Fbomb interview up at Smokelong Quarterly

Cool Stuff Writers Do: Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series

story art

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Most are familiar with the typical poetry reading scene: a dark bar, an uplit stage, maybe some jazz and finger snaps at the end of some emotionally wrought yet strange, if not cliché, poem. A familiar, yet overused scene, which is why we were so excited to hear about The  Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series.

Created by writer and flash aficionado, Nancy Stohlman, the FBomb Flash Fiction Reading Series features flash writers and their stories in a rotating line-up with a rotating theme. Nancy reached out to fellow writer and flasher, Paul Beckman, who introduced the series in New York City at the KGB Bar’s Red Room. On October 22, 2016, the Fbomb NY series will host the finalists and winners from the The Best of Small Fictions 2016, published by Queen’s Ferry Press.

One of our blog editors, Tyrese Coleman, caught up with Nancy and Paul recently for an email Q&A.

Tyrese: How did the series start?

Nancy Stohlman (NS): For me, it started as filling a void. I had spent the last six years co-founding/running Fast Forward Press, which started in 2007 as a small press that put out a yearly anthology of flash fiction (back when fewer people were writing it). Every year when we would release the new anthology, we would have a big release party reading. When I stepped down from the press in 2013 to work on my own writing (insert a moment of silent appreciation here for all the small presses working tirelessly for little or no pay), I missed the camaraderie of those events and decided that I wanted to create an opportunity for the flash fiction community to congregate in a new way. I called it the Flashbomb so we could “drop some F(lash)-bombs” and designed the structure with rotating hosts and a focus on community participation. Our first Fbomb was Valentine’s Day of 2013. I was the host and my feature was Rob Geisen.

Tyrese: Paul, how did you become involved with the series?

Paul Beckman (PB): I was invited by Nancy to be a featured reader along with Robert Vaughan in Denver. The talent and the energy were life-changing and it made me want to have something all flash in New York. Luckily the people at KGB were on board with it and every writer I asked said yes. I’m fortunate at the quantity, and especially the quality, of the flash writers in the tri-state area. I either know or know of many of the writers and in turn they gave me other names.

Tyrese: Tell me about your latest reading, who attended, and how did it go?

bud-smith-reading-paul-beckman-watchingPB: The first was September 9th with Nancy Stohlman flying in from Denver to headline the twelve writer reading to a standing room only crowd. Also featured were Bud Smith, Gessy Alvarez, Sara Lippmann, Janee Liddle, Alice Kaltman, Jan Elman Stout, Chuck Howe, Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber, Jolene McLLwain & myself.  On October 21, Bud Smith will co-host a show from 6pm-8pm with Len Kuntz, Robert Vaughan, Meg Tuite, Gay Degani, Michael Gilan Maxwell and Karen Stefano.

kona-back-futureNS: I loved being invited to kick off the premiere Fbomb NY event–it was fantastic! In Denver we’ve had events monthly for going on four years now. All our events are awesome. Last month we had Hillary Leftwich hosting and Marty McGovern featuring, and we have the best open mic in town. I have a background in community organizing, so when I designed this series I knew that if I wanted it to thrive in the long term, and if I wanted to avoid burning myself out, I needed to delegate and share the leadership. I got the idea for the structure from my obsession with Saturday Night Live: Each week on SNL they have a new guest “host” and a featured musician. Because the hosts and musical guests always change, the flavor of the event also changes. I never wanted to create the Nancy Stohlman Flash Fiction Reading Series. So I decided right from the start to empower others to take on leadership roles, assigning “hosts” from the audience and allowing the hosts to pick their own features and take ownership of their “month”. The result has been tremendous variety, from Elvis Luas to “Back To The Future” night to our upcoming October “Once Bitten” Fbomb, hosted by David Atkinson, with non-vampire costume prizes. The hosts, who I always invite from the active Fbomb community, bring in the fresh blood with their features–just as I brought Paul to Denver. It’s a way to acknowledge those who support the Fbomb but also build bridges to new communities.

Tyrese: What are your goals with the FBomb Series?

PB: To make it a must-attend series for both writers and readers–much as it is in Denver. Nancy calls it community building and I’d like to think of this the same way.

