It’s Official. The Long-Distance Teammate is Coming.

Kevin Eikenberry and I are excited to announce that we have signed the contract for the sequel to The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.

The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere is under construction, and will be out in January of 2021 from Berrett-Koehler books.

The Long-Distance Leader has been a big hit, especially in airport bookstores. We are exceptionally proud of both the book and our relationship with our publisher.

I’m excited about the new book. Much of it is based on our work launching the new 12 Weeks to Becoming a Great Remote Teammate product at the Remote Leadership Institute. While most of you don’t care much about my day job, I urge you to check it out.

What does this mean for my other writing? I”m going to be heads down between now and the new year on not only this project, but finishing the final tweaks to Johnny Lycan. There also won’t be much short-story work happening. I’ll keep you posted.

Join Me In Person on November 16th

Las Vegas types, please join me on November 16th at Copper Cat Books, in Henderson Nevada. 1570 West Horizon Ridge Pkwy Suite 170
Henderson NV 89012

I’ll be there from noon-3 PM signing (and hopefully selling!) my award-winning novels including:

The Count of the Sahara

Acre’s Bastard

And Acre’s Orphans, the exciting, prize-winning sequel;

Stop in to say hello and support local booksellers Wendy and Anthony. See you there!

Colorado Noir with Bruce Most

As evidenced by the fact that my two most recently published short stories (Los Angeles 1952 and Ava, Lana and Old Bob Campbell) were set in the 1950s, it’s clear I have a fondness for that time period. Especially the whole post-war existential angst thing that made detective stories so fabulous. Now, the first place you think of when the subject comes up is probably NOT Denver, Colorado, but that’s the setting for Bruce Most’s mystery, The Big Dive.

Bruce, tell us about yourself.

I like to kill people—well, on paper. I’ve devoured mysteries since I was a kid, feasting on my grandfather’s cheap paperback collection of Perry Mason courtroom mysteries and the greats of the 30s, 40s, and 50s such as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, and Dorothy Sayers. My all-time favorite remains Raymond Chandler. (Editor’s note: I read approximately 20 Perry Mason novels as a kid, our house was full of them. An early corrupting influence. Sorry, you were saying…)

 I began writing fiction in my late teens and early 20s—sci-fi short stories, mostly—and was paid handsomely in rejection slips. The rejections encouraged me to graduate in journalism and make a less risky, paying career as a freelance writer, seeing print in numerous national publications. I wrote mystery novels on the side. I published my first two with St. Martin’s Press—about a brash, tough woman bail bond agent named Ruby Dark, whom I still love. Along with my Joe Stryker novels I’ll discuss below, I also published a mystery set in Wyoming ranch country, Rope Burn, with cattle rustling and murder. And surprise, not having written short stories since I was young, I recently saw my first short story in print in Mystery Weekly—The Dead Man in the Pearl Gray Hat.

What’s The Big Dive about?

The Big Dive is the sequel to my award-winning mystery Murder on the Tracks. It’s set in 1951 Denver. My protagonist, Joe Stryker, is a Denver street cop. His patrol partner is murdered almost before his eyes—the second partner he’s lost in the line of duty. Beyond his emotional trauma, Joe faces two baffling questions: How did the killer pull off such a brazen murder and escape? And why was his partner—a man so by the book that fellow cops scornfully nicknamed him “Saint Benedict”—murdered while burglarizing a pawnshop?

 But finding the answers is complicated. To protect his dead partner’s reputation—and save his own career—Joe lies to investigators and his wife as he operates in the shadows to discover the truth behind the unexplainable. All while dodging a homicide detective hell-bent to pin the crimes on Joe. His investigation leads him to a ring of dirty cops and deep secrets going back to the unjust Japanese-American relocation camps of the war. Before Joe can answer the baffling questions and track down the brutal killer, he must risk his career, his marriage . . . and his life.

What is it about that time period that appeals to you?

 As I mentioned, Raymond Chandler is my favorite mystery writer and I’ve always loved the 1940s hard-boiled gumshoe settings with the snap-brim fedoras and dark streets. I set the two Joe Stryker novels in the late 1940s and early 50s as a homage to Chandler. Also, I was intrigued with the tumultuous cultural and economic changes in post-World War II, exemplified in Joe’s difficult relationship with his wife.

