The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated…

It’s been a while, I know. Almost a year since I last posted something on this blog that’s been abandoned.

But some things have happened in the meantime…bought and moved into a new house, spent too much on new furniture, saw the new Star Wars movie three times, built a pretty sweet vinyl record collection – that’s a blog for another time, promise! – and turned 44 years old.

Oh, and my cat died. I miss him terribly.

Oh, and Donald Trump happened. Fuck that guy.

I would love to regale you with swashbuckling tales of literary madness, that I wrote a novel-length manuscript, got an agent, sold said manuscript to a publisher, and did a book reading tour in support of the book.

No, no, nope, and no. None of that happened. In fact, I stopped writing altogether.

I had some harsh conversations with myself about my writing. In short, I came to the realization that I don’t have the discipline (read: attention span) to write a full-length novel. Or a novella, for that matter. My writing comes in bursts, short threads that I can work with within a smaller confine, but this writing approach doesn’t work well when you’re trying to write 50,000 or more pages, then edit the fucking brute.

I would have seemed hypocritical from me to continue posting stuff on my blog about the “writing process” when I was failing miserably at it. About what little progress I was making. About how frustrating I found writing becoming.

So I gave up. No, not writing; posting on my blog.

What I did learn, much to my eternal surprise, is that I have a knack for poetry. Yup, poetry.

Why is this surprising? Because I used to hate poetry. HATE poety. HATED HATED HATED it. Honestly, it was personal biases that got in my way. Poetry always seemed soft and quaint, in the words of John Keating, something “to woo women with.” It wasn’t until I started reading what you can call “outlaw” poetry, i.e., the Beat Poets, Richard Brautigan, Sapphire, and, of course, Charles Bukowski, that I saw writing in riddles and codes, dancing with metaphors and similes, that’s when I was able to unlock why poetry matters.

I did find a community of poets and writers on Instagram, of all places, that willingly and openly shared their work. Since I was there already, I figured I would jump into the pool. My first attempts were tentative, small attempts at mimicking what I knew. The more work I read on IG, the more I felt confident about posting my own words. In the year or so that I began posting my poetry and micro-poetry on IG (more than 700 posts!), I’ve garnered a pretty sizable following, and have made strong connections with the poetry community on IG.

Time, then, to also start showcasing my poetry here.

Capture

I have no bold plans for this blog, nor do I have bold plans for my writing. I’m still writing poetry, which I will be posting here frequently (and thank you in advance for reading it; critiques are welcome, unabashed fandom is greatly recommended), and I’ll update my site on random thoughts and observations that come to mind. Just not politics, though; my political ranting days are over, and, besides, with the public cannibalism that goes for presidential campaigning these days, my teeth-gnashed rants are not the sort of thing I want to contribute. I’ll wear my politics on my sleeve and go about my business.

(Team Bernie, in case you’re wondering…)

I can’t promise exciting things, other than I’m helping out on an anthology that will hopefully see the light of day this spring, and putting together a collection I will self-publish before the year is through.

And fuck Donald Trump.

Thanks for reading. Talk soon.

.

Call For Submissions – Uno Kudo, Vol. 4

 

Many of you are likely aware that I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with the art & literary collective known as Uno Kudo. My short stories “That New Car Smell” and “Room 505” have appeared in both Uno Kudo, Vol. 1 and Uno Kudo Vol. 2, respectively

Here I am holding my copy of Uno Kudo, Vol. 1. It's a beauty.

Here I am holding my copy of Uno Kudo, Vol. 1. It’s a beauty.

The good people at Uno Kudo are pleased to announce they’re currently accepting submissions for Vol. 4. But don’t just take my word; here’s Bud Smith, one of the editors, with all the details about how to submit, and what you should submit, for Uno Kudo Vol. 4.:

——————————————————————————————-

Hello writers and artists!

Submissions are OPEN for Uno Kudo volume 4!

send your work, now: Feb. 7th-May1st 2014.

