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Beautiful Blemish
by Kevin Sampsell

8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN 0-9728200-8-6
pp. 100

Kevin Sampsell likes secrets. In the short story collection Beautiful Blemish, Sampsell dives deep into the human psyche to reveal the layers of secret desire, loneliness and hope buried in our hearts. The stories in Beautiful Blemish display an American voice that mixes humor, experimentation, and unflinching pathos to full effect.

View the press release. [PDF file]

The books cover feature the photography of Marne Lucas of Velour Productions. Please visit for more information on Ms. Lucas' stunning work.

About the Author
Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of the influential micro-press, Future Tense Books, in Portland, Oregon. His work has been published widely in magazines and on the internet. He is also the editor of The Insomniac Reader: Stories of the Night (Manic D Press) and the author of many small books such as A Common Pornography, Etiquette For Evil, and The Patricia Letters.

Reviews & Praise
"Sampsell, editor of The Insomniac Reader and publisher of fringe fiction at 'micro-press' Future Tense Books, concocts a diverse, convincing world of romantic perversion governed by impulses at turns whimsical, hilarious and cryptic in a slim collection of very short stories ranging from one to 11 pages. In the title story, an elderly couple engages in bizarre sexual congress involving Magic Markers and extreme dirty talk, only to end their romp on a note of piquant tenderness. In 'Gloves,' a man collects lost gloves from the street and vainly looks for ways to give them away. In 'The Plant,' a man casually mourns his 'inept nurturing' of the plant in his care and his own frustrated self. Sampsell’s prose ranges from taut to indifferent, bearing occasional whiffs of Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan, as well as Chris Ware and Dan Clowes, and his stories are full of horniness and wonder, morbid speculation and strange coincidence. For readers with tastes that range outside the mainstream, this is a gem of warmhearted idiosyncrasy and oddball observation."
--Publishers Weekly

"Let Kevin Sampsell in for one page and he has permanently won you over with writing that is charmed, painful, hilarious, and beautiful. His ability to find magic, humor, and heartbreak where anyone of less talent would see only vacant landscapes leaves you reconsidering every place you've ever been. I will never forget the first time reading his work. Looking back, it was so fitting to be between Oregon and Washington, on a tiny commuter plane -- turbulent as all hell flying through what at first appeared to be a smooth and clear, crisp fall day -- laughing and feeling every strange peak and trough, reading a copy of Kevin Sampsell's book."
--Dan Kennedy, author of Loser Goes First: My Thirty Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation

"Kevin Sampsell should never be allowed near children. Or electrical outlets. Or water. I'm frightened and thrilled to see what he'll do next."
--Zoe Trope, author of Please Don't Kill the Freshman



Sleeping Fish

Gothic Revue

The Danforth Review

"Options" by Kevin Sampsell

Author News
The title story of Beautiful Blemish was one of five stories nominated for's Henry Miller Award in March 2005. The other nominees from March included Sam Lipsyte's Home Land, A.L. Kennedy's Paradise, Darcey Steinke's Milk and Meg Wolitzer's The Position

Kevin Sampsell reviews A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews in the April 2005 issue of The Believer

Beautiful Blemish was a 2005 staff pick of the Multnomah County Library.

In June 2005, author Steve Almond selected Beautiful Blemish as a "Book for the Beach" on an installment of NPR, Boston's Here and Now.

Articles by the Author
Bookseller by Day, Editor and Writer by Night, (

Author Interviews
Suicide Girls
Identity Theory, 01/10/06
Bookslut, 07/01/05

The Fortean Bureau, 12/01/05
Willamette Week, 03/16/05
The Pacific Northwest Inlander, 02/17/05

Blog Items
nonplatonic, 03/23/05
Rake's Progress, 03/23/05
Bookslut, 03/22/05
Maud Newton, 03/22/05
Porn Happy, 03/11/05


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