Empty Sink Publishing

Good Stories. Period.

Author: E. Branden Hart (page 2 of 3)

Welcome to Issue 17

It is with mixed emotions that I welcome you to Issue 17, the penultimate issue of Empty Sink Publishing. After nearly three years of publishing some of the web’s finest prose, poetry, and visual art, Adam and I have decided to stop publishing Empty Sink as a magazine.

We’ve loved this work, as well as all of the readers and contributors we’ve gotten to know over the past few years. We’ve forged some relationships that will last a lifetime while working on this little zine, and if that’s the only thing that comes out of it, it will have all been worth it.

We are no longer accepting poetry and visual submissions, though we are still accepting submissions of fiction and non-fiction for our final issue. That being said, we are not closing down the Empty Sink brand at this time. We’ve built something here that works and has its own voice, and Suanne, Adam and I are all interested in seeing that voice continue to develop. Over the next few months, we will be exploring our options, and I intend to have a full update for you by the time we publish our final issue this fall.

Until then, though, we’ve got some fantastic work for you this month. From talking cows to backwards plane crashes to a poignant look at the impact of alcoholism, our fiction section is packed with the unique stories you’ve come to expect from us. Likewise, in our poetry section (curated again by the great Kurt Newton), the Reaper, and old man, and a Nazi mingle between the stanzas. And in our visual section, amidst some truly impressive paintings, we have some excellent collages for your viewing pleasure.

The Editor’s Choice for this month is the non-fiction story, “School is what you Make It,” and Other Lies my Parents Told Me, by Christina Berchini. This fantastic story explores the reality of our control over our own fates, and we’re proud to have it in this issue.

To everyone reading this, thank you for coming along with us for this ride. Most new literary mags don’t make it past the six-month mark, so to be able to make it three years is a great source of pride for both Adam and I. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without such impressive and dedicated readers and contributors, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor — 7/25/2016



Jack C. Buck — For Matthew and Somewhere in the Future You Are Remembering Today

Ian Johnson — Dear You

Paul de Marion — a strange and silent war

Max Orkis — Chewing the Cud

Lindsey Royce — Call Center; Watching her Neigh

Jennifer Sabin — We Have No Secrets

M.R. Tapia — Stella Reign

Giles Ward — Thaw


Christina Berchini — “School is what you Make of It” and Other Lies my Parents Told Me (Editor’s Choice)


Lana Bella — Timidity

Holly Day — Two Poems

Robert Earlywine — Come, Kind Reaper

William Keckler — Three Poems

Simon Perchik — Four Poems

Drew Pisarra — Chinese Roullette


W. Jack Savage — Four Images

Jean Wolff — Five Images

Richard Baldasty — Davey Hume, Surfer Dude

Maeve Roughton — Two Images

Michelle Dalton — Four Images


Music review: Eyelids, by Saint Jame — Reviewed by E. Branden Hart

Beyond the Blue, by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus — Reviewed by E. Branden Hart

Welcome to Issue 16

Welcome to the 16th issue of Empty Sink Publishing!

First, we’re very pleased to introduce poet and writer Kurt Newton as the guest poetry editor for the next two issues. Kurt chose four of the poets featured in April, and all of the poetry that will be in Issue 17. He did an excellent job, and we think you’ll agree he’s found some incredible poetry to share. Thank you Kurt!

Second, Suanne Schafer continues to pick intriguing stories in her role as Fiction Editor. In this installment, she brings you six tales ranging from the surreal to the sentimental, the unhinged to the understated. Of special note is this issue’s Editor’s Choice, “Falling Leaves,” by Cheri Brackett. This is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful stories we’ve ever published, and we are very excited to feature it in this volume.

In this month’s visual section, we’ve got some fantastic pieces to energize your eyeballs. Speaking of which, we’re pleased to announce that we are now accepting video submissions for review. Spread the word: be it experimental, a short narrative film, or something in between, we’re ready to see video submissions that stretch the mind and defy convention.

But enough of us. Sit back and enjoy our latest offering of Empty Sink Publishing. Make sure to come back and see us this summer, when we’ll have even more announcements to unfurl with Issue 17!

