GNU – Winter 2018


Welcome to the GNU Journal – Winter 2018 edition!

For this publication, we received hundreds of submissions from writers and artists around the globe. To view the selected pieces, click the 2018 section under each genre tab above.

Thank you to all who submitted to this new edition. We are pleased to share your talents.



The motto of the GNU literary journal is “All Genres are Created Equal.”

We accept traditional literary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction; but we are also friendly to genre fiction, YA literature, short plays, comics, photography, and writing that defies classification. The GNU is an annual online literary journal run by the MFA students at National University. We never charge a submission fee.

Our editorial staff seeks a wide aesthetic and especially desires excellent work, experimental or traditional—or somewhere in between. Please use our online submission form to submit original and previously unpublished work or if published prior, the creator retains all rights.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please, withdraw your pieces promptly if it’s accepted elsewhere. Send email to:

Submit no more than a total of five (5) bodies of work combined across the following categories. Last day to submit is 12/15/2017. To submit, click HERE.

Thank you,

The GNU Journal Editorial Staff

Meet Author Kristen Debler


Kristen Debler is Coast Miwok and the proud member of The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.  She is a political/social activist, owner of an online ghostwriting company, and a freelance writer. She has over ten years of organizing and writing experience. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various magazines and journals. She publishes under her pen-name Rosemarie Sage and Tribal /Activist Name Yulu Ewis. She graduated college with a Certificate in Pre-Tribal Law, a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications, a Master’s of Science in Legal Studies and is currently obtaining a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Sacramento, California.

GNU Staff: What are your poetic influences?

KD: The two poets that opened up my eyes to the world of poetry were Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. Throughout my undergraduate years I started to get more involved in Tribal cultural, governmental and political affairs. In my sophomore year I took a Post-Colonial Literature class and I was introduced to a Joy Harjo; a Native American activist, singer, writer, professor and Poet. Her work showed me another way that poetry could be used, as a political voice, and through her work and influence my poetry journey started.


GNU Staff: How are poetry and storytelling valuable in your tribe’s culture?

KD: Storytelling is how we kept our culture and traditions alive. Stories were not only used to teach morals, and good decision making, they were also our way of entertainment. A good storyteller could keep their audience enthralled for hours.  Poetry is my version of storytelling. I believe that storytelling has always been my calling and poetry is the way that I express my vision, and share my stories with the world. I used poetry to express my culture and what we are going through today.

GNU Staff: How do you weave the language and religion of your cultural heritage into your work? 

KD: Weaving is a metaphorical term. When we think of the term weaving, we often think of a basket. Weaving a basket together takes skill because these baskets hold more than food; they are the fabric that holds all of our traditions together. There is no particular method to follow when I am writing. Weaving the language and spiritual beliefs of my culture within my work is often the same as breathing the morning air. The words I use just belong – it is as if inspiration flows through me and I am just the conduit that relays the message for the world to hear.


GNU Staff: What are your thoughts about poetry as a political act and agent of change?

KD: Words are power! Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Marilyn Chin, Paula Gunn Allen, and Joy Harjo (among others) have used poetry to express the harshness of the world they live in, as well as fuel the change they wanted to see in the world. I feel the same way. Singers use music; artists use murals and paintings; and we writers / poets use words. All of these venues help bring people into our reality and help them feel what we want them to feel.

GNU Staff: Why do you feel performing your work in public and making videos is important?

KD: As a reader, opening a fresh, new book is one of the best feelings I could ever experience. However, with the advancement of technology, the writing world has entered a new realm. People read E-books, listen to books on their phone or in their car, and the written word is starting to become less desired and almost obsolete.  This is a scary thought for writers. The only way we can keep our storytelling as desirable as it has been for years, is to become more creative.  YouTube, competitions, and performances are all popular right now. It is a way to expose my work to a different type of audience who might not have been interested in it before.


KD: Also, performing and recording my poetry is a way to let others experience my emotions, and what I meant when I wrote a particular piece.

KD: I have embarked on a new journey creating a video book with my thesis and other political poetry. Here is a link to the first of many videos that will make up what will become “Ope” in video form.

GNU Staff: For what issues do you feel your poems raise awareness, and what can people do to help join the cause?

