Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happiest of Holidays from the Staff at Vagabondage Press

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Author Insides - Ross Barkan

uthorWeeble couldn’t ever tell me the date of Bastille Day. What I mean is the original date, the 14th of July, 1789, the date they stormed the Bastille, those hungry French. There was so much that brilliant doofus could remember but never that date, no matter how many times I told him. You’d think graduating law school at 19 would endow you with the capacity to remember such things. But hey, Weeble was always the sort for involuntary memory, Proustian till the end.

Ross Barkan appears in the current Winter 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase, with his story "And We Tilled the Light."

Ross is a writer from Brooklyn, New York who has just completed his first novel, Aflame We Laugh. When not belting out his endless thesis about the representation of reality in the works of Henry Miller and Virginia Woolf, he enjoys losing his temper during softball, baseball, handball, and tennis games, writing inflammatory articles for his college newspaper, the Stony Brook Press, and editing Stony Brook’s newest publication, a literary magazine called Spoke the Thunder.

Ross, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I realized around freshman year of college when I read Jack London’s Martin Eden. The book is fabulously written; the story of a sailor turned struggling writer. It’s one of his forgotten works and the only London I’ve read. Ultimately, the ending is tragic, but it spurred me to write the first significant short story of my life when I read it back in the winter of ’07 and ’08.

Why do you write?
Why do anything? Because I love it, because I have an innate, almost atavistic urge to create, and it’s one of the few things I am capable of doing well, honestly. Even in this age of hyper-consumerism and technological hegemony (I like the internet, don’t get me wrong), I believe the written word still provides the most freedom because it directly channels the infinite capacities of human imagination. If you’re watching a movie, you’re still at the mercy of a director or producer, steeped in that vision which like a train chugs relentlessly onward. With a book, you can move backwards and forwards, imagining the characters or scenarios the way you exactly want. Hell, the author can label a character dumb and you can find a way to make him seem intelligent and endearing.

Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?
I figure I’ll have a very different answer when I actually publish a book. For now, I’ll say yes. I enjoy writing immensely. I remember reading an interview with William Styron in which he described writing as some great Sisyphean labor. Writing for me is serious play. I suppose I should thank the muses that I’ve yet to encounter writer’s block. But maybe that’s because I’m an immature twenty-one year-old.

What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict of some degree, but the great “story” is not tied to plot in my mind. If I interpret this question to mean “what makes a great book,” I would say that it needs a core of almost profound significance or needs to communicate some essence what it actually means to be alive as a human being. I don’t think any of us can ever fathom how extraordinary human consciousness actually is. When I read a story, I need a fundamental truth, a reason to keep reading. Henry Miller knew that better than anyone.

What's your favorite genre to read?
I read what can loosely be called “literary fiction.” Rather than give a genre, I would say some of the most sublime works ever written are Ken Kesey’s Sometimes A Great Notion, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and Don DeLillo’s Underworld. As a Jew, I guess I should mention that the Roth guy who wrote that dirty book about masturbating into apple cores is pretty good too. Tinkers, Paul Harding’s 2009 masterpiece and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas are my favorite 21st century novels at the moment.

Who is your favorite author or poet?
Ah, a tough question. My favorite dead author is definitely Henry Miller. No individual, alive or dead, can match Miller when he’s on a roll. I’m not sure if anyone has ever commanded a language in such an overwhelming and transcendent way. As for my favorite living author, that would be some tie between Don DeLillo, David Mitchell, Paul Harding, Jonathan Safran Foer, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Wray, Jonathan Lethem, and Gary Shteyngart. And Thomas Pynchon for writing Gravity’s Rainbow. I’m currently in search of the one great living author I can say, without hesitation, is the literary king of the hill, but right now I can’t. There’s nothing wrong with a crowded field, though. People should read more living authors. I’m convinced that the 21st century will produce literature of a higher caliber than anything else we’ve seen before.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
Any concoction of Kesey, DeLillo, and Miller. At times I’ve written in pathetic imitations of each but I’ve tried to channel the pure vigor of Sometimes A Great Notion’s language. That might be our Great American Novel. (I liked One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in high school but the novel feels too distant to me now.) DeLillo’s opening words, even in a subpar novel like Falling Man, lift the English language to a higher plane that I wish more people would try to appreciate. The first chapter of Miller’s Black Spring, in which he reflects upon a Brooklyn childhood very different than my own Brooklyn childhood, is everything great writing should be, the ideal balance of the metaphysical, romantic, and blood-drenched reality. Absolutely soaring language.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Life Without Principle.” I don’t think Thoreau would appreciate the irony of this American “democracy” celebrating his name while ignoring virtually every important idea he tried to communicate to us. I say this as we near Christmastime and it sure as hell doesn’t look like anyone is “simplifying” their lives in anyway. God bless capitalism and the military-industrial complex!

