Pejorative Pie: Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Here it is: the first installment of Pejorative Pie. Here you’ll find the best slander from the most recent book I’ve read. That’s right: all the kings and queens of calumny from books I’ve just read. Don’t like it? Detest my selections or general taste in literature?


Here’s the vilest vilification, the meanest mudslinging, from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment:


a police informer (found in part three)


an inferior legal practitioner prone to dubious practices (found in part five)


an indecisive and cowardly person (found in part five)


braggart (found in part six)

So take that! But don’t skip to part five, even if that is where most of the damnedest defamation goes down. You’ll miss far, far too much (including that wonderful drunkard Marmeladov).

Until next time!


SOURCE: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)

REFERENCE: Merriam Webster Dictionary

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Pejorative Pie, Writing

“Two Thousand Miles Running” nominated for Queen’s Ferry Press Best Small Fictions of 2015 anthology

I was reading creative non-fiction by Rolf Potts today in Indiana Review and thinking, How do we digitally promote the print literature we love? By just mentioning it to spread the word? Linking to the story or the author’s website (if available)?

This disadvantage is, of course, one of the advantages of digital publications like Cheap Pop. Digital works published by these journals can easily be shared with URL and the author’s Twitter handle/Facebook URL in hand. They can be nominated for awards and anthologies.

So we don’t forget them or let them fade.

In an announcement today, the editors at Cheap Pop (Robert James Russell and Elizabeth Schmuhl) shared their nominations for the Queen’s Ferry Press Best Small Fictions of 2015 anthology.  My story “Two Thousand Miles Running” is among the nominees. Not only am I honored, I’m extra jazzed that small markets and presses are taking the time to promote the little pieces of people’s hearts floating around out there. It means a lot to someone like me, as I’m sure it does the other nominees.

“Jellyfish” by Zara Lisbon
“Paint Job” by Tatiana Ryckman
“Heat Wave” by Aki Schilz
“Nettle Creek Cemetery” by Eric Shonkwiler

Bravo to all these talented writers. I look forward to reading more of their work in the future, and wish them best of luck.

Glad to be considered among you.



Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Writing

Flash fiction published in The Austin Review Spotlight

I am pleased to share a little mixed breed flash fiction/creative non-fiction recently published in The Austin Review Spotlight series (No. 3):

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Thank you to Michael Barrett and the rest of the editorial staff at The Austin Review for finding merit in my work–it was a pleasure working with you. As always, I am here to discuss, to read feedback, to engage in any way any of you see fit.

Else where’s the fun?


Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Writing

2015: An Update

Did you feel it? The way that stretch of time from mid-December to mid-January evaporated like water oases in a fever dream? I did. I was asleep. On the road.

Down, but not out.

A few updates:

This should be fun, no? For me at least (writers are selfish–come off it). I look forward to working with the editors of these journals (Flyleaf has illustrators!), and intend on remaining productive this year. For me. For you. For whatever this is about.

It’s already nearly February.


I better be going.


Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Short Stories, Writing

“Ill Not in the Mind” nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize

The editors of the website for the Pushcart Prize call their annual collection–published since 1976–a “labor of love and independent spirits.” Wonderful. Start that city and I’ll be applying for citizenship on day one.

I think the same phrase can be used to describe nearly all the presses that have nominated and/or made it into the collection over the years, and I have to tip my hat to all these publications, because without the labor of love and independent spirits their people embody, the work of fledglings like me might never make it to the page.

In recent months, the best personal example I have of this commitment is Pea River Journal, edited by Trish Harris. I’ve watch the work accepted for the 2014 “Burden of Home” issue (available for purchase now) shared, promoted, and nurtured in the days and weeks leading up to the official release date. This includes my story, “Ill Not in the Mind,” which was recently nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize by the editors of PRJ:

Any way you cut it, ye red-eyed kitchen-knife-wielding public, I’m in good company. Come at me and say different. Before you do, check out the other nominees from the 2014 issue of Pea River Journal:

  • “Back to the Old House” by Robert Fanning
  • “Why Wolves Take the Calves First” by Chris DiCicco
  • The Plum” by Richard J. Heby
  • Slow Wave” by Amanda Miska
  • Oh Ezra” by Eric M. R. Webb

Like I said. I’ll be holding all this work in my hands soon, can’t wait to read and share all the lovelies, and hope you will be doing the same. In the mean time, grab an issue of PRJ and perpetuate all the the good things you want to see in the world, because the merde would still cause a stink even if you didn’t wake up this morning.

Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Short Stories, Writing

Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal now available in print

If you follow this blog, you might have read my story “Ill Not in the Mind,” published online as a preview to the Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal. Or maybe you’ve ignored all this completely. Fine. But if you’re looking for a literary journal to hold in your hands, one that will twist you and turn you and make you ache, order a copy of the Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal, now available in print.

Order a print copy of Pea River Journal

The theme of this issue is the burden of home. Get’s you thinking, doesn’t it? There are so many ways to approach this theme, and some of the most compelling are represented in this issue of PRJ–the gut-wrenching, challenging stuff that I live for.

I’m honored to be a part of this issue.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories, Writing

Short fiction published in Pea River Journal

“Ill Not in the Mind,” a short story of mine that will appear in the Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal (in print soon), is available to read online:

Ill Not in the Mind

Special thanks to editor-in-chief Trish Harris and her team for seeing something in my work and helping me ready it for general consumption.

I hope this work breaks your heart like it broke mine.

PS I will send out another update when I have more information about where and how we can all pick up a print copy of the Fall 2014 issue of Pea River Journal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Short Stories, Writing

“Two Thousand Miles Running” nominated for 2014 Best of the Net Anthology

This is humbling news, considering all the good work that the folks at Cheap Pop have put out since their debut: “Two Thousand Miles Running” has been nominated for Best of the Net 2014 by Cheap Pop editors Robert James Russell and Elizabeth Schmuhl. Read more about the nomination by following the link below:

I encourage you to read the other nomination, “Jellyfish,” by Zara Lisbon. It rocks. And if, after reading my work, you feel so inclined to reach out to me, that would be pretty cool too, no matter what it is you have to say.


Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Writing

Blog up at The Review Review (about no-no lists for writers)

I submit a lot of work to literary journals, and with all that submitting comes perspective.

I think.

I read, and read, and read–and then read some more–submission guidelines, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, all instructing writers on how to be courteous and effective before, during, and after the submission process. All of this advice is usually quite sound, of benefit to any writer thinking of submitting their work for publication.

Yet, throughout my experience submitting work to journals, I’ve also noticed some rather dubious submission practices on the editorial side of things, some of them little, some of them rather blatant. So I made a list of the eight I notice most, and submitted them to the inimitable The Review Review, which has published my list here:

Writers Have Rules Too: A List of No-Nos for Magazine Submissions

Continue reading


Filed under Featured Content, Writing

Flash fiction published in The Conium Review

Maybe you know what it’s like to be away from someone–away, perhaps, indefinitely? You might then appreciate my latest publication in The Conium Review:

Far Afield

I’d like to thank James R. Gapinksi for bringing this piece to life on the website–I do think it looks great, especially beneath that wonderful Chicago skyline I hold so dear.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Writing