Editor’s Choice Week: A Few Words from Christopher Allen

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As we’re putting the final strokes on Issue 62 of SmokeLong Quarterly, I’d like to thank our readers, our contributors, and also the many writers who submit their work to SmokeLong. We believe in treating everyone with respect and fairness–and we love reading your work. Every last one of you.

I’ll be reading every submission that comes in during the week of October 22-28, and I guarantee a quick turnaround. In November I’m going on a trip to meet a few people who’ve contributed to SmokeLong, so I’ll be choosing a story by October 31. Submit something that tears you apart, please.

When you submit to SmokeLong remember please to make sure your name is not included on your story, or in the title of the story, or in the file name of your story. We can consider your work only if it’s blind. Your biographical information belongs in the cover letter, which is not visible to our weekly editors. In case you’re new to SmokeLong, we are now a paying market. We also now have a tip jar option, and we are very grateful for your donation (which of course in no way influences our decision concerning your submission, so please donate ONLY if you don’t need that money for coffee).

I will be giving away my collection, Other Household Toxins, to the writer whose work I choose for Issue 62. After my publisher’s website was hacked and deleted last year, I’m happy to say Matter Press is back in business with a beautiful site. Please check it out and send Randall Brown some love. Also, look for the beautiful new edition of Kathy Fish’s Wild Life coming soon from Matter Press.

While I’ve got you here, I thought I’d share some SmokeLong news.

Starting November 1 until Thanksgiving, SmokeLong Quarterly will be sponsoring FlashGiving to give you, our readers, the chance to tell us what you love about one of your favorite flash fiction journals (excluding SmokeLong of course). At the end of November we are going to give one of these journals some money to do with as they wish. Keep an eye on this site and our Twitter account @smokelong for more details.

Also at the end of November SmokeLong is going to be in Singapore. If you live in Singapore, come to hear me, Shasta Grant, Elaine Chiew, and Sharmini Aphrodite read November 27 at BooksActually.

In the middle of 2019 we will start accepting applications for The SmokeLong Flash Fellowship for Emerging Writers 2020. The summer of 2019 may seem like a long way off, but I can tell you killer flash fiction doesn’t write itself in a day. It’s never too early to get your application packet together. We’re going to make a couple of adjustments to the fellowship guidelines, so please keep an eye on @smokelong and the SmokeLong blog for those changes. I think you’ll like them.

But you’re actually here to find out what I’m looking for in the queue this week. One great sentence after another, memorable characters, a profound moment, a gripping voice–all these things will keep me reading. Please don’t send a story that doesn’t make you feel something. Take some chances. I like experimentation. It should go without saying that I gladly read LGBTQ+ characters and work by LGBTQ+ writers. Why in 2018 would we need to stress this? Thank you to everyone who supported our Twitter protest of the recent flash fiction competition that excluded LGBTQ+ (characters? writers?) while listing LGBTQ+ themes and issues among the “genres” of swearing and profanity, horrific deaths, torture, and sexual scenes. If nothing else, this situation has brought the flash fiction community closer.

There are just two other small things. One of them is tiny. I’m talking about the Best Microfiction anthology. The deadline for editors to submit to this anthology is December 31. We’ve nominated six stories and have two more slots. It wouldn’t hurt to send me your best micros under 400 words this week. We can’t nominate you if we don’t publish you, and we can’t publish you if you don’t submit. The same goes with Best British and Irish Flash Fiction. We’re chomping at the bits to publish more UK and Irish writers. Here’s a story I chose at the beginning of this year by the UK writer Rob Yates. Send me something I’ll love, chaps!

Looking forward to reading your work.


About the Reader:

Christopher Allen is a translator, freelance editor and the author of the flash fiction collection Other Household Toxins (Matter Press). Allen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions,  [PANK], Indiana Review, Jellyfish Review, Longleaf Review and others. He is the co-editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.