Jan/Feb 2008

Tom Dooley co-founded Eclectica in 1996 and serves as its Managing Editor. In the 12 years between earning a BA in English literature from the University of Chicago and a MPA in municipal management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he taught middle and high school English in Alaska, Arizona, and Wisconsin, amassing fond memories, dubious experiences, and debt. Two careers post-teaching later, he now creates spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides for the man by day, edits Eclectica by night, and feels very grateful for the blessings he has received—chief among them being married to the sweetest gal and the best poet he knows. He and said gal reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with enough rescued lapdogs to field a diminutive Iditarod racing team and the empty-nest echoes of two amazing Haitian-American children who have flown the coop.

Colleen Mondor is Eclectica's Review Editor. She also reviews for Bookslut, the Voices of NOLA, and Booklist. Short story excerpts from her novel on Alaskan aviation have recently appeared in failbetter and Storyglossia. She maintains a daily blog on all things literary (and sometimes not) at her site, Chasingray.com.

Elizabeth P. Glixman is Eclectica's Interview Editor. Her fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print in Wicked Alice, In Posse Review, 3 A.M. Magazine, Tough Times Companion, a publication of The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Her Circle Ezine, Frigg, and Velvet Avalanche, an anthology of erotic poetry. Besides Eclectica, her author interviews, articles, book reviews, and creative non-fiction pieces have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Whole Life Times, Spirit of Change, Hadassah Magazine, and the anthologies Chocolate for A Woman's Soul II and Cup of Comfort For Women. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: A White Girl Lynching (Pudding House Publications, 2008), Cowboy Writes a Letter & Other Love Poems (Pudding House Publications, 2010), and The Wonder of It All (Alternating Current, 2012). Elizabeth's story, "Mother's Bony Behind," was chosen one of the notable online stories of 2006 by the Million Writers Award. Elizabeth is an animal lover, and she has a blog devoted to shelter animals, especially those at kill shelters.

Jennifer Finstrom has been the Poetry Editor of Eclectica since the fall issue of 2005. This is her final issue in that capacity. A former Spotlight Author, she teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates writing groups at DePaul University. Recent publications include Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Escape Into Life, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and NEAT. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, and in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.

Pamela Mackey is Eclectica's Copy Editor. She teaches English at a community college in central New York. Earlier in her career, she wrote feature stories for newspapers, including The New York Times. Even earlier, she was a researcher and editor in the magazine industry, holding staff positions at LOOK and Saturday Review magazines. She writes poetry and is the mother of a gifted young novelist.

Alexandra Abuza holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and has published stories in the English literary journal Mslexia. She divides her time between New York City and Eastern Maine.

Carolyn Steele Agosta is a former Eclectica Spotlight Author whose fiction and essays have been published online and in print in the US, the UK, and Europe. A few of her stories have been developed into short films or read on the radio, including BBC Radio 4, as well as translated into Vietnamese, Danish, and Arabic. Regarding the exercise that led to the stories featured in this issue, "It was great fun being challenged to write the stories in such a short time frame," she says. This issue marks Carolyn's sixth appearance in Eclectica. One of her stories is also included in Eclectica's Best Fiction Anthology.

Arlene Ang lives in Spinea, Italy. This is her fourteenth appearance in Eclectica. She has also recently appeared in alice blue, Blood Orange Review, Mimesis, and Umbrella. She received the 2006 Frogmore Poetry Prize and serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. Her most recent chapbook, Secret Love Poems, is available from Rubicon Press.

Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, CA. He is a big fan of the Rolling Stones. Recent work of his can be found at Tattoo Highway, Apple Valley Review, Blue Fifth Review, Slow Trains, Boston Literary Magazine, and Mannequin Envy.

David Bulley has published short fiction in Night Train, Heat City Review, Porcupine, McSweeny's, and in many other fine magazines.

Antonia Clark works for a medical software company in Burlington, Vermont. She has taught college-level creative writing and is currently co-administrator of an online poetry forum, The Waters. Her poems have recently appeared in kaleidowhirl, Lily, Loch Raven Review, Lucid Rhythms, Orange Room Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, Stirring, and elsewhere. She loves French travel, food, and wine, and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion. Toni invites poets to visit The Waters, home of 77 Sunset Beach, where members go to write a poem a day for seven days.

