Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Champions of LWOT: Terri Favro

In a noble attempt to rally our noble readers to her noble cause, LWOT is reprinting a plea from contributor Terri Favro who is locked in a heated battle with some guy in a literal deathmatch. By literal, we mean figurative and by deathmatch we mean match that leads to someone's death. Read below for a series of words interspersed with various punctuation marks.

Hello all...

This is a short but heartfelt "thank you" to all of you who are voting to keep my short story in the Brokenpencil online competition. I've heard some remarkable stories of the extremes people have been going to keep "Cold Comfort" alive. I wish I could buy you all a collective drink.

My opponent gathers a huge number of votes in a small amount of time, overnight, all at once, which means that every morning I wake up 100 votes behind him, and every day I slowly catch up in the online votes. It's exactly what he did to his previous opponent. He has a good story, but these votes can't all be coming from readers. Too many, too fast, and in bulk at night. Or in the space of minutes, at points in the late day when I catch or exceed his total. It's a very noticeable pattern. It's likely from accessing online message boards at the university where he's a student.

So this is also a reminder to stick with me until Sunday night if you possibly can. This has turned from a writing competition into one about who can get an online standing army. I've also engaged in some pretty heated debates with my opponent about his story, which you can read on the blog. I know I'm making some strong statements but this is not just me being my usual argumentative self for the sake of winning. I mean exactly what I say.

Even three votes a day, from now until end of day Sunday, would be an enormous help although I know a lot of you are voting far more often than that. Thank you, I'm sorry for all the hassle, and I promise this is the last plea between now and Sunday.

Here's the link --


Sunday, 27 November 2011


There's a talk for talk and a time for action.

This is a time for action.

LWOT: The World's Greatest Fiction Magazine has temporarily stopped accepting submissions until Community is safe. With the show on hiatus and teetering ever closer to cancellation the LWOT editors couldn't sit idly by while one of the best sitcoms on television goes the way of Arrested Development.

Until loyal viewers and readers mobilize to save the show.

Here are some suggestions:
  1. massive blanket fort outside NBC headquarters.
  2. send the president of NBC tubes of Hawthorne Wipes.
  3. Greendale Human Being flash mob.
  4. something scary garden gnomes.
  5. boycott every NBC show that isn't on Thursday nights (except Chuck).
  6. send the president stuffed monkeys holding pens.
That's all. Please don't send us submissions until further notice.

Friday, 12 August 2011

You buy now!

Yes, we are still alive.

Despite a recent hiatus from posting, the LWOT editors would like to assure our noble, loyal readers we do in fact still exist.

That being said, go here and buy some books from Mud Luscious Press.

It's a limited time offer so act now before it's too late.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

This Day in LWOT Merchandise

As LWOT gets set for the coming apocalypse, we're re-launching our unique LWOT branded merchandise starting with this dog dish. If you buy one overpriced ceramic pet bowl this year, make it this one.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Under Construction

LWOT is currently undergoing some maintenance as we upload our latest issue. One of our interns will be swiftly beaten for his ineptitude that lead to the delay and we'll try to have the site back up as soon as possible.

Yours truthfully
The LWOT editors

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Stop the Press

Mud Luscious Press, purveyor of fine literature since a few years ago, has opened its vault in a blind faith subscription drive. You too can own a potential literary masterpiece with a $35 subscription to the MLP 2011 catalog. Offer good until covers are confirmed so click these underlined words to order today.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Indie Writers Deathmatch IV: The Deathiest Match

Remember when your short story and its big brother would spend every day together, and your story hung on every word he said, like it was advice from God himself? See, your story's big brother was a fighter, a champ, the best around. At least he was the best until a bigger, stronger story beat him. Not content to just win the bigger story killed him, snapped him like a twig, snuffed him out like an anniversary dinner candle.

Well now's your chance for revenge. Face off against some of the deadliest short fiction in the Broken Pencil Indy Writers Deathmatch.

The deadline, like your impending doom, is drawing near.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The LWOT Panel

We ask the LWOT Panel what's the last great book you read? What made it so great?

Glen Dresser - Correction Road

The last great book I read was Norwood, the 1966 debut novel by Charles Portis.

I love this subtely comic story about a young marine vet, travelling from his home in Ralph, Texas to New York City to collect a $70 debt from an army buddy, and then back home again. In Norwood Pratt, Portis has created a protagonist who is in many ways the opposite of Kerouac's Sal Paradise, although I can imagine the two of them meeting in a boxcar in Pennsylvania or a roadside diner in Virginia and possibly enjoying each other's company for a few miles, despite their differences. (Norwood actually inquires, when in New York, if an acquaintance knows any beatniks, and is introduced to a guitar-playing girl with whom he entirely fails to get anywhere.)

