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6.18.2016


Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor
KATIE SCHMID


Poetry
42 pages
6” x 9” Perfect-Bound Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-0990903550
First Edition
Review Copy: Paperback
Split Lip Press
Pennsylvania, USA
Available HERE
$10.00
Review by Do Nguyen Mai

Captivating in its surreal imagery, Katie Schmid’s tender, poignant writing in Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor invokes deep, slow-moving yet prevalent nostalgia for the American Midwest, pulling the sun below the evening horizon as the neighborhood’s children race home for dinner. Schmid’s poems are slow to punch, yet they build and build the same way rain fills a house—slowly but surely.

Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor begins by dragging readers to drown in both the pain and joy of remembering not only the past, but also such a place as the narrator’s memories of the Midwest.

6.17.2016


Waste
ANDREW F. SULLIVAN


Fiction  |  Novel
256 pages
Perfect-Bound Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-938103-40-7
First Edition
Review Copy: Paperback
Dzanc Books
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Available HERE
$15.95
Review by Eric Shonkwiler

Relentlessly depressing, depraved, dirty, disgusting. More d-words. Dig Dug. That last one is in there because Waste takes place in the 80s, and because Larkhill, Sullivan’s fictional stand-in for Oshawa, Canada, may as well be underground. Waste is, first and foremost, not your typical novel. It’s not your typical Pollock/Palahniuk shock-lit/grit-lit/meth noir, and it’s important to know that, to realize it, preferably before you read the book. Any number of readers could come away from this book without thinking, and they’d shelve the book as the one of the sadder, more ugly things they’ve ever laid eyes on.

6.09.2016


One True Loves
TAYLOR JENKINS REID

Fiction | Novel
352 pages
5.3” x 8.2” Paperback
Also available in ebook and audio formats
ISBN 978-1476776903
First Edition
Review Copy: Kindle Mobi
Washington Square Press
New York, New York, USA
Available HERE
$16.00
Review by Nicole Tone

Are our lives pre-determined? Is there one person we’re meant to be with? These are questions Taylor Jenkins Reid has been exploring in her novels over the past few years. Her most recent release, One True Loves, Reid explores not just the idea of “one true love” as the title suggests, but the idea that we live multiple lives within our own singular lifetime.

5.29.2016


The So-Called Sonnets
BRUCE McRAE

Poetry
84 pages
5 ½” x 8 ½” perfect-bound trade paperback
ISBN 978-0-9792410-5-5
First Edition
Silenced Press
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Available HERE
$14
Review by Nicole Tone

Poetry, as with all things, can feel antiquated especially when following the traditional meters set forward by the Masters of our languages. Sonnets are supposed to follow a certain rhyming pattern, a certain number of beats per measure, as with any song. But in looking at tradition, and turning it on its head, great poets—contemporary Masters—are born. They don’t just write beautiful words but cut open their hearts and leave them to dry on the page. Bruce McRae’s The So-Called Sonnets does just this.

5.25.2016


Furthermore
JOSH WARDRIP

The principal feature of Furthermore, and its claim to engineering genius, is the structure’s mechanism for autonomous development and expansion. Incredibly, the original complex occupied just one acre and remained thus for several years while founder J. L. Furthermore tested and refined his now-famous Theorem. Furthermore today encompasses cities, states, bodies of water, nations. Residents live in mostly identical units of seven hundred square feet, and while certain attributes can be modified to accommodate special needs (of the disabled, the elderly, or, perhaps, the eccentric), each apartment typically contains a lavatory, a kitchen, a sitting room, sleeping chambers, and an auxiliary space. At the tenant’s discretion, these areas may be demarcated by walls or arranged as an open-plan studio. Regardless of location, each residence has a large window offering a generous view of an urban or rural setting (or combination thereof). Outside light is provided by enormous lamps built into the ceiling. This light is calibrated to resemble natural sunlight, just as the sculpted landscapes appear nearly identical to the fields, streams, islands, and mountains one might find outside the structure. Perhaps better, even. While some contend that simulation impoverishes the soul, I prefer to think of Furthermore as an improvement upon the world, a triumph over the limits of what is given.

5.23.2016


I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World
JARED YATES SEXTON


Fiction  |  Stories
188 pages
6” x 9” perfect-bound trade paperback
ISBN 978-0-9909035-6-7
First Edition
Split Lip Press
Available HERE
$16.00
Review by Al Kratz

Listen up, World. Jared Yates Sexton has something important to say about the state you’re in and your future. A reader might not always like what he has to say about the world, but, since Sexton is a great writer, the reader will likely love how he says it. The collection of stories that the author self-describes as weird and the publisher calls experimental, I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World invokes a mixture of contradictory emotional responses. It is a funny yet scary, brutally honest yet hyperbolic distortion of reality. It’s satire at its best.