Totally unfair question, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

That’s like asking who’s my favorite child. But if I must . . . There’s a scene where Joe travels to the ruins of the Japanese-American relocation camp in southeastern Colorado (a real location). He finds key evidence there for solving the crimes. But the scene also paints a portrait for Joe and the reader of the heartbreaking and shameful internment of Japanese-American citizens. I find it an affecting scene.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

The Big Dive and Murder on the Tracks are available in ebook and print on Amazon, as are my other mysteries. My website www.brucewmost.com includes links and excerpts of all my mysteries. Readers also can check out blogs about The Big Dive book at https://www.brucewmost.com/blog. They also can find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

We interrupt this interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much-coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book. Of course, for all my books there’s my Amazon Author Page.

Los Angeles, 1952 is now complete for the world to read on Twist in Time

Last post, I talked about Twist in Time Magazine and what a nifty little litmag it is.Well, they have just published the second half of my oddball short story: Los Angeles, 1952. It’s about, well, Los Angeles in 1952 and a perfect storm of boxing, old Hollywood, and first dates.

If you’d like to read the first part to catch up, it’s here:

A couple of months ago I wrote about the back story to this tale, and I blame it all on The Duchess. That explanation is on my blog as well.

I hope you enjoy meeting Lorna, Jimmy and Maggie. Have a great week.

Support Lit Mags #3 Twist in Time

Take your time and get it right. We’re not going anywhere.

Renee Firer, editor Twist in Time

If you love short stories and poetry, you need a place to find new work. If you’re a writer, you need a place to submit and get your stuff into the world. This is the third in a short series about litmags I really like–some have published my work, some have not–that do a terrific job. This week’s focus is on Twist in Time Magazine and we are talking to its editor, Renee Firer.

Full disclosure, I really like this mag for a couple of reasons. First, it is absolutely delightful. The look of it, the design and the artwork are really lovely and slick (in a good way). it’s not just a website with words on it.

Secondly, its theme is time. Their motto is “Take us on a journey to somewhen.” Fact, fantasy, fiction, it’s all about time and how it works on us, and we on it. Content runs the gamut from delicate fantasy poems about fairies to fact-based historical fiction and back. If you haven’t read it, you should take a look.

Then, of course, they have published some of my work. The war story (something outside their normal wheelhouse but they liked it, so there) Dien Bien Phu, 1954 came out in Issue 2. My 2-part longer piece, Los Angeles, 1952 was premiered in Issue 5 in September and will conclude on November 1 in Issue 6. I wrote some backstory on it earlier this month…

Renee, tell us about your magazine, Twist in Time and your new imprint, TwistiT Press and why do we care?

Such a good question! I think the better question would be, why should we care about the evolution of literature? What we consider today to be historical fiction was once just literature set in the time period the author was from. Some of the science fiction written years and years ago is now comical literature that completely missed the mark when guessing what the future might look like. Writing that focuses on time, on a single moment, the future, past, etc., is like a history book in and of itself. Twist in Time documents it all. Years from now, someone could read the work in my magazine and maybe learn something about our era, the authors, the world, community, and so much more. No one can escape time. So we might as well start paying more attention to it. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to learn from it so that history doesn’t repeat itself. 

This is a tough gig. What were you thinking? What inspired you to take the leap?

Honestly, it’s a bit selfish. I write a lot of historical fiction and poetry. But when searching for magazines, online or print, that would publish my genre of work, there was a huge gap. A bunch of the magazines I found had shut down for a few different reasons. One of them being not enough submissions. Was historical writing a dying art? I didn’t think so. Or more like I hoped not. That would have been heartbreaking. So I took that as a lesson and took a deeper look at what fascinated me. I needed to find a way to broaden the topic. What was it about history that drew me to it? The answer was time. Something about writing about a different time and place gave me the warm fuzzies. A stranger sitting beside me, though, would be able to interpret time a different way. And that’s what I wanted. Different stories from different people from different places all over the world all because of one word.  

What kind of stories or other content are you looking for?

Steampunk, steampunk, steampunk! Now, with my shameless wishlist out of the way, I’m looking for the unconventional. I want quirky, different, but engaging work, be it writing or art/photography. I want someone to take the idea of “time” and twist it around their finger and create something new that leaves me salivating and desperate for more. I want it all. The past, present, and future. 

Here’s your chance to vent: What drives you crazy about submissions to your magazine?

Oh, oh, oh! I HATE when people don’t read my guidelines. I tried to lay it out as simply as possible, but there are still people who don’t read it. And I can tell instantly. There are people who just send me an email with the attachment, but no cover letter. Nothing to tell me if the piece is a simultaneous submission or previously published. It drives me up the wall, honestly. Because I look at it this way, if someone can’t take a few minutes to read my guidelines then why should I waste time reading or viewing their work? To me, that’s disrespectful, but more than that, unprofessional. 

