Recommended Reading: “The Kill Sign”

“I pass churches starting to fill up with black-suited people and I wonder what good that is. The mysteries of Jesus, the everlasting life, all that, what are we supposed to do with it when we can’t even figure shit in this life out? The dying won’t stop right here and now. I don’t know what heaven will do for a dog, anyway. I drive on past the steeples.”



Read this gut-socking story by Marvin Shackleford, originally appearing in Armchair/Shotgun,  featured in this month’s Recommended Reading, presented by Electric Literature. Marvin is a literary dervish, whipping up all sorts of verbal froth out on his Texas Panhandle farm. I was so thrilled to include his story “The Kill Sign” in Armchair, and double-thrilled it’s now featured in E-Lit’s awesome online program.

I highly recommend you make your day a little more spectacular, and read it.

New Facebook Buttons at the Daily Fig

I’ve got opinions. The good people at Figment are letting me shout about them.

Facebook Totally Needs a ____ Button

Facebook only has a Like button— and okay you can Unlike something you’ve already Liked, but that’s way too limiting. What about all those special circumstances when “like” is just too vague?

What Facebook really needs is a ____ button…

Read the post at the Daily Fig…

German Summary of Girl Parts, via Google Translate

Girl parts 1: Programmed for Love

50 viewers follow live blog by the suicide of Nora bird. Of these 750 people no one is calling for help.
In this jaded world, to be spent in teaching, and activities at the computer with online friends, playing the new novel by children’s and youth book author John M. Cusick.

Among them is the 16-year-old arrogant David Sun, in which the school psychologist diagnosed shortly after the suicide of a social disorder, as witnessed the suicide of his classmate elicits no feelings in it.

To David dealing with people, especially girls, to teach him buy his wealthy parents, the robot maid Rose. Rose embodies the ideal image of a girl for David and is programmed to love him forever. At the same time they should help him in dealing with his fellow man.

Throughout history, it is next to the popular David even to the outsider Charlie Nuvola, his time prefer to work alone in the woods to spend than the computer to the development of Rose, which the human teenage world adapts more and more and the question of whether a love between a human and a robot is possible.

This science fiction novel by David Rose and is continued in another band.

(Eve, trainee)

February 2012


My Lit Mag in NY Times Magazine

As you may recall, when I’m not writing novels or battling forty-story robots from the future, I also co-manage a literary magazine. I’m so proud and honored that Armchair/Shotgun is listed with nine other “Literary Heirs” today in New York Times Magazine.

“What distinguishes these 10 is that they’re not only intello-chic statements for your side table. They’re also really good reads.”

Read the whole piece here.

And FYI: I’ll be moderating Armchair/Shotgun’s panel discussion at Greenlight Books on March 5th, featuring Abe’s Penny and Electric Literature, along with several other super guests. Come join us!


Gang, I’m all a-twitter. THE FIRES OF NEW SUN, part II in Michael Kinch‘s BLENDING TIME trilogy pubs this week!

Why this trilogy is awesome:

  1. One of my favorite female protagonists in y.a.
  2. Absolutely terrifying action that’s dark as hell and unflinching.
  3. An eerily plausible vision of the future (think Children of Men meets Apocalypse Now)
  4. “Full of action …a compelling, realistic, and exciting thriller.”  – Kirkus Reviews
  5. “Entertaining, credible, scary, and memorable.” – Voya

Bella Likes a Different Fella

Lizzie Stark’s delightful post, If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight, is definitely worth a read. But I’d like to direct you to the comments section of i09’s repost, where additional brilliance transpired. I transcribe below, Unicycle‘s Twilight, by Dr. Seuss


Twilight, by Dr. Seuss

Jake likes a girl. Her name is Bella.
Bella likes a different fella.

See this vamp? This is Ed.
Ed is pale. Ed is dead.

Ed saved Bella from a van.
Ed must be a special man.

Ed won’t kill boys. He won’t kill girls.
Ed gets fed on deer and squirrels.

This is James. He’s a tracker.
He’s a sort of vamp attacker.

James hunts Bella for a thrill.
Will Ed kill him? Yes, he will.

