"Wee Hours and Other Stories" by prose finalist Ellen Winter, and a tech apology

**Below is an excerpt from prose finalist Ellen Winter, which, due to a glitch in technology and spam folders on our end, we’re getting to you a few weeks late. We hope you’ll take a second to read and enjoy Ellen’s prose as you did our other finalists.**


“The Little Mission” from Wee Hours and Other Stories

Swede was slowing for the cattle guard that marked the final fence line when something shifted in the clearing below him, catching his eye. He braked hard, cranking down a window sluggish with mud. At first glance it all looked normal enough. The pasture was a small one, backed by woodlands and divided by Little Mission Creek. There were a couple of outbuildings he’d never found a use for, an old loading pen that held cattle in its day. The creek ran right through the middle, all but a glint of it hidden by the trees.

In the shadow of one of those willows, a large animal was trying to be still. It was a horse, a well-groomed bay, head lowered to the ground as if grazing. The gelding was saddled—that was the first thing that struck Swede as odd. And it wasn’t grass he was nibbling at, but the collar of a woman’s shirt. The woman lay on her side, hands tucked beneath a cheek. She looked peaceful, so much so that Swede nearly opted to drive on by. But most folks wouldn’t nap so close to a roadway. He would have to investigate. Pulling onto the grassy shoulder, he parked.

The truck’s heavy door opened with a screech and the horse spooked. Swede approached the woman with stealth, worried he might catch her in an act of a private nature. When he was close enough he crouched, hands on knees, peering cautiously into her face. It was Elsie Tarnower; Swede should have known that by the oversized clothing. Elsie was fond of menswear. Long-legged Wranglers were cinched at the waist by a wide leather belt. Her shirt was a well-worn flannel. Pointed flaps held the pockets closed with pearly snaps. If there were breasts under there, Elsie did her best to conceal them.

It was the look on her face that undid him. Only babies should be capable of such repose. That peacefulness was odd to see on the likes of Elsie Tarnower. She was a big gal and a busy one, proud of the fact that she could outwork most of the neighborhood men. She’d been called antsy by some and hyperactive by others. One rancher had gone so far as to say she was spastic—annoyed, no doubt, that she’d been hired by someone else.

Swede tried whistling. Then he tried shuffling his feet. Spurts of dust settled on her head and shoulders, but Elsie Tarnower was unperturbed. He called her name, softly at first and then louder. Bending close, he whispered a string of obscenities in her ear. If she was faking, he’d know it by now.

Ellen Winter’s short stories have appeared in a number of magazines including Fiction, New Letters, The Antioch Review, and Brain, Child. Her first collection, The Price You Pay: Stories, was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award, and went on to be published by Southern Methodist University Press. A second collection is being circulated, and there are a couple of novels in the works. Awards include fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Bread Loaf. She lives with her husband and three children in Livingston, MT, where she makes a living as a housekeeper.

"the consequence of light—" by poetry finalist Joe Jiménez

Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kórima 2014) and Bloodline (Arte Público 2016).  Jiménez holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.  The short film “El Abuelo,” based on Jiménez’s poem, has been screened in Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Argentina, Ireland, England, and the US. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the Macondo Workshops.  For more, visit joejimenez.net.

Our Prose Selection for 2016

London coffeehouse c. 1705 via Public Domain Review

After announcing our poetry selections last month, Augury is happy to reveal its selections for prose today. The editors’ reading period for prose submissions was equally intense, but also equally gratifying. To be sure, selecting one manuscript out of dozens of strong submissions never gets easier. It is with pleasure that we announce Sara Schaff’s short story collection Say Something Nice About Me as our prose selection for 2016. Below are the finalists whose work we will feature in the coming weeks:

Alley Stories—Nona Caspers

Everything Beautiful—Sarah Pape

Girl with a Goat’s Voice—Nate Liederbach

Grieving for Guava—Cecilia Fernandez

Home for Wayward Girls—Melanie Bishop

In Josaphat’s Valley—Joshua Bernstein

Mick Jagger’s Green Eyed Daughter…—Elizabeth Denton

Stick-Light—Joshua Bernstein

Swarm—Harmony Button

The Heart is a Slow Learner—Mary Larkin Phd

The World is All that Does Befall Us—Thomas Walton—Too Smart for her Own Good—Evelyn Somers

True Love and Other Dreams of…—Micah Perks

Wee Hours—Ellen Winter

Woman, Running Late, in a Dress—Dallas Woodburn

Stay tuned for excerpts from each of our fourteen finalists, as well as from Sara Schaff!

