May 2013


KAKALAK 2013 -- An Update

The deadline, May 31, is growing near, but the good news is: submissions have increased since our last newsletter. Thank you North and South Carolina readers--and those who have lived in either state at one time--for participating in this contest. We've gotten a great response from our poets, from as far away as San Diego. People who went to school at local colleges or lived here years ago have let us know what drew them to this contest and we're grateful for their participation. The more the merrier.

Unfortunately, we still have a shortage when it comes to photography submissions, so if you are a photographer or know someone who is or aspires to be, we'd love to have them enter. Time is short, but details for the KAKALAK 2013 contest can be found on this page:


Before we set up the MSR blog, I asked several authors and editors if they wanted to participate by contributing to our blog from time to time. I had 6 volunteers and thought that might be too many, so I did not ask more. Besides, I did want to set a tone for the bugger and expected to write one very other week myself. It hasn't quite gone as planned. None of the volunteers I recruited (yes--I recognize the conflict within that phrase) have actually written and submitted anything and I have had other distractions. Anyway, I am opening this up to submissions. Here is the caveat: you need to follow the blog and you need to have read what has already been posted to get a feel for what we want the MSR Blog to be. The address is: If you would like to be a contributor to it, email your essay to me at We are targeting a length of around 500 words.


I have two proposed themes for upcoming anthologies that I would like to bounce off readers. Please pay attention here... I don't want any bruised foreheads.


The first theme was the result of me having an idea and requesting readers pitch proposals for that theme. I received several good proposals, so we will be moving ahead shortly. The theme is CARS because America has such a love affair with them. In many ways the auto industry built this country, encouraged road development and enhanced the free spirit and individualism that is at the core of the American lifestyle. We're looking for stories, poems, and creative non-fiction that use CARS as a literary vehicle. It can be a classic car, a wrecked car, a talking car, a trip, a back seat encounter (that probably means older car)... the list goes on, but we'll flesh it out and give potential contributors a better idea of what we want when we post the guidelines and deadlines on the Anthology Page.


Theme number two will be CROSSING THE LINE. Perhaps it's a physical border. Or a passage from innocence to experience. Or a simple transgression. Crossing physical, cultural, or emotional boundaries occurs because of forethought, accident or circumstance. In a short story, flash, memoir, or poem, show us what happens when someone goes beyond literal or symbolic limits. No pornography or gratuitous violence. But don't hesitate to take a risk. Again, this would be a mixed anthology including short stories, flash fiction, memoir, and poetry.


One difference between the way we will manage submissions for these themes and ones we've done in the past is that we will be shortening the submission and reading period to 6 or 8 weeks. We recently tried it with both the PORCHES anthology and the KAKALAK 2013 project and both have had strong submissions anyway--even though some authors did not clearly understand the guidelines. Both of these were email-only submissions as well and that did not seem to create significant challenges to author participation, so that will continue.

I will post details and dates on these within the next couple of months both here, on Face Book, and in some of our associated locations and writerly haunts. If you have something you think might fit, you might start planning now to send it here when the reading period opens. I've had several people tell me they had "perfect stories" for the PORCH theme, but they were under consideration elsewhere... "Could you please waive your no simultaneous submission guideline just for me this one time?" I strive to be consistant. How do you think I would respond to such a question?



If you've been to the MSR Online Bookstore lately--specifically, the Coming Soon Page--you may notice that the number of books is shrinking as we move out the end of our Spring releases. You may wonder, "Why aren't they adding new titles?" We will. The thing is, we're in the midst of renovation and every title I take the time to load on there now is another title I will have to pay someone to re-load into the remodeled bookstore before it opens. Since it should be ready for unveiling soon and costs me about $65 to load each new title (at this time), it's better to wait and load up myself afterward.

The truth is: the new bookstore was supposed to be up and functional this past Monday (May 13) so that I would be able to say to subscribers to this newsletter: "Go yee there, now, and see what we have built for you," but that's not going to happen. What amuses me about this was how the architect of this website optimistically said she could easily have it done by the end of April. It was I who suggested giving it a few weeks' cushion. I chose May 13 so that I could announce it here, give you a link and let you take it for a test drive. Well, with that opportunity blown, I'm just going to have to send out special emails invitations when it's done--so be prepared.

The NEW Main Street Rag Bookstore is--honestly--COMING SOON.



For the last couple of years, the reading series we co-sponsor in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina has been held at the LAZY LION. Unfortunately, the rent at that location was about to go up and since their lease was up, they elected to close. It was a nice place and the owner, Miure, was always very supportive. We wish her well, thank her for being part of what we do in Fuquay-Varina and hope she will continue to join Jan, Nancy, Laura and the rest of the crazy regulars out there at the new location. I was very pleased to have been the last featured reader there. Going to Fuquay-Varina is always a good time.

And it's bound to be more fun Thursday, May 16 as the girls relocate to the new location the Stars Theater and Arts Center, 123 Vance Street. I know two things about this new venue: (1) It's roomier and (2) the opening act, the first featured reader, is Keith Flynn, managing editor of The Ashville Poetry Review promoting his newest book, Colony Collapse Disorder.

Please note: Keith is also the featured reader for The Final Friday Reading Series hosted by me and Jonathan Rice of Iodine Poetry Journal at Vin Master here in Charlotte, Friday, May 31. Two good chances to see a legendary poet and performer.


We stopped listing contests in our newsletter late last year. One reason was because so many other places started doing it, that it just seemed redundant, in fact, it was overkill. One of the early pioneers in the collection of contest information and evaluation for online availability was Winning Writers (Jendi Reiter and Adam Cohen). They did tireless work in this field and have been a great asset to writers. When we ran listings, I often went to their site as a paying subscriber to confirm information. Unfortunately, they will stop featuring contests with reading fees at the end of June and focus only on free contests.

Many people relied on this site to give them an idea of the folks who were promoting contests, but I think I know why they chose to cut out and its important that everyone--writers especially--understand why. For one thing, Winning Writers placed a more-than-fair price on the service they provided. The hours of work required to research and evaluate various contests could never be rewarded properly; however, in a medium where so much is free and so many demand that it remain free, much of their work filtered out through the internet free, meaning writers no longer had as much need to pay for their service.

Another reason is the drama involved in not giving EVERY contest sponsor a top rating. There's money involved here--big money in some cases--an honest service like this can become unpopular with contest sponsors and that's not good for the bottom line. One of the reasons why our contest listings were always so brief was because we did not want to undercut their place in the writing world. We would often credit them and give readers links to visit them for more detailed information. Others did not and once that information is out there, suddenly free takes over and if you are trying to make a living selling something in a world where your competition is giving it away, well... good luck.

Jendi and Adam are newsletter subscribers. They wanted me to let readers know that they are not shutting the site down, just refocusing it's attention. Whatever they do, I'd personally like to thank them for their service to writers everywhere and wish you well on their new path.


Readers, there's a new literary journal on the scene and it's looking for contributors. Editor David Essinger says, " I am pleased to announce that The University of Findlay's newest literary journal, Slippery Elm, is live and open for submissions! We're using Submittable, and you can find us at Please spread the word, and let us know at if you have any suggestions for our webpage or Submittable interface, or would like further information."

Well, I wasn't familiar with Submittable, so I investigated--just for you, readers. What did I find? Well, without paying or giving up personal information, not much. There is a tutorial that asks a lot of questions, but doesn't really answer them except to say that Submittable can solve that problem for you. It seems to be geared more toward publishers and editors who charge fees for their services than it is toward writers, but that's a sideline observation. Kathie Giorgio uses this service and swears by it.

I went to the Slippery Elm website and lo and behold, it's a contest with a $1000 prize; however, they are accepting non-contest submissions as well. I don't want to get back into the habit of running contest listings, but David is a friend and this contest probably came along too late to make most of the places that list these things, so... Go to the website, decide for yourself. Like I said, it's not strictly a contest; they are considering work outside of the contest.



We knew when we accepted Kenneth Womack's manuscript for publication that we had something special. I was a little disappointed at the lack of interest from Publisher's Weekly, The Library Journal and others who passed on reviewing it. Of course, without those reviews, getting folks to notice is even harder. I wasn't surprised to learn that The Restaurant at the End of the World won a Gold Independent Publishing Book Award for Best Regional Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Clearly there are people out there who know something about good literature. I wanted to congratulate Ken here in the newsletter and give readers a link to his author's page to see what I'm talking about and maybe even prove that they, too, know what good literature is: Kenneth Womack, The Restaurant at the End of the World



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):

Gospel of Dust (poetry) by Joseph Ross
Sudden Country (poetry) by David Mills
What Remains (chapbook) by Caroline Maun
As the Moon Has Breath (poetry) by Doris Ferlenger

Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich
Eye of the Beholder (poetry) by Scott Owens
The Happiness Theory (poetry) by Brad Johnson
Love Like Weeds (poetry) by Julie Cook
Naming Names (poetry) by Paul Hostovsky
All the Heat We Could Carry (2013 MSR Poetry Book Award Winner) by Charlie Bondhus
Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich
A Generation of Insomniacs by Anthony Frame
Geode by Ona Gritz
History of Grey by Kate Kingston
When the World was Rear-wheel Drive by Timothy Walsh
Hold Still by Terry Godbey
Soon I Will Build an Ark by Wendy Scott

Poetry Chapbooks:

Fantasies of Men (2012 Chapbook Contest Winner) by William Lusk Coppage
Recombinant Loves (chapbook) by Lisa Haag Kang
Unwelcomed Guests (chapbook) by Nancy Richardson
Wonderful Terrible (chapbook) by Dion N. Farquhar

