Jul/Aug 2020

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.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy has been Eclectica's Review Editor since October of 2013. He first appeared in the magazine as a contributor a decade before that. He has published poetry, prose, and translation in many journals, paper, and electronic, including Jacket Magazine, Poetry International, The Georgia Review, Grand Street, SLANT, The Evansville Review, Rattle (online), Consciousness Literature and the Arts, Orbis, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has published numerous books, including Mind Dance (poetry); Kafka in Richmond (Novel); Edward de Vere was Shakespeare: at long last the proof; and Henry David Thoreau and Two Other Autistic Lives: before the diagnosis existed. He has just released Edward de Vere's Retainer Thomas Churchyard: the Man Who Was Falstaff. Links to his work online and to a selected bibliography of his work in paper venues appear at his Hyperlinked Online Bibliography.

David Ewald is Eclectica's Nonfiction Editor. A previous contributor, his work has also appeared in Metazen, BULL: Men's Fiction, Denver Syntax, The Chimaera, Spork Press, and Halfway Down the Stairs, among other publications. He is the author of the novel He Who Shall Remain Shameless, and his chapbook Markson's Pier (written with Stuart Ross) was published in Volume XI of Essays & Fictions.

Evan Martin Richards is Eclectica's Poetry Editor. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and lives in Chicago. He received his MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University, where he worked as a writing tutor and facilitated creative writing and EdD candidate writing groups. His poetry has appeared in Poetry East and Eclectica. He has read fiction for Another Chicago Magazine and served as a poetry judge for the Golden Shovel Anthology Competition hosted by Roosevelt University. He works as an editor, both freelance and in the nonprofit management field.

Carol Barrett holds doctorates in both clinical psychology and creative writing. She coordinates the Creative Writing Certificate Program at Union Institute & University. Her books include Calling in the Bones, which won the Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, Drawing Lessons from Finishing Line Press, and Pansies from Sonder Press, a finalist for the 2020 Oregon Book Award in General Nonfiction. Her creative work has appeared in JAMA, Poetry International, Poetry Northwest, The Women's Review of Books, and many other venues. A former NEA Fellow in Poetry, she lives in Bend, Oregon.

Bridget Bell is an English instructor at Durham Technical Community College and proofreads for Four Way Books. She studied at Ohio University and Sarah Lawrence College, and her work has been published in The New Ohio Review, Folio, Gargoyle, Zone 3, DIAGRAM, and Eleven Eleven, among other literary journals.

Andrew Bertaina received his MFA in creative writing from American University. His work has appeared in many publications including The ThreePenny Review, Tin House, Redivider, Witness Magazine, and The Best American Poetry 2018. He says, "I saw the movie Before Sunrise when I was a teenager, and without knowing it, something inside me lurched towards that idea of love, one built on shared intelligence, wit, conversation. I hadn't seen it anywhere else in '90s rom-coms, and I certainly wasn't seeing it in my high school. When I finally wrote about the movie, I was 26, married with no children. After graduate school, I revisited the piece again after having two children and separating from my wife, which is why the piece shifts towards the end. In truth, as I age, I could probably revise the piece in perpetuity because the way we understand a good work of art shifts along with us.

Alexander Blum is an Indian-American writer attempting to square the Christian cross with the Hindu Mandala. His writing has previously appeared in Soft Cartel and New Pop Lit, both of which have been kind enough to publish some of his favorite stories. He currently lives in Los Angeles, and he once self-published a book called 21st Century Slave while attending the University at Buffalo. He is (still) working on a fantasy novel he started long ago in high school, a story about loneliness, religion, and mountains—all realities of a similar nature.

Mar Bradley teaches at The Writing Institute, urging writers to "dig deeper." She received her BA from Antioch University and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been published in Two Hawks, Hippocampus, The Capital Gazette, and received an honorable mention from Glimmer Train. Marcia attended Ragdale, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College. Her story about Englewood on the South Side of Chicago won a 2019 Bronx Council on the Arts Award for fiction. A Chicago native, then transplanted to LA, Marcia now lives in Bronx, New York, where she is working on a novel.

Peter Bridges is a former Spotlight Author who has traveled up and down Corsica by car and has twice organized and led week-long treks across the island's fine forests and mountains. Bridges holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, and spent three decades as a career Foreign Service officer, ending as American ambassador to Somalia. Kent State University Press published his diplomatic memoir, Safirka: An American Envoy, and the biographies of two once-famous Americans, John Moncure Daniel and Donn Piatt. He has self-published a second memoir, Woods Waters Peaks: A Diplomat Outdoors. His shorter work has appeared in Eclectica and many other journals.

