The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Editor Version: Robert Scott Leyse

(Interview consists of 14 pre-set questions. Editors maintain a literary Website.)

Update 8/30/09: So a friend calls me up, laughing, and informs me that one mentally deficient Sean Aden Lovelace has taken serious umbrage to my response to question # 10 below, and posted a semi-intelligible rant on his blog: please scroll down to question # 10 to read my response to LovDunce.

1) As an editor what are your primary criteria for acceptance of work?

Stylistic individuality, with a focus on emotion mirrored by the style. Must also exhibit a logical progression of the narrative line and carry the reader emotionally, as opposed to burdening with overmuch description of the scenery. Characters must emotionally engage one another, or vibrantly interact with themselves.

Other things I like (but are not necessary for acceptance) are 1) mystical/religious turns of thought, 2) love stories, at whatever stage of a relationship, 3) invective that's playful instead of bitter, and 4) laughs -- whether they're subtle chuckles or shout-out-loud belly-massages.

Things I don't like (and will stop me from reading) are 1) preachy political agenda pieces, 2) pop-culture-reference saturated pieces, and 3) simpering sentimental slop.

2) How important are cover letters to you?

It makes no difference to me what an author does or does not put in a cover letter, or if an author bothers to enclose one. The only thing that matters is the submitted work.

3) Do you ever feel compelled to comment on work you've declined?

On rare occasions, I'll receive a very good story that doesn't fit our needs. This is generally because the author has chosen to extensively explain something pertaining to the setting or an activity that the characters are engaged in, such that it comes across as semi-fiction. There was a story centered around surf fishing - very well written, but too informative about surf fishing to suit me: I'm interested in interaction between people, not interaction between people and activities. So I told the author why we didn't want it even though it was very good. I've since found out he's had it accepted by a sporting magazine, as it well should be.

As a general rule, though, I don't have the time to comment on stories I've declined to accept; nor would I be qualified to do so, since I seldom -- only in rare instances such as those above -- read more than two or three paragraphs of them.

4) Is there something of a theme that runs through your Site?

To quote the "About" page: if The Shattercolors Literary Review has a mission aside from the obvious one of publishing good writing, then it's 1) to promote vividness of emotion in literary endeavors, and 2) to demonstrate that "literary" and "entertainment," far from being at crossroads with one another, are essential to one another.

5) What's your take on politics and literary endeavor?

Literature should exist by and for itself -- be a world of emotion, conflict, captivation, illumination, escape unto itself -- with no political dependency whatsoever. I don't give a dead horse's ass what authors' political convictions are, as long as the said convictions are accorded something far less than a supporting role in their work. Of course, using political machinations as a plot-vehicle to illuminate the timelessness of ambition, deception, playacting, networking, revenge, cronyism, delight in sowing chaos -- where the convictions voiced by the characters are merely incidental to the conflict -- is a different matter altogether, as in the novels of Stendhal, not to mention The Possessed by Dostoevsky.

6) Who are some of the authors you most admire?

Many of the authors that I publish here and on Sliptongue.

Adelaide Cummings' newest release, Curtain Call (as well as her past releases), is formal poetry at its best.

My current nonfiction fav is George and Darril Fosty's Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925.

7) How familiar are you with the literary canon?

Some people might say the literary canon is the primary décor of my apartment -- a couple walls of books floor to ceiling, stacks on the furniture, strays often lying on the carpet. Among my favs: Cervantes, Boccaccio, Lermontov, Stendhal, Laclos, Martial, Juvenal, Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, Terence, Moliere, Kleist, Holderlin, Novalis, Hoffmann, Fontane, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Strindberg, Ibsen, de Navarre, de Sade, Flaubert, Maupassant, Celine, Marlowe, Rochester, "Monk" Lewis, Byron, Mr. and Mrs. Shelly, Coleridge, Stevenson, Poe, Twain, Faulkner, Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Lautremont, Rimbaud, Artaud, Sappho, Ovid, Propertius, Petronius, The Arabian Nights. Ancient Greek and Roman/19th century French/British Restoration authors in general. Comic playwrights from all periods and countries.

8) What are your feelings about formal vs. free verse?

