>A Review and CONTEST for A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks by Four Women

A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks by Four Women
Published by Rose Metal Press

A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks by Four Women is a triumph for flash fiction. This is not your typical anthology, with one story per author. While those are good too, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness provides a richer experience. Each author–Amy Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, and Claudia Smith–explode onto the page with an entire album of flashes. And as with any album, you’ll discover a favorite “song,” you’ll learn the versatility of the artist–their range. You’ll play the album again and again and learn the order of the songs, memorize the lyrics.

Each artist in A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness has a different voice, a distinct style. The book starts out with Kathy Fish’s chapbook “Laughter, Applause, Laughter, Music, Applause.” It’s a wise choice for the lead. Kathy’s flash is concise, surprising, and she has a gift for using words that will amaze you. Amy Clark’s chapbook, “Waiting,” follows. Amy takes more time with her work–her flashes tend to be longer, the timeframe more drawn out. Speaking of time, Amy likes to play with the concept. Many of her stories switch between the past, present, and future tense, which makes for an interesting read. Next up is Elizabeth Ellen with “Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix.” Elizabeth’s work is intimate. She gets right in there and gives you what she’s got. Many of her stories focus on relationships and that tumultuous concept called love. Claudia Smith, the winner of Rose Metal Press’ first annual chapbook contest, anchors the team with “The Sky is a Well.” Claudia has a knack for nailing titles, and her writing is exceptionally eloquent. Like Kathy Fish, childhood is a common theme in her work, and often, her stories illustrate how the world can be a dangerous place for girls.

If you’re a fan of flash fiction, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness is a must-have. But if you’re a fan, you already know this. You already know what it feels like to hold such a precious item in your hands. And you know that opening the cover for the first time is akin to that flutter you get during a hot kiss. If you’re new to flash, this collection is a great introduction to the form. The stories within are engaging, thought-provoking, strong. They will force you to pay attention, to look closely, and deeply, at the subtleties of life. Like music with metaphor, the stories will demand you listen.

Interested? You can order A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness here, or, you can try and win a copy by entering the “My Own Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness Contest.” Details are as follows…


In the comments section of this post, share your own “Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness.” Be creative. You can write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, lyrics, etc., and interpret the theme widely. The ONE RULE is your entry must not be longer than ONE LINE. And please don’t be clever and write three pages without any punctuation. One line, with a reasonable word count.

Deadline: Friday, July 11th
Judge: Kathy Fish
Winner Announced: Monday, July 14th


About smokelong

Our Mission: SmokeLong Quarterly is dedicated to bringing the best flash fiction to the web on a quarterly basis, whether writtenwidely published authors, or those new to the craft. The term "smoke-long" comes from the Chinese, who noted that reading a piece of flash takes about the same length of time as smoking a cigarette. All the work we publish is precisely that—about a smoke long.
This entry was posted in Amy L. Clark, Claudia Smith, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to >A Review and CONTEST for A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks by Four Women

  1. Anonymous says:

    >GlossAt home in the kitchen, the place stinks of microwave popcorn, fake butter.What’s crackin’, says my sister Gina, home from her sex addiction, munching popcorn by the handful. An eating machine.Please sound moderately intelligent, I say.Dancing like a robot, she gives me the finger. I’m never hungry much, stick ice in a glass. I’m not Gina, can live five minutes without needing to pretend I’m a famous person in a movie.Even though I flip her off, she follows me prattling about her two-hundred new friends, so many people that all know each other. Smoke? she asks. This is news, and I hug her.Outside in the yard, we huddle around the lighter. I take it in deep, hold it ‘til it grows inside, passing it to Gina who sucks it longer.What’s so special about him other than his dick? I ask, nice.He wears my black lip-gloss, she says, batting her eye lashes at me like an animated lady cow. Gold hair, rubber legs. My Gina, I say but maybe not out loud.As always, hands in her pockets. They flake and peel.We’re borrowing a motorcycle tonight, she laughs a wet trickle.I grab her arm to stop myself from falling. Rain so light it feels like a net. Don’t worry, freak eyes, she says.I can see the silver rush, her crotch pasted to his ass – bugs sticking to their shiny lips from the wind. Meg Pokrass

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. E.P. Chiew says:

    >My aunt saved up her virginity for forty-six years, until the day she died from a coronary thrombosis, and that — to be so sexed up and never having had sex — is a disfigurement of life.

