Murder Under the Bridge – detective fiction by Kate Raphael

Murder Under the Bridge, Mystery Set in Palestine, Debuts Online

Rania is the only female Palestinian police detective in the northern West Bank. She is also the mother of a young son, in a rural community where many feel that mothers should not have such demanding careers. Chloe is a Jewish American dyke with a video camera and a big attitude, anxious to right every wrong caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The two women team up to track down the killer of Nadya, a trafficked Uzbek worker in one of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  Their search for truth takes them from checkpoints and prisons to brothels and beaches.

In 2004, I was living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, working with a women’s peace group.  One night I was in a taxi with some friends and as we drove on a Palestinian dirt road passing under an Israeli superhighway, I told my friend, “This would be a great place for a mystery to begin.”  On my next break, I started writing, creating characters and developing a story.

I’ve been an avid mystery reader for many years, and I especially like using them to learn about cultures or time periods I don’t know that much about.  The genre is well-suited to exploring social issues in an engaging way.  I was intrigued by the idea of using popular culture to help people understand a conflict that is portrayed in the media as complex and intractable.  I wanted to show the lives behind the headlines.

The book has now been through four drafts, quite a number of people have helped me by reading it and giving feedback and suggestions, I had editing help from a wonderful editor and an agent who was interested in it for a while.  I have gotten some very nice comments from publishers, but always with the inevitable “but” – not appropriate for our list, can’t adequately market it at this time …

A little while ago, I started thinking about the fact that a lot of the early detective novels were originally published in serial form.  When I first moved to the San Francisco area, Armistead Maupin’s ‘Tales of the City’ was running as a daily newspaper column.  I remember how I would look forward to it every day.  The serial really lends itself to the mystery genre.  You try to end each installment on a cliff-hanger of some kind.  Publishing on the internet also allows me to augment the text with photos, maps and videos to enhance the reading experience.

Chapter 1 – Roadblock at Azzawiya Bridge


Ya tik alaafia,” Captain Mustafa commanded Rania’s attention as soon as she entered the station.  He used the greeting for someone who is working, so she tore her eyes from the coffee pot bubbling enticingly in the corner.


Every day, Rania told herself she would get up early enough to make an Arabic coffee before she left the house.  But every morning when her alarm rang at half past five, she shut it off and did not get up until six.  Then she was always rushing to reach the roadblock at Qarawat bani Hassan for the bus to Yasouf, where she would cross the roadblock and transfer to the other bus that would be waiting to take her to the small police headquarters at Salfit.


When she had first moved with her husband, Bassam, to his family’s compound in Mas’ha village, it had taken less than half an hour to reach Salfit.  Since the Intifada, with the Israelis restricting Palestinian movement to a crawl, she often suggested they rent a little house in Salfit, for them and Khaled.  But Bassam said he needed to keep a daily watch on his olive groves, adjacent to the Israeli settlement which was always trying to gobble up more land.  She suspected he also did not want to sacrifice his place as the favored oldest son, center of his mother’s world, and let one of his brothers supplant him as head of the family.


Captain Mustafa cleared his throat.  Suddenly self-conscious, Rania removed her head scarf.  As soon as she did, the situation felt more comfortable.  The men were still learning to accept her as a colleague.  Traditionally, women were nurses, engineers and teachers, more recently a few were doctors.  Women as police detectives was a new concept, which would take getting used to.  Wearing the hijab made the men she worked with feel like they were talking to one of their sisters or cousins; taking it off made it possible for them to treat her like an equal.  To her it was not important.  Her belief in God, such as it was, did not rise or fall with her head covering.  Growing up in Aida Camp, outside Bethlehem, few of the women she knew had worn it.  Now she wore it diligently in the village and on the roads, where she might run into someone who knew Bassam and his family.  In the city, and among men with whom she had a professional relationship, she took it off.  Sometimes she told her friends, “I think more clearly without something between my brain and the sun,” but in fact, she felt the same, whether she was wearing it or not.


“There is a situation in Azzawiya,” said Captain Mustafa.


“What kind of situation?” asked Rania.


“One requiring great tact.”


Rania knew the captain well enough to take this as a warning, not a compliment.  She was not known for her tact.  There must be some other reason why he was sending her.


