for the post’s original author, Brandi Atkinson, about whom I’ve been able to find little information.

Now, I come from a large family containing every brand of spiritual beliefs, gender preference, and political persuasion. We’re spread around the country, but manage to get together fairly regularly and, by avoiding intensely political conversations, we are generally affable and fond of one another. Yet after my husband and I turned out the lights that night, I laid awake for hours, my thoughts racing. Should I:
A. comment on the piece (which my relative had shared, not authored),
B. block this beloved relative’s future posts (which not only feels passive aggressive but runs counter to my belief in the necessity of healing our country’s dangerous red-blue rift through open respectful dialogue),
C. try to figure out why the post bothered me so much, or
D. explore the genuine feelings of someone who views our nation and our place in the world differently from me, with the aim of finding respectful dialogue.

MORE: Read this entire essay online, free, at Hypertext Magazine.

 

As Chicago’s crowd grew, it became apparent that actual marching was impossible. Far from being cancelled, the rallies and speeches occurred throughout every block full of marchers. Credit: CBS News Chicago

 

Inspiration & Tarot: Jessa Crispin talks with Chicago Review of Books

9781501120237Chicago is the lover Jessa Crispin returns to from time to time. Her new book, The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life, reminds me of my on-again/off-again affair with the Tarot years ago, which had less to do with prognostication than with diversion, a rerouting for writing projects that seemed hell-bent in unpromising directions. A fictional character I was involved with at the time had sent me to the deck for research, which led to multiple trips to NOLA’s Jackson Square and some dispiriting meetings in claustrophobic rooms entered through a curtain of beads. But that’s another story.

Crispin, founder of Bookslut.com, tells of her own visit to a “skilled reader” who helped her re-see her life during a particularly difficult time, so that it became a story she could tell differently. She was hooked after that, not on the cards’ use as a window to the future, but as a tool for laying out the bones of story.

Indie Bound calls The Creative Tarot “a hip, accessible, and practical guide for artists and creative people looking to tarot for inspiration.” The book gets the coveted star-rating at Publishers’ Weekly, which says, “Crispin presents a persuasive case for the tarot’s usefulness to writers and artists; her many insights into the creative life as well as her dazzlingly wide array of examples throughout make this a valuable reference for readers not remotely interested in the ‘psychic arts’.”

Reading Adam Morgan’s interview with Crispin at the Chicago Review of Books was a nice way to celebrate yesterday’s publication date for Crispin’s new title. You can find the interview here: Jessa Crispin’s Creative Tarot Will Change the Way You Write

2016: 2 new events and a residency, and more to come

Near VCCA, the Cold/Cole Mountain Trail (portion of Appalachian Trail) George Washington National Forest, VA

After a five-week writing residency at Virginia Center for Creative Arts (Thank you, VCCA!) and a quiet holiday interlude, I’ll be back on the road next month.

Carnegie Center, Lexington KY

Carnegie Center, Lexington KY

February 9, Carnegie Center for the Creative Arts, Lexington KY.  I’m excited to be included in the Kentucky Great Writers Series with novelist Tania James and poet Tom Hunley. Tom is the director of Steel Toe Books Press and a professor at Western Kentucky University. Tania’s novels have been included on multiple Best of lists. Be sure to visit their websites before you come to our reading on Tuesday Feb 9 at 7:30pm. Also, if you want to join in the community reading before hand, arrive at the Carnegie Center around 6 to sign up for open mic, which begins at 6:30 (3-minute limit). A book signing follows the reading, with books available for purchase from The Morris Book Shop.

UofL Women's Basketball Team 1909, courtesy of University of Louisville Photo Archives (Ref http://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/ref/collection/yearbooks/id/760.

UofL Women’s Basketball Team 1909, courtesy of University of Louisville Photo Archives (Ref http://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/ref/collection/yearbooks/id/760.

March 5, the 10th Annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival will take place, an all-day event at the University of Louisville, sponsored by The Women’s Center. What an honor to be presenting with so many stellar Kentucky literary women. The full schedule will be up soon, so check their website for updates.

March 27 begins a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center to work on my new novel. I am eternally grateful to supporters of the arts and the good people who keep these places running. The quiet environment, space, and time to devote to our work is a blessing for artists, writers, composers, etc who are fortunate enough to attend.