Joyce Brinkman was Indiana's Poet Laureate from 2002 to 2008. She believes in poetry as public art and creates public poetry projects involving her poetry and the poetry of others. Collaborations with visual artists using her poetry for permanent installations include her words in a 25-foot stained glass window by British glass artist Martin Donlin at the Indianapolis International Airport, in lighted glass by Arlon Bayliss at the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library, and on a wall with local El Salvadoran artists in the town square of Quezaltepeque, El Salvador. Her printed works include two chapbooks, Tiempo Español and Nine Poems In Form Nine, and two collaborative books, Rivers, Rails and Runways, and Airmail from the Airpoets with fellow "airpoets" Ruthelen Burns, Joe Heithaus, and Norbert Krapf. Joyce has received fellowships from the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Vermont Studio. She received a 2013 grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to explore poetry with the orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo, and an Arts In The Park Grants from IAC for 2016 and 2017. The 2017 grant supports workshops called H2O Haiku at Clifty Falls State Park. Her latest books include the multinational, multilingual book Seasons of Sharing A Kasen Renku Collaboration from Leapfrog Press, and Urban Voices: 51 Poems from 51 American Poets from San Francisco Bay Press, which she co-edited with Dr. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda. Joyce organized the collaborative poems for the Bicentennial Legacy Book Mapping the Muse. She recently completed a public art project in Martinsville, Indiana, featuring poetry she wrote inspired by the life and words of UCLA basketball coach and Hoosier native John Wooden. She is a graduate of Hanover College and lives in Zionsville, Indiana, with her husband and a cantankerous cat.

Steven Brooks writes and teaches in Tucson, Arizona. He lives with his partner, Holly, and their son, Griffey.

Claudia Buckholts received Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Grolier Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Minnesota Review, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, and others; and in two books, Bitterwater and Traveling Through the Body. She also writes fiction and lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Rachel Aviva Burns is a writer and artist living and working in New York City. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including the Atlanta Review, Bluestem, Florida English, and Sand Hills, and she is also a previous contributor to Eclectica.

Shreyonti Chakraborty is an Indian writer and architect pursuing a Ph.D. in the US. Her short fiction has been published in Havik magazine, The Roadrunner Review, Bandit Fiction UK, and Queen Mobs' Teahouse. Her journalistic works have appeared in DNA Navi Mumbai and Hindustan Times.

Joanna E. Collins is a Nashville poet who moonlights as a government attorney. She was the Featured Poet in Nashville Poets Quarterly 2019 Q4 publication and has work in or forthcoming from Dream Geographies, Indolent Books, The American Theatre Chronicles, The Underground Writers Association of Portland, Maine, Funky Feminist, Lucky Jefferson, SALT Weekly, Fleas on the Dog, and the Nashville Vagina Warriors' production of The Mending Monologues. A frequent flyer at Nashville Poetry in the Brew open mic, Joanna has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. One day she will finish her Supreme Court musical.

Christina Craigo was brung up in West-by-God Virginia, and earned BFA and MFA degrees in painting and fine arts in Philadelphia and New York City. After a few decades of making, exhibiting, and teaching about art, she earned an MBA degree and took a more active role in managing a family business. She settled in Boulder, Colorado, and her creative energies eventually shifted to writing fiction. Her work has appeared in Exposition Review and Hobart. She assures us, no government officials were harmed in the making of this story.

Kevin Finnerty is one of this issue's Spotlight runners-up. He lived on the east and west coasts prior to settling in the Midwest. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Gravity of the Thing, Me First, Newfound, Portage Magazine, and The Westchester Review, as well as other journals.

Jennifer Finstrom is a former Spotlight Author and longtime (13 years!) former Poetry Editor. An adjunct instructor at DePaul University in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Department and also Outreach Coordinator at DePaul's University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL), recent publications include Escape Into Life and MockingHeart Review. Her work also appears in Silver Birch Press's Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks and other Silver Birch Press anthologies.

Brianca Hadnot is a writer and graduate of the MA English Literature program at Texas Southern University. Her work has been published in TheCore94 and Pink Prods. She lives in Houston, Texas, where she devotes her time to writing and teaching high school English.

William Han is a lawyer and writer. He grew up in Taiwan and New Zealand and is a contributing op-ed columnist for South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. An avid traveler, he has visited over 120 countries around the world.

