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“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; make it hot by striking.” —WB Yeats
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ALL PUBLICATIONS SUMMARY: Please see the Publication-Interviews-Readings post.
Mitchell Toews lives and writes lakeside in Manitoba. His work appears in print and online, in places near and far—shown in detail, below. He is working on a novel. You may follow him on the trails or out on the water or ice, or more conveniently here at Mitchellaneous.com, and also on Twitter and Facebook.
1.20.20—Canadian literary journal Agnes and True will publish “The Grittiness of Mango Chiffon” in July 2020.
About: Agnes and True is a Canadian online literary journal. As such, we are dedicated to providing a place for the work of Canadian writers, both established and emerging. While we accept submissions from outside Canada, we do place an emphasis on works of fiction that exhibit a Canadian sensibility. As our name suggests, Agnes and True celebrates the achievement of women. In addition, we are particularly interested in discovering and publishing the work of emerging older writers (both female and male).
2.29.20—Mitchell has an “On Writing” essay coming up in Blank Spaces magazine. This is cool and rare. A first in pedagogical history, in fact.
The article deals with the TWO things a writer must do. (Ohhh, he’s set the hook now, he has.) But you’ll have to wait until June and then buy a copy of Editor Alanna Rusnak’s RIPPING mag to see what the heck Toews is yapping about. Hint: subject matter includes cork piercing & extraction, rack-and-pinion gears, eagle feathers, dragonfly wings, and sommeliers. (Okay, those are dead giveaways, but the author hopes you’ll buy a copy anyway.)
“My Life as a Corkscrew” in Blank Spaces, June 2020.
(P.S.—The cat image on the left tested well in focus groups and so it is included here. Do you feel manipulated?)
2.29.20—One of Mitchell’s earlier short stories, “The Margin of the River” will be reprinted in Blank Spaces in Sept 2020.
[…] Hopping down from the stump, I took a last draw of my coffee. I stepped from a hump of matted shore grass onto a fallen poplar log. Walking—arms extended for balance—along its length, I stopped when I was about ten feet away.
From where I stood I had a strong vantage point. Looking down in the good morning light, I could clearly see the two dogs from the day before.
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3. 19.20—“Piece of My Heart” is to appear in Pulp Literature magazine Issue 27, Summer 2020 as winner of the Editors’ Choice in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest. The author’s arthroscopically miraculous rotator cuff is sore from self-shoulder-patting, so he has paused long enough to say DANKE SEEA! to the high-flying folk that populate this fine Vancouver joint.
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Mitchell is thinking hard about a regular SERIAL story. Although, right now, the author is out for a swim with an anchor. That is, he has lots on the go including funding possibilities*, C-V rewrites, story acceptances, new stories to edit, submissions to nursemaid, an upcoming reading, and two new writing projects of the 800-tonne truculent gorilla variety to ponder: Rewriting a 17,000-word SF&F novella and creating a coffee table/art book filled with prose by Toews and photography from a tall-walking, slow-talking handle-barred genius name of Hossack!
*Mitchell Toews is recognized as a “New/Early Career Artist” by CCA and as an “Emerging Artist” by the MAC.
The serial may have to wait.
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“Good writers, at heart, ought to be as dangerous as a riled cat with thumbs and the keys to both the liquor and gun cabinet.” —Leila Allison
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“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”—Jack London
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.ALL PUBLICATIONS SUMMARY: Please see the Publication-Interviews-Readings post.
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“I respond to character-driven material, regardless of its origin. I fall in love with the characters and generally respond to stories featuring ordinary people who succeed in overcoming extraordinary challenges.”—Producer Gale Anne Hurd
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PUBLISHED, in roughly chronological order, since June 2016:
🍁 CommuterLit.com has run nine of Mitchell’s short fictions. In June 2016 the e-zine published “The Red River Valley Trilogy“: “Encountered on the Shore” (Appeared twice: Rerun October 2017 – see below), “A Vile Insinuation”, and “Without Reason”. The linked stories concern, respectively: the aftermath of a violent encounter on a city street; a young American leaving the ball fields of North Dakota for the killing fields of Vietnam; and a devout Mennonite man grappling with cancer and faith.