What are your long-term goals for Twist in Time and your imprint, TwistiT Press?

To get filthy rich. On a more serious note, I would love to reach out into print for the magazine. It’s something I’ve been circling for a while now, but I just lack the time to finish laying out the issues. But that is the goal. I want to find a way to reach a wider audience, do more work with charity anthologies, and branch out to high schoolers and middle schoolers (TwistiT Teen, anyone?). 

As for TwistiT Press, I’m in the beginning stages of this aspect of my business, but I am so grateful for the writers I have published or am soon to be publishing. My goal is to continue on this upward momentum and continue growing with my press and authors. I hope to one day have an honest business from the magazine and press, so that I can continue bringing content to my readers. And my authors deserve the best I can offer them. 

If people are going to submit to you (No, not like THAT!) what should they know?

Well, if they’re going to submit to me, they better submit to me (100% in THAT way). Actually no. I don’t wish to be sued for sexual harassment. But I think they should know they need to be patient. With themselves and with us. If they miss a submission period because they can’t get a piece just right, that’s okay! Submissions will open back up eventually. But also, if they rush to finish a piece for fear of missing the deadline, don’t. Take your time and get it right. We’re not going anywhere. Better to submit something you’re proud of rather than work that’s subpar. 

Also, remember, we’re running this magazine and press in our spare time. And sometimes, we’re swamped with submissions. It’s both flattering and terrifying. It can take longer to go through them all than we intend. Please be kind, but don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about the status of your submission. We’ll get back to you ASAP. We’re doing our best for you guys. 

You’ve published two of my stories now. I’m grateful because they were hard stories to place for different reasons. What the hell were you thinking? What did you find publish-worthy?

You’re one of the few who have submitted historical fiction to me and that immediately grabbed my attention. But what kept me reading was your ability to story tell. It’s not just the prose, but the way you draw a reader in with details, giving them some footing to stand on. It’s the dialogue, keeping it authentic. You have this amazing ability to build a world in a limited amount of space, a world where readers just kind of fall in and find themselves no longer on their couch, kitchen table, bed, etc., but in LA, watching two guys duke it out in the ring. 

On that note, I’m going to quit while I”m ahead. Please check out Twist in Time. Also, some of my other short stories can be found on this page of my site, and my novels and nonfiction can be found on my Amazon Author Page.

A Female Samurai with India Millar

I am a sucker for anything that has to do with the Samurai period in Japan. Toshiro Mifune is my boy. So when I heard about Firefly, the tale of a female samurai warrior, or “onna-bugeisha,” I was all in. So, meet India Millar.

India, who are you?

My name is India Millar, and I am a writer of historical fiction.  Also, I may well be one of the luckiest people I know – I make my living doing something I love. But like most things that are worth having, my journey to becoming a professional novelist was far from easy. In fact, my love of writing was born out of adversity. I come from a very poor family. My father died when I was eight, and to keep us both together, my mother was forced to work impossibly long hours. In those days, “latchkey” kids were common, and the authorities took no notice of us. Books didn’t figure in our tightest of budgets, so  I would come home from school, get myself something to eat and then head for the local library to lose myself in as many books as I could devour, staying there until they threw me out. And that was the start of wanting to be a writer for me. I soon began to create my own, private adventures in my head and I became a dreamer of other existences. I carried my own world in my head, whenever I had a spare moment weaving stories just for myself, for nothing more than to give myself pleasure. To me, this was perfectly normal. I was amazed when I found out that everybody didn’t do it. And it was only recently that I came across a term for it. Apparently, I am a “maladaptive dreamer.” I think that is a remarkably ugly title for one who gives pleasure by introducing their worlds to others. I wonder if I asked any of my favourite authors if they knew they were maladaptive dreamers, what they would say? (Wayne’s note: Hell yea, maybe we need tshirts!) I have a feeling that the response would be that – just like me – they wouldn’t have it any other way!

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In spite of my lifelong love affair with words, I never believed I would become a professional writer. That was for other people, not the daydreamer from nowhere. Now I have achieved the impossible and I spend my days bringing my dreams to life, I can only give thanks for those long-ago times that were my start in life. 

I really enjoyed Firefly, but tell my readers about it.

