Call for manuscript submissions!

Leapfrog Press is currently reading submissions for our annual fiction contest. We’re proud to welcome author Mark Brazaitis (The Incurables, Truth Poker) as this year’s finalist judge. Check out our submission guidelines, then send us your work.

Once you’ve done that, take a few minutes to check out some recent contest winners.

lonesometrialsjohnnyriles

The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles, Gregory Hill (2014 first place winner)

(review of Hill’s previous novel East of Denver)

GoingAnywhereCBSD2

Going Anywhere, David Armstrong (2013 first place winner)

(review at The Literary Review, “Declarations” at Narrative)

jacob white dead in sc cover

Being Dead in South Carolina, Jacob White (2012 first place winner)

(interview at Crossborder, review at Publishers Weekly)

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Green Mountains Review Open for Submissions!

The 2014 Neil Shepard Prizes in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction is now open for submissions. The contest is hosted by Green Mountains Review, edited by Leapfrog author Jacob White.

http://greenmountainsreview.com/?p=3737

Short Stories — For FREE!

Our short stories are now free online! Bookslinger comes preloaded with short stories from independent publishers around the world. Every week we let fly a free story from one of our award-winning publishers. Available on iTunes.

Just out:

“Our Big Game” from “Immanence of God in the Tropics” by George Rosen

 

 

 
Recent Leapfrog Press stories available on Bookslinger:

 

 

“Shadowboxing” from “Dancing at the Gold Monkey” by Allen Learst
http://thebookslinger.com/?s=Dancing+at+the+Gold+Monkey

 

 

 

 

 
“The Floods” from “And Yet They Were Happy” by Helen Phillips
http://thebookslinger.com/?s=Helen+Phillips

 

 

 

 

“Men in Brown” from “How to Stop Loving Someone” by Joan Connor
— this one is guaranteed to make you fall out of your chair laughing!
http://thebookslinger.com/?s=joan+connor

Being Dead in South Carolina – Three Guys One Book Review

In Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Warren Beatty’s John McCabe—with all his roughness and maundering—grumbles, “I got poetry in me,” an assertion with which nobody around him seems to agree. This dialogue kept running through my head while I read Being Dead in South Carolina, Jacob White’s debut short story collection, which begins with a question: “Look. Have you ever tried to right a car you yourself have tumbled?” Immediately, the reader intuits that this narrator is a fuck-up who spends his life attempting to fix disasters that he himself has caused. But check out the way he describes the overturned car: He calls it a “strange articulation of stupidity and rebirth.” He may be a fuck-up, but he got poetry in him.

The majority of the 17 stories in Being Dead are told in a conversational first-person voice. Many of these narrators are ne’er-do-wells whose unremarkable lives dot the American South; in this way, the book’s cover—a cheap-looking couch perched next to shimmering water—is a perfect evocation of its contents. But if you’re a reader fed up with the MFA-workshop-story conventions usually (if not entirely correctly) blamed on Raymond Carver’s brand of “dirty realism,” don’t be turned off.

Consider, again, that opening story—titled “Being Dead in South Carolina”—in which the narrator, after righting the car, ends up at a bar with some friends. By this point, the reader has learned that the narrator was shot in the head years before and has weakened mental faculties as a result. This feels like a familiar redemption story—he will fix his life, connect with other people, etc. etc.—until the final paragraph, which turns in a sudden, frightening direction. “I’ve been born again a thousand times,” the narrator says in the closing moments, “and each time’s scarier than the last.”

Consider, also, “Bethel,” in which the narrator recalls the time that his brother reappeared at the family’s farmhouse after a mysterious (and maybe murderous) six-year absence. The narrator was 12 at that time, and is now a middle-aged trucker. “Bethel” reaches its climax between the 12-year-old narrator and his brother, and then returns to the present, and then keeps going on and on for too many rambling pages, it seems, until it becomes clear that the story is actually about the narrator’s disturbing present-day psychology. White’s endings always force the reader to reconsider what s/he thought the story was about…

“The Days Down Here,” Being Dead’s centerpiece and best story, [is one] in which Hammond and Jean, an old married couple, have moved to South Carolina with their 19-year-old son, Zach. Their days are idyllic, but punctured with brutal flash forwards—“This was only weeks before her cheeks sallowed and sank, before her eyes turned to pitch”—which remind the reader that Jean has cancer and that these days, though idyllic, will be her last. The story becomes a sun-soaked Amour, and White’s poetic flourishes are in fine form. (At dusk, the lake becomes “a floating city of gridlocked boats.”)

