Picture of Jen Michalski

Jen Michalski’s The Company of Strangers


Congratulations to Jen Michalski for her new short story collection The Company of Strangers, coming in January 2023. Published by Braddock Avenue Books, The Company of Strangers follows members of Generation X, who are often queer and always searching for meaning and happiness in their lives. Michalski examines the themes of eroding community and family in a variety of ways: from a gay man suddenly confronted with parenthood to a lesbian having an affair with her brother’s wife.

The Company of Strangers is perfect for those searching for messy characters who are confused about what kind of lives they’ve lived and looking for ways to make meaning in them.

Fueled by love, longing, and regret, these captivating stories drop us into the lives of people we come to care deeply about. These are rich, wild, surprising romps of stories with endings that wow. What an immense pleasure to be in the company of these strangers, thanks to Jen Michalski’s brilliant storytelling.

Kathy Anderson, author of Bull and Other Stories

Jen Michalski’s work includes The Tide King, The Summer She Was Underwater, Close Encounters, and others. To learn more about her, visit her website.

A kaleidoscopic and candid exploration of the gritty corners of our desires and all that is left unsaid. By turns irreverent and deeply heartbreaking, Michalski masterfully constructs a collage of sexuality, belonging, and a search for what is possible atop strip malls, parking lots, and bowling alleys. Reminiscent, in some ways, of the genre-pushing work of Zach Doss, Etgar Keret, and Kim Chinquee, Michalski unequivocally carves out a space that is all her own—daring, deeply human, and often gut-wrenching.

Sequoia nagamatsu, author of how high we go in the dark

To preorder The Company of Strangers, go here.

Jen Michalski’s short story “Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?” appeared in Issue 27 of Superstition Review.

Four Palaces Publishing

Four Palaces Publishing is Open for Anthology Submissions

The Four Palaces Publishing Logo
Four Palaces Publishing

Four Palaces Publishing is currently open to submissions for their fiction anthology contest. They are searching for short stories between 2,000 and 6,000 words long. They will also accept up to three flash fiction pieces. The theme of their anthology is “Desire to Escape.” The author of the winning story will receive $1,000 and a mentorship from guest judge Ivelisse Rodriguez, whose short story collection Love War Stories was a 2019 PEN/Faulkner finalist and a 2018 Foreword Reviews INDIES finalist.

Founded in 2021, Four Palaces’ goal is to promote and publish works by previously unpublished writers from underrepresented communities.

Frederick Tran is the executive director and publisher of Four Palaces. Emily Townsend is the managing editor, and her nonfiction piece “Consider the Honeybee” appeared in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Submissions close August 31, 2022! Go here to submit your story.

The book cover for "It Falls Gently All Around"

It Falls Gently All Around and Other Stories


Congratulations to Ramona Reeves for the upcoming release of her debut book It Falls Gently All Around and Other Stories, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, Reeves’ collection of eleven short stories feature Babbie and Donnie, an ex-call girl and ex-trucker looking to reforge themselves. Reeves’ book focuses on themes of race and class within the context of Mobile, Alabama, the same town Reeves herself grew up in.

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize is awarded to authors of short fiction. Winners have their books published by the University of Pittsburgh Press to make their writing available to the world. Past judges have included Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and Raymond Carver.

These big-hearted stories offer a kaleidoscopic vision of Mobile, Alabama, a place marked by a tangled history and no less tangled present. With insight, humor, and tenderness, Ramona Reeves renders lives as notable for their frailties and bruises as they are for their grace and grit. Like the work of Sherwood Anderson or Elizabeth Strout, these linked stories take us deep inside a community, even as they plumb the solitary, fiercely particular depths of inner life.

Elizabeth Graver, Drue Heinz Literature Prize guest judge and author of The End of the Point

Ramona Reeves’ writing has appeared in The Southampton Review, Pembroke, Bayou Magazine, New South, and elsewhere. Find out more about Reeves through her website.

