Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome to the Wild Life

I am so jazzed to be featured on PAGE ONE of Ruthless Peoples Magazine's Wild Life issue (download by clicking on the picture). I LOVE RPM. Their fantastic taste notwithstanding, I love their crisp pdf layout and their "reader guidance" comments. Funny comments.  This issue is full of what I call "safe" pieces, but Tom Sykes' Bad Territory #2 is prefaced with:  Be advised that this is not light reading and will easily offend even robust individuals.  I know, some of you are now going to run right over there right now and check that one out...

For the rest of you that are still here, my One Yorkshireman's Perfection is my first ekphrastic poem. I wrote it last winter in response to my favorite photograph, Winter Light by Richard Kettlewell; jotting new words from it every morning for 30 days. I even interviewed the photographer for additional insights.  Richard kindly gave me permission to share a thumbnail of my poem's inspiration with you here.

A special thanks goes to Dominic Hamer and Stewart Baker of RPM. You guys ROCK on both sides of the Atlantic. I'd also like to thank Jessie Carty, whose insight helped me step back enough to let readers see.

(J Sudborough)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Love from MSNBC

So I go out of town for a few days.  To my gram's cabin, nestled in an internet/mobile-phone free zone.  To breathe for a sec.  And look what happens!

I've been waiting for this to go live for ages.  Very fun.  I'm honored to share this clip with David Erlewine and Robert Swartwood.  Humbled actually.  You guys ROCK!  To Ben White at Nanoism I say thanks for publishing the story that I read on camera.  And to Mel Bosworth I send a cyber-hug for having my back while I was out of range.


Friday, October 2, 2009

September Slipped By

September. What a month. My head is still spinning. To the point that I can only think in bullets:
Each of these items deserves a post of its own, but I'm afraid I have to dash.  My gram has been neglected far too long.  It's Friday Lunch Date time!



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tilt at 50 to 1

1066 field at Battle AbbeyAfter two weeks of sinusitis and migraine, I felt like my head was under water. So it's funny that my latest story, Tilt, just made it into today's 50 to 1 issue, appropriately dubbed Head Under Water. I am pleased to share this issue with Judith Kelly Quaempts, Jon Harahan, Elizabeth Wylder, and more.

I've been fascinated by the concept 50 to 1, ever since I read Mel Bosworth's first line & 50 word story there. Since that introduction, I've enjoyed reading the brilliance of Ben White, David Erlewine, Ethel Rohan, Craig Lamont, and and and... If you've never crawled around over there, definitely dive in. It's worth the squeeze into your swim suit.

Many thanks to Glen Binger for giving Tilt a home AND writing me the most detailed acceptance letter I've ever received. It's now printed and glued into my journal. Thanks also belong to the Show Me Your Lits krewe, as this is another gem from my playtime there. It's good to be breathing again!


Safety Goggle: Tilt at 50 to 1

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crush on CPR

DSCN9806If you're a writer and you haven't played Show Me Your Lits, get over there and DO IT! I don't play every week, but I make a point to flash at least twice a month.

It's a good thing, too. Now that the kids are back in school, I have a stack of stories to polish and submit. This morning I sent out three of them...and Crush has already found some love from Camroc Press Review!

Huge thanks to Barry Basden at CPR for his lightning speed and proofreading prowess. And big hugs for Errid, Terry, Liz, and the rest of the SMYL krewe. This story wouldn't exist without you!


Safety Goggle: Crush at Camroc Press Review

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG & TV-14

Friday, August 28, 2009

No Longer a (Pushcart) Virgin

I just nominated works for the Pushcart Prize for the first time. My identity as an editor is finally sinking in AND I LOVE IT. Maybe too much.

Some of you may have already read my post on the Folded Word blog giving the official announcement of what, who, and why I nominated. But here's the rest of the story:

I am a perfectionist. Not with housecleaning, but definitely with words. It took me hours to write and print my cover letter and the nominated works, stressing over every little formatting nuance. I finally printed it, but the regular paper wrinkled slightly in my laser printer. So I brought out the big guns: crisp sheets of 25% cotton watermarked paper. Mmmm, felt good to sign the cover letter on that with my fine-tipped art marker. Nice.

