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Results 1 - 25 of 214
1. Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart


May Contain Spoilers


Wow! This is a hard book to review, because it’s so important for the reader to go in blind, or it won’t work.  The slow unfolding of Cady’s forgotten memory, like a languid summer day, is suspenseful and engrossing.  I started reading They Were Liars without even reading the blurb, and I’m glad I didn’t.  Knowing too much going in spoils the mystery of Cady’s lost summer, so I hadn’t even read any reviews for the book.  I hate spoilers!

I’ll give you a general overview of the story, with no spoilers, and try to tell you how I felt about it without ruining the read for you.  Deep breath – here we go!

Cady spends her summers on Beechwood, the family island.  Her grandparents, and each of their three daughters, have a house there, and Cady’s summer days are spent swimming, hanging out with her cousins, and enjoying the closeness of her extended family.  Everything seems so idyllic to her, until she turns fifteen.  Then her life slowly starts to unravel; her father leaves her and her mother, moving to Colorado with another woman.  Because her family doesn’t believe in actually expressing your feelings, her mother works out her hurt and grief by erasing every trace of Cady’s father from their life.  Their old furniture is given away, the house in Vermont is redecorated, and only then can they begin their summer vacation.

While Cady is hurt and confused, and hadn’t found the process of rearranging the house therapeutic, her mother continues on as though nothing has happens, and she expects Cady to do the same.  Stiff upper lip, steady square jaw, no emotional outbursts allowed.   It’s during this pivotal summer that Cady realizes how imperfect her family is.  Petty jealousies tear away at her aunts.  Her grandfather takes pleasure in fueling the discord between his children.  And Gat, her cousin Johnny’s friend, a boy she’s known forever, has suddenly stolen her heart, despite her family’s disapproval, because Gat doesn’t fit into their wealthy, white world view.

Cady is an unreliable narrator, and I was never sure when she was telling the truth, or what she thought was the truth.  When she forgets most of summer fifteen after suffering a traumatic brain injury, she frantically attempts to discover what happened.  Why was she swimming by herself?  Why won’t her mom or the rest of her family tell her what happened that warm summer night?

While I loved Cady’s voice, I’m not so sure that I liked this over-indulged, spoiled young woman.  Even though I was at odds about how I felt about her and her equally privileged cousins,  I could not put the book down.  Now that it’s a day after I finished We Were Liars, I can’t even tell you if I liked the book.  All I know is that it held me mesmerized, and all I wanted was to find out the truth behind Cady and her whacked family.  If you are looking for a quick, hard to put down read, We Were Liars has your name written all over it. 

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

The post Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Call for Submissions: Masque & Spectacle

Masque & Spectacle is a new online literary journal taking submissions for its first issue slated for September 1. We publish all forms of creative writing, including drama, literary journalism, and essays, as well as visual art, photography (especially performance photography), video, and sound art. 

Please send all submissions and inquiries to:

masqueandspectacleATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Our website.

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3. Spotlight and Giveaway: Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie



About Hope At Dawn:

With two brothers fighting in the Great War, her family needing extra money, and her boyfriend’s drinking driving a wedge between them, Livy Campbell accepts a job teaching German-American children in a nearby small town. But even there, the effects of the war can be felt as anti-German hysteria divides the town’s population. Friedrick Wagner feels shame for not fighting alongside his friends. Instead, he took a deferment to run his dying father’s farm, work as the school handyman, and provide for his younger siblings. With so much hatred surrounding him, he fears God may have forgotten him. His friendship with Livy gives him hope, but the obstacles dividing them must first be overcome


About Stacy Henrie:

Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations from Brigham Young University and worked in communications before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a stay-at-home mom to three, Stacy loves the chance to live out history through her fictional characters, while enjoying the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. In addition to author, she is a reader, a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator.

Stacy’s SM:





Buy links:

B&N: http://bit.ly/1qn8L3R

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1pm7rfX

Books A Million: http://bit.ly/1ysHiSN

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1w3pyeJ


After another fifteen minutes had crawled by, Livy forced herself to accept the likelihood that Robert—for whatever painful reason—had chosen to spend her birthday with a bottle cradled in his arms instead of her. Hot tears of anger sprang up behind her eyes and no amount of blinking could keep several of them from leaking onto her face.

“Are you all right?”

Livy whipped her chin up and found herself peering into eyes more brilliantly blue than she’d suspected from her seat across the room. Their clear depths exuded friendly concern in a way that made her feel immediately safe, though she didn’t know anything about this young man. Up close, his Sunday shirt and pressed trousers, though worn, accentuated his strong-looking physique.

She blinked, trying to remember what he’d asked her. Something about her being all right? “Yes. Thank you. I’m just fine.”

She swept away the salty drops from her cheeks. Of course her first real cry in ten years would be witnessed by a stranger, and yet, his self-assured, compassionate manner made her suspect he didn’t find her silly.

“You look like you could use a dance.” He crouched down in front of her and held out his hand. “How about it?”

Livy darted a quick look at the entrance again. “I’m . . . um . . .waiting for my boyfriend.”

“Ah.” He let his hand drop to his side. “Seems to be a bit late.”

She blushed. Who else had noticed her sitting here for over an hour? “I’m sorry,” she offered lamely.

“No, it’s all right.” He got to his feet and started to walk away.

Who was she kidding? Robert wasn’t coming. If he happened to, he’d likely be drunk and she didn’t want to be around him .

“Wait.” Livy jumped up. She could at least have one dance on her birthday. Why should she spend the whole evening hurt and angry over Robert’s absence?

The young man slowly turned back around.

She attempted a genuine smile. “I’d love a dance.”

His face lit up as he smiled in return and held out his hand a second time. Setting her hat on her chair, Livy placed her hand inside his larger one and allowed him to escort her onto the dance floor. The band began to play a fox trot—one of Livy’s favorite dances. She and Joel had become fairly adept at the steps before he’d left for the war.

It felt strange, at first, to be in another man’s arms, but the feeling soon left her. The way he held her hand in a confident but gentle grip, his hand warm on her back, helped Livy relax. He led her around the floor, their feet walking or spinning in time with the music. He was as skillful at the fox trot as her brother, and Livy relished the chance to do more than just sway to the music.

“Are you from around here?” he asked her after a minute or two of dancing.

“About an hour away. And you?”

He shook his head. “I live outside of Hilden. In the county north of here.”

Livy vaguely recalled hearing the town name. “You drove all the way down here, just to go dancing?”