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
Reading and my daily existence. I read to find out about all those extraordinary things I can’t possibly ever experience. And I keep my eyes and ears open as much as I can. Good writers are outstanding observers. They walk through the world virtually empty, dangling their antennae out there and receiving the tragic currents of mankind.

What does your family think of your writing?
They support me, definitely. Deep down maybe they wish I dreamed of something a little more lucrative (Lawyer! Doctor!) but they certainly aren’t scornful. I love my parents and I owe everything to them. Without the thousand or so books crammed into our small apartment, I’d probably be studying to be one of the more mediocre accountants in New York City.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Since I still attend college, I try to write between assignments or other school work. I do attempt to write every day, regardless of my work load, but I’m never as diligent as I want to be. During a summer or winter break, I will write daily and constantly. My time-waster and enabler is the internet; thankfully, I’ve cut television out of my life so I have more time to write. There’s no set word count I aim for. I simply try to get something down on the page. Like anything else, the more you write, the better you will become.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
No, sadly I do not. If you asked this question about my now finished baseball career, I could tell you that I never washed my jockstrap during a hitting streak, drank the same flavor of Gatorade before a game if I was hitting well, and would never, ever step on the foul line or be the last person to take the ball to the dugout after warm-ups. There were probably a dozen more superstitions I can’t think of right now. But when it comes to writing, I am fortunately not so neurotic.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m not a straight-forward writer. I’m not into pared down language like Mr. Hemingway and his iceberg theory (after reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, I wished he stuck to journalism). At times my writing can be opaque or slightly elusive. I won’t lay everything out there for you; I believe in a challenge. That’s how readers and writers grow.

What are your current projects?
I am writing a novel I have tentatively called Good Night, Retrograde. Recently, I had finished what I now consider an apprentice novel called Aflame We Laugh. I think this current work will be the first completed long work that I do actually like after a period of three days or so and I will earnestly seek publication for Good Night, Retrograde when I’ve finished it sometime next year. It has potential. I’m excited.

What are you planning for future projects?
Good Night, Retrograde is the current and future project. I want to finish it next year, touch it up, and try to find an agent. I’ve set this semi-absurd goal of publishing a novel before I turn twenty-six. I don’t know why, it’s fairly silly, but I want to get myself out there soon. I’m too excited.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
You must always read and you must always write. Fairly simple, not profound, but that’s about the only real route toward becoming a writer or improving your writing. Read the newspaper, read great novels, read great non-fiction, and read everything in between. And realize writing is a serious commitment. You can say I’m a terrible writer but you can’t say I’m a frivolous or lazy writer. College is filled with the dime-a-dozen pseudo-romantics who will sit down to pen two poems about their feelings and go on Facebook for an hour. Writing is wonderful but writing is work. You must keep doing it to succeed in anyway.

Where can we find your work?
I’ve had a story published by Xenith , a story published by Grey Sparrow Press and I have a story that will be published in the spring 2011 issue of Words, the literary magazine of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. You can find my various journalism, humor pieces, essays, and absurdist musings at the Stony Brook Press website.

Please check out the website of Spoke the Thunder, the literary magazine I founded at Stony Brook University this fall. I’ll have something up there eventually but for now check out the great work by our writers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UK's National Short Story Day

On Tue 21st December revel in National Short Story Day – a UK-wide celebration of prose’s short-yet-perfectly-crafted form!! A multi-organisational collaboration, National Short Story Day will consist of a series of linked live and online events up and down the country, offering a variety of stories, old and new, to be read, listened to and enjoyed.

