Leah Angstman

(From 2012)
Leah Angstman has been at this for years, producing books and spaces and relationships between writers and artists. Some of the answers cover things you know, and some might just surprise you. We threw Leah a few curve balls because we knew that she would rise to the challenge. Interviewed by Elynn Alexander, for Full Of Crow, December 2012. 

LA: I’m sure many people want to know, in your words: Why do you want to be part of the small press?

Leah: It’s cliché to say it feels like family, but the small press is this all-encompassing entity that functions like its own little village.  It has the town criers, the town gossip hens, the angry, the depressed, the incarcerated, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I can open a small-press publication and read a fresh, new author right alongside 94-year-old poet laureate Ed Galing, and it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.  The playing field is leveled; the authors are all different and quirky—but eternally grateful; and, while a lot of the writing is daring, all of it is honest because the writers don’t hide behind extensive contracts, big paychecks, and high expectations.  They are self-aware and write for the love of it, knowing they may never make a buck.

 

 

LA: What are the rewards?  Challenges?

Leah: For me as an editor and/or publisher, the reward is in the finished product.  I won’t lie and say the process is any fun, because it isn’t.  Work is work, and I don’t think very many people who compile books just sit at home with smiles on their faces saying, “Microsoft crashed for the third time today; Powerpoint keeps messing up this transparent background; I can’t possibly align a sentence this long to fit within the margins.  Oh my, I am having so much fun!  Isn’t this rad <interrobang> <interrobang>”  And yes, some people still say rad.  But no, they don’t say it when laying out manuscripts.  So that’s a downside.  But then, when the product is finished, and you’re holding this brand-spanking-new chapbook in your hands, it’s like giving birth—not that I’ve ever done that, but I imagine—, as soon as you are holding the little baby, you forget entirely the sixteen hours of labor, pain, and drugs that were involved to get the baby there.  So that’s the reward.  You get a new baby.  Knowing that the new baby is going out into the world to bring people joy, change people’s minds, make people think, argue people’s convictions, well … that’s pretty rewarding.

There are, of course, challenges.  The mental mindset to keep going, for one.  As a writer, I get lots of feedback.  When people like something I’ve written, they want to tell me.  As an editor and publisher, however, the feedback is static.  The majority of the feedback dialogue is with writers who are telling you what is wrong with the product, what needs to be fixed, how the end result differs from their initial concept, what expectations of timeframe or constant communication they have or consistently require.  The majority of that feedback demands a mindset that will not be easily deterred by negativity.  In addition, as the publisher, I mail books to new customers, and very rarely do I get any feedback for how well those books were received by the customer.  It’s just a side effect of the beast when you are the middleman, but you have to constantly be of the mindset that positive feedback is overrated and allow yourself to move on, or you’ll get down on yourself for things beyond your control.

 

 

LA: Where do you see both Propaganda Press and your own writing objectives in the context of today’s independent press?

Leah: Propaganda Press has stood pretty solid since nineteen ninety-three.  I’d say a lot of people in the small press know the name, and that means a tremendous amount to me.  I’ve kept plugging away at it over the years in hopes that, while the world goes digital, something of the poet generation might get left behind among the concrete cracks to leave an impression for someone else down the line.  The small press is a big whale of a thing, however, and it spans the world, and there is no solid way to connect us all, no one solitary voice that unites us all.  So how do I fit into the context of that?  Well, I’m just one more small fish in the belly of a whale.  Once, when I was eighteen and being interrogated by the FBI for things that I wrote and winning court battles over copyright disputes, I thought I might possibly rule the world someday.  I’m all right now if I don’t.  I just want to reach as many people as I can reach in the time I’m allotted and leave something behind for others to enjoy in the future.  Of course, I’m still loud and I’m still rowdy and I’m still pushin’ and shovin’, so who knows … I may rule the world yet.  I’d be okay with that, too.

As for my own writing objectives: If we are talking about my poetry in the small press, I’m an even smaller fish in the whale’s belly.  I’m a meticulous writer who pores over every word, averaging maybe twenty poems a year on the high end.  That’s not really going to change the world or stop the presses, now, is it?  I usually compile enough for a chapbook every other year, so my poetic contribution to the small press is small potatoes.  I also write full-length historical-fiction novels, and with those books, I go the mainstream route, sending them to literary agents to go through major publishing houses.  The novels, therefore, don’t help the small press at all, excepting if one were to take off as a bestseller someday while my fingers were madly crossed, and that phenomenon were to direct people to check out the other work I’d done, leading to Propaganda Press.  That could be pretty cool.  I’ll cross my fingers for that.

 

 

LA: How does Propaganda Press fit into your view of the big picture, the community?  Are there aspects that feel different to you, in what you are trying to achieve?

Leah: I think Propaganda Press fits into the big picture the same way any independent press does.  Word of mouth pushes us along, little by little, book by book, bit by bit; and we gain new audiences every day.  I work primarily alone on this endeavor, so there is a limit to what I am physically able to do, and that will always keep the size of the press in check.  While I overstretch from time to time, I am never physically capable of getting too big for my britches.  That keeps me on the straight and narrow.  I try not to get into the politics of the small press; there’s a lot of immature name-calling, and it gets tedious and old.  So I stay out of it, keep my head above water, dig myself out of holes, and just keep rolling along.

 

 

LA: How does your press tie into Alternating Current, and can you share a little bit about the arts cooperative, such as your model or vision?

Leah: I get this question a lot, as people mix up Propaganda Press and Alternating Current Arts Co-op as interchangeable things when they aren’t.  AC^2 is my arts co-op that encompasses the press imprint of Propaganda Press, the record label Not Really Records, an online zine library called Izla, a small-time historical project that I conduct called History Deletes Itself, a theater company called That Other Theater Co., a burgeoning handmade arts and crafts marketplace, and my own personal writing endeavors.  There is a fledgling website that tries to sort out the entire hullabaloo, but it’s still in its infancy: http://alternatingcurrentarts.blogspot.com.  The idea of the arts cooperative is simply to provide an outlet for artists of all kinds to showcase their works.  As a historical-fiction/non-fiction writer who went to school for musical theater, I have a diverse arts background of history, literature, music, theater, film, and fine/visual art.  It was important to me, as a renaissance lady of multiple art forms, to have an outlet where all of those fields were prominently showcased.

 

 

LA: I know some of your passions, and I have seen you perform in both Toledo and Oakland. Theater, history, comics, animals, etc. come to mind.  But what can you tell us about your passions and interests that many of us probably don’t know?

Leah: You nailed the first three right out the gate.  History and musical theater are my first loves, foremost above all other things.  I am happiest in two places on earth: Times Square, New York, and standing on any ground where something magnificently historical happened.  When I lived in Boston, I would walk the Freedom Trail often and stand in front of Paul Revere’s house, just to stand there.  Right before I moved from Boston, I traced that route almost daily, knowing I wouldn’t get to do it again.  I geek out about history of any little mundane thing hundreds of times a day, which is one of the truly rewarding things about writing historical fiction: the minutiae.  And the second passion is not just theater, but more specifically musical theater.  I have hundreds of musical CDs and know the words to all of them, have directed dozens of plays and musicals, and pretty much stalk Brian d’Arcy James, Terrance Mann, Raúl Esparza, and James Barbour.  If you don’t know who those people are, and you’d like to see how truly deep my musical obsession goes, then it’s time you got acquainted with my Top 20 Tony Awards Performances of My Lifetime countdown here.