KD: My poetry addresses issues that are prevalent in Native American communities. The questions of native rights, water rights, and disenrollment have been brought up within our communities. Disenrollment is an issue that I have been working with to tackle with other natives. This is an issue that questions our own sovereignty because of issues such as greed and power. Disenrolling members makes us look like clubs and organizations, rather than a group of people connected through blood, culture, traditions, language, and religion. People can join the anti-disenrollment cause by joining Stop Tribal Genocide on Facebook.


GNU Staff: Do the Internet and social media contribute to the well-being of poetry?

KD: I think so. The internet and social media connect artists to people that might not be able to view their work before. Networking has become easier, and you can get more views on YouTube in a day than having people picking up your book. The internet allows people to view you, read you and learn about you at any given moment. This can be scary at times, but it can also be very rewarding and inspiring.

GNU Staff: How important is the accessibility of meaning? Should a reader have to work hard to ‘solve’ the meaning of the poem?

KD: As a writer, I understand the importance of metaphors. However, they can be misleading when you want your audience to know your meaning. Painting a picture is important because we want to create a scene that brings others into our world. I know as a reader that if I have to read things over and over again to get different meanings, I start to get agitated. This is one of the reasons I try to make sure my meanings are readily accessible to those who are reading or listening to my poems.

GNU Staff: What books are you reading right now?

KD: Currently I’m reading An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley, 1491 by Charles C. Mann, and Grand Avenue by Greg Sarris.


GNU Staff: What advice do you have for aspiring poets?

KD: Words are power! Words are powerful! Remember that when you are writing. Writing is a message that you share with the world. It is an art form. It’s not about publishing or even about publicity. Writing is about finding what you are passionate about and let the moves speak through you. When the words flow through you like ink from a pen, you just know you have to write it down. You don’t have a choice. I personally love that feeling.

How can readers reach you and your work?

Readers can reach me via email: if they have any questions.

If interested in reading any of the stories I have written, please visit:

Visit my blog site at:, and if anyone is interested in my company’s ghostwriting services they can view my work on my website (, and my portfolio (


GNU Journal, the national literary journal at National University, is accepting submission for the Summer 2017 print issue from April 25th to May 25th. Students currently enrolled and alumni of National University are invited to submit poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, one-act plays, scripts, visual artwork including comics, and other bodies of work.

Our editorial staff seeks to collect a wide aesthetic and especially desires excellent work, experimental or traditional—or somewhere in between—from the diverse and talented voices attending NU. Please, use our online submission form to submit previously unpublished or published works you retain ownership to submit.

All work should be original and previously unpublished or if published prior, the creator retains all rights.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please, withdraw your pieces promptly if it’s accepted elsewhere. Send email:

Submit no more than a total of five (5) bodies of work combine across the following categories. For more information or to submit, click HERE.

  • Poetry
  • Short stories (1000-5000 words)
  • Creative Nonfiction (1000-5000 words)
  • One-act play (10-mintute reading)
  • Script (50-90 pages)
  • Visual Art, such as photography, paintings, drawings, and comics (PNG or Jpeg files)
  • Other bodies of work (1000-5000 words)
  • Submit only one body of work at a time. Example: if you are submitting five poems, each poem is a separate submission. Individual submissions make the judging process swifter and easier since each body of work is judged independently.

Please send only your best work that has undergone thorough edits and has been proofread.

All poetry, short stories (fiction and non-fiction) and other written bodies of work should be double-spaced, 12 pt font, in New Courier or Times New Roman.

All visual art submitted must be saved in a JPEG or PNG format file with a 300 DPI or better, and all images should be publication reader.

Include a brief third-person biography written in the present tense of no more than fifty words.

All notifications will be made on a rolling basis through June 2017 with an expected publication date in or after July 2017.

Please keep in mind, upon publication, GNU Journal assumes first serial rights; however, all rights revert back to contributors upon publication, so the authors and artists may re-publish their work elsewhere providing proper acknowledgment is given to GNU Journal.

The submission deadline for student and alumni of National University is May 25th, 2017.

If you have questions, please email GNU Journal at:


Biographies should include your name, the major you currently attend or year of attendance and major, hometown, extracurricular activities, hobbies, brief personal information (optional), and a list of previous publications if you have any.