SUBMIT: unokudo@gmail.com

Writers: Uno Kudo is looking for your most vivid work: short stories, poems, creative non-fiction, to be matched up side by side with artwork that will knock your socks off.

Artists: Please send art as a 300 dpi Jpeg 12″ high. Also send links to your websites. In this edition we will be using more stand alone art but we will still be matching up art to some of the stories and poems so it would be really awesome to see the expanse of your work.

Please send writing as a .doc file. No word limit. No theme. No holds barred.
In the subject line, please write either:

ATTN: Fiction/Title and author
Or
ATTN: poetry/Title and author

That’s a big help for the editors/readers who will select your work.

Poetry: send up to six poems (separate Word docs are fine).
short stories: send one, no word limit. No holds barred.
flash fiction: max 500 words each, send up to three (separate Word docs are fine).

Submissions are now open for our yearly print anthology that combines art and writing in wild ways. All profits from the sales of Uno Kudo 4 will again be donated to PEN International, a charity that fights for the rights of oppressed artists worldwide. Uno Kudo will be published in book form, available through Amazon, and available as a digital download.

We’d like to see something that has not been published elsewhere. We’d like to see something that is not sim. sub. We’d like to buy you a beer. All those things.

Thank you!

——————————————————————————————-

So what are you waiting for? Get your pens, your paintbrushes, your cameras ready! Uno Kudo needs your art and your words!

“This Shit Writes Itself!”

Some news regarding my writing progress, both good and bad. It’s actually all good, but what’s news without a little drama, no?

The bad news lately is that my current WIP has stalled. Not for a lack of trying. It’s just stalled. It’s still fresh on my mind, but there’s been little movement. And I’m not freaking out about this one tiny bit.

The good news is that I have been sticking to one of my goals for 2014: write 8-10 hours per week/1000-2000 words per week. By doing so, I’ve managed to either complete or begin drafting four short stories over the past week, all of which will be submitted to print and online journals. A brief description of what I’ve worked on:

  • Beloved Son” – a woman’s idyllic life glosses over the horrific pain and guilt she harbors over something she wishes never happened.
  • Bipolar is the New Diabetes” – this one speaks for itself; it’s an experimental piece of fiction, a humorous look at mental illness told in an open letter format. And, seriously, if you can’t laugh at your screwy mental makeup, then you might as well get fitted for a straight-jacket and some Benzadrine.
  • Shake, Shoot, and Squeeze” – a college-aged drinker competes in a “tequila triathalon,” with disastrous results.
  • Storefront Church” – a man is forced to confront the terrible life choices he’s made in the unlikeliest of places.

What I’m loving so much lately is how organic everything seems to be taking place. Rather than me finding the words, the words are simply finding me. I know, it sounds trite, but it’s true. I honestly didn’t really put a lot of thought into the tone or topic into these pieces I wrote; I simply had some ideas come to mind, a few scribbles here and there, then flesh them out further, and, voila, a short story.

It’s all keeping my mind sharp, and my writing fresh.

I believe it was William Shakespeare who coined these immortal words, words that I use to take comfort in and inspiration by:

Word, Bill…word.

“First Time: An Anthology About Lost Virginity”

Would you like to read an anthology of short stories, essays, and poems all circling around a memorable-yet-cringe-inducing subject: losing your virginity? Of course you would! Then “First Time: An Anthology About Lost Virginity,” is the anthology you want to read.

I’m pleased to announce that my short story “Late Bloomer” is one of the four dozen stories, essays, and poems featured in the new anthology, “First Time: An Anthology About Lost Virginity.

Edited by Bud Smith – who, by the way, has a new novel out right now, called Tollbooth, and you should read it, along with other projects he’s working on (and, seriously, does that man ever sleep? That bastard) – First Time is a unique collaboration from forty-eight writers and poets, all of whom strike an emotional chord on the subject of losing one’s virginity. I can’t recommend it enough, regardless of the fact that my story is one of the many stories in this anthology. Every story runs that emotional gamut one feels about having sex for the first time, from awkwardness to relief to complete embarrassment, and they’re all told with such grace, power, and humor. And I’m glad that many of the writers featured in this anthology are writers whom I consider to be my friends.

First Time is available in paperback on Amazon right now.

photo

Some Short Work-in-Progress Updates, and Some Author News That is Making Me Geek Out

It feels like it’s been weeks since I last blogged, but it’s only been six days. Something about February being the shortest month really seems to throw my timing off very badly. Have I told you how much I hate February? I mean, honestly, what a shitty month. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. I’m not one to usually make such statements, but I’m done with winter.

Alright, enough griping.

The Work-in-Progress (Or Lack Thereof…)

It’s been four months since I finished the first draft of my novel, and I’ve become more and more frustrated with it, but I’ve figured out what’s been frustrating me.

For starters, I’ve realized my novel has two main protagonists, both of whom are linked to one another. I wrote about their relationship in a previous blog. In some regards, I came to understand the relationship between my protagonist and his antagonist in the same way the Joker described his relationship with Batman in The Dark Knight: “You complete me.” They need each other. That’s the story right there. So I’m focusing on that, seeing where the story takes me.

I’m also going back to basics, not just with pen and paper, but writing organically. No more outlines. I’m finding that outlining is cramping my style. The whole “three acts” thing is something that’s bothering me quite a lot. My novel doesn’t have three acts. But there is tension. There is something the protagonist wants, but just quite can’t get, so he has to go through a lot to get it. By forcing the “plotting” principle, I’m finding I’m not letting the story come to me. So, yes, I hereby admit I’m a pantser. Hell, I’ve been a pantser about everything all my life, so this should come as no surprise to me.

Interestingly enough, Michelle Proulx also has an excellent take on why outlines may stifle creativity. She too is a pantser, and proud of it.

Finally, I took some advice I dispensed here a while ago, and began to re-write my novel as a short story. Having written quite a few shorts over the past couple of years, I’ve learned the importance of streamlining a story, cutting the fact, and getting down to the gist of what makes the story go. I’m hoping to see the novel re-emerge again once I re-write it as a short story.

The “Out Where the Buses Don’t Run” Anthology…Is It Ready?

Well, almost, my dears. I finally finished editing it down to about 140 pages, reworking the blogs that make up the entire anthology, along with adding some annotations to help with the flow of the pieces. Also, it didn’t hurt to correct some pretty lousy grammar that was embarrassing me.

What I am slightly struggling with is an Introduction to this anthology. I figured this would have been a piece of cake, but no. I hate summarizing anything about myself or what I’ve written, and this Intro is no different. I really shouldn’t be struggling with this, but I am, for no real reason. Ehh.

At any rate, I’ll be using CreateSpace to self-publish the anthology. Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks.

The Author News That Is Making Me Geek Out Like Crazy

2013 just might be a banner year for some of my favorite writers publishing new works. Already, there’s been news that Neil Gaiman’s new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, will be published on June 18th, and that Stephen King’s long-awaited sequel to The Shining, called Doctor Sleep, will finally hit bookstores on September 24th.

But the news that Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Bleeding Edge, will arrive on September 17th, has me in a geeky tizzy. Set to take place in Manhattan’s Silicon Alley between the Dot-Com bust and September 11, 2001, Bleeding Edge will no doubt be Pynchon’s wild take on the vast conspiracies behind the failure of Silicon Alley and the events of September 11th.

I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on his new novel.

Some Random Music Notes

I’ve been listening to 8Tracks Radio a lot recently. I like that I’ve been able to find a lot of introspective, moody music to help me write. This mix in particular has been my favorite one recently.

I found myself listening to this piece repeatedly the other night, while writing. Not hard to see why; just take a listen…click, click, clack…

Say The Word! (Short Fiction)

Author’s Note: WORST SHORT FICTION PIECE EVER. I’m posting this just to fill some time between my last blog and my next one. It sucks. Sue me.

