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Valiant Scribe Literary Journal 

Issue 1 | Winter 2020

Life in the time of COVID


In a span of a few months, life, as we knew it was upended as humanity tried to and continues to cope with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In these times of economic, and medical upheaval, of quarantine, and self-isolation, of fear, and faith, the maiden issue of Valiant Scribe explores the experiences of people from around the world and from different walks of life.

The collection of essays, flash fiction, non-fiction, and poetry tell a compelling story of our shared humanity and how we have each made the best of this situation.

Themes of courage, strength, kindness, reinvention, become evident amidst moments of loss and grief. The importance of mental health can easily be surmised from the narrative of many of the authors as well as a profound hope for the future.

Meet our fabulous authors!

Aliza Epstein lives in Arlington, VA. She is a non-profit manager by day and an aspiring writer by night.

Almond Syiem is from Shillong in Northeast India. He writes poetry, songs, short stories, and reflections on themes related to politics, justice, reconciliation, relationships, and Christian spirituality among others. He shares some of his poems in his blog and true-life short stories in his other blog

Amanda Ellis is an emerging writer of settler and indigenous descent. She has recently attended Sage Hill Writers’ Workshop and is a member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. She does not live in Saskatchewan, but enjoys rural vistas of cabbages as she wrangles ideas and her side hustle as a Social Justice warrior.

Amelia Thompson completed undergraduate studies at Vassar College and graduate school at St. John’s University. She loves pad see ew and currently serves in the Youth and Community Affairs Departments at her local church, Christian Cultural Center. With friends, she uses poetry to help build community. Find out more at Contact her at

Amy Horton is a former actor who has written privately all her life but didn’t start sharing it until her mid-20s. She writes her truth because she believes that we all share common experiences and hopes to connect with her readers through honesty and transparency. 

Bob Beagrie has published numerous collections of poetry and several pamphlets, most recently Civil Insolencies (Smokestack 2019). He lives in Middlesbrough and is a senior lecturer in creative writing at Teesside University, United Kingdom.

Bob Kunzinger’s work has appeared in many publications, including the ‘Washington Post,’ ‘World War Two History,’ ‘St Anthony Messenger,’ ‘Southern Humanities Review,’ and more. He has published eight collections of essays, and several have been noted by ‘Best American Essays’. He lives and writes in Virginia.

Bradley W. Buchanan writings have appeared in nearly 200 journals, and he has also published three book-length collections of poetry: ‘The Miracle Shirker’ (Poet’s Corner Press, 2005), ‘Swimming the Mirror: Poems for My Daughter’ (Roan Press, 2008), and ‘The Scars, Aligned: A Cancer Narrative’ (Finishing Line Press, 2019).


Bryant Smith is a professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Nicholls State University in South Louisiana who has only recently began writing poetry. He meets biweekly with a group of colleagues who share and give feedback on their poems.

Carmen Șurariu is freelance content writer and ghostwriter based in Romania.

Carol Kanter’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her published work includes ‘Out of Southern Africa', 'Chronicle of Dog', ‘No Secret Where Elephants Walk’, work from Africa; ‘Where the Sacred Dwells’, ‘Namaste’, work from India, Nepal and Bhutan; and ‘Where Forest Temples Whisper’ work from SE Asia (


Cathy Warner is a writer, teacher, editor, home renovator, and real estate broker in Western Washington. Author of two books of poetry ‘Home By Another Road’, and ‘Burnt Offerings’. Recipient of the ‘Steinbeck’ and ‘SuRaa’ fiction awards, Cathy has been nominated for the ‘Pushcart Prize’ and ‘Best American Essays’. Find her at

Christine Brooks is a graduate of Western New England University with her BA, and her MFA. from Bay Path University. Her essay, ‘What I Learned from Being Accidentally Celibate for Five Years’ was featured in HuffPost, MSN, Yahoo and Daily Mail UK in April 2019. Her book of poems, ‘The Cigar Box Poems’, was released in February 2020.

Christine Jacobsen is a retired school counselor, visual artist, and wannabe writer. As a writer, she has been published in regional New York magazines focusing on health and parenting.