“We don’t have a public dance hall in Hilden. So we have to come here, or head farther north or drive all the way to Sioux City. Do you come to this one often?”

“I used to, before I went to college in Cedar Falls.”

With slight pressure to her back, he expertly led her through a spin before he picked up their conversation again. “What did you study in college?”


“Are you a teacher now?”

Livy frowned, doing her best to tamp down the seeds of resentment the question unearthed. She loved her family and wanted to lift the burden her brothers’ absence had created, but she missed college and the chance to pursue her own dreams.

“I was only able to attend for a year before I was needed here.” Her words drew a look of sympathy from him.

“I know what that’s like,” he murmured. Before she could ask what he meant, he poised another question. “Would you still like to be a teacher?”

“Very much. I’m hoping someday I’ll have the chance.”

The understanding in his blue eyes changed to enthusiasm. “That might be sooner than you think. The teacher at one of the township schools outside of Hilden was recently . . . .” He shot a glance at the floor, his jaw tightening. Livy wondered at the change in his mood. Then he guided her through another spin and his expression relaxed. “Suffice it to say, she’s gone now and I don’t think they’ve found a replacement. It’s a little far away, but you might want to inquire about it.”

A possible teaching job? A flurry of anticipation set Livy’s pulse moving faster at the possibility. She tried to squelch it with the reminder she wasn’t likely to be hired with only one year of schooling completed and no teaching certificate, but she couldn’t destroy the hope completely. How wonderful it would be to be on her own again, and not learning how to teach this time, but actually being the teacher.

Livy met his open gaze and found her thoughts moving from his idea to the man himself. She didn’t even know his name, and yet, she felt comfortable enough in his presence to share some of her regret at having her dream of teaching cut short. She hadn’t even voiced those feelings to Robert yet.

“Thank you,” she said, hoping he sensed how much she meant it. “I may look into it.”

“I hope you will.” He smiled in a way that made her stomach twist with unexpected pleasure.

She searched her mind for a more neutral topic, one that wouldn’t mean spilling more of her secrets to this stranger. “Do you live with family, up there in Hilden?”

He nodded. “I’ve got my father, stepmother and two half-siblings. What about you?”

“I’ve got a few more than two siblings.” Livy laughed. “I’m the third of seven. Five boys and two girls.”

She studied the firm shoulder beneath her hand. He appeared quite fit and healthy, so why wasn’t he a soldier? “Can I ask you something?”


“How come you’re not wearing a uniform?”

Livy wished the question back at once when a shadow passed over his face, erasing the easy camaraderie between them. Before he could answer, the song ended. He released her hand at once, though he didn’t join her or the other couples in clapping.

She gnawed at her cheek, embarrassed at her apparent mistake. He’d been so kind to notice her distress earlier and suggest the teacher position in his town, and she’d repaid him by bringing up something he clearly did not wish to discuss.

“I’m sorry. It’s none of my business,” she said, rushing her words in an effort to keep him from disappearing into the crowd. “I didn’t mean to pry.”

He watched her, his expression guarded. What could she say to erase the awkwardness her inquiry had caused? They’d been having such a lovely time talking and dancing.

“I appreciate the dance. You see it’s my birthday and I adore the fox trot. So you’ve saved my evening, Mister . . .” She waited for him to fill the pause with his name.

The corners of his mouth worked up into a smile. “How about you call me ‘the birthday rescuer?’”

Livy chuckled. She wasn’t sure why he refused to give his name, but she wouldn’t press it—not after her blunder about the uniform. His kindness had completely changed her botched evening. “Thank you for the dance, birthday rescuer. And for telling me about the teacher position.”

“You’re welcome. Do I get to know the name of the birthday girl?”

Two can play at his game, Livy thought with a smirk. “How about ‘the girl I danced with once?’”

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Arks to Go: the flood sequel II Scene 2


ANGIE and her male friend(JOE) are sitting on a couch, caught up in an embrace. Her cell phone rings repeatedly.

Ignore it. Now where were we...

(cell phone stops ringing and is replaced by the ringing of her regular phone)

Shouldn't you answer? Sounds like it's important

Some people might think so but not me. So...now...where were we?

You know who it is?

I have a pretty good idea

Strikes me that whoever's calling you, is trying to get your attention

Ignore him. As I recall, you had your arm here...


That is to say, it's probably one those scam companies making me an offer I'll refuse

(both phones ring simultaneously)

I dunno, Angie. Sounds like someone really wants to speak with you. You better pick up one of them. Why don't I go get us a drink while you choose?

Honestly! I get crank calls all the time. Why should this be any different?

(getting up)
Answer the phone, Angie

(JOE leaves the room. ANGIE stares at the phones while they continue to ring)

(from the other room)
'Answer the phone already!'

Why...why did I get involved in this again? Hello?

Guess who? Is this your cell phone I'm communicating on? I've been thinking of getting one msyelf...

 I'm going to end this conversation, now

...I mean, it would definitely give us more manoeuvering room. We could travel around and still keep in touch with everyone.

We? I don't think so

Okay. I get it. We'll only use your cell phone. Don't wanna squander resources

We are not partners, got that? Now if you excuse me, I'm otherwise occupied

Seems like a nice enough guy

Say what?

Dear, Angie, my special connections allow me a private view into people's lives not accessible to humans

What happened to my right to privacy? It's beyond chutzpah! This conversation is over

Would it make a difference if I apologize? It's not like I ask to have this insight. Comes with the territory. It's all water under the bridge, anyway. Always wanted to say that. Oh my - I am witty today.

You mean, wit-less

Just trying to inject humor in what would otherwise be a dismal and gloomy topic. We have important things to discuss like how are we going ensure that we have two representations of all living things on this planet

There is no "we"! I'm not working along side a peeping Tom or Noah as the case may be. Good bye!

(ANGIE turns off her cell phone. It rings again)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
'I'm not home, Noah!'

(JOE re-enters and looks around)

I thought I heard voices

Watching this stupid program on TV about this weirdo who thinks he's been appointed to save the world and tries to convince a woman to join him

Sounds interesting

Forget about it. Let's get back to what we were doing before, better

(CELL PHONE rings again)

Boy! You sure get a lot of calls!

It's always the wrong number. Gotta do something about that

(Knock on the door. ANGIE answers)

ANGIE (cont'd.)

Hope you don't mind me dropping by. I happened to be in the neighborhood

(pushes by ANGIE)

NOAH (cont'd.)
Hello! I've heard so much about you and at last we meet. I'm Angie's friend, Noah. Tell me...have you given much thought to all this rain we've been having?