Prayerbook for the Midwestern Agnostic (chapbook) by Roy Seeger
Acme Book of Love (chapbook) by Amy Ashe
Too Much Breath (chapbook) by Martin Balgach

Author's Choice Chapbooks:

Invitation (AC chapbook) by Michael Beadle
Vocation (AC chapbook) by Michael Gaspeny

Steeplechase (AC chapbook) by Jill Stein
Dream-Shuttle (AC chapbook) by Carolyn Gelland


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)


If there is one thing the past few weeks have proven, it's that Washington can manufacture more reasons NOT to get things done than they can find reasons to do the work they were elected to do. I recognize the fact that some of my fellow citizens think this is a good thing, think that the agenda that has been laid out is a bad idea and it is better to stand pat and wait until they can have more pliable leadership. Preventing anything from getting done until they can replace the President, expand control of Congress, and take control of the Senate so they can further manipulate the voting districts, income ratio, regulations designed to protect our environment, educational system, healthcare (including insurance company domination of healthcare cost distribution) and how we spend the peoples' tax dollars. In other words: if we're not spending tax money the way conservatives approve, we're wrong and they are going to tie government's hands.

So, here we are with three scandals popping up and suddenly Congress rips into action, suddenly there is not one, but three or four reasons to barbacue the current administration and prevent the discussion of important legislation. No, no, no, no, no... We've got to see who's behind Benghazi. Did the President order the military to stand down? Did he arm the enemy? Was he on the grounds throwing molotov cocktails that Hillary Clinton was lighting for him?

What about the IRS probing conservative groups who applying for 501c3 status? Did he sit in Mordor, his big eye scanning out over the countryside, sending his minions out to torture gentle little conservative Hobbitses?

And now, NOW, how dare he treat the press like probing fanatics who leak valuable information to the enemy. You know, THEY are the real trouble-makers. THEY are the real manipulators of our freedom, plying the masses with misinformation to vote for liberal agendas. Spying on them is only natural.

I'd like at this point to quote Senator Collins of Maine by borrowing one of her recently most favorite words: manufactured. That's what all this crap is. It's an attempt by the right to generate outrage, to smudge the Democratic Party and paint anyone who runs for any office from that party with this same baggage.

More than one Senator and Congressperson suggested the President apologize for the IRS's actions personally. Yeah, right. This is such an obvious attempt to create a soundbite to be manipulated and used later, I can't believe they think it would work. And there is nothing there to imply that the President had anything to do with anything.

The same goes with Benghazi and the probe of AP reporters. Sure, there are folks who have done stupid things, but think about what some of the Republicans are saying: because one person at the State Department made a decision that cost peoples' lives, we must go all the way to the top with it; because a couple of low-level IRS agents took it upon themselves to act illegally, it must reflect on everyone in the service and the White House as well; because 4 people lost their lives in Benghazi we have to skewer everyone involved.

Contrast this to a similar argument with the proposed gun control legislation. What was the Republican response? You can't hold law abiding citizens responsible for the actions of a few crazies. And that's what we have here in almost all of these recent manufactured scandals. They want to paint an entire administration, an entire party for the sole purpose of political gain.

I don't know how these folks keep a straight face when they talk or how they can talk so crisply out of both sides of their mouths. More important, I really don't understand how they manage to fool so many people so completely, all at once. And it's all in the name of politics, power, and who gets the right to decide who gets the biggest slice of financial pie. For God sakes, the least they can do is stop talking about morality and thanking Jesus every time they get away with something.


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:

This is a contest-baed production for North and South Carolina residence only. We're looking for poetry and photography. Guidelines can be found at:

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) CATTAILS by Kathy Nelson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 28 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-428-0. $11. Details:

(NEW) FAMOUS LAST LINES by Mark Pearson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Short Stories. 232 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-406-8. $14.95. Details:

(NEW) GRAFFITI SIGNATURES by Cody Todd (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-409-9. $14. Details:

(NEW) THE REMARK by Brian Walter Budzynski (Main Street Rag, 2013). Novella. 120 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-401-3. $11. Details:

(NEW) SALT IN THE SUGAR BOWL by Angela Belcher Epps (Main Street Rag, 2013). Novella. 120 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-402-0. $11. Details:

(NEW) SCRAP METAL MANTRA POEMS by Ken Meisel (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-420-4. $11. Details:

(NEW) TWO BLACK EYES AND A PATCH OF HAIR MISSING by Lauren Schmidt (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 92 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-413-6. $14. Details:

(NEW) </WAR> by Chuck Rybak (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 100 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-398-6. $15. Details:

A THEORY OF LIPSTICK by Karla Huston (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-407-5. $14. Details:

THE HUSH BEFORE THE ANIMALS ATTACK by Carol Matos (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-400-6. $14. Details:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:



THE MAIN STREET RAG, Spring 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:

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