Then came the part I HATE--addressing the envelope. My laser printer makes a hash out of envelopes. So I pulled out my manual typewriter, but it was leaving smudges. I figured clean handwriting would be better than smudged typewriting, held my breath, and then used my calligraphic training to address the envelope in precise strokes. Trust me, it'll take some intern's breath away. The personal touch from an indie press. Right?

Lastly, the postage. Of course, my postal scale was out of battery power and the battery drawer was out of 9 volts. So I took the packet in to the post office. The envelope was right on the borderline between rates, so the clerk put one stamp on it to see if the weight of the stamp would change the rate. It was a Bob Hope stamp--slapped on sideways by the rushing clerk. Ordinarily, that kind of imperfection would drive me nuts. Except somehow the sight of that quirky man perched at a quirky angle on a VERY serious letter made me giggle--even after the extra postage got slapped on in an even quirkier angle.

Maybe you had to be there.

All I'm saying is that I've always tried not to take myself too seriously with Folded Word. To have fun with everything I do there. And even with the gravity of losing my editorial Pushcart virginity, I laughed.

So here's to you, Nathalie & Mel. May your pen always flow and your words forever dance. I'm so glad your works were my first;-)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lights. Camera. Question!

Yesterday I gave my first national news interview on camera. The topic was fiction on Twitter, both stories I've written (see links at right for Nanoism & escarp) and other writers' stories I've edited/published on PicFic. My interview was part of a larger story--they've been talking to loads of people. I'll post details later if/when it will air. But the whole experience has been surreal.

Going in to it, I wondered whether or not I would freeze in front of the camera. I wondered whether or not the interviewer would constantly dig for dirt. I even wondered whether I would break into nervous, hysterical laughter and blow out someone's ears.

But I needn't have worried. Since the team in charge of the news story is based in DC, I drove into my local affiliate. Instead of being interviewed in a studio, I was tucked quietly into a conference room. Junior watched from the end of the table. Cameraman Mike took a shine to him, so showed him how to use his camera (see photo above) and gave him a tour of the newsroom.

After the 40 minute interview, I also had to re-read some of my stories while the camera rested on my shoulder to view my notebook and then repositioned to focus close-in on my face (SCARY). They also filmed me navigating to this blog, PicFic's Twitter stream, and PicFic's archive.

I hope it went well. I feel like it did. Of course I'm dying to know where and when the story will run, but I'm not super-anxious about whether any of my footage will make it in.

Most of all I'm JAZZED that fiction on Twitter is getting some national attention. It will be a real boost for all the contributors to PicFic (and Thaumatrope and Outshine and Nanoism and escarp and 7x20 and Tweet the Meat and...)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mary Anne's Home on Mars

Cue Julie Andrews:
Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things...

There really is life on Mars. Or in Mars, rather. That's right, space cadets. Fuselit's Mars issue is finally for sale. And tucked within its pages? My very own Mary Anne Randall-Smith in "That's Why She Bought a New TV Today."

There is no online version. So to read my poem (on page 28-29 as J Sudborough) along with the brilliant works of Philip Burton, Ben Fergusson, Chrissy Williams, and many more, you'll have to pop over to Fuselit and purchase a copy for the bargain price of £4. And yes, that's a bargain. Because this isn't just a print issue. It has a mini-cd with audio works. And a clever activity book as well. Oh, and did I mention that they don't charge extra for overseas postage?

Thanks so much to Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone for giving this silly Yank a voyage she'll never forget!


Safety Goggle: Fuselit: Mars

think before you read
my content *page 28-29 = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG & TV-14

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hint Fiction

Caught this link to a call for submissions via Mel Bosworth's Twitter stream. It's an interesting concept: a story that hints at a larger story, all told in 25 words or less. As PicFic's editor, I insist on a distinct beginning, middle, and end to any tweets I accept. But Mr. Swartwood doesn't want such a closed loop. He wants a piece that grabs the imagination and doesn't let go until multiple scenarios have played out in the mind.

If anyone else is interested, you can find submission guidelines for the W. W. Norton hint fiction anthology here. I'm going to give it a shot. Will you?


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dream Process

Ever start composing something in your sleep, wake up with lines, edit in your head for hours (even though you're desperately trying to sleep), finally drift off, and then a thunderstorm jars you awake and the whole process starts again?

