Dear Reader:

People sometimes ask me why I put in all the hours on what is essentially a free service. What drives me to create the content and graphics, build the database, work with the code and the applets, the animation and the hours of front-end architecture that go into making a website work properly. Why endure the frustration? Why spend my own money on the connection and the hosting, the software and the hardware? Megalomania plays a small part, of course, but the real reason is twofold. First the sense of creative community that's settled around Writer's Cramp over the last three years, as the submissions increased and the writers have come to know and correspond with one another, is a side effect both unexpected and gratefully welcome.

Second is the thrill of reading the work of a new writer and being taken completely off guard by the depth and power of the work. This would be reward enough by itself, but taken together, both more than outweigh any gripes about the hard work involved.

I've written before about the excitement of reading a new writer for the first time, or reading a new story for the first time; we all have that pleasure and it's one to be eagerly sought at every opportunity. Imagine, then, the added pleasure, the selfish rush, of reading a writer that no one has ever read -- no one but a small circle of close friends and family. That is the pleasure and bonus I receive when writers like Tim Lejeune surface and allow Writer's Cramp right of first reading.

Tim's style is fresh and alive and his imagination is given its head for his first foray into our pages; a short story called "Pulse." I won't say anything about it, you'll have to read it for yourself. That way I won't spoil your pleasure. We liked Tim's first piece so much, we've asked for and gotten confirmation on one more story and an article due to be published in October.

M. Lejeune is a mysterious young man from the Continent -- Belgium, in fact. His grasp of English is evidenced in his elegant writing and his quick wit. Coming across Tim Lejeune reminds me of the first time I read Ronald Carpenter or Teri Lucia, Molly Lewis or Gary Sloan, in fact it reminds me of the first time I read all of the authors within these pages. The thrill never lessens, funny one might think it would, but it never does.

As always, Enjoy . . .