Speaking of novels, a limited number of 1st Edition hardcovers of Cementville are still available. In addition to the new softcover, Cementville can be downloaded as an E-Book for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple iBook formats.
Cementville400Booksellers, please consider stocking Cementville in softcover—and there are a limited number of 1st Edition HC still available too. Let me know what I can do to help your efforts to get great reads into the hands of your customers. We writers appreciate all you do on behalf of the literary community.
Book groups, perhaps the modest softcover price will encourage you to add Cementville to your reading list. I love meeting with book clubs, and have met with many around the country over the past year. Let me know if you’d like me to join you via Skype or in person if I’m in your area.
And dear readers, thank you for picking up my novel. I love hearing from you! Please tell your friends!
Purchase Cementville wherever books are sold:
Your local independent bookstore
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

 

Christopher Rosales Chicago Release Party!

Christopher David RosalesSaturday, Sept 5, 3-5pm, at the Side Project Theatre 1439 W Jarvis AveA debut, yes. But not your ordinary debutante. My good friend and badass writer Christopher Rosales is coming to Chicago to celebrate the release of his debut novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the KeeperMixer Publishing has invited a wild-ish crew of Chicago area writers to kickoff Christopher’s new novel. Readings will be performed (or mumbled, or danced, or whatever hijinks might occur) by: Brenna KischukWeiyi KongRichard Thomas, and Adam Webster.
Oh—and me.

A Shifting Literary Light

John Rich. Photo by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Chicago. Courtesy NewCity.

John Rich. Photo by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Chicago. Courtesy NewCity.

 

I just received some bittersweet news in my email now: John Rich will be leaving his post at the Guild Literary Complex. John has been a gentle and moving force on the Chicago lit scene, bringing us years of fantastic cross-cultural programs at the Guild. The good news is that he has been hired on at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago​ as Manager of Performance Programs. So Chicago hasn’t lost him after all.

Here’s the brief bio posted earlier this year at NewCity when John was selected as one of Lit 50 2015: Who Really Books in Chicago (I’m sure I was one of many people who nominated him for the list):

“Prior to his current role at the Guild Literary Complex, John Rich founded the Chicago Book Expo, which supports local publishers, independent bookstores and authors of every genre. Working alongside Michael Puican, president of the Guild Literary Complex, Rich has helped the entity branch into various literary and artistic events throughout the city and across the nation, most recently partnering with the International Cities of Refuge Network, an organization that provides safe havens for persecuted authors and artists across the globe and creating the local programs 25 Writers to Watch and BrooksDay, an annual reading and celebration of the poems of Gwendolyn Brooks.”
(Read about the other 49 on the 2015 list at: NewCityLit)

Thank you for your work on behalf of the literary community, John, and good luck to you!

New Events Added to Cementville’s Paperback Tour

Cementville was released in paperback a few months ago, and I’m back on the road. 

In addition to the new softcover, Cementville can be downloaded as an E-Book for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple iBook formats. A limited number of 1st Edition Hardcovers are still available.

Purchase Cementville wherever books are sold:
Your local independent bookstore
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Booksellers, please consider stocking Cementville in softcover—and there are a limited number of 1st Edition HC still available too. Let me know what I can do to help your efforts to get great reads into the hands of your customers. We writers appreciate all you do on behalf of the literary community.
Book groups, perhaps the modest softcover price will encourage you to add Cementville to your reading list. I love meeting with book clubs, and have met with many around the country over the past year. Let me know if you’d like me to join you via Skype or in person if I’m in your area.
And dear readers, thank you for picking up my novel. I love hearing from you!

New events recently added to the 2015 schedule:

Tuesday, June 23, 7pm, The Center for Fiction, 17 E. 47th Street, NY
Dylan Landis (Rainey Royal), Rebecca Makkai (The Hundred Year House), and Paulette Livers (Cementville) will read and talk with the audience about our novels, all released in paperback this spring. Rebecca is also celebrating a brand new story collection, Music for Wartime!
LiversLandisMakkai

Monday, June 29, Story Studio Chicago. 4043 N. Ravenswood, #222, Chicago, IL 60613, 773.477.7710. I’ll be teaching a one-night class on the creation and uses of character backstory in fiction, an introduction to the full-session class coming this fall. Visit the Story Studio website to register.

