Black Petals Issue #71 Spring, 2015

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Picture This-A Collaborative Column by A. M. Stickel and BP Authors
Catch of the Day-Fiction by Hal Kempka
Lust-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Pebbles-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Pioneer Justice on a Distant Planet-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
Sand-Fiction by Chris Hivner
The Big Apple Bites-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Big Picture-Fiction by Anne Stickel
The Door-Fiction by Mayjor E. Johnson
Washed Away-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Secret Entrances-Poems by Teresa Ann Frazee
Eleven Vampire Haiku-Poems by Denny E. Marshall



Our Legacy, In Brief   by A.M. Stickel, Editor



Why do we write what we write? Is the speculative fictioneer’s goal mere entertainment and self-promotion? Or do we seek vast wealth and even immortality (What a fantasy!)?

A fictional approach to express inner turmoil or share a personal philosophy is common enough. Using the horror genre to do so has produced popular works. Have these products ‘gone viral’? I don’t think so. As for science fiction—sorry, it still hasn’t cured the common cold, let alone famine, global warming, or the insanity of war. Surrealism? That kind of writing just makes a writer look weird.

The market is, at best, a fickle ally, and, at worst, a formidable foe of written speculation. Besides, political correctness, or fear of challenging the norm, stifles many a creative attempt. Our type of fiction often confronts readers with uncomfortable alternate realities. We live in a world that discourages “coloring outside the lines” by seriously exploring fantastic possibilities. We are warned not to write down our parables, let alone interpret anyone else’s. Yet, by some miracle, we are given the spirit to dream and tell our stories, come what may.

We believe in what we do, hope it makes a difference (at least within ourselves), and are in love with the spirit that drives us, even though we may not fully understand why.


Welcome to a spirited, if not spiritual, sampling of springtime speculation, fellow dreamers. We’re serving up quite an intellectual banquet. In Hal Kempka’s “Catch of the Day” the best part is the tail piece. Paul Strickland’s surreal “Lust” offers us a taste of future interpersonal relations. Editor Ken Crist’s “Pebbles” also gives a spicy twist to bullying (a prominent theme this issue), as do Charlie Cole in “Pioneer Justice…” and Chris Hivner’s artfully crafted “Sand.” Sometimes curiosity overrides caution with dire consequences. For examples, see Roy Dorman’s “The Big Apple Bites,” my own “The Big Picture,” and Mayjor E. Johnson’s “The Door.” Paul Strickland’s nostalgic “Washed Away” provides timely refreshment in a desert of unjust desserts.

The icing on the cake, if not the cake itself, comes courtesy of poets Teresa Ann Frazee’s “Secret Entrances,” “The Haze of Space,” and “The Presence,” and Denny E. Marshall’s 11 Vampire Haiku. Thanks for reading. Don’t give up on your dreams. Do write them down.

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