Fourteen Hills interviews Jill Tidman, winner of the Bambi Holmes Award, 15.2 Contributor

Fourteen Hills fiction editor Fernando Pujals interviewed Jill Tidman, who was awarded the Bambi Holmes award by Fourteen Hills Editor-in-Chief for her story, "This is How I Saw It", which appeared in issue 15.2, Spring 2009.

Read the entire interview on our website. Here's some highlights from the interview:

14H: How do you know when you’re reading something really, really effing great?

JT: For me, when I read the sentence three or four times before I can move on. Often, for me, it's about how people put words together, I almost can’t see the story until I’ve really seen the sentences first. I look at it through that angle and then I have to let go of the sentence structure and get into the story line.

14H: What are you working on now?

 JT: Well, I did that write 50,000 words in a month thing.

14H: What was that experience like?

JT: It was crazy. I decided to write on a typewriter so I couldn’t erase anything which was liberating because I often, I mean, I can’t really move on to another page, until one page is really set. With this experiment, because of the quantity over quality aspect of it, if something wasn’t going right I just kept [writing]. I was so unattached to the outcome, and that was fantastic. The story starts in a restaurant, during a conversation over dinner.

14H: Have you gone back to it?

JT: I let it rest, and then figuring how to get it into the computer was a really nice way to review it... I didn’t have to retype all of it.  I probably salvaged about two percent of each page. I was able to pull the stuff that felt like there was something to work from, so I’m stuck piecing it together, it’s fun, it’s just a new way to generate material, I guess.

14H: Is that important, to find new ways to to generate and reenter your work?

JT: Sometimes. Yes, because life gets in the way. I have a full time job, and lots of distractions it feels. If I don’t have something that’s really tugging at me, I can easily fall out of the habit so this is definitely a trick.

More from this interview on our site!

An interview with Jill Tidman by Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review fiction editor Fernando Pujals

Check out Jill Tidman's story in issue 15.2 of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review. Issue 15.2 is virtually sold out, but we may be able to scrounge up a few copies if you contact us.

- Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review Editors


Oh What A Night: Thank You To Everyone Who Came To Our Release Party!

Wow. We certainly celebrated the release of Fourteen Hills issue 16.1 with style. Or, should we say, with amazing readers, applause-happy attendees, great food, even better drink, and raffle prizes galore. A full report on the evening will be up soon, but we wanted to send a quick shout-out to all the new people who came, enjoyed, and signed our mailing list (hi!).

While you wait (breathlessly?) for our release party recap, please check out Evan Karp's full report of the event in the Examiner. He has video of all of our readers including Stephen Elliott. So even if you couldn't make it, you'll feel like you did.

When you watch the videos in Evan's story, see if you can spot the pieces that were just published in issue 16.1. They're all wonderful. We promise.

The new issue won't be in stores until 2010, but you can still order a subscription here.

-Leanne M., Fourteen Hills staff


Fourteen Hills Goes Culinary: Gourmet Menu for Wednesday's Release Party

Not only do we at Fourteen Hills love showing off our contributors’ work and beautiful new issues, but we are also know a thing or two about food! In honor of issue 16.1, which we will be launching into the atmosphere tomorrow, December 16, our fabulous party at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club will feature a full gourmet menu prepared by our very own copy editor—me!

You’re in for a treat. Nothing canned, frozen or packaged is used—I make everything from scratch, and will even use ingredients from my organic garden.

The menu will be Middle East meets North Africa. I’ll be preparing classic Middle Eastern fare such as hummous, muhammara, tzatsiki and baba ghanoush, fresh falafel, pita bread and vegetables. From Turkey, I will be making Cerkes Tavugu, or Circassian braised chicken in a walnut sauce. From Afghanistan comes a pumpkin, ground beef and yogurt dish called kaddo bowrani. From North Africa, I will be making a Moroccan vegetable tagine with harissa,* and couscous.

My falafel isn’t made from a boxed mix, or even pre-made garbanzo flour. I make it starting from whole dried garbanzo beans, which I soak overnight and blend with fresh spices and herbs, then fry in trans-fat-free rice bran oil. For the tzatsiki sauce, I make the yogurt myself.