0 Comments on Arks to Go: the flood sequel II Scene 2 as of 5/22/2014 8:54:00 PM
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5. Call for Submissions to Anthology Inspired by The Great Gatsby: The Silver Birch Press

April 10, 2015 will mark the 90th anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — a book that many people believe is the best novel of all time. To celebrate the occasion, we are planning ahead — and getting started with our latest anthology: The Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology, a collection of poetry, prose, art, collage, photography, and other work that celebrates this remarkable novel.

WHAT: Poetry, prose, paintings, drawings, photographs, and other work inspired by The Great Gatsby. 

Poems (up to three — either original work or found/erasure poetry based on The Great Gatsby)
Short stories (up to 2,000 words)
Essays (up to 1,500 words)
Creative nonfiction (up to 2,000 words)
Short plays or screenplays (approximately 5 typed pages)
Other literary forms (up to 2,000 words)

TYPES OF VISUAL MATERIAL (send jpg files of approximately 1MB):

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 1, 2014 

RELEASE DATE: April 2015 

HOW TO SUBMIT: Please email written entries as MSWord attachments and visual entries as a jpg attachments to:

silverATsilverbirchpressDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

along with your name, mailing address, email address, and one-paragraph bio. (If submitting an erasure poem, provide the edition and publication date.)

PAYMENT: All participants will receive a copy of the Silver Birch Press Great Gatsby Anthology.

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6. Playwright Competition for Undergrads: Bill Hallberg Award for Creative Writing

The East Carolina University English Department has created the Bill Hallberg Award for Creative Writing, a rotating genre prize open to undergraduate writers who attend universities in NC, TN, VA, and SC. This year, the award of $500 will be given for two one-act plays or a full length play.

A staged reading of the play(s) will be performed at East Carolina University with the playwright attending (expenses paid.)

Submissions must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from an instructor at the student's school.

DEADLINE: November 15, 2014. NOTIFICATION: January, 2015. PERFORMANCE: Mid March, 2015.

Send entries electronically to Robert Siegel:

siegelrATecuDOTedu (Change At to @ and DOT to . )

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7. Win Killer Instinct by S E Green!

Here’s something I hope you’ll like!  Want to win a copy of Killer Instinct by S E Green?  Just answer the question and fill out the widget below!  US shipping addresses only, please.


A teen girl version of Dexter meets the high stakes danger and mystery of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in this riveting debut.
Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. After-school job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals and delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder, but with each visceral rush, the line of self-control blurs. And when a young preschool teacher goes missing—and returns in pieces—Lane gets a little too excited about tracking down “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer who has come to her hometown.

As she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her own past, Lane realizes she is no longer invisible or safe. Especially after the Decapitator contacts her directly. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim…

Here are the deets:

Answer this Question:

What’s an interesting habit or trait you have that is strikingly similar or remarkably different from your parents or other people in your family?

This is a tough question because I am so like my family members, yet so different, too!  Like most of my family,  I avoid confrontation (though lately I have been more willing to speak up for myself), I’m reserved around new people, and I’m willing to make a plan and work to achieve my goals. I’m not athletic – that gene missed our family, though as I am getting older, I enjoy getting outside and taking a nice long walk (I know my mom and brother like to walk, too).  It’s very relaxing.  We all enjoy hitting the road and visiting new places; that break from the daily grind is necessary to keep up my motivation.

Ways that I’m different – there are times that I don’t want to talk to anyone, my family included.  I think my parents are finally picking up on that one.  Sorry guys, there are just times that I need to be left alone!  I don’t think anyone else in my family is like that.  I also have to be surrounded by my critters to be truly happy.  That means occasionally being covered in dog or horse hair, as well as slobber.  What can I say?

When I think about it, I think I am much more like my family members than not.  How about you? 

The Giveaway:

A finished copy of the book in a police evidence bag!

US shipping addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Win Killer Instinct by S E Green! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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8. Guest Post: Brenda Beem, Author of Knockdown and Giveaway

Sandra from Brenda Beem’s Knockdown stopped by to share 5 things not to do during a Mega Tsunami. 

1.Get stuck in traffic. Sixteen year old Toni, the main character, rides her bike to the marina where her family’s sailboat, Whistler is moored. The city has been ordered to evacuate. Traffic is jammed. The police are gone. Desperate people are fleeing the city. Toni makes it to the boat because she can weave through the mess on her bike. He parents are not so lucky, and never make it.

2.Wear flip-flops. When Toni gets to the sailboat, a group of her older brother’s friends are hanging around the boat, dressed in late August shorts and flip-flops. They left football practice with nothing but what they brought to the practice that morning.

Flip-flops slide around on your feet on a rocking boat and are useless when an ice age is approaching. When stranded passengers from an Alaskan cruise ship chase them, their flip- flops are hard to run in. The teen’s break-in to boats in the marina to scrounge clothing and end up tossing their car keys to the stranded cruise passengers.

3. Forget your cell charger. Cell service goes down in the beginning of the novel because the circuits are overloaded. After the Mega tsunami, cell towers are wiped out. The crews all have their cell phones, but not their chargers. They have to share the one on the boat, and Toni’s brother’s girlfriend does not share well.

4. Forget duct tape. Oh. The things you can do with duct tape. Entire books are written about them, and Toni and the crew have a supply onboard. They enlarge clothing, adjust life vests, and even wrap the dropped sails in it to survive the tsunami. When they are finished wrapping the boat, Toni stands back and thinks the boat looks like it belongs on the Island of Misfit Toys.

The crew creates and improvises in so many ways. Besides the many things they do with duct tape, they build a fire pit on board the boat, and even make penicillin. And not from bread.

5. Leave your pet behind. Toni sees abandoned cats and dogs as she races to the marina. I hated thinking people would really leave them behind, but some would. In early versions of this novel, I had Toni rescue a dog while riding her bike. I decided to move the rescue to later in the story.

Toni and Takumi, a soccer player who nobody knows well, are instantly drawn to one another, but can never find a place to be alone. They help build a raft from the ships table and send a crew member off to rescue a small dog trapped on a giant floating tree. After the rescue, Toni and Takumi take the raft back to the tree to free up a fishing net, but then sneak off and climb into the tree’s branches. They find a cozy evergreen nook where they have a few minutes to get to know one another without everyone onboard hearing their every word.


By Brenda Beem

Blurb: A sail boat can tip over and come back up again. Sailors call this a knockdown.