Poetry is a formal discipline that fraudulent poseurs are seeking to discredit via the sham known as "free verse." Many semi-literate pop-culture-educated hacks, for unknown reasons, wish to think of themselves as "poets": they proceed to convince themselves of such by churning out formless, incomprehensible, self-referential gibberish and calling it "free verse." Free versers are inordinately fond of deluding themselves that they're overthrowing tradition: they seem to feel muddled nonsense is preferable to disciplined clarity.

9) Do you feel "flash" fiction (300 words or less) is a viable form, or nothing more than a writing exercise?

It's a writing exercise, useful in learning the virtues of succinctness of expression. As for it being a viable form... Basically, some corner-cutting smartass thought, "Hey, why waste these writing exercises? Why not doll them up in fancy terminology -- call them 'flash fiction,' 'flashers,' or 'impromptus' -- and persuade people they're real stories? That way, I'll be able to churn out three or four or five of them a night!" Needless to say, I neither read nor publish writing exercises.

Update 8/30/09: A friend called me up, laughing, and informed me that one mentally deficient Sean Aden Lovelace has taken serious umbrage to the above paragraph, and posted a semi-intelligible rant on his blog. Curiously, Sean Aden Lovelace begins his rant by chiding my use of first, middle, and last names as a published author when he does the very same thing, having published a 35-page (oh, my!) book and numerous so-called stories under the name of "Sean Aden Lovelace." My recommendation, LovDunce: if you're going to slam someone for using all three of their names (and getting riled about that is pathetic enough), then maybe you ought to stop doing so yourself. Please look up the word "consistency" in a dictionary, assuming you know how to use one.

Which brings me to the second self-contradiction at the beginning of Sean Aden Lovelace's mental-age-of-nine rant. He writes with scorn "And he publishes himself in his own magazine?" as if such is a heinous crime. But then, lo and behold, on the Amazon page of the above-mentioned 35-page book by Sean Aden Lovelace, there is one review: written, of course, by Sean Aden Lovelace himself. The book was published in 2004 and in all that time LovDunce hasn't even managed to inspire anyone to attack it, much less praise it: he has to write the lone review himself. And he chastises me for publishing myself in my own magazine? Which brings me to my second recommendation, LovDunce: please do some serious perusal of current literary magazines: you will find that dozens of capable editors publish themselves in their own magazines. After all, if editors do not believe in their own magazines enough to publish themselves in them, how can they conscientiously expect authors to believe in their magazines as well? But Sean Aden Lovelace reviews his own book on Amazon (otherwise it wouldn't have a review at all), so he is a very conscientious and reliable gentleman who's in a very good position to judge others.

All right, to the matter: Sean Aden Lovelace, I tossed off my tongue-in-cheek response to question # 10 for the express purpose of annoying pretentious, untalented, fraudulent, parasitical nitwits like you. You don't like it? Oh, boo hoo hoo! Where's your Mommy when you need her, right? Actually, I'm sure you live with your Mommy and that she frequently locks you in the closet for ingesting horse manure, as well as for simply being the insufferably boring imbecile that you are.

So Sean Aden Lovelace is upset. After the self-contradictory intro, he announces the rant proper with the megalomaniacal "I’ll just jot down this epic poem here" (Yeah right, LovDunce: your muddled self-contradictory rubbish is an epic poem: there are people in asylums who believe they've composed Beethoven's Ninth, and I do believe you'd be fit company for them.) and proceeds to indulge in even more megalomania, comparing his writing to "parable, fable, mythology, psalm." Any sane person knows, LovDunce, that there is no way in hell that I was casting aspersions on parables, fables, mythology, and psalms -- which (wake up, you smug vainglorious boob!) have absolutely nothing to do with the semi-literate "flash" fiction (I will NOT torment the reader by quoting from one of your laughably adolescent scribblings.) written by yourself. Read question # 10 above again, moron: it addresses "flash" fiction only, not parables, fables, mythology, and psalms. "Flash" fiction is a very recent term, dating from 1992 -- again, check it in a dictionary, moron.

