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a literary magazine for innovative art
in this issue:
in the spotlight
benjamin wiseman clayton vetter
back to the basics
back up what you write
the write advice
writing in the shower
more poetry and short fiction by today’s newest authors
volume 1 issue 2
c o n t e n ts
03 grey-matter mutterings 04 writing in the shower… 05 mine is a river... written from june young traveler 06 quips, qualms... 07 how poems happen la luna 08 i’m not shameless 10 pink flowers flight 11 scraping away literary moments without the tambourine 12 last words tell me life’s passions nothing 13 i wear a room elevator ride 14 thought i was in love... untitled
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the wedding 15 break in with fillers 16 8 ways to write better… 10 tips for new authors 17 back to the basics 18 ...of effortless writing 19 coal mine sweet kisses... 20 its – clayton vetter 22 the santinis 29 ...we wrote on napkins broken mind reader 30 quest for inner wealth 33 its – benjamin wiseman 34 black widow tommy’s song 35 ...rely on your spellcheck 36 ...incredible characters 37 news and noteworthy 38 cast of characters
volume 1 issue 2 publisher trinae a. ross firstname.lastname@example.org poetry editor lisa j. perry art editor ashlie j. pollard mailing address first step press post office box 902 norristown, pa 19404-0902 e-mail address email@example.com
Stepping S tones Magazine : A Literary Magazine for Innovative Art (ISSN 1092521X), is published four times per year to bring a multifaceted selection of writing to the public. All works are presumed to be the original work of the author; the publisher will not assume liability for plagiarism on the part of the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the publisher’s permission. privacy First Step Press will only send e-mail related to the Press or it s publications. All subscriber information is kept confidential. First Step Press does not rent or sell it's mailing list. If you wish not to receive these notices, please send an e-mail to the editor with the word “remove” in the subject field. Please allow 24 hours for removal. guidelines Guidelines are available by sending an e-mail to the above address with the word “Guidelines” in the subject field. Alternatively, guidelines can be send via regular first class mail with a SASE sent to the above mailing address. copyright © 2005 - first step press
grey-matter mutterings fallen angels: why editors are human, too
editorial by trinae angelique ross One evening, while sitting at my computer and going through the daily deluge of e-mails—when you split your time between being an editor and a writer, you can amass a bit of e-mail—I came across a note that caught my attention. The message was from a writer, who appeared upset that I had not yet contacted them about the status of their manuscript. Further, the email’s author informed me that he was tired of receiving emails from other who have appeared in the magazine. (I looked into the matter and discovered that the writer was a member of the First Step Press Yahoo! group and was receiving copies of messages posted by FSP members.) Staring at the screen, I felt myself divide into three distinct personalities. The editor in me was concerned that I offended a magazine contributor and subscriber; while the writer in me sympathized with my comrade, as I experienced a similar situation recently. However, as a mother who one of “those days” at work; had to battle an almost two hour commute (that should have been 30 minutes) to rush home and prepare a home-cooked meal for a family that thumbed their noses at frozen pizza, I screamed at my monitor, “I’m [insert expletive] human, give me a [insert another expletive] break!” To my surprise, my dog, Mugsy, stood in my office doorway with his typical head-cocked-to-the-side expression that read, “Are you finished?” He gave a small chuff that sounded like he was scolding me for my outburst. After all, the hand that feeds such an intelligent dog should
writers and editors share more similarities than differences
have more self-control, right? However, am I not human? Little separates me from you (with the exception that I created the publication you’re currently reading.) With some of you being editors of your own publications, those differences become narrower. As writers, we are sometimes caught up in what I call the “editor mystique”. We see editors as sitting in roomy offices and wielding goldsee mutterings on page 6
...and another thing, you may not like my novelmy mother says it’s perfect!
the write advice writing in the shower (or wherever you may be)
mary anne hahn I just glanced at the clock. 7:35 am. That leaves me ten, maybe fifteen minutes to write before it’s time for me to head for my day job. What can I possibly accomplish in so little time? A lot, as it turns out. My current schedule only permits me to devote snippets of time to my passion, my true vocation. On some days, despairingly, I spend those precious moments staring helplessly at a blinking cursor, or with pen in frozen hand; on others, my fingers fly across the keyboard and words appear almost effortlessly across the screen. What makes the difference between writer’s block and productivity? The difference lies in how I spend my time away from the keyboard. At work, while driving, or when taking a shower. Sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, standing in a grocery store check out line, working out. When I spend all of this non-writing time thinking about non-writing stuff—my bills, my to-do list, a misunderstanding with a co-worker or whatever—I find that I am not prepared to write when those brief, precious time slots for writing become available. But when I use non-writing time to think about writing—to brainstorm ideas, actively listen to conversations around me, consciously notice the details of the room I’m in, the person I’m with or how I am truly feeling at any given moment—I come to my tiny slivers of writing time equipped use them well. Take this morning, for example. Rather than daydream or worry or fret during my shower, I decided to ask myself the question, “What can I write about today?” I had just polished and submitted two short articles to a trade magazine the day before, and was faced with the ugly prospect of staring at a blank screen. What would I put there when the moment came? Ah, I thought, I haven’t written an article about writing in a while, and have nearly two weeks before my next issue—could I start a new one today? About what? What would motivate, inspire and/or inform my readers? Perhaps many of them also face full days that leave only short,
see shower on page 31
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mine is a river of many sunny rocks
An avocado, in a similar Skin to the pebbled skin believed to be The dinosaurs’ skin, which I cut from its Thin pebble “shell”. (Just as one plant will kill another by Denying it sunlight, you’ll dig in, and I’ll pig out.) (Pigs are the sweat & blood record-holders Celebrated in simile.) When I write sometimes I am so of of Things it won’t come off; A tree broke at its arthritic twists; A dog defending to its death its master Dead long since.
janine houlemarde This is right where she stops never going further than the end of the street She stops to talk and laugh admiring the flowers She cannot go into town alone The stories that lie beneath her feet waiting to be summoned She hums a tune a song she made up Like the simple beauty of something wanting to be set free The beach too far she collects shells She carries a few in her pocket wishing that she could go As she turns to head home my eyes follow her fragile descent back to a realm of staying inside the lines and things that fit in teacups
jimmy burns Some moments I fear I will die with a poem caught in my moist throat, unfinished, unspoken, unwrittenso I write, write, write! Edit later.
steven demoss in yellow garden enough weeds grow. One lonely silver flower is tended by the queen herself, With one flower in garden One should ask “Would you care for yellow marigold?” And reply she said, that all the happiness she could want is in the dirt beneath her fingernails.
continued from page 3
filled pens that bleed crimson onto manuscripts we reverently submit like religious offerings. Some of us form mental pictures of editorshurling thunderbolts, dressed in togas-passing judgment over manuscripts with the wrath of an angry Zeus. Let me be the first to come down from the mount and tell you that we editors are indeed mortal. Moreover, if we are mortal, then are we not fallible? Manuscripts fail to make it to publication for many reasons. The most common reason is that the piece simply doesn’t fit the tone of the publication. Other times, an editor’s whimsy dictates which works make it to print and which ones make it back into the writer’s mailbox. Believe me; I know what it is like to sit by the PC or by the mailbox day-after-day, waiting for some acknowledgement about the fate of a manuscript. Like you, I have scoured over form rejection letters, hoping to find an encouraging word or two. I know what is like to travel a mile in your shoes—after all, we wear the same size. I go through the same stresses you do when writing a new story or article. I keep harassing the postal carrier whether about the amount
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of mail I should receive. We share a common bond in experiencing the joys of receiving acceptance letters and the disappoints of staring at the Post It stuck to your manuscript, with the word sorrycarved into the page with a knife. In addition to being writers themselves, editors of small press publications like First Step Press, have the added pressures of producing a publication that will best represent the diversity of the writing community. Add to that the deluge of submissions that come though the door and there are times where making that publishing deadline becomes a little difficult to
reach. (However, as writers continue with stories they stumble through, so do editors work to get the publication into your hands.) Despite the subtle differences between editor and writer, the relationship between the two is an integral part of the publishing process. Thought this relationship is far from perfect—and what relationship is—it is vital to keep the written word flourishing. Remembering that we are more similar than different can allow both editor and writer the opportunity to create something of which either can be proud.
q u i ps , q u a l m s a n d q u a c k e r y
Dear Editor: I read the 1st issue of Stepping Stones Magazine and I was impressed with the publication on a whole. You have a little something in there for everyone. Keep up the good work. Amy Childress via e-mail Editor’s Response As Stepping Stones continues to change, we will continue to strive to be as inclusive of each facet of the writing community as possible. Thank you for the encouragement to continue making Stepping Stones Magazine one of the best (arguably of course) small press publications around. Dear Editor: I received an e-mail from your Yahoo group stating that Crimson Rivers was canceled. What’s going to happen to my work? Richard Slater via e-mail Editor Response Crimson Rivers has been suspended indefinitely because of a few reasons; the biggest reason being a lack of submissions that fit the tone of the publication. When you have a niche publication like CR, it can be hard to fill the pages with material that would best represent the scope of the publication. I decided that it would make sense to shelve CR and focus on Stepping Stones, which is the primary publication of First Step Press. Your work will be returned to you with any editorial comments that have been made. If applicable, I also will return a recommended market, where I think your manuscript would have a chance for publication.
how poems happen
bobbie dykema katsanis for me, there is no waste of pen to paper palm to keyboard hand to brow— it happens in my head: a cask of ripening wine. but do not think I do not ruminate or sweat like any other poet. for me it happens just below the surface like the miracle of yeast in dough, or knoepfle in a covered pot or eaglet in an egg— the sinews knit inside a quiet secret place— how womanly this way of making poems. and yet you see them spring full-armored from my brow or, no— full-feathered from my hand.