In eighteen hours a mega tsunami will hit the Pacific Coast. It will leave in its wake massive destruction and the threat of an ice age.

Sixteen-year-old Toni, her brothers, and their friends race the clock as they sail Toni’s family boat far out to sea. They must get beyond where the wave crests, or the boat will be crushed.

Without their parents to guide them, the reluctant crew improvises. Romances bloom and tempers flare. There is no privacy. Cell phones won’t work. The engine breaks down. They are running out of time.

Even if they survive the wave, there is nowhere in this ravaged world to go. When disaster strikes, it is up to Toni to find the strength to lead the crew when her brothers cannot.

Author Bio:




I am an only child and growing up books were my best friends. My love of literature and the Pacific Northwest continued at the University of Washington where I earned a degree in English.

I began sailing with friends when my children were small, and continue to sail the inland waters of the Puget Sound.

When I’m not with family, friends, or writing groups, I’m sailing, kayaking, or boating on the waters of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington. I also like to hike the many trails on the lake and near my cabin.

Website: http://www.brendabeem.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brenda.beem.9

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The post Guest Post: Brenda Beem, Author of Knockdown and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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9. How does Comic Artist David Daneman Create “The DaneMen” Web comic series

If you’ve ever perused the online web comic community Tapastic.com, you’re sure to have seen the slice of life webcomic “The Danemen” featuring the DaneMan himself. The silent (word-less) comic transcends language through the use of visual queues that brings drama and comedy to the viewer. It’s like watching a classic Chaplin act and waiting for the finale, which never disappoints and is almost always unexpected.

In the video below, David shows us his work process and how it defines his unique style. Make sure to take notes, and don’t forget to support his Patreon campaign so he can make comics until the end of days!




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10. Call for Submissions: The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art & Literature

The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art & Literature publishes short fiction, poetry, essays, drama, art and book reviews. Writers at all stages of their careers are invited to submit. Undergraduate students are especially encouraged to submit, as each issue will feature undergraduate writing and art. If you are interested in submitting your work for consideration, please refer to the guidelines below.

Reading period: The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art & Literature will be published in the spring of each year, and we ask that writers and artists submit no more than once each year. Our reading period will be from November 1st to February 1st. Manuscripts received any other time will not be  read. Manuscripts must be paginated and clearly labeled with the author’s name on every page. Please limit your submission to no more than 5 poems, 2 short plays, or 7,000 words of prose, either critical or creative. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged, but we ask that you notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere.  Do not send the only copy of your work, as we do not accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts.

Visual art and design submissions should be submitted in JPG format at 72 DPI and not exceed a file size of 2MB each. Each file should be titled with your name and the number of the submission (ex/ john_doe1.jpg, john_doe2.jpg). A maximum of four works may be submitted each year. Black and white and color are  encouraged.

Book Reviews: Please note that we do not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you are interested in reviewing, please write to the editor describing the kind of books you would be interested in reviewing and enclose one or more recent samples of a review.

If you submit prose, please send your submission in a document saved in a rich text format with the following specifications:

A. Font: Times New Roman
B. Size: 12 pt
C. Color: Black
D. Spacing: Double
E. Left and Right Margins: 1.25 inch
F. Top and Bottom: 1 inch

Response Time: We try to respond to submissions within 6 months; however, it may occasionally take longer for a manuscript to be read. We ask for your patience, as we do make every effort to read all the submissions we receive. Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to status inquiries.

Although The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art & Literature is a print journal, we will feature excerpts from each issue on the University of New Haven website. Thus, please note that if your work is accepted, we may ask your permission to include your work on our website as well as in the print journal.

Send submissions to the following email address: 

thenewsound2@newhavenDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

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11. Flutura Gets a New Look – $.99 through 1/17

Flutura Cover 011414

Our young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, has a new look.  Book one is completed and book two will be available this spring so get started with Flutura to follow the story of three best friends.  Alexis, Brittany and Caitlin have grown up together since birth. Caitlin is ready to become a woman, but she’s fourteen and has yet to experience her first French kiss or her first period. The summer before high school will change all of that.

Caitlin is taken by surprise when Joshua reveals his feelings for her. As Caitlin sorts out her own feelings toward Josh the memory of the kiss she shared with Trick on the beach continues to invade her thoughts.

Good thing she’ll never see Trick again or things could get complicated.

This first book will be on sale for $.99 through January 17th.

You can also sign up to hear about our future young adult releases by joining our mailing list.

Subscribe to our mailing list

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12. The Unrelenting Butt-Itch

The List goes on.


Until I reach a breaking point…

My dismal attempt at poetry? No, just my mind reeling after I read an email this morning. It is build weekend for our high school thespians and once again, I didn’t see everyone else take a step backwards when they asked for a volunteer to lead the charge. Actually, I love being around the kids (who call me PartyMark) and having a small part in the production. This is my fifth build and we’ve done some incredible shows.


Legally Blonde

Moon Over Buffalo

Moon Over Buffalo

Little Women

Little Women

The problem is that when I’m meeting with the director about the task at hand, she shows me the large pieces and that’s where my mind stops. She keeps telling me about the other things they will need and I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wapwapwa-wa!” So after finishing the three big pieces yesterday and feeling quite smug in the accomplishment, I got an email with a 20 item list of things to do today. TWENTY! I nearly lost it and decided to do what I always do when I get stressed, go for a run.

When my toasty skin hit the cool air outside, I got a mild skin irritation in an unfortunate location. I figured it would go away, but it didn’t. At the top of my street, I was so distracted with it that I turned right toward the hilly 6-mile course instead of left to the flat 4. The sun rose above the tree line in front of me as I scratched. At first I tried to be discreet and wait for times when there were no cars around. But after a couple of miles, I quit caring. The unrelenting butt-itch won – for the moment.

At about mile four, something funny happened. I guess I didn’t hit my usual run playlist and some songs from the shows the girls have done streamed through my earbuds. They weren’t the best running songs, but they took my mind off the butt-itch and made me focus more on why I’m doing the building than the list. For me, it’s about the kids, specifically my daughters.

We all have lists. Sometimes they are unrelenting butt-itches that won’t seem to go away. I have to remember why I have the list and be grateful that I have the wherewithal to accomplish it. I keep up with Caringbridge posts from a friend who is watching her husband struggle with a brain tumor. He would love to have my list. I take my health for granted too often.

Today, I’m going to go to church, worship well, then hammer out 20 things – one at a time.