There are some other passions and interests: I have a passion for photography, one of my projects-in-the-works being photographing old buildings and historical markers/landmarks and documenting them for posterity in our ever-changing world.  That’s part of the idea behind History Deletes Itself.  I am an avid Wikipedia-holic, and I spend hours daily partaking in one of my self-appointed duties on this earth: cleaning up grammar, misspellings, and poorly structured sentences on Wikipedia.  I have a passion for Bruce Springsteen, my all-time fave.  I’ve seen him on every major tour since I was a little kid (over 20 times now), own all his albums and ungodly amounts of bootlegs, can sing you every song ever, and yes, Darkness on the Edge of Town is my favorite album.  I also sing (operatic training from a young age); play harmonica, bass, guitar, and piano; draw with charcoal and pencil; paint with acrylics; collect comic-related paraphernalia; make my own tea; and collect quirky things: porcelain and ceramic Victorian-era figurines, souvenir pressed pennies; ceramic Wade figurines from the boxes of Rose Tea; Peter Pan and comic-book character ornaments for my Xmas tree; Playbill Broadway season collector cards.  I am absolutely obsessed with old, large, wooden ships of many sails and often dream about sailors.  I would eat every doughnut in the world, and that is also a passion.

 

 

LA: Can you tell us something about the more private side of who you are, something that many of us might not see?

Leah: You might be surprised to learn that I don’t actually like poetry.  It’s true.  I am an avid reader, but I don’t enjoy reading poetry, unless they are epic or historical pieces.  What do I enjoy reading?  Cowboy romance novels, either historical about the Wild West, or contemporary about the trials and tribulations of modern ranch life when a delicious, tough cowboy and a stubborn damsel go head to head and … yeah, you get it.  I seriously love those.  I have over five hundred of them on my Kindle (aptly named Mr. Darcy), waiting to be devoured.  A glimpse at the private me?  I’m actually shy, although I’m talkative.  I don’t leave the house unless I’m dragged out of it, and if I’m dragged where there are other people I haven’t met, I am a wallflower.  I’m partially deaf, fluent in American Sign Language, an atheist, a problematic insomniac, and a frequent starter of new ideas who rarely closes on a single one.  I write my life out on little scraps of paper that litter my desk, and all of my books on my shelves are arranged in order of shortest binding to tallest binding.  I have every unnecessary form, bill, letter, or paper I’ve ever received filed neatly in my filing cabinet, but I can never find my house keys.  When I’m stressed, I bite my nails down until there is nothing left, and my drinks of choice are Manhattans straight up with Buffalo Trace and a splash of grenadine, or a milky, chocolaty, smoky, or dark-fruit porter.

 

 

LA: Many producers of printed books, such as poetry, find the economics to be challenging. (Some might say that is an understatement!) As a person who has hung in there, what contributes to that success? How is “success” measured, from your point of view?

Leah: Well, if “challenging” is an understatement, then “success” is an overstatement.  What works with my model, though, is that I invested in getting in-house printing materials a long time ago so that I was not reliant on huge overhead.  What that means is that I print all of my materials in my office only when they’ve sold, so I never have any overage or warehousing to worry about.  An author can sell a hundred books, or he can sell one; it’s really a crapshoot in this day and age.  But from my side of it: If the author sells a hundred books, I print a hundred books.  If he only sells one, I only print one.  I have a set minimum price, and the author can choose a royalty on top of that, which means I get paid what I need, and the author gets paid what he wants.  It really works out well for everyone and minimizes loss on both ends.

 

 

LA: Many of us feel overextended, with too many directions and too few hours. How do you find balance?

Leah: I don’t.  I absolutely do not find balance.  I am constantly sink-or-swim, torn in a hundred different directions at once, and it’s become the only way that I know how to live.  I cannot relax.  I cannot be “bored.”  If I step foot into a calming bubble bath, I am out five minutes later.  There is no balance.  I hover on the edge constantly, and my only sanity comes from knowing that I am the one in charge.  If I need to take a week to work on a chapter of my own book, then everyone just has to wait a week.  Once these novels start rolling out, the press will be on hiatus for whatever time I need it to be, indefinitely.  Even if there’s no balance, there must still be a modicum of sanity.