Thursday, July 9, Squaw Valley Community of Writers Click the Squaw link to see the incredible lineup of faculty and special guests at this historic summer workshop (July 6-13). Some other Squaw alumni and I will be reading and discussing our work Thursday night at an open-to-the-public event.

Saturday, July 18, “Exploring the Writer’s Craft” at the Louisville campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. I’ll be leading a session at the fourth annual conference sponsored by Women Who Write—this day-long event is open to member and non-member women, as well as men and students.

Slice-Issue16Saturday & Sunday, Sept 12 & 13, 10-5pm. Slice Literary Writers’ ConferenceSt. Francis College, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY. I couldn’t be more happy about being part of the 5th annual conference put on by Slice magazine.

Thursday, Sept 17Book Club meeting, Louisville, KY

September 21, 2015The Book Stall, 811 Elm Street, Winnetka IL 60093. Reading with novelist Christine Sneed, author of Paris, He Said, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct 9Prairie Path Books, 303 E Front St, Wheaton IL 60187. Reading with novelist Christine Sneed, author of Paris, He Said, 7 p.m.

Sept-Oct-Nov,  Story Studio Chicago. 4043 N. Ravenswood, #222, Chicago, IL 60613, 773.477.7710. I’ll be teaching a workshop on the creation and uses of character backstory in fiction.

Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016Kentucky Great Writers SeriesThe Carnegie Center, 251 W. Second Street, Lexington, KY 40507. Reading with novelist Gwyn Hyman Rubio, author of Love & Other Ordinary Creatures.

Author Night at the Book Cellar Chicago

BookCellarButtonsMay 20, 7pm I’ll be part of a diverse trio of writers — and we hope you will be there — for an evening of conversation, sipping, and reading at one of Chicago’s favorite venues, the Book Cellar. If you’ll be in the area, please come. The Book Cellar has a cafe atmosphere: in addition to books, you can also purchase wine, beer, coffee, and lovely treats.

 Jennifer Jordan is the author of Edible Memory, examines the ways that people around the world have sought to identify and preserve old-fashioned varieties of produce. Jordan interviews farmers who are devoted to restoring heirloom fruits and vegetables and offers a powerful retelling of our many historical connections with these foods, from the heirloom tomato (now ubiquitous with the farm to table movement) to antique apples; changing tastes in turnips and related foods like kale and parsnips; and the poignant, perishable world of stone and tropical fruit. Along the way she reveals the connections—the edible memories—these heirlooms offer for farmers, gardeners, chefs, diners, and home cooks. She is associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Angela Doll Carson is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in Burnside Writer’s Collective, Image Journal’s Good Letters, St Katherine Review, Rock & Sling Journal, Ruminate Magazine’s blog, Elephant Journal and Art House America. You can also find her writing online at Mrsmetaphor.com. If you enjoy the writing of Anne Lamott, check out her newly released memoir: Nearly Orthodox: On being a modern woman in an ancient tradition. From Catholic schoolgirl to punk rocker to emergent church planter, Angela Doll Carlson traveled a spiritual path that in many ways mirrors that of a whole generation. She takes us with her on a deep and revealing exploration of the forces that drove her toward Orthodoxy and the challenges that long kept her from fully entering in.

Poets & Writers Live coming to Chicago!

Megan Stielstra at a Second Story performance. Photo courtesy of Julie Sadowski.

Megan Stielstra at a Second Story performance. Photo courtesy of Julie Sadowski for Grayscale Studios.

Poets & Writers Live is coming to Chicago on Saturday, June 20. If you have not yet registered, you can sign up today—before May 15—for the Early Bird reduced price of $60— a whopping 50% off. Space is limited. P&W has put together an outstanding list of writers and publishing professionals for a day of learning, listening, and inspiration.

From coffee at 8AM to a Literary Mixer from 6 to 7PM, it will be a packed day, in the company of other writers. Chicago’s impressive lit scene is well-represented, including Stuart Dybek, Megan Stielstra, Lindsay Hunter, and more. Just a few of the others on the program:

Bonnie Rose Marcus, director of Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops (East), will lead a discussion about resources available to writers in Chicago with Kevin CovalKelly Norman Ellis, Haki Madhubuti, and Angela Narciso Torres.