Chuck Waldron is a retired clinical social worker, he has written more than fifty short stories. He has also written five novels, flinging them on unsuspecting readers. He writes to entertain and keep his own inner demons in check.

Des Mannay’s first collection, ‘Sod ’em – and tomorrow’, was published by Waterloo Press. He is co-editor of ‘The Angry Manifesto poetry journal’, winner of ‘rethinkyourmind’ poetry competition (2015), ‘LIT-UP’ poetry competition (2018). ‘Gold Award’ winner in the ‘Creative Futures Literary Awards’ (2015), and ‘Madder Than We Look’ poetry competition (2016).

Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such diverse publications as Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, ParisLitUp, nebulab, Acumen, and Gradiva. Her seventh and most recent book of poems is 'Edges'.

E.H. Davis is a credited screenwriter, novelist, and poet. His fiction has appeared in The Pacific Review, Mystery Weekly, Otherwise Engaged Literature and Arts Journal, New Pop Lit, Literary Heist, and Vinylwriter. His debut novel ‘My Wife’s Husband: A Family Thriller’ (Amazon) will be followed by the sequel ‘Forsaken’ in the fall of 2020.

Faith Esene’s fiction and essays have appeared in the ‘Syndrome Mag’, Howard University’s ‘Sterling Notes’, the anthology ‘Colorism,’ and ‘The Kalahari Review’. You can visit her website at where she blogs about culture, life lessons, travel,
and spirituality.

Fatima Farhad is an aspiring writer from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, as of yet unpublished. She has a degree in English Literature and Linguistics, and is currently seeking admission in a graduate program.

Jane Burn’s poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. She has been placed in many poetry competitions and has been nominated for the Forward and Pushcart Prize. Her latest poetry collection Yan, Tan, Tether is available from Indigo Dreams. She is an associate editor at Culture Matters Press.

Jim Andrukonis is a retired Speech + Drama and Creative Writing teacher from Fairfax County, VA and currently works part-time doing activities with a senior living facility as well as substitute teaching. As a member of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, he was also codirector of its Young Writers Program for twenty-five years.

Joan Potter is a writer and teacher whose personal essays have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including Stone Canoe, Longridge Review, JONAH magazine, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She is the author or coauthor of several nonfiction books, including ‘Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance With Our Mothers'. 

Joe Russo is a traveling gypsy, residing in such places like Orlando, Florida; Katy, Texas and finally New York City, New York. His writing spans these cities and the people in them most notably in his short script, ‘The Hunt,’ and his stage play, Rose, and a collection of short stories, ‘America’s Sweethearts’.

JP Lorence is a spoken word artist and published science fiction writer living in Vancouver, Canada. Previously, he has been published by ‘New Lit Salon’, ‘Off Topic Press’, and ‘Grey Borders’, along with a few others.

Karen J. Weyant’s essays have appeared in ‘BioStories,’ ‘Briar Cliff Review,’ ‘Carbon Culture Review,’ ‘Coal Hill Review,’ ‘Crab Creek Review,’ ‘Lake Effect,’ ‘Stoneboat,’ and ‘Waccamaw’. She is an Associate Professor of English at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York.

Kenneth (Ken) Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press). ‘Opening’ is forthcoming from Rectos Y Versos Editions. For the past thirty-plus years he taught at Widener University and retired in 2020.

Lancelot Schaubert writes, produces, directs, makes, and advocates for those who do all four. He thinks Shakespeare said we should kill all the lawyers cause that was before they invented literary agents. Visit his website at:

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: ‘More Than Bone Music’ (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She’s also the author of the novel ‘Phoenix Tears’ (Czykmate Books, June 2018). 

Luisa Kay Reyes has had pieces featured in ‘The Windmill’, ‘The Foliate Oak’, ‘The Eastern Iowa Review’, and other literary magazines. Her essay, ‘Thank You’, is the winner of the April 2017 memoir contest of ‘The Dead Mule School Of Southern Literature’. And her Christmas poem was a first place winner in the 16th Annual Stark County District Library Poetry Contest. 

Marc Cid is a photographer for The Definitive Soapbox, a Long Beachbased
open mic night venue in California; the author of a book of poetry due to be published this year by Silver Star Laboratory, titled ‘Your Funeral Sucked, by the Way,’ which contains poems about suicide ideation, bereavement, and stigmatization.

