Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Literature Breakfast #5

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, I’m a featured author at the Anderson’s Bookstore annual Children’s Literature Breakfast in the western suburbs this weekend. With Votes of Confidence awaiting a new edition, I will be signing Rockin’ the Boat and meeting with librarians and teachers. If you’re going, stop by and say hi.

Once Upon a Time in Alexandria out now

Friday, December 21st, 2018

My short story “The Tin Platoon” appears in the new edition of Curating Alexandria, which focuses on fairy tales.  Even cooler, they asked me to write the introduction to the collection. This book, titled Once Upon a Time in Alexandria, is the third produced in the series, the second to feature me, and available as both a print book and an e-book.

An excerpt:

Once upon a time, people began telling a new kind of story.

They already had legends and myths — tales that the storyteller presented as real events, and that audiences (at least initially) believed. Incredible things routinely happened in those stories, but they were presented as miracles, magic, or the work of supernatural powers who the listeners would be wise to take seriously.

“About the Time” in Manhattanville Review

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

The winter issue of The Manhattanville Review came out today, including my short story “About the Time.”

An excerpt:

“I have a silly question,” she says.

She always likes to talk after. Usually about whatever album I have playing on the stereo. She glides her cheek along my right armpit and onto my chest, so I can wrap my arm around her with barely a movement. My cotton undershirt still smells like her, with our sweats harmonizing as I gently rub my hand through her hair in rhythm and Dylan sings of a muse taking his voice and leaving him howling at the moon. In the second person, as if he’s talking about Marie and the way she can render me speechless with the right look.

“She-Wolf” in Zoetic Press

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

For the fourth time, I have a story in Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review. “She-Wolf” appears in the new Dante’s Inferno issue. It’s also available as a podcast, the first time I’ve had a fiction story appear as an audio story.

An excerpt:

As I ran from the shadows of the other beasts, the third of their cohort came before me. A she-wolf, lean and burdened with the cravings of every unfortunate soul who’d traveled this path. Her snarl and her bared teeth inspired a fear so great that I forsook my mountain destination for the darkness nearby, hoping to hide from the gaze of the lupine huntress.

New publisher

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Couldn’t post about this earlier, but Zest Books was recently acquired by Lerner Books. That means Rockin’ the Boat and Votes of Confidence are now part of the Lerner family, and the 2020 edition of Votes will be published by the new publisher.

“The Tomb” in Hofstra’s Windmill

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

My short story “The Tomb” is newly published, with Hofstra University’s literary magazine, Windmill. I haven’t gotten the issue yet, but can’t wait to see it.

An excerpt:

We first noticed them in the spring.

Rhonda and I had moved into the third-floor walk-up in late February. Her mother had suggested we would find a better deal if we changed apartments in the winter, when fewer renters would be willing to let snow and sleet dictate which days they could tour empty spaces. She was right, and we found a lovely vintage building whose owner had let it sit vacant for too long. He was so glad for tenants to stop the bleeding that we paid well below our target price.


Curating Alexandria’s Halloween edition now out

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

The Halloween edition of Curating Alexandria is now out in both book and ebook form, and features my short story “Ite In Pace,” which originally appeared in  The Write Launch.

An excerpt:

The family palazzo I inherited only after it had passed through many hands. You will not suppose, however, that I wasn’t pleased to own it. The lot of minor nobility is to be begrudged for wealth one doesn’t have, because some ancestors held it and passed it along through other tributaries of the family line.



Citron Review publishes “Tamed”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

My story Tamed, based on The Little Prince, was published today as the flash fiction story in the new issue of  The Citron Review.

An excerpt:

Life had once again become monotonous. He still hunted chickens that all seemed alike, and avoided the men who hunted him, all of whom seemed similarly alike. He spent most of his time alone and bored under the apple tree, always alert for threats or food.

New Press 53 collection out soon

Friday, August 17th, 2018

My story “Out Back” appeared in the 2016 edition of  So It Goes by the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. It is now anthologized in the third edition of Press 53’s collection Everywhere Stories.

An excerpt:

At a quarter to nine, the last of the petrol ran out.

Peter went to the back of the rented campervan to check, hoping Freya was right that they’d taken one extra canister, but knowing she probably wasn’t. He made a point of moving the boxes of supplies around so she could hear that he was being thorough, but he found no more petrol. They were stranded.

Avatar Review republishes an Alice in Wonderland story

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

“The Lion, the Unicorn and the Dragon” is now thrice published, with its appearance today in the new issue of Avatar Review.

An excerpt:

“They’re at it again,” one of the messengers yelled, and Alice couldn’t help but feel curious. As she had earlier, she followed the king to the edge of the gathered crowd. Alice could see only a cloud of dust in which the Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown.

Signing books at Printers Row

Friday, June 8th, 2018

It’s a rainy weekend, but the Printers Row Literary Festival, run by the Chicago Tribune, is going to be great. I’ll be one of the writers signing at the Chicago Writers Association tent, with copies of both Votes of Confidence and Rockin’ the Boat available for $12 each (free autograph, of course). The Votes copies are among the last first editions before the 2018 edition comes out; all that’s left is what stores already have in stock. I’ll be there from 3-6 pm Saturday, in Row O.