George Doe, a senior business finance major at National University, is from Brooklyn, NY. He participates in a local wildlife reserve program, and as an avid photographer, he enjoys capturing wildlife in their natural habitat. This is his first publication. (40-words)

Gina Doe, a Texas native, attends online classes in English and aspires to teach the next generation. She’s a member of the XYZ writers’ group, ABC sorority, and enjoys painting in her spare time. Her poems, ‘A Guiding Light’ and ‘Where the Sun Shines’ are published in MNO Magazine. (49-words)

Meet Author Krista Wagner

A Thrilling Journey into Faith

Interview with Author Krista Wagner



Krista Wagner was born in 70’s Southern California. She lives with her Marine Corp veteran husband, three very entertaining children, and an indispensable faith in Christ. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English adjunct instructor.


Fabricio Correa:  In your novel Intent, the protagonist Raylee Johnson lives a sheltered life in a small town. Do you share similarities with Raylee’s upbringing?


Krista Wagner: Not really. My parents divorced when I was a baby and I grew up in the city. Both my parents were not Christians. The one thing Raylee and I have in common is that we are both an only child.


FC: The bleak setting possesses an aura of mystery where water is a character itself. How does water as an element interact with the Protagonist?


KW: In two primary ways: as a place where she finds comfort in the company of her loved ones (her parents, Billy) and as a place of revelation. In the second half of the novel, the water begins to serve as a metaphor for unease and danger as Raylee starts to unravel the mysteries behind the deaths of those close to her.


FC: Raylee starts out as an impressionable, naïve girl living with her overprotective parents. Do you think her parents somehow contributed to her being unprepared to go out in the world by herself? If not, do you think all the love they gave her actually made her stronger than any adversity?


KW: I think her parents believed in her more than she believed in herself, so it was more of Raylee’s insecurities that created this doubt. And, ultimately, her parents love and the faith they supplied gave her the courage she needed.


FC: Raylee encounters tragedy in her life which shatters her “glass house” existence. How did that shake Raylee’s expectation of self based on her dependent demeanor?


KW: She became bitter. The faith she grew up in became fractured and redirected into her high school crush, Billy.


FC: Religion has a crucial role in Raylee’s life. Her tragedies made her question her faith only to allow it to grow stronger inside her. How do you see the connection between hardship and faith?


KW: Adversities do not have to overtake us when we have faith in God. He is our Rock and our Comforter. Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


FC: Your novel is set in the 90’s. How do you think your novel affects the digital era teen?


KW: It reminds us of how much simpler life was without all of the technology and how much more people interacted face-to-face. I’ve had younger readers experience a nostalgia for something they never had.


FC: Tell us about your academic background. 


KW: I received my BA in English from UMBC, my MA in English Composition from CSUSB, and my MFA in Creative Writing from National University. My debut novel Intent, a spiritual dramatic thriller, was published in 2014. Rian Field, a psychological thriller, The Gold, a middle-grade fantasy, and indigo, a YA realistic issue-driven novel, were published in 2016. I have been an English Instructor since 2008.


FC: How can your readers reach you and your work?


KW: I can be found all over social media:


You may find Krista’s novel, Intent on Amazon.


INTENT by Krista Wagner

Trying to deal with small town life and feeling that she has no real purpose, Raylee Johnson finds a new source of confidence when her former high school crush returns to town. When she begins to feel better about the direction her life is going, Raylee is thrust into a maze of doubt, uncertainty, murder, and deceit where the only thing she does know for sure is that her life is engulfed in lies.



Fabricio Correa is a Brazilian-born writer and blogger based in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in law from Universidade Salgado de Oliveira and is currently attending National University’s MFA creative writing program.




Meet Author Sherri Miranda

Between “Secrets and Lies,”

a Conversation with Author Sherri Miranda


Fabricio Correa – What made you choose El Salvador as the background for your novel? What inspired you?

Sherri Miranda: I protested the US support of the civil war for more than ten years. I also was married to a Salvadoran during part of that time & went to ES in ’82. I went with a fact-finding delegation in ’02. By then, I knew I would write the story, but had little time & no idea how it would look.

The facts of the war & knowing my country supported it hurt me deeply. Then learning how loving & generous Salvadorans are brought me to the point that I HAD to write this novel. It wasn’t going away no matter what I did.

