The Fall 2023 edition of the Santa Monica Review.

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Complete contents of the Fall 2023 issue

Lauren Hohle – The Cardinal Way
Laura Glen Louis – Where We Live
Laurel Leigh – Mers
Rafael Zepeda – Manitou
J. Mark Smith – On Running — and Drinking — and Saving Time
Lisa Julin Sharon – The Dying of the Light
Tess Canfield – Petty Crimes
George Choundas – My Annihilation Comes Apace
Joachim Glage – The Ambivalent Moller Gitch
Victoria Patterson – Guilt Money
Rebecca Schultz – All Aboard the H.M.S. Spinster
Marcus Spiegel – The Corporate Jester
Michael Guista – The Barbershop

Cover by Mark Vallen


Tess Canfield is an emerging writer with a fellowship in creative writing at Chapman University, whose fiction and essays have been featured in the Santa Monica Review, Charge Magazine, and WePresent. A graduate of Emerson College, she co-manages a literary non-profit called 50 Free Books, which distributes free books from independent bookstores every month. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a very good dog.

George Choundas is a Cuban- and Greek-American with work in over seventy-five publications. His debut essay collection, Until All You See Is Sky, won the EastOver Prize for Nonfiction and was published in Spring 2023. Recently, mid-conversation, his teenage son said, “You just say a word and then say that I’m that word,” to which he replied, “Yeah, that’s generally how language works,” to which his son did not reply but rather just peered at him, the way a young lion peers at an old lion to assess what remains under all that shaggy mane.

Joachim Glage lives in Colorado. “The Ambivalent Moller Gitch” is an installment in a series of fictions Glage is writing about imaginary and fabulous (and sometimes murderous) books; previous works from the series have appeared in Santa Monica Review, The Georgia Review, LitMag, Sci Phi Journal, and many other periodicals and anthologies. A collection of these stories, The Devil’s Library, is forthcoming from Jackleg Press.

Michael Guista is a retired community college professor who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and now lives on the Central Coast. “The Barbershop” is from his unpublished collection Between the Eyes, about growing up male in the San Joaquin Valley. He’s published many times in American Short Fiction, the North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. This is his fourth appearance in Santa Monica Review over the decades.

Lauren Hohle is a graduate of the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands and Eastern Washington University, where she earned her MFA. She is the managing editor of the Gettysburg Review and an alum of the Community of Writers at Olympic Valley and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. In 2022, she was chosen as runner-up for the Black Warrior Review fiction prize by Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Her fiction and essays appear in or are forthcoming from Crab Creek Review, Western Humanities Review, Black Warrior Review, the Sun, Massachusetts Review, and Allium, A Journal of Poetry and Prose. In spite of their flaws, she roots for the LA Dodgers.

Laurel Leigh (1963–2023) grew up on Sherlock Holmes and loved crime stories ever since. Her stories, essays and reviews appeared in The Bloomsbury Review; Borderlands; Clover; A Literary Rag; and The Sun. She was a cofounder of the San Francisco-based Dogpatch Writers Collective. She lived in Fargo, North Dakota.

Laura Glen Louis’s upcoming collection of essays, The Memory of All That, will include her writings on music and the making of it.

Victoria Patterson’s latest story collection, The Secret Habit of Sorrow, was published in 2018. The critic Michael Schaub wrote: “There’s not a story in the book that’s less than great; it’s a stunningly beautiful collection by a writer working at the top of her game.” Her novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture,” was published in 2015. She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches at Antioch University’s Master of Fine Arts program.

Rebecca Schultz lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at UC Irvine. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Lisa Julin Sharon’s fiction has appeared in journals such as Potomac Review, Ploughshares, Sequestrum, and Painted Bride Quarterly. Her novella, Glen Willow Gardens (Gus Gus Press), was published in 2019. She lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and has a novel in progress.

J. Mark Smith, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, is an essayist, poet, and literary scholar. His memoir about foster-to-adopt parenting is forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press. His poems have been published most recently in The Fortnightly Review (New Series). The essay printed here is an abridged version of a longer work in progress.

Marcus Spiegel’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Boulevard, Sycamore Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, Pembroke Magazine, and elsewhere. His story “A Tale of Two Trolls,” originally published in the Spring 2020 issue of Santa Monica Review, was republished in the 2022 Pushcart Prize XLVI anthology.

Andrew Tonkovich edits the Santa Monica Review and is the founding editor of Citric Acid: An Online Orange County Literary Arts Journal of Imagination and Reimagination. He is the author of two fiction collections and co-edited Orange County: A Literary Field Guide with Lisa Alvarez.

Mark Vallen is a Los Angeles-born visual artist pursuing beauty and humanism in art.

Rafael "Ray" Zepeda has published a book of short stories, Horse Medicine and other Stories; three books of poetry, Tao Driver and Other Stories, Can This Wolf Survive?, and Adventures in the Unknown Interior of My Mind; a novel, Seven Desperados; and nine books of poems with Gerald Locklin. He has won an NEA Fellowship in Fiction, a California Artists Award in Fiction, and a Syndicated Fiction Award from PEN. He has been a Contributing Fiction Editor at The Chiron Review since 1989. Zepeda is Professor Emeritus of English at CSULB.

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