David Hindman is a graduate of the English program at Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Jill, and their two children, Ollie and Coco. He is an attorney and has worked at the Nashville Public Defender's Office for ten years.

Claretta Holsey is a Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is at work on her poetry thesis. A three-time awardee of the Academy of American Poets prize, she recently graduated summa cum laude with a BA from Stetson University. Her poetry and creative non-fiction have been published in Poetry Breakfast, Fishfood Magazine, on Poets.org and PromptPress, and in Stetson University's literary journal Touchstone. Regarding "blues," she says, "This poem rose up out of some weightless feeling of estrangement. It happened to me one night as I walked, alone, back to a surrogate home. Within and without the 'blues,' I found myself reaching for familiar things, to cope. But the environment prevailed upon me. Each time I called up a memory or a more present moment, the scenes and sights of it grew strange, uncanny. To lose myself in it would mean falling for/into its spell/rhythm. I let myself go."

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of Look at Me Now, My Bess, Billy Boy, Father Walther's Temptation, Song of the Mockingbird, and The Jew's Wife & Other Stories, as well as three science fiction novels. His work has appeared in New York Press, The Antigonish Review, The Blue Moon Review and many other publications. Two of his short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service. He has also edited two anthologies of new writing from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and he was the founding editor of the pioneering online publication Gowanus. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, which remains his chief inspiration.

Alan Humm is a teacher of English in the UK and is the editor of One Hand Clapping Magazine.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of several poetry chapbooks, most recently Spiritual Midwifery (Red Bird, 2019). Her work has appeared previously in Eclectica and various print and online journals, including Lake Effect, Poetry East, Redheaded Stepchild, and Waccamaw. She is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Rebecca Longenecker is a born-and-raised Mennonite. She grew up in Lancaster County Pennsylvania and graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature from Eastern Mennonite University. She lives in Seattle, Washington and works as a Marketing Program Manager. Her work has been published in Havik, Pointed Circle, Bridge Literary Journal, Flying Island Literary Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, Rhubarb Magazine, and The Phoenix Literary Journal. Regarding her work in this issue, she says, "My domestic work, especially all of the work I do surrounding food, has become so rewarding in contrast to the digital demands of my job. I love the absolute autonomy of cooking, the way a meal builds sequentially to completion without re-prioritizations from upper management. And I love all the tactile joys, like snapping a fistful of pasta into a boiling pot of water and slurping down hot noodles."

Alice Lowe is a former Spotlight Author. She reads and writes about life and literature, food and family and is delighted to be appearing in Eclectica for the third time. Her essays have been published in numerous literary journals, including Ascent, Baltimore Review, Hobart, Room, and Superstition Review. Her work has been cited in the Best American Essays and nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. Alice is the author of numerous essays and reviews on Virginia Woolf's life and work, including two monographs published by Cecil Woolf Publishers in London. She lives in San Diego, California.

Eric Maroney is a former Spotlight Author and the author of two books of nonfiction, Religious Syncretism (2006) and The Other Zions (2010). His mixed genre book, The Torah Sutras, was published in 2019. His short fiction has appeared in over 20 literary journals and publications. He is a regular fiction and nonfiction reviewer for Colorado Review. He works at Cornell University, and lives in the hills outside of Ithaca, New York, with his wife and two children. He says, "'EcoDao' was born in 2019 in the hallway outside my office, where several times a day I caught glimpses of CNN on the tv screen installed in the walls. Even glimpsing fragments of the 24-hour news cycle as I bustled by was enough to provide the queasy sensation that anything at all could happen—and by the next news cycle, something even more appalling usually had. I wrote 'EcoDao' about a world where people can no longer rely on the most basic terrestrial truths, like the sun rising in the morning and setting at night, or the warm seasons bringing rain rather than snow. When I wrote 'EcoDao' in the summer of 2019, I had no idea that in the summer of 2020 not only would this sense of unease compound itself, but that it would go completely off the tracks. At the time, I had no clue that in a year, I would wake up from my quarantine bed with the nagging fear that the sun may not rise or that it may snow in June—that somehow expectations would become even more strangely out of joint. Indeed, the current state of affairs in the world, I believe, makes 'EcoDao' even more relevant than it was at its inception a year ago."

