Bibliography

2019:

nosleep

“The Stray Bones Trap”

“In all the lonely years I lay in the dirt—winnowing, turning yellow, itching from the bugs—it never occurred to me I might one day rise out of the ground.” (excerpt from “The Stray Bones Trap”)

A dead woman rises from the ground to confront a serial-killer-in-training burying murdered animals by her grave. Part of A Murder of Storyteller’s anthology The Misbehaving Dead. Performed on the podcast by Mary Murphy.

 

2018:

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“Auntie Una’s Deathbed”

One day, someone will make a movie about Auntie Una’s heroics. All our neighbours say so. Hollywood will change her name to avoid having to pay her, but Auntie Una does not care. She hasn’t been to the movies since 1987. According to Auntie Una, “After Bette Davis died there was no reason to bother making any more movies.”  (Excerpt from “Auntie Una’s Deathbed”)

Feuding sisters meet at the hospice in issue 274 of The Fiddlehead.

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“According to My Sisters”

No one believed Mom’s story about Dad’s disappearance; that he and Roman were off on one of their fishing trips. According to her, the boys were having a great time, caught up in the excitement, enjoying good food and good drink and the company of beautiful women (whom Dad only looked at, never touched unless they were dancing). Like all fishing trips, he’d return with a pocketful of money and an armload of gifts.

“Dad must be in jail,” my older sister said. “The only reason he’d been gone so long is ’cause he’s locked up.” (Excerpt from “According to My Sisters”)

The young sisters Lot take turns inventing stories to explain the temporary disappearance of their beloved father. “According to My Sisters” appears in FreeFall Volume XXVIII Number 2.

Saturday Evening Post

 

“What Are You Looking At?”

Otto shudders to think what will happen to his body after he dies. Having endured decades of people staring, whispering behind his back, and asking intrusive questions, he’s braced himself for the worst. (Excerpt from “What Are You Looking At?”)

Morgue drawers and home pregnancy tests haunt Otto in “What Are You Looking At?”, available to read on-line at The Saturday Evening Post.

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“Dirty Sheets in the Acreage”

Abandoned bird nests and snail shells snagged in Anna’s long hair. One time, after she caught frog eggs in her wild mane, tadpoles sprang forth. Sheila watched them wiggle like mercury in the sheets before suffocating. (Excerpt from “Dirty Sheets in the Acreage”)

Issue #108 of OnSpec.

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“Throat Full of Pigeon”

“Is the rabbit alive the whole time it’s being eaten?” Oscar asked, sounding concerned.

Bianca pulled the heavy sheets from his chin so he wouldn’t sweat in the night. “I think the rabbit knows it’s caught, so he closes his eyes and goes to sleep, that way he can pass away relaxed and at peace instead of thrashing around and suffering.” (Excerpt from “Throat Full of Pigeon”)

A woman has a chance run-in with her impossibly ancient, school day’s abuser in issue #2 of New Zealand based Black Dandy.

DMD-30-ecover“House Next Door To Me”

I’ve never set foot inside the house next door, but Marcy has. After the U-hauls left, she loaded a plate with cookies and scampered over to welcome the new family to the neighborhood. Obviously, the house sold cheap after that bad business a few years back. Some people pride themselves on not being superstitious. Me? I pride myself on looking out for your loved ones. (Excerpt from “House Next Door to Me”)

Evil houses make for poor neighbour relations in “House Next Door to Me”, appearing in issue 30 of Dark Moon Digest.

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“Entry-Level Job”

This is the highest paying entry-level job in the world, yet no one lasts a year. (Excerpt from “Entry-Level Job)

Flash-fiction about the artificial insemination of (futuristic? alien?) dangerous creatures. Appearing in the premier issue of The Cockroach Conservatory: Vol. 1: The Working Zealot’s guide to Gaining Capital in Pre-Apocalyptic America.

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“Auntie Jane VS The Nine Fingers”

Sarah Baggett’s mother and father felt their daughter’s missing digit reflected well on them. The item Sarah jammed into an electrical socket was a silver piece broken off a toy spaceship. She had the toy spaceship because her parents did not believe in “girl toys” and “boy toys”. Had they inundated their daughter with fashion conscious Barbie dolls she would have kept her fingers–but at what cost? “We’d rather have a daughter missing a finger than a daughter indoctrinated by the patriarchy,” they said. (Excerpt from “Auntie Jane VS The Nine Fingers)

Elementary school teacher Auntie Jane schemes to rid her classroom of a trio of pesky children, each of whom only has nine fingers. By the end of the story, some of them have even less. Appearing in issue 2 of Deciduous Tales.

