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 An International Journal of Writing and the Arts Fiction Writers and Publishing Magazine Report By David Jones

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An International Journal of Writing and the Arts

Fiction Writers and Publishing

Magazine Report

By David Jones

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Table of Contents

Fact Sheet 3

Why I Chose Newport Review 4

Comparison Table 5

Prose Reviews 6

Interview with Katherine Kulpa 11

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Fact Sheet

Online magazine: Newport Review

Web address: 

Email address: [email protected] 

Founded: Online-only Journal in 2007

Editor/Founder: Katherine Kulpa

Frequency: Biannual

What they Publish: fiction, flash fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art and photography

Submission Guidelines:

“We welcome well-written fiction of (almost) all lengths, from flash and short-short works to

full-length stories (up to about 7000 words). We are open to most genres and genre-blending

fiction, but are not interested in anything formulaic. We love stories with a strong sense of 

language, emotional richness and vivid characters. We don’t publish children’s stories, fan

fiction, or stories whose sole purpose is to impart a moral lesson or push a political or religious

viewpoint. Please send one short story (1000 words+) at a time. You may send up to two flash

fiction pieces (up to 1000 words).”

Reading Period: Varies for each issue

Simultaneous Submissions: Yes (only for flash, two pieces max)

Contributor Payment: No

CLMP Member: Yes

AWP Member: Yes

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Why I Chose Newport Review

I found Newport Review on the class list of fiction markets. I decided to just check it out,

and I was attracted to some of the work. I stumbled into Apocalyptic Liquor Store by Penni Jones

in Issue 4 (Winter 2009) and was impressed by the craft of it. The editing is top notch, and the

 pieces are compelling with a variety of voices. I like the magazine’s sensibilities and its

commitment to good writing, no matter the writers’ experience.

I also like Newport because it gives emerging writers a fair chance. Each issue has a

“New Voices” section that introduces readers to an unpublished author. The website also

contains a link to Writers Resources, which includes a list of other journals and publications that

 Newport recommends. This is a good way of building community and exposing writers to other 

 potential markets.

Overall, the work is impressive, but the quality is certainly attainable. And because the

magazine doesn’t publish that many fiction pieces each issues (3-6), the competition is pretty

tight. I’d feel especially proud of making the cut.

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Comparison of Issues Over Time

Issue 3

(Spring/Summer 2009)

Issue 4

(Fall/Winter 2009)

Issue 5

(Summer 2010)

Fic:Flash:CNF:Poetry 4:5:1:6 3:3:1:8 5:1:3:9

POV 1st:2nd:3rd

(Fiction only)

5:0:5 4:1:1 2:0:4


(Fiction and CNF)

4:6 3:5 4:4


(Fiction and CNF)

1:9 1:7 0:8

Flash Contest Winners Included (No Winner for Issue 5)

The magazine has a clear variety of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, but it tends to learn more

towards fiction than CNF. The gender balance in each issue is about even, and there is also

roughly an equal balance of flash and longer fiction. It seems like the magazine is open to any

compelling POV, which is awesome. What shocked me, though, is large disparity between

students and nonstudents getting published here. This is not to say that students can’t get

 published here. It just means that the ones that do can definitely write.

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Prose Reviews

Issue 3

The Book of Love by Deborah Dashow Ruth is a first person flash piece, placed in a

domestic setting. The unnamed female narrator tells the story of her relationship with a man, that

ultimately leads to them getting married. Eventually the woman becomes restless and starts a

fling with a stranger. Then she impulsively gets bored with that and “. . .out of the blue, the shit

hit the fan and I called it quits. I just said no, picked up my marbles, and never looked back.” She

uses these botched relationships as inspiration to write the Book of Love.

The very first line of the story is: “First rule of writing: Avoid clichés like the plague.” It

then proceeds to tell an entire story using nothing but clichéd lines that people use when telling a

love story. “They were the best years of my life. But it takes two to tango. I could see the writing

on the wall, and I was riding for a fall.” There is a clear story arc that begins with the woman

getting married, tying to make a commitment to one person. In the end, she changes her entire

outlook on relationships. This comes through from the narrator’s fast, concise voice. “The

 playing field’s been leveled, and there are other fish in the sea. I can see for miles, the future lies

ahead, and the best is yet to come.” The piece is told entirely in model summary, with the use of 

clichés, but I think it works well for the story movement. The story never has to show a scene,

and it still has a clear story arc.

