flashquake is a paying online journal, dedicated to publishing the best of flash literature. "What is 'flash literature?'" I hear you asking. It's a term we coined — if it existed prior to us, we were unaware of it — to describe the material we were interested in showcasing.
Here's how we define it: Prose of under one thousand words; poetry of less than thirty-five lines. That's the physical definition — but regardless of the form, the best flash literature is much more than a word or line count. It tells a story, tells it with depth, with clarity, with an emotional and intellectual impact that leaves the reader changed in some way. In a masterful piece of flash, every word is essential.
We want work that respects the reader's intelligence. We seek work that opens the reader's mind to new experiences, to new ways of looking at situations we'd long ago dismissed as mundane.
If our definition of flash literature still leaves you wondering what it means, we suggest that you look through our archives. For the past four years, we have chosen six works from the hundred and twenty published in the previous year to nominate for the Pushcart Prize. Whether the oversight is due to the fact that the other work nominated was just that much better, or to the fact that there is still some resistance to flash in the marketplace, we can't say for sure. But we will continue to nominate, and we fully expect that one day flash literature will be recognized and celebrated for the unique art form that it is.
We will be working on some ideas this year to freshen our content between new issues. If you'd like to be kept abreast of all the changes, be sure to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. We control the list and can guarantee that you won't receive more than an announcement a month from us, unless something special comes up.
About the People of flashquake
flashquake began as a suggestion to the Empress of the Flash Fiction Workshop, Pamelyn Casto. Debi Orton was a member of the workshop, and asked Pam if she'd ever considered posting some of the members' stories to an Internet site.
For various reasons, Pam declined, but encouraged Debi Orton to begin an online journal to focus on flash literature. Debi accepted the challenge and immediately recruited help from some of the people she'd met in Pam's workshop. Debi lives in upstate New York, and in addition to her nearly full-time job as flashquake's publisher, has another full-time job as the IT manager for a small government agency, and has a part time job as a freelance web designer.
Roger Paris, one of the founding members, became flashquake's art director as well as a founding editor. Later, Roger would resign as an editor, but still continues to shine as its art director. Praise for Roger's design sense, intuitive illustration, and the work he chooses for flashquake's gallery continue to elevate our journal a step above our peers. Roger lives in the midwestern U. S.
Vanitha Sankaran is another editor, and founding member of flashquake's editorial team. Vanitha also manages flashquake's occasional contests. Her most recent work in this capacity was coordinating our "Welcome to Our Worlds" contest, which marked our maiden foray into posting audio versions of content. In fact, if you listen to the three winning stories, Vanitha read and recorded those (Debi read and recorded the honorable mentions). Vanitha is now managing our Voices from the Storm project.
Every publication, virtual or otherwise, needs a good PR person. Ours is first rate: Didi Wood is our public relations and marketing guru, in addition to being a talented writer and editor. Didi, her husband, two sons and their cats live in the Pacific Northwest.
Our other two regulars are editor Sean "Punster" McKlusky is a no-account bum who somehow managed to ingratiate himself (as in, brown nose, suck up, toady, grovel, and curry favor) with the flashquake staff. His outgoing and buoyant personality is actually a cover for the scared child within. Like many aspiring writers he's under the oft-misguided impression that people actually care about his opinions of the world. A misanthrope who showers all who come near with kindness and thus garners the unwanted attention of every wackadoo within a 30-meter radius, Sean nonetheless suffers as a writing mentor for a local high school and writes literary flash fiction along with some poetry. He also dabbles in novella-length works but has yet to find his voice. He's an excellent cook, a fantastic lover and an armchair psychologist, philosopher and theologian who holds a regular job but longs to express his nouveau-bohemian side. Sean, his lovely wife and their three imaginary dogs, Zeek, Earl and Pomfort live north of the deep south, south of the heartland, west of the east and east of the Midwest in a town they call "Home."
Last but certainly is editor and development advisor David Shapiro. Dave hails from Hawaii and has a column in a local paper Volcanic Ash.
We also appoint a guest editor for each issue, just to keep us from getting too stale. Past guest editors have included: Tom Brennan, Jim Driesen, Anne Earney, Paul Fahey, Mark Keller, and Michael L. Wilson, the author of the book, Flash Writing).
Although we've listed the primary functions that each member of flashquake's staff performs, the organization is a true collective, where each person brings his or her talents and ideas and pools them with the talents and ideas of colleagues with just one goal in mind: to produce the best publication we can.
Last, but CERTAINLY not least, are the people who write the stories, essays, and poems you read here, as well as the talented artists who permit us to show you their incredible work. We feel fortunate to have access to such a wealth of terrific art, and privileged that so many wonderful writers have trusted us — and continue to trust us — with their work.
How flashquake Operates
As you peruse this and our previous issues of flashquake, you'll realize that we do not accept advertising. Our only sources of income are our affiliate links, as in those books we recommend from Amazon, and a percentage from hosting online classes, such as Pamelyn Casto's Flash Fiction and Haibun classes. All other funding for paying the writers, producing the CDs, mailing, domain fees, Internet service provision and web site hosting, etc., come out of the publisher's pocket.
If you'd like to support flashquake, we suggest that you do so by using our affiliate links to Amazon to purchase something that you were going to purchase anyway. The price you pay remains the same, and Amazon forwards a portion of their profits to us, so that we can keep paying writers.
So take a look at our May We Suggest ... page. You'll find a list of our current favorite books, CDs, and DVDs and a plain old link to Amazon. If you'd like to help us in elevating flash literature to the status we feel it deserves, use one of those links the next time you're in the market for a book, a CD, or a film. We'll thank you for it by continuing to bring you the best of flash — without commercial interruptions.