A collection of flash fictions

Forthcoming Fall 2023

Cowboy Jamboree Press


Published by Cowboy Jamboree Press and available here

New Flash Fiction Review Interview with Valerie Fox

Little Patuxent Review Interview with Holly Bowers

Review in Bending Genres by Jonathan Cardew

Screenshot 2021-06-15 1.40.44 PMKind praise for The Wind, It Swirls:

“The flash fictions and longer works in Dan Crawley’s The Wind, It Swirls take us deep inside the strangeness of the domestic sphere, offering keen glimpses of his characters’ dreams and discoveries, the sudden violence that can sometimes erupt into a life, epiphanies that rattle open hearts and minds, the ambiguities that settle in like weather. These are stories of step-parents and spouses and exes and neighbors and co-workers and children. They are the strangers you see in grocery store parking lots arguing on the phone, or alone in backyards with a bottle of beer, or striding hurriedly across a college campus with a look on their face you can’t explain but somehow know spells trouble of an all-too-human kind. Moment after moment, these stories hold up a mirror.” ~ Steve Edwards, author of Breaking into the Backcountry

The Wind, it Swirls is a gallery of story portraits of the people we might see all the time–a university lecturer, a kid on a bike, a woman on an ordinary drive. People we only think we know. But there is, as the title suggests, a wind swirling through the stories that lifts the façade and lets us in to see what’s hidden, and private, and oddly universal. Crawley has a sure eye when it comes to description, character, and story, and the result is a truly stunning collection, one you are sure to remember for a very long time.” ~ Francine Witte, author of Dressed All Wrong for This and The Way of the Wind

“Dan Crawley’s debut short story collection, The Wind, It Swirls, is one of astonishing emotional observation and honesty. I am consistently struck by the power of the language and the quiet dramatic urgency inside these stories; the singularity of each human being he creates. Crawley’s grace as a storyteller is matched by his compassion to his characters. Every story in this stunning debut collection conjures a beautiful, heartbreaking world.” ~ Meg Pokrass, author of Spinning to Mars and The Loss Detector

“This is a sharp and aching collection of stories that revel in the soft intimacies we so often hide, the light that comes through the cracks, the connections we find, despite.” ~ Robert James Russell, author of Mesilla and Sea of Trees

“Dan Crawley is a Realist in the true American tradition. The Wind, It Swirls is a collection of thirty stories — thirty little vistas into what it is to be human. Crawley writes simply and truly to the heart of each piece and leaves the reader to make of it what they will. A brilliant evocation of people’s lives. He has an ability to distil down complex feelings in a simple yet profound way. Each and every story is a subtle yet moving pull on the emotions. An excellent collection – highly recommended.” ~ Peter Jordan, author of Calls to Distant Places

“Crawley’s fiction, often short but relentless with surprising bursts of language and insight, is the moment the curtain rises and stage lights glare. There’s nothing self-conscious about the prose or characters who populate stories you’ll want to return to; these characters are us. Well-intentioned, desperate, and comical in their pursuit of a life well-lived. Crawley invites all readers to pull up a chair, to relax into the warm temperatures of his prose, to marvel at the tangle of misdeeds and charity; the heart a weapon and a salve in this necessary debut story collection.” ~ Tommy Dean, author of Special Like the People on TV and the forthcoming Covenants


2019 Novella-in-Flash Award (highly commended) Bath Flash Fiction Award

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Available at Ad Hoc Fiction

Bath Flash Fiction Award Interview with Jude Higgins 

Cleaver Magazine Interview with Michelle Ross

Review in Milam’s Musings by Brett Milam

Kind praise for Straight Down the Road:

“Dan Crawley’s novella-in-flash, Straight Down the Road, is a stellar read, a captivating debut by a talented writer. He has used the flash fiction form masterfully in this book. It consists of seventeen flash fiction pieces that tell the story of a family’s travel during a crisis. 

The book contains so much more than the words in each chapter, revealing flawed characters and their relationships, strained, yet loving, complex, yet simple.

