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One source says "Barbara Bauer, named as one of the publishing industry's 20 worst Literary Agents, has sued over 19 bloggers and website administrators for allegedly defaming Apparently this has been going on for a year or so; that's all I know. But they are still there, with no hint of a problem on their site. Still no indication of problems on their site. The site remains in good order. Now the domain may be for sale.

This was called to my attention as an apparent rip-off outfit. Their physical address turned out to be fake and they seem to be completely non-responsive once they have your book. I got the "unknown host" message. And the domain is for sale. Now the site can't be found. I don't have the site address yet; when I Googled it I got over nine million responses, so the correct one is surely there, but I lack the time to check them all.

I checked their listing of the top ten mistakes writers make, but it didn't list them, just gave a connection for you to watch a 35 minute recording. All I got was a black screen. My guess is that they have folded. So I suspect this is another Nigerian scam masquerading as a publisher. This is a self publishing company, specializing in ultra low short run, print on demand.

The process normally take weeks, and the author keeps all rights. Fill out a form for information on size of book, number of coupes to be printed, etc.

This is reasonable, as books can vary considerably. Now it's there in good order. This is a feminist and lesbian publisher, currently accepting submissions in all categories, fiction and nonfiction, presumably relating to lesbianism.

One year contract for electronic rights, renewable, and it has an auditing clause. They welcome the opportunity to work with new writers. Allow 3 to 6 months for reports. Now the wordage can be as low as But they are no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts. They remain open for submissions of all lesbian types.

Now their titles are available on Kindle and similar. They are remodeling; check back with them soon. After about 15 minutes I gave up trying to load the site. HiPiers received an email on this, and there does not seem to be a Web site, just the email address, so I have not checked it.

This does not seem cheap, but that may depend on how much you need editing. I received an email notice about this. It's a quarterly magazine.

David Fraser, editor, Ascent Publications. There are several supplementary pages for an anthology, writer's resources, writer's sites, affiliate authors pages, and AA Publishing Page.

Their word limit is 2, words and dropping. I received an email from them indicating that they are still going strong. They have upgraded their links pages for their magazine publishers, writers' associations, resources, publishers, writers' courses, contest sites, and writer's home sites.

Submissions are now being considered for the May issue. They are unable to pay at this time. They have a Fall Print Anthology Contest. A reading fee is required. They have decided to form a partnership publishing company with writers. I think that means self publishing. There is an annual print anthology, now looking toward Spring , and many other things of interest. Now it's the Summer Anthology Contest. They are temporarily suspending operations.

Rights are reverted to authors. This time the link took me to Yahoo Voices, a different kind of site. This was founded in when the proprietor saw the need for a non-erotic e-publisher offering wholesome reads with the quality of mainstream romance. They try to provide books at a cheaper price to meet anyone's budget.

I found book listings, but no indication that they are looking for authors, and the site is copyright They have shut down, citing health problems. There is a good audit clause. They are looking only for Paranormal at this time.

A satisfied writer tells me that they are easy to work with, and that they were 6 among best publishers as listed by Editors and Preditors in See also their hot romance imprint, Liquid Silver Books. Unfortunately submissions are closed. Still closed to submissions. They must have one hell of a backlog.

I have to wonder. Closed for over a decade? I have to conclude that this is not a current market. I continue to check, as this was oncre a top publisher. But they remain closed to submissions. I think they are now a bookseller rather than a publisher. These are recorded books, and they have a slew. But I was unable to find any indication that the novice writer is welcome here. I suspect that first you publish your book and become established, then they'll consider recording it.

This is an independent trade publisher rather than an electronic one which I am listing because it was called to my attention and should be of interest to aspiring writers. I am simplifying the entry, as past history is surely irrelevant as the new order works out.

Authorhouse remains as its own imprint. They are not in financial trouble, it's just that the investors feel they have done what they can with this complex and are ready to move on. My guess is that their family of imprints will not be affected. They say they have published , titles from , authors.

This dwarfs the efforts of commercial publishers. It has become a search site. Notice that they will be out of the office during the holidays, but the site remains in good order, for information. I understand that one of the proprietors is physically disabled, and wrote a book featuring a disabled character, and when he couldn't get anywhere with Parnassus an all too familiar story he decided to set up a publisher for such work. It publishes Romance, Science Fiction, combinations of the two, and Nonfiction.

If you are disabled, or write about that subject, you will surely get a sympathetic hearing here, though they aren't limited to such authors. Closed to submissions for now; keep checking. Awe-Struck has been acquired by Mundania, and will be come an imprint there for various romance genres.

Open for in-house submissions, and unsolicited submissions sometime in the spring. They are open for submissions in a number of genres, preferred length 40,, words.

Over four years closed? I was sent a warning about this one, which apparently took over from the defunct Treeside Press and has not been good about issuing statements or returning rights.

I looked it up, but got a blank screen. They say that there are three classes of publishers: They accept no downloads or floppy discs manuscripts. You can probably do better faster and much cheaper at one of the self publishers. Manuscripts should be submitted in 'double-spaced' hard copy only! They describe three types of publishers: Major, which won't give an unknown writer the time of day; Subsidy, who publish anything for 10, and up; ansd Babcock, the happy medium.

Just so you know their list is incomplete. There are small press publishers, many self publishers, and a host of electronic publishers, as this listing shows. This is a traditional publisher, offering a number of titles for free downloading, trusting that this will in the end generate more sales. I'll be interested to see if that works.

A negative author report. I gather the author queried, got a request, and submitted the book. They finally found it and said it had been palletized [I think this means processed for handling] and sent to a junior reader in Texas, who had it for 6 months and apparently never reported. Return postage had been included, but the book was never returned. There is no evidence that an actual editor ever saw the book.

I had my own experience with this publisher years ago, and have to say that this is typical of their fouled-up system. Their site lists What's New, but the newest is almost a year old. Now they have an extensive free ebook library, but I don't see evidence of publishing. Can Baen be gone? No, they remain; they have a new link. It's an imprint of Author Solutions, so will be a self publisher in that family. They welcome submissions from all authors, established and new. This started as PubIt!

It is their self publishing platform. They are offering better royalties for books at higher price points. Their print on demand side now offers more choices.

They deal with themes of erotic domination. I tried to verify terms, but the site was so slow loading that after 13 minutes I gave up. I did see enough to verify that erotic bondage and sadomasochism is their specialty in books and videos. Interesting material from the publisher, who turns out to be 15 years older than I am, and obviously not in it to rip off authors.

Their site is now faster loading than it was. You know, I'm not into this genre, but some of those girls are sexy as hell. He is quite satisfied. I have another satisfied response, and news that the management has changed but it remains okay. There should be no further problem. A very positive report. And a contrary report: So while they may welcome new authors, those authors should be cautious. I received a report that they seem to be closing for business, but their site still has many books for sale and invites authors to contribute.

There seems to be quite a difference between their positive site and the experience of their authors. There have been some technical difficulties, but he's getting things back under control. Site says it is under new management; coming soon is much more than ebooks.

They are selling books, but I found no information on buying any from authors. They are accepting submissions for all sub-genres of romance, from 15, to 75, words. I have a favorable report on their handling, cover, and marketing. They are still open for submissions. I have two bad reports. According to their contract, it's a three year license from the date of publication with automatic monthly renewal thereafter, unless the author terminates after that initial period.

But the publisher can terminate the contract at any time. The author can inspect the books of account, however, though it does not say that inaccurate accounts are grounds for termination. Overall this smells like a bear trap: A complaint about lack of promotion, shoddy editing, incomplete statements, delays, and contract discrepancies.

It is also said that they are illegal: However, their contract does give the author the right to inspect their books of account. An author's attempt to stand up for her rights resulted in being cut off, with vindictive behavior. In fact, the proprietor alienated so many authors that she is now reported to be selling the company to her cover artist. Let's hope it's true. A new small independent publisher in Colfax, NC. The goal of Beautiful Trouble Publishing is to be recognized as a publisher not afraid to say yes to an unknown artist, author, or editor, or no to a well-known artist, a best-selling author, or a degreed-up editor.

Stories we publish will rock the reader's sense of humor, prick the soft places within them, challenge their assumptions, spark their sense of adventure, and stay with the readers long after 'The End. The owners are Jeanie and Jayha whose wild imaginations freaked out publishers. They realized that if they wanted it done right, they'd have to do it themselves. Their illustrations suggest that lovely partly-clad women are the kind of beautiful trouble they are looking for.

They expect to do e-books and print, from 3, to , words, from polite Romance to Home Wrecker heat. But they emphasize the need for respect along with the sex.

Apparently there are no preferred genres; your piece can be anything as long as it's sexy and obeys the usual rules: I did not find terms for authors. They seem to be open for submissions, and are explicit about their needs and taboos. They have an intensive editing process, a minimum of three rounds of editing and a few rounds of proofing. They are open for submissions, but are picky and demand a lot from their authors. A report says they seem business savvy, but annoy some authors by their insistence on doing it their way.

