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