Vol. 4 author statistics by gender


, , ,

Two years ago, in response to the VIDA count, our fiction and poetry editorial board began reading general submissions blind as part of an effort to ensure that our submissions process resulted in a diverse group of voices published in each issue. This switch to reading blind resulted in a 68% female 2013 issue, in which we published 100% female visual artists, 60% female authors of fiction, 50% female authors of nonfiction, and 70% female poets. More details about our Volume 3 statistics by gender are here.

Last year, our fiction and poetry editorial board continued to read submissions blind for the soon-to-be-released Volume 4. A slightly different process was used to evaluate nonfiction and work submitted to the Michigan and Ontario feature, in which residency was used to qualify submissions for consideration. Overall, our process resulted in a 65% female 2014 issue. Below are statistics by gender for the soon-to-be-released Volume 4:

  • Visual artists: 0% female (0 female, 1 male)
  • Fiction writers: 50% female (2 female, 2 male)
  • Nonfiction writers: 40% female (2 female, 3 male)
  • Poets:  81% female (13 female, 3 male)

Looking forward to Volume 5, we will continue to read fiction and poetry blind, as well as seek out writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications. You can read more about our submission guidelines here and the many changes we’ll be implementing with this issue, including featuring selected authors, here. We look forward to reading your work!

Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne, and Jillena Rose co-edit Border Crossing. Learn more about the journal and our Creative Writing Program on the Lake Superior State University website.  This year’s editorial board also includes fiction i
nterns Audrey Hutchison and Jana Tahtinen and poetry intern Brian Heeke. More information about internships is available here.

Introducing Our New Interns!


, , , ,

The co-editors of Border Crossing are delighted to introduce our new interns! As a “teaching journal,” one of our main goals is to create editing and publishing opportunities for our English and creative writing students prior to graduation. During the fall semester, every year, our interns read submissions with faculty editors, training for the spring when they will become assistant editors in their chosen genre.

This semester, Brian Heeke will be reading poetry submissions with co-editor Julie Brooks Barbour. Audrey Hutchison and Jana Tahtinen will be reading fiction submissions with co-editor Mary McMyne.

Poetry Intern Brian Heeke

Brian Heeke, Fall 2014 Poetry InternBrian Heeke has an admitted writing problem: he just can’t stop. After nine years in the Army and traveling around the world, he has put pen to paper. The results of this, so far, have been MEA Honors, Eastern Michigan State Fair and Tuscola County Fair dominance, and earning runner-up in the Stellanova Osborne Poetry Contest. The Art major at Lake Superior State University enjoys all genres of writing. In his free time he acts, sculpts, paints, and dances. Hailing from the Saginaw Valley region of Michigan, Brian weaves country and family life into many of his works.


Fiction Intern Audrey J. Hutchison

AudreyHutchisonAudrey J. Hutchison was born in Detroit, MI. Before attending Lake Superior State University, she earned an Associate’s Degree from Lansing Community College, studying areas as diverse as Composition and Criminal Justice. Writing has been her desire throughout her life. She has written features for the St. Ignace newspaper; two novels, Corruption at Jamestown Prison and Who is Ellen Roquefort; and various short stories. Currently Audrey is a senior at Lake Superior State University majoring in Individualized Studies with a focus on creative and crime writing.


Fiction Intern Jana Tahtinen

JanaTahtinenJana Tahtinen was born and raised in Petoskey, Michigan. She is a sophomore majoring in Literature and Creative Writing and minoring in Dance and Marketing at Lake Superior State University. As a freshman, last year, one of her short stories was a runner-up for the 2013-2014 LSSU Short Story Contest. She is the vice president of the Honors Club on campus and enjoys spending her free time writing and reading. All she has ever wanted to do is write and she can’t imagine what her life would be without the written word.



Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne, and Jillena Rose co-edit Border Crossing. Learn more about the journal and our Creative Writing Program on the Lake Superior State University website. 

Reading period for Vol. 5 is now open!


, ,

bcAd_callforsubmissions_2014Submissions are now open for Volume 5 of Border Crossing! We’re especially interested in writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications. Curious about what we mean by this? Visit our website and order a back issue.

We only accept submissions via Submittable. Submissions emailed or mailed will not be considered. Specific guidelines for each genre are listed on our online submissions site. Please note that generally:

  • We ask that you do not include your name, address, and phone number on your submission file, as we read blind. Only include that information on your cover letter, pasted into the cover letter area, along with an email address you regularly check, and a brief biography of about fifty words.
  • We do not accept multiple submissions during a reading period. Please send one piece per genre, maximum, and wait to hear back on it before you send another.
  • We do accept simultaneous submissions. Please return to the submission manager and withdraw your piece immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. For poems, please add a note to your submission in Submittable indicating which part of your submission was accepted elsewhere.
  • We ask that previous contributors please wait one year before re-submitting. After that, please feel welcome to re-submit.
  • We may make minor copyedits to your work upon acceptance.

