Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An adventurer is you!

Here's my silly post for the day. My favorite site to kick back and relax on lately is Kingdom of Loathing. It's one of them thar fantasy role-playing games. Sort of. While it is an FRPG, it also mocks the whole genre. The character classes are Seal Clubber, Turtle Tamer, Pastamancer, Sauceror, Disco Bandit, and Accordion Thief. And to really get ahead in the game, you need to know how to mix "fruity girl drinks" and cook various kinds of chow mein and ramen. All of the artwork is done in modern stick figure (which, aside from being funny, helps the game to load more quickly). The chat feature requires that one pass a literacy test before using it (one must know the difference between "they're," "their," and "there," for example). The currency of the game is meat. And almost every chunk of text has at least one pop culture reference in it. For example, the Meatloaf Helmet: This is a helmet made out of meatloaf. You feel like a Bat out of Hell when you wear it. You would do anything for this helmet (but you won't do that.)

What's not to like?

Oh, by the way, should you happen to log in, I'm Tenzing. Shoot me a kmail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Simpsons

Ever wanted to be on "The Simpsons?" Well, you can at least make a character of yourself. Thanks to my pal Don for pointing this out. (And happy 4-0, Don!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

stats for issue eleven

Here are the stats for issue eleven:
Issue Ten (live from 12/15/05-3/14/06)
12/15-12/31: 25306 page views
1/1-1/31: 41947 page views
2/1-2/28: 40727 page views
3/1-3/14: 26664 page views
Total Issue 11: 134644 page views

Wow. That's a pretty serious spike. 15.75% jump in page views from issue ten.

If I may, I'd like to take a moment to address our wonderful guest editor of issue eleven: Well, Myfanwy, you said you're a sucker for data. And you gotta LOVE this data, girl. WOOHOOOOOO! You rock!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kathy Fish Fellowship

Not sure how many people read this blog that don't also read SmokeLong, but I figure it can't hurt to mention it here as well:

Announcing the Kathy Fish Fellowship

It seems that many awards in people's names are established posthumously. We're ecstatic that we can recognize Kathy Fish while she's still very much alive and kicking. As she steps down as our Fiction Editor, we at SmokeLong want to recognize Kathy's enormous contributions to the magazine and to the writing community as a whole. In particular, Kathy has always been a great champion of new writers and has exhibited an uncanny talent for finding previously unpublished writers whose work just shines.

We want to foster that sort of commitment to new writers, and in that vein, we're creating the Kathy Fish Fellowship. All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly are eligible to apply. Following are the guidelines for application and the terms of the award itself:

Application Guidelines
1. Applications should be emailed to
2. Applications should include five samples of your flash fiction (stories of a thousand words or less). These samples may be unpublished or previously published in venues other than SmokeLong. We'll be reading these to get impressions of each applicant's writing. The writing samples should, as a whole, best reflect your ability, style(s), etc. Show us who you are as a writer through these samples.
3. Applications should include a few paragraphs (under a thousand words total) about what you hope to accomplish in the next year with your flash writing. Are there specific elements you want to improve? A larger story you want to tell through a series of flashes? Help us learn how we can help you realize your goals should you win this award.
4. Samples and paragraphs about goals, etc. should be included in the body of the email, rather than as attachments.
5. There is no application fee.
6. Application deadline is September 15, 2006.

Fellowship Awards
1. The winner of the 2007 Kathy Fish Fellowship will be considered a "writer in residence" at SmokeLong for each of the four issues to be published in 2007. Each issue will include one flash by the Fellowship winner.
2. The winner of the Fellowship will receive $500.00, to be paid as follows: $100.00 on announcement of the winner, and $100.00 upon publication of each of the four issues in 2007.
3. The winner will be announced December 15, 2006.

Again, this award is open to any writer not previously published in SmokeLong Quarterly. It is not restricted to writing program students (as we are all, in some way, students of writing), although we will certainly be distributing this announcement to various writing programs. We also encourage teachers of writing to pass this announcement along to their students.

We're looking forward to reading your applications, and we want to once again extend our deepest gratitude to Kathy for all she's done for SmokeLong and for writers of flash fiction. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kath.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Issue Twelve is live!

Besides great writing from Gary Cadwallader, Myfanwy Collins, Sarah Leavitt, Robert Lopez, Antonios Maltezos, Mary Miller, Tristan Moss, Chivas Sandage, Tom Saunders, Paul Silverman, Andrew Tibbetts, Ania Vesenny, Joseph Young, and Jamie Zerndt, there's an announcement that should be of interest to writers we've not yet had the pleasure to publish. Go! Read!

