Dear Reader:

We were reminded recently that not only is Writer's Cramp a venue for the presentation of quality fiction, poetry essays and visual art, an oasis for readers and a haven for lovers of words, but it's become a hot spot for writers to gather and feel at home.

This is clearly evidenced in the number of fine writers around the world who have adopted "The Crampsite" as the main outlet for their work. These writers return again and again with new and imaginative pieces in the knowledge that their words will be read and appreciated by an ever growing audience of serious and devoted readers. And this is evidenced in the number of hits per month which has reached 25,000 and is increasing steadily.

One of our contributors says, " I'm astounded that I found my way back to fiction - thanks to WC . . . While I could submit to The H-------, I think I'll just channel my stuff in your direction. Writer's Cramp has all the requisites . . . "

Another says, "It's amazing what a little praise can do for one's self-confidence. Truly, since I sent my first story to you, I've written more than I had for a very long time . . . "

And, "As a writer, I was overjoyed to find a quality electronic venue for my fiction. Publishing is fast becoming more and more a closed door to new talent, and Writer's Cramp offers genuine criticism, support, and most of all, a Voice. Through Writer's Cramp, the editor has given me that voice and the courage to continue submitting my fiction to more traditional publishers. Frankly, without WC's willingness to try new talent, I might very well have given up. That's all too rare these days."

The point of this self aggrandizing love fest is simply to remind ourselves that this website has become more than just a magazine for the presentation of good and entertaining writing, it's become a focus for a growing cadre of highly talented people and a meeting place for like and unlike minds who feel confident to say what they want and write what they are compelled to write.

This issue welcomes the return of three of our longest contributing members, Frank Thayer, whose stories and essays have featured in Writer's Cramp since 1999, has returned to fiction with a trilogy of southwestern tales of terror beginning with The Grand Order Of Marbas, and continuing regularly in subsequent weeks with The Shadow Of Geronimo's Mountain, and In The Treasure Room Of Verdez.

Gary Sloan, whose short stories, Prisons and The Contestant and his essays Mark Twain's Covert War with His Maker and Emily Dickinson: Pagan Sphinx, have appeared since the Fall of 2000, rejoins the fold with a new essay, Lord Byron: The Demons of Calvinism.

And the oldest member of our group of consistently entertaining and constantly astounding writers, Ronald Carpenter, whose first poetry and essays appeared in the 1998 inaugural issue of Writer's Cramp, has kicked in the door with a big Russian boot and laid an uncanny manuscript on our old oak desk.

Ron has amazed us in the past with his perfect imitations of the style of A. Conan Doyle, and continues to write, he assures us, more tales of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his better part, Dr. John Watson, but here he ventures off the beaten path to give us "the sequel to Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, The Inheritance." This is classic Carpenter whose voice is truly that of Tolstoy throughout the entirety of this beautifully understated tale of discovery and deliverance.

Tim Lejeune, who is currently working on a novel that will soon be serialized in Writer's Cramp, is fast becoming one of the most prolific writers in our family. This issue, he takes us with him on a poetic journey, On Reading The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

And now for a special treat, Derek Gilbert and Michelle Tercha are our newest contributors and we welcome them with pleasure. Michelle offers us a collection of poetry, Kryptonite and Cancer, and Derek sashays into the fold with a hard-boiled, Chandleresque short that reminds us of Philip Marlowe, possessed, The Talker and a quiet little slice of not so ordinary life about a small town cop with big time enemies, Take Out.

You're in for another treat.

. . . Enjoy.