But their sales seem to be good. They seem to be open for submissions but are exceedingly finicky about format, or else. They acre accepting submissions of GLBT Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual including but not limited to romance, erotic romance, historical romance, historical erotic romance, erotica, humor, mystery, suspense, action, adventure, drama, paranormal, fantasy, etc, but no pedophilia, necrophilia, or incest.

Minimum length 10, words, no maximum length. I have no track record on them, but they're certainly an open market. It is not one I listed, and I can't locate an electronic publisher by this name. So I mention this just in case someone should find the information useful. I spotted this as an ad on another publisher's site.

This is a self publishing company that prints books. They are announcing a new book publishing solution designed for Christian authors, ministries, and small publishers.

They work exclusively with Christian publishers to produce life-changing books. It seems to be an association of several publishers or imprints devoted to aspects of girlish naughtiness and spanking.

There are pictures of bared female bottoms ready for discipline, some of them getting it. Some sites are www. In Wicked Velvet I found terms that may be similar for the others: An author's report is that originally it was good, but in the past year payments have slowed and even stopped.

Rates have changed and are not high. So visit the site to view the sights, but be cautious about placing your naughty fiction there. The publisher responds that there are only a few dissasisfied authors, the great majority being well satisfied. They have been publishing ebooks since , and are just about the only erotic publisher to pay advances and to buy books outright for publication on their websites. They have paid over a million dollars in royalties and advances in the past decade.

They pay royalties quarterly, promptly. I am told they are now Blushing Books. I was told about this, but haven't looked them up yet. They don't pay, but are responsive. My informant says they will accept anything. Domain may be for sale. The site is there in good order, selling books, but I found no indication they want submissions. Their catalog is 10, strong.

They pay advances and royalties. Open to new and established authors in all kinds of Romance, ranging from Traditional to Fetish. They care more about content than format. Well developed characters, strong conflict, much emotion, solid ending.

I found no information on terms. They are currently open for submissions in all their lines. No information on terms. I am informed that they folded November 1 because of the owner's illness. A printer who facilitates self publishing. You can request a quote. They are gone, apparently folded. They were formed in mid by two authors, one a ;New Zealander, one English, to provide publishing services, particularly to brand new authors, because both founders had enormous difficulty getting accepted by existing publishers.

So they are trying to do it right. They have ben open only to story submissions, but are open for longer ones in March, They try to report in weeks. They don't say what genres. They are open for submissions, but have a long list of restrictions. They have changed their submission policy, no longer asking for complete manuscripts, and have dramatically reduced their list of restrictions.

No formatting restrictions either, as long as it is a document type they can process. They have published 36 authors, cover a wide range of genres, and have seen dramatic growth in their second full year in operation. It looks from here as if they are doing something right.

Okay, my system simply refuses to put it on; when I tried with Windows, it's fine. I have an issue with willful programs that won't let me do my job. This time I had no trouble getting it. They seem to be open for submissions. Submissions are closed, but they expect to reopen soon. That strikes me as a hell of an expensive book. Blurb can, however, be frustrating to deal with on larger sizes.

Their affiliate program offers the opportunity to earn generous commissions by promoting Blurb's Self publishing platform, BookWright, at blurb accelerationpartners. Unfortunately they are also very disorganized and pay very little attention to detail. So they're legitimate, but authors may have to keep close track to correct the errors. Also, their boilerplate contract demands print, film, and audio rights. Better to get these removed, lest the works be made unavailable for later deals that could be worth more than the electronic rights.

A publisher who takes such rights without the ability to use them is making a Grab with a capital G, and should be discouraged. A worse report that they frequently break contracts, show favoritism, and are very political. That they are bullies, threatening both authors and readers if anything negative is said against them, including threatening lawsuits. That they may send private messages to authors that their careers will be destroyed if they don't comply.

Payments are late and queries are not answered. Authors are jumping ship. I will advise in a future update whether they try to bully me about this negative update. Meanwhile it seems best to stay well clear. I have what I think is a response from the publisher, indicating that the bullying is being done by anonymous parties on Facebook, implicating the publisher. She sent a copy of one of the posts to show how brutal it is, which I quote in small part: I am not in a position to know the truth, but it is clear that this is an ugly campaign whose source we do not know.

I recommend caution in believing any of it. I reviewed Facebook posts and saw the exchanges between some authors and the publisher, and got in touch with the author in question, the one who received that savage post. The publisher accused her of writing the letter herself for attention. I tried to check into this, because I have been on the receiving end of similar, though far less savage, attention myself in the past, when all I had demanded was a correct account, and while direct proof is hard to come by, the author strikes me as credible.

Digesting voluminous material, I have to say I think she has the right of it. It is possible that a third party is trying to provoke a quarrel between author and publisher, telling each that the other is at fault, but a legal case should sort that out.

Regardless, something extremely ugly is happening here, and it needs to be dealt with. Controversy continues as the publisher tries to get negative posts deleted by using legal communications. They are trying to discover the source of revelations. The problem with revealing sources is that then some publishers will try to browbeat those sources; that's why I honor anonymity, while trying to ascertain the true case.

Indeed, it seems that a number of writers have things to reveal, but are in fear of retaliation. I still can't be sure of who is at fault, but there's a smell. Should a publisher ever engage me at law, I would use the Discovery process to subpoena the records and get at the truth.

I am told that its address changed, but it does seem to be out of business as a publisher. We also present contemporary and general lesbian fiction as part of our commitment to offer quality lesbian fiction to all readers.

Decisions in weeks. They seem to be primarily a print publisher, marketed and distributed by Bella Books. I did not find information or royalty rates. Now their limits range from 45, to , words, depending on imprint. I still don't see information on terms. They are open for submissions, but still don't clarify terms. I was asked about this, so looked it up. The site is there, with news about sweepstakes and such, but I could not find any clickable links. Yes it is a self publisher.

They say that once you start selling your book, they take no part of the money. As of July 25, , they have suspended all publishing activities, but remain as a bookseller. And they are stiffing their authors.

It synchronizes the text, audio, and visual media to cerate an educational and entertaining reading experience for children and even adults who still have a child in them! So this isn't big money but could be nice for those who like to tell children's stories. Now here's a variant: Print on Demand for writers, poets, artists, photographers; otherwise this is an electronic publisher. Material must be child safe.

They are actively seeking children's stories. And scripts of all types: They remain in business. This is Denlinger's Book Store in Florida. It's been in business for 75 years, and seems to be slow-moving, taking four to six months to report on submissions,.

It seems to have a wide range of books. Can take 6 months to report. Primarily nonfiction, many categories. It is closing its doors. But it seems that some of their POD titles are still being sold at Amazon. Offhand, this seems to be a good place to consider early. They have many types of books, including ones on self publishing, about which they are very encouraging. Now they also produce trade paperbacks. Now author keeps all rights. Author can terminate agreement at any time, no hassle. An anonymous report is a good deal more negative, suggesting that this publisher's main business is publishing the proprietor's books on self publishing, and that the author's of other titles have to follow a formula and do all of the book promotion and selling.

If this is true, writers should be wary. Followup on the update: I received angry letters from Angela Hoy, wife of the company's president and author of several of their books on self publishing. At first she was halfway polite, then threatening, accusing me of defaming the publisher. I rechecked with my source, who affirms the accuracy of my update. Angela said "What you are doing is illegal," and said she was turning this matter over to her attorney.

I never heard further; I suspect someone got a whiff of Ogre and did the sensible thing: Nevertheless, I am trying to be fair in this survey, and have to say that my spot check did not indicate preferential treatment given to Angela's efforts.

She says they have published more than books, only 6 of which are hers, and none of hers appear on their homepage. So the question is whether this is a good publisher with a few disgruntled authors out of many, or one that sometimes treats writers in an arbitrary or unfair manner. Both may be true; I suspect that is the case. I have a favorable author report, citing a positive attitude and quick responses. Ron Brault rbrault obtel. Angela Hoy, after denying that she received the book--he finally had to send it by signed receipt certified mail to prove she received it--challenged the cover photo, saying it had copyright problems, apparently wanting him to pay more for a cover done by the publisher.

She evidently felt that his cover represented stolen goods, and I understand even wrote an article titled "When writers steal from other writers. But it was the beginning of a long hassle, and the book was not published. He asked for a refund but didn't get it. Contemporary readers may not realize how big a deal the U2 was a generation ago; this is surely a book of general interest.

Angela Hoy's site for her article is www. Another positive report of prompt responses and effective procedure. The cover design was good. It is said that proprietress Angela Hoy has not been published anywhere but here and that she is not a good writer. That she misuses stock photos for promotion, and that BookLocker's claim to be the cheapest POD house is untrue; Create Space is cheaper, being essentially free. That despite its claims BookLocker really does not discriminate in what it publishes, and that it arranges to plant positive and negative comments on Amazon about particular authors' books.

That the publisher threatens critics with lawsuits to shut them up, and trashes their reputations. I don't know how much of this is true, and some would be tricky to prove, but there is a smell, and my prior dealings with BookLocker suggest there is some substance at least to the charge that they threaten critics. Angela Hoy responds that she has a contract with St. Martin's Press, she has never mis-used stock photos, that Booklocker is cheaper than CreateSpace for services like original cover design, formatting assistance, ISBN, distribution through Ingram, etc.