“A car is abandoned on top of the bridge,” Captain Mustafa said.  Rania waited.  An abandoned car on an Israeli road was not something the Palestinian police would normally concern themselves with.  “The Yahud say that the car is stolen,” he continued.  “The jesh have closed the road under the bridge and no one can pass on foot or by car.”


Rania understood now why she was being sent on this errand.  If the Israeli army had closed the road between Mas’ha and Azzawiya, it would be necessary to find another way to approach, and she knew the land.  She would also know many of the people who would be gathered on each side by now, waiting to see when they would be allowed to go.  She would be able to tell at a glance if there was someone who did not belong there, whose actions should be scrutinized.  A woman could surreptitiously gather information in such a situation, while a Palestinian man, even a policeman, who was moving around and asking questions would be perceived as a threat and treated as a suspect by the Israeli authorities.  She tied the scarf around her hair again, grabbed her purse and removed a bag of supplies from her desk drawer.


“Tread lightly,” Captain Mustafa told her.


Rania didn’t bristle at the caution.  It was his job to remind her of things she was likely to forget.  On the other hand, she doubted his admonition would remain in her mind for more than thirty seconds once she left police headquarters.


She cast a longing look at the coffee pot on her way out.

Hooked?  Keep reading at

Mosaic artist Cheryl Gallagher, on her concrete obsession

Frank Gehry had an exhibition of cardboard furniture at LACMA in LA in 1972. There was a photo of the exhibit in the LA Times, along with an impossible to ignore need to see it. It wasn’t an understood or defined need. The furniture was 90 miles away in a borrowed car with a 17 year olds’ new driver’s license and friends that stared blankly at the suggestion. They would be glad to go for a concert, but for furniture? And the furniture was so worth it: cardboard that was far outside the realm of the conventional.    
Concrete as an obsession: Concrete has no class connotations, is strong, organic, bold, immense,  inorganic, polished, coarse, able to span bridges and to be shaped into tiny objects. Overpasses, sidewalks, buldings, furniture, sculpture, jewelry.     
Nomadism: intentional and as a twig in a storm-tossed sea. Themes of restlessness, upheaval, disruption and also of adaptability and challenge. Change…the desire for fullness, new experiences, and an all-encompassing, overwhelming desire to bring physicality to an idea of a specific three-dimensional object. Design as the theme: clothing, flowers, furniture, sculpture, mosaics. An ongoing struggle between function  and non. It’s critical to have function in this world of unnecessary junk and it’s an extreme feeling of freedom to create something that does not have to function. Minimalism ->Universality-> 
Childhood memories of meticulously drawing small details of tiny interlocking parts. It was so incredibly satisfying both to do it, and to see the results when they were finished. Each tiny part in its own perfect place on the path to mosaics. They’re solid and fragile, natural and artificial, a statement about the resiliency and the strength of the earth. Mosaics are so much color and light. They can tell a story that might need to be told, if only for the maker’s sanity. It can be a way of working out the frustrations, new thoughts and ideas that are bursting out of one’s skin. It’s the fitting together of the small pieces to find as close to the perfect whole as can be imagined in that particular time and place.  
Pushing boundaries, experimentation leads to the discovery of bottomless pits and soaring light. Intimate knowledge redefines an inherent concept of freedom and drives life that has had to learn to appreciate every small miracle.



Annual Dia de los Muertos Group Show: Ventura, CA 1992-5
Charro Grande, CA: Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit 1994
Math Ideas/ CCA Cafe: Oakland, CA 2003
Contemporizing the Organic/ CCA Timken Gallery: Oakland, CA 2005         
Through the Woods/Red Ink Gallery: San Francisco, CA 2006
Uptown Art Stroll: San Antonio, TX 2006, 2007
Majestic Ranch Arts Foundation: Bourne, TX 2008
Inspire Fine Art School: San Antonio, TX 2008
East Bay Open Studio Tour: Emeryville, CA 2009

Cynthia Lamanna’s Joy Cometh in the Morning


In the bitter chill of that early spring, it appeared that all life forms had ceased; from the heaven’s blue to the underground’s black ice terrain, the natural and supernatural had come to a halt; in those dark three days, the world was without the music of human laughter, devoid of divine manifestations such as the sighting of an angel’s wing or a lame man leaping with joy…the heavy drapery of sorrow and mourning hung over the souls of His beloved followers; even his skeptical neighbors, cynical relatives, and arch enemies could not enjoy their mockery and revenge against a God they both feared and rejected.

