Votes is still #1 new release in the category

Thursday, March 21st, 2024

Worked on my in-progress novel at the Chicago Public Library today, and paid a visit to its copies of my newest release, Votes of Confidence 3rd Edition. As of today, it’s still the #1 new release in category at Amazon, and available just about anywhere you buy books.

Votes of Confidence 3rd Edition out now

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

The first of three 2024 books is out now! Votes of Confidence 3rd Edition for 2024 came out on March 5 and is available wherever you buy books (from your local bookstore via, plus Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.). It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook format.

On release day, thanks in part to preorders, Votes debuted on Amazon as:

#1 and #2 New Release in Teen and Young Adult Politics and Government
#1 New Release in Civil and Human Rights Books for Young Adults
#1 New Release in Teen and Young Adult Civil and Human Rights Ebooks
#1 New Release in Teen and Young Adult United States History Ebooks
#2 New Release in Teen and Young Adult United States History

“Sealing Wax” appears in Straylight

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Books have taken up a lot of time lately, but I also have a new fiction piece published (well, an old piece published for the first time). My first medieval story, “Sealing Wax,” is out today in the new issue of Straylight.

An excerpt:

Squires did not receive letters addressed to them by the king. It simply was not done. Yet, Douglas held in his hand a message from none other but his sovereign.

“When did this arrive?” he queried the messenger boy, who merely shrugged.

Contact form issue fixed

Monday, January 1st, 2024

We were having some issues with the contact form on the site; short version is a bunch of spam triggered a filter that sent a lot of messages into a spam folder undated and never sent notifications that those messages came in. Therefore, for more than a year, not all messages were forwarded correctly (enough were forwarded to mask the problem). The issue should be fixed now. Apologies if your message was filtered out and never got to us; it was not intentional.

All three 2024 books available for preorder

Sunday, December 31st, 2023

The upcoming year is going to be a big one on the author front. I spent much of 2023 getting three books through the publishing process and ready to go, and all three are currently available for preorder wherever you buy books.

Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections 3rd Edition (March 5, 2024). This YA guide to the US system of government, elections, and voting is significantly updated for 2024. 

Animal Husbandry and Other Fictions (September 10, 2024). This short-fiction collection features stories previously published by magazines including the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, the Saturday Evening Post, Shenandoah, and So It Goes by the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. The stories all center on myth in some way. This book is aimed at adults, not YA specifically, but is appropriate for most teens.

Civic Minded:What Everyone Should Know about the US Government (October 1, 2024). This YA nonfiction book focuses on concepts in governing the United States, from the differences between the debt and deficit to how tax rates work to how the Postal Service and National Parks operate.

Zest Books spring promo

Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

My publisher, Zest Books, an imprint of Lerner Books, has lots of interesting books coming out in spring 2024, including the third edition of Votes of Confidence. Here’s a neat promo video featuring some of the top releases. Check it out, and then you can preorder Votes wherever you buy books:, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, etc.

Votes ARCs are ready

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

The new 2024 edition of Votes of Confidence arrives in bookstores on March 5, which means review copies for publications are out in uncorrected proof (aka ARC) form. If your magazine or newspaper needs a copy, you can reach out to me via the contact page or contact Zest Books/Lerner Books for a copy.


Signing books at AISLE in Champaign

Sunday, October 1st, 2023

I’m always happy to do signings or talks with libraries – school libraries, public libraries, specialty libraries, you name it. So I was glad to join the Association of School Library Educators (AISLE) today in Champaign, Illinois. I’ll be signing copies of Rockin’ the Boat, Votes of Confidence, and A Hot Mess and talking about the three 2024 releases, so please stop by if you’re at the conference.

Cover for Animal Husbandry is ready

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

My first fiction book, the short-story collection Animal Husbandry and Other Fictions, comes out in the spring. Preorders aren’t quite ready yet, but the cover has been updated. Here’s what it looks like. I really dig it, as it both references specific stories in the collection and evokes the tone of many of them.

More praise for A Hot Mess

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

My climate change book A Hot Mess received some nice recognition recently.

As part of its World on the Move Project highlighting the impact of climate change (among other factors) on human migration, the American Anthropological Association included A Hot Mess among its top books for further reading.

Also, Yellow Book Box, which offers subscription boxes to encourage young adults to read, features A Hot Mess among its nonfiction selections.

“Boundless and Bare” in Hare’s Paw Journal

Friday, July 28th, 2023

A new fiction story is out today. “Boundless and Bare,” featuring a museum exhibit’s thoughts from behind the glass, appears in Hare’s Paw Journal.

An excerpt:

For a century now, he’d stood behind the glass. Omari’s body was smaller than it had been in life, his bones folded inward just like the earthen tomb that long held them. His skin painted dark by the broad brush of time; his face taut where once it had been so round his mother likened it to the shape of the full moon.


Preorders available for Votes 2024

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Big news on the Votes of Confidence front. The 2024 edition is now available for preorder, in both hardcover and paperback editions. It’s also featured in Publisher’s Weekly’s spring preview.

The new edition is out March 5, 2024, and I’ll be posting events, reviews, and other updates on this site and on social media.

“The Paper Cut” reprinted in Zoetic Press

Friday, June 9th, 2023

My short story “The Paper Cut,” originally published in Jet Fuel Review back in 2016, is now published in print for the first time, as part of the Epic Fail issue of Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review.

An excerpt:

Stupid paper cuts.

There aren’t many things more infuriating than a deep paper cut. An infinitesimal fragment of a second earlier, your finger feels absolutely normal, and then there’s that sudden, stinging, sharp pain that feels like it will never go away. The blood starts seeping out instantly. Before you even realize you’ve been cut, there’s bright red fluid all over your finger, usually getting on the rest of your hand.

Updates from AWP

Friday, March 10th, 2023

Attending the AWP conference in Seattle this week, my second year there. No signings or anything this year for me, as my last book was a 2021 release and I’m still on deadline for 2024 releases, but got to catch up with several of the literary magazines that have published my work. If you’re at the conference this week, say hi.

“Care for an Appetizer?” in Zoetic Food Issue

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

My deeply weird science fiction story “Care for an Appetizer?” is out today in the Food Issue of Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. It’s a story in which antipasta on a menu isn’t a typo.

An excerpt:

To call the Aaronson brothers writing partners would be to make a true statement on its surface, but one revealed false at any depth. As a duo, Jakob and Harold Aaronson had combined for twenty-four unproduced screenplays (three of them optioned), two attempted but unfinished fantasy novels, a treatment for a superhero comic, two plays performed in the most local of theaters, and a print-on-demand police thriller that sold ninety-six copies, most to people they knew.

Indiana State Museum highlights A Hot Mess

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

A Hot Mess, my latest book, has been featured in some cool places, and that now includes the Indiana State Museum, a museum I thoroughly enjoyed when I visited many years ago. It included the book on its reading list for its Inspired by the Dunes exhibit. Check it out.

Interview with Zoetic Press

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

My short story “Care for an Appetizer?” is coming out soon in the Food Issue of Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. Ahead of publication, the magazine has a short interview with me about writing in general.

An excerpt:

What is the single best sentence you’ve ever read?
That’s a really hard question, but I think it might be a Richard Adams line from Watership Down: “My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.” It does so much work in so few words, and might be the perfect encapsulation of grief.

BIG NEWS: Three books coming in 2024

Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Now that these are official and I can talk publicly about them, I can talk about the three books I’m working on this year that will be published in 2024.

A third edition of Votes of Confidence, updated for the 2024 election and featuring lots of updates since the 2020 version, will come out in the spring of 2024 during primary season.

A new civics book, tentatively called Civic Minded, will be published in the fall of 2024. It covers policy concepts like Social Security, Medicare, and the national debt.

My first-ever fiction collection, Animal Husbandry, bringing together a mix of stories published in the past decade.

Big year of writing and editing ahead, but it’ll be rewarding.

A few more midterm lists featuring Votes of Confidence

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

With a historic midterm election upon us — a rare one in which the president’s party is likely to gain at least one Senate seat and has a slim chance at holding the House — more places are adding the 2nd Edition of Votes of Confidence to seasonal reading lists. Here are two more recent examples:

My publisher, Lerner Books, has a list of eight books to be thankful for this fall, with Votes its example to be thankful for change.

The Bored Teachers site also just put out a list of thirty books about voting and elections for readers of all ages, and features Votes among that number.

Library of Congress makes A Hot Mess available to the visually impaired

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Not every book is translated into braille and audio formats for the visually impaired, so it’s great to see A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis Is Changing Our World among the new releases in that format available via the Library of Congress. The audio version is about seven hours long. Because there isn’t a commercial audiobook for this one, the audio is accessible only to those who need it; if you know someone who does, please send them the link.

“Thinking About Dink” appears in Bookends Review

Friday, October 28th, 2022

My short story, “Thinking About Dink” — which involves a musician doing exactly that, reflecting on the writer of “Dink’s Song” — is out today in The Bookends Review.

An excerpt:

Shane looked down at the familiar pattern of scratches on the floor, a lopsided snowflake etched by years of boot heels and chair legs. As he did every week, he found the sooty remnant of blue electrical tape that he’d always treated as center stage, or as a spot close enough to center that the emcee never corrected his placement.

Did a couple more interviews for Foreword

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

Along with writing book reviews for Foreword Reviews, which I’ve been doing regularly since 2012, I periodically interview authors about their books. This summer, I did two.

I interviewed Natasha Lance Rogoff about her great book Muppets in Moscow, which chronicles her experience launching a Russian-language version of Sesame Street after the fall of communism in the USSR.

Earlier in the summer, I did the same with Noah Charney, discussing his book The 12-Hour Art Expert, which is a great introduction to understanding art through key selected masterpieces.

“The Buzzer” out today in Pioneertown

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Pioneertown published my shorty story “A Bedtime Story” years ago, and today made me a repeat author by publishing “The Buzzer.” It’s a slightly creepy story about an unexpected visitor in the middle of the night.

An excerpt:

Every few nights, sometime around half past three, the buzzer for our apartment sounds. The visitor pushes the call button over and over, until he gives up, but I never answer. I know who it is, though I don’t know his name. Or what he wants.

Charlie has gotten used to the noise and just sleeps through it; it probably comes from working so close to the el tracks that blocking out noise becomes second nature. I’m not so lucky. The buzzer still gets me out of bed each time, alert just in case.

Mason County Clerk recommends Votes

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

In Mason County, Michigan, the Mason County Municipal Clerk’s office donated a set of quality election books to the public libraries, and happy to see Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition included in that list. Here’s the full story from the Ludington Daily News.

World Oceans Day book recs

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

June 11 is World Oceans Day, a United Nations-led day to bring awareness to the threats facing the world’s oceans. Along with pollution and overfishing, climate change is a big part of the problem, and the Alachua County Public Library helpfully included A Hot Mess in this awesome reading list for the day.

Booksource Features A Hot Mess

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

St. Louis-based Booksource put out this handy list of 12 Books About Environmentalism and Climate Change for young readers, and included A Hot Mess among its titles, which include selections for students from early primary school through high school.

An excerpt:

How will climate change effect our lives in the future? Students will explore the effects of climate change on sea levels, extreme weather, drought, animal and plant extinction and human and animal migration. High school readers learn how the world will be different due to climate change and learn what they can still do to slow down these effects.

Votes included on Kidizenship list

Monday, March 21st, 2022

While A Hot Mess is getting most of the attention lately, being the newer book, Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition continues to pop up in more libraries and on more useful lists, including this cool new one from Kidizenship of ten things to read, watch, or listen to for those interested in civics. Always nice to be first on a list, and chuffed to be on a list with Parks and Recreation (one of my all-time favorite sitcoms), The West Wing (another show I love), and Schoolhouse Rock (I grew up with it; my default shirt for Votes book events features Bill from Capitol Hill).

An excerpt:

For the majority of Americans, navigating the twists and turns of the 2020 elections was like navigating a maze. While blindfolded. In the rain.  Were you also confused about the rush of terms and processes that were all new to you, but no one seemed to be explaining? Well this is the book for you! Jeff Fleischer breaks down how our elections work in easy terms, from voting districts to primaries and caucuses. This is a fantastic first step to learning more about how our democracy works!

A Hot Mess longlisted for 2022 Green Earth Book Award

Friday, March 18th, 2022

For the third time in two weeks, A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World has appeared on a top-ten list for best books of the year in the environment/sustainability category. This time, it’s been longlisted for the 2022 Green Earth Book Award in the young adult category. The awards are given out by The Nature Generation, with winners announced on Earth Day in April.