That if you can't honor the CreateSpace specs, they upsell you on their subsidiary, BookSurge, which is far more expensive than Booklocker. That she has never posted a review on Amazon or elsewhere, never posted under a false name, or had anyone else do it at Booklocker. That she does not threaten critics with lawsuits, only those who have posted libelous comments about her online in retaliation for having their illegal activities exposed.

That it may be one of those deadbeats who contacted me. But see my extended discussion in the June Hipiers column. Now their link goes directly to Angela's newsletter, leading off with her charge that my anonymous source is a liar.

I'm not sure this remains a publisher. Later Angela Hoy demanded written proof that everything was legal, and when reminded that requirement was not in the contract she exploded, calling the author a liar, thief, jerk, etc. Still no information here about publishing, just the inaccurate rant against Piers Anthony for telling it as it is.

Probably best to stay clear. Still dated , unchanged. They focus on prepublishing services such a printing, binding, fulfillment, and distribution. I list them here in the publishing section because they also do epublishing.

Now the site is a list of books with links to purchase them elsewhere. No pornography, literary fiction, or other genres. No charges to the authors for any of their services. The process of publication seems to take about two months, because of editing and cover art. Maybe I'm influenced because the proprietor is a fan of mine, but this looks very good to me. A writer queried, described, got a request to see the full novel, sent it, and did not hear from them again.

A query was ignored. They are still there, but I find no evidence they are a market for writers. The domain may be for sale. New electronic publisher covering the major emarkets. They report only one desire:: Their site is still a work in progress, but they will answer questions.

The site is fully functional now, but plug-ins are required so I can't take at further. A generally favorable report of professionalism, responsivity, good editing, and decent royalty reports four times a year. But their submission process has so many guidelines in can be hard to follow. However, they are open for submissions. They are open for submissions. Now they can't be found.

Another says the are now at www. I heard from them: This could shake up the self publishing market. Our new relationship with BookSurge will provide Amazon customers an ever-expanding selection of titles that are not available through other channels.

They don't give prices on the site: Royalties every 45 days. No news of the controversy on their site, of course. They are unifying under the Create Space platform. The link leads to Amazon's Create Space. I am told the link no longer works.

They are open for submissions in many genres. I have a negative report on them, of taking months to review a submission, more months to offer a contract, then no word, so that the author had to get a lawyer to wrench back his rights. There's a question whether they are paying their authors on time or at all.

This suggests that authors should be wary. It may be that the author with the bad experience got caught when a key person went through a severe personal trauma and took an extended leave of absence, perhaps misplacing manuscripts. Indeed, now the link leads to Pinepress Roofing. This appears to be a publisher and marketer of free books.

I found no terms listed for authors, but presume they are unpaid. So if you have a book you just want to make available for reading, this is the place. I clicked their link about publishing romance books, and it put me with Xlibris. I heard from the publisher. The BrowzerBooks domain is reserved for our club members. They do all types of publication, and are eager to have you try them. The main thrust seems to be to sell books - but let's face it, if books didn't sell, who would publish them?

It has a "Get Published Now! We have found a way to change that! An author report says they are responsive and pleasant to work with. See Infinity Publishing, as their publishing link leads there.

A report that they keep making excuses instead of paying royalties. Since they have closed there doesn't seem to be much recourse. This domain may be for sale. Founded in , they are a niche press dedicated to publishing fiction and nonfiction up to , words on the theme of vampires. Several genres; what counts is the vampire. All titles released simultaneously in hardcover, trade paperback, and multiple ebook editions.

They are currently accepting submissions. My guess, considering the package they offer, is that they will soon be swamped. They are open for fiction and nonfiction submissions. I wonder how you do nonfiction about vampires? The range seems limited. They are seeking vampire manuscripts, but only by invitation, so query first.

Cafe Press - www. They merchandise all sorts of things, but have added a publishing service, so are listed here for that. It looks as if you have to do a lot yourself. After months with no confirmation of the order, finally canceled it. If this is the way they do business, sales will be small. And the opposite experience, with prompt delivery for several T-shirts, which are of good quality.

Pricing is based on the number and type of pages in your book. I don't see anything about publishing your book, but presume it's there somewhere.

Create and sell your books using true print on demand technology. So the publishing aspect is back. I was asked about this, so added it to my list. They are a new publishing imprint of Coffeetown Press doing hardcover and electronic publication. They call themselves a feisty little publisher with a mission, ready to snap up the good stuff that slips by the big guys.

They don't seem to have a track record yet, but it's a good attitude. Query with a 50 page sample. They started out as a showcase website for authors to display their work, but now have branched into publishing.

An author reports that they have been professional and helpful throughout. I don't have information on terms; it was a slow site. They will post your work on their website for one year.

Um, as publication goes, this is barely minimal. I heard from them. They are not charging authors anything to showcase their work. They have expanded their literary services. They now electronically publish books. We make our money taking a percentage of sales. They have an interesting attitude. They publish about twelve books a year.

If you feel you can ignore their requirements, but have a really positive attitude, you might persuade them to make it thirteen. They welcome new authors. They have teamed up with Liberator, Inc. It is scheduled for an inaugural release in early Submission information is available from their web site. They are actively seeking manuscripts of unlikely new romance, married couples seeking to restore the spice, and playful menage of all types of threesomes or foursomes.

This time their site has just a black screen with Coming Soon notes. They expect to have a wide range of genres. I understand that Carina is completely separate from Harlequin Horizons, not connected. Carina is not a self publisher. They will go digital first. No advances, but larger royalties. They are accepting submissions in all genres of romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, women's fiction, and more, but no non-fiction or poetry. They will consider fiction from 15, words to over , words.

You may submit manuscripts that were rejected by Harlequin or any other publisher. What will count is how much they sell. But the rest went very well, and the overall experience was good. Check their requirements for queries. Now they are more limited, no longer interested in nonfiction, women's fiction, horror, thrillers, literary, faith, young adult, or general historical fiction. That still leaves plenty, however, so check their list. Their guidelines changed as of March 1, Again, check their list.

Carnal Desires Publishing - www. Interested in erotic fantasy and science fiction, but will accept other topics, too. Alexandra Adams is the co-publisher, who has her own Sexy Novels site listed in the Services section. Minimum length is 20, words, 90, maximum, but they are flexible.

They are looking for highly erotic romance, and welcome cross-genre, with a riveting plot. They take digital rights only, for five years. They are especially interested in cross-genre works. Submissions are now open. Their servers are down for maintenance. They're there, describing their offerings, but I saw no Submissions listing. They shut down on January 1, , with regret: They are selling off their books at below cost, hoping to pay off their debts.

This time it came up in Chinese characters, so if they're still publishing, it's not in English. This is an imprint of Ellora's Cave for mainstream fiction. They also have a number of special categories mixed in with Ellora's Cave, such as Ellora's Caveman Anthologies and Cotillion; check their site for half a slew of information. Presumably Cerridwen will have the same promotional push that Ellora's Cave does, which suggests high sales. They are always open for submissions.

That is surprising, considering this is supposed to be a general mainstream imprint. They are still always open for submissions in all their genres. But the private word is that they are not accepting any new submissions despite what the site says.

In fact I understand there's a notice in their author package to that effect. I also understand that editors are being fired. Things seem to be in limbo. Author went to publisher, and publisher said it must be the ereader's fault and refused to take it further. But the same error occurs on other ereaders.

I know computers can put squares for unknown symbols; this suggests that the file has some obscurities that ereaders can't handle. Until the publisher is willing to deal with this, beware. The link took me to a dark blank screen for Jasmine Jade Enterprises. This strikes me as mischief. No, it's okay; it seems to be the new name for Ellora's Cave and its imprints.

I like their spot headings for types: I can clarify it: They remain open for submissions. Curious, I clicked their link for complaints about this imprint, but it was only routine submission requirements. Why am I not surprised? I did not see submission information. The link leads to Ellora's Cave. Starting up March 31, , mentioned as a possible publisher, but so far it seems to be just a book reading club. They are not a reading club, though they do have an experimental ebook club.

But they are a publisher first. Submissions are closed, and by invitation only until further notice. They seem to be open for submissions now. I have an anonymous report that they seem to be slowly becoming a vanity press. Some authors are charged to go to print, while some aren't. I'll be interested to receive feedback clarifying this, as it could be a misunderstanding. They considered letting impatient authors pay for print, but decided against it. They are accepting submissions for all genres except erotica, no short story collections or poetry.

I could not find information on terms, or any indication that they are more than a bookseller now. I received reassurance that they are a full-fledged publisher, and are publishing authors with great satisfaction. Epublication and trade paperback. I have a favorable report that they have a good contract, prompt response, and good editing.

And two savagely negative reports I am loosely interpreting here to mask identities. One describes a publisher that started out well, then ran out of money, used royalties to cover operating expenses, and made excuses to cover that up. The other describes bad editing, blatant favoritism, and a threatening attitude toward those who even question things.