For more info:

In celebration of National Short Story, The Battered Suitcase (which is a UK-US collaboration) would like to offer you three free issues (your choice) of our journal. You will receive a zipped file with this issue in pdf, mobi, epub, lrf, and pdb formats.

Use the coupon: SHORTSTORYDAY for three free downloads at Vagabondage Bookstore

Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for further release dates and discounts.
Coming Soon:

EXPERIENCED: Rock Music Tales of Fact and Fiction - edited by Roland Goity and John Ottey

OUTSPOKEN - a social-comedy from James Vachowski

IN THE STORM - speculative fiction by Karen Metcalf

TRADESMEN'S ENTRANCE - a romantic comedy by Cameron Vale

And much, much more . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Suitcase Alumn - Lyn Lifshin

Poet Lyn Lifshin appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase

Lyn has published over 120 books and edited 4 anthologies. Also out recently: "Nutley Pond", "Persephone" "Katrina" and "Lost Horses". Her web site is

Just released to glowing reviews, poet Lyn Lifshin's new collection, "Ballroom."
With Ballroom, my 30-year addiction to Lyn Lifshin is reaffirmed and continues, unabated. Each new Lifshin work unravels, ravels and reravels me, shocks me that I’m once again surprised at the author’s depth and range. Ballroom is an invitation to the dance of Mad Girls, lovers, obsession, self-doubt, growth, regressions, transgressions…so potent, sexual, and thought-provoking in ways only Lyn Lifshin can plumb. This book tantalizes, lets us find new sides of the author’s voice that have been living in the margins.
Ballroom inspires the same freshness and glistening in me as did the very first book of Lyn's I read those 3 decades ago. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Lyn. I love this book. 
-- Ted Roberts

In Lyn Lifshin's latest collection of discrete-yet-linked poems, dance becomes an exquisite metaphor for obsessive yearning and desire. Form and content complement each other perfectly: Lifshin's language is as graceful, physical, and organic as dance itself.

-- Janice Eidus, author of The Last Jewish Virgin & The War of the Rosens

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writer Promotion - Blogging

With the expansion of publishing into so many different avenues beyond the traditional model, many authors get left holding the promotion bag. It's not a chore for the meek and unassuming, but there's still several ways you can cultivate a readership that don't require painting yourself blue and setting your hair on fire. If you're the quiet and thoughtful type, blogging might be one of your stronger promo techniques.

Blogging is almost always a solitary affair and blog posts can be written at any point of inspiration.

It’s a good idea to have a list of subjects to blog about. Brainstorm a list of blog subjects that will will be of interest to both your target audience and other writers who work in the same genre. You need to blog at least once a week to keep your content fresh. Since you also need to keep your author website fresh, you may want to update your website with the first couple paragraphs of your blog post and then link it to the entire post in your blog.

You have built an author website, right? For tips on author sites, check out our posts HERE.

It’s very difficult to feel fresh and ready to blog on the day you’re supposed to, so it's just good planning to write up several different subjects to about blog and then sit down and write them out as you feel inspiration or find time. It never hurts to have several in the can ready ahead of time to post. Of course, if you’re prolific, you can post every day, but try to blog at least once a week.

This is also where you can let others help you out; you can network with other writers to provide “guest posts.” This builds relationships with other writers who may ask the same of you and help you promote yourself and your books to new readers.

Once you feel reasonably comfortable blogging, and have a good idea of your blog's focus, it's time to find readers.

The first thing to do is to invite your contacts on other social networks to read your blog. Post a link on your Facebook page or tweet it to Twitter followers. Put the URL to your blog on your social network profiles and in your signature blocks for email and forums.