Eventually, those problematic prose poems seem like a rehearsal for the climax of “The Days Down Here,” when Hammond, the narrator, describes his son doing something fantastic in a lake while the sun sets and his movements become “smears of shadow.” Here, White’s leap into sustained poetic language feels organic, attached to Hammond’s experience of the world as it becomes heightened and lyrical. This is the best story—maybe the best moment—in Being Dead in South Carolina, and it establishes Jacob White as a fine new writer.

Read the complete review at http://threeguysonebook.com/being-dead-in-south-carolina-by-jacob-white/

Being Dead in South Carolina Review

A new review from Midwest Book Review!

Being Dead in South Carolina is a 200 page compendium comprised of seventeen skillfully crafted short stories set in the modern South. The deftly written characters combine with strongly developed and original storylines resulting in a series of literary experiences that the reader will remember long after Bring Dead in South Carolina is finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended.”

Crossborder March 2014 Issue

Heads up! The next issue of Crossborder is coming soon. If there’s a story you really love, please let us know and we will contact the author for an interview. You can subscribe here.

Spring 2014 Cover face - no bleed.indd

A Diner on the Edge of Town Alcy Leyva
There’s a Wait Jordan Smith
Orpheum Kevin Oderman
Isolation (poem) Eileen Berry
River, Clap Your Hands Cynthia Hawkins
A Lawyer in Islamistan Ali Eteraz
An Economic Novel Mark Brazaitis
Forgotten Exiles Cyril Dabydeen
When the Frost Comes Erin Pringle-Toungate
Words in Skin Alcy Leyva
Morning Sarah Gerkensmeyer

Read the opening of each story

A Diner on the Edge of Town
Alcy Leyva

Day 1

A fly walks into a diner…

(I’ll start from the beginning, sorry.)

As I tore open the sugar packet,
a piece of the pink wrapper fell from the bigger chunk,
flipped,
sashayed in the air,
and did a medium-sized backflip
into
my coffee.

There’s a Wait
Jordan Smith

Millard’s will was simple enough. The house and assets would be sold, the investments liquidated, the proceeds placed in trust in three equal shares, thus neatly avoiding estate taxes and any disagreement about who got what. There was only one additional provision. The beneficiaries would each receive one personal bequest, an object to be placed prominently in each of their homes.  For the next twenty years, until the trust dissolved and the capital was distributed, the monthly income would be paid only when the trustees had certified by a personal and unannounced inspection that the object was where it was supposed to be and neither altered nor disguised in any way.

Orpheum
Kevin Oderman

The bulbs on the marquee illuminated the crowd pressed close to the door, but the line ran into the half darkness down the street. Orpheum. A word exotic to the boys. They’d been to the movies before, in Bend, to the Bijoux, which their mother—it seemed a long time ago—had told them meant jewels in French. Fielding had wondered about that, jewels? That was when they had already entered the shadow of their mother’s illness. She had told them a movie house was like a jewelry box, she thought, they kept the pretty things inside. The sparkling movies. Colors almost unbelievable. Simple stories. Happy endings, she’d said, and smiled her wan smile. And the boys had nodded. Already that seemed like a long time ago.

River Clap Your Hands
Cynthia Hawkins

Make shadows for me Jack. That’s what I always called Jack’s drawings when I was a kid.  With his eyes squinting into black slits of concentration and a wafting of his gnarled gray fingers gone straight, his hand would make its graceful pass over tables, walls, great pads of paper I eventually bought him, the surface growing gradually darker than its natural shade, darker until I could see the shapes he made.  Just a wave of his hand.  That’s all it took.  He was good, Jack.  He liked to add a kind of Deco flourish to limbs and fingers and the ends of hair twined with an imaginary breeze.  And Jack was drawing his self-portrait across the cracked concrete alley behind the strip mall where I was looking for boxes, the dark spindled sketch of his question-mark figure hanging like a shadow from my heels, when a woman burst through an emergency exit.  Like birds scattering off a lawn at the first hint of a doorknob twist, Jack was gone.  Just like that.

