Editor’s Note #28

As many of you who have been following us for a while know, we took a couple of years off. This was largely because I found my teaching job to be extremely time consuming, and I also needed time to finish my MFA at the Sewanee School of Letters and complete my latest novel The Fireball Brothers. The book is out, the degree done other than the thesis (which is mostly written), and I’ve settled into a more comfortable pace with my job, so things are loosening up a little bit.

Thanks to some of the folks that I met at Sewanee, we have a completely new staff of readers. I’d like to take a moment to introduce them all here.

Jason R. Kesler lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where he teaches at the University of West Georgia. He has an MFA from the Sewanee School of Letters at the University of the South.

Elizabeth Savage is a high school English teacher with Claes Distinction who writes poetry and dabbles in fiction and is an MFA candidate at the University of the South for the class of ‘20. Elizabeth supports the arts in her hometown of Evansville, Indiana, and volunteers at community and student theater productions in the region.

Laurie Perry Vaughen is a Tennessee poet whose work has been featured at Word of [South] Festival, Georgia Center for the Book, and New Discord. She holds an MFA from the Sewanee School of Letters and has been published in Crab Orchard Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cold Mountain, Greensboro Review, and Chattahoochee Review. She works as an editor at Abingdon Press.

This new crew has injected much needed fresh air into the lungs of our little web magazine. I appreciate their dedication and hard work. When we announced that we were accepting submissions again, we got quickly overwhelmed and eventually had to put a pause on it so we could catch up.

But in case you haven’t noticed, submissions are now open for Issue #29.

We also have a new feature with this issue called Book Roundup. This is a listing of new books by authors that have been previously published in STR. We wanted a way to continue are relationship with these authors and help them promote their new work, and the Book Roundup is our way of accomplishing those two goals.

Finally, we’ll soon be heading into our tenth year of existence. Our first issue came out in October of 2010. So look for some of the ways that we’ll be celebrating over the next year, including our fifth print issue toward the end of that year.

In this issue: fiction by Robert Earle and Lee Rozelle; poetry by Ashley M. Jones, Sarah L. Webb, Kayla Sargeson, Richard Hamilton, Jesse Breite, John Davis, Jr., Frank Modica, and Brad Rose; non-fiction by Carita Keim; and illustrations by George Mostoller! Photos on our front page are by Tym Cornell.

Editor’s Note, Issue #27

In the summer of 2010, I moved from New York City back to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Having recently published a novel and a collection of short stories, I hoped to contribute something to the literary culture of Birmingham. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there was a literary culture in Birmingham. When I had left seventeen years prior, there was not much.

Upon returning, I found that The University of Alabama-Birmingham had two journals that have shown longevity–Birmingham Poetry Review and PMS, (now Nelle). An organization called Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO) was showing great promise with creative writing workshops for youth based on the model of Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia. I thought that if I could pull together an online journal that would focus on Southern writers, it might make an impact.

I have been thrilled with the response. After 27 online issues and 4 print issues, it’s time for me to move on. My teaching and writing responsibilities have made it too difficult to keep up the quality of work with STR that our readers have come to expect. I have had help from co-founders Mike and Matt, some of my colleagues at UAB, and an intern or two here and there, but all of us have a lot on our plate. It just isn’t possible right now for any of us to make STR our priority.

The website will remain active indefinitely, as long as I have the little bit of cash it takes to renew the domain every year. If my life looks a little different in the future, I would consider relaunching or rebranding the website. For right now, though, we are no longer accepting submissions.

It’s been a great run. Please enjoy this final (?) online issue.

Editor’s Note, Issue #26

We hope everyone has had a happy Easter or whatever spring fertility ritual you participate in annually. As we recover from the sugar coma of the post-Easter candy sale at our local Walgreen’s, we welcome a new member to our small faculty, intern Nicole Gibson. Nicole will be helping us out with reading first round submissions and also dusting off our social media accounts to keep them more active.

Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/steeltoereview/

Now, thanks to Nicole’s efforts, we also have presence on Instagram and Twitter (see links below)

In this issue:

  • Fiction by Dan Leach, Charles Israel, H R Green, Nancy Bourne, and Katie Burgess.
  • Poetry by Bobby Steve Baker, Jon Riccio, Anis Shivani, Bonnie Walker, Joe Albanese, Susan L. Leary, and Stephen Reilly.
  • Creative Non-fiction by Ashley Shaw and William C. Crawford.
  • Visual Art by Allen Forrest and Mark Wyatt.