DO comment on other people's blogs, because it gets your name out there, builds important relationships with other writers and bloggers and can give you link backs to your blog or author site. These links back to your site increase the chances your site will come up in search engine results. There's a couple of important things to remember, though:

1) Follow blogs that are relevant to your genre and industry.
2) Use "Google Alerts" to find new relevant blogs.
3) Add something to the conversation. Don't just “me too.” Make a thoughtful comment and if you disagree, then do so politely and intelligently. Never flame.
4) Don't push your books, unless it actually has something to do with the subject of the post. Even then, be restrained with the sales message. The link backs alone are worth the comment, so there’s no need to get greedy.
5) Submit your blog to relevant blog directories. Some of them require that your blog show an established history of regular updated content, but do being placing it as soon as possible. Remember that link-backs are the main driving force that generates search engine results and that means a wider audience.

Blogging can be fun or it can be a chore, and like most things in life, the difference is in how you approach it. Think of blogging as a way to make friends with your readership and fellow authors. Plan far enough ahead so that it isn't a scramble. And keep an open mind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Author Insides - Angelica Kiedrowski

Angelica Kiedrowski's short story "Michael Woods" appeared in the Autumn 2010 issue of The Suitcase. She's an expatriate New Yorker living in New Orleans for the past 20 years, where she has written for the Times Picayune as a contributing editorial columnist. While an undergraduate at Queens College, CUNY, she won both the Claire Bibuld Jacobs and John Gassner awards for fiction; her first submission of short fiction was selected for The Georgia Review's special Women and the Arts issue Spring/'Summer 1990. After a nine year hiatus, she began writing fiction again in 2009; "Michael Woods" was chosen as a finalist for the Tennessee Williams short fiction contest for 2009. She is currently at work on a novel.
Angelica, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was 12 when I realized that I needed to write and that I might one day actually publish.

Why do you write?
I write because, honestly, it is a compulsion. There is always a kind of running narrative in the back of my mind that nags me; I am constantly parsing the world as I experience it, personalizing it, redefining it through the particular way I hear language.

Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?
I've never really thought too deeply about what it would be like to be a writer. I still don't. I write because I need to. Whether or not I actually publish doesn't change that.

What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good story has the following: beautiful, expressive language; dimensional characters compelling enough to involve the reader; a narrative which is, at once, both emotional and restrained, and at its best, transformational.

What's your favorite genre to read?
I enjoy all genres of writing although literary fiction is my favorite.

Who is your favorite author or poet?
There are so many writers and poets I love and love equally, there isn't the space here to name them.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
Influence is a strange matter in writing. The way I write is intuitive, pre-wired if you will. I am drawn to writers who have a similar relationship with language as I do.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
The Sound and the Fury had a profound influence on me as a person, although I am still not sure why. I think Faulkner caught the full range of human expression in that book--from the tragic to the comic, from the emphatic to the superficial, from the symbolic to the literal. I read that book every Easter. More recently, I've come to love Cormac McCarthy. Although it is not my favorite of his novels, The Road made me want to kiss the ground in supplication. Everyone should read that book and then think twice about the way our habits are hurtling us toward environmental disaster.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. Life is inspiration enough. The problem, however, is sometimes the writer is inspired but the writing doesn't come.

What does your family think of your writing?
Unfortunately, my family are not readers. They have little confidence in my writing and have always associated it with indolence and irresponsibility. If they see anything of my life mimicked in my fiction, they become suspicious of me and very angry.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
The days I write, I try to get in at least four hours. When the writing comes fluently, I try to write until that fluency stops.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Outside of drinking a lot of coffee, I have no rituals when I write. I read a little; I walk around a bit; I stare out the window--then it's back to the keyboard.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging thing about writing for me is having the confidence in my voice. Second to that is forcing myself to do the work. I have the compulsion to write, but actually doing it can be painful, especially on the days it will not come the way it should.

What are your current projects?
I am currently working on a novel, but when a short story intrudes, I stop and attend to it first.

What are you planning for future projects?
I can't think far enough to envision future projects. For me, it's a day at a time.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is, if you know within yourself that you have the gift [or curse], then believe in yourself and carry on with the work, in the face of rejection and discouragement. Don't give up. Plan your life around your talent. I would also say that it is never too late to begin a writing life.