Hummus? If you’ve only ever had store-bought hummus—pasty, gritty and tasting mostly of garlic—you haven’t had hummus. I make mine starting with dry beans, soak them overnight and simmer them, then pop the tough hulls off by hand. Then I put them through a food mill and blend them until silky smooth with fresh tahini, French sea salt, a balanced amount of roasted garlic, good olive oil, fresh ground cumin seeds and lemon juice from my Meyer lemon tree out back.

I will be making tabbouli with home-grown, late-season heirloom tomatoes and fresh parsley just picked from my garden.

Kaddo bowrani is an Afghani dish made with browned and roasted pumpkin drizzled in a (homemade) yogurt sauce, then topped with ground beef cooked with fresh turmeric root, coriander, tomato paste and garlic. I will be using one of my homegrown Musquée de Provence pumpkins for this dish.

Muhammara is a dip originally from Syria, made of roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, oil and pomegranate molasses. It has gentle sweetness from the red peppers cut with a touch of heat from red pepper flakes, earthiness from the ground walnuts, and a pleasing texture.  I make my own pomegranate molasses by simmering a bottle of POM pomegranate juice down until it is thick and syrupy, no more than 5 or 6 tablespoons. I will be using some of my homegrown peppers for this dish.

If I don’t give out from making all this fresh food, I will try to make a fabulous cake. If not, there will definitely be sweets there to complete the meal. I look forward to serving you my food at the party, so please come hungry. The party starts at 7pm.

-Janna K. Denig, Fourteen Hills Staff

*Vegan dishes include the Moroccan tagine, hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouli. No peanuts or peanut products will be used.


Tons of Amazing Raffle Prizes Can Be Yours at Wednesday’s Fourteen Hills’ Release Party

When Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine throws a party, we like to get the whole community involved. One of our favorite parts about the biannual Fourteen Hills release parties, aside from the wonderful readers who come to share their work, is the exciting assortment of businesses who donate items for the Fourteen Hills release party raffles. This year we have an impressive selection of prizes including Clown Cabaret tickets, indie bookstore gift certificates, sock monkeys, sake, and so much more. Here's a list of participating businesses and the items they donated. We hope everyone who shops, eats, or drinks at these businesses will give them a big thank you for supporting independent literature next time you visit.

If you haven't bought your raffle tickets yet you can still buy them at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club the night of the party (Dec. 16th @ 7pm). Raffle tickets will be sold for three for $5 or one for $2. All the proceeds go to Fourteen Hills Press to help keep our non-profit journal publishing and partying for years to come!

Prizes for Writers and Bibliophiles

Free 1000 Word Translation English to Spanish, from Auerbach International (no poetry please- Fiction/nonfiction only).

$40 Gift Certificate to Pegasus and Pendragon bookstores. There are three bookstore locations where this gift certificate can be redeemed, so take a break from SF and make a trip to the East Bay!

Pegasus Books: 1855 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 525-6888
Pegasus Books Downtown: 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA (510) 649-1320
Pendragon Books: 5560 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618, (510) 652-6259

$25 Gift Card for University Press Books, “In Berkeley, a place for books, people, and minds on fire” 2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 ph: (510) 548-0585

$25 Gift Card for Half Price Books, a nationwide chain of used bookstores, selling books, music, movies and more! There are three stores in the Bay Area - Fremont, Berkeley and Concord. The gift card is good at all stores nationwide and never expires.

$10 Gift Certificate for West Portal Bookshop, a locally-owned, independent bookstore located in the heart of the West Portal neighborhood, just two blocks down from the West Portal MUNI Station. Check out their website for special promotions, events, and readings.

Three-Pack of limited edition, full-color illustrated books by Omnibucket. Prize includes: The Book of CLAV, God's Acre, Eleventy Billion Miles Away (complete with sound track!)

New hardcopy of David Carr's memoir, Night of the Gun, a book written by an investigative journalist who decides to report on his own life as a former drug addict.

Prizes to Entertain You

Free Tickets to Clown Cabaret at the Climate Theater, 1st Monday in the month of recipient's choosing, 7pm showing ($30 value). Climate Theater is located at 285 9th Street. At the corner of 9th and Folsom in San Francisco.

