This Week’s Reader: Mark Cugini


Mark Cugini is the author of I’m Just Happy To Be Here (Ink Press 2014) and the Managing Editor of Big Lucks Books. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pinwheel, Sink Review, Hobart, Barrelhouse, BOAAT, and numerous other publications. On July 20th, 2014, he became the #1 ranked player of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.


Sample of his work:

This insane thing, I guess.


Short he really liked recently:

This thing from Dolan Morgan.


Deal breaker:

Or deal “maker.” (I’d prefer to leave the breakers by the beach):  I need fluidity. I need impact. I need a sense of astonishment. I need to feel alive and horrified. I need to feel like I’m going to die if I don’t read the damn thing in front of me. I need immediacy, immediacy, immediacy.


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Nick Sansone Wins Brattleboro Literary Festival Contest

100MEDIA_IMAG1059-1We are excited to announce that Nick Sansone is the winner of the Brattleboro Literary Festival Flash Fiction Contest, hosted by SmokeLong Quarterly. Nick’s story “Any Other Name” was chosen by judge Pamela Painter as the winner of the contest. The story will appear in the September issue of SmokeLong Quarterly (Issue 45) and Nick is invited to read at the Brattleboro Literary Festival’s flash fiction reading on October 4 in Brattleboro, VT, along with Pamela Painter, Tara Laskowski, Jeffrey Friedman, Leslie Jamison, Ann Hood and Tim Horvath.

He will also receive a copy of SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years.

Nick Sansone received his MFA from Emerson College. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Gargoyle, the Los Angeles Review, the Minnesota Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Massachusetts.

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This Week’s Reader: Matthew Brennan

Matthew Brennan is a writer, editor, translator, and blogger from the Pacific Northwest. His fiction has earned a variety of awards and fellowships, and more than sixty of his short stories and literary translations have appeared in journals such as SmokeLong Quarterly, Emerge Literary Journal, The Citron Review, The Los Angeles Review, Two Lines, and Superstition Review. He earned his MFA in fiction from Arizona State University. Online, Matthew can be found at or @MatthewBrennan7.
What Matthew is looking for:
What I’m looking for in flash is world-building and nuance. The best flash will do a little of both for me. Here are links to two of my stories that are examples of each: 
World-building: “The Fire Keeper” (page 23)
Nuance: “The Water Is Wide
A deal-breaker:
 A boring first sentence or an unearned twist or surprise ending.
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This Week’s Reader–An Tran

An Tran’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Southern Humanities Review, Gargoyle Magazine, the Carolina Quarterly, the Good Men Project, and Eclectica Magazine, among others, and has received a “Notable” distinction from the Best American series. He is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte and lives in Arlington, VA.
One of An’s stories:
And a flash he really enjoys:
Some thoughts on flash fiction:
I think the magic of flash fiction is the ability to say, in very few lines, something large, expansive, universal. By the end of a piece, each sentence comes alive in a new way like cells in mitosis, a multitude of meanings splitting from single strings of sound. The narrative momentum is found in the spaces adjacent to the words themselves; the story itself is stillness. A flat piece of flash fiction might move within the text, but has neglected the form’s power to manipulate space and time around it.
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This Week’s Reader: Matthew Norman


Matthew Norman is the author of the novel Domestic Violets, which was nominated in the Best Humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. He lives outside Baltimore with his wife and two daughters and is currently working on another novel.

“Miss November,” A Story by Matthew Appears In:

Forty Stories,  a Harper Perennial collection

Matthew’s Taste

I love humor in writing. Not all stories can be funny—nor should they be—but I’m most attracted to fiction that has threads of humor. Richard Russo and Jess Walter are perfect examples of writers who balance humor and “serious” very well.

A Deal Breaker:

A deal breaker for me is overwriting. The older I get, the more infuriating I find it. Less is more.

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This Week’s Reader: Matthew Dexter


Like the nomadic Pericú natives before him, Matthew Dexter survives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine. He is the author of the novel, THE RITALIN ORGY (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013). His flash fiction and narrative nonfiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. Thousands of articles sold for fish tacos. He is the memoir editor at Split Lip Magazine and reads submissions for PANK. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

A Flash of Matthew’s:

Restraining Order

A Flash He Really Likes:

Steady Hands At Seattle General” by Denis Johnson

Deal Breaker:

A “deal breaker” would be a piece that does not take any risks. Please don’t be afraid to write poetry between the lines. Also, something riddled with simple grammar errors and pervasive typos at the expense of the narrative. Be experimental; but proofread with bloodshot sclarae. Write fearless—with no remorse or regret—but edit that thing to beautiful death.

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This Week’s Reader: Angela Readman

Style: "gt 2"About:

Angela Readman’s stories have won The National Flash Fiction Competition, and The Costa Short Story Award. Her work has appeared in several journals online and in print, including Smokelong Quarterly, Gigantic Sequins. The Asham Award anthology, The Bristol Short Story prize anthology and Unthology 5. Her story collection, Don’t Try This at Home is out in 2015 with & Other Stories.

A Story by Angela:

The Honey Gatherers”

What Angela Likes in Flash:

I love stories that do something to me. The language in a story can wake me up,  characters can make me consider something I haven’t before, or confirm something we all know in a way that surprises me. A  deal breaker for me is a last line that makes the story seem like a joke or adds a twist that makes me feel cheated. I’m looking forward to reading your stories. I know I won’t be disappointed.

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