Scene & Heard publishes “A Day Off”

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Second Friday in a row with a newly published short story to share. An older piece I fixed up recently, “A Day Off” was published today by Scene & Heard Journal.

An excerpt:

On Saturday morning, Detective Baker took his golden retriever puppy, Partner, to the dog park on Fifth. In a ratty old concert t-shirt and cargo shorts, he lobbed a tennis ball to the dog, who raced like a fuzzy dynamo after it, and the pair spent nearly an hour repeating the ritual. The autumn fog left the grass damp, but once the former cop had resigned himself to having to bathe the dog later, he was content to just play fetch as the park started to fill with neighbors and their pets.

“He Knocked” in the new issue of The Rush

Friday, June 1st, 2018

My latest short-story offering. “He Knocked” came out today in the new issue of The Rush, the literary magazine of Mount Saint Mary’s.

An excerpt:

He knocked at about a quarter to six on a Tuesday, just as Stacy had finished setting out all the ingredients for her pasta primavera and started to chop the green beans.

She didn’t hear him at first.

“Sole Proprietor” in the new issue of The Sea Letter

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The Sea Letter’s new print issue is available for purchase, and it includes my (long) short story “Sole Proprietor.”

An excerpt:

If she’d had the good fortune to be born three hundred years earlier, Sally O’Brien would have inherited a lucrative profession. Back then, the landed gentry types were willing to pay good money for the skills of an excellent cobbler, and a working tradesman would know the value of repairing a good piece of hand-stitched leather or a sturdy sole rather than replacing a pair of shoes. Not that there wouldn’t have been downsides to living three hundred years earlier. She wouldn’t have been as tall, or lived as long, or been as well educated. She probably wouldn’t have been able to inherit and run the family cobbler shop either.

HCE Review publishes “Seaweed and Salt”

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

I’m published in an Irish literary magazine for the first time. My short story “Seaweed and Salt” is in the new issue of HCE Review.

An excerpt:

She never had to wonder when the lady had been in the house. The trail of salt always told her.

Siobhan came in from the garden with two baskets of turnips. She had been digging up the tubers all day, brushing the silty seaside soil from each root with an old rag. The humidity gave her long, red hair the look of a distended bird’s nest, and she wanted to draw a cold bath before preparing her evening meal.

“Blood ” in Ghost Parachute

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

My short story “Blood,” about how much it would stink to have stigmata, is out today in the new issue of Ghost Parachute.

An excerpt:

The bleeding still drove him crazy. Every time.

As usual, it had started in the night, and Frederick woke up to the sticky feeling of blood in his bedsheets. He had long ago switched from white linen sheets to a burgundy cotton that could handle the stains, provided he washed them thoroughly every time the blood stopped flowing. A sisyphean cycle, but he rationalized that all laundry was in its way.

“The Machine” anthologized in Alcyone

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

My story “The Machine” appeared two years ago in Chicago Literati, and is now anthologized in Issue II of Alcyone, both in Kindle form and in paperback.

An excerpt:

The time machine really had seemed like a good idea.

Dr. Wyatt had spent the better part of his long career working on the technology and the process. Of course, when he opened his research to peer review, there were always other scientists who questioned the ethical implications of his endeavor, wondering if sending people back in time would dangerously alter the present, or even arguing that the existing present was already the byproduct of some inevitable future discovery of time travel. While they questioned his ethics, though, Wyatt always pointed out that none of them questioned the accuracy of his science. He’d effectively solved one of the great challenges of modern thought, a seemingly impossible task the greatest minds in the world had contemplated for more than a century.

That turned out to be the easy part.

Interview with Joseph Rosenbloom for Foreword Reviews

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

I’ve reviewed literally hundreds of books for Foreword Reviews, which now also features interviews with authors. Hopefully, I’ll get to be one of those authors when the next project comes out, but in the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Joseph Rosenbloom about his excellent book “Redemption,” about the last days of Martin Luther King’s life.

“Sunshine” in O:JA&L

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Published the second of the 100-word flash stories I wrote around the holidays. “Sunshine” is now in the new issue of Open: Journal Arts & Letters.

An excerpt:

“I’ll play any song you want,” the busker promised, if only they’d put five dollars in her case.

Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast #4

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

On February 24, I was honored to make my fourth straight appearance as a featured author at the Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast in suburban Woodridge, meeting many librarians and teachers throughout Illinois. It’s always a great event with a lot of great local authors and fascinating keynote speakers.

Third appearance in Crack the Spine

Friday, February 16th, 2018

For the third time, I have a microfiction story in the online magazine Crack the Spine. In this case, for issue #232, it’s “Father’s Wishes.”

An excerpt:

His last request was that we shouldn’t bury him on the Sabbath.

“Just One” in Foliate Oak

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

I wrote a few 100-word flash stories a little before the holidays and started submitting them. The first one to be published, “Just One” is now in the new issue of Foliate Oak.

An excerpt:

“The guard’s not looking,” the man whispered, and the flash of the woman’s camera momentarily lit the dark gallery.”

New short story, “Encouragement”

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

As part of a collaboration on my friend Esther’s blog, I wrote a piece called “Encouragement.” All the stories for this collab begin with the same one-line prompt.

An excerpt:

“I don’t want to talk about it!”