Free Movies from Four-Star Video, SF DVD/video rental place in Bernal Heights. Prize is for a one-month subscription (called "Kenflix," a la Netflix, where you can rent a certain number of movies for a flat rate in a one-month period--estimated value: $25-30) OR credit for five movie rentals.

Two Tickets to Jewish Theatre San Francisco, a hip little theater located in the Mission that features new plays by Jewish writers or utilizing Jewish themes. That said, it is an expertly run place that wants new audience members of any denomination and background. They often feature one "pay-as-you-can" night for students for every performance.

Prizes to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry With

Private Wine Tasting for 10 at Periscope Cellars Winery. You and 9 guests will tour Periscope Cellars, a leader of the Urban Wine Revolution. Winemaker Brendan Elasion will guide you through a barrel tasting from the previous harvest as well as his award-winning current releases. Operating out of a WWII submarine repair facility, Periscope Cellars works with small, family growers with a focus on hands-on growing and wine making to yield wines of unique character and quality.

$25 Gift Card for the Missouri Lounge, located at 2600 San Pablo Ave (between Carleton St & Parker St), Missouri Lounge is the hippest bar in Berkeley, offering: steak/chicken/sausage/pork/veggie hoagies, kabobs, ribs, full bar, dancing, djs, outdoor/indoor venue.

$15 Gift Certificates (2) for Mercury Café, donated by owner, Nick Parker. Mercury Café is located at 201 Octavia Street, SF in Hayes Valley, is a beautiful space with high ceilings and art by Hal Robins. They serve excellent coffee from De La Paz Rosters in the Mission. They also have Bridgeport IPA on draft, and a really nice house Chianti. They serve mostly organic foods, house-made pies, and the owner plays great music.

Free Entrance for Two + 2 Drink Tickets for 222 Hyde, a nightclub featuring a full bar, small plates, appetizers, and handmade gourmet pizzas, as well as one of the best sound systems in San Francisco. Hosting some of the finest DJs in the world in their basement lounge, this recently renovated nightspot has consistently been a Yelp and local favorite since opening its doors in 2004.

$25 Gift Card from Specialty's Cafe & Bakery, with numerous locations throughout the Bay Area including 8 in San Francisco.

1 Bottle of Gekkeikan Sake, from their state-of-the-art brewing facility in Folsom, Cali.

Fresh Roasted Beans from Four Barrel Coffee. The lucky winner of this raffle prize will receive hand-picked & roasted coffee beans from the newest member of San Francisco's coffee elite. Four Barrel Coffee is at 375 Valencia Street @ 15th.

$10 Certificate for Peet's Coffee & Tea, the premier specialty coffee and tea company in the United States. Peet's buys the highest quality beans in the world, artisan roasts every bean by hand to order, and delivers all of its coffee quickly for superior freshness no matter where it is sold.

$10 Gift Certificate for Starbucks, inspiring and nurturing the human spirit— one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Prizes Both Artful and Heartful

$200 gift certificate towards a purchase from Dark Garden Corsetry and Couture Using the finest fabrics, Dark Garden's amazingly talented craftspeople skillfully build each corset and couture garment.

$25 Gift Card for Under One Roof, the only non-profit retail store of its kind in the entire world, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for San Francisco Bay Area men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Super Sock Monkeys by Becky: 100% handmade, unique plush animal

Metal United States Map (valued at $125) from Copper Leaf Studios. This metal artwork was created using a non-acid etching process and environmentally-friendly materials whenever possible. The designs are a mixture of organic and geometric, and the colors and textures are like a good cup of tea – sometimes rich, sometimes soothing, but perfectly satisfying in small, thoughtful doses.

-Keely, Fourteen Hills staff


Hear Fourteen Hills 16.1 Contributor Rae Freudenberger Friday on Pirate Cat Radio

Rae Freudenberger, whose poem “Red Light, Green Light” appears in the upcoming issue of Fourteen Hills, will read her work Friday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. on 87.9 FM, San Francisco’s Pirate Cat Radio. You can listen live at www.piratecatradio.com.

Rae lives in San Francisco and is a recent grad of S.F. State’s MA program. She is the winner of the Denise L. Scott Memorial Poetry Contest and has been published in various journals including L.A. Miscellany and S.F. State’s own Transfer.

