March 2013



Welcome Back. Some of you have not seen a link to our newsletter for a couple of months and may wonder where we've been. We had a computer crash in January. It wiped out all of our email logs and set us back about 3 weeks on our production schedule just trying to pick up the pieces. We retrieved our Address Book to continue sending this notice out; however, we didn't have a machine with the proper software on it to use the addresses we have stored. It took several weeks to make that operational again, but here we are.

Please note that we now have a dedicated address for the newsletter. It will always mail from Original, don't you think?

On another note, while we were trying to repair things, we were stumbling through book release and other such deadlines. Then the Associated Writers Programs 2013 Conference was upon us the very day the March newsletter was scheduled to go out. Needless to say, we missed that deadline. I woke up in Newburg, NY March 6 and spent the rest of the week in Boston, returning from it, and catching up on what didn't get done in my absence. But the AWP is a whole other story that I will elaborate on below.

Finally, because the front end of each month so often seems to be the busiest, I'm considering posting the newsletter on or around the 15th moving forward. A little feedback from readers might be in order, so--if you have a preference--please be sure to share it with me.


Those who did receive newsletter notification in February already know about this, but because it is my sworn duty to make readers aware of all things Main Street Rag, I will reprint some of it here for our new readers and those whose addresses were still inaccessible last month.

Reader's Digest version:

At the behest of our promotions manager, Beth Browne, and after much fumbling around, we started a Main Street Rag BLOG in January--right about the time our main computer crashed. We're in our getting-to-know-you stage of development. I write one week, the next week is open to guests--preferably our authors and editors. Up until now Beth and I have posted all of the stories, but we'd love for others to participate, so please visit the blog, read the posts to get a flavor for the direction we're going and, if you have something you'd like to offer as part of the MSR Family BLOG, please email it to me at

The address is:


The deadline to submit something for the PORCHES anthology is April 30. We handed out about 1000 flyers at the AWP and have already seen a tide of event goers submitting their work. There is still time, but the competition is stiffening. We are still in need of short story and creative non-fiction submissions, so if that is what you write, here's an opportunity for you. All submissions are by email only and need to be sent to:

VERY IMPORTANT: one of the casualties of The Crash is that we lost ALL of the submissions that were sent for this anthology prior to January 4. Those who submitted work prior to January 4, need to send it again. If you know someone who may have submitted early, please pass the word.


If you are a writer and have never been to one of these events, you need to go. Many writers attend smaller, regional conferences; I think they may perceive this one as simply too big. It can be expensive, but this is the granddaddy of them all. You have to go at least once--especially if it's in your area--and they move it around every year to make it easier for regional participation.

I've attended eight AWP Conferences. Sometimes I stay off-site to save money; sometimes I drive, sometimes I fly. I've shipped my books and delivered them. Carried a bag lunch in, eaten in the event restaurants, even gone without for the entire day because it was so busy. In Denver I moderated a panel. There is more to do than any one person can cover in three days and then there are the parties. I don't do a lot of after-hours events, but I do show up here and there, now and then, unexpectedly. More often in Boston than any previous conference.

I probably got enough material to fill the MSR BLOG for the rest of the year, but I'd like to offer readers an overview of my experience.

First, when I looked at the map and saw where they had placed me, I was concerned. In Washington there were only a handful of people who were further away from the door than me and my first impression of this placement was about the same--stuck in the back room. But we were at the end of a row and there was a stage and chairs set up across the aisle from us. We saw a lot of traffic.

I heard grumblings from some publishers about these side stages and how they disrupted conversations. We were right on top of one. Yes, it got noisy a few times, but I think this may be one of the better moves the organizers have ever done. Too often attendees don't even see one room because they have no reason to go there. By putting a stage in the middle of book fair areas, they increased traffic to out-of-the-way places. Having to deal with noise at an event that draws 11K people is just part of the program. I like the new format and Cynthia Sherman, Associate Director of the event, tells me that it's a format that is here to stay.

About the panels. My wife did not go with me this time, but she gave me the assignment to sit in on at least two panels. I went to three and walked out on all three. The first one I walked out on had to do with the "future of the small press" and had four panelists. The first three said things I already knew, but the thing that stood out to me was how they selected their manuscripts. Two of them were "co-op" publishers which--by the way they described themselves--is basically a high brow way to ensure publication by joining a club that publishes its members every so often. In my mind, this is just another name for self-publishing. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against self-publishing, I just think they ought to call it what it is.

The last guy got up to introduce himself and spent about 15 minutes reading--yes, READING--a 5-page manifesto or apology or something or other that went so far afield from the topic, that then is when I decided I'd had enough. He had a great voice, but he was using the venue for something other than advertised--and reading a prepared statement no less. As for the apology for something done last year... dude, not the time or place. Anyway, I figured if this panel was an example of the "future" of the small press, we're all in trouble based solely on its organization and practices.

I also left a panel about e-publishing. It was a good panel. It had people whose opinion I valued. I agreed with much of what some of them said, but I mostly agreed with one guy who was anti-establishment. After the panel had pretty much made a half dozen predictions that I had also made--about 5 years ago--and the two youngsters on the panel started bickering, I felt I'd had enough. It wasn't a bad panel. Some people could get a lot from it. I'd just heard (or said) much of the same before.

Finally, I went to the panel put on by the AWP to instruct people on how to write a proposal. I'd written two before and had one accepted, but I thought I should attend anyway since I plan to write one for next year in Seattle. One of the things in the contract you sign as a moderator of these panels is that you must start and finish on time. We finally crashed the doors after the panel before this one went 10 minutes over. I would think that, if I were being followed by the AWP itself, I'd be a little more attentive to such things, but then, I learned that what some people have to say is just way too important for time limitations. Anyway, after they left, the AWP panelists, sauntered in and they started about 5-10 minutes late. So, I guess the moral to the story if you plan to participate in a panel is: Don't take the time guidelines too seriously.

I heard a lot of people ask the question: How did these people get a panel on a venue like this? Sorry. Not a question I can answer, but it won't keep me from going again. The real benefit is from schmoozing at the tables and meeting writers and readers.



We announced in this newsletter a couple months ago that we would be having a KAKALAK Revival. For those in the Carolinas, this means that there will be another option for publication--since this is for North and South Carolina authors only. It is contest based and we will have a page up soon with the guidelines and a link to pay for entry. It will all be done online and the reading period will be from April 1 through May 31. I'm not supplying a link at this time because I know my readers and their bad habits and we don't want any early arrivals. I will send a reminder around in a couple of weeks with a live link to take you to the KAKALAK page on our website for details. This is just a tease for my Carolina neighbors.



Sunday, April 17, St. Patrick's Day, I will take the contest readers out to dinner and we will compare notes on which manuscripts they liked best. I will be drinking Guinness and taking notes and once we establish their top ten picks, I will read all ten and see if I agree with the order of their decision. Either way all ten and possibly four more will be offered publication and I will have the results posted in the next newsletter and online early next month.



For years we've been told that we need to upgrade our website. My response has been that it's not that easy. It's more than pressing a few buttons and all my time is wrapped up in book production. I have acknowledged that we need a facelift, but more important, we need a search engine and that is outside of my skill set. It takes a professional to build that kind of thing and--oh, by the way--professionals cost money.

I put the job up for bid and now I know how much. You folks out there have to start buying some books--you hear me? Two to three each a day for the next 6 months ought to cover it.

Seriously, though, it will cost every bit as much as I anticipated and will take about 2 months to finish. We will start with the bookstore and work our way back to the informational side of the website. The first part will likely take 3 months so look for it around June or July. When we update the rest will depend on whether the upgrades in design upgrade our sales. Stay tuned.