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“Singing At The Great Wall Of The Ocean”

Everyone in the village despised my singing. “It’s awful grim,” they said. I shrugged off their criticism, taking confidence from the fact I only sang the truth. Every family had given up husbands, brothers, and sons to the hungry ocean. The sea has few stories of triumph, only endurance in the face of crooked odds. I suppose no one wanted to be reminded of that sad fact. (Excerpt from “Singing At The Great Wall Of The Ocean”)

Appearing in Dies Infaustus, the new anthology from A Murder Of Story Tellers.

Audient Void #6

“Things To Save In A Fire”

She often thought how much more efficient her final years would be if she could only find the strength to saw off everything below the knees and outfit herself with sturdy peg legs like a pirate. In the old days, she easily found men just as desperate as they were talented, who for the price of a hot meal and a rejuvenating night sharing her bed were willing to undertake any job Olivia requested, no matter how much spilled blood was involved. (Excerpt from “Things To Save In A Fire”)

The powerful Missus Olivia’s house burns down thanks to her careless neighbours in “Things To Save In A Fire”, which appears in issue six of The Audient Void.

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“The Aunties Return the Ocean”

Auntie Roberta carried so much ocean she barely knew where to hide it all. Inside her stony home, she filled the kitchen drawers and cupboards with cold dark brine. Every pot and tankard as well. She quickly ran out of places, yet her weary arms were still loaded with the stuff. Where would it all fit? Auntie Roberta got on her knees and stuffed the final bits of ocean into the mouse holes. She heard the panicked mice squeak before drowning. (Excerpt from “The Aunties Return the Ocean”)

Listen to “The Aunties Return the Ocean” at Pod Castle, performed by Setsu Uzume.

2017:

Weirdbook 36 cover

“The Black and White Dozen”

The negatives were buried deep underground in an archive of such atrocity, their eventual discovery will haunt the nightmares of whatever institution is tasked with cataloguing them. Some things—no matter how many generations old they are—will never be fit for museum display.  (Excerpt from “The Black and White Dozen”).

Family inheritance, snuff photography, and cute cats collide in this short tale appearing in issue #36 of Weirdbook.

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“The Corpse Child”

“Did you know a person’s head is too dense to burn? The servants would use a big rock to smash your skull into smaller pieces. And all the while, I would sit at the breakfast table, listening to you go up in smoke.” (excerpt from “The Corpse Child”

Pseudopod, the weekly horror podcast, includes my funny/creepy story “The Corpse Child” in a recent episode.

Performed by John Bell. DOWNLOAD OR LISTEN TO “THE CORPSE CHILD” HERE. (Starts at the 33 min mark).

Cook Book

“Auntie Lauretta’s Gossip Recipes”

“In the harsh morning light, while we scrambled to pick our clothes from the ground, we were astonished by the number of bones lying in the dirt. I try to remember exactly what we ate that night, but can recall only that it was tasty and I kept calling for more.” (excerpt from “Auntie Lauretta’s Gossip Recipes”)

Cooking, miners, and debauchery make up “Auntie Lauretta’s Gossip Recipes”.

READ THE FULL STORY ONLINE at Riddled With Arrows. 

The Misbehaving Dead cover

“The Stray Bones Trap”

“In all the lonely years I lay in the dirt—winnowing, turning yellow, itching from the bugs—it never occurred to me I might one day rise out of the ground.” (excerpt from “The Stray Bones Trap”)

A dead woman rises from the ground to confront a serial-killer-in-training burying murdered animals by her grave. Part of A Murder of Storyteller’s latest anthology.

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“Teach the Young Men Well”

From a distance, the hundreds of bones strewn across Auntie Eunice’s acreage make the grounds look whiter than a nostalgic Christmas card. Hungry birds hop through the jumble, chirping their morning song into the hollows. Whenever my sisters and I visit, Auntie Eunice uses a rake to part the bones, carving a path to her front door.  (Excerpt from “Teach the Young Men Well”)

Trouble comes often to the acreage. During Sunday night dinner, Auntie Eunice shows her nieces the trouble they can expect to follow them home, and how to prevail in “Teach the Young Men Well” from issue 8 of the on-line journal Gamut.