How are you going to attack your list?

6 Comments on The Unrelenting Butt-Itch, last added: 3/2/2014
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13. The Unrelenting Butt-Itch

The List goes on.


Until I reach a breaking point…

My dismal attempt at poetry? No, just my mind reeling after I read an email this morning. It is build weekend for our high school thespians and once again, I didn’t see everyone else take a step backwards when they asked for a volunteer to lead the charge. Actually, I love being around the kids (who call me PartyMark) and having a small part in the production. This is my fifth build and we’ve done some incredible shows.


Legally Blonde

Moon Over Buffalo

Moon Over Buffalo

Little Women

Little Women

The problem is that when I’m meeting with the director about the task at hand, she shows me the large pieces and that’s where my mind stops. She keeps telling me about the other things they will need and I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wapwapwa-wa!” So after finishing the three big pieces yesterday and feeling quite smug in the accomplishment, I got an email with a 20 item list of things to do today. TWENTY! I nearly lost it and decided to do what I always do when I get stressed, go for a run.

When my toasty skin hit the cool air outside, I got a mild skin irritation in an unfortunate location. I figured it would go away, but it didn’t. At the top of my street, I was so distracted with it that I turned right toward the hilly 6-mile course instead of left to the flat 4. The sun rose above the tree line in front of me as I scratched. At first I tried to be discreet and wait for times when there were no cars around. But after a couple of miles, I quit caring. The unrelenting butt-itch won – for the moment.

At about mile four, something funny happened. I guess I didn’t hit my usual run playlist and some songs from the shows the girls have done streamed through my earbuds. They weren’t the best running songs, but they took my mind off the butt-itch and made me focus more on why I’m doing the building than the list. For me, it’s about the kids, specifically my daughters.

We all have lists. Sometimes they are unrelenting butt-itches that won’t seem to go away. I have to remember why I have the list and be grateful that I have the wherewithal to accomplish it. I keep up with Caringbridge posts from a friend who is watching her husband struggle with a brain tumor. He would love to have my list. I take my health for granted too often.

Today, I’m going to go to church, worship well, then hammer out 20 things – one at a time.

How are you going to attack your list?

0 Comments on The Unrelenting Butt-Itch as of 3/3/2014 12:10:00 AM
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14. Call for Submissions: E.T.A.

E.T.A. is a literary journal run by undergraduate students seeking submissions for its debut issue. E.T.A. seeks to publish original works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art, dramatic literature, aphorisms, orchestral compositions, screenplays, Viewmaster slides, comics, or truly anything you can conceive. We’re looking for works that go beyond the silver lining and interrupt the normal fluctuations of the every day. E.T.A. strives to publish works that embody the idea of movement, both physical and mental. Lead us down a path we aren’t expecting; make us want to crawl out our windows and wander by foot along a foreign highway, amble about the roads of our minds, or just make us step outside to see the stars.

Submission guidelines for writers:

No more than six submissions per person.
Fiction /Dramatic literature/screenplay
No more than 15 pages or 5000 words, double spaced with one inch margins and a readable font. (Do not feel dissuaded from submitting flash-fiction, or any other such short creative works.)
Readable font. No more than 5 poems per author.
Please submit by March 25, 2014 electronically to:

ETAJournalATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

or our P.O. Box:

Brandi Reissenweber, English Department
ETA Submission
Illinois Wesleyan University
P.O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702

If you have questions or ideas for other submission formats or styles, please contact us at:

ETAJournalATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .),

and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.

See our Facebook page for more information.

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15. Larva is Live on Amazon


Larva Kindle Cover

We are pleased to announce the release of our second young adult book in our Alpha Girls series, Larva.  Book two of The Alpha Girls series follows Caitlin and her friends during their freshman year of high school.

Caitlin has been dating Josh most of the summer, but she finds herself torn between Josh and the new man on campus, Trick. Trick shared a passionate kiss with Caitlin over the summer on a Florida beach, but she never thought she’d see him again.

High school is full of choices. Some more difficult than others.


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16. Enter to Win a Paperback Copy of Flutura


We are giving away three paperback copies of  Flutura (The Alpha Girls Series, book one) from now until April 18th. Book one of The Alpha Girls series introduces you to Alexis, Brittany and Caitlin who have grown up together since birth. Caitlin is ready to become a woman, but she’s fourteen and has yet to experience her first French kiss or her first period. The summer before high school will change all of that.

Caitlin is taken by surprise when Joshua reveals his feelings for her. As Caitlin sorts out her own feelings toward Josh the memory of the kiss she shared with Trick on the beach continues to invade her thoughts.

Good thing she’ll never see Trick again or things could get complicated.

You can also find Larva (The Alpha Girls Series, book two) available now on Amazon kindle and paperback.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flutura by Angela Muse


by Angela Muse

Giveaway ends April 18, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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17. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga V 1 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers


I have been interested in Vinland Saga since the license was announced for US publication.  When it came out, however, I balked at the sticker price.  $19.99 per volume!  Instead, I requested the first two books from the library, and once I received them, I understood the price point.  These are hardcovers, and they are 2 in 1 omnibus releases, clocking in at over 450 pages.  After sitting down with the first volume, I find the price completely reasonable; the end product is beautiful, the pages are nice, thick paper, and the binding is rock solid.  The translation rocks, too!  All in all, Vinland Saga Book One is worth every penny!

This series will appeal to fans of Berserk, A Bride’s Story, and Claymore.  The art is lush and breathtaking, with a realistic style.  The actions panels are incredibly rendered, and all of the action, bloodshed, and flying  body parts are easy to follow.  Every single illustration is highly detailed from the ships to the weapons, and if you like knowing exactly what the characters are feeling, you’re in good hands here.  Every nuanced emotion is clearly conveyed, from Thorfinn’s fierce determination to Thors’ reluctant reservation to put his people at risk in battle.

On the surface, Vinland Saga is an action tale about Vikings.  It’s also the story of a man’s love for his family, and the ruin it brings him, and the rage burning in a young boy’s heart.  After his father is murdered, Thorfinn vows vengeance for his death, and his every action from that moment is to make himself stronger so he can claim his revenge.  This is A Game of Thrones set on the cold seas, in little boats that are skillfully navigated from one battle to the next.  The politics are brutal, the sakes are high, and dying a warrior’s death, on the field of battle, bathed in the blood of your enemies, is the name of the game. 

