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Meet our readers: Nancy Hightower

Nancy Hightower has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as The New York Quarterly, storySouth, Sundog Lit, Gargoyle, Bop Dead City, and Word Riot. Her debut novel, Elementarí Rising (2013), received a starred review in Library Journal, and her first collection of poetry, The Acolyte (2015), has been nominated for an Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

Currently, she reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post and is working on a book about digital fictions with Paul D. Miller (a/k/a DJ Spooky). Nancy also co-hosts the Liars’ League NYC Reading Series with Andrew Lloyd Jones.

Please join Nancy and all our accomplished readers for Line Break #2, Saturday, July 2, 5:30 pm at Q.E.D. in Astoria!.

A steal at only 5 bucks! Get your tickets now.

Nancy Hightower



Crossposted from Line Break

Meet our readers: Gregory A. Wilson

Gregory A. Wilson
Gregory A. Wilson is a published author of both speculative fiction and academic writing and Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York, where he teaches creative writing, speculative fiction, and other literature courses. His first novel, The Third Sign, was published a few years ago; his second, Icarus, just appeared as a graphic novel from Silence in the Library Publishing; and his third, Grayshade, will be published in September by the Ed Greenwood Group.

Greg has short stories in various anthologies and is co-host of the critically acclaimed podcast Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans. He is also the host of a Twitch.tv channel focused on story and narrative. He lives with his family in Riverdale, NY.

Please join Greg and all our accomplished readers for Line Break #2, Saturday, July 2, 5:30 pm at Q.E.D. in Astoria.

A bargain at 5 bucks! Get your tickets now.


Crossposted from Line Break

Meet our readers: Mark de Silva

Mark de Silva
Mark de Silva is the author of the debut novel Square Wave, which was released by Two Dollar Radio in February of 2016. He holds degrees in philosophy from Brown (AB) and Cambridge (PhD). After several years on the editorial staff of the New York Times’s opinion pages, he now freelances for the paper’s Sunday magazine, while also serving as a contributing editor for 3:AM Magazine.

Please join Mark and all our accomplished readers for Line Break #2, Saturday, July 2, 5:30 pm at Q.E.D. in Astoria.

Only 5 bucks! Get your tickets now.


Crossposted from Line Break
Clarion West Write-A-Thon


This summer, Line Break invites you to help support one of the very best writing programs in the speculative fiction field!

The Clarion West Writers Workshop kicks off its summer session for 2016 in Seattle this week, bringing students from around the world together with accomplished professionals in the field for an intensive six-week workshop in science fiction and fantasy writing.

Clarion West (together with the original Clarion Workshop on which it was modeled) does important work in the field, giving new writers the technical and critical tools they need to succeed commercially and artistically. Our Line Break host and producer William Shunn knows. He attended Clarion in 1985, and he says it's no exaggeration that the experience changed his life.

Line Break host and producer William Shunn
But Clarion West can't do what it does without community support. How can you help? Every year the Clarion West Write-A-Thon runs concurrently with the workshop itself, encouraging participating writers to set and pursue their own summer writing agendas.

If you're a writer, you can participate in the Write-A-Thon by signing up here. Set a six-week writing goal, upload a sample from your work-in-progress, and start finding sponsors!

Additionally, if you're a writer in New York City, you can join William Shunn for his weekly Write-A-Thon meetups in Astoria, Queens. Every Wednesday night, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Bill will hang out with his laptop at New York City Bagel & Coffee House, writing. If you need a supportive, quiet environment for writing every week, come meet up with the group. There's great coffee, great bagels, and plenty of wi-fi, and it's close to the N/Q stop at Ditmars Boulevard. Find NYCBCH at 29-08 23rd Avenue, Astoria, Queens, NY 11105.

Of course, you can also support the Write-A-Thon with a donation, by sponsoring William Shunn or one of the many other writers participating. For more information about that option, click here.

But however you choose to help Clarion West, please do it now! Every little bit helps.




Crossposted from Line Break
Clarion West Writers Workshop


Help support one of the very best writing programs in the speculative fiction field!

The Clarion West Writers Workshop kicks off its summer session for 2016 in Seattle this week, bringing students from around the world together with accomplished professionals in the field for an intensive six-week workshop in science fiction and fantasy writing.

Clarion West (together with the original Clarion Workshop on which it was modeled) does important work in the field, giving new writers the technical and critical tools they need to succeed commercially and artistically. I know. I attended Clarion in 1985, and it's no exaggeration to say the experience changed my life.