Ramona Reeves has fully brought to life a cast of flawed, breaking people with bravery and resilience to spare. The book is a triumph of wise and compassionate storytelling.

kevin mcilvoy, author of one kind favor

To pre-order It Falls Gently All Around and Other Stories, you can go to the University of Pittsburgh Press’s website, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Ramona Reeves’ nonfiction piece “Hope Chest” appeared in Issue 20 of Superstition Review. Read it here.

Contributor Update, Paul Luikart

Contributor Update, Paul Luikart


We’re so excited to share that past contributor Paul Luikart has published a new book! The Museum of Heartache, a short story collection, debuted this week from Pski’s Porch Publishing.

Paul Luikart earns his spot on the shortlist of writers who can sink you right into the skin of a character in only a few lines. This collection of stories, some almost poetry, captures moments in his characters’ lives when they aren’t just down and out but squeezed in the vice of their circumstances, whether peculiar or mundane. In their shoes, you’ll grapple with what it means to be fully human and come out the other side changed.

Audrey Keown, Author of the Ivy Nichols Mysteries

The book includes Paul’s story “Blessed Assurance,” originally published by Superstition Review in Issue 22. That story touches on the reality of things we may never expect to encounter, framed by the binaries of heaven and hell, alive and dead. It’s an honest and intense glimpse into a life the narrator wanted to escape. Yet we leave the story hopeful. To read “Blessed Assurance,” click here.

The Museum of Heartache is available on Amazon and more information can be found on the Pski’s Porch website. Check out Paul on Twitter.

Turning Out, An Authors talk with K.K. Fox and Hananah Zaheer

Joining us for this week’s Authors Talk are writers and editors at LA Review, K.K. Fox and Hananah Zaheer.

K.K. discusses her story, “Mile Marker 232” featured in Issue 18 of S[r]—a piece based off a car accident she experienced in her childhood that has now become a story collection.

She also discusses the journey of her story and book throughout their creation and shares an excerpt from her latest story, “The One Who Hurts.”

Be sure to keep an eye out for K.K.’s forthcoming story collection, “Mile Marker 232.”



Want to learn more about K.K. and her work? Follow her on Twitter.

Want to learn more about Hananah and her work? Check out her Twitter.

Contributor Update, Hannah Brown: ‘Look After Her’

Today we are happy to announce the news of past SR fiction contributor Hannah Brown. Hannah’s debut novel, Look After Her, published by Inanna Publications, is now available for preorder. The novel takes place in the 1930s and follows two young Jewish sisters through the betrayal of a family friend, captivity, addiction, and danger. 

“With the background of anti-Semitism and exploitation, of sex and love and art and dramatic ruses, all during the terrifying rise of fascism in Austria and Italy, Look After Her reveals this truth: no matter how close we are to another human being, even a beloved sister, that’s what we are: close—we all have our own secrets to keep.” 

Next year, in September 2020, Inanna Publications will also publish a collection of her interlinked short stories, including “On Any Windy Day,” which appeared in SR’s Issue 15.

More information about Hannah and her forthcoming novel can be found here. You can find her fiction piece, “On Any Windy Day,” from Issue 15 here.

Congratulations, Hannah!

#ArtLitPhx: Writing Workshop with Stella Pope Duarte

Workshop Title: Three Easy Steps to Writing a Dynamic Short Story

The American Book Award-winning author of If I Die in Juárez hosts a two-part writing workshop for writers of all levels. 

From the host: “Once upon a time, deep in a great dark forest, lived three bears. The beginning of one of the most beloved fairy tales on earth is about three bears and a little girl named Goldilocks. Stories that become part of our universal experience reveal the human heart. This workshop will zero in on what it means to write a dynamic short story.”

WORKSHOP DETAILS

  • Cost: $40, for two sessions: July 16 and 23.
  • Register below or directly on Eventbrite.
  • Refunds will not be issued within one day of the event.

PARKING / LIGHT RAIL

  • Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.

ABOUT THE HOST
Stella Pope Duarte is described by Jacquelyn Mitchard as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and praised by Ursula K. Leguin as an author who “will enlarge humanity.” Her works explore the human heart, revealing both dark and light. Duarte has won honors and awards nationwide, including a 2009 American Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, the Southwest Book of the Year Award, and a nomination to Oprah’s Book Sense list. She is a descendant of Irish and Mexican American parents, and was born and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix. Inspired to write by a prophetic dream of her father, she believes that writing, like love, begins within, or it doesn’t start at all.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Tuesdays, July 16 and 23

Time: 6–8:30 p.m.

