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Patricia Flaherty Pagan

dark Fiction & Poetry 

Back Cover Dreams

When I was a tween, mass was a mystical celebration, but the bookstore was my secondary church. The colorful displays of award winners and best-sellers, the crisp pages and new-book smell, I loved them all. I would enjoy the cover art, read the blurbs and then turn over the books to drink in the tempting back cover copy. In particular, I would look at the author photo with a mixture of awe and envy. This author had not only gotten their hair to behave (the daily struggle of my pre-Frizzease existence) in a formal picture, but they had written an entire book. A book that someone liked enough to publish! Novelists and authors of short story collections were just as cool as Blondie, and even a little smarter.

This week I was pleasantly surprised to find my photo on the back of the fantasy anthology, Tides of Impossibility. I have to admit, my inner tween bounced with glee. I write for the love of the story, and because characters keep popping into my mind and nagging at me until I let them run on across my keyboard into my prose. In the long run, it’s about, as Jean Rhys famously wrote, “feeding the lake.” In fact, the fiction containing the most of my love, fear and vulnerability, Trail Ways Pilgrims: Stories, only exists in eBook form, so it has no back cover. As a writer, I know that a little old cover photo doesn’t mean that much. Many talented writers from my Goddard writing program, some far better writers than me, have never been published in any book.

But my inner tween, daydreaming in the bookstore in Harvard Square, delights in this moment.

Tides of Impossibility benefits the Houston Writers Guild and can be purchased from>