Barbara De Franceschi is an Australian poet who lives in Broken Hill, a small mining town in outback New South Wales. When not writing poetry or committed to family and business, Barbara involves herself in community work. She was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2002 for her achievements in the area of multiculturalism. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals Australia-wide and online in the USA and Switzerland. Barbara is an adventuress writer who is continuously trying to find new ways and forms to present her work; she has experimented with sound and musical composition to enhance her recitals, with stimulating results. Her first collection, Lavender Blood, was published in 2004, and the manuscript for a second collection is well under way. Barbara is a member of the performance group "The Silver Tongued Ferals" and performs at caravan parks, arts festivals, etc., and has read her poetry live to air on ABC Radio on a number of occasions.

Chielozona Eze grew up in Enugu, Nigeria. He studied philosophy and literature at Purdue University, where he also got an MFA in fiction. His novel Headaches was finalist in the 2005 Wisdom/Faulkner creative writing contest, and he was the winner of the first Olaudah Equiano Prize for African literature. He is assistant professor of African and African American literature at Northeastern Illinois University, and his novel, The Silence of Our Mothers, is forthcoming.

Amy George is a transsexual mystic. She has been writing a dream-interpretation blog, Ask the Dream Queen, for the Cape Cod Times since December of 2006. She has been published in the Cape Cod Voice, and will be published in Tarot World Magazine. In 1998, when Amy was still male, she undertook a quest that led her into communion with a higher state of being. In answer to her calling, she spent the next two years in solitude, gradually turning herself inside-out through meditation, contemplation, and dreamwork. These practices precipitated the sudden, unanticipated identification of herself as female. In the years since, she has changed sex physically. Evolution of the Peacock is the umbrella title of her voluminous, unpublished memoirs.

William Reese Hamilton lives in Choroní, a fishing village on the coast of Venezuela, butted up against a mountainous cloud forest, in a region that produces the finest cacao in the world. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The North American Review, Puerto del Sol, Night Train Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Review Americana, In Posse Review, Steel City Review, Taj Mahal Review, Ink Pot/Lit Pot, Smokelong Quarterly, and elsewhere. He has found his paradise and is studying it, warts and all.

Stephen Healey is director of the World Religions Program at the University of Bridgeport, a position he assumed in 1998 after completing the Ph.D. at Boston College. In 2005 he was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year. He has published non-fiction articles on topics such as human rights, conversion, religion and conflict, and religion and economy. "Children as Numerous as Stars in the Sky" is part of a collection of stories entitled The Religious Adventures of Reverend Jeremiah Posh that Healey is writing about individuals who find Something Big—whatever that is—in the damnedest place: their own lives. Other stories in this sequence previously have appeared in Eclectica (v9n3) and The Culture Star Reader. Healey also is writing a non-fiction book entitled Religion and Conflict Analysis. He says, "Some readers may find shocking the combination of religion, sexuality, and vulgarity in the Posh stories. I don't intend to give offense, but I risk it because I find separating the fleshly details of life from spirituality not only offensive but blasphemous. Posh's all-too-human brokenness is also fully human, fully divine, or both—depending on the heresy of which you wish to find me guilty."

David Houston is a California-based artist whose media include painting, photography, ceramics, and performance art.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon, the author of the novel Billy Boy (Savvy Press), and the publisher of Gowanus, an ezine for authors in and from the so-called Third World. He is also editor of The Best of Gowanus: New Writing from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean (Gowanus Books). His short stories, articles and reviews have appeared in The Blue Moon Review, Morpo Review, New York Press, on the BBC World Service and in numerous other print and online publications.

Niranjana Iyer is a writer from Ottawa, Canada, whose work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Smithsonian Magazine, and SmokeLong Quarterly, amongst other venues. Her blog is called "Brown Paper" (see link).

Jason Jackson lives in the south west of England. He has been writing for four years. His stories have been published on the web and in print. Details can be found on his website.

Cicily Janus has appeared in or will appear in Underground Voices, Aesthetica, Del Sol Review, Writers Post Journal, Whirligigzine, and Perspectives Magazine. She is also an assistant editor for Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens: A Literary Magazine of the Absurd and Surreal. Two novels, working titles Burden of Betrayal and Awaiting Exile, are in progress. A chapbook, The Pencil Pusher's Prose, will be coming out in 2008 from Scintillating Publications. She writes a popular blog, Writing About You When You’re Not Paying Attention, and she's been featured in an interview regarding her writing life on Designyourwritinglife.com and on a podcast with author Paul A. Toth.

Larry Jer is able to lament "Why me?" in several languages, which has been more useful than he likes to admit. Among his travails, he has shared a bus seat with a goat and a boat cabin with a chicken. Ever optimistic, Larry hopes future travel includes more human companions than livestock. He daydreams plenty, submits cannily, publishes sparingly. He blames his diet. He can be found online and in print, if you look hard enough.