FC: You delve into harsh realities of a war-torn third world country. Would you say your storytelling stresses “love” as a theme instead of “war”? How so?

SM: Yes, Love is the main theme, as well as “CHOOSING” family. The idea of One World & all of us being “Saviors” are two other themes. And, of course, the theme “War is Hell” is there. The way war tore families apart should be evident if I did my job in writing this story.

FC: How long did the research process take you to dig the historical events mentioned in your novel? Did you travel to El Salvador?

SM: As I mentioned, I went to El Salvador twice. BUT I lived with Salvadorans for 20 years. I met many Central Americans while living in New Orleans, as well as other Latinos. Then, while in San Diego & Los Angeles, I taught many Mexicans & Central Americans, as well as students from many other countries.

In some ways, it was more than 30 years of research as I only decided to add Roque Dalton’s story after I had written several drafts.

FC: Abuela seems to be the character who is the connection between all the others in the book. Tell us about conceiving her.

SM: Abuela is the mythical mother that holds the family together, that passes on the history. She is also Universal Love & the Protector of life.

There is someone similar to abuela that took the time to teach me many things. The real woman, though, never knew her parents because of the massacre in 1932.

FC: The title mentions “secrets” and “lies.” What are the complications of these two concepts within the story?

SM: Our secrets & lies come back to haunt us in ways we can never imagine. I remember a psychological study where a woman who was raped & kept it a secret ended up with a daughter that was also raped. There is something about these secrets & the lies that then need to be told in order to keep that secret; somehow it creates more lies & more cover-ups. It’s a vicious cycle.

FC: Did you attend an MFA program?

SM: I have an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. I loved the program & although, I was unable to work on the novel until the thesis courses, it shaped my story in innumerable ways. My only regret is that, because it was all on-line, I never met any of my classmates. I met some other MFA grads & a couple of professors later when I was invited to present at the 2016 AWP Conference in LA.

FC: The assassination of priests, nuns, civilians, revolutionaries as well as the raping and torturing of people is a tragic subject. What do you hope might be the impact of telling these stories for society?

SM: Hopefully, it will help people to see what happens when the rich & powerful no longer care about their countrymen. The extremes to which the powerful go to make millions that they will never use seems absurd to me. The demonizing of those who serve the poor, as well as the poor, themselves, should be a lesson to all. Even more so now than when the novel was first written. Three short years has shown us how what was done in El Salvador & other parts of the world has now come home to roost.

FC: Where can your readers find out more about your work?

SM: Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:

Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song, too.

San Diego Book Review gave “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” 5’s.

An article about her debut novel. Click here.

An article about the writer’s group Sherri Miranda started. Click here.

An interview by Fiona McVie on her Authors Interviews WordPress blog can be found here.

The San Diego Public Library’s 50th Annual Local Authors Exhibit featured Sherrie’s novel. Read the article here.

You may find Sherrie here:
GoodReads Author page
Sherrie’s WordPress blog

Interview conducted by Fabricio Correa

Fabricio Correa is a Brazilian-born writer and blogger based in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Law from Universidade Salgado de Oliveira and is currently attending National University’s MFA Creative Writing program.

GNU Journal Winter Issue 2017

The GNU Journal Winter Issue 2017 is now live.

book-1_gnu-journal_a-feast-of-the-mind_winter-poetry-issue-2017_001-b    book-2_gnu-journal_a-feast-of-the-mind_winter-short-story-issue2017_002-b    book-3_gnu-journal_a-feast-of-the-mind_winter-nonfiction_art-work_plays-issue-2017_003-b






Click on the book covers above to view the GNU Journal Issues for 2017. If the links in eBooks are non-functional, download the file, open it, and then the links will function.


A Letter from the GNU Staff:

We would like to thank the writers who sent in their piece(s) to the GNU Staff for the Winter 2017 Publication. Writing is a solitary endeavor, and it takes a whole lot of sweat, tears, and angst to put one’s words on paper—let alone the self-talk and confidence required to share and/or submit completed work for publication consideration.

The dedication and continued support of the GNU Staff made the creation of this body of work a reality. Without the assistance of the editors/readers, as well as the unwavering support and guidance of Professor Frank Montesonti, this publication would not have been possible.