It happened to me three days ago, but the lost sleep was worth it. Thanks to Junior and a mum-in-law's babysitting contribution, I got the sleep-sucking "Choice Cut" out of my head and into Camroc Press Review. That's right, from conception to publication in three days. I LOVE e-publishing!


Safety Goggle: "Choice Cut" at Camroc Press Review

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG (but suggestive)
other content = TV-PG & TV-14

Friday, July 24, 2009


I have a new best friend as of yesterday. I met him in Keene, NH. Junior doesn't say much, but he's extremely comfortable to be around. Apparently he liked me, too, because he agreed to come home with me and help me conquer my summer-break block. Armed with my years-old flannel shirt AND my new friend sitting in my lap this morning, I've now got TWO rough drafts begging to play in my journal. So I'm off. And I'll keep you posted...


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blank Verse for Black Bear


You crossed my husband's path today, still small
yet without mum. When you were foraging
our maple woods, did you expect to see
the fireworks tonight? Poor thing. I watched
Steele Hill's spectacular tucked safe behind
glass panes and plaster board. I wonder if
you pressed your face in saturated loam
to hide from SPARK and BOOM--or if you stood
atop our granite clearing flanked by ferns
to watch those crazy stars come out to play.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bad Poet, Bad

I like quirky and odd. This was a problem in high school when conformity was the only way to procure invitations to dance. But now that I no longer have to worry about such trivialities, I can be as bizarre as I like.

Which is why I submitted two pathetic examples of my student poetry to Very Bad Poetry. Some people use screen names here, but I used my J Sudborough. Why admit these overly ing-y and alliterative works are mine? 'Tis a nod to my inner Sud--that barkingly eccentric piece of my DNA that gives me intellectual prowess on one hand & social anxiety on the other.

And, despite the editors' claims to the contrary, SLR has nothing to do with online gambling. Honest.


P.S. My DAR grandmothers will be thrilled when they see that Sugar Pop is Poem #1776;-)

Safety Goggle: "SLR" and "Sugar Pop" at Very Bad Poetry

(think before you read)
my content = TV-G
other content = TV-14 (D L S V)

Friday, June 12, 2009


Disclaimer: this post is NOT about a newly published work.

Ever have one of those days where you think something really stinks, but it turns out to be fantastic? Well I did today. I had put off getting Folded Word's "fictitious business name statement" published in a local paper--not to the point of having to refile, but to the point that I had to drive to the county seat and coordinate it with the newspaper in person.

I hate to drive, especially on the freeway. I hate to drive more when my son has to tag along. And I really hate driving once I realize I forgot to look up directions.

But the address for the newspaper was on High Street. So all I had to do was park and walk until I found the right number. And that's where the serendipity part comes in. While my son and I were waiting for a light to turn, we found Winston Smith Books. It smelled like home. Light poured in the storefront windows and warmed the hardwood floors. Books lined tall shelves, neatly tucked in and NOT smelling of yellowed paperbacks. They even had rare books locked behind glass-front cases. And a stairway to the poetry section, tucked on a balcony overlooking the scene.

There, I found Chaucer: Sources and Backgrounds for only $5. They also had a massive comics section, which is why my son gave me time to find it. Now I'm hooked.

If we ever do a print book through Folded Word, I'm launching it there!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

In League with Women-Writers

I've never been a big one for feminist ideals. Though I enjoy my right to vote and my access to education, the truth is I could have been happy 1000 years ago milking cows and sewing my own wimples. Actually 1000 years ago I would have died at age 11 without becoming a woman, so I guess it doesn't pay to play "what if."

Still, I am so jazzed to have my work included in I Can't Be Your Virgin and Your Mother. Crytal Folz, the passionate editor of the collection, caught me by complete surprise when I submitted to another of her projects. Her goal? To collect as wide a range of poetry's underground female voices as possible, speaking as candidly as possible. She's certainly succeeded.

Not only do I have four poems in the collection, but a two-paragraph first-person bio (very intimidating to write). If you're brave enough, check it out on page 29 along with my poems on pages 30-31: Wish I Did, On Our Anniversaries, Puzzle Child, and For a Moment She Lets Him Go.