Author’s Note: knoepfle is a soup beloved by the Germans from Russia, consisting of homemade noodles, potatoes, bits of bacon or ham, and a milk or cream base.
I sit and wait for you as the sun begins to sink low in the sky. My fingers tap the sides of my chair in anticipation. Where are you, I wonder. I turn and look eastward at the trees behind me, flaming now under evening sky, their foliage October orange, gold, and crimson. I stand and walk, seeking your face, but find you not. The sun sinks lower, begins to set. I sit back down and forget you momentarily, as nighthawks circle overhead in “v” shaped silhouettes. Later, I turn around and search for you again. To my great joy, you have finally come! Standing tall by an old oak, you greet me with your brilliance. I quickly rise from my chair, walk over to my equipment. With each click of shutter, with each frame of film, I softly cheer your arrival. Some say you are a slice of cheese, a shiny new coin, but I see you for what you are: A rock, round and real, silver, splendid, massive, and beautiful.
p o v - a w r i t e r ’s p e r s e p c t i v e i’m not shameless
jenna glatzer I’m not sure if this is a new fad, or whether I just never noticed it before now. “Shameless self-promoters.” The term itself bothers me, and I’ll tell you why. All these gurus who want to teach you about “shameless self-promotion” don’t seem to notice that by using the word “shameless,” they’re actually perpetuating the notion that there’s something shameful about self-promotion in the first place. You wouldn’t say you were “shamelessly cooking dinner,” would you? Of course not, because the concept of “shame” just doesn’t apply. No one would be cooking dinner shamefully… so, likewise, there’s no reason for anyone to do it “shamelessly.” It’s just a moot point. These marketers are trying to dispel the myth that there’s anything wrong with self-promotion, but they’re going about it incorrectly. Let’s say that you were a cereal manufacturer, and someone started a silly rumor that your cereal contained rat poison. To dispel the myth, would you name your new cereal “Non-rat-poisoned Oat Flakes?” No. That would make people believe that your old cereal DID contain rat poison, and that you had to do something to correct it. Any kind of nod gives credence to the
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myth. It means you thought the myth was believable enough to feel you needed to defend yourself against it. If you’re going to be a professional writer, you have to believe that selfpromotion is not a controversial, emotional act that you must approach with embarrassment or with egotistical bravado. It’s just a simple job requirement. Plumbers learn how to unclog drains. You learn how to get people to read what you write. Whether we’re talking about editors, agents, publishers, or the end audience, the same rules apply. Do you believe your writing is of
value? Do you believe you’re a capable writer? Are you confident in your ability to convey messages through your words? If the answer is “no,” then why do you think anyone else should read your work, let alone buy it? It’s really a simple concept—if you are so unsure of your own writing that you don’t think it’s very good, then there’s absolutely no reason to inflict it upon anyone else. Do YOU want to read work that’s not very good? Rather than sending off queries, writing bad novels, etc., you’d be doing yourself a big favor to take some writing classes, read books, and study your craft before trying
to make a career of writing. Wait until you have the confidence that your work is top-notch before trying to sell it. If you went into heart surgery and overheard your surgeon say, “I’m not sure if I’m a very good surgeon… I’m certainly not as good as so-and-so… but there’s nothing else I wanted to do, so I’m going to give it a try,” how would you feel? Take your writing no less seriously. Be your own toughest critic. Pretend your work was written by someone else—what would you think of it? Would you read it? Would you buy it? Would you remember it? Would you eagerly await this author’s next work? Put false modesty aside. If the answer is “yes,” then you owe it to the world to promote your work. Take the flip side of the above equation; just as you should never put out bad writing for public consumption, you should never withhold good writing from those who would enjoy it. Imagine your favorite book. Think about how it enriched your life, how it consumed you. Now imagine the author was so insecure that he decided he’d rather hide his work away than risk getting rejected. Wouldn’t you feel robbed? What would you tell that author? “Excuse me, Mr./Ms. Author, but you have to get that book published because I really want to read it. It means a lot to me. I know it’s hard
to expose yourself; there will always be critics in the world who don’t see the beauty in your work. But for every person who doesn’t ‘get it,’ there will also be a person whose life is changed by your work.” Now tell that to yourself.
“by using the word ‘shameless,’ they’re actually perpetuating the notion that there’s something shameful about self-promotion in the first place.”
Your talent can enrich people’s lives. There’s no reason to be modest about it, because you already know it to be true. Your life has been enriched by other writers. Put yourself in their class, and know that there will be future readers who will feel the same way about you. Self-promotion is not a selfish act. It’s a gift. If your work is good, then you have to let people know about it. First, you have to let editors and agents and publishers know about it. You have to present it in the best possible light, with no typos, no weak spots, no gaps or holes, no mousy pitches. Then, once it’s “out there,” you have to let the public know about it. Tell whomever can
help you spread your message, any way you can get to them. Show them WHY they should help to encourage other people to read your work. Step away from the shore and into the water. Write press releases. Call people. Ask for help from other writers. Knock on doors. Send out copies for review. Alert the media to your presence—television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and ezines. If you see a journalist who covers topics like yours, write that journalist a letter introducing yourself and your work. If you see a magazine that runs interviews with authors, write to the editor and request one. Tell him or her why you’ll be an interesting candidate. I don’t need to tell you how many gajillions of times best-selling authors were rejected before their work sold. Does that mean they weren’t very good? No. It just means the right editor hadn’t come along. It would have been mighty easy for any of them to stop promoting themselves, convincing themselves that it was okay to quit because if they had any talent, an editor obviously would have noticed by now. But then no one would have heard of John Grisham (“The Firm” was rejected 30 times). Or Dr. Seuss (whose first book was rejected 43 times before a friend published it, perhaps out of pity). Or Agatha
see shameless on page 32
laura stamps What is it about a vase of pink flowers that turns the key in the lock leading from woman to girl? What is it about the color, the way each fuchsia blossom smacks its lips, that sends me reeling through a bubblegum door, sliding from stem to stem, lost in paperthin petals? The song of these rosy crayons scribbles a dream as pink as a sunblushed beach, where waves tumble with joy, wrapping blue roots around my feet, nipping at a colorless vision of life, which I must shed, for it is no longer mine. Later, a magenta sunset sponges the sky with pebbles of raspberry clouds skipping across the horizon like hiccups of laughter. Someone is calling me back, but for now I will count the lightning whelks wiggling in the tide and practice standing on one foot, listening to an ivory seagull preach the alchemy of feather: how to be still, how to fly.
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eric obame I am like an eagle in the sky Flying high above the worries of the land below Where I am no hand can touch me And the clouds hide me from naked eyes I twist, turn, soar and glide I dive towards earth like a cosmic stone Then I rise again towards the sun shining bright And only space stands between me and its true light I look down one more time Just to smile at the world I am leaving behind I am like a rocket in the sky Fleeing the gravity of the world below I am close to the edge now The air is thin, and the stars are out It is still day, but before me is night Into the black, endless cold I go And a billion lighthouses beckon me forward I am a boy lying on the grass Dreaming of flight
lynda forman to undress below the waist and straddle a doctor is surreal. I define myself as the ceiling fan my eyes cling to as the vacuum hums hymns I wish I could remember as I float above the scene. my thoughts are perched above the table but the nurse sue is squeezing, almost pulling on my hand, telling me when to breathe to pass the pain coming as shrieks from a body, my bodyI think. But I am watching the doctor poke and prod between my legs though there was a sin that needed absolution. my penance is a three day antibiotic that makes my once strong wings shrivel and my tired body crumple into the realization that I cannot fly away from this.
Some ideas are quite rich, and Have to be laboriously digested; It’s a very personal process, but The outcome’s universally the same.
without the tambourine
jane stuart This year I wrapped your birthday presents using ribbon but I forgot you did not want any bows and very pretty paper I bought then saved for special occasions. You were dropping cards on the table, you could not find one you liked and so I asked: the pink and white, the purple, or that green paper over there? another card? A little gift wrapped up somewhere, all the beauty I could find and what I thought you’d take but you did not want gifts this year because you wanted something I could not find for you at the store, you said, and what was not available was not there. It’s tough when life does not turn out (if you don’t get your way) but love is not like that, I said, and that made you mad. I did not have plane tickets or a ship or plane, I did not own an island, I had no forest to give away ..and all that jazz. Sometimes, we have to see in empty pockets, sometimes we come up short or there is.. only love. You left, I stayed alone to mop the chili off the floor, pick up the eggroll you put in my chair, and nix the hot tamale. It wasn’t right but you declined the birthday cake I made and because you’d reached the age of indecision you said it was your birthday but you were too cool to care.
“…But then you hear, beneath strange stars, the poems that call from a colder thought. There are poems that stalk the dark night heaths and poems that gnaw you with ice-sharp teeth; but far the bonechilled worst of these are poems that enchant your blood in freeze.”
-Margrave Giuseppe Gewurtztraminer Scott, 11th cent. Byzantine poet and hallucinatorian
tell me life’s passions
ben stivers Tell me life’s passions By writing them down, A song, a limerick, Poem, or lyric. I want to hear what you’ve written If not with a poem Then with your life, A tear as fine ink, A paragraph of laughter. Tell me how it was When your daughter married, Your thoughts that day Your grandson died. Then, bundle it up And sign it.