There are pieces the reader will think about well after the book is read, chapters like ‘Powers’ and ‘Your Real Family.’

I look forward to reading more fiction from Dan Crawley. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.” ~ Sudha Balagopal, author of A New Dawn

“I admire the agility and surprise, the ferocity of this book’s verbal sleights of hand, Straight Down the Road is so wonderfully inventive, and emotionally precise. Crawley’s stories contain speaker’s voices that don’t suppress, voices and conflicts that brim with verve, rueful humor, and a new topography between head and heart. This is a writer who pressures language and transforms into improvisational, masterfully controlled, and yet fragile constructions. An intensely gripping collection.” ~ Robert Vaughan, author of Funhouse, EIC of Bending Genres

“This novella-in-flash chronicles a joyful family road trip that quickly gives way to instability and uncertainty. Unmoored, and with an increasingly threadbare safety net beneath them, a couple and their gaggle of kids have no choice but to keep moving. Told with exquisite attention to detail, and an eye for all that is peculiar, arresting, and emblematic of America in the 70s, Dan Crawley’s Straight Down the Road is a gorgeous and unforgettable debut.” ~ Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works 

“Straight Down the Road is a wonderful Novella in flash. The bite size stories tell of a family’s descent into a crisis as the father quits his job at the beginning of their holiday.

In a beautifully economical style, that says exactly the right amount and leaves plenty for the reader to ponder, Dan Crawley describes the slumping of the road trip into a quest for the next meal, the next place to stay.

The family’s brood is composed of 5 kids, 4 girls and a boy, who is the youngest. Though the stories are told from an external reteller, they seem to be told from the young boy’s point of view, even though he’s the one we know the least about, no age or name, we just catch glimpses of a little boy that wants to bond with his dad, gets easily distracted and wants to eat Sundaes.

As the family trip goes on, less and less fun is had, and more and more drama is slowly injected into the stories. Realistic, warm and chaotic drama, showing the family’s flaws, the parents’ regrets and shattered dreams, the children’s boredom, their different ways of finding a place and a purpose within the large family.

Straight Down the Road shows how children can be set aside when a crisis arises, the growing distraction of the parents, the mounting lack of patience. The parents forget about their kids, but the kids don’t forget about their parents – or this situation overriding their lives – until they do.” ~ B.F. Jones, author of The Fabric of Tombstones

“As if it were some rediscovered Raymond Carver manuscript, this is a classic novella-in-flash in the mainstream American tradition. A working class family try to keep themselves afloat, travelling the country by car after the father quits his job. The writing is warmly affectionate towards the characters even though they’re flawed. There’s an appealing, breezy, summery quality even though real tension bubbles up – it feels like an authentic family dynamic. Some bond of grudging love is keeping this family together, even though they’re stretched to breaking point. Each flash has the clarity of a distinct memory – like each one might be a family legend. A vivid and highly effective novella-in-flash.” ~ Michael Loveday, author of Three Men on the Edge

“This is a great novel-in-flash about a family road trip. What unfolds is a portrait of flawed individuals on a journey to places you won’t find on any map.” ~ Jan Stinchcomb, author of The Kelping

“This debut ‘novella in flash’ by Dan Crawley is magnificent. Each flash fiction piece and vignette advances the story of a family in crisis. The basic situation involves the father’s employment issues, but we see the situation from everyone’s perspective, showing that there is really so much more going on than just this.

I thought about these characters for days and weeks after reading it. A stunning debut! I look forward to reading more work by this wonderful new writer.” ~ Raima Larter, author of Belle O’ the Waters

“The stories in this collection by Dan Crawley fit together like beautiful puzzle pieces to create a portrait of a broken family on the world’s worst road trip: a father dragging his wife and children into his dreams; a mother wishing for her own kind of freedom; their children, trapped in their parents’ narrative, wanting to create their own. Each piece is its own story, powerful in its own right, but together they create a beautiful, heartbreaking whole.” ~ Cathy Ulrich, author of Ghosts of You