Book one sets the groundwork for Thorfinn’s quest for revenge.  He’s six when he witnesses the treachery of men without honor, and it changes him forever.  Raised by a kind and just man, he learns that his father was a Jomsviking deserter.   Thorfinn enjoyed a carefree childhood, but after he learns the truth about his father, he wants nothing more than to be a fierce warrior, too.  Little does he know that he will get his wish, only with consequences far greater than he could have ever anticipated.  When we first meet him, he is surly and belligerent.  He is also a killing machine, who fearlessly leaps (literally) into battle with his twin blades flying.  He must earn his duels with Askeladd, the man responsible for his father’s death, by completing missions during the Viking clan’s frays.

I loved this book, and I’m excited to discover new manga series because of it.  I haven’t been reading many graphic novels lately because I am burned out on the episodic publishing schedule (especially when I am invested in a series and it gets CANCELED!), but this series is presented in a nicely sized chunk so that didn’t bother me so much.  Now I want to start catching up on some the series that I have allowed myself to fall behind in, and I can hardly wait to read more Vinland Saga!

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

The Viking invasion of London has reached a fever pitch, and Askeladd and Thorfinn rush to take part in the carnage! Their goal is the capture of Cnut, the son of King Sweyn Forkbeard and heir to the throne of Scandanavia and the Danelaw. But standing in their way is Thorkell, one of the Viking world’s most daring warriors. The defeat of a living legend will be a formidable test of Askeladd’s cunning and Thorfinn’s ruthlessness, and of their ability to set aside personal grudges and fell a common enemy!

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18. Call for Submissions: Mason's Road: A Literary and Arts Journal

Mason’s Road: A Literary and Arts Journal is currently accepting submissions for our ninth issue. The theme for Issue #9 is “Truth,” and we are looking for unique and arresting takes on this topic.

All submissions will be given thorough consideration for publication. However, your work will also be considered for our Mason’s Road Literary Prize, which includes publication and a $500 award. For this issue, the award will go to the best entry we receive, as judged by Bill Roorbach, the award-winning author of Life Among Giants.

Our submissions period runs for three months: February 15 – May 15, 2014. Please look here for submission guidelines.

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19. [PR] Georgetown Academy News

I loved these books, so I wanted to pass along a press release I received:

Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.

To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:

Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one

Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)

  • If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad

  • if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad

  • If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99

Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate.  Follow us @GTownAcademy.

Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:

Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4

If you’ve already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.

So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)

[Insert Book Cover Here] About Georgetown Academy:


It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:

As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

The post [PR] Georgetown Academy News appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. Call for Submissions: Puff, Puff Prose and Poetry, Vol. II

Our Submission period for Vol. II is still open for submissions centering on struggle. Submission period will end July 31 or August 31 if July is too ambitious. We are looking for poetry, prose, and drama. We have received a lot of great submissions and are looking to cast our net out further.

Again we are looking for prose poetry and drama centering on struggle. We have very few guidelines, well none really just limit prose to around 5,000 words please.
Email submissions to:
puffpuffproseandpoetry[AT]gmail[DOT]com (Change [AT] to @ and [DOT] to . )
Friend us on Facebook.

Read Vol. I here.

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21. Interview with Juliana Stone, Author of Boys Like You


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Juliana! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Juliana Stone] I’m a family first person.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Boys Like You?

[Juliana Stone] Boys Like You is a book about two kids who’ve made some bad choices in their past. It’s about learning to deal with the consequences and owning your own mistakes. It’s also about first love, hot Louisiana summers and accepting forgiveness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Juliana Stone] I’ve got several favorite scenes in BLY and they include the swimming hole scene. It’s very ‘hot’ ? I also love the scene between Monroe and her Gram when they take off for a day of shopping in the city. Their relationship is wonderful and I think that scene really shows this well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Juliana Stone] Truthfully, it was how hot do I make this book. I write adult romance as well and really had to make sure I didn’t cross any lines! I kept telling myself, would I let my 15 year read this?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Juliana Stone] Cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Juliana Stone] Cell phone. Ipad mini. Coffee mug.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Juliana Stone] Dave Grohl just as he’s about to step on stage in front of thousands. Man, to feel the energy from a rock crowd!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Juliana Stone] I’ve been trying to read a lot and the last five books on my kindle that I enjoyed are:

Bad For You- Abbi Glines

Anna And The French Kiss- Stephanie Perkins

Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn

Paper Towns- John Green

Archer’s Voice- Mia Sheridan

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Juliana Stone] I love hearing from readers! They can find me on Twitter @Juliana_Stone and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JulianaStone or email me at my website Juliana@julianastone.com

If I hadn’t fallen asleep.
If I hadn’t gotten behind the wheel.
If I hadn’t made a mistake.
One mistake. And everything changes.
For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart –leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill –that no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her Grandma isn’t going to change that…
Nathan Everets knows heartache first-hand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that…
Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt – looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

The post Interview with Juliana Stone, Author of Boys Like You appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. When It Comes in Threes: Chapter 3 “Meet My Daddy”

This is Chapter 3 of the new novel I’m working on.  This book is a piece of Young Adult Fiction.  Young readers should be particularly advised that this chapter is harsh, and if this were a movie, it would be given a PG-13 rating.  Chapters 1 and 2 are published here also at www.toniaalengould.com. I’m uncertain how many chapters I will publish here on this blog.  Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated, and please kindly note that this is only fairly edited to this point.

Meet My Daddy

Last night, when the house was quiet and nothing was keeping the room lit but for the dime store digital alarm clock Mama got me and Bartlett for Christmas last year; my sister broke the night’s calm by shifting her weight and turning over in her bed to face me in mine.  “Barley, you awake?” she whispered.  Not waiting for me to answer she continued, “It’s real late and daddy ain’t home yet. When he gets in, I don’t want you to make one single, solitary sound in here, no matter what happens.  You hear me?” Bartlett pleaded.  I shivered and pulled the covers tighter over my body and used the top of them to wipe the tears that already began to roll as big as dimes down my cheek and said, “Uh huh, I hear you,” I said, knowing she was right and that the shit was about to hit the fan.  I tried to muster a voice inside me big and loud, but what came out of my mouth squeaked like one of those kangaroo mice that we occasionally caught meekly poking their heads out of our paneled wood walls, disappearing as quickly as they came, here and gone again, just like my tears now.  My whole body began to tremble and shake and my feet were so cold, it felt like I had popsicles for toes.