“Not this again,” his mother said. Wendy knew from her first two progeny that it was important to encourage a child’s creativity. She also knew that there was a fine line between that encouragement and cementing bad habits. Her oldest’s brief dalliance with clown college probably could have been stopped in its infancy.

“Civil Disobedience” in Two Hawks Quarterly

Monday, December 18th, 2017

“Civil Disobedience” is my latest published short story, appearing in the new issue of the newly redesigned Two Hawks Quarterly.

An excerpt:

“The sign couldn’t be more clear now, could it?”

The officer had a point. Oscar knew better than to talk back to a city cop and had carefully handed over his identification when asked. By this time, he could follow the whole procedure just through muscle memory, careful never to move too suddenly.

“Guaranteed Age” in Typishly

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

My short story “Guaranteed Age” appears in the new issue of Typishly. It’s named an Editor’s Choice story, and I like that it’s described as “Relationships. Whiskey.” This story originally appeared on my friend Esther’s blog.

An excerpt:

It seemed like such a great concept the first time Rodney heard it. Guaranteed age.

Walking through a maze of copper pot stills, the guide on the distillery tour explained how the fermented mash boiling all around them would need to age three years in an oak barrel before ever being sampled by the public. She must have intuited that Rodney and Virginia were still in the giddy glow of a honeymoon, winking at them as she monologued about how the single-malt whiskey conveniently available for purchase in the tasting room would only improve with age. How its flavors would stand out more, while keeping perfect balance, as the decades wore on.

“Nostalgia” in Tower Journal

Monday, November 6th, 2017

A flash-fiction story out today. Part of a series of shorts I wrote earlier this year to get comfortable with the 100-word form, “Nostalgia” appears in the new fall 2017 issue of Tower Journal.

An excerpt:

Some summers during rainstorms, the river overfilled and a few of the basements along Exeter Road flooded.

Successful visit to Illinois Reading Council annual convention

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

As part of Illinois Reads, I took part in the Illinois Reading Council’s 50th annual conference in Peoria. I gave a short lecture Thursday on writing non-fiction for a young adult audience, signed books with the rest of the Illinois Reads authors, and took part in a “speed-dating” event with librarians and teachers who signed up to get a copy of “Rockin’ the Boat” and talk to me about it. This was a great event, and I’m really hoping to see “Votes of Confidence” on the list for 2019. And future books for future years.

Shout out from the Secretary of State’s Office

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

As noted a few times on this blog, “Rockin’ the Boat,” my 2015 book about revolutionaries, is one of the Illinois Reads books for 2017. This month, it gets a mention in the monthly newsletter of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Third appearance in Zoetic Press

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review has published me for the third time. After appearing in the “Arabian Nights” and “Alice in Wonderland” issues, I’m now in the Hans Christian Andersen issue, with my short story “The Tin Platoon.” There is a small fee to purchase the downloadable issue.

An excerpt:

Where his number had once been five and twenty, the soldier now awoke to find the spot beside him empty, and his rank now the lowest among his brethren.

As all were in their box when the unipedal soldier first went missing, they initially believed the snuffbox goblin’s story that it must have been the wind that moved him to the windowsill, and onward to further misadventures. Adventures unknown to the soldiers until their wounded comrade returned days later, smelling of the sea and carried by the flustered house cook.

Interview with At One Sitting

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

A couple weeks ago, CJ Arlotta (a contributor with Forbes and other solid publications) got in touch and asked to interview me for his blog, At One Sitting, where he interviews short-fiction authors. My interview ran August 27, and is free to read on the blog.

An excerpt:

Arlotta: You seem to enjoy adding a bit of mystery to your short stories (e.g., “Ite in Pace”; “Animal Husbandry”; and “Flip a Coin”). How do you go about adding unanswered questions to your stories?

Fleischer: I usually try to parse out that information only as the protagonist learns it. Sometimes, I already know where the story is heading; other times, I find out at the same time he or she does. Most of my stories involve a protagonist having things happen to them, so that their reactions rather than their intended choices drive the main action.

“The Oracle’s Curse” appears in Saturday Evening Post

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Excited to report a third piece in the Saturday Evening Post, which is known for publishing many of my favorite writers.  Having already published “Granddad’s Ballgame” and “The Querulous Nightingale,” it has now published “The Oracle’s Curse.”

An excerpt:

Just five seconds earlier, she had seemed too good to be true. He should have known there was something a little off, just waiting to reveal itself. 

“Come on, it’ll be fun. I’ll pay for it,” Karyn said while the two of them waited for their dessert. 

“You don’t really believe in all that?” Larry replied, trying to hedge his tone between faux worry and gentle kidding. “Do you?” 

Larry Pemberton really liked this girl. As a guy who always had standards a little too high for his side of the ledger, he didn’t find many women he wanted to see the socially accepted three times. Through two dates, Karyn had seemed like a good match. She was smart, accomplished, beautiful … And, it turned out, a believer in mystical powers. 

“Ite in Pace” in The Write Launch

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Another fiction story out. This time, it’s the Poe-inspired “Ite in Pace” in The Write Launch.

An excerpt:

The family palazzo I inherited only after it had passed through many hands. You will not suppose, however, that I wasn’t pleased to own it. The lot of minor nobility is to be begrudged for wealth one doesn’t have, because some ancestors held it and passed it along through other tributaries of the family line.

