Jul/Aug 2010

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.

Mary Akers has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, The Fiddlehead, Brevity, Literary Mama and other journals. Her short story collection Women Up On Blocks (Press 53, 2009) won the 2010 IPPY gold medal for short story collections. She has also authored a collection of short stories used for dramatic performance in high school speaking competitions titled Medusa's Song and Other Stories (TBRA Publishing 2009) and is a contributor to the anthologies The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change (Seal Press, 2008) and Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform (Press 53, 2009). She co-authored a non-fiction book titled One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others (The Experiment, 2010).

Jeff Alan writes in pajamas while listening to Miles Davis. His prose poems and flash fictions have been published in print and online journals, including The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008, Flashshot, Diddledog, and Boston Literary Magazine.

Grace Andreacchi is an American-born novelist, poet, and playwright. Works include the novels Scarabocchio and Poetry and Fear, Music for Glass Orchestra (Serpent's Tail), Give My Heart Ease (New American Writing Award) and the chapbook Elysian Sonnets. Her work appears in Horizon Review, The Literateur, Cabinet des Fées, and many other fine places. This is her fourth appearance in Eclectica. Grace is also managing editor at Andromache Books and writes the literary blog Amazing Grace. She lives in London.

Shweta S. Banerjee is from India but lives in Washington, DC. Her work includes writing about new (and hopefully more effective) approaches to removing poverty. Her poems have been published in student literary journals in England and Delhi. She misses her dog, Pushkin, who lives in Delhi and loves to fight in duels like his namesake. About the poem in this issue, she says: "This poem is inspired by one of India's most ancient lakes in Rajasthan. The Pushkar lake, which has enormous ecological and religious significance, was irresponsibly destroyed recently."

Richard Bellikoff is a transplanted New Yorker living in Southern California. He regularly performs his nonfiction stories and essays—including a much shorter version of That Was It— at various spoken word venues in Los Angeles. A starving musician before he became a starving writer, he began his writing career on TV sit-coms. Life imitated art, as his own existence became a sit-com. After years of writing documentary scripts for public TV, along with training and promotional materials for ruthless and predatory multinational corporations, he discovered that he was far too educated to make a living in today's globally downsized and outsourced economy. He has a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.B.A. in finance. Both are available for lease or purchase.

Laura Bender graduated from the University of California, San Diego, while studying writing and neuroscience. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Breadcrumb Scabs, Chiron Review, The Dirty Napkin, The Molotov Cocktail, Prick of the Spindle, Vertebrae Journal, and others.

Sebastian Bitticks works in Taipei as freelance writer and as editor for a small ESL start-up. He splits his writing efforts between creative and paying gigs. He posts short nonfiction and fiction entries on his blog, Pushing the Paper Line, and is assembling a collection of short stories.

Vanessa Blakeslee received an MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Quarterly, Illuminations, Hiram Poetry Review, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, and other places. She directs Maitland Poets & Writers, a community organization which focuses on expanding the literary arts throughout Central Florida.

Greta Bolger is a marketing maven turned small-time shopkeeper in a northern Michigan resort town. When not buying and selling Guatemalan and Mexican imports, she writes and publishes poems and prose in print and online journals, including Thema,The Literary Bohemian, The Chimaera, Short Fast and Deadly, and Third Coast. Her poem, "Have Mercy on Such as We," was inspired by the vivid memory of her mother, ironing and singing "The Whiffenpoof Song," steam and tears combining to make a sharp crease.

Bob Bradshaw lives in California, a state slowly drifting towards Japan. He is a huge admirer of cherry blossoms and Asian poetry. He looks forward to the docking. Recent work of his can be found at Driftwood Review, Orange Room Review, River Poets Journal, Greensilk Journal, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

Jessie Carty has appeared in publications such as The Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal and The Houston Literary Review. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, At the A & P Meridiem (Pudding House 2009) and The Wait of Atom (Folded Word 2009), as well as a full length poetry collection, Paper House (Folded Word 2010). Jessie is a freelance writer and writing coach. She is also the photographer and editor for Referential Magazine. She can be found around the web, especially at her website where she blogs about everything from housework to the act of blogging itself.

Julia Ann Charpentier is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor. She holds a Master of Arts in the Humanities from California State University. Her articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in trade and consumer publications. She's edited fiction and nonfiction for independent book publishers.