“Gather By the River” ran Dec 2016. It appeared in two parts on consecutive days. The second piece, “The Margin of the River”, has run a few times now, in various markets. January 2017, “The Rothmans Job”, a wintery, noir-comedy-caper story set in the seventies in downtown Winnipeg ran on CommuterLit.com.
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“The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.”—Cecil B. DeMille
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“Winter Eve in Walker Creek Park”, a flash fiction, was presented February 2017.
CommuterLit presented a reprint of “South of Oromocto Depths”, one of Mitch’s most true north stories, soon after Canada’s 150th birthday celebration.
Two more of his stories appear in Fiction on the Web: “Nothing to Lose”, a short, vivid story where the main character relives regrets and long-buried memories and “Heavy Artillery”, in which a local runs the count full on the summer streets of a small town.
“A Fisherman’s Story”, tells the story of sorrow as it visits a simple family on the shores of “pre-tourista” Puerta Vallarta in 🍁 Rhubarb Magazine Issue 39. Mitchell has since crafted two stories—a prequel and a sequel—to the original story. See below for the publication note for the trilogy, “The Bottom of the Sky”.
NOTE: Rhubarb has ceased to be and Manitoba can only hope that a phoenix will rise. Best wishes to the groot people of the late, great Rhubarb!
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“For me, the material has to have a strong theme, some sort of purpose—and whether that’s to make you laugh or cry, or to be a great ride, there’s got to be some sense of connection to what it means to be human.”—Director Lesli Linka Glatter
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Literally Stories (UK) published Mitch’s twisted yarn, “Breezy and the Six-Pack Sneaker”; as well as his nostalgic walk down a dangerous alley in 1932 Winnipeg, “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine”; the contemporary tale, “Frozen Tag”; and the story of teenage friendship, drink and folly, “South of Oromocto Depths”.
Feb 17, 2019: Literally Stories (UK) Re-Run of “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine”
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“…writing is of you, but it’s not YOU.”—George Saunders
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LS presented Mitch’s satiric imaginings of Big Church in, “The Business of Saving Souls” January 2017. “They neither labour nor spin…”
“Our German Relative,” tells a fictionalized tale of Mennonite lore from the early days of communist Russia. This story is found on 🍁 Red Fez, a literary/art site online, where “our German Relative” became the Story of the Week and followed that distinction with the second Most Viewed Story of the Month Dec 2016 and then Most Viewed fiction in Issue 96 of Root Metz.
Mitch’s writing returned to Fiction on the Web January 2017, when “The Preacher and His Wife” was published on the site. This short fiction tells the comical tale of misinformation and gives readers an inside peek into (real) pure Mennonite life, circa 1963.
“Are you ready to go, Waxman?”
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“Travel widely, experiment boldly, love deeply.” —Winslow Homer
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The Machinery – A Literary Collection has chosen “I am Otter” March 2017 for their website and print collection. You can buy the issue containing this Otterite story of disenfranchisement, here: https://themachineryindia.com/2017/03/24/the-machinery-fauna-paperback/
The impressive ‘The Log Boom’ by mitchell_toews, a brilliant author and voice which we are proud to be bringing you!—Storgy Magazine
Mitchell thinks Storgy is brilliant too.
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“The sentences in a book must quiver like the leaves in a forest, all dissimilar in their similarity.”—Gustave Flaubert
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(P.S. – All the better to C you with, Fair Folk has changed their publication name to OCCULUM, effective 6.20.17)
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“Shut up and write.”—Cory Hughes
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The MOON magazine ran the short story, “The Peacemongers” June 2017. This 4,800-word fiction was in the June 2017, “Swords into plowshares: Transitioning to a world without war,” issue and the author was—and is—pleased to be included!
