Back in January, I found out that The Tishman Review had nominated my story “What We See” (published in their Issue 3.1) for Best Small Fictions. I was thrilled! I adore Best Small Fictions, and the idea that there was a chance that Aimee Bender (this year’s guest judge) might read a story I wrote was amazing to me.
Fast forward to March, and it got better.
While I was at a weeklong writing residency in California (at this beautiful, serene place), I received word that my story had been selected as a Finalist for Best Small Fictions. Of the over 1,000 nominations they received from around the world, my little story was one of the 101 selected to be considered by the guest judge. Aimee Bender had, indeed, read my story. But I would have to wait to find out if she’d picked it.
Fast forward to the very next day, and it got even better still.
My story had won. Of the 101 stories that Aimee Bender read, my little story “What We See” was picked as one of the 53 that would be included in Best Small Fictions 2018.
The anthology that includes my story will publish in fall 2018, but if you haven’t read these anthologies before (and you should!), Best Small Fictions from 2015, 2016, and 2017 are available now on Braddock Avenue Books’ website.
My story “Block Party Games” is now live in the latest issue of Foliate Oak magazine.
If you know anything about me and my online reading habits or if you’ve paid a little bit of attention to the Go Read Something posts I’ve shared over the course of this blog, you know how strong my devotion and love is to Smokelong Quarterly.
Which is why I’m completely thrilled that a story of mine was accepted by them a few months ago!
“A Smooth Shallow Cut” first appeared as a weekly featured story back in January and now it’s in their most recent issue for spring, Issue No. 55. Also in the issue is an (only slightly awkward) interview with me.
My story appearing in Smokelong is definitely a highlight of my writing life so far. And the other stories rounding out this issue are great, making it all the better! Check the issue out if you like!
As 2016 turned into 2017, two of my short stories were published.
Issue 205 of Crack the Spine came out right around Christmas and featured my short, short story “Taxidermy.”
And, on January 1, 2016, Pithead Chapel published Volume 6, Issue I, which included the winners of the Larry Brown Short Story Award. My short story “Recuerdos Olvidados” was selected as runner-up by judge Kyle Minor.
Both are stories I’m extremely pleased have found such wonderful homes.
Saying good-bye to 2016 was something I’d long looked forward too — even while the impending doom of what’s to come in 2017 is not without its own anxiety and worry. I realize that, technically, the date changing from December 31 to January 1 is no more different than the change from September 3 to September 4. But still. There’s something about changing one year for another that just comes with some bit of closure. And when it comes to 2016, I think we all needed a little closure.
I’m looking to 2017 with realistic optimism. I think the worst parts of 2016 were the ones that blindsided me, that exposed my own complacency and the complicity that resulted from it. I’m a big fan of acceptance and embracing the realization that I can’t change others, I only can change myself, is something I’m clinging to mightily these days.
Despite the various shitstorms that 2016 rained upon us, there were many bright spots. There were babies born and children (and adults) who continued to learn and grow. There were friends made and relationships strengthened and risks taken, for better or for worse.
In my writing, I accomplished a great deal. Of the 93 submissions I sent out (yes, 93), eight resulted in acceptances (and 10 are still pending). That might not sound like a lot, but two of those eight were competitions: one where my story placed first, and the other where my story came in runner up. Not to mention that five of the eight acceptances came in December. FIVE. Getting five acceptances in one month was quite a boon to my confidence, albeit short-lived (ah, the self-doubt is strong). I also put together my first ever short story collection, compiling 12 of my flash fiction pieces into a chapbook length collection. That’s been a goal of mine for several years, so making it happen meant a lot.
2016 was a disaster. And the hits kept coming right to the bitter end (New Year’s Eve night at the emergency animal clinic with two kids and a kitten is exactly as much fun as it sounds). But the clock struck midnight, and it ended like all the others, making room for the clarity and perspective that hindsight allows.
And I welcome 2017 — its challenges and all — with open arms and, more importantly, an open mind.
“Wheel of Fortune” has always been my favorite game show. It also happens to be the one that I am the best at playing (seriously, I get the puzzles before the contestants 95% of the time). So, this story obviously struck a chord with me for that reason. But it’s also just plain beautiful and delightful.
Read Tara Laskowski’s “Vanna” published by Atticus Review.
My story “Recuerdos Olvidados” placed 2nd in the Larry Brown Short Story Award from Pithead Chapel.
It will be published in January 2017.
My short story “Where It’s Buried” has been a true testament to dedication and perseverance.
I first wrote the story during NaNoWriMo in 2013. I rewrote it and expanded on it the next year, got some feedback, and rewrote it again (practically doubling it in length). Then it was workshopped at the 2015 Tin House Winter Workshop. From that workshop’s amazing feedback, I finally landed on the story it was meant to be all along.
And it finally found a home!
In October, it was announced that “Where It’s Buried” won first place in Five on the Fifth‘s short story contest. The story is now live as part of their November/December issue and I couldn’t be prouder.
So, yeah. It’s been a while.
I’m not even going to make promises to stay on top of this blog because every time I do … I don’t. And then I feel guilty because I said I would do something and then I haven’t. And that just makes a person feel shitty.
I have been writing, though. Just not around here. And a new story of mine was published back in January in Blue Monday Review. The issue my story, “The Half Dollar” is in (Volume 3, Issue 1) also is home to a piece by a dear writer friend, Bree Barton, so reading this issue is a definitely 10/10, do recommend.
I’ve got a ton of “Go Read Something” story links saved up, so I’m planning to start posting those again. (Key word: “planning.”) And, if anything comes along in life that feels particularly blogworthy, perhaps I’ll get around to typing out a few words here. Fingers crossed.
A new short, short story of mine is up in the September issue of Gravel Literary Magazine. Go check out “The Lawn Mower“!
Also, another story of mine was published in Kentucky Review back in May, so feel free to check out “Who’s There” too!