Monday, December 13, 2010

News from Suitcase Alumn - Kieran Leonard

Kieran Leonard, featured in our Battered Suitcase Autumn 2009 issue with his powerful lyrics and a brilliant interview with our editor, Alice Bigelow, is making his debut single release, ‘Jerusalem,’ today. 

Released on the Wi45 lable, 'Jerusalem' will be available in Rough Trade and all good Independent Record stores on vinyl and downloadable at Amazon on the link to the right.

Lucky Londoners are invited to the launch party at The Boogaloo (Highgate) on December 15th, featuring a live performance, special guests and DJs. You can RSVP at the Facebook Event Page.
Check out the video:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing Craft - Know your audience

You’ve heard it a million times: Write what you love.
The reason you hear it so often is that it is sound advice. Not only will your passion come through, but it will also, hopefully, keep you interested in your story during the sometimes grueling editing process.
Another not-so-obvious benefit to writing what you love is that you have an insight to the reader you are writing for: someone just like you.
Once you begin pitching your work, you will probably be asked: Who is the audience?
Let me give you a tip: The absolutely wrong answer is “Everyone.” There is no one book for which the perfect audience is “Everyone.”
Audiences vary by age, gender, education, background, ethnicity, interests, location, etc.
It is important to know who your reader/audience is for two reasons:
1— Marketing (this will be discussed in detail in a later post).
2 —Better writing
Who you are writing for should influence your writing style. A story geared toward teens will have a style different than one aimed at the chicklit crowd. A manuscript with women as the main target readers will probably carry a different tone than one aimed at men. You wouldn’t expect the writing in a popular mystery novel to reflect that of a high-brow lit fic or a historical romance, and you wouldn’t write the same for middle schoolers as you would for middle-aged readers.
Knowing your audience can help you determine the voice, pace, and tone of your story. It can help you make the right language choices, characteristics, quarks, and habits of your characters.
Readers like to read about characters they can relate to in some way. That’s why it is important to think about your readers and their characteristics so they can be properly reflected, even if it is loosely, in your work.
A good portion of the fiction I write is aimed at my girlfriends — thirty-something urban, educated, career women who are worldly, outgoing and current. Like them, my characters tend to have some edge, definitely some snark, and a bit of vulnerability beneath their tough, independent exteriors. The dialogue is quick and direct, as they are. The books I prefer to read also reflect that audience. I like urban lit featuring strong female characters with witty dialogue and fast-paced action. I don’t want female characters to be saved; I want them to do the saving, and maybe a little ass kicking for good measure.
So, if you were writing a story of the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” ilk or a Howard Stern-esque piece, I would not be your target audience. The dialogue and action in such works would be much different than in books I prefer.
That’s why it’s important to keep your target readers in mind and write to their sensibilities.
It can also be beneficial if you get stuck, especially when editing. Want to know what to keep and what to delete or how to word something? Think about your target reader. What would they want to know? What parts of the story would they want in juicy detail and which parts can you mention in passing? What words would they use?
For example, I had a friend who was having problems with the old adage, show don’t tell. We talked about his target audience for this particular piece. Part of the problem was that he didn’t have a defined audience, so he was trying to please everyone, to the detriment of his story. I suggested he think about telling this tale to his buddies. Which parts would he really embellish and which would be glossed over? For instance, how much would he go into detail about the physical fight between friends versus getting ready for a date? And what words would he use to describe the way the woman looked or the sex scene?
Thinking about the reader helps the writer determine what is important, as well as which wording is most appropriate.
Now this doesn’t mean pander to the reader, or that you are limited to reader stereotypes (i.e. – not all female romance readers want to see the phrase “heaving bosoms”). But it is a good tool to keep you on track in terms of voice and style.
So next time you are working on a story, take a few minutes to jot down some words that describe your target audience. It is an exercise that will prove to be worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Author Insides - Eva Gordon

My boyfriend Jimmy is writing his dissertation on the cultural phenomenon of Graceland. He wants to compare the fan worship associated with Elvis to Joseph Smith and the invention of the Mormon Church; two ideas he claims are rooted in the same distinctly American pathology of raising up and tearing down idols. Jimmy has always wanted something to pray to, and although it’s unconventional, I guess Americana is as useful a framework as any if you can believe in it.

