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Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.


Interview with Troy Palmer of Little Fiction.

The digitization of publishing is sadly and surprisingly still in its infancy. Right now there are too many proprietary formats and not enough standardization.

~ Troy Palmer, editor

 
In my latest interview for The Review Review, I talk to Troy Palmer, editor and publisher of Little Fiction., a digital press devoted to the art of the short story. Palmer’s answers make for a great read, offering insights into the complexities of digital publishing, the force of social media promotion, and the hours and sweat put into a true “labour of love.”

Check out Little Fiction. on TumblrFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

About The Review Review: Edited by Becky Tuch, The Review Review  publishes reviews the latest issues of literary journals and interviews the editors behind them.

About Little Fiction.:  Launched in October 2011 by Troy Palmer, Little Fiction publishes short stories in the spirit of the mp3 — by making them digital and portable. And free.


Now what?

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I bought a shitload of poetry for a song today, an exchange that sure did suck. It’s not supposed to work this way; the dead, penniless writers would probably agree.

Although Borders was chain, this one in Fairfax holds a special place in my heart because was the closest thing I had to a neighborhood bookstore. Over the past 10 years, I have bought countless manuals, dictionaries, magazines and unapologetic trash there. (The loftier tomes – the real books written by serious writers – are still part of the family, dutifully gathering dust on one of many IKEA bookshelves scattered about the house, all casualties of my hair’s breadth attention span.) Sure, I can buy the a how-to guide or best seller from Amazon, but I won’t be able to prowl the aisles, distracted by this title and that dust jacket. I won’t be able to indulge an impulse while waiting in line, so I don’t know where I’ll buy my overpriced bookmarks and spiral-bound journals – Amazon isn’t good for that.

Maybe I can stock up. The girl at the checkout – who seemed far too happy for someone about to be unemployed –  said they would be around for a while. “We have to sell all the store inventory and what’s in the warehouse. So we’ll be here.”

Just not for 10 more years.


Blame Cupid: The prequel

I’m featured on Paragraph Planet today. My 75-word piece was the inspiration for the longer flash-fiction pieces featured on Doorknobs & Bodypaint in February: “Sub Rosa” and “To: Harpocrates.”

This piece is based on my theory that Cupid is a fat, lazy baby who is really bad at his job — and that’s why there are so many lonely people in the world. (Think Will Ferrell in a diaper.)

It’s a fun read, so be sure to check it out today. The pieces are changed daily.

Want something to read? Browse the archives or the author pages. Here’s mine, and here’s the page of my friend and former professor, Amanda Holmes.

Want to try your hand at it? You can submit your 75 words — exactly 75 words — here.

UPDATE: My piece “It’s a Broken Arrow” that appeared April 1, 2011, on ParagraphPlanet.com.

It’s a broken arrow. And my last. I can’t use it; it won’t do. She would never feel it, and he’ll never know. He’s been alone for a while now; a little longer won’t hurt. Besides, he has his dog to keep him company. Why let a woman ruin such a good thing? We’ll get her next year. I promise. I’ll even bring the special bow. The really good one. And an extra arrow or two.


Blame Cupid: My stab at love stories

UPDATE 4-15-2011: Since this post, I have changed the name of this blog from Forks & the Road (which I never really liked) to Nowhere from Here because I never travel anymore. (Work doesn’t allow for effective trip planning.) From this point forward, this blog will reflect my comings and going around here, in Northern Virginia, as well as whatever else I’m up to. The following post is about my most recent flash fiction that was published in February. ~J

I really need to change the focus and name of this blog because it seems as if I never travel (I don’t these days), and my dining options are limited to a) my desk and b) around Northern Virginia.  So this post really has nothing to do with food or travel; it’s about my fiction writing. One story does mention supper, and two are set in Portland, Ore., so could that count as travel and food? Yes? Please?

I’m happy to report my short “Flip Side of Paradise” won first place in the Doorknobs contest at Doorknobs & BodyPaint, and two companion pieces — “Sub Rosa” and “To: Harpocrates” — won second place in the Dorsal competition.