I had never traveled to Venice until my forty-seventh year, when I received news that the last of my paternal cousins had passed heirless after a bout with pneumonia. I’d instead been living the modest life of a tradesman in Spain, building brick structures in the environs of Barcelona.

“The Querulous Nightingale” appears in The Saturday Evening Post

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Excited to report a second piece in the Saturday Evening Post, which is known for publishing many of my favorite writers.  Having already published “Granddad’s Ballgame” last summer, it has now published “The Querulous Nightingale.”

An excerpt:

I arrived in Washington the same day that James Forrestal went out the window.

My first visit to the capital would have been otherwise forgettable. Union Station was less crowded on a Sunday morning than I’d ever found a stateside train station. Never a churchgoing man myself, I still felt a nostalgia for the chiming bells I periodically passed on the way from the train to the Mayflower Hotel.

They told me I’d been abroad too long.

Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum names “Wheelbarrow” a finalist

Monday, June 5th, 2017

My short story “Wheelbarrow” was named a finalist in the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum’s Hemingway Shorts contest, which means it will be published in this year’s collection later this summer.

An excerpt:

In the days of my youth, my father would constantly tell me that the world was a more dangerous place than ever before.

The low point for me came when he built the bomb shelter in our backyard.

“Alchemy” included in Crack the Spine’s newest anthology

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Crack the Spine published my very short story “Alchemy” a while back, and has now included in its latest anthology, volume XV. Copies can be purchased via the link.

“There’s the Rub” republished in The Stray Branch

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

My short story “There’s the Rub,” which originally appeared in Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review, has been republished in the new Spring/Summer issue of The Stray Branch literary journal (#19 vol. 16). Copies can be purchased via the link.

An excerpt:

After the last few centuries, I can tell you that people don’t get irony. Trust me.

At least, they don’t get ironic punishment. 

“Gnaw Bone” in Sliver of Stone

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

My short story “Gnaw Bone” is featured in the April issue of Sliver of Stone literary journal.

An excerpt:

Sara kept driving east, passing through most of the state where she was born. The one she hadn’t visited in five years.

The highways took her past the two state universities she’d considered attending, which she would always associate with Larry Bird and Bob Knight, dating back to when she was a little girl hitting jump shots through the cheap hoop her father nailed to the side of his toolshed.

“Votes of Confidence” listed by Library of Congress for Hearing Impaired

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Very glad to see “Votes of Confidence” appear in this list of books recommended by the Library of Congress for the hearing impaired.

Second appearance in Crack the Spine

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

For the second time, I have a microfiction story in the online magazine Crack the Spine. In this case, for issue #211, it’s “How the Other Half Lives.”

An excerpt:

“The Flahertys have more than us,” we often complained.

“Biscuits” in the issue of Thema

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Every issue of Thema features stories written to a specific prompt/title. Last winter, I thought “Drop the Zucchini and Run” was a pretty imaginative theme, and wrote a story for it titled “Biscuits.” The zucchini-related issue accepted that story and is now available.

An excerpt:

“We’re English,” Mother used to say when I would propose some idea that seemed too unrefined to her. “We have a way of doing things.”

Kickoff and new poster for Illinois Reads

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

On Saturday, I get to attend the kickoff event for Illinois Reads. My book Rockin’ the Boat is one of six books selected as part of a reading initiative for high school students around the state.

The new poster is awesome.IR_Poster





So is the new bookmarkIR_Bookmark





“In the Details” in Linden Avenue journal

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

My short story “In the Details” is featured in the March issue of Linden Avenue literary journal.

An excerpt:

“That’s it! I’ve got it!” Elmer shouted. He grabbed his notebook and burst out of his cubicle with the urgency of a man trying to beat the devil.

Which was fair enough, seeing as that was his actual situation.


Third year at Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

On February 18, I was a featured author for the third year in a row at the Anderson’s Bookstore Children’s Author Breakfast in suburban Woodridge, meeting many librarians and teachers throughout Illinois. It’s always a great event with a lot of great local authors.

“Animal Husbandry” republished in See the Elephant

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

My first widely published short story, “Animal Husbandry,” now appears in See the Elephant from Metaphysical Circus. The story originally appeared in Printers Row Journal in late 2012.

An excerpt:

AT AROUND TWO in the afternoon, on an otherwise unimportant Tuesday in June, Herm Dublin’s prize heifer gave birth.

“The Others” featured in Duende’s January spotlight

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The first short story I wrote in years, now nearly five years old, The Others, is now published in Duende literary magazine, part of its January spotlight.

An excerpt:

Zacharias had spent most of the day alone, tending to his small flock of sheep. With no children of his own, and his wife long dead from a failed attempt to give birth to one, he went to the field alone every morning with his animals. By evening, when they were safely gathered in their pen, he made himself a small fire, brought to boil a pot of water, and cooked a batch of vegetables for his supper.

“The Cat” in East Bay Review’s holiday issue

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

A couple years ago, I wrote The Cat, a holiday story based on a Celtic myth. Now it’s part of East Bay Review’s holiday issue. I like being in a magazine from my old neighborhood, with Jack London on the masthead.

