The Outrider Podcast

Shoptalk #7 with Gavin Pate

After some wrangling and fuzzy scheduling, it’s finally back on with a new guest. With episode 7 of Shoptalk I bring in Gavin Pate to chat with me about the day-to-day and year-to-year of being a writer in the world when you’re not famous or pushing a brand new book. This is the long haul version of the podcast, unlike the get-to-know-you episodes. In here, we talk shop.

Gavin is Associate Professor of English at Virginia Wesleyan College, and the author of the novel The Way to Get Here from Bootstrap Press ( His short fiction has appeared in several journals and been included in the Velvet Anthology Warmed & Bound.

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The Laboratory #1 with Stephen McClurg

Trying something new in this episode. The Laboratory will appear on the first Monday of every month. In each episode, my co-host and I will discuss experimentation in literature (as well as many other things) and - this will be the laboratory part - we’ll assign ourselves a writing exercise each month. This month, it’s a cut-up hybrid exercise. You can find the rules/guidelines at the end of the show notes.

Stephen McClurg teaches and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. After winning the National Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Contest, he spent a week writing haiku for the Washington Post‘s blog. In the past he has published articles, essays, reviews, short stories, poems, and comics in newspapers, journals online and otherwise, and appeared in the anthologies You Ain’t No Dancer and Voices from a Safe Harbor. He has written and composed music for award-winning short films, art installations, and dance.

Rules for Exercise #1

Use the following three techniques to create a new text. It’s not required to make sense.

1) Take 1-2 pages from a mass market paperback - black out sections or cut up the pages to create a “new” text.

2) incorporate a second none-prose text, either song lyrics, a poem, bits from a screenplay

3) generate original text using automatic/free writing for 5 - 10 minutes.

4) OPTIONAL - try to generate a coherent text or narrative out of the three sections. 

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Special: Genre Wars with Jenn Zukowski

Back in February, Kazuo Ishiguro made a comment in a NY Times article about him and his new novel The Sleeping Giant, that made Ursula K. Le Guin upset enough to write an article defending the fantasy genre and reviewing Ishiguro’s book . . . unfavorably. 

I had read the Electric Literature article and shrugged. My grad school friend, Jenn Zukowski, read the Esquire article and posted it to Facebook, tagging me and asking me what I thought because we’d argued about genre a lot fifteen years ago and, at least between us, settled it.

We decided we’d get together and record a special show where we revisited our old argument in light of this new skirmish in the so-called “Genre Wars.” Jenn was the very first guest on The Outrider Podcast, and she teaches at several Denver area universities specializing in stage combat, creative writing, and literature, including classes on fantasy and children’s lit. You can find out more about Jenn at her blog, and you can download her episode of the Outrider Podcast at this page of my website,, or .

We hope you enjoy it. 

The Ishiguro vs. Le Guin Articles

NY Times Article on Ishiguro

Ursula K. Le Guin’s smackdown

The Electric Literature piece about the dust-up

The Esquire article about the dust-up

A Good Critical analysis of the who she-bang.

Older articles about the Genre Wars and the Pullman speech

The Pullman Speech

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Episode 29 Lynn Sloan

In this episode I talk with author Lynn Sloan about the ghettoization of writers, the assumption of quiet domesticity,  the fact that old white men aren’t alone on top of the great mountain of literature, and her years as a photographer, including her time in New York working for a major magazine that made a game out of sneaking a picture of naked breasts into each issue.

Lynn is the author of Principles of Navigation, out now from Fomite Press. Lynn has had short stories appear in such journals as Sou’wester, Nimrod, and Puerto Del Sol, and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Award. She’s also been a finalist for the Dana Award and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize. Before writing, she was a photographer whose fine art photographs had been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. You can learn more about Lynn at her website and you can learn more about her publisher, Fomite, at 

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Episode 28 Greg Michalson

In this episode, I talk with Greg Michalson, editor and co-publisher of Unbridled Books about his partnership with Fred Ramey, Greg’s time at The Missouri Review, influences like William Peden and Thomas McAfee (a collection of work is coming out this spring), Booches bar, messing with Texas, and the difficult conflict between being an editor and writer at the same time.

You can learn more about Unbridled Books, and the excellent work that Greg does, at

Throughout the years, Greg and his publishing partner, Fred, have shepherded many find books into the world, such as Susan Vreeland’s bestseller, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, and Patricia Henley’s National Book Award finalist, Hummingbird House. Not to mention launching the career of recent NBA finalist Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven).

The Outrider Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher. You can also listen at my website ( 

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Episode 27 Bonnie ZoBell

For this episode, I talk with Bonnie ZoBell about dogs and cats, growing up in southern California, tragic plane crashes, living in New York in the early 80’s, and the stamina it sometimes takes to be a writer when it seems no one wants to read your work. 

Bonnie’s short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, she’s received an NEA Fellowship and PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and has been a fellow at places Yaddo and MacDowell. In 2013, a collection of her flash fiction, The Whack-job Girls was published by Monkey Puzzle Press, and is distributed by Small Press Distribution. Last year, Press 53 published her excellent book What Happened Here: a novella and stories. You can learn more about Bonnie at her website, and find links to buy her books (although I recommend going through your favorite local independent bookstore). 

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Episode 26 Scott Phillips

Today I talk with Scott Phillips about growing up in Kansas, working in Paris as the world’s worst translator, his experience as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the inspiration behind The Ice Harvest, and how strip clubs are the saddest places on earth - even if they do make good settings for crime novels. 

We also talk a lot about his influences and like James Crumley, James Lee Burke, Rick DeMarinis (a lot of his books can be found at and many other writers and books, so  get your pens ready. 

You can read more about Scott at his website 

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Shoptalk #6 w/ Laura Hawley

This week Laura and I talk a bit about being ill, Chang Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Bonnie ZoBell’s What Happened Here, Scott Phillips’ Rut, The Showtime show Californication and it’s bizarre affect on my perception of the writing life. Where’s my Runkle? Fantasies I shouldn’t be having at 43, and all the stuff I’m working on. 

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Episode 25: Fred Ramey

In today’s episode I talk with editor and publisher Fred Ramey about why I flaked out on him during my last visit to Colorado, the origins of Unbridled Books and his relationship with co-publishers Greg Michalson, as well as one possible fate of the publishing industry. 

Fred Ramey is co-publisher of Unbridled Books, and you can check out Unbridled Books entire catalog at (including this one novel written by this one dude I’ve known since I attained consciousness). Throughout the years, Fred and his publishing partner, Greg, have published books that have caught the attention of prize committees for the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Hemingway awards, the National Book Award, The American Book Awards, and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. So, the secret theories and ideas that are debated in their twenty-plus year conversation about what should or should not go into a novel must be pretty damn good. 

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Shoptalk #5 w/Laura Hawley

In Shoptalk #5 Laura and I talk about:

Dating, Dr. Seuss, going back to school . . .  again, Station Eleven, my lazy spoiler alert, Neverhome, having no idea the narrator was a woman, dealing with traffic, Scott Phillips, Game of Thrones, um, um, um. . . Victor Hugo, American Horror Story, um, …..Arrow and comic book movies, the ubiquitous nature of Hozier’s Church, Greg Dulli, burn out, the possible anthology of old Project for a New Mythology contributors, Bad Food Christmas, Atheist at the children’s service.

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