But Norwood, who's dream is to go to Shreveport and sing on the Louisiana Hayride show, tries to believe the best about people, can fall in love quickly and sincerely, and tries to keep his nose clean. In addition to meeting the girl he intends to marry, he befriends the former world's smallest perfect man (no longer so small since his appetite invoked a growth spurt), and liberates a performing chicken named Joann The Wonder Hen. He asks everyone he meets what they earn and if expenses are paid, whether the individual is a cotton field surveyer, a bread delivery man, or a surly Mr Peanut mascot; it is, for him, as innocent a conversation-starter as asking about the weather. The dialog is bright and fast and Portis, from Arkansas himself, does a wonderful job of capturing the dialects of his native region. He constructs a vivid sense of place almost completely through the characters that inhabit each stop along the way.

Craig Davidson - Sarah Court

I read Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane recently and was blown away. I've been reading a lot of crime fiction lately, and that stood out as being particularly wonderful; the crime itself isn't reall a whodunit, although it is - it's just that it's less important overall than the emotions behind the crime, the reaction to it, and the way Lehane handles his character and his setting of working-class Boston that is so brilliant. He's been big with the movies - Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. I've seen and really enjoyed the first two; the third is something of a departure for Lehane and from what I hear not as good, either the book or the film, but it's also his most popular work so far.

Mike Allison - oxygen officianado

I'm going to be honest: the last thing that really impressed me was Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

I know it's not one book, and I realize it isn't the sort of work upon which conversations on "great fiction" are normally based (except among those winding down from games of D&D). It's probably a little derivative -- a patchwork of scenes and themes from books and movies Stephen King grew up reading -- and maybe I wasn't on-board at every turn the narrative took, but the series is great, if only for it's epic-ness. Those seven books haunted Stephen King for over thirty years, and rumour has it he's plugging away on an eighth.

King works his ass off. Maybe he doesn't have a story about genocide in Africa, or of poor immigrants coming to North America, or anything that can be seen as a portrait of a generation. He's just an average joe with some cool, creepy ideas he wants to get out there, and he sits down at his desk every day and hammers them out. As a writer, I can't help but be inspired by that. The Dark Tower series is a testament to what can be done if you want it bad enough.

I could go on, but Stephen King doesn't need any more praise, so I'll end this little Reading Rainbow review by saying: if you at all like cowboys, trains, robots, witches, bad guys, magic, or anything that might fall into the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or western you should read these books (number IV, Wizard and Glass is my favourite -- an excellent western). Or better yet, listen to the audiobooks because the late great Frank Muller reads the first four and he is perfect.

I've embarrassed myself enough for now. Next time I'll outline why Dean Koontz deserves James Joyce's spot on the Modern Library's 100 best novels list.

J.A Tyler - Mud Luscious Press

James Chapman’s The Rat Veda. Mud Luscious Press featured an excerpt in our chapbook series last year, and we will have a new excerpt from it in our eleventh online issue (April 2010), but the book, all together, is beyond tremendous. The power and subtlety that Chapman is able to wrench from words, the combination of emotions and images is truly visionary. He takes simple notions and twists them, burns them, buries them, smothers them until they can’t breathe, until they come out blue-faced and panting and panicked and insatiable. I cannot say enough about Chapman’s skills, and The Rate Veda is a most brilliant example. Here is a little bit, direct from the book:

There’s no subway, no tunnel, no cellar.

The falsehood collapses.

There isn’t any house, the house is a fiction.

There aren’t walls, so there’s not outside and inside.

Those are a misunderstanding.

Rat, walk, you’re free.

You’re not here.

It’s over.

The tension is broken.

The fantasy collapses.

There’s no Rat.

Touch the inside of the moon with your head.

Fly slowly, lying on your back on an atom.

No one thinks about you, no one sees you, you don’t want them to love you, you’re gone.

If you dance, you don’t even know it.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Call For Submissions

LWOT publishes the very best writing by the very best writers in Canada (and sometimes by Americans who pretend, in their cover letters, to be Canadian). We only publish fiction, though our understanding of the term fiction is pretty loose (and can be summed up, for the most part, by our title). Quite simply, if you're lying, it's fiction.

