Category Archives: Short Stories

MS for THE SHADOWS BEHIND has been delivered…and a new project

Attempted Delivery Piranha Skeleton

Margolynn gets an odd item in the mail in “Attempted Delivery.”

The manuscript for my upcoming short story collection, The Shadows Behind, has been delivered to the publisher, Books & Boos Press! The slated release date is April 2019.

This collection will contain some new stories, as well as some out-of-print pieces and reprints from currently available anthologies (if you’ve never picked any of those up, now you’ll be able to get some of them in one place). A few that are potentially included: Read the rest of this entry

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Short Story Sunday: A House at the Bottom of a Lake, by Josh Malerman

House at Bottom of Lake Cover

A House at the Bottom of a Lake, Josh Malerman

Technically, this isn’t a short story—although I’m uncertain of its word count, I’m sure it’d be considered either a novella or a short novel. Still, this chiller—about two teens in a burgeoning relationship who get a little more than they bargained for when they discover a secret lake on their first date—is peppered with twisted, disturbing imagery that’s so unique it isn’t easily forgotten. At its core, this a romance with a heavy-handed conceit—but I can guarantee you won’t even notice or care. This is definitely one you’ll be leaving your lights on after finishing. You can pick it up here: http://a.co/1OBK6tR

 

“All Dolled Up” accepted for publication in JITTER PRESS

Suzanne's Dolls

I’m pleased to announce that my short story, “All Dolled Up,” has been accepted for publication in a future issue of Jitter Press.

“All Dolled Up” was inspired by an article I’d read in The New Yorker about the “haunted” dolls that can be purchased on Ebay, and the culture that surrounds them (you can read that article here: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/ebay-fantastical-earnest-world-haunted-dolls .“All Dolled Up” accepted for publication in JITTER PRESS. Nathan has a “haunted” doll—Jessica—although I’ve seen little evidence, nor do I get the sense, that she really is haunted.

I’ll keep you posted on when the issue of Jitter Press will be available.

Short Story Sunday: Looking for a Rain God, Bessie Head

Contemporary African Short Stories

Looking for a Rain God, Bessie Head

This is considered a classic and is taught in many literary classrooms, but I think of it as a horror story: when pushed to the brink, there is almost no limit to what atrocities humanity can commit. This extremely short tale examines the effect of desperation on a family stricken with drought–but it’s the matter-of-fact way in which it’s rendered that gives one chills.

My blood curdles every time I read this. It’s not an easy piece to find because it mostly appears in textbooks, but there’s a wonderful collection—Looking for a Rain God: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Storieshere.

It’s here! INK STAINS VOLUME 7: DECAY – get a free peek!

Ink Stains Cover

I’m pleased to announce that the anthology I’ve spent a year curating, Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Anthology Volume 7—Decay is now available! Containing fifteen pieces by young, fresh, and seasoned voices alike, the stories in this volume focus on the various ways decay permeates our lives and very beings.

I’ve always wanted to put together an anthology, so it was thrilling when Dark Alley Press gave me the opportunity. It’s been an incredible journey—I’ve worked with some very talented writers, and was able to put awesome new discoveries as well as stories that haunted me for years either into print or back into print. One of the most exciting things about this anthology is that it contains writer Daniel Pearlman’s final first draft, which his widow, Sandy, graciously agreed to let us publish.

Ink Stains is available wherever you purchase books. Here’s the Table of Contents and a specially prepared preview you can print or download (at the bottom of this post). Get your full copies here:

Amazon Print: http://bit.ly/inkstains7

Amazon Kindle: http://bit.ly/inkstains7K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

As We Rot – Taro Turner

Christmas in Connecticut – Robert Mayette

The Depths – Elizabeth Allen

Heroes – Jackie Logsted

The Mating Habits of the Late-Adopting Smoker – Dorianne Emmerton

Stikini – Travis D. Roberson

The Fate of the Worms – Page Sullivan

Ignorance Is – Rhonda Zimlich

Black-Hooded Caller – Pablo Patiño

The Cold Gets In – Mary Thorson

Do the Faceless Remember? – Megan Neumann

Suicide in Reverse (After Matt Rasmussen) – Bri Faythe

The Leaf People – Heather Sullivan

Letting in the Cat – Kaitlyn Downing

Overdrawn at the Time Bank – Daniel Pearlman

Photo: The Singer’s Last Stand – Christopher Petersen

 