Response time is roughly 4-6 months. At this time, we regret that we are not able to offer payment to all authors. However, beginning with volume 5, our first online issue, we will feature selected authors. Every year, after all of the work in each genre has been accepted, one author will be chosen from those accepted in that genre for a paid feature. Featured authors will receive prominent placement in the online journal, a published interview with the editors, and a $100 honorarium. To learn more about the changes coming with volume 5, read this post.

We’re excited to read your work! Submit it using our online submissions manager, then stay posted on our editorial process, events, readings, and more by adding us on facebook or Twitter or following this blog!

Nominations Open for LSSU’s 2nd Annual Writing the U.P. Award!


, ,

This year, the editorial board of Border Crossing is excited about participating in the nomination and selection process for LSSU’s second annual Writing the U.P. Award. Librarians from the Superior District Library and members of the Upper Peninsula academic community are currently being invited to submit nominations, but the selection committee also welcomes nominations from any resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

Nominations for this year’s award should be sent using the below submission form. Nominators must enter their own names, a valid email address, the name of the author they wish to nominate, and a brief summary of the nominee’s accomplishments.

Please keep the following criteria from the 2014 Writing the U.P. Award selection committee in mind when making a nomination:

  • This award seeks to honor an author of fiction, who has portrayed through vivid description, believable characters, and story the essence of life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

The deadline for completing nominations is midnight, September 30, 2014. Finalists will be announced in October. The 2014 Writing the U.P. Award Winner will be announced in November, when the winner will be invited to Lake Superior State University to give a formal reading, receive the award, and be presented with a $250 honorarium.

Nominate an Author


Sue Harrison was the winner of the first annual Writing the U.P. Award in 2013.

Sue Harrison was the winner of the first annual Writing the U.P. Award in 2013.

The 2013 Writing the U.P. Award Winner: Sue Harrison

Last year’s recipient, Sue Harrison, was selected for her rendering of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in her work, her commitment to accurately rendering other underrepresented native groups in her carefully researched novel series, and for her notable dedication to promoting creative writing across the Upper Peninsula. Harrison was raised in the town of Pickford in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, where she still lives with her husband Neil. Harrison’s first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, was a national and international bestseller and was named by the American Library Association as one of 1991’s Best Books for Young Adults. Her other novels include My Sister the Moon, Brother Wind, Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, Call Down the Stars, and Sisu. Harrison is a Distinguished Service Award Honoree of the Michigan Delta Kappa Gamma Educator’s Sorority. She is a member of the Society of Midland Authors and the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association, among many others. She has hosted numerous formal and informal writing workshops at local schools and libraries and even taught creative writing for a time at LSSU. Sue Harrison received her award at a reception and reading last year at Lake Superior State University.

For more information about the Writing the U.P. Award, contact Professor Jillena Rose at jrose@lssu.edu.

Cover and Release Date for Vol. 4, Paid Features for Authors, and Online Publication for Vol. 5!


, , , , ,


About the cover: “Butterfly on Flower” by Sault Sainte Marie photographer, Eddie James

It’s official: the release date for Border Crossing volume 4 is set for November 11, 2014! A launch party and reading featuring our new contributors will be held, as usual, here in Sault Sainte Marie. For those unable to attend, check back after that date for a post with pictures and video.

Moving forward, we have exciting news about some big changes happening with volume 5.  Submissions for the new issue will reopen on September 15, 2014. As you may already know, Border Crossing is a teaching journal. To model ethical submission practices and make the process more educational for our student editors, fiction and poetry submissions are read blind and go through a rigorous editorial process, which involves multiple readings by student and faculty editors in the Lake Superior State University Creative Writing Program. As a “teaching journal,” one of our main goals is to create editing and publishing opportunities for our English and creative writing students prior to graduation.  Each year, we participate in the VIDA count and strive to make our editorial process as transparent and fair as possible.

We’ve been very lucky about the work we’ve received so far through the slush pile: our first four issues have featured talented Canadian, American, and Mexican writers and artists whose work has appeared in many widely-read publications, including the Best American series and W.W. Norton and Houghton Mifflin anthologies, as well as The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, New England Review, Pleaides, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Decanto Magazine in England, and The Canadian Federation of Poetry. Additionally, we have published a number of authors for whom Border Crossing was their first publication, and we are always very excited about discovering new talent.

