Splash of Red Literary Arts Magazine

Splash of Red is an international online literary arts magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, interviews, and graphic narratives. They have published interviews with many Pulitzer Prize winners, US Poet Laureates, and acclaimed writers as well as some of the top editors and publishers in the country for their Industry Interview Series. What sets these interviews apart from others is that they focus on the readers of the literary magazine, many of whom are writers themselves. The interviews delve into writing processes of the interviewees, editing techniques, and strategies for getting around writer’s block. And the Industry Series investigates the other side of the table that writers rarely get a glimpse into in order to better their odds at getting their work published. But the meat of the publication is the fantastic submissions that come from all over the world.

The name of the publication comes from three inspirations: 1) the infamous red ink in draft after draft to get the best quality writing, 2) the blood and passion that goes into only the most skillfully crafted art, and 3) great work stands out just like a splash of red.
In 2010, Splash of Red organized numerous live events where authors came to speak with audiences for live Q and As. Some of the authors included Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz, famed writer Eleanor Herman, and Daniel Wallace – author of Big Fish, who spoke with eager audience members following a showing of the film based on his novel at a local independent theater. Additionally, the online magazine involved local communities by spearheading a special public mural on the New Jersey boardwalk in Asbury Park. Three artists chose three poems published on the website and created pieces of art inspired by and including those poems which were then painted in multiple large murals across the backdrop of the mid-Atlantic.

Interested fans can follow Splash of Red on Twitter, Facebook, or become a member and get email updates about newly published work and events. One of the things they pride themselves on is creating an online literary arts community where readers can post comments on anything published on the website, submit art inspired by splashes of red for their Red Gallery, and involving members in creative decisions and directions for the publication including suggestions for interviewees.

If you take any one thing away from this blog post, take this: check it out. The website is www.SplashOfRed.net and feel free to peruse, read, comment, and investigate at your own leisure. Make it your own and enjoy!

Guest Blog Post, Rikki Lux: New Superstition Review Goodreads Account

GoodreadsAs an English Literature major, I’ve studied Hemingway, Nabokov, Bronte, Chaucer, Shakespeare…and the list goes on. There’s something all of these writers have in common: they aren’t living. Their voices are frozen in the past.

Can you think of any living authors that you love to read? There was a time when I couldn’t list many. On the Superstition Review intern application, our editor Patricia Murphy asks for three of your favorite living authors. When I saw that I thought, “Living? Why? All the good ones are dead!” Looking back, I can’t believe all of the authors I was missing out on reading. If you browse through the contemporary authors in Superstition Review’s Goodreads bookshelves, you’ll see these authors are writing lots of books and they are all a part of a thriving literary community. If only we would put down Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or Frost, pick up one of their books, and join the conversation. When I began to use Goodreads, the social networking site for readers, I found that Margaret Atwood, along with some of my other favorite authors, has an account there as well.

Contemporary authors are not only writing books: they’re tweeting, collaborating with a publisher on a Q & A session, or speaking to college students. Simon J. Ortiz is speaking to my Literature of Immigration and Diaspora class this semester. Michael Ondaatje came to ASU’s Tempe campus to hold a public discussion. Margaret Atwood is an activist of environmental preservation in Canada, and she uses Twitter and Goodreads to connect with her fans and promote environmental awareness. Alice Munro is the literary voice of the Canadian middle class – she is referred to as “the Canadian Chekhov” – and her new collection of stories was just published. Dickens or Dickinson can’t fulfill that kind of presence.

When I joined Twitter, I was delighted by the presence of authors, literary magazines, and book presses. It was like browsing through a virtual bookstore: I followed Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Anne Lamott, Sherman Alexie, Roxane Gay…and that’s just the writers. Almost every university literary review is on Twitter, plus Tin House, Willow Springs, McSweeney’s, and The Paris Review. I followed The Penguin Press, Red Hen Press, Random House, and Graywolf Press. Authors, magazines, and presses are tweeting like they aren’t worried about censoring themselves or fulfilling an image of distant formality. They talk; their followers talk back.