You can also see Rae read at the Fourteen Hills release party, Wednesday, Dec. 16, along with several other contributors to the new issue as well as Stephen Elliot, author of The Adderall Diaries. The party starts 7 p.m. at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, Folsom and 18th streets. RSVP on Facebook if you'll be able to join us. See you there.

-Leigh Ann D., Fourteen Hills staff


2009 Winner of the Bambi Holmes Award for Emerging Writers: Bay Area Writer, Jill Tidman's “This Is How I Saw It”

Fourteen Hills has selected Bay Area writer, Jill Tidman’s story, "This is How I Saw It" from Issue 15.2 of the journal as the winner of the Bambi Holmes Award for Emerging Writers.

By a generous donation from the family of Bambi Holmes (1946-1996), an annual literary award has been established to continue her lifelong patronage of aspiring writers.

The Holmes Award honors an emerging fiction writer published in Fourteen Hills during the year with a cash prize of $500 — “emerging” defined as not having published a book-length work as of yet. Each year (when funds are available), the Editor in Chief selects a story published in the Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall issues to receive the Holmes Award in Prose. 

If you were one of the many who attended the Fourteen Hills reading at this year’s San Francisco LitCrawl, then you had a chance to see Jill Tidman perform her piece in person. If you didn’t make the event, you can still hear her memorable performance right here.

Of course, you can also buy the issue containing her short story at any of these bookstores nationwide, or directly from Fourteen Hills.

All work published in Fourteen Hills will be considered for the award; no special entry is required. For details on submitting, visit www.14hills.net.

Since Issue 16.1 will be out in just a few weeks, you may be able to spot the next recipient of the Holmes Award within its pages. We look forward to hearing what you think.

-Leanne M., Fourteen Hills staff


The Fourteen Hills Release Party: Here’s How To Get Your Friends to Attend

There are many reasons to attend the Fourteen Hills Fall 2009 Release Party, but no reason to go alone. It is never hard to convince a fellow writer to go to a literary reading.  Readings are a great source of inspiration, a grand opportunity for social networking, and a better resource than craigslist for potential hot dates.

However, speaking from experience, it can be tough to get your nonliterary (AKA employed) friends jazzed up about a literary event. The important thing to remember is that the Fourteen Hills Fall 2009 Release Party, coming up on Wednesday, December 16, is a party, and a free one at that. It just happens to feature up-and-coming writers reading their work.

Fabulous Fourteen Hills contributors are flying in from all over the country (or walking two blocks from their apartment in the Mission) to read for you, including Rhea DeRose-Weiss, Rae Freudenberger, Austin LaGrone, Gabrielle Myers, Marcus Pactor, Marc Stone, Katie Cappello, Gregory Mahrer, Sarah Cohen Powell, and special guest Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries. You will also have a rare chance to view the original work of our featured artists, The Pfeiffer Sisters.

But that’s not all! We’ve got the makings of a real party that will have you rubbing your eyes and downing coffee on Thursday morning. Throughout the evening, DJ Martin Hodge will be spinning dance music so you can get your groove on. There will be delicious homemade food, a chance to purchase current and back issues, and best of all, tons and tons of amazing raffle prizes!

Raffle tickets are just $2 each or three for $5. Prizes include but are not limited to: A private wine tasting for 10 at Periscope Cellars Winery, free movies from Four Star Video, limited edition books by Omibucket, tickets to Clown Cabaret, Jewish Theatre SF, and 222 Hyde, gift certificates from Mercury Café, Under One Roof, and Half Price Books, assorted handmade Sock Monsters, a $200 custom corset from Dark Garden, and many, many more!

Still not convinced?  Well on top of a chance to hear this great group of writers, dance the night away, and win amazing prizes, the Fourteen Hills Release Party is being held in the San Francisco Motorcycle club, one of the most unique venues in the city. Take a look at pictures from last year’s event.

The San Francisco Motorcycle Club was founded in 1904 and is the oldest motorcycle club on the West Coast. The clubhouse has been in this very spot for sixty-five years, and is plenty spacious enough to hold the large crowd of eager partiers we expect on December 16.

Wednesday, December 16th      
7 pm to 1 am
San Francisco Motorcycle Club
2194 Folsom Street (at 18th St.), SF

RSVP on Facebook

We hope that you and your friends will be part of the fun.