Bartlett rose up out of her bed looking like a ghost or something, looming over me like that in her cotton white nightgown; her face was nothing but a shadow in the darkness, and for a second, I thought I was dreaming or having a nightmare or something.  I pinched myself sharply and only when I felt the pain was I certain she was real and not a figment of my imagination.  Finally, she sat down on the edge of my bed.  “Sit up for a second,” she said, as she pulled back the covers and tugged at my arms, effortlessly bringing me up next to her.  I couldn’t make out her face in the darkness, although her white cotton nightgown seemed to illuminate the whole bedroom.   She stroked my long, dark hair and whispered in my ear.  I know she could feel me trembling beside her, and even though sometimes I hated her, I was so grateful for my sister’s warmth tonight.  “Shhh,” she said.  “Maybe it won’t be so bad this time.  Give me a hug and try to go on back to sleep now and remember that no matter what happens, you stay in this here bed and don’t get outta it for anything, until Kingdom come if you have to, or at least until I say so” she said, as she pulled me tighter in next to her body.  I hugged her limply, like something had sucked the bones out of me and I was nothing but a gob of dangling, cold skin, but it weren’t for but a second, before she got up and paced across the room to check on Graham, who was sleeping soundly in his own bed.  I knew Bartlett would be by his side stifling him, muzzling his mouth if she had to, if things got really ugly.  So I just laid there—cold and limp, a lifeless, waiting, trembling, hoping and praying mass-of-a-child.  If you’ve never had the experience, waiting for something bad to happen feels like all the oxygen has been snatched-up outta the air, your throat and lips feel awfully dry, you can’t hardly swallow your own spit for the lump in your throat won’t let it go down, and it’s as if the Earth collapsed and shattered to giants chunks of rubble around you, pinning you in and leaving you breathless.  Yes.  Waiting feels like something big and looming and enormous like that.

Another hour or so must’ve passed as we laid there in silence before the headlights from daddy’s ’59 Impala finally ricocheted off the walls and reflected from the mirror that sat on top of our dresser.  The light was so bright, it was blinding, and it felt like Lord Jesus had come to take us home.  I could hear the tires spitting-up gravel from the driveway and the pistons rumble and fade away into the darkness once Daddy turned off the ignition.  Moments pass and he finally gets out of the car, slamming the door forcibly as he exits.  Then the thud, thud, thud of his feet comin’ up the porch steps, tromping the whole way.  Suddenly, I became consumed by each and every sound my father was making, each noise was a siren, a warning call that rang loud and true and into the stillness of the night.  It was almost more than I could bear, waitin’ for my Daddy to find his keys and enter the trailer.  I wasn’t breathing, but I wasn’t holding my breath neither, it’s like I had my foot stomped on and was punched in the belly all at the same time.   Rattle, Rattle, rattle; he fumbled with the doorknob, turned it, and then finally fell into the kitchen which was right outside our bedroom.  He was struggling to find the light switch; I could hear him grasping at the walls, groping the wood paneling, and scraping the dinette chairs across the floor as he clumsily made his way to the light switch across the small kitchen.

From where I was laying, I could see the dark outline of his body through the crack in our bedroom door.  I screeched a bit when he finally turned on the light, it surprised me so much, since I had become particularly fixated on all the sounds he was making and due to the suspense of it all. Bartlett shushed me again, but fortunately Daddy hadn’t heard me. Bartlett was right, it was best to pretend I was asleep, but I couldn’t help but watch through that small opening in our bedroom door.

I wanted to roll over in my bed and face Bartlett, but it was too darn late, I had to lay still, or I might’ve caught Daddy’s attention, so I watched as he tried to navigate around the kitchen. Daddy has knocked over a chair, and I watch as he stumbled and fell forward, trying to pick it up.  When he finally brought the chair upright, he heaved his body into and lit himself up a Marlboro, and thankfully the whole trailer fell quiet again.  We can hear Mama as she slowly eased herself up out of her bed through the paper thin walls leading to the bedroom next to ours.  The rickety old box springs from the cast iron bed Mama and Daddy got from a flea market, is the only thing to break the silence.  “No Mama,” I prayed.  “Please don’t get up.  Let him be.  Don’t go in there,” I prayed.  But I  knew God wasn’t listening to Barley Sullivan tonight, because I watched as Mama drowsily entered the kitchen, wiping the sleep out of her reddened eyes.  I could see that mom had been crying, and guessed probably she had cried the whole night long.  The stench of the alcohol on Daddy’s breath, and what smells like a somewhat familiar perfume now permeates the air throughout the entire trailer.  Mama is ten shades of mad because Daddy has been out so late.  She glances around the kitchen in disbelief. “Earl, it looks like a God-damned circus ran through here,” she says as she stoops to pick up an errant chair up off the floor.  Mama’s right.  It was a circus in there and unbeknownst to her; she just stepped into the lion’s lair.  Like I’ve said before, Mama didn’t have too much common sense.

“You think ya can just saunter on in here, any old time ya God-damned want, drunker than a skunk and smellin’ like June’s cheap-ass perfume all the time?  I’m getting pretty fuckin’ sick and tired of it, Earl!” she yells.  “If my brother John gets a hold of you, he’s gonna kill you for runnin’ around with her like that.  What?  You think I don’t know?  I’m not fuckin’ stupid,” my Mama laughs. The argument ensues, both of them screaming back and forth at one another, but some of what they are talking about makes absolutely no sense to me—like what does Aunt June have to do with any of this, anyway?  It’s all over my head, and Daddy is so belligerent, I can’t make sense of what he is saying at all.  Their voices rise another octave, and the neighbor’s dog, George, begins to bark and that beckons other dogs in the trailer park to wake and come alive with their unrelenting barking.  Daddy’s voice suddenly shifts to a dangerous tone, and I can feel it in my gut.  It’s too late, there’s no undoing what’s Mama’s done.  She has incensed my father.

Despite Bartlett’s admonishment, I sit up on the side of my bed, my legs dangling, holding on tightly to the stuffed monkey I got from that time I got put in the hospital when my appendix almost burst.  Doctor Cooper gave him to me.  I loved that stuffed monkey because he reminded me of a special time.   For two weeks, while I was in the hospital, I got to eat all the ice cream I ever wanted, there weren’t any televisions on blaring loudly twenty-four-hours a day, and Daddy and Mama weren’t there fighting about things I just didn’t understand, like they were doing tonight.  Hell, Mama and Daddy barely even came to see me when I was in the hospital back when I was only just nine-years-old, and oddly enough, I was okay with that. Those two weeks were the first time in my life I had ever experienced what silence was.  I could think there in the hospital.  I wasn’t all wound-up and scared all the time.  In fact, it felt like I had boarded a plane, and landed in some faraway perfect place.  For a kid like me, growing up in a trailer park, staying in a hospital feels something like staying at one of those fine resorts I read about in one of those magazines Jeannie Bell had down in her parlor shop in town.  Bartlett breaks me away from my reverie and whispered loudly again, “Lie back down and pretend that you’re asleep!  If Daddy sees you, he’ll up and come on in here and whoop us both.  Do it now!”

