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Brother by Thelma T. Reyna

Written on June 16, 2017

  The seventh time almost worked. Officer Bo Velez hovered in the hallway, poking his large, shaved head into the trauma room whenever nurses turned their backs. They knew him and didn’t kick him out, but they hated cops hanging around after they’d brought in their trauma victim. And this particular victim, a suicide attempt  Continue Reading »

La Plaza de los Mariachis by Alex Wyman

Written on June 2, 2017

  It’s your cue to get the hell out of town: the day before you were going to put a ring on her finger she realizes she’d rather be with the tall, hairy fellow who carries around books of 19th century German poetry but doesn’t read them. In a flash you jump in the car  Continue Reading »

Storm by Barry Silesky

Written on May 18, 2017

  The answer I want blows amid scraps drifting like an idea that keeps returning or a prayer for another beginning, lost in the debris. I want the universe that is that language to continue through icy air, the blizzard the news predicts that brings back the chainsaw, burning oak, the woman who loved me,  Continue Reading »

Aaron, It Makes No Difference, and Veronica by Patrick T. Reardon

Written on May 3, 2017

  Aaron Aaron was his brother’s mouthpiece. Moses stuttered. It was only with Aaron at his side that Moses, at the risk of sharp death, could order Pharaoh to let go the Hebrews. Don’t think Ben Hur. Picture my sweet brother David who, innocent that he was, wrestled with his tongue and only to a  Continue Reading »

Estate by Victoria Freund – First Place Winner of the Chicago Writers Association First Chapter Contest

Written on April 18, 2017

  Chapter 1      Ultimately, it was the lanyard that killed me.  A single key anchored the nylon necklace; a lightweight charm that swung and danced while I rode my bike in the spring air.  Just before I crashed into the aluminum frame of the SUV, the lanyard looped under my right handlebar as  Continue Reading »

Our Lovely War by Molly DiRago – Second Place Winner in the Chicago Writers Association First Chapter Contest

Written on April 3, 2017

    CHAPTER ONE Palm-sized, cool, brass.  A cowboy hat on one side, a horseshoe on the other.  Smooth and shiny from repeated rubbing.  I shake it.  After more than five years, the thing still has fluid.  I spin it between my fingers, flip it open, then spark the flame with my thumb.  This trick  Continue Reading »

The Forgotten American by Lisa Maggiore – Third Place Winner in the CWA First Chapter Contest

Written on March 21, 2017

I think about dying—a lot. The only reason I haven’t killed myself is because no one would even know. Well, maybe Ms. Alexander would, but she doesn’t count. She has to know how many kids are eating a meal at the orphanage. And Nan, my good friend who cleans my frizzy black hair of twigs  Continue Reading »

Excerpt from The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli — Winner of the Chicago Writers Association 2016 Book of the Year for Traditionally Published Non-Fiction 

Written on March 6, 2017

The skies were clear over the North American prairie on Saturday, August 14, 2004. A summer sun rose across the blue expanse of Lake Michigan and crept along the city’s sandy beaches until it hit the glittering ridge of skyscrapers downtown and then filtered into the neighborhoods beyond. Very early that morning, a stream of  Continue Reading »

Excerpt from The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay — Winner of the Chicago Writers Association 2016 Book of the Year for Traditionally Published Fiction

Written on February 20, 2017

     The acolyte lights the candles as the priest opens the book. The long wicks flare, and the image of the Virgin appears in the vault above the apse, her gray form steady against the flickering screen of gold. The glass tesserae of her eyes catch the dim light, and her gaze seems to  Continue Reading »

Excerpt from A Bitter Pill to Swallow by Tiffany Gholar — Winner of the Chicago Writers Association 2016 Book of the Year for Non-Traditionally Published Fiction

Written on February 6, 2017

Chapter 1: A Reason to Die  Devante knew he couldn’t tell her the truth when his mother asked, “Are you sure you’re going to be okay?”  This was it. They had finally arrived at his school. They were parked in front of the main entrance, just like so many times before, just like nothing had  Continue Reading »