-Stephen R., Fourteen Hills staff


The Michael Rubin Book Award Predicts Great Careers In Writing: A Look At Past Winners

While the writer’s life is generally occupied by glamour and celebrity, we all know that there are certain challenges, for example, finishing your book. Then there’s the smallish chore of getting it published.

In his debut collection, D.W. Lichtenberg proved his immense literary talent: The Ancient Book of Hip, released November 18, 2009, was the recipient of the 2009 Michael Rubin Book Award. Established in honor of beloved professor Michael Rubin, the award is funded by the San Francisco State University Creative Writing Program. The winning work is selected by an independent writer or editor and is published annually by Fourteen Hills Press. Each year the award alternates between books of poetry and fiction.

The honor of winning the Michael Rubin Book Award (MRBA) extends beyond publication. If part of the point of an award is to herald new talent, the Michael Rubin Book Award seems to predict future success as well. In winning the award, D.W. Lichtenberg joins a long list of recipients who, since winning, have continued to produce works of acclaim, and establish thriving writing lives.

Past recipients include Kate Small, who in 1999 won the Michael Rubin Book Award for The Gap in the Letter C, a “fierce, tender, reckless, precise, alarming, loveley, and unforgettable” collection of eleven short stories (says Michelle Carter). Along with the Michael Rubin Book Award, Small won the Lorian Hemingway prize, a Vogelstein Foundation grant, and in 2002 she received one of 21 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for prose. Her work has appeared in Nimrod, Prism International, The Boston Review, The Madison Review, and in the anthology Best New American Voices, edited by Tobias Wolff.

Part of what makes Small’s writing so inspiring is the diversity of perspectives and experiences she delves into, and the places and ways she finds her inspiration. Among her more recent projects is Maximum Sunlight, inspired by three days at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC. “I watched people come and go,” she says, describing the project. “I became fascinated by the intimate, confrontational aspect of Maya Lin's Wall: one must go close to read its texts, and in so doing, face one's own reflection in the polished granite. The wall's visitor's are various, but published writing which explores their relationship with it, isn't. I hope that Mira, its speaker, will put some pressure on the phenomenon of 'compassion fatigue' in America.”

In 2009, Robin Romm published the memoir The Mercy Papers. It was the New York Times Editor’s Choice Book and it received an A grade from Entertainment Weekly. Her 2007 collection of stories The Mother Garden was a finalist for the PEN USA prize and won the Northern California Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Award. It all began in 2005, when she won the Michael Rubin Book Award for her first collection of stories, The Tilt, which acclaimed writer Brian Evenson described as “a startling first collection.” Many of the stories in The Tilt later appeared in The Mother Garden, her first major publication.

These days, Romm lives in New Mexico with her boyfriend and writer Don Waters, and their cattle dog, Mercy. She shares her wisdom and imparts her talents to her students in the MFA writing program at New Mexico State University. Readers can find more of her fabulous work in numerous national journals including Threepenny Review, One Story, and Tin House, as well as many anthologies.

Past winner Jenny Pritchett was twice honored in 2008: her debut collection, At or Near the Surface, won the 2008 Michael Rubin Book Award, judged by Tin House managing editor Holly MacArthur, and her story “Bugaboo” was selected by Steve Almond for the Best of the Web 2008 anthology from Dzanc Books. Her work has appeared in Southwest Review, Northwest Review, Boulevard, Salt Hill, and Fiction Attic. She has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jenny lives and teaches here in San Francisco, offering classes available to the public at the Writing Salon.

Poet, playwright, writer and songwriter Elizabeth Treadwell won the 1997 MRBA for her work Eleanor Ramsey: the Queen of Cups. She has published seven books and seven chapbooks. Along with these prolific literary credentials, her work includes music and performance pieces. Treadwell wrote the lyrics for the song JoLynn, performed by Molly Symns and her band, co-wrote the lyrics for Yolanda with Paul Jackson, performed by Stiff Richards. She wrote the play La Gnossienne and co-authored the screenplay Nonstop with Carol Treadwell.

Stay tuned for a post about the Michael Rubin Book Award submission guidelines, an award open to the student body of San Francisco State University. Anticipate an early 2010 submission deadline. In the meantime, dive in and read some of the great writing from past award winners.

-Nina, Fourteen Hills staff