HouseFire Publishing Circa 2011 -2012


HOUSEFIRE was dedicated to bringing the strongest voices in fiction and poetry to their readers.
This was their website.
Content is from the sites 2011-2012 archived pages. The last tweet on the HOUSEFIRE Twitter account was dated 2015.

SO, what happened to HOUSEFIRE Publishing??
I don't know the answer. It's a mystery. Nevertheless, your readers and authors will miss you.

2 BLOG POSTS from 2011

17th Aug 2011


Friends and neighbors, cowboys and indians -
We are proud to announce that HOUSEFIRE PUBLISHING will be moving its base of operations from this tumblr to a wordpress in the coming weeks. Our tumblr, of course, will still exist, but instead of being the entirety of our efforts it will feature additional content past our normal fiction, interviews, and reviews, and, with any luck, take on a life of its own as a place for HOUSEFIRE’s more high-concept fiction experiments (as conducted by Riley Michael Parker and Frances Dinger). Also, it will probably be a home for old-man style rants about fiction, art, music, et cetera, from RMP, Rob Gray, and Maurice Burford.
We’re opinionated.
Sadly, we will be taking a small break from publishing as we gather fiction, poetry, interviews, et cetera, for the launch of the new site. Two weeks at most, which seems long, I know, but we’ll be back before you know it, driving you wild and making your pants as tight as they have ever been.
Until we come back feel free to waste time watching bad homemade dance videos on youtube. Here’s a good place to start.
And you should know this already, but there is always a ton of great fiction on our sister site, METAZEN. We love them, and they love you
We have a high-concept story collection coming out with 60+ writers between the covers, including J. A. Tyler, Jamie Iredell, Stephen Tully Dierks, Kevin Sampsell, Mel Bosworth, Matty Byloos, Andrew Borgstrom, Poncho Peligroso, Peter Schwartz, yt sumner, Joseph Riippi, and like, everyone else you’ve ever heard of (not literally, but, you know). And this will be in book form. Like, you can own this and hold it in your hands. For real. Full details will be released when the site goes up. p.p.s.
We miss you already.



Fan Notes: I once read in a nonfiction review (Legal Waterfront) on this site that New Orleans was a hotbed of legal activity due to the exploitation of maritime workers who man the vessels and rigs in the Gulf. The large corporations that hire these crews often ignore OSHA rules governing maritime safety protocols and people end up getting injured. In the interview in that post, a New Orleans maritime attorney was quoted as saying, "If we were not here to advocate for the injured workers, none of them would be compensated when they are put in harm's way and then end up with medical expenses and sometimes a lifetime of pain." That lawyer was one of many who were quoted basically saying the same thing - that the only way the large corporations act responsibly is when they are legally held to account for the welfare of their employees. But injured workers still have to contact these attorneys and that's where a high ranking online presence can pay off. These practices thrive on Google searches and visibility. I was fascinated by the legal culture intertwined with the dock workers and rig greasemonkeys. Maritime legal practices are unique in this way and can act as a backdrop to some very interesting and controversial outcomes.




After so much delay, here it is:

8th Jul 2011 |




First and foremost, HOUSEFIRE is an ongoing fiction experiment. As a collective, we aim to be a muse for our authors, inspiring our favorite writers and poets to create work that they never would have on their own. Everything we publish is created just for HOUSEFIRE from a prompt given to the author by one of our editors. Whether it be from a title we’ve created, an image that we’ve acquired, or a music video that we’ve decided to pass along, there is not a single story that we publish–online, in our collections, or contained within our novels and novellas–that we haven’t had a hand in. Even so, we play a small part, just the spark for the towering inferno of wonderful fiction that our friends and colleagues so graciously hand over for us to publish. Alone we are just a bunch of writers, but together we are HOUSEFIRE.


HOUSEFIRE is dedicated to bringing you the strongest voices in fiction and poetry, not only digitally, but with ink on paper; the very best that the small press world has to offer, wrapped in pretty covers with fancy pictures. All of our books are written just for us from our ever-growing collection of talented up and comers–some by folks you already know and love, others from new voices that we are taking a chance on, all of them from people that we are in love with/frightened by (you know, because they’re so goddamned talented).