So begins Eva Gordon's short story, "Graceland University," in the current issue of The Battered Suitcase.

Eva grew up beside the ocean in Rhode Island. She is currently at work on her MFA in fiction writing from Spalding University. Her poetry has appeared in Prism Review and is forthcoming from Dew on The Kudzu. Her new book is from Adams Media will be available in January 2011.

Eva, at what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I always assumed I would be a writer, but I didn’t realize how much time it would take. As a child I thought, “Well, of course I’ll write books, but I’ll also have a fabulous career in x.” X changed often. I started my first novel at age nine, and published my first poem at ten.

Why do you write?

Because if I don’t, I become angry and depressed, and when I do, I feel like I am plugging into something true and old and in an invisible way, saving.

Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?

My father is a writer and growing up, I observed him planning, working, revising, and dealing with the world of publishing, which he never seemed to take too seriously. I feel lucky to have had his example so that when it came time for me to start sending out work, I knew, to some degree, what to expect.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s all about rhythm, language, and emotion.

What's your favorite genre to read?

I regularly read and write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, but the genre I will always love best is playwriting. I am still working up the nerve to write a play.

Who is your favorite author or poet?

I love writers by seeing the differences between them, by hearing a voice and knowing what distinguishes it from the others. A couple of writers I look to for inspiration over and over are Truman Capote (for language), Anton Chekov (for character psychology), Ellen Gilchrist (for humor and rhythm), and J.D. Salinger (for dialogue). But writing this list is painful, because I must leave off loads of writers who have meant as much to me as any person.

Ah! I must name a few more: Dorothy Parker, John Updike, Leo Tolstoy, Mary Karr, Anne Sexton, Natalie Babbitt, Lucy Maud Montgomery, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Susan Orlean, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Pam Houston, E.B. White, Joan Didion, Arthur Miller, Edwidge Danticat, and Mary Yukari Waters.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?

Here is a short, inadequate list: Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, The White Album by Joan Didion, Collected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Portraits and Observations by Truman Capote, and Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston. I could answer this better if I could see my bookshelf, but I am in an apartment in a small Spanish village, and my shipment of books is being held by immigration in Madrid.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?

The Autobiography of B.B. King—other biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs have influenced me as a person over the years. I love to read the stories of people’s lives, especially people whose accomplishments I admire. Also, my study of central and eastern European and post-colonial literature have had a developmental effect on my thinking about the world—in particular Karel Capek, Czeslaw Milosz, Bruno Shulz, Jean Rhys, Edward Said, Jamaica Kincaid have influenced my thinking as a person.

How do you find the most inspiration?

By reading, and by taking walks by myself. These walks are most beneficial if they are done in the countryside or in a large city. The idea is to turn down the white noise in my mind and turn up the awareness—that old “Be here now” concept.

What does your family think of your writing?

My parents are very supportive. I try not to force my writing on other members of the family.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I am ashamed to say that my schedule changes a lot. I think it would be much better to write at a specified daily time, preferably in the morning during those precious three or four hours of clarity.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?

I like to have a few good books on the desk with me as I work.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes! The number one challenge is listening to and obeying that little voice in my head that says, “Cut that line.”

What are your current projects?

I like to have several projects on the burners at once. At the moment I’m actively writing three short stories and a middle-grade novel, and several essays are stewing in my brain.

What are you planning for future projects?

I have many plans, but if I set them out into the air they may die.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t settle until you’ve worked and waited, worked and waited, and until you know you have nothing more inside, that it’s all on the page.

Where can we find your work?

I have an essay in the 2010 annual prize issue of New Southerner, out this month, and a poem in the most recent issue of Prism Review. I also have a short story in the current issue of Pulse Literary Journal.

Eva currently lives in western Spain, teaching English to high school students, but you can visit her online at

Monday, December 6, 2010

News from Suitcase Alumn - Adam Ficek

Adam Ficek, indie pop guru and dj extraordinaire, appeared in our premiere issue The Battered Suitcase back in June of 2008.