Alex Keegan has fifteen first prizes for his short fiction and poetry, but he recently passed the big 6-oh and thinks he needs to write some novels in 2008-9. His short work has been in a variety of paper magazines and anthologies and on line at Archipelago, Atlantic Monthly, Blue Moon Review, Crania, Mississippi Review, and Eclectica.

Caroline Kepnes is a native Cape Codder now living in Los Angeles. Once upon a time when writers were not on strike, she wrote two episodes of The CW's 7th Heaven. Currently, she is E! Online's Reel Girl, blogging about movies every day. And always, she is writing short stories. When she was thirteen, she won an honorable mention in Sassy Magazine's Fabulous Fiction Contest; they gave her a typewriter and, well, off she went. Her stories are archived in great online magazines including The Barcelona Review, The Blue Moon Review, Carve, Eyeshot, Hobart, Monkey Bicycle, Thieves Jargon, Yankee Pot Roast, Word Riot, and, of course, Eclectica. This is her fourth story here, a fact about which she kindly said she is "mighty happy."

Julia Braun Kessler is a journalist who has published widely on the arts in magazines such as Family Circle, Seventeen, Travel & Leisure, and Modern Maturity. An earlier piece of hers in this current series of New York reminiscences appeared in Eclectica last year. Under the pseudoynm, Julia Barrett, she is the author of three novels: Presumption, The Third Sister, and Jane Austen's Charlotte. She just completed her latest novel, Mary Crawford.

A.S. King has recently returned from Ireland, where she spent twelve years dividing her time between self-sufficiency, teaching literacy, and writing novels. Her fiction has appeared in Washington Square, Eclectica, FRiGG, Word Riot, Amarillo Bay, Underground Voices, Literary Mama, The Huffington Post, Natural Bridge, and other cool places. Her first novel for young adults, The Dust of 100 Dogs, is due from Flux in Spring/Summer 2009.

Monika Lange (aka Mona Long) is a new fiction writer and a former research scientist with numerous publications in scientific journals. Her essays, memoirs and short fiction were published in The Copperfield Review, Reader's Digest's Polish edition, Cenotaph's new Book of Remembrance Anthology, The Pilot, Living MS Magazine, Whistling Shade, Brew City Magazine, Long Story Short, and MS Connection. Her memoirs appeared in Eclectica in July/August 2006 and 2007. She also writes essays and memoirs for The Biulletin of Polish-Netherlands Culture Society in Breda, NL. A naturalized American citizen, Ms. Lange was born and raised in Poland, moved to Iran in 1977, and to the US in 1985. She lives in California with her husband and daughter. During the many years she spent in Iran, she studied that country's language, culture, and history, and she has just finished a semi-autobiographical novel set there just before the revolution of 1979, entitled Opium. Her other novel, The Dancing Shiva, inspired by a statuette in her father's study, is also ready for submission.

Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry collections. In addition to Eve's Red Dress (Wind Publications, 2003) and a chapbook, Against Perfection (Poets Forum Press, 1998), her collection, What Feeds Us (Wind Publications, 2006), was awarded the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in Garrison Keillor's Good Poems for Hard Times and in such journals as The Beloit Poetry Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She was the featured poet in the spring 2007 issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Scott Malby lives and writes from Coos Bay, Oregon.

Rachel Maizes was born and raised in New York City and now calls Boulder, Colorado, home. She mostly tends to her dogs, Tilly and Chance, scratching them behind the ears and mixing that good wet stuff into their food. With what little time remains, she practices law and writes. Her stories have appeared in The Barcelona Review and Offcourse Literary Journal.

Clare L. Martin is a poet-mother-wife, and a graduate of University of Southwestern Louisiana. Clare's creative writing has appeared or is forthcoming in several literary journals, including Farmhouse Magazine, Blood Lotus, Lily Lit Review, Blue Fifth Review, Wheelhouse Magazine, and Inch. She is also the playwright of "Waterlines" produced in April and November, 2006, and May, 2007, as part of the project Sustained Winds, a collaboration of Louisiana artists responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Sustained Winds was performed in New York City in August, 2007, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. Clare recently completed the manuscript for her first collection of poetry, entitled Garbage Woman.

Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she was the 2007 recipient of the Hopwood Award Theodore Roetke Prize, judged by Mark Halliday. Her work has appeared in Upstairs at Duroc (Paris) and The Oleander Review. A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, she now works as a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon.

