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Hello, my name is Martin Hill Ortiz and welcome to my web site. I’m a writer, researcher and professor living with my family in beautiful Puerto Rico. Please take a good look around. Thank you and gracias. -mho

What’s new? Glad you asked.

At the local Walgreens they had a pillow for sale, I suppose some leftover from New Year’s Day. It was embroidered with the message: 2020, A Great Year. I considered buying it as a cruel joke.
 
In the past three years, here in Southern Puerto Rico, we’ve had Hurricane Maria, a cluster of earthquakes that have numbered in the hundreds, and now the COVID-19 plague.
 
Literature-wise, I’ve had three short stories in Mystery Weekly Magazine, a continuing series following the story of Phillip Prince, an ex-emergency tech on the run from a mysterious danger. The first entry, Bag Man, gained an honorable mention in the anthology, The Best American Mystery Stories, 2019. Look for the new stories in the April, May and June issues.
 
I had the short story, Last Howl of the Chili Dogs, appear in the March 7th issue of The Weird and Whatnot. My story made the cover art and can be read by downloading the free sample of the magazine. 
 
A poem book, Tears from the Glass Eye, was selected as a finalist for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize out of Notre Dame. Along with the other finalists I will be (remotely) part of the 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival in October.
 
On the more whimsical side, I’ve completed another narrative poem for children, Santa Claus Versus the Ninja Werewolf, which I have sent to a publisher.
 
Less recent news:
 
I have a short story, Francis Valencia Ortiz, appearing in the October 2019 issue of Rendez-Vous Magazine. This magazine has some classy stuff. My story begins:
 
  For all his life, Frank had been at war with the willows. They sprouted in and around the stream, clogged the irrigation ditches, and choked off the water flow.
  His land, a narrow plain between steep mountain shoulders, received few hours of direct sunlight, and the already challenged crops could not support the shock of thirst: he needed to keep them well watered.
  So Frank burned the willows, dowsed them with poisons, or latched a chain around their bases using his Power Wagon to yank them out by their roots.
  They always grew back.
 
The story is based on the life of my grandfather. I wrote a blog post about him, including a poem.
 
July has brought the short story, Elwood and Vera, to Airgonaut magazine. It’s a tragicomedy. Two lovers have particular handicaps, one on the left side and the other on the right. When they stand in one formation they share a bit of oblivion. When they stand in the other formation, they are oblivious to the world.
 
In June I had a short story, Deep in the Never-Night, published in Dream of Shadows. It is an intense science-fiction piece. The world has fallen to an invasion. However, the creatures have found the atmosphere unfavorable, except for the most northern regions. In Greenland, Inuit are caretakers of the giant maggot-like offspring of the visitors.
 
Neglected by the Southern world, the Inuit tribe’s prospects are bleak. One woman has a plan to wake up the world. An excerpt:
 
Deep in the Never-Night

A quarter past midnight and the distant maggots howled. To the south, the never-setting sun lazed on a hilltop. Across the sky, an auroral curtain danced, its fabric ruffled by the solar wind. A more earthly breeze blew onshore from Baffin Bay.

     Just beyond the village limits, frost crusted the land, covering the karibu lichen and the weather-smoothed stones. Only the cold was jagged. Farther on, a broad rim of earth had been salted, creating a band of no man’s land, a boundary to forewarn trespassers. This flat expanse was free of life save that of a solitary, unsteady figure.

     Lacking a decent set of gloves, the widow Eqilana wore oven mitts. She had on her corduroy jacket – not her thickest, but her least-torn. To make it warmer, she had plumped its lining with rags. She carried a leather cinch-sack slung over a shoulder. Rounding her waist, an apron served as a utility belt. Its slots and pockets were stuffed with a spoon carved from a walrus rib, several twist-wrapped morsels of taffy, a pair of wire cutters, and her late husband’s revolver.

Continued. . .



Martin Hill Ortiz is a researcher and professor at the Ponce University of Health Sciences in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he lives with his wife and son. He has three novels in publication: A Predatory Mind, Never Kill A Friend, and A Predator’s Game, along with a novella, Dead Man’s Trail. He has had roughly twenty short stories published in various journals and anthologies including Haunts, Mystery Weekly, Miami Accent, and Over My Dead Body.