Marc Morgenstern is a former journalist and Emmy Award-winning TV news producer, and a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. Marc teaches at the UCLA Wordcommandos writing workshop for veterans with PTSD, and also founded the ‘Write Place’ writing program for the homeless at his hometown Santa Monica, CA Public Library.

Matt Duggan was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals. In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry. In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection 'Woodworm' (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019.

Melanie Han is an avid traveler and a poet who was born in Korea, grew up in East Africa, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing in Boston. She has won awards from ‘Boston in 100 Words’ and ‘Lyric’, and her poetry has appeared in several magazines and online publications, such as ‘Fathom Mag’, ‘Ruminate’, and ‘Among Worlds’. 

Melissa St. Pierre is a writer and teacher living in Michigan. She teaches writing and rhetoric at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Her work has appeared in ‘The Blue Nib’, ‘Panoply’, ‘45 Magazine Women’s Literary Journal’, and ‘Elizabeth River Press Literary Anthology’. St. Pierre’s work was also featured in ‘Listen To Your Mother’, a spoken word showcase.

Michael J. Moore’s books include ‘Highway Twenty,’ which appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Award and the bestselling post-apocalyptic novel, ‘After the Change,’ which is used as curriculum at the University of Washington. His work has received awards, and has been adapted for theatre. Follow him at:

Mick Yates has been published in many magazines and journals. He has also had seven collections of poetry published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, Clare Songbirds Publishing House in New York, and Hedgehog Poetry Press.

Ndaba Sibanda is the author of ‘Notes, Themes, Things, and Other Things,’ ‘The Gushungo Way,’ ‘Sleeping Rivers,’ ‘The Dead Must Be Sobbing,’ ‘Football of Fools,’ ‘Cutting-edge Cache,’ ‘Of the Saliva and the Tongue,’ ‘When Inspiration Sings In Silence,’ ‘The Way Forward,’ ‘The Ndaba Jamela and Collections,’ and ‘Poetry Pharmacy’. Sibanda is a 2019 Pushcart nominee.

Rick Blum has been chronicling life’s vagaries through essays and poetry for more than 30 years during stints as a nightclub owner, hightech manager, market research mogul, and, most recently, old geezer. His writings have appeared in more than 60 magazines, literary journals, and in numerous poetry anthologies. He is also a frequent contributor to the ‘Humor Times’.

Sarra Culleno is a poet, mother and English teacher who performs at poetry events across the UK. Sarra is widely published. She features in many podcasts and radio shows, and was longlisted for the ‘Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize’. Sarra co-hosts ‘Write Out Loud’ at Waterside Arts, and has performed as guest poet at numerous literary festivals.

Sherre Vernon is a recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She has two award-winning chapbooks: ‘Green Ink Wings’ (fiction) and ‘The Name is Perilous’ (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical, and intelligent. To read more of her work visit

Silas Rallings writes in Belfast, he has won the Studio NI poetry competition for 2018, been published in the anthologies, ‘Where the River Flows’ and LAVAs’ ‘Find’, also to be published in Gruesome Grotesques’ ‘The Outer Zone’ and ‘Happenstance’, is a contributor to Belfast’s Phantasmagoria Magazine, CAP magazine, and the international online journal ActiveMuse.

Stephen House is an award winning playwright, poet and actor. He’s won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writer’s Guild) , Adelaide Fringe Award, Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award for Social Justice, Goolwa Poetry Cup, Feast Short Story Prize and more. He’s received Australia Council literature residencies to Ireland and Canada, and an India Asialink. His chapbook ‘real and unreal’ was published by ICOE Press.

Sueann Wells is a full time mom of three young girls, a part time English teacher at her local community colleges, an avid community volunteer and scout leader. She has been a freelance writer and editor for the past twenty years. She has had several anthologies and many individual poetry and prose pieces published over the years.

Susan Hodara is a journalist, memoirist and educator. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Communication Arts, Harvard Magazine and more. Her short memoirs have been published in a variety of anthologies and literary journals. Hodara is co-author of ‘Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance With Our Mothers’ (Big Table Publishing, 2013). More at

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