The people again sat in great darkness; even those whom he had touched and healed and broke bread with; for the bridegroom was gone, and there was no wedding without him. Once again they were in captivity as if the star had never appeared to the magi and the shepherd; as if Lazarus had not been raised from the dead after all. The real purpose for rebirth and the true meaning of scriptures eluded even the most enlightened in those three days of foreboding.  Though the darkest parts of  his intense and seemingly surreal crucifixion were unbeknown to all save the Christ and His Father, his disciples could not endure the grave images of his contorted features, crimson tears and mangled bruised body hanging on that crude tree, utterly weakened and defeated (so they thought) by death.

Here they were, the big strong fishermen and the disciple whom  He loved, crying like babies in the night; their hearts sinking into them like their own boats slipping into the cold murky abyss. Why hadn’t he stood up to our leaders; those viperous snakes who plotted to kill him and entrap him with their clever words?

Peter in his flailing and anger over the injustice of it all, sickened by his own  cowardliness, and vain boasting, sank to despair, as he nearly did when walking on the waters. Mary the mother of  Jesus, though broken in heart opened her arms out to John, treasuring in her heart and revering the exhortations of her young man as he looked down at her from the cross, with eyes of compassion and gratitude. Woman, behold your son.”

There was always room at Mary’s inn, for a weary traveler, or  a pregnant young girl full of wonder and fear.

     Early on the first day of the week Mary was the first to see the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty. After summoning Peter and John to come back and witness this heart thundering moment with her and after they left her there to go back to their lives, Mary waited, determined not to leave without knowing where they placed him. Even the angels in their brilliant white, did not detour or intimidate her; for such was her longing and thirst for her brother and such was her insistence that she see him again and be near him dead or alive. She had sat transfixed and enthralled at his feet, anointing him with perfume and her own tears, as she heard about God’s forgiveness; now as she turned from angels, her search for truth was rewarded as the risen Lord appeared to her. She knew him not at first sight, yet she again asked the question, that no one had been able to answer.

            He called her by name, and she knew Him. She cried out with the strands of joy that knew no bounds. “Rabonni!”  How she longed to feel his strong embrace, his sacred heart beating against her own. He told her that she must not hold onto him ; He, who was no longer human and forever divine. He must go now and return to His Father and he told her to tell the others.” Go to my brothers and tell them I am returning to my Father and to your Father!”

Cynthia Lamanna may be reached at

Chiyo Miyashita: The Wandering Fox

Chiyo Miyashita’s Artist Statement


Artists may have freedom, but they may not. They can create their art by struggling for their freedom. I wish I had wings and were free from the burden of my flesh, and I am wondering what the world would look like if I could see from beyond space and time. But the reality is that we are not free from gravity and we cannot overcome space and time in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been looking for images of landscapes in which there are a mixture of memories of where I used to be, an awareness of where I am now, and longing for where I want to be.

I cherish and grow these seeds of images of landscapes which are not yet visible. It’s like a line of poetry, a fragment of story, an unfinished song. Then I try to make it visible to share with you. I hope my works will be clues to weave your own story which is a mixture of your memories and imagination.



About the “Wandering Fox” series


This is my latest series, just born this February. Fox is wandering in a field or a village to find something which even she is not sure about. It could be a comfortable lair, her dearest, or she might want to go back to her childhood… The viewers may create their own story. Inspired by Japanese picture scrolls, I try to make a kind of picture book without words. I hope you enjoy floating in your imagination.


Chiyo Miyashita

Chiyo Miyashita may be reached through her website or at

Mason’s Road seeks written submissions


Mission Statement for Mason’s Road

Mason’s Road is an online literary journal sponsored by Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing and a collaborative effort among graduate students in the program. We are emerging writers of all ages and in all stages of our writing careers, who come together twice a year for our residencies at Enders Island, off the coast of Mystic, Connecticut, where we discuss and practice the writing craft. Mason’s Island Road is the final stretch that leads us to Enders.

Mason’s Road is a place but it is also a time; like any journey, it provides a “liminality, ” or period of transition. We hope you will join us on this road as we search to better understand our craft by exploring thought, sound, and sight through words, audio, and art. Like masons who labor to piece together their work – finding the right combination of stone, rock, and mortar to create something that will last and survive the test of time – we as writers are first and foremost craftspeople. We must arrange and rearrange words until we get them right. Toward that end, we seek writing that teaches us the basics as well as the subtleties of the writing craft, writing that has been polished through hard labor and industrious practice – writing that is honest, and earnest, and strong.