NS: So I had some goals/secret agendas when I created this series. I wanted to obviously create flash fiction community, and to community build by sharing leadership. I also wanted a place where writers could learn to be better readers: I have been to too many readings where someone’s brilliant work is lost in their poor delivery. So I wanted to create a space where people could become better readers of their work.

I also wanted a balance of open mic and featured reader(s)–almost all the readings I go to are one or the other, and I like the balance and inclusiveness of having some featured readers as well as the opportunity for community participation.

Also, in rotating the hosts and handing over control to different people each month, I intended to create opportunities for people to become better event coordinators and promoters. I got so tired of hearing everyone talk about how they were “no good” at promotion. So this way the spotlight changes each month, and we all learn how to promote one another and get over that block.

kathy-hillaryAnd it’s worked! We have incredibly dynamic events, our hosts all bring their own flavors, we have a welcoming community of features and open mic, and our readers are some of the best I’ve ever heard.

Tyrese: Tell me about the upcoming reading with the winners of The Best Small Fictions 2016. It sounds really exciting. Who will be reading?:

PB: This is an exciting group of readers coming in from as far away as Washington state. The book features 45 stories and will be on sale that night. We’ll have both winners and  finalists reading their work. Some of the writers are: Len Kuntz, Robert Vaughan, Dawn Raffel, Paul Beckman, Tina Barry, Amir Adam, Eliel Lucero, Amy Shearn, Dianaca Potts, Ilana Masad, Nancy Ludmerer, Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber and others.

Tyrese: How did this event come about?

PB: This event came about during an  email exchange I had with the editor, Tara L. Masih. She was looking for a venue and I offered to find one in NY, preferably at KGB. The manager of the Red Room, Lori Schwarz and the owner Denis Woychuk were so impressed with the first turnout that on the spot they gave me the perfect time and date for The Best Small Fictions 2016. One of the most important factors about reading at KGB is the respect the audience gives to the readers. They come to listen and the chat comes later.

Tyrese: Are there any other events coming up that we should not miss?

PB: I’m presently working with a couple of authors to have their flash collections rolled out in our Red Room and working with other authors to take on the role of hosts during the year.

NS: Every month we have an Fbomb. We’ve been having our events on the third Tuesday of the month at the amazing Mercury Cafe–which is a longstanding center of the art culture in Denver. Our schedule of past and future events is up at www.fbombdenver.com And even if you have never been to an Fbomb before, we’d love to have you. You can learn about flash fiction, hear from some of the best, and even jump on the mic yourself if you get brave.

Another cool flash fiction event coming up is FlashNano, which I started about the same time as the Fbomb as a way for flash fiction writers to suffer alongside the novel writers in November during NaNoWrimo. Our goal is 30 stories in 30 days, and I give an optional prompt every day for those who like that sort of thing. I end up hearing a lot of FlashNano pieces read at the Fbomb throughout the year. You can sign up for more info at my website.

nancy-bio-moNancy Stohlman’s books include the flash fiction collection The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories, The Monster Opera,  Searching for Suzi: a flash novel, and four anthologies including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of the Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series in Denver, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Find out more about her at www.nancystohlman.com

img_2597Paul Beckman’s story, “Healing Time” was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions and his 100 word story, “Mom’s Goodbye” was chosen as the winner of the 2016  Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. His stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Pure Slush, Jellyfish Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, “Peek”, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. Paul lives in Connecticut and earned his MFA from Bennington College. His published story website is  www.paulbeckmanstories.com and  blog is www.pincusb.com

One month until FlashNano 2016


It’s almost that time!

FlashNano is back! In solidarity with our NaNoWriMo novel writing friends, flash fiction writers everywhere will be writing:
Prompts provided for those who like that sort of thing.
Check out last year’s prompts, sign up for email prompts (below) and join the FB event page here



(…you know you want to!)

