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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.

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“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.

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.

Home

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.

Building

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.

HemingwayShortsCoverVolume2

“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.”

b

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.

logo

“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.

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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.

Steam-Ticket-front-cover-2015-1

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…