Jennifer Spiegel

 
 

THE LATEST NEWS

Sunday, January 5, 2014:  Oh! It’s a new year and I failed to offer any deep thoughts or poignant reflections! I’m saving the serious stuff for my fiction. I speak the truth. It was, indeed, a big and important year--but the material must now stew and ferment till it sees its day in fictional prose. That said, I wish you a happy new year!

As for the literary accomplishments of 2013 . . . Well, you know, it was the year after the books. So, um, not much happened? I got sad? I kept writing? I focused on the day job? I embraced prime-time TV? All of the above?

No, seriously, there were some noteworthy happenings.  Love Slave is now available on audio! Snotty Literati was launched. This book-reviewing gig with Lara Smith has been a blast, and it’s a great forum for smart talk about happening books! I continued to vigorously blog at Bosco’s Going Down, and there’s all kind of stuff there.

And if you’re totally interested or obsessed, scroll down for more exciting feats! In the meantime, let’s hope I write the Great American Novel soon--or even the Good American Novel. I’d even settle for the Pretty Good American Novel. But not the So-So American Novel.

Wednesday, October 30: Though I feel like I’m doing some quiet writing in my own private world right now, I am super happy to share with you two interviews from Mayday Magazine! First, David Abrams, my famous writer friend, interviewed me. He called it “Adult Anxiety,” and I don’t know what to make of that, though I think he may be CRAZY. Then, I interviewed Glaciers’ author, Alexis Smith. Her book was so lovely, and she saved me a little. See how we disagree about Melville, but how we agree on Lenny Kravitz.

Saturday, August 17: I’m so pleased to be featured on KMSU Weekly Reader! This podcast features a discussion on Love Slave, in which we touch upon Generation X, humor writing, rock n’ roll, and my novel in-the-works. You can listen to the twenty minute podcast here.

Tuesday, August 13: Apparently, I haven’t touched the “latest news” portion of my site since May. There is one reason for this: kids. Alas, the summer is over. We’re returning to the classroom. I am too. I’m scared. For a number of reasons. My writer-self (?) feels a little threatened. As I prep for a new school year--and, do not be fooled, this is great work involving good books and people--my deep-rooted sense of Self feels under attack. So, watch me this year, okay? Tell me if I’m still writing? Keep tabs on me. Be honest. Don’t let me get away with not writing.

Here is some writerly news. A BOOK GIVEAWAY TO CELEBRATE THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF LOVE SLAVE. Dzanc Books has generously offered to give away ten copies of my short story collection, THE FREAK CHRONICLES, to the first ten people who send me a very brief explanation about what it was that he or she loved (ha! we're going for LOVED) about LOVE SLAVE, my debut novel. And then I'll give away ten copies of LOVE SLAVE to the first ten who tell me what was his or her favorite story in THE FREAK CHRONICLES and why! So we're giving away TWENTY BOOKS! The only rules: you gotta be in the States for mailing purposes and we'll stop taking entries on Sept 4, LOVE SLAVE's anniversary. Thank you to Dan Wickett for his big support on this. Interesting--to me, at least--these books are pretty different from one another in tone and style!

Then, there are some other writer-things happening. The next two books featured in Snotty Literati are A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith and WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple. Usually, Lara Smith and I like to attack one another in the name of taste, but we've got a little problem: we loved these books. Stay tuned! We'll definitely think of something.

And I’m writing my blog post on films for writers, focusing on Woody Allen! I’m doing it! This weekend!

But I have to especially thank Amanda Kimmerly for including me in her piece, “Fool Me Once: 11 Rookie Nightmares from Authors Who Now Know Better.” I appreciated this inclusion right now; it was a nice dose of writerly reality.

And now I turn to Beowulf. I’m not joking. OMG, I switched fonts throughout this update, just like my students.

Friday, May 31: Finally, someone (Dan Wickett) asked me about Lorrie Moore! I wrote this for Short Story Month 2013, which happened in May. Just about over!

Monday, May 27: I had the opportunity to interview debut author Virginia Pye about her new novel, River of Dust, in The Nervous Breakdown. Go here. This was of particular interest to me because Virginia has a long, rich back story about getting her first novel published, and her novel is about American missionaries in China. I must admit to having an interest in narratives about Americans abroad!

