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Archive for ‘Meet the Writers’

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Nadja Stokes

October 01, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Nadja Stokes

In a severe blast of good fortune, I happened to end up in an improv comedy class at the Upright Citizens Brigade with Nadja Stokes a few months ago. Note to anyone interested in improv comedy: it is really, really scary. Don’t ever do it, unless you’re a glutton for punishment. Every week I would show up at class with a pit in my stomach, terrified that this was the week I was going to be called out as the guy who wasn’t very funny. Because the people in my class were funny. Very, very funny.

One of these very, very funny people was Nadja Stokes. On the first night of class, I happened to mention that I run an independent publishing company. (Right, I just “happened to mention it.” In truth, I spend most of my conversations lying in wait like a lynx for someone to mention that they know how to read and/or write, so I can say, “Oh, really? Well, as a renowned publishing magnate, I think books are … .”) As it turns out, Nadja writes EXACTLY the kind of stuff we were looking to publish – short, hilarious, bizarre stories that get into your head and dig around in your brain stem with adamentine ferret claws (what)? I really, really love her work, and I am so proud to be able to bring it to you.

The Interview Portion

1) Why are you here?
Trick dice.

2) What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
For a season, a friend and I were making Mad Libs from the “erotic” stories posted in the fantasy section of Tonya Harding’s official website and some of those turned out pretty great. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Lynette D’Amico

September 14, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Lynette D’Amico

This is not Lynette D'Amico.

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Lynette D’Amico is a fantastic writer. Her contribution to Awkward Two, “Inappropriate Gifts,” is pure magic, and an excellent example of how a great writer can take a handful of words and create entire worlds. It’s beautiful, beguiling, funny, touching, and surprising, and I can’t wait for you to read it yourself. “Inappropriate Gifts” is also the inspiration for the equally amazing film by director Tracy Dishman, which you can watch right here. And now I give the floor to Lynette!

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
I’m an advertising copywriter recently relocated to Chicago from Minneapolis. I’m here because Jeffrey Dinsmore is good to me.

2) Why do you write?
I’m not a big talker. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Robert W. Cole

September 07, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Robert W. Cole

In the interest of full disclosure, I should inform you that Bob Cole is my father-in-law. However, if you think this gave him a leg up on the competition, you are dead wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, the Awkward Two editors were not allowed to read the stories by people they knew on the first pass. I did not inform Kyle or Clay of my relationship to Bob … they just thought he wrote a kick-ass story. I would not hesitate to kick my own father-in-law to the curb if I thought his contribution was unworthy of being in our illustrious publication. I am stone cold.

Fortunately for readers (and for the peacefulness of our Thanksgiving dinners), Bob’s story is a hoot. Not only is it clever, inventive, and well-written, it’s possibly the only story in the book that can be enjoyed by the entire family. That’s right: Awkward Two isn’t just for mom and dad; it’s got something for the kids, too! Just make sure they don’t spend too much time with the time-traveling rapist story.

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
This space is under construction.

2) Why do you write?
For my entire life, words have been my refuge. Reading was just about all I did as a child, so it was probably pretty predictable that words would be my means of earning a living as an adult—first as a newspaper reporter, then as a magazine and journal editor, then as a book editor, and now as an author of stories for children. This writing that I do now is perhaps the most enjoyable work I’ve done, because I tend to create out of my favorite part of myself—that substantial part of me that is arrested at about age 10 or 11—and, with Marie Carbo, I’m producing sets of stories that children are using to learn to read. That is satisfying. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: John Harrower

September 01, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

John Harrower

One thing you should know before reading Awkward Two: John Harrower’s story, “Greed,” is disturbing. It caused quite a bit of debate among the Awkward editors. We almost didn’t accept it because it was so disturbing, but then we decided that rejecting a story because it genuinely affected us is a very poor reason to reject a story. Our debate had nothing to do with the quality of writing – the story is incredibly imaginative and well-written. It just, well, disturbed us.

