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Carve Premium Edition Cover, Winter 2016

“La Cuesta Encantada” – Carve Magazine

2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee

The last thing Althea needed with Owen missing was Irene nosing around.

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COR Vol 20 Cover

“Elephant Teeth” – Crab Orchard Review (Vol. 20, No. 1)

2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee; Finalist, 2014 Jack Dyer Fiction Prize

Elephants have six sets of molars, I learned the summer that I made Gerald move downstairs. They use the front set to eat. When those wear down, the back molars push forward, ejecting the dull ones and leaving fresh ones for chewing. Once the final set wears down, elephants die.

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Redux Cover

“Bandit” (reprint) – Redux

After Hannah scraped the decorative border from the nursery walls, she placed an ad in the university housing office. Summer break had just started, but within days someone called. Rune was her name. “Like the fortune-telling alphabet,” the girl said, her voice throaty and low.

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Printers Row Journal, September 7, 2014 Edition, "Once Removed"

“Once Removed” – Printers Row Journal

2014 Nelson Algren Award Runner Up

Sylvie is late the first time she meets Kyle’s son. An accident on Mulholland snarls traffic, and she winds up rushing to the movie theater, eager for Kyle’s embrace, the quiet reverence of his touch. He’s always finding reasons to touch her, to remind himself what she feels like, he sometimes says with a shy smile that leaves her as giddy as a girl with a crush.

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Carve Magazine 2014 Summer Premium Edition

“F-Man” – Carve Magazine

Top 10 Finalist, 2015 Million Writers Award

That voice. Gravelly, loud, insistent. “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!” yelled over and over outside Mila’s building, six-thirty sharp, mornings and evenings.

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“Nothing Ventured” – FiveChapters

2014 storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story

The fire drill was Winston’s idea. No way Marney would have done it alone.

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“Daredevil” (audio) – The Drum

Jealousy, not faith, had driven Grace to join Saint Timothy’s.

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“Dress Shoes” (audio) – The Drum

These days, when she’s not helping Ralph prepare to live as a woman, Elke devotes herself to their pet sitting business.

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printers row journal

“Beach Haven” (reprint) – Printers Row Journal

Of course my mother was waiting at the emergency room entrance. She must have driven like a maniac to beat us. I almost smiled picturing her hunched at the wheel, cyclists and squirrels scattering as she bore down.

“Daredevil” – Kenyon Review Online

2011 Reynolds Price Award in Fiction Winner

She had memorized the number for urgent care and had learned to dread whenever Kyle proposed a new adventure: skateboarding in empty swimming pools or biking down the steepest mountain trails. Worrying invited disaster, Kyle said if she objected. They couldn’t live their lives expecting the worst. And the worst happened anyway, he would say now. Their family was in ruins.

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“Dress Shoes” – Quarterly West

Finalist, 2016 Sequestrum Editors’ Reprint Award; 2010 Writers@Work Fiction Prize Winner

Last week she helped him file a petition to change his name to Ruth. A six-foot-three woman covered in tattoos will be flamboyant enough, he said when she asked why such a plain name. It’s reality, not flamboyance, that he’s after.

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“A Walk in the Park” – Fugue

2010 Fugue Fiction Prize Winner (chosen by Junot Diaz)

Someone is killing cats in Claire’s neighborhood.

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“Bandit” – Colorado Review

Day workers abducted little girls, assistants embezzled from unsuspecting bosses, children poisoned parents to collect on insurance policies. Husbands and wives drifted apart, unable to grasp the parameters of each other’s grief, the private rules of the other’s recovery. They needed this tattooed girl. Already she was getting them talking again.

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“Beach Haven” – Chicago Tribune

2009 Nelson Algren Award Finalist

Growing up I spent summers in Beach Haven. It’s just over the Long Beach Island causeway, flanked by Manahawkin Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and close enough to our home in Cherry Hill for my father to commute. We only stayed a week when I was little, in tiny, damp rentals that my mother spent hours scouring to get rid of the mildew smell. In my memory she is always young, still plump and energetic, her freckled nose slathered with zinc oxide, her red hair coppery from the sun and salt.


“Lamb” – Prairie Schooner

Best American Short Stories 2009 Notable Story; 2009 Glenna Luschei Award Winner
Any other day Savina wouldn’t have answered the door. She would have checked the peephole, seen who it was, and hidden.