I am the razor blade, you are the flesh. Blood springs like ink as I slash you with words of death. Parchment-thin your tattooed skin peels in neat scrolls as a bell tolls the birth of a cannibal poem Words gone by, your last thin sigh gleams like a silver butterfly in my soul-collecting pen. Lip-red foam glows in the gloam; a liquid star kept in a jar to write a pretty epitaph in. “I am the razor, you are the flayed. Your blood immortal, with every flash, streams out another page.”
richard lee slavin
I am nothing Simply searching for the ability to breathe seems a waste The distance from who I used to be grows Shamed beneath the feelings of sorrow I fade slowly into the comfort of darkness for I am welcome here Tears cannot be seen, nor pity given The “front” of a pretended life dies for this is who I am I am nothing…
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i wear a room
john daughetee I wear a room the same way others wear me outside I put on the mountains and the oceans what’s inside is clutter that is thought defined as exact and precise as possible we fidget to stop we step outside the air is clean and sparkles the rain makes mud like the blueprints for a mushroom the whole world is drawn up all my life the mediocre rocks and stones less great than a fist then to see granite cliffs and promontories and rare great trees non can be over used i don’t want to be inward looking id rather look at what i can count on or look for a place to sink my feet like the shore of some roaring ocean yet I have check that its me and in dangerous time I learn what I can count on constantly checking when the only thing i can think of is to smile sometimes the gunpowder in the shell is not enough and it hangfires all the time there is a convergence in the stars as if they were the place mankind could graze actually earth is a sanctuary the stars would hunt us down and destroy us but this should be time for song and a time for courage there are old people after all and we have much of the wisdom of the ages that is like waking the dead for a talk
i once tried to draw painting but its like trying to do something without permission some moods serve no purpose unless is to compare each to each but my god why should a dog be neurotic the gods should have decreed a negative happiness where doing without things makes one ecstatic instead of trying to buying happiness materially altogether too many appetites
michael coldwell the entire elevator conversation went like this -hot outside -sure is -have a good one -yep then silver doors opened like a christmas present and we parted ways feeling better having known each other
thought i was in love before
robert f.c. rains Never have I felt such intensity as this. Nothing else compares. Cares of the world are nothing. Hurricane came, didn’t bother me. Another comes, I think of her. So intense I just had to sit and feel. Words? What are words but Meaningless scratches upon a page. God, oh God help me, All day I cried silently. Man, what a trip.
bobbi dykema katsanis say the words—hear them repeat them solemnly almost too shy to look you in the eye o man that I have loved these years part like a curtain two new people ripple through— lovers, married. a kind of metaphysical sticker shock sets in: what have I done? do I really want to take you now— and forever? I do. I think I do.
james meyer Standing in that dapper, vulnerable Cary Grant kind of way, hanging up the trousers, the coat—standing at the closet in the starched white shirt, now wrinkled, carrying odors of the evening, standing in the hotel room, stunningly quiet after hours of dancing and talking over the band, contemplating nothing more than packing and transportation, one night’s respite before the return to something that is too familiar. In a month or two a packet of photographs will arrive with memories to supplant those already fading, the dreaded photographs which reveal far too much, that will go into drawers and closets, except for one or two, which deserve to be framed, to prove that you were there, that you were part of something bigger than yourself.
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t h e w r i t e pa t h : t i ps a n d t r i c k s f o r w r i t e r s break in with fillers: the best market for new writers
shelley wake Interested in breaking into writing or breaking into a new area? You can’t go past writing fillers. Fillers are one of the most overlooked opportunities in the freelance writing world and offer one of the best opportunities for new writers. Fillers are in Demand I’ve spoken to hundreds of editors and been told over and over again that fillers are the one thing they never get enough of. Most publications tend to publish more freelance fillers than they do freelance articles. Yet, they often receive 100 times more articles than fillers. This is a gap in the freelance market that you can take advantage of. Fillers are a Great Place to Get Started Many publications are careful about publishing feature articles from writers they don’t know. Even if your article is good, an editor might decide not to publish you because they don’t know you as a writer. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of experience or any clips. But even without experience or clips, most editors will consider a filler. In fact, many editors treat writing fillers as the testing ground to see if a writer can be relied on to write feature articles. Here’s what one editor had to say about fillers: “One of the best ways to break in is to write fillers. It gives me a chance to start to build a relationship with a writer and see that I can trust them. Of all the freelancers I work with, over half started out writing fillers.” - Margaret, Magazine Editor So not only can writing fillers get you some clips, it also has the potential to turn into a long-term writing opportunity. Consider fillers a stepping stone to much bigger things. The Smart Way to Write on Spec Fillers are almost always submitted on spec. This means that you avoid the problem of having to query the publication and sell yourself as a writer, because your filler is doing the work for you and showing the editor your writing skill. The big argument against writing on spec is that you spend your time writing pieces that might never sell. Fillers reduce this problem because they are short and take less time to write. So even if your filler doesn’t sell, you haven’t wasted as much time as you would have on a longer feature article. Fillers are also more flexible, with few publications having set guidelines for fillers. This means that a filler will often be suitable for more than market. So if it gets rejected once, it’s not a waste of time. You can just send it to a new market, often without having to make any changes.
see fillers on page 32
t h e w r i t e pa t h : t i ps a n d t r i c k s f o r w r i t e r s eight ways to write better instantl y
rix quinn 7. BORE FACTOR Some research says the average adult attention span is Is it possible to improve your writing instantly? The only eight seconds. So it’s important to make your points convincingly, and end your paper powerfully. answer, happily, is “yes.” While researching a book on famous speeches and essays, I found eight easily correctable mistakes writ- 8. WEAK ENDING ers often make. Here they are…and how to correct Exit your report like an experienced stage performer…leave your audience wanting more. Two them instantly. ways to do this: (a) use a famous quote to reinforce your conclusion, or (b) give details showing the read1. UNFOCUSED SUBJECT Focus on a single theme only. Every sentence and para- er where to get more information on the subject. (Examples: your phone, fax, e-mail, etc.) graph should reinforce that topic. 2. TOO LONG Abraham Lincoln crafted his Gettysburg Address in less than 300 words. Unless I’m specifically asked to do otherwise, I try to condense my work to one double-spaced single page (about 250 words). 3. WEAK PREMISE Can you state the major focus of your message in 20 words or less? 4. NO ATTENTION-GRABBER The first sentence or two must quickly attract the reader. Two ways to do this: (a) ask a question or (b) reveal a discovery. 5. UNLINKED PARAGRAPHS Each paragraph should logically lead to the next. One way some writers do this: (a) quickly write several paragraphs on a subject; ((b) prioritize them; (c) present them in descending order from most important to least important; (d) conclude by restating the two or three most important points. 6. PASSIVE VERBS Passive verbs like is, am, was, and were simply exist. Action verbs run, jump, excite, and motivate.
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ten tips for new authors
kevin hart 1. For me the most important tip is to write, write every day, 365 days a year. Remember practice makes perfect. 2. Very few authors are published on their first attempt; it’s a hard slog and you’ll often want to pact the whole writing business in. It’s then you’ve got to remember patience and perseverance. 3. If you are serious about writing as a career then treat it as such. If you wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, plumber, chef then you’d expect to have to learn the trade. Why should writing be any different? It will pay you to visit workshops and listen to what successful authors have to say. Learn from the masters. 4. I’m a member of a writers group and for me it is essential it helps feed me. Also visit sites like www.abcwritersnetwork.co.uk where you will learn about current creative writing contests. Use these contests to help hone your skills. If you are involved in
see ten on page 31
back to the basics back up what you write...to a disk that is
trinae ross I spent three days working on a story; as my fingers banged against the keyboards in a frenzy to capture that final thought, it happened without warning—the dreaded PC crash. Rebooting my computer I waited for the reassuring sight of my desktop, I opened my word processing program to discover that my story was no longer there. Sure, the file was there, but when I doubleclicked the file, I was greeting with text that looked as if I needed the Rosetta stone to decrypt the writing. The scream caught in my thought enough to cause me to gasp. The anger swelling inside me try to coax me into throwing my monitor across the room. I pleaded with my computer—as if it could hear me and have sympathy—then resorted to cursing whatever demon that took over my PC with the “get behind thee”
Is this you after realizing you never backed up that story you spent weeks working on?
