Thursday, April 16, 2020

In April: Sharma Shields and Erin Pringle talk Hezada! I Miss You

A new article about Hezada! I Miss You, from its beginnings to its connection to my own love and grief, is out in the April 2020 issue of Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living. Thanks to writer and friend, Sharma Shields, for taking the time both to read the book, blurb it, and now invite me to speak about it in her column.

The article is on page 30.

Screenshot of the article by Sharma Shields:
"World Remade: Erin Pringle's New Novel, Hezada! I Miss You"

Please note that if you read this when we are still sheltering-in-place that there are only two ways to purchase the book, as the distributor is not shipping to bookstores right now:

  1.  There are several copies on the shelves at Fact and Fiction Books, and Mara who runs the Missoula bookstore continues to send mail. I fully endorse this method of purchasing the novel.
  2. From Awst, the publisher. Wendy holds a small inventory of copies to use for trade shows, book festivals, etc., and continues to visit the post office. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Pandemic Reading: Hezada! in your mailbox

Hezada! I Miss You (cover design by L.K. James)
Hi Readers,

I just received word from a friend across the ocean that his Amazon order for Hezada! I Miss You was cancelled. There are a number of possible reasons (pandemic/essential/supply chains/etc.).

As such, if you'd like to order a copy of Hezada! I have some copies and live close to a post office. If you've found yourself in a similar situation, message me through my website, and we'll arrange the details. I'm happy to send a book your way, including over oceans, and to sign it (or not sign it, if you'd rather not).

If you're in the states, and your local bookstore continues to fill online orders, please purchase Hezada! through your bookstore's website or ( I've been ordering my reading this way, and have since broken my Amazon addiction.

And, of course, you can always order the book from my publisher, Awst Press, as they always have a few copies on hand for local events, promotion, etc.:


Friday, April 3, 2020

Fiction Friday: Losing, I Think in Whistling Shade Magazine

Photo by Kurt Bauschardt, used under CC license
For the next however many Fridays, I thought I'd run a small series in which I share stories of mine that are still available and free to read online. 

This week, the story is "Losing, I Think," which I wrote in 2002 or 2003 as an undergrad at Indiana State University. I guess this would mean it's part of my juvenalia. 

In 2005, the story appeared in Whistling Shade, a literary journal out of St. Paul, MN. The story appears in my first book, The Floating Order (Two Ravens Press, 2009).  

Thankfully, Whistling Shade is one of few magazines from my early writing career that are still alive and continue to share writing with its community of readers. It's also one of the few paying markets my work found place in.

Support Whistling Shade simply by reading and sharing it with your friends; start reading at There's simply nothing to lose.


Hezada! I Miss You on The Writer's Block Radio Show of L.A. Talk Radio

The Writer's Block Radio Show via L.A. Talk Radio

The Writer's Block is a weekly interview show broadcast by L.A. Talk Radio. Hosted by Jim Christina and Bobbi Jean Bell, the show features a different author every week, no matter the genre--from poetry to western novels to story collections to circus novels like mine.

I first met Jim and Bobbi Jean when I discovered the show during my book tour for The Whole World at Once. Due to the show's popularity, they were booking a year out, but booked me they did, and I joined them in March 2018; I felt an immediate bond as we talked. So much so that last night, I happily returned to discuss Hezada! I Miss You

When the show came to its natural end, I wanted to extend our conversation past the run time--for hadn't we just begun? An hour is not so much when spent with kindred spirits.

Highlights: the laughter, the discussion of overwriting in order to under-write, their giving me the space to speak about why I felt driven to write this book, despite its psychological toll. 

So much thanks to Jim and Bobbi Jean for taking the time to read my work and caring about it and how we talk about it. I appreciate you both so much, and look forward to the time we meet again. 

Listen to our discussions (click title link)

Jim Christina
Bobbi Jean Bell

Listen to The Writer's Block every Thursday, no matter what time zone you live in. And, of course, you can listen to the recordings at any time:


Friday, March 27, 2020

Fiction Friday: Looker at The Adirondack Review

Fiction Friday 

Photo by Renée Johnson, used under CC license/Flickr
For the next however many Fridays, I thought I'd run a small series in which I share stories of mine that are still available and free to read online.

Let's kick off the story with one of my favorites, "Looker" which was originally published at The Adirondack Review and remains available for reading.

I originally wrote "Looker" in 2003 while attending the MFA program at Texas State University. "Looker" would later appear in my first collection, The Floating Order (Two Ravens Press, 2009). While the book itself has gone out of print, at least some of the stories still breathe online.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Free PDF of The Whole World at Once: Stories by Erin Pringle

In early March, AWP was scheduled to run in San Antonio, Texas. AWP is an annual conference where about 12,000 writers, presses, editors, and instructors come together and share new writing, writing ideas, teaching ideas, and new books by small presses. Every year, AWP is set in a different city. This year, San Antonio was undergoing the emergency of the corona virus and while AWP still marched on, about half as many people participated as usual--if that.