Both reports are detailed and persuasive. There is also a story circulating about how there was a firm offer to buy 10, copies of an author's books, with no refunds, but the publisher essentially turned its back on the deal. Such an example, if true, suggests that the printer might have demanded payment up front, and the publisher wouldn't or couldn't do that, so let it go. So much for that author's prospects.

And an angry response from the publisher, who wanted the bad report removed immediately. But they do make their case. Money is not an issue. There was an issue with their bank, which has been resolved; it was a banking error. All royalties have been paid. There was never a firm offer for 10, books, and the prospective buyer never followed up despite being queried.

Actually the sale is still pending and is expected to go through in due course. At this point it looks as if the publisher has been vindicated in this respect. A new author queried, and received a prompt response and a request for the manuscript. A week later they rejected the book, but did respond to a request for feedback, delivering a blunt critique that the author concluded was professional and useful.

So this is a positive reaction to a rejection. That's a rarity, and worth noting. They stop in as small town, where Uncle Jarv writes a postcard and the boy stares at a nude Marilyn Monroe calendar on the post office wall. Somebody in the town has shot two bear cubs and a practical joker dresses them up—one in a white silk negligee—and sits them in a car. From this—the death of the two bears, the masquerade, the negligee, the calendar in the post office—Brautigan reaches all the way out into left field for Marilyn Monroe's suicide, years later, while she is still a cuddling little cub too, dressed up in death like a practical joke.

He does this too often for comfort. A story about a "crazy" old lady who fills her house with vases of flowers ends with a sententious bit of irrelevance: This was a month or two before the German army marched into Poland. Four small children without shoes come out on the porch of the shack to stare silently at him. It is raining and they are getting soaked, but they stand there, staring, silent. The author then nails up this heavy sign on their porch: He wins some and he loses some.

Once in a while a piece will rise to poetry. Others never get beyond easy vignettes, light enough to blow off the page. At its worst, Revenge of the Lawn sounds, simultaneously, like a clumsily written children's book and a pretentious piece of avant-garde impressionism.

At his best Brautigan is one of those odd-looking guys with long hair and granny glasses who sees, hears, feels and thinks things that make some of us feel he's found a better answer to being alive here and now than we have. Dietrich Notes On Contemporary Literature , vol. Brautigan's "Homage to the San Francisco YMCA" is probably best categorized as a fairy tale, containing as it does magical transformations, bewitchment, and a "once upon a time" beginning.

But of course it's not the usual fairy tale. For one thing, most fairy tales aren't written for academics. Not that one necessarily needs to be an academic to enjoy this tale, but it helps to know who Michael McClure and Vladimir Mayakovsky are, not to mention Shakespeare, Donne, and Dickinson.

It also helps to know that Wordsworth declared poetry to be the result of "a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" and that from Aristotle on the cathartic theory of literature has been popular with critics. For obviously the hare-brained protagonist of this story has heard something of that sort. He's heard not only that poetry serves as the conveyer of flowing emotions, but that it serves the reader as a purger of bad feelings. Why else would it occur to him to replace his plumbing with poetry?

Perhaps the idea occurred to him after he'd had an emotionally "draining" experience with poetry. If poetry can drain his spirit of its poisons, why not drain his body as well? This confusion of levels of reality is not surprising in one who profits in insanity. Our protagonist lives off a pension "that was the result of a 's investment that his grandfather had made in a private insane asylum that was operating quite profitably in Southern California.

For the whole country, Brautigan implies, has become so confused about what's real that it has not only lost the ability to distinguish reality from illusion, but it trades on their confusion. The insane asylum, for example, "was one of those places that do not look like an insane asylum. Unused to reality, ensconced in the never-never land of Pacific Heights, Brautigan's princely patron of poetry naturally misunderstands the uses of poetry.

Nothing is more practical than poetry if spiritual cleansing is what you're after, but if as an American you insist that true practicality consists in administering to one's material needs, then you may push poetry too far.

In that material realm, as Auden put it, "poetry makes nothing happen. It is no exaggeration to say that "Christopher Columbus' slight venture sailing West was merely the shadow of a dismal event in the comparison. Unfortunately, the magical transformations—of the minor poets into a toilet, for example—don't work. Our would-be fairy tale sorcerer is a failure, but typically he blames if on the poetry.

Note that "he of course had never met a poet in person. That would have been a little too much. That is, physical beings who just like himself need toilets but who are capable of creating the spiritual contradiction that is poetry would be hard to understand for this one-track mind. Man's dual nature is beyond the comprehension of the materialistic monomania.

But perhaps poetry is a little too insistent in its reality. Once you give poetry the notion that it can serve as literal plumbing, it's hard to convince it otherwise. One of the worst features of the materialist's idea of practicality is that it corrupts even that which is opposed to its values. Installed as literal plumbing, the poetry begins to take itself too literally as a drainer of physical poisons, presuming to be real in a sense it can never be.

Yeats, for example, believed so hard in becoming the golden bird of Byzantium that he sometimes lost track of the physical reality he was trying to escape from, the art reality completely replacing for him material reality.

In its insistent reality, poetry is always a little presumptuous in this way. Presumptuous or not, the poetry is right in kicking Brautigan's protagonist down the stairs, for his folly is the opposite of Yeats'.

His mad insistence is that poetry cannot be "real" unless it is materially useful; that is, that spiritual values count for nothing unless they can be converted into material values. Madness is the point here. The protagonist virtually lives in the bathroom of the YMCA, talking to himself "with the light out.

His malaise is succinctly explained by his retreat to the YMCA. Christianity in general, but especially Americanized Christianity, is a fine example of a spiritual intention that has learned to accomodate the material world, and the ultimate in that accommodation is the YMCA where physical exercise typically takes precedence over spiritual exercise.

Whereas the poetry fails to become literal plumbing, religion has made the transformation successfully, in a sense, and is now more plumbing than not. The protagonist may feel more at home there, but he'll never stop muttering to himself, for toilets do not cleanse minds or hearts. Brautigan is a kind of Christopher Columbus whose every work leads us to the discovery of America. America has been damned by its writers before for its materialism, but seldom has that indictment been put with such charming and amusing simplicity, and with such daring in paradox.

For only a fairy tale, that form of literature most held in contempt by our "realistic", "down-to-earth," "practical and no-nonsense" business civilization, could capture the reality of our cultural schizophrenia, which invokes God while worshipping Mammon.

As his protagonist pays knightly homage to that institution most aptly symbolic of the selling out of spiritual intentions, Brautigan ronically portrays this American prince as an individual bewitched by false values and self-entombed upon "the throne" of a materialistic obsession.

For several years now, Richard Brautigan has been offering us his own peculiar tour of America: As those who have taken previous Brautigan Tours will already know, his America consists exclusively of the Pacific Northwest, where it is always raining and California, where it is generally sunny.

Occasionally someone will slip off to an outlying province called Mexico for new sandals, dope, or an abortion. While Revenge of the Lawn , a bustling collection of sixty-two short fictions, takes us back over this same terrain, Brautigan succeeds in making the scenery look new and stranger than ever. In each of his modes—as poet, novelist, or short story writer—Brautigan is essentially an anecdotist, delivering bundles of bizarre incidents that strike him as funny, or touching, or stark and unsettling.

The people involved in these incidents tend to be equally bizarre. In fact Brautigan pushes their eccentricities to the brink of caricature. If, as in the title piece, "Revenge of the Lawn", the author introduces us to his grandmother, then we should not be surprised if she turns out to be a six-foot, pound boot-legger—the gay widow of a "minor Washington mystic" who dies insane. If the protagonist is a birthright millionaire, we can similarly take it for granted that he will wind up living in a room at the San Francisco YMCA.

All of Brautigan's people are either disoriented from or exist in some pathetic relation to the American norms of Main Street. In Brautigan country, no one is straight. Revenge of the Lawn exhibits considerable range and variety.

Some stories are merely tableaus; other are elaborate, extended metaphors. The "typical" Brautigan tale would have to be a mongrelization of all these modes. The style is far less flexible. Even when he indulges in playful surrealism, Brautigan lays out a characteristically spare, almost hollow line, jarred from regularity by the odd, clinking similes with which he frequently punctuates a thought.

The image of a girl returns to him "like a pale marble movie. In general, however, a strong instinctive craft secures the apparent effortlessness of his prose and a comic's keen sense of timing modulates the manneristic flights of imagination to an irresistible validity.

The stories set in the Pacific Northwest are the most substantial. Tacoma has a deep, somewhat mythic appeal for Brautigan, and he recovers the natural beauty of his childhood locale with considerable nostalgia—a nostalgia kept in check by his recalling the scene from much the same kind of sardonic remove as separated Mark Twain from Hannibal, Missouri.

While Brautigan writes no Huckleberry Finn , he evokes a time and place surehandedly. A Deanna Durbin movie is playing just down the street from each drizzling Tacoma memory. Tracking the ghost of his childhood through that Pacific mist, Brautigan tends to sound more like the Hemingway of the Nick Adams stories than like Mark Twain. He never seems actually to shoot at anything. And where Nick Adams's natural paradise is spoiled by intimations of mortality in "Big Two-Hearted River," Brautigan's is spoiled by the sudden appearance of a house "right there in the middle of my private nowhere," breaking a spell he has woven over himself.

