Like many small presses, we gotta bootstrap funds for extended marketing campaigns. We have some incredible reads launching this spring and summer that need a little extra change. Since we aren't fans of getting something for nothing, we've created this bold tote bag. Buy it and all royalties from the sales funds marketing efforts.
Love you! Happy reads.
Every so often on my friendly Facebook feed something pops up that is begging me to write. Most of the time I just ignore it, allowing myself the myriad excuses that pop into my head to validate this laziness or lack of motivation that has epitomized my lack of creativity in the last year or so. And so I scroll on, watching snippets of cat videos liking every inspirational quote about motivation and determination. A day or so later, I will like every time an old college acquaintance of mine professes that they will be taking part in one of these challenges, and dismiss the fact that I feel a sour tinge of envy that I am not forcing myself to find the time (because, let’s face it, it’s there, folks) to create. I am not writing other than for work or in my planner before bed to remind myself that I am doing great at accomplishing my goals. The one goal I am not actually writing down or accomplishing: writing more. Or writing “hard and clear about what hurts” as Hemingway once dared us to do.
Hence, I present to you (and myself): the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. I have seen this challenge time and again (it is the 12th annual this year) and it kicks off in just two days, on January 26th. I think I may just do this one, and I challenge you to, as well. Why not start the year off marking some things off the ever-evolving list of intentions?
The Gist according to NYC Midnight themselves:
The 12th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world. There are 3 rounds of competition. In the 1st Round (January 26 to February 3, 2018), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment. Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (March 29 to April 1, 2018) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story. Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (May 11 to 12, 2018). A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected.
Convinced? As I am writing this I have clicked “register” and that is that. Here’s to a 2018 full of pages that are filled with the people, places, and things that are pin balling around up there. Happy writing!
We have two major sales coming up for Black Friday Weekend. First, we are offering all of our ebooks offered via Amazon for just $0.99. You can buy Kindle ebooks for any device, and we think this is a great way for you to read some of our books if you haven't had the chance to read our catalog.
The other MAJOR sale that we are doing is free shipping on every book in our store. This computes to $3 off every title and is a great deal. You can even buy our preorder books now and get free shipping! Woo Hoo!
Guess what's releasing at the end of November 2017? Michael Campagnoli's poetry cycle The Home Stretch!
The Home Stretch by Michael Campagnoli is not afraid to experiment with form and movement, in a collection that weaves dialogue, theme, and image together.
It's a beautiful cycle of poems that looks at nature and so much more.
You can learn more about it HERE. It is available for preorder at all major retailers.
What if you were asked to work for 2 hours and get paid $5? You probably wouldn't do it, unless you were desperate. Up until this fall, our entire team (editors, founders, readers, graphic designers, etc...) have worked entirely for free with all of the money from book sales being funneled back into the press to pay for the next book.
But the founders and main editors of the press sat down this summer and decided that it was time to give back to those readers who spend a lot of their "free time" reading submissions. The editors and founders themselves won't be taking any funds for reading submissions.
So, 2017 marks the end of free submissions at Unsolicited Press. But,we think it's fair. In fact, we've made it a lifetime submissions fee. You only have to pay it once and you can submit to Unsolicited Press forever without ever paying the fee again...pretty good deal considering some presses charge it every go around.
We've already received a few complaints about charging a reading fee, but you know what, our readers deserve to be compensated for their time. And think about it? If a read take two hours to read your ENTIRE book, they should be thanked for it in the form of a fiverr for that latte at Starbucks.
For those of you who choose to pay the fee and submit, we want to thank you for your support and trust in our team.
Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year for mother earth. The EPA shut down, the utter denial of human caused climate change, and the fight to protect water from big oil companies such as Dakota Access. Whether you believe that climate change is human caused or natural, whether you believe that an oil pipeline is just the thing America needs right now, or whether you believe the EPA should keep it’s Twitter quiet, can we not all agree that Mother Nature has done so much for us? Not just as a home, but as a place that helps to shape us as humans. There could come a day when the rivers we played in as children disappear or become unfamiliar, perhaps even uninhabitable to many species. Take Tennessee for example: According to Tennessee's website, they expect “rivers and streams, and some lakes, [to be] impacted by warmer temperatures associated with climate change.” Species that rely on this habitat may migrate somewhere else or simply die. Is it not time to remind ourselves why features such as rivers matter so much?
