Jacinda Townsend: Guest Editor for October 20 – October 26

Gides_Jacinda_PP-1005-(ZF-10165-89257-1-001)(2)Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (W.W. Norton, 2014).  A native of Southcentral Kentucky, she is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has also published nonfiction and short fiction in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.  She teaches at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington with two beautiful children, and is currently working on a novel set in Morocco.

Here’s a link to a story by Jacinda: “April 2007; Essaouira, Morocco.” A flash piece that Jacinda has recently read and admired is “The Sleeping of the Stones or Mae and Her White Teeth” by Cameron Brindise.

And here are her thoughts on what she’s looking for in a successful submission: Seduce me with your beautiful language but seal the deal with your understanding of character.  You need not try to impress me with literary allusions; just be who you are, with your own quirky, original voice.  Convince me that you are doing a new dance in this vast literary ballroom in which we’re all standing.  Offer me an ending that makes me connect with humanity rather than plot.

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This Week’s Guest Editor: Sara Lippmann

IMG_0199 - Version 2  Sara Lippmann is the author of the story collection Doll Palace. Her stories have been published in The Good Men Project, Wigleaf, Slice magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Joyland and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2012 fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and co-hosts the Sunday Salon, a longstanding reading series in the East Village. For more, visit: saralippmann.com.
And here are two flash stories that Sara has recently read and admired: “An August in the Early 2000’s” by Emma Smith-Stevens. And “Moro” by Kathy Fish.
What Sara loves  about flash fiction is how it requires you to do more with less. Compression forces decisions on structure, narrative and language; it demands selectivity and precision. Commit to your work. Get in, get out. Keep it honest. Startle me, unnerve me, cut to the heart of what matters. Be merciless. Make your words count. Above all: Tell me an unforgettable story.
Please note that Sara is only accepting blind submissions this week. Do not put your name or contact information on your submission. Please still write a cover letter; Sara won’t be able to see any of the information in the cover letters attached to the submissions until after she’s picked her story for the week.
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Leigh Allison Wilson: Guest Editor for the Week of October 6 – October 12


Leigh Allison Wilson is the author of two collections of stories, one of which won The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her prose has appeared in The Georgia Review, Grand Street, Harper’s, The Kenyon Review, Smokelong Quarterly, The Southern Review and elsewhere.  She lives in upstate New York.

 A link to one of her stories: “The Five Different Ways They Died”

A piece of flash she really enjoys: “That’s Him! That’s the Guy!” by Dan Chaon

What she’s looking for in this week’s submissions: My idea is that good flash fiction is like a good gift.  Once we begin to unwrap it—say, by reading the first sentence—we can’t stop until the whole thing is before us.  Oddly, the act of unwrapping only increases our desire to unwrap; as we progress, words strewn like paper in our wake, we already want to begin again, to keep the experience happening.  Nevertheless we come to the end, all anticipation spent, the desire re-desired, and we get the gift.  There’s an almost perfect moment of gratification and surprise and fulfillment.  We did not anticipate this gift, could not have given it to ourselves, could not have imagined the emotions produced by it.  It took someone else’s genius to please us in quite this curious way.  And we won’t forget it.  We simply will never forget it.

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Kickstarter Campaign for a New Web Design for Smokelong Quarterly

DIRECT LINK TO SMOKELONG AT KICKSTARTER to find out the prizes at each level!

We publish cutting-edge flash fiction, and we need a web site that shows it off. Help bring our online presence into the next decade!

Hey, did you know SmokeLong Quarterly started publishing flash fiction in 2003?

Did you also know we haven’t had a major web site redesign since then?

Let’s take a look at how far the world has come since then. In 2003 when we started publishing:

  • MySpace was just beginning (launched August 2003)
  • Wikipedia was two years old
  • There was no Facebook, You Tube, or Twitter
  • Reuben Studdard beat Clay Aiken on American Idol
  • The Department of Homeland Security began operation
  • Lance Armstrong was still a hero
  • We only had five of the Harry Potter books
  • Apple introduced the iTunes download store

The world has changed. Dramatically. And now it’s SLQ’s turn. We need a makeover. And we need your help to do it.

SLQ’s first cover, 2003:

And SLQ today:

A new web design will showcase our writers and artists in a new and exciting way.

It will make publishing stories faster and more efficient, leaving us more time to market, promote, and think of other ways to conquer the world with great literature.