Thus he returns to the theme of Trout Fishing in America , where distant waterfalls turn out to be white staircases and where ten-room trailers from New York fill the Challis National Park. The beautiful and still entrancing illusion of America provides the occasion for satiric thrusts against the missuse of a continent. The stories set in California are often shorter, lighter exercises.

Here the Brautigan persona is an existential Lothario who is implicitly too busy living to spend a great deal of time writing about it. Nonetheless, a few of these pieces are extraordinary in their own right. In fact, Revenge of the Lawn demonstrates that Brautigan is quite good at handling psychological materials not generally connected with his cult as a hipster wit.

It is when he indulges that cult, rather than when he deals with his emotions, that he becomes saccharine and slick. Revenge of the Lawn covers the period from to the present, and much of the most interesting work is not the most recent. Brautigan's extraordinary novel, Trout Fishing in America , was written ten years ago—a fact which its offbeat publishing history has obscured.

What that bodes for the author's future as a writer is unclear, but this collection makes a nice summary of his past. It is one of Brautigan's best books, and at his best he is a writer of surprising talent and vision. Edited by Peter Freese. Despite the strongly autobiographical tone of his poems, short stories, and novels, Richard Brautigan remains an elusive figure.

While photographs of the author appear on the covers of most of his books, he is publicity-shy and makes available to readers only the barest facts about his life. He was born in Tacoma, Washington, in , and lived in Montana and Oregon as well as the state of Washington during his childhood. The Pacific Northwest is a recurrent setting for his work; indeed, the rugged landscape of that countryside and such local activities as trout-fishing and deer-hunting are often the subjects of his fiction.

He remembers World War II with great vividness, but as experienced by Richard Brautigan the child—that is, he remembers it as a kind of elaborate children's game, only slightly more serious than cowboys-and-Indians. Born near the close of the Great Depression, Brautigan was brought up in relative poverty, never went to university, and yet very early seems to have directed his energies to writing. He moved to San Francisco in and quickly became known to such local writers as Laurence Ferlinghetti, Robert Duncan, and Michael McClure, beginning to establish for himself a modest reputation as a poet.

Brautigan's arrival in San Francisco coincided with the year when the so-called Beat Generation of writers first came to national attention. Young, distrustful of the establishment, often calculatedly anti-intellectual, such writers as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso offered a refreshing alternative to the conformity of the Eisenhower decade.

Brautigan's unconventional writings were inevitably linked with those of the Beat Generation, though they often contrasted dramatically in both subject and tone. Brautigan's working techniques certainly have something in common with Kerouac's jazz-like process of "Spontaneous Prose," yet while Kerouac built his effects through the massive accumulation of detail, Brautigan's best work is characterized by a systematic paring away that leaves the reader with only the barest essentials, as in the haiku-like little poem, "Critical Can Opener":.

As the passing years revealed, Brautigan would seem to have more in common with the "Love Generation" of the 's than the "Beat Generation" of the 's; the former at least, paid tribute in making him a cult figure of almost guru-like proportions, together with Kurt Vonnegut, Hermann Hesse, Ken Kesey, and J. The tendency to link Brautigan to schools and movements has, however, caused frequent misreadings of his work.

He certainly shared some of the rowdy irreverence for form and convention popularly associated with the Beat Generation, and his work often brims with a sweet and gentle melancholy reminiscent of the early Flower Children. But Brautigan has always been an individualist, a loner, and it is important to see him on his own terms to do justice to the small, uneven, but ultimately rich corpus of his writings. While Brautigan first began to establish his reputation as a poet, often gave poetry readings at universities, and for a time was poet-in-residence at Cal Tech University, it was a curious novel titled Trout Fishing in America which first brought him wide recognition, and he is clearly better known today as a novelist than as a writer of poems or short stories.

Completed in , Trout Fishing in America consists of forty seven brief chapters relating to an actual incident of fishing for trout in America, or to a ubiquitous and somewhat mystical character named "Trout Fishing in America," or to a place of the same name symbolic, perhaps, of unspoiled nature , or to a state of mind synonymous with freedom.

There is a quality of randomness in the novel's construction, and yet one suspects the randomness is itself ironic—a kind of pastiche of contemporary America, as well as a latter-day example of what Laurence Sterne meant when he described Tristram Shandy as "a history book of what passes in a man's mind.

It is hardly a cause for wonder that young Americans troubled by the war in Viet Nam, by corruption in politics, by urban violence, racial strife and environmental disaster should have responded with such ardor to Brautigan's vision. Brautigan's work is thus a rich index of a period of vast and often turbulent social change in the United States, and of interest, therefore, to both literary critic and social historian.

Nonetheless, to see Brautigan's writing only in terms of such topical reference would be greatly to undervalue his talent—as, indeed, most critics have done. Younger Brautigan enthusiasts have tended to praise him in tones of breathless reverence, and more established critics to dismiss him as a fad noteworthy, at best, for his whimsy.

Despite the seeming sprawl of a work like Trout Fishing in America , Brautigan is essentially a miniaturist—seizing small and often isolated moments of experience which illuminate for him some central truth of humanity or inhumanity. This is as true of his episodic novels as of his short stories, which often read like vignettes.

But because the scale is small, the tone sometimes whimsical, the language often mundane, some readers would seem to miss Brautigan's real subjects: In the light which flashes through the isolated "moments" from which Brautigan's work is composed one has a perfect example of that improbable process of revelation which James Joyce designated an "epiphany.

Since some of the best moments in Brautigan's novels are brief episodes which might be excerpted—and which often appeared separately in periodicals before taking their place in the novels—one might logically expect Brautigan to engage himself more often with the short story.

However, Revenge of the Lawn , a volume of less than pages, represents a full decade of production in this form. It is perhaps questionable whether they should be termed short stories at all, for few of them have the development of character and scene which we traditionally await from the short story.

Other terms spring to mind: I prefer to think of these pieces as "short stories," however, because each is in a sense a distillation of a short story; their details stay hauntingly in the mind like a kind of spiritual shorthand waiting to be translated by the reader into "full" stories. They ask for collaboration between writer and reader—that is to say, for communication, and it is no accident that many of them are abommuniut the failure of cocation.

A young man is attracted to a beautiful girl, but fails to summon the few words that would join her life to his for a time. A woman leaves her lover an angry note, but in the form of a riddle he cannot understand.

A lonely narrator visits his former girlfriends to beg cups of coffee—wanting not the coffee but the conversation which should ritually accompany it, and doesn't. Brautigan knocks on the reader's door, and hopes that conversation will follow.

Not all of the stories in Revenge of the Lawn are equally successful; some are too cryptic, others overly explicit, but the best embody the essence of a human moment distilled, sanctified, illuminated. Brautigan's settings and themes are various, but some recur often enough to lend the book as a whole a sense of pattern.

Most of the stories involve a first-person narrator very like Brautigan himself; the young man is frequently lonely, and he seeks comfort in women, deer-hunting, male companionship, or trout-fishing. He is, in short, a latter-day Hemingway man, but without the romantic excess of a Nick Adams.

The Second World War flits through the narrator's memory as World War I flits through that of Nick Adams—but not as a wounding, rather as a time when life seemed to the boy coherent and meaningful. The trivia of a consumer society are here, as well, and the totems of patriotism, the folk-ways of bootlegging, the omnipresence of death. The first and title story of Revenge of the Lawn introduces a character—the narrator's insane grandfather—who had precisely prophesied the date when World War I would begin.

In the lives of Brautigan's own parents and grandparents, that war had been an occasion to "make the world safe for democracy": For Brautigan himself, only a child during the Second World War, there was no such chance: The contrast between the two wars is important, but more important is that both are seen from within a circle of domestic reference; they are distant, detached, historical, "strange", and matters of fact but not of reality.

It does not appear in final place in the collection for this reason, however, as other stories are arranged with complete disregard for the chronology of their composition. We can thus presume that Brautigan placed it as the concluding piece for more than casual reasons. As a signature to the entire volume it poses the grim question "What does an old man's death mean? The story balances the momentous and the banal, and it turns round a few lines of conversation between a man and his wife.

This bare outline of the narrative circumstances, however, we learn only as we move into the story. The first and preeminent fact is stated with almost chilling simplicity: The second sentence "My wife had gone to the store.

And yet for all its lack of conventional short story information, the opening sentence is richly explicit. A man has died, unceremoniously, unheroically, and alone, before the television set which—as we later learn—had become the center of his existence. A man once followed by a rainbow has come to the end of his life in a "small rented house. Just as there is stark contrast between the death of a hero and his banal surroundings. A decade later, the narrator is still "thinking about what death means to us all.