Thursday, April 18: They put me on TV! Totally famous poet Alberto Rios kindly had me on PBS’s “Books & Co.,” and I’m still reeling. I’m told by many people that I really look this way. There is, however, lots of good talk on both Love Slave and The Freak Chronicles. If you scroll down, you’ll find four “bonus” videos--extended interview clips--which are kinda fun. I do a little pro-MFA thing in one of them. Go here for the link.

Thursday, April 11: I got to be a guest on Brad Listi’s OTHER PEOPLE podcasts, which was fun but a little terrifying! I’m not super fond of the part in which I seemingly locate the crux of religious experience in one’s use of mayo, but it’s okay. Also, I’m comforted by the fact that my husband took vows before God, so he shouldn’t leave me or anything. It’s kinda long, so you might want to clean out your closet or change the ink cartridges on your printer while listening. Then, you’ll need to go buy my books.

Wednesday, April 3: 2 Paragraphs asked a bunch of writers what they liked least about being writers. I’m honored to be included in such fine company. Check out my response!

Thursday, March 14:  Wow. AWP is over, and it’s like some kind of psycho-addiction. Even though Steve Almond aptly called it “the vast roving capital of American literary anxiety” in The New Republic, I’m already looking forward to the next time. You can find four “Daily Dispatches” on my blog, chronicling my anxiety. I’ve also got photos! For photos of my Love Slave book party, go here.  For miscellaneous AWP photos, go here.  Finally, Virginia Pye interviewed me on her blog about having two books published in one year.

Friday, March 1: I’ll be at the annual Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Boston (March 6-9, 2013). Go here for instructions on making the most of your experience. So excited to stalk famous writers! So excited to go to Boston! In the meantime, please offer me sympathy/kudos/something for my current reading habits: I’m reading MOBY DICK on a Kindle; the combo of the old and new feels somehow monumental. MOBY DICK will be featured in a future Snotty Literati post.If you haven’t yet checked out Snotty Literati, you may go here. Also, get ready to hear me on the radio. Very soon, KSMU Weekly Reader will host me talking about LOVE SLAVE.

Friday, February 8: I’m reading at Glendale Community College at 7 p.m. on February 13, 2013! For more information, go here. In other news, The Potomac reviewed both Love Slave and The Freak Chronicles here.

Friday, January 25:  Drinking Diaries interviewed me on addiction and substance abuse, which is the subject of the book I’m working on right now. The book is tentatively called Sappho Unspoken, and you can find the interview here.

Tuesday, January 8:  Some very happy news!  The Freak Chronicles is listed in Library Journal's column "Goodbye 2012: Terrific Short Story Collections and Small-Press Bests.” Gasp! It’s a short story collection that couldn’t be forgotten!

Thursday, December 27: Well, I had to stop everything--decking the halls, gathering the partridges and pear tree, stocking the kids’ stockings--and do two things: revise my Best Books of 2012 blog and review Matt Dojny’s The Festival of Earthly Delights. I had a great deal of fun writing this review for the small press blog, and I still managed to get a couple of those chocolate marshmallow Santas for my daughters and a new wedding ring for my husband (it’s a long story). You’ll probably want to get this book immediately.

Also, I’m thrilled that Okla Elliott, your very atypical/not-basic-at-all chic pomo-literati intellectual, put The Freak Chronicles on his Best Books of 2012 list for Heavy Feather Review.

Finally, humor me while I get terribly excited about this. I’m changing the name of my novel-in-progress to Sappho Unspoken. But I’m thinking of adding a comma:  Sappho, Unspoken.  I’m not sure yet.

Friday, December 14: Oh, a heartfelt gratitude report! The Freak Chronicles was named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Charles Rammelkamp. Love Slave was named one of the Best Books by The Well-Read Wife and Chamber Four. Plus, the Well-Readheads’ Year in Books includes Love Slave!

Sunday, December 2:  Exciting news! I’ve been nominated for two Pushcart Awards!  Camera Obscura nominated “Killing Castro” and Dzanc Books nominated “Goodbye, Madagascar.” I’m super honored and surprised! 