Every time the little blue mark pops up on the bottom of my Twitter feed, it means I have connected with someone. One time, that blue mark appeared because Margaret Atwood had retweeted my tweet. It was incredible – an accomplished, famous writer who has over 300,000 Twitter followers took the time to retweet my tweet. I took a screenshot of my tweet on her profile, uploaded it to Instagram, and updated my Facebook status (it read: One of my tweets was retweeted by Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite authors. No big deal…just kidding, it is!). In my 15 minutes of Twitter fame (at least, it felt like fame to be on Margaret Atwood’s profile for, literally, 15 minutes before I was lost in her sea of tweets) I experienced how literary culture powered by social media makes writers and literary organizations accessible.

One of my projects this semester was to add to our SR Goodreads bookshelves all of the books by SR Contributors from all of our nine issues. I created bookshelves that hold fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written by Superstition Review contributors. With nine issues of Superstition Review released to date, the number of books quickly rose to well over 1,000. I became better acquainted with so many contemporary authors.

Some Superstition Review contributors have a vast list of published works, such as Sherman Alexie, T.C. Boyle, Adrian C. Louis, and Madison Smartt Bell. Other contributors have a smaller list of works on Goodreads, but their readership is growing as they use Goodreads and other social networking sites to create an online presence. The SR Goodreads account is a great way to follow their careers.

As I worked on a Goodreads project for Superstition Review, I noticed that literary magazines and presses are also using Goodreads, like other social networking sites, to extend their online presence. Goodreads’ target audience is passionate readers, so the site can be used to showcase works that magazines and presses have published while making connections with readers and other literary organizations.

Willow Springs and Featherproof Books have bookshelves titled “we published it,” The Paris Review has their blog connected to their Goodreads account, and Superstition Review includes all of their various social networking links on their Goodreads profile. The Goodreads literary community shares the goal of extending readership of their magazine, blog, and the authors they have published, while increasing traffic to their other social networking sites.

With the emergence of Goodreads, the options for following and connecting with authors, literary magazines, and presses is vast. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and Goodreads are all channels of communication within the literary community: which do you prefer and how do you use them?

You can visit our social networks here:

Blog: http://superstitionreview.asu.edu/blog/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/superstitionreview
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/SuperstitionRev
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111992497499045277021
iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/superstition-review/id552593273
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Superstition-Review-4195480
Tumblr: http://superstitionrev.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuperstitionRev

Guest Blog post, Matthew Brennan: Writing the Literary “Twitter Novel”

The new form of “Twitter fiction” goes by many different names – novels, stories, flash fictions, micro fictions – but in reality, stories constrained to under 140 characters are unique. Part of the reason there are so many names for these stories is that we’re all still trying to figure out this new form. Already, there are quite a few literary journals that have started to specialize in Twitter fictions, most publishing onto Twitter itself, a few with their own sites. Even so, as writers and readers both, there are some key characteristics unique to the Twitter fiction.

Though I will continue to use the phrase “Twitter fiction” to describe these stories, and up until recently i had called them “micro fictions,” I like thinking of them as Tweeted novels. It’s a distinction that helps to remind us that, regardless of length, these are still complete stories. That’s what makes them difficult, and a real art to write well. Like poetry, Twitter stories are fairly quick to draft, but can take some significant effort to revise. Not only do we have a very specific – and tight – word limit, we still have to cram plot, character, and turn, beginning, middle, and end, into 140 characters. When I’m writing or reading Twitter fictions, I still aim for or want to see an arc, a change, a turn in the story, just as if I was reading a longer work.

This point is key: just because they’re short, Twitter fictions still must have all the features of a short story or novel. How is that possible when you only have a fraction of the space? Ironically, since I advise the opposite for students of longer fiction, in 140 characters you don’t have enough space to achieve any real kind of scene or action. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid dialogue. The quotation marks and dialogue tags are a waste of characters. Instead of scene and action, aim for emotion that will resonate with your reader, and let your character’s change be the climax or arc of the story. As with longer work, do not aim for a twist, a trick, or a pun. No “and then I woke up.” Such tricks are deceptive and not grounded in character. Aim for emotion instead.

Your reader has to feel more than you ever say and be allowed to imagine the scene in which the story takes place. The setting of these stories only has space to be implied. This is a different kind of showing, where you show a vast amount by the little you do tell. To use a common metaphor, Twitter fictions are icebergs, where the full novel takes place beneath the surface, hinted at and shown to exist only by the little that’s seen. This effect is exactly what Hemingway achieved so well and famously in his 6-word micro-fiction: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This story never describes its characters, and yet we know these parents and the conflict of their loss, we see them taking this step past grieving to put their lost infant’s collected but unused belongings up for sale. There’s pain, there’s growth, there’s a decision: character, plot, arc, climax.

This is a Twitter fiction of mine called “Care Package” (published December 13, 2011 on OneFortyFiction.com): “When donated Christmas boxes came, she gave all the little gifts in hers to the younger orphans. All except the doll. She’d never had one.”

First, setting: we know it’s Christmas time, we know this is an orphanage, possibly in a developing country. None of this is described as setting.

Second, character: because of the comparative word “younger,” we know that she is an orphan, who has been at this orphanage for a while. In this role, we see her behaving in a maternal way to the younger orphans, taking on the giving role of her own benefactor to the others.

This bring us to, third, plot: the action shows her giving away her gifts, caring in the same way for her sisters and brothers. But she makes a decision to withhold one item from her package, a doll, which gives us a plot turn, a decision. But there’s one more element here, emotional resonance: the character turn. The fact that she has never had a doll before spins us back to the characterization of her limited childhood, and the meaning of her doll, clung to, shows us that despite the maturity of her actions, she still longs for a childhood she never had.

A few tips for revision and hitting that 140 character mark. Don’t name your characters without specific purpose: “he” and “she” are shorter. Or chose a name like Al, Rob, Mac, etc. Further, if you use a first-person narrator, “I” is even shorter! Be flexible with gender when reasonable; male words – he, man, boy, son – tend to be shorter in English than female: she, woman, girl, daughter. Within reason, punctuation can be flexible: that comma that you cringe to leave out in typical prose can often be implied. Use contractions. Use long sentences so you don’t have to spend characters and words setting up a new noun-verb system. (You’ll get 1-3, maybe 4, sentences; 20-30 words.) Begin the story with a clause – “When …” – this will help you kick-start the piece faster.

There are many venues now when you’re looking to publish your Twitter fictions. Review their guidelines before you finalize your revision: some of them require you to Tweet your Twitter handle (@____) along with the piece, so if your handle takes 12 characters, you’re down to 128 for the story.

The true art of a literary Twitter fiction is in the depth that you achieve beneath the 140 characters. If you get the characters and their emotions right with the words you do write, the rest that you don’t write your reader will be able to feel.

To enter the Superstition Review Twitter Fiction contest, tweet a “novel” to @SuperstitionRev by Nov 11. Winners will appear in our newsletter.

Guest Blog Post, Brooke Passey: Top Ten Literary Newsletters

Before I started as an intern for Superstition Review, I wasn’t aware that most literary magazines and organizations send out biweekly newsletters. As I’ve become more acquainted with the literary scene, I’ve realized just how much information I have been missing. Let’s talk about why newsletters in general are so great.

First of all, newsletters are one of the best resources for compact and relevant literary information. They cover literary news, updates and advice from published authors, upcoming literary events, and articles on a wide range of beneficial writing topics.

Better yet, the information comes to you—delivered right to your inbox. Other sources of information such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader are useful, but newsletters allow you to get the information as soon as it is published. Most newsletters are monthly or biweekly, so they won’t ever crowd your inbox.

Most importantly, they’re free! And who doesn’t like free things? Especially free things that help you to become a better writer, be involved in a network with successful authors, and stay up to date in the field.

Over the last few months I have subscribed to over 20 newsletters not only to improve my own writing skills, but also to take advantage of all the beneficial, interesting, and free information. Here are my top 10 newsletters. They are my favorites because they have consistently provided fresh and useful information along with dependable resources.

  1. Poets & Writers http://www.pw.org
  2. Poets.org https://www.poets.org
  3. The Paris Review http://www.theparisreview.org
  4. The Review Review http://www.thereviewreview.net
  5. The Nervous Breakdown http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com
  6. Tin House http://www.tinhouse.com
  7. Creative Nonfiction https://www.creativenonfiction.org
  8. Willow Springs http://willowsprings.ewu.edu
  9. Five Points http://www.fivepoints.gsu.edu
  10. Kenyon Review http://www.kenyonreview.org

And of course I recommend our own newsletter here at Superstition Review. Even my own mother subscribed recently. So join our mailing list by clicking here.

Twitter® Handles for Superstition Review Contributors

Here is a list of our known contributors’ Twitter handles. If we missed any or have made any errors, please leave a comment and we will fix it. This is a great opportunity for our readers to follow their favorites.

Alan Cheuse @ahescee
Amanda Auchter @ALAuchter
Amanda Eyre Ward @amandaeyreward
Andrew Galligan @galligan_andrew
Andrew Scott @_AndrewScott
Ashley Caveda @AshleyCaveda
Ben Brooks @ben_brooks
Benjamin Vogt @BRVogt
BJ Hollars @BJHollars
Brenda Miller @BrendaMiller31
Carrie Moniz @Carrie_Moniz
Catherine Pierce @katieppierce
Chase Twichell @chasetwichell
Christopher Jagmin @chrisjagmin
Constance McBride @mcbride_connie
Courtney Mauk @courtneymauk
Dan Chaon @Danchaon
Daniel Elson @daniel_elson
Dara Wier @darawier
Diana Joseph @diana_joseph
Dorianne Laux @doriannelaux
Douglas Light @LightHappening
Duncan Hill @duncanhillphoto
Elena Passarello @elenavox
Eliza Gregory @elizagregory
Elizabeth Searle @StarWrit
Eugenio Volpe @MeBeingBrand
Faye Rapoport DesPres @MassWriter 
Floyd Skloot @fskloot

Frances Lefkewiz @YesFrances
James Valvis @JamesValvis
Jennifer Drucker @jenniferdrucker
Joan Colby @poetjm
John Grogan @JohnGroganbooks
Kazim Ali @KazimAliPoet
Kelle Groom @KelleGroom
Kelli Russell Agodon @kelliagodon
Lee Martin @LeeMartinAuthor
Marie Mockett @MarieMockett
Matthew Brennan @MatthewBrennan7
Matthew Gavin Frank @matthewgfrank
Meg Pokrass @megpokrass
Michael Martone @4foraQuarter
Miguel Murphy @MiguelMurphy
Pam Houston @pam_houston
Patricia Clark @poetclark
Paul Lisicky @Paul_Lisicky
Raina Gentry @RainaGentryArt
Roger Boylan @Killoyler
Ruth Ellen Kocher @ruthellenkocher
Samuel Kolawole @sammylaws1
Sankar Roy @SankarPoet
Shannon Ward @ShannonCamlin
Sherman Alexie @Sherman_Alexie
Sloane Crosley @askanyone
Stella Pope Duarte @StellaPope
Susan Wingate @susanwingate
Suzanne Marie Hopcroft @divinestsense
Terra Brigando @Terranisaur
Theodore Wheeler @theodorewheeler
Tim Flannery @Purple_World
Timothy Liu @arabadjisliu
Vanessa Blakeslee @vmblakeslee
William D. Hicks @wdhicks
Xavier Nuez @Xnuez

Guest Post, Benjamin Vogt: Social Media for Authors

benjaminvogtWhen SR informed me that my creative nonfiction piece “Across the Flats” was receiving the most hits of any for its issue, I was shocked. Who was reading it? I’m always thrilled to have work accepted for publication, but I pretty much just assume that no one will read the work. There’s a lot out there in the world.

