The Toasted Cheese Wish Book:
Books by TC Authors

Absolute Blank

By Theryn Fleming (Beaver)

‘Tis the season for giving—and giving back. All the authors in our Wish Book have had work published in Toasted Cheese, written an article for Absolute Blank, and/or been interviewed at Absolute Blank. The list includes numerous New York Times bestsellers, a Newbery Award-winning author, and the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award grand prize winner, as well as many other award winners and just plain awesome writers.

At TC, we’re all about community, so if you’re looking for a book, as a gift or for yourself, we encourage you to consider choosing one of these. If you buy via a Toasted Cheese link, you’ll be supporting TC as well.

You can follow many of these authors on Twitter by subscribing to our TC Authors and TC Interviewees lists. Authors: if you’re on Twitter and we’ve missed you, do let us know and we’ll add you.

If you’re an author with a connection to Toasted Cheese and a book coming out in 2013 (or if we missed your 2012 release) and you’d like to be included in next year’s wish book, email reviews[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line “Toasted Cheese Wish Book”. And to everyone on this year’s list: congratulations!

P.S. If you’re looking for a writing goal for the new year, any of these would be great candidates for a Candle-Ends review!

Children’s & Young Adult

I'm BoredI’m Bored (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012) written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Ages 3–8.

“This tongue-in-cheek twist on a familiar topic is sure to entertain anyone who’s ever been bored—or had to hear about someone else being bored—and is filled with comedian Michael Ian Black’s trademark dry wit, accompanied by charismatic illustrations from newcomer Debbie Ridpath Ohi.”

A New York Times Notable Children’s Book for 2012.

Erin Bellavia interviewed Debbie Ridpath Ohi in July 2012.

Follow Debbie on Twitter: @inkyelbows.


The Mysterious Benedict Society Complete CollectionThe Mysterious Benedict Society Complete Collection (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012) by Trenton Lee Stewart

Ages 8 and up.

“This hardcover boxed set includes all five books in the New York Times bestselling series. Filled with page-turning action and mind-bending brain teasers, these wildly inventive journeys are sure to delight.”

Also by Trenton Lee Stewart:

Mollie Savage interviewed Trenton Lee Stewart in September 2007.


The Wild BookThe Wild Book (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012) by Margarita Engle

Ages 10 and up.

“Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Every time she tries, the letters jumble and spill off the page, leaping and hopping away like bullfrogs. How will she ever understand them?”

Also by Margarita Engle:

Margarita Engle’s poems “War Zone” and “Las Sirenas” appeared in the December 2005 issue of Toasted Cheese.


ExtraordinaryExtraordinary*: *The True Story of My Fairygodparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2011) by Adam Selzer

Ages 12 and up.

“Jennifer Van Der Berg would like you to know that the book ostensibly written about her-Born to Be Extraordinary by Eileen Codlin-is a bunch of bunk. Yes, she had a fairy godparent mess with her life, but no, she was not made into a princess or given the gift of self-confidence, and she sure as hell didn’t get a hot boyfriend out of it.
Here’s the REAL scoop…”

Also by Adam Selzer:

Erin Bellavia interviewed Adam Selzer in August 2010.

Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamselzer


Exit StrategyExit Strategy (Flux, 2010) by Ryan Potter

Ages 14 and up

“Looming above Zach Ramsey’s hometown are the smoke stacks of the truck assembly plant, the greasy lifeblood of this Detroit suburb. Surrounded by drunks, broken marriages, and factory rats living in fear of the pink slip, Zach is getting the hell out of Blaine after graduation. But first, he’s going to enjoy the summer before his senior year.”

Ryan Potter’s story “Dale’s Night” was Boots’s Pick in the June 2004 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Lisa Olson interviewed Ryan Potter in June 2011.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @FreelancerRyan


Mystery

Frozen Heat (Nikki Heat, #4)Frozen Heat (Hyperion, 2012) by Richard Castle
Nikki Heat Book 4

“NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat arrives at her latest crime scene to find an unidentified woman stabbed to death and stuffed inside a suitcase left on a Manhattan street. Nikki is in for a big shock when this new homicide connects to the unsolved murder of her own mother. Paired once again with her romantic and investigative partner, top journalist Jameson Rook, Heat works to solve the mystery of the body in the suitcase while she is forced to confront unexplored areas of her mother’s background.”