hours of grief in the end. There are different types of media to accommodate all budgets that can make backing up your data easier; what follows is a list of three popular ways you can back up your work. 3.5” floppy diskettes - floppy disks (floppies) are small plastic magnetic disks enclosed in a plastic case with a radial slit; used to store data or programs for a computer. Floppies can hold up to 1.44 megabytes (MB) of data. Strengths: cheap (average price about $5.00 for 20 diskettes), portable and can hold a moderate amount of data (one 60,000 novel should fit). Weaknesses: slowest speed when it comes to data storage; fragile (floppies can become damage easier than most other media storage devices), size (if you have much writing to store, you will need more than one.) Zip diskettes – a creation of the Iomega Corporation, Zip disks are higher-capacity disks, similar to floppies, as they are magnetic disks enclosed in a plastic case. However, they can hold anywhere from 100 to 750 megabytes of data.) Strengths: holds more data than a standard floppy, greater durability, cost-effective (average price is $10.00 per diskette) and portable. Weaknesses: compatibility (you need an Iomega Zip Drive or compatible hardware to use the diskettes). CDs and DVDs – both CDs and DVDs are small plastic media that allow a laser to digitally record the data onto its surface. For the data a CD can hold is about 700MB, while, a DVD can hold as much as 4.7
see basics on page 36
phrase I hear on the Exorcist movie not too long ago. How could all of my hard work just disappear without a trace as if abducted by a UFO? Where did it go? I checked every folder in my PC, but to my disappointment, it not there. Does this sound like you? Okay, maybe not the “demon be gone” thing, but you know what I mean. Then you need to tape these four words on your monitor—or wherever else you keep your reminders—back up your work! It takes about 30 seconds and it will save you many
t h e w r i t e pa t h : t i ps a n d t r i c k s f o r w r i t e r s the psychology of effortless writing
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ~James Michener
Writing has always been a highly pleasurable form of art for me. I find it surprising that many people view it as something to avoid as much as possible. The most baffling thing to me is how people complain of “writer’s block.” I’ve also heard of metaphors like “squeezing blood from a stone.” Not only is it a delicious experience to read and to write, but it’s really easy. After all, it’s talking and expressing your view of the world. Sometimes your views, like that of Nelson Mandela’s, can even change the course of history. Through writing, I can convey my entire experience so that someone else can benefit from it and learn from that experience without having had to be there. So, by writing I can give others much more than I can in person. In addition, writing bends time and I can convey my experience to someone centuries away. Anyway, my point is not to wax eloquent on the joy and gift of selfexpression. Rather it is to demonstrate how easy it is to write quick18 SSM - Volume 1 Issue 2
ly and with delight. Here are five simple things that you can do to make your writing effortless. 1. Read. Enjoy your favorite book, luxuriate in the imagery, and allow yourself to drift into someone else’s experience of the world. When you read, your brain starts to warm up. It starts to hum and sing. It discovers the pleasure of its own function. 2. Write. After getting inspired by the writings of others, it’s time to cut your own piece of the pie. Sit down and write. Let the words flow; fall into a reverie; and go
swimming in the river of your own cogitations. 3. Edit. Go over what you’ve written. Cut out extra words and tighten sentences and rearrange paragraphs. Make it a game. Play with the idea of how you can make it shorter, simpler, or more expressive. 4. Proof. Read over what you’ve written. See if there are any typos or spelling mistakes. See if there are any grammatical errors or awkward sentences. Prune, correct, and shear. 5. Publish. Get it out there. Do a
see pschology on page 28
“union born and bred, on union money I was fed, and I’ll be union ‘til I’m dead.”
The coal mine is a sunken ship The foreman a wild man, sits on a rocking horse and does nothing but talk of his girlfriend in Milwaukee The shaft is a burnt river, everyone chained to the oars of a roman war ship You see the outline of the age less Sphinx, Smell the perfume of Nubian Queens Your once pretty face but a reflection of a starless night Your two-dollar smile scares the young ones What’s a fair wage for lungs that will ripen into metal lunch boxes? A century of progress stays hidden in the woodpile The rain false indigo At school kids are taught that Elvis is just a .29 stamp Whatever is important to s disappears into the wildness of the eleventh hour This poem ignores the days without end The scared harmony of Blue Grass The spare change which Is the story of our lives
sweet kisses the unbalanced metamorphosis
jon wise The one thing I miss the most is your slow motion good-byes. My heart unravels as I look into your eyes. My body knows this will be the last time I will gaze up on your face, but my mind refuses to believe it. Your disappearance smashed into me like a car crashing into a wall. I’ll leave empty dreams for you to fill with sweet kisses. The unbalanced metamorphosis takes my breath like a plunge into fridge waters. I will warm myself with your internal glow. The warmth melts away the scars cut upon my flesh. A great gaze lifts from in front of my eyes, now I see the path to where I want to be.
in the spotlight...
sleeping with j. alfred prufrock
I knew J. Alfred Prufrock. In fact, I slept with him. I met him one night, on one of those deserted streets. Some flophouse retreat After he had eaten those oysters. God, he was a talker. He introduced himself, shyly As you might expect, but he made the first move, Let’s get that straight. Even if he was self-conscious about that bald stop. (I think he was using that spray stuff, But the light was bad.) He wanted me to call him “Al,” But he really couldn’t pull that off. I called him “Profy.” He giggled and I was in. He drank a lot. I remember that. It was a problem later on. It’s always A problem when the poets drink too much, All the oysters in the world cannot save them. I should know. I left before he got sick On himself. At least, I can say that. It was ironic, even strange, that we had Been to the same gallery earlier in the day. We remarked the we might have been standing At the Michelangelo at the same time, Those old fish blocking our view. I really could have fallen for him, if he hadn’t Been so damned neurotic. All that fear, I mean It was just a pair of pants and a peach for God’s sake. It’s strange when you’re with a man and he Shouts out to Lazarus in his sleep and what was All that crap about Hamlet? It’s disconcerting to hear Shakespeare and Latin when all you really want to do is
see prufrock on next page
thinking like a poet now
Thinking like a poet now, I am up every morning, Excavating the right words, Sculpting the perfect sentence, Air brushing beautiful combinations, Brilliant sensory images to Put a tear in your heart And some money in my Wallet. Looking at a tree and thinking Silent greens and yellows dot The ancient bark of universal brown. Thinking, that’s it, that’s great! I’ve got it. That will move them. Then tomorrow, fully awake, Having come to my senses, To delete it, embarrassed and Poor. Thinking like a poet now, Sitting at my pretentious desk Adding numbers, checking hours. A mind atrophied with obligations, A pencil a symbol of man’s inhumanity, A bulletin board a Pollock of color And I am fired. They do not need a poet Here. Looking at the words of Masters moved angry to tears, To see it that way, To made us cry and laugh
see thinking on next page
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in the spotlight...
continued from previous
continued from previous page
Get off. That’s all he wanted. Make no mistake about it. Poor impudent little Profy. I’ll admit I was taken by his eyes, warm and Inviting like that stupid cat on the windowsill. I blame that English teacher for introducing us Back in high school. Of course we went to The same college, but we did out best to Avoid each other at fraternity mixers, but I Would look down and there he’d be Hidden in some ripped sofa cushions Or melted at the bottom of some Melted ice of a forgotten drink, just Begging to written about and fawned over. It was inevitable that we would do this primal Thing with ink and pen, dripping with adjectives. And interjections so hot we had to scream out. He knew about love and life and disappointment. He saw right through people and that sight Hurt so much. I wanted to cry for him, but I cried for myself instead because I am so small Compared to this character who worried about peaches And pants, who might have been forgotten had it not Been for his pathetic genius. It was fate that I Found him and he found me. I just want you to know That I knew this boy. I slept with him and I have never regretted it for one day.
And laugh and cry again. I blindfold my ego doing a horrible Impersonation of Dickinson and Keats To be booed off the Thinking like a poet now Laying in my coffin, my coffee, My caftan and clogs. Isn’t that amazing alliteration? Crying out as they close it, As the last drop drains, As the clothes are removed And in death, I am finally a Poet.
the first night
In the between the dark and dawn When light struggles to illuminate Truth, you drift into my bed through The window, a soft October breeze That whispers at my naked toes. My eyes close open, curious as I sleep in warm confusion, a bubbling Caldron of perfect smiling pumpkins And candy corns that know sweet Truth and wait to be consumed. Somewhere the cock awakens The light I cannot see. I feel you Rise and turn toward me, your Breath inside me, exchanging Things I am reluctant to exchange. You leave, and this dumb moment That untucks my single sheets And pulls at my heart is over, and All I am left with is phantom possibility And beckoning shadows that smile.
fiction the santinis
james ferguson AUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!! The world was on fire–literally. I awoke from a perfectly ordinary pre-pubescent nightmare about nuclear Armageddon to discover that, wait a minute, hold on, maybe it wasn’t “all just a dream” after all? My obligatory-for-anyone-coming-of-age-in-themid-1970s C-3PO sheets were soaked with sweat. My nostrils flared, filling with smoke. My eyes watered as they struggled to penetrate the unnatural orange glow that coated nearly everything. I say “nearly” because there was the occasional flicker of yellow or red, but for the most part, the predominant color that dominated the once-comforting scene was that of a shimmering, shuttering Sean Crumb. (Sean was a real life, honest-to-goodness “red-headed stepchild,” with that overturned basket of crimson snakes on the top of his head and a pair of adoring African-American parents who matched Sean’s own freckles and yogurt complexion like a pair of chaps matches a tuxedo.) The oncepacifying underwater seascape, pockmarked with various movie posters and hats, took on unsettlingly volcanic characteristics, while a large, half-inflated bunny, a wilting gift from the Easter Bunny1, turned downright...devilish. In my dream, I had no idea what the cause of it all was but I certainly knew the effect. I was in my bed, much like I was in the “real world”. Same C-3PO sheets. Same underwater wallpaper. Same everything. And then, without warning, trees were in the air and the lake was on fire. And then, suddenly, as quickly as events had jumped into high gear, they were in neutral and I was left with a sense of lingering gloom while boulders the size of tractors hung in the air like ornaments on a Christmas tree. And then, as suddenly as the dream had set itself upon me, I was awake... The stunning thing, at least in that first automated millisecond, was that my dream world and my real world seemed...identical. “How is this possible?” I asked myself, my lips undoubtedly muttering the words as I uttered them. “Am I still asleep?” Or was I awake before and now... And then, the inevitable: “Am I going to die?” The answer came in the form of something wet and cold and vaguely cylindrical that was forcing itself into my ear. “Gerald,” my mother asked, irritably. “Humm?” “The dog.” “What about him?” My father pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose. “Help me get him off the bed.” “Good boy!” My father was now using the same handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his forehead. “No, not ‘Good boy.’ Bad boy.” My mother decided using my father as an intermediary was pointless and addressed the animal directly. “Bad. Off!” “He just wants to say ‘Hello.’” “Gerald!” “Dogs don’t have lips, darling. This is how they communicate.” “Just pull.” “Good boy!” “PULL!” The words came down as if from some otherworldly plane. They were at once both distant and indistinct. Filtered.
