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Village Square is a biannual online literary magazine, born to showcase writers participating in the Writers' Village University MFA program. At the heart of WVU, is an active, supportive writing community representing all levels of writing skills and interests. Members represent over 100 countries; their motto: "Writers Helping Writers". That original endeavor was so successful that we now offer our magazine as a way for new and experienced writers around the globe to experience publication in a supportive and nurturing environment.   


Mission Statement
To nurture readers, writers, and artists, alike, in a welcoming venue where the sharing of ideas, images, and narratives, real or imaginary, shape stories that empathize and entertain.


Vision Statement
We believe viewers and creators inspire each other.  We strive to provide only the best content in a receptive forum where our artists can be seen, read, and recognized. We foster that development by providing an inviting place for our writers to hold open dialogue, offer original thoughts, and exchange ideas that encourage growth.  With each publication improving upon the last, it is our goal to become the best online literary magazine available.


Village Square Staff

Karen Barr, Editor in Chief - (KareninMO) Karen is editor in chief of Writers Village University’s online literary magazine, Village Square. A lifetime member of WVU--where she obtained her three-year MFA--she has served in multiple positions including Moderator and Mentor of F2k, Staff and Student Adviser, and Workshop leader and facilitator. She has both designed and facilitated courses for WVU’s MFA Certificate Program.

She has received certificates from the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing Program MOOCs.

Her work has been published in literary magazines and online in the U.S. and UK. She is a four-time winner of the Write Invite online competition, based in the UK.

While her main love is literary short stories, she is currently working on a novel and screenplay as well as a nonfiction book on Classic Car Accessories. 

She enjoys the privacy of her 34-acre home in Missouri where she lives with her three miniature dachshunds. Her hobbies include herbal medicine, gardening, and classic cars.



Joyce Hertzoff, Managing Editor in Fiction - (Hilandmum) received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York many years ago. Over the next forty-five years, she worked in the scientific information publishing business as a translator, indexer, and, for twenty years, as a manager of other scientists. She saw the business change from the printing of paper journals to electronic processing and production of information.

After retiring in 2008, she turned her back on fact-based writing to more fanciful fiction. She participated in the National Novel Writing program for the first time that year and 'won' NaNoWriMo almost every year since producing drafts of romantic mysteries and fantasy novels. The Crimson Orb was first written for NaNoWriMo in 2010 and went through several revisions before being published by the Phantasm imprint of Assent Publications in June 2014.

Joyce perfected her writing skills in classes and writing groups at WVU where she serves as a mentor and facilitator, where she is best known as hilandmum (or Mum).

Her two flash mysteries, Natural Causes and Say Cheese were published in the anthologies The Darwin Murders and Tasteful Murders. A short story, Princess Petra, appears in The Way Back anthology. The Crimson Orb was republished in 2017 and followed by the sequel, Under Two Moons. A novella, A Bite of the Apple, was published in 2016 and won the New Mexico Press Women’s contest in the YA fiction category. It also won second place in the National Federation of Press Women’s contest.

Joyce lives with her husband of fifty years in the high desert at the base of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico, where they can watch the quail, roadrunners and other creatures scamper along the top of the wall around their back patio, as well as the play of light across the mountain face beyond.




Book website:




Brigitte Whiting, Managing Editor in Nonfiction – (Brigitte) was born in Denmark; grew up in Alberta, Canada thirty miles from Glacier Park; and graduated from the University of California at Riverside with a BA in English. She met her husband, Bob, in Los Angeles and they later moved to Juneau, Alaska. He enjoyed traveling and they explored the USA in a motorhome before settling in Maine where he opened a private counseling practice.

After Bob died unexpectedly in 2008, Brigitte closed the practice and returned to writing. She discovered and joined WVU in 2009 and continues to take classes, both online and locally. She has earned certificates in fiction writing from Gotham Writers Workshop and UCLA Extension, and is currently working on her MFA-Certificate at WVU. A short story, "A Family Picnic", is included in an anthology, The Way Back

Through facilitating classes at WVU and meeting weekly with her writers' groups, she hopes to encourage other writers. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry frequently include details from her yard: visits by wild turkeys, foxes, deer, squirrels, and birds; an ongoing land-dispute with chipmunks; and her forays into growing wildflowers, including her favorite, pink cosmoses, which she uses as her avatar at WVU.




Angela Hess, On-call Copy Editor in Nonfiction - (AngelaH) joined WVU in 2017 during one of her quests to find new ways to add meaning to her life as a stay-at-home mom of two (soon to be three) young children. Her bachelor degree in English and her master's degree in Library Science reflect her lifelong love of reading and writing. Angela is thrilled to be part of an online community of writers that will push her to write more and improve her writing. As a child, Angela was a lover of fiction and thought one day she would write novels, but after becoming a parent she has begun to embrace nonfiction more and thinks creative nonfiction may actually be where she is most interested in focusing her writing efforts. Angela has loved being part of WVU’s Nonfiction Group and is looking forward to serving as a Nonfiction Editor with Village Square. Angela and her husband of 8 years reside in Utah with their children and their chocolate lab. 



Luann Lewis, Copy Editor in Nonfiction - (Luann) - Luann, is a Chicago native who has spent the last seventeen years mostly writing legal documents and correspondence but is now in semi-retirement and pursuing her MFA at WVU.  Dabbling in Fiction, Flash, and Poetry, she has had several pieces published as well as having had one used for an audio performance.  


