Forthcoming Fall 2023
Cowboy Jamboree Press
Kind praise for Blur:
“Blur lolls in the muddy magnificence of our relationships with other people. These stories throb and sing of the ways love mingles with violence, care with fatigue, generosity with resentment. What I love and admire about Dan Crawley’s writing is how he fuses enormous affection with great candor. It’s no easy feat. I mean moments like this one, in which a mother says to her grown child of his father, ‘Why couldn’t he have beaten all of you growing up? That way I could’ve scooped you up in my arms to soothe you.’ I mean how lines like these gut me.” ~ Michelle Ross, author of They Kept Running
“Dan Crawley’s fictions fly from the page like ghosted bottle rockets— nothing is what it seems, but everything seems itself so vividly. Unforgettable characters like Backslid Jesus tangle with bougainvillea vines in a series of flashes that risk the most uncomfortable parts of our human selves. ‘Probability is not always on the side of truth,’ Kleist wrote. Crawley’s haunted characters know this. It is the gift of this writer to make us feel each improbability could not have been otherwise. Fiction— alive, gilled, and gutting—is the strangest truth.” ~ Alina Stefanescu, author of Dor
“A masterful flash fiction writer, Dan Crawley knows how to start strong: ‘We tie up our littlest brother with duct tape.’ His descriptions are precise and arresting: ‘his toenails long pistachio shells.’ What I love most about Blur, Crawley’s funny, acute, poignant new collection of flash fiction, is its tenderness. Characters struggle to master their own worst urges, such as the dislike a teacher has for a hostile student; they let go of petty grudges, extend uneasy, cautious second chances. One old woman, practicing with her walker, ‘is learning how not to be so vulnerable,’ yet overall, Blur embraces vulnerability, pins down flickers of sweetness in an unfair, violent, beautiful world.” ~ Kim Magowan, author of How Far I’ve Come
“As the title suggests, Blur is a collection reminiscent of time racing by. These tiny stories offer glimpses into fully developed worlds, where Crawley derives meaning in small moments of clarity. From the innocence of childhood in ‘Ran,’ to the rebellion of adolescence in ‘Backslid Jesus,’ from the turmoil of adult relationships in ‘The New Principal’s Wife,’ to the struggle of aging in ‘A Bad Dream,’ Crawley’s characters embody the essence of life itself. This is micro fiction at its finest; deep, poignant, heart-breaking, and true.” ~ Sara Dobbie, author of Flight Instinct
“Dan Crawley’s Blur is crisp, rich, and poignant. Certainly not a blur for the reader: a collage of settings, circumstances, characters, each piece expertly crafted into this remarkable collection. Full of surprises, unexpected language, grace, this book is a must.” ~ Kim Chinquee, author of Pipette
“Master storyteller Dan Crawley offers us a treasure trove with his latest collection, Blur. In this book of flash fictions, Crawley’s tales reflect on tiny, recognizable, yet memorable moments from everyday life and celebrate both, the human and the humane. Narrated in tender prose, Crawley’s micro observations are a testament to the love he harbors for his characters, evident in the sensitivity with which he illustrates the stresses and strains of life: a family losing a house to foreclosure (‘Stray’); the bully who seeks shelter in his teacher’s house (‘The Screen Porch’); the angry student whose paper is a rant (‘Haboob’); a boy’s first experience of a real baked potato (‘Baked Potato’). The stories in this tome offer us a window into the human experience and its many facets. They are nuggets of remarkable density that will leave the reader with much to think about well after the book is read.” ~ Sudha Balagopal, author of Things I Can’t Tell Amma
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
Kind 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
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