An excerpt:

Sitting in a bar on Christmas Eve didn’t feel out of the ordinary for David Silver. He was still unmarried, and his last relationship had ended months earlier, before there was even an awkward discussion about whose parents they would visit and how much time he’d need to take off work and what was an appropriate amount to spend on gifts. He was an only child, and had come to an agreement with his parents to take a trip to Vegas together in the spring rather than have him spend an exorbitant amount and battle transit stress to fly to Minneapolis for a few days just because the calendar suggested it.

Mikrokosmos Journal publishes “Crocotta”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

More fiction news. My short story “Crocotta” appears in the new issue of Mikrokosmos Journal, which came out last night and pairs all stories up with illustrations.

An excerpt:

Study the unexplainable long enough, and you’ll learn there’s usually an explanation.

The gryphon? Just protoceratops bones, discovered by Proto-Greeks who didn’t understand what they were seeing. The centaur? Horse archers of the Eurasian steppe, so adept on their steeds that they seemed to merge into one being. The roc, a bird big enough to carry elephants in its claws? Just the bones of bird-hipped dinosaurs with elephantine claws.

Illinois Reading Council names Rockin’ the Boat a 2017 Illinois Reads book

Friday, December 9th, 2016

This news was embargoed for a long time, but can now be shared. My 2015 book Rockin’ the Boat was selected by the Illinois Reading Council as part of the 2017 Illinois Reads program. It’s one of six books chosen for high schools as part of a statewide reading initiative. Illinois Reads is a great program, and I’m glad to be a part of it. There’s a formal kickoff in March, and then more events throughout the year.

IU alumni bookshelf

Monday, December 5th, 2016

My undergrad alma mater, Indiana University, included “Votes of Confidence” in the latest edition of the media school’s alumni bookshelf. I’ve gotten three entries on that shelf, and hope to grow that number soon.

Second appearance in Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Zoetic Press Non-Binary Review just put out its Alice in Wonderland issue, which includes my short story “The Lion, the Unicorn, and the Dragon.” It’s my second time in this publication (after the Arabian Nights issue).

“Clarksdale” appears in Deep South Magazine

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

My short story Clarksdale is out today in the new issue of Deep South Magazine. It’s what comes from too much time ruminating on Robert Johnson and the Crossroads.

Milo pulled into Clarksdale just as the sun was setting.

It had been a long drive from Chicago, and he had to shake his legs a bit when he first got out of the car. After grabbing his knapsack and guitar from the backseat, he handed the driver a wad of cash to cover the promised gas money and gave him a hearty handshake. He slung the bag over his shoulder, grabbed the banged-up guitar case by the handle, and walked a few blocks to the first open bar he could find.

“The Elephants” appears in Birch Gang Review

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

I have another short story out. This time, it’s The Elephants, appearing in the new issue (issue 1.3) of Birch Gang Review.

An excerpt:

Several hours before it happened, all the elephants went away.

Not many people noticed. But the three sisters did.

“Granddad’s Ballgame” in the Saturday Evening Post

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

In the fall, I wrote “Granddad’s Ballgame,” a humor story in what I call a “front porch” style, and The Saturday Evening Post published it yesterday.

An excerpt:

When my Granddad was just a boy, to hear him tell it, there were only three things he ever wanted to do in his life. One was to get the girl who lived on the farm catty-corner to take a shine to him. Another was to see the world, or at least some part of the world outside Indiana. The third was to make a ballplayer out of himself.

Audiobook out now

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

The audiobook for Votes of Confidence arrived August 16 on Amazon and other platforms, in both CD and MP3 form. Check out this sample audio from the book.

Top YA reads for the summer

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Earlier this summer, Foreword Reviews gave “Votes of Confidence” a great review, and now the magazine has listed the book as one of the six best YA books for summer reading this year. It’s a great list; check it out.

Another thumbs-up review, from Publishers Weekly

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Got another positive review for the new book,this time from Publishers Weekly, which gave a big boost to the last book as well.

An excerpt:
Fleischer’s well-contextualized, nonpartisan approach results in a valuable resource for readers looking to understand and become involved in a complicated system while avoiding spin.

Foreword Reviews gives Votes five stars

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Last year, Foreword Reviews named “Rockin’ the Boat” one of its critic’s choice picks for 2015. This year, the magazine, just gave a five-star review to “Votes of Confidence.”

An excerpt:

Even as a kid, Jeff Fleischer recalls, he was a politics nerd. Now a Chicago journalist with history books about iconic revolutionaries and instances of mass hysteria under his belt, he’s issued a timely primer on the American electoral process, Votes of Confidence. Many adults are poorly informed about the political system, he notes; only 62 percent would likely pass the US citizenship test. This book would be a perfect refresher course, then, but should also be required reading for sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds as they prepare to vote for the first time. Fleischer covers a huge amount of information, but in such an orderly and lucid manner that it never feels overwhelming.

Newcity makes book signing a top-five lit event

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The “Votes of Confidence” book signing at Book Cellar in Lincoln Square was named by Newcity as one of its top-five lit events for the May 16-30 stretch.

Book review in Books for Kids Blog

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Got another review of Votes of Confidence, this time at the blog Books for Kids. Check it out here.

