Thursday, August 25, 2011

new low-res MFA: U of Tampa

The University of Tampa is joining the ranks of institutions offering low-residency MFA creative writing programs. With its first residency just around the corner—January 5-14—I’m pleased to share this Q&A with the director, Jeff Parker. 

Jeff, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your recent appointment to Director of The University of Tampa low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. Maybe you can start by sharing a bit of your own background and what drew you to the Tampa program. 
Sure. I'd been Director of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, which reserves its second year exclusively for one-on-one mentorships between each student and a mentor. I'd also spent the better part of the last decade organizing parties for writers in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Lisbon, Portugal, in which we bring North Americans together with writers from abroad. In short, I saw in the Tampa program an opportunity to bring these two kinds of things together. So I left my cushy teaching job at UToronto and came down here to do a lot of work and see if we could make something bang-up.

I see the first residency is scheduled for January 5-14; what can incoming students expect during this inaugural residency and those that follow? 
Well, for a taste, they can expect a reading and craft talk from George Saunders, and they can expect Francine Prose giving her awesome Chekhov lectures. They can expect a program including trips to Zora Neale Hurston's place in Eatonville and Jack Kerouac's last house in St. Petersburg. They can expect to be part of the first cohort in a very unique program. It will be the smallest group there will ever be. We're expecting 20, so about six or seven each from fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. To be on the ground floor...

For the four terms in between residencies, how will students work from home? Can you tell us a bit more about the one-on-one mentoring and what Tampa has set up as goals for these project semesters? 
The main goal we have for the students is that they get better. Students will work with mentors however best suits the two of them. This is what it's really all about, this experience, and it's the heart of the program. We'll spend a lot of time during the residency getting the two together to come up with a plan, knowing in advance that plans and writing don't always will out. 

What makes the Tampa program unique? Why should prospective low-res students consider your program?
The most important thing for me is getting faculty who are among the most interesting writers working today and who also have reputations as great teachers. Also, our program will bring in writers from all over the world: Canada, Europe, Russia, Portugal, South America, Africa--you name it. We intend down the line to hold optional residencies abroad as well, but not simply as study abroad components, as part of larger programs that immerse our students in the cultural and literary scene abroad. It's part of a larger emphasis on writers getting up and doing things with their work. We're working on so many aspects of the program right now, and defining as we go.

What are your plans for the upcoming AWP conference? What presence will Tampa have in Chicago?
We're working with the University of Tampa Press on a book about literary mentors, which might sound kind of boring but when you start collecting the little writings and scraps from letters and photos that we've been getting, it's a riot and something like a tribute to what we're trying to do. We'll probably have a reception for the book and hand them out at the booth. Other than that we'll just kind of be there with the UT Press and Tampa Review to talk with anyone about the program if they want to talk about it.

Finally, where might students find more information about the program and what are the application deadlines for the January residency? 
Deadline for the first residency in January is Nov. 1. All the info is on the website: Or anyone can email me directly


Thursday, August 18, 2011

new: The Towers by David Poyer

If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you may recall an interview I did with author David Poyer back in Oct 2010. Poyer is back with an intense new release. I’m pleased to share the details below: 

THE TOWERS – A Novel of 9/11/2001.
St. Martin’s Press.
August 30, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0312613013
Get it on

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Commander Dan Lenson, USN, is visiting the Pentagon. On that same morning, his wife, former Undersecretary of Defense Blair Titus, is at a job interview at the World Trade Center. In the action-packed scenes that follow, both Dan and Blair have to fight to survive the attacks. Meanwhile, NCIS agent Aisha Ar-Rahim is investigating a terror cell in Yemen, and former SEAL Teddy Oberg is pitching an action movie to investors in LA.

Teddy, Aisha, and Dan immediately become involved in the military reaction to the attack. Dan is assigned to the staff of the Joint Special Ops team in Afghanistan. His mission: to overthrow the Taliban government. Aisha undertakes a dangerous undercover mission in Yemen to uncover links to Osama bin Laden and ultimately his location in the Shah-i-Khot Valley, Afghanistan. Teddy, having rejoined the SEALS, is assigned to Task Force Cutlass, a mission that takes him to the border of Pakistan to hunt down and kill bin Laden. Meanwhile, Blair struggles with recovery from serious injuries, and has to decide which course her life will take from here. 