At this point, the story has become a personal favorite, and I’m so glad we didn’t make the foolish decision to bag it. It ends with a sentence that is, in my book, on par with “He loved Big Brother” in its shock value. I think it’s going to blow people’s minds and make them feel a little icky in a really delicious way.

I don’t know much about John Harrower because he lives way over yonder in Scotland. An Amazon search turns up a memoir by John Harrower, an indentured servant from the Virginia colony in 1773. I’m pretty certain this is a different John Harrower. I can say this with confidence, though: the modern John Harrower has been a lovely person to work with in all our dealings, and if he has other stories in him as good as “Greed,” he’s going to go a long way in the writing biz.

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
My name is John Harrower. I came here to spill some words on you. Sorry if they stain. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Jeffrey Dinsmore

August 31, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Jeffrey Dinsmore

Jeffrey Dinsmore, also known as Jeffrey D, is the main brain behind Awkward Press and the man responsible for 90% of the content of this website.  He is also responsible for 90% of the world’s orgasms.  That second part isn’t true, but what is true is that Jeffrey is one of my favorite people in the world.  He is that incredible rare combination of someone who is both wildly talented and deeply good.  He’s also one of the funniest people I’ve met, and one of the luckiest as his wife is one of the coolest wives I’ve ever met.  The biggest compliment I can pay him is to say that he’s an inspiration to me — which sounds Tony Robbins-y  I know, but is true.  (Blushing now, Jeff?)  For more about Jeffrey, read pretty much anything on this website, or check out his weight loss progress at www.jeffreydinsmore.com. If you’re interested in giving him money, visit portfolio.jeffreydinsmore.com for work samples.  -Kyle

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
Jeffrey Dinsmore. I’m here because I have a naïve belief that if you put creative things out into the world and treat people decently, the universe will eventually reward you in some way. So basically, I’m just in it for myself. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Rachel Lieberman

August 30, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Rachel Lieberman

Rachel Lieberman is a victim of her own brilliance. As I mention like every day to anyone who will listen, Awkward Two is more than just a book … it’s also an experiment in instant adaptation. A few months ago, we gave copies of the stories to a selection of independent filmmakers and invited them to try and adapt them for the silver screen. Rachel’s piece, “Instructions for Operating a Heartbreaking Machine,” was an instant favorite among the filmmakers. One of these filmmakers decided to try and adapt the piece for a Showtime contest that was going on at the time. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and the film has yet to progress past the planning stages. We do have some kick-ass frames, though, which I’ll probably include in the “conceptual extras” portion of the book or somewhere on the website. Book, web, iPad … it’s all the same thing nowadays, wot?

I’m very sad that we never got a chance to see the finished version of what would have undoubtably been a masterpiece of the short film format, but at least we still have Rachel’s ceaselessly entertaining story to fall back on. And not only that, but because “Heartbreaking” was on the shorter side of the micro-short spectrum, Rachel was kind enough to provide us with one more thoroughly entertaining piece to round out the book. Her enthusiasm, talent, and absolute coolness have been much appreciated throughout the process, and I look forward to the day when you’ll gobble up her work and roll it around in your mouth like a lovely Sweet Tart, as it deserves.

1) Who are you and why are you here?
My name is Rachel. I’m here because Jeffrey and the rest of the Awkward crew liked my work. I think that’s pretty neat. I also think Awkward in general is pretty neat. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Joanna Whitmarsh

August 27, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Joanna Whitmarsh

Look, here’s the thing. As I’m doing the intros to these profiles, you may start to notice that I happen to know quite a few of the writers personally. “Nepotism!” you cry. “Awkward Press is nothing but a bunch of nepotisers!” But see: it isn’t like that. When we went through the submissions, we were not allowed to read stories by writers we knew. We did not pick our friends for this book. It just so happens that we know some kick-ass writers.

The fact that Joanna Whitmarsh is a kick-ass writer came as a complete surprise. I met her in a community art class that I took at Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz. The same community art class, in fact, that was taught by awkwardpress.com legend Victoria Howard. See how the world works? Circles.