To honor this goal, each issue of Mason’s Road will be dedicated to a particular aspect of the writing craft. For our inaugural issue, we are accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and drama that showcase exemplary or innovative uses of “voice” or “persona.” In upcoming issues, we may focus on dialogue or metaphors or rhythm or beginnings or endings, whatever our staff and our readers would like to learn more about. And we will be turning to the international writing community – to emerging and established writers – to travel with us down Mason’s Road to the threshold of inspiration.

Call for Submissions

Mason’s Road is published twice a year. We currently have a rolling, blind submissions policy and are accepting work in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, drama (stage or screen), and art from both emerging and established writers and artists.

For our inaugural issue, we are accepting submissions that showcase exemplary or innovative uses of “voice” or “persona.” While submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, the cut-off date for this first issue is May 15, 2010. Please submit only once in a genre for each issue, and limit prose to 9,000 words, poetry to 5 poems, and visual art to 5-10 pieces (must be a series). For creative non-fiction, we accept personal essays or memoir excerpts, not book reviews, critiques or other non-fiction.

All work should be sent to <mfajournal( at)fairfield. edu> (replace (at) with @). Your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and title of your work must be in the body of your e-mail. The subject line should identify the genre and title of work (i.e., POETRY – “The Road”), and every page of your work should include the Title in the footer or header, but NOT your name or any other identification.

Poetry, drama, and prose submissions must be sent as a Word (.doc) or rich-text format (.rtf) file. Art submissions must be sent as a web-ready, *.jpg file. Any files that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be considered.

Mason’s Road does not accept previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are accepted as long as they are indicated as such and we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. All published work will be archived online, and after publication all rights revert back to the author/artist. We currently do not pay contributors, but we plan to hold annual contests with monetary prizes of $200-$500 for which only contributors will be eligible.

Jazz and Blues anthology seeks poetic submissions


21st Century Howlers: A New Generation Jazz and Blues Anthology edited by Tyehimba Jess, Duriel E. Harris and Patricia Smith.

In the past ten to twenty years, a new generation of poets has emerged that seeks to expand and deepen the call-and-response tradition of Jazz and Blues music into the 21st century. Many of these poets may have not experienced a time when Blues or Jazz were the country’s common vernacular or were played with any heavy rotation on their local radio stations.

As we quickly approach the centennial of Jazz and Blues, this anthology seeks to gather the voices of a new generation of Howlers: those poets whose work embodies or addresses the musical traditions of Jazz and Blues, and who began actively publishing no earlier than 1995. Editors are particularly interested in innovative approaches, reinterpretations, and engagements with the contemporary socio-historical moment and/or Jazz and Blues scene. Each poet featured in the anthology will provide a short commentary or anecdote on the ways Blues and/or Jazz have affected their writing.

E-mails should contain a cover letter and submission as one attachment in Microsoft Word. Previously published work must be acknowledged in the cover letter. Submissions will be taken on an ongoing basis until September 1, 2010, c/o <21stHowlers( at)gmail. com> (replace (at) with @)

The List, a poetry anthology, seeks submissions


ANTHOLOGY. Try this on for size. Take these six words—Anteros, crippled,
spindles, stairwell, threshold, and whirligig—and incorporate them into a poem for possible inclusion in an exciting and daring anthology.

There are no minimum or maximum length requirements for individual poems. We, however, have a three-poem limit for submissions. The only requirement is that you incorporate all six words into one poem. We are most interested in fresh and surprising poems that seamlessly integrate the list words.

Submissions will only be accepted via e-mail. Please e-mail submissions to:

<thelistanthology( at)gmail. com> (replace (at) with @) by May 15, 2010.

Please visit www.kennesaw. edu/thelistanthology for more information.

Handful of Dust seeks poetry submissions

Call for Submissions: H.O.D

H.O.D. (A Handful Of Dust) is seeking poetry and artwork for its first
issue debuting Summer 2010.
http://hofd. wordpress. com/

While H.O.D. has no theme or limits, its
editor would like to see more work that is grounded in grit-lit.
Submit 3-5 poems and a cover letter in the body of an e-mail to

<h.o.d.submissions( at)gmail. com> (replace (at) with @)

Check out http://hofd. wordpress. com for further guidelines.