 

Ines was greeted at the bus terminal by her grandson, whom she hadn’t seen in years, but had talked to on the phone or via e-mail all this time. She could hardly contain her excitement on the bus ride, although her demeanor hardly betrayed such excitement. Ines was going to a taping of her favorite game show, Say the Word! Of course she would make the long bus ride from Albuquerque to LA. She wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Her grandson worked on the set of the game show, so he finagled a ticket. No easy feat; there was at least an 18-month wait list for tickets for a taping of an episode. He even pulled a couple of strings, and arranged for Ines to be a contestant! A surprise, of course. She’d get to meet the dashing host of Say the Word!, Chet Summerville, even.

The next afternoon, Ines nervously took her seat in the audience. She waved at her grandson, who was marching around the set wearing an earpiece and clutching a clipboard, talking to the oh-so-dashing Chet Summerville. Someone gave the audience instructions on how to react, i.e., when to clap, when not to clap. If your name was called, this person said, step up to the stage in an orderly fashion and let Chet Summerville direct you onstage.

The object of Say the Word! was simple: a panel usually made up of three C-list celebrities, gave the contestant clues as to what the secret word was they had to correctly guess. The audience and viewers at home knew what the word was, but the contestant had only five chances to correctly guess what the secret word was. Guess the word, and you moved on to the next word. And so on. Ines loved this game. She never missed a single show.

The show began taping, and Chet Summerville introduced the panelists, cracked wise with them, and then called up the first contestant. “Is there an Ines Martinson in the audience?” he asked.

At first, Ines thought there was another Ines Martinson in the audience, but when she saw her grandson motioning at her to come forward to the stage, she just about ran as fast as she could just to meet Chet Summerville. She was beaming. She hadn’t been this happy, so happy, in so long.

“Now, Ines, I’m going to show the audience what the secret word is. You can ask the panelists for clues, but you only have five guesses. Guess correctly, and you win and move on. Are you ready to play?”

Ines was ready. Chet Summerville flashed the secret word to the audience. The secret word was…moosecock.

Ines calmly approached the first contestant, an aging soap opera star.

“Is it something you can eat?” Ines asked her.

The aging soap opera star tried to contain her giggle. “I suppose it is,” she replied.

“Is it moosecock?” Ines asked.

 

Superhero Anthology – Now Accepting Submissions‏

Getting the word out on a very good anthology I’ll be contributing to, which I hope you’ll contribute to as well. Got a really good superhero-related story you want to share? Keep reading.
Aaron Dietz is putting together a Superhero-related anthology for charity.The anthology will feature online posts from real life superheroes (blogs or Facebook updates) as well as fiction and non-fiction from new and established authors.

The book will be an exciting way to examine the fiction of superheroes becoming reality by blending real life superhero experiences with fiction as well as non-fiction works from authors who are not real life superheroes.

Real life superheroes: Please submit your finest/most exciting/most hilarious/most interesting blogs, notes, or Facebook updates.

Fiction and non-fiction authors: Please submit your finest superhero-related fiction or non-fiction, up to around 1500 words (but shorter is sweet!).

Send your submissions in a Word doc or other text-based document to: writer@aarondietz.us

Deadline is midnight, March 31!

Please invite others to submit!

The charity that the profits will be donated to is the Foundation for Sustainable Development. http://fsdinternational.org/

My A-Z of Literature

I saw this idea on JessMitten’s blog – My A-Z of Literature – and liked it so much that I’d thought I’d steal the idea and post my own A-Z.

A

Margaret Atwood. No writer combines the uncertainty and terror of dystopian fiction with humor and satire the way Margaret Atwood does. Some would dismiss The Handmaid’s Tale as pure fantasy, but in some parts of the world – and, if some will have it, in this country – the tale of Offred is very much real. Love, love, love Margaret Atwood.

Paul Auster. My favorite New York City writer. Brooklyn represent! The New York City Trilogy is simply mesmerizing.

B

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. My favorite novel of the past decade, and one of my favorites ever.

Charles Bukowski. See below.

C

Raymond Carver. I’ve read hundreds, maybe thousands, of short stories, but no one writes (well, wrote) a better short story than Raymond Carver. “Cathedral” is perhaps the finest short story ever written.