Victor David Giron, Curbside Publishing.  Photo courtesy of Jacob Knabb

Victor David Giron, Curbside Publishing. Photo courtesy of Jacob Knabb

Literary agents Jeff Kleinman and Renée Zuckerbrot will join publicist Michael Taeckens and Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers, for a critique of three writers’ elevator pitches.

Melissa Faliveno, associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, will lead a discussion with Victor Giron of Curbside Splendor, Adrienne Gunn of TriQuarterlyJeff Pfaller of Midwestern Gothic, and Don Share of Poetry magazine about the kind of work they publish, plus practical advice on how to establish successful working relationships with editors.

See full program details at pw.org/live and a video of highlights from its first year.

Review of FRONTLINE: Reporting from the World’s Deadliest Places

13136288
by David Loyn, Forward by John Simpson

Nonfiction, 460 pages. Published 2011 by Summersdale, UK

I picked up this book when I was in London last fall visiting the Frontline Club, having learned about this organization while doing research for a new novel. Frontline (unrelated to the PBS television series) was founded by a handful of Brits during the Soviet-Afghan War—all of them freelance correspondents: writers, photographers, videographers, filmmakers, etc. Journalists who are not on staff at major news outlets often jump into conflict hot spots with no funding, no insurance, and no support of any kind. This book describes the birth of a freelance agency specifically set up for such war correspondents. Frontline’s founders conceived it as a for-profit business—or rather, one that would in time earn a profit. With pooled resources, they started an agency through which footage, stills, and writing could be sold to the BBC and other news organizations. As time went on, finances became increasingly problematic. A telling illustration of the difficulty of making a go of it: In the 1990s, footage that brought £700 could continue earning a videographer more money through the sale of usage to other outlets, including burgeoning Internet sites. By 2003 that fee was halved, and broadcasters demanded more control, including Internet rights—for no extra dough. The Frontliners eventually had to face the music, calling it quits as a business early in the Iraq War. Worse than the money lost and the impressive work that was (by and large) poorly compensated, Frontline lost members in some of the most violent places on the planet, deep in the heart of war zones many news organizations hesitate to send their own staff correspondents.

The good news is that Frontline perseveres, even if in an entirely different guise. The Frontline Club is a charity with a mission to support worthy causes, such as the Frontline Fund, raising money for the families of fixers killed or injured while working with the international media. Housed in a London building a stone’s throw from Paddington Station, the ground floor is an outstanding restaurant where you may spot international journalists —provided you know what they look like—and can view an impressive photographic collection. (If you go, save room for the sticky toffee dessert.) Upstairs, the clubroom is a large, comfortable spot for members to gather, lamplit tables, worn leather cigar chairs, and  walls lined with cases of memorabilia, letters, antique implements, and more photographs. It was a quiet night when my husband David and I visited, so we were privileged with a private tour. The top floor of the building provides low-cost lodging for international journalists traveling through London. Frontline Club members enjoy reciprocal membership in other press organizations and have access to lectures, films, and workshops and training in safety practices and dealing with trauma—something that has become even more critical in recent years, given the accumulation of kidnappings and brutal murders of war correspondents.

The 4-star rating I give this book at Goodreads was not arrived at easily. I generally reserve 5 stars for books in which the language grips me hard. There were times that I wanted to reach into the text, nudge and shape its direction and tone, or ask the author for more information, for clarity in spots that left me dangling and confused. Story lines holding promise for deeper exploration occasionally end abruptly, causing this reader to lapse into a a frustrated huff and toss the book aside for a while. I always came back for more.

But make no mistake: This book is chock-full of truly moving stories, laugh-out-loud funny anecdotes, tragic miscalculations, and derring-do. There are eccentric renegades who risked everything—possessed of a passion to bring awareness of the true costs of war to a lackadaisical public. Some of these journalists left behind lineage, title, family castles, and so forth, modern swashbuckling types who make one think of George MacDonald Fraser’s “Lord Flashman” novel series. David Loyn brings them to life with descriptions of clothing, habits, dialogue, flaws and peccadillos. We feel skin prickling with the desert heat, the lurking danger, and the slap-happy recklessness of adrenalin junkies who might as well be juggling dynamite.

I’m glad to have found this book and this organization. If you follow news of conflict around the world, if you’ve wondered what attracts some to plunge into jeopardy, I recommend “Frontline: Reporting from the World’s Deadliest Places” without hesitation.

View some of my other reviews at Goodreads.