MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Sorcerer by Deb Bonam



Letter From the Editor


Dear Mused Readers,

On a cold winter Solstice night (and surely snowy somewhere), we are proud to present the premier issue of Mused - The BellaOnline Literary Review. Our review journal showcases the work of women (and some men) on themes of empowerment, helping others, and appreciation for the environment...captured through prose, verse and art.

BellaOnline - the second largest women's site on the Internet - has a mission to train writers to build a weekly non-fiction writing skill set. As we grew, we wished to also provide a platform for non-fiction writers focusing on one or two specific pieces, rather than a weekly column. We dreamt of expanding our horizons, to provide an outlet for women desiring to pen poetry and fictional short stories.

Then last spring (the season of new beginnings), BellaOnline's intrepid publisher Lisa Shea read the biography of Clarina Nichols (an 1800s women's rights speaker). Lisa remembers thinking, "That reminded me just how far we've come from 'not that long ago' when women were dismissed completely as being able to speak on an issue."

Lisa continues, "One of the things Clarina worked on was publishing prose and poetry for women. I know that recently I was interested in having a short story published, and didn't find many venues I felt enthusiastic about. I thought the review would be a great way to extend our reach of helping aspiring writers."

And Mused was born. Our volunteer editorial board shares a love of art and the written word; all are well-published and learned wordsmiths themselves. Feel free to peruse our Editorial Bios to get familiar with Mused's top notch team.

Of course we are exceedingly proud to show off the work of our fine contributors. Our cover image, by Deb Bonam, is a revealing mixed media artwork concerning women and empowerment...her Fury-like Sorcerer is yet another facet of the Muse that inspires. You can sense the epic tale unfolding "behind the scenes."

We also selected lush nature photos, unusual color compositions and meditative digital fractal images. For example, Jeff Cope's designs somehow coax maternal, spiritual and new-born presences through a mathematical, ordered, digital medium. Kimberly Kenney's Butterfly With Flower offers an ephemeral glimpse of hope and beauty, adding the promise of renewal in the midst of our own winter.

Our written entries display short stories, poems and essays chosen to both delight the mind and provide examples of each genre at their best: Wolf LittleBear's Solstice verse is both lyrical and apropos. Abandoned, a cunning poem by Alessandra Diridoni Grigsby, exposes women's inner call to seek worth via social acceptance. Heather Goodman's Mumbai Baby is a raw, heartbreaking tale many women will find almost too uncomfortably real. The Seed, by Darling Poor, also cuts close to home with its message of loss and hope. Our non-fiction entry A Tribute to Rita, is Renee Wolf's touching salute to an inspiring woman. And Sheila Sproule's desperate entreaty in Face the Facts puts a humorous spin on the "face" of a wrinkly subject!

We hope you enjoy this first issue of Mused...and encourage you to submit your own touching, profound, lyrical or whimsical creations for our next issue!

All my best wishes in this clarifying season of winter,

Jill Florio
Editor in Chief




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