FICTION | Harrison Blackman
In “The Peacock,” a producer for the podcast “Detective Radio” travels to his hometown of San Diego to research an episode about the US Navy. Along the way, he confronts grief, reconnects with an old flame, and stumbles into a military conspiracy that threatens his life and all that he loves.
Sarh K. Lenz
Sarah K. Lenz’s touching memoir recalls a journey with her father along the rural back roads of central Nebraska, visiting the significant landmarks of his life in what he called his “nostalgia tour.” He reflects on his life as a failed farmer, and she remembers flashes of alcohol-fueled abuse. But an unexpected detour turns out to be the catalyst for a surprising moment of redemption.
In the early-1950s, against his wishes, Jerry Vis’s father sent him to a strict Adventist boarding school in Virginia. In this humorous memoir, he recalls a school that was definitely not to his liking or fitting his character, where he was dubbed Jerry “Vice.” He remembers one particular Dean who doled out outlandish punishments, but who Jerry came to respect. Nudity and trash cans play a role in this funny tale of how he painted himself into a corner — and out again.
ESSAY | Andrea Thornton Bolden
Race has been very much on everyone’s mind. This is a powerful essay written by a woman with a unique perspective. Andrea Thornton Bolden wrote in response to what we have seen on the news almost daily, and she coins a term that will definitely make you stop and think, “I’ve never thought of it quite that way before.”
MYSTERY | Natalie Sierra
In Hollywood in 1929, a young actress working as a telephone switchboard operator receives a terrifying call — a woman screaming for help, silenced by a sudden gunshot. When the police investigation leads nowhere, she jumps into action to try to learn the identity and the fate of the mysterious screaming woman.
Hawkesmoor is a paranormal mystery. British vampire Robin Dashwood has been hiding from his past in New York City. He’s poured himself into his work as a history professor at NYU. Since his painful transition into a vampire, he has avoided the place of his 18th-century human birth, Hawkesmoor Castle, in Yorkshire, England. However, a twist of fate returns Robin to Hawkesmoor Castle to uncover what he suspects was an 18th century murder, and to pursue the beautiful woman who has captured his heart. This excerpt features the first two exciting chapters of the novel, followed by an interview with the author.
Some name their first child for a relative, some for a prominent person. Some choose a name that’s in vogue. Roberto Loiederman named his first child for an unforgettable cocaine dealer he met while crossing Lake Titicaca. This is a story of wanderlust, a passionate love affair, and the most unusual way Roberto’s son got his name.
When Michael Fallon was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the throat, he burst into tears and wondered how he could possibly tell his wife the devastating news. This was followed by uncomprehending rage and radiation treatments in the belly of a massive, whirring machine that focused a beam of invisible light on his tumor. Yet he wanted to save something of value from what was happening to him and to share inspiration with others who must face and endure challenges of their own.
This is the story of Margaret and Bernie’s long marriage, told through a series of nostalgic flashbacks to Hollywood of the 1950s. As they near the end of their long lives, the couple hatches a surprising plan, and one fateful night they return to the Sunset Inn, where they first met sixty years earlier.
“Bar Kafka” is the gripping story of Joe Nickerson’s adventures after serving in Vietnam. We travel with him from Vietnam to Japan, and after he arrives home, from Los Angeles to New Jersey. Captivated by a stalwart, seductive, and enigmatic woman, he ultimately returns to Japan… which leads to a most unexpected encounter.
Anna Prawdzik Hull
Hector, a young man from Albuquerque, is one semester away from getting a degree from the University of New Mexico. His mother, who was recently deported from the U.S., is sick and needs urgent care in Oaxaca, Mexico. To help her, Hector gets a job working for a secretive character, a man named Johnny G, whose dangerous side business — if you can call it that — opens Hector’s eyes, and his heart.
Jennifer O’Neill Pickering
This eloquent and poignant short story, about redemption and forgiveness, begins when a horseshoe-shaped belt buckle tumbles out of an old photo album into Sarah’s lap. She recalls that there was nothing lucky about that particular keepsake, and relives the momentous events of one particular summer that she called “the summer of the river bottom dragon.”