The Outrider Podcast

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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Episode 24: Peyton Marshall

In today’s episode, I talk with Peyton Marshall about the intuition of kids, getting the first book published, a certain rock band in her past, the aesthetic of workshops, and, of course, The Iowa Writers Workshop conspiracy (or lack thereof).

Peyton is the author of the novel Goodhouse published by Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. Her writing has appeared all over the place, including A Public Space, Tin House and The New York Times. You can read more about Peyton at her website Bonus points if you already knew Peyton was a member of the 90’s era Riot Grrrl band The Third Sex

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Shoptalk #4 with Laura Hawley

Today, we talk a bit about Emily Mandel's Station Eleven and make plans to discuss it at length once we're finsihed . . . and then we talk psychosis. 

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Episode 23: Taylor Mali

Today’s guest is Taylor Mali. We talk about long held family businesses, the purpose of language, how one ends up in Kansas, poetry slams, and jumping at the chance to be a full time poet.

Taylor is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion, the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, and three books of poetry What Learning Leaves, The Last Time As We Are, and the newly released Bouquet of Red Flags. You can read more about Taylor, find his books, and watch videos of some of his performances at this website . You can also check out his Youtube channel for the performance of “The Naked Gardener” recorded in-between the two halves of our conversation at the KATE Conference in Wichita, KS. 

A special thanks to Kansas Association of Teachers of English for letting me crash the last day of their conference to steal an hour of Taylor’s time, and for graciously allowing me to also share lunch with a number of fine English teachers.

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From the Vault Ep 17 Laird Hunt

While I’m still on hiatus, I thought I’d ramble on a bit about the Amazon v. Hachette contract dispute and how it’s hurting the writers more than anything else. Coincidentally, one of my previous guests, Laird Hunt, is published by Little Brown, a Hachette imprint. So, I thought I’d reissue his episode to follow my unplanned and unscripted thoughts on the matter. 

Now, while you’re at it, you can read a few articles about the dispute, one from The Guardian,, and one from The New York Times

But even better, I’d recommend making a trip to and finding your nearest independent bookstore. Consider giving them your business instead of Amazon - especially if the book you’re looking for is published by Hachette or one of its imprints. You’ll certainly be able to pick up a copy of Laird’s book easily at an independent bookstore. 

And, of course, if you want to read some more about Laird, his book, and some of the good news happening around it, here is are a few links to some reviews and to the article about the film option. 

Laird’s website 

NY Times

Washington Post

The Huffington Post

Deadline Hollywood

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

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