 

 

LA: We all have special interests that we won’t give up, no matter how busy we become. Where do you indulge?

Leah: For a lot of years, my own writing was on the backburner while I worked on everyone else’s books.  That is changing, and finally, my mood is lightening a bit with that change.  The time has come for me really to get my own work out there, so that is where I am indulging right now.  If something strikes me with my own writing—whether it’s making a new outline for a new idea, writing a chapter, combing over unpublished drafts, working with literary agents, you name it—, then all of the work with the press just has to wait.  The people I work with are all writers, and for the most part, they understand their own desire to get their work out there and don’t push me.  If they get ornery, well, they shoot off their own feet because I don’t market as hard for assholes, and I certainly won’t take any more of their manuscripts or submissions in the future.

Other indulgences I have are spending my time on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, the like; reading tons of books, whether for pleasure or historical research (usually for both at the same time); my morning coffee; hiking through the Redwoods with my White German Shepherd, Barf!, on the weekends; and going on trips, namely home to Michigan with the folks, where I have a strict policy of no work (my own writing excluded, as sometimes, that’s the purpose of the trip!).  When I am in a musical/theater show or directing one, I also get tunnel vision, and I don’t let anything deter me from that.

 

 

LA: I remember that one of your dreams involves theater- productions, perhaps. I have the impression that this is something that nags at you and won’t go away, a persistent vision, that will be part of your future in addition to your writing and press work. We see elements of theater in your performances. Does it come out in other ways, and do you find that you can integrate many of your passions together often enough?

Leah: Ah, the big question with the loaded answer.  I went to school for theater, and for many, many years, it was not only my first love; it was my only love.  I built a theater in Michigan, and I had a hand in every facet of every theater show I could possibly find: lighting, stage tech, costumes, hair/make-up, scenic design, sound design, directing, assisting, pit orchestra, choreography, scriptwriting, and the acting, itself.  It doesn’t go away, but it is a younger man’s game.  Acting is the hardest job I have ever had, and not only because nothing is certain from week to week, but because the demands that it takes on your body physically and mentally are as taxing as they are exhilarating.  Don’t ever look at stage actors and think they are lesser-than in any way because they are only actors, as if it were some kind of non-job job.  Because the fact of the matter is they get up at five a.m., possibly work two or three other jobs to make ends meet, and bust ass in life and on stage in the most physically-demanding ways for measly parts waiting to get big breaks, then crawl home at one a.m. to do it all over again the next day.  It’s tough.  It’s backbreaking.  And if you aren’t going to get behind it 100% every day of your life, then give it up, because no big break happens to the dude who wishes he were on stage while he’s sweeping floors.

So, two things about that.  One: Let’s go back for a minute to that shyness in front of strangers that I mentioned earlier.  Once I get a part in a show, I can walk on stage and be that character and get over any jitters in the first few lines of the first act.  I let the character take me over, and I love changing the outer skin and the inner guts to match the part I’m given.  But before I get a part, I have to audition for it.  And few things traumatize me more in my life than auditions.  The nervousness is literally stifling for weeks leading up to an audition, and I can’t function in a normal life when auditioning creeps into every corner of my anxious mind.  And two: My deafness.  While it is not apparent to most people because I have worked hard my entire life to make it that way, it is a hindrance to me if I’m on stage, trying to hear cues while the sound is bouncing all over a wide-open auditorium.  I was always afraid I’d miss something and become the person on the stage the other actors couldn’t trust to deliver.  So I understand these limitations, and I have a hand in acting, writing, and directing productions when and where I can, but it’s no longer my career.

And on that mark, yes, it’s a sore spot.  I wanted to be a stage actor.  I still do.  And there is no other substitute or other outlet for it, no matter how many times I choreograph moves around the living room while belting “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady.  But one of the most remarkable things about us as humans, unlike my cat who still tries to walk through the sliding glass door daily, is that we have the ability to learn when things just aren’t going to happen for us, and we can choose to move on.  I do still write plays, and I do have a very realistic goal that I could still write a play that gets performed on or Off Broadway and that I might be asked to take part in its direction in some way, or maybe even win a Tony as a playwright instead of as an actor.  Who knows?  I’d take that.