An excerpt:
There’s a lot there to take in, enough to make this readable book an excellent textbook for a high school or even college course. With clarity, succinctness, and a bit of ironic wit, this book is a definite first choice for high school and public libraries, for young people approaching voting age and for adults (e.g., those who can’t name the three branches of federal government and the balance of powers that it provides to keep us going) to read almost everything you need to know before you vote! Kirkus Reviews gives this one a well-deserved starred review, saying, “Fleischer’s primer tenders a wealth of insight in a generous and welcoming manner.” And boy, do we need that insight!

Book review in Dew on the Kudzu

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

I quite like the blog name Dew on the Kudzu, and it published a nice review of Votes of Confidence today.

An excerpt:

At a time when we’re constantly bombarded by political rhetoric, VOTES OF CONFIDENCE steers clear of hedges and dodges, instead using wit and good humor to offer a clear-eyed account of where we are, how we got here, and how this whole thing works. It also serves as a good reminder that voting is a hard-won right, and even today is not always a guarantee, so we should take advantage of the privilege and let our voices be heard.

Voting article in Signature Reads

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

With Votes of Confidence arriving in stores tomorrow, Signature Reads asked me to write a piece on 10 things voters should know about this year’s election. Check it out.

Extra credit interview with LitPick

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Last year, LitPick interviewed me for Rockin’ the Boat, and the site was kind enough to do it again this year for Votes of Confidence. You can read it here.

An excerpt:

If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?

There are a lot of good choices, but I’ll go with my default answer of Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve been a fan of his a long time, and there would be a lot to talk about.

Speaking at DePaul on 4 May

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

On Wednesday, May 4, I’m speaking on a three-person panel at DePaul University in Lincoln Park, at an event for Chicago Women in Publishing. We’re talking about careers in writing and publishing, and the event is open to the public (free, but there are tickets). Register here.

Upcoming signing at The Book Cellar

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Book Cellar, an excellent bookshop in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, will host a book launch for “Votes of Confidence” on May 21. Here’s all the information about the event.

“The Paper Cut” appears in Jet Fuel Review

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

The new issue of Jet Fuel Review, Lewis University’s literary review (issue 11), includes my comedy short story “The Paper Cut.”

Great review from Infodad

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Infodad, which reviews books for a family audience, gave my new book “Votes of Confidence” an excellent review, with its four-pluses rating.

An excerpt:

Timely it certainly is, but Jeff Fleischer’s Votes of Confidence is more than that: it is a first-rate introduction to American elections in the hyper-communicative digital age, designed for readers young enough to remember only one or two presidential election cycles but – for that very reason – extremely useful as well for their parents and for other “old hands” at elections who are trying to figure out what all of today’s currents and countercurrents mean. For the most part refreshingly nonpartisan, Fleischer’s book manages to communicate the basics of the American political system while keeping the civics lessons interesting through abundant use of anecdotes and examples.

“Goody Good” appears in new issue of Shenandoah

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The new issue of Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University’s literary review (volume 65, issue 2), includes my short story “Goody Good.”

Kirkus gives “Votes of Confidence” a starred review

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

The first review of “Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections” is in, from Kirkus, and it’s the coveted starred review.

An excerpt:

Fortunately, self-described political nerd Fleischer is here to clarify things. In a particularly winning voice, abetted by numerous intriguing anecdotes and trivia, Fleischer commences at the beginning, with an origin story (Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Bill of Rights), before moving on to mechanics. He issues an implicit challenge with his introduction—“If there’s one thing we know for sure about American government, it’s that a lot of Americans don’t know much about it”—and then goes on to make sure readers buck that trend.

“Alchemy” appears in Crack the Spine

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

I have a very short (100 word) story, “Alchemy” in issue 185 of Crack the Spine, out today. The author bio is here. They’ll also interview some authors based on feedback, so please feel free to leave some.

Zoetic Press places “Arabian Nights” issue online

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Last summer, my short story “There’s the Rub” appeared in Issue #6: Arabian Nights from Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. The full back issues are now available online.

“The Invaders” reprinted in Stepping Stones Magazine

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

I wrote a flash-fiction story called “The Invaders” that appeared in Chicago Literati late last year. Today it was republished in Stepping Stones magazine, and was named the post of the week over there.

Children’s author breakfast

Friday, February 19th, 2016

For the second year in a row, I’ll be attending the excellent Children’s Literature Breakfast hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop. Since Votes of Confidence went to the printer last week, it isn’t in print form yet, but they will have copies of Rockin’ the Boat for me to sign. So stop by and say hi.

“Votes of Confidence” preorders live

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

My new book “Votes of Confidence” comes out on May 3, in both a paperback and library binding edition. The book can be preordered here. I also added a specific “Votes of Confidence” page on this site for reviews, interviews etc.

“The Machine” appears in Chicago Literati

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Chicago Literati featured one of my stories as the first entry in its Daily Flash series, and now selected “The Machine” as the first entry in its science-fiction issue, “Andromeda.”

“Step Right Up” in Panoply

Friday, January 8th, 2016

One of my flash-fiction stories, “Step Right Up,” appears in the winter/spring 2016 issue of Panoply magazine. Check it out here.

Foreword names “Rockin’ the Boat” a year-end favorite

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

This is cool. For its year-end Reviewers Choice for 2015, Foreword Reviews listed “Rockin’ the Boat” among its favorite books of 2015. Check out the full list here.

Crow River Media gift guide suggests the book

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

A few publications have listed Rockin’ the Boat as a perfect holiday gift, and that now includes Crow River Media, which named it one of its top children’s titles for holiday shopping.

“The Invaders” in Chicago Literati

Friday, December 18th, 2015

A very, very short fiction piece I wrote this summer, “The Invaders,” appears today in Chicago Literati. Check it out.

Short Fiction in Panoply

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

A (very) short fiction story I wrote, “Step Right Up,” will appear in the next issue of Panoply Literary Magazine. In the description of the issue, mine’s the “scene from a carny.”

Holiday Gift Guide

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Zest Books, the publisher of Rockin’ the Boat, included the book in its Holiday Gift Guide. Check it out.

“Rockin’ the Boat” makes holiday gift list

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

“Rockin’ the Boat” is among the books Q Salt Lake magazine included on its holiday book list.

An excerpt:

Surely, there’s a teen on your list who dreams of someday shaking up the world – and for him (or her?), there’s no better gift than “Rockin’ the Boat” by Jeff Fleischer. It’s an anthology of mini-biographies of fifty people throughout history who made the world a different place.

“There’s the Rub” appears in Nonbinary Review

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

My short story There’s the Rub appears in the current issue of Zoetic Press Nonbinary Review. The full issue, with the theme of Arabian Nights, is available on iTunes as a free download.

“A Bedtime Story” appears in Pioneertown

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

My short-fiction piece A Bedtime Story appears in the new issue of Pioneertown, an excellent free online lit magazine. Check it out.

A few other book mentions worth noting

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Been so busy writing the new book and getting caught up on freelance work and doing my day job, but wanted to share a few more mentions of Rockin’ the Boat:

Book Loons with a short review

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Just saw this one, but Rockin’ the Boat was reviewed at Book Loons. Check it out here.

An excerpt:
It offers an excellent starting point to learn more about some famous historical figures. The book would be an excellent resource for home schooling households and school/classroom libraries.

San Francisco Book Review with a review

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Another review of the book, this one from San Francisco Book Review.

An excerpt:
John Brown and Mao Zedong are given the same fair shake as Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman. Rockin’ the Boat is unlikely to spark any revolutions, but it is an excellent resource for rebellion-minded history buffs.

New book review in Salinas Californian

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Got a nice review today in The Californian in Salinas. An excerpt:

It offers an excellent starting point to learn about some famous historical figures and then decide if a more detailed investigation is merited. Home schooling families will find this an excellent resource as will any educator teaching history.

Short Story in Indiana Voice Journal

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

A short-fiction story I wrote, “Dove,” is published in the August 2015 edition of Indiana Voice Journal. The issue is themed, focusing on fiction and poetry about nature and the environment.

Kindle and Nook Editions Now Available

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

For the first time, one of my books is now available as a Kindle edition and Nook edition. “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries” is, of course, still available in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other retailers.

Booklist review

Monday, June 29th, 2015

It’s subscriber-only, but Booklist has a great review of the book in its June 2015 issue.

An excerpt:

Readers expecting all the revolutionaries to be virtuous do-gooders will be in for a surprise. Whether they read cover to cover or dip in, they will find many treats to further explore.

Medill Magazine includes the book on alumni bookshelf

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Always nice to get a mention from either alma mater. The Spring 2015 issue of the Medill Magazine lists “Rockin’ the Boat” as the first item in this issue’s alumni bookshelf. You can view or download a PDF copy at this link. (It’s on p. 34, but there’s lots of other stuff in the magazine that’s worth reading.)

Six Minutes with an Author

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Today, I joined LitPick for its interview series Six Minutes with an Author. LitPick recently gave Rockin’ the Boat a five-star review, and featured the book on the site.

New story in Steam Ticket

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Just thought I’d note that a short-fiction story I wrote, “Spare Change,” is published in the 2015 edition of Steam Ticket, a Third Coast Review.

Foreword reviews the book

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Got a new review at Foreword Reviews, in print and online.

An excerpt:

The strong point of this book is Fleischer’s understanding of his audience; his grasp of history is impressive as well. Teens are tired of textbooks that shelter them from the realities of the world, so he provides controversy and faces brutality, disenfranchisement, and disillusionment head on, giving the facts behind what teens already suspect: history and social change are complicated.

Review from Lit Pick

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Lit Pick highlighted the book a few weeks back, and now posted a review of the book.

An excerpt:
After reading Rockin’ the Boat, scholars young and old will want to check out a few more books about the intriguing characters. I know that I want to find out more about New Zealand feminist Kate Sheppard and Catholic zealot Guy Fawkes. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy learning about amazingly insane, kind, or brave men and women who did not fear change.

New book is a go

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

I shared this on Twitter and elsewhere, but wanted to announce that the next book is a go. I can’t give away too many details yet, but it’s with Zest, the same publisher as Rockin’ the Boat, and is aimed at first-time voters. It’s scheduled to come out in spring 2016.

Help get Rockin’ the Boat into libraries

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

More than 100 libraries now have Rockin’ the Boat in stock. Here’s the ever-growing list. If your library isn’t on it, please ask that they order it. Same thing with schools. It takes a few seconds, and would be a huge help. And if you haven’t ordered one yet and want to, here’s the link.