But Clarion West can't do what it does without community support. How can you help? Every year the Clarion West Write-A-Thon runs concurrently with the workshop itself, encouraging participating writers to set and pursue their own summer writing agendas. My goal is a modest 1,000 words a week for the duration of the Write-A-Thon, which you can support by sponsoring me here:

→   Sponsor Bill   ←

Of course, there are many other writers participating besides me. If you'd prefer to sponsor one of them, instead of or in addition to me, please feel free! Or you can participate directly by signing up for the Write-A-Thon and finding your own sponsors.

As an added bonus, if you're in or near New York City, I will be leading a weekly Write-A-Thon meetup at New York City Bagel & Coffee House in Astoria, Queens. Click here for more details.

But however you choose to help Clarion West, please do it now! Every little bit helps.


Crossposted from Inhuman Swill

Line Break #2: Saturday, July 2, 2016

Line Break is the eclectic live literary magazine where poetry meets prose, fact meets fiction, and high-brow meets low-brow, at fabulous Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens.

At every show, live-lit veteran William Shunn brings a wild assortment of writers together on one stage. Don't miss our July 2 lineup, featuring:

  • Mark de Silva

  • James Gordon a/k/a G.P.A.

  • Nancy Hightower

  • Robert J. Howe

  • Gregory A. Wilson


No rules, no themes—just the best writers in town. Line Break—it's the start of a new thought. Don't miss it!

Line Break Reading Series
Saturday, July 2, 5:30-7:00 p.m.


Q.E.D.: A Place for Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105

Admission $5. Beer, wine and snacks available.

More info and tickets:

http://qedastoria.com/products/line-break-1
https://www.facebook.com/events/1588330181464614/

Q.E.D. is a short trip from Manhattan on the N train. Just stay on to Ditmars Boulevard at the end of the line. The Q train does not run to Queens on weekends.

Line Break Reading Series, Saturday, July 2, 2016, 5:30 pm



Crossposted from Line Break

Tomorrow I ascend to the Ironic Throne

Herald of King William the Irritable
Be it hereby known to all peoples, species, and intelligences that upon the morrow I do ascend to my rightful seat as monarch and ruler of Ireland's Sensible Castle, and do take upon me the moniker of King William the Irritable.

Be it also known that my coronation shall take place at exactly 10:57 am EDT (9:57 am CDT), after which time I shall issue three royal decrees of utmost urgency and aptness, one per minute, decrees which my subjects-to-be disregard at their peril.

Be it further known that after three glorious minutes shall my work as monarch be complete, and at precisely 11:00 am EDT (10:00 am CDT) shall I humbly abdicate my throne, stepping aside to permit another to rule Sensible Castle in my stead.

Be it finally and forever known that all and sundry are encouraged to observe and bear witness to my deathless yet brief reign at whoisthekingrightnow.com, at which site shall my royal decrees be made known and propagated around the globe.

All hail King William the Irritable. Er, tomorrow morning. Ahem.

Sensible Castle



Crossposted from Inhuman Swill
Michael Ian Black: NOTED EXPERT on Epix
It was a magical moment. That's how Barry put it, and who am I to disagree?

Barry Goldblatt is my friend and literary agent. He also happens to be literary agent to actor/​comedian/​author Michael Ian Black, with whom you may be familiar. This past November, Barry took a small group of us—me, Laura, and Colleen AF Venable—to see the taping of Michael's new standup comedy special at John Jay College in Manhattan.

Now, this happened to be the very next day after my book release party for The Accidental Terrorist, so 1) I was still on a pretty big high, and 2) the comedy outing felt almost like a continuation of the party from the night before.

Tricia Ready, Colleen AF Venable, and Barry Goldblatt at The Accidental Terrorist Release Party, 10 November 2015
As the line of showgoers entered the auditorium, a woman we called the Sorting Hat directed each little group to the exact row where she wanted them to sit. "Are you big fans of Michael Ian Black?" she would ask, before sending the young and attractive college students to the front of the house and the rest of us to the anonymous back middle. She needed the audience to look good and enthusiastic on TV.

Look, the show was hilarious. Josh Gondelman opened, and though I think we old people were prepared to hate him, he charmed us with a very funny set. When Michael Ian Black took the stage, however, there was no looking back. His set seemed to effortlessly ride a line between his signature ingratiating archness and smarm, surprising hints of vulnerability, and some of the most potentially offensive material imaginable. Laura and I were weeping with laughter.

Toward the end of the hour, Michael launched into a long story about getting arrested on an old warrant for a brief lapse interregnum in his auto insurance. Suddenly, at the point in the story where he's being hauled off to jail, he asked the audience, "Who's been to jail here before?"

Anticipation at the Noted Expert viewing party!
Well.

