by Geoff Schmidt


On the upper bunk awash in its moonlight, Sherm whispers to his cockroaches. He sits cross-legged; they line his legs. Franklin tosses in his sleep below. He’s been in and out lately. Never out for long. Each time back he’s a little crazier. He’s only been back for a day this time. He’s already talking about pipe bombs and poison. Sherm doesn’t want to wake him up.

The cockroaches tell him about their night, the food they’ve found, the eggs they’ve laid, the lovely cracks they’ve scuttled through, the really interesting interior wall of Warden Brown’s office with its slightly crumbling drywall.

Tell me more about that, whispers Sherm. Does Warden Brown ever hear you?

Oh no, the cockroaches chuckle. We’re very sneaky.

What is Warden Brown doing while you explore the inside of his wall?

Well, we can’t see him, but he mostly makes phone calls, anyway.

What does he say?

Who’s coming, who’s going. We knew Franklin was coming back days before he did, they say proudly.

Is anyone leaving soon?

The roaches shift uncomfortably. No, Shermie. You’re not leaving.

What about Vi?

No, Shermie. She’s not leaving either.

Sherm runs his hands through his bristly hair, looks around the moonlit cell. The walls are old stone, cool and rough, the mortar flaking onto his sheets. The bars of the window are crinkled with rust. Franklin snarls in his sleep.

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January 5, 2011 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

UPDATE!, along with many WordPress based sites and Godaddy hosted entities, recently came under attack by a vicious piece of malware. We’re better now but are currently updating our security and overhauling our website. So, that said, stayed tuned for our new look in 2011.

December 24, 2010 | Posted in: Blog | Comments Closed

A Year of Loving Stuff – 2010

Flatmancrooked’s staff loves a lot of stuff. In 2010, we got our love on. Here’s a list of the stuff we at FMC could not live without in 2010. Some of these things did not originate in 2010 but they certainly helped make the year a grand one!

BETHANY – Intern (PR/Promotions)

1. Vancouvor Winter Olympics, 2. chicken flavored top ramen, 3. KeSha, 4. The Big Bang Theory (the tv show), 5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1, 6. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 7. Old Spice Commercials, 8. Venice Beach, CA, 9. 80′s style comeback, 10. Netflix

JONATHAN – Intern (Editorial)

1. Brett Favre returning, only to get the crap kicked out of him every 
week, over and over again 2. Red Dead Redemption 3. The new Arcade 
Fire 4. The idea of a new Interpol album. The actual album, not so 
much 5. Rediscovering J.D. Salinger (after he died, which is on my non-
top ten list) 6. Getting an internship at Flatmancrooked (and fine 
tuning my ass kissing abilities) 7. Taking a road trip from Sacramento 
to Mississippi and back again with my Dad 8. Getting into grad school 
9. Germans doctors curing HIV 10. Harry Potter!!!

MERIDETH – Copy Editor

1. Californians defeated proposition 23, 2. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, 3. Jeanette Winterson’s books – in particular Written on the Body and The Passion, 4. Philip Pullman’s latest – The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, 5. Judgeoverturns proposition 8, 6. – A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language, 7. Ntozake Shange’s incredible choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, 8. The Cornucopia Institute: Promoting Economic Justice for Family Scale Farming, 9. Edan Lepucki’s fantastic debut, If You’re Not Yet Like Me, 10. Panasonic Close Curves Wet/Dry Ladies Shaver. It’s pretty darn awesome.

JOSH – Poetry Editor

1. Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics, 2. SF Giants World Series Champions, 3. Arcade Fire w/Calexico at the Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA, 4. The Walking Dead, Landon Donovan’s goal vs. Algeria in stoppage time to put the US through to the knock-out round and create millions of new fans of American soccer.

STEVE – Fiction Editor

Peter Grandbois’ novella School Bus, as serialized by Neccesary Fiction, Lance Olsen’s Calendar of Regrets, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Stephen Graham Jones’ The Ones That Got Away and It Came From Del Rio, Winter’s Bone, and Black Swan.

DEENA – Senior Editor (in no particular order)

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter, ”High Violet” — The National, A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan, ”Forgiveness Rock Record” — Broken Social Scene, Bored to DeathLast Night by James Salter, the Giants winning the World Series, Preservation Hall, Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Lore Segal, and having brunch across from a man who was almost definitely Salman Rushdie.