Also by Richard Castle:

Amanda Marlowe interviewed Richard Castle in September 2010.

Follow Richard on Twitter: @WriteRCastle


SleepwalkerSleepwalker (Harper, 2012) by Wendy Corsi Staub

“The nightmare of 9/11 is a distant but still painful memory for Allison Taylor MacKenna—now married to Mack and living in a quiet Westchester suburb. She has moved on with her life ten years after barely escaping death at the hands of New York’s Nightwatcher serial killer. The monster is dead, having recently committed suicide in his prison cell, but something is terribly wrong. Mack has started sleepwalking, with no recollection of where his nighttime excursions are taking him. And here, north of the city, more women are being savagely murdered, their bodies bearing the Nightwatcher’s unmistakable signature.”

Also by Wendy Corsi Staub:

Erin Nappe Bellavia interviewed Wendy Corsi Staub in April 2004.

Follow Wendy on Twitter: @WendyCorsiStaub


Defensive WoundsDefensive Wounds (William Morrow, 2011) by Lisa Black

“When Marie Corrigan, a Cleveland defense attorney with a history of falsifying evidence and no shortage of enemies, is found dead in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton, most people would agree that she had it coming. Forensic investigator Theresa MacLean is summoned to the crime scene by her daughter, Rachel, who is working the front desk. But even before Theresa enters the room, she knows that she’s walking into a forensic nightmare—for crime scenes at hotels, even the most luxurious, are teeming with trace evidence that has been left behind by innumerable guests and may or may not be related to the murder. But what Theresa finds is even worse than she imagined.”

Also by Lisa Black:

Lisa Black’s story “In the Bleak December” placed second in the first annual Dead of Winter writing contest. Theryn Fleming reviewed Evidence of Murder in the December 2012 issue of Toasted Cheese.


Paranormal

The Beautiful LandThe Beautiful Land (Ace Trade, 2013) by Alan Averill

2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize Winner.

“Tak O’Leary is a Japanese-American television host who vanished off the grid after a failed suicide attempt. Samira Moheb is an Iranian-American military translator suffering from PTSD as a result of her time in the Iraq War. They have been in love from the moment they met, and because they never told each other, they are destined to be apart forever. But thanks to a mysterious invention buried deep in the Australian Outback, they now have one more chance to get it right.”

Alan Averill’s story “Things Difficult to Say” appeared in the December 2008 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Alan on Twitter: @frodomojo


Ashes of HonorAshes of Honor (DAW, 2012) by Seanan McGuire
An October Daye Novel

“It’s been almost a year since October ‘Toby’ Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills-but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.”

Also by Seanan McGuire:

Seanan McGuire’s article “Finding Your Fairy Godmother: A Guide to Acquiring a Literary Agent” appeared at Absolute Blank in September 2009. Erin Bellavia reviewed Ashes of Honor in September 2012.

Follow Seanan on Twitter: @seananmcguire


BlackoutBlackout (Orbit, 2012) by Mira Grant
Newsflesh Trilogy #3

“Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies—and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this: Things can always get worse.”

Also by Mira Grant:

Erin Bellavia interviewed Mira Grant in April 2011.

Follow Mira Grant on Twitter: @miragrant


Bad Apple.jpgBad Apple (Vagabondage Press, 2012) by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

“After an unfortunate incident on a Maine apple orchard, precocious teen Scree is left with a father she’s not sure is hers, a never-ending list of chores and her flaky brother’s baby, who she is expected to raise. In a noble move to save the child from an existence like her own, Scree flees to a glitzy resort teeming with young men just ripe for the picking. But even as life with baby becomes all she’d dreamed, Dali-esque visions begin to leach through the gold paint. Bad Apple is a dark, surreal ride that proves not all things in an orchard are safe to pick.”

Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s story “King of Bull” was the winner of the seventh annual Dead of Winter writing contest.

