• Christmas,  Short Story

    A Backwoods Christmas By Titus Burley

    Poppa spit chaw into his little Sanka can and told ma and the two progeny, “Put your thermals on. We gonna trek to the woods and haul back our Christmas tree.” Momma rubbed the breading for the okra off her fingers and sniffed them once before wiping them clean on her checkerboard patterned apron. “Snow likely by evening. You sure ’bout this?” “Might’s well.” Daughter Amy smiled a big gap tooth grin. “Let’s get the best one, Daddy. Missus Merton letting us make ornments during free time.” “Dress like you mean it,” reminded Ma. “If the squall comes early, lil’ brother gonna have a hard time keeping up.” Lil brother…

  • Christmas,  Short Story

    Buckminster Holiday Letter by Jennevieve Schlemmer

    Well, happy holidays everyone! Another year has flown by and it is time for the holiday letter from the Buckminster household! First of all, we who chose to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, earthquake capitol of the world, are thankful to have gone another year without the “BIG ONE” striking. I know the Lord is looking out for us here but Tom convinced me it was time we put together an earthquake preparedness kit just in case. Better to have a little extra insurance. With the new Republican Congress assembling in January, who knows what plagues might come upon us? Remember, He helps those that help themselves! To continue…

  • Christmas,  Memoir,  Short Story

    Ribbon Candy by Ellen Miffitt

    The satin luster of ribbon candy resembles the reflections from the Christmas tree lights on colorful glass ornaments; it’s not clear enough to actually reflect anything but the surface gives the illusion. My grandmother always had a pressed-glass bowl of ribbon candy set out for the Christmas holiday. I don’t remember her having a tree those last few Christmases but the overflowing bowl of ribbons was a tradition during the holiday. As a teenager no one else I knew set out a bowl of ribbon candy for their guests; candy canes, mints, mixed nuts or a box of chocolates replaced the fragile old fashioned treat that had a propensity to…

  • Christmas,  Memoir

    Season’s Greetings by Michelle Nikisch

    “Season’s greetings!” A commonly heard phrase this time of year. The holiday season seemingly starting in summertime. Store shelves stocked with Santa-themed silliness earlier than the 4th of July is underway. “Season’s greetings!” Season of life, season of year, seasoning for a good savory stew. Joni Mitchell pops into my head, “And the seasons they go round and round…we’re captive on the carousel of time.” For me, greeting the seasons is starting to take on wider meaning, not just a holiday greeting, but an invitation to look at the seasons of life, the beginnings and endings, the natural cycles. As a mother, my own children’s beginnings and endings are often…

  • Fantasy, Sci-fi,  Fiction

    Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner? By Christian Carvajal

    The Ninjas were just sitting down when President Mendoza arrived, her Secretary of State in anxious tow. I was there by virtue of being one of the handful of American linguists capable of reproducing the apical velar stops, retroflex implosives, and tonal distinctions of our visitors’ formal dialect. Yes, the Ninjas can sit, though it stretches their pelvic joints backward in a curve that strikes unprepared observers as obscene. We call them Ninjas or Keplings partly because their actual name for themselves contains two lateral trills, and good luck with that. It’s also worth noting that Keplan Tradespeak uses nominative diacritics, so if you don’t know how to incorporate those,…

  • Memoir

    Making It Home by Tiffany Aldrich MacBain

    Following a 10-day sojourn to the East Coast to visit family and the friends of my youth, I return to Tacoma with home on my mind. It’s a complicated thing, home: an idea, a time and a place, a collection of experiences. Like the experience of rounding the corner and seeing your lawn, two-weeks neglected, dandelions knee-high and facing the sun, and wondering if your neighbor with the addiction to mowing and leaf blowing sees in those yellow faces a children’s choir heralding your return. He certainly does not, and your knowledge of this fact forces you to reassume the weight of ownership. You’ll have to mow your lawn today,…

  • Short Story

    Adjust by Nick Stokes

    Drink coffee. Pack food, gear, shingles, propane, feed, a mattress, rebar, a box of cookies and whiskey, mail, nails. Drink coffee. Bullshit. Wrap. Eat a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Feed. Fix tack, build ropes, bullshit. Knock a rock from a shoe. Dunk in the river. Long. Drink beer. Eat. Read. Stop. Coffee. Run them in and catch up and oat and brush and saddle the horse and saddle the mules. Load the trucks. Truck. Drop the visor and squint through sunglasses and creep around a blind corner with young sun horizontal in your eyes. Fall back to not eat dust. Beep reverse into the morning chill. Unload the trucks. Coffee. Load the…

  • Fiction,  Novel Excerpt

    A Feather for a Fan (excerpt) by Karla Stover

    Chapter 1 Fog rolled down from Canada and pressed against the smoke from a Northern Pacific engine, obliterating the view of old growth timber on one side of the tracks and Commencement Bay on the other. Inside the stuffy passenger car, Verdie Bacom sighed and waited for her two oldest children, Mathilda, eleven and Reuben, ten, to start whining. It was the view that had kept them entertained for the past several hours. Instead, they pressed their noses against the glass trying to penetrate the murky haze. Next to her, Verdie’s husband, Ira, gave a deep hacking cough and immediately covered his mouth with his handkerchief. At Verdie’s sideways glance,…

  • Fiction,  Short Story

    Dedicated to Steak Knife by Nicholas Stillman

    Thomas tried to avoid eye contact with the homeless milling around his apartment. He possessed a long-standing fear of being mugged on his walks to and from the university. He knew he presented a target. His clothes might as well be a bullseye buttoned smartly to his body. Today was no exception as it was Oxford day, both in shoes and choice in button-up. Oxford, he thought about the college with longing–one day he would make it there. One day his novel would get him in. It was early and the mist limited his sight line to a matter of feet. He tried to walk confidently down 11th, but this…

  • Fantasy, Sci-fi,  Short Story

    Don’t Piss Off the Fairies by Lory French

    He’s there against the wall, straining so hard that the veins on his neck are popping out. Grunting in terror or maybe pain, he’s got his elbows straight out in front of him, hands crossed and against his neck. At first I think he’s strangling himself until I notice that he is suspended about 6 inches off the ground. An icy chill rushes over me from scalp to sole, rebounding back up into my chest. This guy looks like he is fighting for his life against an enemy I can’t even see. My instinct to help is completely embattled by my instinct for self-preservation in the face of a visual…