who we are

Mock Turtle is a collective effort that relies not only on our fabulous contributors for content but also on a talented group of people to review, edit, format, print, and distribute the zine. Learn more about those who helped with the current issue below. Learn about authors and artists when you view their contributions.


Founding editor

Christina Dendy When not rearranging the furniture and wondering why the knife block in the corner keeps moving, Christina Dendy wiles away the hours chasing white rabbits. She can regularly be found frolicking with her two children, Ori and Nova, in one alternate reality or another. Occasionally, you might sight her in a local coffee shop, completing a freelance writing assignment (generally in the field of educational publishing) on her computer, or that could just be a shapti. She prefers to work, study history, write her novel, make mouthy political commentary, and put together the zine while hanging upside down from a birch tree by her striped socks. Once upon a time, she taught creative writing at Stivers School for the Arts, and hopes to get back to tangling students up in literary and historical devices soon. http://christinadendy.com/

Managing editor

Matthew Birdsall has been a little corny his whole life. He blames Ohio. In fact, his first word was “combine.” Almost a year old, driving with his mom and dad in an old, green Chevy Chevette, he looked into a cornfield, saw a large machine, and said, “combine.” Neither his mom nor his dad were too pleased that their son recognized farm machinery before he recognized them, but they were pleased with the number of syllables he’d used. Matt still tries to disappoint his parents, but now he uses words like “mother” and “father” to lay it on thick. His book of poems The Long and Short of It is now available at Amazon.com. Visit Matt at http://amalgamattor.wordpress.com/ >>

Proofreaders and more

Ria Delight Megnin (yes, that’s her real middle name) is a recovering journalist and part-time superhero powered by Ghostlight Coffee hot cocoa sundaes and Perfect Movie nights at the Yellow Cab. Misplaced apostrophes and disempowering gender references make her twitch. Her stack of books is unconquerable, and includes works by Sue Monk Kidd, Molly Ivins, Isaac Asimov and Mary Crow Dog. If you “like” her on Facebook and mention Mock Turtle Press, she may let you see her turtle tattoo. Writing buddies wanted. Visit Ria at http://www.riamegnin.com >>

Cyndi Pauwels C.L. (Cyndi) Pauwels holds an M.A. in creative writing from Antioch University McGregor. Her debut novel Forty & Out was released through Deadly Writes Publishing, located in Marble Hill, Missouri, in September 2014, and her short fiction has appeared in Mock Turtle Zine, Over My Dead Body!, The View from Here (UK), and other journals. In 2009, she published the award-winning non-fiction Historic Warren County: An Illustrated History. Sugati Publications has selected two of her essays for their Reflections from Women anthology series. In addition to writing, Cyndi’s portfolio career includes book editing (The Enduring Legacy of Kahlil Gibran and The Essential Rihani), teaching freshman composition as an adjunct at Clark State Community College, and serving as assistant director for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop.

Tara Pettit is a regional journalist and communications specialist with a focus on the arts, social/environmental justice issues and community activism. She is passionate about cultivating intentional community and engaging in collaborative creative projects that make healthy community possible.


Tiffany Shaw-Diaz is a born-and-raised Daytonian who has a zest for culture, community, creativity (and apparently, alliteration). While honing her journalism skills at the Dayton City Paper, she immersed herself in Dayton’s bustling fine and performing arts scene and discovered her love for them. She went on to write for numerous print magazines, and most recently, she worked as a USA Journalist for the London-based publication, NAFOURA, on topics related to Middle Eastern dance. As an editor, she has collaborated with the United Nations Volunteer Program in the Ukraine, and currently serves on Kiva’s Review and Translation Team. When she’s not embodying Merriam-Webster’s definition of “go-getter,” she can be found relishing in the delights of “sophisticated laziness.”

jetpicAn immigrant from the Hoosier state, J. E. Tirey moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 2013 to shack up with her boyfriend and his two kids. She spends her mornings catering to the whims of three cats and a dog, her days writing copy snippets for various projects, and her nights looking for missing socks or sneaking out to pick up ice cream sundaes that she and her boyfriend share after the kids are asleep. She does a great Cartman impression. Sometimes, by accident, she writes flash fiction.

Logo designer

Melissa Bautista is into microscopes, especially the big ones.

Other wonderful support people

When not writing or editing creative works, Kevin J. Gray edits educational textbooks and writes about craft beer (and feels strongly that the two topics should be more closely integrated more often). He’s also desperately waiting for the Red Sox to improve, and will be hiding in the northern woods until they do.

David Lee Garrison started writing poetry as a sophomore in high school as a way of dealing with adolescent lust and angst. He hasn’t gotten over those feelings, and still writes poems about high school, even though he will be attending his fiftieth reunion in 2013. “My main goal as a poet is to communicate, so my poems are not hard to understand with a first reading. In all of them, however, I try to achieve a depth that invites a second or third reading as well.” David’s book of poems, Playing Bach in the DC Metro (Browser Books Publishing), is now available at Amazon.com.

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