Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

Please say Hello to Author ERIC NOTARO!

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

Please say Hello to published author ERIC NOTARO. He brings us his latest short story, “The Cossack’s Samovar” in Open Heart Publishing’s anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables. Eric, can you tell us about some of your other publications?

EN: My short stories have appeared in the online journals The Four Cornered Universe and The Squawk Back. Another short story is also forthcoming in the Fall 2012 issue of Zone 3. I am busily cranking out stories as I develop a creative thesis for my Masters of Fine Art in writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. My hope is that I’ll have a story collection that is publishable or nearly so by that time.

ET: Outstanding! If you keep it up, you’ll have a great start on your own anthology. Can you tell us how you found An Honest Lie and Open Heart Publishing?

EN: A friend invited me to a facebook group for submitting writing for publication. I figured it’d be a good networking tool. Somewhere along the line someone else had posted a link to An Honest Lie.

ET: And yet another case for online networking, and how it can help writers. When and how did you decide to become a writer?

EN: My interest in writing really started to develop in the last few years of high school. I was one of the multitude of nerdy kids who took a stab at writing a fantasy novel and churned out about 300 pages until I realized how awful it was. Still, I’m still really jealous of my younger self’s ability to churn out content without fear of its quality. Of course, if you want to be a serious writer in any capacity you have to be aware of what you’re putting on the page and how it may be read.

ET: I’ll second that motion. I suppose if you’re serious, it means you want to be a full-time writer. What are you goals in that respect?

EN: I used to think that my ideal goal was to live off my writing alone. I still think it would be great but the more I think about it, the more I realize I’d love to be doing something that complements it on some level. On the most realistic and pragmatic level, I’d be happy with anything that allows me enough of a life outside of work so that I can write and provides some inspiration and encouragement. My program at UAF gives me the opportunity to teach while working as a grad student, so my hope is to continue on that track, but I’d love anything that engages my intelligence and imagination.

ET: I wish you the best of luck in that regards, and it sounds like you are on the right track to square up a career in writing. What is your philosophy regarding writing? Should it be fun, serious, informative, entertaining, etc.?

EN: It seems to me that writing is such a broad art form that no one can pick a handful of qualities to describe a good writer. In fact, the best writers usually do a little of everything in an organic way. George Saunders, for example, is absolutely hilarious in many of his stories and yet the human struggles and failings of his characters against his depiction of a cartoonishly cruel society still comes out genuine. Of course, some writers might have a few dominant qualities and still shine through. Cormac McCarthy is downright dark to the point of nihilism but is still hard to put down.
The best writing, whether it be mine or anyone else’s, is consistent and honest to what is being written. Humor is a powerful thing but can backfire if all the reader is doing is laughing and nothing else. A traumatic moment can shake the reader but is useless if all it’s doing is creating that reaction for reaction’s sake. The written word is reflective and contemplative in nature. Anything that strengthens that nature is doing something right.

ET: Wow, sounds like you could have an MFA in Writing from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks! How about when you write and create? Do you write to music or other background noise? If so, what sort? If not, how do you find your quietude?

EN: I prefer a quiet experience. Music can be too distracting to me and when I am writing with music on, it’s because I’m able to tune it out. The extremes of the day tend to be my time: early morning or late at night which can be hard living up in a place like Fairbanks since one portion of the year is perpetual daylight and the other is 20 hours of night. Still, if I can get myself to my desk, keep facebook closed and have an idea of what I want to work with I can get something through.

ET: Ah, the quiet writer. I share your view on quiet writing spots, but they are rare times. Do you plot your stories, or write as you go?

EN: Usually, It’s a matter of finding some concept or opening scene to work from. After that, as long as I have a vague sense where I want to take it I let the story find itself. I’m also obsessive about revising as I go which is an issue if you’re just trying to get a draft down, but I try to ensure that the first typed draft is as good as possible. Recently, I’ve been handwriting at least some of the drafts and transcribing on the page, editing as I do so. It’s mixed results so far. Sometimes I’m not satisfied with how it’s going but other days I get a few pages before I even start typing.

ET: A fellow pantser, as they’re called. I share many of your views on writing, and if I’m ever in Alaska or you’re ever in Texas, it would be nice to sit and talk writing. Until then, I’ll say THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts, and we all look forward to seeing your latest story, “The Cossack’s Somnovar”, in An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables, from Open Heart Publishing.

– Eric Trant

BIO: Eric Notaro was born in upstate New York, attended Chester College of New England in southern New Hampshire, and is working on an MFA in writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has worked as a charity canvasser on the streets of Boston and as a bookstore clerk in interior Alaska. He is a Graduate Teaching assistant leading a course on introductory composition at UAF.

Eric’s stories include “Ghost,” published in The Four Cornered Universe and “The Stars, and Other Crap” published in Squawk Back. His forthcoming works are “The Nomad” in the Fall 2012 issue of Zone 3 and “The Cossack’s Samovar” in the anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables.

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications


Please say Hello to returning author DONNA HOLE!

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Please say Hello to published author DONNA HOLE. She brings us her latest short story, “Eros and Kris” in Open Heart Publishing’s anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables. Donna, can you tell us about some of your other publications?

DH: So far I have only short story publications. I have a mainstream fiction in the e-zine Bewildering Stories (Issue #424), An Honest Lie Vol 3; Justifiable Hypocricy, and The Literary Lab presents; Variations on a Theme.

