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Dear Reader,

The origins of this journal lay in an early morning prompt writing group at the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. The prompt was “You’ve received e-mails from Andromeda.” We had five minutes to scribble. And as happens at 7 a.m. before the coffee kicks in, it seemed our five-minute stories were nothing short of brilliant. I began to play with the idea that I should use my professional editing and design skills to create a publication that could capture some of that brilliance (well, after enough polishing, perhaps it shone just a little). Meeting so many talented writers at that conference and listening to them talk about the difficulty in getting published, the idea for the Santa Barbara Literary Journal rolled into orbit. And the first volume, which contains a few meteorite shards from the early morning writing prompt group, is named “Andromeda.”


In this issue, among other curiosities, we have a man in a carnal relationship with deadly mushrooms, a customer service representative with an irate Andromedan squid on his case, and a writer whose muse sits on his shoulder and demands donuts. We also have beautiful memoir poems about a childhood in Tabriz, song lyrics, poems, zombies, and even flashers...well, flash fiction, at least. It’s my sincere wish that you enjoy every unique contribution to this journal, and that, if you’re curious about who these writers, singers, and poets are, you will visit our bookstore and purchase Volume 1 Andromeda.

Silver Webb

Volume 4


May 2018

Le Menu 



Emeralds for Andromeda by T. Lawton Carney

You Get Used To It by Mark Bessey

Walter’s Demons by Reina Warnert

Andromeda Prime by Silver Webb

Petunia’s Baby by Brent Baldwin

After the Apple by Lisa Lamb

Blue Brain Terrain by Janet Rendall

Pests by S.M.C. Wamsteker

Desert Dusk Music by Thomas Timmins

Flash Trinity by Ted Chiles

Love Triangle by Chella Courington

Lot 136 by Yvette Keller


As I Cannot by Christine Penko

Rabbits, Detritus, Rain by Christine Penko

Transverse Range by Marsha de la O

Invisibility Cloak by Marsha de la O

Meteor Display by Mary Ames

Armenian Rhapsody * The Bombing of Tabriz * Blue Watermelon by Mary Freericks


I Do-Nut Think That’s A-Muse-Ing by Stuart Orenstein

All Pets Go To Heaven by Alessandra Albanese

Lyrics: The Dance

Clubhouse by Kate Graves

Ma Petite Chanson Parisienne

by Magali Michaut and Patrick Rydman

Last Music Store by Max Talley

Just Another Daydreamby Sonya Heller

Desiree by Kim Michalowski

Santa Fe by Dennis Russell

Lightning by Bryan Titus

Mariposa by Laura Hemenway

Nothing Else Will Do by Bill Lanphar

Pale Blue Dot by Jen Hajj

Available for purchase

An excerpt of "Walter's Demons"

by Jesse Krenzel

Walter Borroughs eyed the building through the rain with an air of distaste. Her coat, a knee-length duster smudged with mud and burnt through in several places, felt sticky against her back from both sweat and water.

And blood. Her job was a simple one—destroy the monster or die trying. The shack before her was thick with decay, laced with dry rot and termites. The roof had burned several years prior, leaving a skeleton of a shelter behind. She had tracked the creature to this location, this place of disgust and abhorrence. There was a tinge of revulsion in the wind and she scowled against the water that fell around her, dripping off her wide-brim hat and flooding her boots.

Okay, no, let’s pause.

I’m not sure why I’m trying to tell my story from the third-person. I guess it sounds a little grittier, a little more badass, where in truth I was terrified out of my mind. That’s me, Walter, a woman, standing in the rain without an umbrella—like an idiot.

I used to hate my name, given to me by my mother, who birthed four boys. When asked, she said it was for the sake of me not feeling “left out.”

That I was a woman raised alongside men marked me through my growing years, to the expectations in preschool I could not and would not meet, to my experiences joining the police force. I was always shocked when met with condescension and general disregard.

Maybe my mother had just thought that Walter was a cute name for a girl. Whatever it was, it is mine and I wear it proudly.

The rain started coming down in torrents, but I kept my position, eyes clear and set on the shack. Waiting.

The air was hot despite the water, dense and humid. It felt abnormal, but then again, what was normal anymore?

It didn’t used to be like this, but then I married the man of my dreams. He could’ve mentioned he was a demon before the wedding.

“A nice demon,” he stressed on our honeymoon, when I discovered matches and brimstone in his luggage and confronted him.

“You know, the fallen angel kind destined to spend the rest of time on earth seeking redemption for the wrongs committed in a past life-slash-universe.”

He said the slash out loud, just like that. It was those kinds of cute oddities that I fell in love with to begin with. It hit me then that this sweet, mild-mannered man was a creature from another universe. In that one instant my life became much, much more complicated.

Swept into a web of drama, demons, and darkness, I became a force for good, one of the few mortals who battled the darkness that threatened to swallow humanity every day... because this particular demon, the demon I married, specialized in one specific area of redemption: monster hunting.

Curious to see how it turns out for Walter? Please purchase Volume 1 Andromeda in our bookstore.

"As I Cannot" from the Poetry Section

by Christine Penko

An uncertainty of poetic conviction compels me to search the day for signs and portents.

There, a small dog squats in a patch of ivy. Above, a handful of crows harry a great, golden hawk.

A hump-backed old woman thrusts two metal canes through Spring’s young grasses.

Two more crows mate at the bus stop. The day reels on.

Rusty water stands in a broken bird bath. I tire of writing about birds.

Their flutter frightens me: the mechanical tick of their heads sharp beaks that pick and pry.

It doesn’t matter they can fly.

"Desiree" from the Lyrics Section

by Kim Michalowski

Brown skin, trusting eyes The kind of beauty money can’t buy Hitching rides to California Blue backpack and a red bandana

Desiree I saw you walking Westward towards the ocean Wildflower waving at the edge of the highway Desiree, Desiree

Your father ran, to find himself Your mother worked, it left an empty house You grew up fast, you grew up right Just a girl on a cold dark night

Desiree I saw you walking Westward towards the ocean Wildflower waving at the edge of the highway Desiree, Desiree

You might find the road is your home

From Chicago, across Nebraska Over the Rockies and down through Utah You slept outside, walked in the rain Hoping for love, driven by pain

You might find the road is your home

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