Our first book, NOUNS OF ASSEMBLAGE, goes on sale August 24th.


J. A. Tyler
Kevin Sampsell
Jamie Iredell
Mike Young
Matthew Simmons
Andrew Borgstrom
Molly Gaudry
Mike Topp
Frank Hinton
Yt Sumner
Len Kuntz
Robert Vaughan
DJ Berndt
Matty Byloos
Robert Duncan Gray
J. Bradley
Stephen Tully Dierks
Janey Smith
Joseph Riippi

…and the list goes on.

We also have a (short) list of people that we are ashamed and/or embarrassed to have published, but we’ll keep that to ourselves.


HOUSEFIRE is officially the sister-site to METAZEN, the wonderful magazine run by the elusive and long-legged Frank Hinton. HF founder Riley Michael Parker is a former editor for the MZ website, and currently in charge of their book production. Beyond METAZEN, HOUSEFIRE is associated with Smalldoggies Magazine, and supports several small presses from the Northwest and beyond. We are interested in facilitating the introduction of as many readers to as many fantastic authors as possible, and will continue to partner and network with the publishers that we think are doing something worthwhile, forever and ever, amen. We are in love with everyone who writes for us (minus the secret short list, of course).

If you feel that we should be aware of your press, or you have a writer that you are championing and think we should solicit, please, contact us and let us know.






MEET ART STAR CHELSEA MARTIN + an artist profile by Riley Michael Parker

ARTIN + an artist profile by Riley Michael Parker

Chelsea Martin came from the ocean, or is perhaps some sort of spook or something. A sea ghost. A water-boo. A catfish. Something. If she’s just a white woman living in Oakland, well, we’re all in trouble, because she is like WAY TOO TALENTED and sort of putting us all to shame. We should feel bad about ourselves, at least compared to her (we do, I can tell).

Chelsea is the author of EVERYTHING WAS FINE UNTIL WHATEVER and THE REALLY FUNNY THING ABOUT APATHY, the illustrator that brought FOUR-LETTER POEMS to life, and at least half of the genius behind UNIVERSAL ERROR, a sexy company aimed at sexy people with sexy money. I asked her if I could ask her questions and she said, “Only one, and you just wasted it, fuck-mouth.” Then we bought a car together over the phone.

WE WERE DRIVING + fiction by Chelsea Martin

Our car collided with another car and our car was thrown either upside down or sideways into a bush or tree. Branches poked through the broken glass. I smiled, trying to feel my face. I looked for my boyfriend in the driver’s seat, but he was blocked by air bag, and I was thankful that I didn’t have to know right away if he were alive or dead. Either way, it would be better to deal with that information when there were other people around. I tried to imagine how I would feel later in the day, looking back at this moment. I was having a slight allergic reaction to the branches.


Your writing is a bit deceptive in that being so clever and minimalistic it comes across as effortless. I have kept your books on my coffee table for months at a time, and it’s interesting watching people pick them up. It’s like it takes them a page and a half to realize what they’re reading, and then they have to go back and start over just to get the complexities of it. How did your style come about? What is your goal for individual pieces?

I try to write things that are fun for a reader to read and that I don’t feel totally humiliated to read aloud. Also, I want to appeal to people who don’t necessarily have the attention span to read for more than a couple of minutes, but I do want to reward thoughtful readers.

Do you write big and whittle down, or write small and build up? I remember reading somewhere that you collect one-liners as you write them, but is that always the genesis for a piece, or do you approach with a larger concept and then cut something out of it?

Basically I’ll write a sentence or paragraph and if it sucks I put it in a suck file and if it doesn’t necessarily suck I’ll put it in a maybe-suck file. I look at the maybe-suck file a lot until I feel inspired to write more sentences/paragraphs, or until I think of putting a couple of the sentences/paragraphs in the maybe-suck document together. Then if I have enough stuff that I think does not suck, I’ll put it in a doesn’t-suck document, which right now is a novel I’m working on. I rarely change the sentences/paragraphs in any real way after writing them. Mostly what I do while editing is move my writing around to different documents and put it next to other writing to see what happens.