 

 

LA: Are there parts of you that are still waiting for their time and place, to emerge?

Leah: My historical-fiction writing.  It’s just seeing its very first peek at dawn.  My novels are how I would like to be defined in this next decade, far more than with my work at Propaganda Press.

 

 

LA: I recall that we were both featured in LiteraryMary’s Don’t Call Me Plath project. Do you think that there are generalizations about female poets and their content?

Leah: You know what, I don’t find that true.  I’m all for equal rights of all people, and yeah, I wear jeans, but I am not a feminist.  I cringe at the word.  I think if there are generalizations about female poets, then those generalizations are probably there for good cause, whether we like them or not (I’d need specifics to better combat this with specifics), because the women allow themselves to fall into stereotypes by focusing on those stereotypes too much.  People can easily break away from stereotypes by simply writing better stuff.  I have to be honest: I read as much pure shit from females as I do from males, and sometimes I get an abundance of submissions from men, and sometimes I get an abundance of submissions from women.  It really goes both ways in that respect.  As for the content, I don’t think there’s much difference.  It all depends on the environment of the individual poet.  For every Misti Rainwater-Lites, there is a Shane Allison.  For every Rebecca Schumejda, there is an Hosho McCreesh.  I do, however, notice a difference in content with the gap in age; I find that writers in their twenties/early thirties tend to write far more stream-of-consciousness material, and writers in their mid-thirties and beyond tend to write more universally, with more relatable themes.  That’s the real difference I find, and it spans the content of both men and women.

 

 

LA: I won’t call you Plath, but who are some of your influences?

Leah: For poets: Carl Sandburg, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Alfred Noyes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vachel Lindsay, Walt Whitman, Sara Teasdale, Edna St. Vincent Millay, mostly the poets who wrote great historical epics.  Novelists: J. D. Salinger, Sarah Vowell, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Thomas Fleming, Jane Austen, Shelby Foote, Larry McMurtry.  Broadway: Stephen Sondheim, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Tim Rice, Jason Robert Brown, Maury Yeston.

 

 

LA: Who do you admire, past and current poets included?

Leah: My favorites are not generally broken down by complete bodies of work, but by one specific work that blew me away.  Some of the poets I previously mentioned changed my life forever with just one historic piece: Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade,” Noyes’ “The Highwayman” (my favorite poem of all time), Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Emerson’s “Concord Hymn,” Lindsay’s “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight,” J. H. McKenzie’s “The Titanic Disaster Poem,” etc.  Epic historical poems transformed me at a very young age, and I’ve carried their romanticism with me always.  My favorite current poets are Julie Buffaloe-Yoder, Rebecca Schumejda, Doug Draime, and Jenifer Wills.

 

 

LA: I have made some jokes about breast poetry, and the ways persona relates to women and both the respect and attention issues. I want poets to be respected on the merits of the work, and I don’t want to diminish the work of a poet as a “breast poet” versus a female that works hard and just happens to be attractive. The accusations on all sides go on, and so do the complaints.  When does Leah Angstman cry foul?

Leah: I really don’t.  I come from a theater background where anything goes, and as I said before, I’m not a feminist.  If a guy in a cowboy hat walks by me, you can bet that I am objectifying him.  It’s one of my things: cowboys, ninjas, masked men, and robots.  Cowboys tend to be the most common.  I will objectify that cowboy by how well he fills his hat, boots, and jeans.  A man does the same thing to a woman, and it’s pretty natural.  If a guy looks at me and sees boobs, well, I’ll know he’s male.  If a guy looks at me and sees only boobs, then I probably won’t spend much time talking to him.  If a guy talks to me, gets to know me, and still sees only boobs, then it’s his loss, and I’ll cut it.  But honestly, it’s a difference in men and women that exists at a very base level, and we women spend far too much time thinking about it and analyzing it and trying to change it when the change isn’t going to happen.  I think it’s because it scares us to be objectified somehow, and we feel it makes us inferior or as if we’re being judged by something other than our talents.  And okay, we are, but that doesn’t mean we won’t also be judged for our talents, too.  I say pay no attention to it and get on with more important things; focusing on the negative is just misdirecting vital energy that could be better used elsewhere.