But James gave her a little bite.
Will she be a vamp? She might!

Edward fixes Bella’s cut.
She won’t be a vampire.

She becomes one. Read some more.
She’s a vampire in book 4.


Thanks to Sarah for pointing this out.

A Very Armchair/Shotgun Christmas

Hope ya don’t mind if I talk about a magazine near and dear to my heart.

As you may know, when I’m not writing or agenting, I co-edit the Brooklyn-based literary magazine Armchair/Shotgun. Like most folks in the indie-lit-magazine world, I’m mostly in it for the money:  the amphibious limos trolling rivers of champagne, the Mil V-12 helicopters dropping parcels of cash wrapped in gold leaf into my dollar-sign-shaped rooftop pool

But seriously folks, few things in life give me greater pleasure and sense of meaning than publishing the superlative contributors of Armchair/Shotgun. A/S is a great little-big mag, and we are fortunate to work with some of the most talented poets, artists, and authors I’ve ever met (and I don’t say that lightly). These are artists I believe in. I believe in their talent and their drive, the sincerity of their work, and their consummate execution. Which is why I may ask you, dear reader, to consider purchasing a subscription or copy of Armchair/Shotgun this Holiday Season.

Printed on paper and available in bookstores, Armchair/Shotgun is a shareable, lendable, book-markable, spam-free reading experience. Its whisper-net connection is so quiet it’s not even connected to anything. The battery never runs out. The text is readable under any light source. You can access a new story or poem instantly, just by turning the page. And who doesn’t feel a little sexier with an indie BK lit  mag on their coffee table?

Eh? Eh? You know what I’m talking about.

So this Holiday Season, please consider the gift of an Armchair/Shotgun Issue or Subscription. Every dime (I mean it) contributes to the next issue’s printing costs and promotion. I wouldn’t steer ya wrong. This is worth the $10. But in case you don’t believe me, here’s what other folks think:

“Many of the pieces illustrate grassroots story-telling at its very best – with three contributors making their début bow – and there is a freshness and a spice to this collection that brings to mind the originality of the Beat generation.”
-Rory O’Sullivan, Sabotage Reviews
“…a bold statement in this twilight time of print… packaged with an artful and comforting sense of the importance of quality.”
-Tony Abbot, The Lit Pub
“[The Issue 2 release was] one of to most genuine readings I’ve attended since moving to Brooklyn. I’m now a fan.”

-David Backer, Luna Park Review

Kids Like Us: Franzen, Wallace, Eugenides, and Karr

A friend forwarded me this terrific New York Books article about the young friendships of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffery Eugenides, and Mary Karr.

Mary Karr was one of the first authors I latched onto in high school. My completely awesome rebel of an English teacher assigned her memoir Liar’s Club, after which I devoured her follow-up, Cherry (for which I named the eponymous girly in CHERRY MONEY BABY).

In college I picked up The Corrections and put it down twice on the advice of two readers I respected, who claimed they “just couldn’t get through it.” Finally I decided to ignore their advice, and was enthralled. Last June I gobbled up Freedom much the same.

In July I started Eugenides Middlesex, which someone had given to me as a gift, and which I’d avoided, thinking it was an “issues book.” Now Eugenides is one of my favorite authors, and I’m loving his latest, Marriage Plot.

I was amazed that three of my heroes, each of whom I’d come to separately, were close at the same age I am now, and in the same place (Eugenides lived in Prospect Heights, just a few blocks from my apartment). It was also heartening to discover these writers struggled in their late twenties, even those who’d published already. (Yes, I felt like a smarty-pants to find Karr and Franzen shared my opinions about Wallace’s early fiction.). I know, I know: it’s corny, not to mention narcissistic, to read an article like this and see parallels to one’s own life (friends and I have already had the obligatory You’re Jeff and I’m David. No dude, if any one’s David I’m David conversations), but it is heartening to remember that even the great ones experience self-doubt, set backs, and the same tribulations as the rest of us humans. And to remember there are other people who care so much about novels.

I’d like to think if I were trying to write in Brooklyn in the ’80’s, I’d have been pals with Jeff, traded barbs with Jonathan, and cried when Mary chose David over me.