Over two decades ago, Luann had brief success as an author of adult fiction having three books published with Pink Flamingo Publications (now known as Pink Flamingo Media) when it was just emerging.  Since that time, Luann has renewed her faith and is convinced that her writing journey should take a more spiritual path.  Since making that decision she has found the joy of strengthening her writing potential through education and extending the scope of her abilities through the confidence this has given her.



Gerardine (Gail) Esterday, Managing Editor in Poetry - (Iam7) is a native Chicagoan who moved into the Northwest burbs of Illinois. Where she lives with her husband and six cats while pursuing her love of nature writing, poetry, and blogging.  She is working on a forever -never-ending-someday-novel.

Her poetry can be seen in IWVPA. Online she has published short stories, won a few contests. For six years she wrote for  She is currently working on her MFA at WVU and enjoys facilitating classes at WVU.

She is a lover of poetic sound; she believes poetry has the ability to inspire and evoke intense emotions.  Keats poem, “This Living Hand” is tattooed on her right arm as a reminder for her to live in ‘the’ moment








Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela, Managing Editor in Photography - (Bleach) enjoys doing nothing, but somehow is always doing something, which is not to say he doesn’t enjoy that too. It’s just that, with all that enjoyment, one can’t help but wonder, when does he rest?

By day he secures, automates, and resolves problems with things that most people don’t even realize are happening (which is probably better for everyone involved).

By afternoon he leads, follows, and teaches solutions to things that most people don’t even realize they’re learning (which is probably better for teenagers involved).

By twilight, he photographs, encapsulates, and unravels scenes with things that most people don’t even realize they’re experiencing (which is probably better for subjects involved).

By dark, he processes, develops, and publishes observations with things that most people don’t even realize they’re seeing (which is probably better for resolutions involved).

By morning he is ready to do it all again.

All the while a father, a writer, and, as it turns out, a father of a writer.


Vincenzina Caratozzolo, Copy Editor in Fiction/Poetry - (Enza) Enza comes from a Medical background. She considers herself a seeker with a passion for studying the craft. WVU first introduced her to the wonderful world of creating writing.  Since then, she has gained her second degree, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, and still continues her creative studies adventure with the WVU MFA courses.  In cooperation with her writers’ group, WWWE (Women Who Write With Elves), Enza has co-authored two short stories anthologies.  She has also completed a novel (now in the revision phase) and has a second one in progress. She writes under the pen name Enza Vynn-Cara.


Frank Richards, Copy Editor in Fiction - (FrankR)

Frank Richards holds a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and master's degrees in International Relations from California State University, Long Beach, Systems Management from the University of Southern California, and General Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park. While an undergraduate at Cal State University, Long Beach, he was a student in the General Honors Program, an advanced series of courses in the liberal arts and sciences, modeled on the University of Chicago's Great Books of the Western World program.

Frank served with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps in Korea, after which he began his career with the U.S, Postal Service, starting at the bottom as a clerk in Long Beach, California and working his way up across the country to a series of executive positions in Chicago and Washington, DC. He took early retirement to write full time.

Frank taught graduate classes in strategic planning and strategic marketing, both face to face and online, for the graduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Frank's short stories have appeared in literary reviews such as The Menda City Review and The Penman Review. Portions of Soldier of a lesser War, his novel in progress, have appeared in Writers Square and O-Dark-Thirty, the Review. He and his wife live in rural Virginia, where they care for an assortment of rescued cats (eleven currently) and five German shepherd dogs.


Penny Devlin, Copy Editor in Nonfiction - (Penny)

Penny Devlin is a lifetime member of WVU where she started working toward her MFA in February of 2019. She has taken numerous writing classes over the years with a particular interest in creative non-fiction. She has participated in flash fiction/non-fiction competitions and because of the generous encouragement of her fellow writers and judges has decided to pursue her lifelong dream of being a published author.  As a passionate reader, she has an overactive imagination and the ability to daydream her way through any situation.


Penny’s day job as a commercial loan analyst is what keeps the lights turned on. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years in a town on the edge of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon.  She has a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University and has dabbled in photography, jewelry making, and painting. She loves to travel and has traversed the full width of the United States and Canada twice on her motorcycle and once in a camp trailer. 

Gayle Drakes, Copy Editor in Fiction - (Gayle)

Gayle has an M. Sc. in Environmental Management (Climate Change specialty) and a first degree in Chemistry, as well as post-graduate certificates in Adult Learning (specialty E-Learning) and Monitoring & Evaluation. In the years since leaving university, most of her writing has been technical, preparing reports and papers in the fields of environmental management and disaster management.
She took up creative writing again a few years ago and found WVU through the F2K writing workshop. Writing fiction offers a delightful escape from the drudgery of legalese, jargon and interminably long sentences written in passive tense. She is currently working on two novels, one in the fantasy genre and the other in science fiction, with the goal of self-publishing both within the next five years. After that, she might tackle the mystery genre.
Besides reading and writing, her favourite hobby is photography. Though she concentrates her own work on landscapes and has a particular love for black and white photos, she enjoys all categories of photography. She is the quintessential "enthusiast" and enjoys viewing the work of others far more than her own. She believes in "lifelong learning", and every couple of years tries something new. At present, it is a card game called Magic The Gathering, next year it might be pottery or watercolour painting that she tackles. Whatever she chooses, her aim is to keep on learning and growing.
She lives and works in her native Barbados with no children and no pets.