The publisher of my second collection, The Whole World at Once, decided to stay home but offered a free PDF of the book to others who opted out of AWP. 

As the pandemic expands its reach and those ordered to shelter-at-home, that offer still stands; while I don't think that a story a day will keep the Coronavirus at bay, I do find myself drawn to reading articles about the crisis, and that it isn't contributing positively to my attention span, mental health, or clarity about the world. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar position. If so, maybe a free PDF of strangely beautiful stories would serve you in your solitude, whether you're isolated at home or continuing to work due to economic pressures beyond your control. 
Either way of reading is appropriate. 

The Whole World at Once (2017, West Virginia UP/Vandalia Press)

About: Set within a backdrop of small towns and hard-working communities in middle America, The Whole World at Once is a collection of intense stories about the experience of loss.

From Kirkus Reviews“Readers willing to immerse themselves in sorrow, and sometimes in narratives that twist and shimmer before taking definite shape, will find reflected in these stories the unsteady path of coming back to life—or not—after loss.”

From The Wall Street JournalYou can feel that Ms. Pringle has labored over her sentences, giving them the strength of tempered steel. She has a knack for the cinematic image as well.

From Journal Gazette and Times Courier"People who grew up in rural areas will feel an eerie sense of stories they've grown up hearing or stories they've lived, a sense that this could happen or has happened here, and yet the pervasive thread of grief opens these stories up to anyone."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

"An enchanting and absorbing novel": Laura Long on Hezada! I Miss You

"Graceful storytelling and poetic clarity make Hezada! I Miss You an enchanting and absorbing novel. I thought about these characters long after I finished the book. The lightness of touch belies the fact that Erin Pringle is a wise and fearless writer." 
--Laura Long, author of Out of Peel Tree

Laura Long


Writers in Fairy Tales

I am trying to remember a fairy tale in which a stranger who affects a character's life positively is present in the story yet remains a stranger to the main character. In Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack meets the stranger with the magic beans. There's the story of the two sisters who meet an elderly woman at a well who punishes one's selfishness by causing toads and worms and dirt to fall from her mouth every time she speaks or blesses the other's generosity and kindness by causing jewels and flowers to fall from her speaking mouth. But each sister interacts with the woman before receiving the curse or miracle. In Great Expectations, the benevolent stranger becomes known.

Here is why this is on my mind. 

The publication story of my last book, The Whole World at Once, begins not when I sent in the query and sample chapter into Vandalia Press/West Virginia University Press, but when, a year later, the editor contacted me about the manuscript, having discovered it in the slush pile. The slush pile is a place where unread manuscripts go to disappear, similar to lost socks or the one sock of a pair you don't know what to do with but keep, just in case.

Once my manuscript was pulled out, there were more required steps between then and the contract for publication. As the press is an academic press, even its fiction department participates in a kind of peer review and board discussion before the book's fully taken on. 

In this way, the manuscript of The Whole World at Once was sent to two writers already published by the press. Only the fiction editor knew I was the book's writer, and the names of the writers she sent the book to. One of the writers, I would later learn, was a person named Laura Long. She voted for the book and provided a page, maybe two, of feedback regarding the stories that I might take into consideration during revision. Later, once the board voted to publish, Long would go on to provide a blurb for the book. This is what she wrote about it: “A strikingly original collection. This book is poetic, yet has a deep sense of storytelling.”

Had she voted against the book, its journey at the press would have ended right there. It would have not even returned to the slush pile, but to the place where lost socks go.

Though it has been almost three years since The Whole World at Once was published, I still know very little about Laura Long. We are Facebook friends now, because I imagine contemporary fairy tales require at least a social-media form of kinship, but even then, the alogrithms rarely bring us together. I think she has a cat. At one time, she was asking about revision. 

You'd think I'd keep my fairy godmothers closer. 

Then again, the roles that people first play in my life have always been difficult to shift. My piano teacher, Mrs. England will always be my piano teacher, and I'd never imagine calling her Sue. The same with Noyes. I think of him first as my professor, and it always surprises me when I hear someone refer to him casually as Tom. 

In this way, Laura Long is my fairy godmother and so must be kept at the distance one reserves for such a person. 

But when it came time for Hezada! to be sent to writers who might find the book worth reading and sharing words about, I did what Cinderella might have done if she'd noticed a pattern between her behavior and her fairy godmother's appearance: I asked Laura Long if she would consider reading the book, and began to wait, sweeping my worries aside, until she replied that yes, she would.