Her stories “A Bone to Pick” and “Wailing Station” placed second in the eleventh and sixth annual competitions respectively. Her story “Bridging Christmas” placed third in the eighth annual Dead of Winter contest.

Follow Kristi on Twitter: @KPSchoonover


Attic ClownsAttic Clowns (Redrum Horror, 2012) by Jeremy C. Shipp

“Meet a paranoid astronaut whose jealousy drives him to extremes beyond murder.a miniature circus spawned from the mind of woman with too much control.the underling demon Globcow who desires redemption even more than the taste of human feet. Men, women, children, and things beyond imagination all interconnect in ATTIC CLOWNS, where laughter is only the prelude to the bizarre and terrible.”

Also by Jeremy C. Shipp:

  • Fungus of the Heart (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2010)
  • Cursed (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2009). Nominated for the 2009 Bram Stoker Award.

Stephanie Lenz interviewed Jeremy C. Shipp in October 2009. Harlan County Horrors (Apex Publications, 2009), edited by Mari Adkins, includes stories by both Jeremy and Stephanie.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @JeremyCShipp


Shock Totem 5Shock Totem 5: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted (October 2012) edited by K. Allen Wood

“The fifth issue of Shock Totem is yet another eclectic mix of horror fiction and nonfiction. This issue features previously unpublished stories from the likes of Ari Marmell, Darrell Schweitzer, Joe Mirabello, Mekenzie Larsen, and others. There is also a five-part, illustrated microfiction serial, by Kurt Newton, a conversation with horror legend Jack Ketchum, nonfiction by Nick Contor, reviews and more.”

Back Issues:

Stephanie Lenz interviewed K. Allen Wood in May 2011.

Follow Allen on Twitter: @KAllenWood


Last Stand in Zombie TownLast Stand in Zombie Town (Damnation Books, 2012) by C.L. Bledsoe

“Retired cop Earl Bedford is living the good life with his wife, Jalina, getting fat and rich robbing banks. After their last job goes south, they hang up their masks. Unfortunately, a terrorist group calling itself the Right Hand of God contaminated food supplies all over the country with something resembling rabies. Now, Earl and Jalina have to deal with the crazy Federal agent on their tail—T.S.N.—don’t ask him what it stands for. That makes him mad.—and it’s the end of the world, apparently. Earl just wants to go someplace warm, not battle his zombie-fied neighbors.”

Also by C.L. Bledsoe:

C.L. Bledsoe’s poems “Pause” and “4 Short Poems About Sex” appeared in the March 2005 issue of Toasted Cheese. “The Bank” appeared in the December 2009 issue.

Follow C.L. on Twitter: @clbledsoe


Romance

Undead and UnstableUndead and Unstable (Berkley Hardcover, 2012) by MaryJanice Davidson

“Betsy’s heartbroken over her friend Marc’s death, but at least his sacrifice should change the future — her future — for the better. But it’s not as if Betsy’s next few hundred years will be perfect. After all, her half sister, Laura, is the Antichrist. Laura’s mother is Satan, and family gatherings will always be more than a little awkward.”

Also by MaryJanice Davidson:

Erin Nappe Bellavia interviewed MaryJanice Davidson in June 2006.

Follow MaryJanice on Twitter: @MaryJaniceD.


Hidden ParadiseHidden Paradise (Harlequin, 2012) by Janet Mullany

“Louisa Connelly, a recently widowed Jane Austen scholar, needs some relief from her stifling world. When a friend calls to offer her a temporary escape from her Montana ranch, she is whisked into a dizzying world of sumptuous food, flowing wine.and endless temptation.”

Also by Janet Mullany:

Janet Mullany’s story “Snow, The Seven and The Moon” was the winner of the first annual Dead of Winter writing contest. “The Companions Are Chosen” was Best of the Boards in December 2001. “A Perfect Evening” appeared in the September 2001 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Her article “Enter At Your Own Risk: The Strange, Twilight World of Writing Competitions” appeared at Absolute Blank in November 2002.

Follow Janet on Twitter: @Janet_Mullany.


On Deadly GroundOn Deadly Ground (Steeple Hill, 2011) by Lauren Nichols

“The prowler on the construction site of her new camp didn’t frighten Rachel Patterson…at first. Fear comes when her home is torched—and worsens when a body is unearthed on the campgrounds. Someone’s trying to cover up a murder, and if Rachel can identify the intruder, she might be the only witness. Her neighbor, Wildlife Conservation Officer Jake Campbell, is determined to keep the lovely widow safe. But when a misunderstanding separates the pair, their distance risks more than the growing feelings between them. It leaves Rachel alone and unguarded, which could be just the chance the killer needs.”

Also by Lauren Nichols:

Erin Nappe Bellavia interviewed Lauren Nichols (Edie Hanes) in February 2003.


General Fiction

The Freak ChroniclesThe Freak Chronicles (Dzanc Books, 2012) by Jennifer Spiegel

“The short stories in this collection explore, both implicitly and explicitly, the notion of freakiness. They worry over eccentricity, alienation, normalcy, and intimacy. What is it that makes one a freak, makes one want to embrace quirkiness, have the fortitude to cultivate oddity? Is there a fine line between abnormality and the extraordinary? Jennifer Spiegel’s stories delve into these questions and others.”

Also by Jennifer Spiegel:

Jennifer Spiegel’s story “Be Happy” was Boots’s Pick in December 2010.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @JenniferSpiegel


Consonant Sounds for Fish SongsConsonant Sounds for Fish Songs (Aqueous Books, 2012) by Traci Chee

“These stories are about death, God, and love, and they are connected by motifs of fish and music that resonate throughout the collection, transforming what you read as you read it. Because fish are signs of both life and death, and music is for joy and mourning and monsters alike.”

Traci Chee’s story “Derek” appeared in the June 2008 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Traci on Twitter: @tracichee


Hallways and HandgunsHallways and Handguns (MuseItUp Publishing, 2012) by Nathaniel Tower.

“A series of tragic events at Rosehill Academy, a middle-class Midwest high school, tests the limits of human relationships. Beginning with the tragic suicide of a beautiful but little-known girl and the rumors of the inappropriate relationship that caused it, everyone at the school becomes affected in some way by the events that occur in the week that follows. During the course of that week, a resignation, overdose, bout with alcoholism, death threat, and school shooting all impact the lives of everyone. Was the suicide a catalyst for all of these events, or was it merely a coincidence?”

Nathaniel Tower’s story “The J” was the winner of the Spring 2009 Three Cheers and a Tiger writing contest.

The Oaten Hands” was Baker’s Pick in the March 2009 issue of Toasted Cheese and “Montanawich” was Boots’s Pick in June 2011.

Follow Nathaniel on Twitter: @BartlebySnopes


LossesLosses (Vagabondage Press, 2012) by Robert Wexelblatt

“A single father who is a new IRS agent, his cherished and imaginative little girl, a divorced woman having second thoughts about motherhood, a couple who think two ways about becoming parents, a mysterious and crooked financial wizard-these are the people from whose relationships, enterprises, gains and losses this story is woven. Has there been a crime and, if so, can the miscreant be caught? How valid are the claims of a father and a mother? When they clash, what becomes of their child?”

Robert Wexelblatt’s story “Disappearing” was Ana’s Pick in the September 2009 issue of Toasted Cheese.


The Real DealThe Real Deal (BrickHouse Books, 2012) by Miriam N. Kotzin

“Abe Featherman, elected as the first Native American President of the United States, discovers that he is a pawn of his wealthy backers who don’t want him to run for a second term. His campaign manager, Franklin, who knows all his secrets, takes charge of the outrageous kabuki designed to get him out of office. Meanwhile Featherman transforms himself from a phony to the real deal.”

Also by Miriam N. Kotzin:

Miriam N. Kotzin’s flash story “The Patsy” appeared in the June 2004 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Miriam on Twitter: @sextoygirl


The IlluminationThe Illumination: A Novel (Pantheon, 2011) by Kevin Brockmeier

“At 8:17 on a Friday night, the Illumination commences. Every wound begins to shine, every bruise to glow and shimmer. And in the aftermath of a fatal car accident, a private journal of love notes, written by a husband to his wife, passes into the keeping of a hospital patient and from there through the hands of five other suffering people, touching each of them uniquely.”

