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It’s release day for 34 Orchard Issue 8! You can head here to get the PDF:

(Issues are free, but donations are appreciated).


A clown questions his actions during the Hartford Circus Fire, a woman spends hours calling for the missing, and a man’s unsettled conflict with his brother rents his world in two. A dog mommy may fail at making the ultimate choice and an uncertain slaughterhouse worker may end up without one. In Issue 8, twenty-four artists ponder the dangers in unanswered questions, and the effects on us when things are left unresolved. Once again, our Table of Contents: Read the rest of this entry

Announcing 34 ORCHARD’s Table of Contents for Issue 8, Autumn 2023 – Coming November 10!

I’m thrilled to announce 34 Orchard’s Autumn 2023 issue’s Table of Contents!

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 8 COVERTeeming with unreliably-narrated ghost stories, Issue 8 includes many burgeoning and experienced voices as well as special surprises. We’re privileged to bring you a brand new tale by Read the rest of this entry


IT’S RELEASE DAY!! I’m thrilled to announce that 34 Orchard ISSUE 7 is here! Heralding the coming of spring and the concept of the fresh start, Issue 7 has another winner from Nigeria’s Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí (Issue 1’s “Christmas Chicken,” about which we STILL get mail!) and a few other 34O alums, as well as work by others familiar and brand-new.

Plunging into the visceral rip tides of lost love, medieval history, personal agency, folklore, witchcraft, grief, motherhood, and so much more—and rendered in everything from magical realism to soft science fiction, horror, and literary—there’s something for every taste!

Get your free copy here:


Once again, our ToC:

Cover Art: Optic Nerve – Page Sonnet Sullivan

An Old Romantic – Mark Towse

Little Monster – Elin Olausson

The Doe – Brandon McQuade

Wildfire – Alexandra Provins

The Flute – Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí

The Perimeter of Others – Marie-Andrée Auclair

Simulacrum Vehemens – Remo Macartney

Twenty Birthdays with You – Karen Cline-Tardiff

Penelope Learns to Weave a Double Helix – Shelly Jones

The Squealing – McLeod Logue

Where’s Lucy? – W.T. Paterson

The Procedure – Jeff Adams

poisoned earth – Corey Niles

There Is No Tomorrow – David H. West

The Triple G – Gregory Jeffers

I Once Worked There – Christian Hanz Lozada

The Last Day – Elaine Pascale

The Choice – Jenna Moquin

With the Turbulent Flow …  – Angi Shearstone

The Shrine of Saint Amandus – Rex Burrows

How to Make a Vase – Kieran Thompson

Announcing the ToC for 34 ORCHARD ISSUE 7, SPRING 2023 – Coming April 25!

I’m thrilled to announce the Table of Contents for 34 Orchard Issue 7, Spring 2023! Heralding the coming of spring and the concept of the fresh start, Issue 7 has another winner from Nigeria’s Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí (Issue 1’s “Christmas Chicken,” about which we STILL get mail!) and a few other 34O alums, as well as work by others familiar and brand-new.


Plunging into the visceral rip tides of lost love, medieval history, personal agency, folklore, witchcraft, grief, motherhood, Read the rest of this entry


A shocking occurrence unmasks a professor and a ne’er-do-well covers up the truth. A machine exposes the past and lies linger between a dinner’s courses. A bijou boogeyman unleashes a daughter’s rage while ordinary colors and unusual mattresses strip away the pretense of composure. In Issue 6, seventeen artists brood on the secrets we keep, and what happens when they are exposed.

Autumn 2022 features a dark tale from India, disturbing looks at real-life events, emotional pieces by newer voices and scary stories by names that frequently haunt anthology tables of contents. Why, even the cover photo has an unsettling tale behind it! Our sixth issue is what you’ll want waiting when you take your break from prepping for the busy holiday season.


Announcing our Table of Contents!

Cover Art: Ophelia’s Last Secret – Robert Cedergren

Shrike Song – Zachary Kellian

The Beginning of You – Samantha Bryant

The Gritter – Kurt Newton

The Baron of the Rails – Douglas Ford

The Dusk of Day-shapes – David H. West

And Satyrs Shall Dance There – John Berbrich

The Yakshi Next Door – Hareendran Kallinkeel

Head – Mark Steensland

Memory Foam – Rowan Hill

Her Color – Grace Rolen

Step on a Crack – Jake Jerome

Birthday Dinner, May 28. – Jennifer Judge

All Aboard – KC Grifant

Young People in Love – Sam Lesek

Ugly Cinderella – Molly Greer

Insert Name Here – J. Paul Ross

The downloadable PDF is designed so that it can be printed on double-sided paper for easy reading like a print magazine. As always, the issue is free, but there is a donation link should you choose to contribute.

Click here to get your copy!


Dad, Mom and me at Dad’s Master’s Degree Graduation, May, 1974.

Today is my late father’s birthday. I’m not going to get all mushy on it, because those of you who know me well know that, although he and I had a lot in common and enjoyed talking, it wasn’t always a quiet walk through the woods.

One of the things we discussed often over the years was a paper he’d written on Robert Frost which presented the idea that Frost, contrary to popular belief, viewed nature as hostile and even threatening.

Dad in his cap and gown, May, 1974. What’s scary is that piano was in the same place in the house when we cleaned out the place in 2008.

Dad in the procession at his graduation, May, 1974.

On a couple of occasions, I could remember him expounding upon certain lines of Frost’s poetry to prove his point: ‘you see, Kristi, all the animals are hiding in the dark, watching him,’ (I have no idea what poem he was talking about, so if anyone knows, please fill me in). Despite the fact that sometimes these descriptions terrified me (our house was surrounded by woods and we had a cabin in upstate New York that was pretty far from anyplace), I really wanted to read his paper. I’d even asked him if I could read it a few different times over the years, but he either said, ‘oh, I have no idea where it is, Kristi,’ or ‘it’s not really that good, maybe some other time.’

In January 2008, he passed away.

Making Easter Eggs, Spring, 1974.

After the weather had cleared a little bit, the fact that I had never gotten to read this paper ate at me. It had to be someplace in Dad’s house, which we needed to start cleaning out anyway. So I started a search.

Months went by—I went through every plastic tub, every rusted file cabinet. I flipped through the pages of every single book in his den in case it had been shoved inside one of them. I even fingered through the accordion files where he kept his taxes (dear God, he still had the paperwork going all the way back to 1982). There was a lot of junk in that house (it really did feel like “miles to go before I sleep”), but each new unturned stone brought possibility.

Soon, I began to wonder if this paper had ever existed. In fact, I was just about to resign myself to that when my sister called and said she had started going through the furniture in Dad’s bedroom. “I found these things in his nightstand drawer, I’m not quite sure what they are,” she said. “It’s a stack of index cards and there’s all of these quotes from books and page numbers, but it looks like it’s got to do with Robert Frost, so I thought you might want them. Should I save them for you?”

I knew damn well what they were.

They were his note cards for writing the paper.

Me and Dad, Summer, 1974. I had thought initially that this photo was taken in either New Hampshire, near Franconia Notch, or on Route 89 up near Burlington, Vermont–but if you look at the mountain to the extreme left, the location is given away: that’s Mt. Whiteface, near Lake Placid, New York. That “scar” that runs down the mountain has been mistaken for a ski run, but it’s actually from an avalanche. This means this photo was probably taken in Keene or possibly Upper Jay, New York, along Route 9. If anyone knows for sure, please give me a shout out. PS — LOVE that my Dad’s not wearing shoes. He never wore shoes. He’d even drive barefoot. My mother couldn’t stand that.

This galvanized me—this meant it did exist. Still, months went by and it didn’t turn up. With the house completely cleaned out and ready to renovate and still no sign of it, I realized there was one more place I could try: he had graduated with a Master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. If this was his final paper, there was a chance it was in the SCSU archives someplace.

I contacted the university system and they did locate a thesis by Charles W. Petersen. Thrilled, I arranged to pay for and have a copy sent to me.

When it arrived, it wasn’t on Robert Frost. It was about some obscure facet of Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany. I read the whole paper—and it was pretty interesting, actually—but it didn’t feel like Dad’s writing style, and when I read the acknowledgments at the end of it and Mr. Petersen was thanking his wife (Sally or Sandy, I think her name was) and mentioning his children (who weren’t us), I realized it was a different Charles W. Petersen.

That last round with the SCSU Library was it. I was at the end of the trail; there were no more places to look. I decided to just let it go, figuring that, like a ClioPlayers scrapbook and some miniature dolls I had when I was eight, it had gone to that great cave in the sky where all lost items go.

I went on with my life. Got my MFA from Goddard College, finished renovating and sold Dad’s house, went to the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony, wrote a bunch of short stories and got them published. Then, in the spring of 2010, I was working on a piece for my blog and wanted to reference an old, unpublished short story of mine that had one of Frost’s poems as a major theme. I opened a suitcase where I kept the hard-bound, handwritten journals and files of my short stories that I’d written when I was a student at the University of Rhode Island in the early 1990s.

Sitting there on top of the stack was a document typed on onion skin that I didn’t recognize.

I took a closer look. ROBERT FROST—AN ALTERNATE VIEW. Charles W. Petersen. The name of the class, his professor, the date (1974).

For a second I sat there in shock. This was it. This had to be it, the it, the paper he’d been telling me about my whole life. I flipped through it. Sure enough, it was the thesis he’d described.

Then: where the hell did it come from?

I could say that I’d found the paper years ago and stuck it in the suitcase, but A, obviously I’d never even seen this paper—so momentous a thing I’d have remembered—and B, I opened this suitcase every couple of months because I’d be in search of some story or journal entry I wanted to steal a line from or just re-read. So this wasn’t a case in which the suitcase had sat forgotten for two decades. In fact, I was pretty sure that I had checked through every suitcase, including this one, in my search for the paper nearly two years prior, on the off-chance that it had been given to me at one point and I just didn’t recall it. And this wasn’t even buried or stuck between other papers, so I clearly wouldn’t have missed it. This was sitting there right on top, face up.

I have to tell you it was a little bit creepy (Stephen King’s short story “Sometimes They Come Back” came to mind), but it was also a little bit magical.

It says something about the nature of searching. If we look too hard for something, it eludes us. If we stop searching, stop hanging on, chances are, it’ll come back to us when we least expect it—and probably when we need it most.

As a way to ensure I’d never lose this paper again, I made several copies of it, then re-typed it so there would be an electronic copy. It appears below as a PDF.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


Me and Dad on the front steps, Winter, 1975. And miles to go before we sleep. PS — Nice pants, Dad.

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