©2019 by Mark Pleiss. Proudly created with Wix.com

MARK W. PLEISS

Author. Educator. Critic.

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APRIL WARNINGS

April Warnings is a collection of linked short stories that can be read together as one. The narratives are connected by the strange Midwestern ritual of going into an underground tornado shelter, the disappearance of a young boy, and a growing mythology about aliens and cultists near the railroad tracks of the Callahan Ranch in Baxter County. This mysterious location recalls Juan Rulfo’s Comala, Laura Hendrie’s Stygo, Colorado, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, and the New Mexico of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Última. Farms, highways, and churches become the epicenter for truths, fictions, and myths rooted in larger ideas from the so-called “American Heartland,” a place belonging to indigenous populations, immigration routes, and beliefs about worlds that exist beyond the prairie. The product of growing up in Nebraska and an obsession with literature from the Spanish-speaking worlds, April Warnings evinces the diversity of people, thoughts, and beliefs that make places like Baxter County impossible to forget.

 

"Going into an underground shelter is a strange midwestern ritual. We move to the cellar in the backyard, enter the doors that lead below the earth, and pray the rosary until the storm passes. At some point the sirens go off. That's when boys run to their mothers, and dogs tremble beneath the bed. Meteorologists and science teachers have been rehearsing the drills for years. Head to the basement. Stay away from windows. Cover yourself with a blanket. If you're in a car, pull over. Never try to outrun a tornado."

from "Snipe Hunting" -MP

 

Praise for APRIL WARNINGS

"Mark Pleiss investigates small town corruption, mystery, loss, faith, family, metaphysics, and even aliens, all under the funnel of a tornado that warps the line between fact and fiction. A riveting debut of linked short stories, April Warnings whirled me around and lifted me into the sky."

—Erika Krouse, author of Contenders and Come Up and See Me Sometime


"Mark Pleiss' April Warnings is a revelation of rural life. The spirit of the Midwest and its people inhabit these connected stories like minerals in soil: subtle and vital. Tornadoes and livestock; farmers and worry, faith and cost: these are the building blocks of this part of the world. It's a place that too many people call "flyover country," but that Pleiss' fiction invites us into, to put up our feet and stay a while. You'll want to do just that."


--Teague Bohlen, author of The Pull of the Earth and winner of the Colorado Book Award for Fiction

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

"The interconnecting stories in Mark Pleiss’s April Warnings reflect the best qualities of the oral tradition and, in particular, of fantastic tales and parables. Gentle, revealing humor emerges naturally in the surprising plot elements uncannily related to the warping of time that occurs after, during, and just before tornadoes. Engaging wisdom about the slippery nature of ‘truth’ marks every page, and, in fact, the characters’ fates are often decided by fictions that ring ‘true,’ magically true."

--Kevin McIlvoy, author of At the Gate of All Wonder, 57 Octaves Below Middle C, The Complete History of New Mexico, and other works of fiction.

NEW INTERVIEW WITH MARK STEVENS AT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WRITER PODCAST

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Pleiss is a writer in Denver. He publishes fiction, book reviews, scholarly criticism, and essays. His work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Colorado ReviewPop Matters, The Omaha Pulp, Sequel, Fine Lines, PalimpsestThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Denver Post, The Bulletin of Hispanic StudiesAnales de la literatura española contemporánea, and elsewhere.


He worked as a freelance journalist for The Omaha World-Herald and The Des Moines Register before completing a doctorate in Spanish Literature and teaching at St. Olaf College, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Metro State University Denver. He is from Omaha, Nebraska.

 

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From the seasons when the show didn't stink.

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Upcoming Readings
Simpson College Poets and Writers Series
Mon, Oct 14
Jordan Lecture Hall, Carver
Oct 14, 7:00 PM
Jordan Lecture Hall, Carver, Simpson College, Indianola, IA 50125, USA
Mark returns to his alma mater to read from his recent collection of linked short stories, April Warnings.
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GET IN TOUCH

Author photos by Austin Zaletel. Like them? Contact Austin at azaletel@denveracademy.org.


Contact Mark at the email below for readings, editing services, or to receive a review copy of April Warnings.

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