Late of reknowned UK indie band Babyshambles, now of Roses Kings Castles,
Adam's freshly released Suburban Time Bombs has been receiving rave reviews. We're hoping
to bring him back to the Suitcase for more of his clever lyrical wit and an interview.

Until we can catch up with him on his whirl-wind tour of venues unreachable (and mostly unexplained), you can keep track of Adam and his new band at

And you can download Suburban Time Bombs from Amazon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Winter Issue is Now Live

available in print, digital and online viewing

We are delighted to announce the Winter 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase! This issue brings a range seasonal art, prose and poetry. We’re delighted to present musings on art, music and life from artist and Sky Cries Mary and Hana frontwoman, Anisa Romero, whose haunting paintings with their vivid splashes of colour are featured in this issue.

Non-fiction in this issue explores life choices. Julie Strasser's "Tugging on the Rope" and Diane Hoover Bechtler's "Grounded" take a look at pivotal moments in relationships.
Winter fiction faces birth and death, including the eerily touching "Waterproof" by Kristi Petersen Schoonover. Bill West’s "Superwoman" takes a poignant look at a family facing death, while Marjorie Maddox explores a more positive hospital trip in "What She Hears." Jessi Lee Gaylord's "Conversations About The Weather" looks at pregnancy and childbirth from another angle, with a teenager out of her depth.
In Diane Kimbrell "Last Chance" and Danyael Halprin's "Babushka’s Potatoes," we meet a few loveable family eccentrics.
Abbie Bergdale's "Spun" tells a grim tale of sex and drugs and no rock and roll. On a lighter note, Robin Merrill paints an amusing portrait of the trauma of a thirtieth birthday involving a skunk, strange rescues and a marriage proposal in "Happy Twenty-Ten."
Flash fiction includes another appearance by Megen Toole in "The Pea Coat" in which relationships are mirrored through the migration of cold weather gear.
In poetry, Bryan Borland explores a forced coming of age, in ‘Dark Horse’. Amy Shreibman Walter takes a glimpse at the less-than-festive side of the holidays in "December 25th, Chinatown." Janice Krasselt Medin admits "I Never Wanted To Be A Princess," and John Tustin takes a wry look at love in "Better to Wonder." Rigby Bendele explores dark aspects of childhood and Sami Schalk takes a humorous look at big feelings through the observation of everyday things.
Winter visual art includes extraordinary images from artist Blue Bliss and her stunning urban images, Jane Linders’ surreal still life photography, Simon Currell’s striking photo art exploring workspaces and Sparky Campanella’s multi-faceted, patchwork murals.
Not to forget the forthcoming Yuletide, we’re happy to wish you all a merry Christmas with Lindsay McBirnie’s fluid, movement-filled seasonal illustrations.


Interview with Anisa Romero

Flash Fiction by Bill West, Wendy Thornton, Marjorie Maddox, Magen Toole, Jake David, and George Sparling.

Short Stories by Bryan Smith, Danyael Halprin, Eva Gordon, Jaime A. Heidel, Jessi Lee Gaylord, Megan Starks, Melissa Chadburn, Nick Hinton, Paul Medus, Robin Merrill, S.J. Webb, Tim Millas, SR Mishler, Abbie Bergdale, Ross Barkan, Diane Kimbrell, Natalie Jacobs, and Cameron Mount.

Novelette by Kristi Peterson Schoonover.

Narrative Non-Fiction by Dave Migman, Julie Strasser, Diane Hoover Bechtler, Phibby Venable, Timothy L. Marsh and Susan White.

Poetry by Adam Church, Corey Cooper, J Brasseur, Laura Dennis, Alexis Donitz, Katie Manning, Sami Schalk, Tango Barraza, Lindsay Miller, Rigby Bendele, John Tustin, Eric Johnson, Bryan Borland, Sally Smith, Luiggi Carlin, Scott Owens, Christopher Leibow, Pavel Rubin, Scott Weiss, Janice Medin, Amy Nawrocki, Meg Johnson, Amy Schreibman Walter and Aunia Kahn.

Artwork by Blue Bliss, Jane Linders, Lindsay McBirnie, Ruth Weinberg, Simon Currell, Sparky Campanella and Anisa Romero.