Janice Keck Literary Award winner, Sandy Coomer, has released a new poetry collection, Rivers Within Us, that embraces and gives voice to Mother Nature through rivers, reminding us how to be human. Rivers, according to Sandy Coomer, connect us when “we’re desperate to see something kind / when we look into humanity’s eyes.” More importantly, her collection is a reminder of how “There are rivers within us -- /galloping herds of horses, hummingbirds that beat /their tiny hearts millions of times between the bee balm and the sage.”
Sandy Coomer’s, Rivers Within Us could not be more timely with its publication amidst such turmoil and attacks against the environment. Maybe it's time we take a stand and remind ourselves what the river has to say once again. October marks the release date for Rivers Within Us from Unsolicited Press. You can purchase Coomer’s collection through their website, unsolicited press.com. It’s about time we started listening to what our home has been trying to tell us all along.
Remember digging your toes into the sand, the grains squished between those ten little digits, grasping for warmth as the river rushes past the tops of your feet; the cool feeling of water that seems to sate the thirst of the soul in need of refreshment? Giggles ensued between you and your friends--happy memories created that you can go back to time and time again during not so happy days. You can’t help but relax when you hear the indecipherable but comforting babbles of the river.
Revisit the river once again with Janice Keck Literary Award winner Sandy Coomer in her new poetry collection, Rivers Within Us. Sandy Coomer uses the river as the central image in her collection to help convey a theme that
“There are rivers within us --
galloping herds of horses, hummingbirds that beat
their tiny hearts millions of times between the bee balm and the sage.”
Coomer’s collection is saturated with natural imagery that does an excellent job of showing aspects of ourselves that we may embrace, shun in embarrassment, or never realized existed in the first place.
In other words, her collection is about what makes us human. Coomer’s symbolic river comes alive and pervades the text and your entire being, even where no rivers exist, as if the narration is told by the river. This intense look into how dreams, death, and the connections we make are all aspects of our humanity that we have to learn how to navigate. Next time you’re digging your toes into the sand, you’ll listen to the sounds of the river with a new appreciation.
Be on the lookout for Rivers Within Us in December, which you can buy from unsolictedpress.com!
At last, August 17, 2017 is upon us and it marks the release of Jerrod Bohn's Animal Histories. While we could tell you about it, we'd love for you to read this blurb instead:
“Cut these words,” Emerson claims, “and they would bleed; they are vascular and alive.”
Reading Jerrod E. Bohn’s Animal Histories, that radically embodied vision of writing kept
repeating itself in my head. And well it would: here, in these poems, syllables aren’t beat but breath, aren’t prosody but pulse. There is a tense strain of music in the very air that Bohn is heir to, wild inheritor of profound contradiction, of poem and of prose, but more—those embracing opposites of the ethereal and the worldly, of Being always about to be, and the daily life over-full with being, no capital “B” in sight. As such, he inherits that oldest of poetic traditions—trickster, who knows the pure doesn’t get to stay pure, who knows the
holy casts a profane shadow, and whose book undoes the ease of our self-venerations.
Jerrod E. Bohn's poetry collection Animal Histories releases on August 17, 2017. It is a stunning collection that is lyrical and brave. The poem above is just a brief snippet of what the entire collection possesses.
You can pre-order the book via our website or find it at your favorite retailer.
On August 8, 2017, we will release Martina Reisz-Newberry's newest poetry collection Take the Long Way Home. We are thrilled to share this book with you as Martina is such a touching and brave poet. We asked Martina a few questions, so you can get to know her better! Here is what she had to say:
In an effort to facilitate some hearty promotion, we'd like you to answer the following interview questions.
1. What literary journeys have you gone on?
I tried writing short stories and a couple of novels when I was first taking myself seriously as a writer, but they never really satisfied me. Poems, when I’m writing well, are like a good meal. Very satisfying.
2. What is the first book that made you cry?
One of the books in the Wizard of Oz series. I still have them all--a gift from my son one Christmas--the entire set of the Oz books. I cried somewhere in each book.
3. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends. When I’m mud-wrestling words and I win, it’s extremely energizing. When the words and I just continue to fight each other, it’s very tiring and depressing. I write every day and every day is a different experience.
4. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
They don’t read enough.
5. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hell, I have no idea! It’s not the size of the ego; it’s that a writer needs to have as much respect for the craft and for the reader as she/he has for him/herself.
6. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
I’ve never heard this term before. No. I can always read.
7. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No. I like my name pretty well.
8. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
It depends on what is being written. I don’t know any writers who don’t feel emotions strongly, but I know poets and novelists. I suppose someone could write business or technical or research papers without emotion.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Sad to say, those writers who were my dearest, closest friends and who influenced me to a huge degree have died. Larry Kramer was my mentor and teacher and brother. His work has influenced mine for decades. Marcella Carrie, a sister of my soul, was a writer who was just beginning to produce wonderful work when she died recently. “Friends” is a tough word for me. I’m very shy and a bit of a loner. My closest friends now are not writers or they no longer write.
10. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I think I’d like each book to stand on its own, and, at the same time there are definitely connections. Certain characters and stories come up in lots of my poems. They visit me all the time. I have to tell some of them to go away and come back later. I tell them, “I already wrote about you today.”
11. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My Norton Anthologies are my treasures. I have a Norton Anthology of Poetry, 1970 which is falling apart and I can’t part with it. Several other of the Norton anthologies are also writer’s tools which I am so glad I bought. I have them handy all the time.
12. What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
C.S. Lewis is one. I didn’t much like his writing until I read his Space Trilogy and the Narnia Books. After falling in love with those, I came to like his other work very much.
13. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I think I was born knowing it. I began reading way before Kindergarten and loved words and the way they sounded and felt in my mouth and mind. My father was a grand storyteller and some of my most wonderful memories are listening to him speak. His stories made me laugh and wonder and sometimes cry.
I have experienced the beauty and the terrible harm of language. I have never believed that “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s nonsense. Language has great power to hurt. I remember vividly the first time I was told I was ugly, the first time my ex-husband said he hated me. But then there is the beauty of language. When my dear friend/mentor, Larry Kramer called me a “real poet,” I remember exactly how it affected me and where we were, and what the weather was, etc. There is a remarkable Spoken Word Artist named Monte Smith who uses language in a way that each word is palpable--you can smell, taste, feel his life in every word.
14. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
“Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry is one. I love the book and don’t know too many people who share my opinion of it. I also like “Wolf” by Jim Harrison.
17. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I owe them the privacy of not using their real names unless it’s a dedication or epigraph.
18. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have three books in progress and they aren’t published.
19. What does literary success look like to you?
I think I’d feel successful if I had a kind of following--maybe a couple hundred people who actually buy my books when they come out. And, maybe hearing from those readers that I affected them somehow. I am so grateful for those who do like my work, I guess I just wish there were more of them buying books and saying so.
20. What’s the best way to market your books?
Pardon my French, but I have no fucking idea.
21. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I am always writing poems, always thinking of how to weave them into a book. I read all the time, nearly as much as I write. I look up anything that strikes my fancy: subjects I hear people discussing on the bus or train or in coffee shops, odd names and places I hear on the news, bits of information I see in my reading. To me, researching is listening as well as reading.
22. How many hours a day do you write?
I write either on paper, on the computer, or in my head all day, every day. I am at my desk writing at least 4-5 hours per day.
23. What periods of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
They all sort of blend in my mind. I write about all of them.
24. How do you select the names of your characters?
They knock on the door of my heart/mind and introduce themselves to me.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? And if writing isn't your "day job", what are you currently doing to pay the bills?
I think I’d like to be a very, very exclusive, high-priced Call Girl.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
What are your favorite childhood books?
Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz series
Does your family support your career as a writer?
My husband is extremely supportive he is an artist in his own right, a Media Creative, and is incredibly respectful of everything having to do with my work as I am with his.
Today, we'd like to share our interview with Chris Ludovici, author of The Minors. Enjoy!
What is the first book that made you cry?
I’m not sure, probably Flowers for Algernon.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Like most writers, it’s probably both - when it’s going well I feel energized by it; when it’s a struggle I feel exhausted.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Worrying that what they are doing isn’t any good. I’ve known a lot people who said they wanted to write but they started a story and hated what they wrote and quit. The first draft of anything isn’t really about being good so much as it is working out the basic shape and structure of what it is that you’re trying to do. It’s foundational.