Rajat Chaudhuri lives in Calcutta in eastern India. His first novel, Amber Dusk, was welcomed by critics as "another type of writing emerging within Indian English writing." His short stories, book reviews, and other writing have appeared in popular Indian dailies like The Statesman, The Telegraph, and The Times of India, and he has reviewed fiction for Indian Literature journal, published by Sahitya Akademi, India's national academy for letters. His short story, "Watersmoke," won an honour in the Scientific Indian (Scian) short story contest, 2006 and another appeared recently in The Legendary. He has short stories forthcoming from Underground Voices and Bhasha Bandhan, a Bengali literary journal. His second novel, a work-in-progress from which the piece in this issue is extracted, is a quirky, genre-busting story about multiple personalities, chemical Nirvana, and the illusions of the present—Sybil meets Brave New World under the neon glow of new India.

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 appeared in kaleidowhirl, Lily, Loch Raven Review, Lucid Rhythms, Orange Room Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, Stirring, Umbrella, and elsewhere. She loves French travel, food, and wine, and plays French cafe 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.

Jeff Crook has appeared in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Cat Tales 2, Murky Depths, Warrior Wisewoman 2, Nature, Nature Physics, 3:AM Magazine, Mallorn, Helix, Paradox, Sein und Werden, Theaker's Quarterly, Pindeldyboz, Eclectica, and numerous others. He is the winner of the first Barry Hannah Memorial short fiction competition. Find him at his blog and on Facebook.

Barbara De Franceschi is an Australian poet who lives in Broken Hill, a small mining town in outback New South Wales. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals Australia-wide and also in Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, on line USA, and Switzerland. Her first collection, Lavender Blood, was published in 2004, and a second collection, Strands, will be launched in May 2009. 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. 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. She recently co-edited the book From this Broken Hill (see link).

Gez Devlin skulls the seas around San Francisco. He writes in the left transept of the Tenderloin's St. Boniface Church and frequents Frank's "21 Club" on Turk.

Reed S. Fauver hasn't told us anything about himself.

Tom Fillion is a graduate of the University of South Florida. He teaches mathematics and coaches golf and tennis at a Tampa public high school. His short stories have appeared in many online publications. For a complete list please visit his blog. His story "Chrysalis" was nominated for the Million Writers Award at Storysouth.

Valerie Fioravanti has appeared in many literary journals, including North American Review, Pindeldyboz, Silk Road, and Cimarron Review. She teaches fiction and multi-genre workshops online for the UCLA Writers' Extension and privately from her home in midtown Sacramento, where she hosts the monthly reading series Stories on Stage. Regarding the piece in this issue, she says, "I designed a course for the UCLA Writer's Extension called 'Writing Short Across Genres' where I asked students to take one subject and write a piece of flash fiction, a micro essay, and a prose poem. 'Kissing in Tandem' originated as the beta test of this assignment, although the final versions of both the essay and the story exceeded the 'short' guidelines I assigned the class. 'Kissing Decisions' was published in Night Train as part of the weekly Firebox Fiction series. The prose poem remains a work-in-progress.

Brent Fisk is a writer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has work in recent issues of Greensboro Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Boxcar Poetry Review.

Marko Fong lives in Northern California. He most recently published in Flashquake, The Puritan, The Summerset Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. His work has been nominated for both a Pushcart and a Pen/O. Henry prize.

John Givens got his MFA in creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was a Teaching/Writing Fellow. He was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea for two years, studied language and art in Kyoto for four years, and was a writer and editor in Tokyo for eight years. For fifteen years, Givens worked in branding consultancies, design studios, and advertising agencies in New York and San Francisco. He has published three novels in the US: Sons of the Pioneers, A Friend in the Police, and Living Alone. Stories and essays have appeared in various literary journals in the US, Europe, and Japan; and a collection of short stories, The Plum Rains, is being published in Ireland by The Liffey Press. Givens currently teaches fiction writing at The Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin. "The Black Feathers Road," which appears in this issue, and "The Emptiness Monk," published earlier in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Eclectica, are part of a series of stories that have also appeared in The Mississippi Review, Necessary Fiction, Wag's Revue, and Cerise Press.

Erica Goss has appeared in many literary journals, most recently Pearl, Ekphrasis, Main Street Rag, Café Review, Perigee, Dash Literary Journal, Caveat Lector, Rattle, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. She was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize and received the first Edwin Markham Prize for poetry, judged by California Poet Laureate Al Young. A former editor of Caesura, Erica writes and teaches in Los Gatos, California. About "Strange Land," she says, "This poem is an amalgamation of images from my childhood. I grew up in Southern California, the child of a mother who survived World War II. Her memories and mine are mingled in the poem. She put her survival skills to work in the harsh landscape of the California desert."