"someone is collecting the lost" by Poetry Finalist Aimee Herman


Aimee Herman is the author of two full length books of poetry, “meant to wake up feeling” and “to go without blinking” and currently teaches writing in the Bronx. Read more words at aimeeherman.wordpress.com.

"Black Anecdote" by Poetry Finalist Andrew Seguin

Photo courtesy of Sofia Verzbolovskis

Andrew Seguin is a poet and photographer. He is the author of the chapbook Black Anecdote (Poetry Society of America, 2010), and has a new chapbook forthcoming from Tammy. His photographic work explores the intersection of imagery and language. Andrew has received fellowships from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Poets House and the United States Fulbright Program. You can find him on the web at www.andrewseguin.com

Our Poetry Selection for 2016

In the Giant’s Lair (1892) by Gerhard Munthe, Wikimedia Commons

Following a plentiful reading period full of outstanding work, Augury Books is very happy to announce Arisa White‘s you’re the most beautiful thing that happened as our poetry selection for 2016. We received so many great submissions, and paring down one manuscript from our finalist pool was a difficult feat. We are glad to highlight the work of our poetry finalists here:

Architect, Garden by Andrew Seguin

brightness this by Franciszka Voeltz

I Wanted Everything by Elizabeth Whittlesey

Majnun by Mark Faunlagui

Pinocchio: The Whale Years by Patrick Moran

Schematics for Manhood & Flight by Joe Jimenez

Snow Farmer by Benjamin Gantcher

there are some things that are easier to mention by Aimee Herman

When I Was an Octopus by Gregg Murray

On behalf of the editors, we thank you all for your extended patience. Stay tuned for more on Arisa, an excerpt from her manuscript, excerpts from several of our finalists, and a prose selection in November!

Reading Period Closed—Thank you for sending us your work!

From ‘France in the year 2000,’ courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Thank you very much to everyone who sent your work to us for consideration for 2016 publication, and those of you who helped spread the word and share with your friends and writing contacts.

We will be posting updates later this year after we consider everyone’s work. Follow our blog, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter for updates on finalists and publication selections.

Halina Duraj at the Federal Dust Reading Series

Halina Duraj, author of The Family Cannon (Augury Books, 2014), will be reading at the Federal Dust Reading Series on August 1st. Hosted by Matthew Zingg, the event will take place at Litmore in Baltimore, Maryland. Authors featured during this event include Eric NelsonAlicia Puglionesi, and Michael B. Tager. For more details, see the reading series’ site!



Only one more day left in our open reading period for poetry and prose!

Submit now via Submittable, and thank you for your interest in Augury Books!

Three Days Left to Send Us Your Work!

From Richard Dadd, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Just three more days left in our reading period! We are still accepting full-length manuscripts in the categories of poetry and prose—prose being short fiction collections or creative nonfiction essay collections. Find our detailed submission guidelines and easily submit your work—all by clicking on this Submittable link.

Thanks to all of you who have already shared your work with us, and thanks in advance to those who will be polishing up those manuscripts in these next three days to send to us. We can’t wait to read your manuscripts!

For automatic updates on this and other events, just follow this blog by clicking on the “Follow” prompt when you roll over the lower right corner. We’ll keep you posted on our selections for 2016 publication and share excerpts from our finalist manuscripts.

Have friends who might want to submit? Let them know!


Augury Books Partners With Literary Hub

A detail from “Shells and other Marine Life from Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (1734),” courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Augury is excited to announce our new partnership with Literary Hub! A joint project of Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature, LitHub works with publishers, bookstores, journals, and non-profits to bring together online literary content, providing a platform for smart and engaging writing regarding all things books. Learn more about LitHub here.

Only four more days left in our open reading period for poetry and prose!

Submit now via Submittable, and thank you for your interest in Augury Books!