in Creative Writing
Widely Renowned Actor Michael Imperioli Makes
His Literary Mark as a Skilled Writer.
mperioli contributes to the short story anthology, The Nicotine Chronicles, with Yasiri, the story of a gifted 'seer' whose talents are sought in a story of greed, betrayal, & retribution. The richly crafted story intrigues and surprises with an ending sure to leave readers talking long after the story is over. The actor/writer's multi-dimensional, growing body of work makes clear that Imperioli is a creative mind to watch.
by Michael Imperioli
Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn
acqueline Simon Gunn is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and writer. She has authored two non-fiction books and co-authored two others. She has published many articles, both scholarly and mainstream, and currently works as a freelance writer. Gunn is now writing psychological fiction, love stories, and thrillers. Always in search of truth and fascinated by human behavior, her fiction writing, like psychology, is a way for her to explore human nature -- motivation, emotions, relationships.
In addition to her clinical practice and writing, Gunn is an avid runner and reader, a serious cat lover, and a coffee connoisseur. She is currently working on multiple writing projects.
Below a sampling of one of her psychological thrillers.
Love’s Remains, excerpt one
was only home five minutes when he banged on my door. “Alex, I need to talk to you.” Bang. Bang. Bang. His feet shuffled against the carpet as he paced back and forth. More banging.
I stood frozen, stuck in a moment of complete vexation. I wish I could tell you that I felt nothing, but that wasn’t the truth. Fury and sadness twisted together, causing a determined knot in my stomach and a deluge of emotion that overwhelmed me.
“I know you’re home.”
I put my hand over my mouth, feeling like he could hear me breathing.
“I saw you walk into the building ahead of me. Please, just open up.”
“No. I can’t. Please. Go away.” Tears of confusion rolled down my cheeks. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone. “You’re making this so hard for me. Why are you doing this?”
“I’m not doing anything on purpose.” His voice softened. It took on his default tone of wavy affectation. “Please. Just give me five minutes.”
I squeezed my eyes closed and took a heavy breath. Every ounce of me tried to resist opening the door. I held my hand around the knob. I heard him right outside. And I feared it wasn’t just the literal door I was opening. But I couldn’t completely turn my back on him. I had loved him. I had been intimate with him. I had learned so much about myself from him. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I was. Or who I was. A forever mark on my life that I just couldn’t erase. Besides, he had shared his private life with me. I still held those thoughts.
And this is why there are some people you should never see again.
od, I wanted to kiss him. I felt our faces drawing closer, but we pulled back simultaneously. I suppose we both knew that a kiss would have undone all the reparation from our conversation. Maybe we love people forever. Maybe some relationships were derailed by time and circumstance, but somewhere in the background there was a place where that love still existed, where you were still those two people in that time.
After years of trying to seal something that had been broken, I finally got the conversation I needed to heal something deep inside of me. I saw that look he used to get in his eyes, how hauntingly familiar, tragic and endearing and beautiful. It was the expression that made me believe we shared something special, something he didn’t have with any of the other girls. Whenever I felt him slipping away, he’d show up with that look, and for a night, for a few weeks, for a few months, I could pretend everything was the way I wanted. I needed.
But I always anticipated the moment he would leave again, deciding I was too much, or he wasn’t ready, or he needed to be free. Now I knew he understood the pain — the exquisite, excruciating pain — of loving someone just out of reach. Now I knew he really had loved me.
Love enveloped me as we stood facing each other on the beach. I thought of his arms, his chest, his lips. I squeezed my eyes closed and wrapped my arms around myself to quell the chill of memories, all the beautiful nights spent resting against him.
“Are you cold?” he asked, pulling me next to him and rubbing my arm.
I knew he loved her more and better than he ever loved me. I leaned against him, remembering the old us, and part of me wanted it. But I knew I had to let him go. Let him go be with the person he was meant to be with. “Let’s go. I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t have to walk me home.”
“How many nights did you walk me home when I was drunk? It’s the least I could do.”
When we got to the front of his building, I asked, “Are you going to be alright?”
“Have to be.”
“It’s OK to have a breakdown. It’s OK to let someone close enough to break your heart.”
He nodded, then kissed me on the cheek. “I’m not so good at the heartbroken thing.”
“No one is. But I think for the first time you know what it’s like to feel vulnerable. And I think that vulnerability looks good on you.” I took his hand and squeezed it. “Don’t fuck it up because it’s hard.”
y second year of graduate school started like a new beginning. And I was interested in a new man. One I believed I could love for all the right reasons. The last two guys, as it turned out, were not good for me. At all.
