New Poem in Trailer Park Quarterly, Vol. 6

My poem "We the Faithful" now appears in Volume 6 of one of my favorite publications, the always top-notch online journal, Trailer Park Quarterly. The poem appears alongside the fiction and poetry of many fine writers, such as John Dorsey, Puma Perl, Alan Catlin, Michelle Hartman, William Taylor Jr. (winner of this issue's Annie Menebroker Poetry Award), and others. I hope you take a look at the whole issue and consider sending you're own work! And I hope you'll enjoy my piece as well, a little something dedicated to my mother and all the other single parents out there fighting the good fight. Thank you.  

Poetic Focus: From I to Eye

My new essay "Poetic Focus: From I to Eye" now appears in Issue 7 of The Blue Mountain Review, an awesome online magazine produced by the good folks at The Southern Collective Experience. In the essay I talk about how writers can (and often do) evolve and progress by shifting the focus of their work from being about themselves to being about what they see in the world. It often takes time to do this, as I explain from experience, but I feel the transition shows the true growth of an artist. Take a look, and please do explore the rest of the issue. It's loaded with tons of great content. Thanks! 

Guest Blogger at The Poets That You Meet

Shanti Weiland graciously reached out to me to ask that I contribute to her blog series The Poets That You Meet, where poets talk about the inspiration and writing process behind one of their poems. My post is titled "Wading Into the Sea Change", in which I discuss my poem "The Last Appointment of the Day" and how sitting in an endless series of medical waiting rooms over the last few years made me start to take a closer look about what made those rooms so unsettling, so static, so haunting, so sad, and even at times so comforting. I also recorded an audio version of the poem (pardon my voice) which you can find in the post. I hope it's an interesting and maybe even enlightening post. Thanks for reading.     

Athena Departs by Clifford Brooks

I had the pleasure of writing the foreword to Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, a new poetry collection by my friend Clifford Brooks, who was a Georgia Author of the Year nominee for his previous collection. This new book, in my opinion, creates and explores a new Southern Mythology through poetics, fire, lightning, and as Zeppelin put it, a whole lotta love. Check it out at Amazon. It's available in print and digital versions. Thanks.      

Four Novels Down, a Bunch More to Go...

The hustle has been continuous for almost a decade now. In that time I’ve published a handful of poetry chapbooks and two collections of short stories (mostly genre-themed work) but I’ve also finished four unpublished novels (with three others drafted or outlined). While I put the final touches on two new poetry chapbooks and a collection of flash fiction I’m hoping to have available over the next year, these four “finished” novels are making the rounds with agents and small presses. No luck yet, but I’m keeping the faith.  

Reaper City – A noir mystery with undercurrents of dystopia and Lovecraftian horror. A man discovers a connection between his neighbor's disappearance and an occult-obsessed criminal weaving his influence into an already corrupt city using dark, otherwordly powers summoned from dimensions unknown.  

Beacon – An ensemble novel in the vein of Cannery Row and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, exploring the intersecting lives of those living in Beacon, NY, a revitalized mill town turned artist enclave on the banks of the Hudson River.

The Girl in the Mountain – A fictionalized account of a real series of disappearances that took place in a Vermont college town in the Green Mountains during 1945. Sort of like Humphrey Bogart meets Twin Peaks.   

Henrietta Vs. The End of the World – YA/Middle-Reader novel about a young girl who believes she’s a knight in shining armor who is bent on protecting her neighborhood from what she believes to be an “evil dragon", but only ends up in continual trouble with her beleaguered mother.

I’ve been incredibly self-conscious about the title of The Girl in the Mountain because there has been a rash of “The Girl…” novels lately, most notably Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, but the title fits quite well with the theme of the mystery, as the the young people involved in this true crime seemed to have just vanished "into the mountain", and for now I'm hoping to keep it, despite the likelihood of the trend becoming tiresome.

Anyway, I’m always interested in feedback or advice, and if you believe you may know of any press, agent, or publisher interested in anything described, please do let me know. Thanks!

Submission Call for Cahoodaloodaling #24 - Solitude's Spectrum

I'm thrilled that the good people over at Cahoodaloodaling have asked me to join them as a guest editor for their next issue. We came up with a really cool theme, one that can go dark or reaffirming, depending on your own experience with the idea of solitude. Check out the call below and visit their site for more info!