“Firefly” is the first in a series of books based on the true tradition of the warrior woman of the samurai. My heroine, Keiko, began life as the daughter of a wealthy samurai. But unlike most women of her class, she was not a pampered nothing, expected to do no more than marry and have as many male children as possible.  Dominated by her lovely elder sister, Keiko wanted no more than to win the love and respect of her father, who largely ignored her. . But she found to her cost that the ancient oriental saying of “be careful what you wish for, you may get it” can also become  a curse when it amused her brother to teach her the way of onna-bugeisha;  the revered warrior women of the samurai. She finally wins her freedom, but at a cost she could never have envisaged.

We share a fascination for that time period. What drew you to the world of samurai Japan?

I’ve been fascinated by the Victorian period for as long as I can remember. I think it is because it was the period in history when suddenly anything at all was not only possible, but likely.  Never has mankind achieved so much in a relatively short period; virtually everything we take for granted today had its roots in the Victorian age.  And I can’t remember a time in my own history when I wasn’t fascinated by Japan. Who could imagine a country that voluntarily closed its doors to the rest of the world for hundreds of years and then, in less than a century, rose to become a world power?  Geisha, samurai, courtesans, the code of bushido, haiku,the kabuki and bunraku theatres, warrior women who fought alongside their men and of course Edo’s Floating World… delicious!

So, what’s your favorite (or favourite) scene in the book?

It’s always difficult to divorce a certain scene from the whole. Of course, if it was easy to pick out one particular piece of the action, then that scene probably shouldn’t be there in the first place as it disturbs the harmony of the rest of the book. Having said that, I enjoyed writing about the incident that made Keiko realize she had achieved her goal of becoming onna-bugeisha. Her brother, Isamu, takes her to steal a golden eagle chick from the nest on an inaccessible mountain. Her father loves hunting and she knows that the rare and wonderful gift of a golden eagle will please him above all else. It does, but the dangerous mountain climb to reach the eagle’s nest and the mother bird’s frantic attempts to protect her chick nearly kills Keiko. And at the end of the day, it is her brother who takes the credit for the gift. As he tells Keiko, if their samurai father knew that she had had any part in stealing the chick, he would have declined the coveted bird because if a mere woman could have taken it, it would surely be worthless. A definite example of be careful what you wish for; you may get it!

Where can we learn more about you and all your books?

You can find me on Amazon, my website at www.indiamillar.co.uk, and Facebook.

We interrupt this interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much-coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book.

England in the 1600s with Michael Ward

All historical fiction fans have their preferred time periods. One of the joys for me is when someone introduces me to a time and place I might not have been as familiar with. Such is the case with Michael Ward and his novel Rags of Time set in England during the mid-1600s.

Okay, Michael, what’s your deal?

I count myself lucky indeed to have grown up in Liverpool during the sixties. We really did feel we had the world on a string thanks to the Fab Four. I always hankered after journalism and my first interview was with Frank Zappa, on tour in Liverpool, for my school magazine. I didn’t realise then my reporting career had just peaked at the age of 15.

Later I joined the BBC before becoming a journalism academic. But, as they say, inside every hack there’s a book waiting to come out. I eventually succumbed when I discovered historical fiction and a fascinating period that, to me, had been relatively overlooked – the mid 17th century Stuarts. The die was cast.

What is Rags of Time about?

‘Rags of Time’ is the first in a series which will chart the adult life of my hero merchant Thomas Tallant. Tom returns from India with a ship full of spice to find England sliding into Civil War, and London in the grip of a bitter struggle between King and Parliament. The streets are seething with sedition and soon Tom is being dragged into London’s turbulence, falsely accused of killing a wealthy merchant and then, later, the death of the man’s partner.

He meets Elizabeth Seymour – equally addicted to astronomy, tobacco, mathematics, and gambling – who steals his heart and then saves his life by untangling the web of intrigue that threatens to pull Thomas under. Their journey of discovery takes Tom from the underground radical press to the halls of Parliament, and the apprentice boy riots to a regal masque ball, all in search of truth and his salvation. 

What is it about that time period or character that appealed to you? What are the roots of the story?

The more I researched this period, the more I realised it must have been a remarkable time to be alive, in London. Everything was changing. Religion, politics, society, commerce, science, and medicine – all were touched, and in some cases transformed, by the spirit of this age.

So I wanted my readers to see, hear and smell this for themselves, by walking in Tallant’s shoes, experiencing both the everyday and the dramatic. Understanding, for example, how centuries-old medical cures and treatments of dubious value were finally being challenged and replaced by science. But also witnessing historic events such as the Fire of London, or the execution of Charles 1.  