A Lawyer in Islamistan
Ali Eteraz

Mr. Eblis, a first year defence attorney in the country of Islamistan, sat in his office in the old part of Muhammadiya District and wondered if his solo practice was doomed to fail. Most people avoided criminal law like it was heresy. The trials were complicated and messy, and took an eternity.

He had wanted a high status job. Government. Academia. Morality. Anything that kept him out of court. He had hoped that upon the completion of his twelve year program he would be installed as a lecturer at Jurist’s Inn or invited to become an analyst at the Guardian Council.

An Economic Novel
Mark Brazaitis

Chapter 1

The scene in which the protagonists (soon-to-be lovers) meet: You’ll know from experience or fantasy what they say to each other, how their gestures convey a tangible longing, how, when they kiss, the world brightens, as if in a nuclear flash.

Forgotten Exiles
Cyril Dabydeen

I was meeting him again after a twenty-year lapse, and I figured he would be reluctant or self-conscious, my father. Time, distance, between us; and yes,  it would be his poverty, his house being a ramshackle place with a nondescript living room, and the doors being boards simply tacked together and the roof zinc sheets piled one on top of the other.  He’d been ailing too, arthritis wracking his bones, the relatives had said.

When the Frost Comes
Erin Pringle-Toungate

The girl and her mother sit at the small kitchen table, eating their cereal.  On TV, the weatherman stands in front of his colorful map.  He has gray hair and a red bow tie and is the same weatherman who visited the girl’s class and explained about Ls and Hs.  How Ls meant lousy weather and Hs meant happy weather—For the most part, he said.  She and the rest of the class were impressed since he was from the larger city where the shopping mall and movie theatre and hospitals were, and they saw him every night on TV, but there he was shaking hands with Mrs. Lindsey and standing in front of their chalkboard.  It was almost as good as the shopping mall Santa making a special visit, but since none of them believed in Santa anymore, the weatherman would do.

Words in Skin
Alcy Leyva

I sit back and enjoy the crunchy skin of the pig my father and uncles have roasted using smoking coals. We’re sitting in a driveway in the Bronx, but the smell of a fire pit and the rattle of dominoes screams of an island lost in their memories. My son sits at my feet with his New York Yankees hat and British character inspired toy trains which were made in China. I don’t give my son a piece because he distrusts anything new.

Morning
Sarah Gerkensmeyer

Every morning, my husband and I grab our briefcases and our stainless steel coffee thermoses.  We kiss each other on the cheek and then we kiss the dog on the cheek and then we pull the front door closed behind us and let the screen door give a happy slap.  Every morning, I set my stainless steel coffee thermos on the roof of my car and my husband sets his stainless steel coffee thermos on the roof of his car and then we open driver-side doors.  And right before ducking into the airtight spaces of our separate, efficient automobiles, every morning, we both see Harold waving at us from across the street, his other hand holding a slack hose above the brown-pocked grass.  Like usual, there’s no water coming out of the hose, and, like usual, my husband and I both wave back.

AWP Conference 2014

Each year, the Association of Writers & Writing Program hosts its annual Bookfair, where writers and readers come together to celebrate publishers, teachers, and students of literature and writing. Over 12,000 participated in the 2013 conference, dubbing it the largest gathering of writers and readers in North America. The AWP will host its conference from February 28 to March 1 at the Washington State Convention Center & Sheraton Seattle Hotel. A lot of excellent literary journals will be on exhibition, including Witness Magazine, edited by David Armstrong (author of the upcoming book Going Anywhere), along with Green Mountains Review and its editor Jacob White (author of Being Dead in South Carolina). For those interested in contests, AWP has many opportunities for writers to submit work, including the AWP Award Series, the George Garrett Award, the Small Press Publisher Award, the Intro Journals Project, the WC&C Scholarship Competition, and the National Program Directors’ Prize. Though the preregistration deadline for the conference has passed, onsite registration will begin February 26.