The stories had to be about being madly in love — in honor of the month of February. For Issue 61, the Doorknobs contest had the following restraints, er, guidelines:

  1. Maximum length: 250 words.
  2. The sub-theme is: irritated.
  3. The year is: 1921.
  4. Within the story, this text must be used: wildly excited.

You can check out “Flip Side of Paradise” here. I based it on the premise that Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were coming to dinner, and what a pain in the ass that would be. I crafted my protagonist by drawing on Scott’s circle of former Princeton classmates, colleagues and peers. I was going to have her be a wife, but she wasn’t yet married to Scott’s friend, John Peale Bishop, a poet and editor at Vanity Fair. Yes, he was a real guy, and he and his wife did end up living in France for some years. This was a fun story to write, and I was surprised how much I liked it in the end. I felt like there was some real emotional truth in it, even if it was irritation.

My Dorsal pieces — “Sub Rosa” and To: Harpocrates — spun out a submission I sent to the very cool Paragraph Planet, where I’ve had several pieces featured. This initial 75-word piece was based on the idea that Cupid is a really lazy bastard and that’s why there are so many lonely people in the world. (Think Will Ferrell drunk, eating Cheetos and in a diaper. That’s my vision of Cupid.) To: Harpocrates was originally written and submitted for the Hayward Fault Line contest, which used these guidelines:

  1. Maximum length: 450 words.
  2. The sub-theme is: wraithful.
  3. The setting is: Portland, Ore.
  4. Within the story, you must use this bit of text: gale swept across

After I finished the piece, I decided to have a go at the Dorsal contest — using the same story but with a different point of view. The Dorsal guidelines included a 450-word limit and using external and internal dialogue to reveal the narrator’s hidden feelings about a friend, lover or spouse.

In the end, the editors decided to put both pieces in the Dorsal contest, which is kinda cool because they do belong together, like the characters. I’ve since been told by Mom and my best e-mail friend (Amy, the BEF) that I need to write a sequel. I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure I will do more with the idea of a Will Ferrell-type as Lazy Cupid, but I’m not sure I’ll return to the florist and hacky-sack guy. Who knows, maybe I will. I hadn’t planned on writing anything when I sat down that day, but at the end of the night, I had three pieces that were fun to write — and had surprised even me, the writer.

That, friends, was a good writing day.


God bless us, every one, Part III: Me on Paragraph Planet

Yes, another post that has nothing to do with travel or food — except for that it is about a meal, and if you drink enough beer you might can believe it’s set in the UK, which would count toward the travel theme of this blog.

My short “One Slice” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. “One Slice” is one of four pieces I submitted as a Christmas sequence, with each piece offering a different point of view. The sequence was inspired by one of many holiday dinners at headquarters, so now I can’t say nothing good never came out of a crappy meal at my desk.

Check out “One Slice” while you can. The pieces change daily. I’ll post an update when the last one appears.

REWIND: “One Toy” — published 12/29/10

One toy. Dad let me bring one from the tree. It’s really cool! Just what I wanted! It makes noises and lights up! I’ve been playing for hours! Dad says it won’t be much longer. Really. He’s eating the last of Christmas pie now, but it’ll be a bit until we go back to the apartment. He says it’s his job to watch over the important news people working tonight. But he says I’m more important.

“One Hour” — published 01/18/11

One hour. Another hour to go, and I can take the boy home. I don’t much like spending Christmas watching over the news folk, but it’s better than not having a job. At least they fed us all pretty well. That’s two meals I won’t have to buy. I couldn’t get the boy much, but he seems to like the gadgets well enough. He’s not as interested in the football. Maybe I can change that tomorrow.

UPDATE: “One Slice” — published 01/30/11

One slice. I must get this one slice upstairs without dumping the rest of my paper plate on the marble floors. I don’t care for pie, but if you want pie, you should get pie, especially on Christmas. They were out of pie when my desk mate went down, so now she’s stuck with jellied ham and cold green beans for dinner. She should at least get some pie. The security guard said it was good.