–M. David Hornbuckle, editor

Editor’s Note, Issue #25

Greetings from the great desert of Alabama where it hasn’t rained in (insert Biblical measurement) of time.  We even had a big rain prayer day at Railroad Park, but it didn’t take. God is still angry at us for electing a misogynist, racist, xenophobic, half-wit to the White  House. Well, despite all that, we all seem to have survived Thanksgiving and maybe this tasty little collection of literary comfort foods will get you through to the end of the year.

In this issue, we have fiction from: Michael Hammerle and Barbara Nishimoto; creative non-fiction from Terry Barr, Cameron Hunt McNabb, Megan Newcomer, and Renae Tucker; poetry from Keith Donnell, John Sullivan, Charles Kell, Daniel Moore, Jim Murphy, KA Webb, Hilary Sideris, and Bill Pruett. You’ve seen a few of these names in our TOC before, a couple of them more than once. There are old friends we haven’t had an opportunity to publish before and new friends that we welcome to the family. This is the kind of list we like to see.

Update on the Print Issue

I know some of you are wondering what is up with our Print Issue #4. We are still going over the proof copy with our detail-oriented copy editors, and we hope to have the final manuscript to the printer soon. The t-shirts are printed and look fab.

It’s still not too late to donate to our “Go Fund Me” campaign and reserve an advanced copy.


They will be printed by the end of the year, we assure you, and we HOPE to mail out all the contributor copies by Christmas. Fingers crossed.

–M. David Hornbuckle

Editor’s Note – Issue #24

It was winter, and then before we knew it, it was spring. It’s taken us a bit longer than usual to get this new issue out (I have a feeling this isn’t the first time I’ve said that…or the last). Something or other always seems to get in the way. We have many excuses, but they aren’t very interesting, and anyhow, the thing is now done. We think it’s pretty good including writing from old friends and new voices.

This time we have fiction from Tim Nalley, Adam Van Winkle, Gershon Ben-Avraham, and Leland Pitts-Gonzalez. Our poetry section features Ashley M. Jones, James Valvis, James Alfier, Robert Eastwood, and Allan Peterson. In addition, we have some vivid rural photographs from William Crawford.

Now that we’re all caught up with our online issue, we are starting production on Print Issue #4 next week. We’re still taking submissions for at least another month though, so keep ’em coming.

In addition, our fundraising efforts for the print issue are resuming. We expect to have cover art completed soon, and we’ll share it with you when possible. To donate to our campaign and reserve a copy of the upcoming print issue, go here:  https://www.gofundme.com/kyhb4524

–M. David Hornbuckle


Editor’s Note – Issue #23

This might just be the best issue yet. It’s certainly a big one, mainly because we got a little behind schedule on posting it, and meanwhile, great submissions kept coming in. We have some real heavy hitters in this issue. There’s new fiction from Diane Thomas-Plunk, Dan Leach, Sean Jackson, Mindy Friddle, S. F. Wright, and William Garland, plus another essay by our frequent contributor Terry Barr. In the poetry section, we have work from Scott Howdeshell, J. G. McClure, D. R. Goodman, Billy Palmer, Mercedes Lawry, Judith Skillman, Suzanne Rhodenbaugh, and Marc Harshman. We are especially pleased to feature visual art in this issue by two old friends Merrilee Challiss and Panhandle Slim.

A couple of announcements:

  • We are currently looking at submissions for online issue #24, which we estimate will be out in March or April.
  • We will start taking submissions for our print issue #4 in January. If you’ve been published in one of our online issues in the past year, your work will automatically be considered for the print issue, but space is limited.

All of us here at Steel Toe hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday and will have an even more wonderful winter holiday season. We have a stack of papers to grade that is taller than we are, so that’s the end of the transmission for now. See you soon.

–M. David Hornbuckle

Editor’s Note – Issue #22

Greetings lovers of fine literature. School is back in sesh, football is in the air, and here in the Blue Dot in September it is just as hot and muggy as it was mid-July. I think I might get the vapors. Before that happens, let me quickly tell you what we have for you this time around.

For starters, we have new fiction from Robert Hunter Whitworth, Dylan Henderson, Christopher Chilton, and Katherine West. We also have some creepy creative non-fiction from Joy Krause and poetry from Mario Duarte, Daniel Moore, Paul Piatkowski, Carrie Conners, Dan Jacoby, and Symphony Romaine. To top it all off, our old pal David Thompson sent us some great photos from his recent travels around the south, and we share them with you.

But wait, you say. Late summer issue? I thought you were quarterly, and you just came out with that whole New Orleans thing like a month ago! Yes, but we got enough really good submissions recently that were not New Orleans-related that we decided not to wait another 90 days. We love you that much.


Yrs. Trly.,

M. David Hornbuckle