Valerie McIntire is a four year college student in the process of finishing her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and anthropology.  She was born and raised in northern California and plans to remain here. Her aspirations for the future include working for a publishing company, having one of her novels published, and starting a family.  Reading is her favorite pastime, but she also enjoys binge-watching TV shows and writing short stories.  Her literary aesthetic is centered on diversity.  She wants to read stories about people from all walks of life, people of different ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, genders, religions, etc.  By reading and writing about characters from varying backgrounds she believes that readers and writers will gain a better understanding of what it is to be human.  She wants to read stories that cause her to question her assumptions and preconceived notions.


Excerpt from “Desert Stag”:

James Penny was any other kid from a small town: worn boots and a bubbled ego.  The rattling of the hatchback softened when he came to a stop in the middle of nowhere.  Some desert surrounding the 118.  His gas tank was hungry and his windows peered through thickened dust and dirt.  Inside, the air conditioner kicked out at the highest setting, simply blowing stale air.

James, or Jimmy as most were set on calling him, counted every breath.  He felt every single draw.  Often he got lost in the counting, not realizing that someone spoke to him or asked him a question.  While his car idled, he took a moment to relish his escape from captivity.  From the sociality of Marbury, Texas.  He let the vivid memories take hold of him and he counted his breaths.  One.  Rhythmic pounding like lovemaking.  Two.  The slickness of two bodies merging.  Three.  The power over someone else’s destiny. 

Now he was far enough away to rage, to yell, to express his deepest well of hatred.  He got out of his car, raised his arms and bellowed his triumph into the empty desert.  He paced back to the trunk of the hatchback and embraced the car. 

Hands sweating, fingers trembling, he stuck the key into the keyhole and turned.  The trunk softly popped open and Jimmy curled his hands around the edge to lift open his treasure chest.  But then he heard rumbling up the road.  He looked ahead and saw the glint of headlights coming towards him, so he slammed the trunk.  Angry that once again, he was interrupted by insignificants.  He reached into the center console from his side window and picked out a tool that he stuck in the back of his pants and under his shirt.

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