Gale finally found a constructive outlet for storytelling in her fourth decade, writing creatively since 2005, winning numerous awards for fiction. She's published three novels and has a master’s in creative writing from Wilkes University.
My Long Shot Recipe Adventure
When I was seventeen, like many girls that age, I craved adventure and acceptance, sometimes simultaneously. In search of either or both, I made choices then, which seem foolhardy now, such as taking a day trip to New York City with $5 in my pocketbook.
Susan retracted the keys from the ignition and stuffed them into the front pocket of her tote. She hadn’t done the commute to the city in months. She resented having to return to the office now. Scowling, she grabbed a three-ply mask off the dashboard. She stretched the elastic loops over her ears and checked her appearance, groaning. She’d fussed with her hair and makeup to look put together for her first day back, and now a crappy face covering dug into her cheeks.
- Top Story - September 2023
The Warrior of ShanduharTop Story - September 2023
The day my sister was stolen from us, I swore I would either bring her home or kill myself for having failed. It was a mostly cloudless day in Shanduhar. Bracing gusts had swept through the oasis on and off since mid-morning prayers. Aria and I had been feeding the camels. Our younger brother Eran was charged with cleaning out the rain barrel or face the back of Mother’s hand. I ran to his side to help before the precious remaining water tumbled into the sand rather than into Mother’s clay jar.
The Brave Red Princess
Once upon a time in the Autumnal Kingdom, there lived a lonely princess named Scarlet. Like her late mother, Scarlet’s bronzed cheeks, rosy lips, and flaming-red tresses pleased her father King Crimson nearly as much as her fine mind and mettle.
Bless Her Heart
You can fall in love with a rich boy as easy as a poor one. That’s what Mother always said. Even so, she married a poor city boy and began a life of blue-collar poverty, ending up with a houseful the likes of us. She shared plenty of motherisms she said I needed to hear growing up: “Boys don’t like girls smarter than them” and “Become a nurse—America needs more nurses.” Never missed a chance to outwit my dad. Never became a nurse either. Since she hadn’t followed her own advice about anything, I didn’t feel inclined to myself. I’d soon learn that preconceptions, hers and mine, about boys, rich and poor, were as useful as cauliflower in your pole corn.
Carolina's eyes fluttered open. Her head throbbed. Something with jagged edges dug into her abdomen. She caught a breath and glanced down. It was a timber, as long as her toothpick legs, with splinters poking against her belly and digging into her ribs. Her heart pounded through her chest, but her vision was clearing. She was lying on a sea of timbers crammed onto the floor of what? A cave? Nothing she’d ever seen before. It had smooth tree limbs holding up the sides, yet the thinner limbs held no nests. How could any of her friends build a home in a tree like that?
- Runner-Up in Return of the Night Owl Challenge
Ten-time WinnerRunner-Up in Return of the Night Owl Challenge
Ask anybody in these parts, and they’ll tell you. Nobody grows a finer pumpkin than Walt Spitzel. People surely tried. Can’t be done. Walt took the blue ribbon in the pumpkin division at the Shikellamy County Fair for the last nine years running.
“Some fish!” my tall boss Mike said. He was admiring my new desktop war-and-peace fish bowl—a ginger jar containing a single Siamese fighting fish topped by a peace plant. Mike often said say some this or some that whenever he was impressed. Charlotte’s Web was a childhood favorite, he once confessed.
The Tiny Ticket Puncher
First Hector tried sweeping away the snow with a whisk broom, but it was laying too fast and heavy. Nearly two inches already covered the sidewalk. The weathercaster had called the system a “Canadian Clipper.” He needed his sidewalk clear and salted. The school bus would be pulling up any minute.
Serenity one minute. Heart-pounding ecstasy the next. For an outdoorsy guy, there’s nothing like fishing on first ice. On Devils Pond, first ice is glass-smooth and sky blue. I drill my hole and sit down on my ice bucket stock-still—the fish below can hear everything. Whenever a walleye swims by a couple-few times, first ice is so clear, I can count his scales.
Growing up, Celeste’s dad passed along a few simple sayings his father had shared with him. Truth is beauty. Save your pennies. Practice makes perfect. Smart is good. Life is pain. Like precious jewels, each adage would be tested under pressure and shine through the next inevitable trial, lighting her path.