 Dust and Ice by Jan English Leary is a first person narrative, told in a domestic setting.

The unnamed female narrator is with her boyfriend Brian, on a blanket in their backyard,

watching a meteor. While they watch, the narrator thinks about her love of Brian. “I think I can

understand loving someone so much, trusting him so much that I’d follow him anywhere.” But,

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while there is good use of internal POV, the story also action proceeds when Brian and the

narrator start making out. They don’t go any further because she doesn’t have her birth control.

The piece ends with them folding up the blanket and going back inside.

I like that there are two storylines in this piece. First is the present moment, where the

couple is in their backyard watching the meteor. But there is a deeper layer, because this couple

is in love. The narrator is probably waiting for him to propose. She doesn’t say this directly but

instead uses a quick reference to a wedding veil. I think the two storylines are brought together 

seamlessly by narrator’s voice, imagery and powerful use of language. “He is my sun, my

Supernova. I am his moon. I wax and wane at his will.” It becomes clear very quickly what the

story is really about.

Issue 4

 Apocalyptic Liquor Store by Penni Jones is a plainspoken story in a domestic setting. The

unnamed narrator recalls two brothers that own the liquor store close to her apartment. She stops

there and regularly notices that one of the brothers is always in the back, smoking cigarettes and

watching sermons on a small tv. One particular night, she stops in to buy wine and decides to ask 

one of the brothers what religion he is. He says “Non-Denominational,” then goes into an

apocalyptic rant as he rings the narrator up. “It’s the end times. The signs are everywhere.” The

narrator takes his rant to heart and decides to add a pack of Marlboro Lights to her purchase.

The image of the brothers is given clearly and quickly. “The brothers looked nearly

identical with their leather skin and stooped postures, except one had brown hair and one had

gray hair.” There is strong use of a model telling to describe their routine, always smoking and

watching sermons. When she arrives at the store, she doesn’t intend to smoke. “His second hand

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smoke made my mouth water as I realized it had been three days since my last cigarette.

Thinking I should have gone to a different store, I heard his hacking smoker’s cough and my

resolve strengthened.” The piece uses sensory details well to heighten the moment. I like the use

of subtext and the way that the story smoothly moves from beginning to end, with a clear 

moment of decision when the narrator buys the cigarettes.

 Loser Birds by Joe Markman is a plainspoken story placed in a domestic setting. The

narrator and several friends are intoxicated at a friend’s house, by his pool, at four in the

morning. The narrator’s drunkenness is very clear, especially when he checks out the girl, Anna.

“She’s lying to my left on a lounge chair. I drag my vision slowly from the place where her 

shorts end and her inner thigh continues, along her abdomen to her eyes.” George provides lines

of coke, and the narrator provides weed. They get stoned and celebrate the morning, because

they’ve outlasted the birds that stay up very late. The piece ends with the narrator kissing Anna,

“before the last of the darkness vanishes into the morning light.”

On the surface, it’s a story about getting fucked up, but the subtext is clear. The narrator 

has feelings for Anna, probably romantic feelings. “I pause, enjoying the permission she has

given me to look at her, to ache for her.” I like the narrator’s drunken state is shown, not just

told. “It’s very late now, I think. I take a sip of my drink and the rum feels warm and pleasurable

going down my throat and pooling into my stomach.” It’s interesting that, in the end, because it’s

not directly stated that he takes his line of coke, but I think he does. There is also a noticeable

change by the end, fueled by drugs and lack of sleep. He’s actually willing to make a move on

the girl.

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Issue 5

 Lost and Found  by Lisa Borders is a realistic third person narrative, in a domestic setting.

The story opens with Debra, who daydreams about finding lost cats. One July night, she’s out for 

her nightly walk and passes a flier for a lost cat, a silver tabby named Tinkerbell Superstar. She

studies the flier to memorize the cat’s features, but is drawn to the picture because in it, the cat is

 pictured with a little girl. “Pale eyes, blonde or light brown hair. A big smile on her face, a tutu

around her hips, the cat in her arms. Heather. She could be Heather.” Heather is Debra’s dead

daughter. Debra continues her walk, eventually finds a cat, and goes back to the flier to get the

 provided phone number. She drives to the house, but realizes while on the way that the cat isn’t

the lost one. She decides to try anyway and gives the cat to the woman and her little girl. They

realize it’s not the right cat, but take it anyway and invite Debra in for coffee. She notices a

shrine to a dead young boy in the living room. She knows that this family has lost someone too,

and she accepts the invite for coffee because she feels relieved to know she’s not alone.

The story uses a close third person POV to further show Debra’s character. “The idea

amused Debra, but she knew, of course, the grim reality; the cats were most often gone for good,

 possibly dead. Debra was not a woman given to great displays of sentiment, and even in her 

imagination she would only let whimsy go so far.” Also, there is a clear sense of what the story

is really about. Debra has a strong connection to animals, one that she can’t make with children

anymore because her daughter is dead. The original intro to Heather is quick and is heightened

with the use of backstory. Debra is divorced, and was at some point falsely accused of physically

abusing her daughter. Even her husband didn’t believe her, one of the factors that probably leads

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to their divorce. I think the present story is compelling, and the use of backstory adds another 

layer. The story is well done, and it comes full circle in the end.

 Badman by Rusty Barnes is a realistic third person story, in a domestic setting. Mac, a

trucker and mechanic, is visiting a lifelong female friend, Corey. He has always had feelings for 

her. This visit is well-timed because her current love interest Gerald isn’t around. “Mac didn’t

like to think about how much Gerald had been over lately. He knew Gerald had no official claim

to her – didn’t really want one, nor did he – but he didn’t like the feeling of sharing her.” Corey

invites Mac in, and he finally gets a chance to make his move. They started fooling around some

until Corey’s little girl Jillian wakes up and begins crying. Corey gets the child from her 

 bedroom and when they return to the living room, Jillian points at Mac and continually calls him

“Badman”. Mac is upset by this, but eventually realizes that Jillian is calling him Badman

 because of the old photograph in the living room, where he is in a Batman costume. Mac feels

relieved by this and knows that if Jillian doesn’t think he’s a Badman, he might have a shot with

Corey afterall. The piece ends with Gerald and Corey pulling up outside in Corey’s truck. Jillian

drags Mac to the porch, and he lets her run to them.

There is a short scene of flashback in this story, to when Mac and Corey are in a pool

with Gerald and Johnny, drinking and smoking pot. “Corey was seventeen, Mac was eighteen,

and Corey was three years away from having her first child, the one she had given up, and a

great and important life still seemed possible, if not inevitable.” This scene shows their past

interactions and that Mac has wanted Corey for a long time, which I think is more effective than

 just saying Mac loves her. The piece has good pacing, and I especially like how information is

disclosed. “Mac had been on the road then, driving nuclear waste through Catasauqua,

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Pennsylvania to Ottawa, Ontario”. From this, the reader can tell that Mac is a trucker, instead of 

it having to be explained with backstory. His job gives us many aspects of his characters,

including his class and education. The friendship between the two is very clear, but the piece is

driven by the fact that Mac wants more, even if not a full commitment. The present story

moment is driven by Mac’s inner conflict and desire. It’s crafted very well from beginning to


 Interview with Head Editor and Writer Katherine Kulpa (November 15, 2011)

David Jones: What is the most common mistake you see from young writers?

Katherine Kulpa: Sending a piece out before it’s ready. Writing really is re-writing, but we see

a lot of stories and poems that have really obvious structural problems as well as spelling and

grammatical errors. This tells me that the writer hasn’t taken the time to read the work with the

close attention it deserves. If the writer doesn’t care, why should I?

DJ: What kinds of stories do you find cliché and uninteresting?

KK: Stories where the protagonist “learns a lesson” that the reader can see coming on the first

 page; stories that are obviously written to support a twist ending (not that all twist endings are

 bad, but if the story feels like it’s only there to support a punch line, I’m just not interested);

stories about childhood that are cute and sentimental; stories in which the protagonist’s identity

and self-worth depend entirely upon her controlling vampire boyfriend.