I did publicize the piece on my Twitter account and three Facebook pages I have (personal, blog, business). That’s all I did. Nothing magical. Unless you take into account a few big things:

1) I’ve had a writing and gardening blog http://deepmiddle.blogspot.com for nearly five years now. In that time I’ve amassed a modest set of readers. And though I see only 80-100 visits a day on the blog or on its Facebook page, it serves me well by creating a long term audience. Since my essay was both a piece of creative writing and garden-themed, I could hook up to my two main audiences. I’m two-faced that way.

2) The garden theme carried over much more to Twitter http://twitter.com/brvogt, where a vast majority of my followers are gardeners and garden writers. I’ve only been on Twitter for eight months, but I posted the link to the essay twice a day for a day or two, then a few times over the course of a week. That’s the beast of Twitter, redundancy. More beasty yet is that Twitter is both a link happy place AND a relationship-heavy place (although the two don’t really go together in my mind). Twitter is constant work like having pet fish. Twitter is interaction-heavy—quick glib and jokey comments or heartfelt and interested comments, anything to make a split-second connection like flirting with someone across the room. Once you catch someone’s fancy (and creative tweets can help), it takes a split second for them to share your tweet to their followers, who share it to their followers. My approach with posting the link on Facebook was different. Facebook feels more intimate, which is why I posted just once on each of my three pages.

3) What I’m getting at is this: people visited SR to read my work, (and hopefully others), because I’ve spent part of each day working for free online. Some days it’s a major chore and distraction. Some days it’s a natural extension of myself. But it takes time—and you have to be constantly interesting and authentic on any media platform. By this I mean not narcissistic or whiney, and not a promotional machine. I’d say that 90% of tweets and 50% of Facebook interactions should have nothing to do with you—talk to people, share interesting links and photos, pretend you aren’t being archived and sold and stalked by company platforms to third parties. And something else I’ve discovered: Facebook is much more active M-Th during the day (people at work goofing off?). Twitter is pretty much 24/7.

Does any of this social media “pay off?” Eh. I once had an editor contact me out of the blue via my blog to look at a memoir, but they decided against it (it’s still available by the way, ahem). http://www.scribd.com/bvogt/d/60742810-Morning-Glory-A-Story-of-Family-Culture-in-the-Garden-unpublished But that’s not what this is all about—it’s about making friends, being personable, being human. And for this grade A introvert, I can be social on my own time in my own way. Now leave me alone so I can write.

Google Analytic Stats for "Across the Flats"

Meet the Review Crew: Bri Perkins


Behind every blog is a blogger. They are the unspoken authors of the internet that filter in a constant stream of news into your RSS Feed. As a Social Networking Coordinator for Superstition Review, Bri Perkins has learned first-hand just how challenging that job can be.

Working with a small team, Bri helps to maintain and write for the SR blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, which can include everything from interviews with esteemed authors to email correspondence to creating the latest trending topic. A resident night-owl, Bri usually can be seen tweeting in the wee hours of the morning or slumped over a keyboard asleep.

Having never really experienced the editorial process and the inner workings of a publication, Perkins applied to Superstition Review in hopes of getting hands-on experience in the literary world. Since then, her taste and exposure to art, literature, and writing has grown exponentially. Now a fan of Tin House and Ploughshares (and of course SR), she has developed a love of fiction and short stories. Her favorite readings range all the way from J.K. Rowling to Flannery O’Connor to the labels on shampoo bottles.

Bri is quickly approaching the finish-line of her undergraduate degree at ASU. Studying the unique combination of English and Psychology, she found she had a passion for the anatomy and physiology of the body, and in particular, the human brain. After graduation, she is planning to take a gap year to travel and read, which will be something new for a girl that has been barely beyond Arizona state borders. She subsequently plans to attend medical school at Midwestern University where she will study to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and ultimately, a neurologist or neurosurgeon. Bri hopes to translate the underlying themes of the liberal arts into the science realm in order to take a more well-rounded approach to healthcare.

