Two Poems by Nancy McCabe

Photo by Kevin Jay Photography Pajama Dolls   They weren’t just any dolls, these gifts from our grandparents, but, an aunt said, special ones, with skirts you could unzip to reveal secret compartments for storing pajamas. My cousin Melinda’s was pink, mine blue, vastly unfair, since my room was pink and hers was blue but our aunt said it would be rude to swap and it was just another example of how Melinda, with her tiny feet and sweet voice< got all the girl credit. The perfume my aunts and uncles gave me made me sneeze, and the bracelets I…

Desquamation by Megan Jauregui Eccles

  The lizard suns herself. She looks happier than I ever have. She blinks one eye, then the other. She doesn’t look at me. Does she know that, like me, she once belonged to you? The days wind like hours on a clock. I try spending more time outside. Lying flat on the ground and soaking up the rays of the sun like I’m a plant or a very small lizard. My skin reddens and blisters. I go inside and nurse my wounds with aloe and Tylenol. Later, I see the lizard bite off a piece of her own shedding…

Book Review: No Gods, No Monsters

   By L.A. Hunt Monsters hide in plain sight in Cadwell Turnbull’s second novel, No Gods, No Monsters. At the midpoint, when crowds take to the streets to advocate for the rights of the newly discovered monsters, Turnbull writes, “Even in a cause that is stacked against them, no one is alone.” Turnbull deftly examines what it means to live life hiding secrets and the implications in deciding to reveal them. Turnbull allows one of the characters to explain the title of the novel as being “an evolution of an anarchist slogan: ‘No gods, no masters,’ the original version meaning…

Voice to Books: Indigenous Experiences are Individual and Numerous

In this month’s Voice to Books, we’re highlighting Native American authors and their stories. The colonized view of native people often mashes together diverse communities and nations into a misrepresented and false narrative of who they are. By giving space to their individual experiences, better representation and understanding can take place. The works listed below are as varied as the cultures they represent. A crime novel, a collection of nonfiction short stories, a memoir, and a YA novel show a small selection of the wide range of stories by Indigenous authors. Fire Song  by Adam Garnet Jones Reviewed by Michael…

Not a Chance by Brenda Salinas Baker

My calendar’s automated alerts remind me to check up on my enemies. Once, twice, three times a year, depending on the severity of their insults. I occasionally come across a detail that brings me satisfaction, but generally, my enemies seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. Everyone seems more accomplished online. I know that even at knifepoint they couldn’t recall the humiliations seared into my memory. If pressed, they might wave their hands and apologize, saying they were working through their own trauma at the time, trauma a self-help podcast had helped them see. Or worse, they might invert…

Interview: Andee Reilly, Author of A Christmas Love Song

by Kristi Daune-Edwards Rabe Each December, the world slowly turns to sparkles and hope as well as stress and the special holiday anxiety that requires strong eggnog. Holiday romances become havens of joy and wonder that we revisit like old friends each year. Beyond classic films and made-for-TV movies we binge watch while wrapping gifts and making cookies, holiday romance novels offer a quiet retreat during the busy buzz of the season. This year, Andee Reilly’s new novel, A Christmas Love Song, plays with all the traditional romance we see and spins it with a bit of Christmas spirit. With…

Interview: Dan Hallagan on Game Design and Writing

by Boaz Dror During our recent global pandemic, with so much indoor quarantining with family, I inadvertently developed an addiction to boardgames. I blame this on my screenwriter’s love for format constraints and creative limitations. After all, there is no better representation of a tight cognitive frame than a literal rectangular piece of cardboard into which story must fit. My newfound enjoyment soon sent me down a wormhole that gobbled up shelf-space and time. Fortunately, this tabletop tailspin led to Obsession, a boardgame in which players take on the roles of Victorian-era families vying for reputation and prestige. The game’s…

Voice to Books: Horror Screams Our Truth

When most people think of horror, they may think of Stephen King or the bloody slasher movies from the ’80s. While these movies and books have made a lasting impression on the genre, they are often dominated by a straight white male view—demonizing and objectifying not only marginalized communities but cis het white women as well. But horror has many authors and storylines to share with readers beyond the straight white male. From those stories, horror is used to reflect on and discuss sensitive social and cultural issues. These reviews highlight women—POC and white—and their personal horrors that are intensified…

Interview: TCR Talks with Liska Jacobs

by Leanne Phillips Early 2020 found author Liska Jacobs in Pasadena, California, hard at work on her third novel, a story about a group of people confined to the Beverly Hills Hotel amid unprecedented wildfires and social unrest. She’s been called a method writer—Jacobs normally travels to the locations where her books take place to soak in the settings and immerse herself in her characters’ lives. But for this book, she thought she’d be able to stay home. “It’s a Los Angeles story that takes place at a hotel, and I’ve lived here all my life, so it was pretty…

Food for Thought – Hard to Swallow: Savage Motherhood—and Eggs

by Tara Stevenson Ideas Are Food Eggs Are Motherhood in Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward Medea is the epitome of savage motherhood: upon hearing that her husband, Jason (of the Golden Fleece/Argonauts), is going to marry another woman—despite saving his life many times over and using her magic to help him defeat many enemies—Medea kills their sons in revenge. Chapter one of Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones not only introduces the allusion of Medea; it immediately establishes three additional parallel stories concerning motherhood and birth: the death of Esch’s mother in childbirth; China, a pit bull, giving birth to…