Charles McLeod on The Quivering Pen

I wanted to share this lovely essay by my friend Charles McLeod, whom I’ve blogged about before.

PensOver on The Quivering Pen, Charlie writes about publishing his first story at the same time his dad unexpectedly dies of sepsis.

Here?s a teaser:

The copy of The Iowa Review that contained my story was among the titles. ?It was the first time I?d seen the issue. ?It was late at night, deep winter, and no one else was around, and if I?d felt my dad?s presence every second since his death, that presence was all the more pronounced as I stood there in the half-dark, staring at the magazine?s title.

The Quivering Pen does a semi-regular feature called “My First Time”; QP says: “writers talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers, ranging from their first rejection to the moment of holding their first published book in their hands.”

Good stuff, methinks. I might just submit something.

I hope you enjoy the essay.


Plug: California Prose Directory

I got an advance copy of the California Prose Directory 2013: New Writing from the Golden State, edited by my pal Charles McLeod. It’s a solid red brick of a library of California’s finest essays and short stories. To quote the back of the book, here are some of the gems you’ll find within: “A Vacaville rodeo. Hollywood quid pro quo. A verbal altercation at a Buddhist retreat. Nearly starving to death in the farmlands of Clovis. The Santa Anas blowing fire through the SoCal foothills.” (There’s quite a bit more, too.)

California Prose Directory amidst California poppies

California Prose Directory amidst California poppies

I’m just starting to read it, and so far, it’s a nice slice of life in the Golden State. It reminds me how, whatever you feel about California, you can’t deny the diversity of experience in a body of land as large as this one. Vacaville and Hollywood, for example, are worlds apart, despite being in the same state. I enjoyed the first short story in the book, “You Are Not Here” by Andrew Foster Altschul, which is set in San Francisco, in neighborhoods and on bus routes with which I’m intimately familiar, because I used to live there.

The Directory features writing by well-known and emerging writers alike, including Stephen Elliott, Vanessa Hua, Jasmin Darznik, Tom Molanphy, Erica Olsen, and Anthony Seidman.

Locals, please note that several writers from the anthology will be reading this coming Sunday, May 19, at 5:00 p.m. at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco (on 24th street near Folsom).


I’ve decided to start a new weekly feature (call me ambitious) on my blog called “Plugs.”

With Plugs I will do quick notes about things I’m “plugging”–writing contests, new books I’m enjoying, anything I want to recommend to YOU, readers. Know that I have no official sponsor, and no particular allegiance, but I DO love to advertise my friends’ work.

So here is today’s plug. My friend, writer Charles McLeod, sent me this great opportunity for California writers who have been published in the last 18 months to be in an anthology (I realize this may only apply to a handful of folks; sadly, it does not currently apply to me). Check it out.

Incidentally, you’ll notice that the small press who is putting together this anthology, Outpost 19, is also the one I plugged a few months ago, because they published Charles’s book and also Loud Memories of A Quiet Life by Tom Molanphy, which I blogged about here.

Do you have a writing opportunity/book/something you want me to plug? Email me/comment here and I just might mention it. No promises, but I’ll do my best.