P. William Grimm makes his home in San Francisco's Mission District. His novel The Seventh was published in 2009, and his new novel, Guernica, will be available in the winter of 2010. He has been published in multiple on-line literary journals such as Annalemma Magazine. Prior to living in San Francisco, he resided in Manhattan, South Beach, and Boston. His writing influences include Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski, Dashiell Hammett and John Darnielle.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn't Get Any Looser After You Punch Out, available on Six Gallery Press. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Joseph Gross is an ex-performing musician who now teaches and writes in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and two young children. His stories, essays, and poems have appeared in or been accepted for publication by Alaska Quarterly Review, Cider Press Review, Fourth Genre, Mid-American Review, and Salamander. About "Hey Nineteen," he says, "I'm happy that my love of Steely Dan, my desultory path in life, and horrendous home-repair skills have finally joined forces to result in something."

William Reese Hamilton is this issue's Spotlight Author. A regular contributor to the Travel section, he was previously the Spotlight Author of the Jul/Aug 2007 issue, making him one of just two Eclectica authors to be so recognized more than once. Hamilton spent his childhood in North China and the Philippines, where he was captured and imprisoned with his family for over three years in Japanese Internment Camp Number One in Manila. He now lives in Choroní, a fishing village on the coast of Venezuela. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The North American Review, The Adirondack Review, Puerto del Sol, Front Porch, Night Train, Review Americana, and a number of other publications.

William Han practices law in New York City. His fiction has appeared in Cafe Irreal, and his journalistic writings have appeared in Time Magazine and the Straits Times of Singapore.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of four novels (Look at Me Now, Billy Boy, Space Ark, and Leffingwell's Planet), a short story collection (The Jew's Wife & Other Stories), and two anthologies of writing from the so-called Third World (The Best of Gowanus: New Writing from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and The Best of Gowanus II: More New Writing from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean).

Niranjana Iyer is a writer from Ontario, 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).

Stanley Jenkins has appeared in Amelia, 32 Pages, The Blue Moon Review, CrossConnect, and the Oyster Boy Review. A former Spotlight Author, Stanley is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and holds the record for greatest number of appearances in our issues. He lives and works in Queens, New York.

Thomas Kearnes is an atheist and Eagle Scout from East Texas. His fiction has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Night Train, 3:AM Magazine, Wigleaf, Temenos, JMWW Journal, Pindeldyboz, Word Riot, and other publications. He is planning (and dreading) beginning work on his first novel.

Timothy Kercher is in the process of moving to Kyiv, Ukraine, from the Republic of Georgia, where he has been editing and translating an anthology of contemporary Georgian poetry. Originally from Colorado, he teaches high school English and will be working in his fifth country overseas—Mongolia, Mexico, and Bosnia being the others. He won a merit scholarship to attend Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he completed his MFA in January, 2010. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of literary publications, including the Atlanta Review, The Dirty Goat, California Quarterly, Poetry International Journal, Barnyard Poetry Magazine, Los Angeles Review, Willow Review, Concho River Review, Ellipsis, Soundings East, Magnapoets, and Sierra Nevada College Review. Please visit his website to find out more about contemporary Georgian poetry.

Jascha Kessler is a Professor of English and Modern Literature at UCLA. He has published seven books of his poetry and fiction as well as six volumes of translations of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, Persian, Serbian, and Bulgarian.

Julia Braun Kessler is a long-time journalist with credits that include publications like Travel & Leisure, Family Circle, Geo, and many others. She is the author of four novels: Presumption, The Third Sister, Jane Austen's Charlotte and the forthcoming Mary Crawford. This is the latest of her memoir pieces, which have appeared in various magazines in recent years, among them Eclectica, Midstream, and California Literary Review.

Adam Lisser was born in the rural countryside of the Willamette Valley, spent his adolescence in one of her liberal college towns, and has fallen in love with her overcast city again and again. The Pacific Northwest flows in his veins—emerald, drenched, and very much alive.