Jim Murdoch is a 48-year-old Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow. In the seventies and eighties, his poems appeared regularly in the small press magazines that were legion at the time. By the nineties he had allowed himself to become disillusioned and stopped sending stuff out. He didn't stop writing, however, but moved on to novels and short stories, in that order. He has now decided to do something with all this accumulated writing, and to that end he has established an online presence with his blog, The Truth About Lies.

Barbara Newton-Holmes is a freelance writer and information designer based in San Diego. She is also a graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute and is writing her first cookbook.

A. Ray Norsworthy hides out in the Idaho mountains and runs with the wolves. His story collection, Indiahoma: Stories Of Blues And Blessings, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. His fiction has appeared in Storyglossia, Eclectica, Night Train III, Zoetrope All-Story Extra, The Story Garden, and 12 Gauge. His previous story in Eclectica, "All The Way to Grangeville," was runner up for Story of the Year for 2006 by the Million Writers Award contest, and you can also read an interview with him in the Oct/Nov 2006 issue. Besides Indiahoma, he has written two novels and a number of plays and short stories. The most recent novel is True Revelations (A Love Story of the Apocalypse).

Jim Parks cannot remember a time when he was not working hard to tell his story in print. Editors of newspapers have been especially encouraging. Teachers of composition have tried their best, as have colleagues and friends. He has worked in transportation (trucks to tugboats) and in commercial fishing (cod, crabs, flounder, salmon, shrimp, and tuna). His pieces have appeared in Writer's Corner, Linnet's Wings, Hackwriters, and The Journal of Modern Post. He is a frequent visitor at zoetrope.com where he maintains an office called "Speakeasy."

Jayne Pupek is a novelist and poet from Richmond, Virginia. Her novel Tomato Girl is forthcoming from Algonquin Books (2008). Also forthcoming in 2008 from Mayapple Press, is her first book of poems, Forms of Intercession. Primitive, a chapbook, is available through Pudding House Press.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy has published poetry, prose and translation in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine, Poetry International (San Diego State University), The Georgia Review (University of Georgia), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas), Consciousness Literature and the Arts (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Orbis (UK), Eclectica, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Links to his work online and to a selected bibliography of his work in paper venues appear at his Hyperlinked Online Bibliography.

Greg Schreur has managed to keep the budget balanced even as he and his wife have added three children, thanks in large part to his regular salary as a high school English teacher. He spent the six hours of Michigan's recent government shutdown sleeping, mostly on his left side, in his home in Grand Rapids. From this rest he awoke refreshed and inspired to write the bit of satire that appears in this issue. His work has appeared or will appear in Rock & Sling, The Storyteller, and Cantara. He dreams, mostly, of great things.

F. John Sharp has published in print in Peninsular, Snow Monkey, GUD: Greatest Uncommon Denominator, Birmingham Arts Journal, and Opium, and online in Pindeldyboz, Salt River Review, Paumanok Review, Lunarosity, In Posse Review, among others. His poetry appeared in the anthology, An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind, published by Regent Press. He has also worked as an associate editor for Night Train and Story Garden, and is the fiction editor for Right Hand Pointing. Most recently, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He was kind enough to say, "Most of my success has been in stories, so this is an extra special treat: poetry in Eclectica. Thanks to all my writer friends who've encouraged this side of me."

Anna Sidak is an Arizona writer whose work has appeared in Linnaean Street, Paumanok Review, Pindeldyboz, Ink Pot, Eclectica (a 2007 Million Writers notable), and other journals. In the story, "Almost the End: A Movie," it's clear breaking up is hard to do. Her travel essay in this issue, "Acrophobia at Home in Arizona," first appeared in Neal Storrs's Oasis.

Julia M. Sidorova was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and she spends her days as a biomedical scientist at the University of Washington, Seattle. The rest of the time she writes fiction. She is at her happiest when the scientist and the artist in her actually collaborate on something. She has published a couple of short stories in Russian literary periodicals, but by now she has completely switched to English. She is at work on her second novel, which takes several historical events and personages of XVIII-XIX century Europe and runs with them all the way to the present day. She is also looking for a publisher for her first novel, a science fiction saga inspired by the research she does as a scientist.

Ann Skealives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia).

Ian Duncan Smith was the Spotlight Author of Eclectica's Winter '06 issue. He also has stories online at Verbsap, Prose Toad, Bewildering Stories, Fiction on the Web, Silverthought, and Surprising Stories. He lives in Wiltshire, England, and produces a weekly podcast show on internet fiction called The Frictionfiction Show. He's written a novel, Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years, out now at Lulu.com. "There Has to Be a Better Balance" was inspired by his upbringing in the great northern English city of Manchester.