There are some other fun things to check out, if you’re so inclined. I’m especially fond of this piece called “Dear Teen Me,” in which--you guessed it--I write a letter to my teen self. Though I didn’t mean for it to be a “companion piece” at all, I ended up writing a book review of Rick Springfield’s memoir in the form of a fan letter. You can find that one here.

Also, the FREAK photo contest just ended. A winner will be announced shortly. I’m so very happy that Lexi Treat, the photographer who did the cover of The Freak Chronicles (come on, it’s the best cover of 2012!), is judging--and it’s a good thing: the photos are great! I’ll post some soon.

Finally, speaking of photos, here are the photos from my recent trip to Tucson, where I read from The Freak Chronicles at Antigone Books on Fourth Avenue.

Tuesday, November 20:  Here’s the buying guide I’ve lovingly written for you for your “Black Friday” shopping mania, which hopefully includes books. If you’re wondering which of my two lovelies is right for you or your people, this might help.

Freak Chronicles: short story types, novella lovers, literate backpackers and others who mistakenly assume world travel=wisdom, women who’ve had relationships with existentialist a##$%$#es and have been left entirely empty in the process, Africa-philes, those who have—for some reason—been to a lot of communist countries, scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker collectors, hot guys, creative writing teachers (just being honest), people with dead family members, weirdoes who look normal, people with great-looking resumes and disturbed minds, pundits, hipsters, and theologians. Plus, those who like “Play That Funky Music, White Boy.”

Love Slave: Gen X middle-aged types, women who can think for themselves, liberated men, people who know funny is often tragic, those who remember Live Aid and Band Aid and the Cold War, those who’ve binged and purged, those who love New York no matter what, pop culture fans, name-droppers, dorks, English majors who can’t get a job, people who have no chance in hell in getting a job as a supermodel, Roy Orbison-look-a-likes, William Giraldi, people who defy categorization, Being John Malkovich fans, friends of Katie Couric, and former employees of the alternative press. Plus, your mother.

Sunday, November 11: I’ll be reading with Lydia Millet in Tucson at Antigone Books on 11/30 at 7 p.m. Go here for more details!

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012: My thoughts and prayers are with those in NYC and all of the folks who were hit hard by Sandy.  May you heal quickly!

Sunday, Oct 21, 2012: LOVE SLAVE Book Giveaway! In honor of the one-year anniversary of its acceptance for publication by Unbridled Books, I’m giving away one free copy of LOVE SLAVE!

One year ago today, I checked my e-mail and discovered that Unbridled Books was interested in publishing my book! I had worked on LOVE SLAVE for years and years, and I believed it should be published but I'm not sure I thought it would ever really happen.

To win, go to my LOVE SLAVE Pinterest page, choose your favorite pin, and e-mail me at the address on Pinterest. In your e-mail, tell me what your favorite LOVE SLAVE pin is and why. Include your mailing address.  Though Oct 21, 2011 was the big day, I’ll collect entries for ONE WEEK. You must e-mail me by midnight, AZ time, on Oct 28. I’ll pick someone randomly—and mail the winner a free book.

Two rules: we can’t hang out together and I can’t mail it to you abroad. Your address is totally confidential.

http://pinterest.com/spiegelfreak/love-slave/

Friday, Oct 12, 2012: I’m reading tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ (6428 South McClintock Drive  Tempe, AZ 85283, 480/730-0205)!

Saturday, September 29, 2012:  For details on my Costco Book-signing Antics, go here. Now, onto the next BIG event.  I’ll be doing a full-fledged reading from Love Slave on Saturday, October 13, at 7 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona!  I’d love to see you there!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012: Love Slave is out there, in homes and on shelves!  It’s been a hectic fifteen days. Check out the Love Slave page for reviews and features (things like a music soundtrack, a guest post on “My First Literary Crush,” and the trademark “Self-Interview” with The Nervous Breakdown).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012:  It’s the official publication date for Love Slave!  Check out the Love Slave page for a reading group guide, links to four book reviews (including Publisher’s Weekly), and Ron Carlson’s blurb!