Hot Mess a Foreword Reviews finalist

Monday, March 14th, 2022

The list of finalists for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES annual book-of-the-year awards came out today, and A Hot Mess is a finalist in the Ecology & Environment category. The magazine’s review in the November issue called the book “a substantial, science-based guide that explains climate change through history, its deniers, and the current evidence, all in a candid, accessible format that invites young people to take action.” The award announcement will come out in a few months, but being one of just nine finalists among all the books published in 2021 is pretty cool.

ALA Booklist names Hot Mess a top ten of the year

Monday, March 7th, 2022

Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association, reviewed A Hot Mess in its December issue, calling it “a documented, balanced, and accessible update on an evolving crisis.” The new March issue focuses on the environment and sustainability, and that includes a list of the ten best books for young readers about the subject – and A Hot Mess made the top ten.

An excerpt:

Wildlife appreciation is naturally a theme in this year’s Top 10 books on the environment and sustainability for youth, reviewed between March 1, 2021, and February 15, 2022, but the human impact on climate change is just as important to these selections.

Another spot on the Medill Alumni Bookshelf

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

My graduate school, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, has an impressive alumni bookshelf, and it was nice to see A Hot Mess on this excellent list of books by Medill alumni. Check it out.

Votes featured on Sarah’s Book Reflections

Monday, January 31st, 2022

Understandably, the new book is getting most of the attention these days, but the 2020 edition of Votes of Confidence is still selling well, and still gets nice reviews. This time it was reviewed on the blog Sarah’s Book Reflections along with other civics books.

An excerpt:

This is a fascinating book. Any person over the age of ten should read it, including so-called “grown-ups.” 

World Read Aloud Day 2022

Monday, January 31st, 2022

On the first Wednesday in February, I’ll be participating in World Read Aloud Day for the first time, joining a few classrooms virtually to talk about the writing process, my books, or whatever else students want to ask about. Going to be a lot of fun, and always happy to join more schools this year or in the future.

Melanie Roy Recommends: A Hot Mess

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

A Hot Mess was just featured as a recommendation by the Melanie Roy Recommends blog. It’s one of the featured Book Bites of the week.

Interview with Zoobean

Friday, January 14th, 2022

Another interview about A Hot Mess came out today, this time with Zoobean. I’m one of the authors participating in its WinterRead challenge, encourage young adults to read.

An excerpt:
What are you currently reading?

Just finished Boys Enter the House by my friend David Nelson, which I highly recommend. Currently reading The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology; two works I hadn’t read before by authors I enjoy.

Where is your favorite place to read?

In a comfortable armchair with a cup of coffee or, on a nice day, outside at a cafe.

Audubon features the book

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

A Hot Mess got a nice mention today in the excellent nature magazine Audubon, as part of “5 New Climate Books to Empower Teens and Help Turn Anxiety into Action.”

An excerpt:

Bad news about the environment is everywhere—either in headlines, or unfolding in real-time disasters like storms, floods, and fires. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the reality that climate change is shifting the world around us.

That means more and more people, especially young people, are at risk of climate anxiety, depression, and other related mental health issues. Stress, sadness, anger, and grief are a normal part of encountering serious problems. But for the good of our ecosystems and ourselves, it’s important to confront those feelings and learn to cope. Avoiding and suppressing might lead to inaction, and ultimately worsen the state of the planet and our mental health in the long run.

A woman wearing a face mask, black shirt, and a red backpack holds up a cardboard sign that says "Our Planet, Our Future" and the word "planet" is a painting of the Earth.

“Dybbuks” in the new Door is a Jar

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Today marks my third appearance in the magazine Door is a Jar. This time, the winter issue includes my microfiction “Dybbuks,” which came out of a quarantine writing prompt.

An excerpt:

“Why did you let that dybbuk in?” Hiram’s mother asked nearly as soon as the man closed the bathroom door.

“Shhh.” Hiram looked back to see if the visitor had heard. “Ma, he’s just a repairman. We called him to fix the leaking pipe under the sink, remember?”

DIAJ Vol 21 Cover.jpg

Interview on the Lerner Books blog

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

My publisher, Lerner Books/Zest Books, has a new interview with me about my new book A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World.

An excerpt:

Describe the research did you do for this project and where you found your best resource. 

This book grew out of a project I began in 2008, when I received a journalism grant to work abroad for a year reporting on climate change and its impact on the island nation of Tuvalu. That research involved interviewing experts and people affected by the situation, as well as reading lots of books, scientific reports, news articles, and other sources. There was no one best resource, but a mix of them. That held true when I started working on “A Hot Mess” as well; I used hundreds of sources and kept adding to that number throughout the writing process.

Interview with YA Dude

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

The blog YA Dude Books published a lovely review of A Hot Mess a few weeks ago, and today published a Q&A with me about writing in general as well as the book.

An excerpt:

Q: Your newest book, A Hot Mess, explores climate change through real-life stories. What made you choose that approach to reach young people, and what is the single biggest message you hope they take away?
A: I think it’s important to take a three-dimensional view of the problem. Not just explaining the science, but connecting the dots between what’s going on at a global level and how life is changing differently in different places. Even if people read or watch reliable, accurate reporting about climate science (and not everyone does), it can still be hard to grasp the size and range of the problem. There are plenty of good articles about specific examples in the news on a given day, but sometimes it’s easy to learn about some of the trees and miss the forest. As far as a message, I’d hope they understand that grifters and liars shouldn’t get away with delaying or preventing action to tackle arguably the most serious problem of our lifetimes—and also that while they’re going to have to live with some bad outcomes because of other generations’ inaction, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve things or stop them from getting worse.

Top new release in category

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

My newest book, A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World, came out today, and it debuted as the number two new release in category on Amazon. It’s available in hardcover, paperbook, and ebook, and available anywhere you buy books. Grab a copy today.


New page for A Hot Mess

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

As I did for the last few books, I have a new page up on the site for A Hot Mess, which is available for preorder and will be out on 2 November. It has a long list of places where you can buy the book, and I’ll update it with reviews, interviews, and articles as they become available.

“More Rebooted Shows” in Helix

Monday, October 18th, 2021

My latest fiction story, “More Rebooted Shows for the 2020-21 Season” is out today online in Helix Literary Magazine. It’s a humor piece making fun of the trend of rebooting every show instead of pursuing original ideas.

An excerpt:

The Stale Prince of Bel-Air (7 p.m. Sundays, NBC): Will (Will Smith) returns to the East Coast, still trying to break into the music industry. Though he works as a nanny for his fashion designer cousin Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and still bankrolls his perpetually underemployed friend Jazz (DJ Jazzy Jeff), he realizes his precocious young nephew has the talent to become a dubstep wunderkind—if the now-serious Hilary will let him, and if Will can design the perfect papier- mâché animal head in time for the big show.

“The Blue Mist” marks fourth time in So It Goes

Friday, October 1st, 2021

For the fourth time, and for the third consecutive year, I have a story in the annual edition of So It Goes, the literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. The new issue will launch with a virtual reading on Saturday, October 2. Tickets are available online. For this year’s environmentally themed issue, my story is “The Blue Mist,” and I’ll read part of it at the event.

An excerpt:

In his boyhood, Joel looked forward to family weekends in the Blue Mountains. Two or three times each year during the long summer break from school, his parents would box up a picnic and take the boys out for a drive to the mountains. Sometimes they’d spend the night in Katoomba and take a morning hike to get a view of the Three Sisters at sunrise; he took dozens of Polaroids of the sandstone triad.

Indie bookstores now have A Hot Mess

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

My newest book “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World” is out on November 2, and major bookstores have been offering preorders for a while. Now, you can also order from your local bookstore via Indiebound, or from the list of bookstores on the book-specific page of this website. And if you enjoy it, reviews are a huge help.

Glowing review of the new book

Friday, September 24th, 2021

The blog YA Dude Books just posted its review of “A Hot Mess,” and it might have the best opening line I’ve ever gotten for a review. The book is still available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. — and also now from your local bookstore via IndieBound. Full review at the link.

An excerpt:

If if I win the lottery, I’m going to use the money to ensure that every English-speaking young person in the world receives a copy of this nonfiction book.

Why? Because despite heaps of books on climate change out there, this is one of the best – and it just happens to be targeted to young adults. (That means many an adult will appreciate the simplicity and engagement, too – will finally “get it.”)

It’s Engaging with a capital E, Readable with a capital R.

What’s a perfect climate-change book? One that smoothly toes the line between dire and chirpy, alarmist and faux-reassuring. One that takes dry science and transforms it into fascinating, clarifying stories, sidebars, graphs and photos. One that is international in scope and – despite focusing on a disconcerting topic – outstandingly easy to understand.

Kirkus reviews A Hot Mess

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

The reviews for “A Hot Mess” continue to come in, and they’ve been rewarding so far. Kirkus Reviews says of the book: “A wealth of information and an engaging approach are certain to have a lasting impact.” Also, “Get it.” Read the whole review at the link.

An excerpt:

Fleischer uses specific examples, recent scientific studies, maps, and informative sidebars, such as a poignant story regarding a koala that was trapped in the devastating Australian bushfires of 2019 and 2020. Additionally, the author’s conversational tone that includes the occasional pun will resonate well with the target audience.

First Hot Mess review, from Foreword

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

The first review of my new book “A Hot Mess” came out this week, and it’s a good one. It will appear in the November/December issue of Foreword Reviews, but I’m able to share it now.

An excerpt:

With a journalist’s knack for finding the human angle behind compelling issues, Fleischer begins with the Tuvalu Islanders, whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels, and whose story is a signpost of the climate crisis. This dynamic introduction illuminates how the “worst-case forecasts” have already arrived, setting the stage for a skillful blend of honed facts and historical overviews, from industrialization to modern politics and its too-frequent deference to energy companies. The result is an incisive portrait of how people arrived at a pivotal moment.

Zest Books fall preview

Monday, August 16th, 2021

My publisher Zest Books (an imprint of Lerner) is promoting its featured titles for the fall, and that includes “A Hot Mess” (along with Victorya Rouse’s “Finding Refuge” and “Know Your Rights and Claim Them” by Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, and Geraldine Van Bueren). Check it out.

Stacked Books fall 2021 YA nonfiction preview

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

Stacked Books says we’re entering a “golden age of YA nonfiction,” and highlights some examples in its 2021 YA nonfiction preview. It highlights several key titles for fall 2021, including my new book “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World.”

An excerpt:

I think we’re entering a real golden age for YA nonfiction. I’d shared a great roundup of early 2021 YA nonfiction titles back in January, and while I’d had every intention of a mid-year update, those plans got waylaid by life. One upside of that, though, is now there’s a clear picture of what the rest of the year looks like for YA nonfiction and I’m so excited to share them.

A Hot Mess on NetGalley

Saturday, August 7th, 2021

My newest book, “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World,” is now available on NetGalley for reviewers. Here’s the description from the publisher:

We already know what climate change is and many of us understand the human causes. But what will climate change do to our world? Who will be affected (spoiler: all of us!) and how will our lives change in the future? Topics include sea levels, extreme weather, drought, animal and plant extinction, and human and animal migration. Drawing on real-life situations and stories, journalist Jeff Fleischer takes an informed, approachable look at how our world will likely change as a result of our actions, including suggestions on what we can still do to slow down these unprecedented effects.

Publishers Weekly releases fall list

Monday, July 26th, 2021

The Fall 2021 Publishers Weekly announcement of upcoming children’s books is out now (subscription required). And my new climate-change book “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis Is Changing Our World” is among the new titles highlighted. Preorders of the hardcover, paperback, and ebook are already available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with more stores on the way soon.

“The Midnight Tree” in Sandstorm

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

My short story “The Midnight Tree,” is out today in the 2021 annual issue of Sandstorm. I have a few more coming out soon.

An excerpt:

I don’t know when people started calling it the midnight tree, but throughout my childhood I never heard it called anything else. 

It was an oak tree, one thicker around the middle than any other I’ve seen. Its base spread out like melted candle wax, and some of the lines in the bark looked like they’d run uninterrupted for centuries. The branches were strong enough to hold any of the kids who climbed the tree on warm summer days.

Nonfiction resource for teachers, libraries

Friday, June 25th, 2021

My publisher, Lerner Books (of which Zest Books is an imprint) put together this useful resource for educators and librarians on Five Kinds of Nonfiction, with examples of Lerner/Zest books for each kind (including my own Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition).