The Catcher in the Rye…ah, yes, this book spoke so loudly to me during my disaffected…OH FUCK THAT SHIT. AND FUCK THAT BOOK. AND FUCK YOU IF YOU FIND THIS BOOK PROFOUND. IT’S OVERRATED AND YOU KNOW IT.

D

Don Quixote. The first of the great classic works of literature I read. This is one that’s very close to my heart, a novel that’s funny and wistful and tragic. Often times considered a contender for one of the best novels ever written, and rightly so.

Dune. I would not be lying if I told you I’ve read Dune at least 20 times.

E

L’etranger (The Stranger). Yes, I’m cheating. Still my favorite existentialist study. It floored me in high school – I still think my 11th-grade HS English teacher for making me read this – and it still floors me today.

The Elements of Style. You can’t claim to be a writer, even if what you write are technical documents, if you’ve never read this. Essential reading for every writer and budding writer everywhere.

F

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. Oh, irony: I remember my entire 10th-grade English Lit class pretty much hating this book, and thinking it would be perfectly alright if we lived in a world without the printed world. There’s no telling what these geniuses are up to these days.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “We were somewhere outside of Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.” Best opening line to any novel, if you ask me.

G

Neil Gaiman. Just oozes cool, doesn’t he?

Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. I’ve read it 3 times. I still can’t tell you what it’s really all about. But I can tell you no novel has ever enthralled, puzzled, humored, and sucked me in like this multi-thread post-modern head-scratcher.

H

Nick Hornby. Many writers write about obsessions, but only one writes about the things that I obsess over – music, film, books, and football (soccer) – the way Nick Hornby does. He understands how obsessions form the male psyche, and how important – and debilitating – those obsessions can be.

Ernest Hemingway. My first literary hero. Still one of my heroes.

I

Ignatius J. Reilly, the main character of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. He’s obnoxious, ill-mannered, a legend in his own mind, yet I love him to death, because, hey, I too can understand what it’s like to be a misunderstood genius. Okay, maybe not.

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. You read it, right?

J

James Joyce. Yeah, I haven’t read him, either.

K

Karamazov, as in The Brothers Karamazov. GREATEST. NOVEL. EVER. WRITTEN. Seriously. The “Grand Inquisitor” scene is the finest chapter ever committed to paper by a single novelist ever.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Murakami loves to play with symbolism and metaphor. Kafka on the Shore, just from the title alone, is chock-full of said symbolism, and it’s a hoot of a read. One of my all-time favorites.

L

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Do I need to describe or defend it? If you’ve never read it, then what are you waiting for?

M

Moby-Dick. The Greatest American Novel? Maybe. But it’s one of the best novels ever, and better than you think. Yeah, it’s long-winded. So what? Read it, if you haven’t already.

N

Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. Not so fantastical after all, huh?

Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs. Man, I still have trippy flashbacks. I don’t think I’ve read a book that unnerved me as much as this novel has.

O

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I used to use this novel as my litmus test for women if they were date-worthy material. If she’d read it and loved it, then she and I would get along fabulously. If she read it and hated it, then she paid for dinner. If she never read it, date over.

I’m kidding. Somewhat.

Flannery O’Connor. Her masterpiece short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” taught me there’s no such thing as a need to politely and cleanly wrap up a story. That story, and O’Connor’s embrace of the beauty in the grotesque, helped shape my writing to some large extent.

P

Portnoy’s Complaint, by Philip Roth. True story: I was reading this on a subway train ride one day. A little old lady was sitting next to me, snooping peeks at what I was reading. I was pretty aware she was trying to steal a peek at what I was reading. I got to a chapter with the following title – “Cunt Crazy” – and all I heard was “OH MY GOD THAT IS DISGUSTING WHAT YOU’RE READING!” I flashed a knowing smirk and got off at the next stop.

Q

Quasimodo. I’m stumped. That’s all I got.

R

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. This novel scared the living hell out of me in ways no Stephen King novel could ever frighten me, yet it’s also one that’s a novel of hope and perseverance in the face of absolute destruction. I sobbed after reading this.

