Jul/Aug 2004

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.

Julie King shares a birthday with Eminem. She has a Master's in creative writing, which she teaches along with film studies at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. Her work appears in the Iowa Press anthologies Boomer Girls and are you experienced? and she has published in Fiction International, Sundog, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, and others. She wrote, directed, and produced the short film Worlds, sometimes stars in B-horror movies, and is a mother to four personality-rich cats. She first appeared in the magazine back in 1996 and has been a member of the staff since 1999.

Kevin McGowin is Eclectica's Review Editor. He lives and writes in his hometown, Birmingham. He's done lots of things that will show up if you Google his name, including ghost-write George W. Bush's second inaugural address.

Paul Sampson is Eclectica's Nonfiction and Miscellany Editor and has been a regular contributor to the Salon. A professional writer and editor for many years, he worked until recently for a mammoth corporation. He has since been downsized, although he remains the same height and weight as formerly. Some of his essays and poems have been published in Image, The Alsop Review, The 2River View, Illya's Honey, The Sulphur River Literary Review, the British publication World Wide Writers II, and the anthology Best Texas Writing (Rancho Loco Press). He lives on the outskirts of a small town east of Dallas, Texas.

Mike Spice is Eclectica's Travel Editor. He is working on a Master's Degree in International Business at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. His poetry and prose have appeared previously in Eclectica and Modern Haiku.

John Reinhard is a guest poetry editor for this issue of Eclectica. He is the author of two poetry collections, On the Road to Patsy Cline and Burning the Prairie, both from New Rivers Press, and his poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, most recently Ice-Floe, Lux, and Are You Experienced? He received a Hopwood Award in Poetry while working on his MFA at The University of Michigan and was later honored with a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in Poetry. He now teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Alaska and lives in Fairbanks with his wife, Chris, and their two children, Quinn and Matthew.

Carolyn Steele Agosta is a former Spotlight Author whose fiction and essays have been published online and in print, in the US and Europe. A few of her stories have been developed into radio plays and/or short films. She says, "'...in Love and War' was inspired by two things: a black and yellow crime scene tape strung across the porch pillars of a suburban home, and the sight of a man in the grocery store, pushing his cart filled only with motor oil, frozen pizza, toilet paper and beer. Apparently very little inspiration will serve when the single primary objective is avoiding housework."

Aishwarya just graduated from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, as a student of English Literature. She has previously appeared in Donga, a South African e-journal,, the Quarterly Literary Supplement of Singapore, and Sulekha.com. She says, "Apart from writing, I love coffee, arm-chair travelling by myself, and many other tyrannic miscellanies."

Arlene Ang lives in Venice, Italy where she edits the Italian Niederngasse. Her poetry has been published online in Ecletica, Literary Potpourri, Melic Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Tattoo Highway and 2River View. An e-chapbook of her poetry, "Dirt Therapy," is being hosted by Slow Trains. She is also the web designer for the poetry arts journal, Reversal of Despair.

Llaird Barron is an expatriate Alaskan currently at large in Washington State. His work appears or is forthcoming in such places as the Melic Review, Eclectica, and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Recently, his novelette, Old Virginia, was nominated for the International Horror Guild Award and selected for the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Volume 17.

Liliana Bayer is an Argentinian-born New Zealand citizen living and working in Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor in Labour Relations from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master's degree in Labour Relations from The University of Auckland (NZ), and she is currently a graduate student at The University of London External Programme, seeking to obtain an LLB degree. She says of her piece in this issue, "I chose to answer Darby Larson's article for two reasons: firstly his creativity and wit inspired me to reply and secondly, I thought that while he was making an excellent point showing the relativity of social mores he was being guilty of the same fault he was criticising, namely seeing things from a unilateral perspective."

Joel Best lives in upstate New York with his wife and son. His work has appeared in such print and online publications as Strange Horizons, Writers of the Future, Pindeldyboz, and Quick Fiction.