ET: Good deal! I’m glad you found Open Heart Publishing and are sharing your latest piece with us. How did you find OHP?

DH: I found OHP and AHL through a fellow blogger buddy, Eric Trant. When Eric announced he’d been published in AHL vol 1, I bought the anthology to read his story and support him as an author. I enjoyed every story in the anthology, and became intrigued with the publisher, and the company, and while I was not able to submit a story to AHL 2, I did write for the third anthology. And to my surprise, was accepted.

ET: There you go! Social networking works! I’m glad we found each other online, and I’m grateful for your support as well. We enjoyed your piece “Scent” in An Honest Lie Vol. 3: Justifiable Hypocricy. Can you tell us about your online presence?

DH: I have Linked In, Good Reads, and Google Plus accounts, but I use them mostly for reading articles, posting book reviews, and keeping up on some of the latest changes in marketing and stuff. I haven’t taken the time to learn how to effectively use these media. I don’t Tweet at all; I may have an old account that my youngest son set up a couple years ago when he was using my computer, but I wouldn’t even know how to publish a comment or follow a conversation. And my Facebook account is used mostly for keeping in touch with my family as we are spread out geographically.

My main form of social media is my writing blog, I post to it at least twice a week, and consistently follow other authors and comment on their publications. The blog has been invaluable to me in my journey as a writer, and I often wonder if I would be published at all if I hadn’t discovered this community of supportive writers and industry professionals.

ET: I agree completely, regarding the opportunities you find online via networking. I use mine extensively, and visit yours often. Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you write free, or with constraint?

DH: I don’t use a plot, and rarely show a work in progress to critique partners because I need to write without constraint. I get easily frustrated by too early feedback. But I’ve frequently written stories to specific criteria by a writing prompt, or the desires of a publisher. As long as how the story and characters progress is up to me, then I am actually more comfortable writing when I have a few guidelines to keep the concept on track.

For me, writing is a form of relaxation; a way to unwind from the day and go somewhere of my own choosing. I get to be in control – with my character’s permission, of course.

ET: What about religion and politics?

DH: In my women’s fiction novels, religion is a large part of two of the character’s personality traits. Religion/higher power plays an important role in the culture of Recovery, so I couldn’t leave it out. In my fantasy and sci-fi writings, politics and religion are a part of the world building. I don’t try to persuade the readers to any certain opinion though. It means something to the characters only, even when contemporary issues are addressed in order to allow the reader a frame of reference to identify with.

I write with a premise in mind; a viewpoint I want the reader to consider as they read and finish the story. However, if my story inspires alternatives, then I’m all for free thinking. What I really hope is that the reader is entertained, or learns something about themselves or their world through the writing. So I guess it’s more important a reader understand their own viewpoint.

ET: Entertainment is key, and if you can inspire the reader, so much the better. What about your family? How do they feel about your writing?

DH: My immediate family (two kids still left at home ages 23 and 14) has adjusted to my weird schedule. They’ve stopped asking me “how’s the writing going”, they know by my attitude will reflect it. Plus, they really don’t want to know unless/until it comes with a big advance. But my youngest has read every publication – after its published – and even shows off the printed anthologies to his friends. The rest of my family purchases my writings (they don’t want me to send them free editions), and my mom has brand new, un-read copies of the anthologies (and a printed copy of the Bewildering Stories e-zine publication) in a box in her fire proof safe. They also try to be understanding when I refuse to participate in family outings/events because I’m working on a project – as long as they know I have a specific submission date/publication to write to. My kids are understanding – my obsession lets them get away with missing events and eating junk on a regular basis. I’m happy enough for my adult family to purchase/read my accomplishments.

ET: You are blessed to have that much support! I don’t think it’s possible to succeed without the support of those around you. Where do you write?

DH: For a long time I didn’t have a specific area. I started on a desk computer in my bedroom, used solely the laptop where ever convenient when we had to move in with family, then back to the desktop in my bedroom when finances allowed us to move to our own place again. This last year, I’ve moved to a house with a spare room that everyone agreed should be my “office”. It’s still an unorganized mess, but I usually have either the TV or music running as background noise. I can’t stand complete quiet. I still do a lot of work on my Netbook in the living room, in my recliner with the TV on, but the kids (23 and 14) are so involved in their own worlds in their rooms I hardly notice even when they do come out. (As long as they don’t pop the dreaded question “what’s for dinner.”) It’s weird, but it is a comfort to me, and does aid my progress, when I know I am available to them, and to hear them moving around. I get my solitude without feeling isolated.

ET: Solitude without feeling isolated — a perfect balance that we all should work to attain. I’ll conclude on that note, and say THANK YOU DONNA for entertaining us with your stories and interview. We look forward to reading your story “Eros and Kris” in the anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables.

On a personal note, I’ll add that you are and continue to be a wonderful online friend, and I hope to keep working with you in the future.

– Eric

BIO: Donna Hole lives in California, and is an eclectic reader who enjoys horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and women’s fiction. She has a passion for short stories, both for reading pleasure and to write. Her short story “Two Minutes In Tomorrow” was published in Bewildering Stories issue #424; and “Scent” was published in An Honest Lie, Vol 3. Donna continues to write short stories and novels, and also enjoys social networking. For more information about Donna Hole, visit her blog at

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications