The First Story is: Drumroll Please

The story we’re discussing for the first episode is, The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin. You’ll still enjoy the episode if you don’t read it, but you will enjoy it even more if you participate and get ahead of spoilers. Here’s a link to read the story for free.

February 3rd at noon PST 8pm GMT will be the first live recording for Literary Roadhouse. To watch live follow this link and add a reminder. The audio only episode will be available on this website a couple hours after recording. Because of the way iTunes works it may take anywhere from a couple days to weeks for our podcast to be approved, but it will be available on iTunes, Stitcher and all the rest as soon as I can arrange it.

A Note From Our Final Co-host

First of all, I want to give a big thank you to Maya for thinking of me to be a part of the Literary Roadhouse, and also to Anais and Gerald for making me feel a welcome part of the team. I haven’t known any of them for long, but it feels like I have, and I’m happy with the rapport that we’ve already established; it will only get better.

I’m happy you’re here too, yes you, our listeners, our readers, our fellow comrades on this new and exciting journey. Just one story has the power to grip you and transport you to another world; to a place unknown, unfamiliar but exciting. Think then of, with one short story a week, all the places we can go to, the author’s minds that we can glimpse into, and better yet, the fact that we have somewhere to share that experience with other lovers of fiction, here at the Literary Roadhouse. I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s reactions to the stories we read, to hearing thoughts different from my own and learning about how different parts of stories influence different people in different ways. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, hearing your thoughts and feelings about the stories we encounter or about fiction in general. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to encouraging people to read more, especially those people who haven’t yet had the experience of picking up, reading and enjoying a really good book, one that teaches them something new or leaves them with lingering emotions that have the power to affect their lives even after they’ve finished with the story. Because fiction is a beautiful thing, and it’s great to have the opportunity to share it with people who may be missing out. So really, this is all just to say a big hello to all of you, and to let you know that I’m looking forward to starting this journey.


Why I Need An Online Reading Group

Do you read what I read?

Maybe. Probably. I don’t read obscurely. Let me prove it. The last five fiction books I have read are The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut, The Green Mile by Stephen King, and World War Z by Max Brooks.

See? Nothing rare or unknown. Those books have been widely read, and yet I have very few people to discuss them with. It’s a bizarre complaint in the age of the Internet. How have I not found a community to discuss books with?


The best answer I can invent, with no guarantee that this is my truth, is that I like to discuss stories with people that I know.

I have some evidence to this theory. When I finish a book, I harass my closest friends and family with a froth of words that loosely describe my rabid feelings about what I just finished. Take care to remember that these poor souls have not read whatever whipped me into a frenzy. And yet, they bear through it (often with admirable enthusiasm), knowing that eventually the caps lock will be released. Eventually, I have to breathe. Eventually, normal human interaction will begin anew.

But that isn’t fair to them, and now I have this podcast: the unexpected salvation to my personal relationships. But more importantly, a community where I can discuss stories with people that I know, and will over time get to know better.

I am talking about my co-hosts primarily, but the community isn’t limited to just the four of us. It’s open. Listeners can become commenters at will, and the most vocal will become as known to me as my co-hosts are. I can’t wait to meet them.

I am also particularly excited by the choice to read short stories. They will keep the community glued. They are short, accessible, and often jam-packed with as many thought provoking kernels of wisdom and questions as a novel.

Some of you may have noticed that I listed 2BR02B in my list of books. That is a short story, and still, I frothed over that story just as much as any of the other novels on that list. Short stories are not truncated novels. They are full stories that capture as much of humanity as a novel can. They can be just as funny, seductive, discomfitting or scary as any long form book.

And you can read them in one sitting. Perfect for a weekly podcast. All the story to chew on, none of the time-suck. I hope you’ll read some short stories with me — that you’ll read what I read.


Why I Started Literary Roadhouse

I wasn’t a short story reader. During high school I was busy being seduced by poetry and classic novels. The first time I remember reading a short story was for an assignment for a class at the local community college. We were reading Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From. As a high school student with genius test scores, I only read two stories. After all, I was too busy reading Angela Davis to do more than I needed to.

Yet, after dozens of moves, often cross country, I still had the book. Periodically, I would pick it up and roll its pages through my hands. Then, I began to write my first novel.

One day while staring at my thick manuscript, I realized I didn’t have a clue as to what the hell I was doing. So I wrote a short story for practice, and then another. I found them natural and difficult at the same time, like poetry. The power was in the details and those details called to me. They were a testing ground and I slowly fell in love. I was sleeping beauty waking up to a world of short stories just waiting to be read.

Short stories don’t seem to be something people naturally pick up to read anymore. I think they are something you come to on accident or… after writing a story and falling in love. That is the main reason I founded this podcast and website. I’ll admit it; I am selfish. Learning, obsession, and community were needs I had and after listening to dozens of podcasts, the gap was clear.

My vision is ambitious and I don’t apologize for it. I toss around sentences like, “I want to create more literary readers,” “let’s kill the impression that literary fiction is stuffy,” and “I want people to rediscover the fun of literary short stories.” But my deepest darkest goal is to become a better reader, become a better writer, make good friends and explore this art that I crave.

I am beyond excited and a little intimidated. Surrounding myself with great co-hosts helps to calm my nerves. The excitement is growing and I can smell a storm rising. It’s a strong storm full of surprises and it whispers, “go ahead, close your eyes and jump.”

~ Maya

In all seriousness, this is an amazing opportunity

I was friends (in as much as someone who only exists through the portal of a computer can be a friend) with Maya through the Self Publishing Podcast “Fiction Unboxed” Kickstarter campaign last year. Several of us followers of the project got together in a Hangout of our own, chatting about the project, the ideas, the story being being written in front of our eyes. Maya was one of the members of the Hangout.

I know she’s been fairly prolific with her own podcasts and hangouts since then, and I’ve had my own projects to keep me busy.

And then, on Twitter earlier this week, she Tweeted

Well, I thought I qualified on all three counts, so I contacted Maya. We chatted on Twitter & email, and an audition was set up for the following day.

I joined the audition Hangout, and met Anais, our co-host, for the first time. I answered the questions put to me truthfully and honestly (they’re not the same). We laughed. I gave them my opinion on literary shorts.

I must have done something right, because after a short time, I was offered the opportunity of joining Maya and Anais. I’m thrilled and excited, and can’t wait to help building the Literary Roadhouse into an exciting, informative and interesting podcast.


The Logo Has Landed

This morning my email box buzzed next to my floor and I rolled over with a groan. The minute I tapped the screen, my eyes shot open with excitement. We have a logo and it is a much better than any thing I imagined. For that, I have an entire community to thank.

I met our logo designer, Anita Sølver, over the summer when Johnny, Sean and Dave from the Sterling and Stone held their fiction unboxed event. For a month, a great group of people watched the Self Publishing Podcast guys write and we learned from their meetings and rough drafts. By the end, I’d gotten to know Anita as a strong and supportive member of the indie publishing scene. But, I had no idea she was an illustrator!

Months later, she designed a great logo for the To Be Read podcast. It was cute and fun, and fit a podcast of writer dad’s perfectly. I ran to her portfolio and her page was covered in amazing fantasy that reminded me of my childhood sticker collection. Yet when it came time to look for a designer for Literary Roadhouse, I hesitated. I’d only seen her fun and youthful work. For this grand adventure, I wanted strong and sophisticated. I took a deep breath and tossed it to her. Honestly, I just didn’t know who to ask and something in my gut kept whispering her name. I did a first draft website to give her tone and feel. Then I waited.

The first draft blew us away, but this morning I knew that Anita was the perfect designer for us. She was professional, talented and responsive to our many questions. I’ve re-designed the entire website around the new logo and know that it will take us from baby podcast to convention T-shirts. I hope you enjoy the new site and cannot possibly thank her enough. If you are looking for a great freelance illustrator, you can find Anita at soelver.dk


The Case of the Third Co-host

Gerald Interview

The Suspect: Gerald Hornsby

The Mystery: Will Gerald join Literary Roadhouse as a co-host?

Evidence: Shortly after concluding today’s three-way video call with Gerald, Maya and Anais met on a call of their own. They agreed that Gerald will bring great energy to the podcast. “He has a great voice,” they said, “And his interests differ enough from ours that opinions and short story submissions should vary.”

They decided to invite him to join the podcast, but had no way to know for certain that Gerald would accept. They had a hunch that he would, but they’re serious podcasters. A hunch isn’t enough. They needed facts.

Anais believed that if Gerald submits to Maya a good headshot and a short bio for use on the podcast webpage, then that is a sure sign that Gerald is in. She slipped him a short story, left in an inbox he was sure to find at least six hours into the future. Time zones were never her forte.

She signed it, perhaps a bit too hopefully,

Your fellow co-host.

Literary Roadhouse Coming Soon!

Welcome to the Literary Roadhouse Podcast and reading community. We are a diverse group of readers who know the truth. Literary fiction isn’t boring; it isn’t stuffy either. Literary fiction stands the test of time because it is touches on the deepest parts of what makes us human. Literary fiction is important and fun. It sparks tears, arguments and yes, even revolutions.

We are evangelists and fans of this art form and weekly we will have a rowdy old time discussing a wide diversity of short literary fiction. The stories will be easy to find, so you can read along and join in the next great conversation. If you love literary fiction, but when talk to friends about your latest read their eyes glaze over, welcome home. If the last time you read literary fiction was in a boring class, we have a treat for you. So hang on tight and enjoy the ride.