A good story does a lot of different things well, and it’s almost impossible to do all those things simultaneously because they all require the writer’s full attention. It’s really hard to think about character and dialogue and plot and pacing and prose all at the same time. I think the trick is to basically do one pass on the narrative itself, where you’re laying down the beats and scenes of the story, and then you go through and do revisions to fix all the stuff that you did wrong the first time.
There have been plenty of times where I knew what I was writing was bad but pressed through anyway, because I didn’t know exactly how to fix it and I wanted to just get to the next section or chapter or whatever. Then, later, when working on a different section the answer of how to fix the bad section revealed itself. Or, in thinking about why something didn’t work I was able to tease out what was missing and fix it. But you can’t do that without it being down on the page first.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I think that if I’m good at writing at all it’s because I spent a lot of time listening to the people around me and trying to understand their perspective in order to understand their actions.
I think ego in that respect is often a problem because it can make it hard to listen to people and to empathize with them. I don’t particularly like the idea of moralizing or judging my characters or looking down on them. And I think ego can impede that empathy.
Ego can also get in the way when accepting constructive criticism. What I really want is to be heard and understood. If I’m writing a character who I want to be funny or scary or loveable or whatever, and people tell me this isn’t reading as funny or scary or loveable or whatever, I need to be able to hear that and adjust, or else I’m only talking to myself.
That said, it’s also important to have enough of an ego that you trust your own instincts as the final arbiter, in part because a writer will almost certainly get conflicting feedback, but also because ultimately it is the writer’s story to tell.
I think the key word is big. I don’t think having a big ego is particularly useful, but I do think that a healthy ego is required.
If that makes sense.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Readers block? No. I read too many different types of books to ever get any kind of block - if I get tired of one type of book I switch to another. There hasn’t been two days in a row over the last couple decades where I wasn’t actively reading something.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure. I think, first of all, that “strongly” is a relative concept and that one person’s strong feelings are another person’s repression, so it’s hard to say what strong really means. I know that there are, for instance, a lot of modern filmmakers who get the rap of being cold and unemotional, guys like Christopher Nolan or David Fincher come to mind. They’re often called clinical or dry or detached or whatever, but I find their work to be intensely emotional. To me, they’re very personal, very emotional story-tellers, and I connect with them on an emotional level. I have no doubt that there are prose writers who work the same way but I don’t read enough literary criticism to know who they are.
Secondly, a lot of the emotion in a story is brought by the reader. He or she sees something they connect with and that they invest with their own meaning. It could be that a writer is like an architect who designs beautiful spaces for other people to fill with their own emotions.
Third, there are people who don’t feel strong emotions and they’re right there in the world with the rest of us, they deserve to have a voice and to be understood. I said this earlier but I’m a big fan of empathy and maybe it would be useful for me to learn what it’s like to not have strong emotions, maybe that would help me understand the world a little better.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My wife is a writer and any and all success that I have as a writer is completely because of her. Putting aside the fact that she’s my manager, she’s also my editor and my fiercest critic. She is not afraid to tell me when something isn’t working, and even if she didn’t want to tell me, I know her well enough to know when she doesn’t like something. She’s been a writer much longer than I have and she takes it ultra-seriously, and if she doesn’t like something she takes it very personally because she considers it a waste of time to be reading it in the first place. Frankly, her criticisms can border on cruel from time to time, but I also know if she does like something it’s because it has value.
Also I’ve been friendly with a handful of other writers, from novelists to journalists and screenwriters and people who write for television. I would say the most helpful thing they’ve done is just to being people that I know and who were friendly. Like, I think when you want to do something like writing it can be easy to think of it as this impossible task that only select people can do. But when you’re friends aunt is a novelist and you’ve spent nights in her den watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 when you were in high school, or your other high school friend ends up writing for Cougar Town eventually creates a show on ABC starring Eva Longoria, it feels more attainable because it’s a thing that people you’ve known have done.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My cat was my spirit animal.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I mean, I don’t really base my characters on real people very often. I sometimes take real-life situations and put different people into them in order to talk about something that I think is interesting, but the people who inhabit the situation are made up. I guess the closest person I’ve ever actually based a character on is my little sister, but I don’t owe her squat because she put a crease in my Sandman number eight back in nineteen ninety-seven after I specifically told her to be careful with it. That comic was signed by Neil Gaiman.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have one unpublished novel that I co-wrote with my wife that we’re in the process of editing, and one novel that I’ve almost finished the first draft.