To continue our more than 100 year tradition of publishing the finest fiction the world has ever seen we need submissions. Lots of them. That's why we're sending out this call for submissions. If you're an aspiring writer, multiple-times bestseller, named Yann Martel or Martin Amis send your work to lwoteditors@gmail. For more information on our submission guidelines direct your the Internet browsing device here.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Stop the Press

J.A. Tyler, the second most prolific man in literature, has an earth-shattering, mind-melting, spleen-bursting contest going on over at Mud Luscious Press. Get your creative juices flowing with this delicious bookmark creation competition. Your unique contribution could soon grace the pages of Mud Luscious chapbooks and novellas around the globe. For more details click the underlined letters here.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Did You Know...

...zebra fish that are white with black stripes will attack and kill zebra fish that are black with white stripes?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

This Day In LWOT History

March 24, 1982

The world celebrates the inaugural "Hug a Writer Day."

Former LWOT editor Gradey Alexander started the semi-holiday as a way to annoy his rival Mordecai Richler in the hope Richler's fans would interrupt the celebrated story teller's lunch at Schwartz's Deli. Alexander also hoped to disrupt the famous delicatessen's lunch service after they banned him because of an altercation during which he flung a seven inch sliced pickle at Richler's autographed picture.

The plan backfired when a group of rabid Kensington Market fans gathered outside the LWOT office where they waited for the chance to hug Alexander on his way home from work. Alexander thwarted their attempts and slept in his office on several stacks of the magazine's back issues which he fashioned into a make shift bed.

"Surely these women, comely as they are, could find some other poor soul to torment. O'Groussny never had to deal with this foolishness and he was famous for his taste in women," Alexander said after the women left, although he never elaborated on what he meant about his predecessor's taste in women.

Once news of the stakeout spread it became an annual tradition as fans made the pilgrimage to Moncton, making Hug a Writer Day the busiest of the year for local eatery Boomerang's Steakhouse. It also lead to LWOT staffers dubbing Alexander "The Bloomin' Onion" behind his back in honour of the stake house's signature dish.

The botched plan is also thought by some to be the reason behind Alexander's reclusive tendencies and his move to Whitehorse, Yukon, although the occasional fan still manages to track him down in the hopes of giving him a hug. Despite his distaste for what the day has become and his best efforts to stop it, thousands still celebrate by wrapping their arms around their favourite writers every March 24.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Did You Know...

...Stephen Harper is the only Prime Minister who was unable to grow a beard?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Prepare For Launch

The Space Shuttle Discovery isn't the only thing flying into the stratosphere this month as Richard Scarsbrook celebrates the launch of his latest masterpiece The Monkeyface Chronicles. Scarsbrook will entertain the masses during the official book launch extravaganza April 15 in the back room of The Rivoli at 7 p.m. For $15 you get a copy of the book and a night of entertainment nothing like this. To RSVP send an electronic mail-o-gram to

Friday, 5 March 2010

Did You Know...

...more people are hospitalized from Risk-related fisticuff injuries than from any other board game?

Fear Not Our Wrath By Voting for Fear of Fighting

The National Post’s Canada Also Reads contest has now entered the voting phase, that beautiful period in which random internet blowhards make their voice heard with the simple click of a button. It’s time for you to be one of those blowhards!

Make sure to read Zoe Whitall's impenetrable, intractable defense of Stacey May Fowles’ Fear of Fighting (and, hey, read the other essays, too), and don’t forget to vote now!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Did You Know...

...John Mutford’s Book Mine Set is written in an actual mine shaft!

Say what you want about semi-professional book-expert (or bookspert!) John Mutford, he lives by his convictions. His anti-irony, anti-exaggeratory stance is well-known to many within the industry, but his dedication to eliminating brainless audacity from internet web-pages extends far beyond mere words.

You see, while the title of his award-winning themed blog, Book Mine Set, might seem at first to be a clever play on the word mindset, it’s actually not clever at all. No, that simply wouldn’t do for a man who refuses to allow a single absurdity or exaggeration to pass his lips.

That’s right! John Mutford actually writes his blog from inside an abandoned gold mine!

Each morning, at the now-defunct Con Gold Mine in Yellowknife, Mr. Mutford uses a pulley-system he created in his spare time between blog posts to lower himself into the bowels of the Precambrian shield, where, on a ledge in the dark, with only the glow of his laptop screen for light, he composes his eloquent, malapropism-free reviews.

As a Yellowknife-based panelist defending Steve Zipp’s Yellowknife-based novel Yellowknife for the National Post’s Canada Also Reads program, Mutford is broadening his influence—and, hopefully, his earnest, literal manner of thinking. And we here at LWOT will be there to support him every step of the way!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Champions of LWOT: John Mutford

Superstar blogger John Mutford loves reading books. Canadian books. But if there’s one thing he loves more than reading Canadian books, it’s crusading against one of the most dangerous and prevalent scourges of the internet age: hyperbole.