PenDust Radio releases “Found Art, Lost Art”

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

For the third time, I have a short story included as an episode of the PenDust radio podcast from Rivercliff Books. Originally published as the chapbook “The Art Business” by the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal back in 2014, the story is now released as “Found Art, Lost Art.” You can listen to it at the site, or via Spotify, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, or wherever you get your podcasts.

An excerpt:

“How much did you say again?” Davis Javits had heard the number perfectly clearly. He didn’t doubt his hearing; it was his imagination that he mistrusted.

The heavyset man seated across from him grinned, unconsciously straightening the lapels on his obviously expensive suit. He casually leaned back in his chair, about as far as he could without tipping over. “One million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.” He’d said it as “one-point-two-five million” the previous time, but took the question as a lack of understanding. When that second response was met with only a quiet stare, The Suit leaned his girth forward, opened his metallic briefcase, and removed a strapped-together stack of bearer bonds that totaled the quoted amount. He handed the bearer bonds to Davis, who examined them in silence for so long that The Suit half expected him to bite one to verify its validity, like a cartoon version of a nineteenth-century merchant. “Satisfied?” The Suit asked, leaning back again.

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Nice review of Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition (and the first edition too), was specifically written so that it wasn’t about just one presidential election, but about elections more generally, including state and local ones. So it was nice to see the book featured in the Spring 2021 newsletter of the Rolling Meadows Public Library outside Chicago, as one of two books recommended in the Teen Scene section.

Second PenDust interview

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

PenDust Radio, the fiction and creative nonfiction podcast from Rivercliff Books, interviewed me a few months ago about both of my stories that it included in the podcast in 2020. The one about “Silver and Gold: A Hollywood Story” ran last month, and now there’s one about “Tell O’Toole O’Flaherty is Dead” out today. That story, originally published as “The Cat” in East Bay Review, is available at the PenDust site or on Spotify, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Interview with PenDust Radio

Monday, March 29th, 2021

PenDust Radio, the fiction and creative nonfiction podcast from Rivercliff Books, released an audio version of my short story “Silver and Gold: A Hollywood Story” last year. The site also interviewed me about both of the stories it has released, and the “Silver and Gold” one just went up today on YouTube.

You can listen to the story at the PenDust site or on Spotify, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, etc.

“She-Wolf” republished in Carmina

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

My short story “She-Wolf,” inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, is newly republished in the new March 2021 issue of Carmina. This story originally appeared in the Dante issue of Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review, which also released an audio version in 2018.

An excerpt:

As I ran from the shadows of the other beasts, the third of their cohort came before me. A she-wolf, lean and burdened with the cravings of every unfortunate soul who’d traveled this path. Her snarl and her bared teeth inspired a fear so great that I forsook my mountain destination for the darkness nearby, hoping to hide from the gaze of the lupine huntress.

Votes of Confidence featured by some cool bookstores

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

While the new book is still a few months away, it’s always nice to see my existing books featured by some cool bookstores. And since today is the one-year book birthday for the new edition of Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition, thought I’d highlight a few recent examples, including: Still North Books in Hanover, New Hampshire; Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio, Texas; The Last Bookstore and Children’s Book World in Los Angeles; Between the Covers in Telluride, Colorado; Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Washington; Folio Books in San Francisco; Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts; East End Books Ptown in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Dolly’s Bookstore in Park City, Utah. These and other indie bookstores are great places to grab a copy of the book.

“Haricots Noir” in Door is a Jar

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

The new issue of Door is a Jar magazine is out. It’s also available at Amazon as a print book and Kindle book. It includes my ridiculous Taco Bell-inspired parody story “Haricots Noir” (that is, “Black Beans”) and is my second appearance in the magazine.

An excerpt:

I had just taken the last bite of my gordita when she walked in.

Women like that didn’t come by my franchise very often. The way she dressed, the way she moved, she was a bit too classy for this joint. You could say she was a tall drink of Baja Blast in a medium paper cup.

A Hot Mess featured in Publishers Weekly

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The new issue of Publishers Weekly includes the publication’s Fall 2021 Children’s Sneak Previews. And my upcoming book A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World is among the books featured for fall (out 2 November 2021; available for preorder at Amazon or Barnes & Noble).

“Cassandra” in District Lit

Monday, February 15th, 2021

The pandemic has obviously been tough when it comes to new fiction, but stories are starting to come out again. That includes the new issue of District Lit, which includes my short story “Cassandra.”

An excerpt:

She was just closing the front gate when he pulled his car up to the house.

“Perfect timing,” he said. Cassandra smiled and shrugged.

A Hot Mess now available for preorder

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Some big news on the next-book front. My fifth book, “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World” is still in the editing process, but it comes out in November 2021. And that means it’s now available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with more outlets (including your local bookstore) coming soon. It’s available in both hardcover and paperback, with ebook editions (both Nook and Kindle) coming soon. Preorders always help. And if you read and enjoyed Votes of Confidence and/or Rockin’ the Boat, positive reviews of those books also help the algorithm. Thanks as always.

Votes on New York Public Library recommended list

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

The New York Public Library is one of the nation’s best and most prominent, so it was nice to see Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition featured in its new list of recommendations for teen and young-adult books for exploring our democracy. It features about two dozen books total, for elementary, middle, and high-school students.

Civics roundup from Lerner Books

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

With President Biden’s inauguration just a few days away, my publisher, Lerner Books, put out this handy list of civics books including Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition. The list has books for various age groups, all focused on giving young readers quality information about US government.

Votes featured in Ronnie’s Awesome List

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

After last week’s terrorist attack on the US Capitol, the Bay Area-based website Ronnie’s Awesome List put together this, well, awesome list of five books to teach kids about American democracy and give them a save way to talk about government and civics. Proud to have Votes of Confidence included in this list along with four other good resources.

Ronnie's Awesome List

Foreword Reviews interviews of 2020

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Along with my own books and stories, I also write book reviews for Foreword Reviews. Been doing that since 2012, and have reviewed more than one hundred books. Sometimes I get to do a short Q&A with an author whose book I recommend, and there’s an example here in the magazine’s “Best of 2020 Interviews” list.

Another story on PenDust Radio

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

A few weeks after my story “Silver and Gold” was an episode of the PenDust Radio podcast from Rivercliff Books, I have a second story up. Originally published as “The Cat” in East Bay Review four years ago, it’s now an audio version renamed “Tell O’Toole O’Flaherty is Dead.” There’s a short Q&A with me on the site below the story, with a video Q&A coming soon. Or you can listen to it on Spotify, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, etc.

An excerpt:

Sitting in a bar on Christmas Eve didn’t feel out of the ordinary for David Silver. He was still unmarried, and his last relationship had ended months earlier, before there was even an awkward discussion about whose parents they would visit and how much time he’d need to take off work and what was an appropriate amount to spend on gifts. He was an only child, and had come to an agreement with his parents to take a trip to Vegas together in the spring rather than have him spend an exorbitant amount and battle transit stress to fly to Minneapolis for a few days just because the calendar suggested it.

Booklist releases full list of stars for 2020

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

The 2nd Edition of Votes of Confidence for 2020 got an excellent starred review from Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association (ALA). For the end of the year, the magazine put out a special issue of all its starred books – the books that receive its highest recommendation – for 2020, and made the issue free for nonsubscribers. Great gift ideas, and a wonderful look back on the quality books published this year.

“Silver and Gold” now a PenDust Radio podcast episode

Friday, November 13th, 2020

My short (well, technically) story “Silver and Gold” is now an episode of the PenDust Radio podcast from Rivercliff Books. You can listen to it at the site, which includes a short Q&A with me about the story. Or you can listen to it on Spotify, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, etc.

An excerpt:

The letter arrived in a comically large envelope, larger than a standard manila one. Large enough that it could have held something much more important than a card-sized, handwritten note asking her to come to Los Angeles.

Carol Gold brought it home with the rest of her mail on her weekly trip to the box she maintained at the local post office. The handwriting on the return address looked familiar, but she didn’t immediately recognize it. She didn’t open it until she’d walked three miles home, placed her cane in its holder beside the back door, and eased herself into her overstuffed arm chair. Her Social Security check had arrived, along with a postcard from her grandniece traveling in Morocco, her usual assortment of magazine subscriptions, and dozens of examples of the predatory junk mail aimed at less-savvy women of her age. Carol thumbed through the mail, sorting it into piles to recycle, to save for later, and to read now while watching her daily dose of televised game shows.

Short interview on the Lerner Books blog

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

My publisher, Lerner Books, is undertaking a nonfiction initiative for schools and libraries, called “5 Kinds of Nonfiction.” As part of the discussion on traditional nonfiction, the Lerner blog has a short interview with me about Votes of Confidence (and Rockin’ the Boat).

An excerpt:

I was a news reader at a young age. I followed election coverage long before I was eligible to vote, and was always as interested in policy as in politics (that is, how those elected actually govern, or fail to do so). In college I majored in both journalism and history. The latter major focused on US history (two of my favorite courses were History of the Democratic Party and History of the Republican Party, with the same excellent professor). And my professional journalism work often focused on current affairs, including writing about presidential and local elections.

“River Have Mercy” in The Broken Plate

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Though delayed from spring by the COVID-19 pandemic, the new issue of The Broken Plate from Ball State University is out, and it features my short story “River Have Mercy.”

An excerpt:

The first time I saw her, she was sitting on a bench near the river. She was reading with her legs crossed, in a skirt just long enough to leave some things to my imagination, with one stockinged leg dangling over the other. She moved it like a pendulum, hypnotically, in the rhythm of some song I couldn’t hear, but which brought a shy smile to her face.

Lots of reading lists recommending Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Just a few weeks from Election Day 2020, and with early voting already underway in many states, lots of bookstores and libraries are putting out reading lists with resources to learn more, and happy to report that Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition is showing up on a lot of them. Here are a few (collecting the recent ones here in one post):

The legendary New York Public Library recommended Votes on its “2020 Election Reading List for Teens.”

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh made Votes a Staff Pick for its October 14 “Elections and Voting” reading list (not just for teens).

Similarly, the San Jose Public Library featured it and other voting books for its “YA Friday” on October 9.

Berlin-Peck Memorial Library in Berlin, Connecticut published this list of books on democracy on October 12. The same list also appeared via Patch.

Alachua County Library in Florida shared this list of “Great Teen Reads for Election Season.”

Ferndale Public Library in Michigan put together this list of voting books for kids and young adults on September 28.

Des Moines Public Library in Iowa included the book on a list of voting-rights books ahead of a September 24 voting event.

Williamsburg Regional Library in Williamsburg, Virginia put together a list of reading material to go with a voting event it hosted.

The book was among Ms. Melanie Roy’s monthly book recommendations for September on her blog.

Also, noting a couple of others already mentioned on the blog:

This great review and list from Orange Marmalade Books.

This list from Wayland Free Library in Wayland, Massachusetts.

This August list from the blog Five Minute Librarian.

Book signing in Ottawa, Illinois, this weekend

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Doing my first socially-distant book signing of the pandemic era this weekend in Ottawa, Illinois (near Starved Rock). It’s part of the city’s literary festival and is co-sponsored by Prairie Fox Books and the Reddick Library. If you can’t make it, I’ll try to sign some extra stock for Prairie Fox.

Pushcart nomination for “Grandmama Sadie’s Power Play”

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

Saturday morning I joined the online launch for the new 9th edition of So It Goes by the Kurt Vonnegut Library and Museum. Many contributors got to speak briefly about their piece and answer a question. But the coolest part for me came at the end, learning the journal nominated me for a 2020 Pushcart Prize. Learning that live on Zoom was a very 2020 way to learn cool news.

“Grandmama Sadie’s Power Play” in the new So It Goes Journal

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

For the third time in the last four years, one of my fiction stories is appearing in the annual literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. That included “Out Back” in the 6th edition, “White Cliffs” in the 8th, and now “Grandmama Sadie’s Power Play” in the 9th edition of So It Goes Journal, with the theme of civic engagement. I’ll be joining an online launch on October 3, and read a short excerpt as a preview (viewable through the link).

An excerpt:

Folks always said Grandmama Sadie lived to a ripe old age but, truth be told, she left that in the dust some twenty years before she rang old St. Peter’s doorbell. She liked to joke that her secret was a healthy mix of fried eggs, rye whiskey, and a lack of hard labor.

It wasn’t entirely true. She could still swing an axe like a logger right up till the end.