But that's why you launched your rant in the first place, right? It's so you could have an excuse to soar to the heights of delirious delusion and compare yourself to the likes of Aesop, Franz Kafka, and Christ! (Yup, people: he does!) Sean Aden Lovelace: why are you being allowed to teach at a university? What member of the Board of Directors are you related to, or blackmailing, to keep that job? You are obviously as insane as you are vain. Your students have my heartfelt sympathy.

Sean Aden Lovelace knows very little about writing: he lumps Sonnets in with "flash" fiction as well. Please also look up the word "sonnet" in a dictionary, LovDunce, where you will find no mention of a sonnet being anything remotely resembling "flash" fiction. Oh, and he also sarcastically asks how I feel about sonnets. Well, let's see: I've published sonnets written by some very accomplished poets: HERE, HERE, and HERE. Does that answer your question, LovDunce? Here's an idea that's obviously foreign to you: seek to grasp the concept of getting your facts straight before slinging accusations.

But Sean Aden Lovelace truly reveals the leanings of his frail mental capacity when he interrupts his rant towards the end to inform us: "Well, I just had some kick ass nachos. It felt good. It didn’t take long, they are often listed as appetizer…" (My, oh, my: LovDunce teaches at a university and writes gradeschool level prose. Again, I pity his students, as well as the university itself.) One last recommendation, LovDunce: if you're going to attempt to persuade others that you know something about writing and care about writing, then leave off with the dietary information. No one cares what you stuffed your gullet with. But that's just the thing: deluded megalomaniacs like Sean Aden Lovelace think the whole world cares about every little insignificant thing they do.

Last paragraph, Sean Aden Lovelace: I wrote "The ShatterColors Standard Interview" for the express purpose of having different authors provide contrasting responses to a few questions. Authors of completely different inclinations have participated. I have never expected, or even wanted, all of them to agree with my views; I have only wished for them to be themselves. Believe it or not, there are authors who have participated who frequently write modern "flash" fiction, as well as full out novels, and I have the greatest respect for them. Nor have they ever held it against me that I chose to answer question # 10 in a sassy manner, since they are bright people who understand what irony is. But you didn't bother to read beyond your need to advertise your megalomania, did you? In fact, I'm sure you're not capable of doing so.

I lied, Sean Aden Lovelace: this is the last paragraph. Powers that be at Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN: you have a person in your employ who thinks nothing of attacking people on the Internet without knowing the first thing about them, and contradicting and making a fool of himself in the process. Is this really the sort of person you want teaching the students of your school? Is this the sort of person that parents of students had in mind when they were setting their hard earned money aside to provide their children with an education? Must your students (i.e., your customers) settle for an irresponsible instructor who unconscionably attacks complete strangers with zero facts at his disposal and has no ability to argue logically? I am positive that there are far more worthy candidates for his position, and that the parents who are paying the bills would agree with me.

Update to the above, 9/1/09:

So I sent Sean Aden Lovelace an email this morning to let him know I'd responded to his attack. I was all set for another round of thrash-for-kicks (Yup, I love invective.), when...

Suffice to say we ended up exchanging a few affable emails. By way of winding this up, here are the last two:

I sent this:


Yeah, it's really all just a game to me -- I write fiction, my answers to questions often verge on it. I like to scrap, can't entirely dislike someone who provides me with an occasion for some fun.

Saw your latest post -- thanks for that, and it's over as far as I'm concerned.

And now I'll admit that you've lead me to reevaluate whether I'm going to deal with accepting flash fiction for Sliptongue and ShatterColors (when the latter reopens). Always felt it was too much trouble to make a separate page for 300-500 words (that was my real objection to publishing it), but I could ask for sets of 3 to be published together.

And as a fellow fly fisherman (when I'm in CO, ID, or CA)... Cast away!


He responded with:


Yeh, it's cool, no worries. I'm the one who called you a few names first, and should have focused on flash fiction, the genre only, since I am a huge advocate of what I consider an exciting and literary form. I really think you should consider flashes, but you are the editor, naturally.

Anyway, my bad and sorry to offend.

Write on. And fish on (a form of writing, or maybe reading?).


