LitReactor Community Spotlight: February 2015

I just woke up with this computer in my lap. Apparently, I had decided it was time to do another community update, and then... I can't remember. Whatever it was, my room looks like Michael Bay was in charge of decorating, and I have a new contact in my phone under "Zeeby the Flying Guy." Also, I am fairly certain that this isn't my mattress.

February, right?

Announcements: Nothing... yet.

One of my main roles as your community manager is to keep you updated on how things are going here, and I wanted to take a quick opportunity in the name of transparency to keep you updated on how the Featured Workshop Story situation is developing.

First off, I apologize for it being on my "to-do" list for so long. It was one of those things that I took on with great enthusiasm when I started in this job back in May, and then realized it was going to take a little more work to get it right than I initially believed. That, in addition to my responsibilities to my Masters classes and the kiddos that I work with got me a bit tangled up.

But I haven't forgotten it. Pinky promise.

When the project was initially rolled out, it floundered a bit only because there were more moving parts than was initially anticipated. The interest was there, and the concept was great, but it needed to be smoothed out, and that job was handed to me. It's for this reason that I've been a little bit of a perfectionist about it; I want to make sure that we have something pretty close to perfect before we get it going. It's common knowledge that I move out of this position once Josh's Doom Clock strikes zero, and I want to make sure that the system in place can survive staffing changes, major site events, format restructurings, and so forth.

Anyway, thank you to those who have been keeping me accountable on this, and as soon as I have an update, you all will know about it.

In the Forums

Book Club: Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce

Have you checked out the LitReactor Book Club yet? Every month we start discussion on a new book, often by authors and publishers that have some affiliation with LitReactor. Discussion on Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce has already begun, so if you've read it, chime in. If you didn't make it this time around, don't worry. Next month we'll be discussing Bird Box by Josh Malerman. Check it out! The Book Club is a great place to get to know our members and get involved in the community.

AWP 2015 - Minneapolis

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (also known as AWP) hosts an annual conference for us wordsmith types, roughly analogous to ComiCon, but without as many costumes (or clothes, if you're in a particular demographic of the LitReactor membership). It's not a small-fry sort of convention; the site boasts around 12,000 attendees typically show up, and LitReactor tends to have a pretty good turnout. This year, it'll be held in Minneapolis, the same place that spawned Louie Anderson and Vince Vaughn. So, you know, a classy place. Are you going? Meet Gordon Highland and other LitReactor people there, and let everyone else know they're lame for not being one of us.

Places you've been rejected from.

If you've been at this game long enough, you know full well that nobody wins every attempt at publishing. In fact, for most of us, the majority of publishing attempts end in failure. It takes a thick skin to persevere. In the spirit of celebrating failure, you can join us in discussing what magazines have said "nah" to your brilliance. Many of our bigger names have posted their rejections, so if you're feeling dejected, this might be a good place to get a reality check.

Community Spotlight

Every month, I will compile a list of those who sent me their accomplishments through the form submission page and post the results. If you want in, then do something amazing and tell me about it. You get the free publicity, and I get to brag about how awesome our community members are. The order of the list is decided by which submissions I get first, so get on it!

"One Nightstand" by Jonathan Riley in new anthology

How did your Valentine's Day go? Was it something magical and sexy, like a flying carpet made entirely of lingerie? Or was it more the kind of encounter you'd rather forget? LitReactor master of love and all-around Don Juan Jonathan Riley got his story "One Nightstand" published in the new anthology Romantic Ruckus, which features tales of love gone wrong. And guys, he requested that I state again and again that no, this stuff is totally fictional, and not in any way inspired by real romantic failures. Seriously, I've met Jonathan, and the man has lips like cherries, the very definition of romantic success.

By the way, there is at least one other LitReactor member in this anthology. For privacy reasons, I don't typically advertise for anyone who hasn't requested it, but it's always good to know that we have a quality list of authors here to enjoy. Pick it up, read, laugh, and share.

Jonathan Riley is a writer from Collierville, TN. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee at Martin where he worked as executive editor for their literary and visual arts publication, Beanswitch. He currently heads the fiction department at Revolt Daily. He’s had flash-fiction published in places like Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration and Solarcide’s Flash Me: The Sinthology.

"Persephone" - Issue 7 of Pantheon Magazine is now available

We have a special relationship with Pantheon Magazine. It was started by and continues to be run by LitReactor members, making it a bit of a success story for the networking opportunities this site can provide (as well as the overall quality and work ethic of our members). Not only that, but LitReactor community members have always made a good showing here, so supporting them goes a long way in supporting our membership. Matt Garcia, one of the editors, wanted me to plug the new issue that's now available for your reading pleasure, and I'm only too happy to accommodate.

Pantheon follows a mythological theme with every issue, and this one is dedicated to stories and poetry inspired by Persephone, the gal who was essentially tricked into being the goddess of the underworld. There aren't a whole lot of famous stories that are quite like that, so this is sure to be an interesting issue. Pick it up!

Matt Garcia is the publisher of Pantheon Magazine. His fiction has been featured or is forthcoming in various publications. In the columnist's opinion, he's underselling himself and should brag about his various accomplishments a little more in any upcoming Spotlight biographies.

"Our Black Shuck" by Christopher Shultz

You know, with as much awesome content as this site puts out, it's pretty easy to forget that LitReactor is, for many of us, our first true writing jobs. We have some real pros on staff, but LitReactor employs based on talent, not necessarily experience, and many of our columnists and writers are enjoying some real recognition for the first time.

Take Christopher Shultz, who has done columns, book reviews, news articles, and tons of other stuff for LitReactor. Seriously, take a look through his stuff; the guy's a machine. So please join me in one of my favorite spotlight activities as I congratulate him for his very first story sale. "Our Black Shuck" was purchased by Grievous Angel, and you can read his work for free on their site. It's a short piece and will only take you a couple of minutes to read, so check it out, and don't forget to keep an eye out for Christopher's other work in our magazine and news feeds.

Christopher Shultz grew up watching old Universal monster movies and reading Stephen King. His stories have appeared in MicroHorror, the anthology Another 100 Horrors, Smashed Cat Magazine, and Grievous Angel, among other places. Christopher lives in Oklahoma City with his fiancée Lauren and their two mostly well-behaved cats. More info at

A Look Forward to March

Well... it'll be March.

Is that good enough? I mean, it'll be my birthday and all, so you can probably go contribute to the thread inspired by a birthday game I made up a few years ago. That could be fun. But otherwise, I don't have a whole lot on my docket. So why don't you tell me some reasons we should be celebrating? Do something cool, let me know about it, and you'll help make March a little more exciting.

And, as always, feel free to leave us any questions or suggestions in the comments. Happy Februrary, and I'll see you next month.

Nathan Scalia

Column by Nathan Scalia

Nathan Scalia earned a BA degree in psychology and considered medical school long enough to realize that he missed reading real books. He then went on to earn a Master's in Library Science and is currently working in a school library. He has written several new articles and columns for LitReactor, served for a time as the site's Community Manager, and can be found in the Writer's Workshop with some frequency.

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Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine February 22, 2015 - 2:38pm

Great piece, Chris!

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore February 23, 2015 - 11:10am

Yes, come to AWP! I'll even let you buy me a drink (sealed, of course).

And congrats on the publimacations, guys.

cshultz81's picture
cshultz81 from Oklahoma is reading Best Horror of the Year Volume 8 February 23, 2015 - 1:42pm

Thanks Josh! It was a lot of fun to write, and I'm glad others outside my sphere can enjoy it too.

Thank you Nathan for all the kind words.

And congrats to everyone for their publications!