In its muted understatement, the list also becomes a kind of elegy. In capsule form, the dead man's life reads, through point 9, like a conventional re-telling of the celebrated American Dream. A poor farm boy of German ancestry leaves home to become a schoolteacher, then a pioneer car salesman, a fighter pilot, a prosperous bank director. And yet there are already shadows on the dream: From point 9 onwards, the summary seems an inversion of the American Dream of rags-to-riches: There are, in all, thirty-three "facts" about the old man's life, as there were thirty-three years in the life of Christ, and Brautigan would seem to imply the spiritual transcendence of even the most conventional existence, much as J.

Salinger does in "Zooey," where the hero argues with his tormented sister that even the inconsequential "Fat Lady" is really Christ himself. The paradox of Brautigan's vision is that the spiritual significance of a life and a death cannot be summarized, like the weekly wash, in a list of "facts," and yet only the facts remain. Interestingly, Brautigan repeats one fact—the flight over France, the anti-aircraft gun, the rainbow—twice, which in turn draws the reader's attention back to the title of the story.

Brautigan's titles often have a punning quality, and sometimes apply to the stories only as riddles which the reader must solve. In this case, the problem is with the designation "Los Angeles. If the actual plane is meant to symbolize the young man's lust for adventure, his daring, and—in the form of the rainbow—his hopes for his life, then the Los Angeles airplane is what his life has become.

It is his wine bottle, or the television set on which he sees war films. Or perhaps the Los Angeles airplane is the old man himself—superceded by technology, "grounded" because too old to fly: And so, a man who once dreamed dreams, who showed legendary kindness to the employees who tended his own pasture, and devotion to his wives, is "found lying dead near the television set on the front room floor of a small rented house in Los Angeles.

There is profoundly moving sentiment in Brautigan's story, with scarcely a trace of sentimentality. As his narrator observes, "Always at the end of the words somebody is dead. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person. The other side of his talent—an ironically poker-faced humor that he inherits from Mark Twain—is absent here save for such grace notes as "an early-in-the-night-just-a-few-blocks-away store" RL , and the doomed herds of sheep.

Yet the story makes it abundantly clear that Brautigan is more than a faddish writer brought to popularity by a horde of flower-sniffing young Americans.

Exploring the perennial American themes of loneliness, innocence, and the ritual of the woodsman from his own distinctive point of view, his work is a comment on the continuing search for American identity.

That the search should often confront him with the spectre of death is not surprising, for as Ernest Hemingway once remarked, ". Only Richard Brautigan could write so lyrically of the healing force of ice in the blood, or the quirky peace of the supercool. Stories , Brautigan has written sublimely of the way misery can turn into a joke, or anguish into a deadpan anecdote. For all Brautigan's characters are trout fishermen fishing for cool, freezing away every psychic ache, or looking for that cold, hard alloy Brautigan calls "trout steel.

Revenge of the Lawn is really one vision of people who have drowned their feelings and live underwater lives. For Brautigan's fishermen do not want to catch trout so much as they want to be like them. The title story is a deadpan masterpiece. With no emotion, a grandson tells of his gentle grandfather, a "minor mystic" who prophesized the exact date World War I would start. But the very anticipation of violence drove him mad. For the rest of his life, "he believed that he was six years old and it was a cloudy day about to rain and his mother was baking a chocolate cake.

The grandmother, a flinty bootlegger, takes a lover who delights in destroying the lawn the grandfather created and loved. But, where the grandfather could not endure a fight and the grandson is stricken deadpan by everything, the lawn fights back. Becoming hard and malignant, it wreaks all kinds of havoc on the lover. Brautigan infuses so much violence into the lawn and so totally strips every passion from people, that his message is clear. Only a lawn could fight back. No human could survive the rage he would feel if he let himself feel at all; no one could endure the outrage life engenders.

Brautigan's people always submerge their feelings, always retreat from turmoil into a child-like innocence or a coldness so total that no passion, not even love can intrude. A poor schoolboy during World War II yearns to be a general. In a paper drive his school organizes like a "military career," he scrounges for scrap after scrap of paper, hoping to bring in enough to spiral from private to general.

But after an incredible effort, he finds all his work will make him no more than a corporal. Only kids whose parents were rich enough to have cars and to know "where there were a lot of magazines" get to be officers. Crushed and humiliated, he takes his "God-damn little stripes home in the absolute bottom of [his] pocket. The little corporal is so hurt he nullifies himself, becomes a shadow of a person who may never again try to win anything.

Revenge of the Lawn is full of people taking shelter: But in Brautigan's scheme withdrawal can be a strategic maneuver. For what a coup if "Corporal" is, as it seems, autobiography; if that kid is Brautigan who grew up to write A Confederate General from Big Sur , in which a spaced-out general of the woods lives among friends too fragile and too removed from their own feelings to ever say the words that hurt so much. And in In Watermelon Sugar , that utopian novel, they come together in a magical place to say wild gentle thing like this: Brautigan always writes of deadpan children, of the little corporals, of the luckless fishermen at life.

University of North Carolina Press, , pp. Richard Brautigan's literary fortunes have been directly connected to the discovery of underground youth culture by private business and later by the American public. One of the few figures to make the transition from the West Coast "beat" culture of the late s to the "hip" of the s, Brautigan was a familiar figure in San Francisco in the late s. His earliest work was poetry, privately printed by small presses in volumes like Please Plant This Book no date, poems printed in packages of flower seeds —given away to friends and acquaintances or proffered for whatever gifts or donations might be offered.

Thereafter, Brautigan's work appeared in a series of small poetry and prose works published by Donald Allen under the Four Seasons Foundation imprint. The three works were bound in a single facsimile edition, and Brautigan quickly joined Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Hesse, and Rod McKuen as a popular cult literary figure. Since that time, The Abortion: An Historical Romance , Revenge of the Lawn , and five poetry books most recently, June 30th, June 30th have sold very strongly.

It has become a popular critical pastime to dismiss Richard Brautigan's writing as merely faddish, a more hip, barely weightier version of Rod McKuen's maunderings. Brautigan's poetry does little to discourage this sort of overreaction. It seems uniformly slight; arch, almost unbearably naive, it is consciously unself-conscious picture a moronic adolescent friend waving hello from a televised bowling show.

As in the case of Leonard Cohen's poetry, the figure behind the poems is taken with the notion that his every single gesture is an act of art. Consider Brautigan's "Albion Breakfast":. She's at the store now getting something for breakfast.

I'll surprise her with this poem when she gets back. The problem is that there are two Richard Brautigans. One is commercial property and a created cultural hero; the other, a unique writer of narrow but very distinctive talents.

In his worst moments, Brautigan the spokesman is offered to us as a creature of the new consciousness, Mr. Gentleness and Soft Drugs himself, the antigeneral commanding the Green Brigade, a guy nonfighting the un-war against mean Mr. His clothes were all wrinkled and dirty and so was he.

He looked like a mess and he was drunk. A couple of other guys came out of the shacks and stared at us. They all looked like inBOIL. They had made the same mess out of themselves by being evil and drinking that whiskey made from forgotten things. One of them, a yellow-haired one, sat down on a pile of disgusting objects and just stared at us like he was an animal. The conversion of whatever extant counter-culture there has been to a series of products and images has long been a reality in the world of the youth culture market.

Like Kurt Vonnegut and Leonard Cohen, the first Brautigan has been a prime commodity on the "revolution and evolution" market. Mercifully, a second, rather talented Brautigan lingers behind that carefully hustled facade.

This second Brautigan, the writer, concerns me here. And like Kurt Vonnegut in particular, Brautigan's appeal results from the sensibility he creates and sustains in his writing. Similarly, another Richard Brautigan appears in The Revenge of the Lawn , where the style is less whimsical and the voice less infantile; he is a writer of more controlled prose in these pages and often approaches the surreal, constantly attended by a sense of the primacy of loss and death.

He was a member of a very large and poor German family. All the older children in the family had to work in the fields during the summer, picking beans for two-and-one-half cents a pound to keep the family going.

Everyone worked except my friend who couldn't because he was ruptured. There was no money for an operation. There wasn't even enough money to buy him a truss. So be stayed home in bed and became a Kool-Aid wino.

This sort of imaginative play—an awareness of the necessity and force of mental leaping that can transform a base external world—suffuses Brautigan's fiction. Loss, death, and the destruction of dreams wait at every corner but can be held off by the imagination. An exemplary tale from Trout Fishing in America makes the point:. Then there was a long field that came sloping down off a hill. The field was covered with green grass and bushes.

On top of the hill there was a grove of tall, dark trees. At a distance I saw a waterfall come pouring down off the hill. It was long and white and I could almost feel its cold spray. The next day I would go trout fishing for the first time. I would get up early and eat my breakfast and go.

I took a slice of white bread to use for bait. I planned on making doughballs from the soft center of the bread and putting them on my vaudevillean hook. How beautiful the field looked and the creek that came pouring down in a waterfall off the hill. The creek did not act right.

There was a strangeness to it. Finally I got close enough to see what the trouble was. Attrition is a constant menace to Brautigan's various imagined worlds, and it moves gradually to the center stage of his works.

By In Watermelon Sugar , for example, it is a major concern, but even here Brautigan proceeds indirectly through strained allegory, as the forces of death are aligned with inBOIL's whiskey-guzzling bandit gang.