I believe we've both learned something; for my part, I've decided to accept flash fiction (I never hated it, at most I ignored it) on Sliptongue beginning next year. It is a popular and established form, and I know of at least one writer I admire and publish -- Barry Baldwin -- who regularly indulges in it.

Show's over, people. Live well, in good health.

10) When not editing, what do you do for amusement?

Write; or sow chaos in public places with the assistance of undisciplined dogs (as described HERE); or toss the frisbee in Central Park; or attend baseball games/peruse the latest MLB news; or go to hot yoga class or aerial yoga class or Asphalt Green's swimming pool; or hang out in Paris, San Francisco, San Diego, San Juan, Bermuda... Downhill skiing, surfing and boogie boarding, fly fishing, camping above timberline in the Sierras... The list could go on and on...

11) What's one of the most annoying things you can think of?

The fact that the average supermarket in America is at least 90% stocked with nutritionally deficient, artificially processed, chemically-saturated garbage masquerading as human sustenance. The fact that there are vast tracts of this country (i.e., suburban wastelands) where the only available sources of sustenance are fast food places and convenience stores, where it's not even possible to purchase pesticide-saturated produce, much less anything that's certified organic. The fact that Shea and Yankee Stadiums 1) won't allow people to bring their own beer, and 2) sell watered down dog-piss, and tell people it's beer.

12) Briefly describe what you consider to be one of your standout childhood pranks.

Happened upon some dead cottonmouths (venomous snakes native to the SE U.S.) at a fish hatchery and made use of the carcasses to amaze and frighten people. For a lengthier description click HERE.

13) What are your upcoming projects/works in progress?

Am currently doing the final revisions for a couple of novels.

14) Care to conclude with a sweeping philosophical statement?

Fiction writing is the fine art of adopting personalities at will, and then casting them off -- of convincingly playing parts, masquerading: never stoop to the plebeian level of actually believing what you write.

And don't forget to now and then gaze up at the stars at night and dissolve out from under yourself at the sight of the miracle of the universe and feel life’s mysteries reverberate in every sinew of your body.


The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Editor Version
© 2006 by Robert Scott Leyse

Robert Scott Leyse Responses
© 2006 by Robert Scott Leyse



About the Editor

Robert Scott Leyse is the founder and editor of the ShatterColors Literary Review. He has three novels out, Liaisons for Laughs: Angie & Ella's Summer of Delirium (July, 2009), Self-Murder (April, 2010), and Attraction and Repulsion (June 2011). A native of San Francisco, he resides in Manhattan. More information may be found at his website, Robert Scott Leyse Online.

“Love can't fully bloom while obstacles stand in its way. Attraction and Repulsion tells the story of a pair of lovers in Paris, as they pursue love and the forces that keep them apart try even harder. A story of love in spite of all those who would end it, Robert Scott Leyse constructs a gripping story that will be hard to put down.”

Midwest Book Review (in "Small Press Bookwatch, April 2011")

“Here in the span of a few tumultuous days, in the heart of Paris, being the only theater that could stage this resplendent play on sudden love, we find a dreamed love that becomes real with quick edges, a purported ménage à trois that is not a threesome, a plotted death that is not murder, where death’s sanctuary becomes a playground, and where actors become characters and characters become actors.”

Tom Sheehan, author of Epic Cures and Brief Cases, Short Spans

“Ah, to be a young man in Paris with two lovely, liberated ladies in a very contemporary ménage à trois and with a colorful crew of international misfits for friendspicnicking gourmet-style in Montsouris Park, sneaking into Père Lachaise cemetery after dark to cavort amid a thunder storm, partying all night in the City of Light, delighting under the playful spell of Erosall of it good fun until true love and jealousy intrude, and their lives take a serious turn. Robert Scott Leyse gives us a Parisian romantic comedy with a well-earned happy ending and repartee as sparkling as the champagne. À votre santé!”

—William T. Hathaway, Rinehart Award winning author of Summer Snow and Radical Peace

“Add a love triangle and a love-hate triangle together in Paris, mix in some festive adventures and crackling dialogue, and Attraction and Repulsion is the entertaining result. Page-turning fun, love, duress, and triumph: true happiness doesn't come cheap in life, or in this novel.”