Very few writers frighten me, but you’re one of them. I find you to be drastically clever, and I don’t understand how you happened. When I first read your chapbook I $ YOU (since reprinted in the collection EVERYTHING WAS FINE UNTIL WHATEVER) it was like finding out that Dracula is real and he’s best friends with Freddy Krueger. It was scary and exciting all at once. What would really scare me is if you started writing novels, which I hear that you may be working on one? Is that true?

I’m so thrilled to have frightened someone other than my cat. I’m working on a novel but it’s exactly what you would expect a novel by me to be like.

You just scared the shit out of me, like right now. But moving on, your artwork seems to really be taking off. Your FOUR-LETTER POEMS book with Joshua Brandon is really awesome (and I saw teenagers reading it and laughing at Powell’s, so that’s cool), and I hear you’re working on a project with Bryan Coffelt. Also, your company UNIVERSAL ERROR sales the best cereal inspired tee that I think I’ve ever seen (and the scariest clown shirt, but I don’t think you drew that). What is your ambition as a visual artist?

Universal Error is a very serious project. It’s taken up almost all of my free time and money this year so far. All I’ve really got to show for it is an art room full of shit I don’t have a clue how to sell and some fucking depressing Excel files. But I love Excel files, depressing or otherwise, so it’s totally worth it. (But) I don’t really have ambition as a visual artist. I think of it as more of a tool. I will definitely keep making art, but it usually makes more sense to combine it with writing.

You and I collaborated on a film called JUNIOR PROM, with you writing and me shaping and directing, and like most of the projects I initiate, you were writing from a prompt. How was that process for you?

I loved the prompt. I don’t really think I would’ve done it if I didn’t like the prompt. I’d like to write for film. Seems like seeing people act out your writing could be addictive thing.

When I pitched the short to you I gave you a list of actors that I had and/or types of characters you could write for, but you didn’t have any pictures or anything, and they’re just normal people, not established actors. The lead actress, Marika Haskins, is my ex-girlfriend and current roommate. “Uncle Mitch” is my neighbor and former political consultant, currently working in film and television as a union rep. The father character was played by Neil Anderson, a lawyer here in Portland Oregon, with a model as the older sister and myself playing the ex-boyfriend. How was it writing for people you didn’t know, and then what was it like when you saw them filling the roles you created?

I felt bad for you while I was writing it. I thought I wasn’t writing enough and that it would be hard for you to translate into scenes that were longer than three seconds. After I saw it I felt really proud of everyone and like I loved all of you, but I also felt left out and far away and not part of the club. I think all of the characters were spot on, which is pretty amazing since I didn’t know what they looked like or what their acting style was or anything. Felt pretty amazed by the whole thing.

What do you think I’ll be interviewing you about five years from now? What do you think you’ll be working on? How much weight do you think you’ll have gained? What fashion choices will you learn to regret? How many babies will you have aborted/given away?

I honestly can’t think ahead more than a month or two, and even then it feels stupidly hypothetical.

Any questions for me?

You seem crazy busy. Do you ever feel like you are doing too many things?

Oh, like every day of my life.

Do you want to design a product for Universal Error?

What did I just say, Chelsea? Nah, grrrl… Never. JK! LOL!! Totes!! XOXO (xxx)!!


+whatever forever+

p.s. This has nothing to do with Chelsea Martin, but I put a google alert on HOUSEFIRE, and now I get the most depressing e.mails… “Three cats and a pregnant teen burn up in Tennessee house fire…”







Frances E. Dinger and Riley Michael Parker doubled up on Tyler Gobble. Also, they like interviewed him or something.


What is your favorite book of the last three months? Reinterpret it as a short story. Keep the title.

SO YOU KNOW IT’S ME by Brian Oliu is by far my favorite book of the last three months. I wrote a review of it at Vouched, so I don’t need to say more here. EXCEPT THE STORY:


I move from my place to place, face to face. I move my arms and my legs, blink my eyes. She sits at a table, exercises beside me, moves close then further then close again. Some people see their lives in the shapes of people. I see my life in the shape of her, the blond hair, the blur of motion, the colors she wears. The moments reach their hands out then pull away. But she does neither, hand out, nor pull away. She waits then moves, and I follow, the moments when I think she knows I follow. Or the moments when she seems to find me herself. Hello, it’s nice to meet you, to know you, to love you.

