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A poet & writer in Chicago, McKenzie's work appears in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, The Rumpus, Motherly, Memoir Mixtapes, & more.

Let me point one fact out from the beginning: I admire young adult literature, and I believe it can be extremely powerful when the central characters are confident, self-possessed individuals, dealing with both personal and more widely-recognized issues. Rebekah Crane’s Aspen does not fall short of this; rather, as I will delve into in more depth later, the complications presented to the characters and to the situations that might otherwise be deemed ordinary or predictable set the stage for an example of YA literature which far exceeds that of the average teen story.

On the surface, this is a story…

Photo by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

I’m so excited, y’all — Hurmašice has been one of my favorite desserts for over TEN YEARS now, and I finally got up the guts to try to make them. And they were good.

Hurmašice is a light, oval-shaped cake that’s soaked in homemade syrup. You’ll find various recipes for this in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and across the Middle East, as well as a few other places!

Back in the United States, in Northern Indiana where I started my marriage with my husband and spent time with his state-side family, I first had Hurmašice when his stepmother made them. …

It’s 2021. This is going to be the year, my friends.

Every decision I made for myself and believed in during 2020, everything I put up on my vision board, “came true” — moving to a new place, creating new financial stability in my life, drinking more water, and finding art in even the little things (and spending more time creating). I don’t exactly believe in manifestation, but I do believe in putting your mind to something and working until you get what you want.

If it worked during the formidable 2020, it will work now.

So… This year is…

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you’re here.

Now, you may be wondering why I am here, and what Mediterranean & Me is all about.

As I write this, I’m remembering Meryl Streep in her role as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, specifically the moment when she arrived outside her Parisian home, exclaiming upon entry, “It’s Versailles!”

Every time I watch that movie (and it’s a serious feel-good movie for me, so I’ll just say I watch it often), a huge grin spreads across my face at Streep’s reaction to her new home, as well as her admiration for the…

Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

We’ve all been through the lame spell that is sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room. We sign in, we ask for a same-day appointment, we fill out the required (repeated) paperwork, and then we sit there.

We wait, and we read (flip-through) the old magazines. We cross and uncross our legs in the uncomfortable chairs. …

Upon reading Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, I am completely floored with possibilities. Her Next Chapter, at first glance, may be meant as an organizational tool for beginning and maintaining effective Mother-Daughter book clubs (which is covered in the Part 1 chapters); but Day’s book additionally discusses current issues and obstacles our young girls are facing, ways of handling those obstacles and teaching our girls about them through conversation and — get this — reading books (covered in the Part 2 chapters).

Last December, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to poet Shaindel Beers about her latest poetry collection, Secure Your Own Mask (White Pine Press, 2018). We discussed in-depth how personal her poems are, the role of the political and violence in her work, and even (after discovering we’re from geographically-similar places) the Midwest.

In the meantime, I wanted to share my thoughts on Secure Your Own Mask, because it was easily one of my favorite reads of 2018.

For me, poetry that values nature, that in some way echoes Plath, that deals in some of our harsher subjects, like…

Dreamscape; Existentialism; Echoes of Religion and Tradition — these, among others, represent the themes that are presented to us, and challenge us, in the reading of Kyle Muntz’s Green Lights, a novella structured within a surrealist neighborhood that responds to and depends upon the current spectral landscape.

That is to say, color, and the narrator’s fixation on and repetition of the phrase, “I want to talk about color.” Whether or not this is a literal reference to the desire to discuss the color spectrum, and whether or not this desire is ever achieved, is somewhat unanswerable within the context of…

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Early this morning, I was submitting a sample piece for a new potential client in copywriting.

This is nothing new. By regularly reaching out to my network and applying for work via various job boards, I keep my workflow steady and the content varied.

But I recalled while completing my application the high number of inquiries and pleas for help I’ve seen around the internet recently.

Most of these calls come from fellow writers who are struggling to break into copywriting or to find more clients after “getting lucky” that one time.

It occurred to me just this morning, because…

“Cady’s New Year’s Slumber Party” by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

It’s December 31, just hours away from the big turn of the clock that will take us from 11:59 PM in 2019 to 12:00 AM in 2020.

We’re having a few neighbors over, and their kids will probably play with ours in the living room and in the playroom downstairs. The adults will probably sip drinks and talk about the usual things: weather, work, the dinner that’s cooking (I’m making lasagna soup, garlic bread, Caesar salad, and fruit bowls for the kids).

But if the topic of New Year’s Resolutions comes up, I’ll probably share the easiest one: finding immense…

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