Writing Related to Teaching
"Legwork: Exploring Place," is in Sherry Ellis's Now Write! Nonfiction, published by Penguin.
"Entrances: Building Bigger Scenes" appears in Now Write! edited by Sherry Ellis, a book packed with great fiction writing exercises.
"Little Red Returns" appears in the chapter on "The Contemporary Tale" in Susan Tiberghien's One Year to a Writing Life, Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft, a book on the craft and practice of writing.
"Inventory," a story from my first book, The Land of Go, was included in two anthologies used in teaching literature to college freshmen: The Lexington Introduction to Literature, Waller, McCormick, Fowler, eds, D.C. Heath, and in Literature: Reading and Responding to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and the Essay, Joel Wingard, Ed., HarperCollins.
How far teaching can take you:
Twice, I've been to Switzerland to speak to the Geneva Writer's Group on plot and structure and to teach Master Classes in revising books of fiction and nonfiction. To learn about some of the other places teaching has taken me, please go to the Scrapbook page.
At the AWP convention in Boston, 2013, with my (former & current) students (left to right) Joe Clifford, Jennifer Maritza McCauley, and Louis K. Lowy.
I'm a Professor in the English Dept. at Florida International University, where I teach graduate and undergraduate workshops in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction, and graduate Form and Theory seminars, including classes in Plot, Mystery & Suspense, the Short Story, and Literary Journalism. I direct MFA theses: story collections, novels, memoirs and narrative nonfiction.
I've been a visiting writer at many universities and colleges. And I also speak to writers groups, teach at writers' conferences, and travel to lead master classes for smaller groups and teach private workshops.
I've taught at the FGCU Sanibel Island Writers' Conference, the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, the International Women's Writing Guild's annual conference and their Big Apple Conference, Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace, the Miami Writers Institute, and the FIU Writers Conference which has been held in Seaside, Hutchinson Island, Key West, Grand Cayman, and now in Coral Gables, FL.
In addition, I've spoken about teaching (particularly teaching plot and structure) at the AWP Conference and the Hands On Literary Festival.
For information on workshops and conferences where I'll be speaking or teaching in 2015, please go to the Events page.
Publications by some of my former students:
New & Forthcoming
Dennis Lehane: World Gone By, third in Dennis's historical series and his twelfth novel, is just out (March 2015) from Morrow. The Drop, developed from a short story that appeared in Boston Noir, was published in Fall 2014, at the same time as the movie of the same name for which he wrote the screenplay. His Live By Night won the Gold Medal for General Fiction in the Florida Book Awards, for books published in 2012, and the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Vicki Hendricks' novel Voluntary Madness has just been reissued (March 2015) by New Pulp Press. Her latest novel Fur People debuted on Audible in December 2013. Her story collection Florida Gothic Stories (Kitsune) is also available there in an audio version. Vicki is the author of five noir novels: Miami Purity, Iguana Love, Voluntary Madness, Sky Blues, and Cruel Poetry. Cruel Poetry was a finalist for the Edgar Award.
Ginny Rorby's How To Speak Dolphin is forthcoming Summer 2015. Her fourth young adult novel is Lost in the River of Grass, and her third, The Outside of a Horse. Ginny read from both in April 2011 at Books & Books, where her audience was delighted by the surprise visit of an albino Burmese python and its handler from the Museum of Science. Her young adult novel Hurt Go Happy, from Starscape, has garnered lots of prizes and an international readership.
Anthony Gagliano's The Emperor's Club has just been published by MidTown Press. The book, which was left unfinished at the time of his death, was completed by my colleagues Dan Wakefield and Les Standiford. It received a great review from The Florida Book Review. Tony's first novel, Straits of Fortune, was published by HarperCollins in 2007 and in paperback in 2008, to a warm reception, including praise in the New York Times.
In Summer 2014, Flutter Press published Time's Mirrored Illusion, a chapbook of poetry by MFA alumna Nina Romano. Her novel The Secret Language of Women will be published by Turner Publishing in September 2015. Among Nina's other recent books are Faraway Confections, a full-length collection that came out from Aldrich Press in Fall 2013, and the chapbook Prayer in a Summer of Grace (also Flutter Press). She's the author of the poetry collections Coffeehouse Meditations (Kitsune Books, 2010) and Cooking Lessons, Rock Press, 2007.