“The Family Way” – Harvard Review

1999 James Kirkwood Prize Finalist

Lately Del is uncomfortable around Nora, a tiny woman with a cap of restless curls, whose pregnant belly protruding from her tapered limbs makes her look even smaller. Nora makes Del feel like a hulking mass of flesh, which she often feels like anyway. Del is five feet four inches tall and weighs two hundred and ninety-seven pounds.

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12 women on the Heartbreak of Watching Trump Win – The Cut

Article by Kim Brooks; contributors: Colette Sartor, Preeti Chhibber, Hannah Wood, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Madhushree Ghosh, Laura Kiesl, Aimee Phan, Natalie Singer-Velush, Olga Kremer, Jeanne Sager, Claire Dederer, Elizabeth Rosner

Excerpt from Colette’s contribution:

Trump’s win felt like a personal attack. I honestly thought all his bald-faced lies, all the racist things he’s done over the course of a lifetime, and all the sexual harassment he’s so casually committed, would matter. I thought America would get it right, and that Trump’s downfall would be a kick in the teeth to all the men — strangers — who, over the years, have thought it was their right to touch my breasts and put their hands between my legs and make comments about my body. How can it be possible that anyone is willing to overlook the things this man has done and said?

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“The House on Bentley Avenue” – Slice Magazine

2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee; Finalist, 2015 Penelope Niven Award in Creative Nonfiction; Finalist, 2015 Thomas A. Wilhelmus Nonfiction Award; Finalist, 2017 44th New Millennium Award for Nonfiction

As a kid, I used to beg my mother to tell me about the day her father died. Mom was a dynamic storyteller, and a smart one. She knew how to make that story about something other than grief.

The day her father died, she would say, a dead crow fell at his older brothers’ feet. This was in the mid-sixties. The two brothers, my great-uncles, were visiting relatives in Italy, unaware that my grandfather was sick back home in New Jersey. Mom was a heavy woman with large, long-fingered hands that soared as she described my great-uncles, themselves big men, ham-fisted with broad chests and thick guts. I can still picture them deep in conversation, strolling a narrow, cobbled side street, when a huge black crow crashes down. It lies there, a breeze fluttering its glossy feathers, as the great-uncles stare. “It’s Dante,” one says. “He’s gone.” The other nods, covers his mouth.

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Perto do céu by Eduardo Amorim

“Girly Girl: The Challenge of Channeling Men” – draft: the blog of process [marginalia]

I’ve never been much of a girly girl. I rarely wear makeup or get my nails done. Most days I forget to brush my hair. Waxing any body part seems like a torture designed for others braver than I am.

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“How I Decided to Liberate My Ass” – Midlife Boulevard

Lately, I’ve been feeling rather smug about how well I’m dealing with the aging process. My encroaching wrinkles give me character. I embrace my faulty memory. And my crotchety, do-it-my-way-or-not-at-all attitude has a certain charm. Aging and I have become buddies.

Then, recently, I decided to wear a thong.

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“What My Son Taught Me About Optimism” – Scary Mommy

I’ve always worn my pessimism like a badge of honor. Optimism is for suckers, I’d tell myself. Better to be on constant high alert for the worst possible outcome so it can’t blindside you. Where an optimist might perceive a cloudy sky as a promise of nourishing rain, a pessimist anticipates an oncoming downpour that will cause a major leak in the roof costing thousands of dollars to fix, not to mention the flood in the backyard thanks to a break in the mainline due to the weight of the sodden soil that can’t absorb all the water from this storm of biblical proportions.

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“My 10-Year-Old Corrects Every Word I Say” – Babble (reprint) and Yahoo Parenting (reprint)

“That’s not true” has become my 10-year-old son’s knee-jerk refrain.

He corrects every word I say. Every. Single. Word.

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We Will Become Silhouettes by Joey Gannon

“You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next” – draft: the blog of process [marginalia]

To some writers–including me–plot can seem like the dirtiest, most despicable of four letter words. Writers of this ilk have been known to run screaming from a room when we hear the word. “Make something happen?” we call, quaking in our hiding spots. “Why would we do that? Stories come from character, not plot. Stories should be about someone, not something.”