Thursday, August 30, 2012:  A Love Slave book giveaway! It’s a writing contest! The winner gets a free copy of Love Slave! I’m looking for a piece of writing, 750 words or under, which characterizes a particular generation. This is loosely defined. You’re the writer. It can be something like Matt Honan’s piece (see below), or it can be a bit of fiction that captures generational tendencies, like the Love Slave excerpt, “Going Home with the Poets” (this is the prologue to the book).  It can even be a poem!  (It doesn’t have to be Gen X-stuff; it can be Boomer/Millennial/Y/Whatever-You-Guys-Call-Yourself bits too.) Please e-mail your entries to me by Dec 1. The judge will be Penelope Krouse, holder of a Ph.D. in English, avid reader (like Matt Bell-avid), and the person who first reads all my fiction. The hope is to award the Love Slave prize in time for you to read it and/or give it away for Christmas. I’m here for questions. And don’t forget The Freak Chronicles photography contest (see my photo albums on fb for details).

“Going Home with the Poets”

“Generation X Doesn’t Want to Hear It”

Thursday, August 23, 2012:  I’ll be signing copies of The Freak Chronicles (only)--no reading--at Costco on 2450 E Beardsley in Phx (the Cave Creek one) on Sept 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012:  I'd like to announce two upcoming readings and signings! On October 13 (a Saturday) at 7 p.m., I’ll be reading from Love Slave at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ. Q & A will follow. Then on November 30 (a Friday) at 7 p.m., I will be reading from The Freak Chronicles at Antigone Books in Tucson, AZ.  I’ll be joining writer Lydia Millet in Tucson.

Friday, August 10, 2012: We’re less than one month away from the release date for Love Slave (it’s September 4, 2012). In celebration, I’ve launched a little blog post series. The first one is on the Love Slave page, but you may also go here for “Introducing Love Slave.” On August 13, I’ll post the second one in the series, “The Vag Soliloquy: A New York Love Story.” Also, this month, check out Front Porch Books: August 2012 Edition (David Abrams and his fine blog, “The Quivering Pen”) for info on both of my books!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012:  If you go to the Freak page on my site and scroll down, you’ll find the link to an interview with Steve Almond (which is pretty funny) and the link to the photos from the reading at Changing Hands Bookstore.

Friday, July 13, 2012: I’m reading tonight at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ at 7 p.m.!  For some fun Freak-related links, check out the soundtrack posted on “Largehearted Boy: A Music and Literature Blog,” and a piece about my first publishing flop on “The Quivering Pen.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012: Well, it’s been a rough start, but it’s still good.  Though Amazon isn’t actually showing the book as available (it is taking pre-orders!), it is available!  Amazon’s info will change momentarily; in the meantime, you can buy The Freak Chronicles directly from the Dzanc Books website. 

I would also like to announce a photography contest! I would like to ask you to send me photos by e-mail of The Freak Chronicles in exotic or non-exotic locales, being read by freaks or non-freaks. Please send your photo (or photos--multiple submissions are great) to jennifer.spiegel@cox.net by Dec 1, 2012--that's a long time!! The best photos will be posted on my site, and one winning photographer gets two free books (sorry, though, it's two more Freak books, but in time for Christmas). I'm recruiting a real photographer to judge this--Lexi Treat, who did the cover photo.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012:  Today’s the day!  The Freak Chronicles is officially released!  For a slew of information, check out The Freak Chronicles page and the latest  blog on Freak lore!

Monday, June 4, 2012: As we near the publication date of The Freak Chronicles, I stopped to catch my breath by writing this unorthodox book review of Okla Elliott’s From the Crooked Timber.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012: I’ll be reading from The Freak Chronicles at Changing Hands Bookstore on Friday, July 13th at 7 p.m.--and you’re invited! I’m pretty excited to read there.  It’s one of the best bookstores ever, and that will be the first reading from my book!  I hope to see you there! (I’ll be signing books too.)