So It Goes Literary Journal Issue No. 9 - Civic Engagement

Q&A about both fiction and nonfiction in Oscilloscope

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Mentioned that “Attempted Murder” appears in the new issue of Oscilloscope, but also worth pointing out that the magazine included the publisher’s Q&A with me about both some recent fiction stories and recent and upcoming nonfiction books. It appears below the story if you scroll down on the page.

An excerpt:

1. There is a scene in “Attempted Murder” where the protagonist needs to choose between going to work or potentially being killed. Is that in any way meant to be a satire regarding our current situation where many workers need to choose between their jobs and the risks of COVID?

The idea for this particular story came along about a year ago, before COVID. I keep a running list of story ideas with notes to work on in the future, and the list had gotten pretty long this year because I was on a book deadline for about nine months that ate most of my writing time. Though I can definitely see where that interpretation would make sense.

“Attempted Murder” in Oscilloscope

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Recently had the honor of writing a fiction story on commission for the first time, and the resulting story, “Attempted Murder,” is now published at Oscilloscope, as part of its fall (and for now, final) issue.

An excerpt:

“I’m going to kill you.”

Roger Sheridan wasn’t sure he’d actually heard those words.

Then he heard them again. “I’m going to kill you.”

All Roger had wanted to do that Monday morning was eat his breakfast on his back porch in peace. It was usually a pleasant way to start the week; now, he was looking around to find the source of a threat, which was doing nothing to help his anxiety level.

Cool window display

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Cool window display at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma, California. Not only because it features Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition, but that doesn’t hurt.

Votes of Confidence included in Arkansas PBS toolkit

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

With the 2020 election growing ever closer, wanted to recommend this handy toolkit from Arkansas PBS, which has lots of resources for parents who are homeschooling during coronavirus or helping their children with remote learning. I’m proud to see Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition on its short list of recommended books for high-school students. This is an important election, and civics education is more important than ever in an age of online misinformation.

Votes of Confidence earns a spot on another Election 2020 list

Monday, August 31st, 2020

Got a nice review from Orange Marmalade Books for Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition for election 2020, which included the book on a list of election resources. While not a fan of the cover, the reviewer had some nice things to say about the text itself, including:

“Here is the only book you’ll need to cover the basics of American elections, the book I was madly looking for during the years I was teaching American history/government to teens, but alas, it didn’t exist at that time. “

Another list of civics resources highlights Votes of Confidence

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition has landed on quite a few lists of resources for the 2020 election, including this one from Wayland Free Library. Always nice to see libraries and bookstores recommending the book, and reviews/requests are always a big help.

Reading with Press 53 for the Everywhere Stories collection

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Back in 2018, Everywhere Stories by Press 53 included my short story “Out Back” in its third edition. With lit readings moving online, the press is hosting a series of readings of those stories, and I participated in the first round, reading the first few parts of that story.


“Votes of Confidence among Storytel’s children’s books of the year

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

The streaming service Storytel released its list of children’s books of the year and included the audiobook version of Votes of Confidence. Because it’s audio only, the site really selected the 2016 edition that comes in audiobook form. But still, cool to be included.

San Jose Library recommends “Rockin’ the Boat”

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

The San Jose Public Library just put out a great list of “larger than life” biographies for young-adult readers. It includes my book “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X,” which was a 2017 Illinois Reads selection by the Illinois Reading Council. The book was briefly available only in print due to publisher changes, but is now also available on Kindle again.

Votes of Confidence wins International Book Award

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

The 2020 International Books Awards by the American Book Fest released their list of winners and finalists. There are tons of categories, and Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition was named the winner for Young Adult Non-Fiction.

International Book Awards - Honoring Excellence in Independent & Mainstream  Publishing

Podcast on the Lerner Books blog

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Earlier this week, I recorded a podcast with Rachel Zugschwert of the Lerner Books blog, to talk about Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition for 2020 and the 2020 election and voting more generally. The podcast is now available here, as well as on Spotify and other streaming apps.

Bay Area Book Festival reading list

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

The Bay Area Book Festival this year, which was originally going to happen in Berkeley in early May, instead moved online this year. I recorded a panel on voting for it, and was pleased that Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition was also included in this list of cool books featured in the festival.

Bay Area Book Festival Panel

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

With so many book events canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, my panel at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley became an online event. I joined Dr. Carol Anderson and Elizabeth Rusch for a discussion of voting rights, moderated by Khepera Lyons-Clark of Cinnamongirl, a rising college freshman and the kind of engaged young voter of whom we need more.

First draft of the next book is done

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

This morning I sent the first draft of my next book to the publisher. “A Hot Mess: How the Climate Crisis is Changing Our World” should be out in September 2021 from Lerner Books, and will be my fifth non-fiction book. It will explain climate change and its impacts for a young-adult audience, in a style similar to “Rockin’ the Boat” and “Votes of Confidence.” More details here and on Twitter as they become available.

Nice review of “Redundancy” in Oscilloscope

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Saw this a little late, but my short story “Redundancy” in the Spring 2020 issue of Glassworks received a nice review in the online literary magazine Oscilloscope. The magazine also commissioned a story from me for its fall issue, which I’m already working on.

An excerpt:

Fleischer’s work is deeply comical, although in a subtle way.  There is pain to the punchlines and some darkly comedic asides, yet overall the story is told in a straightforward manner similar to early Kafka.

Reading of (part of) “Redundancy”

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

As part of its spring issue, Glassworks released readings of the stories. Because I was on a tight book deadline still, I didn’t have time to rehearse and film a reading myself, but senior editor Steve Royek took over those duties. The story is too long for a full read, but here’s an excerpt.

Best-seller in category at Good e-Reader

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Nice to see the ebook version of Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition still consistently placing as a top-ten best-seller in category at Good e-Reader. It’s been up there on the list since its release, and is #5 as of today.

Korean-language edition of Rockin’ the Boat available online

Friday, May 8th, 2020

The Korean-language edition of Rockin’ the Boat came out in 2019 (I got a copy in the mail, and it’s very cool even though I can’t read Korean). Thought it was worth mentioning that it’s also available to order online. If you (or someone you know) reads Korean, grab a copy.

Bay Area Book Festival moving online

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

One of the book events I was really looking forward to for Votes of Confidence was the Bay Area Book Festival, scheduled to be held in Berkeley, California the first weekend in May. Obviously, the global pandemic led to its cancellation, but the event is moving online, including the panel on which I’ll be speaking.

The event’s been getting some great publicity lately, including in The Mercury News, San Francisco Book Review, and Capitol Books on K.

“Helium” in the new Synchronous issue of PacificREVIEW

Friday, April 10th, 2020

The new Synchronous issue of the annual PacificREVIEW from San Diego State University is out, and it includes my short story “Helium.” It’s also available to purchase.

An excerpt:

“They don’t do it anymore,” Lucy explained. “It was bad for the birds. They used to choke.”

“On the cards?” Abbi asked. She always had questions.

“On the balloons. They’d land somewhere in the middle of a field, or in a tree somewhere. They pop. Or the air goes out. Either way, birds could eat them and choke.”

Nice Votes review by The One and Only Marfalfa

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Got a nice Votes of Confidence review today from the blog The One and Only Marfalfa, which focuses on exactly the kind of reader who is often ill-served by civics book (and who I had in mind when I first pitched the book).

An excerpt:

I’ve never been much of a political person and my understanding of our government was pretty limited, informed as much by School House Rock as it was by actual school lessons. I’m prone to avoiding anything with a political slant. So for me to work my way through this book with any degree of interest or comprehension should be considered a feat and a measure of praise for the author…I highly recommend this one to any reader, teen or adult, who wants to better understand our political system.

New Votes of Confidence study guide

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Just like we did for the original 2016 edition, my publisher and I put together a teaching guide for the Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition, as a free resource to help teachers and librarians use the book as part of a civics or history curriculum and to help students prepare for Election 2020. Finished this well before social distancing and the corona outbreak, but it’ll serve well for a home-schooling situation.

A St. Louis best-seller!

Friday, March 13th, 2020

Always nice to see your book on a best-seller list, and according to West End Word, the Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition was a best-seller in St. Louis this week, thanks to the efforts of Left Bank Books.

Votes of Confidence launch at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Four years ago, I did my first Votes of Confidence book launch at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. So when it came time to do a Chicago launch for the Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition, it was an event tonight at the Book Cellar.

Given the uncertainty around the novel coronavirus, which means my job switches to work-from-home for a few weeks starting tomorrow, turnout was lower than last time. But still got about twenty people for a great Q&A and discussion. Signed a lot of stock too, if you want to support a great local bookstore by buying an autographed copy.

Publisher Q&A for Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

To celebrate the launch of Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition, the publisher (Lerner Books) had me do a Q&A about the 2020 election. They asked some good questions about electability, voter suppression, electronic voting, etc. Check it out.

Votes of Confidence launch at Left Bank Books in St. Louis

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Had my first-ever St. Louis book event at Left Bank Books, featuring an interview by Gabe Fleisher of Wake Up to Politics followed by an hour or so of audience Q&A. It was a really fun event, and a great way to kick off the 2nd Edition. I also signed a bunch of “Votes of Confidence” 2nd Editions and a few copies of “Rockin’ the Boat,” so you can get a signed copy even if you couldn’t make the event.

“Missed Connection” microfiction in Ephimiliar Journal

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

I have a new microfiction story, “Missed Connection,” out in the new issue of Ephimiliar Journal, accompanied by custom artwork from the magazine.

An excerpt:

We met the Weavers the day we moved in. They brought us hot dishes and promised we could stop over anytime we wanted. 

“Redundancy” in the new issue of Glassworks

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

The new issue of Glassworks came out today, featuring my (longish) short story “Redundancy.”

An excerpt:

Regina Maplewood had pored over dozens of files, for more hours than she cared to count. She had questions about several, but the one that most befuddled her was that of Charles Finnegan and Hartwin, the only pair of employees housed in the same folder.

Since her arrival from London, Ms. Maplewood had followed the same routine each morning. She would arrive before most of the staff, make a large instant coffee with the white powder meant to approximate cream, and take a brisk walk to the spartan records room at the far end of the building.

Excellent review of Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition in School Library Journal

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

School Library Journal reviewed Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition in its new issue, and gave it a really lovely review.

An excerpt:

“Written in a conversational tone, the text reads like course notes from a beloved teacher. Fleischer presents a potentially didactic subject matter in a digestible and organized manner. A historical overview of the formation of our government contextualizes the current social and political climate. Provided resources will help readers navigate the information landscape in an era of social media and misinformation. Those interested in learning more about an aspect of the election cycle, voting rights issues, or ways of getting involved will find this book to be a satisfactory tool for their information needs. This title is a history lesson, civics compendium, and call to action combined in one engaging volume. ­VERDICT Recommended for middle to high school students, educators, and others interested in becoming civically informed and engaged.”

Back at Anderson’s Children’s Literature Breakfast

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

I’m a featured author against this year at the Anderson’s Bookstore annual Children’s Literature Breakfast in Westridge, Illinois, this weekend. I will be signing the new 2nd edition of Votes of Confidence (not yet available in stores, but several copies at the event) and meeting with librarians and teachers. Even if you’re not at my table, say hi.

Starred review in ALA Booklist for the new Votes of Confidence

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

With the new Votes of Confidence 2nd Edition out in a couple weeks, happy to share this starred review by Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association.

An excerpt:

“Fleischer clearly and understandably explains how the American government came to be and how it’s supposed to work. He describes the three branches, how a bill becomes a law, reasons for and against the Electoral College, primaries, and national, state, and local general elections. Political parties, campaigns, debates, financing, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and ballot initiatives are covered. The text emphasizes what young people need to know to vote, where to get accurate political information, and how to become more involved in politics…Fleischer avoids making the topic dry or boring by using conversational language and includes surprising facts that make this a very readable, engaging, and entertaining history of American elections and politics for young people. Highly recommended.”

The Booklist Review – BAUERSbooks

Several Votes of Confidence events to announce

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

With the new 2nd edition of Votes of Confidence for the 2020 election out on March 3 (preorders still available), three cool events to announce:

Left Bank Books in St. Louis – 2 pm on Sunday, March 8

The Book Cellar in Chicago – 7 pm on Thursday, March 12

Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley – TBA on May 2-3

“Paying the Piper” in Landlocked

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

The new issue of Landlocked (which used to be Beecher’s) at the University of Kansas is out now, and it includes my short story “Paying the Piper.”

An excerpt:

When the phone rang early Thursday afternoon, the Piper didn’t answer it right away.

