Writing, Editing & Publishing

Thanks for your curiosity about my work as an author and editor! On this page, you’ll discover my literary biography (both a long and a short version), a summary of my published works, a summary of my work in progress and a bit about my engagement as a literary citizen. The long-form biography includes a high-resolution photo.

Literary Biography (long version)

20160114_Jason_277Jason E. Gillikin is co-founder and the chief executive officer of Caffeinated Press, Inc., an independent small press established in 2014 to celebrate West Michigan literary talent. In his leadership role, he oversees the strategy, editorial and acquisitions functions of the company and works both as the series editor of Brewed Awakenings, an annual general-fiction anthology, and as publisher and executive editor of The 3288 Review, the company’s semiannual journal of arts and letters focused on the best local poetry, short fiction, art and essays. Relatedly, he is primarily responsible for the 2019 expansion of Caffeinated Press into its Lakeshore Literary Logistics sibling corporation; L3 is a niche wholesaler and distributor of small-press, lit journal and curated self-published author books.

He is proud to serve on the board of directors of Write616 (formerly The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters), a non-profit writing center founded to promote, celebrate and advance the literary arts in the Great Lakes region. He also coordinates a professional writing group called the Grand River Writing Tribe.

Prior to his work with Caffeinated Press, Gillikin freelanced as a content editor and Technology section expert for Demand Media. His work through that company — which specialized in Web-based service journalism — has led to his content appearing on sites like USAToday.com and Chron.com. His nearly 700 published articles earned more than 3.7 million page views by the end of 2014. He intermittently freelances as a content editor, most recently to curate articles for migration among premium verticals associated with DotDash (formerly About.com).

Before branching to online content management, he worked his way up the Western Herald, a small university-affiliated community daily newspaper based in Southwest Michigan. The Herald printed as a full- and spot-color broadsheet with an average daily circulation of 12,500. He started at the newspaper as the opinion editor, then was promoted to copy chief before being selected by the board of directors as editor in chief. During his tenure in leadership at the newspaper, he instituted a beat system and coordinated a comprehensive brand-and-style overhaul of the paper’s visual design. Gillikin was the only editor in the Herald newsroom on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and had to manage the paper’s initial reaction to that day’s unfolding narrative—a deeply formative professional experience.

Gillikin earned a bachelor of arts degree in Theoretical and Applied Ethics from Western Michigan University; he was a dual major in ethics and political science and he minored in history, Latin and comparative religion.

He’s been published in several fiction and non-fiction anthologies and writes a back-of-the-mag column for The 3288 Review. He has several (mostly) complete novels written as well as a handful of published work in literary magazines written under pseudonym.

In his free time, he enjoys scuba diving, backcountry hiking, playing butler to his feline overlords and hosting Vice Lounge Online, a weekly lifestyle podcast about casino gaming, premium cigars and artisanal spirits.

(ISNI 0000 0004 4467 9668)

Literary Biography (short version)

Jason Gillikin is the co-founder and CEO of Caffeinated Press, a small traditional Midwestern publisher. He also edits The 3288 Review, a quarterly journal of arts and letters focused on West Michigan literary talent. His published work includes a personal essay in Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds (Cascade Books, 2018), a speculative-fiction novelette in Division by Zero: Double Take (MiFiWriters, 2018), a peer-reviewed entry into the Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods (SAGE Publications, 2008) and a technical essay in America Now (Bedford/St. Martins, 2003). In the early 2000s, he worked his way up the editorial hierarchy at the Western Herald, a small daily broadsheet loosely affiliated with Western Michigan University, culminating in appointment as editor in chief. He earned a degree in theoretical and practical ethics and quantitative political science from WMU. Gillikin supports the literary community by serving on the board of directors of Write616, a non-profit that supports emerging West Michigan writers. In his free time, he is an avid hiker, scuba diver and cat butler.

Published Works

A selection of my published work includes:

  • Gillikin, Jason, and Andrew Kopolow and Karen Schrimmer. Code of Ethics for the Healthcare Quality Profession. Chicago, IL: National Association for Healthcare Quality (2018). [technical non-fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “A Moment of Clarity.” Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church. Ed. L. Eve Tushnet. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books (2018)[personal essay; creative non-fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “Conversion Therapy.” Division by Zero: Double Take. Ed. M. Rohr. Holland, MI: MiFiWriters (2018). [genre short fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “Providence.” Brewed Awakenings. Ed. Jason Gillikin. Grand Rapids, MI: Caffeinated Press (2015). [literary short fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason, and Felicia Sadler. “Value-Based Purchasing in Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Implications for Quality.” NAHQ e-News 2014.01 (2014): 1. Web. [technical non-fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “Manual of Usage, Syntax and Style.” Grand Rapids, MI (2013). White paper. [technical non-fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “Interpenetrated Design.” Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods. Ed. Paul Lavrakas. New York: SAGE Publications, Inc. (2008). [peer-reviewed technical non-fiction]
  • Gillikin, Jason. “Inclusive Language.” America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals, 5th edition.  Ed. Robert Atwan.  New York:  Bedford/St. Martin’s (2003).  167-172. [creative non-fiction]

Please view my About page for additional technical published work, including webinars and conference activity.

My back-of-the-mag columns appear in each issue of The 3288 Review and my introductory essays have appeared in all three volumes of the annual Brewed Awakenings anthology; a novelette of mine appeared in the first volume of Brewed Awakenings because that collection was an invited project that served as the maiden launch from Caffeinated Press. In addition, I publish occasional long-form nonfiction essays and self-publish erotica novellas (under pseudonym).

