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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This Week’s Reader: John Copenhaver

John CopenhaverAbout:

John Copenhaver chairs the English department at Flint Hill School, an independent high school outside of Washington, DC. His novel manuscript Dodging and Burning placed as a quarterfinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He attended Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2012 and 2013, and Tin House in 2013. In 2011 he was a fellow in genre fiction at the Lambda Writers Retreat. He graduated with his MFA from George Mason, where he edited the literary magazine Phoebe. He has published in regional journals, including Timber Creek Review and The Roanoke Review, and was first runner-up in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest and Narrative Magazine Winter Story Contest, 2014. His blog is called Talking the Walk.

A Flash He Admires:

Hannah Bottamy’s “Currents.”

One of John’s Stories:

 “The Fledgling”

Deal Breaker: 

“Please no purple prose. Have a vivid, textured, and authentic voice, but be clear and concrete.  Remember, your job as a writer is to communicate, not obfuscate.”

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New England Flash Contest–Brattleboro Literary Festival

Is there any better place to be than New England in early Fall? SmokeLong Quarterly is teaming up with the Brattleboro Literary Festival to host a flash fiction contest and reading at the festival, held in early October in Brattleboro, Vermont.

You could read here! Downtown Brattleboro, VT.

You could read here! Downtown Brattleboro, VT.

Stories of 1000 words or less about New England or from writers living in New England are welcome. Submissions will be open from July 1-31, 2014 on SmokeLong‘s Submittable page (please submit under the Brattleboro Literary Festival Flash Fiction Contest category). The winner will be invited to read at the Flash! reading at the festival on October 4, 2014 in Brattleboro, Vermont, with authors Pamela Painter, Tara Laskowski, Jeffrey Friedman, Leslie Jamison, Ann Hood and Tim Horvath.

In addition, the chosen story will be published in the September issue of SmokeLong Quarterly, and the winning author will be given a copy of SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years.

We are very excited that the winning story will be chosen by contest judge Pamela Painter. Pamela’s third story collection is all flash fiction, titled Wouldn’t You Like to Know. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Narrative, Ploughshares and SmokeLong Quarterly, among others, and reprinted in numerous anthologies, such as Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Forward, Microfiction, Stripped, Sudden Flash Youth and Flash Fiction Funny. She is also the co-author of What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. She has won three Pushcart Prizes and Agni Review’s The John Cheever Award for Fiction. Painter lives in Boston and teaches in the Emerson College MFA Program.

There is no entry fee. One entry per writer, please. Winners will be announced in late August. The winning author will need to provide his or her own transportation to the festival. Previously unpublished work only. No simultaneous submissions, please.

Submit here.

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This Week’s Reader–Paula Benson


A legislative attorney and former law librarian, Paula Gail Benson’s short stories have been published in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Kings River Life, Mystery Times Ten 2013 (Buddhapuss Ink), and A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder (Dark Oak Press and Media, released January 20, 2014). She regularly blogs with others about writing mysteries at Writers Who Kill. Her personal blog is Little Sources of Joy and her website is

 One of her stories:

Only the Sacrifice Knows

 A story Paula likes:

 The Hamster” by Tara Laskowski

 Deal breakers:

A story with a noticeable disconnect that is not somehow resolved in the end.


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This Week’s Reader: Megan Giddings



Megan Giddings is an MFA candidate at Indiana University. She received a 2013 Kathy Fish Fellowship and Writer’s Residency from SmokeLong Quarterly. Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming from NANO FictionThe Masters Review: New Voices, Moon City Review, and The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal.


Example of a Flash Fiction Piece She Really Enjoyed in SmokeLong:

Caren Beilin’s “Portrait of a Writer I Remember as a Young Masturbator


Deal Breakers:

I’m not a fan of stories that have a gruesome twist for no reason. Example: people are at a beach. They’re having fun for ninety percent of the story. And then in the last paragraph, there’s a war that kills them all or a tsunami, etc. And also, if you’re going to be weird, just be weird. Trust me, I’m down. I get really deflated when I read beautiful imagery or start to get invested in an interesting situation, only for the main character to wake up and go to Kinko’s.



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This Week’s Reader: Erin Fitzgerald


Erin Fitzgerald’s work has appeared in fine publications such as Necessary Fiction, Salt Hill, The Rumpus, Hobart, PANK, and Barrelhouse, as well as the anthologies Shut Up/Look Pretty (Tiny Hardcore Press, 2011), Writing that Risks (Red Bridge Press, 2013) and Gigantic Worlds (Gigantic Books, 2014). She has served as the lead editor for The Northville Review, and as an associate editor for the Wigleaf 50 (Very) Short Fictions annual series. She lives in western Connecticut, and online at

One of her stories:


A story Erin likes:

Gipetto’s Sin” by Josh Maday

Deal breakers:

I usually don’t care for fiction with writers as main characters. But if you’d like to consider that a very difficult challenge rather than a deal breaker, it’s fine with me.

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This Week’s Guest Reader: Letitia Trent


Letitia Trent’s first novel, Echo Lake, will be published by Dark House Press/Curbside Splendor in 2014. Trent’s work has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, The Black Warrior Review, Fence, Folio, The Journal, Mipoesias, Ootoliths, Blazevox, and many others. Her first full-length poetry collection, One Perfect Bird, is available from Sundress Publications. Her chapbooks include You aren’t in this movie (dancing girl press), Splice (Blue Hour Press) and The Medical Diaries (Scantily Clad Press). She was the 2010 winner of the Alumni Flash Writing Award from the Ohio State University’s the Journal and has been awarded fellowships from The Vermont Studio Center and the MacDowell Colony.

One of Letitia’s stories:

All Day, Every Day

A Link To A Flash Fiction She Likes:

Excerpts from Lydia Davis’ collection “Varieties of Disturbance”


My taste is diverse, and I think you can get away with anything in writing if you do it well, so I can’t think of any single thing that would be a dealbreaker for me.

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