Limited edition print copies are available. If you're interested, the ordering info is on the Shoots and Vines website. I might even sign my pages if you're nice to me;-)

Safety Goggle: I Can't Be Your Virgin and Your Mother

(think before you read)
my content *pages 29-31 = TV-PG (D V)
other content = TV-14 (D L S V) & some MA (L)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poetry Church

An appropriate post for Sunday: This week I received my book-bound Poetry Church Collection vol. 18 via Royal Mail from the moors of Yorkshire. Inside sit two of my poems, published as J Sudborough: "Heavens" and "Handiwork."

You'd be correct in assuming from the collection's title that this is a Christian collection. Many of the poems are inspired by Bible verses, others take the form of prayers. Most in the form of ballads. My contributions are extended metaphors in free verse, thus require a bit of thinking--as does Philip Comfort's "papyrus maker." And Patricia Lucas paints three lovely portraits of spring flowers in "Snowdrop," "Daffodil," and "Hellebore." As Julia Connor (my workshop leader from Surprise Valley Writers' Conference) said, "Poetry is big enough for all of it."


Safety Goggle: Poetry Church Collection vol. 18

(think before you read)
my content *page 99 = TV-G
other content = TV-G

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I "did lunch" with a girlfriend today. We're both trying to squeeze in the last bit of grown-up time before summer break holds us captive. Why does this matter? Because as I finished my asparagus ravioli (VERY green), my mobile phone chirped. I know, I should have had the ringer off. But we both get calls from school principals on a routine basis, so she didn't take offense.

Only it wasn't a principal, teacher, or even the bus-barn. It was Nanoism posting their issue 23...featuring me:-) And I got to share the moment (plus my mobile) with a friend. And we were both so excited we forgot to order dessert. Yay!

BTW if you missed the stunning conclusion of "Dakar 1989," you can now catch the entire 4-tweet series here. I'm off to scrounge some cookies or cinnamon toast or something. Tweessert's nice, but the high has worn off and I'm jonesing for some real sugar.


Safety Goggle: 23 at Nanoism

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who Woulda Thunk It?

The world is truly a mysterious and crazy place. My proof? Flash Fire 500 just published their latest interview issue, Flash Fire 5. Featuring me! I'll be sending out a care package to the editors--filled with Tylenol, tea, and smelling salts. Anything to snap them back into their right minds;-)

But seriously, thank you Itchy & Scratchy for my moment in the sun!


Safety Goggle: Flash Fire 5 interview at Flash Fire 500

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG
other content = TV-MA (D L S V)

Monday, May 18, 2009

While Out of Range

I spent this weekend in the mountains with my family doing cabin-maintenance chores. While I enjoy time amongst the pines, I definitely miss internet access & cell phone reception while I'm there. For example, the third installment of my "Dakar 1989" went live on Nanoism while I was away. But I missed the thrill of my cell phone's chirp since the tweet never reached my phone. Oh well, I will have to console myself with seeing/learning of a new plant: Snow Plant (Sarcodes sanguinea). Brilliant!

Snow Plant


Monday, May 11, 2009

Tasmanian Circles

I just posted Part 1 of my Folded Word interview, TEN with meika loofs-samorzewski. He's a Tasmanian bronze sculptor with an amazing mind. People tell me I'm fairly bright, but this guy could run circles around me with both his legs in casts. If you want to read something that will challenge you, definitely check out his interview. And check out his work on Twitter this week.

Time for a cuppa tea and a sit down!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

One Nemesis Revealed

Got a lovely Mother's Day present from Twitter. The second installment of "Dakar 1989" went live today at Nanoism.

They say everything you write reveals something about yourself, whether fiction or non. Today's story-tweet places a major source of anxiety for me in neon lights. To this day, I must have an aisle seat. Always. On planes, in trains, in church, at the cinema--anything short of an aisle seat and I'm white knuckled with a migraine.

But I'm good today. My family served me breakfast in bed: my husband's homemade scones, maple sausage, and Irish Breakfast Looseleaf tea. (Ooooh, that was a subtle topic switch...)

Give the moms/mums in your life a hug today!

Safety Goggle: Dakar 1989 at Nanoism

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rock On, Little One

Had to beat my head against the cliff once before scaling escarp. Submitting poetry to this Twitter-zine is the quirkiest experience I've had yet in the literary world. Not only do you submit via direct message (Twitter's version of text-messaging), but you get the editorial decision via direct message. Handling rewrite requests that way is a trip!