I blog frequently here, and also occasionally at Caffeinated Press and Gillikin & Associates and at Write616.

The following list contains selected stories from my tenure at the Western Herald (1999-2005), which may be downloaded as a single PDF:

  • Al Heilman boasts business background (candidate profile)
  • Male suicide (editorial)
  • “Super Troopers” fails at must-see status (film review)
  • Media diversity (editorial)
  • Bailey to propose increases, fees for 2004-2005 (news analysis)
  • Sigma Pi penalized for fight at fraternity (general news); Litynski to leave provost job (personality profile)
  • WMU’s BTR Park to add new company (news)
  • America’s place in world key question for election (opinion column)
  • WMU may fail governor’s challenge (news analysis)
  • Deal cut in Lansing, WMU to lower fee (general news)
  • Meningitis case treated successfully (general news)
  • Darnell’s contract terminated (breaking news brief)

Work-in-Progress Writing Portfolio as of October 2018

  • Six Lost Souls is under development; it’s at roughly two-thirds complete. This novel shares the story of Sarah Price, a young woman who learns from her adoptive parents that she has several biological siblings. Sarah searches for her lost brothers and sisters, discovering along the way that the pattern of off-book adoptions sponsored by a local Catholic parish hint at a deeper story. Throughout her quest to reunite her blood kin, she learns just how fragile the meaning of “family” can be, and that some old wounds should never be re-opened.
    • Read a sample scene: Six Lost Souls – Ch 14 Sc 1 – v2. Fr. McKinder, Sarah’s parish priest and the pastor of the church at the heart of the adoption mystery, confronts several nuns who had been stationed at the parish during the most prolific period for adoptions. [The scene as presented here is a second draft.]
  • Sanctuary is in its second round of developmental self-edits. This manuscript is a full-length detective novel set in contemporary Grand Rapids, Mich. It focuses on a brash private investigator who clashes with the FBI over a dead young woman and her alleged ties to a nearby cult compound.
  • Aiden’s Wager—a foray into literary fiction with a strong dose of psychological, ethical and LGBT themes—is at 85 percent complete on the first draft, with a target of 85k words. In this novel, Aiden Coleman is disowned by his wealthy father. As he falls from grace in his ultra-rich social circle, he transitions from predator to prey. After a rival, Tyler Johnson, blackmails him into performing a sex video, Aiden must simultaneously establish a moral center for himself while pushing back against Tyler’s increasingly controlling and manipulative behavior.
    • Read a sample scene: Aiden’s Wager – Ch 5 Sc 3 – v3. Aiden and his girlfriend, Jenna, have dinner after a fight. Jenna, however, has decided to leave him, not realizing the degree to which she was a core part of Aiden’s struggle to find a place in the world. This scene is a pivot point in the novel. [As presented, this file represents a third draft.]
  • From Pencil to Paperback—a non-fiction textbook about getting started as an author, with a heavy emphasis on working with small presses and literary magazines. Fully scoped, with some content prepared and a book proposal in development. Proposal forthcoming.
  • Whiskey, Cats & Poems reflects my growing collection of poetry. Which, one day, will be released as a chapbook.
  • Introduction to Healthcare Quality Analytics addresses the basic competency framework an analyst needs to be successful within the world of health care quality. This book proposal is in its preliminary stages.
  • On the short-form front:
    • Ashes of Another Life (short, ~3k words)—a young man’s ex shows up unexpectedly, bearing life-changing news.
    • Close Shave (flash, ~1k words)—a light-hearted take on a contract killing. Based on specific writing prompts.
    • Impulse Control (short, ~2k words)—a misunderstanding leads to tragedy.
    • Regret (flash, 850 words)—a young minister meets a dying old man. This story has been extensively workshopped.

Literary Citizenship

Being active in the community as a writer, editor and publisher should entail more than just churning through work product. To support my local literary community, I—

  • Served as panelist and workshop moderator at the 2018 Get Published! writers conference sponsored by MiFiWriters with Herrick District Library, Holland, Michigan, 2018.
  • Served as finance director for the 2017 Writers Squared series, a collection of reflections and readings by poets and authors from the Upper Midwest. WS was organized by the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters and sponsored in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.
  • Presented a panel session, The Zeroth Law of Publishing, at the 2017 UntitledTown writers’ conference and literary festival, Green Bay, Wisconsin, April 2017.
  • Served as a panelist and panel moderator at the 2017 Get Published! writers’ conference sponsored by MiFiWriters with Caffeinated Press and Herrick District Library, Holland, Michigan, 2017.
  • Served as a panelist and a panel moderator at the 2016 Get Published! writers’ conference sponsored by MifiWriters, World Weavers Press, Herrick District Library and Caffeinated Press, Holland, Michigan, 2016.
  • Presented as a panel discussant at the 2015 Fall Writers’ Conference sponsored by the Kent District Library.
  • Host a write-in for National Novel Writing Month, every year since 2013.
  • Participate in a monthly peer writers’ networking group.
  • Host a semimonthly writer’s critique group.
  • Attend local literary events within the region, including the Ann Arbor Book Fair and the Rust City Book Con.
  • Serve on the board of directors of Write616 (formerly the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters), a regional literary non-profit.

3 comments

  1. Jason,

    So good to see you on my space.
    All of my family is in GR if you ever want to meet for lunch. I go there at about once a week. Take care. Your web page looks great.

  2. Happy Birthday Jay! I saw Stardust too, and I thought it was so good I may see it again. I do not usually like to watch programs over again, but this one was good. I was happy to see that I made it on your website. Since I live in Indiana, I am the forgotten one.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Sue