Michael Catherwood holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas. His work has appeared in Aethlon, Agni, Black Warrior Review, Blue Violin, Borderlands, Briar Cliff Review, CQ, Dismal River Review, Eclectica, Elkhorn Review, Georgetown Review, Graffiti Rag, Hawai'i Review, Kansas Quarterly, Laurel Review, Literature of Tomorrow, Louisiana Literature, Mangrove, Mankato Poetry Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Metropolitan, Nebraska English Journal, Nebraska Review, Nebraska Territory, Pennsylvania English, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Smackwarm, and Plainsongs, where he also writes essays. He has most recently published poems in Red River Review, Brick and Mortar, Sycamore Review, and Red Rock Review. He teaches at Creighton University, and he has also worked as a truck driver, weed-wacker, garbage man, janitor, editor, substitute teacher and school administrator. His awards include the Holt Prize in Poetry, AWP Intro Award, and two Lily Peter fellowships, and he was a national finalist, chosen by Donald Justice, for the Ruth Lily Prize. He recently received a Nebraska Arts Council grant. He says, regarding the poem in this issue, "This poem comes from a series about my job as a weeds and litter laborer for the City of Omaha. It was a hard and grimy job, but there were poems everywhere I turned. I still milk that job for subject matter. In a sense, the poem is about the action of discovering things and what can be triggered by that discovery."

C.E. Chaffin is a regular contributor to Eclectica and the editor of The Melic Review. He published his first book of poems, Elementary, in 1997 with Edwin Mellen Press, available through Amazon and bookstores. He recently edited and published the anthology, The Best of Melic, available at the Melic website.

Barbara Defranceschi lives with her husband in Broken Hill (where she was born), a small mining town in outback Australia, where they own and operate an earthmoving business and have a grown-up family of three sons and two daughters. In 2002 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community especially in the area of multiculturalism. Barbara joined the Broken Hill Writer's Forum in 2000 when she started to take her writing seriously. Since then she has had her poems and short stories published in literary journals and magazines throughout Australia, including Famous Reporter, Centoria, The Bunyip, Poetrix, The Tablet and Yellow Moon, in which her poem titled "Dust Storm" won first prize in the nature poetry section (to be published in July 2003). She has also read her poetry on radio live to air. She describes her poetry as "immediately accessible" and reports that her first collection of poems is to be launched this month, titled Lavender Blood.

Anita Dugat-Greene is a six generation Texan who now teaches part-time at a couple small Central Texas colleges. She lives in a hundred year-old house with her husband, two kids, and three cats. Her work has appeared in The Northern Reader (Wisconsin), the 1997 Minnesota Poetry Calendar, and RiverTalk (Georgia). She was a member of Poetry Harbor in Duluth, Minnesota, and of River Poets, in Columbus, Georgia, where she taught at Columbus State University and directed a summer language program for Japanese students.

Susanna Dyer lives in Silicon Valley, California, where she makes her living editing manuals for computer products. This is her first published essay. She seeks a publisher for her collection of personal essays.

Jennifer Finstrom lives in Chicago, IL. She is a former Eclectica Spotlight Author.

Alexandra Fox lives in a village in England and is a mother and grandmother. She started writing very recently, and has found it unexpectedly exciting. She has had work placed in The Peninsular, Northern Echo/Orange, Scribble and BBC/LBF competitions, commended at Cadenza, and had publications in various ezines. She writes with Alex Keeganís Boot Camp.

Jim Gourley lives in China and worries about the world from his tenth-floor perch in a state-run apartment building across the street from a ping pong stadium. He also takes photos: see website link.