Eric Maroney is the author of Religious Syncretism (SCM Press, 2006) and The Other Zions: The Lost Histories of Jewish Nations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). His fiction has appeared in Our Stories, The MacGuffin (Schoolcraft College), Arch (Washington University, St. Louis), Segue (Miami University, Ohio), and The Literary Review (Farleigh Dickenson University). He is completing a novel called People of the Land. Regarding "The Incorrupt Body of Carlo Busso," he says: "This story was inspired by the changing responses to the repeated re-emergence of an older element of a culture. We see this in cultures of every time, place, and religion, all over the globe. Carlo Busso is a young man who becomes divine in death. At another time, his body and relics would have been worshiped. But here, the miracle of his death is hidden. What does the response reflect about our own time?"

Andie Miller is the author of Slow Motion, a collection of stories about walking, to be published later this month by Jacana Media.

Ikeogu Oke has been published in the United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and India since 1988. He has two poetry collections, Where I Was Born (2003) and Salutes Without Guns (2009) to his credit, the latter of which was on the long list for the 2010 edition of the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

Ken Poyner lives not all that quietly in the Tidewater region of Virginia, with his power lifting phenomenon wife Karen and four rescue cats. Years ago, his work appeared in such places as Poet Lore, West Branch, The Iowa Review, The Greensboro Review, Inlet, and a host of other places. His last chapbook, Sciences, Social, came out in 1995. After several years of dormancy, he decided he still wanted to poke a few ogres with whatever sticks he could whittle. He has work forthcoming in Blue Unicorn and Poet Lore.

Tatiana A. Praxis finally settled in Berlin, Germany, to escape New York City after a long journey at New York University's journalism department. Her work has been published in National Geographic Traveler Armenia, Bombin' Magazine, and The Prague Wanderer. She has always loved traveling and discovering new cultures, but she didn't realize how close she could get to a culture as when she traveled with a backpack and with extremely little money alongside her sister, to whom the story in this issue is dedicated.

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), The Evansville Review (University of Evansville), Rattle (online), 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.

Oliver Rice has appeared widely in journals and anthologies in the United States, as well as Canada, Argentina, England, The Netherlands, Austria, Turkey, and India. His interview with the editor of Creekwalker was published by that zine in January, 2010. His book of poems, On Consenting to be a Man, is offered by Cyberwit, a diversified publishing house in the cultural capital of Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon.

Jim Ruland is the author of the short story collection Big Lonesome and the curator of the L.A.-based reading series, Vermin on the Mount.

Nic Sebastian hails from Arlington, Virginia, and travels widely. She has two sons who travel with her as they can. Her work has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Lily, Autumn Sky Poetry, Mannequin Envy, Avatar Review, Anti,- and elsewhere. Her first collection, Forever Will End on Thursday, is forthcoming from Lordly Dish Nanopress, a press with a twist. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale.

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is the author of two volumes of poetry, The Insatiable Psalm (Wind River Press, 2005) and What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn (Parlor Press, 2008; Free Verse Editions Series).

Ray Templeton is a former Spotlight Author. A Scottish writer and musician, he lives in St. Albans, England. His writing, including poetry and short fiction among other things, has appeared both in print and on the web, and sometimes even other people sing his songs. Recent work can be found in Eclectica, nthposition, Left Hand Waving, and qarrtsiluni. His e-chapbook The Act Of Finding was published in 2009 by Right Hand Pointing. He is a regular contributor to Musical Traditions and a member of the editorial board of Blues & Rhythm magazine.

Margaret Towers is a former English teacher, public relations practitioner, and corporate writer, editor, and proofreader. She now teaches writing and grammar to business executives.

James Valvis lives in Washington State with his wife, the poet Katrina Grace Craig Valvis, also published In Eclectica. His many poems or stories have appeared in Chiron Review, Cider Press Review, Confrontation, Icon, Midwest Quarterly, Rattle, Slipstream, Smoking Poet, Southern Indiana Review, Timber Creek Review, and Wormwood Review, and are forthcoming in 5 AM, ART TIMES, Arts & Letters, Clackamas Crab Creek Review, Eclipse, Hanging Loose, Hurricane Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, New Laurel Review, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Potomac Review, Praxilla, South Carolina Review, and elsewhere. He will be the featured poet in Re)verb 7. Several times a Pushcart nominee, his novella, One of those Zombie Lovers, was a Notable Story for the 2005 Million Writers Award. He likes llamas, toy robots, and being a dad.

Paula Ward is an undergraduate at Edge Hill University, England, where she thanks her tutors for all their excellent advice. Her work is due to appear in the forthcoming anthology, The Strand Book of International Poets 2010, and A Funny Thing by United Press Ltd.