Flush Fiction, Volume I:
Also available in e-book format:
Sometimes, it's the only place you can read
Foreword by Selina Rosen
So, some of you are no doubt asking yourself, "What are the ground breaking talented agents of the Yard Dog Press empire doing now, and just what is this Flush Fiction?" The rest of you are all asking yourselves, "What the fuck are those morons at Yard Dog doing now, and what the hell is this Flush Fiction?"
Allow me to explain. Flush Fiction is a true indicator of just what we are and what we're trying to do at Yard Dog Press. A bunch of us were sitting around at my house for our yearly party which we call ConDome — we are nothing if not dripping with class — I was discussing the inability of some authors to gauge how long it will take them to read one of their stories. This had become a problem because of the Yard Dog Press Traveling Road Show — oh, you don't know what that is?
The Yard Dog Press Traveling Road Show is something that we as a group do at any convention that will allow it. You see we had noticed that readings were becoming increasingly poorly attended; in order for a reading to be successful you need to have an audience. So Bill Allen and I were talking about how to do this and I said I thought we'd do better if several authors were at one reading and all did short funny stuff, that's when Bill came up with the Road show idea, we could do readings and acts and maybe some stand up. Turn it into more of a show and then more people would come. And then one of those moments of pure genius happened. Just before we were supposed to do the very first road show — the night before in fact — we all went to a reading Melanie Fletcher was doing, and behind her just for fun Sherri Dean started to do a pantomime of everything Mel was reading and by the time the road show took the stage it had become a show, where one of the writers would read and other writers and artists would do an interpretive dance to what they were reading. This became highly successful and packed the house until they started to give us bigger and bigger rooms and more and more time.
Now back to the problem that arose because of the road shows. I would tell the writers that they had five minutes to read and they would read for ten or fifteen minutes thus running one hour shows into two hour shows and two hour shows into three and some writers still didn't get to read. I was discussing my idea for a solution at ConDome. I had decided that we needed to put together a book of flash fiction showcasing all our writers and giving them a piece that they could read in five minutes or less. We decided the pieces should be funny, but didn't have to be, they should be fairly visual so that the interpretive dancers had something to do, they had to be under a thousand words, and they had to be complete stories, no vignettes. After several minutes of discussion someone said, "Just the right length for reading on the can." And then Matt Reiten screams out, "Flush Fiction, we should call it Flush Fiction!"
"Genius!" I proclaimed, "Stories to be read in one sitting."
Brilliant idea then — much latter, however, as I started to write out the guidelines I realized we had a huge problem. There would be dozens of writers, and the royalties statements all by themselves would be a nightmare — by the time you split the money that many ways, we'd be writing checks for $.20. This wasn't an option. But being a professional writer myself I don't believe in writers giving away their work, so the next question became "how do I make this worthwhile to everyone and still make it feasible?"
The answer came when one of our writers had a health scare. This isn't the first time this has happened and it won't be the last, and here's the thing — most of our writers either have no health benefits, or have them but would still be screwed if they got sick because it wouldn't cover everything because guess what, they aren't rich. So it was decided that we would put 75% of the profits from Flush Fiction into a health fund that could be used to help out our writers and artists if they needed it.
So Flush Fiction is not just a showcase of many of our very talented writers and artists, but it is also a testament to what we truly are, a community of artists bound together by our art and our need to entertain our clientele. If I stayed in my own head and didn't listen and watch the writers and artists, Yard Dog Press would be just like every other house; a business with no soul, not a vital living entity with a personality all its own. Yard Dog Press is not an extension of me; it's made from the ideas of everyone who works for it. When you buy a Yard Dog Press book you aren't just supplying yourself with some great inexpensive entertainment, you're also helping to preserve a style of writing science fiction (I'm from the old school where Science Fiction meant horror and fantasy too without having to say all three every time), which is sadly harder and harder to find on book store shelves. You aren't just supporting my dream to bring our sort of Sci Fi back to the readers, but you're supporting the dreams and hopes of every writer and artist that works for us, a dream that there is still a place for our work in the hearts of science fiction fans and readers in general.
I edited Flush Fiction, but held to my promise not to reject anything. I have always contended that a writer writes their best work when they write just exactly what they want to write without worrying about what any editor, agent or publisher has to say. I think the stories in Flush Fiction prove my point; there isn't a dog in the bunch. Creative people are always being told that they need to have their hands tied to do better work. I was told by one big shot editor from a New York house, "You're a good writer but what you need is for an agent to stick you in a box and tell you what to write." If a writer can't write what they want, they might as well be digging ditch — at least then they can be sure of a pay check.
Now, some of the biggest names in this business make their livings writing 700 thousand word vignettes. They wouldn't know how to tell a complete story if it jumped up and bit them on the ass, so keep that in mind as you read the stories in Flush Fiction. None of these stories are over a thousand words, every one of them is a complete story, with a beginning a middle and an end that's conclusive. If a certain rich and famous writer who shall remain nameless can't finish a story in several extremely long books, how genius are these fuckers that can do it in under 1000 words?