Yes, in this world of instant communication, any grand claim can be made with brainless audacity. But how many of these claims can be empirically proven?

Northern Saskatchewan’s Most Buttery Perogies? Is the butter content measured by volume or weight? The Biggest Ball of Twine in Tatamagouche? By what zoning laws are you demarcating the borders of Tatamagouche township (because there’s a pretty big ball of twine down the road in Waldegrave)? Even Jack Layton’s boastful claims of having the Most Aerodynamic Moustache in the Toronto-Danforth electoral riding are utterly unverified.

But be not afraid, ye sincere and sober masses! Like famed civil rights lawyer William Kunstler or crusading feminist icon Gloria Steinem, John Mutford is here to right these egregious wrongs!

And we here at LWOT couldn’t agree with him more.

That’s why, in light of our newfound anti-irony stance, LWOT will henceforth be known as The Magazine of Internet Fiction That Provokes Among its Readers Varying Degrees of Like and Dislike!

Also – and this is the exciting part, dear readers – for the next few weeks, as John Mutford takes part in the National Post’s Canada Also Reads competition as a distinguished panelist, LWOT will be abandoning its traditional editorial direction and focus exclusively on bringing you all the John Mutford news that’s fit to be copied and pasted into a pre-existing blog template!

One man is making a heroic effort to rid the internets of hyperbole, irony, and sarcasm, and we’re very excited to be supporting his important cause.

Stay tuned for much more, and don’t forget to check out the left-justified, proof-read stories in the latest issue of LWOT: The Magazine of Internet Fiction That Provokes Among its Readers Varying Degrees of Like and Dislike!

And don’t forget to check out John’s anti-satire headquarters, Book Mine Set.

The LWOT Panel

We asked our the LWOT Panel: What's the worst thing someone has ever said about one of your artistic endeavors?

Mike Allison - warrior/poet

To preface this story, the 'artistic endeavour' I'm talking about here was a dinner theatre show in Summerside, P.E.I. -- the kind of thing where the actors remain in character all night, serve you dinner at your table, and sing, dance and play their own instruments. It may not be fair to call this 'artistic' since the greatest 'artistic' decision I made on this project was to Google "Funny place names in P.E.I." to see which would get the biggest laughs. (Answers: Crapaud, Tignish, Miscouche.)

The show was called Summerside Night Live and it told the story of a sketch comedy troupe trying to carry on after their leading man goes missing. It was a musical comedy with the sort of dialogue that might have come from a fledgling Norm Foster (which is how I describe myself on my business card). It was quick and funny and had its moments: the underdog got his big break at the end, the bad guy got his comeuppance, and the leading man returned just in time to propose to his sweetheart. All those old chestnuts.

And for $35 you got three hours of live entertainment and a four-course meal including fresh bread and P.E.I. mussels. Even people who didn't care for the show still walked out the door stuffed with a good meal and usually drunk enough to concede it was the finest thing they'd ever seen on a Tuesday night in the basement of a restaurant in Summerside.

But not one guy.

My friend/co-director was picking up some equipment from a local store. A man who worked at the store, let's call him... let's call him "Highlights" because he's the sort of guy who thinks it's reasonable for a man in his late forties to have frosty blonde tips. So Highlights walks up to my friend, knowing he was involved in the local theatre scene, and without provocation went into a tirade on the disaster of a show show he'd recently seen in Summerside. He praised the cast for doing the best they could despite terrible writing and directing, and did not realize he was doing so in front of the co-writer and co-director.

But here's the kicker: the more Highlights went on about how bad it was, the more it became obvious he just didn't 'get' it. He couldn't understand a piece of regional theatre with the plot complexity and thematic depth of an Archie comic.

This is what he couldn't wrap his head around: the play was about a group of actors, which meant that an actor had to play the role of an actor, and this was obviously too much for him. For example, when the director character told the underdog he wasn't good enough, Highlights thought one of the performers was berating another performer in front of the audience and he couldn't understand how someone could drop character like that. Maybe we should have had a note in our programmes reading: "Mark Arsenault from Crapaud is playing the role of Alec, who is an actor in a sketch comedy troupe. WARNING: THERE WILL BE SKETCHES WITHIN THIS PLAY."

Anyway, Highlights went on for ten minutes about how bad the show was, which is:

a). Longer than it took us to write the thing.
b.) Certainly longer than anybody has ever ruminated on the theatrical value of a play during which you can drink buckets of beer.
c.) Definitely longer than he should have complained, given the fact that HE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS ABOUT! Best to keep one's mouth shut and be though a fool than to open it and remove all doubt, Highlights.