Perhaps as a reader, you knew she would say yes.
But isn't there always the moment in a fairy tale when a person asks too much of the giver? When the genie decides to curse the beggar, or the magic fish returns the fisherman and his wife to their hovel. It is, perhaps, the moment at which the giver realizes that the beggar is taking advantage--and that what was benevolence has been turned into an expectation, a breach of the power contract. When the giving becomes a task, a job, an obligation. The transformation of need into desire.

So, when I received Laura Long's word that yes, she would read Hezada!, I felt relief.

One day, I may meet Laura Long. I might sit across from her at a table in a coffee shop, somewhere near a writer's conference that has lured us both from our opposite sides of the country. Or perhaps, and better, I'll find myself in West Virginia again, having once driven through it on my return from my tour with The Floating Order, and I'll maybe try to meet up with her, and maybe she'll say, Come over, and maybe, in the way I remember my piano teacher inviting me to sit by her kitchen window and watch the birds visit their birdhouses, we'll sit together, in the way fairy godmothers and their godchildren must do.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Two Erins talk about Hezada! I Miss You on Must Read Fiction

At the book-release party for Hezada! I Miss You, I met Erin Popelka. She'd read about the party thanks to Spokane Arts bringing attention to the book and event. Then, this Erin Popelka came to the reading event at Boots Bakery. Soon after, we met up in the Terrain work-space, and she interviewed me for her author interview series, Must Read Fiction.

Get this. Not only is her name Erin, but she's also from the Midwest. Naturally, we will soon be very good friends. And if you can't tell, her energy is contagious. 

You can view the interview here. To enjoy more interviews from Must Read Fiction, follow on Facebook or subscribe to the YouTube Channel. If you found the interview absolutely delightful, be sure to let her know.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

"An honest portrayal of people's lives in clear, poetic prose": A Person in Montreal Reads, then Reviews Hezada

"The writing is graceful, elegant, inviting and absorbing. Pringle’s writing style invites you into the book and keeps you there, even as it tears your soul to shreds. At some point towards the end I was scared that the novel would leave me emotionally devastated, but I was left instead with a peaceful sense of closure. It’s like I went through grief but I emerged out of it feeling strong and peaceful. It’s a bizarre feeling. It’s a beautiful feeling." 
-- GoodReads Review by LiteratureSloth 


The other day, Phoebe from Awst texted me a new review of Hezada!, which someone left as a hiker might hide a beautiful rock on a grassy, tree-lined trail for someone else to find. And as the one who discovers it, I have turned this rock over and over in my hands until it's become quite polished by my mind. I thought I might leave it here now, for you. 


Link to GoodReads review

[Should your screen reader not work with the above image, please see the text from the image, below]

Hezada! I Miss You
by Erin Pringle (Goodreads Author)
LiteratureSloth's reviewMar 17, 2020
it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, lgbt-queer

I read this book in 4 days. I’ve thought of nothing but this book for 4 days. I’m still thinking about this book. I wish I could forget it right away so that I can reread it and experience everything I did while reading it again.

This novel is unique in many ways. I’ve read many fiction and non-fiction books about suicide, and this book treats the topic like no other. It’s rare to find the perspective of suicide survivors in a novel, when most others talk about the suicide victims.

The writing is graceful, elegant, inviting and absorbing. Pringle’s writing style invites you into the book and keeps you there, even as it tears your soul to shreds. At some point towards the end I was scared that the novel would leave me emotionally devastated, but I was left instead with a peaceful sense of closure. It’s like I went through grief but I emerged out of it feeling strong and peaceful. It’s a bizarre feeling. It’s a beautiful feeling.

I’ve read other novels about small-town America, but this portrayal of the Midwest was so nuanced, so honest. It depicted the terrible things people do to each other, while reminding the readers of why they do them — because of how difficult and devastating their life is. Not excusing them. Not judging anyone. Just an honest portrayal of people’s lives in clear, poetic prose.

This book will stay with me for a long time. It is so rare to have this experience while reading. Thank you to Erin Pringle for writing it, and to Awst Press for publishing it. I’m glad I came across it and I would recommend it to everyone.


If your library is closed due to community health concerns, please consider purchasing Hezada! I Miss You from the following locations (these locations ship books to your home and need even more support during this time):

Sunday, March 15, 2020

"It's haunting. It's lovely." The Austin Chronicle Reviews Hezada! I Miss You

"It's haunting. It's lovely. It's an utterly painful and beautiful look at how life passes. Exploring the consequences of a suicide from those intimately involved to those on the sidelines, Pringle's unflinching view sets a summer circus as a backdrop for everything lost when life is gone."
Cat McCarrey on Hezada! I Miss You, The Austin Chronicle