This, I’ve learned, is a huge, smelly load of horse shit.

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“Why I’m Learning to Let My Son Correct Me” – The Good Men Project

I would like to say I’m handling this turn of events with grace…but I can’t. Often, when my son corrects me for the thousandth time that day, I find myself snarling, “Dammit, I’m not stupid!” Or I try ten different ways to convince him I’m right before I storm off, leaving in my wake a sobbing, frustrated little kid who’s mystified by my fury.

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"Getting Rid of My Game Face: How I Learned That It's Okay to Show Emotion"

“Getting Rid of My Game Face: How I Learned That It’s Okay to Show Emotion” – Role Reboot

It’s difficult for me to keep a neutral expression, especially when I’m stressed. My emotions have always dwelled close to the surface, impatient to assert themselves. Serious is easier. Serious is close enough to angry or upset that I can approximate it, no matter what I’m feeling.

So serious and determined became the face I wore at school and work. I took nothing lightly. I strove to be the best at whatever I did. I hid my fear, my hurt or upset, or tried to. Too often I didn’t succeed. I would cry soundlessly in a bathroom stall or over-apologize when something went wrong, even when I wasn’t at fault. Then it would hit me, what a failure I was. What a puppy.

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Club Mid, How-I-Learned-To-Release-My-Inner-Control-Freak

“How I Learned to Release My Inner Control Freak” – Scary Mommy

…Before I met my husband and had my son, my house was pristine, every surface a glorious, bare expanse: no pictures, no tchotchkes, no vases or plants. My bed was made, my books shelved, my paperwork and bills hidden away.

I even had rules about the way I kept my refrigerator: containers lined up by size, cheeses and meats in the deli drawer, fruits and veggies in the crisper and only liquids on the top shelf, since that’s the tallest shelf and liquid containers are the tallest items in the fridge. No top-shelf solids—not ever.

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“Why I Am Teaching My Son That Tears Take Courage” – The Good Men Project

My son didn’t cry on his first day of preschool; he cried on his thirtieth.

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Club Mid maam-i-never-thought-id-be-this-young-when-i-got-to-be-this-old1

“Ma’am: I Never Thought I’d Be This Young When I Got to Be This Old” – Scary Mommy

Recently, a twentysomething girl on an airplane called me “Ma’am.”

I was on my way to Chicago for a reunion with a wonderful group of women who dubbed themselves the Dowagers years ago in graduate school, when they were far from dowagers. I was more of a dowager than they were. I was one of the oldest in our program, though at the time I was only in my 30s.

Still, no one called me “Ma’am” back then.

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“The Dating Rules I Had to Break to Meet the Right Partner” – Hello Giggles

I started out my dating life as a serial monogamist. From my teens until well into my twenties, I held on tight to my relationships, especially the difficult ones. Nothing worth having should be easy to get. I would find the formula to make a difficult relationship work. Guess what? No formula. No success.

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Paragraph Shorts, April 23, 2015 Cover

“F-Man” (reprint) – Paragraph Shorts

“Fuck you!” she shouted, still seated on the curb. Raspy, harsh, but strong, tinged with bright remnants.

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Law and Disorder Anthology

“Lamb” (reprint) – Law and Disorder: Stories of Conflict and Crime

The little blue icepacks—thirty altogether—lay sweating in the sink. Earlier, after settling into the guest room, her mother had unpacked them matter-of-factly, tsking at the ones that had melted completely. As if carting a carcass from Newark to Los Angeles should have been trouble-free, nothing that couldn’t be conquered by the likes of Rose DiCorscia.

Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

“Daredevil” (reprint) – 2013 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

Every Sunday during Mass, Grace stared at little Noreen Baransky—at her swollen joints and wasted limbs, her bulging, watery eyes, the discolored fingernails. Grace wondered what was wrong with her. Maybe a rare chromosomal disorder with a complicated Latin name.

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Printers Row Anthology

“Beach Haven” (reprint) – Short Stories From Printers Row, Volume One

I wasn’t due for another month when my water broke. Neal and I lay there naked and shocked in a puddle of amniotic fluid.
Naming the World

“He Said What?” – Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer

I am a shameless eavesdropper.


© 2018 Colette Sartor. Website by POTG Design.
Photos (except blog): Bob Ohanesian & Stephanie Keith.

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