Recognizing Toxic Family

by Laila Winters When we love someone, especially a member of our family, we frequently turn a blind eye to their faults. We forgive them for their shortcomings and less than stellar behavior, though sometimes, we don’t always realize that we’re doing so at our own expense.  In my previous article, Surviving Toxic Family, I discuss the meaning of ‘toxic...

Fiction: The Ring Walkers

by Caroline Misner We didn’t cast them in the role of invaders when they first arrived. At the time, the concept of an invasion was foreign to us. They were our guests from the other ring, invited by the Elders, to exchange knowledge and culture and ideas. After all, they looked so much like us: same hair, same eyes, comparable...

How Do You Present Yourself?

This week, thousands of writers are hoping to have an opportunity to present their work to agents and editors following #PitMad. Others are already sending pitches for non-fiction articles or submitting short stories. Each writer should read over their material, check how they spell the agent or editor’s name and double-check the list for what’s required for their submission.  These...

Friday’s Forgotten Books: EVERY FEAR BY RICK MOFINA

When Lee and Maria Colson’s son Dylan is abducted their lives are changed forever. Maria tries to save Dylan, and is hit by the abductors’ vehicle and left to die. Every Fear maintains the intensity with every page. Through journalist Jason Wade, a detective, the FBI, the abductors, and Lee Colson, Mofina shows every facet of the investigation and the...

Flashback: 20 Questions … with H. Mel Malton

Canadian author H. Mel Malton answers questions about writing, her life and herPolly Deacon mystery series, published by RendezVous Press. Sandra Ruttan: What was the first book you read that had a profound influence on you as a person and how did it affect you? H. Mel Malton: I don’t think I can name one book in particular having influenced...

How to Survive a Toxic Family

by Laila Winters When you consider the word toxic, you think of all the things that are harmful to your health or wellbeing. You think air pollution, radiation, or the hazardous chemicals used in cleaning supplies that merit a warning label on the bottle. Things considered toxic are things we take caution to avoid, though sometimes such poison comes wrapped...

Fiction: Astride a Gray Horse

by Michelle Muenzler The gray man and his gray horse are waiting for me when I wake. Even knowing he was coming, it never sits well when first I see the pair. He looks as tired as I feel, though looks can be deceptive with the gray man. What appears as a weakness in him is often his strength.  “So,”...

What Do You Publish? Embracing Diversity

Decades ago, Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society told his students to stand on their desks and look at the world around them from a different perspective. To do that here means starting with Alicia Elliott’s words from “Not Your Noble Savage”, one of the many excellent essays collected in her exceptional book, A Mind Spread Out On The...

Interview: Rusty Barnes – the editor, the writer, the man

The Editor Sandra Ruttan: You’re the editor of Tough. How long have you been running this crime fiction ‘zine? Rusty Barnes: Tough has been online officially since July 2017, though we ran a couple reviews before we officially launched. Sandra Ruttan: You specifically ask for crime fiction stories, as opposed to mysteries, etc. What is it that you like about...