1 Even at that age, young and uneducated as I was, I could never quite wrap my head about the concept of some super-powered bunny going through all the trouble of breaking into my house just so he can leave an inflatable plastic caricature of himself behind the coat rack. I mean, honestly, seems kind of egocentric, don't you think?
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The cold wet thing disappeared under the sheets and was burrowing in my crotch. It was kind of like watching a whale with Tourette’s rut around under a picnic blanket. “PULL!!!” Two sets of hands, one slender but strong, the other thick and callous but strangely ineffective, both thrashing wildly, disappeared under the sheets, reaching, grasping– Rrrrrrrrrr! “Get out of there!” Rrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! “Good boy!” “GERALD!” One of the hands abruptly emerged, a knot of fur clutched tight in its sweaty palm and I came precariously close to never having children. The bed did eventually go quiet... almost quiet anyway, save for the sound of erratic, labored breathing and the occasional– Wggguuuffhhh! Mom was convinced the animal was allergic to its own fur. Dad tried to shave it once. The poor creature looked like third-grader’s home economics project. (It would not have received a passing grade.) I expect it would have been quite the emotionally emasculating experience for a dog, had not the only other animal on the farm at the time been a oneeyed cat named Lucy. Sarcastic barbs from an animal with only one eye definitely dulls the effect.
“Scottie?!” My father was trying to talk to me but I was still engrossed by the light show. “He’s in shock,” my mother’s voice echoed from the other side of a valley. “Look at him. He’s trembling.” Her hand rubbed my back... “He fell asleep with his glasses on again,” my father grumbled. The voices were slowly coming up out of the cotton. “Do you know how much those things cost?!” “Gerald!” My mother’s hand moved from my back up towards my face. I winced involuntarily. “Hold still! You want your mother to rip your cornea open?” I had no idea what a cornea was but I tried not to move anyway. If I did I knew there’d be hitting. And even though, as far as I could tell, the world has just exploded, I didn’t particularly enjoy being hit. A moment later, my glasses were in my mother’s pocket (despite my father’s best attempts to snatch them away), my cornea (?) was intact and I was being lifted up into the air. My mother pulled me tight against her shoulder as I clutched–almost unknowingly–her coarse, fraying terry cloth skin. I remember thinking how distinctly small and lacking in detail everything looked (My mother was 5’ 10”. Double that when she was mad!), a perspective I would eventually be forced to embrace as I grew to an Ent-like 6’5”. “Beth...”
My mother turned, opened her eyes... She had been humming to herself, attempting to calm the obviously rattled nerves of her stiff-as-a-plastic-garden-gnome offspring. Her response was a whisper: “Yes?” My father motioned towards the window. My mother followed his gaze, turning me in the opposite direction as she did. I was facing the door and had no idea what the following conversation was referring to: “I hope it doesn’t jump the tree-line.” “Umm-hum.” “Good thing we had that rain a couple nights ago.” “Umm-hum.” “Hope nobody got hurt.” My father’s tone was that of a bad salesman, a man who didn’t necessarily believe the script he had to follow. I grunted as I tried to twist my head. “Do you want to see, dear?” Duh. Arms moved and twisted and I found myself being held like an overstuffed bag of groceries. “You’re getting heavy,” my mother grunted, but at least I could see out the window. *** My family lived on a farm until I was a freshman in college. After my mom passed away, there didn’t seem to be much point in staying, since she was the primary reason they purchased the property in the first place. See, mom was what I like to call a “horse person”. Not that she was some kind of half-horse/half-human monster, mind you. No no no... She grew up around horses. She always liked horses. Her work involved horses (She taught people how to ride. And by “people”, I mean at least two noteworthy actors and a prince. And we lived in Rhode Island. Not even
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Connecticut. Or Massachusetts. Or, well, anywhere really. Who knew?) The thing about horse people–the thing they need to be at all effective in their work–besides horses, obviously–is land. OK, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard all the jokes too, you know (Insert smallest state in the union joke here, if you absolutely must.) But I spent a lot of time driving (and getting lost) on those roads when I was a teenager and I don’t even want to guess at how many hours I spent looking at, well, nothing. Even the smallest state in the union has a boondocks, folks. Using the word “farm” isn’t completely accurate because the property wasn’t a farm the way most folks think of a farm. There weren’t any cows. There weren’t any chickens. We didn’t really “harvest” anything. Mom had a vegetable garden that occasionally produced a green bean or two but it certainly wasn’t anything worth taking down to the farmer’s market. No, we had horses, between one and three at any given moment during the course of my childhood/teen years, and about thirty acres. The house was simple, colonial. The plaque on the chimney said it was built in 1784. It looked pretty good for its age, although dad was always fond of saying that when he and mom first bought the place the fastest way to the cellar was to try to walk across the kitchen. There was also a barn but most of the property was divided up into “pens” (fields with fences) for the horses. That was it, really. Simple. My room–an attic with dormers, essentially–had a pretty good view of the surrounding area. It wasn’t like looking down out of the crow’s nest on the Pride of Baltimore, but it did the job. I could see the pond that was down across the
street to the south. “Frog Pond” is what the locals used to call it. (There were frogs in it, see?) The official name was Edmunds Pond, named after poor Mr. Edmunds who “discovered” this particular body of water by getting drunk one night after a fight with his lady and trying to pretend he was Jesus...in a 1924 Chevy Superior. Legend has it the car was so embedded in the weeds and mud and muck that the authorities never quite got around to pulling it out. To the east of us, out past the fields, lived a dentist. That’s what my father said, anyway. Personally, I never saw the man. Never saw his wife. Never saw his kids, although rumor had it there was a boy about my age (ten) and a girl a couple of years older. I think I remember hearing something about a dog as well. I could see their roof pretty good, though, and as far as roofs go I suppose it was okay. Well-maintained. Lots of chimneys. A weathervane shaped like a chicken. (There’s no real point in continuing this paragraph, is there?) To the north was an abandoned, slightly overgrown army base (complete with its own slightly overgrown helicopter pad, no less). Of the four properties accompanying ours, this was the one I couldn’t see from my room but I’ll be damned if I didn’t know it was there. Can’t be a kid growing up next to an abandoned army base and not know it’s there. There are some things in life that children are downright clairvoyant about and this is one of them.
To the west, meanwhile (and this really brings us around to the point of it all–tt was worth building up to), was a unique, colorful family who pretended to have a trucking company while at the same time, ran a shamelessly brazen illicit drug operation out of their basement. At the moment that I was dangling in my mother’s arms looking out my bedroom window (which faced west, I should add), reality suddenly and abruptly ricocheted into focus. The world wasn’t a vivid and horrific postApocalyptic nightmare as it had been in my dreams. No... The house belonging to the faux-trucking company/Orejuela –esque (if Orejuela was heavyset white man who always wore pants that were too big and tee-shirts that were to small) family was on fire. I have to admit as sinful as it may sound, I was relieved. I was so relieved, in fact, I laughed. I couldn’t help it! In the end I suppose the joke’s on me because my mother was so started... She dropped me. “OW!” *** Our family had a long-standing history with the Santinis, the duplicitous household who by day pretended to run a trucking company–even though the one truck they owned never left the driveway–while in truth they were cooking up a profusion of illegal substances and selling them to various and sundry miscre25
ants. But even so, even though one of their pigs almost ate me that one time, even though my father and the oldest Santini boy had a longstanding feud involving the destruction of our mailbox, even though I’m pretty sure their middle child set fire to my treehouse, even though they were involved in numerous incidents that
still make me shiver as I mention them here, even in passing, you couldn’t help but feel just a little bit sorry for them the evening everything they owned when up in flames. I had no compunction about exploring my surroundings as a young boy. In fact, as an only child out in the middle of nowhere with parents who sometimes got along but sometimes didn’t, I would argue it was all but a necessity. The only border I wouldn’t cross was the one between our property and the Santini’s. It was a bit like traveling into the Forbidden Forest in the Wizard of Oz. It was at once both creepy and unsettling. Their house was dark and decrepit. Not
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wholly so, not in a stereotypical-Miss Havisham way, but it was definitely dirty and run-down. Their driveway was paved although the pavement was cracked and riddled with tufts of grass and weeds. They kept a large pen of what I was sure were some kind of science experiments. (Sometimes those animals made the most horrible sounds). The pen was a joke–It wouldn’t have held a sedate chest of drawers!–and various four-footed deviants, more often than my parents would have liked, found their way onto our property and terrorized whatever they encountered first, be it man, boy, woman or animal. The youngest Santini boy was about my age and supposedly he went to my school, although no one ever saw him, which I suppose in a way was good because it gave us plenty to talk about. (We wouldn’t want to be rude, now would we?) At least once a day he and his family were the topic of conversation. I knew more than I cared to and yet, whenever a good Santini story made the rounds, I couldn’t help but make sure I knew every single detail. In time, my parents discovered that I knew more then they did–a lot more–so I became their go-to source for answers whenever they had questions. Sometimes I felt as if maybe we should don fedoras and long flowing coats and meet out behind the barn to exchange information, and maybe some money (?) in whispered tones between puffs on our European cigarettes. This is why, two days after my nightmare, when my father came home from work and saw a bright red sedan with the legend “COVENTRY, R.I. FIRE DEPARTMENT” on the side, he came to me. My father knew that the sedan meant the Santinis were being visited not by fire fighters, but by management, and I think we all know that anytime anyone gets visited by someone from “the office”, boy, it can’t be good. The house had been burned to the ground. I got a
pretty good look at it when my father took me to school the following morning (I lived too far out to take the bus). Normally, our route took us in the opposite direction but on that particular morning, my father said he had to do an “errand”–although we never actually stopped for anything–so we went the other way, for once actually sticking to the posted speed limit, even slowing a bit for some unseen animal, as we drove past the charred smoking husk that used to be someone’s home. My father never actually turned his head. I on the other hand had my face pressed against the window like the son of some vaudeville comedian who was getting taken backstage for the first time to meet the dancing girls. It was a sad sight, truly. I couldn’t help but think of all the memories, all the knickknacks, all the gifts, all the items both functional and personal that would have been forever lost if such a tragedy had happened to our family. It did all seem a bit like an illusion though. The wind was blowing away from us so the air still smelled like pine needles and swamp water and that was not what I was expecting. I was expecting that fire smell, like the kind you get when you throw a log in the hearth, except obviously, you know, more. The whole tragic scene was a little like looking at a display, at something false and unreal and...false. The Santini fire was all anyone could talk about at school, even the teachers, although they never once let the children know this is what they were talking about. (Of course we knew the truth. How could we not? They were getting their information from us!) So when my father sat me down to “chat”, I was ready, eager, maybe even a little bit excited. He had been wise to wait a couple of days for me to get my facts straight, to let the rumors fall by the wayside and the truth to take shape. My father was not a man who smiled all that often. When he did, it was a truly special occasion, like
when the circus, or the Ice Capades, or even when that orchestra that was all accordions rolled into Providence every once and a while. Most of the time my father wore the expression of a man who was about to go into battle, and it didn’t particularly matter if he was eating a salad, putting new shingles on the roof or buying Christmas presents. So when I told him the things that I did, and he smirked despite his own inherently stodgy nature, I couldn’t help but be pleased.