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 4/24/2016

William Crawford -- Deserted Desert Wheels

Photography by William Crawford



Pam Plumb — “A True History (Reality Version 1100101)”

Lewis Carter — “Departures”

L.J. Kelley — “Diana”

Orna Glick — “Dy(e)ing Purple”

Cheri Brackett — “Falling Leaves” (Editor’s Choice)

Jerry McGahan — “Patroit”


Matt Kramer — “Rail Talk”


Lakshmi Mitra — “Depression as Winterkill”

Fred Rosenblum — Two Poems

Amber Sydney-Woollett — “I Wonder”

John Grey — Two poems

Sandra Kolankiewicz — Three Poems


Allen Forrest — Three Images

Fabrice Poussin — Five Images

William Crawford — Seven Images


David Klugman — Chasm of Abuse


Sausalito Poems 1959-1961 by L.G. Corey and The Nineteen Steps between Us by Darren Demaree, reviewed by Kurt Newton

Red Demolition by Juliet Cook, reviewed by A.J. Huffman

December Boys by Joe Clifford, reviewed by Suanne Schafer

The Grace of the Gingko by Michael Hardesty, reviewed by Suanne Schafer

The Memory of Us by Camille di Maio, reviewed by Suanne Schafer

Quarterly Comics Corner — Spring 2016, by E. Branden Hart

Welcome to Issue 15

Welcome to the fifteenth issue of Empty Sink Publishing, in which we celebrate our second anniversary! Issue 1 was published on November 4, 2013. Since then, we’ve published work by over one hundred artists, writers, and poets, and this month, we’re doubling down. This issue features fourteen short stories and non-fiction pieces, works by nine different poets, eight visual artists, four book reviews, our new Comics Corner feature, and a partridge in a pear tree. But we’ve also got some great news to share.

Photography by Sarah Katharina Kayß.

Photography by Sarah Katharina Kayß.

This is the first issue our Fiction Editor, Suanne Schafer, has been responsible for that section. We’re proud of the great job she’s done selecting and editing the stories for this issue, and I know you’re going to enjoy them. There’s quite a mix here: from anthropomorphic kittens saving Christmas to murderous sea creatures—you know, the usual. But they are held together by one important thread: plain old good writing. Suanne can spot it!

In other news, in case you didn’t see the announcement, we’ve announced our Pushcart nominees for this year. We are so proud of the authors we nominated, and humbled that they chose us for their work. Congratulations to you all!

With Suanne on board, we’re defining our vision for the future of Empty Sink Publishing. We love the artists and authors we work with, the process of publishing their work, and the feedback we get from our readers. In order to explore the different opportunities available to us we’ve decided to move to a quarterly publication schedule. After this, our next issue will be in March 2016.

The Editor’s Choice for this month goes to Taylor Allen for her poem “Version 1.1.” This reimagining of the creation story captivated me the first time I read it and stuck with me for several days, which is exactly what I’m looking for in good writing. Still in high school, Ms. Allen has a bright future in writing ahead of her, and we are honored to publish her work!

We hope you will join us for our next adventure in 2016! In the meantime, please enjoy this mega-sized issue of Empty Sink Publishing.

Happy (and safe) holidays to you all,

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 12/12/2015


John Skarl — “Bleeding Wolfe”

Peter Clarke — “The Farewell Act is a Sideshow”

Joseph Randazzo — “Retail Suicide Death-Wish”

James Hanna — “Baby Boo Saves Christmas”

Bart Van Goethem — “Such a Wonderful Evening”

Dan Corfield — “Montmartre”

Jesse Lynn Rucilez — “Meal of a Lifetime”

Guinotte Wise — “Winchester Tattoo”

Tessa A. Adams — “Revolutions”


Chad W. Lutz — “Before the Light Dims”

jjnotier — “Study Hall”

Briana Goins — “What I Never Told You”

Jennifer Mary G. — “Goodbye Butterfly”

James Hanna — “Cracking Vials”


L. G. Corey — Three Poems

Emma Kliethermes — “Balance”

Darren C. Demaree — Three Poems

James B. Nicola — Four Poems

Christy Hall — Three Poems

Anne Britting Oleson — Three Poems

Daniel Sundahl — Two Poems

Chelsea Kirk — Three Poems

Taylor Allen — “Version 1.1” (Editor’s Choice)


W. Jack Savage — Six Images

Bill Wolak — Unexpected Pleasure

Christopher Woods — Three Photographs

Sarah Katharina Kayß — Six Photographs

Adam Kluger — Four Images

Keith Landrum — Three Images

Jeff Musillo — Seven Images


David Klugman — Visiting a Sage


Book Review: Canticle for Leibowitz, Haw, Dustlands, by Suanne Schafer

Book Review Update: Call Me Pomeroy, Second Edition, by E. Branden Hart

Quarterly Comics Corner — Winter 2015, by E. Branden Hart

Welcome to Issue 14

Welcome to Issue 14 of Empty Sink Publishing. We’ve got a couple of big announcements to make. First, and most importantly, Adam and I would like to welcome Suanne Schafer on as our Fiction Editor. Suanne has appeared in past issues of Empty Sink Publishing and has one of the best editorial voices I’ve ever seen. We know that Suanne is going to do a great job, and we look forward to working with her!