Cost: $40

For more information about the event, click here.

Intern Update, Ofelia Montelongo: ‘Five Guys’

picture of Latino Book Review

Today, we are pleased to share an update for former SR student editor-in-chief Ofelia Montelongo. Since her work with SR, Ofelia has graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing), founded Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale, taught creative writing in Spanish at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, and completed freelance writing projects for the Phoenix New Times, So Scottsdale Magazine, and Phoenix Magazine.

Recently, Ofelia published a short story titled “Five Guys” with the Latino Book Review. Join us in congratulating Ofelia on this exciting news!

Guest Post, Barrett Warner: My Memoir for a Plot

I’m not the first poet to write memoir, but I’m probably the worst. I loved it anyway. There’s no hiking involved, and no drinking in the whole world with a sip. And it saves a lot of time by living each page rather than doing any research.

In poetry, my cat-like imagination tends to run into other rooms for no reason so it was nice not to worry about invention. And while a novel might require heart to write, all I needed for memoir was a walnut desk, and a small bronze sculpture of a nude man to hold the paper down on breezy days.

It took surprisingly long to write and re-write a ten month snap of my Tuberculosis. Like: 45 minute conversation about a 25 minute version of a 5 minute Phish song.

I went to the mirror to look at myself. I’d aged since beginning it. In writing almost exclusively about my body in 2013, I had neglected small details about my current portrait. I no longer resembled the bronzed man sitting so pensively on my desk. Was it true that you could sand blast wrinkles away? My soccer ball didn’t reply.

My publisher had asked for a book of poems. “Beautiful memoir,” he wrote, “But it’s so inscrutable. The problem is that there’s no plot. The narrative of your life is not the same thing as plot. What about a few scenes outside of the hospital? Maybe a train or two?”

I joined a vibration society. The salon had sixteen tables and each one vibrated a different part of your body. It was a caper to crank the timer and start the vibration before settling in, but I eventually grew fond of the slight nausea. Early afternoons were excellent for vertigo, before the after-work crowd came to jiggle. Still, it was nothing like an actual train. Last month, one had derailed about two hours away, in Columbia.

My memoir was full of seductive ache and longing, and horrible mortality, and impossible love, but without any plot—without any hiking into some dark wood—it was just a bar story. The set-up was the climax, which might be OK if I were Li Po drinking the moon.

The nearest passenger train depot was 25 miles outside town. The train passed at one in the morning. In spite of my florid disguise, I was spotted by a fiction writer as I boarded the regional train bound for Norfolk. “Barrett,” Mr. Yoon said. “This train is only for short story writers.”

“How short is short?” I asked, offering him a taste of my subject-verb-direct object sandwich with its plain spoken tomato.

The easy part about poetry is that you don’t have to show character motivation, a definite downer as far as writing prose. You just put a man on a train. He has two packages and he’s wearing eye glasses which he doesn’t really need. You don’t even have to say whether he’s stopping in Norfolk or changing trains to Richmond.

I blushed up each step to the garret studio off Broad Street. “I was sure you had died,” the artist said. I offered him the packages and accepted a drink. I walked around the studio blinking at the works in progress and taking my clothes off as if I were going to change into something else, but I didn’t change into anything. He reached for a stick of charcoal and rattled out a few coughs. I turned. I shifted my arms. I looked past him into wilderness.

Contributor Update: Lee Martin

Cover for Telling Stories by Lee MartinToday we are pleased to share that past contributor Lee Martin has recently released a book titled Telling Stories. The book is intended for anyone interested in thinking more about the elements of storytelling in short stories, novels, and memoirs. Telling Stories is now available for purchase from University of Nebraska Press.

Lee Martin’s essay, “The Last Words of Boneheads and Fraidy Cats” can be read in Issue 8 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Lee!