In order to continue to increase the number of wonderful submissions that we receive each year, beginning with volume 5, we will feature selected authors, as we have been doing with artists for some time. Every year, for each genre – fiction, nonfiction, and poetry – after all of the work in that genre has been accepted, one author will be chosen from those accepted in that genre on the basis of the work submitted for a paid feature. Each featured author will receive prominent placement in the journal, a published interview with the editors, and a $100 honorarium. Poets may be asked to submit additional poems, so that multiple poems may be published. One artist from Michigan or Ontario will continue to be featured each year, and this artist will receive the same benefits as featured authors: prominent placement, a published interview, and a $100 honorarium.

Finally, in order to continue to increase our readership  and get the word out about the wonderful work in our journal – as well as create more 21st century editing and publishing opportunities for our student editors – Border Crossing will become an online journal.  Volume 4 will be our last print edition, but we are very excited about the opportunities moving online will provide for us to increase our readership and give our authors and artists more visibility. The online version of Border Crossing will feature reviews in addition to art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. For volume 5, in addition to continuing to make Pushcart nominations, we will now also nominate authors for the Best of the Net anthology and the storySouth Million Writers Award.

Vol. 4 Contributors and Publication Date


, , , , ,

Late last week, the Border Crossing editorial board met to decide the order and layout of the wonderful work accepted for vol. 4 (due out in November, 2014). We’re excited to share, below, a list of the contributors to this year’s issue by genre. Writers and artists whose names are followed by an asterisk will be part of this year’s feature spotlighting the work of wonderful writers and artists from Michigan and Ontario.

Featured Artist
Eddie James*

E. A. Durden, “Expiration Date”
Joseph D. Haske, “Bear Hunt”*
Lisa Pacenza, “Earth to Earth”
Ron Riekki, “Datusha”*

Catherine Doucette, “Invisible Lines”
Phil Dansdill, “Spittoon”*
Roger Real Drouin, “The Tiny Tracks: A Profile of John Muir”
Lori A. May, “The Comfort of Ignorance”*
Robert Vivian, “A Kind of Inner Russia”

Colleen Abel, “The You Alphabet”
Gina Marie Bernard, “Lake Superior Aches”
Jennifer Burd, “Lake Superior”*
Nicole Callihan, “A Poem in which, Surrounded by Love, the Speaker Turns 39″
Kathleen Kirk, “Hyperbole”
Ann Lederer, “Marsh Fire”
Rachael Lyon, “Etiquette”
Rebecca Macijeski, “Sunday Afternoon”
Janeen Pergrin Rastall, “Learning the Alphabet,” “Category Four”*
Sarah Rehfeldt, “Abstract”
Elizabeth Schmuhl, “Mother’s Day”*
M.E. Silverman, “Lost Postcard Poem,” “Sea Watching”
Margaret von Steinen, “Lake of the Clouds”*
George Such, “Poco a Poco”
Keith Taylor, “The Allen Creek Drain,” “Summer Teaching”*
Savannah Thorne, “The Hurricane Passes”

Fiction editor: Mary McMyne
    Assistant editor: Stephen Keller
Nonfiction editor: Jillena Rose
Poetry editor: Julie Brooks Barbour
    Assistant editor: Meredith Cleary
Art editors: Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne
Guest art editor: Jeanne Mannesto
Layout: Mary McMyne

Stay tuned for an announcement about the date and time of the launch party in Sault Sainte Marie in November, as well as an exciting announcement about volume 5!

Vol. 3 contributor Ronlyn Domingue’s new novel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven


, , ,

download (2)

Reviewed by Wyatt Hanson

The second book in the Keeper of Tales Trilogy, The Chronicle of Secret Riven by volume 3 contributor Ronlyn Domingue, is fascinating both in the story it tells and its execution. Although it might be classified as a fantasy, set as it is in a faraway kingdom of magic, the novel does not quite follow what has become expected from the genre. Instead of featuring an epic globetrotting quest of high adventure, the story follows the daughter of an ambitious historian father and gifted but odd translator mother in an unidentified “Town.” This strange girl, named Evensong but called “Secret,” is unable to speak until she is seven years old. The absence of one ability, however, comes with another and young Secret finds herself able to communicate with plants and animals. The book follows Secret Riven’s life from birth to her eighteenth year as she befriends a prince, struggles to live normally, and finds herself in the thick of her city’s mysterious happenings.

The Chronicle of Secret Riven has many of the trappings of the hero’s journey, a pattern noticed in various narratives throughout history by mythologist Joseph Campbell. Secret is born with a supernatural gift, which is expanded when she suffers an intense fever and awakens with the ability to speak an ancient language. She meets Old Woman, a wise hermit living in the forest who becomes a mentor to the young girl. She even gets a call to adventure in the form of a cipher for a missing arcane manuscript left to her, postmortem, by her mother. Yet Secret is very much a reluctant heroine, refusing to answer this call for much longer than readers might expect or even want. Although this decision may frustrate genre readers, Secret’s reluctance is far more in line with human nature than what has become the norm in fantasy. Humans, just as many other animals, have the instinct of self-preservation which a normal life better accommodates. It’s as if the author is pointing out how unrealistic the life of a typical hero or heroine is. Even so, we get the impression that Secret will eventually complete the rest of her journey in the third book of the trilogy, which we expect will have more of the adventure that is a typical hallmark of fantasy as Secret Riven finds herself unable to avoid her destiny of saving the world.

