“We Were in the City” in LitRagger

Litragger is featuring my story, “We Were in the City,” originally published in The Threepenny Review. Thanks to Adam Lefton for featuring it, and to Wendy Lesser for first including it. Read on for attics and basements, vindictive lemonade stands, and a couple back from The City.


Also, you can download LitRagger’s really neat app which hosts ebook versions of your favorite literary magazines.

“The Last King of Open Roads” on Amazon.com

“The Last King of Open Roads,” is now available on Amazon for 99 cents.

Buy or read an excerpt here.

This story was originally published in Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction and poetry from emerging writers.

Here’s the jacket summary:

The yearly disastrous vacations usually came a few weeks after Mami threatened to go back to the island. The family knew that if she ever returned home to the Dominican Republic, she’d never come back. This time, Papi hopes that a ski trip will reverse the tide of Mami’s unhappiness and packs the family into his big rig to drive from balmy Florida to the snow-capped Rockies. One disappointment follows another as they confront racism, frostbite, and icy close-calls that only deepen the familial rift. The Last King of Open Roads tells the story of one immigrant family staving off hopelessness and trying to realize the American Dream while carving out a road for themselves in a strange land.


Triquarterly has been the home of some of my favorite work, so I thought I’d link to some of it here.  It’s amazing that this topnotch journal moved online for free.

I first got to know this wonderful writer through Triquarterly with her heartbreaking scifi story in which the earth’s atoms start fusing: A Bad Year for Apples, by CJ Hauser.  Then I met her in person and she blushed madly while I told her how much I liked her work.

Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni’s Shadow Work.  I love everything I’ve ever read by her.  Her stories are heartbreaking, centered around loss, and they have such depth of poetry to their lines.

Ben Ehnrenreich, The Dream within a Dream.  Strangely affecting surreal story about dreams a couple has together, then separately.

I just read these two poems by Marty McConnell in TriQuarterly that blew me away with their wonderful, funny, heartbreaking commentary on modern life and the emotions we try to communicate to others.  She has a great reading voice, too!  Here and HERE.

“The Last King of Open Roads” in Day One

Day One Current Issue!

Brenda Peynado

My story about a family that falls apart on a skiing vacation is in the current Day One, Amazon’s new weekly literary journal, along with awesome cover art and a poem by Linwood Rumney. There’s even playlists to listen to while you read and a surprise story! Thank you to Editor Carmen Johnson for all of her work!

After this week, it will be available as a Kindle Single. Stay tuned!

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Nick Francis Potter

I just met fiction and comic writer Nick Francis Potter, who went to Brown’s innovative MFA program and is currently a PhD student at University of Missouri. We talked about his illustrating and Micah and I writing children’s stories together. It’s so exciting that there are people working in the intersection of various art forms even though we are so often cordoned off from each other. Check out a few of his comics at http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/3-comics or his website at http://nickfrancispotter.tumblr.com/page/4


Indiana Review Volume 35, Number 2

I’m reading the current Indiana Review. I happened upon it after staying in Cincinnati with Linwood Rumney, whose work I’m thrilled to have appear with mine in next week’s issue of Day One, and his wife Jessica Hahn, an amazing poetry-fiction duo I am grateful to have spent time with. On my way out the door with suitcases, Jessica gave me copies of the latest Indiana Review and Missouri Review. I also have a Cincinnati Review in my bag.

On the plane to Houston, I started with IR and am blown away. I’ve never read so many stories that thrilled me at once in a magazine. Out of the realist stories, Shannon Hefferman’s “Purple Plus,” Bess Winter’s “Bad” and DJ Thielke’s “Private Dark” all had endings that stayed with me long after the stories finished. Nick White’s uncanny story about a boy sketching teen siamese twins fascinates and glimmers with sorrow. Then the surreal and magical-real stories just blew me away. Daniel Hornsby’s “Giant Mechanical Unicorn, Piloted by Children” is such a beautiful, sad but hopeful dream about childhood. This one will stick with me as one way to write surrealism while still keeping a recognizable plot and such a core of emotion. Helena Bell’s “The Aliens Made of Glass” is about a nun in a pre-apocalyptic earth with aliens soon to land. The story rather prophetically asks, If God was in a box, would you look inside?

The other fiction in the issue was top notch. If you can pick up a copy or subscribe, you will be blown away.


Rochelle Hurt and Anne Valente

Last Saturday I was wowed by a reading at a neat little art gallery in Cincinnati. Rochelle Hurt read from her new poetry collection, The Rusted City, a brilliant narrative poem sequence with language sharp and gritty that reminds me of Madeline is Sleeping and fairy tales. Anne Valente has a short story collection coming out with Dzanc Books. She read a story about Amelia Earhart and girls who turn into bears–gorgeous and affecting, each sentence powerful. The strength and sorrow in her prose reminds me of Lauren Groff when she writes magical realism. While these two talented writers read, cartoon drawings on the art gallery walls behind them laughed and grimaced and screamed, voicing the audience’s thoughts. The audience was completely bewitched. What a great night for writing!

By Light We Knew Our Names, by Anne Valente

The Rusted City, by Rochelle Hurt

Read more of her work here: