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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.

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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.

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.

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 te fgoryass="scra, incom/.-day,oost-242--gloveit ln Par

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