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“The Aunties Return the Ocean”

Auntie Roberta carried so much ocean she barely knew where to hide it all. Inside her stony home, she filled the kitchen drawers and cupboards with cold dark brine. Every pot and tankard as well. She quickly ran out of places, yet her weary arms were still loaded with the stuff. Where would it all fit? Auntie Roberta got on her knees and stuffed the final bits of ocean into the mouse holes. She heard the panicked mice squeak before drowning.

Fiendish Aunties plot to steal the ocean from their long-suffering neighbours.

Read the full story on-line at Diabolical Plots.

The Quilliad Issue 9

“Magic Touch Spa”

One of the Aunties hires the service of a message parlour attendant for mysterious and unsettling reasons. Issue #9 of The Quilliad.

2016:

New Quarterly 138 cover

“Auntie Linda’s Farm”

Auntie Linda spent a lot of time studying their bones. A man without his clothes has few secrets, but a man without his skin has none. 

Originally published in Issue 138 of The New Quarterly Spring 2016, alongside fiction by Marilyn Bowering, Megan Findlay, Cynthia Flood, Richard Kelly Kemick, Susi Lovell, Jasmina Odor, Patricia Robertson, and Ron Schafrick.

Issue-72-Cover-2

“My Dad is Your Band Logo”

“You know what they say about paranoid people?” Michelle asked as she flashed her ticket to the station agent. “They’re afraid people will do them what they themselves would do.”

A Toronto woman is haunted when a local band adapts an iconic photo of her criminal father as their band logo.

Published in issue 72 of Broken Pencil. Accompanied by a wonderful illustration from Beena Mistry.

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“Sixteen Too Soon”

Mom tells me when I turn sixteen I will have boyfriends and nights on the town and I won’t want to stay locked in the house making sure she doesn’t escape. She says when that day comes I’ll have to break her legs.

“You’ll use the sledgehammer in the basement. Crush my bones right below the knees.”

A story of parent/child co-dependancy and lycanthropy appears in The Quilliad Issue 8

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“Lake Thieves”

A father and his two sons encounter apocalyptic visions, hanging animal bones, and singing fish in this creepy tale, a part of Parsec Ink’s annual anthology Triangulation.

Clowns

“Whaling With Clowns” 

Flash fiction about the use of clowns on board whaling vessels. My homage to Moby Dick.

This anthology from Unlikely Story is available in both print and e-version.  Clowns : The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix includes stories by Derek Manuel, T. Jane Berry, J.H. Pell, Jeff Wolf, Kristen Roupenian, Caroline M. Yoachim, Mari Ness, Evan Dicken, Carlie St. George, Line Henriksen, Virginia M. Mohlere, Dayle A. Dermatis, Jason Arias, Joe Nazare, Karlo Yeager-Rodriguez, Sara K. McNeilly, Cassandra Khaw, Cate Gardner, Charles Payseur, Chillbear Latrigue, and Holly Schofield.

2015:

Humber Literary Review

Lies I Tell Taxi Drivers” 

A Saskatchewan woman suffers nosey taxi drivers as she bounces from her job at a massage parlour to a funeral to her daughter.

Originally published in Issue 1. Vol. 2 of The Humber Literary Review Summer 2015.

The full story can be read here on-line at The Humber Literary Review website.  

Grain

“Missus Leokadia” 

An elderly Polish woman uses a Boy Scout and an old family recipe to take revenge on a squatter living in her basement.

Originally published in Grain, February 2015.

Excerpt from “Missus Leokadia”:

Missus Leokadia could smell the intruder’s cigarettes. After her husband passed, she thought she would never again breath that foul smoke but for the stale puffs soaked into the walls and carpets, and here she was all these years later–smelling fresh smoke.

“That stupid sonvabitch,” she muttered beneath her covers. She had not gone down the basement steps in nearly a year. She didn’t dare. Her knees were too bad. Fall down those stairs and she would never get up again, yet one morning, on her stomach, she paddled backwards down the steps into the basement and found the lair of some rotten devil beneath her broken storm window. A hundred cigarette butts lay in the dirt or clung to the wall where they’d been mashed out. The carelessness angered her. She thought, Don’t they know they going to burn down whole house?

