Tips to Help Your Short Story Succeed at TTR

Tips to help you succeed with your short story at TTR:
1. If a story has been declined without a request for revision, please do not send it again, even if it has been a number of years. Submittable has a button to click on that pulls up, in seconds, all of the submissions by any one author. Inevitably, one of us remembers the story.
2. We are currently not interested in stories that focus on the POV of a male who is afflicted with toxic masculinity. We’re not interested in spending time inside this type of person’s head. However, a story in which toxic males are present and there is pushback against this attitude and behavior will be considered. A fine example of this is the 2018 winner of the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award, which you can read on our website.
3. We are not interested in stories that are not cognizant of language when referencing American Indians and are not truly authentic to their experiences. Comparing American Indians to animals (even if trying to elucidate the government’s racist policies), writing about their spiritual or religious beliefs or cultural practices when you have only researched this from afar, writing in their POV and when the character becomes violent saying something like it is their “Indian blood” coming out, and so forth, are big no-no’s at TTR. Some stories told by American Indians are considered sacred to them and not to be shared outside the tribe. If you are non-indigenous and have worked hard to be authentic (and not just by reading books written by white people) and have vetted your story with a number of important people within the tribe you are writing about (if you are writing about the tribe’s cultural and spiritual practices and beliefs), please feel free to send it.
4. See number two but insert a racist or homophobic POV.
5. Please do not send angry, defiant, defensive, demeaning, rude cover letters. If you don’t like our submission guidelines or our hard work to be inclusive to all peoples, send your story somewhere else.
6. We won’t publish you story if there is objectification of women within it. This is when the story focuses on women’s physical attractiveness and describes women according to how a male judges their body and appearance. Sometimes these narratives will compare women to animals. In these stories, often the male characters are then described according to their character and personality traits but not their physical appearance. Sometimes the main character is not the stereotypical toxic male, but this objectification sneaks into the narrative. See number two about toxic masculinity and the need for pushback against this.
7. Sometimes we still see stories where the characters are stereotypes. Don’t send those.
8. Make sure your main character has a problem or dilemma they need to try and resolve in the story. This makes your story interesting and engaging. We aren’t interested in pieces that are just descriptions of someone’s life. The short story is an art form and all readers expect writers to honor this form, no matter how experimental the work, no matter how young the reader or modern the reader or old the reader. The number one complaint amongst readers from all walks of life that have been staff at TTR is lack of narrative arc. Make sure the character’s problem becomes apparent to some degree by page 2. This is called “tension.” A narrative arc is what makes a piece, a short story. How this is done is open to an enormous amount of leeway. Read William Maxwell’s short story “The Thistles in Sweden” which is seemingly about nothing, but is in fact, a short story.
9. If you send us fantasy, science fiction, or historical fiction, please make sure the story is focused on character development rather than plot. For historical fiction, please be cognizant of language.
10. Do not front load your story with exposition and backstory. Start your story as soon as possible to when the tension (see above) enters the character’s life.
11. The stories we publish at TTR have what we consider to be substance. Substance makes us respond either emotionally or intellectually or both. Substance has weight, even in humor.
12. Be careful not to send us stories that are for children. We get a surprising number of good stories that are suited to children and teenagers and not adults. The focus in the story is only on what children concern themselves with. While important to children or teenagers, the concerns are boring to adults. This is a tricky balance. But see “The Gun Rack” by WA Polf in TTR October 2016 and “The Cigarette Thieves” by Renee Macalino Rutledge in TTR April 2017 for examples of a main character that is a child, but the story appeals to adult readers. Also, Flannery O’Connor’s “The Lame Shall Enter First” and Edward P. Jones’s short stories often have juvenile characters but are written for adults. Maybe one way to analyze this is to think about how shallow the story is; the more shallow the less likey to engage an adult.
13. Did we say character, character, character? Fleshy and whole. Alive on the page.
14. We do care about language usage at the sentence-level. Prose that appears wrought with the need for line edits will be declined. Numerous typos and grammatical errors are off-putting.
15. Finally, make sure your story knows what it is about. Is it a victim of thematic hoarding? Our heads are spinning. Does it need a spring cleaning? Too much clutter with plot lines, characters, themes, makes for a messy story that still reads as if it doesn’t know why it exists yet. Take the time to find out. The shorter the story, the tighter the focus.
16. These recommendations are very specific to TTR. There are lots of journals publishing fabulous stories and they may or may not disagree with us entirely or in certain areas. This makes for a thriving, committed, and passionate literary world. Seek out the publishers and editors who will appreciate your stories.

