I’ve been on an interview kick, it seems. Peter Tieryas Liu queried me and Jennifer Derilo for an interview about our work as Kartika Review editors. So in between tasks involving caring for the baby (nap, feed, comfort, play, etc), I sat down and answered a few questions about what happens behind the scenes at Kartika with Jennifer for HTMLGiant. We discussed the slush pile, Asian American literature, and why we published what we publish.
Category Archives: Publishing
I wrote a story a few years ago. In fact, it was a story I began writing before my stroke. It was a story I resumed writing and editing after recovering from my stroke. It was a story that led me to Kartika Review and my current position there as Fiction Editor (thank you, Sunny). It was a story that had been good to me.
It was a story I sent out about sixty times. And it got rejected about sixty times. Maybe like, fifty-seven times. I didn’t hear back from a few places (like I said, about three places)–but after awhile (a year?) I just assumed the rejection got lost in the mail or that the more passive litmags didn’t even want to bother with sending a rejection. In one case, the litmag went under.
I stopped sending the story out. In the back of my mind, I thought I would revise it further. But really, I gave up on short stories and decided to focus on my novel. So it sat on my hard drive. The characters lingered in my memory.
It’s one of a number of short stories that I wrote and never had published. Some of the unpublished stories have placed as runner up in contests, an official way of saying they had “potential,” but like one of my mentors said, “Almost still means no in publishing.”
Short stories are heartbreaking to write, for me. So much effort, such a tidy format, so much legwork to submit, and such little chance for publishing. I mean, short story collections make literary agents break out in hives. Editors will more often than not buy story collections if the writer commits to writing a novel for their second book.
So it was with both my heart and head that I decided to focus on my novel.
It was a total surprise to me when last week, an editor emailed me about the story that had been rejected about fifty-seven times. The last time I’d sent out the story for consideration was almost three years ago. It had been almost three years since they received the story. “We’d like to consider it for our next issue,” he said.
I wasn’t sure if that meant yes–but I was still shocked that it wasn’t a no, after all this time. And it did turn out to be a yes; they’d accepted my story. At last.
The new Spring 2013 issue of Kartika Review is live! As the Fiction Editor, I’m particularly proud of the pieces by Wah-Ming Chang, Kaitlin Solimine, Anu Kandikuppa, and Sharon Hashimoto–though I’d like to also give a wink to my friend Jackson Bliss whose work is featured in the Creative Nonfiction section. And don’t miss our interview with the amazing Monique Truong.
(Spring is making an appearance in Berkeley).
I’ve a few pieces out in the world in recent days.
- My essay on Scarlet has found a wonderful home at Newport Review. Much thanks to Kathryn Kulpa for reaching out to me after spotting the essay, which was initially an exercise in grief more than a piece intended for publication. Writing the piece helped me feel better about Scarlet, and I am really happy it found a home out in the world.
- And this morning, I’ve a piece on a pick-up line up at Sundog Lit. I’ve had my fair share of bad pick-up lines (e.g., “Can I talk to you about my cancer?” and “I don’t care if you’re married–can I buy you a drink?”), so it was hard to choose just one. But I did. And in doing so, I wrote about something I rarely talk about in public: having my engagement broken off. (We got back together a year later, by the way, and we’ve been happy ever since). All the Men I Loved was inspired by and written in support of my friend Matthew Salesses‘ forthcoming book, I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying. All the pick up lines by all the contributing writers are compiled here. Also, delighted to say my piece is out alongside my friend Mary Kim Arnold’s pick-up line piece for Matt. She has a great blog, if you’re looking for another to add to your reading.
Hope you like and enjoy them.
I had an amazing time interviewing Don Lee for Guernica Magazine. We discussed books, writing, Orientalist book covers, his latest novel The Collective, and the trajectory of Asian American literature–all good stuff made even better by Don Lee’s candid and generous responses.
All it takes is a click to go read it. Hope you enjoy!
(And big thanks to Alexander Chee for pointing me in the direction of this opportunity).
Where do we find writers of color? That’s a question Roxane Gay is answering for the writing and publishing community-at-large.
I didn't realize we writers of color were hiding. Maybe we are camouflaged by the color of our skin. But we are here. We are not invisible. I can't even begin to tell you how many of us are HERE and writing. We are writing hard, hoping to be read and to be heard.
Learning that we are hard to find and that we are in fact, invisible to many, makes me wince. But we have an opportunity in Roxane’s project to send our lists of writers of color.
I submitted my list of writers of color today in the comments (and you might be on that list). Did you? Why not?
And because I’m a bossy oldest sister, I’m going to tell you, “Go submit your list now.” You’re making the world better and smaller and enlightened by doing so.
Kartika Review, the literary magazine at which I was once Fiction Editor and am currently Editor-at-Large, has a newly redesigned website and a brand new Spring 2012 issue. I’m so proud of this beautiful issue, which features amazing writers, and beautiful cover art by Ako Castuera.