Bri is 22 years old and is a Glendale, Arizona native. She loves overcast and rainy days, which are a rarity in the Valley of the Sun. She has no children and no husband, but she keeps the company of four very lovable mutts and one very fluffy kitty. Perkins currently works as a technician (also known as a Genius) at Apple fixing iPods, iPhones, Macs and iPads. She also volunteers as a Research Assistant at ASU’s Cognition and Natural Behavior Laboratory where she is studying the effects of shared space on productivity, and the effects of physical interaction on mental faculty and memory. Bri also works as a Psychology and Writing Tutor with the STEM/TRIO program on the ASU West Campus, which focuses its efforts on providing support for first generation and minority students.

Go Forth and Tweet

With Issue 9 approaching, we’ve deployed our social networking teams to take to the web and spread the word. We’re forging new connections with our readers, authors, writers, and other literary journals.

We have a goal. We want to reach 1,000 likes on Facebook and 1,000 followers on Twitter. But we can only do it with your help.

We aren’t very far off from that goal, so to increase our fan base, we’re taking to the streets. We need our loyal readers (that’s you) to take to the internet and go forth and tweet.

We want to do something special for our 1,000th fan on Facebook and Twitter.

Whoever is the 1000th Facebook visitor and the 1000th Twitter visitor will get a special feature on our blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. For writers and artists, this will be a great way to get your name out there for everyone to see. For students, this is a great way to build your resume. We see thousands of visitors each week from all over the world and you will have the attention of each and every one.

So go forth and tweet.

#ArchiveDive: A Glimpse Into the Past

Each week we feature one of our interns at Superstition Review. This week’s piece comes from Advertising Coordinator Daniel Redding

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson


A piece of writing can be judged as truly great when the reader can go back to it again and again, while still having a unique reaction to it. A work will not fade if it can stay alive long after its initial presentation. As a writer, I often judge my pieces by how I respond to them months and years down the road. As a young adult, my favorite novels would become worn at the seams, ultimately falling apart, highlighting the impact they had on my development. It was then, early on, that I began to realize the long-term effect of literature, and in turn the power of the writer, and for me there was no looking back.

As a part of our Twitter presence, Superstition Review has been conducting an #ArchiveDive campaign, going back through our past eight issues to find pieces that strike us today as much as they did then. Every piece published in SR is powerful in its own way. However, these recent selections for #ArchiveDive highlight the breadth of SR’s publishing history.

Among the recent highlights have been Christy Puetz’s three-dimensional beaded art from Issue 7, as well as John J. Clayton’s “Darkness Visible,” a short story from the same issue. Also rediscovered were Hilary Masters’ essay, “Working the Vineyard,” from Issue 2, and Nathaniel Miles Millard’s poetry of Issue 1.

We hope you will join us in diving back into our archives to enjoy the wide range of work we have been privileged to publish over the last four years.

Forthcoming: Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is one funny guy. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry and short stories, adult and young adult novels, and four screenplays, including the 1999 award-winning film Smoke Signals. He was the recipient of the National Book Award prize for Young People’s Literature in 2007, and the PEN/Faulnker award winner for his novel War Dances in 2010. Yet despite his many successes, Sherman Alexie maintains an easy going attitude and a witty, self-deprecating sense of humor. From my own experience seeing him speak at the kick-off of ASU’s Project Humanities last February, I can attest to the fact that Alexie really knows how to work an audience. When he read his poetry, you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. But most of his speech was riotously funny, and whether he was recalling an anecdote about his daily life or poking fun at ASU’s president Michael Crow, he had the audience crippled with laughter.

What makes Sherman Alexie’s humor so outstanding is his fearless confrontation of difficult subjects. During his speech for Project Humanities he discussed racial stereotypes, sexism, and homophobia, always with his trademark wit. If you visit his website or follow him on Twitter (which I highly recommend), you will see the same thing: his unflinching willingness to speak his mind about social issues. Yet his convictions never overtake his artistic integrity. Instead they connect his work to the day-to-day world and prompt the reader to reconsider their assumptions about privilege, race, and class. Sherman Alexie is truly one of America’s most valuable writers, and we are very pleased to publish his work in Issue 8 of Superstition Review.

Visit his website at www.fallsapart.com