Meet our 2018 Best of the Net Fiction Nominees

Welcome to the second installment of our Best of the Net recognition series featuring our 2018 nominees. In this post, we are spotlighting our choices for the fiction category. It is with great pleasure that we nominate the following contributors to be considered for Sundress Publication‘s 2018 Best of the Net anthology.

Lee Kvern, “Sangfroid in Two Movements” in TTR 3.3

10527414_10153040274761164_50703296624167825_nLee Kvern is the Canadian award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her short stories in recent collection 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the national CBC Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award.  Afterall was selected for Canada Reads (Regional), and nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute, The Tishman ReviewsubTerrain, and Globe&Mail.

ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET:

Grace Singh Smith, “Oshini” in TTR 3.3

Grace-Singh-Smith-for_AGNIGrace Singh Smith’s fiction and nonfiction is forthcoming or has appeared in AGNI, Santa Monica Review, Cleaver, Aster(ix), The Texas Review, and The Tishman Review. Her short story “Oshini” was a semi-finalist and special mention for the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award 2017 (The Tishman Review) and her short story “The Promotion” was cited as Notable in Best American Short Stories 2016. A native of Assam, India, she now lives in Santa Monica with her husband and handsome editorial support animal, a yellow lab named Samson. Grace holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and, in another life, is the spokesperson for Santa Monica College. She is finishing (!) her first novel Goddess of Spiders.

ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET:

And the Winner is …

And the winners are ...

Our Top Ten for the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award 2018

Congratulations to the following authors for making the TOP TEN in the 2018 Tillie Olsen Short Story Award! One of these semi-finalists will be named the winner.

  1. Earth by Vanessa Garcia
  2. The Valley of Death by Jeannette Garrett
  3. Kitty Love by Ann Kammerer
  4. With the Sparrow by Mimi Kawahara
  5. night out by Kay Lin
  6. A Matter of Rocks by Judith McKenzie
  7. A set of distances by Rachael Mead
  8. Attention by Marianne Rogoff
  9. An Altar of Skins by Jeremy Schnotala
  10. Rehabilitation by Julie Zuckerman

 

Tillie Olsen Short Story Award 2018 Final Judge

The Tishman Review is pleased to announce the final judge of the 2018 Tillie Olsen Short Story Award is the award-winning author Tori Malcangio.

TORI

Tori Malcangio received her journalism degree from Arizona State University and her MFA from Bennington College. She lives with her family in San Diego where, besides writing fiction, she is also a freelance advertising copywriter. Stories are forthcoming or have appeared in: Glimmer Train, ZYZZYVA, The American Literary Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Mississippi Review, AGNI Online, Tampa Review, cream city review, River Styx, Ruminate, Passages North, and more. She is a winner of the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize, The American Literary Review Fiction Prize, and the Waasmode Short Fiction Prize. She was awarded a 2016 Writing by Writers Residency and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She hopes to one day find the last line to her novel.

Submissions open February 1 to March 30, 2018

Best of the Net 2017 Fiction Nominees

We are beyond delighted to nominate the following pieces and writers for their work to be included in the Best of the Net Anthology, a project of Sundress Publications.

René Houtrides, nominated for her fiction piece “The Ride of Her Life” TTR 2.4

Rene HoutridesRené Houtrides was born and raised near Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy. Her stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Mississippi Review, Carve Magazine, and other publications. Her story “Knife, Barn, My Harvey” was included in The Georgia Review’s Spring 2011 retrospective of the finest short stories from the past 25 years, and her story  “Workers in Trees” was included in the print anthology of the best Crack the Spine Literary Magazine stories of 2013. She was a staff writer for the Woodstock Times, and her weekly sports column, for the same newspaper, received a First Place New York Press Association Award. Her personal essays have aired on public radio. Her play Calamity Jane was produced in New York City. She holds an MFA in writing from Bard College and is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School’s drama division.

ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET

Rick Hoffman, nominated for his fiction piece “Biyanî” TTR 3.2

Rick Hoffman is a high school English teacher. His stage play, The Rocky Road to Dublin, won the Huntington Village Theatre Company’s contest for Long Island playwrights in 2003. He is the author of the novel The Devils That Haunt You, and his short fiction has appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Driftwood Press, where he has also served as a guest editor. His upcoming work is scheduled to appear in the December 2017 issue of Edify Fiction. He lives with his wife and sons on Long Island, where he is writing his second novel.

ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET

And the WINNER Is …

The Tishman Review is pleased to announce that final judge Linda LeGarde Grover has selected the short story “Confluence” by Adam Kotlarczyk as the WINNER of the 2017 Tillie Olsen Short Story Award!

 

Adam Kotlarczyk
Adam Kotlarczyk

Adam Kotlarczyk’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His stories have appeared in such publications as The Tishman Review, The First Line, Alt Hist, Dual Coast Magazine, Dovetales Literary Journal, With Painted Words, and SQ Mag. Adam has written articles and produced scholarship for publications including The Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal and Notes on American Literature. He recently completed his first novel, a fantasy epic. Adam has a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature and writing at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a public residential high school near Chicago for gifted and talented students.

You can read more of Adam’s writing here:

“Prison Ghost Tours, Inc.” in With Painted Words

The Super Sea Trade League Strike Force (TM)” in Cahoodaloodaling

Outbreak” in SQ Mag

Big Teacher” in The Tishman Review 2.2

Congratulations, Adam!

 

Tillie Olsen Short Story Award 2017 Special Mention by Linda LeGarde Grover

Oshini by Grace Singh Smith

Tillie Olsen Short Story Award 2017 Semi-Finalists

Sangfroid in Two Movements by Lee Kvern

How Poor People Decorate by LB Johnston

Vacancy by Keren Heenan

Boat People by Y.L. Fein

Make Your Mother Happy by billy lombardo

The Road to Leongatha by Alex Reece Abbott

Let Mythical Beasts Flourish by David Armstrong

Addition by Ksenia Lakovic

The Nebraska Hula by Kendall Klym

Somebody Else’s Christmas by Shayne Laughter

The Paring Knife by Brady Huggett

Cindy Jack and the Town Drunks by Markus Egeler Jones

Crocodile in the Elevator by Gail Schwartz

Such Sweet Thunder by David Norman

The Star Spiders by Douglas Thiele

We Began to Live by Jennifer Gravley

Drenched by Israela Margalit

The Easy One by John Maki

TillieOlsen
Tillie Olsen

 

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. 

The Tishman Review 3.3 Launches on July 30th with the Winning Short Story, the Special Mention, and two of the Semi-Finalists! Upcoming issues will also host other semi-finalists. Fabulous stories to knock your slippers about and make sure we remember Tillie Olsen.

2016 storySouth Million Writers Award Winner

Congratulations to Lee L. Krecklow winner of the 2016 storySouth Million Writers Award!!

AuthorHeadshot

Lee won this year’s storySouth Million Writers Award for his short story “The Son of Summer and Eli.”

You can click here to read Lee’s fabulous story in The Tishman Review 1.2 : The Son of Summer and Eli .

Lee L. Krecklow is the author of The Expanse Between (2017, Winter Goose Publishing). He’s lived his whole life in the Milwaukee area, earning his bacehlor’s degree from UWM, where he focused on film studies, English and journalism. He was the winner of the 2016 storySouth Million Writers Award for his story The Son of Summer and Eli (The Tishman Review 1.2). Other recent work has been included in Eclectica, Oxford Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and Storycord.

 

expansebetweencover

When former writer and social recluse Thomas Stone witnesses through his window a violent fight between his neighbor and her boyfriend, the scene ignites memories that, years earlier, inspired his only celebrated novel. Revitalized, he writes what he witnessed and, for weeks after, watches his neighbor ceaselessly, secretly following her when she leaves her home, using her to inform his “fictional” character. But when contact with her is threatened, Thomas panics and begins pulling any strings he can to propel his story—his creation—toward a conclusion on his own terms.

