I'm honored and thrilled that the folks at NANO Fiction have nominated my story "Gravity and Wind" for the Best Small Fictions for 2017, edited by Amy Hempel. The Best Small Fictions is an anthology that honors the best short fiction under 1000 words published in a calendar year. Journal editors nominate up to five stories they published in the previous year; then the judges at Best Small Fiction make the decisions from among the nominated stories. I'm so pleased that the editors of NANO Fiction thought my story was worthy.
That story is not available on the web; however you can read some of my stories that have been award winners and nominees for other honors in the past: "About My Mother" was named on the top 50 very short fictions by Wigleaf. "My Route" was longlisted for the same award a couple of years later. "They Call Me Lucky," an essay, was nominated for the Best of the Net anthology by the editors of Toasted Cheese.
I'm grateful to the editors of NANO Fiction and to all the editors who have supported my work over the years.
I'm putting an image of skydiving here because "Gravity and Wind" takes place while skydiving!
Though I've published many stories and essays, I don't often get an opportunity to read my work for an audience. So I was very pleased when the folks at San Jose's Flash Fiction Forum included me in their January 11 lineup. When I asked one of the organizers why she had started the reading series, she mentioned that though poets have several reading opportunities in San Jose, fiction writers had fewer. I think that's true in general: unless you have a book that you are reading to support, it's harder to find outlets for reading fiction. I'm grateful that I was able to participate in this fun reading series.
I read my story "Circle, Circle," which was published in Monkeybicycle. It includes an HO railroad, and I had several people come up to me after I read to reminisce about model trains from their childhood. You never know how your work will connect with readers and what it will bring up for them. Reading in public gives you the opportunity to find out.
NANO Fiction has published my story "Gravity and Wind" in its current issue. They were kind enough to interview me for the issue as well.
I'm especially honored to be included, because this is their last issue. I will miss such a classy print journal for flash.
I had a story, "Balloons" published by them in 2010 as well. Thinking back on that story and the more recent one, I can say that I considered both of these stories tough sells for a literary magazine. They are both reflective stories, the kind that critique groups sometimes label "quiet," though one takes place while skydiving and the other involves a dead body. Despite the external action, these stories mostly move forward in the characters' thoughts and reactions. "Quiet" in critique-group speak is not usually a complement. It's code for "not enough happens." But I enjoy writing and reading stories where small shifts resonate with large consequences. I'll miss reading a journal that recognizes and publishes those stories too.
It's time, once again, for my annual writing year in review. 2016 was a good year for my writing in a number of ways. Number one, I finished a first draft of a novel! Now I begin the long process of revising, followed by the long process of submitting it. So, no, you can't get a copy just yet :-). But it is an important milestone for me.
In addition, I had several short stories published in literary journals; in fact, it was a record year for me. I published seven short stories, including stories about a talking cat, a husband reincarnated as an opossum, Sleeping Beauty's insomnia after the prince wakes her, and a goddess knitting Eden. I also published more realistic stories, about lost love, infidelity, and the ongoing effect of an abusive parent. You can read some of this year's stories here:
I also had some essays published, including an appreciation of the movie Holiday, a discussion of literary thrift, and an account of traveling overseas for the first time.
I was even interviewed, by NANO Fiction, "Five Questions with Ann Hillesland." (The issue of NANO Fiction has not arrived yet, so the actual story will be in next year's round up).
All in all, a good year for my writing! Thank you to all the journals that published me, and to all of you who read my work. I appreciate your support!
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Bayou, The Laurel Review, and Sou’wester.
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