Issue #24 – Solitude's Spectrum

 "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." ~ Hemingway

Solitude—whether alone on the road in a car, train, motel room, or a forest trail, or even secluded and tucked away in your home, whether it’s a welcomed moment of peacefulness or a lonely state of despair—times of solitude shape us, recharge us, and break us down to our essence. Sometimes we choose to step away from the world. Sometimes the world breaks us and casts us aside. In those moments alone, if we make the choice to continue and create, true artists are born. We cross a border we cannot uncross and heal through our words, finding ourselves—and sometimes finding new selves in the process. As Hemingway said, sometimes we're strong in those broken places, and sometimes we're not. Sometimes that jagged broken part affects us forever afterward.

This fall issue we are interested in capturing both the positive, reaffirming pieces about solitude along with those that reveal pain, heartbreak, and introspection. We seek to investigate those breaking point moments, those halting discoveries, those empowered decisions that compel us to walk away from the world and to let the silt settle in the pool of water in our soul. Whether you enjoy locking yourself away or you had to in order to save yourself from hell, we want to hear how these moments lead to creative revelations and re-energized focus, or how they still haunt you to this day.

Submissions due 9/9/17. Guest Editor James H. Duncan. Issue live 10/31/17.

The Troy Poetry Mission Reading Series

I'm very proud and honored to announce that I'm the new co-host of the Troy Poetry Mission reading series, a monthly event that takes place in O'Briens Public House, a stellar Irish pub in the heart of downtown Troy, NY. The creator of the series, poet R.M. Engelhardt, hopes that the two of us will be able to expand upon the already great readers that attend each month and bring some new faces to the area. It's my first time hosting a regular series, so I aim to do my best to add as many diverse styles and voices to the lineup as possible. The series takes place on the last Wednesday of each month, and includes an open mic for any and all who wish to read. Stop in to take the stage, mingle with fellow writers, have a beer and maybe dinner, and let's continue to make Troy a thriving hotspot for poetry!

New Flash Fiction Inside Ink In Thirds Magazine

My flash fiction piece "Thompson Hill" now appears in Issue 10 of Ink In Thirds Magazine, on page 17. It's available in print or as a PDF that you can read online for free. The story is one of about thirty flash fiction pieces I'm hoping to include in a collection titled, at the moment, as Nights Without Rain, and I'm holding off on releasing the collection until one of my upcoming poetry books comes out. Both have a TBD release date, but I'm hoping it will be in late 2017. I'll keep you posted. As always, thanks for reading.      

"Nights Don't Die" Now Appears in Five:2:One

My latest poem "Nights Don't Die" now appears in Five:2:One, Issue 15. The magazine is "dedicated to the transgressive, experimental, and the progressive of the literary world," as their website declares, and each issue is full of art, poetry, fiction, drama, and book reviews. It's available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. I got to read through this issue a week ago and I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of work and effort the editors put into the magazine. It really looks great, and they have my deepest thanks for including me.    

"The Young May Love Without Fear" at Winedrunk Sidewalk

My poem "The Young May Love Without Fear" now appears at Winedrunk Sidewalk, a blog that posts a poem every day of Donald Trump's presidency. The poem itself is from a line from the Humphrey Bogart anti-fascist film Passage to Marseille, in which he plays a French anti-fascist newspaper publisher who is imprisoned by the Vichy government, and later escapes from prison to fight for a free France. It's a fantastic film, and I only hope my poem humbly but accurately represents the film's driving emotion. And make sure to submit your own work to Winedrunk Sidewalk when you can! Thanks.    

New Flash Fiction in Full of Crow, Winter 2017

My flash fiction piece "Desperate Ain't Lonely" now appears in the Winter 2017 issue of Full of Crow. It's a brief story about a couple driving through the West Virginia mountains at night pondering what love and loneliness really mean. I'm planning to include the story in a collection of flash fiction perhaps later this year, tentatively titled Nights Without Rain. I'll post more about that as publication nears. And as always, thanks for reading!

Ranked: Every Ryan Adams Album

I have friends who will kill me over these rankings, but I gave this a shot with Tom Petty’s albums so why not for another of my all-time favorites, Mr. Feelings himself, Ryan Adams. I’m loving his new album Prisoner, so I decided to test myself and see where it ranked on my own list of his albums. I should note this list does NOT include any of his compilations or live albums, none of his Whiskeytown stuff, or any of his many singles, bootlegs, unreleased tracks and albums, or side projects. Just Ryan Adams studio albums and his longer EPs.

I’d also like to say there’s only one album listed that I don’t like to some degree, so yeah, I’m pretty biased and this was ridiculously hard. Ok, let’s get in there.

My Essay "The Closed Circuit of Poetry" Now Appears in The Blue Mountain Review

I keep hearing fellow writers say we need art and poetry now more than ever in this era of rising nationalism and fear, but unless we make the effort to reach outside our artistic echo chamber, poetry may fail to provide comfort for our allies and weapons to use against our enemies in these trying times. I explain how I think we can all help make poetry the most embraced art form of our time in my new essay "The Closed Circuit of Poetry" in the new issue of The Blue Mountain Review. The issue appears online in PDF format and my essay is found on page 27, but there's a lot of great art, interviews, poetry, and prose throughout the issue, so take a look. Many thanks to the editors for allowing me to speak my mind in this essay, and thanks to you all for support.     

Poems, Reviews, and Upcoming Fiction

It's been a busy winter so far, and it's only getting busier. Here's a rundown of what's out now and what's coming soon!

  • My review of Nice Feelings by Iris Appelquist now appears at Up The Staircase Quarterly, which is a stellar publication you should be reading.
  • My poem "Going Ghost" now appears at Boned, a journal of skeletal writings. I omitted this poem from my collection Berlin (Maverick Duck Press) so I'm happy it finally found a home.
  • My poem "Nights Don't Die" should appear in the upcoming issue of Five:2:One this month.
  • I have two flash fiction stories coming up in late winter: "Desperate Ain't Lonely" will appear in Full Of Crow, and "Thompson Hill" will appear in Ink In Thirds. I'll post links when they both hit!
  • And finally, for now, I recently had a poem called "The Carson Effect" in Winedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland, and I'll soon have another titled "The Young May Love Without Fear". They publish a new poem every day of Trump's presidency, and if you're not the biggest fan of the current admin, you'll want to take a look.

Thanks for reading and all of your support!

A Postmortem Ode to 2016

While we’ve all rolled around in the muck that became 2016 and mourned the loss of one personal hero or another, or fumed at the political atmosphere that continues to become more toxic with each passing month, I’ve experienced a number of personal ups and downs that made the year something more complex than “the worst year ever”.

My Top 10 Books of 2016

While I read fewer books than usual in 2016, this annual edition of my Top 10 lists covers a fairly broad range of styles—a rock & roll bio, some YA classics, poetry, apocalypse lit, historical nonfiction, crime, noir, and more. Despite being a pretty miserable year, the good books kept me going. As usual for these lists, I only include books I’ve read for the first time in 2016, but the books can be from any year, brand new or decades old, so long as they’re new to me. I’d love to know what your favorites were this year as well, so feel free to add those in the comments section! Most of all, I hope you enjoy these if you haven’t yet tried them for yourself.

"The Old Note Book" Now Appears at Picaroon Poetry

Picaroon Poetry has a new issue sailing the high seas of the internet and its crew is a fine one, full of poets and scribes with words galore. In their new issue, which they unofficially dub the "sex and death issue", you'll find my poem "The Old Note Book". I take notes when I travel and after finding an old clothbound note book I opened it to find so many memories I'd nearly forgotten, and some I most certainly don't recall. I hope you enjoy the poem, and please take a look at the rest of the issue! 

New Review of Dead City Jazz at Albany Poets

A new review of my chapbook Dead City Jazz now appears at Albany Poets. In the reviewer's own words, the collection "explores the geography of human emotion, love, loneliness, desperation, fear and indifference using robust imagery while simultaneously intertwining narratives." All of the poems take place on or are inspired by alcohol-infused and neon-lit evenings in San Antonio, Texas, and while some are certainly bar poems, others hover in more remote corners of the night, on back streets and in quiet rooms in a suffocating silence. The review does a good job of getting to the heart of the poetry, especially the part where the reviewer recognized "how we improvise through our experiences like jazz music," through every conversation and relationship, every night and day. I'm proud to have my hometown poetry organization host this review on their site. Take a look, and thanks for all of the support! Single copies are still available through me, but the whole Punk Chapbook Series from Epic Rites Press is just that, epic, and is worth your time and money.   

My Short Story "I'm Not Doing Coke Off That Dog's Back" Now Appears in Drunk Monkeys #5

That title may give some of you pause, but I assure you, it's actually a fairly redeeming story! "I'm Not Doing Coke Off That Dog's Back" is my new short and appears in the Anniversary Issue of Drunk Monkeys magazine. It's about a man who attends a party against his will and discovers he should have trusted his gut, but he's not going to just bail, he's going to turn this into a rescue mission. I hope you check it out! The whole issue is stellar and I deeply appreciate the editors allowing me to tag along for such an incredible ride!