UK-based language learner literary site*, Alsina Publishing will present the gritty realism flash fiction, “The Light Pool” July 2017. It is interesting to note that the publisher and the author collaborated to edit the piece to contain simple language and short sentences — the best material for new language learners to absorb on the publisher’s “LingoBites” site* where stories are presented in English & Spanish; print & audio. A three-part serial by Mitchell, “The Old Guardsmen”, was presented to LingoBites audiences Nov 2017.
“The Light Pool” was described by one reader as; “a very genuine flash fiction piece.” This story was one of ten included in a secondary school unit featuring LingoBites stories.
NOTE: *Unfortunately, Lingobites and Alsina Publishing are no longer in existence.
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“A unique writers voice is what attracts me at first. Popular, stylistic, poetry/prose rarely captures my attention. Sometimes writing is over-learned in classes, or representative of the teacher’s or studied subject’s body of work. I like the rawness of the pure untarnished colloquial voice in the reading. Having something to say is essential to me. That is to say, I’m not impressed with a great volume of rarely used words thrown together to impress the reader with the vast knowledge of the writer on command of English, tricks of writing, ancient history, or the places they’ve travelled.”—An excerpt from an interview by writer, editor, publisher Judith Lawrence in, “Six Questions For…”
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NOTE: I am sorry to report that Editor Leila Rae, the caring, skillful force behind riverbabble, Doorknobs and Bodypaint, The Hayward Fault Line and more, has passed away. The links have been removed as these pages no longer exist online.
My personal condolences to Ms. Rae’s friends and family and to the countless many she influenced positively in the literary world.—Mitchell Toews, March 25, 2020.
riverbabble, one of three literary journals published by Pandemonium Press of Berkeley, CA, published “The Margin of the River” June 2017. A story of unintended violence. (An earlier version first appeared in CommuterLit in Dec 2016.)
Recurrent character Matt Zehen learns important life lessons about respect, honesty and the need for caution out in the wide world in, “Fairchild, McGowan and the Detective”. This short story published in WORK Literary Magazine June 2017.
Literally Stories, a UK-based literary journal dedicated to the short story, ran “So Are They All” August 2017. This story takes place in the year following the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962 and asks questions about loyalty, mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) and Saskatoon pie.
Fictive Dream (“…very excited about short stories in the UK & Ireland!”) published “The Seven Songs” November 2017. This story tracks a superficial relationship between two men who are less than honest with one another and themselves. We like to receive the whole truth – we just don’t often provide it to others.
Digging Through the Fat published two LINKS to prose by Toews on Fiction on the Web: “Nothing to Lose” and “Heavy Artillery”. August 2017
🍁 CommuterLit published “Encountered on the Shore” October 2017, on their Rerun Friday feature.
Written in a kind of ‘raconteurial high vernacular’, at least, that’s how Mitchell’s editor, James McKnight, has termed it…
The story recounts the unexpected complexity of a summer day within the context of “sepia-toned nostalgia”.
“Taste a foreign planet with a novelette from Kristene Perron and small-town Canada with short fiction from Mitchell Toews and Dave Beynon…” – 🍁 Pulp Literature Editor Mel Anastasiou An original drawing by Steinbach artist John Henry Friesen is featured in the magazine. JHF was and is a hometown hero of author Toews. John is still active in the creative economy today after a lifetime of sign painting, sculpting, fabricating and making magic out of old Wonder Oil bottles and rusty checkerplate and just about everything in between.
Mitchell reads, “Away Game”, on Dec 16, 2018, at the Pulp Literature fundraiser in Vancouver’s Gastown: https://youtu.be/qlxSxTxjWe0
Two CANUCK acceptances came in the week of Nov 22, 2017:
🍁 Pulp Literature said Jo to “Away Game” while 🍁 Blank Spaces followed a few days later with an affirmative for “Sweet Caporal at Dawn”. Both stories are set near the water, near the 50th parallel and in one case, nearly heaven. “Away Game” is in Pulp Literature Issue 20, Autumn 2018. “Sweet Caps” is available in Volume 2 Issue 4, June 2018, at newsstands or by subscription.