What does literary success look like to you?
Success is a disappearing horizon. When I was younger I just wanted to write a book for its own sake to prove to myself that I could. Then I wanted to write something that I actually thought was front to back good; then I wanted to write something that actually sold, and so on.
Now that I’ve had a book published I think success would be having three or four more books published. I want to feel like I was able to sustain and build a readership so that people who read The Minors would be interested in something else that I did. Right now, that’s what success looks like to me.
But if that were to happen and you were to ask me what success looked like I would almost certainly have a completely different answer.
What’s the best way to market your books?
I think I’m pretty good at talking, maybe interviews and readings? We’ve done a few and they seemed to go pretty well.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t do a lot of research before I write because my books take place in the present and any real facts that I would need are available on google or whatever when I need them. Like I might want to make sure that a movie or song was out in a specific year or that one city is a specific distance from another or something like that. I use google maps to get street views in order to describe certain locations better too. I also have friends who I call when I have questions about specific things that I might have, like I have a friend who is a lawyer and went to school at the University of Chicago and he was helpful for little details about life in a law firm or the area specifically around U of Chicago.
That said, there are books that I would like to read sometime in the future that I would want to do research on, but they would mostly be psychology and sociology books.
In the book I’m working on now I actually have the characters actively using their smartphones to look up details about things and learning while they are interacting with other people, so if there’s something that I’m interested in for the story I often make the character interested in it and actively research it quickly.
How many hours a day do you write?
I don’t write in terms of time, I write in terms of words. I have a set number of words that I want to get in a day and I usually don’t stop writing until I get to that number, and if I don’t hit that number, the difference rolls over and is added to the next day.
So when I’m starting something I usually try and spend the first few weeks getting down five hundred words a day. Then, when I feel like the five hundred is coming easily, I up it to seven-fifty, then a thousand. At that point, I usually stick to a thousand words, sometimes I will do more if inspiration strikes or whatever, and I’ll end up doing fifteen hundred or even two or three thousand words in a day. But that’s super rare and only when I’m in the middle of the climax or something like that.
What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
Mostly I’ve written about childhood, teenagers and young adulthood, but as I get older I write more and more about adulthood. When I wrote The Minors I was thirty two and my protagonists were sixteen and twenty eight. I’m thirty eight now and in the new book I’m writing the protagonist is thirty two or so. I don’t think I like to write about something until I’m at least five or so years older than the person experiencing it. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but it tends to be where I end up more often than not.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Usually pretty randomly. I’m not great at remembering names in real life, I just look at the books all around me and I think of the names that pop out at me, either writers or characters, and I put them together in ways that sound appealing. That’s what I mostly do anyway, sometimes there are more personal reasons. Like my favorite name is Sam, for a boy or a girl, so it was the name of the main characters in a lot of the stuff that I wrote, and also my cat’s name, and also the name of my son.
So now I think I’m pretty much done with naming anyone Sam.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? And if writing isn't your "day job", what are you currently doing to pay the bills?
I currently am a booker for a talent agency.
What is your favorite childhood book?
If I had to pick something specific, it wouldn’t be a prose book. It would probably be Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Completely. My wife is my manager and editor and best reader and I literally would be dead in a ditch without her.
August 1, 2017 -- We are proud to release our nonfiction essay anthology From All Corners that features the essays that were selected as finalists from the nonfiction essay writing contest this year. The authors, Michael Murray, JoeAnn Hart, Willow Curry, Mick Bennett, and Erica Zilleruelo offer up different perspectives, ranging from hilarious to solemn.
You can find the book on our site or any major retailers, including Amazon.
From All Corners: An Anthology
These essays were selected as finalists (and the grand prize winner) through our nonfiction essay writing contest held in 2017. The contest resulted in the selection of Michael Murray’s essay taking the grand prize, and earning him the chance to write a full-length manuscript with publication by Unsolicited Press.
Pre-orders now available.
Price includes shipping and handling.