God bless us, every one, Part II: Me on Paragraph Planet

This post is a bit from left field, but it is about a meal, and if you squint hard enough you might can believe it’s set in the UK, which would count toward the travel theme of this blog.

My short “One Hour” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. “One Hour” is one of four pieces I submitted as a Christmas sequence, with each piece offering a different point of view. The sequence was inspired by one of many holiday dinners at headquarters, so now I can’t say nothing good never came out of a crappy meal at my desk.

Check out “One Hour” while you can. The pieces change daily. I’ll post an update when the others appear.

REWIND: This is “One Toy” — the piece that appeared 12/29/10

One toy. Dad let me bring one from the tree. It’s really cool! Just what I wanted! It makes noises and lights up! I’ve been playing for hours! Dad says it won’t be much longer. Really. He’s eating the last of Christmas pie now, but it’ll be a bit until we go back to the apartment. He says it’s his job to watch over the important news people working tonight. But he says I’m more important.

UPDATE: This is “One Hour” — the piece that appeared 01/18/11

One hour. Another hour to go, and I can take the boy home. I don’t much like spending Christmas watching over the news folk, but it’s better than not having a job. At least they fed us all pretty well. That’s two meals I won’t have to buy. I couldn’t get the boy much, but he seems to like the gadgets well enough. He’s not as interested in the football. Maybe I can change that tomorrow.


God bless us, every one: My Christmas bit on Paragraph Planet

More with the shameless self-promotion! My scribbles have been published outside the USA!

I’m happy to say my short “One Toy” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. If you’re a writer, please give it a go. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline. Writers may also write a sequel to the posted paragraphs using their own 75 words.

My piece that is featured today was inspired by one of many holiday dinners at headquarters. It’s one of four pieces I submitted as a sequence, each told from a different point of view.

Check out “One Toy” while you can. The pieces change daily. I’ll post an update when the others appear.

UPDATE: Posted Dec. 29.

One toy. Dad let me bring one from the tree. It’s really cool! Just what I wanted! It makes noises and lights up! I’ve been playing for hours! Dad says it won’t be much longer. Really. He’s eating the last of Christmas pie now, but it’ll be a bit until we go back to the apartment. He says it’s his job to watch over the important news people working tonight. But he says I’m more important.


Off Topic

I’m trying to keep this blog focused on food and travel, but because my work schedule allowed for zero travels this year, I’ll have to get content wherever I can find it.

So let’s go for some shameless self-promotion.

Aside from writing about fried food and beer, every so often I’ll whip out a piece of short fiction. Mostly short-short fiction because a) I have zero attention span and b) I believe in the power of brevity. Most recently, I’ve been working on super-short pieces for Paragraph Planet (@paragraphplanet on Twitter), a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. If you’re a writer, please give it a go. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline.

Freelance writer Richard Hearn edits the site — when he’s not penning the “Distracted Dad” column for Latest Homes and “Dad Sense” for Mumsense magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @latestdad.

Hearn kindly selected my short “Opera in Private” to be featured on the site Nov. 4. It was inspired in part by long, funny email exchange I was having with my friend Amy about silly things we do when we’re alone or just in the company of our respective spouses: making up new song lyrics, pretending to be an ice skater, and singing as if we’re great singers when nothing could be further from the truth. “I sing opera in private, too!” I wrote. Surely we weren’t the only ones? Are we?

Opera in Private by Jacqui Barrineau

Opera in private. I do that, you know. Sing great songs as if I’m a great soprano, swiping Leontyne’s vigor. Each note a grand guttural release – escaping air once trapped in my belly. Performances nightly, twice on Wednesdays. Sometimes I’m a private dancer, my basement a stage – a prima ballerina pirouetting between loads of whites and darks. These stolen moments only poetic postponement of toilet cleanings and floor waxings. No one minds. Do you?