With change, of course, comes challenge, and so we’re going to give ourselves a little bit of time to adjust to becoming a triumvirate, set up our systems, and get rolling. We’ll be taking a short hiatus; our next issue will appear sometime in December. We’ve got some interesting things planned for the future and can’t wait to roll them out for you, but we’ve got to take a little time to lay the foundation before diving in.

So the future is looking great, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. In the meantime, read on in this issue for some of the finest art, literature, and poetry being created today. Speaking of poetry, our Editor’s Choice for this month is poet Charles O’Hay. Mr. O’Hay’s poetry spoke to me more than any I’ve read recently, and it is an honor to have him publish with us.


—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 8/23/2015



Kyle Beasinger — “Rennie”

Eleanor Lerman — “The Lightship”

John Parras — “This is a Movie About Falling”

Jocelyn Cullity — “Another Love Story”

Kendall Neubeiser — “Imitate”

Noah Milligan — “The Deep Down Bone of Desire”


Tom Vollman — “Jimmy”


Jennifer Lagier — Three Poems

Luke Normsy — Four Poems

David Anthony Sam — Two Poems

Shelby Thomas — “Metal T”

Carles O’Hay — Three Poems (Editor’s Choice)


Nicholas Perry — Three Images

W. Jack Savage — Five Images

Clinton Van Inman — Three Images


David Klugman — Always Look Back


Welcome to Issue 13

About a month ago, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. It’s been a wild month, but it’s an amazing experiece, and I learn something new every day. I was worried that I would be unable to continue my ESP responsibilities after the kiddo arrived, but to my pleasant surprise, small children who can’t do much yield themselves quite well to editing an online literary and arts magazine.

Case in point: when my son wakes up at 3 AM, screaming like a pterodactyl, I don’t have to go into his nursery, rock him, and pray that he’ll go back to sleep. I can go into his nursery, rock him, and read him ESP submissions that I didn’t have time to get to during the day. Today, he got a little fussy, so I put him in my lap and read out loud as I proofread the poetry in this issue.

See, a lot of people told me that parenting is all about sacrifice, and while there are plenty of sacrifices, there are also these great moments to share the things you love with your children. It shows you that sometimes it’s about incorporation. It’s about turning shared experiences into something that’s mutually beneficial for both parties, and at the end of the day, that’s what we strive to do with our contributors here at Empty Sink Publishing. So without further ado, our Editor’s Choice for this month is “Exit Stage Left,” by Katrina Johnston. Ms. Johnston absolutely nails the unreliable narrator in a way that will catch you completely off-guard—it’s a fantastic story.

Enjoy this issue, and remember to take time out of your day to enjoy something you love with somebody you love.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 6/7/2015



Allen X. Davis — “The Pedestrian”

Frank Diamond — “Evil People Are People Who Love Evil”

Sean Jackson — “Half-Dead Saints”

Suanne Schafer — “The Conservation of Matter”

Michael B. Tager — “This is How You Forget”

Katrina Johnston — “Exit Stage Left” (Editor’s Choice)


Molly Chandler — Five Poems

C.S. Fuqua — Three Poems

Lucas Jacob — Two Poems

Travis Laurence Naught — “Tattoo Until Death”


Aaron James Farrell — Wandering Light, Part 3

Leonard Kogan — Three Images

Rees Nielsen — Four Images

Nicholas Perry — Four Images

W. Jack Savage — Three Images


David Klugman — The Two of Them


Back in Black, by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain


Welcome to Issue 12

Welcome to the new and improved Empty Sink Publishing! We’ve been talking about doing a redesign for some time now, and we finally made it happen. We hope you enjoy the new look and find it even more accessible than the old site. Special thanks to Leigh Sims for granting us permission to use her photo in the header. Funny thing is, the name of that photo is actually “Empty Sink.” It was meant to be.