At the moment, you may read my prose poem on escarp's home page. But I'll update the link once I'm indexed in their writer's archive. It's a short, sweet tweet. A real treat!

(OK, someone slap me now.)


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Love from One Night Stanzas

I enjoy dishing out compliments. Too much, I think, as a friend of mine recently threatened to throw a pie at me if I did it again. Did I stop? NO WAY. I'm not afraid of pies--boxed them, served them, chucked them for 2 years at Baker's Square.

What was I saying?

Compliments. Right. I'm always surprised when compliments are returned. But today, they were returned in a very big way from one of the poets I've worked with at Form.Reborn. Claire Askew hosts a lovely blog called One Night Stanzas and works as Editor in Chief of Read This. Today she bestowed the honor of Featured Magazines #12 on Form.Reborn--going so far as to say, "Jessi (the aforementioned editor) is a very cool customer: incredibly friendly and running a seriously tight ship." WOW.

Think I'll dust my tap shoes off & do a jig!


Monday, May 4, 2009

My James Lipton Impersonation

Every Monday on Folded Word I post an interview with one of our authors. For the most part all the questions are the same. But the answers are so very different every time. For this week I interviewed Ellaraine Lockie, a poet that I've actually met in person. So this one was especially fun. Even more fun was feeding carrots to her free-range rabbits when I spent the night at her house. So cute to see them hopping 'round the yard and making her cat yield the right-of-way!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another Flight

Again? Already?

I swear--these pieces were written at entirely different times. It's just a coincidence that "Seat 13C" and now "Dakar 1989" ended up launching on the same day; both about air travel. "Dakar 1989" is a serial piece, with one 140 character section posting each Sunday for four weeks. The challenge was to write it so that each section could stand on its own--something I've been forcing my PicFic authors to do for two months. So I officially dedicate this serial story to Mel, David, & Ben for their bravery and dedication to duty. I'm feelin' you now!

I LOVE writing teensy-tiny stories, plot stripped naked. But it would be most decidedly UNCOOL to publish my own work at PicFic. So a double high-five to the editors of Nanoism for giving me a place to play.

And in the time you just spent reading this post, you could have read the entirety of the Nanoism archive. So fly! Be free! And don't forget to join me on Air Afrique.


What I Get for Flying

I recently took a father/daughter trip to visit my uncle in Dallas, TX. I'm a nervous flyer, anyway, but the return trip begged to be immortalized. Or at least my imaginings of what the return trip COULD have been. Curious? Then read my flash fiction Seat 13C, Flight 221.

Thanks to the ever-patient and brilliant editors of Flash Fire 500 for giving my flight of fancy a place to land!


Safety Goggle: "Seat 13C, Flight 221" at Flash Fire 500

(think before you read)
my content = TV-PG (D V)
other content = TV-MA (D L S V)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Folding Words, Playing Editor

Got very lucky in 2009 when I landed a gig at Folded Word Press as Managing Editor. Now I get to play with authors and learn the ropes from the lovely Jessie Carty. The projects I'm currently editing are:

Jessie and I are currently developing new projects, so this list will grow by the end of summer. I LOVE SITTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK. Come by for a visit. My door's always open;-)

Early Days

I've finally gotten to the point that I have enough publications to warrant some kind of permanent index. In catching up on old publications, my work may seem schizophrenic. Sorry. C'est ma vie.

My first and second publications were in the children's market. Ladybug Magazine to be exact. "Birds, Bugs, and Bullfrogs" & "Leaves" are not available to read online.

My next foray corresponded with early-educator workshops I was leading at the time. The following non-fiction articles are available to read online from Christian Early Education Magazine:

As J. Sudborough, I published the free-verse "Plum Rain" in Poetry Church vol. 13 no. 1--a print magazine in the UK open to submissions from subscribers. Shortly after that, my sonnet "Open" appeared in the Poetry Church Collection vol. 16, an paperback anthology.

At the close of 2008 (and as J.S. Graustein), my cinquain "Jimmy Buffett Night at Diamond Jim's" appeared in the Modoc Independent News.

Thus ends the summary of my writing life prior to 2009. Are you dizzy--or bored?