A comedian tells a story about a man who drowns in a pool–not in his back yard, or at a hotel, but on a cruise liner in the middle of the ocean. There he is, surrounded on all sides by miles and miles of water, and he drowns in what is comparatively a puddle. The comedian says, “Now that’s funny!” Maybe it’s funny, and maybe it isn’t, but if it is, it proves my theory that all comedy is tragedy, and vice versa. Take a painful anecdote from your own life and write it three times, in three different genres. Give all three versions bitchin’ titles.


The shape of my dad
pointing at the shape
of a rock covered in
moss, the two not so
different in self, shape.

The shape of my dad
flailing in mid-air, his
round stomach shaking
out the bottom of his
yellow t-shirt as he falls.

The shape of my dad
holding his wrist, the blood
down his wrist in the shape
of an L, holding it near
my face, another lesson.



(My dad and I are hiking through the woods.)
Dad: Watch out for rocks with green stuff on them. They’re slick.
Me: Okay.
Dad: Did you put on sunscreen?
Me: Yeah.
Dad: Don’t take your shoes off. And watch out for branches that could poke out your eyes.
Me: Okay.
Dad: Is your walkie talkie on in case we get separated?
Me: Yeah.
Dad: If you start to fall down the hill, don’t catch yourself, just roll.
Me: Okay.
Dad slips on a rock covered in moss and slits open his wrist.



Life is cyclical, in good ways and bad. You know that snake that eats its tail? Ouroboros? When I look at that I see bad romance; see a man and woman in love with each other, coming together now and then for a few honest moments–a stolen kiss, a long gaze–and then returning to the things that they focus on too ignore the truth. I see constant frustration in that snake. What do you see? Write it as a story, call it OUROBOROS.


A woman in the desert. If she has a car, someone else drives it. She sees a cactus and walks towards it. She thinks about how her husband left a few weeks ago, their yard full of plants. The cactus is no help. She spots a pile of rocks shaped like the shed in her backyard. She walks to the rocks and stands on them. No one in the world knows how she got here. A house like hers pops up in the distance. She walks to it. Someone has thrown a party. No one invited her. A snake eats its tail on the stoop. She puts it on as a necklace and goes in without knocking.

There are, in this scenario, endless parallel universes, a separate universe for every possible outcome to every possible choice that anyone has made or will ever make. Sure, why not. So you, dear friend, have the power to move through them, these parallel universes, but one step at a time. You pick a direction and you can travel. Talk about this, not as a story or a poem, but just as chatter. What would you see? What interests you? Recreate everything if need be, just tell me about it.

I know I know I know it’s the dimension without my dislocated shoulder, without the divorce at 22, without the obsessive hobbies, no writing, no other sports, no extreme loneliness. One thing: disc golf. I’m a pro or THE GREATEST TO EVER LIVE and my healthy arm slings bright color plastic FAR. I don’t worry about anything except sinking that 50 foot long putt or making it around that tree. Oh that’d be great. This whole other dimension thing freaks me out a bit, because it’s not like life sucks or I don’t like what I’m doing (minus that whiny list above), but if I could do one hobbything everyday, I don’t think it’d be reading or writing or riding my bike, it’d be disc golf. So I’ll go, sure, for you, dear friend, and whip that disc out and about and when it rattles chains, I hope the sound travels back to your present dimension, where it reaches you.

Who is someone in the small press world who you think you could be in love with? Not just romantically, spiritually, et cetera, but professionally? Write a story that mixes your style and theirs. Write it as if you wrote it together. Call it something beautiful.

Romance is dead. My spirit just drifted off. So professionally, J.A. Tyler is one admirable person.