“Krecklow delves deep into the issues of lust, morality, and the mirage of privacy in these
pages—his captivating characters are at once unsympathetic and unflinchingly human.”
-Sara Rauch, Editor, Cactus Heart Press

“Krecklow’s voice clamors for a truth, one which comes from the edges of near misses and modern relationships.” -Jim Warner, Host, Citizen Lit

 

About The Expanse Between

Release Date: May 9th, 2017
List Price: $13.99 Print / $5.99 eBook
ISBN: 978-1-941058-61-9
Language: English
Page Count: 245
Genre: Literary, Suspense, Noir
Formats: Paperback (6” x 9”), Kindle, Nook
Distribution: Ingram

Where to Buy:
Bookstores order via Ingram.
Readers order via barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, Kindle Store and Nook Store

 

Review of Paul Griner’s “Hurry Please I Want to Know”


train track

Hurry Please I Want to Know (Sarabande Books 2015)
$15.95
168 pages

Review by Jen Corrigan

image001Patient, meticulous readers will be rewarded. Paul Griner’s depiction of America in his short story collection, Hurry Please I Want to Know, winner of the 2016 Kentucky Literary Award, is, at once, delicate, robust, and familiar, bewildering, exotic, and entirely foreign. While readers may feel disoriented and on uneven footing as they pick through the pieces, I think those who continue on will be pleased with the journey they take through this odd and eerie land of Griner’s unrelenting, unapologetic prose.

Griner’s range as a fiction writer is expansive. He experiments with microfiction, longer pieces, first person and third person narration, characters, places, temporalities, magic realism, traditional narratives. Pinpointing a particular thread, image, voice, or style that ties together these varied stories presents a challenge. While this may create a jarring sense of inconsistency for the reader at first, this grab bag of fiction shorts is ultimately satisfying. If a reader doesn’t feel a connection to one story, she stands a likely chance of being profoundly moved, inspired, or taken aback by the next.

The crowning achievement of Griner’s collection is, without a doubt, the gut-wrenching “On Board the SS Irresponsible,” a story that centers on a father taking his three children on a fishing outing one summer afternoon. The piece explores family dynamics around the rift of divorce, the complex and overlapping relationship of hope and sorrow, and the inescapability of paternal guilt. It is a story that first appears quiet and unassuming, a traditional narrative that is sandwiched in the collection between two flash fiction pieces with experimental flavors; however, this piece, which appears about a third of the way into the collection, has a climatic energy that serves to speed the reader’s pace onward. Not only did I find the story intricate and complex on a purely textual level, it climbed down my throat and made a nest inside my belly, resonated inside my bone marrow and rattled the teeth in my gums; it was all so unexpected. Griner took my readerly expectations and turned them up and over. By forcing my focus onto the significance of a boat through the title and the situation of the family around the vessel, I was unable to predict the arrival of a train, the unapologetic catalyst for the final tragedy of the story. I read the last sentence: “For a few seconds more, he wanted to spare her that knowledge” and my soul ached. I put down the book, exhaled, and gave thanks I had not gone my whole life without reading it. Picking up this collection is worth it if only to read just this one story.

Part of what characterizes Griner’s range as a writer is his ability to suture together the comedy and the tragedy that so often appear alongside one another in life. What makes the prose itself especially elegant is the way in which he takes chaos and loss and places them so easily within the controlled structure of his narratives. After drawing the reader into and out of a sense of comfort with “On Board the SS Irresponsible,” his stories begin to thematically fade into subtlety and quietude, but never relief. The crux of “Separate Love” is the beauty and sadness of fleeting relationships, of reaching out and trying to be a bit less alone. An older woman, Gwynn, meets handsome Terry at a grocery store while buying mustard and attends a local dog show in hopes of running into him again. “Loneliness,” Griner writes, “was a terrible gnawing thing that age only intensified.” By means of the carefully selected diction, Gwynn, a nice-looking but otherwise unremarkable woman, is juxtaposed against the painstakingly and purposefully bred dogs that are much more beautiful to Terry. Griner respects but does not coddle his readers; the collection he assembles is one that is deliberately uneven, forcing the reader in and out of vastly different worlds over and over again, but Griner holds faith that his reader will keep up. Most importantly, Griner has an intense compassion for his characters even as he manipulates them into an emotional space of touching, overlapping, and becoming, once again, sorrowful strangers.