But my recent ex-boyfriend was not making it easy to leave the past behind. He decided that I was the one who got away. He couldn’t give me what I wanted when we were together, but now he wouldn’t leave me alone. Meanwhile, the old guy was dating Cecilia, who was the ex-girlfriend of the new guy I was seeing. And the new guy had broken her heart. Plus, we were all in the same school program. We saw each other all the time. Messy is an understatement.
As I tried to navigate the slippery slope between falling in love with someone I saw a real future with and staying away from the guy I’d given my whole heart to, but for all the wrong reasons, Cecilia and I became good friends. We told each other things about our past lovers we probably shouldn’t have. There was one big secret, though, that she didn’t tell me. I guess there are some things that hurt so much we’re afraid to say them aloud.
I’d like to tell you that it was easy to walk away from the guy who hurt me to be with the one who seemed to promise everything I wanted, but that’s not how love works. This is a story about real love, heartache and growth, passion and secrets. This is my tangled tale of what it took for me to risk my heart again and how and where I finally landed.
Sometimes the most painful relationships are the ones that help us grow into who we are and to find the love we had been searching for all along.
Which begs the question: Can we choose who we love?
Love Remains is the second book in the Where You’ll Land series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Love’s Remains, synopsis
Love’s Remains, excerpt two
yrell Tinnin is an artist, poet, author, and father. He was born and raised on the West Coast during the 80s and 90s and moved to Witchita, Kansas when he was 14 and has remained there since. Inspired by a creative writing assignment during his freshman year of high school, he has been writing stories and poetry for over two decades.
He fell in love with and married a girl in college and together they had two children. After publishing a pulp adventure novel in 2008, life’s complexities came into play and writing became quite a challenge. As with so many of us, work, life, and fatherhood left little room for creative writing, or much else. Years later when Tyrell’s marriage of almost 20 years ended, writing poetry came back into his life and helped him through that very difficult time.
Currently, he likes to make certain that he writes a little bit each day and generally starts with a single line and lets the poem or story flow naturally.
Tyrell feels the key to standing out in the evergrowing field of self-produced writers is to write your own truth and speak with an honest voice.
Mr. Tinnin is in the process of being published in an anthology and is putting together a collection of poems to self publish. He would, of course, enjoy earning an income from writing but his main goal is for people to read his work and take something from it.
We're proud to feature a favorite of ours, a beautiful poem by Tyrell Tinnin entitled, Monument.
She could feel beneath my skin
Feel the bones of this cathedral
This monument of flesh and blood
They ran deep into the dark soil
Spreading their roots far and wide
For they had much weight to bear
Time had cracked the stained glass
And shattered the emerald screens
That had held the world's ghosts
She walked along the buckled tiles
And caressed the curling oak pews
Fate hadn't been kind to this place
But this house of a forgotten god
Still stood straight and didn't lean
This body had endured, outlasted
Her smoky smile lit my chambers
Relighting even the burnt candles
Raging where they once sputtered
She doesn't even realize how long
I've been right here waiting for her
The one who could love all my scars
Days, months and years had passed
And I'd forgotten my own name
As wind and rain wore me down
A crumbling edifice had clung tight
To the ancient bonework beneath
Before finding life again after so long
She could feel beneath my skin
Feel the bones of this cathedral
This monument of flesh and blood
- Tyrell Tinnin
Hearts of Men
‘Hearts of Men’ is available worldwide through these outlets:
Mike can be reached via his social media here:
earts of Men is the debut book authored by 39-year-old Toronto native, Mike M. Misevicius. Mike, who is a construction contractor by day, and a writer by night, currently resides in Napanee - a small quaint town with a population of a little under 16,000 in southeastern Ontario.
A few other creative minds coincidently hail from Napanee - recording musician Avril Lavigne; Gemini Award-winning actor Albert Schultz, who starred in TV Hit Drama, 'Street Legal'; Kathleen F. Daly was a turn of the century (1898) painter whose work can be found in exhibits in Canada & London, England; H. Bedford-Jones, who was a Candian historical adventure/fantasy and science fiction writer who published over 100 novels and was considered one of the leading pulp fiction writers of the 20th century; and Harry Ham, an early silent actor who played the leading role in the 1921 UK film, The Four Feathers.
This creative history, as well as the annual music and arts festivals in Napanee, point to a place deeply rooted in the arts.
It’s perhaps a place like this where a construction contractor by trade, can naturally go from pounding nails and digging trenches in the hot summer months, to trading the hammer for pen and settling into the long, cold off-season for storytelling and prose.
The rich creative heritage of Napanee aside, Mike credits the root of his passion for creative writing to his mother:
“While my interest in construction came from my grandfather, my passion for creative writing had come from my mother. She published and sold her heart-felt poetry all across Canada and elsewhere through bookstores and personally in varying art shows. Her work always intrigued and inspired me to take part and indulge in creative writing at school and at home. For me, writing, art, and creating, in general, is vital in my life and a major daily passion.”