ELIJAH – Executive Editor

The Big Short by Michael Lewis, The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, The Bees by Dan Chaon – as found in Poe’s Children: The New Horror, edited by Peter Straub, all things Brooks Brothers, Highball Bouldering (this is an every year sort of love), Autotune the News’ Bed Intruder Song, ‘Evil Boy’ by Die Antword, Cee Lo’s cover of ‘No One’s Gonna Love You‘, Prosseco & Jameson (same night, not same time), AM/PM by Amelia Gray, Marlin’s Bolt Action .22 rifle with carbon-fiber stock, the World Cup, all things Gibson.


by Will Dowd

Will you be a reader, a student merely,

or a seer?

—Henry David Thoreau

Seers win a trip to the school psychologist.

Tell me, son, about your alternate ending,

the one you scribbled in the margins.

Tell me about the night of first snow,

the flurry of strange footprints,

the grunt at the window sill.

Tell me about Thoreau’s white body

drifting across the night sky

at the end of a fishing line.

Tell me about the tall

reeds of downward

rushing stars.

by Will Dowd

December 15, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed


by Kirk Curnutt

The first thing he did after tossing the shotgun, ditching his F-450 at the quarry, shaving his goatee, and dyeing his hair, was Google himself.

Three hours and two hundred miles earlier, Jarvis Murple had shot his father and three of his father’s poker buddies at point-blank range. The men had mocked his negligible skills at Omaha Hi once too often, Murple had snapped, and now he needed to know if he was wanted for murder or merely attempting it.

What he couldn’t quite admit was that he was also eager to see what people were saying about him.

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December 8, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed


by Anna Clarke

I’m reading, I suppose, and I notice

a middle aged couple sit down quietly

to butter their bagels. Their conversation

is limited to weather and the glare of the sun

hitting the window beside them.

I don’t think they’re tired,

I think they’ve just run out of things

to say. Silent on Saturday,

nothing but baked goods between them.

What happened here, somewhere

between her red curls and his long legs,

maybe found in college, a park,

a loud, smoky road-side bar.

I notice a fly that lands on their table.

They both try to brush it away, missing hands.

by Anna Clarke

December 1, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

Pushcart Nominations

Congratulations to this year’s nominations from Flatmancrooked for the Pushcart Prize. Support these authors and pick up a copy of the book in which their work is featured.

1. If You’re Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki, from the book of the same name.
[Buy Now]
(read Salt Lick by Lepucki)

2. We’re Getting On by James Kaelan, rom the book of the same name.
[Buy Now]
(read excerpt of WGO by Kaelan)

and from Flatmancrooked #3 (Lit Journal) titled not about Vampires: An Anthology of New Fiction Concerning Everything Else
[Buy Now]
(preview book here)

3. The Sladen Suit by Brian Evenson [read an interview with Evenson]

4. Boundaries by N.A. Jong [read full story]

5. Who Gets Which Nice Something by Shya Scanlon

6. Unlove Letters by Kevin Walsh [read full story]


by Kai Flanders


September 1


Sorry to have been so long in writing. Things have been so busy with the move. I would have called but I know you prefer letters.

We moved in last week- the house is spacious and airy and has a big backyard. It is so strange to live somewhere new. The smallest things, like the color of the oven dial or how fast water comes from the new taps, are the most surprising and feel the most unnatural. Though the town is much the same as the last: lots of manicured lawns and track homes and little parks with names like “Mulberry Meadow” or something like that. Everything is fresh off the assembly line. But there is still some land the developers haven’t yet gotten to.

If I was not so busy I might feel alone. Oh Robert has his friends from work, John Deere likes to transfer their employees en-masse, but I know hardly anyone. There is one woman I went to college with, but I barely recognize her. She took me to a cocktail party the other night, but all they did was get drunk and talk about their husbands. I think I need to buy more sundresses.

Gene is still doing his stick game. I don’t mind at all, but Robert wants him to grow out of it. He even bought him a bicycle, but Gene has ridden it maybe the once. It’s silly really to see him jumping about in the backyard. He keeps breaking my close-hangers.

