A Review of Jaguar Dreams

“How to Walk Like a Warrior”

Review by Joey Madia

In 2009 I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first novel in the New Dimensions Trilogy, Journey to the Heart, followed by 2013’s New Dimensions of Being earlier this year.

In the third book of the trilogy, Lucina undertakes a classic Hero’s Journey to try and locate her former love, Teleo, whose last contact had been from Guatemala City. No longer content to sit and wait for him to come to her, Lucina follows her heart through the city, the jungle, and on the edge of the ocean to win back his love and once more walk upon the path she had so dearly paved at the start of New Dimensions of Being. Continue reading

Music of the Sacred Lakes

An angry young man confronts himself in a magical setting

Music of the Sacred Lakes by Laura K Cowan

Review by Malcolm R. Campbell

“The whole world used to be this quiet. Here in the land of the inland seas, land of tamarack swamps and aspen forests, of sand dunes watched over by ancient stands of virgin timber and dense second-growth forests, the quiet remained. This land, in Northern Michigan, ever so slightly closer to the North Pole than the Equator, was a paradise of endless days in the brief and blinding summers, a haven for the thinker and the sleeper over the long snowy winters, and a welcoming place for an unhappy life.”

Laura K. Cowan (“The Little Seer”) brings her knowledge of Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan to this gently told, magical novel about the profound interactions of a highly conflicted character with the place where he lives.  For six generations the Sanskevicz family has farmed land once occupied by the Odawa and Ojibwe tribes. Peter doesn’t want the farm, firmly believing that the summer tourists have more resonance for this quiet world than he does. Continue reading

Long Man

An elegantly told story of a dam, a doomed town, and those who will lose their land

by Amy Greene

Review by Malcolm R. Campbell

In the summer of 1936 there was one woman left on the mountaintop where the river’s headwaters formed in rocks ages old and shining with mica, the sediment washing down to tinge its shoals yellow-brown. Most others with her last name had died or moved on decades ago. Though darkness came to her high place first she could climb to this limestone ridge overlooking the cornfields and see daytime lingering in the valley below.

Amy Greene (“Bloodroot”) lives in the foothills of eastern Tennessee where she was born and raised and, as the lyrical prose in Long Man testifies, fell in love with the land and the blue-collar Appalachian people who cling to their world through floods and droughts with great determination. Continue reading

Danny’s Grace

Powerful Debut Novel Tells Abuse Survivor’s Gritty Story

by Dawn Hawkins

Review by Malcolm R. Campbell

Did you see the way she looked at me? She was barely in the door and she already had a clear idea of who she thought I was. She obviously thinks that I have nothing to drink in my house except alcoholic beverages. She’s just like everyone else. I don’t know why I bother to think that anyone would give me the benefit of the doubt.

“Jack Daniels, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and a little bit of Cutty Sark.”

Don’t give me that look. She deserved it. Perhaps if she hadn’t had the preconceived notion that I could never change, I wouldn’t have felt the need to use my sharply honed sarcastic wit on her. She’s just like everyone else. They figure out who they think you are before they even meet you. You don’t stand a chance of changing their viewpoint once that happens. That’s why I stay to myself these days. People just aren’t worth my time. Continue reading

A Certain Kind of Freedom

Superb Short Stories and Memorable Essays and Poems Compiled and Edited by Beryl Belsky

Review by Malcolm R. Campbell

My objective when choosing the pieces for the anthology was to ensure that they reflected not only literary merit but also the multicultural nature of the website [Writer’s Drawer], as well as universal themes with which we can all identify. — Beryl Belsky, from the Preface

A Certain Kind of Freedom presents ten stories in Short Fiction, ten first-person essays in Stories from Life, eleven poems in Poetry, and three poems in East Asian Style Poetry. While the short stories comprise the most dynamic section of the book, the anthology as a whole successfully fulfills Belsky’s objectives in the preface. Continue reading