We’ve got some amazing fiction, poetry, and visual art for you this time. We also have an interview with artist Gottfried In Berlin, as well as a review of James Hanna’s new collection of Pomeroy stories, Call Me Pomeroy.

Our editor’s choice for this issue is one of my favorite stories that we’ve ever published. “Slow Drivers,” by Rachel Tanner, is one of the most gleefully psychotic things I’ve ever read—you’re going to love it. If Ms. Tanner continues developing her unique voice, we will no doubt see more of her in the future.

Enjoy the new look and do us a favor: if you notice any problems as you’re browsing the revised site, drop us a line. We tried hard to make sure nothing got broken in the transition, but you never know what kind of wonky things can happen. Otherwise, get reading!

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 4/12/2015



Lewis Beilman — “The Trail”

Barbara Harroun — “Labor”

Buell Hollister — “Old Money”

Max Orkis — “Nothing Wrong”

Denise Tolan — “Six O’Clock Mass”

Rachel Tanner — “Slow Drivers” (Editor’s Choice)


Elizabeth Rasch — Jung, Fetish, and the Artist: An Interview with Gottfried in Berlin


Patricia George — Three Poems

Channie Greenberg — “His One Hundred Styles”

Dah Helmer — Three Poems

Kurt Newton — Three Poems

David Ritchie — “How Mr. O’Leary Slipped Into the Null”

Natalya Sukhonos — Four Poems


Aaron Farrell — Wandering Light, Part 2

Leonard Kogan — Three Images

Tobias D. Oggenfuss — Four Images

Nicholas Perry — Four Images

Francis Raven — The Eclipse of Art

Emily Story — Four Images


David Klugman — On the Other Side of Fear


Call Me Pomeroy, a novel by James Hanna


Welcome to Issue 11

It’s official: Pomeroy has arrived. The man, the myth, and the legend you first met in Issue 1 of Empty Sink Publishing finally decided that our pages were not enough to contain him and got himself a book deal.

And I gotta say, I’m proud of Ol’ Pomeroy. I’ll never forget the first night I read a Pomeroy story—James Hanna’s brilliant prose and voice grabbed me from the first page. I’m also proud that Jim asked me to write an introduction for the book. To have my name associated with something he created is an honor, and I thank him for including me in Pomeroy’s journey.

Our Editor’s Choice for this month is the short story, Brother’s Keeper, by Paul Allison. This story enchanted me: the characters are so well fleshed-out, the situations so real. Mr. Allison is an excellent storyteller, and Brother’s Keeper is an excellent story that explores the depth and influence of family, and the struggle to find solace within it. It’s an excellent read, and we’re proud to have it in this issue.

As for the rest of this issue, I’m going to let it speak for itself. As we start our second year, I’m astounded by the quality of the material being submitted to us. But don’t take my word for it. Follow the links below for some of the freshest prose, poetry, and visual media today’s authors and artists have to offer.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 2/8/2015



Paul Allison — “Brother’s Keeper” (Editor’s Choice)

Frank Diamond — “Hospital View”

Sarah Kahn — “Barter”

Deborah Miller-Collins — “Facebook Lies”

Thaddeus Rutkowski — “Mentorship”


Nicholas Boke — “Finding My Memory”

Thomas N. Mannella III — “The Melding Tree”


L.G. Corey — Five Poems

Brad Garber — Four Poems

Sushant Leena — The Translated Hindi Poems of Sushant Supriye

Domenic Scopa — Four Poems

Reese Scott — Two Poems


Aaron James Farrell — Wandering Light, Part 1

Leonard Kogan — Three Images

Clinton Van Inman — Two Images

Meeah Williams — Three Images


Welcome to Issue 10

Welcome to Issue 10 of Empty Sink Publishing. To paraphrase Dave Chappelle, it’s time for a celebration, ladies. Because it’s our one-year anniversary.

One year and a month, to be exact, but the point is: last November, we started this enterprise, and we’re still here, publishing some of the best art, poetry, and writing from both established and up-and-coming artists and authors around the world. And we’re still moving forward, full steam ahead.

But let’s take a quick moment to look back. We’ve had the opportunity to publish some incredible work this year and wanted to give you an update on some of our favorites from Issue 1.