Drink Specials
Cody sits at the bar. My arm in a sling tightened against my stomach. His face smiles like only his face can. It’s 2.50 pitcher night and I have a five dollar bill. Cody talks about drums, how they pound and echo. I speak of my shoulder, how it dislocates on command but it’s getting easier to shove back in. More people close in around us. My eyes focus on the mirror behind the bar. I talk and the sound echoes back to these new people and we smile together, lifting our glasses.
Four beers in and I ride my bike, one-armed, from stoplight to stoplight. Cars pass me, raise their fists, holler their complaints. I stretch out my arm and go left. The next bar three friends bike off. Their howls bounce off the pavement, travel the dotted yellow lines back to me. I give my bike hell. My front tire pops and I fly head over handlebars. On my back, I don’t see my friends, but I see the moon and it looks at me with worry.
Another bar, another pitcher, and I wonder where my bike went. I look in the street and it’s not there. I wander down an alley and up some stairs. Cody shouts hello to me above everyone’s heads. I jump to raise myself, my beer, my glowing face above the rest. Cody points at me and I wave back with my sling, with my shoulder, road-rashed and falling back out.



What is a story or book by an ‘established’ writer that you think is unsuccessful? Don’t give us the name of the book or author, give us a plot synopsis.

A huge hurricane washes out a large American city and people are displaced and the city is in crumbles. Focus in: a man, a nice man, a Syrian-American man stays behind to paddle around in his boat while his family goes off to a safer place. He sees sad things and disturbing things and even helps some people like all good heroes. He was worried about his rental properties and painting equipment and own home so he couldn’t leave. One day, he got arrested and held in this little makeshift jail at a bus station. He didn’t want medical help nor did he alert his family. Everyone was scared.

Now describe why that piece was unsuccessful without using negative adjectives like “bad,” “underdeveloped,” “pedestrian” or “boring.”

Sometimes creative nonfiction shouts in desperation WE NEED A HERO or MAYBE THIS WASN’T SUCH A GOOD IDEA or SOMEBODY FILL THAT HOLE. It sticks out, oh yes it does.

Tell us a story you have retold verbally multiple times but made untruthful in some way. Tell us the totally true version and still make it engaging.

I remember his rusty Oldsmobile shaking under me, a vibration I confused with my hands shaking, watching Zach walk the block, one, twice, three times. Somehow, no cars at 2 a.m. on our town’s busiest road, a traffic light adjacent to the town’s only bed and breakfast. This was our last hoorah, both turning 18 soon, cracking under the small-town itch of boredom. We’d done the funnier, harmless stuff, moving For Sale signs to different yards, shooting bottle rockets at each other while we skateboarded by, but this was our chance to really make someone pay for our boredom, for not giving us something better to do in this crappy town than steal your fancy purple sign. Startled by a noise like the world’s tinniest moped starting up, my eyes drifted from the swinging sign to the porch next door. This dude a few years older than us smoking a cigarette, notorious in our town for buying alcohol for kids, watched me with eyes that knew what was up. We both looked towards the sign as Zach sprinted full speed, ripping it from its hooks and diving into the passenger side door. As we drove the three blocks to Zach’s house, the man on the porch nodded. A car had followed us and I couldn’t find the switch to turn off the car’s lights. We hid low in the garage. Watching Zach pant from the sprint, from the steal, I squeezed the sign. We switched to my car, Zach driving this time, and we drove to his brother’s house outside of town. I peered in the mirror every few seconds, no one following us, the sign crossways in my lap.

When I was a young kid, I was afraid that the stories I wrote were true in an alternate universe. I felt guilty when I wrote about bad things happening to people, which is of course ridiculous, but it informed my compassion in some way. What is a fear or belief you once had that actually helped develop something valuable?

Call it only-child-syndrome, blame it on my dad letting me watch movies like RAMBO and THE WARRIORS before I entered elementary school, but my little kid mind was haunted by fears of attacks, fears of abandonment, fears of not being prepared. I started a First-Aid Kit collection, yes collection, one for each parent’s car, one for camping, one for fishing, one for hunting, one for each sport I played, a general one in my backpack. And I took karate for awhile and every dark corner got a karate chop and every rattling noise got a returned grunt, that little squeak they made me make in karate practice before each sparring match. Well, it lasted for a week at least, until my dad got tired of explaining why his 8 year old son was hollering at someone’s dog or kicking that homeless guy that sat behind CVS.

I guess you can find the “something valuable” in there.

What is a writer you claim to have read but never have? Write a passage in his/her imagined style without consulting any of his/her texts.

Am I supposed to give the writer? It’s Murakami, if so.

