Jan/Feb 2006

From the Editors

From Tom Dooley, Fiction Editor

It's a new year. Not only that, it's the start of a new decade, at least in Eclectica terms. Well, technically, it's the end of a decade, but we're in double digits now, and that's something.

Either I'm an easy editor to get a story past, or we received a ton of good short fiction this last submission period. I'm prejudiced towards the latter. Besides the three stories from our Spotlight Author, Ian Duncan Smith, we have eleven others that made it in, plus a bounty of flash fiction from Alex Keegan's Boot Campers, who have been busy raising money for Children in Need by writing their pants off. Figuratively speaking. Congratulations to Nancy Saunders, who placed three stories in the finals, including our first place winner, "Molding Reality." Don't be fooled by its fungal flavor--this story is as fresh as they come.

A ton of short fiction is fine by me. This month, storySouth will be kicking off their annual Million Writers Best of the Web hoopla, and while I'm grateful and humble for the recognition Eclectica fiction has garnered there the last two years, the competitive part of me of course wants to pull off another strong showing. Looking back over the past year, which was shortened by the issue we missed last January due to the whole "I'm living on a boat in LA" business, I see we have published 41 great pieces of short fiction. I hope as many as possible receive the recognition they richly deserve.

The stories in this issue are really exciting, and as an added bonus, they were written, as always, by some very interesting folks. Stephanie Storey just left her position as a producer for Tavis Smiley's television show. Ray Norsworthy was interviewed by Elizabeth Glixman in our last issue (she's got two new interviews in this one--maybe we can start a tradition of getting submissions from her interviewees). Caroline Kepnes writes for E! Online. Allan Wasserman has acted on The Sopranos. Irakli Iosebashvili lives in Russia and writes for The Moscow Times. Kate Hall was formerly the editor of Stirring. And the list goes on, and those are just the fiction authors.

Colleen Mondor has produced another packed house of reviews, not only bringing back the team she had last issue, but adding two new reviewers to the mix. Paul Sampson did not disappoint either. One of his regulars, Kat McElroy, has a piece that I found particularly moving--and not just because it's about a log cabin in Interior Alaska (where I happened to grow up, in a log cabin). Ms. McElroy has succeeded in capturing a whole lot of things about life in our 49th state, and her voice, always a prominent feature of her writing, seems to have clicked into a higher notch of perfection.

The poetry section is alive and well, thanks to the stewardship of editor Jennifer Finstrom. Mike Spice's Travel section is taking the issue off, and we haven't heard from Don Mager for awhile, but we're hoping his insight into classical music will return to us in Spring. Our trio of essayists, Paul Sampson, Stanley Jenkins, and Thomas Hubschman, are back with new material for the Salon. CE Chaffin, once a regular, appears to be using up his best material on his blog, worth checking out if you're a Chaffin fan who hasn't already done so.

As a final note, Colleen Mondor would like everyone to know about a great essay collection out from Chin Music Press called Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? It comes out in February (mardi gras season), but if you preorder it now, all the proceeds go to Katrina charities who are rebuilding New Orleans. She urges you to buy this beautiful collection and help folks who need it the most. Added bonus: Colleen has an essay in the collection. She says, "I wrote about the guys who are publishing the book in Bookslut in September. They do gorgeous work, and I'm so excited to be part of this."

I hope you enjoy the issue, and that the new year is happy and fruitful.


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