Apparently, when the fire trucks first arrived and the men in the big plastic hats and long yellow coats began trying to save the Santinis’ home, after first making sure the family members were safe (they were), these brave civil servants made a very curious, very perplexing discovery. In the yard behind the house was a pile, a massive stack of the-men-didn’t-know-what covered by a thick green tarpaulin. The Santinis did
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attuned to replicating the beauty. 3. When you spend hours editing, trying to get it perfect, and upsetting yourself because it’s impossible to read it through and not make a correction. Words are plastic and they can always be molded better, and each time you read you can see more to shape. Hence, just edit it once and let it go. 4. When you cling to the outcome. When your work is not published and you feel rejected. When it is read by “friends” who make comments that have nothing to do with what you wrote. When you expect something for your efforts and nothing comes back to you. After you write and send it out, let it go. 5. And when you’re unclear on an idea and it never comes out right. You can’t get it right because your thoughts are all jumbled up. In this case, outline or wait for inspiration. In conclusion, write. It will do your soul a world of good. Whenever the men in the big plastic hats and long yellow coats arrive at the scene of a fire, and an event involving as much clairvoyance and obvious quick thinking as this has occurred, the moment the flames are contained and everyone’s safe–maybe even before–the men in the big plastic hats and long yellow coats begin asking questions. Then a man from the office shows up and he begins asking questions. Then a representative from the insurance company arrives and he begins asking questions. Then the folks with guns start arriving... It was eventually determined that the Santinis had in fact set fire to their own home in the hopes of collecting the insurance. They didn’t, of course. The issue was settled almost immediately.
see santinis 2 on page 31
blog. Post a letter. Gather it into a volume and pack it off to a publishing house or post it as an e-book. Finally, bless the work and let it go. Don’t be attached to the outcome. Your pleasure was in writing. You can’t do anything about how others respond or fail to respond. Writing can be a chore only if you set about it the wrong way. Here are five ways that people like to turn pleasure into pain: 1. When you confuse the inner editor with the inner writer, you feel confused and pained and blocked. First, let the writer show up. Then, the editor can do its thing. Keep both functions separate. 2. When you write under pressure, with no sense of beauty, and with no sense of magic within. This is easily cured by reading a good book. Let the flow of language carry you. Your subconscious will then be
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their best to not so subtly steer their saviors away from the pile but in these types of situations anyone who would not look wholly ridiculous standing next to a Dalmatian is in charge. Eventually, after some arguing, the tarpaulin was lifted up, revealing a large, apparently random collection of items. Chairs, tables, a television, pots and pans, a refrigerator! It quickly became clear that this was everything the Santinis owned; the house was empty. How lucky, the fellow who first made the discovery must have thought. Maybe they’ll lose the house but at least they won’t have to buy another microwave again, or a shower curtain, or all these trashy but undoubtedly loved books 28 SSM - Volume 1 Issue 2
the day we wrote on napkins
glen mcguire Like mirrors turned to light the white gulls flashed. Can you forget that San Diego day> Its possibilities; the sea on fire burning blue the bright-winged boats and us? Ashore in a booth at Anthony’s Bar we tied in fun to pen the fragile day in haiku, but your syllables welled out a hard-worn grief that broke out brief spell. Basho might have worked such syllables to lilt the day, but how could mere mortals recount a telling strain to stand and write grave cares hovering around the bright by beyond a space no earthly birds dare fly? Staying, the bright-flamed blue that burning sea?
allison sykes I watch as He takes a plate, New delicate porcelain. He uses it, Eats his meal, Then lets go. It spirals d o w n. Hits hard on the cold kitchen floor. SHATTERS into thousands of p i e c e s. The sharp, scattered, shards lay lifeless, Used. Broken. He turns his back, Leaving her lie, Like nothing happened. Washes his hands, Chooses another, They all feed the same purpose. I try to gather the pieces, To fit them back together.
hera Wanting you and you’re not there Expecting you and you don’t come Having you and you’re silent
I have taken my body and my bicycle from your house Bear the burden. I feel joyous and surprised Not the first time. I am a scribe All while knowing, Who has been released from a cage There is nothing I can do, Where I was required to write Several of the pieces are missing. Your unspoken words
quest for inner wealth
tom booker Life’s long learnings lead and settle us by middle age into selves not self-developed with wombs infrequently opened Personal purity pursuits fade before stadium lights yet many will chase, perchance a coolness for some to share So, it seems, we are here conforming to pre-prepped plans practicing contemplation “The Method of Centering Prayer” Each choose a pregnant word a symbol of aspirations to consent to mystical presence within, and maybe without My burdens favor “mercy” to restore encumbered spirit eyes closed, all stilled, relaxed renewed to the order of logos Pleas to excuse my sins re-form, toward grace, for others such true and selfless endeavor begets much peace of mind Not knowing this calmest of crowds as solitude’s own shareholders dare I bare this freshness invest in attempts at fellowship? Others readily risk it persuaded by unknown import not weighted with second thoughts
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about what might be revealed Would the smallest of anchors of humility restrain their speech as signs of even the briefest world departure seem departed Do they not share in suffering my labor for inborn integrity can their mundane matters be consequent of any light? Widen the search, for depth try Quakers, the silent Friends gifted toward free and simple peace lovers, outward and in Their hour a loving instant of divine companionship sweet quietude is quartered and poverty loosens its grip Whether blessed communion forms similar impressions upon those seated round pontiffing on nothing of note This prospect rapidly sinks beneath reality-assaults among agendas of foolishness and more weary probations The outer remains profane always and ever invading every innocent intention to find a passing peace This world is not a home I’m often assured and reminded still hungry for lively taste of warm eternal story
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The Santinis weren’t the brightest people in the land to be sure but in the end, the joke is on the rest of us. No less than ten months later, after having not received a single cent from the insurance company, our neighbors were moving back into their house, now completely rebuilt after a wildly ostentatious overhaul funded by the second pile of goodies they removed from their home right before the fire. This pile was a
little–Okay, a lot better hidden than the other one, much further up, concealed by a thick net of brambles. In a way, I’m sort of glad. Think about the consequences if all that stuff had been in the house when it caught fire. We’d still be stoned. I remember the day the Santinis returned to their opulent pink (Did I forget to mention the home’s new color?) domicile was a Friday. My parents were glum for most of the evening. The next day, I helped my father empty out the gutters.
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scattered opportunities to write. What can I tell them? Hence, the first several paragraphs of this very article. And the satisfaction of knowing that, later in the day or early the next, I can pick up where I left off—no blank screen staring back at me. Believe me, these 10-to-15 minute time slots for writing add up. In three to four days, you can have the first draft of a 500-800 word article, one or two query letters, a book outline, a scene for your novel, or several greeting card sentiments. Over the following few days, you can polish them. Submit them to appropriate markets when they’re ready to go. Grin with a sense of accomplishment. Then start the whole process all over again. I am completing this article during a 30-minute stint on a Saturday morning, a week before my next issue goes out. I’ll have plenty of time to edit and improve it over the next few days, by which time I’ll have other projects started as well. I urge you not to use “being too busy” as an excuse not to write, and not to get published. Certainly you may have only precious moments to spend at your keyboard. Come to those moments consistently prepared, watch those moments add up and those projects take shape, and your writing dream will come true.
promoting creative writing locally let them know they will advertise the event for you free of charge. 5. In my early days of writing one of my main faults was my failure to accept criticism. This was one of the problems my writers group helped me overcome. 6. Be cautious of loved ones who tell you that your writing is ‘marvelous,’ quite often they don’t want to offend. I’ve found it best to avoid showing my work to close family until I’ve had it tested elsewhere. 7. Don’t become a writer because you think it is an easy option. It is not. It is hard work. To become successful you have to work 365 days a year. There are very few other jobs that demand that sort of commitment. Maybe after you’ve hit the big time you can drop that down to six months in the year – maybe. 8. Carry a note book. If you get a sudden idea write it down. Ideas are like dreams they are very soon forgotten, but ideas are also like oak trees they can grow mighty big. 9. Believe in yourself, if you have what it takes to be successful then you will succeed. If you haven’t then you’ll soon know. 10. Finally Maeve Binchy gives this advice ‘write as you talk.’ Also write about what you know. I know that’s old hat but its true nevertheless.