Also by Kevin Brockmeier:

Mollie Savage interviewed Kevin Brockmeier in July 2006.

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @illumination_bk


Damn Sure RightDamn Sure Right (Press 53, 2011) by Meg Pokrass.

“Damn Sure Right, the “wonderful, dark, unforgiving” (Frederick Barthelme) debut by Meg Pokrass, “conveys entire worlds that are touching, haunting, funny, moving, and strange in the most beautiful ways” (Jessica Anya Blau). “The brew master of flash” (Sean Lovelace), Pokrass writes “like a brain looking for a body” (Frederick Barthelme), making her the “new monarch of the delightful and enigmatic tiny kingdom of mirco- and flash fiction” (Brad Watson). This collection of eighty-four tales is sure to “ruin your waking hours the way you’ll want them ruined” (Kyle Minor)”

Meg Pokrass’s story “Waiting Room” was Boots’s Pick in the March 2008 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Meg on Twitter: @megpokrass


Everyone Remain CalmEveryone Remain Calm (ECW Press, 2011) by Megan Stielstra

“In this debut collection of stories, Megan Stielstra will explain the following in revealing detail: how to develop relationships with convicted felons and 1970s TV characters; how not to have a threesome with your roommate; the life and death nature of teaching creative writing; and what happens when discount birth control is advertised on Craigslist. Witty, tough, imaginative, and hot-blooded, Megan Stielstra’s fiction and first person reporting are the missing links between Raymond Carver and David Sedaris.”

Megan Stielstra’s creative non-fiction “This Teacher Talks Too Damn Fast” appeared in the June 2007 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Megan on Twitter: @meganstielstra


Hard to SayHard to Say (PANK Magazine, 2011) by Ethel Rohan.

“Hard to Say is a lovely, difficult, heartbreaking but ultimately beautiful and profound book about mothers, daughters, borders and boundaries, and our constant struggle to not surrender to our frailties. You won’t regret reading it.”

Also by Ethel Rohan:

Ethel Rohan’s flash story “Scraps” appeared in the December 2009 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Ethel on Twitter: @ethelrohan


Please Don't Be Upset and other storiesPlease Don’t Be Upset and other stories (Tiny Hardcore Press, 2011) by Brandi Wells.

“Please Don’t Be Upset is a collection of fifteen perfectly rendered stories—lists, instructions, yearnings, confessions, more—stories about imperfect mothers and daughters, women and men, strange stories about folded bodies and stalking deer, stories about the small, heartbreaking ways we fail each other, yet cling so tightly.”

Brandi Wells’s story “Flower-Eater” appeared in the December 2007 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Brandi Wells on Twitter: @brandimwells


Mad to LiveMad to Live (PS Books Publishing, 2011) by Randall Brown

“Originally published in a limited edition by Flume Press in 2008, Randall Brown’s award-winning (very) short fiction collection, Mad To Live, sold out almost immediately. Fortunately for Brown’s fans (and soon-to-be fans), PS Books has published this deluxe edition of Mad To Live—complete with new cover art and four bonus tracks not included in the Flume edition!”

Randall D. Brown’s flash story “Great Grandmother Gorilla” appeared in the September 2004 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Randall on Twitter: @flashfictionnet


Poetry

Hurt Into BeautyHurt Into Beauty (FutureCycle Press, 2012) by Paul Hostovsky

“In his fourth full-length collection of poetry, Paul Hostovsky offers up the kind of fare that his readers keep coming back for—the humor mixed with poignancy, the heartbreak lined with a kind of palliative existential mischief—in poems that explore the nature of violence, illness, beauty, childhood, Deaf people and sign language, the art of love and the art of poetry.”

Also by Paul Hostovsky:

Paul Hostovsky’s poems “Dear Hallmark” and “Note” appeared in the March 2012 issue of Toasted Cheese. “Survivor,” “The Message,” “Ars PO,” “The Self,” & “Looking at Boobs with Aunt Edie” appeared in the December 2009 issue.


We Bury the LandscapeWe Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) by Kristine Ong Muslim

“We Bury the Landscape is an exhibition of literary art. Ekphrasis, collected. One hundred flash fictions and prose poems presented to view. From the visual to the textual, transmuting before the gallery-goer’s gaze, the shifting contours of curator Kristine Ong Muslim’s surreal panorama delineate the unconventional, the unexpected, and the unnatural. Traversing this visionary vista’s panoply of “rooms of unfinished lives,” the reader unearths and examines and reanimates-revealing the transcendent uncanniness that subsists underfoot.”

Kristine Ong Muslim’s poems “U is for Ursula” and “Milking Time” appeared in the September 2007 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Kristine on Twitter: @kristinemuslim


ProdigalProdigal (Pinyon Publishing, 2012) by Francine Marie Tolf

“‘We have lost our ability to name,’ Francine Marie Tolf writes: ‘We say antelope, owl, / as if these words had power. / As if the names of animals hadn’t long fled / back into animals.’ Thus, Tolf lays out the major themes of her second collection of poems, Prodigal: nature, animals, and language-plus a fourth: discoveries that occur when one of these intricate living strands intersects with another. Tolf doesn’t shy from the savagery humans inflict on earth and other animals, but instead encourages us to reflect and understand if we can.”

Francine Marie Tolf’s creative non-fiction “The Summer Before Eighth Grade” appeared in the December 2007 issue of Toasted Cheese.


Letters from Under the Banyan TreeLetters from under the Banyan Tree (Aldrich Press, 2012) by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

“Carol Lynn’s Letters from Under the Banyan Tree is a delicate and deft-handed tribute to life’s rituals. This woven tapestry of organic imagery and calm reflection evokes that breathless twilight moment somewhere between grief and hope, where wisdom can grow. ~Fawn Neun”

Also by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas:

Carol Lynn Grellas’s poem “When the Trees Were Bare” was Bellman’s Pick in the September 2009 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Carol Lynn on Twitter: @secretpoet


The Best of the Barefoot MuseThe Best of the Barefoot Muse (Barefoot Muse Press, 2011) edited by Anna M. Evans

“An anthology of the best poems that appeared in the online journal, The Barefoot Muse, 2005-2010. Selected and arranged by Anna M. Evans.”

Anna Evans’s story “Desert Creatures” appeared in the June 2006 issue of Toasted Cheese. Her story “Refuge” appeared in the September 2005 issue.

Follow Anna on Twitter: @Barefoot_Muse


Before the Great TroublingBefore the Great Troubling: Poems (Unbound Content, 2011) by Corey Mesler

“Acclaimed writer Corey Mesler returns with his second full-length collection of poetry, this time exploring interior landscapes as they relate to life and love, feelings and family, the perpetual process of growing up.”

Also by Corey Mesler:

Corey Mesler’s poems “Limited Edition,” “The Jay Underneath Yggdrasil” & “Last” appeared in the June 2005 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Corey on Twitter: @CoreyMesler


Dark SaltDark Salt: A Brush With Genius (JB Stillwater Publishing, 2011) by Lynn Strongin

“In this collection of late works by Lynn Strongin, we find that perfect balance of salt and water spiced with symbolism and metaphor that poet Strongin does so well. Jewish Temple offerings included salt and Jewish people still dip their bread in salt on the Sabbath as a remembrance of those sacrifices.”

Lynn Strongin’s poems “Smoke-Jumpers” and “Failed Nerve strikes like a fuse blown in a city, a whole power station:” appeared in the March 2006 issue of Toasted Cheese.

The Failure to Speak miraculous things,” “Hitting my Stride by Third Cabin Morning” & “Birch Candles” appeared in the December 2005 issue.


In the Palms of AngelsIn the Palms of Angels (Press 53, 2011) by Terri Kirby Erickson

“‘There is no store-bought redemption pasted to the ends of these poems, but neither will you find hopelessness, self-pity, a turning away from the world. What you will find at the core of all these poems is the timeless North Carolinian’s beneficent but ungilded witnessing.’ — From the Introduction by Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.”