 

 

LA: In the age of social media, internet presence, etc., it seems that the persona issue is a concern to some, and some feel that women are unfairly judged by appearance in terms of readings, acceptance, etc. These are complicated matters, and not easy to sort out. They aren’t even easy to ask about. At the end of the day, I think we want to see attention paid to talented women irrespective of the games.

Leah: It’s true, we do.  We all just want equality.  But men do, too.  Plenty of handsome men get up on the stage, and the first thought that flickers through a woman’s mind is, “He’s hot!”  Yet, we don’t think of it as disparaging when we do it, ourselves.  Flip the coin.  I don’t think men try to be disparaging, and I don’t really think it’s complicated.  Men have different hormones, and that’s pretty basic.  And I have to say that I don’t see very many instances of men actually voicing these thoughts or acting on these thoughts (Most of the men I’ve encountered in this field are extremely supportive and attentive, and it would be unjust to say otherwise.), so I have to wonder how much of it is merely self-consciousness or diffidence that is internally in the women, themselves, that would be better directed at the glamour magazines and supermodel ads with which we’ve been bombarded since we were toddlers playing with Barbie’s ridiculous waistline, instead of at the men.  Where is the point where we take responsibility for our own feelings on the matter?  No one can make you into a victim if you refuse to be one.

 

 

LA: Do you think there is still disparity in representation, and are you concerned about it? Do you feel that appearance both helps and hinders a poet, and does it anger you, in either situation? Is it something you acknowledge? Is it something you talk about?

Leah: I don’t think there is as much disparity in representation as women try to say there is.  At least not in poetry.  In some forms of art, attractiveness actually does matter, and that’s a downright shame.  In poetry, I think people have less expectation of attractiveness to begin with, so no, I don’t think it’s really a problem.  Again, not a feminist here.  I think ultimately the poetry will speak for itself.  If the work is good, people will get past all natural inclinations of first impressions (which are always based on physicality, just by the default that we see with our eyes first and it takes only seconds to register, whereas all other forms of communication take time and effort) and will reward the work.  I feel like women who cry about it without ever having had someone come up to them and actually say, “Nice breasts.  I didn’t hear a word you said, just watched your breasts wink,” are just projecting their own insecurities or need some crutch because their writing doesn’t speak for itself.  Now granted, if you’ve had this scenario personally happen to you, then you’ve got a right to some beef.  But you’ve only got beef with that one guy; don’t take it out on every male you see.  That only exacerbates the problem, and it escalates into stereotypes that end up generating exactly what you’re projecting.  As you don’t want that done to you, you should not do it to others.  (And I use “you” very generally here.)  Ignore the stereotypes, and they eventually lose ground.

 

 

LA: Many of us still love the experience of a book, even though we are increasingly digital. Many small press publishers are moving in the direction of ebooks, or digital versions of their catalogs.

Leah: As am I.  I am in the process of converting my entire catalog over to eBooks, as well.  It just gives people an extra option.  I tell you, as someone who owns a Kindle, I quite honestly never want to pick up another printed book in my life.  I have eighteen-hundred books stored on one device that is lighter and smaller than just one book.  Yeah, never goin’ back.

 

 

LA: Do you think there will always be a role for the book? Should there be, from an environmental point of view? Is there a point where we should step away from the Xerox?