For the last six years, we've been holding inventory in our office for every single book we've put out. As you can imagine, that's a lot of space being held by books. But that's not the issue. For these years, we've been doing all of the order handling ourselves too. Sticking books in packaging, printing/writing labels, and taking books to the post to be shipped to readers.
In addition to handling those in-office orders, we were also working with a fulfillment center that wasn't the best...we've had plenty of dropped orders, wrongly shipped items...well you get the point. The publishing business becomes 100 times more difficult when you are doing every little thing in-house.
We initially did everything ourselves because of money and motive. First, we had zero capital to store our books anywhere but in the houses of our editors (how kind of them!). Second, we wanted that publisher-to-reader feel about everything. But it got daunting. And just to complicated.
This year, 2017, we have been able to put enough money back into the business that we were able to fire our old fulfillment company and pick a better company. We've teamed up with Ingram to warehouse our books. And that just made sense because last year, we began the long process of hiring Ingram to help us with everything from distribution to sales. By the end of 2017, all of our books will be distributed and handled through Ingram -- including printing. By taking some of those jobs off our plates, we now have more time to edit, to read, and to make our authors see their books come to the shelves.
Where the heck is this post going? Well, you need to know that we are no longer handling the orders for current titles. We are processing pre-orders, but that's because we like to make pre-orders important and special. Our readers who commit to a book deserve the best treatment.
But current titles, which means any book that has already seen its publishing date come and go, can be purchased from a major retailer. Amazon, Powell's, Barnes & Noble...you name it, they should have it. You can still find all of our current and forthcoming titles on our BOOKS page.
Thanks for your support!
If you haven't been keeping up with us via the newsletter, then you may have missed out on the pre-order for Brian Looney's book Alcoholic Murmurs.
The poetry is a lyrical movement that follows an alcoholic from the depths of addiction and into the qualms of recovery. The speaker experiences a range of state's of mind including disorientation, hallucinations, self-made arguments, and more.
To get a better feel for Looney's book, we interviewed him about Alcoholic Murmurs and writing. Here is what he had to say:
Is this your first published work?
Yes and no. This is the first work that I’ve had published with a company like Unsolicited, but I’ve already done some work previously. Mostly chapbooks, but I do have 1 poetry book, Food to Fill Your Belly With, that I published with Publish America.
Did you have a system to get things published?
Well, I wrote part 1 of Alcoholic Murmurs five or six years ago. Mostly, I just was googling stuff, submitting maybe 10 places to the different publishers I thought would fit with the book.
So how would you describe the style of this compilation?
I would say it’s a mix between prose and poetry, like narrative poetry.
Follow up to that: Do you prefer poetry or prose?
I like blurring the lines. I’m not a fan of traditional rhyming. It limits your creativity. This way, I get to play with the language and also communicate what I want.
Do you have a routine when you’re writing? Do you like to write in public, by yourself, pen and paper or computer?
Well I write almost every day, but I don’t write in public. If I have a particular phrase or word, I’ll jot it on my phone and then work on it later at home. I prefer computers. Writing on paper is just more secretarial work, because then I have to transfer it to the computer. Everything I do is pretty heavily edited, by me. I don’t really go for creative circles, as the work I do is usually very personal.
What inspired you to write about alcoholism?
Personal issues in my past, so it is kind of based on my past, but there is some embellishment.
Any idea what’s next for you?
I’m pretty much always working on something. Not shopping around [looking to submit], but I’m always working. The process of cover letters and rejection letters can get to me. I’ve started drawing three years ago, and I do the covers for my work.
What are you doing that’s exciting?
I’m currently in a residency with the Pike’s Peak library district out here [in Colorado]. I go from library to library, drawing in some and teaching some classes in others. People can stop in and talk to me while I’m drawing. It’s nice to start to get a foothold in the region.
What’s something that you want people to know about the book?
Well, as I said before, part 1 was written five or six years ago. Part 2 was at the request of Unsolicited. I think that the writing style has a matured a little bit. The pieces are longer [in Part 2], and help to finish the narrative.
Part 1 was a chapbook, well initially a short story, but I chopped it up into the chapbook that was called Fragments of Frailty.
Who are some of your inspirations?
They aren’t poets, but novelists. The two biggest are Victor Hugo and Marcel Proust. One of my favorite books is Remembrance of Things Past [as known as In Search of Lost Time].