I don't want to spoil anything for you, but Laura, Colleen, and especially Barry all started hissing at me to sticking my goddamn hand in the air already. After taking stories from two other audience members, Michael called on me. My mouth was dry and it felt like I couldn't get enough breath, but somehow I managed to elicit from him the reaction you can see in the Instagram video below.

"...and said there was a bomb on it." --William Shunn in Noted Expert
After the show, a few people asked me if the story I'd told was really true or if I had been an audience plant. And Barry swore up and down that he'd had no idea the jail question was going to come up.

On Friday, May 13, I invited a bunch of friends over to watch Michael Ian Black: Noted Expert when it debuted on Epix. It turned out to be a lucky Friday the 13th for me because I didn't have to explain to my guests why I had dragged them over to my house to watch a show that I wasn't even in.

I hope you'll watch the special too. If you have Epix, it runs again this Wednesday night on Epix2, or you can watch it on-demand through the Epix app on many different streaming devices.

I encourage you to watch the full hour, because it's a very funny show, and because Michael Ian Black really needs this, guys. But if you're only interested in seeing my bit, start from the 48-minute mark. That should give you enough context for maximum enjoyment.

Oh, and buy my book, okay? The ebook editions are all on sale.






More info: Michael Ian Black to debut stand-up special on Epix—exclusive




Crossposted from Inhuman Swill

Six-word story

Rocket trip to Andromeda. Space constrains.


Inspired by an email from a director at my company, who said he would be working from home today instead of his construction-necessitated temporary office because "Space constrains."


Crossposted from Inhuman Swill


Watching Tyler Glenn's video for his new solo single, "Trash," the anger is palpable and inescapable. But it also brims with pain and grief.

"Trash" exploded across the online Mormon world last week, causing the faithful to recoil and apostates to jump up and down in a fever. Glenn is the lead singer of Provo's Neon Trees. A lifelong member of the LDS Church, he made headlines two years ago by coming out as gay in the pages of Rolling Stone. He still believed, though—until six months ago, that is, when the church issued draconian new guidelines for the ecclesiastical treatment of children of same-sex couples.

Now comes "Trash," a video in which Tyler Glenn drinks liquor from the bottle, spits on a defaced portrait of Joseph Smith, enacts all four of the secret handshakes from the temple endowment ceremony, draws a red X on his face, and ultimately crumples amidst a blizzard of printed pages possibly meant to represent Mormon scripture.

It's hard to overstate how powerfully this video affects those of us who have also gone through the painful process of separating ourselves from the Mormon church. It's also hard to overstate how powerfully it must affect faithful Mormons. "Trash" renders one of the most familiar images in LDS iconography, the portrait of Joseph Smith, into a gothic nightmare. Even a viewer like myself, separated from the church by more than two decades, can't help feeling a stab of horror as Glenn viciously spits at the painting. This is the rankest blasphemy, a gut-punch to the deepest recesses of Mormon symbology. That gobbet of spit strikes the indoctrinated viewer like missile from hell.

What's so thrilling about "Trash" is how it seizes us and drags us through the first stages of the apostate journey. Mormons in good standing may quake at the treatment Joseph receives, but to the apostate an angry repudiation of the building blocks of his or her identity is necessary for overcoming the power the symbol still exerts over both the conscious and subconscious minds. Everyone who found it hard to leave the church but did anyway had to perform the metaphorical equivalent of spitting at that painting.

From there, Glenn seems to feel a flash of spiritual inspiration as he regards the angel Moroni in a robe painted pink. I can only imagine that this is his realization that he needs to forge an identity for himself separate from the environment in which he was raised. But that's more easily said than done. He enters an elevator, running through all the handshakes that are meant to gain the Mormon faithful entry to heaven.

But an elevator is an ambiguous space, especially viewed from the inside. Will it lift him up or drag him down? It's this doubt about his new course that swirls as a tempest of scripture rages around him. Paradoxically, the only way he can preserve his own identity in this maelstrom is to excommunicate himself, visibly and irreversibly, from the ideas and culture and even people that created him.

I can't tell you how much this video resonates with me. These are all the same arguments and emotions I was grappling with back in 1995, when I first started writing about—and often ridiculing—the Mormon church. That's what my journey was like—not a straight line out but a weaving, meandering stumble, never certain whether or when true escape had been achieved. I suspect, especially from the reactions I've seen to this video, that many apostates have had the same experience.

Now, at last, thanks to Tyler Glenn, we have something we can point to and say, "This. This is how it felt, and sometimes still feels."




Rolling Stone: Watch Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn slam Mormon church in new solo video

KUTV News: Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees explains anger towards LDS church in new video




Crossposted from Inhuman Swill

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