—George Fosty, ESPN featured author of Black Ice and Splendid is the Sun

“No sleep, no rest for the mind just makes the descent all the more quick. Self-Murder is the tale of a man who falls deeper and deeper into a haze of confusion, as his insomnia deprives him of sleep and he finds his only comfort in the excesses of life. As he pursues love, the strength of that emotion only spins his life out even more, and as he loses control of reality, he may do things he regrets. Self-Murder is a fascinating and excellent psychological thriller readers won't be able to put down.”

Midwest Book Review (in "Small Press Bookwatch, February 2010")

“A phantasmagoria of unbridled lust, sexual obsession, and stealth madness, Robert Scott Leyse’s Self-Murder is a dazzling indictment of desire that brims with sensory imagery and moments of exquisite verbal beauty delivered by a narrative voice that is baroque but disturbing and more than a little reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.”

—Gary Earl Ross, author of Blackbird Rising: A Novel of the American Spirit and the Edgar Award-winning drama Matter of Intent

“Robert Scott Leyse channels Baudelaire's Queen of Spades and Jack of Hearts, speaking darkly of dead loves, in this new book. He also reminds me of James Purdy's notorious eccentricity. There's plenty of middlebrow stuff if you want it. Self-Murder isn't that.”

Kris Saknussemm, author of Zanesville and Private Midnight

“After his first novel, Liaisons For Laughs, which took Sex and the City to new heights and depths, Robert Scott Leyse's second one, Self-Murder, explores broader, deeper, and darker territories. Leyse achieves a striking stylistic gallimaufry: Proustian memories underpinning thoughts, words, and deeds; obsession treated in a way which evokes Lolita without those irritating Nabokovian curlicues; romps that Henry Miller would have enjoyed; a finale that delivers a blow to the solar plexus.”

—Barry Baldwin, Emeritus Professor of Classics, U. of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Self-Murder is lush sensuality of language injected with menace. A vivid portrait of mental disintegration and an explosive picture-show. Hallucinations without substance-abuse. Overwrought nerves and insomnia are Self-Murders drugs of choice.”

—George Fosty, ESPN featured author of Black Ice and Splendid is the Sun

“Here is a psychological struggle and sensual breakout where you best get a comfortable seat, grab the joy stick, and hang on. This is a delicious look at the mystery of self-psychoanalysis, sensual release, acceptance of gifts of the tallest order, or the lowest. For those with wander-lust, and all the taste, touch and aroma imaginable in-between, Self-Murder is a journey to gorge the senses where the reader gets relished time and time again, as the protagonist chases himself through discovery of the basics that make the world go round.”

—Tom Sheehan, author of Epic Cures and Brief Cases, Short Spans

"This is a good/fun read I can highly recommend to readers searching for something different and don't mind entering the mind of the insane."

Allbooks Reviews

"Some friendships are bonds that can't be broken. 'Liaisons for Laughs: Angie & Ella's Summer of Delirium' tells the story of two best friends in a frank and entertaining method. A hilarious and endlessly entertaining collection of stories about the little things of life, 'Liaisons for Laughs' never stops its assault on the funny bone. A fine and entertaining novel, 'Liaisons for Laughs' is a choice pick for fiction readers."

Midwest Book Review (in "Small Press Bookwatch")

"...we absolutely love Robert Scott Leyse’s Liaisons for Laughs: Angie & Ella's Summer of Delirium. His first book release is fun, steamy, and intelligent."

Ian and Alicia Denchasy, LA Weekly

“Fun and eroticism don’t go together nearly often enough. They do in Leyse tit for tat. This is clever, humane, word-sensual writing.”

Kris Saknussemm, author of Zanesville and Private Midnight

“You can feel the humidity in your own backyard as Angie and Ella soak up the summer in New York with various paramours with their super sexy, sex-positive attitudes..”

Susan DiPlacido, author of 24/7 and House Money

“The erotic e-mails of these two libidinous heroines recount their escapades with wicked charm and droll humor..”

William T. Hathaway, author of A World Of Hurt and Summer Snow


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