5.20.2016


The Ghost Network
CATIE DISABATO

Fiction  |  Novel
288 pages
5&frac12” x 7&frac12” perfect-bound trade paperback
eBook formats available
ISBN 978-1612194349
First Edition
Melville House
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Available HERE
$9.99-$13.56
Review by Leland Cheuk

Why are works about pop ephemera not considered literary? Perhaps MFA programs are brainwashing writers into tackling only what is ‘timeless,’ for the fear that work will become dated and easily forgotten. But what if a work is actually about one’s love of pop ephemera? Isn’t love timeless?

5.18.2016


A Conversation with Danny Judge
INTERVIEW BY LORI SAMBOL BRODY



DANNY JUDGE’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, Twisted Vine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Burningword, and The Portland Review, among many others. He is the founding Editor of The Indianola Review, a quarterly print journal, and lives in Indianola, Iowa (go figure), with his wife and son. Find him on Twitter at @dnyjudge.

Lori Sambol Brody talks to Danny Judge, writer and founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Indianola Review, for which Lori is also an assistant fiction editor.




LORI SAMBOL BRODY: Before we talk specifically about The Indianola Review, tell me a little bit about your background.
DANNY JUDGE: I guess everybody who finds his way into this business has to love literature, first and foremost. I’m one of those folks who went a different path after high school, installing furnaces for a few years before joining the Marine Corps in 2007, but I never lost the itch to write, or the love of reading. Finally, after marrying and having a son, I made the leap in 2013 and devoted myself wholeheartedly to writing. I was lucky to have the opportunity—not everyone has the G.I. Bill to pay for schooling or a wife with a nursing job to pick up the slack, I know. It was a challenge, especially starting a little later in life than most, but I devoted myself to the toughest and most demanding material I could find. I started with the classics and worked my way through them until I found Faulkner, who pulled me into this whole other world of literary possibilities—from there, I devoured Joyce, Woolf, Proust, Kafka, Nabokov, and Morrison. I was hooked from the beginning, and spent a possibly unhealthy amount of time reading, which has remained, to a lesser extent, a critical part of what I do with both my writing, and with the direction of The Indianola Review.

5.15.2016


Frottage & Even as We Speak
MONA HOUGHTON

Fiction  |  Two Novellas
172 pages
6” x 9” Perfect-bound trade paperback
ISBN 978-0984578221
First Edition
Review Copy: Paperback
What Books Press
Los Angeles, California, USA
Available HERE
$14.00
Review by Laura Citino

After the First World War ripped the continent to shreds, the artist Wassily Kandinsky made what many consider to be his most important works: his Kleine Welten, or “little worlds.” I’ve looked at a few of these in person, scattered as they are among the museums of the globe; they’re something to see. These prints are so named for Kandinsky’s belief that art depicted self-contained worlds, expressions of the cosmos in miniature. The prints themselves are beautiful and, of course, small: strokes of black, stipples of blue, abstract symbols that your mind easily arranges into oxygen, carbon, tree, animal, landscape. So much complexity, messy on the surface but with an undeniable internal logic. All in a print the size of your palm.

Mona Houghton’s two novellas, Frottage and Even as We Speak, work a similar magic. Though ostensibly taking place in the real world, both leave no doubt that the laws of that reality are skewed. Traumatic abuse, sudden tragedy, and insidious addictions have rendered these characters incapable of living in the world as we know it. They navigate these brave new realities with careful steps, their kleine Welten illustrated in rich, complex interiority.

5.01.2016


A Conversation with Lori Sambol Brody
SELF-INTERVIEW BY LORI SAMBOL BRODY



To usher in her stint as Monthly Guest Blog Editor on The Spark, a cranky LORI SAMBOL BRODY talks to a much nicer Lori Sambol Brody about writing. Lori lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and two daughters, and writes short stories, flash fiction, and sometimes creative nonfiction. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Little Fiction, The Rumpus, Tin House Flash Fridays, New Orleans Review, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. She’s currently working on a collection of linked short stories that she may finish ten years from now.

4.30.2016


Roleplaying as Live-Action Fan Fiction
MATT MAGELSSEN-GREEN


Roleplaying games are the result of authors trying to convince you to do live-action fan fiction for them. A group of friends gets together and acts out characters in a universe and setting that someone else created, but interpreted for their purposes. It’s a process that is so seemingly simple that it’s easy to ignore all the transformations that occur when half a dozen people sit down to kill some Orks. These transformations are powerful enough that some argue they transcend fan fiction and become something else, as Jennifer Grouling Cover does in her book, The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games.

4.24.2016


On the Road with Del & Louise
AUDIO CLIP BY ART TAYLOR

ART TAYLOR shares with us a snippet of the first story, “Rearview Mirror,” from his book, On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, currently a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Art has won two Agatha Awards, the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. Stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder and Homicidal Holidays, and in other journals and anthologies. He teaches at George Mason University and contributes frequently to The Washington Post, The Washington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene. Take a listen to Art reading from his debut novel-in-stories!



