Empty Sink Publishing

Good Stories. Period.

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Welcome to the new Empty Sink Publishing!

For those of you who have followed us in the past, thank you for sticking around through our hiatus. We hope you enjoy our new focus on short fiction and creative non-fiction.

For those of you who are joining for the first time, let me catch you up. Empty Sink Publishing began life as an online literary and arts magazine in November 2013. Over three years, we published eighteen issues of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art, and we loved every minute of it.

Things change, as they tend to do, and for a multitude of reasons, around the three year mark, we were forced to make some decisions. After much research and discussion, we decided to narrow our focus and publish one piece of short fiction or creative non-fiction a month. This would give us more time to work with authors on their pieces and promote those pieces on social media.

For our first story, we chose “Automatically Hip” by author John McCaffrey. In “Automatically Hip,” McCaffrey reflects on the life of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk–specifically, the time when he was arrested for possession of drugs that were not his, and the subsequent impact of his incarceration on those around him. The story is told as a series of monologues, and the language and punctuation mimic a jazz solo. This story has a rhythm, and once you fall in, you’re in ’til the last note, baby.

So, please enjoy “Automatically Hip,” and when you get done reading the piece, hop over to our new Author Q & A section to learn more about the writer and the cartoon that inspired this story.

And if you want to get a sneak peek at our upcoming releases, sign up for the Empty Sink newsletter. I promise: we only write when we have something worth saying or updates worth paying attention to.

Take care, keep reading, and thank you for joining us for the relaunch of Empty Sink Publishing!
–E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 04/01/2017

Welcome to Issue 18

Welcome to the final issue of Empty Sink Publishing.

Adam, Suanne and I are proud of everything we’ve done here at Empty Sink. We’ve published scores of excellent work from poets, authors, and artists from around the world. Putting out this magazine has been a labor of love for all of us, and it is with bittersweet sentiment that we bid it farewell.

On the other hand, none of us can imagine a life without Empty Sink, and we all feel like there’s still more for us to do. We knew that we needed to refocus our efforts. We also knew that we were done with the magazine format.

What we kept coming back to was the idea of publishing short stories. Both Suanne and I are passionate about the form and enjoy working with authors to edit their pieces. And with the advent of a wireless world and people using cell phones as reading devices, we know that short fiction is accessible in a way it never has been before.

We toyed with several different ideas, but in the end, we decided to abandon the magazine format in favor of publishing one quality piece of short fiction per month. This will allow us to focus our efforts on working exclusively with one author at a time to edit and publish their fiction.

We’re very excited about what the future holds and look forward to sinking our teeth into this new endeavor. More to come soon as we prepare to accept submissions again. Our goal is to have our first story out in April, so stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates about everything Empty Sink. Even better, sign up for our newsletter and get updates before anyone else!

In the meantime, and without further ado, we bring you the final issue of Empty Sink Publishing, the magazine. As a farewell surprise, we’ve welcomed back many of our favorite authors, poets and artists for this issue. And finally, a thank you to all our readers. We hope you’ve enjoyed this magazine as much as we’ve enjoyed publishing it, and look forward to seeing you with more stories in 2017!

E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, December 18, 2016



Kim Farleigh — Freedom

Paul Lewellan — Ms. Primrose’s Perfect Feet

Franco Strong — Sussurros de Recurrencia

Jesse Lynn Rucilez — Epicenter

James Hanna — Sam the Poontang Man

Lewis Carter — The Constant Crypt Guard: A Retrospective Epiphany in Three Parts

Darryl Graff — The Apartment


William C. Crawford — The 18 Minute Rule Throws Jimmy Pro For A Loop In Gotham City

Suanne Schafer — Interview with author Orna Glick

Adam Dubbin — Interview with artist Vakseen


Kurt Newton — Three Poems

James B. Nicola — Four Poems

Charlie O’Hay — Two Poems

William Doreski — Four Poems

John Grey — Three Poems


W. Jack Savage — Five Images

Clint Van Inman — The Other Clint

Michelle Dalton — Five Images

Vakseen — Six Images

Jim Pollock — Seven Images

James Devlin — Alternate Take Number Five

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

2017 Pushcart Prize Nominees

2016_Cover_BigThe end of 2015 is nigh, and for small publishers like Empty Sink Publishing, that means that exciting time of year is upon us—The Pushcart Prize nominations! For those unfamiliar with the award, this is an American literary prize that recognizes the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” featured in small presses over the previous year. Winners of the prize are published in a grand anthology; these anthologies have been published annually since 1976. Each publication can nominate up to six works they have published—and since we’re not the type to just stop short, we submitted the full six titles for the award this year.

Much like last year, the decision was difficult as we have been inundated with fantastic contributions, but these were the ones that stood taller than the rest. Somewhat confusingly, the best of 2015 are published in the 2017 titled anthology, but we’re not going to let that harsh our mellow. So without further ado, we would like to announce our six candidates for the prize this year. Drum-roll please!

Empty Sink Publishing nominations for the 2017 (like we said, it’s confusing) edition of the Pushcart Prize:

“Barter”: a short story by Sarah Khan, from Issue 11

“Brother’s Keeper”: short story by Paul Allison, from Issue 11

“The Melding Tree”: short non-fiction by Thomas N. Mannella III, from Issue 11

“Slow Drivers”: short story by Rachel Tanner, from Issue 12

“Exit Stage Left”: short story by Katrina Johnston, from Issue 13

“The Lightship”: short story by Eleanor Lerman, from Issue 14

We would like to congratulate these six talented writers, and we would also like to thank ALL of our contributors for making 2015 a resounding success!

Adam Dubbin

Empty Sink Publishing Interviews

ThePromoShow1cropOn Monday, September 28, Publisher Adam Dubbin appeared on Empty Sink Publishing contributor Tammy Ruggles’ online talk radio program, The Promo Show 1, to talk with Tammy about various musings from inside and out of our humble publication. Follow this link or click on the image to the right to hear Adam discuss:

  • The internal mechanisms of Empty Sink Publishing and what we do
  • Details on Adam, Exec. Editor Branden Hart & Fiction Editor Suanne Schafer
  • The current climate of the online publishing industry
  • Tips on submission etiquette and how best to get published
  • An update on what our past contributors are currently up to
  • And other mental meanderings
    TheUnavoidableDrudgeAnd in case you missed it before, Branden was interviewed back in the nascent days of publication—December, 2013—by The Unavoidable Drudge podcast show. He has a great talk with the guys from Drudge, and it’s very nostalgic listening Branden discuss the early days, while Adam’s fresh news brings you from the past up to the present. Enjoy!

    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


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