Leah: I stepped away from the Xerox a long time ago.  My books are all printed in-house on a state-of-the-art laser printer.  But will the book die out?  Yes.  It’s going to take a few generations, and it won’t be in our lifetime, but it will go the way of all things until it’s just some weird, funky thing that some kid’s great, great grandparents owned.  From an environmental point of view, I do think it should go; and from a practical point of view, I think it should go.  We only love the feel of books in our hands because we are creatures of habit who resist change.  A book is something we’ve known, something we’ve been raised with, a piece of ourselves that means we are becoming history if we let go of it.  But if we never knew the paper book to begin with, we would all be just fine with our eReaders, and probably better off for it, knowledge-wise, considering I have read more books in the last year than I ever have in my entire life just because of the ease of my Kindle.  Children who struggle to read are more likely to get better at overcoming the struggle if they have an eReader because there is no embarrassment involved with other people seeing what’s being read.  Instead of “No Child Left Behind,” let’s give every kid an eReader and expose him to the hundreds of thousands of public-domain classics that are available for free, and give him an entire library right at his fingertips.  It’s worth more than one book, and I’m all on board for the digital revolution.  The one who shies away from it is ultimately the one who will be left behind; embrace it now.

 

 

LA: Does everything deserve to be printed?

Leah: No.  Absolutely not.  I pass manuscripts over all the time, and I’ve read some self-published books that would give you nightmares.  Everything that gets printed needs an editor, I will say that.  More than one, if you can hack it, but definitely at least one.  But as it is with anything, the good ones will rise to the top.  Word of mouth always wins in the end, and the best books will take wing on their own.  Now, with that said, I think it is important to be able to separate what you, yourself, don’t like for personal reasons and what is just drivel.  I tend to be very, very picky, but if I printed only what I would want to read, I’d have two books in my catalog (No offense meant toward my authors, just personal preferences, if you recall that I don’t actually like poetry), and the hundreds of people who’ve enjoyed the other hundreds of books would never have had them.  So it’s important to distinguish between personal preference and what actually has merit but might just not be your thing.

 

 

LA: What’s next for Leah Angstman?

Leah: Historical fiction.  I’m making some changes to the Propaganda Press catalog to free me up for more novel-writing time, and I’m not taking any new submissions for a long while.  My first two novels, Sirens Call the Sailors (http://leahangstman.blogspot.com/2012/02/sirens-call-sailors.html) and Falcon in the Dive (http://leahangstman.blogspot.com/2012/02/falcon-in-dive-leah-angstman.html) are completed, are in the process of playing the literary-agent game, and will hopefully see the light of day in twenty-thirteen.  It’s a bit like auditioning for me: a scary, daunting task.  I’m currently mid-way through a series of westerns that take place in the mid-eighteen hundreds, called sequentially, The Only Way to Cheat a Hangman and Hell or Low Water, and those should be finished by the end of twenty-thirteen.  For those interested in all of my upcoming novels, you can read all about them here: http://leahangstman.blogspot.com/p/novels.html and follow along with me on my website.  I can also be found on Twitter @leahangstman (https://twitter.com/leahangstman) and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authorleahangstman (This is the only public Facebook profile for me, thanks.).

If you’re interested in my poetry, I’ll be putting together a collection of the best material from all of my older, out-of-print chapbooks, called Sometimes She Stutters, and I’m working on two new chapbooks; one is a collection of all-new miscellaneous material, and the other is a collection of form poetry with an antique, archaic feel, all about my heroes of the American Revolution, based in style on the poems I grew up with.  That one will be the first in a series of my rhyming verse/form poetry centering around historical themes, and it will be followed at some point by the second in the series, poems about the Civil War.  In the meantime, you can read samples of my poetry and buy printed chapbooks here: http://leahangstman.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html.

And lastly, if you’re only interested in Alternating Currents Arts Co-op or Propaganda Press, you can find us at our website: http://alternatingcurrentarts.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alternatingcurrentartscoop.  That’s it for me.  Buy my novels!  Pretty please, and thank you!