David Mathews earned his MA in Writing & Publishing at DePaul University. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart. His recent publications include Midwestern Gothic, Eclectica Magazine, Belt Magazine’s Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, and Endlessly Rocking, an anthology of poems in honor of the 200th birthday of Walt Whitman. He lives in his hometown of Chicago, where he works as a Creative Writing Instructor at the Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts).

Sharon Fagan McDermott is a poet, musician, and teacher living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her poetry manuscript, Life Without Furniture, was published in May 2018 by Jacar Press. She also has three prior chapbooks: Voluptuous, Alley Scatting (Parallel Press, Wisconsin), and Bitter Acoustic, winner of the 2011 Jacar Press chapbook competition.

Kassidy McIntosh is this issue's Spotlight Author. She is a New York University graduate with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing who hopes to one day publish a novel and a book of nonfiction essays about the black female experience. Her work has appeared in NYU's literary magazines Embodied and West 10th, and the digital feminist publication New York Minute magazine. She lives in Brooklyn. "Letter to a Friend" is a response to what is currently happening to Black Americans in 2020, and also what has been happening for generations in this country. It's a very personal love letter to black bodies: their pain, their brilliance, and their incomprehensible strength.

Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, diplomat, and homesick Wisconsinite. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 literary magazines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore. She tweets @LindaCMcMullen. She says, "I am a huge fan of unpacking fairy tales, and imagining what they might look like translated to our own age. The rise of technology has eliminated some of the mysteries of our world, but it has also created opportunities for new mythologies. And, of course, the fundamental moral struggles of the original tales remain relevant..."

Eric Merriweather is an emerging writer in Atlanta. He is a recent graduate, with a BA in English, from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. His aim is to become a novelist and established poet. His poem, "Sitting Never Won Any Wars" was his first published work, and was selected for publication on October 1st, 2019, for Ruescribe.com by Underwood Press.

Gary Moshimer has stories in Pank, Smokelong Quarterly, the Jellyfish Review, Necessary Fiction, and many other places. This is his sixth appearance in Eclectica.

Hannah-Marie Nelson lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her three cats. She studied English and creative writing at the University of Minnesota, and her work has appeared in the Indiana Review, The 2017 Scythe Prize: Stories and Essays from College Writers anthology, The Merrimack Review, and Crab Fat Magazine. She says, "In 2020, the center of America cannot hold. We're past the last election turning a deaf ear to 'grab them by the pussy,' but as a pussy grabee and not a pussy grabber, I can't ignore the people who condone these infamous words, even when these people are members of my own family. We live in a dystopia of virtual, generational, and political tension, and it calls for empathy and change. To get on nodding terms with the people I used to be, I had to extend some of that empathy to myself."

Scudder Parker grew up on a family farm in North Danville, Vermont. He's been a Protestant minister, state senator, utility regulator, candidate for Governor, consultant on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is settling into his ongoing work as a poet and essay writer. He's a passionate gardener and proud grandfather of four. He and his wife, Susan, live in Middlesex. Scudder has published in Sun Magazine, Vermont Life, Northern Woodlands, Wordrunner, Passager, Eclectica, Twyckenham Notes, Crosswinds, Ponder Review, La Presa, Aquifer, and Sky Island Journal. His first volume of poetry, Safe as Lightning, was released in May 2020 by Rootstock Publications.

David Rich is the author of three novels, The Mirrored Palace (Adelaide December 2020), Caravan of Thieves and Middle Man (Dutton). His short stories have appeared in Eclectica Magazine and in New Haven Noir (Akashic). Most of David's writing life has been misspent on film and television. The Mirrored Palace (from which this excerpt is taken) supposes that Richard Francis Burton's infamous Hajj in 1853 was, in fact, closer to an Arabian Nights tale—bawdy, harrowing and tragic—than his journals let on.

Diane Sahms is one of this issue's Spotlight runners-up. The author of four collections of poetry, most recently The Handheld Mirror of the Mind (Kelsay Press, 2018), she has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Sequestrum Journal of Literature and Arts, Many Mountains Moving, among many others, with poems forthcoming from Genre: Urban Arts, Coffin Bell, Stray Branch, and Chiron Review. Poetry Editor at North of Oxford, an online literary journal, she works a full-time job as a procurement agent for the federal government and is teleworking during COVID-19. In addition to her website, you can also find her on YouTube and Facebook.