  • Since originally appearing in Issue 1, artist Dani Orchard was named one of four female artists who are shaping the future of painting by Huffington Post.
  • After publishing Rafe Posey’s story, A Newcomer’s Guide to the Dog Villages, author Ben Marcus contacted us and asked to get in touch with Mr. Posey. We, of course, obliged, and while we don’t know the outcome, we were very proud that an esteemed author such as Marcus was interested in a story from our little ol’ ‘zine.
  • Titus Green continues to write and is back in this issue with a new short story that is perfect for anyone who thinks the world’s addiction to phones and tablets is going to end us all.
  • Otha “Vakseen” Davis continues making a splash in both the music and art worlds, with countless shows under his belt, continued publication in some of the best indie mags around, and an online store where you can get all sorts of merchandise emblazoned with his best work.
  • Award-winning poet and professor William Doreski wrote some of our favorite poetry from Issue 1, and he’s back in this issue with more poetry and as a participant in our “Twenty Questions” feature.
  • And last, but certainly not least, James Hanna’s career is on fire. In the past year, we’ve published four of his stories: three of them in the “Pomeroy” series. He’s published a novel, The Siege, and is preparing to publish all three Pomeroy stories—plus an unpublished fourth—in a book due out this February. We are delighted to be the people who “found” Pomeroy, and wish James the best of success with the new book (which we will, of course, review on its release).

We’re very proud to have played a small part in the success of all our Issue 1 contributors. But the fun didn’t stop there. Throughout the year, we’ve published some astounding art and writing that deserves to be read and recognized by as wide an audience as possible. Fortunately, we have just that opportunity with the Pushcart Awards, which focus on pieces published by small presses in the previous calendar year. For us, the calendar year started with Issue 3 and ends with this one. It was difficult to pick the best from a field of such talented authors and artists, but in the end, we nominated the following contributors for their work:

  • “A New Cookbook” (Issue 3), a poem by Claire Scott
  • “The Gates of Sleep” (Issue 3), a poem by Moneta Goldsmith
  • “Maiden Voyage” (Issue 6), a poem by Richard Fein
  • “Luminita” (Issue 6), a short story by Ewa Bronowicz
  • “Voyage Around Lies” (Issue 8), narrative nonfiction by Ìgbékèléolúwa Sàláwù
  • “Flightless” (Issue 10), a short story by Gena LeBlanc

Congratulations to all of the nominees, and best of luck! We’ll anxiously await announcement of the winners and will report back in a future issue about the results.

Finally, our Editor’s Choice for this issue is the short story, Flightless, by Gena LeBlanc. I was intrigued by the story itself, but Ms. LeBlanc’s way with words is what makes this story so wonderful. She knows how to craft a fine sentence, and we look forward to seeing what she puts out next.

It’s been a wonderful year of publishing this magazine, and Adam and I both look forward to another. We’d like to thank all our contributors and readers for your support, and hope you’ll enjoy this issue, which is jam-packed with interviews, poetry, the new Pomeroy story, and some incredible art.

Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep doing whatever you do, and make it art.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 12/7/2014



Gena LeBlanc — “Flightless” (Editor’s Choice)

Veronica Fitzhugh — “He: A Collection”

Titus Green — “The Exile”

James Hanna — “Pomeroy and the New World Order”


Rick Bailey — “Beans Squared”

Dana Norris — “Ambivalence”

“Twenty Questions with William Doreski”

“Twenty Questions with W. Jack Savage”

“An Interview with Larry G. Corey”

“An Interview with L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain”


William Aarnes — Five Poems

Jacqueline Jules — Four Poems

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb — Two Poems

Kevin Murphy — Four Poems

Brandy Ryan — “once/was”

Charles Rafferty — “Working Toward a Definition of Luck”

Larry Corey — Six Poems

William Doreski — Three Poems


W. Jack Savage — Three Images

Lis-Anna Langston — Four Images

Clinton Van Inman — Three Images


Fade to Black/Bled White, by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain


Welcome to Issue 9

We’ve been at this long enough now that, occasionally, I get questions like, “How do I get published in your magazine?” The easy answer to this question is, “Send us something that doesn’t suck.” But the real answer is more complicated. Thankfully, there are hundreds of articles on the Internet about how to get published in a literary and arts magazine, and I’m not going to rehash those points here. No, today, I’m going to show you the six easy steps to NOT getting published in our magazine—or any other, quite frankly.

Six Easy Steps to Publishing Failure

Step 1: Don’t read the magazine you’re submitting to.

