GtA assembles! Special things take place

We just made history ladies and gentleman. For the first time since we expanded the magazine beyond the Founders of Pat, Adam, and John, Gambling the Aisle assembled all of its members in one room at the same time, for at least an hour. It was incredible. I know because I was there. It was like a solar eclipse.

While we wait for the magazine to make us millions, we (sadly) have to fill our lives with other means, which results in very rare physical encounters with each other. We work together primarily over the internet and through our cellular devices. We meet in pieces, when a few of us are available on the same night at the same time.

But on one magical evening in fall, the crisp air hanging around us, Gambling the Aisle met. Adam, Jenna (that’s me, I’m writing this), Pat, John, Megan, Andy, Becca (by order of arrival), and Peanut, the dog who loves these meetings the most, came together.  Some of the things that we discussed weren’t all that exciting, like whether we should tagline ourselves “Denver’s Second Best Lit Magazine,” or “Englewood’s Best Lit Magazine,” and how great a year 2008 was, but a lot of it was quite exciting, and that’s what we’d like to share. Here’s some things to look forward to from us over at GtA:

The results of our First Annual Chapbook Contest!
Submissions for poetry, fiction, and cover art are still open! The deadline is October 31st so if you’re reading this, it’s not too late! We look forward to going through all the work we have received, and declaring a talented winner in November. Look for the results of our contest, featuring the winning writers and artist, and honorable mentions in our upcoming winter issue. And speaking of that…

Our winter issue!
As always, we are accepting regular submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. Our newest issue will be coming out both online and in print this December.

Fiction Writer’s Workshop
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with Pat or Adam or Andy or me and argue and discuss pieces of writing, you’re in luck, and you’re not alone. But in all seriousness, the Workshop Podcast is a brand new venture that we’re all very excited about. With one workshop successfully under our belt, we are looking forward to reading and commenting on more of our readers’ work!

That was all for that meeting, and really we exceeded our own wildest hopes for productivity. After all, with such great people in a room together, who could hope to get any work done?


Writers Everyone Should Know

There is a misconception that all great writers write novels and I’m going to take a second to prove otherwise. There are a myriad of platforms out there filled with great writers: children’s books, video games, radio, podcasts, YouTube shows, cartoons, board games, and comic books among many many more and it’s necessary to recognize such talent both for your betterment and my entertainment.

This post is about one of the great comic book writers of our time, my personal hero Brian K Vaughn.

Brian K Vaughn

If you already read comics then you probably know him, if you don’t read comics then this is a great place to start. He’s one of the brightest in the industry and he has crafted stories for almost every major comic publisher. Some of Vaughn’s more renowned titles are Saga, Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and The Private Eye. His series have so far won him four Eisner Awards, one Rave award and he’s been nominated for nine other Eisner Awards and one Hugo Award. Along with comics Brian K Vaughn has been a writer-producer for a few television series, mayhaps you’ve heard of Lost or Under the Dome.

What sets Vaughn apart from other writers in his industry is that he understands that comic books are a prime storytelling venue good for more than just caped do-gooders and cheesy catchphrases (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

His stories gives you something genuine. They’re rich with style and emotion and by the end you feel like a better person for reading it; you’re wiser, stronger, and possibly better looking. Vaughn’s characters are sincere which is something not often seen in the comic book world, especially these days when some of the big guys are publishing for your wallet and not your heart/brain/soul/empty void. In fact, after my marathon reading of Y: The Last Man, I was so struck with emotion that I promptly framed the last page and hung it on my wall, where it stills hangs to this day.

Mr. Vaughn is currently working on his continuing series, Saga with artist Fiona Staples (available from Image comics), The Private Eye with artist Marcos Martin and colorist Muntsa Vicente (available at where you name your own price), and he is also working on  the television series Under the Dome.

Writer’s Tools / How to write a first draft

At some point every writer asks the question, ‘how do I write a first draft?’ It’s an honest question and if you think about it there are plenty of answers. You can write quickly, without form or style and then clean it up later, or you can write slowly, mulling over every detail or you can do something in-between.