Get a PDF sample here: Ink Stains Sample

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Last Words of the Mynah Bird, Gina Ochsner

People I Wanted to Be Cover

The Last Words of the Mynah Bird, Gina Ochsner

This tale of a quarrelsome couple who secures a mynah bird in the hopes it will save their marriage opens up in the same fashion as Poe’s “The Black Cat”—giving what might have been a typical first-person story opening an irresistible mystique. At times, this fun little read is comically shocking, but its commentary on the ups and downs of communication, the impact of our language on one another and the nature of love leaves a serious impression. It can be found in her collection People I Wanted to Be here: http://a.co/06f5j8C

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Wind, Ray Bradbury

October Country

The Wind, Ray Bradbury

This is one of my favorites by Ray Bradbury. Although it’s not written in the first person, we wonder if the main character’s friend may be an unreliable narrator—until things take a stunningly original, bone-chilling turn. What’s interesting is that the story is mostly rendered in dialogue, which parallels the nature of the very antagonist itself; the tension also ratchets non-stop. If you like refreshingly different, this one’s for you. You can find it in his fine collection October Country here: https://amzn.com/034532448X

Short Story Sunday: One Last E-Ticket Ride, Dominick Cancilla

Going Postal Cover

 

One Last E-Ticket Ride, Dominick Cancilla

As you’re reading this, I’m in Walt Disney World (really…I’m enjoying Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival at the moment). So I thought it’d be apropos to recommend Dominick Cancilla’s “One Last E-Ticket Ride.”

This twisted, hilarious tale of a loyal Disney Cast Member who is fired and seeks revenge conveys a powerful message about loss of identity in one of the most interesting environments possible, but what makes it stand out is its consistent, sardonic voice. It manages to be humorous and depressing at the same time, and the result is one hell of a ride (groan).

What’s sad about this story is it’s difficult to find. It was originally published in a collection called Going Postal, edited by Gerard Daniel Houarner, in 1998. Still, keep your eyes open. Disney Parks fan or not, this one is a must-read. Although the publisher (Space & Time) still exists, I could find no mention of how to purchase this through them even though it’s rumored to be available there, so, I guess we’re relegated to watching this link for used copies: http://a.co/1n8ip4d.

INVOCATIONS coming soon!

Invocations Cover 2

Just in time for Halloween season, Great Old Ones Publishing reveals the cover and table of contents for Invocations, an anthology focusing on all those things we shouldn’t be summoning.

The cover is by Mj Preston, author of The Acadia Event.

Invocations Cover 1 by MJ Preston

My short story “We’ve Always Been Here” – a little bit of a different take on killer clowns – will be featured alongside these other fantastic contemporary horror writers. I’ll keep you posted on the release date. The TOC is as follows:

Foreword by Dan Lench
1. High Tea with Ancient Gods by Judi Ann Calhoun
2. Uncanny by E.g. Smith
3. American Macabre by Gregory Norris
4. Hunger by Dan Szczesny
5. Mirror, Mirror by Edwin Berne
6. Black Eyes, Blacker Soul by Patrick Lacey
7. Down Time Children by Irene Gallant
8. Hell and Back by Marinda Dennis
9. Let’s Go See the Honeyman by Kyle Rader
10. One Shot, One Kill by Eric S Brown
11. The Snow Lion by Coopersmith Black
12. Eyes by Tony Tremblay
13. The Butterfly Queen by Shannon Grant
14. Penance and Pressure Cookers by Philip Perron
15. We’ve Always Been Here by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
16. The Leyak by Mj Preston

Coming soon! INK STAINS JANUARY 2018: DECAY

Ink Stains Update 2

I spent the first six months of this year as a guest editor for an upcoming issue of Dark Alley Press’ Ink Stains anthology series, and I’m pleased to announce that, except for a couple of rounds of proofing and the fact that the cover isn’t complete, it’s in the can!

This was my first stint as guest editor, and it was nothing short of a magical experience. There was something special about not just cherry-picking pieces for a collection from a slush pile, but curating a collection; tapping talent for some unpublished stories that had haunted me for—in some cases—a quarter of a century, or always anticipating that moment when that perfect story I have to have! would appear in the submissions manager.

In addition, every writer I worked with shared the vision; it was an enlightening journey in every sense of the phrase.

The theme of the issue was my choice—decay. It’s a pervasive Read the rest of this entry

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