Joanna and I were the only people in the class younger than 87, so naturally we struck up a bond. Come to find out she’s a sketch comedy writer. “Well!” said I, “What do you know? I happen to own a publishing company, and we’re looking for short stories! Which are like sketches without all that acting nonsense! Also: I’m a notorious nepotiser!” A week later, she sent me a submission, which I promptly sent along to my partners. And they loved it! And wanted it in the book! And then I read it! And totally agreed! And I came back to art class and broke the news to Joanna and we screamed and jumped around the room in glee, smashing amateurish attempts at pottery to the ground in joyful abandon.

The point of the story: Joanna is the best. Her story is great, and I have no doubt that you will soon love her as much as I do. By the end of this profile, I predict!

1) Who are you and why are you here?
I’m still figuring out the who part a little but, I come in peace. Most of the time, anyway. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Shari D. Frost

August 26, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Shari D. Frost

Shari D. Frost is another of the fabulous writers who found us out there in the ether. There are a lot of great stories in Awkward Two, don’t get me wrong. 33 of them, to be exact. But Shari’s story “My Girl” was the only one in the bunch that really, truly threw me for a loop. I don’t want to give too much away, but she somehow manages to fit 3 major twists into a story that is under 1,500 words. Just when you think the story’s about one thing, it veers in a different direction. It’s a really unique take on our expectations of genre that kept me enthralled from the first word to the last, and I can’t wait for you to read it!

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
Still working on that one…I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime I’m open to suggestions, so if you find any clues in anything I’ve written, let me know. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: James Veitch

August 25, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

James Veitch

We only had one rule for Awkward Two: each submission had to be under 1,500 words. James Veitch, a playwright by trade, rose to the challenge and gave us a play that fit the criteria. His piece, The Romantics, is clever and engaging and certain to secure the first-ever Tony Award nomination for best play that only exists in an anthology of short stories. I have, sadly, never met Mr. Veitch in person, but by all accounts he’s beloved and admired by people on every side of the pond. Just look at that face! If anything says “admirable and belovable,” it is that face. If you’d like to learn more about Mr. Veitch and his admirable, belovable face, please visit www.james-veitch.com.

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
I haven’t figured that out yet.

2) Why do you write?
To impress girls.

3) What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
A poem for my friend Carla. (more…)

Meet the Awkward Two Writers: Wayne Scheer

August 23, 2010 By: Category: Meet the Writers

Awkward Two, a collection of 33 micro-short stories by 25 incredible writers, will be released to the public on September 27, 2010. (You can pre-order it right here.) Who are these incredible writers? Let’s meet ‘em! We sent the same 9 questions to all the writers. Here are their answers.

Wayne Scheer

The best thing about running a publishing company is meeting great people you probably wouldn’t run into otherwise. Wayne Scheer is one of those guys.

As you may know, we’re doing a little experiment with this issue of Awkward in which we’ve asked five filmmakers to shoot adaptations of stories from the book. Wayne Scheer’s Zen and the Art of House Painting is one of the stories being adapted. The shoot has been delayed a few times because these are the things that happen when your primary form of financing is favors. It’s now almost 100% certainly going to shoot next weekend. The cast is superb, the script is excellent, and I have full confidence that the talented director, Joel Maguen, is going to pull off a work of art. But in the meantime I’ve really put Wayne through the ringer with the delays, and he’s been a complete pro and mensch through the whole thing. A pro mensch, that’s Wayne Scheer in a nutshell.

The film is going to be great, but it couldn’t get there without a fantastic piece of source material. Wayne’s story is a real highlight of the issue … funny, moving, and quirky in all the right ways. It’s a story that could only have been written by a master craftsman. If you want to check out some of Wayne’s excellent work, you can download Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four very short stories, absolutely free of charge at http://pearnoir.com/thumbscrews.htm.

The Interview Portion

1) Who are you and why are you here?
I think of myself as the most married man in America, forty-three years, and I’m here instead of with my wife because Jeff asked me to answer these questions. (more…)