Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

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Writers Ask: M.E.N.T.O.R.

We’re back in the basement this week, talking heartbreak at church lock-ins and awkward encounters in rest stop bathrooms. Also we manage to answer some questions about writing. How does one go about finding a mentor? Do a few acceptances ease the sting of rejection? And what’s the deal with book trailers?

Got questions for a future episode of Writers Ask? Just click on the ‘Fight Back’ tab at the top of the page, or you can tweet at us. We’re @Book_Fight on your Twitter machine. Or just run up onto Tom’s lawn and shout your question while shaking your fist at the heavens. Whatever works for you!

Here’s a link to the story Mike mentioned during the episode, Last Days, which would be a lot crappier if not for Charles D’Ambrosio’s careful notes and suggestions.

If you’re interested in taking an online workshop with either of your friendly Book Fight hosts, now’s your chance: Barrelhouse is offering workshops starting June 1, with Mike teaching fiction and Tom doing nonfiction. Money raised from the workshop will help Barrelhouse stay in business, and keep paying contributors. Space is limited, so register now. We can also vouch for Stan Mir, our coworker at Temple, who will be teaching a poetry workshop for Barrelhouse this summer.

As always, you can stream the episode here, just by clicking on the little player thingy below:

Download Writers Ask: M.E.N.T.O.R. (right-click, save-as)

You can download all our episodes for free in the iTunes store, where you can also subscribe, so you never miss another update. Finally, please consider visiting our sponsor, Powell’s Books. If you click on any of the Powell’s links on our site, then shop as you normally would, a small cut of the purchase price will come back to the show.

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Supplementary reading

A listener emailed last week to ask about our writing:

Hey, after listening to you guys in the car for months, I’m curious about your work. Would it be too weird to ask you to compile some links of easy to find stories you have out in the world?

No, it’s not too weird at all; in fact, we were hoping someone would ask.  So, for those among you curious about the work we’re producing, or those who are eager to tell us why our writing sucks, here’s a comprehensive list of our writing that’s available online.

There was a point when we both had far more web content, but that was all lost in the great Barrelhouse Website Fire of 2012, and seems to be unrecoverable. Still, a few things Mike has written:

Last Days on Eyeshot

Fantasies on Monkeybicycle

He also has a story in Heavy Feather Review 2.1, and although that’s not free, you can read it electronically (that issue also includes Official Friends of Barrelhouse Matt Jakubowski, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, and David Frederick Thomas)

I have more junk online because I waste more time online than Mike does. Truly, some of my favorite online writing ever was my short-lived series of pet book reviews that was on Barrelhouse and now seems irretrievable because I never backed them up anywhere.  But among the remains:


What it Feels Like on elimae
Suggestions for a Better Life on WordRiot
The Widow in Disgrace on FiveChapters
Chapters 1-2 of BURY ME IN MY JERSEY

Bloody Diarrhea, Crispy Bacon, and the Stories we Tell Ourselves on The Nervous Breakdown

And a bunch of stuff on my blog, which I aim to update weekly, but stick to something more like one update every 12 days or so. Three posts that are a little more developed as essays and have drawn some actual responses are here, here, and here.

As you might expect, we started the podcast partly in hopes of reaching more readers, so thanks for reading, or for at least humoring us.

We’re both actively submitting work all over the place, to a mixture of print and online journals, so we’ll be sure to mention our small victories on the show, and probably on twitter.