Monday, May 14, 2012: Some good things are happening!  The Freak Chronicles will finally be published in one month, on June 12, 2012! I just posted the final “Occasional Freak Piece.” This time, it’s a eulogy. On the Freak page, you can now find blurbs by Okla Elliott and Lauren Groff. Finally, “Killing Castro,” a story already set to appear in The Freak Chronicles, will also be published in the August issue of the literary journal, Camera Obscura

Wednesday, April 4, 2012: I have the first blurb for The Freak Chronicles!  I’ve posted it on the Freak page, though I’ll re-post it here:

The stories of The Freak Chronicles explore the margins of human behavior and psychology, thereby challenging what it might even mean to be normal or a freak. Spiegel’s fiction is hip and edgy, as the subject matter suggests, but never at the expense of her literary art. She makes use of pop culture and the gritty stuff of real lives to explore the theme of human alienation—and she does all this with a literary finesse that charms and impresses. I admire these stories greatly.

—Okla Elliott, author of From the Crooked Timber


Saturday, March 24, 2012: Love Slave (Unbridled Books, Sept. 4, 2012) is now avail on Amazon for pre-sale.

1. The pub date is listed incorrectly. It's Sept 4.
2. There may be a million other books by this title, so make sure--should you look--you're not getting the cheesy romance/soft porn one. This title is mildly risky (?). It's not chick-lit and I may blab about this profusely, but I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me. Wait, I'm not really being fed here. The hand that gives me spare change? Money for printer ink? You know what I mean.
3. No special promotions this time. Gotta make the first one precious.
4. I once interviewed Douglas Coupland for
Hayden’s Ferry Review, and I asked him which of his books he liked best. I really wanted him to say GEN X, but he said something like, "I like them all for different reasons." I was disappointed by this non-committal answer. Now, I get it. Freak is my baby. Love Slave is my baby too.
5. I didn't write the description on the book, but there's a comparison to Dorothy Parker that makes me want to cry. I'm also fond of the words "wincingly specific" in there.
6. Cut me some slack on the promo front. Truly. More than anything, I'm grateful.












Monday, March 5, 2012:  I’m super pleased to announce that Love Slave (forthcoming from Unbridled Books this fall!) officially has a cover--check out the LS page on this site!  

I also want to catch the AWP folks while they’re still all excited about AWP 2012.  I wasn’t even there and I feel a little nostalgic.  But here’s the news:  I am going to the Boston AWP in 2013, armed with two books--The Freak Chronicles (stories) and Love Slave (a novel)--and I’m actively, outrageously, soliciting panel-planners now.  While I’m not the moderating type, think of me for possible panels on such topics as the following: incorporating authentic detail into one’s fiction, the use of setting in novels and stories, the use of pop cultural references in fiction, publishing after DECADES of NADA, women stuff (the writing life for moms, subverting or embracing chick-lit, women as protagonists who don’t alienate men, the “quirky” female narrator), what it means to be “edgy” in fiction, indie/small press stuff, and I’m prone to big questions:  Why Write?  Just thought I’d share . . . .

Saturday, January 21, 2012:  I’m still pushing pre-orders!  I’ve got this little deal going.  The first one-hundred people who order The Freak Chronicles (Dzanc, June 12, 2012) will      get--I kid you not--a “commemorative” letter, marking this first edition (stop laughing now!), and a poem, which I will write.  The poem’s first line is as follows:  “Remember that time you dressed me like a bag lady.”  A love poem.

Let me know if you order.  I’ve got a list of poem-recipients.  (I’ll send it out when the book is released.)

Frankly, I’m pretty excited about this.

Saturday, December 31, 2011: Prior to the New Year’s Festivities, I’m playing around with Amazon.com.  I think I just created an author page.  Do me a favor, and go see if it works?  Go to Amazon, and look me up.  I also just joined up to be an Amazon Associate, and I’d kinda like to know how this works.  You see, my old friend read some of my book reviews and flattered me terribly by telling me that I should become this Amazon Associate thingy.  I sign up, put a link to the book on Amazon’s site, and then hope you buy because of my compelling review.  If you do, I get a cut.  Sounds pretty good to me! 

I’m not totally sure how I should feel about this.  Am I somehow selling out?  I still don’t know the “right” posture writers are supposed to take when it comes to bookstores and Amazon.  But I’ll try it.  You can e-mail me if you have an opinion on this.  I’d welcome it!  I’m at jennifer.spiegel@cox.net

Friday, December 9, 2011:  I’m not quite ready to write a little end of the year wrap-up.  I will say that it’s an odd time, thinking simultaneously about two books coming out in 2012--both in similar but different stages of the publication process.  I can’t really say I’m focusing on one more than the other. Sometimes, the cover of The Freak Chronicles is being discussed; sometimes, author blurbs for the back of Love Slave is the hot topic.   I know what an amazing thing it is to have two books coming out in one year.  No one is more bemused and frenzied than I, I can assure you.  I’m learning a lot.

In other news, I just finished teaching a very rewarding creative writing class--with mostly adults--and that was truly wonderful.  It’s exciting to just blab about fiction with interested and interesting people.

I foresee a couple more “Occasional Freak Piece” blog posts in my future.  I‘m holding back for now on Love Slave promo, though I’ve got things to say about Roland Barthes, one of the character’s vintage suits, the use of pop culture, and genre vs. literary fiction.

Okay, so yeah, marketing:  Think about this, folks.  I’ll be at the AWP Conference in Boston 2013, if you’d like me be on your panel.  Or if you’d like to put together a reading.  What can I talk about?  Plenty of things!  Also, think Skype.  Think classroom visits.  You’ve got a book club or a reading group?  Here I Am.  More later. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011:  I didn’t even know!  A friend told me!  I got an e-mail and West mentioned that my book was available on Amazon!  Of course I stopped everything.  Sure enough, The Freak Chronicles is available for pre-sale purchase.  Click here

I'm cooking up a scheme. I still haven't worked out the details, but this is what I’m thinking: The first one-hundred people to pre-order get something. What? What do you want from Anemic Mom?  I'll send you a signed letter to commemorate this first edition (!) and it'll include my original poem which begins like this: "Remember that time you dressed me like a bag lady." I'm writing the poem. I am. Tonight. First edition! The Freak Chronicles!

I have a running list of people I know who bought it--so you gotta let me know somehow.  I’ll send out this potentially award-winning poem on June 12, 2012. 

Something to keep in mind:  If you purchase at a later date from the Dzanc Books site, you get a free Ebook of Freak

Friday, October 14, 2011:  The latest push in my efforts to create a buzz, get you to remember my book, and inspire your admiration has begun:  a blog series on The Freak Chronicles.  You’ll find the “soundtrack” to the book on my blog.  I’m working on the next one, which will be a glimpse into freakiness, a slice of Freak Chronicle life:  I pretended to be a supermodel with a famous photographer in the Arts District of Downtown Phoenix.  You think I’m kidding?  I’m not!  In preparation for the blog which will appear in November, I insist you check out this clip from the movie Zoolander.

In other literary news, an EKU student is interviewing me as an emerging writer.  We’re going for the emerging thing, even though I’ve been emerging for about twenty years now.  I’ll share the results later.  I’ll be at the Tucson Book Festival, if you’d like for me to autograph a Starbucks receipt or something.  Indie business receipts preferred.

Thursday, September 15, 2011:  This month, I’ll launch a blog “series.”  I’ll post an “Occasional Freak Piece,” something related to the long-awaited release date of my book, The Freak  Chronicles.  “Occasional” is the key word.  I’ll do one for September.  And another one will appear at another time!  Book promotion!  It’s happening!  This first one will be about the book’s soundtrack--the music that influenced the writing or the stories.  The music that shaped or colored the book.  Tell me, because I wanna know, is that a mixed metaphor or something like one?

Thursday, August 4, 2011:  I’ll be teaching an on-line, month-long fiction workshop/studio for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing (of Arizona State University) in October 2011.  The title of the studio is “This is the Life:  Compulsive Fiction Writing.”  Here’s the link!  http://www.asu.edu/piper/workshops/index.html

Saturday, July 2, 2011:  I confessed to my publisher this week that I’m going a little crazy waiting for my book to actually come out.  Apparently, I’m not alone.  Still.  Things are happening in the book department--a little tweaking here and there, some talk of blurbs for the back of the book, and I wrote a little author bio that had to be 60 words or under.  This, of course, created a conundrum:  do I go with the credentials, the professorial stuff?  Or do I go with a humorous take on personal identity?  I tried to think of my favorite author bios--the ones that appear inside the cover of books.  (This one isn’t necessarily for that purpose.)  I couldn’t think of one.  So, here’s my bio, 60 words or under, to be used by Dzanc somehow or other:  Jennifer Spiegel is a fiction writer and English professor.   She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.   She reads a lot, tries to buy mostly organic food, and drinks strong coffee with cream.   She may stop coloring her hair soon, but there’s no guarantee.  You can find links to stories and quite a bit more information at www.jenniferspiegel.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011:  The book is still a year away, but I’m working the blog.  Check it out!  If you would like e-mail notifications of new blog entries, drop me a message at Jennifer.Spiegel@cox.net.  Right now, I’m anticipating the second part in my series, “Truth in Fiction,” which will focus on Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev.  I tend to write one or two blogs a month (closer to one) on all kinds of crazy topics.  The latest one is an amalgam of subjects, including the Royal Wedding, Meryl Streep, and the last time I tried to look hot on a date.  Besides the blog, there are numerous, undisclosed writing projects on the table.  Top Secret Stuff. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011:  Dzanc Day 2011 was a success!  The Phoenix contingent discussed place in fiction, inspired mostly by Richard Russo’s essay, “Location, Location, Location:  Depicting Character Through Place.”  In other news, please check out my most recent blog, “Truth in Fiction, Part I.” 

Friday, March 31, 2011:   Dzanc Day is on April 9, 2011 and I’ll be leading a workshop on place in fiction!  We’ve had a change of venue, but you can still join us.  It’s likely that we’ll meet in North Scottsdale somewhere near coffee.  Please e-mail me or look for contact info on the Dzanc website, if you’re interested! 

In other news, the “last” South Africa story, “The Moon Thought Thy World An Angel,” is forthcoming in April in Fringe Magazine. It’s the “last” one in that it’s the final story I’ve written set in South Africa to be published; the other ones have been published already and are set to appear in The Freak Chronicles.  

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011: I’ll be participating in the second annual Dzanc Day by teaching a three-hour workshop on place in fiction at Changing Hands Bookstore on April 9, 2011!  Check out this link for more information:  http://www.dzancbooks.org/dzanc-day-2011/.  Scroll down to the map and hit on Phoenix, AZ!

Also, to mark the new year, Dzanc Books has put together a bunch of Top Ten lists for 2010.   My list originally appeared on their website, but here it is:

Top Ten Literary or Non-literary Things That Made Me Think About Being a Writer in 2010

10.  Death of J.D. Salinger.  Rest in Peace.  Besides the monumental role Catcher played in my clichéd life, he raised burning questions:  Must writers write to be read?  Is writing for oneself enough?  Is publishing or sharing one’s work a necessary feature of the writing life?  Am I just a great big cliché? 

9.  AWP in Denver.  I’m serious.  I hadn’t gone in a while.  Michael Chabon’s address was inspiring.  George Saunders rocked.  I had some private epiphanies during the panels.

8.  Dzanc’s Best of the Web.  I’m not just trying to kiss some you-know-what.  Dan Chaon’s “What Happened to Sheila” stands out.  But this did launch some change in my own literary thinking.  The biggest benefit I can think of to publishing in electronic journals is that my audience is finally bigger than my mom and spouse.  And, yes, I do write to be read.

7.  Viewing The Last Station (2009, really), which is about Tolstoy and his wife.  I can relate just a little too much.

6.  Viewing the entire Judd Apatow “catalogue” of films on DVD (I missed one, I think).  Call me “smitten.”  They’re sex comedies, right?  Except for The Pineapple Express, which is a drug comedy (!).  But there’s a sweetness, a tenderness, something special about these films that transcends—no joke—the genre.  And Franco’s concern for his “bubbe” in Express.  Lovely.

5.  My reading of My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond (which came out in 2002).  Isn’t it crazy that this is my second favorite read of the year?  Please make no judgments. 