Do you have a favorite scene?

That’s very difficult! Possibly an extended scene between Tom and Elizabeth that marks the turning point in their relationship, when Tom shares his darkest secret with Elizabeth. It took me an age to write and re-write because I wanted the scene to end with the reader understanding completely that a bond had been created, through the offer and acceptance of deep trust, without any overt reference to this throughout the dialogue. Tricky!

Where can we find your book and more about you?

It’s available in paperback and e-book on Amazon. I’ve just joined Goodreads and am developing my author profile there. Book 1 (‘Rags’) introduces us to the rending divisions that will soon lead to Civil War. Book 2 is now in development.

We interrupt this interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much-coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book.

Holy @$%^, My Flash Fiction Won Something

My short fiction has been filling in space while I’m between novels, and it’s been getting some love. The latest pleasant surprise is from my boys at Storgy.com, who have awarded my story, “Sponging” third place in their 2019 Storgy Flash Fiction Competition.

Flash is something I had never tried before. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the need to tell a complete story in a pitifully small number of words, usually 500 or a thousand depending on who you ask. For this contest, it was 500 words. Flash fiction fans (who also appreciate alliteration, apparently) will tell you it’s a legit art form that forces the writer to focus on only the elements crucial to creating a character and theme, a little like prose haiku. Others will tell you it’s because nobody can afford to do print and paper magazines anymore, and reading long stories on line can be a drag.

Given that I write primarily novels and business books, it’s hard for me to even say hello in 500 words, so the fact I could tell a tale about a fixed horse race and a guilty jockey in such a short space was a little surprising. I couldn’t have done it without the input from my writer’s group, the Thursday night bunch at Sin City Writers.

Truthfully, my goal was to make the book– the top 30 stories are getting published in a chapbook. I never expected to make the top 3 (and a little bird told me I damn near won the thing, but that’s practically irrelevant.) I know and really enjoy the work of several of the authors who submitted, like Tomas Marcantonio, Emily Harrison, Rick White, and Laure Van Rensburg and that’s some durned fine company to find oneself among.

I’ll keep you posted on when the book will be available. Meanwhile, check out all my short stories and where you can find them on this site on the Short Stories and Other Pieces page.

Los Angeles,1952 and the story behind the story

When that first dime-sized drop of blood hit her blouse, I figured the evening was pretty much shot.

Los Angeles, 1952 part 1

One of the favorite stories I’ve ever written is Los Angeles, 1952 which is now out (at least part 1 is) in Issue V of Twist in Time Magazine. It came out the same day as another story, Ava, Lana and Old Bob Campbell was published in Ragazine.

The stories are a little similar, in that they both take place in the 1950s (at least partly) and are based on semi-historical events and involve Studio-age Hollywood. I gave you a little backstory on that tale in a previous post, and thought I’d do the same for this one.

LA 1952 is the most thoroughly researched short story I’ve done. On the surface, it’s a tale of boxing, old Hollywood, and first dates. In its own way, it’s also a very personal story. Here are some of the tidbits you might not know.

The boxing card that night was real. Using BoxRec, a website for the geekiest of boxing geeks, I found a real fight card for June 7, 1952 at the Legion (later to be the Olympic) in Los Angeles. All the fighters and the results of that card are as stated in the story. Gil Cadilli was a popular LA-based fighter who fought the likes of Davey Moore and Willie Pep in the early and mid-fifties. He was one of “Senator” Johnny Forbe’s proteges… Forbes helped set up boxing programs in East LA and was responsible for a good percentage of the west coast fighters of that period.

The details about Monarch Studios contracts are accurate. As stated earlier my wife, the Duchess, is a fount of information about the golden age of Hollywood. She also has a number of friends who are equally geeky. One of them is Gary Brumburgh, a singer, actor and someone who has contributed to hundreds of IMDB bios and articles on the studio days. He gave me the low-down on the small studios like Monarch and all he asked in return was to name the actress Lorna Malone. Seemed like a fair deal. Lorna got her big raise in 1952. Unfortunately, Monarch closed its doors in 1954. I hope she married well.

The Hollywood Studio Club was a real thing and my wife lived there. The studio club dormitory where Patsy/Lorna lived was on Lodi Place between Fountain and Lexington in Hollywood. It opened in the early 20s and remained open until 1975. A number of famous actresses lived there, and literally thousands of wannabes and never-weres. in 1972, a bright-eyed 22-year-old from Miami named Joan Herrera pulled up in her Toyota Corolla planning to be a star. They put her in the room once occupied by Marilyn Monroe. She immediately asked to be put in another room fearing bad juju. She became the actress Joan Dareth, and then the current Joan Turmel.