It’s cool seeing the Chicago Public Library stock it, plus my ex-hometowns in Bloomington and San Francisco.

If you’re one of the people who requested it already, thank you very much. If you’re willing to help with more libraries, thanks as well.

Lit Pick highlights the book

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Not sure what day it went up, but Rockin’ the Boat was featured as a hot pick over at Lit Pick. Check it out.

Book spotlighted at Actin’ Up With Books

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Today, the book is also spotlighted at Actin’ Up With Books, which also has a copy of the book to give away.

Review at Green Bean Teen Queen

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

New Rockin’ the Boat review is up at Green Bean Teen Queen. There’s a giveaway too, for a free copy.

An excerpt of the review:
I’m a sucker for books that give interesting tidbits and facts about cool people and events in history. I’m not sure why. Maybe it makes history a bit more engaging? Maybe I can handle the small snippets? I’m not sure. But even if you have readers who may snub their nose at a history book, they should still give Rockin’ the Boat a chance.

Review by Words to Dream On

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Today, Rockin’ the Boat was reviewed at Words to Dream On.

An excerpt:

You may wonder just how much info you can get in a book about 50 different icons in history and I’m here to tell you it’s a lot more than you would think. The author expertly touches on various aspects of each person, including trivia bits that can be used in conversation with others who have the same interests.

This is a book that can be shared throughout a family or a group of friends. A helpful reference when either researching one of those listed in the book or to use as a starting point in finding someone to do further research on. For any history teachers out there, this would be a great supplement to your classroom library. For students, nothing like being able to add something interesting facts during class discussions.

Any person who has an interest in iconic figures in history would find this book right up their alley.

Eli Squared reviews “Rockin’ the Boat”

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Eli Squared reviewed Rockin’ the Boat today, and also has a giveaway contest. This review focused on the women in the book. An excerpt:

What I really liked about the book was the diversity that Fleischer presented, making sure to incorporate people of color, women, and different socioeconomic statuses. But as March is Women’s History Month, I thought I would highlight the women included in this list of 50 revolutionaries.

As a library fan myself…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

I dig getting to see a photo of my book on a library shelf: check it out.

Interview with In Bed With Books

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Along with their review (posted earlier), In Bed With Books also did an interview with me about Rockin’ the Boat.

And another new review

Monday, March 16th, 2015

There’s another new “Rockin’ the Boat” review up, over at In Bed With Books. They have a free copy giveaway as well – enter at the site.

Biblio File reviews “Rockin’ the Boat”

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Jen Rothschild at Biblio File just posted her review of Rockin’ the Boat.

An excerpt:

I recommend reading it in order, as many of the revolutions build on each other, or reference each other, so the context from a previous chapter is often useful, which is why the chronological order works so well here. Everything’s only 3-5 pages, but it covers enough so people know what went down and why. IT’s also short enough you think “oh, I can read just one more” and then you end up finishing the book in one session. (NOT THAT DID THAT. *whistles while looking innocent*) This is a great one for a wide range of readers and I really really really wish it had been around in 2012 when the National History Day theme was “Revolution, Reaction, and Reform”. So many teens didn’t know where to even start picking one– I would have loved to be able to have them leaf through this book for inspiration!

Write All the Words interview

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

A new interview with me about Rockin’ the Boat by E. Kristina Anderson just went up on Write All the Words. She gives all authors seven of the same questions, then one unique to that book.

An excerpt:
EKA: If you haven’t had a book challenged or banned, would you want this to happen to you? Why or why not?

JF: I’d never want a book banned, but that doesn’t just apply to my own. Those annual lists of the most-challenged books usually include some of the best literary works in history, which says more about the people trying to ban them than the books themselves.

Kirkus reviews the book

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Kirkus Reviews posted its review of Rockin’ the Boat.

It describes the book as A gallery of historical troublemakers starting with Hannibal and ending with Martin Luther King, Jr….Salutary portraits in radicalism

“Rockin’ the Boat” reviewed by Book Nerds Across America

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Check out the first blog tour review of the book, by Book Nerds Across America, part of the ongoing Rockin’ Blog Tour. Flo, the reviewer, says she came away with some good trivia, got to focus on the sections that most interested her, and felt the sidebars “did a good job at expanding on the history and background of common and well-known things relating to the revolutionaries.”

Blog Tour Launches mid-February

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Throughout February and March (but mostly March), Zest Books has me on a blog tour. This is a new thing for me; I’m used to being the one doing the interviewing. Also, if you’re a blogger and want to participate (and want a free book in the process), sign up here.

Zest Books interview with Jeff

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Zest Books, the publisher of my new book “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries,” did an interview with me. It was a good chance to explain a little about the idea and the writing process, and to name check some of the people who I had to cut to get the list down to fifty.

Great Review by Publishers Weekly

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Publishers Weekly is the first publication to review Jeff’s new book “Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries.” Here’s some of what it had to say:

From ancient civilizations to the 20th century, 50 movers and shakers get their due in this informative and sometimes tongue-in-cheek guide, which examines Cleopatra, Judah Maccabee, Nat Turner, Michael Collins, and Che Guevara, among others. Fleischer capably places the individuals in their history milieu, zeroing in on the circumstances behind their notoriety, as well as the ways their influence has endured, while sidebars provide additional context and modern parallels…