Meet the Editors

Every author wants to know that their creation is in the hands of someone who will present it properly, treat it with care, and enjoy it.  With that in mind, we wish to present the Editors of variant.



Grace Kuikmannew gk headshot

Grace is a professional writer and editor. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and for many years has offered freelance services to business and arts client. In addition to her full time work as Director of Communications for a Chicago based not-for-profit organization, Kuikman is author of many short stories and poems, and is founder and facilitator of the Longwood Writers Guild, a critique group open to adult creative writers. She also teaches workshops and was lead editor for BAC Street Journal and Midway Review literary magazines. Kuikman has presented her short stories at The Frunchroom reading series and Words by Friends. Her creative work has been published in December, Outrider Press, Downstate Story and several other magazines, as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul.



Tina Jenkins Bell

Tina Jenkins Bell is a published fiction writer, playwright, freelance journalist, and literary activist. She lives in Chicago with her husband and neighborhood dog Bella.

Currently, she is anticipating publication of a mini memoir, entitled “Devil’s Alley” to be published in Love in a Silent Storm anthology (Arcade, 2019). She also partnered with two other writers to compose a collaborative hybrid fictitious account of Robert Sandifer’s (the young boy who was murdered by his own gang) last hours, entitled “Looking for the Good Boy” accepted for publication in a Black Lawrence Press anthology.  In January 2017, her short story, The Last Supper appeared in Revise the Psalm, an anthology that honors the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks and has been favorably reviewed by Chicago Magazine, New City, and New York Times (in April 2017). Ms. Bell has also had an excerpt from her novel in progress, Mud Pies, published in the award-winning Hairtrigger anthology. Her other stories and prose have appeared in BAC Street Journal, Expressions, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, and Guildworks anthologies. As a freelancer, she has written for the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Upscale Magazine among others. As the president-emeritus of FLOW (For Love of Writing), Ms. Bell creates and collaborates with other writers and organizations to offer literary programming on Chicago’s south side. She’s also a recent recipient of an Illinois Arts Council grant, a two-time DCASE Individual Artist Project grant recipient, a two-time Ragdale resident, and a 2015 short story fellow with Colgate University and the Midwest Writer’s Conference. Tina is currently choreographing a victory dance as she completes manuscript edits for the “tail-end” of her first novel, Mud Pies.


Photo: Evan Bell Photography

L. D. Barnes

L. D. Barnes is a literary homicidal maniac, otherwise known as a mystery writer. Her first novel, The 107th Street Murder, will be available December of 2018.  She is a poet, published in Revise The Psalm, Works Celebrating The Writings of Gwendolyn Brooks and The Skinny Poetry Journal. Her short stories have appeared in The BACStreet Journal and the Tallgrass Anthology ‘Home’ edition.  A member of FLOW Authors, Longwood Writers Guild and Mystery Writers of America, she performs in various venues around Chicago, wherever food and murder are present in abundance.