The author is once again honoured to represent his personal slice of literary heaven (just north of the 50th parallel on Jessica Lake) in riverbabble. Issue 32 follows the theme “unfolding” and Mitchell’s surreal story of birds flapping and trapper mitts slapping is in it. “In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” February 2018.
The Cabinet of Heed, a literary journal edited by Irish writer Simon Webster has accepted this story of sacrifice and guilt, “The Doeling”, in Issue Eight, May 2018.
“City Lights” is in Fiction on the Web May 2018. An earlier version of the story appeared as “The Light Pool” on LingoBites* in 2017. Mitchell: “I often write sympathetic characters. Not here. I’ve scraped the bottom of the pit. They are a loathsome bunch.”
🍁 CommuterLit is presenting a reprint of “I am Otter” May 2018. The story is a runner-up in their call for stories for their flash fiction feature and Editor Nancy Kay Clark decided to run it in the week following. Is that a lake or a swamp?
“I am Otter” first appeared in The Machinery – A Literary Collection You can buy a print edition containing this story of cultural Otterites, here: https://themachineryindia.com/2017/03/24/the-machinery-fauna-paperback/
riverbabble, formerly based in the Bay Area of Northern California, published a reprint of the story, “Nothing to Lose”. This story of everyday heroism, of grinding it out, is one of the author’s most heartfelt as it takes a look at characters not unlike those from his own past. The story ran from July to December 2018 and was the author’s third contribution to Editor Leila Rae’s long-running literary journal.
Mitchell’s story, “Nothing to Lose” first appeared in “Fiction on the Web” and has appeared elsewhere on the web since. The story is also in print in “The Best of Fiction on the Web”, an anthology picked from over one thousand short stories that appeared from 1996-2017. (See below to purchase.)
“Groota Pieter” has been accepted by River Poets Journal. The story is part of the Special Themed Edition, “The Immigrants”, http://bit.ly/GrootaPieterRPJ and is available online and in print. July 2018.
With baseball as a touchstone, “Groota Pieter” looks at immigrant experiences at opposite ends of a man’s lifetime. It all begins with a tall tale.
See Editor/Publisher (Lilly Press) Judith Lawrence’s entertaining interview here: https://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/2013/07/six-questions-for-judith-lawrence.html
It’s always exciting to hear prose and poetry read aloud. Mitch’s flash fiction “Wide Winter River” is read in a podcast by writer/curator/narrator Taylor Woodlands.
Access is free to “Not Ready for Rhyme Time” and many English language stories and poems are featured in the family-friendly, one-hour+ reading.
Mitchell’s piece is the first one in the short story segment, starting at 30:37 of the “Open Submits” (5) recording.
“Wide Winter River” is an excerpt taken from the story “The Margin of the River”.
Author Mitchell Toews‘ flash fiction, “Sweet Caporal at Dawn” was chosen by editor Alanna Rusnak (author of “The Church in the Wildwoods”, **SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 KOBO EMERGING WRITER AWARD**) for inclusion in the Blank Spaces anthology, 🍁 “Just Words, Volume 2”.
Mitchell on “Sweet Caporal at Dawn”, which started life, many years ago in Chilliwack, BC as a long poem about fishing in Manitoba: “It is as Canadian as ‘hammer handles’ (a nickname for small Northern Pikes, or ‘jackfish’), Export “A” rolling papers and wet, cold (I mean cold, eh!) Spring days.”
In 1950s Acapulco, a fateful accident alters the course of three fishermen’s lives in Mitchell Toews’ graceful epic. Fiction on the Web’s Charlie Fish chose, “The Bottom of the Sky”, as FotW’s Pick of the Month. October 2018.
“Extraordinarily fine writing that transports the reader into a particular world. Carlos’s destiny, Jose’s fate – karma – who knows?”
🍁 “I really enjoyed it. You gave the characters a real richness and the story has action and is full of intrigue! I forwarded it to two great friends that have places in Puerto Vallarta and love going to Mismaloya.”
“Shade Tree Haven” appeared in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, a Pandemonium Press site, November 2018. This is a short, wrenching flash fiction; in the business of hurting.