It rang a few times, the dusty receiver vibrating on its base, before he realized what was making the noise. Honestly, it had been so long since anyone called the landline that he forgot he even had it. The landlord had set it up years ago and, since it wasn’t a separate bill, he never thought to disconnect it. The Piper eventually rolled himself off the edge of his bed and ambled to the desk.

Interview with John Connelly in Foreword Reviews

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Today I have another entry in a series of author interviews for Foreword Reviews. I interviewed John Connelly about “From Peoples Into Nations,” a massive and thorough, but also quite engaging, look at how the nations of Eastern Europe formed out of the remnants of old empires and became independent states.

“Seams” in Underwood Press

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Another short fiction story newly published. In this case, it’s “Seams,” in the new issue of Underwood Press.

An excerpt:

“I ever tell you about the time I struck out Ted Williams?”

Lefty Clarkson had told me this story at least half a dozen times, but he never waited for an answer before continuing. Besides, when you’re a kid and a former baseball player talks to you, you don’t really care how many times he tells you the same thing. It was like being invited into a secret clubhouse. He had dozens of stories like it, each a tale of a minor league pitcher’s fleeting victory against one of the game’s greats.

“Burdens” in Door is a Jar

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

The new issue of Door is a Jar is out, in both ebook and print form, and it includes my microfiction story “Burdens.”

An excerpt:

Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, after more than nine million uphill journeys, the boulder stayed in place. He waited there, anticipating the rock rolling back down like always. It did not.


Cobalt reprints “Granddad’s Ballgame”

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

My short story “Granddad’s Ballgame,” originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in 2016, was a finalist for the Cobalt Earl Weaver Baseball Prize, and is republished in Cobalt’s annual baseball issue.

An excerpt:

When my Granddad was just a boy, to hear him tell it, there were only three things he ever wanted to do in his life. One was to get the girl who lived on the farm catty-corner to take a shine to him. Another was to see the world, or at least some part of the world outside Indiana. The third was to make a ballplayer out of himself.

Now by the time he left school, truth be told, he hadn’t made a whole lot of progress. The neighbor girl, Katie Lee, had taken to a chaste courtship with an older man, though Granddad reckoned that arrangement would prove temporary, on account of the wife everyone knew the man had back in town. The farthest Granddad had yet ventured was down to Bean Blossom for a couple of FFA get-togethers, which showed him so little of the world he deemed it statistically insignificant.

“Murder Ballads” in Route 7 Review

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

The annual edition of Route 7 Review by Dixie State University is out now, and includes “Murder Ballads,” a short story about the music genre.

An excerpt:

After brushing a few spare chips into a pile, the portly dealer took the top card from the deck and slapped it forcefully on the discard pile to burn it. He placed the next offering as the fifth card in the middle of the table, and flipped it. The eight of diamonds. If the tavern windows weren’t shut tight, Clive would have sworn he felt a breeze. He tried to keep his expression blank as he revisited his hand and scanned the faces of his opponents.

Reading at the Vonnegut Museum

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Mentioned this a while back, but tomorrow I get to give a reading at the grand opening of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. The new issue of the museum’s So It Goes literary journal launches during the event, and commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Slaughterhouse Five. I’ll be reading from my story “White Cliffs,” included in the journal.

An excerpt:

Even with his windows shut, Arthur could easily hear the rise and fall of the air-raid siren. Seconds later, his radio joined its chorus.

A couple of years ago, the dual tone was an almost constant presence, first alerting everyone to the German planes overhead and then providing the all-clear when London had held serve for another day. The looping sound always reminded Arthur of the stories he and his brother Davey used to tell while camping, when they would try to scare one another by moaning like ghosts or banshees on some far-off moor.

Interview with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in Foreword Reviews

Friday, November 8th, 2019

For a series Foreword Reviews has been running for a few years, I occasionally interview authors after reviewing their books (and only for books I truly recommend). In this case, it’s an interview with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor about her engaging and sadly timely “Race for Profit,” exploring the history of discriminatory and racist housing policy in the United States.

Interview with Kenneth Womack for Foreword Reviews

Friday, October 4th, 2019

For Foreword Reviews, I recently reviewed “Solid State,” which was a fantastic examination of the Beatles’ recording of their masterpiece “Abbey Road,” an album I’ve enjoyed as long as I can remember. I also interviewed the author, Kenneth Womack, about this latest of his many great books about the Beatles.

Interview with B.J. Hollars for Foreword Reviews

Friday, August 30th, 2019

I’ve been reviewing books for Foreword Reviews since 2012, and sometimes get to do short interviews for the magazine with authors whose books I recommended. So here’s one I did with B.J. Hollars about his really enjoyable book “Midwestern Strange,” which explores a number of cryptid legends centered in the Midwestern United States, from the hodag to mothman.

“Votes of Confidence” 2020 available for preorder

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

I updated my 2016 civics best-seller, “Votes of Confidence” for a new 2020 edition, and it’s now available for preorder on Amazon, and coming soon to your favorite bookstores. The new edition comes out March 3, 2020.

“Signature” in Mojave River Review

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Heading out of the country for a couple weeks shortly, but my short story “Signature” is out in the new edition of Mojave River Review.

An excerpt:

Though the letters had barely faded, Hal realized he was unable to determine the identity of the man behind the decades-old signature.

Since he and Alice had never gotten around to having children of their own, he didn’t have a baseball at the ready when his young nephew asked, mid-barbecue, if they could play catch. And since never having a family had also meant never buying a house large enough to accommodate one, they had also never gotten around to unpacking all of Hal’s old sports equipment, which remained stowed in cardboard boxes, the ones stacked up in the downstairs closet.

“Split Peas” in Orange Blossom Review

Monday, July 1st, 2019

The new issue of Orange Blossom Review is out, and it includes my short story “Split Peas” about a couple that never quite worked out.

An excerpt:

Walter still didn’t understand why Victoria felt the need to spit in his beer.

When they were dating, they kissed all the time. Deeply, nearly always using their tongues. In the three years they were together, he must have swallowed several pints’ worth of her saliva. It wasn’t like a few drops of it here and there were going to hurt him.

Print issue of Chaffin Journal out, including “Focal Point”

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

The new issue of Chaffin Journal is out. It’s only in print at the moment, but it includes “Focal Point.”

An excerpt:

A deep breath. Feel the air enter the lungs, let it circulate, return it where it came. Think about it every time, focus on it. What it means to live.

Winfield had acquired the habit during the war. “Respire till you expire,” his commander repeated constantly during drills, but never so often that he could say it without chuckling at his own wordplay. Though Winfield found the mantra annoying at the time, he fell back on it in practice. It focused him. Each inhalation was crucial. Each one more temporary extension of his hard-earned rent in this world.

Kirkus reviews up for both books

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Both of my last two books received positive reviews from Kirkus, and now those issues are online. Here’s the one for Votes of Confidence, and here’s the one for Rockin’ the Boat. I’ve posted them online before, but it’s cool to see them in a full issue.

“The Tomb” in Windmill

Monday, May 20th, 2019

More news on the fiction front, as “The Tomb” is published in the new issue of Windmill by Hofstra University. I got the print copy a bit ago, but now it’s online too.

An excerpt:

We first noticed them in the spring.

Rhonda and I had moved into the third-floor walk-up in late February. Her mother had suggested we would find a better deal if we changed apartments in the winter, when fewer renters would be willing to let snow and sleet dictate which days they could tour empty spaces. She was right, and we found a lovely vintage building whose owner had let it sit vacant for too long. He was so glad for tenants to stop the bleeding that we paid well below our target price.

“Luck” appears in THAT Literary Review

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Been a couple months since the last round of stories were published, but the streak breaks now, as the new edition of THAT Literary Review from Auburn University came out today, including my microfiction story “Luck.”

An excerpt:

John was never quite sure if he believed in lucky pennies, or if picking them up was a habit passed down from his superstitious grandmother.

“Redundancy” named a semifinalist for 2019 Vonnegut Prize

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

While it didn’t win the big prize, my short story “Redundancy” was named a semifinalist for the 2019 Vonnegut Prize, given out by North American Review, based out of the University of Northern Iowa.


Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Literature Breakfast #5

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, I’m a featured author at the Anderson’s Bookstore annual Children’s Literature Breakfast in the western suburbs this weekend. With Votes of Confidence awaiting a new edition, I will be signing Rockin’ the Boat and meeting with librarians and teachers. If you’re going, stop by and say hi.

Once Upon a Time in Alexandria out now

Friday, December 21st, 2018

My short story “The Tin Platoon” appears in the new edition of Curating Alexandria, which focuses on fairy tales.  Even cooler, they asked me to write the introduction to the collection. This book, titled Once Upon a Time in Alexandria, is the third produced in the series, the second to feature me, and available as both a print book and an e-book.

An excerpt:

Once upon a time, people began telling a new kind of story.

They already had legends and myths — tales that the storyteller presented as real events, and that audiences (at least initially) believed. Incredible things routinely happened in those stories, but they were presented as miracles, magic, or the work of supernatural powers who the listeners would be wise to take seriously.

“About the Time” in Manhattanville Review

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

The winter issue of The Manhattanville Review came out today, including my short story “About the Time.”

An excerpt:

“I have a silly question,” she says.

She always likes to talk after. Usually about whatever album I have playing on the stereo. She glides her cheek along my right armpit and onto my chest, so I can wrap my arm around her with barely a movement. My cotton undershirt still smells like her, with our sweats harmonizing as I gently rub my hand through her hair in rhythm and Dylan sings of a muse taking his voice and leaving him howling at the moon. In the second person, as if he’s talking about Marie and the way she can render me speechless with the right look.

“She-Wolf” in Zoetic Press

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

For the fourth time, I have a story in Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review. “She-Wolf” appears in the new Dante’s Inferno issue. It’s also available as a podcast, the first time I’ve had a fiction story appear as an audio story.

An excerpt:

As I ran from the shadows of the other beasts, the third of their cohort came before me. A she-wolf, lean and burdened with the cravings of every unfortunate soul who’d traveled this path. Her snarl and her bared teeth inspired a fear so great that I forsook my mountain destination for the darkness nearby, hoping to hide from the gaze of the lupine huntress.

NonBinary Review #19: Dante's Inferno by [Zoetic  Press, Lise Quintana]

New publisher

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Couldn’t post about this earlier, but Zest Books was recently acquired by Lerner Books. That means Rockin’ the Boat and Votes of Confidence are now part of the Lerner family, and the 2020 edition of Votes will be published by the new publisher.

“The Tomb” in Hofstra’s Windmill

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

My short story “The Tomb” is newly published, with Hofstra University’s literary magazine, Windmill. I haven’t gotten the issue yet, but can’t wait to see it.

An excerpt:

We first noticed them in the spring.

Rhonda and I had moved into the third-floor walk-up in late February. Her mother had suggested we would find a better deal if we changed apartments in the winter, when fewer renters would be willing to let snow and sleet dictate which days they could tour empty spaces. She was right, and we found a lovely vintage building whose owner had let it sit vacant for too long. He was so glad for tenants to stop the bleeding that we paid well below our target price.


Curating Alexandria’s Halloween edition now out

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

The Halloween edition of Curating Alexandria is now out in both book and ebook form, and features my short story “Ite In Pace,” which originally appeared in  The Write Launch.

An excerpt:

The family palazzo I inherited only after it had passed through many hands. You will not suppose, however, that I wasn’t pleased to own it. The lot of minor nobility is to be begrudged for wealth one doesn’t have, because some ancestors held it and passed it along through other tributaries of the family line.


Citron Review publishes “Tamed”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

My story Tamed, based on The Little Prince, was published today as the flash fiction story in the new issue of  The Citron Review.

An excerpt:

Life had once again become monotonous. He still hunted chickens that all seemed alike, and avoided the men who hunted him, all of whom seemed similarly alike. He spent most of his time alone and bored under the apple tree, always alert for threats or food. 

New Press 53 collection out soon

Friday, August 17th, 2018

My story “Out Back” appeared in the 2016 edition of  So It Goes by the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. It is now anthologized in the third edition of Press 53’s collection Everywhere Stories.

An excerpt:

At a quarter to nine, the last of the petrol ran out.

Peter went to the back of the rented campervan to check, hoping Freya was right that they’d taken one extra canister, but knowing she probably wasn’t. He made a point of moving the boxes of supplies around so she could hear that he was being thorough, but he found no more petrol. They were stranded.


ES Vol III.jpg

New short story, “Encouragement”

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

As part of a collaboration with a prompt from my friend Esther, I wrote a piece called “Encouragement.” The story is now published in Tower Journal, my second appearance in that magazine. 