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Christie. Or just about every other author you can name. To give a more modern example, take W. Bruce Cameron, whose book “8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter” hit the New York Times Bestseller List. Was he shy about self-promotion? Heck, no. He wrote to every writer he knew (including me) to ask us to call our local bookstores and ask the managers to carry his book. And when he went on tour, he made sure every television and radio station was alerted to his presence at each stop. The result? He was interviewed on CNN, CBS, and television in 13 cities... oh, right, and then came the television series based on his book. Back to the original criteria, promotion doesn’t work if you don’t have a quality product to back it up. In this case, W. Bruce had a funny book. He knew it was funny, so he didn’t feel like he was taking advantage of people by asking them to spend $19.95 on it, and he didn’t feel bad asking his friends to help him reach a larger audience. And did we feel W. Bruce was being arrogant, egotistical, or rude by promoting his book? No, we were happy he was working to make sure anyone who would be interested in his material would find out about it. Have the same kind of confidence in your work, and you’ll find out how quickly you can remove the “ego” (or lack thereof) from your marketing efforts. You’re not a used car salesman—you’re simply telling people why they might want to read your work. It’s up to them to decide whether or not they’re interested. You’re providing information about something of value. If all else fails, practice writing your queries and promotional efforts in third-person, as if you were promoting the work of another writer whom you admire. Simply switch pronouns before sending, and you’ve got it! So, don’t be a “shameless self-promoter.” Erase the shame from your vocabulary, and just be a self-promoter. The world may thank you for it.
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Fillers Rely on Information, Not Writer Qualifications Fillers usually rely on information, not on the writer’s qualifications. This means that you don’t have to sell yourself when you submit fillers. Instead, the information you put in the filler sells it for you. This makes fillers a perfect option for writers lacking the experience or clips to sell themselves to an editor. You Can Write a Lot of Them Since fillers are short, you can write a lot of them and submit a lot of them. You could literally have hundreds of pieces out in the market for consideration in a short time. And if you write them well, you could have a lot of them published in a very short time. That means you can build a list of clips fast. And one other benefit is that magazines don’t have as limited a space for fillers as they do for feature articles. So if your filler gets accepted, it’s likely to get published fast. The same isn’t true for feature articles, where an accepted article will often be scheduled for an issue a year or two away. That’s one more good reason why fillers are a great way to build clips fast. Once you’ve got the clips, then you have a few more options. Until then, fillers are a great place to start. And one final tip. Once you have the clips and start moving into feature articles, don’t forget about fillers. As you’re researching a feature, take note of interesting facts, trivia, or anecdotes you come across. These can make fillers and be an added bonus, bringing in some extra cash and some extra clips.
in the spotlight...
the worst cure for cold
I’ve never heard the wind this loud. Eighteen inches of brand new snow, But it’s the wind who’s acting out. She’s thrashing against my window.
all you need is war
The worst thing about rejection Is that there’s nothing you can do To argue your case for yourself. Because once you start to argue, If by some miracle you win, You’ll have a shaky foundation From which you start to build upon. As someone who fought all my life Against all that I saw as wrong, And for the best of what I have, It’s so hard to stay passive when I feel like I’m severely wronged, And I can’t get the very best. This is a fight that I can’t win, Because it’s not a fight at all, And so it makes no sense to me.
Angry at something, just like me. I’m mad because the warmth retreats. From my room and body it flees. I try to seek some in my sheets. These sheets help me retain a bit, But I know the best cure for cold. I want someone to be wrapped with— How I’ve wanted someone to hold. It seems the wind has volunteered, And I receive a bride of breeze. It’s what I’ve always known and feared. I’m accepted only to freeze.
left on the g round
I believed in those who gave time, And I gave mine, unofficially. Thought my deeds deserved as much light, But I let them fly for none to see. Then I met someone whose deeds showed, And I hoped that we could better Earth. I got shot down in sweetest tones, Left on the ground with the other dirt. The angels cast down their contempt From pedestals high enough to see. I know I’m holier than them; I’m content in my obscurity. I know I wasn’t heaven-sent, But I have the greater purity.
c. brendan clark A dirty hotel, in a filthy city, prompts us to engage in acts even less lovely. The years stretch across empty promises, till they forget their way back to where we began. The hourglass unwinds as memories sway in a sober tide of everything I always longed to love escaping from. But how you captivate me in your self seducing vibrancy. While all the drab feelings that you shape, remind me of the webs I could never escape. And I am trying to run but I am lost in dark eyes, burning with the shrill obscenity of frozen romance. Tangling myself in the memory of raven strands, woven into locks of enchanting disillusion. Climaxing in a spell of skin so satin and pure I disappear in the intoxication of disguising a dream. Imprisoned by emotions I can’t let go, I tried to run, but I’m out of breath. You’ve always made me show myself. Helped me come to know myself. Showed me how to elate myself. And finally how to hate myself. Or rather the emptiness between us. The silence we proliferate. The hollow years bound by fate and fears. But we shall never come undone, only spend some time untangled. I’m not drawn to you, though you always find me. Always find a way to spin your web around me. My cruel, eternal, occasional mistress. My dear consuming Loneliness.
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tommy’ s song
stuart sanderson Trying to break out of the cocoon of silence, But you tried without anybody’s knowledge You failed. Your family thinks you can not feel,, touch or hear anything. Inside of you there is a heart and A will to live. Someday you will find your talent to express The hidden world of yours. Family is searching for love of you, Inside of your heart love is already there for the family. Then a machine wakes up everybody And your cocoon has broken, out comes A human being to soar.
f i n a l d r a ft i n g
don’t rely on your spellchecker - or the importance of good proofreading
tony murtagh Weather posting a page to your Website, writing a letter to a customer, or submitting an article for publication, it is extremely important to demonstrate how professional you are. Not only does a series of spelling and grammatical errors show a discourtesy to your readers, it makes you look amateurish. Potential customers will lose any trust they may have had in your business. Only a week or so ago, I read a classified ad asking me to visit their “sight”
and obvious spelling mistakes, but does not correct any instances of you typing in the wrong word e.g. there (denoting a place) or their (belonging to them). So, read your work back after you have written it. Many people find that actually reading out loud is a great way of spotting errors. If it is an important item, print it off and read it a little while after you have typed it. Ideally, get someone else to reed it and mark off any errors. When I was involved in publishing, it was always a strict rule, even with the most experienced writers, to get someone else to check their work. It is surprising how often one is unable to spot one’s own mistakes. So to summarise, use your spellchecker, re-read the item yourself, print out and proof read and ideally get someone else to do the proof reading. One last point, make allowances for the fact that
- needless to say I did not bother. If someone does not some articles are written in “British” English, as take care over their advertising, how reliable is the rest opposed to “American” English. So if you see colour of their business? Perhaps you are not very good at spelling - or typing - and your articles and letters are riddled with mistakes (probably when you were working for an employer you had a secretary to type your male) so, what are you going to do? The first thing, but NOT the only thing, is to use your spellchecker. This is fine to get rid of the typos
spelled color, or centre spelled center, the author has not misspelled the word, he is just likely to be American (or at least has the American version of English on his spellchecker.) And finally, there are three deliberate mistakes in this article where I have intentionally used the wrong word (at least I HOPE there are only three!!) in order to demonstrate the point I am making.
techniques in writing
how to create incredible characters easily
what drives them crazy. Know them as well as you know yourself otherwise your audience never will. Creating incredible characters can be easy if you know By creating a thorough outline on each characters of a few simple rules: before you begin writing, the decisions are made for 1. Each character should have his own voice. If your you. You will know your characters well enough to character is from Brooklyn, give him brooklyn accent know what they would and wouldn’t say and how and mannerisms. they would say it. More importantly, your readers will believe in them and in you.