The 13th Dan Lenson novel, The Towers is a fascinating, accurate depiction of the events of September 11 and the military response, informed by interviews and deep sources in the Navy, the SEALS, the Marines, the NCIS, and the author's own military experience. A past master of fast-paced sequences and heart-pumping drama, David Poyer takes the reader into the center of the action and face-to-face with the enemy.

Buy The Towers on amazon

About the Author
Captain David Poyer is the most popular living author of American sea fiction. His military career included service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, the Middle East, and Pacific. The Towers is the thirteenth in his continuing novel-cycle of the modern Navy and Marine Corps, following The Med, The Gulf, The Circle, The Passage, Tomahawk, China Sea, Black Storm, The Command, The Threat, Korea Strait, The Weapon and The Crisis (all available in St. Martin's Press paperback and ebook formats). He lives with novelist Lenore Hart and their daughter on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Visit him at at or on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011 Critique Mania – Soundings Review

I’m pleased to say I’ve been invited to participate with the Soundings Review Critique Mania yet again this year. Annually, Soundings Review (part of Whidbey Writers/NILA) gathers the support of authors, editors, and agents to read over submitted manuscripts in a fundraising effort. Here are the details if you’d like to submit your work for feedback and help support this great organization: 

see details & submission guidelines here and see list of participating editors, agents, and authors here

What: Critique Mania: Professional Agents, Authors, and Editors will write a critique of your writing!

When: Submission between August 1 and August 31, 2011; authors have until October 1, 2011 to respond and return manuscripts.

Where: By mail or online! No gas to buy, no planes or ferries to catch, no clock to watch!

How to submit: By Mail – Submitters will mail one poem or one prose manuscript that is postmarked August 1 - 31. We have authors for all genres. Length varies – most accept work of up to two pages of poetry or up to 1,000 words of prose, but some will take longer work. Check out our authors’ bios for length restrictions and genre preferences. 

Online – Visit and follow the directions for submitting and paying online – this will be through PayPal or credit card; this is only for work that is up to 2 pages of poetry or up to 1,000 words of prose. If you want to submit a longer piece online, you may do so; however, you’ll need to send us a separate check to cover the longer work. We will hold the work until we receive your check in the mail.

Request an author: As work arrives, it will be disbursed in the order received; you can request your first three choices off the list of authors; if that person has already received all the manuscripts they’ve agreed to review, your work will be sent to the next author on your list. If all your authors have maxed out, your work will go to another author (alphabetical) who works in your genre. First come, first served. 

How much: Twenty-five bucks! That’s $25.00 for the base length (2 pages poetry or 1,000 words of prose) when you submit by mail. If you submit online, the base fee is $30.00 (but no envelopes, paper, or postage are required). What a deal! For each additional page of poetry or each additional 500 words of prose, add $5. Note: online submission has a set $30 rate, so if you want to do longer work online, you have to mail a check for the difference. 

How to figure cost: a 4-page poem submitted by mail would cost $35.00 ($25.00 base rate plus $10.00 for extra two pages); the fee online would be $30.00 base rate plus $10.00 for extra two pages, for a total of $40.00. Fiction of 2,000 words submitted by mail would cost $35.00 ($25.00 base rate plus $10.00 for additional 1,000 words) and online would be $40.00 ($30.00 base rate plus $10.00). Each submission is one fee; if you want to submit more manuscripts, submit them individually. 

For mailed submissions, enclose two stamped envelopes, one for forwarding the material to an agent/author/editor and one for returning the material to you (so one envelope should have your address on it, and one should be blank). If you submit the material online, your response will be through e-mail, so be sure to include your e-mail address. 

Professional critiques normally range from $30.00 – $75.00, and most of these people aren’t usually available for this work. Should you wish to include an additional donation toward Soundings Review, we’ll be ecstatic! 

Why? Because receiving this sort of feedback is a terrific benefit to you AND because ALL the proceeds go to support our magazine, Soundings Review. Everybody wins! 

see details & submission guidelines here and see list of participating editors, agents, and authors here

Monday, August 1, 2011

The St. Lawrence Book Award

The St. Lawrence Book Award

About the Prize
Black Lawrence Press is currently accepting submissions for the 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award, an annual award that is given for an unpublished collection of short stories or poems. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

The entry fee for the prize is $25 and the deadline is August 31. For more information about how to submit your manuscript for the prize, follow this link.

Previous winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award include Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, and Brad Ricca. Last year’s winner was Katie Umans.