An excerpt:

“I don’t want to talk about it!”


“Not this again,” his mother said. Wendy knew from her first two progeny that it was important to encourage a child’s creativity. She also knew that there was a fine line between that encouragement and cementing bad habits. Her oldest’s brief dalliance with clown college probably could have been stopped in its infancy.

Avatar Review republishes an Alice in Wonderland story

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

“The Lion, the Unicorn and the Dragon” is now thrice published, with its appearance today in the new issue of Avatar Review.

An excerpt:

“They’re at it again,” one of the messengers yelled, and Alice couldn’t help but feel curious. As she had earlier, she followed the king to the edge of the gathered crowd. Alice could see only a cloud of dust in which the Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown.

Signing books at Printers Row

Friday, June 8th, 2018

It’s a rainy weekend, but the Printers Row Literary Festival, run by the Chicago Tribune, is going to be great. I’ll be one of the writers signing at the Chicago Writers Association tent, with copies of both Votes of Confidence and Rockin’ the Boat available for $12 each (free autograph, of course). The Votes copies are among the last first editions before the 2018 edition comes out; all that’s left is what stores already have in stock. I’ll be there from 3-6 pm Saturday, in Row O.

Scene & Heard publishes “A Day Off”

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Second Friday in a row with a newly published short story to share. An older piece I fixed up recently, “A Day Off” was published today by Scene & Heard Journal.

An excerpt:

On Saturday morning, Detective Baker took his golden retriever puppy, Partner, to the dog park on Fifth. In a ratty old concert t-shirt and cargo shorts, he lobbed a tennis ball to the dog, who raced like a fuzzy dynamo after it, and the pair spent nearly an hour repeating the ritual. The autumn fog left the grass damp, but once the former cop had resigned himself to having to bathe the dog later, he was content to just play fetch as the park started to fill with neighbors and their pets.

Golden Retriever puppy

“He Knocked” in the new issue of The Rush

Friday, June 1st, 2018

My latest short-story offering. “He Knocked” came out today in the new issue of The Rush, the literary magazine of Mount Saint Mary’s.

An excerpt:

He knocked at about a quarter to six on a Tuesday, just as Stacy had finished setting out all the ingredients for her pasta primavera and started to chop the green beans.

She didn’t hear him at first.

“Sole Proprietor” in the new issue of The Sea Letter

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The Sea Letter’s new print issue is available for purchase, and it includes my (long) short story “Sole Proprietor.”

An excerpt:

If she’d had the good fortune to be born three hundred years earlier, Sally O’Brien would have inherited a lucrative profession. Back then, the landed gentry types were willing to pay good money for the skills of an excellent cobbler, and a working tradesman would know the value of repairing a good piece of hand-stitched leather or a sturdy sole rather than replacing a pair of shoes. Not that there wouldn’t have been downsides to living three hundred years earlier. She wouldn’t have been as tall, or lived as long, or been as well educated. She probably wouldn’t have been able to inherit and run the family cobbler shop either.

Image of Issue 2 - spring 2018

HCE Review publishes “Seaweed and Salt”

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

I’m published in an Irish literary magazine for the first time. My short story “Seaweed and Salt” is in the new issue of HCE Review.

An excerpt:

She never had to wonder when the lady had been in the house. The trail of salt always told her.


Siobhan came in from the garden with two baskets of turnips. She had been digging up the tubers all day, brushing the silty seaside soil from each root with an old rag. The humidity gave her long, red hair the look of a distended bird’s nest, and she wanted to draw a cold bath before preparing her evening meal.

“Blood ” in Ghost Parachute

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

My short story “Blood,” about how much it would stink to have stigmata, is out today in the new issue of Ghost Parachute.

An excerpt:

The bleeding still drove him crazy. Every time.

As usual, it had started in the night, and Frederick woke up to the sticky feeling of blood in his bedsheets. He had long ago switched from white linen sheets to a burgundy cotton that could handle the stains, provided he washed them thoroughly every time the blood stopped flowing. A sisyphean cycle, but he rationalized that all laundry was in its way.


“The Machine” anthologized in Alcyone

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

My story “The Machine” appeared two years ago in Chicago Literati, and is now anthologized in Issue II of Alcyone, both in Kindle form and in paperback.

An excerpt:

The time machine really had seemed like a good idea.

Dr. Wyatt had spent the better part of his long career working on the technology and the process. Of course, when he opened his research to peer review, there were always other scientists who questioned the ethical implications of his endeavor, wondering if sending people back in time would dangerously alter the present, or even arguing that the existing present was already the byproduct of some inevitable future discovery of time travel. While they questioned his ethics, though, Wyatt always pointed out that none of them questioned the accuracy of his science. He’d effectively solved one of the great challenges of modern thought, a seemingly impossible task the greatest minds in the world had contemplated for more than a century.

That turned out to be the easy part.

Interview with Joseph Rosenbloom for Foreword Reviews

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

I’ve reviewed literally hundreds of books for Foreword Reviews, which now also features interviews with authors. Hopefully, I’ll get to be one of those authors when the next project comes out, but in the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Joseph Rosenbloom about his excellent book “Redemption,” about the last days of Martin Luther King’s life.

“Sunshine” in O:JA&L

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Published the second of the 100-word flash stories I wrote around the holidays. “Sunshine” is now in the new issue of Open: Journal Arts & Letters.

An excerpt:

“I’ll play any song you want,” the busker promised, if only they’d put five dollars in her case.

Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast #4

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

On February 24, I was honored to make my fourth straight appearance as a featured author at the Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast in suburban Woodridge, meeting many librarians and teachers throughout Illinois. It’s always a great event with a lot of great local authors and fascinating keynote speakers.

Third appearance in Crack the Spine

Friday, February 16th, 2018

For the third time, I have a microfiction story in the online magazine Crack the Spine. In this case, for issue #232, it’s “Father’s Wishes.”

An excerpt:

His last request was that we shouldn’t bury him on the Sabbath.

“Just One” in Foliate Oak

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

I wrote a few 100-word flash stories a little before the holidays and started submitting them. The first one to be published, “Just One” is now in the new issue of Foliate Oak.

An excerpt:

“The guard’s not looking,” the man whispered, and the flash of the woman’s camera momentarily lit the dark gallery.”

“Civil Disobedience” in Two Hawks Quarterly

Monday, December 18th, 2017

“Civil Disobedience” is my latest published short story, appearing in the new issue of the newly redesigned Two Hawks Quarterly.

An excerpt:

“The sign couldn’t be more clear now, could it?”


The officer had a point. Oscar knew better than to talk back to a city cop and had carefully handed over his identification when asked. By this time, he could follow the whole procedure just through muscle memory, careful never to move too suddenly.

Two Hawks Quarterly

“Guaranteed Age” in Typishly

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

My short story “Guaranteed Age” appears in the new issue of Typishly. It’s named an Editor’s Choice story, and I like that it’s described as “Relationships. Whiskey.” This story originally appeared on my friend Esther’s blog.

An excerpt:

It seemed like such a great concept the first time Rodney heard it. Guaranteed age.

Walking through a maze of copper pot stills, the guide on the distillery tour explained how the fermented mash boiling all around them would need to age three years in an oak barrel before ever being sampled by the public. She must have intuited that Rodney and Virginia were still in the giddy glow of a honeymoon, winking at them as she monologued about how the single-malt whiskey conveniently available for purchase in the tasting room would only improve with age. How its flavors would stand out more, while keeping perfect balance, as the decades wore on. 


“Nostalgia” in Tower Journal

Monday, November 6th, 2017

A flash-fiction story out today. Part of a series of shorts I wrote earlier this year to get comfortable with the 100-word form, “Nostalgia” appears in the new fall 2017 issue of Tower Journal.

An excerpt:

Some summers during rainstorms, the river overfilled and a few of the basements along Exeter Road flooded.

Successful visit to Illinois Reading Council annual convention

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

As part of Illinois Reads, I took part in the Illinois Reading Council’s 50th annual conference in Peoria. I gave a short lecture Thursday on writing non-fiction for a young adult audience, signed books with the rest of the Illinois Reads authors, and took part in a “speed-dating” event with librarians and teachers who signed up to get a copy of “Rockin’ the Boat” and talk to me about it. This was a great event, and I’m really hoping to see “Votes of Confidence” on the list for 2019. And future books for future years.

IL Reading Council (@ILReadCouncil) | Twitter

Shout out from the Secretary of State’s Office

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

As noted a few times on this blog, “Rockin’ the Boat,” my 2015 book about revolutionaries, is one of the Illinois Reads books for 2017. This month, it gets a mention in the monthly newsletter of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Third appearance in Zoetic Press

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review has published me for the third time. After appearing in the “Arabian Nights” and “Alice in Wonderland” issues, I’m now in the Hans Christian Andersen issue, with my short story “The Tin Platoon.” There is a small fee to purchase the downloadable issue.

An excerpt:

Where his number had once been five and twenty, the soldier now awoke to find the spot beside him empty, and his rank now the lowest among his brethren.

As all were in their box when the unipedal soldier first went missing, they initially believed the snuffbox goblin’s story that it must have been the wind that moved him to the windowsill, and onward to further misadventures. Adventures unknown to the soldiers until their wounded comrade returned days later, smelling of the sea and carried by the flustered house cook.

NonBinary Review 14: The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen by [Carina  Bissett]

Interview with At One Sitting

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

A couple weeks ago, CJ Arlotta (a contributor with Forbes and other solid publications) got in touch and asked to interview me for his blog, At One Sitting, where he interviews short-fiction authors. My interview ran August 27, and is free to read on the blog.

An excerpt:

Arlotta: You seem to enjoy adding a bit of mystery to your short stories (e.g., “Ite in Pace”; “Animal Husbandry”; and “Flip a Coin”). How do you go about adding unanswered questions to your stories?

Fleischer: I usually try to parse out that information only as the protagonist learns it. Sometimes, I already know where the story is heading; other times, I find out at the same time he or she does. Most of my stories involve a protagonist having things happen to them, so that their reactions rather than their intended choices drive the main action.

“The Oracle’s Curse” appears in Saturday Evening Post

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Excited to report a third piece in the Saturday Evening Post, which is known for publishing many of my favorite writers.  Having already published “Granddad’s Ballgame” and “The Querulous Nightingale,” it has now published “The Oracle’s Curse.”

An excerpt:

Just five seconds earlier, she had seemed too good to be true. He should have known there was something a little off, just waiting to reveal itself. 

“Come on, it’ll be fun. I’ll pay for it,” Karyn said while the two of them waited for their dessert. 

“You don’t really believe in all that?” Larry replied, trying to hedge his tone between faux worry and gentle kidding. “Do you?” 

Larry Pemberton really liked this girl. As a guy who always had standards a little too high for his side of the ledger, he didn’t find many women he wanted to see the socially accepted three times. Through two dates, Karyn had seemed like a good match. She was smart, accomplished, beautiful … And, it turned out, a believer in mystical powers. 

A fortune teller with a stack of tarot cards

“Ite in Pace” in The Write Launch

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Another fiction story out. This time, it’s the Poe-inspired “Ite in Pace” in The Write Launch.

An excerpt:

The family palazzo I inherited only after it had passed through many hands. You will not suppose, however, that I wasn’t pleased to own it. The lot of minor nobility is to be begrudged for wealth one doesn’t have, because some ancestors held it and passed it along through other tributaries of the family line.

I had never traveled to Venice until my forty-seventh year, when I received news that the last of my paternal cousins had passed heirless after a bout with pneumonia. I’d instead been living the modest life of a tradesman in Spain, building brick structures in the environs of Barcelona.

“The Querulous Nightingale” appears in The Saturday Evening Post

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Excited to report a second piece in the Saturday Evening Post, which is known for publishing many of my favorite writers.  Having already published “Granddad’s Ballgame” last summer, it has now published “The Querulous Nightingale.”

An excerpt:

I arrived in Washington the same day that James Forrestal went out the window.

My first visit to the capital would have been otherwise forgettable. Union Station was less crowded on a Sunday morning than I’d ever found a stateside train station. Never a churchgoing man myself, I still felt a nostalgia for the chiming bells I periodically passed on the way from the train to the Mayflower Hotel.

They told me I’d been abroad too long.


Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum names “Wheelbarrow” a finalist

Monday, June 5th, 2017

My short story “Wheelbarrow” was named a finalist in the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum’s Hemingway Shorts contest, which means it will be published in this year’s collection later this summer.