I sold cars in LA for a short time in the 90s, and that was pretty much my boss. Morrie existed, and he’d have absolutely been that guy.

The final part of the story will be out November 1 in Issue 6. Please read it.

If you enjoy my short stories, you can find a list here of what’s out in the world. Better yet, buy one of my novels and support my habit by visiting my Amazon Author Page.

Support Litmags #2 – The Mighty Line

The Mighty Line is looking for stories that are technically sound and culturally relevant.

John Hegellund, publisher The Mighty Line

As someone who loves the short story, it’s kind of staggering how many places are you can find them. If, of course, you know where to look. Because so few print magazines feature short fiction, most of these places are to be found online. This is the second in a series of interviews that might steer you towards places I find great stories to read.

Some of these mags, like Storgy, or Twist in Time, have published my work. Others I enjoy but have yet to crack (although it doesn’t stop me from trying.) Such is the case with The Mighty Line magazine.

Here’s my interview with John Heggelund.

The Mighty Line is kind of unique among lit journals. Tell us about it.

The Mighty Line is a digital magazine of short fiction and visual art. We publish our issues online for free (www.TheMightyLine.com) so our contributors can share their work with as broad an audience as possible. We do not solicit fiction. Every story we publish starts in the slush pile, so every submission we receive is given equal attention. Contributors are paid $25. In addition to standard submissions, we offer expedited submissions, which receive responses in two weeks or less, and feedback submissions, which receive a critical essay critiquing the story submitted with suggestions for improving it.

What was the big idea behind the site? That’s a nice way of asking what the hell you were thinking.

The journey from amateur to professional writer is long with few avenues of support. Your friends and family can encourage you, but they can’t edit your work or give you critical feedback, typically. For the most part, magazine editors respond only in form rejections and paying for editing can get real expensive real quick. I received 168 form rejections before my first story was published. I had spent hundreds of dollars on submissions fees and racked up twice that in editing costs. It was all worth it, but it was a huge investment in time and resources that many people can’t afford. I want to change that. That’s why I started The Mighty Line.

You just publish short stories, rather than poetry or essays. You also showcase one visual artist per issue. What kind of material excites you? What are you looking for?

The Mighty Line is looking for stories that are technically sound and culturally relevant. I love a great plot, but if the story does not encourage the reader to reconsider their perspective on the concepts it touches on, then it’s a lot less likely to be selected. We believe stories resolve internalized conflicts by reconciling opposing ideas in specific contexts. This is a citable public good we want to see in everything we publish.

I won’t take it personally that you haven’t selected one of my stories yet, but you do get major karma points for positive encouragement and feedback. But let’s get negative for a second. What drives you crazy about submissions?

Guidelines. There will always be people who don’t follow guidelines, so I’m railing at the wind here, but it’s very frustrating. It seems incredibly rude that some people expect me to read and seriously engage with their work, yet they aren’t willing to even make sure it’s in the requested format. Our guidelines aren’t arbitrary rules for making the submission process more complicated. A readable font, decent spacing, numbered pages, email in the cover letter, these are all things that make my life so much easier.

What are the long-term goals for The Mighty Line?

As long as The Mighty Line continues to exist and publish writers, I’m golden. I didn’t start this magazine to make money. Our submission fees barely cover our costs most months, and the vast majority of those are tied to services such as providing feedback, which is increasingly taking up more of my day. This mag isn’t going to make me rich, and it surely isn’t going to make me famous, but it does give me a daily opportunity to encourage people to critically engage with literature. I want to inspire people to decide for themselves what is good writing and what is bad writing and why. I don’t care if you’re a tenured professor or a dilettante mystery writer, everyone can engage with literature equally. I want to convince as many people of that as possible.

That’s the goal, so as long we’re receiving submissions, I’m living the dream.

If people are motivated to submit now, what should they know?

Follow guidelines, have a discernible theme, and build to a climax in which a decision is made whose ramifications meaningfully subvert or fulfill the reader’s expectations. Do not summarize the story in the cover letter. The longer your cover letter is, the more likely I am to skim it rather than read it. Please, please, please do not send me something unless you are absolutely sure it is ready for publication. Rejecting good stories that aren’t sufficiently refined breaks my heart. Don’t break my heart.

Most of my short stories, published or otherwise, can be found here on this website.