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DJ: How does your writing process influence your editing process, and how does your editing

 process influence your writing?

KK: This topic just came up last night! Three of us were meeting to go over our finalist choices

for the flash fiction contest before we sent them to the contest judge, and one comment that an

editor made--"If I don't know what the story's about by the end of the first page, it's probably

going to be a no"--really resonated with all of us. The more I read fiction submissions and see

mistakes other writers make, the better I get at recognizing those mistakes in my own writing

(not that I won't still make them!) I think writing makes me a better editor and editing makes me

a better writer because I know how writing works. I know how difficult it is to get it right and

how amazing it can be when you do.

DJ: How long have you been editing?

KK: I edited student publications in high school and college and later did copy editing at some

local newspapers. My first professional magazine editing job was at Merlyn’s Pen, a magazine of 

writing by teens. I was published in Newport Review in the late 1990s, then volunteered to work 

on the magazine.

DJ: How do you finance the magazine?

KK: We have applied for and been awarded grants from RISCA (RI State Council on the Arts).

Grants are the primary source of funding, followed by individual donations. We also sponsor 

writing contests, and any income left over after paying the writers and contest judge is used to

fund the magazine.

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DJ: Do you have any other jobs? How do you balance editing the magazine with other 


KK: Yes, I work as a reference librarian and I teach creative writing at URI, so it can be

challenging to try to fit everything in … lots of late nights, lots of coffee!

DJ: What are your thoughts on the emergence of online magizines?

KK: I love that I can access a magazine anytime and from anywhere, and that if I publish

something online, I can share it instantly with friends. The downside is that if online publications

go out of business, your work can disappear into the ether. We keep an archive of past work, and

I hope we would be able to continue to host the archive online, even if the magazine stopped


DJ: What other magazines/online publications do you read? Why do you like them?

KK: I like One Story—it has a unique format, just publishing one short story at a time, and I like

that you can read author interviews online to go along with the stories. The Sun is a beautifully

designed print journal. I try to subscribe to at least one print journal per year to support small

 publishing. Online, I tend to read journals I’ve published in or that writers I know have published

in: Monkeybicycle, Metazen, deComp, The Pedestal, Vestal Review, Pank, Flashquake,

Foundling Review, Northville Review … I also look at Duotrope online to see where writers

who submit to Newport Review have sent or published other work. I like to see the range of 

work that’s out there.

DJ: Name one piece that you’re especially proud of publishing, and explain why.

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KK: Well, I’d like to split this into two, because the two examples I’m thinking of really show

 both sides of Newport Review. We recently published poems by Marge Piercy, and that was a

thrill, because she’s a poet and fiction writer I studied in college, someone I’ve always admired,

and having her send work to the magazine was just amazing. But in the same issue, we also

 published two stories by X. U. Navarro, a new writer, and that was his first professional

 publication. I started writing at a young age and really worked hard to get published for the first

time, so I have a special affinity for publishing new writers. So we had work by a tremendously

respected, established writer and work by an amazingly talented young writer just starting his

career, both in the same issue.

DJ: There are multiple editors on the magazine. Do you ever bump heads when making editorial

decisions? Or is everything ultimately your decision as head editor?

KK: We’re pretty collegial, and every piece gets voted on by two or more editors. If I really

loved something and all the other editors hated it, I could probably override them, but that really

hasn’t happened. (Yet!)

DJ: What are the advantages and disadvantages to running an online-only magazine?

KK: It requires a lot less space – we don’t have a physical office; all our editors work from

home – and it’s less costly, I think, than publishing a print journal. We just have to pay for web

hosting. But there are still some funders and some writers who don’t consider web publications

“real” magazines. I think that will change with time.

DJ: How do your spread awareness about the mag? Do you do any marketing/promotion when

you have extra time?

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KK: We have a blog and Facebook page that we try to update, and we have an email list, so we

can send out announcements about readings or new issues. We’ve also advertised in Poets &

Writers and other writing journals.

DJ: What’s a piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers?

KK: Have patience, and know that it can take a long time to publish your work. Use that time to

make your writing as good as it can be. It will be worth the effort!