Also by Terri Kirby Erickson:

Terri Kirby Erickson’s poem “Downpour” appeared in the September 2009 issue of Toasted Cheese.


In TransitIn Transit (David Robert Books, 2011) by Kathryn Jacobs

“The wit of Kathryn Jacobs’ In Transit is wry and observant, leavening humor with tart conclusions.”

Also by Kathryn Jacobs:

Kathryn Jacobs’s poems “Ocean Maps,” “The Tin Woodman” & “The Musical Dead” were Beaver’s Pick in the June 2008 issue of Toasted Cheese.


Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of AdieuSeeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu (Cinnamon Press, 2010) by Arlene Ang

“Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu is concerned with images and perception; the intricacies and strangeness of human relationships and loss. Her language, sometimes surreal, always challenges expectations. Sensual and inventive, this is poetry that surprises; poetry that demands a response. Ang deploys sharp crafting and a unique voice.”

Also by Arlene Ang:

Arlene Ang’s poems “Behind This Cornea of Storms,” “Constrained Indolence” & “Dining in Brisighella” appeared in the March 2003 issue of Toasted Cheese.


Non-Fiction

The Mindful WriterThe Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life (Wisdom Publications, 2012) by Dinty W. Moore

“Going a step beyond typical “how to write” books, Moore illuminates the creative process: where writing and creativity originate, how mindfulness plays into work, how to cultivate good writing habits, how to grow as a writer — and a person! — and what it means to have a life dedicated to the craft of writing. There’s not a writer alive, novice or master, who will not benefit from this book and fall in love with it. Cover to cover, this wise little book is riveting and delightful. Readers will turn to The Mindful Writer again and again as a source inspiration, guidance, and support.”

Also by Dinty W. Moore:

Stephanie Lenz interviewed Dinty W. Moore in May 2006.

Follow Dinty on Twitter: @brevitymag


FiddleFiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel, 2010) by Vivian Wagner

“After a chance encounter with fiddle music, Vivian Wagner discovered something she never knew she had lacked. The fiddle had reawakened not only her passion for music, but for life itself. From the remote workshop of a wizened master fiddle maker in the Blue Ridge Mountains to a klezmer band in Cleveland, from Cajun fiddle music in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans to a fiddle camp in Tennessee, Vivian’s quest to master the instrument becomes a journey populated by teachers and artisans–and ultimately creates a community that fortifies her through an emotionally crushing loss.”

Vivian Wagner’s creative non-fiction, “Potpies, Mudpies, and Macaroni: On Learning to Cook” appeared in the June 2008 issue of Toasted Cheese.

Follow Vivian on Twitter: @VWagner


Off Kilter
Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage (Pearlsong Press, 2008) by Linda C. Wisniewski

“Susan Wittig Albert calls Off Kilter a ‘splendid first memoir about the difficult business of finding balance in our lives. Funny, honest, deeply moving, Off Kilter reminds us just how hard it is to adjust to the physical pain, the emotional loss, and even the surprising beauty of being fully who we are.'”

Linda C. Wisniewski’s creative non-fiction “My Grandfather’s Ear” appeared in the March 2007 issue of Toasted Cheese. “A Connecting Thread” appeared in the December 2004 issue.

Follow Linda on Twitter: @Lindawis


Assaulted by JoyAssaulted by Joy: The Redemption of a Cynic (Zondervan, 2008) by Stephen W. Simpson

“Over the years, his beliefs about God were challenged by painful and confusing experiences in church as a teenager, the death of a beloved friend in college, and bouts of doubt and despair in graduate school. He married the girl of his dreams, yet he was still not happy. Then came the quadruplets.”

Stephen W. Simpson’s story “First Steps” won the Fall 2003 Three Cheers and a Tiger writing contest.

Steve’s article “The First Novel Marathon” appeared at Absolute Blank in November 2003. Theryn Fleming interviewed Stephen W. Simpson in August 2007.


Final Poll Results