Writing is personal endeavor and it’s up to each writer to create their own style. Now, that being said, sometimes the best way to learn something is by learning from someone else and if you’re going to take pointers you might as well take them from the best. So the purpose of this Writer’s Tool is to take some tips from well-known authors on how to write first drafts, namely: Ray Bradbury, E. B. White, and Stephen King.

So what is a first draft and how do I write one?


Photo Credit: Alan Light

Ray Bradbury had a firm belief in going with your gut and writing everything down as fast as you can. In other words, let your imagination run wild and try to keep up.

In Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, he wrote,  “The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling and tiger-trapping.”  

A lot of other writers have echoed Bradbury’s practice and for good reason. I think what’s most important in your first draft is to get the ideas down on the page without worrying too much about how they sound. That’s what second drafts are for and third drafts, and fourth, and fifth.

E. B. White had the exact opposite stance. In fact, he once joked about writing two sentences and then spending the next hour rewriting them. Whether he actually did such a thing is up for debate but it is well known that after he wrote Charlotte’s Web E.B. White let it sit on his bookshelf for a year to ‘cool down’. While that may not work for everyone, it certainly worked for him.

Stephen King wrote in his book, On Writing, that, “Your job during or just after the first draft is to decide what something or somethings yours is about. Your job in the second draft— one of them, anyway—is to make that something even more clear.” Essentially, get it all down first and polish later.

However you decide to do it, whether you rush through every sentence or research every word, just make sure that by the end of the page you say what you mean.

Book Recommends & What We’re Reading

Patrick K. (Editor): The Professor’s House by Willa Cather


I’m reading and rereading and rereading Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. I’m mining it for a paper, but the thing I can’t stop pondering is the name Rosamond.

What do I think of this name? I don’t know. Is it sexy? Why didn’t I know any Rosamond’s in high school? What happens when a name ceases to be carried, placed between the lips and tongue, spoken to the world?

I searched for it and Google suggested Rosamond Park, which is in Denver, and which, to my delight, I used to run around. How close the things we think so distant. For years I circled Rosamond without knowing.

John C. (Editor): The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl


I almost never read just one thing but this week I am working on The Dante Club, a murder mystery set around the time of Longfellow; Joseph Campbell’s The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. Published in 2003 Matthew Pearl’s novel made its way onto several best sellers lists including: The Washington Post’s, The Boston Globe’s, and The New York Times’s.

Andy N. (Staff Writer): Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins


Oh mighty gods and goddesses of literacy, if you grant me one thing let it be the skill to write like Tom Robbins. I am currently swimming my way through Robbins’ ocean of poetic prose called Still Life with Woodpecker and the book is so enthralling that I find myself  giving serious thought to a new tattoo in its honor. The story covers everything from aliens to homemade bombs to octogenarian cocaine addicts. The text is written with a superb lyrical style that no one but Robbins could muster and I find his voice infecting my mind, warping it into a beautiful mush of adjectives. If you can read only one Tom Robbins book then let it be this one.

Gambling the Aisle uses image(s) of book cover(s) to illustrate this article discussing the book(s) in question and aid in their discussions for educational purposes. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of book cover qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. If any copyright owner believes we are misusing their book cover, we will remove the image upon request.

This is no way to start a magazine…

We keep getting emails asking when we’re gonna launch the submission site.  Ok, so we launched the damn submission site.  What happened as a result?  Let’s see…

Kelling’s shins have splinted

Madigan has run off to the coast

Art director has blisters on his fingers

Adamvan is unaccounted for

2 interns drunk  to debilitation

1 intern very possibly quit

1 intern writing this blog because nobody else could be bothered to do it.

Fun times.  Now go submit.

Seriously, go submit.  Adamvan is worried about nonfic submissions.

Is this what blogs are supposed to be about?

–Andrew Cannon, loyal intern