🍁 Scarlet Leaf Review, a fiction-poetry-CNF lit review from Toronto has published, “The Narrowing”, a tense story about mental health and the enormous impact it can have on a family, even in relatively small expressions. http://bit.ly/SLRtheNarrowing
One of Mitchell’s two-fisted Oma & Opa tales, “The Fifty-Dollar Sewing Machine”, was re-run Feb 17, 2019, on Literally Stories The author extends thanks to this great pub and nominatrix Leila Allison, who has kicked up her heels from Philo Bay to Alki Beach and knows how to handle a frisky keyboard.
The Hayward Fault Line winner for Doorknobs & Bodypaint 93 (February 2019, a triannual themed flash contest) was Mitchell’s story, “Cave on a Cul-de-sac”.
“Died Rich”: The heartfelt tale of a neophyte basketball player was included in the May 2019 Issue #27 edition of the American literary magazine Fabula Argentea.
Editor Rick Taubold: “We don’t single out any pieces in an issue as being better than the others, but you might find it interesting to read and compare “Died Rich” and “Whence We Came, Whither We Go” because they both explore a similar theme, yet they are very different stories with different outcomes.”
WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH “Died Rich”:
The title alone is compelling, even if it totally misleads the reader about the story’s content. After the first couple of paragraphs, the reader is hooked on the character and anxiously wondering where the story is headed. One mark of a great story is that opening hook and promise, and with his opening author Mitchell Toews promises a good story and does not disappoint with his different take on how to handle a bully, even if we never find out… (spoiler removed)
One thing we loved about this piece was Dr. Rempel’s story about the borderline cases in Hell. At the time, this seems like… (spoiler removed)
“I am Otter” was first published by The Machinery – A Literary Collection August 2017 https://themachineryindia.com/author/machinerylit/
Also in May 2019, Short Tales posted an updated reprint of “Away Game”.
“Away Game” was first published by Pulp Literature Issue No. 20 Autumn 2018 http://pulpliterature.com/
An INTERVIEW with writer-blogger-novelist Allan Hudson on his blog, South Branch Scribbler ran May 2019. Topics include discussion of Mitchell’s story “Groota Pieter”; a favourite place to write; childhood memories; and an excerpt from the work-in-progress debut novel, “Mulholland and Hardbar”, a noir tale of Mennonite mayhem.
May 24 was the publication date for a story titled “Ifs and Butters”. It’s another in the continuing saga of life in Hartplatz, Manitoba in the Fifties and Sixties. The Vogels make an interesting cameo here and Pete Vogel is a repeat character familiar to readers of other stories from this Mennonite Twilight Zone. The exciting lit mag, TurnPike from Ball State University ran the story.
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“How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!”—”Ulysses” from Alfred, Lord Tennyson
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“Concealment” was Editor J.M. Gulmire’s latest choice for Me First Magazine. (June 2019)
Me First publishes stories written in the first person. Mitchell is excited to be in the company of some of his favourite writers and thankful to the editors for accepting this many-times-edited-much-blood-shed short fiction.
Mitchell’s story, “Peacemongers” was included in this excellent anthology of work from 2013-2019 issues of The MOON Magazine. See this BLOG POST for details: https://mitchellaneous.com/2019/07/09/out-of-this-world/
The simple love story, “The Toboggan Run” swooshed along in The MOON magazine‘s August Issue. The magazine for August was a stunner! Topical pieces, essays, fiction and poetry. A movable feast spread on your summer picnic blanket.
Slide over to Mitch’s joint, at the corner of Barkman and Creek Road: http://moonmagazine.org/mitch-toews-toboggan-run-2019-08-03/
NOTE: I’m sad to say that The MOON magazine has closed its virtual online doors. The publication will continue to be available online for an undetermined period of time and the anthology—mentioned here a few stanzas ago, above—remains available for purchase on Amazon. My best to editor Leslee Goodman. She’s a good’un. —Mitchell Toews
The flash fiction, “Din and the Wash Bear” is a noir tale of seduction vs. loyalty, featuring a raccoon and two ravens. It appeared in Issue 95 of Doorknobs and Bodypaint, from Pandemonium Press, out Berkeley way. Caw!