Stylistically, many aspects of The Chronicle of Secret Riven call to mind myths, legends, and fairy tales. From the first page, Secret is described as having “eyes the color of night and day,” a lyrical phrase that sounds as if it might be recited by a bard. The city and kingdom in which the story unfolds is never named except as “Town,” reminiscent to the classic “in a land far away” setting so common to bedtime stories. And if this isn’t enough, the princesses of the kingdom are named “Pretty” and “Charming.” Another fairytale-esque trait is the emphasis on the relationships between adults and children throughout the novel. Though Secret’s father, Bren, is shown as a mostly loving father, he only agrees with his daughter’s wishes when they conform to his own. In one scene, Secret’s parents witness their daughter perform a mysterious feat of magic: three times, her hair grows instantaneously when she tells the truth, not unlike a reverse Pinocchio. But both her parents never bring the topic up again, afterward, and go about their lives as if it never occurred at all. Most of the novel is told in longer third-person limited chapters focusing on Secret, but these are broken up occasionally by short third-person omniscient chapters, just a few pages long, which break away from Secret to describe the happenings in Town as a whole. In one of these chapters, it is revealed that the children of Town have been sharing similar dreams that their parents ignore, seeing a terrifying dragon and being told it was just a dream. The idea of children being sensitive to the supernatural while adults are blind to it has been featured often in folklore, and Domingue seems deeply sympathetic with the plight of the children in her book.

Overall, The Chronicle of Secret Riven pays tribute to the styles of old while adapting them for a modern audience, showing that myths and legends, fables and fairytales, don’t only come from the past, but are relevant, and can be made anew, in the here and now. It also serves to remind us why these old stories were made in the first place: to teach a lesson. If this novel, like much of folklore, contains a message, perhaps it is that parents must listen to the problems of their children, because if they don’t, who will?


Wyatt Hanson is an undergraduate studying English and creative writing at Lake Superior State University. His book reviews have previously appeared in the Sault Sainte Marie Evening News.

Please help us spread the word: Michigan and Ontario art submissions sought for Vol. 4

Please help us spread the word to Michigan and Ontario artists: we are currently accepting art submissions for our 2014 issue (Vol. 4). The theme for the cover this year is “earth.” Submissions are only open to residents of Michigan and Ontario, as part of our mission is to provide an outlet where area artists may showcase their work. Artists should submit at least one piece inspired by, or work which inspires reflection upon, the theme of “earth.” Along with this themed piece, artists may submit work in any theme they choose.

One artist will be chosen and his or her work will be displayed on the cover and in the interior of the journal. The artist will receive two copies of the journal and a showing of his or her artwork during the 2014 issue’s launch party and reading. Any medium is welcome, as long as the digital representation submitted can be featured in black and white.

The deadline for submissions is April 4, 2014. There is no entry fee. Artists interested in submitting their work should read the full submission guidelines and submit work through Border Crossing’s online submission manager, located at http://bordercrossing.submishmash.com/submit.


Last year’s cover art theme was “fire.” Our 2013 featured artist was Melissa Connors of Ontario, whose photography has been been exhibited at a number of local venues and featured on National Geographic’s Daily Dozen.

The guest art editor for this issue will be U.P. artist, Jeanne Mannesto. Jeanne Mannesto, originally from the Sault Sainte Marie, MI, holds a B.A. in education from the University of Michigan, with a minor in English and fine arts, and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. Her strong interest in the natural world has guided her artistic endeavors.  She exhibits in the Alberta House Art Gallery, with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Craftsmen, the Les Cheneaux Arts Council, at the Algoma Fall Festival of the Arts, and the Kenneth J. Shouldice Library art gallery.

For questions or more information, contact Julie Barbour (jbarbour@lssu.edu or 906-635-2657) or Mary McMyne (mmcmyne@lssu.edu or 906-635-2327).

We look forward to seeing your work!

Thanks to all who submitted to our Vol. 4 reading period

Thanks to all the wonderful writers who submitted their fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to Border Crossing for the 2013-2014 reading period. We are enjoying the process of reading all of your wonderful work. Our editors are meeting regularly to make decisions, and we hope to have our Vol. 4 contents finalized within the next couple of months. Keep an eye out here for future updates!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 661 other followers