December 12 , 2005

Dear Reader:

It's a transforming experience each time we sit down to compile and edit an issue of Writer's Cramp. And now, as we enter into our seventh year in production, it's comforting to realize that scores of immensely talented writers have submitted their best work to our pages over the past six years.

Many contributors, from Belgium, Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, the U.K., the US, India, Albania, Croatia, Canada and Japan have visited and been published within the metaphorical covers of Writer’s Cramp over the years. Some are professional writers, earning their living as journalists, English Professors, Journalism Professors – many are lawyers, doctors, atomic scientists and retired merchant marines, and others are simply people, holding families together, caring for their children and living quiet lives. But all share the overriding passion that drives all writers; love of wordcraft.

Stepping out from behind the buffer of the editorial “We,” I sometimes find myself astounded when I read back over the works of these people – many of whom have been with the magazine on a consistent basis since the very early days and are instrumental in the direction and success of Writer’s Cramp.

Many writers have graced the pages once then faded into their own circle of experience, while the majority have been published many times and in many issues. And then there are the true family members of Writer’s Cramp – those who have contributed one or more pieces every year since the inception of the magazine. One only has to visit the Archives to see who they are.

And what astounds me is the caliber of their work. Reading the confidence and sly wit, the cockiness and charm, the magnificence and magic they convey from year to year as their styles evolve and expand, as their mastery of the craft challenges each of us to step up to the task and best our previous themes, plots and imagery, to transport our readers to places neither of us has been before.

There’s a narrow-minded misnomer that’s been making the rounds for generations that there are no new stories to be written, simply different ways to tell the same old tale. Well, the writers of the 'Crampsite' have been putting the lie to that old barnacle every issue for the past six years and will continue to do so – beginning with this, the 2005 Christmas Issue.

Jan Hansen. When I began to compile his latest submissions I knew that I would not be disappointed, what I finally realized was that he’s simply one of the best poets in the world today. Every collection of Jan’s work is superlatively stunning in its imagery and its raw force. Whether he’s angry at a stupid, sea tossed world or waxing eloquent on a moonlit, lost love, he cuts precisely with the serif feet of each word he uses.

In his latest collection, Poetry And Alcohol, he has established himself on a level few poets ever reach. I haven’t sufficient words to express my admiration. Like Michelle Tercha and Jelena Roganovic, Jan is a natural and a powerful poet.

JB Pravda. Every story Joseph writes is unique. When I receive submissions from JB, I smile to myself and wonder how he’ll shatter my preconceptions this time. JB is one of the premier examples of how that old adage about there being no new stories is just a sack of so much slush. Everything he writes stands alone, and apart from everything else, anybody – even himself – has written.

From his first submissions, over three years ago, he has taken readers of Writer’s Cramp to places only he knows exist. Whether his tongue is in his cheek or his switchblade is under someone’s fingernail, he writes with a flair that comes so embarrassingly easy to him. This issue he offers not one, but four short stories. And not one of them breathes the same literary air.

Robert Montesino. Robert first appeared with Writer’s Cramp in 2003 with his story, Double Jeopardy. Far from being about a game show, it tells about a small time criminal who, well the story’s in the Archives, I won’t give the plot away.

Robert is now editing his own successful Online SF Magazine, but he still takes the time to return to Writer’s Cramp with two new stories. The Vigil is a tale of growing up in a world on the edge of night, where your best friend is the only thing between you and the creatures darting between moon shadows. And he may be more dangerous than any of those creatures. Also in this issue, The Haunted Gun, a cautionary tale about the business end of things that go bang!

Ole H Neilsen. Ole is a favorite of ours. This is his second story published in WC and it’s the only true representation of the theme of Christmas.

Ole gives us A Christmas Memory, a sweet and warm story of how Christmas used to be in kinder days. From his home in Denmark, the kitchen abuzz with activity, one can almost smell the ‘Klejner’ baking in the big oven and hear the House Gnomes jockeying in the attic, waiting for nightfall to steal a cookie or two.

Charles Ivie. Chuck has been too long absent from the pages of Writer’s Cramp and we’re honored to welcome him back in this issue with Einstein’s Coffee.

Chuck is another of WC’s long-time contributors. His writing is always a delight to read whether it’s pure science, (Chuck was, after all, a NASA Scientist) or science fiction, (The Witch’s Cat), he wields his words with the finesse and skill of, well of a rocket scientist.

And now, as we explode into our seventh year in publication, sit back, warm your toes against another harsh winter, toss Jack Frost a hot toddy and settle in to enjoy these nine, rare, roasted chestnuts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!