Main Street Rag co-sponsors regular monthly reading series in Charlotte, NC; Fuquay-Varina, NC; Hickory, NC; Kansas City, MO, Lincolnton, NC; Raleigh, NC. Since the MSR Monthly Newsletter is now posted online and we already have an Events Page online, rather than duplicate that space, here is a link to that page:

If you are interested in having Main Street Rag co-sponsor a regular monthly series in your area, contact me and we'll work out the details:



Before leaving for the AWP I made a big push to get new books on the website. All of these links are hot and will take readers to the authors' pages for details. Check them out.


Coming Soon:

Poetry Books (full length):

The Hush Before the Animals Attack by Carol Matos
A Theory of Lipstick by Karla Huston
</war> by Chuck Rybak
Graffiti Signatures by Cody Todd (poetry)
Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing (poetry) by Lauren Schmidt
Gospel of Dust (poetry) by Joseph Ross
Sudden Country (poetry) by David Mills
As the Moon Has Breath (poetry) by Doris Ferlenger
Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich

Poetry Chapbooks:

Cattails (poetry chapbook) by Kathy Nelson
Fantasies of Men (2012 Chapbook Contest Winner) by William Lusk Coppage
Recombinant Loves (chapbook) by Lisa Haag Kang
Scrap Metal Mantra Poems (chapbook) by Ken Meisel
Unwelcomed Guests (chapbook) by Nancy Richardson
What Remains (chapbook) by Caroline Maun
Wonderful Terrible (chapbook) by Dion N. Farquhar

Author's Choice Chapbooks:

Invitation (AC chapbook) by Michael Beadle
Vocation (AC chapbook) by Michael Gaspeny
Steeplechase (AC chapbook) by Jill Stein


The Remark by Brian Walter Budzynski (novella)
Salt in the Sugar Bowl by Angela Belcher Epps (novella)
Famous Last Lines by Mark Pearson (short stories)
Shug's Place
(a novel in stories) by Bob Strother

Learning Time (novel) by Kathie Giorgio
Find the Girl (novella) by Jan Stinchcomb
Infidelity (novella) by G.K. Wuori
Man of Clay (novella) by Courtney Bledsoe
Moroccan Tales of Love (novella) by Salma Ruth Bratt
Stalker (novella) by Charles C. Wilkinson

TWO CENTS (& some change)


As a Steeler fan, I have hated everything New England ever since the referees gave Tom Brady his first win in the snow against Oakland. And, of course, I wear my colors everywhere I go. If I'm not wear a hat or shirt, there's always the 12-inch logo on the back of my truck. For me though, it goes beyond that. I was as grizzly as I get through two periods of the Penguins/Bruins hockey game last night (March 12) until my boys rallied in the third. It's a rivalry thing. I don't really hate anybody--though I get real close when it comes to Brady. He makes me want to be playing linebacker. Hell, what's a few penalties if you get to lay a hit or two on Tommy Boy?

Anyway, aside from a nasty look one toll collector on the Mass Turnpike gave me, everyone I met while at the AWP in Boston was not just nice, they were exceptionally nice. Didn't matter where we went. Friday night, after walking in circles looking for a suitable restaurant, we wound up at Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury near Fairfield. Sure, they undersize and over charge for their Guinness, but they make a great Ruben and we got to sit and talk to locals. I'm not sure why they had reruns of golf on the big screen instead of the Celtics or the Bruins, but who am I to judge.

I think what impressed me most about Boston was how easy it was to get around the downtown area and how polite the people were. I'm talking drivers and pedestrians. I've never been in a city where almost everyone waits until they see the white hand on the crossing sign to cross--even when no cars are coming. And when you are trying to merge with traffic, people actually let you in.

So, I tip my Guinness to you Boston and say, "Well done. Hope to do it again soon." Just don't expect me to root for the Patties or the Bruins. There are some lines that just shouldn't be crossed.



For the first time in many years (80?) North Carolina has a Republican controlled house along with a Republican governor. Pat McCrory ued to be mayor of Charlotte. I've met him. I liked him. He's good friends with some of my friends. Somewhere back the road a piece, he got tangled up with Karl Rove. The first time he ran for governor, Rove shifted control of his campaign to party folks in DC. McCrory lost against a weak candidate. So weak that she decided not to run for a second term and the guy the Democrats chose to run was so lame it made me wonder why they didn't save us all a whole bunch of money and just not run anyone.