4.  My reading of Home by Marilynne Robinson (which came out in 2008).  This book needs to be read deeply.  I could go on and on.  I’m holding back. 

3.  The Social Network.  I don’t know where Kyle Minor got it from or if he made it up himself, but I remember one facebook post of his in which he said that the seers say the Internet is the new Paris, the new New York.  At last, I’m chic, bohemian!

2.  “Lost.”   The closest I get to literary theory is in my thoughts about this show, to which I was, admittedly and sickeningly, addicted.

1.  Wikileaks.  Got my political science juices flowing, underscored the tensions between internationalism and nationalism, brought to light intriguing issues like freedom of the press, idealism versus ego, and how to regard personal criminality in the grand scheme of things.  Plus, his name.  Julian Assange.  Is it real?  What is moral?  What is truth, goodness, and beauty?  

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011:  Happy New Year!  It was a great year in writing, and--in my personal life--I’m most thankful to have my people around me.  My peeps?  Is that how cool people/peeps say it?  Well, here’s to 2011.  This last year saw nine pieces out in electronic journals, which I--for one--will sing the praises of.  There’s much to be said for these journals, really.  Thank you to those who are serious about lit and getting it out there.  This year, in 2011, I will continue to work on both a novel and short story collection.  I also hope to see an interview with author Kyle Minor sometime this year.  Kyle’s got Haiti under his skin, like South Africa has been under mine--and I look forward to devoting time to speaking to him about his novel on Haiti (and missionaries).  It’s pointless for me to identify the best movies or books of the year because, though I consume a lot of both, I’m all over the place on the calendar.  This year’s burning questions:  Will I ever get a Kindle?  Will Love Slave ever get published?  (Freak is due in 2012.)

Monday, Nov. 1“Missing Northern” is now live in Waccamaw, a lovely journal of contemporary lit.   I must admit; I feel pretty strongly about this one.  I’m “billing it” (as if I bill anything) as the thematic centerpiece of my forthcoming collection, The Freak Chronicles--though I’m not sure that’s really fair.  It’s one of the few stories in the collection that’s about a married woman.  Most of the stories feature single protagonists.  But still.  This is a favorite, and it fits.  The seed for it was actually planted in Oklahoma when my family was there for Christmas in 2007.  My husband asked me to write a story about my father.  I don’t know about other writers, but when someone asks me to write a particular story, I usually don’t want to.  This one took a while.  First, it was another story altogether.  Then, it became this.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, Oct 16:  I’m about to go “live.”  There is a blog here, so please check it out.  Additionally, you can find links to short stories (“Glasnost”), novel excerpts (“Going Home with the Poets,” “This Is What I Do,” “Like Animals Forgetting,” and “Love Slave”), and a killer nonfiction piece for those of you who were into “Lost.”   My collection is forthcoming.  I also have an unpublished novel, which I’m hoping to see in print; because of my enthusiasm and conviction, it gets its own spotlight on my website.  Two short stories will be out soon on the web too:  “Lemon” and “Missing Northern.” 

Saturday, August 21:  “This Is What I Do,” an excerpt from my unpublished novel, Love Slave, is now available in the current issue of >kill author (http://killauthor.com/issueeight/jennifer-spiegel/).  Another excerpt of the novel, “Going Home with the Poets” -- which is actually the novel’s prologue -- is also available on-line at The Scrambler (http://thescrambler.com/eng/issues/issue-38-may-2010/going-home-with-the-poets/). 

Saturday, July 10, 2010:  The book comes out in June 2012, a short story called “Lemon” is forthcoming in Switchback (fall 2010), and my nonfiction essay called “Flannery O, ‘Lost,’ and The Redemptive End” is in the current issue of The Emprise Review (http://emprisereview.com/2010/blog/lost/).

The Freak Chronicles
(Dzanc Books, June 2012) and 
Love Slave (Unbridled Books, September 4, 2012)
Thanks for looking me up.  I’m a fiction writer.  You can find me on Facebook, Twitter (JenniferSpiegel), and you can e-mail me at Jennifer.Spiegel@cox.net.  mailto:Jennifer.Spiegel@cox.netshapeimage_1_link_0
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