Monday, September 29, 2014

SmokeLong Quarterly is Redesigning

Recently, I've joined the talented team at SmokeLong Quarterly, one of the oldest flash fiction e-journals. I'm climbing aboard at an exciting time. SmokeLong is in the middle of a redesign project that will make the journal more reader-friendly and, well, just better all around.

We're funding the project through a Kickstarter campaign, and we've raised around $2500 of our initial goal of $3000. Just five hundred more to go--but we have only 12 more days to do it (as of September 29). UPDATE: as of September 30, we have reached our initial goal of 3000, but we're not stopping there. With $5000 we can offer the Kathy Fish Fellowiship in 2015!

Rewards include anything from a cyber kiss for a dollar to the opportunity of becoming a character in a published story written by the likes of Sara Lippmann, Amber Sparks, Randall Brown or Laura Ellen Scott for $200. For $50 you can get an in-depth critque of your work from the SLQ staff. For $40 you can get SmokeLong's Best of the First Ten Years anthology--which I'm (gobsmacked to be) in.  

Here are a few reasons you should consider giving a few dollars towards SmokeLong's revamp:

1. You love me.

2. SmokeLong Quarterly has consistenly published tight, provocative sudden fiction by the best writers--both established and emerging--in the genre for over a decade. You might be one of them.

3. SmokeLong has never charged for submitting.

4. SmokeLong has never charged contest fees--which seems economically impossible. How do we do that?

5. SmokeLong has hosted, and would love to continue hosting, the Kathy Fish Fellowship, which benefits emerging writers. This is a very good thing.

6. SmokeLong Quarterly is free. If you want to pay something, though, you can buy SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years anthology. It's exceptional. 

6. You love me. You do love me, right?

In case you haven't already gone to the Kickstarter site to check out SmokeLong's campaign, here's the link again:


I must be off,
Christopher :)

 __________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, and Word Riot. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crazy Life

I have a crazy life. A crazy wonderful life. Full of surprises. Good ones. Awful ones. And everything in between. Maybe I should stop being so surprised by the loops I'm thrown for, the curveballs I'm thrown--the throes. Aw, hell no. I love surprises.

So Dublin here I come. Yep. Who'd have ever thought it? But it's happening, and I'm excited. Reason number one: they speak English there! I can go to readings and take part in writers' groups and drink cider. OK, the cider doesn't have much to do with speaking English, but I can drink more cider!

Here's what I love about Dublin (and Ireland in general) besides the fact that they speak English!

The Music!

Ireland is on fire with all sorts of music. I can't tell you how long I've sat in a bar and just enjoyed the atmosphere, just felt so at home. Music--doesn't matter much what kind--makes me so happy. Singing is a massive part of me. One of the reasons the music of Ireland touches me so deeply is that I experienced it with my father. We shared such incredible moments listening to traditional pipe music but also live pop music. These are memories that will bring me smiles for more than years. For ever.

The Cider!

OK, stop. I know I've mentioned the cider, but it bears mentioning again. Cider isn't available everywhere here in Munich. In the UK and Ireland, every bar has cider. I love cider (and I can't drink beer). It's got to be healthy too. Hey, all it is is apple juice and a little bit of alcohol. Have you seen the latest Strongbow ad? It's really cool. I'm going to embed it here in the hope that Strongbow will sponsor me and give me a lifetime supply of, um, cider! And, yes yes yes I know. Strongbow is not Irish, but it's not as sweet as Magners. Forgive me. I like my cider a bit drier.



The Writers!

Ireland has been churning out great writers for a very long time, but some recent gems that come to mind are James Claffey, Ethel Rohan, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Robin Graham. If you haven't checked out these writers, well what are you waiting for? Click on their links. Now. I'm looking forward to becoming more familiar with the work of contemporary Irish writers.

The Drama!

The Green Isle? And it's green because it rains and rains and rains and rains. It's going to be rainy. I know. I like the rain, though. Really. I like the drama. Maybe I'm Irish. No, actually I know my ancestors were mostly English with a couple of Native Americans thrown in there for better complexion (ᏩᏙ!). You know, the typical "My great great grandmother was a Cherokee princess." I think Cher started it. I took these pictures. Please don't steal them. If you must though, give me credit. Sweet people.






What do you love about Ireland? I need your ideas. I'm going to be spending a lot of time there in the next few years, and I can't wait to share my experiences with you. But I'd love to hear yours.

I must be off,
Christopher

_____________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.



 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Article at Flash Fiction Chronicles

Flash fiction? What's that? It's different things to different people, but basically it's fiction under 1000 words. The definition has changed over the last few years, and I'm happy to know some of the talented writers who've helped to effect this change. Flash is tight prose that feels immediate, urgent. But before I repeat what I wrote in the Flash Fiction Chronicles article, here you are:


Comments and shares very much appreciated, you sweet wonderful people.

I must be off,
Christopher

_____________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lit Matters

SmokeLong Quarterly has been churning out incredible stories for more than ten years, and they've never asked for one penny from anyone. They've given so much to the world of sudden fiction. You may have seen my post on Facebook about the Best of the First Ten Years Anthology. It's a must read for anyone interested in the genre.

SmokeLong has just initiated a Kickstarter campaign with the intention of vamping up the site. SmokeLong's going to get even better. Old School's going Future School. And you could do your bit to help it. Please do what you can. The world needs lit, and it needs it suddenly.