Here’s another great site Mitch is excited to contribute to. His flash fiction, “Shade Tree Haven”, Nov 2019, first seen in Berkeley’s Doorknobs and Bodypaint (Pandemonium Press), ran in (mac)ro(mic), a Nicolas Olson pub that features, “pieces that tell a (mac)ro story in a (mic)ro word count.”
More from Editor Olson: “Tell me a story that makes me forget I’m reading a story and I won’t care what genre it is or style it’s written in!”
About “Holthacka’s Quandary”: “We loved this soulful piece by @mitchell_toews – a deeply reflective, personal piece of storytelling that carries its socio-political savvy very lightly.”—Lunate Fiction
12.11.19 Mitchell’s sassy ode to his typical writing day appears on Canadian literary icon Rob McLennan’s my (small press) writing day.
01.10.20—One of Toews’ recent short stories has been graciously accepted by a special Canadian lit mag from a rock near a windrous and wondrous squiggly-edged place. Yes, it’s true, he has a short story called “Fast and Steep” is in Newfoundland’s Riddle Fence: A Journal of Arts & Culture.
A winter’s tale from the flat, frozen front yard of Matt and Justy.
01.26.20—“The Business of Saving Souls” was chosen for a coveted RERUN in Literally Stories. Two questions from nominatrix Leila Allison accompanied the rerun, along with the author’s answers to same.
Q: Your stories seem, to me, situation driven. Yet the characters aren’t under-developed paper dolls who just serve the conceit. Please describe how you arrived at the particular storyline as well as the selection of the “cast.”
Q: Do you deliberately contrast the social mores of Canadians with those of other nationalities in your work to get a better understanding of people in the overall sense, or is that something that just happens? (My mother is Canadian. She politely refuses “Americanization.” You can almost see the big holographic “C” on her forehead.)
Feb 8, 2020—Thanks from author Toews to the editors of TINY SEED LITERARY JOURNAL for the placement of “Encampment” in their eye-catching and soulful online platform.
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“Stay restless.”—Mitchell Toews
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Jan 2020—“The Log Boom,” was selected for “A Fork in the Road,” 2019 Special Theme Edition of River Poets Journal. Based on the U.S. East Coast, River Poets Journal is edited by Judith Lawrence.
“The Log Boom” was first published by the UK website Storgy in 2017.
Apr 25, 2020—A NEW version of Mitchell’s summer day waking dream, “Away Game” appeared in Quail Bell Magazine. Christine Sloan Stoddard is the founder of Brooklyn-based QBM.
“Away Game” first appeared in Pulp Literature Issue No. 20 Autumn 2018. In an event unrelated to the Quail Bell placement, a slightly condensed version of the original, Pulp Lit story was read live-online by the author during Pulp Lit’s Friday Author Reading Series, April 24.
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May 6, 2020—”You did capture us all with the weirdness of it! But it was a fun read.” This commentary from the editorial bullpen at Literally Stories, who ran the 600-word schwienerie, “Regrets de Foie Gras”.
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🍁 “So Are They All” won second place in the Adult Fiction category of the 2016 “Write on the Lake” writing contest and appears in the Lake Winnipeg Writers’ Group’s semi-annual journal, Voices, Volume 16, No. 2. Mitchell presented excerpts from the story during the Voices launch at McNally Robinson Book Sellers in Winnipeg, on November 20, 2016.
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“Fall from Grace” received an honourable mention (not published) in The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville Memoirs Contest, 2016. TWWOA has been active in the North Carolina literary scene since 1985. A young boy’s fears come to life – danger hides in plain sight on a quiet, small-town day.
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🍁 Mitchell’s offbeat (!) story, “The Phage Match” was one of 16 finalists in Deathmatch 2017 – a writing contest for independent creative fiction in Canada, from the special people at Broken Pencil mega-zine.