Anyway, I voted for McCrory even though in the back of my head there was this scary music like out of Jaws or some other suspense movie. Brother Pat was all over the place before the election. He was part of a regular Sunday news show for four years giving the conservative perspective. Last year he put on an Andy of Mayberry type campaign that would have made Gomer Pyle say, Gol-l-l-leee!

As soon as he got in office, the power grabbing started. First Governor McCrory interceded in Charlotte city affairs by telling the current mayor how to spend city money. The plan was to use money that had already been granted to Charlotte to extend a street car system. McCrory said if it was used for that, funding that had already been allocated for light rail to Mooresville would then be cut. The Carolina Panthers asked for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium to the tune of $100M. If they don't get them, they may have to relocate. Charlotte petitioned the state to increase sales tax .5% to raise the money to cover the cost of renovations. Republicans--led by McCrory--shot it down and suddenly (just plain) Pat McCrory is camera shy. Can't get a comment out of him at all.

After a 2-week debate, last night the state house passed a bill to take control of Charlotte Douglass Airport away from the city and to put it into the hands of a regional board. Oh, but the bonds that were sold over the past few years to finance the expansion of the airport ... the city got to keep that debt.

But that wasn't McCrory's doing--not directly. That bill was brought to life by Matthews' own Robert Rucho; formerly Dr. Robert Rucho, a now retired dentist. Those who know me know I used to be a dental technician. Robert Rucho was one of the biggest customers for the lab where I worked. I know him well from that perspective. He's one of the reasons I decided to get out of the dental industry after 22 years.

Personality aside, he was one of the best dentists I've ever known. When other dentists would screw up, they'd send their patients to Bob to fix it. An interesting thing about all this fixing Bob did over the years. Many of the dentists he was cleaning up after were later sued by the patients. Why didn't Bob ever testify against these butchers, get their license to practice revoked to protect other patients? I don't know the answer to that, but when the opportunity avails itself, I will ask Bob directly.

Those of you outside of North Carolina have to be asking what the point of this story is. It's about political gamesmanship. There are those who want to put Mr. McCrory on the national stage. Rucho will at some point be a candidate for the Senate. We all know there is no morality in the political game. I just thought I'd enlighten folks as to the players the Republicans are fielding here in the minor leagues so they know what to expect when they make it to The Bigs.


I like to drive. I would choose to drive over flying any day. Why? Well, for one thing, they won't let me steer the plane. More important, when I drive, I get to pick the route. I get to pick the pit stops. I get to go at my own pace--well, kind of--as long as the cops aren't overly zealous. Most of all, I get to stop and take pictures.

Someone in Boston asked me what I do with all of my photographs. I'm not one of those people who takes a picture and posts it on FaceBook 20 seconds later. (Alice, are your reading this?) I will go to an event like the AWP and take hundreds of photos--many candids. I take at least two cameras with me on vacation and almost always come home with over 1000 pictures. What do I do with them? Some are used inside our magazine, some on the cover. Some are used on the covers of books, Some have been printed and hung on the wall. But the vast majority of them--I'm guessing as many as 100K printed and digital photographs--are just filed away for another time. I collect them, the people and places I've encountered. They're the evidence of a journey, bread crumbs in case I ever need to find my way back home.

Sorry for being so late with this installment. Hopefully now that we are posting in the middle of the month I'll be able to meet the deadline better. See you next month.

M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
P.O. Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227


A Call for Essays. They publish a personal essay every quarter (pays $180). For consideration, send your essay to For guidelines, visit

is seeking quality poetry, preferably no longer than 40 lines. Published semiannually, in Spring and Fall. Only unpublished work. No simultaneous submissions. Send 3-5 poems. Details:

We do not have the guidelines up yet or a web page or an email to handle submissions--because we're not taking submissions yet. But poets in North and South Carolina--we wanted to let you know it's coming and details will be found right here real soon. Stay tuned.

We are currently reading poetry, short fiction (for the magazine), essays, interviews, and reviews. These items are now email-only. Other guidelines have also been recently updated. Authors should visit the website prior to submitting any work. Details:

MOONSHINE REVIEW seeks unpublished creative prose and photography. Please check website for guidelines before submitting:




NEW) PLUM(B) by Kim Triedman (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-408-2. $14. Details:

NEW) RIVER OF SARIS by Lavinia Kumar (Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-399-3. $11. Details:

NEW) SWEET SOULS by Charles Blackburn (Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-398-6. $13.95. Details:

(NEW) LUCKY BASTARD by Gary V. Powell (Mint Hill Books/Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-396-2. $11. Details:

(NEW) HIGH GROUND by Jo Barbara Taylor (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-418-1. $8. Details:

(NEW) MINI LOVE GUN by Kayla Sargeson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-416-7. $8. Details:

(NEW) COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER by Keith Flynn (Wings Press, 2013). Poetry. 97 pages. ISBN: 978-1-60940-294-5. $16. Details:

(NEW) SUBLIME BLUE by Pablo Neruda, translated by William Pitt Root (Wings Press, 2013). 79 pages. ISBN: 978-0-916727-87-1. $16. Details:

PALE BLUE MERCY by Sally Stewart Mohney (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-417-8. $8. Details:

DIGRESSIONS ON GOD by Emily Vogel (Main Street Rag, 2012). Author's Choice Chapbook. 36 pages. $8. Details:

CINNAMON OF DESIRE by Jay S. Carson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 88 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-394-8. $14. Details:

NATURE'S WAY by John Wendel (Main Street Rag, 2012). nature/educational. 60 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-395-5. $12. Details:

ORANGE FIRE by Judith R. Robinson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-389-4. $14. Details:

LUCKY BASTARD by Gary V. Powell (Mint Hill Books/Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 340 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-382-5. $15.95. Details:

TATTOOS edited by Alice Osborn (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 240 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-380-1. $14.95. Details:

KEEPING TRACK: FICTION OF LISTS edited by Yelizaveta P. Renfro (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 210 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-381-8. $14.95. Details:

AFTERMATH edited by Rayne Debski (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 350 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-384-9. $15.95. Details:

FOR(E)CLOSURE by Mary Weems (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 67 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-386-3. $14. Details:

SHORTLY THEREAFTER by Colin D. Halloran (Main Street Rag, 2012). WINNER of the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. 83 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-383-2. $15. Details:

WAKING TO LIGHT by Phebe Davidson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poems. 55 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-385-6. $14. Details:

ATTORNEY-AT-LARGE by Gaynell Gavin (Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 98 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-378-8. $11. Details:

TIME ON IT'S OWN by Kenneth Frost (Main Street Rag, 2012). Author's Choice Chapbook. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-404-4. $8. Details:

THE MASKED DEMON by Mark Spencer (Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 160 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-374-0. $11. Details:

BLUE SUBURBAN SKIES by Richard Peabody (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Stories. 140 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-376-4. $11. Details:

MOUNTAIN MEMOIRS: AN ASHE COUNTY ANTHOLOGY edited by Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope, & Julie E. Townsend (Main Street Rag, 2012). Anthology. 150 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-379-5. $11. Details:



THE MAIN STREET RAG, Winter 2013, Details:

IODINE POETRY JOURNAL, Fall/Winter 2012, Details:

THE GREENSBORO REVIEW, No. 92, Fall 2012, Details:

COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW, Vol. 41, No. 1, Fall 2012, Details:


THE LITERARY REVIEW, Volume 55, No. 04, Spring 2012, Details:

MOONSHINE REVIEW, Fall/Winter 2012, Details:

THE CAROLINA QUARTERLY, Vol. 62, No. 3, Winter 2012, Details:


See you again next month.

M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
PO Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227-7001