I must be off,
Christopher

_______________________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Punches are Here to Teach You How to Roll

The least gross picture I could find. Looks more like someone's hair..
Of all Life's lessons, I think I keep repeating the one entitled Punches are Here to Teach You How to Roll. I have been punched before (Rio de Janeiro, Paris). I've also been caught in a neck hold and thrown to a cement floor (Nice, France). My life has been threatened (Munich, Rio)--more than once come to think of it. Flights have been canceled, cars have broken down, airlines have forgotten my gluten-free meal. I've had to eat gluten-free cake when there was no gluten-free bread. The list just goes on and on. Goodness. You'd think I'd be a rolling expert by now.

So when I start feeling odd during breakfast on August 31 at my parents' house in Tennessee, I'm not surprised. At first I think my grandmother has sneaked some flour into the hashbrowns (they are remarkably well bound).

"Um, so Granny--"

"Huh?!"

I raise my voice (she's 93 and doesn't like to wear her hearing aids). "Um! So Granny--"

"Huh?!"

I raise my voice again. "Um!! So!! Granny!! The hashbrowns!! They're remarkably!! Sticky!!"

"The fairgrounds in Reba Johnson City?!"

"Oh God. NO!! THE HASHBROWNS!! DID YOU PUT FLOUR IN THEM?!!"

"DID I PULL FLOWERS IN THE FAIRGROUNDS???!!"

A very loud and long story short, she promises she did not. So with this knowledge, the ever-worsening worry in my gut just gets more and more worrisome as the day goes along. My father even beats me once at Scrabble.

"Did you poison something so you could beat me at Scrabble?" I ask him, holding my belly.

"I wish I'd thought of that," he doesn't say.

So it turns out neither of them has poisoned me. Still, the pains persist. I lose another game of Scrabble. I lie awake all night. The feeling in my gut is like wind that won't pass. I have cramps and little spasms everywhere and nowhere. I've never had pains like these. At 6 a.m. I knock on my parents' bedroom door and tell them that as much as I hate to be a pain, I think I need to go to the ER.

I'm telling you all this because falling ill in a foreign country (foreign to the one where you are insured) is a real danger that you need to be prepared for before you travel. Driving to the emergency room on a Sunday morning 4 hours before you're scheduled to fly back to Munich is not the time to wonder if you're covered.

"So," I say to my father who's careening down a country road, "I sure hope my health insurance will cover this."

"You don't know?"

"Well," I say, "It's not on my Top 10 list of Things I Know For Sure, but it's right up there with Is a bear Catholic? and Do the Marshall Islands belong to Australia?"

"Are you delirious?"

"Probably."

"Wanna play a quick game of Scrabble?" he doesn't say.

Despite fervent prayers that my grandmother was lying about the flour in the fairgrounds, it turns out to be an appendicitis. And despite my pleas to be allowed to fly regardless of whether my appendix ruptures at 30,000 feet, I won't be flying; and on top of all this, I didn't buy the optional travel cancelation insurance. Who does that? Weenies, that's who. Very organized and foresighted weenies.

The silver linings of having an emergeny appendectomy while visiting my parents:

1. I don't have an appendix to worry about anymore. I can go on long ocean voyages in a dinghy if I want and never once have to think, "Hmmm, I wonder what I'd do if my appendix ruptured?"

2. I'm all caught up on my US-American game shows. I just love how US-Americans get so excited about winning. Germans are boring on game shows. A German when he wins 100,000 euros: "Thank you, Generic Game Show Host. This will go nicely with the bezillion euros I already have sitting cross-eyed bored in the bank now." A US-American when he wins 100,000 dollars: "Rahhhhhhh! Rohhhhhh! What????! Ahhhhhhhh. ARRRRRRRR! PRAISE BEJEBUS! SCHWEEEEEEEEEEE! BLARGH!!!!!! GlOOOOOOOO!" And the contestant screams all of these unintelligible expressions of joy as he wraps himself around the host, weeping and salivating on his shoulder. Just ask Bob Barker. It's good to be reminded how my people express their happiness.

3. Seriously, I get to see more of my family. They're sweet. All of them. Thank you for coming to see me in the hospital, and thank you, Teresa, for going to the store and getting me apples.

It turns out that British Airways is happy to reschedule my flight back to Munich once I produce evidence of my medical emergency, so bless them. Also, I'm doing one of those wavy moose antler nanny-nannies to the weenies who bought the travel cancelation insurance. Suckers. All you have to do is have an emergency appendectomy! (While the rescheduling of the flight causes little worry, the health insurance situation is still outstanding, and the total bill has gone beyond the $30,000 mark already.)

Have you been in an emergency medical situation abroad? How did you deal with it. Any tips for the sweet, pretty readers of I Must Be Off! ?

I must be off,
Christopher

_____________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.





Monday, September 8, 2014

Two Reviews at Necessary Fiction Today!

Well, if you haven't been keeping up with recent events on Facebook, you won't have heard about my emergency appendectomy last week when I was visiting my parents in the US. And of course it happened just a few hours before I was scheduled to fly back to Munich. I'll be writing a separate post about these fun times later; now, though, I want to let you know about two book reviews I wrote for the good people at Necessary Fiction. If you enjoy reading short story collections, you'll want to check these out:


and



Stay tuned for that stirring tale of abdominal pain next time at . . .

I Must Be Off,
Christopher

_________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, and Word Riot. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Interviewed at Cheryl Howard Dot Com

Ever wonder what it's like to live in another country? To start from scratch? New job. New home. New language. OK, German wasn't completely new to me almost 20 years ago, but it did put some new wrinkles in my brain to become "fluent".

In my interview with Cheryl Howard at her blog of the same name, I talk about blending in and not blending in, accepting--and loving--other people's differences. I talk about hollandaise.

Check Cheryl Howard Dot Com out. If you love traveling and reading about interesting--sometimes wacky--places, you'll love her site.

Here you are:

Expat Living: Christopher Allen in Munich, Germany

I must be off,
Christopher

______________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.