SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editor (81)

September 18, 2023

I have so much to tell you. With five of the best stories from A SmokeLong Summer 23, Issue 81 is a bit meatier than usual. We’re thrilled to share work by Lindsey Pharr and Frances Orrok, the winners of the CNF and fiction competitions of our summerlong workshop. They will each receive $500. And that makes us glad.

In the process of formatting and proofreading the 12 narratives featured in Issue 81, I couldn’t help seeing that all these narratives are intensely intimate. Flash has a way of going there in so many varied ways, compressing an author’s examination of life into a narrative gem. Flash, with its constraints, also has a way of forcing us to tighten and streamline syntax and pack as much as possible into word choice and image.

In the SmokeLong community workshop, SmokeLong Fitness, we work every week on producing tight flash narratives that we are passionate about; and we are thrilled to say that more than one hundred of our participants have subsequently published work started in a SmokeLong workshop. That’s why we decided to offer The SmokeLong Workshop Prize. If you’ve taken part in any SmokeLong workshop since 2019 and you’ve published a narrative that began in the workshop, you are eligible to enter . . . free of charge. And you could win $500.

You might think we are stuck on $500, but no.

Have you sent in your entry to The Mikey? We’re reading entries for The SmokeLong Grand Micro Competition until November 10. Your entries can be previously published or unpublished, in English or any other language accompanied by an English translation, and of course you yourself can be from anywhere on this planet. You do need to be 18 years of age or older. The grand prize for The Mikey is $1500.

That’s a lot of competitions, I know, but while we’re on the topic, HERE are our Best of the Net 2024 nominations. Congratulations to everyone!

We’re busy reading for competitions, but we’re also busy reading your work for Issue 82. Our team is so quick and so thoughtful. SmokeLong—but also any literary journal—would be lost without dedicated, talented people reading their hearts out. Our average response time is 4 days, and we receive around 40 submissions each day.

Did you miss our Flash Fiction America—The SmokeLong Authors reading? No worries. You can watch it on our YouTube channel HERE.

As part of SmokeLong Fitness in October, we are reading Kathy Fish’s collection Wild Life. If you are already signed up for SmokeLong Fitness or if you are starting in October, be sure to let us know if you’ve bought the book and want to be part of a reading group. Kathy will be joining us for a reading and Q&A on October 8. If you are a publisher of flash collections and would like to be considered for the SmokeLong reading groups, send us an email and let’s talk.

But now, sit back and open Issue 81 of SmokeLong Quarterly. You’ll be glad.



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SmokeLong Fitness -- The SmokeLong Community Workshop

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Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).

One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)

Discounts on intensive workshops

Discounts on senior editor feedback

Surprises (good ones)