SmokeLong Quarterly

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

lineup for issue twelve

Issue Twelve of SLQ will be going live tomorrow. Here is the lineup of writers:

Gary Cadwallader
Myfanwy Collins
Sarah Leavitt
Robert Lopez
Antonios Maltezos
Mary Miller
Tristan Moss
Chivas Sandage
Tom Saunders
Paul Silverman
Andrew Tibbetts
Ania Vesenny
Joseph Young
Jamie Zerndt

Nice mix of new and familiar voices. I think y'all will like it. :)

Friday, March 10, 2006


Meant to post about this a while ago, but spaced. Storyglossia has had some nice things to say about a couple of SLQ pieces recently: Pornography and Axl Rose Is My Dog. And he frequently has much to say about lots of good reads. So go check it out. Nice blog.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

another meme in the same vein...

You Are 54% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Monday, March 06, 2006

going to Hell

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

into the unknown

I was trapped. I put in 40ish hours a week at a job that didn't pay very well and didn't really have much of a future. And as soon as I finished the day at work, I picked up my kids and took care of them until it was time to go back to work again. My ex faced the same schedule. Both of us were completely exhausted all the time, and occasionally sniping at one another for not doing one another's "fair share," when we were both doing far, far too much and just killing ourselves in the process.

No more. I just gave two weeks' notice.

The final impetus? For the past month or so, I've been doing some freelance editing work on weekends that pays about four times as much per hour as the web development job I've held for the past three and a half years. Today, I had to pass up on doing more of this so that I could be in the office. Why?

The editing work allows me to work from home. It allows me to pretty much set my own hours (any time of day is fine, as long as deadlines are met). It allows my ex to move from the graveyard shift back to a more normal schedule, since I can watch the kids during the day and work at night. And once I'm settled into a set routine, it will likely allow us to be able to pay for daycare so that we can both work during the day. And we'll be able to trade off nights with the kids so that each of us occasionally gets some time to ourselves.

Also, in cases where there isn't the prime work available, I have a backup that pays a hair more than what I currently make. That, too, is contract work, so it's not a dead certainty, but it allows for more than one possibility for work at any given time. My hope is that the client base will build to the point that knowing where my next job is coming from will never be in doubt. And I think I have a good start.

The down side? Uncertainty. With contract work, there's no guarantee that there will be work at any given time. There's no health insurance. It's scary as hell, frankly. But it allows me to move more deeply into the field that has become my passion over the past few years, and to make significantly more money while doing so. Happier me, happier ex, happier kids.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Top Ten

Taking a little break from some freelance editing work. Randall Brown conducted some workshops at a conference for high school writers in Texas recently, and asked me for some information about how many people read SmokeLong as compared to how many people read print mags. I put together the five most viewed stories for each of the past several months. Found it pretty interesting, so I'm going to continue doing something similar each month, mostly for my own perusal. Will be interesting to see if any obvious patterns emerge over time, and perhaps this'll help us better understand what people want to read and how we can better promote some stories that may not be getting as many reads.

Anyway, ten stories with the most views in February are:
1. Pornography by Steve Almond (Issue Nine)
2. Forks in the Road by Eve Abrams (Issue Eleven)
3. Retirement Home by Greg Ames (Issue Eleven)
4. No One Left to Care About the Fat Man by Rusty Barnes (Issue Eleven)
5. Five Fat Men in a Hot Tub by Jeff Landon (Issue Ten)
6. A Drop of Dew by Edgar Omar Avilés, translated by Toshiya A. Kamei (Issue Eleven)
7. Ice by Joseph Young (Issue Eleven)
8. The Mother’s Guide to Flight Patterns by Theresa Boyar (Issue Eleven)
9. Song of Giants by Girija Tropp (Issue Eleven)
10. Flights by Jim Tomlinson (Issue Eleven)

A few things I'll note here, because it's easy to make assumptions:
1. Steve Almond's story was published on June 15. Jeff Landon's was published September 15. All of the others were from the issue published December 15. The fact that two of the top five are older stories attests to the power of archives, something that print magazines don't really have the capacity to exploit.
2. One might think Steve Almond's story is up there because... well, because it's by Steve Almond. Interestingly, though, that story was out of the top 5 a few times since it was first published. Also, his other story, "The Evening of the Dock," is not ranked. And Stuart Dybek's "Brisket" similarly dominated the number one spot for a while, but has since fallen out. I wouldn't be surprised to see it come back, though, as "Pornography" has had similar fluctuations.
3. One might think Steve's story gets such big hits because of its title. When Googling for that title, though, it doesn't appear anywhere near the top of the search listings (surprise, surprise). There are also several other stories with similarly provocative titles that haven't seen this sort of -ahem- exposure.
4. Steve's story has absolutely dominated for the past three months, each time outpacing the second most viewed story by about a 4:1 ratio. But, as I mentioned, it wasn't even in the top 5 at all for a few months. So what happened? Good question. I've found recent links specifically to that story on blogs, etc., but no such links going back as far as the spike in hits for Steve began. Go figure.

All of that said, one final point that I mentioned to Randall: based on the numbers of hits that stories get on SLQ, it's more likely that a specific story on any given day will be read by at least one person than that it won't. And that includes everything we've ever published, going all the way back to issue one. Pretty freaking cool, and not something that most print magazines can claim, I'd guess. The power of the internet to put literature in front of a lot of people on a long-term basis is amazing.