An excerpt:

In the days of my youth, my father would constantly tell me that the world was a more dangerous place than ever before.

The low point for me came when he built the bomb shelter in our backyard.


“Alchemy” included in Crack the Spine’s newest anthology

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Crack the Spine published my very short story “Alchemy” a while back, and has now included in its latest anthology, volume XV. Copies can be purchased via the link.

“There’s the Rub” republished in The Stray Branch

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

My short story “There’s the Rub,” which originally appeared in Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review, has been republished in the new Spring/Summer issue of The Stray Branch literary journal (#19 vol. 16). Copies can be purchased via this link.

An excerpt:

After the last few centuries, I can tell you that people don’t get irony. Trust me.

At least, they don’t get ironic punishment. 

“Gnaw Bone” in Sliver of Stone

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

My short story “Gnaw Bone” is featured in the April issue of Sliver of Stone literary journal.

An excerpt:

Sara kept driving east, passing through most of the state where she was born. The one she hadn’t visited in five years.

The highways took her past the two state universities she’d considered attending, which she would always associate with Larry Bird and Bob Knight, dating back to when she was a little girl hitting jump shots through the cheap hoop her father nailed to the side of his toolshed.

“Votes of Confidence” listed by Library of Congress for Hearing Impaired

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Very glad to see “Votes of Confidence” appear in this list of books recommended by the Library of Congress for the hearing impaired.

Second appearance in Crack the Spine

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

For the second time, I have a microfiction story in the online magazine Crack the Spine. In this case, for issue #211, it’s “How the Other Half Lives.”

An excerpt:

“The Flahertys have more than us,” we often complained.

“Biscuits” in the issue of Thema

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Every issue of Thema features stories written to a specific prompt/title. Last winter, I thought “Drop the Zucchini and Run” was a pretty imaginative theme, and wrote a story for it titled “Biscuits.” The zucchini-related issue accepted that story and is now available.

An excerpt:

“We’re English,” Mother used to say when I would propose some idea that seemed too unrefined to her. “We have a way of doing things.”


Kickoff and new poster for Illinois Reads

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

On Saturday, I get to attend the kickoff event for Illinois Reads. My book Rockin’ the Boat is one of six books selected as part of a reading initiative for high school students around the state.

The new poster is awesome.IR_Poster





So is the new bookmarkIR_Bookmark





“In the Details” in Linden Avenue journal

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

My short story “In the Details” is featured in the March issue of Linden Avenue literary journal.

An excerpt:

“That’s it! I’ve got it!” Elmer shouted. He grabbed his notebook and burst out of his cubicle with the urgency of a man trying to beat the devil.

Which was fair enough, seeing as that was his actual situation.

Third year at Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

On February 18, I was a featured author for the third year in a row at the Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast in suburban Woodridge, meeting many librarians and teachers throughout Illinois. It’s always a great event with a lot of great local authors.

“Animal Husbandry” republished in See the Elephant

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

My first widely published short story, “Animal Husbandry,” now appears in See the Elephant from Metaphysical Circus. The story originally appeared in Printers Row Journal in late 2012.

An excerpt:

AT AROUND TWO in the afternoon, on an otherwise unimportant Tuesday in June, Herm Dublin’s prize heifer gave birth.

“The Others” featured in Duende’s January spotlight

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The first short story I wrote in years, now nearly five years old, The Others, is now published in Duende literary magazine, part of its January spotlight.

An excerpt:

Zacharias had spent most of the day alone, tending to his small flock of sheep. With no children of his own, and his wife long dead from a failed attempt to give birth to one, he went to the field alone every morning with his animals. By evening, when they were safely gathered in their pen, he made himself a small fire, brought to boil a pot of water, and cooked a batch of vegetables for his supper.

“The Cat” in East Bay Review’s holiday issue

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

A couple years ago, I wrote The Cat, a holiday story based on a Celtic myth. Now it’s part of East Bay Review’s holiday issue. I like being in a magazine from my old neighborhood, with Jack London on the masthead.

An excerpt:

Sitting in a bar on Christmas Eve didn’t feel out of the ordinary for David Silver. He was still unmarried, and his last relationship had ended months earlier, before there was even an awkward discussion about whose parents they would visit and how much time he’d need to take off work and what was an appropriate amount to spend on gifts. He was an only child, and had come to an agreement with his parents to take a trip to Vegas together in the spring rather than have him spend an exorbitant amount and battle transit stress to fly to Minneapolis for a few days just because the calendar suggested it.

Mikrokosmos Journal publishes “Crocotta”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

More fiction news. My short story “Crocotta” appears in the new issue of Mikrokosmos Journal, which came out last night and pairs all stories up with illustrations.

An excerpt:

Study the unexplainable long enough, and you’ll learn there’s usually an explanation.

The gryphon? Just protoceratops bones, discovered by Proto-Greeks who didn’t understand what they were seeing. The centaur? Horse archers of the Eurasian steppe, so adept on their steeds that they seemed to merge into one being. The roc, a bird big enough to carry elephants in its claws? Just the bones of bird-hipped dinosaurs with elephantine claws.

Illinois Reading Council names Rockin’ the Boat a 2017 Illinois Reads book

Friday, December 9th, 2016

This news was embargoed for a long time, but can now be shared. My 2015 book Rockin’ the Boat was selected by the Illinois Reading Council as part of the 2017 Illinois Reads program. It’s one of six books chosen for high schools as part of a statewide reading initiative. Illinois Reads is a great program, and I’m glad to be a part of it. There’s a formal kickoff in March, and then more events throughout the year.

IU alumni bookshelf

Monday, December 5th, 2016

My undergrad alma mater, Indiana University, included “Votes of Confidence” in the latest edition of the media school’s alumni bookshelf. I’ve gotten three entries on that shelf, and hope to grow that number soon.

Second appearance in Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review just put out its Alice in Wonderland issue, which includes my short story “The Lion, the Unicorn, and the Dragon.” It’s my second time in this publication (after the Arabian Nights issue).

NonBinary Review Issue #10 Alice in Wonderland by [Lise Quintana, Allie Marini]

“Clarksdale” appears in Deep South Magazine

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

My short story Clarksdale is out today in the new issue of Deep South Magazine. It’s what comes from too much time ruminating on Robert Johnson and the Crossroads.

Milo pulled into Clarksdale just as the sun was setting.


It had been a long drive from Chicago, and he had to shake his legs a bit when he first got out of the car. After grabbing his knapsack and guitar from the backseat, he handed the driver a wad of cash to cover the promised gas money and gave him a hearty handshake. He slung the bag over his shoulder, grabbed the banged-up guitar case by the handle, and walked a few blocks to the first open bar he could find.


“The Elephants” appears in Birch Gang Review

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

I have another short story out. This time, it’s The Elephants, appearing in the new issue (issue 1.3) of Birch Gang Review.

An excerpt:

Several hours before it happened, all the elephants went away.

Not many people noticed. But the three sisters did.

“Granddad’s Ballgame” in the Saturday Evening Post

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

In the fall, I wrote “Granddad’s Ballgame,” a humor story in what I call a “front porch” style, and The Saturday Evening Post published it yesterday.

An excerpt:

When my Granddad was just a boy, to hear him tell it, there were only three things he ever wanted to do in his life. One was to get the girl who lived on the farm catty-corner to take a shine to him. Another was to see the world, or at least some part of the world outside Indiana. The third was to make a ballplayer out of himself.

Baseball in a mitt

Audiobook out now

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

The audiobook for Votes of Confidence arrived August 16 on Amazon and other platforms, in both CD and MP3 form. Check out this sample audio from the book.

Top YA reads for the summer

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Earlier this summer, Foreword Reviews gave “Votes of Confidence” a great review, and now the magazine has listed the book as one of the six best YA books for summer reading this year. It’s a great list; check it out.

Foreword Reviews | Poets & Writers

Another thumbs-up review, from Publishers Weekly

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Got another positive review for the new book,this time from Publishers Weekly, which gave a big boost to the last book as well.

An excerpt:
Fleischer’s well-contextualized, nonpartisan approach results in a valuable resource for readers looking to understand and become involved in a complicated system while avoiding spin.

Foreword Reviews gives Votes five stars

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Last year, Foreword Reviews named “Rockin’ the Boat” one of its critic’s choice picks for 2015. This year, the magazine, just gave a five-star review to “Votes of Confidence.”

An excerpt:

Even as a kid, Jeff Fleischer recalls, he was a politics nerd. Now a Chicago journalist with history books about iconic revolutionaries and instances of mass hysteria under his belt, he’s issued a timely primer on the American electoral process, Votes of Confidence. Many adults are poorly informed about the political system, he notes; only 62 percent would likely pass the US citizenship test. This book would be a perfect refresher course, then, but should also be required reading for sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds as they prepare to vote for the first time. Fleischer covers a huge amount of information, but in such an orderly and lucid manner that it never feels overwhelming.

Foreword Reviews | Poets & Writers

Newcity makes book signing a top-five lit event

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The “Votes of Confidence” book signing at Book Cellar in Lincoln Square was named by Newcity as one of its top-five lit events for the May 16-30 stretch.

Book review in Books for Kids Blog

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Got another review of Votes of Confidence, this time at the blog Books for Kids. Check it out here.

An excerpt:
There’s a lot there to take in, enough to make this readable book an excellent textbook for a high school or even college course. With clarity, succinctness, and a bit of ironic wit, this book is a definite first choice for high school and public libraries, for young people approaching voting age and for adults (e.g., those who can’t name the three branches of federal government and the balance of powers that it provides to keep us going) to read almost everything you need to know before you vote! Kirkus Reviews gives this one a well-deserved starred review, saying, “Fleischer’s primer tenders a wealth of insight in a generous and welcoming manner.” And boy, do we need that insight!

Book review in Dew on the Kudzu

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

I quite like the blog name Dew on the Kudzu, and it published a nice review of Votes of Confidence today.

An excerpt:

At a time when we’re constantly bombarded by political rhetoric, VOTES OF CONFIDENCE steers clear of hedges and dodges, instead using wit and good humor to offer a clear-eyed account of where we are, how we got here, and how this whole thing works. It also serves as a good reminder that voting is a hard-won right, and even today is not always a guarantee, so we should take advantage of the privilege and let our voices be heard.

Voting article in Signature Reads

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

With Votes of Confidence arriving in stores tomorrow, Signature Reads asked me to write a piece on 10 things voters should know about this year’s election. Check it out.

Extra credit interview with LitPick

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Last year, LitPick interviewed me for Rockin’ the Boat, and the site was kind enough to do it again this year for Votes of Confidence. You can read it here.

An excerpt:

If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?

There are a lot of good choices, but I’ll go with my default answer of Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve been a fan of his a long time, and there would be a lot to talk about.

Speaking at DePaul on 4 May

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

On Wednesday, May 4, I’m speaking on a three-person panel at DePaul University in Lincoln Park, at an event for Chicago Women in Publishing. We’re talking about careers in writing and publishing, and the event is open to the public (free, but there are tickets). Register here.

Upcoming signing at The Book Cellar

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Book Cellar, an excellent bookshop in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, will host a book launch for “Votes of Confidence” on May 21. Here’s all the information about the event.

“The Paper Cut” appears in Jet Fuel Review

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

The new issue of Jet Fuel Review, Lewis University’s literary review (issue 11), includes my comedy short story “The Paper Cut.”

Jet Fuel Review

Great review from Infodad

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Infodad, which reviews books for a family audience, gave my new book “Votes of Confidence” an excellent review, with its four-pluses rating.

An excerpt:

Timely it certainly is, but Jeff Fleischer’s Votes of Confidence is more than that: it is a first-rate introduction to American elections in the hyper-communicative digital age, designed for readers young enough to remember only one or two presidential election cycles but – for that very reason – extremely useful as well for their parents and for other “old hands” at elections who are trying to figure out what all of today’s currents and countercurrents mean. For the most part refreshingly nonpartisan, Fleischer’s book manages to communicate the basics of the American political system while keeping the civics lessons interesting through abundant use of anecdotes and examples.

“Goody Good” appears in new issue of Shenandoah

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The new issue of Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University’s literary review (volume 65, issue 2), includes my short story “Goody Good.”

Kirkus gives “Votes of Confidence” a starred review

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

The first review of “Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections” is in, from Kirkus, and it’s the coveted starred review.

An excerpt:

Fortunately, self-described political nerd Fleischer is here to clarify things. In a particularly winning voice, abetted by numerous intriguing anecdotes and trivia, Fleischer commences at the beginning, with an origin story (Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Bill of Rights), before moving on to mechanics. He issues an implicit challenge with his introduction—“If there’s one thing we know for sure about American government, it’s that a lot of Americans don’t know much about it”—and then goes on to make sure readers buck that trend.