She wrestled with the knob of the laundry tub, letting the sink overflow and spill water across the floor, making boats of the cigarettes and soaking the swaddle of bedding. Missus Leokadia felt satisfied. When the intruder returned and found everything cold and damp he would move on, understanding he was not welcome here.”

phobos 3 cover

“Sack Race to the River” 

Using nothing more than an old sack, a desperate father schemes to save his two sons from the approaching apocalypse.

“Sack Race To The River” originally appeared in Issue 3 of Phobos, a collection of funny, creepy and just plain weird fiction edited by Robert Corry and Luke St. Germaine.

Available on Amazon both in print and for your electronic devices. (Full disclosure: I don’t own a Kindle and have never read anything on one, but I previewed Phobos on a friend’s and as far as I can tell the words are all readable and in the correct order).

Also featuring wonderful work by Brian Justus (The Lovely Amaryllis), Hall Jameson (Bad Spelling), Amanda C. Davis (When I’m 83), Arthur Bangs (Downtown), Aaron Canton (Dining Out), Jackie Bee (The Neighbor), Heather Ratcliff (The Ritual), Arthur St. Germaine (The Prankster), Siobhan Gallagher (You Are Dead, Sir), Christian Riley (White Noise), Tim Major (The Sleeper), Andrea Bradley (Opportunity Knocks), James Michael Shoberg (Here Comes Freckle Face), Adam Guy Halterman (Broads and Batwings), A,C, Wise (Troublemake). Cover image by Ron Sanders.

LISTEN to “Sack Race to the River” on Pseudopod read by Spencer Disparti.

Existere cover

“Birdhouse Caskets”

The host of a pre-teen sleepover horrifies her guests by showing off ghastly family photos. 

Birdhouse Caskets” is kind of a nasty story which sprung from my childhood memories of the pre-internet days.

When I was a kid, shocking images weren’t summoned out of thin air onto your computer screen and then just as easily made to disappear. The awful things we peeked at (whether stills of war atrocities or pornography) were found in the books and magazines adults did a poor job keeping hidden.

These pictures had greater weight because they were physical objects and late at night, alone in the dark, you could feel their presence in the house.

I am very happy to have this story appearing in Vol 34 Issue 2 of Existere.

Also featured in this issue is fiction by Earl Murphy (Dust To Dust), Margaret Osburn (Between the Rows), Stan Rogal (The Stalker’s Tale), Jenine Gail Urquhart (“Good,” I said. “That’s What I Want Too.”), and Thomas Kearnes (Crackhead Clint Will See You Now).

Non-fiction by Shawna Ervin, Claire Vallotton, Planaria Price, Dan Martin, and Holly Thomas. Poetry by Eugenie Juliet Thrall, Joshua A. Brewer, Lee Varon, Paul Watsky, Ken Haas, Jed Myers, Jordan Mounteer, Ken Cathers, Robert Joe Stout, Linda King, and Chiara DeLuna. Reviews by Celeste Miller, Hajer Mirwali, and Camellia de Castro. Art by Margie Elk, Nicole Mannell, and Lance Nizami.

 Excerpt from Birdhouse Caskets:

The picture wasn’t one of those post card reproductions that had been popular sellers back in the day (a penny apiece), but the original photograph from some horrible family album. Written on the back in faded pencil was Lot’s Farm 1932.

“My mother hates having this picture inside her house,” Janice told me. “She says she feels a duty to say a prayer over it, burn it, and bury the ashes.” Janice’s father, however, felt a duty to preserve the picture for its historical significance, so it stayed in his desk drawer, periodically visited by whispering, barefoot girls. After the lynched man had been endured long enough, we ran upstairs to hide under the covers, giggling to be so horrified.

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Fun Things For Ages 8 to 10 – The Playground of Lost Toys

Hey kids! Did you know you can use an old tape recorder to tell the future? It’s true.

Edited by Colleen Anderson and Ursula Pflug, PLAYGROUND OF LOST TOYS is a collection of stories involving childhood toys, games and other fun things. Fantasy, horror, and science-fiction by a host of talented authors, published by Exile Editions.

2014:

Taddle Creek cover

  “Only The Bear Survived”

On September 8th, 1827, a young girl in Niagara Falls matches wits with a hungry, home invading bear.

Originally published in Taddle Creek, Issue 34 December 2014, with illustrations by Matthew Daley.

The full story can be read on-line here at Taddle Creek’s website.

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