Currently it takes us an average of 40 minutes to post a weekly story, and each quarterly issue takes more than 20 hours to produce. With a new web site, we can more than cut that time in half. Tara’s pinched nerve will send you a personal thank you note for that!!!

We want you to be able to read us on your commute!

We want to make it easy to read SmokeLong on any device–laptop, e-reader, cell phone. Have you tried to read our content on your phone with our current site? Go ahead. Try it now. We’ll wait.

See? We told you.

We’re like your old reliable friend who’s had one too many drinks and needs a lift home at 2 a.m.

In the last 11 years, we have published hundreds of authors and artists, both well-established and emerging, and have hosted the Kathy Fish Fellowship, which has supported five writers-in-residence since 2007. And we have NEVER charged our writers for submitting, NEVER charged contest fees for our contests, and ALWAYS kept our submissions open 24/7, 365 days a year.

The minimum raised for this campaign will help support the initial redesign costs for the web site. If that goal is met and funds exceed our minimum, we will be able to do much more. Below are our goal levels for all the fun stuff we’d like to achieve!

Goal Levels:

$3000 [LOCKED--Minimum]–We will be able to redesign the SLQ web site.

$4000 [LOCKED]–We can even pay something to the wonderful wonderful web developer who is currently working pro bono because he loves us..

$5000 [LOCKED]– We will offer the Kathy Fish Fellowship and writer-in-residence (a $500 reward) to one writer in 2015-16.

$6000 [LOCKED] — We will pay all of the writers we publish in 2015 $25 per story.

Please help us continue to publish the best flash fiction on the planet!

We are a labor of love. All of the funds raised will go directly back to SmokeLong production and promotion, contest prizes, and other initiatives.

And remember: Funds pledged to a Kickstarter project are not deducted until the project is complete. No funds go to the project unless the entire amount is raised, so if you pledge $$ and we don’t hit our goal, you don’t ever pay it out. Kickstarter crowdfunding projects must make 100% of the money needed for a project.

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter


We are hoping to have our redesign completed by the December 2014 quarterly issue, however that deadline depends on the web designer we end up hiring and the ultimate timeline of the process.

If the redesign gets delayed for any reason we will contact all our backers and contributors.

All other goal levels we unlock will be worked on during 2014 and you will begin to see results as soon as we can get them. Updates on our progress will be posted on our web site, blog, and social media sites. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or concerns.

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This Week’s Guest Reader: Ken Budd


Ken Budd is the author of The Voluntourist—A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem (William Morrow). The memoir won silver in the 2013 Nautilus Book Awards and 2012 North American Travel Journalist Association Awards; an adaptation for Huffington Post received gold from NATJA in 2014. Ken has written for such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, and McSweeney’s. He is the former executive editor of AARP The Magazine; his work was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2005. Ken is donating his earnings from The Voluntourist to the places where he volunteered.  His essay about  his experiences in Kenya and criticism of voluntourism recently won gold in the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas awards. His web site is TheVoluntouristBook.com and you can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


Samples of his work:

Special Needs,” an award-winning adaptation of Ken’s memoir, The Voluntourist

Nike Infant and Toddler Scouting Report,” from McSweeneys.net

Diary of a Student at Patrick Henry College, the Nation’s First College for Home School Students, Which Offers a Major in Only One Subject: Government,” from McSweeneys.net

Excerpt from The Voluntourist

Two Flashes he admires:

The Worst Shark Attack Ever,” by Trevor Houser

Little Girls,” by Tara Laskowski



My tastes lean toward black comedies, but I’m open to anything (I’m the only man in America who read Eat, Pray, Love). I’m a magazine editor by day, and I see a lot of flabby writing that’s loaded with junk, from bland verbs to clichés. So I’m looking for lively writing and surprising stories that hook me from the opening sentence.

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This Week’s Reader: Ethel Rohan

Ethel RohanAbout:

Ethel Rohan’s latest work is or will be included in Whatever Doesn’t Kill You (Shebooks, 2014); The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press, 2014); Drivel: Deliciously Bad Writing by Your Favorite Authors (Penguin: Perigree, 2014); and Flash Fiction International Anthology (W.W. Norton, 2015).

One of her flashes at Tin House Online:


A flash she really likes:

“Poolside” by Emma Törzs

A message from Ethel:

I’m excited to read again for the stellar Smokelong Quarterly, one of my favorite magazines. Please send only your best work. Drafts will lose me as a reader, as will work that doesn’t make me feel something. In flash, conciseness and preciseness are vital. Be exact. Give us only juice and heart. Make us care.



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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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