I'll tell you about it because I am here and you are distant. It is so far to travel, and we have nothing here to travel, except watermelon sugar. I hope this works out. I can also see it with my eyes closed and touch it. Right now it is cold and turns like something in the hand of a child. I do not know what that thing could be. I have a lantern that burns watermelontrout oil at night.

I'll tell you about it later. I have a gentle life. An Historical Romance , Brautigan seems at once more relaxed and more controlled. The allegorical stiffness that flaws In Watermelon Sugar is gone, and Brautigan seems more willing to give his talent the rein it needs.

His strengths are in no sense analytical or political, and the allegory of old versus new culture pervading In Watermelon Sugar has a forced, puppet-show quality.

He also shifts to a more serious tone when death, wasting away, and the impermanence of the physical world occupy his attention. This is a sparer book than his others, more metaphorical and more controlled. Consider the "talisman" the narrator notices on the wing of a plane taking Vida and him to Mexico for her abortion: You could see the ring stain of the cup and then a big splashy sound stain to show that the cup had fallen over.

I looked down beyond my coffee stain to see that we were flying now above a half-desolate valley that showed the agricultural designs of man in yellow and in green. But the mountains had no trees in them and were barren and sloped like ancient surgical instruments.

In his most recent book of stories, Revenge of the Lawn , the second Brautigan emerges more clearly than ever. The book contains sixty-two freshly conceived fictions, in which the main theme is how imagination, especially in children, can directly reconceive and recreate the world.

They may appear as the tedium and ennui in the life of Mr. Henly, "a simple American man" who "works in an insurance office keeping the dead separated from the living. They were in filing cabinets. Everybody at the office said that he had a great future" "The Wild Birds of Heaven. Brautigan's humor is, as always, abundant, but the tone here is bittersweet and elegiac—yearning for the ghosts and pasts of Tacoma and Portland childhoods—or nostalgic—evoking memories of dead friends, lost lovers, tainted innocence.

Why were we tossed this way together as if we were nothing but a weird salad served on the seats of a God-damn bus? Everybody was glad to see me go and none of them were more glad than I.

Strangely, Brautigan's fiction has increasingly yielded the taste of more tragic cases: Ambrose Bierce and Ernest Hemingway. This is particularly true if one sees in his style, with its lucid, intentionally simplified landscapes dotted by occasional metaphors, a strategy for filtering insanity and chaos out of the world.

Like many recent writers, Brautigan has moved increasingly toward truncated, highly impressionistic forms. Donald Barthelme expresses amazement that anyone can sustain fiction for longer than twenty-five pages. The reputation of an acknowledged prose master, Jorge Luis Borges, rests on three books of short ficciones.

Like that of his more prestigious fellows, Brautigan's best work denies a fixed form or genre, as if closed forms short story, novel, sustained discourse were rigid cultural projections of totalitarian minds. His work has increasingly abandoned the few pivots of realistic fiction evident in, say, A Conferate General from Big Sur. John Clayton's appraisal strikes me as accurate:.

If Trout Fishing in America is in part a life-style of freedom and rambling, these qualities are present not only in the metaphorical transformations and illogical connections but in the apparent looseness, casualness, easy rambling of the narrator's talk.

Brautigan has no interest in character in introspection or psychological insight, in interpersonal dynamics; no interest in materiality; no interest in time or causality. The book runs profoundly counter to the bourgeois instincts of the novel. It runs counter to the bourgeois world view of practicality, functionality, rationality.

It becomes apparent that the attraction of a Brautigan or a Vonnegut results from the overall tone of the work, from an entire attitude toward the eccentric worlds laid out in their fictions. One of his briefer fictions, "Lint. They are pieces of distant life that have no form or meaning.

They are things that just happened like lint. Unlike Marge Piercy, he shows increasingly less interest in politics as a mode of transformation.

Indeed, John Clayton's phrase, "the politics of imagination," is apt. Gurney Norman's comment on the "stoned" quality of his perception seems similarly accurate: It's not his style to overload the senses. He very softly invites you into his fictional world. But once inside, indeed, your heart may well be broken, because within these apparently delicate pieces are people up against the ultimate issues of love, loneliness, and death.

As already suggested, Revenge of the Lawn does demonstrate the wry, antic humor that flavors Brautigan's early prose. But these fictions turn less to humor as a means of masking pain than as an alternative to ugliness; they have much to do with nostalgia, memory, and loss.

Such humor is particularly true of the three most effective pieces in the collection: The title story, the first of the collection, is also the most humorous. The actions resemble slapstick as Jack is haunted and later revenged by the front lawn and its conspiratorial fellows.

However, the comedy draws up short at the close of the fiction, as Brautigan leaves us with a stark, suggestive scene:. The year was either or I remember a man, probably Jack, cutting down the pear tree and soaking it with kerosene. On second glance, it also bears a richly evocative, almost Biercian image of darkness and waste at the center of things.

Climbing under a bridge, the narrator spies the hulk of an old Model A sedan tangled deep in the vines:. You could see things that you couldn't make out down there and shapes that seemed to change like phantoms It took me about two hours to tunnel my way with ripped clothes and many bleeding scratches into the front seat of that car with my hands on the steering wheel, a foot on the gas pedal, a foot on the brake, surrounded by the smell of castle-like upholstery and staring from twilight darkness through the windshield up into the sunny green shadows.

It is also a recollection: Always at the end of the words somebody is dead. But in spite of his long decline in fortune, the father remains a decent man, and his last five years are paid out decorously:. He retired when he was sixty-five and became a very careful sweet wine alcoholic. He liked to drink whiskey but they couldn't afford to keep him in it. He stayed in the house most of the time and started drinking about ten o'clock, a few hours after his wife had gone off to work at the grocery store.

He would get quietly drunk during the course of the day. He always kept his wine bottles hidden in a kitchen cabinet and would drink secretly from them, though he was alone. He did though after a while take on that meticulous manner of walking that alcoholics have when they are trying very carefully to act as if they aren't drunk.

Like one of Brautigan's earliest characters, the Kool-Aid wino in Trout Fishing in America , the father chooses to gently ignore an unpleasant existence. Although the ruptured boy has his watery, unsweetened Kool-Aid, he has mainly the dreams it releases for him.

This is certainly true of the father in his own way, for Brautigan tells us: He used sweet wine in place of life because he didn't have any more life to use. Brautigan's dreams take shape in words, but he knows finally through the boy and through the father, and we know too, that "always at the end of the words somebody is dead.

Betts College Literature , vol. As his title, derived from a Rilke sonnet, is meant to suggest, Jack Hicks believes that the "dismembered body of Orpheus is an emblem for the postmodern American character, the divided waters of contemporary writing, the broken texts and tales and selves of many postwar prose fictions.

Undeniabley, this generation of writers has, as Hicks contends, avoided engaging traditional social and political materials in favor of exploring personal experience and the varieties of human consciousness. Further assuming that these trends are largely due to the virtual dissolution of the American cultural mainstream, Hicks undertakes to "celebrate and clarify" some of the diverse voices of prose fiction that have recently emerged, however fragmented, solipsistic, or fabulative they may be.

Obviously, anyone looking for a net coherence in this fiction, or a single, revelatory key to its understanding, will not find it here. But that, it seems, is Hicks' point. In these self-evidently "divided waters" Hicks discerns four principle elements: The several sections begin with a general definition and elaboration of the literary category in its historical context, effectively illustrated by means of a wide-ranging and informative reference to current writing; they culminate in a close examination of the work of one or more representative practitioners.

Hicks' excellent introduction to metafiction, "the fiction of postmodern consciousness," and subsequent analysis of the stories and novels of Donald barthelme seem to proceed most logically from his previously established premises. After showing such fiction to be self-referential linguistic constructs, insistent upon their own validity as alternatives to external reality, and eminently aware of ther own artifice, Hicks convincingly demonstrates that Barthelme is truly representative of the metafictional viewpoint and worthy of consideration as a major contemporary voice.

In addition, Hicks is particulary helpful in revealing Barthelme's links to French phenomenology and non-literary art forms. Hicks is equally lucid and well-informed in his discusion of recent Afro-American literature, which he sees as developing a greater historical awareness of black experience, using indigenous black forms and language, and addressing itself more directly to the common interests of the black audience.

The analysis of the evolving historical consciousness in the novels of Ernest Gaines is perceptive and well-deserved. Hicks' chapter on the writers associated with the counterculure, however, is much less successful, in part because, as he admits, relevant examples are few and undistinguished.

The longest section of the book is devoted to the work of Jerzy Kosinski, who is presented as "a romancer of modern terror. Unlike the other writers considered, Kosinski is not shown to be representative of a significant element in contemporary American fiction.

Of the "anti-humanists" he is grouped with, only Burroughs is mentioned, and no literary context is developed. As a whole, In the Singer's Temple is, finally, something less than the sum of its parts, but the parts are full of insights and should enlarge the understanding of those interested in contemporary American fiction. Jack Hicks is that style of critic who sees social movements as structuring literary art.