Out of Nothing Magazine seeks new works

call for submissions: [out of nothing]

[out of nothing], an electronic publication interested in new works in
image, sound, text, and the intersections between these media, is now
open to submissions for our fourth online edition of the journal—with
the theme, “In excess of all that is proper, shapely”—as
well as for a special print anthology. As usual, we ask that you
submit to us, at shelling.peanuts( at)gmail. com [replace (at) with @],
your textual, aural, visual, poly/ambi-medial work, that we may
publish it in both/either of these formats.

Deadline: April 30th, 2010.

Prospective contributors would be well-advised to consult our earlier
publications at http://www.outofnot as a guide to the type of
work we’re interested in: to supplement this understanding and ideally
stimulate your thinking about a new piece made particularly to address
the issues that consume, or rather, are consumed by us, we offer the
following potential topics:

> the vacuum
> salvage / remainders
> imaginary spaces possessed of imaginary dimensions
> darkness / lightlessness
> reduced or infinitesimal means
> the exponential
> self-abnegating symbols
> the blank
> obliteration
> the inconsequential
> refusal
> the contentless / general contentlessness
> the generic and / or undifferentiated and / or the contra-original
> adhesive agents in search of clients to bind
> none of the above or below

Our submissions guidelines are available at:

http://www.outofnot 310/journalState ment/journalStat ement.html

*We ask that you do not submit previously published work; we will draw
from our own reserves for The Familiar.

Eds., [out of nothing]

Emprise Review seeks non-fiction submissions

Emprise Review is looking for Non-Fiction submissions in three categories

1. Book reviews–Texts from any period but contemporary works in particular. 500-1000 word reviews that focus primarily on the text itself and make use of the reviewer’s opinion.

2. Film reviews–300- 1000 word reviews are preferable, as well as reviews that focus on the film and make use of the reviewer’s opinion.

3. Lists–Use your creativity as there are few rules, though in general we’d prefer lists that don’t go into the hundreds or thousands.

Works selected for publication will be featured on the front page/blogging portion of the website and would be seen by the majority of our visitors. Not only are we looking for submissions in the non-fiction category, we are also in search of some regular non-fiction contributors or bloggers to help bolster the critical portion of our website. Visit our non-fiction guidelines for further details.

Furthermore, as always, Emprise Review is open for submissions in original poetry and non-fiction. Please visit our Submit page for further details regarding our submission guidelines. You can also visit our magazine to read some of our previously published content to get some idea of what we’ve selected in the past, though don’t feel limited by our previous selections, we are always in search of new voices, modes, and genres.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Patrick McAllaster, at <pmcalla(at)> (replace (at) with @)

Meet and Greet Brunch with Agents and Publishers

This costs $65 but is worth it given the roster of agents represented…lovely restaurant, too! And you don’t need to be a woman to go…if you have the $65 it’s a great opportunity, bring your edited, revised book proposal!

The Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter  

Welcome to Our 7th Annual Signature Event 

Meet-the-Agents, Editors, and Publishers 

Sinbad’s Pier 2 Restaurant, San Francisco, March 27, 2010  

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 




Agents, Editors & Publishers Graciously Sharing Their Expertise Include


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College application writing mentoring opportunity – writers needed to work with young people


This summer College Summit Northern California will have four workshops where
high school seniors will begin their college application process. Each workshop
lasts for 4 days (Th-Sun) and will be held on the campuses of UC Berkeley and
University of Pacific (Stockton) on different weekends in June and July.

We are looking for volunteer Writing Coaches who will be trained to facilitate
the personal statement writing sessions with a group of 4-6 students. And we
need College Coaches, folks with professional experience as guidance or
admissions counselors to meet individually with students and help them plan
their senior year and potential college list.

You don’t need to be a great writer or have teaching experience to be a great
Writing Coach. We will train you on-site on how to facilitate the process with
your students.    You just need a passion for working with Bay area youth to plan
for their future and a willingness to learn the process. You are supported the
entire weekend by seasoned staff.

The Berkeley workshops are quickly filling up, but we need more folks at
University of Pacific. If you are worried about the distance or lack of
transportation, please note that I do my best to help volunteers coordinate car
pools. Amtrak also goes to Stockton and the campus is a short cab ride away.

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities and register for a specific
workshop visit our website:

If you have any questions, you can contact Amy Pimentel at