But I don’t listen to Bartlett.  My body feels possessed by someone bigger and braver than me.  Instead, I continue to rock myself gently back and forth, trying to will away the feuding coming from the other room.   Daddy is cursing something fierce, and then I hear him push a chair out of his way as he crosses over to Mama where I can’t see them anymore.   I knew better, and despite all of Bartlett’s warnings, I got up and tip-toed myself across the floor to the door and stepped quietly over to the other side of it to peer through the crack to see where my Mama and Daddy are standing on the other side of the kitchen.  Daddy’s already got her pressed right up against the wall, his arm pinned across her throat and he is yelling directly into her face.  He’s so mad, I can see little droplets of spittle flying into the air as he screams at her.  And then, before I can digest what I am seeing, I watch in outright horror as Daddy leans over and picks up one of those fallen chairs and busts it right across my Mama’s head.  She falters and falls hard to the ground, moaning in anguish, her body is now a lifeless heap strewn clear across the floor in a pink, cotton-candy-colored, terry-cloth robe.  With a grumble underneath his breath, my Daddy steps over her body, like she’s nothing more than the day’s trash, and stumbles into their bedroom.  I watch him hoist his fully-clothed body onto that old bed, the sheer weight of him causes those box springs to creak and whine again, and almost immediately, the sound of his snoring breaks the dead quiet silence of daybreak.  The morning light is already filtering in through the windows, casting morning sun on my poor mother, splayed out on the floor in her pink robe.

Mama was lying perfectly still on the floor, and I was almost certain she was dead.  A thin, red trickle of blood oozed from a wide, deep gash on her forehead.  I was crying, but my sobs were coming from some subterranean part of myself.  Even if I wanted to, I could not project any noise; I had learned so early on in life to stifle my emotions and to filter my own pain.  My stomach was heaving in and out while a steady train of new tears rolled down my face.  It took every ounce of my courage to walk over to Mama to see if she was breathing or dead.  Just as I crossed over the kitchen and came to her side, my mother looked up at me, surprised to see me and immediately placed her right index finger next to her lips and mouthed the word “Shhhhh!”  I leaned over her and gave her my hand, which she gratefully took, and I helped her up off the cold, hard linoleum tiles.  Without saying a word, she led me back to my room where Bartlett stood crying at the door, holding Graham in her arms; he was almost too big for her carry.  He was buried deep in her bosom and I knew Bartlett hadn’t let him see anything that went on in the kitchen.  “Go on back in there now, you three.  Ain’t nothin’ more to see out here tonight,” Mama said as she motioned us back into our bedroom. “I’m ok,” she said, “It’s just nothin’ but a little bump on the head.  Y’all go back to sleep, and stay good and quiet in here, you hear me?” she whispered.   Mama led me back into our room, where she tucked me into bed, checked on Graham who rolled over immediately and went back to sleep, and then looked thankfully towards Bartlett.  Then with some degree of dignity, she straightened her back and walked out of our room and back into the kitchen.

The door to our room was left cracked open again and I watched as she lit herself a cigarette, inhaling the smoke deeply into her lungs where she savored it a moment until she finally exhaled, and then she sat down at the dinette table, drew her feet up onto the chair and rested her head on her knees, her body trembling from head-to-toe as she silently watered her lap with her tears.  I wanted to go to her again, but I knew if I did, she would retaliate on me just to prove she was still strong and in charge, like she had done so many times before after a beating from Daddy, so I just laid there and saw her arms heave up and down as she cried, watching as the early morning light cleansed and clarified the kitchen, hoping for a new and brighter day.

0 Comments on When It Comes in Threes: Chapter 3 “Meet My Daddy” as of 9/29/2013 9:16:00 PM
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23. Call for Submissions: Poor Yorick

Poor Yorick is now accepting submissions for its online launch scheduled for the fall of 2014. We welcome entries in any and every literary genre, and from any visual or audio medium, including, but not limited to, poems, stories, essays, profiles, digital video shorts, photoessays, scholarly articles, songs, short plays, and innovative writing and productions about lost objects and images of material culture: sculptures and paintings in the back rooms of museums or in hidden corners of public spaces; murals forgotten in plain view; lost photographic archives and restored films; newly discovered letters or manuscripts; knickknacks in attics; oddities and curiosities in misbegotten sideshows; forgotten stories that remind us of pasts that we cannot afford to forget.

In addition to unsolicited submissions, the journal’s editorial staff will occasionally identify a particular historical object, collection, exhibit, etc., and call for submissions inspired by the selected artifact. In addition, Poor Yorick works in conjunction with museums both locally and nationally to identify and encourage innovative works focusing on lesser-known and overlooked objects and images.

Please see our website for more information and submission guidelines. There is no submission fee.

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24. Call for Submissions from Undergraduate Students: Sun & Sandstone

Sun & Sandstone is open for submissions for the Spring 2014 issue. We are looking for undergraduate works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and one act plays.

For submissions and guidelines, go to our website.

Deadline: April 15th, 2014

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25. Writing Competition: Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize

The Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize, from the Great Plains Writers’ Conference at South Dakota State University, is given annually to a writer of the Great Plains region who has not yet published a book, but whose work and career shows exceptional promise.
* The winner will receive a $1000 honorarium and a featured reading at the conference in Brookings, SD in March, 2014, as well as land travel and lodging. 
* Manuscripts will be judged anonymously by the GPWC committee.

* All genres open; include a maximum of 15 pages of poetry or hybrid-genre work, or a maximum of 20 pages of fiction, nonfiction, drama, or screenplay.

* Work submitted may be previously published, but must be stripped of all information identifying the author or the venue.

* Postmark deadline November 15, 2013.

* Entry fee $15, payable to SDSU / Great Plains Writers’ Conference. Mail to:
English Department 
South Dakota State University, Box 504 (SSB 014) 
Brookings, SD 57007

For queries, contact:

stevenDOTwingateATsdstateDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

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