Since we’ve started this conversation…

Our short story conversationalists have had a few rather lovely things happen in their writing lives since we started chatting about writing. Dennis McFadden, up next with his response to the question “Is the short story a training ground for the novel?” has had “Diamond Alley,” one of his stories from Hart’s Grove, chosen for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2011; Gerard Woodward’s short story, “The Family Whistle,” has moved from the long list to the short list for the very lucrative Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2011 (site has a cool little video with judges comments on what makes a short story great); Gina Frangellos collection Slut Lullabies has been named a finalist in ForeWords Book of the Year Awards; Vanessa Gebbie’s collection Words from a Glass Bubble was selected by Booktrust as one of “Ten Collections to Celebrate the Strength of British Short Story Writers;” and me? Well, no big prizes or short lists (if I say “yet” here will that screw with my karma?) but the first offering of The Temple of Air, the Story Week Limited Release, sold out before the end of the festival and I have been signing books for friends and new readers alike–a very humbling and exciting experience.

So these writers who are giving so generously of their time to fill the pages of this blog with their thoughts on the short story are the real deal, folks. I hope you enjoy what they have to say on the subject. And do feel free to join in on the conversation. Maybe their magic will rub off on you just a little. Or maybe yours will rub off on them (us.)

Oh, and you probably figured this out, but the lovely image above is by Pablo Picasso. The man whom we named our cat after. We call him Pabs, usually. He has a brother named Enrique (Reeks.)

Reading, by the way, exhausts him.

Limited Copies of The Temple of Air Available at Story Week Festival of Writers

So one of the groovy things about working with a small, independent press like Elephant Rock Books is that you get a lot of hands-on experience. Here my hands are on a few advance copies of The Temple of Air. I got to pick up the order of event copies for Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing Department’s Story Week Festival of Writers to ensure that they arrived in time for the festival. And then I had to drink a glass of fermented beverage with my dear husband, the wonderful Philip Hartigan, in a congratulatory toast.

It’s real friends. Real. Cool.

Oh, and here’s me toasting the girl on the cover. And no, my male friends, I do not know who she is. Funny how whenever I show the cover to a man, they say “Who’s the babe?” And when I show it to a woman, they say, “Great cover!” (It is, by the way. Thanks Melissa C. Lucar. Thanks, too, Lee Nagan. You know why.)

So there it is. My book. I don’t know what else to say. Oh, wait, I do. Read it if you can. I’d appreciate it. So would my publisher. Especially if you bought a copy.

Okay, I’ll stop writing now. (Not forever, just for this blog post.)

Just a Taste

Elephant Rock Books just put a little taste of The Temple of Air on the books page of their website. Read a bit of “Something Like Faith.” Why not? You are already on the internet; you are already reading stuff. Try this. Go ahead.