Not all of Griner’s stories in Hurry Please I Want to Know affected me as did these I mentioned. Some pieces are so esoterically crafted that they may resonate solely with the author or readers who have an inside look into the narrative. Others I forgot after I closed the book. However, I think this collection, with its diverse nature and broad scope, contains a story for every reader, a story that echoes one’s regretful humanity, a story that will make the reader, at least one time, close her eyes and exhale.

Jen Corrigan is a graduate student and instructor at the University of Northern Iowa, and former editorial intern at the North American Review. Her prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Heather; Apocrypha and Abstractions; The Gambler; Change Seven Magazine; Hypertext Magazine; Cease, Cows; and elsewhere. She serves as a jury member for Mash Stories. Visit her at jencorrigan.wordpress.com.

A Conversation with Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

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by Stella M. Chávez

9781476784977“Barefoot Dogs Stories,” recognized as a Kirkus Reviews Best Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book, both of 2015, and a winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award for 2015, is the debut collection of linked short stories from Antonio Ruiz-Camacho. Ruiz-Camacho is a native of Toluca, Mexico. He spent nearly two decades working as a journalist in Mexico, Europe, and the U.S. He was a 2009 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and a 2014 Dobie Paisano Fellow in Fiction (sponsored by the University of Texas and Texas Institute of Letters). Ruiz-Camacho received his MFA from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Barefoot Dogs” has been translated in Spanish and is now out in paperback.

I spoke to Antonio by phone in June. I had met him at the Texas Book Festival in Austin last fall after attending a discussion he moderated with author Luis Alberto Urrea, whom I’d previously met at a writer’s conference. After their talk, I walked with the two authors to the book-signing tent. I picked Urrea’s brain about writing and told him a little bit about what I was working on. I was also curious to learn more about Antonio’s book and his journey as a writer.

RuizCamacho_colorI’m inspired by authors. I’m especially interested in the work of journalists and Latino authors whose stories encourage me to continue exploring my family’s roots and thinking of ways to turn that research into a collection of stories.

Family is the central theme in these linked “Barefoot Dog Stories” in which the patriarch of a wealthy Mexican family is kidnapped. Through the perspectives of his family members, housekeeper, and mistress, we learn the impact of his disappearance and extent of the toll—how their lives have changed and how they’re coping. Their journeys take us from Mexico to Spain to the U.S.

[The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.]

 

Kidnappings in Mexico and the effects of the drug trade are something we hear about a lot. How did the idea to write about this come about? What was the motivation?

I didn’t intend to write a collection of stories about this topic in the first place. I wrote most of the stories when I was in an MFA [program] at UT-Austin. My intention when I entered the program was to write a novel, but I didn’t really know what the novel would be about. And then when I had to start taking workshops, bringing short stories was better than bringing novel excerpts.

So I just start writing stories as they came to my mind and when I had the first three—the first one in the book, the last one in the book, and one in the middle called “Deers”—I realized that the characters were related, that they belonged to the same family, and that this patriarch was missing because of a disappearance.

I also realized it would be interesting to explore how this event had affected other members of the family.

Talk about the class distinctions. In the beginning, you have the 19-year-old granddaughter and friends preparing for their trip to Italy, learning Italian, interning in museums, and mingling with people who “don’t live in the same neighborhoods as us.” And you have the perspectives of the maid Susy who works at McDonalds and the mistress Silvia and her son. Can you talk about why you wanted to show those differences?

The source of all problems in Mexico is income inequality and the huge gap of opportunity between the haves and have-nots. And you can see all those class distinctions and dynamics represented in one single family.

I’ve worked as a journalist for 20 years now. I started my career in Mexico. Those were the kinds of stories that I would write time and time again, about social differences and inequalities and poverty and natural disasters, and I would have to travel to all kinds of really devastated or isolated places in Mexico and then I would come back home.

I grew up in an upper middle class family household and it would be really hard for me to believe that I was living in the same country where these places existed and where these tragedies were taking place, so I think it’s something that I’m carrying with me and that is keeping me to my fiction work.