David Graham teaches English at Ripon College. His most recent books are Stutter Monk (Flume Press, poetry) and After Confession (Graywolf), an essay anthology co-edited with Kate Sontag.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, where she reports the solar cooking season is "in full swing." She helps her husband, a retired wildlife biologist, with his bird projects. She has poems recent or forthcoming in Blue Unicorn, Buckle &, Freshwater, The Iowa Review, Poetry International, and Reed Magazine. Her poems also appear in Cider Press Review, Descant, The Distillery, Red Wheelbarrow, The Chattahoochee Review, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere; online, she was featured in the May issue of Poetry Magazine and is a former contributor to Eclectica. Her collection, "An Hour in the Cougar's Grace," received a Pipistrelle Best of the Small Press Award, she has a new collection called "This Morning According to Dog," a stocking-stuffer for lovers of dogs and cats, and she has a new book out, part of the Pudding House "Greatest Hits" archiving series.

Amari Hamadene an Algerian writer, has been published in magazines and anthologies in France, Belgium and Switzerland, including Phreatique, Le Jardin D'Essai, Parages, Hauteurs, Estuaires, Archipel, Le Fram, Bleu DEncre, and Liaison. Amari writes, "Algeria in particular, and the third-world in general doesn't have [the] exclusivity to produce terrorists, epidemics and hollow and starved stomachs... poetry and art are there to cover [what] remains to save."

J. Alana Hauenschild is moving to Savannah, Georgia, in June. She has appeared in Black October Monthly and started the Laughing Alligator Press in 2003, which includes the poetry ezine, Flowers for Erzulie. Regarding the poem in this issue, she says, "I actually culled this piece directly from a dream I had about Jack White and St. Cecilia. I had fallen asleep listening to music, and there you have it.

Joan Shaddox Isom is this issue's Spotlight Author. She has appeared or is forthcoming in literary magazines such as Nimrod, storySouth, Southern Scribe, The Indian Historian, Spire Magazine, Terrain .org and others, including several anthologies. Beacon Press published The Leap Years, an anthology Isom coedited. Isom, of Cherokee descent, lives near Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Stanley Jenkin's stories and essays have or will appear in Amelia, 32 Pages, The Blue Moon Review, CrossConnectand the Oyster Boy Review. A former Spotlight Author, Stanley has written a regular column for the Salon. He lives and works in Queens, New York.

Amy Crane Johnson is a former Eclectica Spotlight Author who lives and works in Green Bay, Wisconsin, her native birthplace. She received her BA in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. While working in advertising, she wrote award-winning video and radio scripts. In addition to children's books, she enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She can often be found reading in bed or watching movies with her husband, children, and Walker, her darling dog.

Dennis Kaplan is a Chicago native, transplanted to Oakland, California. He has worked as a bank teller, cab driver, library assistant, and computer programmer, all cruel but necessary distractions from writing, which is the only thing he's ever wanted to do. (In case anyone wants to know, the story in this issue quotes lyrics from "What have they done to My Song?" by Melanie Safka, c. 1970.)

Alex Keegan lives in Newbury, England with his wife Deborah, son Alex and daughter Bridie. Born in Wales in 1947 of an Irish mother and Welsh father, he played around with writing almost all his life, but only got serious when recovering from injuries and mental trauma after the Clapham (London) train crash in December, 1988. In October, 1992, he decided to "give up the day job" and give himself five years to get published. The result was five "Caz Flood" mystery novels, the first of which was shortlisted for an Anthony Award for best first novel. Since then Alex has moved to writing literary short fiction. His publications include Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Blue Moon Review, The Alsop Review, Crania, and of course, Eclectica.

Janet Kieffer has had short stories published in literary venues in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Her first collection, Food Chain, will be published in Fall 2004 by Lost Horse Press.

Sherri Linn Kline is a transplanted Appalachian who came to Michigan by way of Ohio. She is a gardener/storyteller/woodcarver who lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband and four preternatural cats. She has had pieces in The Salt River Review (online), Cup of Wonder and The Seeker Journal.

Deborah P. Kolodji is a native Californian who works in information technology to fund her poetry obsessions and pay for her children's college tuition. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America, the Southern California Haiku Study Group, and the California State Poetry Society. Her short poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, Bottle Rockets, The Heron's Nest, Hummingbird, and many other journals both on and off the web. One of her haiku has been selected for the 2003 Red Moon Anthology. She is the editor and co-founder of Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, a webzine and print journal specializing in the cinquain poetry form.


Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University in Philadelphia PA, where she is the faculty advisor for Maya, the student literary magazine. She has been a contributing editor for Boulevard since its first issue. Her work has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Mid-American Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Confrontation, Pulpsmith, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, among others. She has also appeared online in The Drexel Online Journal Poetry and is forthcoming in The Vocabula Review, ForPoetry.com, and Three Candles.

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda is a poet and painter. She holds two masters degrees and a Ph.D. from George Mason University, where she received the first doctorate presented by the school. She has published four books of poetry and co-edited a poetry anthology. Her poems appear in Hispanic Culture Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Mid-American Review, Antioch Review, Passages North and others. She has won many awards for her writing and teaching, including a Virginia Cultural Laureate and grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

David LeMaster appears in the current issues of StorySouth and Exquisite Corpse, Fiction Warehouse, and the upcoming Kennesaw Review. He was also in last summer's Kennesaw Review, and will appear in an upcoming RE:AL, a Journal of Liberal Arts. He's published twenty plays with Brooklyn Play Publishing. He's also published by Encore Performance Publishing, Prentice Hall (play), Theatre Journal, The Southern Anthology, Always-I Entertainment, Meriwether Publishing, The Journal of Popular Film and Video, This Month Onstage, Reflections, and Original Works Online. His first novel was published by LTD Books in January. He was the winner of the Three Genres One Act Play Contest, the National Popular Culture Graduate Student Award, and the Texas Educational Theatre Association Scholar Award. As a dramatist, he's been produced across the country.

Don Mager has published some two hundred and fifty original poems and translations from Czech and German over the last thirty years, including two books: To Track The Wounded On (1986) and Glosses (1995).

Louis Malloy works as a computer programmer for a bank, where there is very little in the way of good story material. Before that he worked as a teacher in Greece, Sweden, Spain and England, where the story material was more plentiful. He also writes songs, sings and plays guitar in a band called Moose Malloy, reasonably well-known in his hometown of Nottingham, England. His recent publications include Subway Lit, The Paumanok Review and Aesthetica and a winner's prize in a BBC short story competition.

Adam Marcus is a writer who lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters. His story "Personal Assets" was included in Eclectica Best Fiction, Volume One.

Corey Mesler is the owner of Burke's Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country's oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals, including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, Black Dirt, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, edited by Shannon Ravenel, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. His latest two poetry chapbooks are Chin-Chin in Eden (2003) and Dark on Purpose (2004). He also has a book of short stories, The Booksellers' Beautiful Daughter, coming out this fall. Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe's dad and Cheryl's husband. Of the story in this issue, he says, "'Publisher,' like most of my fiction, started small. However, as it began to unfold, I found I had more to say about these characters than I have to say to my mother. I think somewhere I met the people of Ardent Publishing, in some other realm, where writers are hopeful gommies and readers just barely able to sit up and take solid food. I hope these beetleheads annoy you as much as they annoyed me."

Nicholas Mistretta spent his 30th birthday at work. Delivering pizzas. It was shortly thereafter that he emerged from the fog. After earning a degree in journalism he left for India. He traveled around the world, wrote Vagabond Zoo, taught English in Korea. And now heís hunkered down in Thailand. "The Seedlings of Lunacy" and "Marioís Last Night" are excerpts from the aforementioned recently published travel memoir. More excerpts can be found at his website, along with a free Chapter 1 download.

Colleen Mondor joins Eclectica this issue as a Childrens Book Review Contributing Editor. She has split her life between Florida and Alaska but is shortly moving to the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to find a happy medium between freezing and sweating. She has a BS in Aviation Management, a BA in History and an MA in Northern Studies, and she has spent four years working for a bush commuter in Fairbanks. She now knows how to load a full dog sled team into a Piper Navajo so no one gets bitten or messed on. She also spent five years teaching history to soldiers at Ft. Wainwright and still considers it the most fascinating and educational job she ever had. Until the move, Colleen lives with husband, son and dog four blocks from the beach in Florida, where she is working on a story collection about Alaska flying.