  4. Judy Cabito says:

    >I flew hundreds of miles, and many more in a taxi to the heart of my old neighborhood to help my mother settle my comatose grandmother’s affairs, and before the taxi drops me off at the hospital I wondered if I should have come – the smells, the staff rushing from room to room, my mother standing at the foot of her mother’s bed, her hands at her side waiting to be told what to do next, glances up at me without emotion, the stain in her eyes, so much like my own makes me look away, beyond her, out the window, to the sky, to the endless other things I should to do with the rest of my life.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    >I drive to the job that pays for my writing time, white lines flash-flash-flashing by like the story ideas dragging my attention from that transport on my rear bumper, though I know that by this evening when I turn to my notebook the possibilities germinating in my morning brain will have been eaten by my customers, my creative self pecked to death by ducks.

  6. >She watched her sister’s husband undress, finger a loose shirt-button, flicker a bright face as if towards the kind of woman who fixed things, darken and turn away.

  7. >Watching water boil for morning tea, reminds me of all the sights I shall never see, such as twin rainbows limning the St. Louis Arch simultaneously, a full Spectrum of Pittsburgh Trim, one halo’s breath painted above the rim, and meanwhile my four fingertips drum a horseshoe-shaped Formica top, like gradually-accelerating Headless Horseman hoof clops, an irksome time signature, needs to be somewhere in a big damned hurry.

  8. >A black ribbon, less like a noose, more like a mourner’s armband.

  9. Pat Kozma says:

    >… summer light through unwashed windows filters through dust settling on scattered books open to pages, yet unread.

  10. >Turned inside out, your molecular structure vibrating for all the world to see,

  11. Meg Pokrass says:

    >NothingHe comes steaming from the hips. luring me like a fisherman wading through my divorce, setting his hook inside my already asymmetrical life. my electric rage hooting as a teakettle as he does delicious things to me though i offer him nothing.–Meg PokrassEmail: megpokrass@gmail.com

  12. Anonymous says:

    >Sorry – redo2 errors appear in the first post of this story/sentence, (a period and an extra “as”). Someone typed it for me using a dif.computer because I could’t use the Mac. Here it is without the errors.NothingHe comes steaming from the hips, luring me like a fisherman wading through my divorce, setting his hook inside my already asymmetrical life, my electric rage hooting a teakettle as he does delicious things to me though I offer him nothing.

  13. Ravi Mangla says:

    >He knows they can’t fire him if they can’t find him; he scrunches himself under his desk, and when pumps or wingtips brattle past, pinches tighter.

  14. >Years ago, one of the last remaining Hawaiian monk seals in the world hauled out on a beach on Maui and wandered into town, imparting upon the locals all its experiences hunting the spiny lobster and facing almost certain extinction, and it has been said that those there to listen to the wisdom of the monk seal now dream every night of their bodies blooming open and becoming new, waking up with the unyielding and unshakeable desire to truly be the end of something.

  15. Steven says:

    >At 3 a.m., my molars stretch their tiny legs, strain to free themselves of my gums, whisper their plans to leave me and join my traitorous hair in some sunnier clime, some faraway paradise for the bits and pieces of slowly dismemembered heads, and all I can do is wish them well, wish I and my empty skull could go there too.

  16. >I apologize for the multiple deletions of my post, I kept recieving error codes related to my Google/Blogger identity, but it seems to have finally posted correctly. Now onto my submission . . .A peculiar feeling of restlessness gurgled within my head this morning as I squeezed a minty fresh ribbon of toothpaste into my palm, and then proceeded to pour coffee into the cereal bowl beside my smiley face mug–the undoubtedly ominous signs of the deconstruction of my mind caused by my obsessive desire to write minuscule stories about nothing.

  17. rbradley says:

    >My life isn’t perfect, but there are moments of perfection that make the rest of it almost unbearable.

  18. >When the van circled her corner for a third time, she squeezed her shoulder bag, fingers searching for the metal grip within, certain that this was the man, and bitter for what he’d turned her into: a stalker in stilettos, a tempest in a D cup.

  19. >At work, I watch people drive through the gate, often with secrets in their trunk.

  20. Anonymous says:

    >These are all so good. I have my work cut out for me. KFish

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