This Japanese kid walks to the store. He buys a hot dog and some bourbon. The payphone rings and he answers it. He drinks some of the bourbon and says, Hello. The voice on the other end says, Hello. You know who I am. The kid says, Okay. He eats half the hotdog. The voice has a mission for the kid and the kid agrees. He finishes the hot dog and writes an address in ketchup on the wrapper and says, I’ll meet you there. He drinks some more. A beautiful blond girl with bodacious kneecaps walks into the store, but stops and asks for a swig of bourbon first. She says, Thanks, and winks as she leaves. The kid hasn’t talked to a female in a few weeks. He has a decision to make. He’s already low on bourbon.


That’s it.




SOMETIMES + fiction by Suzanne Burns

Sometimes he tucked three quarters deep within his fur to buy a newspaper. He understood her language well enough to read the obituaries first, scanning the flat waves of type for his favorite name, which would never be her name because she did not speak his native tongue.

Sometimes his favorite name sounded like Violet but meant the opposite of purple flowers. This story sounds better if they met while she gathered wildflowers and he foraged for honey, his big paws knowing how to coax the sweetness from around each sting. Neither could remember how they met, which meant neither would write poetry about first dates or kissing in the backseat of a car or how she or he walked across the room in a way that made everyone else disappear. Bears do not know how to hold pens without spelling every word wrong, anyway. Sometimes she held this against him. She used to hold her smooth body against his dark, coarse hair.

Sometimes after they made love, which wasn’t really what they did when he left blood pooling on the sheets, deep scratches he never meant to leave even though she asked, she fixed him tea sandwiches. Sometimes she sliced radishes so thin he could see through them when she held the small disks close to his face. Right through to her, he always thought, her fingers spicy, buttery.

Sometimes he wanted to bite off just one little pinkie. He loved the taste of her blood but was always afraid to ask.

Sometimes she wanted to ask him what it felt like escaping the circus. What it once felt like wearing a tutu and balancing on a ball and smelling peanuts and popcorn all day. She wanted to ask him, after they made love and she applied bandages to her back and across her tummy where sometimes one of his claws almost poked right through, to take her on a vacation to his forest in Germany, so far away from their little bed in their little room. They would eat ham for breakfast and cake for lunch and he would feed her the cherries that glistened on top. This made her mouth open every time but he was already snoring.

Sometimes he wanted to tell her he was sorry for being a bear and not a man, for not being good at sports or cooking. He wanted her to help him remember how they met. It had nothing to do with honey or flowers or the circus. He wanted to ask her why she took him to the candy store downtown, squirreling her fingers through his fur for quarters to drop in the cotton candy machine. There were lights and pink sugar spinning and a paper stick to catch the sweet threads. The smell reminded him of tutus and balancing balls and every time after he ate a bite he felt sick.

Sometimes she wanted to tell him she asked him to stand in front of the cotton candy machine on purpose because her name wasn’t Violet and never would be, even if she changed it, and that he promised her things when they kissed that he forgot right after and that loving a bear was no different than loving a man.

Sometimes he wished her name was in the obituaries so he could mourn her without her sitting next to him on their bed, blood dripping down her chest that he just wanted to lick.

Sometimes she fell asleep wondering if he knew the secrets inside her. She wanted him to know without having to ask how she took her coffee, how she liked to be touched. Sometimes she wanted him to explain to her why she felt so sad.




SUZANNE BURNSis a circle. That’s not true. She might be a circle, but she might also be the outside of a circle. She is either the infection or the surrounding skin. She is either the sign or the crop field. She is either the cadaver or the cadaver decomposition island (CDI). A group of her just might be bubonic alien takeout on a Friday night.





RILEY MICHAEL PARKER is obsessed with witches and wolves and murderous men, but only as metaphors for bad mothers and walking punishment and every boy’s longing to live up to the projected manhood of his father (and John Wayne and Vin Diesel). He is a smoker of cigarettes and an eater of bacon, and he is the kind of young man who falls in love (at least) once a month, the kind of fella that would rather have a cat than friends. Also, at one time, he owned a gun.
+Founding President of HOUSEFIRE PUBLISHING+


LINDSAY ALLISON RUOFF used to be a tattooed lady but has since worked her way up to bearded woman. She has no tattoos. She has no identifiable tattoos. She has no recommendable tattoos. She has a beard thick as a forest.

