The Spring 2024 edition of the Santa Monica Review.

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Complete contents of the SPRING 2024 issue

Ben Jahn – Who’s Claire Engle?
Denise Heyl McEvoy – Rescue
Michael Mattes – Wayfinder
James P. Blaylock – The Thing My Father Taught Me
Karen Moulding – The Parking Lot
Bryan D. Price – The Water Will Take Care of the Rest
Geoff Wyss – Target
Michael Cadnum – Party Canyon
Michael Cadnum – Rolling Blackout
James Warner – Mechanismus
Barry Gifford – Big Hands
Janice Shapiro – Better Places
Shane Castle – The Stranger
Kareem Tayyar – The Many Deaths of Masoud Haji
Tinna Flores – Dumb Luck
Jeffrey Steven Moskowitz – Skid Row Cake
Matthew Lawrence Garcia – Meritocrecy
Dwight Yates – Three Letters
Charles Hood – Lost and Found: Wanda Coleman’s Desert Boxes

Cover by Artemio Rodriguez


James P. Blaylock is a World Fantasy Award-winning author and one of the pioneers of the steampunk genre. He has published thirty novels and story collections as well as scores of essays and articles. Despite his close association with steampunk, most of his work is contemporary, realistic fantasy set in southern California, typified by the novels The Last Coin, All the Bells on Earth, and The Rainy Season, which was listed by Orange Coast Magazine as one of the ten quintessential Orange County novels. His latest novel is Pennies from Heaven, published by PS Publishing and available from JABberwocky in ebook. A sequel, The Invisible Woman, is due to be published in 2024.

Michael Cadnum continues to write in Albany, California, and is a happy participant in the Writer Coach Connection working with middle-grade students.

Shane Castle is a writing professor and an editor at Alaska Quarterly Review. Besides Santa Monica Review (“Nightmare,” fall 2022), his stories have appeared or will soon appear in West Branch, Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, Salamander, The Common, and elsewhere.

Tinna Flores was born in Honduras and raised in Miami, Florida. She’s been in a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles since 2010. She has a B.A. in Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California, where she is currently working on a master’s degree in Literary Editing and Publishing.

Matthew Lawrence Garcia is from Albuquerque, NM, and currently lives in Düsseldorf, Germany. He holds an MA in Literature and Translation from University College London and was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain. His work has most recently been published or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast and Copper Nickel, and he was a finalist for the American Short Fiction Halifax Ranch Prize and the Southwest Review David Meyerson Prize. He hosts a literature podcast called Doggerel Diaries, available on all major platforms.

Barry Gifford began writing stories in Chicago in 1956, when he was ten years old. His books include Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Roy’s World: Stories 1973–2020, and The Boy Who Ran Away to Sea. The New York Times Book Review proclaimed him “a master of the short story.” His literary archive is housed at Stanford University. For more information visit

Charles Hood is a naturalist, poet, photographer, and occasional bird guide who has published twenty books and contracted (and survived) bubonic plague. As he says, quoting Monty Python, “I got better.” Recent books include a poetry collection titled Spaceland, a hiking guide to California’s best walks, and Nocturnalia, a book about nature after dark. New work still pending publication includes an essay on the history of mink coats and a book of essays for Heyday centered on seas and seabirds. Now retired as Professor Emeritus, he has also been a dishwasher, a ski instructor, and a translator in Papua New Guinea. Charles lives in the Mojave Desert with two mountain bikes, two kayaks, two dogs, and 5,000 books.

Ben Jahn’s work has appeared in Fence, Hobart, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Tupelo Quarterly, ZYZZYVA, and past issues of the Santa Monica Review. He was a National Endowment for the Arts prose fellow, and his story “Reborn” won NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest and appeared in The Paris Review. His chapbook, Night Protest, is out now from above/ground press. He teaches creative writing at Contra Costa College in Richmond, CA.

Michael Mattes’s fiction can be found in Chicago Quarterly Review, World Literature Today, West Branch, The Carolina Quarterly, Southwestern American Literature, Cirque, and several prior volumes of Santa Monica Review. In summer 2024, Cornerstone Press will publish a collection of his stories titled An Instinct for Movement. That same collection was recently a finalist for the Iron Horse Prize for a first book of prose. Michael resides with his family in Sammamish, Washington, and online at

Denise Heyl McEvoy lives and writes in Orange County, California. This is her second appearance in Santa Monica Review. Her work has also been published in American Short Fiction and the Iowa Review, which nominated her for the Pen America/Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers in 2019. She is an alumna of the Community of Writers Workshop in Olympic Valley, the Chapman University Community Creative Writing Workshop, and Amherst College.