“Alchemy” appears in Crack the Spine

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

I have a very short (100 word) story, “Alchemy” in issue 185 of Crack the Spine, out today. The author bio is here. They’ll also interview some authors based on feedback, so please feel free to leave some.

Issue 185 Cover-page-0

Zoetic Press places “Arabian Nights” issue online

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Last summer, my short story “There’s the Rub” appeared in Issue #6: Arabian Nights from Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. The full back issues are now available online.

NonBinary Review #6: 1001 Arabian Nights by [Zoetic  Press, Lise Quintana, Allie  Marini]

“The Invaders” reprinted in Stepping Stones Magazine

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

I wrote a flash-fiction story called “The Invaders” that appeared in Chicago Literati late last year. Today it was republished in Stepping Stones magazine, and was named the post of the week over there.

Children’s author breakfast

Friday, February 19th, 2016

For the second year in a row, I’ll be attending the excellent Children’s Literature Breakfast hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop. Since Votes of Confidence went to the printer last week, it isn’t in print form yet, but they will have copies of Rockin’ the Boat for me to sign. So stop by and say hi.

“Votes of Confidence” preorders live

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

My new book “Votes of Confidence” comes out on May 3, in both a paperback and library binding edition. The book can be preordered here. I also added a specific “Votes of Confidence” page on this site for reviews, interviews etc.

“The Machine” appears in Chicago Literati

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Chicago Literati featured one of my stories as the first entry in its Daily Flash series, and now selected “The Machine” as the first entry in its science-fiction issue, “Andromeda.”

“Step Right Up” in Panoply

Friday, January 8th, 2016

One of my flash-fiction stories, “Step Right Up,” appears in the winter/spring 2016 issue of Panoply magazine. Check it out here.


Foreword names “Rockin’ the Boat” a year-end favorite

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

This is cool. For its year-end Reviewers Choice for 2015, Foreword Reviews listed “Rockin’ the Boat” among its favorite books of 2015. Check out the full list here.

Foreword Reviews | Poets & Writers

Crow River Media gift guide suggests the book

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

A few publications have listed Rockin’ the Boat as a perfect holiday gift, and that now includes Crow River Media, which named it one of its top children’s titles for holiday shopping.

“The Invaders” in Chicago Literati

Friday, December 18th, 2015

A very, very short fiction piece I wrote this summer, “The Invaders,” appears today in Chicago Literati. Check it out.

Short Fiction in Panoply

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

A (very) short fiction story I wrote, “Step Right Up,” will appear in the next issue of Panoply Literary Magazine. In the description of the issue, mine’s the “scene from a carny.”

Holiday Gift Guide

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Zest Books, the publisher of Rockin’ the Boat, included the book in its Holiday Gift Guide. Check it out.

“Rockin’ the Boat” makes holiday gift list

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

“Rockin’ the Boat” is among the books Q Salt Lake magazine included on its holiday book list.

An excerpt:

Surely, there’s a teen on your list who dreams of someday shaking up the world – and for him (or her?), there’s no better gift than “Rockin’ the Boat” by Jeff Fleischer. It’s an anthology of mini-biographies of fifty people throughout history who made the world a different place.

“There’s the Rub” appears in Nonbinary Review

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

My short story There’s the Rub appears in the current issue of Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. The full issue, with the theme of Arabian Nights, is available on iTunes as a free download.

“A Bedtime Story” appears in Pioneertown

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

My short-fiction piece A Bedtime Story appears in the new issue of Pioneertown, an excellent free online lit magazine. Check it out.

A few other book mentions worth noting

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Been so busy writing the new book and getting caught up on freelance work and doing my day job, but wanted to share a few more mentions of Rockin’ the Boat:

Book Loons with a short review

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Just saw this one, but Rockin’ the Boat was reviewed at Book Loons. Check it out here.

An excerpt:
It offers an excellent starting point to learn more about some famous historical figures. The book would be an excellent resource for home schooling households and school/classroom libraries.

San Francisco Book Review with a review

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Another review of the book, this one from San Francisco Book Review.

An excerpt:
John Brown and Mao Zedong are given the same fair shake as Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman. Rockin’ the Boat is unlikely to spark any revolutions, but it is an excellent resource for rebellion-minded history buffs.

New book review in Salinas Californian

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Got a nice review today in The Californian in Salinas. An excerpt:

It offers an excellent starting point to learn about some famous historical figures and then decide if a more detailed investigation is merited. Home schooling families will find this an excellent resource as will any educator teaching history.

Short Story in Indiana Voice Journal

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

A short-fiction story I wrote, “Dove,” is published in the August 2015 edition of Indiana Voice Journal. The issue is themed, focusing on fiction and poetry about nature and the environment.

Kindle and Nook Editions Now Available

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

For the first time, one of my books is now available as a Kindle edition and Nook edition. “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries” is, of course, still available in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other retailers.

Booklist review

Monday, June 29th, 2015

It’s subscriber-only, but Booklist has a great review of the book in its June 2015 issue.

An excerpt:

Readers expecting all the revolutionaries to be virtuous do-gooders will be in for a surprise. Whether they read cover to cover or dip in, they will find many treats to further explore.

Medill Magazine includes the book on alumni bookshelf

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Always nice to get a mention from either alma mater. The Spring 2015 issue of the Medill Magazine lists “Rockin’ the Boat” as the first item in this issue’s alumni bookshelf. You can view or download a PDF copy at this link. (It’s on p. 34, but there’s lots of other stuff in the magazine that’s worth reading.)

Six Minutes with an Author

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Today, I joined LitPick for its interview series Six Minutes with an Author. LitPick recently gave Rockin’ the Boat a five-star review, and featured the book on the site.

New story in Steam Ticket

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Just thought I’d note that a short-fiction story I wrote, “Spare Change,” is published in the 2015 edition of Steam Ticket, a Third Coast Review.


Foreword reviews the book

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Got a new review at Foreword Reviews, in print and online.

An excerpt:

The strong point of this book is Fleischer’s understanding of his audience; his grasp of history is impressive as well. Teens are tired of textbooks that shelter them from the realities of the world, so he provides controversy and faces brutality, disenfranchisement, and disillusionment head on, giving the facts behind what teens already suspect: history and social change are complicated.

Review from Lit Pick

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Lit Pick highlighted the book a few weeks back, and now posted a review of the book.

An excerpt:
After reading Rockin’ the Boat, scholars young and old will want to check out a few more books about the intriguing characters. I know that I want to find out more about New Zealand feminist Kate Sheppard and Catholic zealot Guy Fawkes. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy learning about amazingly insane, kind, or brave men and women who did not fear change.

New book is a go

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

I shared this on Twitter and elsewhere, but wanted to announce that the next book is a go. I can’t give away too many details yet, but it’s with Zest, the same publisher as Rockin’ the Boat, and is aimed at first-time voters. It’s scheduled to come out in spring 2016.

Help get Rockin’ the Boat into libraries

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

More than 100 libraries now have Rockin’ the Boat in stock. Here’s the ever-growing list. If your library isn’t on it, please ask that they order it. Same thing with schools. It takes a few seconds, and would be a huge help. And if you haven’t ordered one yet and want to, here’s the link.

It’s cool seeing the Chicago Public Library stock it, plus my ex-hometowns in Bloomington and San Francisco.

If you’re one of the people who requested it already, thank you very much. If you’re willing to help with more libraries, thanks as well.

Lit Pick highlights the book

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Not sure what day it went up, but Rockin’ the Boat was featured as a hot pick over at Lit Pick. Check it out.

Book spotlighted at Actin’ Up With Books

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Today, the book is also spotlighted at Actin’ Up With Books, which also has a copy of the book to give away.

Review at Green Bean Teen Queen

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

New Rockin’ the Boat review is up at Green Bean Teen Queen. There’s a giveaway too, for a free copy.

An excerpt of the review:
I’m a sucker for books that give interesting tidbits and facts about cool people and events in history. I’m not sure why. Maybe it makes history a bit more engaging? Maybe I can handle the small snippets? I’m not sure. But even if you have readers who may snub their nose at a history book, they should still give Rockin’ the Boat a chance.

Review by Words to Dream On

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Today, Rockin’ the Boat was reviewed at Words to Dream On.

An excerpt:

You may wonder just how much info you can get in a book about 50 different icons in history and I’m here to tell you it’s a lot more than you would think. The author expertly touches on various aspects of each person, including trivia bits that can be used in conversation with others who have the same interests.

This is a book that can be shared throughout a family or a group of friends. A helpful reference when either researching one of those listed in the book or to use as a starting point in finding someone to do further research on. For any history teachers out there, this would be a great supplement to your classroom library. For students, nothing like being able to add something interesting facts during class discussions.

Any person who has an interest in iconic figures in history would find this book right up their alley.

Eli Squared reviews “Rockin’ the Boat”

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Eli Squared reviewed Rockin’ the Boat today, and also has a giveaway contest. This review focused on the women in the book. An excerpt:

What I really liked about the book was the diversity that Fleischer presented, making sure to incorporate people of color, women, and different socioeconomic statuses. But as March is Women’s History Month, I thought I would highlight the women included in this list of 50 revolutionaries.

As a library fan myself…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

I dig getting to see a photo of my book on a library shelf: check it out.

Interview with In Bed With Books

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Along with their review (posted earlier), In Bed With Books also did an interview with me about Rockin’ the Boat.

And another new review

Monday, March 16th, 2015

There’s another new “Rockin’ the Boat” review up, over at In Bed With Books. They have a free copy giveaway as well – enter at the site.

Biblio File reviews “Rockin’ the Boat”

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Jen Rothschild at Biblio File just posted her review of Rockin’ the Boat.

An excerpt:

I recommend reading it in order, as many of the revolutions build on each other, or reference each other, so the context from a previous chapter is often useful, which is why the chronological order works so well here. Everything’s only 3-5 pages, but it covers enough so people know what went down and why. IT’s also short enough you think “oh, I can read just one more” and then you end up finishing the book in one session. (NOT THAT DID THAT. *whistles while looking innocent*) This is a great one for a wide range of readers and I really really really wish it had been around in 2012 when the National History Day theme was “Revolution, Reaction, and Reform”. So many teens didn’t know where to even start picking one– I would have loved to be able to have them leaf through this book for inspiration!

Write All the Words interview

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

A new interview with me about Rockin’ the Boat by E. Kristina Anderson just went up on Write All the Words. She gives all authors seven of the same questions, then one unique to that book.

An excerpt:
EKA: If you haven’t had a book challenged or banned, would you want this to happen to you? Why or why not?

JF: I’d never want a book banned, but that doesn’t just apply to my own. Those annual lists of the most-challenged books usually include some of the best literary works in history, which says more about the people trying to ban them than the books themselves.

Kirkus reviews the book

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Kirkus Reviews posted its review of Rockin’ the Boat.

It describes the book as A gallery of historical troublemakers starting with Hannibal and ending with Martin Luther King, Jr….Salutary portraits in radicalism

“Rockin’ the Boat” reviewed by Book Nerds Across America

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Check out the first blog tour review of the book, by Book Nerds Across America, part of the ongoing Rockin’ Blog Tour. Flo, the reviewer, says she came away with some good trivia, got to focus on the sections that most interested her, and felt the sidebars “did a good job at expanding on the history and background of common and well-known things relating to the revolutionaries.”

Blog Tour Launches mid-February

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Throughout February and March (but mostly March), Zest Books has me on a blog tour. This is a new thing for me; I’m used to being the one doing the interviewing. Also, if you’re a blogger and want to participate (and want a free book in the process), sign up here.

Zest Books interview with Jeff

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Zest Books, the publisher of my new book “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries,” did an interview with me. It was a good chance to explain a little about the idea and the writing process, and to name check some of the people who I had to cut to get the list down to fifty.

Great Review by Publishers Weekly

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Publishers Weekly is the first publication to review Jeff’s new book “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries.” Here’s some of what it had to say:

From ancient civilizations to the 20th century, 50 movers and shakers get their due in this informative and sometimes tongue-in-cheek guide, which examines Cleopatra, Judah Maccabee, Nat Turner, Michael Collins, and Che Guevara, among others. Fleischer capably places the individuals in their history milieu, zeroing in on the circumstances behind their notoriety, as well as the ways their influence has endured, while sidebars provide additional context and modern parallels…