Joe Clifford's third novel, Lamentation (Oceanview) came out in Oct. 2014. Vagabondage Press published his novel Junkie Love, and Joe's thesis novel, Wake the Undertaker, is out from Snubnose Press, which published his story collection Choice Cuts. If you're on the West Coast, Joe runs Lip Service West, a reading series in Oakland.
Anjanette Delgado's thesis novel, The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho, was published by Kensington Books in August of 2014. Her first novel, The Heartbreak Pill was published by Atria (Simon & Schuster) while she was still in the MFA program. Anjanette has won the 2009 Latino Book Award for Best Romance in English for The Heartbreak Pill. The Spanish language version is Pildora de Mal Amor. Learn more about Anja at her website.
Christine Kling's thriller Dragon's Triangle was published in June 2014 from Thomas & Mercer. It follows Circle of Bones. Christine is also the author of the Seychelle Sullivan novels Wrecker's Key, Bitter End, Cross Current, and Surface Tension.
John W. Evans' Young Widower, winner of the 2013 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Award, was published in March 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. His poetry collection The Consolations, will be out from Trip Press in March. Since completing his MFA at FIU, John has been a Stegner Fellow in Poetry and a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, where he continues to teach creative writing. More about Evans and his writing on his website.
Cecilia Fernandez: Leaving Little Havana, Cecilia's thesis memoir, was published in December 2013 by Beating Windward Press.
Patricia Engel's novel It's Not Love, It's Just Paris was published in 2013 by Grove/Atlantic. Read the Miami Herald review. Her first book, Vida (linked stories), was published by Grove/Black Cat to critical acclaim and was a New York Times Notable Book and a Barnes and Noble Best Book of the Year. In May 201, Patricia was honored as one of five finalists for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. Read Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review here. Her short story "The Bridge" is available as an e-book by the Atlantic Monthly for Kindle.
Laura Valeri's novel-in-stories Safe in Your Head was published in 2013 by Stephen F. Austin University Press. Laura's previous story collection, The Kind of Things Saints Do (U of Iowa Press), was an Iowa/John Simmons Award winner, and winner of the Binghamton University John Gardner Award.
Pete Collins' Pain & Gain was first published as a three-part series in the New Times, and was written as part of his MFA thesis, a collection of true crime stories about con artists. (Other stories in the collection were feature cover stories in the Miami Herald magazine Tropic and picked up as features on 60 Minutes and Dateline.) Pain & Gain was released in 2013 as a major motion picture, directed by Michael Bay and starring Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, and Pete's book of the same name is out as an ebook. You can see the movie trailer here.
Preston L. Allen's novel Every Boy Should Have a Man was published by Akashic in 2013. Preston's Jesus Boy was published by Akashic Books in 2010. Reviewed in the New York Times here. Kat Meads' review in the Florida Book Review. All or Nothing (Akashic Books) was also reviewed in The New York Times. (Preston's blog is full of news of writing and gambling, both risky enterprises.)
Melanie Neale's memoir, Boat Girl, a Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass (2012), and a version suitable for younger readers, Boat Kid (2013) have been published by Beating Windward Press. Boat Girl began as Melanie's thesis, written while she was living onboard her sailboat, not far from our campus.
Jeff Zaslow's The Magic Room, A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters, was published in January 2012 by Gotham. He was killed in a car crash in February 2012. Other bestselling books by Jeff include The Girls from Ames. He collaborated with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, on their memoir, GABBY: A Story of Courage and Hope, and he coauthored Highest Duty, the memoir of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger and was co-author with the late Randy Pausch of The Last Lecture. I had the enormous pleasure of seeing Jeff when he appeared at the Miami Book Fair in Nov. 2010. Full disclosure: once upon a time I taught Jeff Zaslow in undergraduate creative writing classes and an independent study. And he himself made this full disclosure (along with both touching tribute and irrepressible jokes) to all present during the q & a at the Book Fair, leading me to be approached by several people afterwards who wanted to tell me about teachers who had made a difference to them or to their children.