To spare Highlights the embarrassment, my friend did not tell him he was speaking to the co-writer/co-director. I, on the other hand, am not so diplomatic, so in response to Highlights' mean-spirited attack on what was merely designed to give tourists a rainy day alternative to mini golf, I wish to say this:

I hope you find yourself at a production of As You LIke It, and the idea of a man playing a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman causes your head to explode.

Richard Scarsbrook - mirth maker

When I toured Manitoba for the Canadian Book Week Tour, a school canceled my appearance at the last minute because my book Cheeseburger Subversive contains. . . (gasp!). . . FOUR-LETTER WORDS!

Never mind that the nefarious four-letter words are spoken by characters who are bullies. I suppose the powers that be at this particular school would have liked it better if I had the bully characters saying things like, "Gosh, would you mind ever so much if I inflated my own self-esteem by subjecting you to taunts and abuse? Oh, thanks very much, old chap!" But NO! Bullies don't say things like that! They say, "I'm gonna kick your ass, cocksucker! Awwww, you gonna cry, ya fuckin' faggot?"

Regardless, these benevolent educators decreed that my book was obscene, despite the fact that the book is actually about a nice-guy main character who sticks to his personal morals and ultimately triumphs over obscenity. I wonder if they teach the concept of IRONY in this school's English classes?

I could have written, "Kids, the word 'fuck' is very, very bad, and you should never ever write it or say it, no matter what!" and they still probably would have canceled my appearance. Apparently the lesson on CONTEXT was also skipped.

I was really angry about this, until another school found out about the cancellation and booked me to speak to their students; apparently, some of them had actually read the story (rather that simply looking at the words). I received cheers for "telling it like it is" and "keeping it real". And Cheeseburger Subversive went on to be nominated for almost every Young Adult book prize in Canada.

So: Tell it like it is. Keep it real. The people who get it will get it. And those who don't? Oh, well.

And to drive my point home, I'll share a shorter, but related story:

I once played drums in a band with a guitarist who, at practices, was always expounding that I was "playing too fast". So I sneaked a metronome into rehearsal once, and when he asked me yet again to slow the tempo, I played it at exactly the same speed.

"Was that better?" I asked.

"Much better," he responded.

Another critic satisfied.

J.A. Tyler - net ball coach

For me, it is more about what people don’t say. You mail them a book and
never hear back. You shoot them a pdf of a manuscript and no comments are
returned. You ask for a blurb and silence prevails. You give
modest-acclaim for a press or a new novel or a publication, and no words
are said back. This to me is the greatest form of devious, devilish
remark. To say nothing about a literary work is, to me, to say everything
negative, all at once, in the loudest voice possible. To say nothing is to
say that this is bad, beyond bad, so bad that nothing in fact can be said
about it. We try to tell ourselves no, don’t worry about it, the email was
dropped, the mail was lost, the conversation was forgotten. It wasn’t. No
no. Their silence means they hated it, they loathed it, they were
disgusted by your words. Enjoy the silence is what I am saying, because it
will ring in your ears forever.

Craig Davidson - wise man

I suppose the meanest thing I ever got was a review ... it was
probably the worst review I've ever gotten, apart from the odd Amazon
screed, and it came in the New York Times on Christmas day, of all
times and places. It was for my first book. My editor called me up and
said, 'Hey, I heard it blowing in the wind that your book's getting a
review in the Times!' And he was excited, naturally, and so was I -
mainly because my editor was a pretty sedate guy and didn't get
overexcited about much. So Christmas comes and before sitting round
the tree with my family, before the presents, before any of all that
good yuletide stuff I head to the NY Times site and check the review
... and it's an absolute earth-scorcher. First of all, they assigned
it to this writer with a feminist outlook - which I have no problem
with, but it seemed to me like you couldn't have picked a reviewer who
would have less of an inclination towards the sort of stuff in the
book. It was like putting a weasel and a hognose adder in a gunny sack
and expecting them to get along. So she hammered the book; she
actually did that thing which I hate in reviews, which is: she took a
sentence I'd written and used it to mock me. The actual quote from the
review (and I hated to look this up to copy and paste, but whatever):

In "On Sleepless Roads," a repo man "wondered what it was about
property seizure that gave rise to soliloquies so melodramatic they'd
embarrass a threepenny hack." Once Davidson can curb the same impulse,
he'll be on his way.

Pretty brutal. But whatever. One needs a leathery hide in this biz.
Mine's pretty leathery, but like everyone, it's got its soft spots.

Stacey May Fowles - first lady of Canadian fiction