This picaresque apologue and cautionary tale chronicles the misadventures of Jack Mitford, a befuddled, down-and-out, and nearly disillusioned ex-fiction writer turned tolerable ghostwriter. Through a series of unexpected and thoroughly hedonistic events, early on in the novel, Jack befriends a mysterious and wealthy socialite with a cryptic past named Clint Richter. Richter contracts Jack to aid him in his efforts to write his memoirs, ostensibly hiring him as a sort of “fact checker” or “runner.” Using his supposed agoraphobia as an excuse, Richter dispatches Jack to several strange (and potentially threatening) locations across the US and Canada, in order to uncover conspiratorial elements related to Clint’s nebulous past. The assignment is a fool’s errand. The various investigations, fueled by Jack’s growing alcoholism and pill-popping dependence, become mired in a vast, conflicting web of almost incomprehensible possibilities and obscure outmoded information. Vague certainties and answers multiply into more questions as Clint’s project expands. The search is an elegant trap that leads to the most inescapable of postmodern landscapes: nowhere. In what often appears to be a seemingly pointless quest to uncover hidden truths of fatalism, this light-hearted comic romp challenges socially accepted Truths, ultimately revealing itself as an apt allegory for the modern human condition.
Dominic's book is available in our store and via Amazon!
The Last Map explores language’s role as the mediator between humanity and nature. Combining a deep reverence for the power of language with profound anxieties about language’s tendency to contaminate that which it represents, these poems reside between the impulse to succumb to the seductive qualities of words and the drive to penetrate through words into the unmediated world.
Narrative modes ranging from history to mythology, from folklore to family legends, and from cosmology to apocalyptic eschatology are simultaneously exploited for their aesthetic potency and subjected to skeptical internal critique. Each poem engages ongoing human efforts to manage and articulate encounters with the radical otherness and uncanny familiarity of the natural world.
The interpenetration of humanity and nature is revealed as both exhilarating and terrifying, and, as the cumulative effects of these encounters proliferate, the contact between these two worlds becomes increasingly fraught with complications for both. As the personae that populate these poems struggle with nature within and nature without, they come to question conventional ways of understanding themselves, their relationships, and their values. They consequently begin to perceive a new world ripe with strange possibilities, a world that all of their maps, both literal and figurative, seem ill-equipped to describe.
Zilleruelo's poems display a deep commitment to pursuing poetry’s aesthetic dimensions. His disciplined, musical free verse reminds readers that poems are more than mere ideas meant to be interpreted--they are also aesthetic artifacts intended to be experienced.
Where to Buy It
You can purchase a copy of Art's book on our website, or any major retailer such as Amazon, BN, and more! An ebook is available via Amazon.
Anne Leigh Parrish's collection of short stories By the Wayside was just honored by the International Book Awards. Parrish was named as a finalist in the Fiction: Short Story category and we are thrilled for her.
Of course, as her publisher, we could have told you she was going to win. Have you read her stories? They are soooooooooo good. Beyond good. Her craft reminds us of Pam Houston's work. It's real. It's nitty gritty. And most of all, it sucks you in and when you get to the last page of the last story, you want another.
What People Are Saying
"Anne Leigh Parrish’s third collection is both a charm and a gem, a vividly imagined work that introduces us to genies hidden in spare tires, Virgin Mary images concealed inside body parts, and Jewish professors disguised as Calvinists in small-town South Dakota. In stories that are crisp and poignant, yet told with a hint of wonder, Parrish captures the details of domestic life with its inexorable echoes of childhood and its family vortices. Rich and nuanced, conjuring up the spirits of Muriel Spark and Henry Green, By the Wayside belongs very much at the center of our literary road."
-- Jacob M. Appel, author of The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street.
"Anne Leigh Parrish is one of the best of a new wave of American short story writers reinvigorating the form. Many of these writers specialize at flash fiction-- a genre at which Parrish is a master. She also, however, excels at stories of more traditional length. Her tales, long or short, are highly readable but also convey intelligence and meaning. Few writers today create as much compassion for their characters, or draw as much emotion from their situations, as does Anne Leigh Parrish."
-- Karl Wenclas, Editor, New Pop Lit.
Cornelia Street Cafe Reading with Mark Belair, Ohan Hominis, Eleanor Levine, and Gemma Cooper-Novack!
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