Traditional advice is to actually take the time to read past issues of the magazine you’re submitting to. This helps you make sure that the magazine is a good fit for your style, tone, and subject matter. But you’re a busy, busy genius with a romantic sci-fi psychological thriller set in a suburban neighborhood that’s stuck in the 1950s—your brilliant work transcends genres, and any magazine would love to have it! So go ahead and submit it to “Pets Weekly.” You’ve got a dog in one of the scenes, and once they read it, they’ll be so impressed that they’ll change their entire format just to give you a monthly column. SUCCESS!

Step 2: Submission guidelines are for pussies. Ignore them.

You’ve heard it time and time again: read and follow submission guidelines. But you’re an artist, man. You don’t follow the rules. You’re a rebel—that’s, like, your whole shtick. So their submission guidelines say they don’t accept electronic submissions—then why do they have an email address? Silly publishers. Forget snail mail—just shoot them an email, wow them with a kickass cover letter, and they’re sure to make an exception. Hey, speaking of cover letters…

Step 3: Use your cover letter to show that you are funny/weird/awkward/pompous/racist.

One of your friends told you not to bother putting much in your cover letter, because most publishers don’t actually read them. Well, fuck that. You’re going to MAKE them read your cover letter. You’re going to write some brilliant prose in a barely-legible font so they HAVE to look at it. You’re going to intrigue them with your description of how you’re a lone wolf artist, someone who’s got a sense of humor so unique that nobody else finds it funny. You’re going to tell them about how Shakespeare was a hack and monkeys could write better than David Foster Wallace. And they’re going to LOVE it.

Step 4: Don’t waste time revising your story—much like what you left in the toilet this morning, it is perfect just the way it came out.

Look, let’s face it. You are a writer, that mythical beast who comes up with brilliant stories and shares them with the world for fun and profit. You don’t have time for revision, and besides, your first draft was perfect. You even ran spell-check on it, and it only found two errors! Other, less talented writers may need to revise their work to make it publishable, but you, my friend, are a freaking Mozart of words: everything that comes out of you is genius. Plus, you’ve got this great idea for a character study of a guy who works at McDonald’s, but dreams of becoming a famous writer—no use wasting time revising the story you just finished when you’ve got an even better one waiting in the wings of your imagination!

Step 5: Submit your work to as many places as humanly possible all at the same time.

Because your work is so wonderful, you know the first person who sees it is going to accept it. But why send it to just one magazine for consideration? Who are you to deny ALL of the magazines the opportunity to look at what you’ve created? Go ahead: send it to all of them, all at the same time, even if they specifically say they don’t accept simultaneous submissions. And even better—don’t tell them it’s a simultaneous submission. That way, when it inevitably gets picked up by Atlantic Monthly, you can send all the other schmucks an email saying, “BOOYAH! Off the market, bitches. IN YO FACE.”

Step 6: When the publisher sends you edits, tell them to fuck off.

Edits?!? To your brilliant piece of literature? That’s like giving Tom Wolfe fashion advice. If a publisher dares to approach you with proposed edits—even if those edits actually make your piece better—do the only logical thing: tell them your piece is awesome as it is, and they can either publish it unchanged or go screw themselves. Because nothing says “successful writer” like alienating the very people who can help you achieve that success!

So there you have it. If you too would like to fail in publishing, simply follow these six easy steps, and you’ll be not getting published in no time at all!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the folks who decided not to follow this advice and found a home in this issue.

Our Editor’s Choice for this month goes to the short story, Confluence, by Brandon Madden. It’s very difficult to describe anything about this story without giving it away, but I can say one thing: this story will leave you questioning the very nature of what you think is reality. It’s an excellent story, and we’re very proud to feature it in this issue.



Brandon Madden — “Confluence” (Editor’s Choice)

Sean Padraic McCarthy — “Teeth”

Caleb Sarvis — “Thoreau in a Phone Booth”

Sushant Supriye — “The Fifth Direction”


M.M. Adjarian — Sister Moon

“Twenty Questions with author Alysha Kaye”


Claire Scott:

Colin James:

Doug Bolling:

Emily Strauss:

Joe Nicholas:

Gerard Sarnat:


W. Jack Savage — Three Images

David Klugman — The Prison of Forgotten Dreams

Jim Pollock— Girl Walking Her Pinata

Photography by Lis Anna-Langston


The Waiting Room, by Alysha Kaye

One Kick, by Chelsea Cain

One last note: get out your calendars, because we’ve got two dates for you to mark down. The first is Halloween, when we’ll have something special coming out by Strange Fish author and artist N. Piatkoski. The second is December 8, when we will release Issue 10. Issue 10 is going to be a big one. It’s where we will celebrate our one-year anniversary, and we’ll have both old and new contributors there for the party.