Lots more...in alphabetical order
Mitch Alderman won best short story at the Shamus Awards for "Family Values" which appeared in the June 2008 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Mitch's stories appear regularly in AHMM.
David Beaty's story "Ghosts" was selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2000.
Sandra Rodriguez Barron's novels are Stay With Me (Harper Perennial, 2010) and The Heiress of Water, Rayo, a division of HarperCollins. Winner of the Mariposa Award for Best First Book, 2007 International Latino Book Awards.
Lynn Kiele Bonasia's third novel, and first young adult novel, Countess Nobody, came out in 2011. Her previous novels are Summer Shift (Booklist review here) and Some Assembly Required, both from Touchstone.
Best American Mystery Stories 2007 includes "T-bird" by John Bond, originally published in Miami Noir.
Susan Briante's second book of poetry, Utopia Minus, was published in 2011 by Ahsahta Press which also brought out her first, Pioneers in the Study of Motion.
J.J. Colagrande's novel Decò, a contemporary Candide set in Miami, was published by BlazeVox books in 2012. J.J.'s first novel Headz was published in 2009. The webpage for the book contains some of the outtakes, and other wonderful sidelights.
Louis K. Lowy's humorously dark Sci Fi novel Die Laughing was published by IFWG in 2011, while Louis was still a student in the FIU MFA program.
Mark M. Martin is creating Dada Comics at Europiummm.
Rita Maria Martinez's poetry chapbook Jane in the Box was published in 2008 by March Street Press.
Leslie Anne McIlroy's poetry collections are Gravel, Rare Space, and most recently Liquid Like This.
Jesse Millner's most recent poetry collection is Dispatches from the Department of Supernatural Explanation, published in 2012 by Kitsune. He has won the Wordrunner electronic chapbook award for The Bus Driver's Book of the Dead. Read it here. His poetry collection, The Neighborhoods of My Past Sorrow, published (Kitsune), won a bronze medal in the 2010 Florida Book Awards. I Give You This Ghost, Pudding House Press, came out on the heels of The Saturday After the Rapture, Main Street Rag Press.
Between Water and Song: New Poets for the Twenty-First Century, an anthology edited by Norman Minnick was published by White Pine Press in March 2010. Norm's book of poetry To Taste the Water was published by Mid-list Press. (Note: I didn't actually teach Norm, but I was his advisor.)
Leonard Nash, You Can't Get There From Here, Kitsune Books,won the 2007 Silver Medal for Fiction from the Florida Book Awards.
Heather Newton's Under the Mercy Trees was published in 2011 by Harper Collins. Listen to a wonderful interview with her on WUNC.org.
John Parras's Fire on Mount Maggiore won the Peter Taylor Prize and was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2005. In 2006 the novel received Silver Prize in the Foreword Book of the Year Awards for Literary Fiction. John is the director of the MFA program at William Paterson University.
A'dora Phillips is the author of Mortal Saints and Immortal Callings, Paraclete Press, 2006.
Neil Plakcy is the author of many books including seven in the Mahu series. Mahu Fire, Mahu Surfer were finalists in the Lambda Literary Awards for Best Gay Mystery (2007, 2008). And Neil has edited the collection Paws and Reflect.
Sue Stauffacher is the author of many books for young readers, including Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History (2011, Animal Rescue Team: Special Delivery (2010), Bessie Smith and the Night Riders, and Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson.
Tropicalia, by Emma Trelles, winner of the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, has been published by the University of Notre Dame Press. Steve Almond interviews Emma at The Nervous Breakdown.
Norma Watkins' memoir The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure was published by the University of Mississippi Press. The Washington Post's review called it "splendid in every way."
George Tucker's story "Circle" appeared in the May 2008 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. George's blog takes you inside the writing process.
Ian Vasquez's third novel, Mr. Hooligan, has been published by St. Martin's. Publisher's Weekly says, "Vasquez has crafted a crime novel that unfolds like a Greek tragedy with his flawed, unbowed hero bravely facing everything fate throws at him. His previous novel Lonesome Point got great reviews. Here's one from Oline Cogdill in the Sun Sentinel. His first novel, In The Heat, won the Shamus award for best first P.I. novel. Reviewed in the St. Pete Times.