Rajgopal Nidamboor is a Mumbai-based features writer, critic, and editor.

Christopher Orlet appeared previously in Eclectica with "The Lost Liver" in the February 2001 issue. Many of his stories are online at link provided.

Sylvia Petter is an Australian currently based in Geneva and Vienna. She is a member of International PEN and the Geneva Writers' Group. Her stories have been published in magazines in print and on the web, and her first collection of stories, The Past Present, was published in 2001 by IUMIX (UK). She is currently a research PhD student in Creative Writing at UNSW, Sydney, and is working on a novel. "The Boy from Bul" draws on experiences and insights gained from a month in Istanbul working for an international conference.

Jerry Portwood calls Atlanta home but lives and writes in Spain, where he is a staff reader for The Barcelona Review and travels, collecting interesting people and experiences. He studied at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and later worked as an editor and writer for the cityís alternative newsweekly, Creative Loafing.

Sarah Posner published her first novel, Fighting Gravity (Brownout Laboratories), in 1998. Her second, The Genuine Article, is a satire of political image consultants. She is at work on another satirical novel about identity theft and shopping.

Padma Prasad is a writer, painter and graphic artist. She lives and works in Fairfax, Virginia. She started out as a poet in Chennai, India, and switched to a novel and short stories somewhere on the way to North America. "Of Men and Acorns" appeared in Another Toronto Quarterly. This is her first appearance in Eclectica. The current piece is based on a childhood of summer vacations spent in her father's village, Kapulapalem, India.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy had had work in poetry, prose and translation appear in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine (Australia); Poetry International (San Diego State University); Grand Street; SLANT (University of Central Arkansas); and Eclectica. His Hyperlinked Online Bibliography appears in the pages of The Catalyzer Jourrnal.

Christina Ranon has published short fiction and poetry in the Minetta Review, State of the Arts, Erosha, Stirring, Wicked Alice, Liquid Muse, flashquake, Snow Monkey (forthcoming), and Many Mountains Moving (forthcoming). She has had a play performed by the Florida Studio Theatre and has been chosen to read at NYU's Creative Writing Colloquium.

Ann and David Skea live in Australia. Ann is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia).

Steve Silkin has completed two novels: Matt & Mariko and The Cemetery Vote. His fiction has appeared in print at Northwoods Journal, Palo Alto Review and the Main Street Rag anthology One Paycheck Away. He is also online at Taint, Electica, Konundrum Engine Literary Review and others.

D.A. Taylor has appeared in reviews and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Potpourri, Baltimore Review, Eclectica's Best Fiction, Zone 3, Potomac Review, Rio Grande Review and Wind. His story "Monsters" was named a Notable Online Story for 2003 in the storySouth Million Writers Contest, and his book Hunting Ginseng will be published soon by Algonquin Books. Taylor lived in Thailand for several years in the 1990s; "Errand" grew out of years of fevered rides and characters in Bangkok. The story was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Short-Story Award for New Writers.

Jane Webster lives in New York. Due to the sensitive nature of her piece in this issue, her true identity has been concealed.

Chuck West is a retired advertising copywriter who lives in the San Francisco bay area with his wife, Karen, and five feline friends. In his second career as an antique dealer, he has obtained a rare 16-pack of "Finest Quality Saturn Brand Chinese Flashlight Crackers," which states, "DO NOT HOLD IN HAND AFTER LIGHTING," and he is contemplating a small neighborhood celebration...

Charles Yu lives in Los Angeles. He has published fiction in The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Alaska Quarterly Review and The Malahat Review, and was cited for special mention in The Pushcart Prize Anthology XXVIII.