Out of the Mount: Melissa Leilani Larson

Out of the Mount.

Melissa Leilani Larson is generally considered to be one of the best playwrights working in the Mormon tradition today. Originally from Hawai‘i, she is based now in central Utah. Her list of accomplishments is long (link) but at the moment her most known work is probably Little Happy Secrets (included in our upcoming volume, Out of the Mount).

AML-Award winner in 2009 for best drama (citation), this is the beautiful story of a young returned Mormon missionary struggling with her sexuality as the friend she loves falls in love herself with a man who is just wrong for her.

The play was first produced by New Play Project in March 2009, but an older version is available in its entirety online as an audiocast (link).

Little Happy Secrets may also be produced again later this year if funding can be obtained in time. (For information on how you can help, click here.)

The beauty of this play is difficult to overstate.

A second Larson play will also appear in Out of the Mount. “A Burning in the Bosom” is also part of New Play Project’s best-of spectacular coming this September in conjunction with the book release.

Now available for purchase.

Out of the Mount: James Goldberg

Out of the Mount.

I first read a James Goldberg play in my copy of Curelom Press’s Best of Mormonism 2009 (my review) and I was stunned by its excellence. That play, “The Prodigal Son”, is also an AML-Award winner (citation) and fully deserving of all the praise heaped on it.

I was stunned to later learn that Goldberg is a kid, only in his midtwenties. His work is so measured and certain, I had assumed he was an artist who had been in his prime for decades.

The other Goldberg play in Out of the Mount is “Book of Mormon Stories”, a bit of midrashery that competes with “The Prodigal Son” for the right to call itself my favorite. In this one, two sister missionaries teach a suburban former cokehead about the Book of Mormon, and he teaches them about King Noah’s snowy habits. Can’t miss reading.

Find Goldberg online at one of his three blogs, My Life and Hard Times (in which he screws with you), Caucajewmexdian (in which he explores his complicated heritage), or Mormon Midrashim (in which he takes midrash to its Mormon limits).

Now available for purchase.

Coming soon: New Play Project


Peculiar Pages has teamed up with the award-winning theater collaborative New Play Project to publish nineteen of its best plays as selected by Davey Morrison.

In its brief four-year history, NPP has produced hundreds of original works, providing a space for new and established playwrights, directors and actors to bring new efforts to the public.

The volume, Out of the Mount, is being released in conjunction with new productions of its five plays. If you’ll be in Utah this September, check them out:

The Best of New Play Project
September 16-20, 23-27
Featuring five of our very best short plays:
“A Burning in the Bosom,” by Melissa Leilani Larson
“Foxgloves,” by Matthew Greene
“Gaia,” by Eric Samuelsen
Adam and Eve,” by Davey Morrison
“Prodigal Son,” by James Goldberg

But whether Utah is on your itinerary or not, the plays in this book should pass before your eyes. Reading plays is one of life’s least heralded enjoyments and if you haven’t done so recently, Out of the Mount is an excellent opportunity for you.

More details as the drop date nears.


= = = = = = = = = = =

In other news, an update on submission reading for Mormons and Monsters is up today at Motley Vision.

Monsters & Mormons: Call for Submissions

Peculiar Pages and A Motley Vision are pleased to announce a call for submissions for the Monsters & Mormons anthology. Theric and William are very excited about this project and look forward to working with you all. We’ve tried to be as thorough as possible in this call for submissions, but if you have questions, leave them in the comments section below, in the more vigorous comments section at Motley Vision, or e-mail


As Terryl Givens documents in The Viper on the Hearth, from Zane Grey to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mormons served as stock villains in the early days of genre fiction (both pre-pulp and pulp heyday). We propose to recast, reclaim and simply mess with that tradition by making Mormon characters, settings and ideas the protagonists of genre-oriented stories to appear in an anthology simply titled Monsters & Mormons. This is, then, a project of cultural reappropriation. But even more than that, we just want us all to have fun with the concept.


Fiction from 5 words up to 17,500 (novelette length)

Poetry from 3 lines up to 120

Plays and Dramatic Monologues of One Act

Illustration and Photography suitable for display on a standard book page

Graphic Novel (grayscale) of 1 to 20 pages (submit 2-4 completed pages + full script)

Text should be submitted in .rtf or .doc format (No WordPerfect or .docx please — any word processor you use should be able to output in Rich Text Format [.rtf]). Images should be submitted as a .jpg or .png file (make sure you have a high-res file available should we accept the work).

Submit to:

Include in the body of the e-mail: your full name; the title of the work/works submitted; and, if available, a link to a blog, website, online resume/works published page — anything that will provide some context to your work. Pseudonyms are discouraged, but we’ll allow for special circumstances — please include that consideration in your e-mail if you would like it.


Content: Should be broadly-appropriate. In the tradition of modern Mormon mores, greater graphic-ness will be allowed to violence than sexuality although, in general, the boundaries of the original pulp fictions should be the goal. We will make some allowances depending on the genre and the particular story (for example, a bit more grit in urban fantasy). The use of humor, irony, camp and satire is highly encouraged; however, all such uses should show a love for both Mormonism and genre fiction. Plain old mocking is boring.