100,000 Poets for Change finale this Friday, Sept 30

September 30

I’m proud to join this AMAZING lineup with my creative partner in crime, Nick Busheff. We’ll be doing our Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities sideshow act with full clown makeup one last time!

madam velvet picture

100,000 Poets for Change
Hampden Hall
Admission $10
1000 Englewood Pkwy, Englewood
The Grand Finalé of “Clan Between the Wor]l[ds” (co-hosted by Michael Annis and Mila Popovich) — Denver’s 2016 concluding celebration of the worldwide movement includes the talents, creativity, and artistic brilliance of the metro area’s finest writers and artists, plus performers from New York, North Dakota, and California. Musical sets include classical, experimental rock, improv jazz stylings, avant techno, and primitive solo drum, some accompanied by poets. Two national slam champions, a Native American shaman, a multi-award winning poet/publisher, a world class jazz poet, a queen of flash fiction, and two of the Rocky Mountain’s most profoundly gifted artists are featured, plus a high intensity video trailer, and a short talk [virtual] by progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Grand Finale performers include: Goncalo Martins
 Hawksbrother Hawkspirit
 Bobby LeFebre
 David Hinojosa & JamKeyJam
 Theo Wilson
 Felino Soriano
 Les Reed & Carolyn Reed
 Adam Roufberg
 Nancy Stohlman and Nick Busheff
 Seth
 Mila Popovich
 Molli Bernstein
 Michael Annis::AtMassFear with Mayra Lorren Delgado
 David Allen Reed
 Dascha Friedlova

“My Mother Was a Circus Clown” published in Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine


My Mother Was a Circus Clown

by Nancy Stohlman

When she kissed me goodnight she left smudges of white paint on my cheeks. When I tried to ask her a question she was inside a box—a wall left, right, above, oh my! When I came home from school she was painting pink eyebrows on her forehead. When I tried to hug her she squirted me with a rubber flower or knocked herself unconscious with a rubber sledgehammer or blew confetti out of a trumpet.

It’s because her parents never let her see live music when she was growing up, my father explained. It was against their religion or something. She vowed to become a clown if they didn’t let her see Elvis when he came through town back in ‘76.

My mother nodded, miming a tear sliding down her cheek with her gloved hand.

Read all about Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine here

(DENVER: Watch me read this and other clown-related stories from my forthcoming book, Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities on Sept 30 at Hampden Hall, Denver, as part of the 100, 000 Poets for Change grand finale event. I will be accompanied by the genuis of composer Nick Busheff!)


Fbomb NYC on Sept 9, 2016

I was thrilled to be able to join the kickoff of Fbomb NYC on Friday, Sept 9, hosted by Paul Beckman and featuring myself and Bud Smith. The series is a spin-off of the Denver Fbomb, a flash fiction-based series I began in 2013. The Red Room above the KGB bar in in the East Village was a wonderful location and there was a packed house! Readers included:

Read what fellow reader A.E. Weisgerber had to say about the event here as well as a great photo slideshow of all the readers:Jane Liddle, Alice Kaltman, Loren Kleinman, Paul Beckman, Gessy Alvarez, Sara Lippman, Chuck Howe, Anne Weisgerber, Jan Elman-Stout, Jolene McIlwaine.

(Host Paul Beckman (below left), featured reader Nancy Stohlman (below right)


The readers from left to right: A.E Weisberger, (featured reader) Bud Smith, Chuck Howe, Gessy Alvarez, Jolene Mcllwaine, Jan Elman Stout, Alice Kaltman, Jane Liddle and Sara Lippman. (Not pictured Loren Kleinman.)

Fbomb NY

This Friday: Denver’s First Lit Crawl!

September 2

Friday, September 2
6-9 pm

Sponsored by At the Inkwell, The Fbomb, Mile High MFA, The Lighthouse Writers, Colorado Humanities, Tethered by Letters and the Bookbar!

Lit Crawl is from 6-9 pm along Tennyson Avenue

Check out whole lineup here:

I will be hosting the Fbomb portion of the evening.
FBomb will be reading from 8-8:45 p.m.
Local 46
4586 Tennyson Street

Team Fbomb: Nancy Stohlman, Rob Geisen, Steven Dunn,  Kona Morris, Nick Morris, Roseanna Frechette, Bryan Jansing and Jonathan Montgomery!


August 27: Boulder Fringe Festival


The Boulder Poetry Tribe Presents:
“For the Howlers: A Five Part Series of Poetic Performance”
More info on the entire lineup of poets here
Boulder Fringe Festival Tickets and info here
Saturday, August 27
8 pm
 Nick Busheff and Nancy Stohlman perform pieces from:
Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities
madam velvet picture
along with incredible members of the Boulder Poetry Tribe!

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