Your stories stem from a horrific event, but you manage to inject humor. In the story “Deers,” for example, Susana, or “Susy girl” as she’s called, shows up for work at McDonalds and learns a bear is stuck inside. The conversation between her and her co-worker Conchita is pretty funny at times. Is it difficult to take a serious topic and write it in a way that conveys that seriousness but also captures the lighter moments? How do strike that balance?

To make people laugh is actually harder than to make people cry. And when you have a topic as serious and as somber as this one, well I think what you want to do is to bring some balance to the story so it’s not one awfully depressing that the reader will want to put down the book and forget about after [a few] pages.

Of all the things that people have said about the book, what I appreciate the most is when people say that they laughed. It’s a really serious book.

How have these stories been received here and in Mexico and other Latin-American countries? Is there a difference in terms of the reaction or response to the stories?

In Mexico, this is a domestic issue and people are painfully aware of the reality behind the book. Here in the States, the readers relate more to the relationships among the different characters in terms of family and power. But In Mexico, this is almost a personal issue for many families. The reception has been really positive.

The book that deals with that topic in Mexico usually is about the narcos or the fight between drug cartels and the army, or the drug cartels and the police and the corruption among law enforcements, and it’s mostly about working class members of this group.

But how these events affect people in their everyday lives is something that (at least this is what I’ve been told) they haven’t seen in other books. So this is like a different perspective, and it’s something that is what I actually wanted to do. I didn’t want to concentrate on the violence itself but rather on the consequences of that violence in everyday life, the emotional consequences.

As a Latino writer, do you feel a responsibility and pressure to write about your community in a certain way?

The way I work in fiction is pretty similar to the way I work in journalism. I feel that the characters come to me and are like my sources. They tell me the story and my job is just to report on that story.

I think my job is to write as objectively as possible and as thoroughly as possible. What I’m aiming for when I write fiction is that the reader feel something after reading these stories, the characters elicit some sort of emotion from the reader.

What kind of emotion? I don’t really care. I don’t mind if you end up hating the character or really disliking them or actually loving them or feeling related to them as long as you feel something after reading the stories, I think I did my job.

You started out as a journalist and now you’re writing fiction. Do you find that the training and experience you received as a journalist has helped you in writing fiction? If so, how?

In this case, the sources are living in my head as opposed to outside where I can call and request an interview or read to gather more information. But it definitely has helped me tremendously, my background in journalism.

You know that in journalism when a deadline comes, whatever you have, it’s what you’ve got. And if you worked long and hard on your precious story, and on deadline, and you need to edit it to half of what it is now, you have to. You cannot cling to your work for too long.

And even the way you observe the world as a reporter, you’re analyzing everything and observing and paying attention to details because you need all that information to write a compelling account.

Can you talk a little bit about your next project?

I’m working on a novel and, actually, the protagonist is a reporter who worked for a newspaper in Mexico City. The story takes place in the late 90s and this reporter is trying to find out two truths: one, whether there’s a new radical, potential terrorist group in the north of the country and two, whether his late wife, who was also a photographer for the same newspaper and who just passed away, was having an affair with another reporter.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

To add a little bit to my answer to your first question, I wrote these stories [while] in the MFA [program] at UT Austin in 2010 and 2012 and I was already working here as a journalist when this wave of violence reached its peak in Mexico. I couldn’t write about it as a journalist because I was here. I was working on something else and it haunted me what was going on in Mexico that I couldn’t even be there to write about it as a reporter. The only way I think that I found to do so was by writing fiction.

After nearly 13 years as a reporter for daily newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida, Stella M. Chávez now reports for KERA, the NPR affiliate in Dallas, Texas. She covers education and contributes to major news issues such as the Ebola spread in Dallas, the migration of unaccompanied minors to Texas, and the recent shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers. In 2014, Stella wrote and produced the eight-part series Generation One on the impact of immigration on schools in North Texas. Her essay, “Growing up with Silvia,” about her mentally ill sister, is published in the literary journal Ten Spurs.

Stella has won several state and national awards, including the 2007 Livingston Award for Young Journalists in National Reporting for her award-winning entry “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part series she co-authored that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. You can find her personal essays on caregiving in her blog, “My Parents’ Keeper.”