In the meantime, enjoy Issue 9, and remember: it’s easy to not get published, and nobody ever succeeded by doing what’s easy.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 10/6/2014


Welcome to Issue 8

About a year ago, during a beer-fueled brainstorming session, Adam and I conceived the idea for EmptySinkPublishing.com: an online arts and literary magazine for both aspiring and established authors and artists who are looking for an outlet that will take their careers, and our place in them, seriously.

We’ve written at length about how we do it. But why did we do it? That, we haven’t talked about much. After all, starting a magazine is no small task, and running one that publishes on a regular basis, on top of a regular eight-to-five job, is an even bigger task. And it isn’t like Adam and I don’t have other things to do: I’ve got a novel to finish editing and he’s working on a documentary. If we decided to abandon this project, it would give us both more time to concentrate on other, larger projects that, let’s be honest, have a better chance of reaping us financial rewards.

It isn’t like the world of independent online magazines is brimming with financial opportunity, and we’re not going to be on the cover of Publishers Weekly as some bastion of the new wave of publishing and writing—it ain’t gonna happen, even if we are doing things differently than all the other publishers out there.

So why did we do it, if not for fame and fortune? There’s two reasons:

  1. Because we wanted to
  2. Because we could

Do you know how little capital it takes to start a website? You can get a good website, domain name, hosting service, and CMS for less than a hundred dollars. How long did it take to design the website? Not long at all—we use a pre-made template focused on ease of translation to multiple devices. Our design time was limited so that we could focus on what was important to us: content.

What about getting people to submit—how much do ads cost? Well, they’re free, depending on where you go. Our most effective ads were placed, at no charge, on NewPages.com, and they have resulted in close to one thousand submissions over the past twelve months.

And what about publicity? Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, that’s free too, and we’ve spent a good part of the past twelve months growing our followings on both.

So the “how” was cheap and easy. We just needed the “why.” And at the end of the day, the “why” is that simple reason you hear from every child at some point in their lives: “because.”

We’re both good editors. We both like literature, poetry and art. And after several months of debating all different kinds of websites: author services, editing services, even, at one point, a website that would allow people to publish their own material no matter how bad or atrocious it was, we settled on a tried-and-true method that’s been around for over a century: the good old arts and literature magazine.

I’m not trying to brag here, but the fact is: most startup literary magazines don’t make it past the six-month mark, and we’re proud that we did. Because it isn’t easy. In the time I’ve spent working on this magazine, I probably could have written two novels.

But it’s worth every minute, for several simple reasons. One, it has given Adam and I the chance to work together again, which we enjoy—we make a great team. Two, it has introduced us to some of the finest talent the creative world has to offer. And three—and perhaps most importantly—we’re having a damn fine time doing it.

We hope you enjoy this issue. We’re going to introduce our features in a bit of a different format this time, so check out our full lineup for this issue below. But I do want to make note of the Editor’s Choice for this issue. N. Piatkoski has been with us since the beginning, delivering new issues of her black and white graphic novel, Strange Fish, every month. This month, she did something spectacular: she did the entire issue in color. And every inch of it is beautiful. I’ve loved Strange Fish from the very beginning, but seeing it in color is magical. Nicole is an incredible artist, our most consistent contributor, and we are honored to have our magazine associated with the work she’s doing. This issue of Strange Fish is not to be missed: read it once for the story, then look at it once more just for the artistry.

Be sure to come back for our ninth issue in October, and in the meantime, keep doing what you love.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 8/15/2014



Summer Afternoon, by Reese Scott

Release, by Mary Ann Cooper

The Man in Black, by Nels Hanson

The Release, by Karen Faris

The First Night, by P.K. Lauren


Voyage Around Lies, by Ìgbékèléolúwa Sàláwù

Nineteen Questions with Author L.T. Vargus, by E. Branden Hart


Yuan Changming:

Travis Naught:

Peter Bracking:

Jennifer Lagier:

Howie Good

Christopher Dovoric:


Three Images by Clint Van Inman

Three Images by W. Jack Savage

Three Images by Jack Galmitz

Strange Fish Issue 10, by N. Piatkoski (Editor’s Choice)


Half Way Home, by Hugh Howey

Casting Shadows Everywhere, by L.T. Vargus


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