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gigabytes (GB). Strengths: data capacity (CDs and DVDs can hold more data than either a standard floppy or Zip disk; price (for the money, CDs and DVDs can are costeffective when you look at the amount of data they hold); and portability (most computers have a CDROM drive. Weaknesses: hardware needs (you need to have a rewritable CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive to record the data); limited use (except for rewritable CDs and DVDs, once you record data onto a CD, you are unable to record anything else. Another device that deserves mention that writers can use to back up their work is called a Flash Drive. 2. Before you write, decide on his or her background and outline it thoroughly. If she is supposed to be from a high profile Georgia family, know what her parents do for a living. Is she trying to live up to their standards or does she move to California in rebellion? Why? 3. Know your character’s motivations. If he is a seriel killer, what about his upbringing or his mind created him into the pathological criminal that he is. The lesson is know your characters. Know what makes them tick. Know what drives them wild and
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These small (can fit on a keychain), portable storage drives connect to a computer’s USB port to allow users to save data. While costs for these drives are dropping, they are still more expensive than the methods mentioned above. Not only is backing up your work important, but keeping paper copies remains the best way to ensure that works survive computer crashes, viruses and the writer’s own forgetfulness. By backing up your work and having printed copies on had, you not only make the writing process a little more efficient, you also save yourself much unnecessary swearing in the long run.
news and noteworthy
rowling, stewart score first annual quill wins commitments”. They are not currently accepting subJon Stewart and J.K. Rowling were the big winners at missions. Please check website for more information. the first-ever Quill Awards, held in early October, (http://www.tiffanytwisted.co.uk/) with each taking home two prizes. Rowling’s Harry conversely magazine to go on hiatus year by the reading public and also won in the chil- Conversely magazine may go on hiatus for a while after dren’s chapter book/middle grade category. Stewart’s the next issue. Please contact the editor at query@conAmerica (The Book) won in the humor category, while versely.com before sending your work. the audio edition of the book topped the voting in the (http://www.conversely.com) Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was voted the book of the audio category. Stewart’s opening monologue poked fun at the idea of the Quills, observing that it took a long time to combine the glamour of literature with the gravitas of an awards show. He even had advice for first time authors: “Get your own TV show.” Comedian Robert Klein was also on hand, bemoaning the fact that now that he is finally a published author (The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue: A Child of the Fifties Looks Back), “people have stopped reading.” Among some of the more surprising winners were Deepak Chopra for Peace Is the Way in religion/spirituality and Christopher Moore for The Stupidest Angel in science fiction/fantasy/horror. …and the winner is ? The following works appeared in issue #1 of Stepping Stones Magazine and received the same number of votes. Originally, the editorial staff was charged with making the final decision as to who would emerge victorious; however, the general consensus is that the decision should rest with the readers also. So once again it is up to you to cast your vote at name one of these writings Stepping Stones Magazine’s Silver Pen Award Winner. Note, this poll will also appear in issue #2 of Stepping Stones Magazine and will close on December 16, 2005. ( ) unseen - davide trame conde nast to cease publication of vitals mags ( ) slave - justin gause Jossip reports that Conde Nast is ceasing publication of ( ) your call was not accepted - james r. ludeman its Vitals Man and Vitals Woman magazines with the ( ) under your influence - heather lenz Winter 2005 issues. ( ) does earth cry as it turns away from light - jeff d. farmer organic style to cease publishing MediaWeek reports that Rodale will cease publication of Organic Style Magazine, stating the publication has struggled since it was launched in 2001. tiffany twisted magazine delayed Tiffany Twisted Ezine has been delayed due to “other ( ) the other side from heaven - vicky sprow ( ) singular - john green You can cast you vote either by becoming a member of the First Step Press Yahoo! group, or you can send your vote via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with “SPA Winner” in the subject field.
news and noteworthy
fsp editor positions available As First Step Press (FSP) continues to expand, we are finding that we are stretched (and stressed to our limits) and are looking for a few good editors. The requirements for all position are as follows: 1.) an active email account (preferably one used strictly for the magazine) 2.) a strong interest (okay, love) for the written word. 3.) able to work with little supervision All positions are voluntary. To apply, please send an email to email@example.com. In the email, please list the position for which you have interest and any related experience. (Note that experience is preferred but not necessary as it is a growing process for all involved.) Candidates will be contacted by December 16, 2005 to start January 2006. positions available: assistant poetry editor (1 needed) Duties: Handle all incoming electronic poetry manuscripts; confer with poetry editor about acceptances and other related issues. Though it is not always possible, should offer feedback on rejections. This editor is responsible for one poetry-related article per issue of Stepping Stones Magazine. Please submit a sample article. markets and contest editor (1 needed) Duties: To compile and maintain market database for the First Step Press Yahoo! group. Also responsible for compiling markets for SSM’s “taking the next step…” markets section. This editor is also responsible for finding addition markets that are opened to new and established writers alike. Finally, this editor is responsible for writing one market-related article per issue of Stepping Stones Magazine. (This editor receives “moderator” status
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on the group site. The markets should appeal to a diverse audience. book review editor (non-fiction – 2 needed) Duties: To review books dealing with the craft of writing that would be of interest to readers. The book does not have to be “new” in the sense of when it was published; however, the material contained should still be applicable by today’s standards. This editor would be responsible for submitting a book review that will appear in Stepping Stones Magazine, the “Book Review” section of the FSP Yahoo! group, and on First Step Press Online. Please submit a sample review. book review editor (fiction – 1 needed) Duties: To review books of general interest to our readership. This editor would be responsible for submitting a book review that will appear in Stepping Stones Magazine, the “Book Review” section of the FSP Yahoo! group, and on First Step Press Online. Please submit a sample review. book review editor (poetry – 2 needed) Duties: To review books of general interest to our readership. This editor would be responsible for submitting a book review that will appear in Stepping Stones Magazine, the “Book Review” section of the FSP Yahoo! group, and on First Step Press Online. Please submit a sample review. columnist (3 needed) Duties: To create and sustain an ongoing column that relates to some facet of the writing life. Columns can be serious or light-hearted. In addition to appearing in SSM, columnists will have their own folder in the FSP Yahoo! group to store their columns. Please submit the proposed title of your column and a writing sample.
cast of characters
daniel chadwick resides in Ayer MA and has appeared in publications like Frisson: Disconcerting Verse were last words first appeared. caterina christakos is the author of How to Write a Children’s Book in 30 Days or Less. For more of her writing tips go to http://www.howtowriteachildrensbook.com michael coldwell, originally from Canada, he now lives in Las Vegas, NV. He is the author of three previous novels. His poetry has been published in numerous literary publications. He currently works in the field of corporate communications. c. brendan c lark is a graduate student in clinical psychology who is currently studying several aspects of language, with special regards to the expression of emotion through words. He enjoys both the academic and artistic qualities of classical poetry, and is especially fascinated by the commonality of poetic themes across cultures. steven demoss is a senior attending Walla Wall High School in Washington State. His work has appeared on several websites, including jenna glatzer is the editor of www.AbsoluteWrite.com and the author of many books, including Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer, which comes with a free editors’ cheat sheet at www.jennaglatzer.com. Her latest book, Fear is No Longer My Reality, which she co-wrote with Jamie Blyth of The Bachelorette, is hot off the press. mary anne hahn publishes WriteSuccess, the free biweekly ezine that helps writers pursue successful writing careers. Subscribe today by visiting http://writesuccess.com. kevin hart is a published author and chair of Armagh Creative Writers. He created and maintains the website http://www.abcwritersnetwork.co.uk . The website offers information to creative writing. In particular, it holds a large database of creative writing contests and competitions. janine houlemar de lives near Victorville, CA as a temp worker and has a strong attraction to the arts. She is currently putting together a chapbook of her work. christina l. johnson has been published in numerous literary magazines worldwide. She is a markets columnist for the New Zealand Society of Authors (Pen NZ Inc.) and is the author of Before The 21st (Selected Poems 1990 - 1999) which is published by Ginninderra Press of Canberra, Australia. Visit her website at http://www.geocities.com/spywriter007. bobbi dykema katsanis resides in Berkley, CA, where she spends her time pursuing her love of writing poetry. james mey er resides in Edwards, MO. His appearance in Stepping Stones Magazine marks his first time being published. tony murtagh has spent all his career involved in sales, sales management, marketing and PR. He is now sharing his wide experience of sales, marketing and promotion in his website: http://DevelopYourWebSiteAndYourself.com and in a weekly ezine Aardvark Marketing, which you can subscribe to from the site. eric obame was born in Africa, and raised in both Europe and the United States. He began writing poems in college, and is influenced by the motion picture industry. Eric attended Towson University in Maryland where is received a Masters degree majoring in film. He has written three scripts and is working on two others. rix quinn writes the nationally syndicated weekly humor column Poor Rix’s Almanac. His book Words That Stick is available from local bookstores, or from www.amazon.com. robert rains was born in a small, seaside town on the East Coast of Florida in 1966 where he currently resides. He enjoys writing, racquetball, bowling, and work in a bookstore, which is “quiet, but peaceful.” saleem rana got his masters in psychotherapy from California Lutheran University. His articles on the internet have inspired people from around the world. More about his work is found at http://theempoweredsoul.com/enter.html. jane stuart lives on a farm in Greenup, KY. In addition to writing, she enjoys baking, horticulture, rubber-stamping and crossstitch embroidery. She is happily writing full time at the present. twixt is the mononym-pseudonym of Peter Specker. In recent years, he has published poetry in Amelia, California State Quarterly, Pegasus, and Art Times. He resides in Los Angeles, CA (as Peter Specker) and Ithaca, NY (as Twix). clayton vetter is a poet who recently settled in Los Angeles, CA. shelley wake is the editor of Getting Published Without Clips. To find out more about Getting Published Without Clips, please visit http://www.writingstuff.com/fs02m.html. jon wise has been writing for several years. He has finished manuscript that he is currently in the process of editing. Jon has been previously published in Morehead State University’s literary magazine, Inscape. benjamin wiseman is a poet from Glastonbury, CT. He was recently named one of the University of Connecticut’s featured poets. other authors appearing in this issue: tom booker, jimmy burns, john daughetee, lynda forman, hera, pete lee, glen mcguire, richard slavin, laura stamps, ben stivers, stuart sanderson and vladimir swirynsky
in the next issue
where do you write responses new segment: “1 on 1 with...” new market segment expanded news section ssm issue #1 silver pen award winner named new first step press editors to debut
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