The author’s debut book, Hearts of Men, released worldwide on November 29th, 2019 by Austin Macauley Publishers, moves with calculated grit and fierce velocity, stopping for rest only when it seems safe. It is a tale of seven unassuming, ordinary young men from all over North America. They awaken separately, one by one, in a vast, uncharted green wilderness. Disoriented and confused, they gradually stumble upon each other within the woods, and through their common plight, quickly grow close. Armed with newfound friendships and relentless perseverance, the group must endure immense fatigue, extreme hunger, psychological torment, and the unforgiving elements if they are to survive and unravel the mystery of where they are and why. These men face unbelievable odds, as they travel the forest in search of freedom, truth, and justice.
jay T. Harding
Jay T. Harding considers himself an upper echelon curmudgeon and grassroots humorist that is immensely attracted to both the profound and profane.
He is equally comfortable talking about the divine nature of the soul or the art of public flatulence. Possessing a crisp, intellectual style, Jay loves to not only push the literary envelope, he throws it on the floor and stomps on it.
He has enjoyed limited success as a feature newspaper writer, as well as having a number of poems published over the years, and has a collection of short stories available on Amazon. His first novel - OOBERS - is also available on Amazon in e-book and paperback, and is published by Firefly and Wisp Books.
The blessing of a recent heart attack has afforded him the opportunity to pursue his dream in creative writing as a novelist. He writes in Florence, Alabama by the banks of the Tennessee River and is surrounded by loving friends, family, and his best pal, the neurotic cat Jack. His Latest release Harsh Wind is a partial collection of the short stories, essays, anecdotes and poetry. Excerpt below.
Follow the link for purchase.
Toilet Paper Hell
Something just had to be set straight or my mind would implode from the horror of this rank existence, and the humidifier called out to me from a bloated sea of underwear, unopened bills, Certs and other flippancies left to rot on my dresser. The ceiling fan above us hummed like a timepiece, competing with the TV always on high, the in-blowing and out-blowing fans always on high, and my brain always on high. I looked directly at her and saw her propped up, bottom lip out, raptly examining a ceramic kitten in her hands, and lost in a sea of memories, pouring them out with acrylic paint and a needle-thin brush. I repeated my questions this time exactly between the ceiling fan’s hum and her phlegm-filled coughing bursts showering the atmosphere with millions of tiny diseased droplets carried by the breeze, and I knew she heard me the instant I spoke, because she replied without looking up, “I suppose it should be stored for the summer unless we need it.” It was my cue to lift the water-filled fluorescent plastic bin and exit the room, cord in toe like an orphaned, emaciated elephant trunk.
Across the hall to the bathroom: empty toilet paper rolls like Easter Island figures shared the floor with various pieces of hardware that used to perform simple tasks like holding towels or toilet paper (mental note: toilet paper, recurrent motif, what does it mean?) Wet towels slumped over every available surface like Salvador Dali clocks, and the shade was pulled up again, so the backdoor neighbors could peer at us with their binoculars. I quivered the sloshing, slimy bundle down on a sink blackened by spittings and shavings and half-assed wetting-of-the-hands after shitting in the even blacker toilet that ran and ran and ran until juggling the handle seven times and closed the blinds again before returning to my task of retiring the humidifier.
The vapor-juiced slick core piece twisted sideways until its tabs gave way and raised from the bin with a great sucking noise, exposing what used to be city water. I laid it in the sink to drain, hoisted the reservoir upside down and shook, mixing new swamp with old, where I wipe off my dentures every morning before drowning them in powder and sticking them in my head, and shook the wet plastic jug like a marimba, knowing full good and well I couldn’t get all the swirling pockets of bacterial colonies out with just a good jostling, then screwed the top back on, wrapped its cord around its neck like a noose while giggling and talking to myself in that deep-south way I do when I’m totally over the edge: “Yep, gonna haide ya up hyar in this hyar draaar so ya c’n fester, ‘n ripin’ up jes raght til we get the ‘sumpshuns agin and hawl ya out and fill ya up and plug ya in so’s to help us breathe in a new plague,” ramblings dribbled out of my mouth and my eyes watered up with laughter as I lifted the still filthy humidifier into the drawer just above the Tylenol, Band-Aids, cough medicine, ointments, and Easter Island toilet paper roll drawer.