Mormons: Conceptually, any story that invokes an aspect of Mormonism that can create some recognizable way in for a Mormon reader is cool with us. Yes, you can be clever about it, but we also want straight-up interpretations of the theme e.g. flesh-and-blood Mormons encountering flesh-and-blood/ichor/electronics/whatever monsters. Although preference will be given to Latter-day Saints, we are willing to consider works that feature “Mormons” or “Saints” of any dispensation of mankind, including those in a Book of Mormon setting. Stories that don’t feature Mormon characters or settings, but show a strong, interesting, fairly apparent connection to the Mormon world view will also be considered. In addition, we don’t want writers to worry too much about the metaphysical implications of mixing Mormons and monsters. You don’t need to have doctrinal reasons behind the existence of the monsters nor do you need to offer up stereotypically Mormon solutions to the problems the monsters pose (although such won’t be disallowed unless they’re too flaky or lame). Finally, we’re not automatically saying no don’t do it (because there’s always an exception if the story is right), but too many Cain or Satan-and-his-host-spirit-possession stories will make us very picky and possibly a bit cranky.

Monsters: We are happy for this to be rather broadly interpreted. Monsters need not be purely non-human life forms. Human monsters, supernatural monsters, technological monsters and psychological monsters are all allowed. That said, we highly encourage engagement with the classical monster tropes: werewolves, mummies, vampires (but see warning below), swamp monsters, multi-tentacled cosmic beings of supreme terror, Jack the Ripper, chupacabras, automatons, sentient simians, aliens, etc.

Vampire Warning: Yes, we will accept stories about Mormons and vampires. If you are going to write such a story, though, you should have read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight trilogy and Eugene Woodbury’s Angel Falling Softly and be able to bring something new to the trope. Also note that we’ll likely give more leeway to illustrations/photography featuring vampires.

Genres: Horror, science fiction, mystery, suspense, action/adventure, thriller, romance and their sub-genres (especially: steam punk, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic sci-fi and alternate history). High fantasy is out — there has to be something that ties metaphysically or realistically in to the world of Mormonism. Hybridization of genres is very much encouraged. Elements borrowed from literary fiction are totally cool with us, but we aren’t going to dismiss standard interpretations of the classic styles and genres. In fact, we totally want to pulp it up.

Models: H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Dunsany, Robert Howard, Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Mervyn Peake, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, etc.


Copyright: First right of print and electronic (including downloadable e-books) publication; reprinting of previously published stories that the author holds the rights to will be considered (please include the piece’s publication history). First-time rights to be held exclusively for six months after publication. Publications rights to be held in perpetuity but not exclusivity. Should the publisher desire to reprint the stories in a subsequent anthology, author has right of refusal.

Sales and Incentives: Philosophically, we want the proceeds from the sales to go to the contributors as a reward for their hard work. At minimum, all contributors will receive a free print and e-book version of the anthology. We have no idea what kind of sales we’re going to get so what we are planning is a system that rewards contributors if we hit certain profit levels with the anthology and sales of related merchandise. More details to follow.

Timeline: Please note that all dates are approximate and subject to change, but we’re trying to be generous here both to authors and to give us enough time to get things done in order to hit our publication deadline.

April 15, 2010: Submissions open

July 31 at the earliest, Oct. 1 at the latest: Announce early admits (we’re going to accept some work on a rolling basis — if we have some very strong pieces that come in early, we’re going to accept them and publicly announce them).

October 1, 2010: Submissions close

October 31, 2010: Final answers on submissions; public announcement of admittances so far; requests for rewrites e-mailed out to potential contributors; and a public call for entries with specific attributes to fill gaps in the anthology.

January 31, 2011: Deadline for any rewrites and any gap-filler entries. Announcement of which of those make it into the anthology will be posted as soon as Theric and William can get through them.

February – September 2011: Editing and production

October 1, 2011: Publication!

Plain and Precious


Just a reminder, eighteen works from The Fob Bible are available here at Peculiar Pages.

Also, in addition to the hardback and paperback version, we are working to bring forth electronic copies. Because of the beauty of the book, this is somewhat complex, but for starters, we have a pdf. You can find all three versions available for purchase here.

Finally, since we have not listed the available reviews of The Fob Bible for some time, here’s the list to date. Reviews and commendations we have not previously posted are followed by an asterisk:

Finally, two additional excerpts from The Fob Bible have appeared online which are not part of Plain and Precious Parts: “The Changing of the God” by B.G. Christensen and “Sustain-Abel” by Danny Nelson.


Fob Bible? Greatest book ever?


The Fob Bible has started pulling up reviews and they are laudatory. The first three:

  1. Re: The Fob Family Bible (Part I) By Tyler Chadwick on A Motley Vision
  2. Re: The Fob Family Bible, Part II By Tyler Chadwick on A Motley Vision
  3. A Great Riff on “The Good (??!) Book”: The FOB Bible by C.L. Hanson on Letters from a Broad

Stories from The Fob Bible have often been the source of online discussion. Following Chadwick’s reviews, Motley Vision had a lengthy discussion on B.G. Christensen’s “Abraham’s Purgatory.” Main Street Plaza‘s discussion on Christensen’s “Changing of the God” was DOA, but it’s not to late to start it yourself!

Speaking of things it is not too late for, have you considered purchasing a Fob Bible? All the cool kids are doing it.