All my love,


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November 24, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

Shya Scanlon has LAUNCHED!



by Shya Scanlon

November 2010

The year is 2212, the weather is out of control, and Seattle is being rebuilt with electricity generated from negative human emotion. In a strange and turbulent world fueled by secrecy and voyeurism, a bored housewife named Helen vanishes, and Citizen Surveillant Maxwell Point, the man whose job it’s been to watch her, must recount the years leading up to her disappearance. As Helen is drawn back to the city on an increasingly absurd errand to find a man she once loved, Maxwell begins to suspect foul play. But is he so dependent on the very thing he’s trained to protect that it colors not only his judgment, but his grip on reality? In this novel inspired by the troubled relationship between an author and his craft, Shya Scanlon renders a surreal, dystopian world in which alternate motives are required and people must hide even from themselves—a world in which the only real freedom is powerlessness.

This here is Shya Scanlon. As evidenced by the photo, Shya’s monthly budget is such that he subsists chiefly on simple carbohydrates glazed in sugar. Despite this, he is still very skinny. We foresee tremendous things for Shya’s career as a writer, but it’s only just begun. And this is where you come in. Invest in Shya’s career by purchasing a share in his future; LAUNCH Shya, and for $____, you get a limited edition, hand-signed copy of his debut novel FORECAST. If you’re a Scanlon Superfan, SUPERLAUNCH gets you two limited edition, hand-signed copies and a personal letter from the author himself.

We were introduced to Shya via our participation in FORECAST 42, his web serialization of an earlier draft of the novel. We were immediately taken with Shya’s remarkable range as an author–his command over a style that spans the quick-witted satire of Forecast, to the precise realism of short stories like “Who Gets Which Nice Something,” which we published in our fiction anthology Not About Vampires. And we’re not the only ones that are excited; here’s what some others had to say about Shya’s fiction debut:

“Shya Scanlon’s brilliant first novel inhabits the skin of science fiction while setting off fireworks more extravagantly imagined and coolly displayed than those ever fired into the night air by any conventional SF novel..” —Peter Straub, author of A Dark MatterKoko, and Shadowland

“In Forecast, Scanlon invokes an absurd not-too-distant future that nonetheless seems altogether too believable and real. Tipping its hat to authors like Stacey Levine, China Miéville and Jonathan Lethem, Scanlon’s novel is part Science Fiction, part noir, part road narrative and part love story. A new and vital voice in fabulist fiction.” —Brian Evenson, author of Fugue State and Last Days

“Like the narrator of Shya Scanlon’s very funny and very frightening Forecast, we his readers, plunged into a world of dog-devouring clouds and hallucination-inducing Anti-Surveillance masks, become “both fever dreamer and the dream itself.” Carved with uncommon authority out of the mists of what’s almost surely to come, Forecast does double duty as herald of an important new literary voice on the U.S. scene and harbinger of some seriously foul weather we’ll all have to contend with.” Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star

View the book-trailer for FORECAST here.


0 remaining of 200

Note: Forecast will ship the next business day after your purchase. International buyers please send an inquiry for LAUNCH purchases to

LAUNCH – For Readers.


-one signed copy of Forecast by Shya Scanlon, 1st edition, signed and hand-numbered

$17.00 (free shipping)

SUPER-LAUNCH – For fans, friends, and family.


-two signed copies of Forecast by Shya Scanlon, 1st edition, signed and hand-numbered

-a personalized letter from the author on a custom postcard.

$30.00 (free shipping)


International Investors: Please e-mail us at to set up an invoice.

The Finalists Are In!

After months of careful deliberation, we are thrilled to announce the results of the 2010 Flatmancrooked Fiction Prize, judged by Benjamin Percy.


“Look Up. Look Up.” by Myfanwy Collins

Click here to listen to Myfanwy receiving the news and guest judge Benjamin Percy talk about the winning story, “Look Up, Look Up.”


“Punch Confessions” by Neal Bonser


“Amber Wong-Cohen” by Jessica Fleitman


“Long Enough and Hard Enough” by Tom Bonfiglio

“Clues to Murple” by Kirk Curnutt

“Cloisters” by Danny Goodman

“Based on True Events” by Danny Goodman

“Outside” by Daniel Grandbois

“Riot on Cell Block P” by Geoff Schmidt

“The Housekeeper” by Theodore Wheeler

Congratulations to all our finalists. All top ten stories will appear in print in Flatmancrooked’s forthcoming fiction anthology and featured on the website over the next year. A tremendous thank you to everyone who entered; we continue to be awed at the pool of talented writers out there, and the decision-making process is never easy.