Culturally and Character Driven

Carmen Baca

Another author you wish you knew – Carmen Baca answers the question—what is her favorite story she ever wrote?

My first book “El Hermano” will always be special for many reasons, chiefly because I wrote it 25 years before it published in 2017, because it’s about my father’s life, and because it made my dream of being an author come true. After that, I fell in love with short stories, inspired by the back stories of the secondary characters from that book. Now, many of my characters from one book or short story become the main characters of other works. It’s almost like this “family” of elders and people from my childhood want their stories told, so I oblige.

I’m proud of my second book because it taught me I can write horror and mystery; I never knew I could do that till I wrote it. The third book, a collection of short stories, is special because I used some of my culture’s folk tales and legends to create my own cuentos. The fifth is a new genre for me, something I didn’t know I could write either: a murder mystery with three plots told as a short story cycle. I write in diverse genres to keep writing fun and to challenge myself. It’s a big part of why writing is such a joy for me.

I have quite a few short stories I’m especially proud of for different reasons: “Guardian Spirit” because it’s about guardian angels and what they do for both man and animal. “La Luna” is another I’m proud of due to the imagery and tradition interwoven in the story. “The House” and “The Wallflowers,” two of my most recent hit close to home since both are based on true stories.

I write for several reasons—I love writing—every single step of it from concept to marketing after publication. The creative process of discovering characters and their stories is the most fun activity I want to do as long as I have life and an active, vivid imagination. I enjoy sharing my stories, and in my small way, I am trying my best to give a voice to my northern New Mexico Hispanic culture. Our traditions are dying with each generation; I’m endeavoring to keep them alive through literature.

You can connect with Carmen at this link:



Unbreakable Bonds

Jan McCulloch

Another author you wish you knew – Jan McCulloch answers the question of what is her favorite piece she ever wrote. Jan mentions her poem “Back Then.”

“This was my first ever poem so I was thrilled to have it chosen for publication by Clarendon House. The poem is about my wonderful old dog Dougie who taught me so much and was a gentle, loyal working sheepdog. There is a very special bond forged between these hardy working dogs and their shepherds. I am so lucky to have his daughter and his great grandson to work with today.”

I have read Jan’s poem and even though it makes me cry I can’t help wanting to read it again, it is that good! It catches you right in the heart.

Jan is the author of “A Little Dog’s Prayer.”

You can follow Jan at this link –

His Haiku Pack a Powerful Punch

Gary BushaHere’s another author/poet you wish you knew: Gary Busha answering the questions -What is your favorite book/story/poem you’ve written and what prompted it and where can folks can find examples of your work?

Gary: I have 16 mini books published through Wolfsong. at and other works at I’ve been writing, editing, and publishing for the past 50 years. As an editor at Western Publishing I wrote and edited several Trixie Belden series books aimed at girls in their teens. Don’t know what else to say.

Even though he doesn’t say much here, his short poems and haiku will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Gary Busha. It’s great stuff!

If you are a Facebook friend of Gary’s you can view his wonderful haiku, posted daily on his page.

You can find Gary’s books at this link:

Funny Guy on the Loose!

Warren AlexanderHere’s another author you wish you knew: Warren Alexander, poet, short story and article writer answering the questions of what is your favorite book/story you’ve written and what prompted it and where can folks can find examples of your work?

For the Lack Of An ‘N.’

I am working on a satirical novel about business. I wanted to compare a business meeting with a family gathering. As I was dithering about the similarities and differences of the two, I typed the word ‘diner’ instead of ‘dinner.’ The omission of one letter led to a full chapter that I had not expected.

This reaffirmed one of my basic tenets of writing. “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.” Those are the words of Chuck Close, perhaps the greatest living artist.

One mistake led to new characters, a much funnier idea than I originally thought, and what I hope is an engaging chapter. If I had not been working and failing, I would not have found success.

For the Lack Of An ‘N’ publication date: Unknown.

Warren Alexander  grew up in Brooklyn, NY and still lives in New York City. He studied with Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, and E. L. Doctorow, among others at NYU, where he received his MA in creative writing

Short Stories
From Brooklyn to Spain by Subway
Inaugural issue-Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, February 2019
The Call of Ice Cream
The Inner Circle Literary Anthology, December 2019

On Sewers-Inner Circle Writers Magazine, March 2020

How to Write Funny-Inaugural issue-Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, February 2019

You can find other examples of Warren’s work at these links:

A Star in the Making

XimenaAnother author you wish you knew – Ximena Escobar – talks about one of her favorite stories.

I’m really excited about my story “The Making of a Star”, which is included in Black Hare Press’s Twenty Twenty, a 1920s themed anthology (release date 20th Feb). It’s a purely fictional story and not at all personal; the honest product of a smooth creative process. I knew I wanted to write for it because I’ve always loved the 20s and 30s, so I straight away had three different ideas I wanted to explore (all involving creative people as the main characters). One resulted in a story I’ve put in my Ximena folder, the second in “The Making of a Star.” (The third I haven’t written yet!) I wanted to write about an actress in her dressing room, so I did a bit of googling for inspiration and somewhere happened to read that the invention of modern nail polish was an off-shoot of car paint, when the owner of Revlon thought he’d put the amazing colour of a car on women’s nails….this reminded me of a haiku in “Poetica” by Pina Leyland… “Acrylic talons, the colour of Ferrari, ‘Slut Red’ he calls it”. And that was it, simply that the colour of my MC’s nails matched the colour of the car outside. I’d also watched and read about Metropolis and one thing led to another; I knew she’d had to get in the car at some point to justify the opening of the story, but also Pina’s theme is one I often write about. So the story wrote itself, from that point onward. And then a twist which I didn’t see coming… an accident. I do hope I still love it as much when it comes out… I can often over think things but this one flowed so wonderfully and was a joy from start to finish.

You can connect with Ximena here:

The Dreamer

Gary Wilbanks

Another author you wish you knew – Gary Wilbanks – tells about a story he wrote based on a dream.

Gary Wilbanks – My short story, “The Gift,” is out now in Mythic Magazine, Issue #12. The story was based on a dream I had. I don’t know where it came from, but I dreamed of falling in love with a girl who I could not physically touch for fear of killing her. I know that sounds horrible, but the story turned out quite lovely.…/dp/1945810408/

When Your Ship Comes In

Jim BatesAnother author you wish you knew: Jim Bates

Can you tell us, Jim, what inspired you to write “The Mesabi Miner”?

My story, The Mesabi Miner, can now be read on Flash Fiction Magazine. It was inspired by a trip to the port city of Duluth on the shore of Lake Superior. The Mesabi Miner is the name of an actual iron ore carrier, one of about 20 such vessels in operation on the great lakes today. It’s fun to watch the huge ore boats come from the lake, in through the shipping channel under the lift bridge, and into Duluth harbor. Watching that feat is what inspired the story.

Here’s the link to it:…/02/11/the-mesabi-miner/

Photo Credit: Tom Bates

You can also read more stories by Jim at these links: