Having survived the doldrums of January, and started actively writing again in February, it’s time to catch up with reading and reviews. I’ve got another post for some brief reviews of other mid-market ‘zines that I’ll publish soon, but I wanted to get caught up on the latest issue of Apparition Literary.

I just realized I haven’t blogged since the very beginning of February. That’s normal for me it seems. Winters are hard and cold and I’m just find it hard to remain motivated. It always improves by March. And hey, it’s March 1st!

So… here we go…

Tea and Owls, by Teresa Milbrodt – On the surface, this is a story of how a girl grows up to be what she was fated to become: a witch who deals in charms and potions for the people of her village who seem to be perpetually sending their sons off to war. But far deeper, this was a story that, to me, was about finding yourself, doing what you’re good at despite your desire to do something else, and meeting those you can love and who may – if you’re lucky enough – love you back, in spite of the role you’ve been forced to assume. It’s a lovely little story I admired, both for the way it swung back and forth between first and second person perspective and did it quite deftly – the “you” parts being her references to the person she’s falling for – as well as the overall mood the writer skillfully develops.

The Goblins of South India, by Naethan Pais – grab your handkerchiefs, because you’re going to need them for this heartbreaking story of one sister’s love and care for another, and the lengths she’s willing to go to try and secure a life for her cursed sibling. Made all the harder because honestly, she fails horribly despite – or because of – her best efforts. I loved exploring a different version of goblins than we know in western literature, and loved the way the author delved into protection that becomes obsession, and pain that never ends even as life is reborn. Impressive writing for the author, whose biography at the end mentions they’re only 17. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from them.

She Calls, by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas – This piece is as different from the last as the last was from the first. This piece is all gorgeous voice, myths connecting with reality, aching hearts drowned in the remembrance of water and water and more water. Hard to do justice to this story, which I truly dug because it’s not “a story” but more of a waking dream that cradles your heart and gently floats it downstream to the pool that waits to receive it. Or maybe its just that I’m a Pisces and really, really love stories that revolve around water and obsession and our dreams. I just realized I’ve told you nothing about this story, which should tell you everything. Read it and love it.

Silver Bells, by Jaime Marvin – Damn, I wish I’d written this one, it’s so wonderfully good. As always, I’m a fan of voice in a story, and this one has strong voice. Sarcastic, witty, while wrapped up with the trans-dimensional weirdness our protagonist is now dealing with. Multiple realities never seemed so fun, and yet at the same time so tragic, as when you’re stuck in the one where it’s always almost Christmas. The snarky main character drives this story forward, despite being stuck in place, and that’s a hell of a trick to pull off. I now really want to hear the song about uncle Ray! I mean, this story is just joyous good fun in every possible way, right down to the happy ending. A great ending to a fantastic issue.

 

Besides the stories, there are additional poems by Crystal Sidell (Charm of Goldfinches) and Gretchen Tessmer (Creek Bed Charms), and an absolutely magnificent cover by Erika Hollice. Apparition Literary continues to put out quality writing, and this is a great issue to sample if you want to see their range, because all four stories are very, very different and very VERY good.

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