4.23.2016


Four Fathers
DAVE HOUSLEY, BL PAWELEK, BEN TANZER, & TOM WILLIAMS

Fiction  |  Poetry
145 pages
8” x 8.8” perfect-bound trade paperback
ISBN 978-1-941462-00-3
First Edition
Cobalt Press
Baltimore, Maryland
Available HERE
$15.00
Review by Al Kratz

Four Fathers is an enjoyable collaboration of four writers: Dave Housley, BL Pawelek, Ben Tanzer, and Tom Williams. Each lends his unique voice to themes of fatherhood covering both the aspects of having a father and of being a father.

The collection has a couple of other unique design elements. It combines a variety of forms: Two conventionally sized short stories by Tom Williams, Ben Tanzer’s flash collection, a poetry collection by BL Pawelek, and Dave Housley’s piece is a novella. Other than the novella, all of the pieces were told through second-person point of view.

4.22.2016


LinkedIn Thought You Might Be Interested in This Post-Climate Impact Job: Environmental Migrant Management and Soil-Free Solutions
ASHLEY SHELBY

In June 2024, due to the nationalization of the Post-Climate Impact agriculture sector, LivingSystems, Inc., and Aeroponic Farm Cooperatives merged, creating a new company with a global presence. Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions (HNS) is now drawing a combined $2 billion in revenue and boasts more than 13,000 employees. Over the next year, we’ll be working to make HNS the industry leader in vertical farming and soil-free solutions. In addition to its commercial activities supplying vertically farmed produce to Non-Impacted American citizens, HNS deploys all over the world to assist in climate events and to ensure that environmental migrants receive necessary nutrition during migrations.

Sound exciting? HNS is currently able to offer job candidates a wide array of employment opportunities and benefits that are among the most competitive in the Post-Climate Impact Agriculture and Refugee Management industries. We are currently seeking to fill the following position:

4.21.2016




Condominium
DANIEL FALATKO

Fiction  |  Novel
264 pages
5½” x 8½” perfect-bound trade paperback
ISBN: 978-1939987365
First Edition
Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Available HERE
$14.99
Review by Al Kratz

Condominium, by Daniel Falatko, is a partly comedic and lighthearted, somewhat existential and dramatic, novel about a week in the life of a couple who move into their dream million-dollar high-rise condominium with its Brooklyn skyline view over the East River. The story alternates points of view and experience between Charles and Sarah as they navigate multiple issues with their new lifestyle, including struggles in their career, a strange new neighbor, challenging relationships with friends, and recreational drug usage.

4.18.2016


How I Became a Panda
CHERI CHAMPAGNE ON PANDAMOON PUBLISHING

My publishing journey began the moment I’d finished writing and editing my novel. As ecstatic as I was for having completed such a feat, I had a moment of “Now what?” I did what any author would do, and I researched agents and publishers until my eyes could no longer focus on my computer screen. My list compiled, I sent out queries, each of which received a rejection, though most companies hadn’t even read my synopsis. My spirits low, I decided to go the route of self-publishing. I went with Amazon/Createspace and eBookIt, and had some success. What I lacked was the know-how and wherewithal to market my books.

4.14.2016


Shelfie: An Ongoing Exploration of Bookshelves
TODD TAVOLAZZI




This Shelfie represents a few of the influences both before and after I began to write for publication.

Moby Dick: It may seem unbelievable, but I just read Moby Dick cover to cover in January 2016. I’m so glad I finally did. As you can see from the picture, it is no longer just one of those books looking pretty on my shelf. It’s one I’ve actually read!

4.12.2016


A Conversation with Deek & Erin Rhew
MINDSOAK PODCAST INTERVIEW

The Mindsoak Project sat down with Erin and Deek Rhew, a husband and wife writing team looking forward to the “Rhewnation” of the civilized world. Erin is the author of the YA trilogy, The Fulfillment Series, and Deek is the author of Birth of an American Gigolo and 122 Rules.

Erin and Deek talk about how they met one another from across country, what it’s like to be married, and working with each other as writing partners; and they both give us insight into their writing style, their works of fiction, and their characters.





4.11.2016


Autoplay
JULIE BABCOCK

Poetry
82 pages
5” x 8” perfect-bound trade paperback
First Edition
ISBN 978-0988201347
Review Copy: PDF
MG Press
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Available HERE
$12
Review by Julia Hy

I wish you could place an ear to a shell
inside an ocean that never spills
and hear me.
(“Being Right,” p. 18)

Julie Babcock delivers an intense range of depth throughout her poetry collection, Autoplay. You feel the need to revisit each poem as it seems like there is always another meaning hidden in its pauses and punctuation that you may have missed. In poems such as “Music Lesson Ohio,” she relates the state to a young girl practicing for her first violin recital. You can read this either as an homage to Ohio itself and her experiences growing up there, or as the tenseness and perseverance of a young girl. You may even read further into it and find yourself focusing on the theme of discipline and strength found in femininity. Each poem offers so much more than what you see at your first glance.

4.03.2016


The Death & Birth of Jesse James on April 3, 1882
GENNAROSE NETHERCOTT

When the bullet rippled through his forehead
to a picture frame on the opposite wall,
Jesse James did not die.