Rob McClure Smith has published numerous stories in literary journals, including Fugue, Other Voices, Confrontation, Barcelona Review, Chapman, Vestal Review, Chelsea, and Versal. A previous winner of the Scotsman Orange Short Story Award, he lives in Galesburg, Illinois.

Rohith Sundararaman is a twenty-three year old poet writing out of Bombay, India. His work has appeared or will appear Elimae, Eclectica, Ghoti Magazine, Word Riot, Gud Magazine, Dcomp, Defenestration, Tipton Poetry Journal, Death Metal Poetry, and other places. When he is not dreaming of poetry, he is busy taking courses at a local business school.

Cally Taylor lives beside the sea in Brighton and works in London, UK. She started writing fiction in 2005, and her stories have been published online (SmokeLong Quarterly, WordRiot, Espresso Fiction, Sussurus) and in print (Aesthetica, Etchings, QWF, and various anthologies). She finished her first novel, a supernatural romantic-comedy, in 2007 and is looking for an agent.

Ray Templeton is a former Spotlight Author. A Scottish writer and musician living in St. Albans, England, his poetry, short fiction, writings on music, etc., have appeared in a wide range of both print and online journals, including Magma, Iota, Eclectica, Poems Niederngasse, Thieves Jargon, The New Verse News, The Argotist, Musical Traditions, and Antithesis Common. He is a member of the editorial board of Blues & Rhythm Magazine.

Scott Urban haunts North Carolina's appropriately-named Cape Fear Coast. His fiction and poetry have been published in print magazines, anthologies, and online e-zines, and his dark verse has been collected as Night's Voice and Skull-Job. With Martin Greenberg, he co-edited the DAW anthology The Conspiracy Files. In the late 90's he edited the poetry zine Frisson. He welcomes any comments, questions, and hail-well-met salutations.

Jennifer Van Orman is a writer and painter who lives in Portland, Maine. She has lived in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and is a 2007 graduate of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program. Her poems have appeared previously in Ward 6 Review.

Brad Wetherell earned his BA from the University of Connecticut. Since graduation he has worked as an English language teacher in Prague and as an editorial assistant at a major Manhattan publishing house. Born and raised in Woodbury, Connecticut, he now lives in Queens, New York.

Mary E. Whitsell was born and raised in California, but has spent over half of her life in other places. Her work has appeared in Eclectica, Mother Verse Magazine, and Flashquake. Mary lived and worked in Japan as a teacher, rewriter and translator for seventeen years. She is writing a novel about expatriates in Japan.

Kajsa Wiberg is a freelance writer, translator, and horse trainer. Her stories have appeared in The River Walk Journal, Long Story Short, Prose Toad, Chick Lit Review, Flash Shot, and Insolent Rudder. She is a script reader for Blue Cat Screenplay. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, where she's at work on her second novel.

Steve Wing is an observer of light whose focus is the extraordinary in ordinary life. His images and texts have appeared in the BluePrintReview and in the experimental group blog Just a Moment. He also works at an academic institution in the southeastern United States.

G.K. Wuori is a Pushcart Prize winner and recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. His story collection (so far unpublished), Respectful Beatings for Very Good Help, was a 2007 Finalist in the Flannery O'Connor Award in Short Fiction contest. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as The Gettysburg Review, TriQuarterly, StoryQuarterly, Shenandoah, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and Five Points. His story collection, Nude In Tub, was a New Voices Award Nominee by the Quality Paperback Book Club, and his novel, An American Outrage, was Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year in fiction. He lives in Sycamore, Illinois, where he writes a monthly column called Cold Iron and blogs. Regarding "Bones" (the story in this issue), he says, "Mostly, I think, this is a paean of gratitude to that stiff inner structure that keeps us together. Pity, too, our oft-ignored ligaments and our rarely discussed cartilage. Sometimes I think we dwell too much on our inner mush of thought and feeling and forget the vehicle that hauls it all around. Either that, or there are some things being said about marriage here that are mighty disconcerting.

Sarah Yost teaches reading and writing to seventh grade students in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2005, she graduated from Colgate University with a BA in English and Religion. This coming summer, she will start her first semester at Bank Street College and Sara Lawrence, pursuing a second MA in Educational Leadership and Creative Writing. Her first MA was from the University of Louisville in Middle School Reading and Writing.