Salman Rushdie. Any writer that lived more than a decade with a price on his head – still does, actually – and lived to tell about it, with his dignity, sanity, and sense of humor still intact, will always earn my undying respect. Rushdie is the living example that the pen will always be mightier than the sword.

S

Slaughter-house Five. Has there been a novel written in the past 50 years as influential as Kurt Vonnegut’s darkly comic, humanist, anti-war screed?

Super, by Aaron Dietz. The best novel you’ve never read. Do yourself (and Aaron) a favor and read it.

T

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. One, it’s the best story ever about heroism in the face of the odds stacked so badly against you, knowing you’re going to lose, but sometimes heroism comes from a result of the character you demonstrate. Two, being it’s the only novel Harper Lee’s ever written, it’s one hell of a novel to be remember for.

Hunter S. Thompson.

U

John Updike. His “Rabbit” Angstrom novels are so steeped in, well, whiteness, as in White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism that they can be a distraction, yet Updike was a vicious voyeur into the private lives of public people. I could never identify with Rabbit Angstrom’s “struggles,” but I sure as hell loved reading about them.

Ulysses, by James Joyce. Look, I already told you haven’t read James Joyce!

V

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  Anything more needing to be said?

Jules Verne. Science fiction writing begins with him. Some 125 years later, his influence is still being felt, especially within the steampunk genre.

W

Where the Wild Things Are. Still the one single book that’s best described my world view to this day. And now that my daughter’s reading it, I can only hope it forms her world view as well.

White Noise, by Don DeLillo. Post-modern suburban existentialist dread. Written in 1985, just as relevant, if not more so, today. There’s so much irony oozing in every page – the technology that supposed to make our lives better and more efficient is really making our lives worse and less efficient, and in turn building walls between us – that it’s disarming and unnerving at times. I’ve read it several times. I think I need to read it again.

(PS – the band The Airborne Toxic Event got their name from this novel)

X

Uhh…

Y

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. Oh, Jesus Christ, I hope I never have to undergo the confusion of grief she underwent. Wow.

Z

Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. His essays may be a bit self-serving – after all, he only uses his own work as examples – but his advice is absolutely indispensable.

Zone One, by Colson Whitehead. There are too many damned zombie books out there. If you’re going to read one that’s profound and funny and frightening, this is it.

 

Naked (Uno Kudo Vol. 2)

I’m pleased to announce that my short story “Room 505” is featured in Naked, the second Uno Kudo anthology. Uno Kudo Vol. 2 is currently available on Amazon at the special introductory rate of $19.99. Not only was I a contribution to this second anthology, I was proud to serve as an editor.

What is Uno Kudo, you ask? I’d write something clever, but I’ll let the fine folks at Uno Kudo speak for themselves:

There wasn’t a doubt: there would be an Uno Kudo Vol. 2. The first book was a best seller on the anthology list and raised a nice amount of money for a worthy charity. But following the first book, a strange thing happened. The writers and artists who were included began to talk. They picked up telephones and said, “Oh hi, hello—so strange that we’ve never hung out before.” They bounced emails back and forth—“Wanna help me drink this vat of Pinot Noir?” Parties sprung up. Snail mail popped into mailboxes: birthday cards, odd little handwritten notes. These people had all fallen in love with each other. They started talking. Collaborating. Plotting. Devising. They took vacations together. It was baffling. This kinda’ thing wasn’t supposed to happen anymore.

An art collective. A modern day art collective. Really?

Yup. It spans the U.S.A. and it’s spreading … inching out daily. Like the Blob … Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Boulder, Brooklyn, Upstate New York, Chicago … that Johnny Cash song, I’ve been everywhere man … Sure! Sea to shining sea. Europe too. Pins on the map in Japan, South America, anywhere there’s a somebody leaving a light on. We’d like to come to your town—absorb you just like the Blob did. We’re friendly though. We’ll slather you in neon DayGlo paint and … well, lots of things will happen.

