A Tribute and Memory—A Letter from the Editor

by Tara Laskowski June 19, 2017

Our cover art for Issue 56 is a portrait of Tara Michelle Young, our art director Ashley Inguanta’s best friend who passed away suddenly in March 2017. Ashley wanted the cover art to be a tribute to her best friend, and we were only too happy to agree. To read more about Tara and Ashley’s friendship, please check out her spotlight artist interview.

This is also Ashley’s last issue as art director of SmokeLong Quarterly. I’m very sad to lose Ashley’s vision, talent, and dedication. She’s been with us since 2011 as art director, and in that time I’ve been so pleased to work with her and see the way her art choices brought new facets to the stories we published. Ashley’s work will always have a mark on SLQ. We wish her well in her new journeys. We so look forward to working with our new art director, Alexander C. Kafka, and seeing where his vision will take SLQ in this new chapter.

I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to all of the SLQ staff for all their hard work on this issue, especially Christopher Allen and Shasta Grant. I continue to be grateful for the amazing writers and editors who agree to gift their time and talents to SLQ, and our staff is a big part of that for me.

Finally, Issue 56 is filled with fascinating characters—from a judge who is online dating less than a year before his suicide to a therapist who meets an oak tree with a mid-life crisis. In these stories, we also meet a black widow, a man obsessed with a Barbie doll, a teenager dealing with her sister’s disappearance, and an alcoholic trying to come to terms with her grief.

I hope you’ll enjoy all 18 of the stories and interviews, and that the people and places you encounter in them will inspire your own writing in some way.

Until next time, I remain,

Tara Laskowski
SmokeLong Quarterly

About the Author:

Tara Laskowski has been editor at SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010. Her short story collection Bystanders was hailed by Jennifer Egan as "a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills." She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. Tara lives and works in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

About the Artist:

Ashley Inguanta is a writer, artist, editor, and yoga teacher who is driven by landscape, place. She is the author of three collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books), and Bomb, which is forthcoming with Ampersand Books this fall. Her work has appeared in publications like The Rumpus, PANK, The Daily Beast, Artborne Magazine, and Bartleby Snopes. She is the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly, and she is a contributing editor for The Writing Disorder. You can find her HERE.