Jeffrey Steven Moskowitz attended public schools in Rosemead, California.

Karen Moulding’s fiction and poetry have appeared in KGB Online Literary Review; The Capra Review;; Smut 2, a best of Nerve anthology (Chronicle Books), and more. Her novel, The Naked Shopper, was named first runner-up in the Red Hen Press “Quill Prose Award” in 2019. She is founder of the bicoastal East Village Writers Workshop, which features Zoom and in-person workshops, and childcare for beleaguered parent-writer attendees. She earned an MFA in Fiction from Columbia … a while back. A frazzled but happy solo mom, she splits her time between Los Angeles and New York with her nine-year-old daughter Fin, an actress extraordinaire. Karen (who bemoans having the name “Karen”) is currently writing about the hilariously misunderstood plight of “stage moms.”

Bryan D. Price is the author of A Plea for Secular Gods: Elegies (What Books, 2023) His stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Diagram, American Chordata, Boulevard, JMWW, Rhino Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in San Diego, California.

Artemio Rodríguez was born in Tacámbaro, Michoacán in 1972. He began his career as a printer’s apprentice with Juan Pascoe, at his renowned letterpress studio Taller Martin Pescador (Kingfisher Workshop) in Tacámbaro, Michoacán. At the age of twenty-one, Rodríguez immigrated to Los Angeles and became a printmaker at Self Help Graphics. He also co-founded La Mano Press in 2002 in Los Angeles before relocating to Michoacán in 2008 as La Mano Gráfica, a gallery and printmaking studio. Rodríguez directs the Library of Illustrated Books (Biblioteca del Libro Ilustrado, BLI) including its traveling library, the Bibliográfico, a converted 1977 Toyota, one of his many public projects, and a companion to the Graficomovil, a 1948 delivery truck converted into a gallery and printmaking studio. Rodríguez is known for his linocut prints as well as his mural-size prints, vehicles, and children’s books. Influenced by both European medieval woodcuts and Mexican cultural symbolism developed by artists like José Guadalupe Posada, Rodríguez’s style emphasizes simplicity, clarity, imbued with a personal narrative. His images come from contemporary icons like American cartoons and Chicano culture, mythology, surrealism, zodiac signs, and Mexican “costumbrismo.” A poet at heart, Rodríguez uses the physicality of the printmaking process to write stories in images. His work has been exhibited internationally, and it is in the collections of many public institutions, including the Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum, Library of Congress, Phoenix Art Museum, and Museo José Guadalupe Posada. A retrospective look at his works can be seen in the book American Dream.

Janice Shapiro is the author of Bummer and Other Stories (Soft Skull Press). Her graphic novel, Honoria, will be published by Fantagraphics Press in January 2025. She has been a frequent contributor to The Santa Monica Review for more than half her life. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and dog.

Kareem Tayyar’s most recent collection, Keats in San Francisco & Other Poems, was published in 2022 by Lily Poetry Review Books.

Andrew Tonkovich edits the West Coast literary journal Santa Monica Review. His short stories, reviews, journalism, and commentary have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, OC Weekly, Ecotone, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He is the author of two fiction collections, The Dairy of Anne Frank and Keeping Tahoe Blue. With Lisa Alvarez he edited the landmark anthology Orange County: A Literary Field Guide and in 2022 founded the online OC journal Citric Acid. He hosts Bibliocracy Radio, a weekly books show on Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California.

James Warner lives in Long Beach, California, where he sometimes teaches yoga classes. Besides Santa Monica Review, his short stories have appeared most recently in Rivet Journal, Your Impossible Voice, and Web Conjunctions. He is one of the moderators of Wednesday Edition, a weekly Zoom writing workshop which is free to attend for anyone who’s interested.

Geoff Wyss’s book of stories, How, won the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Image, Ecotone, Tin House, and others and has been reprinted in New Stories from the South and the Bedford Introduction to Literature. He lives and teaches in New Orleans.

Dwight Yates’s (1942-2023) stories appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies. His first collection, Haywire Hearts and Slide Trombones, received the Kennedy Award from Snake Nation Press, and his second, Bring Everybody, was the inaugural winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction from the University of Massachusetts Press. He was twice a recipient of NEA fiction fellowships, and his short stories and essays appeared frequently in Santa Monica Review.


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