On Public Readings

October 16, 2012 12:13 pm | Tags: , , | No Comments

This month I’m blogging at Vouched Books, an organization whose sole purpose is to promote small press literature. I recently wrote a post about the first two public readings I gave from Strategies Against Extinction. The first reading was before an academic audience at DePaul University in Chicago. The second was at Orr Street Studios, here in Columbia where I live, as part of the Hearing Voices/Seeing Visions series.

The full post is here at Vouched Books. While there, check out the other terrific works and Vouchin’s that Laura, Christopher, and Tyler have been doing!

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

The First Week of The First Book

October 9, 2012 3:55 pm | Tags: , , | No Comments

My first book, STRATEGIES AGAINST EXTINCTION, has now been out in the world for one week since October 2nd, the “official” publication day.

For weeks now, people have been asking me how I feel about this, and for weeks, I have shrugged off the question. It’s my nature to not call attention to myself. I don’t like attention, and never have, and probably never will. I also know that talking about the book, what the stories mean to me, what questions I try to explore, is worth talking about, is incredibly important to me. I’m not, though, always sure how to approach it, how to discuss with people, even those that know me quite well, what publication of this book means. (more…)

Projection

September 26, 2012 3:19 pm | Tags: , , | No Comments

“Projection” is the second story in my collection. It’s about a college student, Monica, back in her home in small town Ohio the summer before she’s supposed to graduate. She works as a film projectionist in the lone movie theater in town, and she is bored and restless, a young woman yearning to leave the Midwest. This last summer, she starts a relationship with Philip, a guy a few years older than her who never escaped their home town. As the summer goes on, his behavior becomes more and more erratic, and her failed efforts to end their relationship leads to dire consequences. (more…)

Avoiding the Slush Pile

September 19, 2012 3:29 pm | Tags: , , | No Comments

My post on avoiding the slush pile is up now at The Missouri Review‘s blog. I wrote it after reading a terrific blog post by Joe Hiland, the fiction editor of Indiana Review, about reading story types and how unlikely they are to make it past the slush pile at literary magazines.

One story type I particularly enjoy despite its badness is My Crazy Summer Abroad. This story type is about an undergraduate who goes to a foriegn country for the summer and, usually, broods on his own sadness or loneliness or otherness; or he falls madly in love with the beautiful, sexy, crazy girl either in his program or in the foreign land. These stories have painstaking details of walking through public gardens and museums, back streets and alleys, the unusual architecture, and despite the protagonist’s brooding, there is a certain amount of joy in these descriptions. Usually, these stories are far too commonplace to even consider for publication, but I do enjoy reading them. There is, if nothing else, energy, and I always gravitate toward energy in fiction.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

A Fully Imagined World

September 17, 2012 7:00 am | Tags: , , , | No Comments

My story “A Fully Imagined World” appears in the fall 2012 issue of Boulevard, the literary magazine out of Saint Louis University. An excerpt of the story is available on Boulevard’s website, right here. This is one of my most recent stories, one that came to me in two distinct chunks—part one at the museum, and part two at home.

Set in Cincinnati, this story is is about Kyle, a recently unemployed attorney who takes his two-year-old daughter to the Natural History Museum. While there, he sees a college fling for the first time in over a decade, and when he works up the courage to speak to her, she doesn’t remember him at all. During the course of this humiliation, Kyle loses track of his daughter, leading to a physical and existential confrontation with his wife at home.

While you can’t read the whole kit n’ kaboodle on Boulevard’s website, I do hope there is enough there for you to either 1. Order a copy of Boulevard and/or 2. Order a copy of Strategies Against Extinction. I highly recommend doing both!

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

On Cover Letters

September 13, 2012 10:25 am | Tags: | No Comments

I’m working on a new blog post about cover letters, specifically, query letters to literary agents. When I was in graduate school, I never had a conversation with any of my mentors or fellow grad students about how to query agents. For me, it was a long process, and while I’m happy to have landed with Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Management I could have used some guidance beforehand, saving me tons of time in the process of finding my agent.

But that’s forthcoming.

In the meanwhile, I wrote a blog post over at The Missouri Review on cover letters to literary magazines. I’ve plenty of experience with this, both as an editor and as a writer, and it’s a quick and admittedly imperfect guide, but I hope it’s helpful. Check it out right here.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

The Hunger Games Criticism

August 28, 2012 11:58 am | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

The Hunger Games film, based on Suzanne Collins’s young adult trilogy, has become the first blockbuster hit of 2012. In this dystopian fantasy world, set at some point in the near-future, the hero is a sixteen-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District 12, one of a dozen districts of Panem. This country’s capital is called, well, The Capitol, which is the sole metropolis and has an iron-grip around the twelve districts. In retribution for starting a war nearly three generations ago, each district participates in The Hunger Games, an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the districts are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. All of this sounds like a pretty compelling setup for a movie.

Unfortunately, the movie’s incoherent and insulting narrative says something disturbing about its audience. (more…)

Publishers Weekly on SAE

August 21, 2012 8:33 am | Tags: , | No Comments

The August 20th issue of Publisher’s Weekly has a review of my collection! This is, obviously, tremendous, and having a reviewer speak so glowingly of my stories is pretty thrilling. Here’s an excerpt:

A sense of loss suffuses the keenly observed stories of Nye’s debut collection … Although characters are often bewildered and bereft, these stories aren’t bleak. Nye holds his characters in sharp focus, and their emotional lives are rigorously yet sympathetically observed.

You can read the fully review here. The book is out October 2nd!

The Re-Creationist

August 9, 2012 1:54 pm | Tags: , | No Comments

One question frequently asked of writers is “Where do your story ideas come from?” Sometimes this has an easy answer, and other times the answer is as mysterious as our existence. With Strategies Against Extinction about to come out, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the making of these nine stories. Written over the course of five years (roughly) each story has its own trajectory, but taken as a whole, I can see many of the subjects and ideas that have interested me as a writer. To understand this, I wanted to write about each story individually and discover how all the stories come together as one collection. If, in fact, they do come together as a collection.

“The Re-Creationist” is the most recently written story in my collection and the first story in the book. Set in 1952, it’s the story of Don, a World War II veteran who works as the radio announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s the last “re-creationist”: an announcer not at the game, but a person that imagines the game based on the information that comes across the telegraph. From a brief code, Don tells the story of a game he never actually sees.  (more…)

My Top Ten Novels

July 31, 2012 8:15 pm | Tags: | No Comments

On Twitter, the writer Patrick Nathan fired up a link to The Top Ten, a website devoted to authors sharing their top ten works of fiction with the world. I have a love of lists—who doesn’t?—and, more than anything, I just thought it would be kind of fun to do. It’s sort of like MVP voting in sports, which is this ill-defined idea of what “valuable” means which leads to a series of criteria for selection that is never wrong but also never fully complete.

Unlike other authors at The Top Ten, I’ve decided not to include short story collections. Why? I guess because I’ve touched on short stories in previous blog posts and spend so much time on short stories, both in my own writing and at work, that I decided to exclude collections. So, novels only. (more…)