Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friends of Tuesday Shorts at the Boxcar Lounge

Thanks to all who came!

Reading from my novel Into the Sunset

You are invited to a festive, funfabulous evening with Friends of Tuesday Shorts, the reading series. Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 8PM. Tuesday Shorts is also celebrating our upcoming spread - featuring some of the best new and established talent presented in TS last year - that will appear in Opium.print #6 this spring!

Scheduled readers:

Mike Young co-edits NOÖ Journal. His work has or will appear in Backwards City Review, Night Train, Hobart, Juked, elimae, 3:AM and elsewhere. A chapbook of poetry called MC Oroville's Answering Machine is forthcoming from Transmission Press.

Donald Capone's short stories have appeared in Edgar Literary Magazine, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, and Skive Magazine, as well as the anthologies See You Next Tuesday, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction, which he also edited, and which was a finalist in the 2006 USA Book News awards. His first novel, Into the Sunset, is on sale now. To pay the rent and eat, he designs children's novelty books for a major publisher.

Shelly Rae Rich likes to make things up and mix them with truth. Some of her fiction is found or forthcoming in Apalachee Review, Opium Magazine, The Binnacle, Duck and Herring Pocket Field Guide, Right Hand Pointing, elimae, Ghoti, Juked, Ducts, Eyeshot – and her work has been translated in two languages. She is co-editor of Tuesday Shorts. More can be found at her blog: Shelly Rae Rich

Bob Heman's work has appeared in Quick Fiction, Paragraph, Sentence, First Intensity and many others. His ephemeral magazine CLWN WR is currently publishing a series of "50 words or less" (and "20 words or less") issues.

Boxcar Lounge
(212) 473-2830
168 Ave. B
New York, NY 10009
(between 10th St. and 11th St)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Would You Stand Up and Walk Out On Me?

Ringo takes a bite of the Big Apple

Ringo Starr was scheduled to appear on the “Live With Regis and Kelly” show on Tuesday morning in New York. Rings is out promoting his new CD "Liverpool 8," and planned to perform the title cut. Trouble was, the song is 4 minutes and 15 seconds long, and the producer of Regis (Michael Gelman) wanted Ringo to cut it to 2 1/2 minutes or less. Ringo offered to shorten it to 3 minutes and 30 seconds, but apparently, that wasn't enough. When a compromise coudn't be reached, Ringo walked.

One question for all involved with the Regis show: Are you crazy? Or just a bunch of morons? Do you realize you had a real life Beatle in the house, one of only two left in existence (unless you count Pete Best)? OK, so that was three questions. Still. Here's another one: Uh, was there a better guest waiting in the wings? Let the man play his damn four-minute song!

Fashion designer Michael Kors and the winners of CBS’ “The Amazing Race” filled in the time. Bet it was riveting television.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Clapton—The Autobiography

Eric Clapton, guitar god, has written his autobiography, aptly titled Clapton, The Autobiography. It covers his entire life, from his poor upbringing, to the present day as happy family man. He addresses every phase of his personal and professional life, which is amazing in the fact that the book clocks in at only 328 pages. Maybe this is why, as honest as Clapton is, it left me wanting a bit more. For instance, during his drunk periods he admits to being "chauvinistic" to his then-wife Patti, and starting fights with various people, but he never actually gives the details. (Maybe I have to read Patti Boyd's autobiography if I want more.)

The overall read this memoir gives on Clapton's personality is one of obsession. From his love of the blues, to his infatuations with many women, to his desire to work with different musicians, to his abuse of drugs and alcohol. Everything is done full bore, damn the consequences. It took age and years of recovery for Clapton to mature enough to start a family with his current wife, Melia, and settle into a less destructive lifestyle.

I give Clapton credit for being so forthcoming in his text, and admitting to faults and mistakes that most people would choose to keep hidden. Possibly being such a public figure for so long didn't really give him an option here; other people have and will write books, and some of the stories are already legend. But, still, I was almost embarrassed reading some of his adventures. Especially one in particular, that involved a strange woman who preyed on his vulnerability by claiming she could help him win back Patti with different spells. The situation gets way out of hand.

Maybe it was just a case of fighting a tight deadline, but I feel this book could have benefited with a stronger editor to guide the text. The writing was good (Clapton wrote it himself), but someone really needed to just step in a few places and ask for more here, and here, and here. John Lennon's murder wasn't even mentioned. Surely this must have affected Clapton in some way, even if it was just to concern himself with his own safety. Not to mention Clapton's friendship with George Harrison. Didn't he discuss this with Harrison, or call and console him about the death of his Beatle brother?

Despite my few problems with the book, I really found it to be a quick read and a real page turner. It allowed me, the reader, to get an intimate glimpse into the life and mind of one of the most successful artists of the last 40 years. And the glimpse isn't always a pretty picture.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Second Annual Per Contra Prize

Per Contra, the International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas, is still accepting submissions for their 2nd Annual Per Contra Prize. First prize is $1,000! Deadline is January 31st, so get with it! Read their guidelines here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Into the Sunset reviewed by Romantic Times!

Romantic Times magazine reviewed my novel Into the Sunset in their February 2008 issue, which just hit the newsstands. Without further ado, here is the review (I'll comment after):

Romantic Times is geared toward the romance and erotic genres. So I'm thrilled that my book—which is neither, really—got three stars. Yeah, the book has a lot of sex. And there may be a relationship or two, but it's a comedy. There are a lot of silly sex scenes.

The "younger man and much older woman plotline may make some readers uncomfortable" comment is funny for a few reasons:
1) If readers of erotica are uncomfortable with this plot line, maybe they shouldn't be reading erotica.
2) An agent who requested the full manuscript when I was shopping it around commented that the book had "disturbing sex." Guess people can't handle a May-December romance if the December is a woman. Which leads to...
3) Why is it acceptable for an old gent to date a younger woman? Rod Stewart with a hot, young blonde? That's fine. My 30 year-old character with a 60 year-old woman? Disturbing!

Anyway, thanks to Susan DiPlacido for sending them a copy of my book. Her collection of stories, American Cool, received 4 1/2 stars from them!

Into the Sunset can be purchased at:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Short Review

If you are a lover of short stories, you should check out The Short Review, a website that reviews short story collections. Issue number 3 just went live. Both new releases and classic collections are reviewed.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More like 700 Splendid Suns

I found A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini disappointing, especially in comparison to The Kite Runner. I wonder if I would have liked this book more if I hadn't already read The Kite Runner. The Afghanistan culture and politics were interesting to me. Maybe it was just a case of been there, done that.

The story centers around two female characters, Mariam and Laila, and follows their lives over the course of 30 years. From the Soviet invasion, to the Taliban, and finally to the US invasion, these women struggle to survive, and yearn for happiness that is always just out of their reach. They learn to endure.

I liked the characters, and they were well drawn, especially the bad guys. But the second half of this book devolved into a soap opera, and it was almost comical to see what horrible tragedy would befall them next. (I don't want to give specifics here and ruin the plot if you haven't read the book yet. But if you have, you know what I mean.)

The storytelling was too heavy-handed, and after a while I got the point: War is bad. Bad things happen to good people.

As with the The Kite Runner, the story just dragged on and on. Just when you thought it was over, there was yet another ending. Kind of like a cheesy horror movie, where the axe-wielding maniac is struck dead, and you the think the film is over. Then he pops back up to kill some more.

The final 20 pages were work to finish. I just wanted it to end. Thankfully, it did.

3 1/2 stars