Fiction, Hicks believes, is a response to the times, and therefore the disruptive pressures of the American s and s have created a uniquely innovative literature. Both social and artistic traditions were unsettled during these decades, and so Hicks now sees four different literatures as having resulted:. Aesthetic innovators, makers of a new Black tradition, the sensibility of the counterculture including the women's movement , and the modern romance of terror and control: Since Ihab Hassen's Radical Innocence , readers have been waiting for a perceptive critic to synthesize the fiction of our age, and Jack Hicks comes as close as anyone to doing that in In the Singer's Temple.

But in this age whose characteristics it has been to shun major figues and disregard the masterpiece, there are dozens of other noteworthy writers as well, and it is Hicks' genius to have virtually covered them all as he sets the stage for his longer individual analyses. One gets a good composite picture of contemporary American fiction from this broadly synthetic book. There is, however, a way out Barthelme is an American, after all: Black writers are themselves victims of a constricting systematic vision, and so Ernest Gaines is celebrated for his refashioning of history through mythic and folk materials to put his protagonists and himself back in control.

Counterculture writers of the period are notoriously, even deliberately short on practical vision; their revolution is not the same as the Black writers'. Instead, they are intent on creating a sensibility; this, and not a practical program, creates their own appeal and screens out what they themselves find distasteful.

As for the terror of modern life, Jerzy Kosinski makes it palatable by conducting his novels in the form of "philosophical examinations" His protagonists are created by the posing of oppositions; of all the writers studied, he is the most didactic yet the most compelling to read. Hicks mentions that part of his book was drafted during a Fulbright to Paris. The book is amazingly free of French theory, to its credit; but on one point Barthe, Derrida, and Kristeva could have helped.

Hicks believes it to the fictionists' discredit that they are unable to deal realistically with social materials, displaying "a broad lack of belief in the imagination's ability or need to transmute social reality to any higher form" 8. French theorists have described recent culture's distrust of the monological novel, that authoritative document which presumes to teach readers what reality is.

The Death of the Book and Birth of Writing is how the French describe our era, a thesis wonderfully complimentary to Jack Hick's own fine thoughts in this helpful and reliable book. Stories , reveals in brief compass the preoccupation with death central to Richard Brautigan's fiction. Whereas Brautigan's major imaginative efforts present characters who typically bring radical tactics into play in their efforts to gain psychological control over death the retreat into fantasy in A Confederate General from Big Sur , death's imaginative revision in Trout Fishing in America , the attempt of the iDEATH inhabitants to live in and with death in In Watermelon Sugar , and the mock-heroic triumph over death achieved in The Abortion , "Winter Rug" examines the paltry efforts of two characters to defuse death's sting through recourse to society's less drastic, habitual ploys.

The story concerns an old dog "dying very slowly from senility. Indeed, the first page of this stubby tale concerns not the dog and its owner but the narrator, who commences by presenting credentials to establish his competence to speak of death. His funeral vita begins:. They are in my pocket. I've had friends who have died in California and I mourn them in my own way.

I've been to Forest Lawn and romped over the place like an eager child. The narrator goes on to cite funerals he has witnessed from a distance and recalls once seeing a corpse, "done tastefully in a white sheet," carried out of a skid row flophouse to an ambulance solemnly waiting to drive it away, his friend remarking at the time that "Being dead [was] one step up from living in that hotel.

The narrator's opening lines thus disclose several common means of masking death's horror. His mourning, like the tasteful winding sheet and stately processional bestowed upon a flophouse resident, witnesses to society's usual practice of blanketing death in distracting legalities and honors the ambulance "was prohibited by law from having a siren" ; of wrapping it in ritualized, symbolic acts that serve to sooth us survivors; of handing it over to professionals to be disguised and distanced: Reading this book and the others mentioned suggests a second common attempt at conquering death's strangeness: The narrator also tells of visiting Forest Lawn and romping "like an eager child," as though life's final mystery could be familiarized, made the object of happy expectation, rendered innocuous ploys Brautigan characters attempt elsewhere, as in The Abortion and In Watermelon Sugar , made part of a game an attempt made in many of the stories of childhood in Revenge: His childlike behavior suggests further a denial of time's passage, a willed return to innocence, to that time when, necrobiotically speaking, one is as far from death as one will ever be.

Finally, the friend's joke, with its allusion to the notion of death as the doorway to one's reward, seeks to deflect a discomfiting confrontation through humor, which serves to distance the fact of death and to deflate its seriousness. Beginning his account of the dog's death, the narrator observes that "the dog had been dying for so long that it had lost the way to death.

In short, this "metaphysical war" as the narrator describes the enterprise of funeral directors is won by giving death a purpose, by transforming it from end to means another tactic in the Revenge stories: Although someone earning a gardener's wages might well regret the lost opportunity of possessing such a treasure, more importantly the friend's comment reveals another prevalent means of controlling death anxieties: Although the narrator claims to be "an expert on death," clearly he is no more experienced than most of us, and his attempts at controlling his responses to life's irremediable end are among society's routine strategies, as he must know from his reading.

The unnecessary reality of it scared her. But the inadequacy of the narrator's ploys and those of his friend are perhaps best suggested by the fact that an unknown dog's death has so captured the narrator's imagination, has thrust the problem of death so unavoidably before him, that he must transform it into a story, into art. Particularly in the absence of religious belief an absence present in this story , such an act, according to psychologists and literary theorists alike, is inherently concerned with giving our endings meanings, with creating illusions that make endings part of a comprehensible, hence meaningful and possibly acceptable whole.

If the narrator of "Winter Rug" has gained any control over death, he has done so—as, perhaps, has his creator—by capturing it in a fiction. Edwin Mellon Press, , pp. Literary innovations in the works of the s took diverse forms. Writers continued to challenge on epistemological grounds linear story telling, with causal plots having beginnings, middles, and endings. To an extent these challenges emerged as a result of changes in American political and social thought patterns which necessitated new means of expression, or a different aesthetic.

Bradbury states that in the fiction of the sixties:. He further observed that one direction in which fiction moved was "towards fantastic factuality, attempting to penetrate the fictionality of the real" Bradbury One of the major definitions of the aesthetic for the fiction of the sixties can be seen in Barth's essay "The Literature of Exhaustion" in which he explains that writers faced "the used-upness of certain forms or exhaustion of certain possibilities.

To Barth, the major issue is "how an artist may paradoxically turn the felt ultimacies of our own time into material and means for his own work" Barth "Exhaustion" Kurt Vonnegut's fiction of the s demonstrates another way to approach what Barth calls "felt ultimacies of our times. In Slaughterhouse Five through the Tralfamadorian viewpoint, Vonnegut reveals his concept of fictional form by means of the Tralfamadorian notion that all time is continuously and eternally present.

The description of the form of the Tralfamadorian novel is of course Vonnegut's attempt to describe his own work and that of contemporaries like Barthelme and Brautigan. Jerome Klinkowitz makes the point that:.

Donald Barthelme plays a mathematical game of permutation and combination with language. Language, in essence words themselves, is the theme of Snow White: Using the techniques of deletion and various forms of combination of language and words themselves, Barthelme successfully represents the fragmentary nature of our contemporary lives. For Barthelme, structure was the key to ultimate realities, and since fiction is composed of words, Barthelme's focus was almost lexical. Klinkowitz's observation that "fiction breeds its own continuity" clearly defines the structural pattern of Barthelme's works, for this author picks with the delicacy of using chopsticks the structures and the phrases and the words from contemporary diction and arranges them in the fragments that form the collage that creates his new fiction: And in a interview, he spoke with specific reference to fiction: This new reality, in the best case, may be or imply a comment on the other reality from which it came, and may also be much else.

It is interesting to note that the words of one of his own characters are so closely associated to being the approach of Barthelme himself:. What can I tell you? What has been pieced together from the reports of travelers. Fragments are the only forms I trust. Look at my walls, it's all there. Through such an approach, Barthelme was able successfully to capture the fragments of contemporary American life.

Barthelme's "fragments" and Vonnegut's "Tralfamadorian clumps" are characteristics of the American new fiction. These authors achieved continuity within their works primarily through the exploitation of language and through spatial rather than linear connections between each segment of their works. This form of fictional innovation is characteristic of not only the writing of Barthelme and Vonnegut, but also of another American author, Richard Brautigan.

It was the publication of Trout Fishing in America that gave Brautigan his prominence as a writer. Brautigan wrote a total of nineteen books, among them nine novels and a collection of sixty-two short stories, Revenge of the Lawn:

Most Common Text: Click on the icon to return to and to enjoy and benefit. the of and to a in that is was he for it with as his on be at by i this had not are but from or have an they which one you were all her she there would their we him been has when who will no more if out so up said what its about than into them can only other time new some could these two may first then do. Brautigan > Revenge of the Lawn. This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's collection of stories, Revenge of the Lawn: Stories , Published in , this collection of sixty-two stories was Brautigan's first published book of stories.. Publication and background information is. Publishers Jump to Services: This survey has no authority other than my own ornery wish to help aspiring writers make progress; I'm really a writer, not a surveyor.