There’s a place for you here in Uno Kudo. Read. Look. Write. Create. Speak. Buy me a drink. I’ll buy you a drink. We’ll get naked and things will glow with an impossible hum—reverberating with a tinge of welcome danger.

Love,

The Editors

Born out of both an admiration for our respective talents and a love for one another, Uno Kudo is literally a labor of love, and something we want to share with the rest of the world. I am lucky to have gotten to know just about everyone who’s collaborated on both volumes, and even more fortunate to call these people my friends. I love them and miss them greatly.

 Okay, enough of my gushing…an added bonus to this anthology is that we’re pleased to announce that 100% (yes, 100%!) of all proceeds will be donated to PEN International! For 90 years PEN has been a global literary community protecting free expression and celebrating literature. Providing grants, awards and support for persecuted writers around the world, Uno Kudo believes that not only is PEN the perfect charity to receive Volume 2’s proceeds, but we also could not have a better role model as the Uno Kudo community of writers and artists look to the future.

Our first anthology, Ripped, was released last fall. Thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from friends and family, the first volume went as high as #6 on Amazon’s Best Selling American Literature Collection. You can still order your copy of Ripped from Amazon.

At this time, Uno Kudo Vol. 2 is only available in paperback format. There are plans to release it in digital format next spring, so stay tuned for further updates

For another glimpse into the creative process behind the contributing minds featured in Uno Kudo, Vol. 2, check out Bud Smith’s excellent interview of the very talented and even lovelier Erin Parker.

So if you’re looking for something a little more provocative for your next reading material, then please consider Naked. You’ll be feeding your mind, you’ll be supporting freedom of expression, you’ll be exposed to some up-and-coming mega-talents, and you’ll get the chance to read one of my stories. It’s a win-win for everyone, you as well.

If you can’t purchase a copy, or you’re on the fence – and why would you be on the fence? – then please consider following Uno Kudo on Facebook and subscribe to Uno Kudo’s Blogspot page for further updates.

I’ll leave you with this brief yet tantalizing trailer for Naked. And please consider Vol. 2  as a nice Christmas gift for yourself or a stocking stuffer for others. While you’re at it, buy Ripped as well.

Thanks for reading!

Prompt This!

I’ve toyed with the idea of giving you, dear reader, a writing challenge. Actually, this wasn’t really my idea; Adventures of a Wanna-Be Writer put me up to this, albeit gently. The trouble with a writing challenge is coming up with a suitable prompt to either spark your interest or spark a decent bit of writing. So I put this idea on the back burner.

It wasn’t until I read Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites For Writers post that I found an interesting prompt, which I’ll get to in a second. My relationship with Writer’s Digest can be best summarized this way: 70% pure hatred, 15% feeling “you know, you’re actually kinda nice when you’re not being a royal bitch,” 10% “okay, let’s fuck,” and 5% utter guilt and shame over having committed the previous 10%.

So in that 15% when Writer’s Digest wasn’t being a stuck-up, condescending twat to me because I won’t spend $200 on a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans that only the truly douche-y wear, I did glean one “Best Website” that didn’t suck: The Story Starter, a random story starter generator.

Seriously, I spent the better part of an hour clicking through their suggestions, and giggling like a Twinkee-soaked fat kid that just saw Emma Watson sport a side boob. Then it hit me: YES! PROMPT THIS, WORDSMITHS!

Your challenge is as follows: go to The Story Starter, click on the “Click Here For a Random Story Starter Sentence” button, then write a short story based upon that first sentence. If the sentence generated sucks, well, then, click until you find something that works.

How many words? Ehh…your choice. 250 words? Sure. 500 words? Why not? 1000 words? Hey, now you’re being a showoff!

Post a link to your stories on the comments section below, won’t you?

Have fun!

PS: this is what Story Starter generated for me on my first click:

The slimy cow photographer rode the bicycle into the huge truck to conduct the dangerous experiment.

I think this might call for the appearance of two of my favorite self-penned fictional characters, Claude Balls, and his assistant, Heidi Salami. I’ll post mine later tonight.