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., Chicago, Maine, San Francisco, Toronto, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Penn, Dartmouth, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Baltimore) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Clementine, pamplemousse, Red Wheelbarrow, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, poetica, Tipton Journal, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Poets And War, Wordpeace, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Indolent Books, Snapdragon, Pandemonium Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Montana Mouthful, Arkansas Review, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Brooklyn Review, pacificREVIEW, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast, and The New York Times) and international publications (e.g., Review Berlin, Voices Israel, Foreign Lit, New Ulster, Transnational, Southbank, Wellington Street Review). He's authored the collections Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician who's built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. At this point in his life he is devoting energy and resources to deal with climate change justice. Gerry's been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.

Jessica Scirocco was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and grew up in Hawthorne. She graduated with honors from William Paterson University in Spring 2020, earning a BA in Art Studio with a minor in Creative Writing. She is a writer, painter, and designer whose work is playful, lush, and intricate. She can find a story in simple acts like cleaning dishes, going for a walk in the forest, and picking flowers. She believes finding beauty in peculiar things is where everyday magic can occur. She has been published in Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Plants & Poetry Journal, Ariel Publishing LLC, and Eclectica Magazine.

Syd Shaw studied poetry and journalism at Northwestern University. She has previously been published on Refinery29, Helicon Literary Magazine, Snapdragon Journal, The Nearness Project, and The London Reader. Her passions include witchcraft, 80s pop music, and long distance running. She lives in California.

Dorsía Smith Silva is a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published in several journals and magazines in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, including Portland Review, Mom Egg Review, Stoneboat, Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice, Moko Magazine, and elsewhere. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-editor of six books. She is mastering the art of making rosemary bread and spiced carrot cake.

Ann Skea lives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia) and has been contributing reviews to Eclectica Magazine since our very first issue back in October of 1996.

Susan St. Aubin has published in journals and anthologies as varied as Fiction Monthly, Yellow Silk, and Best American Erotica; and online at www.fishnet.com and Great Jones Street Press. Her story collection, A Love Drive-by, was published in 2011 by Renaissance E Books.

Juliana Staveley-O'Carroll has finally gotten used to her long-winded last name, which was bequeathed to her by her grandparents and has taught her patience, or at least that's what she'll tell you. She writes songs and other things, mostly essays, sometimes poetry, sometimes even fiction. She has worked in the healing arts as a licensed massage therapist and reiki practitioner, as well as in the art world, in politics, even in commercial real estate, but she would like to stay home with her cat and write all day. She says, "I started out writing reviews on an unknown website under the assumption that I could say anything I liked because no one would ever read them, other than a friend and maybe a few strangers. They were thrown into the ether as a kind of filing cabinet, because the more I expressed myself, the more I had an unarticulated idea that perhaps, one day, they might add up to some kind of literary whole. I was documenting my life daily, attempting to capture what I called 'the truth of a moment,' which was my truth, how I felt, what I perceived to be true. It was many years before I was able to look back and see what was underneath these scattered ramblings, what it was I was responding to that hadn't made it to the page, and even then, when I could see what the story was and even how to tell it, I never really believed that this story—my story—would see the light of day.

Baird Stiefel lives in Fairbanks Alaska, with his lovely wife and two crazy dogs. He enjoys the area's trails and rivers as often as he can. Last summer, he was given the "gift" of serious injury, which inspired him to interpret his surroundings and experiences through watercolors and sketches. You can see more of his artistic endeavors on Instagram @907watercolors.

Carroll Ann Susco has an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and numerous publications, including three in The Sun Magazine and one in Cutbank.

Susan Tepper is the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry. Her two most recent books are the road novel What Drives Men and a poetry chapbook Confess (Cervena Barva Press). The novel was shortlisted at American Book Fest Best Book Awards. Other honors and awards include 18 Pushcart Nominations, a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for the novel What May Have Been (Cervena Barva Press, and currently adapted for the off-broadway stage), NPR's Selected Shorts Series, Second Place Winner in StorySouth Million Writers Award, Best Story of 17 Years of Vestal Review, Shortlisted 7th in the Zoetrope Novel Contest (2003), Best of the Net and more. Tepper has been a published writer for 20 years. She's a native New Yorker.

Kelly Webber is a graduate student pursuing my Master's degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland. They are an avid reader and writer with a passion for the Romantic and Victorian eras. Their fiction has been published by Thirty West Publishing House.

Mary Zelinka lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley where she has worked at the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence for over 30 years. Every day she has the privilege of witnessing the remarkable strength and resilience of domestic and sexual violence survivors. Her writing has appeared in The Sun Magazine, CALYX, Persimmon Tree, and Brevity.