It’s been an interesting transition for me from Fiction Editor to Editor-at-Large over at Kartika; what exactly would I aim to do as Editor-at-Large? After spending a bit of time feeling the edges of my new role, and brainstorming special projects–I decided to plunge into what I enjoy best at Kartika; soliciting and interviewing emerging and established Asian American writers.
To that end, I’m proud to share with you interviews (page 72 and 78, respectively) with both Catherine Chung, author of an amazing (the glowing reviews are still rolling in) debut novel called Forgotten Country and Krys Lee, who debuted an equally acclaimed story collection, Drifting House.
About eight and a half years ago, I held out with trembling hand a story that I had written in secret. None of my friends knew I wanted to write fiction, but there I was, in a nighttime fiction workshop. It was the first story I’d ever written.
Much gratitude to Howard Junker for finding my story and finding me. And now thank you to the current editors for featuring my story, “Bile” (circa 2003) on their website, along with some kind words today.
I’m giving away a copy of the Men Undressed anthology, out from Other Voices/DZANC Books!
I’m particularly psyched about this giveaway, because my piece “Erasure,” is included in the anthology. And I’m unusually delighted about this particular piece having been published, because “Erasure” is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress. A mini-debut, so to speak, of a years-long obsession of mine.
Just so you know, my piece is a sex scene. The entire anthology is comprised of literary sex scenes. All the stories, all written by women, feature male protagonists in sex scenes. I’ve read many of the stories, and they are all amazing, written by writers like Jennifer Egan, Aimee Bender, A.M. Homes, and Kim Addonizio.
There’ll be a bunch of publicity revving up for the anthology; among the many things planned are:
- Interviews with various contributors up at The Nervous Breakdown where my recent “sex interview” with editor/writer Gina Frangello kicks off the series.
- Readings all over the country! I’ll be reading at San Francisco’s Lit Crawl on October 15, and at New York’s Sunday Salon reading series on November 20
- Events at AWP, etc., etc.
“Myung-Ja came home from her overtime shift at the hospital before dawn, her tired steps crunching gravel in the courtyard with an unfamiliar tempo that awakened Yong, who then lay tensed on the heated ondol floor waiting for either a key in the door or the brutal sounds of someone breaking in, his morning erection fading with his heartbeat. He wondered if a day would come when he wouldn’t react to sudden noise like this, when he might even sleep through any shift in environment. In the darkness, he vowed to protect any future children from this ever-vigilant state, one that made him aware of survival on a minute-to minute basis. He vowed to spoil them rotten, coddle them, never let them heave into consciousness with great fear…”
I hope that whets your appetite…
So let’s get to the heart of the matter: the giveaway!
You can see a copy of the book in the photos of my “wiener dogs reading books.” The anthology is published in beautiful soft cover, as you see here, and I can sign the book if you so desire.
Here’s how to enter/how I will pick the winner…
- Leave a comment below. You can say anything you want–e.g., you can describe a moment in which you or someone you know was, or felt, “undressed,” you can tell me why you want a copy of the book, or share with me how you feel about an anthology that encourages cross-gender sexual representation!
- Do fill out your email address when you fill out the fields in the comment box (it won’t be published to the world, but I will need it in order to contact you in case you win)!
- 1 entry per person
- The giveaway is open worldwide.
- If you win the contest, I will email you for your mailing address.
- Winners will be chosen by a random number generator.
- I will be announcing the contest winner on the blog. None of your personal information will be posted, aside from your first name and last initial (or the nickname you choose to list in your comment). If you see that someone else has entered the same name as you, please try to pick a different nickname to call yourself, just for clarity.
- If you are below the age of 18, please ask your parents to fill out the comment field with their information.
The deadline to enter a comment is Wednesday October 12, 2011 12noon EDT. The winner (picked at random) will be announced October 12, 2011 by 9:00pm EDT.
 About time! Haven’t we read plenty of female-centric sex scenes written by male writers like Flaubert, D.H. Lawrence, and Philip Roth?
 I promise, I won’t send you the copy my dogs “read”–unless of course, you wish to have that one.
 I hope you win! And I hope you enjoy the anthology. Even if you don’t win, I hope you buy the anthology–in your neighborhood independent bookstore, or online at Amazon
My piece “Erasure” is published in the anthology Men Undressed, which is a collection of sex scenes featuring male protagonists written by women.
“Erasure” is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress. It’s always exciting/a pleasure/amazing/a joy/uplifting to see my stories published–but I’m especially thrilled to see a portion of my novel in print!
I hope you get a chance to read/enjoy the stories. But in the interim, check out my interview about contributing to Men Undressed with Gina Frangello at The Nervous Breakdown.
I’ll also be participating in readings for the anthology, the first of which will be at San Francisco’s LitCrawl on October 15th, 7:15-8:15pm at the SUB/MISSION Art Space at 2183 Mission–I hope to see you there.
 I’m doing a giveaway of the anthology here on the blog!