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The story “Nothing to Lose”, which is part memoir-part imagination about Chuck Toews, as a young man in Steinbach, MB (“Hartplatz”) was chosen for a print anthology in England. Writer/Editor/Scrabble Genius Charlie Fish of London has published the online literary zine, Fiction on the Web, since 1996. In that time he has published more than one thousand short stories by writers from around the world. Charlie is publishing a print collection of his favourite stories from FotW‘s 21-year history. The proceeds of this literary collection’s sale will go to a London hospital charity: Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.
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🍁 Mitchell’s Canadiana flash fiction, “Sweet Caporal at Dawn”, earned a place in Blank Spaces second literary collection, “Just Words Volume 2”. (Mitch: “Read the story and then tell me that picture by John Henry is not a masterpiece! It is!”)
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize XLIII by Blank Spaces Magazine.
“lovely and evocative local colour,”—Dr Emma Larking (lead editor for the Pact Press anthology, We Refugees)
Mitchell’s story of immigration, social stigma, and longing, “Groota Pieter”, appears in the Pact Press anthology, “We Refugees”. The story first appeared in print and online in the Lilly Press publication “The Immigrants”, by The River Poets Journal in 2018.
[…] The problems of the world have become so urgent that it seems we have finally moved beyond tired arguments about whether literature should be political or apolitical. Literature and activism now go hand in glove, as evidenced by literary responses to the refugee crisis… We Refugees, edited by the refugee activist Emma Larking for the activist publisher Pact Press, is a short but striking anthology of writing about the refugee crisis around the world. […] —Poet Maria Takolander
Pact Press publishes short stories, poetry, and literary fiction that speak to our particular themes of social justice, racism, discrimination, gender equality, LGBTQ concerns, immigration, poverty, and homelessness. A Regal House imprint.
Mitchell’s story, “Peacemongers” is included in this excellent anthology of work from 2013-2019 issues of The MOON Magazine. See this BLOG POST for details: https://mitchellaneous.com/2019/07/09/out-of-this-world/
“Piece of My Heart” was named by Pulp Literature magazine as the Editors’ Choice in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest.
*Both of these quotes make me sit up and take notice in a “That’s what I wish I had said,” kind of way. They come from an article by JOHN ROBERT MARLOW, found here: http://makeyourbookamovie.com/make-your-book-a-movie-adapting-your-book-or-story-for-hollywood/121/
Adapting “The Bottom of the Sky” into a screenplay.
Some of the criteria the film industry looks at when appraising literary work for screen adaptation:
- Classic three-part story structure;
- appealing story and characters;
- a 10-second logline that concisely-but-fully describes the story; “A fateful accident forever alters the course of three fishermen’s lives.”
- a relatable character (someone to cheer for);
- visual excitement, action;
- a two-hour, or less, cinematic maximum;
- a realistic budget (cast size, locations—a film shot in one location is the ideal, special effects, etc.);
- four-quadrant appeal (demographic segments—young male, older male, young female, older female); and last,
- merchandising potential.
“The Bottom of the Sky” is a winner in all of these tell-tales except the last one. (No gadgets, guns, cute robots, vampires, zombies or animated critters.) In addition, the story is one that has key echoes of personal experience at its core. I see this as a positive factor because it enables me to recall feelings, not imagine them.
You see… In real life, I was the tourist in the boat with the handline fisherman and I was also the one who handed the pliers to the marlin boat skipper. Violeta, Jose, Carlos, and Avelino are real to me.”—Mitchell Toews
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“Storytellers broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.”—Robert Redford
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MANY more short stories & flash pieces are ready for the slush pile.
A novel, “Mulholland & Hardbar”, is well on the way! The first draft of 110,000 words is complete. Editor Mcknight has been minding the compass as we follow a winding boreal trail along the 50th parallel – now we’re ready to chip away at it and reduce it to its true fighting weight.
“A back-country road trip into the secret, lethal places in the Canadian boreal forest, covering all four seasons: friendship, loss, guilt, and violence.”
As I tell editor James, I have leapt from the burning building and I am tying the bedsheets together as I fall.