For an additional excerpt of the book and to learn more about the author
“Do we still use this? Should we?” My right hand lay lifeless on the fetid, ignored humidifier. Ordinarily, I would have looked right over it as I did all the rest of the filth surrounding us, but the last two hits of acid had just kicked in and my brain was locked in an overloaded ADHD frenzy that demanded that I do something. Just one tiny act of order in this surreal jungle of clothes, smoke, cardboard, and dried nose clearings wrapped up in a sea of toilet paper grenades. Everywhere, everywhere, ashes, dust, dust, dust, spider webs in the cracked walls staring down at us. Cloudy paintings stared, filmed over with soot from six years of two-pack-a-day adults floundering in a king-sized waterbed, purchased with that card those nice mortgage folks gave us after signing all those papers in that sterile room with sweaty drinks and sweaty palms. That was the card we maxed out in six months just before picking up an answering machine to hide behind. Mismatched socks rested like multicolored rose petals on the carpet, camouflaging paperclips and discarded envelopes along with the occasional penny, only scrounged for when times were tight. Dog and cat hair migrated with our movements, and I could tell we were spending far too much time in the bedroom.
Artwork by Robin Theriault
This was the first of a lifelong string of these incidents. Some not as profound, some not so meaningful, but all leaving me with a fear to dream. Not every dream. Just those dreams. I could tell the difference. They were different. Slower. More vibrant. At the forefront of my brain rather than foggily intermingled in the depths of my subconscious.
Candace Harding Medel
Artwork by Robin Theriault
Like the hands of death, we can't hide from reality indefinitely.
We know it's waiting, waiting to be dealt with, acknowledged.
Time waits for no one.
We set out in life with a plan, a goal
a strong sense of where we are going and how we will get there.
If we aren't extremely diligent
these plans will crumble before our inexperienced eyes
leaving us spiraling down a path we swore we would never cross.
Not fighting for what we know is our kismet is the true sin.
Selling yourself short, giving up, backing down
Not a chance in hell.
Candace Harding Medel
Artwork By Branwen R. Drew
Some days are so crazy
Thinking is impossible
The idea of focusing becomes a dream and
All plans fly out of the window
Take advantage of the moments
That erase all the chaos
Then live like it's your last day
Candace Harding Medel
Actor and Model: Dominic Chianese Jr.
The black and white foot put forward
Here, where there's fire,
There's smoke and mirrors
Every distant look
Each brick added to the wall
The result of a moment
Wished to be forgotten
Wall builders who smile in private
Or those who flash a Pan Am
Keeping the question wolves away
All a product of an environment
Or chosen by us
A key that doesn't exist
Needed to enter the gate
Unless by chance
The guards have left their base
A glimpse of my real face
-Candace Harding Medel
i can hear
her soft voice
not enough alcohol
to push down the demons these days
the sun comes out
& all the slaves shout for freedom
even though they wait for their masters
to reclaim their lives
a safety net for tribalism
we’re all in this together
for the life of me
i can’t recall a time
when a complete stranger asked me
about my feelings
don’t you love the charade?
Read about this poet below.
oseph Roman grew up in Bensonhurst, a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY during the 1980s. At the time, very few people in the neighborhood were into the creative arts, which left him feeling out of place when he dreamt of becoming a writer.
He became more serious about his writing as he matured and made his way through high school. Unable to relate to the poetry he read in English classes, he searched for more modern works with more edge and grittiness to them. The first poet to truly capture his attention was Jim Carroll. He could relate. Carroll had a tough upbringing and drug addiction. Two things kids living in Brooklyn in the ’80s were all too familiar with.
When Roman left the neighborhood, moved out on his own...he did it big. He left his writing behind and headed to California. Unfortunately, a new location doesn’t change everything. He was still plagued with hardships and sorrow. To deal with the pain of many catastrophes including the tragic death of his mother, he turned to the only thing he knew would ease his suffering; writing.
Roman states that he writes for those on the fringes of our society, for those that feel they have no way out and no escape from the pain. He feels his work can best be described as “punk rock” poetry. He humbly says his work isn’t for everyone, perhaps better suited to those who enjoy reading poems in dingy cafes.
He’s a rule-breaker, a bit on the dark side of the writing spectrum, and has no desire to fit into the crowd.
We're proud to feature a few of Joseph's poems. We hope you enjoy!
"I write for those on the fringes of society. I write for those who feel that they have no way out from their pain."
Faint whispers are the only language I can understand.
I’m the secret best kept for the words on sullen pages.
To make the pain subside,
but it’ll be waiting for me as the day ends.
I’ve crossed so many battlefields.
I’m too tired to cross another.
The drunken days used to excite,
now the thought of intoxication bores me.
I can hear the sounds of music somewhere,
I hope their smiles are genuine.
skins me alive
a soft residue
speak to her skin
& the sand contains purity
i can see it
her eyes beckon me once more