+Head of Book Design+


ROBERT DUNCAN GRAY dresses himself. He is a life-long brusher of teeth and tongue. The hair that grows in his armpits is soft. If he could have chosen where he was born, he would have been born in a bodega, in the company of warm bread. Though neither gentle nor manly, he can only be described as a gentleman.

+Photography Editor and Webmaster+


MARIKA HASKINS eats ice cream, like a lot, along with tasty treats, sweetsie noshes, & snackadoodles. Most mornings she will even refuse to have coffee without a coffee yum yum. Oh, yeah, she eats those too. Coffee yum yums.

+Arts Editor+


MAURICE ALEXANDER BURFORD, many years ago, to better look like a Unicorn, affixed a pointed wooden cap on his head. He never really recovered from that. Leaving Baltimore behind by stowawaying on a moving van headed to who knows where (here), he ended up here by pretending to be one of the hardest working Baltimore movers crew. But he didn't fool anyone. Nor did he care providing that he needed no explanation or excuse for his Baltimore accent. Do you know that accent? He uses is whenever anyone questions his story about arriving here in a moving van. He shows them his biceps as if that's proof he could pass for a moving company employee. But he can't help himself when anyone references Baltimore. So don't do that.
Cuntly Yrs,
+Poetry Editor+


KIRA CLARK once, as a young child, wanted to know if she could unroll a roly poly the way she could make a roly poly roll up just by touching it. When she tried this, however, she ended up killing the roly poly by ripping its body  in half to expose a green, snot-like substance. Now Kira has an uncanny ability to understand—because of this event—how immensely powerful her own hands are, as well as how fragile all of life is. She looks at your face and knows she could crush it with her hands if she wanted to, but she is not going to because she just wants to cradle your snot-like filled body, and even if you have just woken up and your face looks puffy and ugly, all she wants to do is kiss it, to feel the meeting of her powerful lips on your pathetic skin.

+Event Coordinator and Public Relations Manager+





HOUSEFIRE only accepts stories written for HOUSEFIRE, and moreover, only things written for HOUSEFIRE from a prompt we give you. Most of our published submissions are solicited by the editors.

HOUSEFIRE is now sponsoring a monthly series of prompts open to the public. If you think that your work belongs on HOUSEFIRE, choose a prompt, write a piece, and send it in.



You may submit one piece for each of the numbered prompts.

1.Choose one of the following titles and write a piece of fiction or a poem. No mention of teeth, the sun, sons, sins, gazebos, dogs, or alcohol. In every submission for the second title, mention, even if in passing, a tortoiseshell cat. No cats at all for the other two titles.


2.Write a piece of fiction inspired by this piece of art. Nothing twee (at least not half as twee as the picture itself). Take it to a surreal, meta, or ominous place. Do not mention colors. No vampires or zombies or other current teen/horror/cable tv drama staples. No stupid shit. No poetry.

3.Write a poem inspired by this piece of art. Nothing sentimental, but also not too teenage gloomy. Go far beyond the art itself, and talk about either the before or the after. Do not mention water. No fiction.


and in the subject put the word “JANUARY” somewhere, all caps.


All submissions are considered for both the website and print as to be determined by the editors. If we reject a submission then you as the author are free to do with it as you please, but if you wrote it from a title that we gave you then we ask that you please change the title as not to call attention to this rejection of your work (this is for both you and us). All accepted submissions remain the property of HOUSEFIRE Publishing to re-publish in any form we see fit until the end of time, however, that being said, if one of our writers gets an awesome book deal and wants to include a piece that was written for HOUSEFIRE, as long as it isn’t physically in print in one of our books HOUSEFIRE will gladly relinquish all future publishing rights as long as there is something nice said about us somewhere between the covers of the aforementioned awesome book. Also, if this happens we’ll tell everyone to buy your book because we love you (in this theoretical scenario) and we want you to be successful (that’s a given in every scenario, as we support all writers, whether or not we decide to publish them. We support the art form. We love words).

Sound good? Yeah, sounds good to us too.