Short Stories

Subrogation of the Internal Messenger in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

This is a big one for me and requires some explanation.

In 2017 I attended the Tin House Writer’s Conference in Portland, thrilled to have Kelly Link as my workshop leader. Kelly is one of my writing gods, for obvious reasons, master of the weird literary short story, author of Stone Animals, The Hortlak and many other all time favorite stories. I brought a fantasy story to the workshop. Kelly gave it some love. That was the highpoint of my writing career, such as it is.

I spent some time rewriting that story (whose title ended up as The Subrogation of the Internal Messenger) and sent it out a few times. No luck. I rewrote it again and sent it to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which is published by Small Beer Press, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant proprietors. LCRW is old school: hardcopy submission, no simultaneous subs, sit tight, they take a while. They have published Ursula Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang and other luminaries. They are worth waiting for.

Last month I received an email from Gavin asking if the story was still available. It took me a while to remember the story. Three years and three months after I submitted it. Turns out it was still available. Some things are worth waiting for.

LCRW is a hard copy publication, but the link to the table of contents and contributors is here.

The graphic is a woodcut print that I did during the pandemic, the first in many years. Title is Corvid 19. Ha. Crows feature in the story.

This all makes me very happy, which is why I write in the first place. Major gratitude to Kelly & Gavin.

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Sweet Spot at New Letters

New Letters, one of the best literary publications around, published my short story “Sweet Spot” in their Winter/Spring 2021 issue. Go figure. No accounting for taste. Goes to show that if you send enough submissions year after year you may even fool one of the best. I am grateful for the lapse in standards.

This one is a realistic story. Zero fantastical elements. Unfamiliar territory for me. I might try it again.

Not available online, at least yet.

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Dark Lane 9

Craters of Perpetual Darkness in Dark Lane 9

My sci-fi story Craters of Perpetual Darkness appears in volume 9 of the Dark Lane anthology published in the UK. The hard copies are somewhat delayed by the pandemic, but the Kindle version is up on Amazon for $.99 for the whole book, a great deal. The story is a romance set against the backdrop of homesteader Helium-3 mining at the south pole of the moon. It touches on lunar property rights, the place of the individual in the rugged frontier of space, artistic expression in an age of computer generated art and good customer service. There are rockets. A sound track. Stuff blows up. So much fun to research and write. Spectacular cover art by David Whitlam.

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Roadkill Rodeo in the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review

The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review has graciously published my bizarre short story “Roadkill Rodeo” in Issue 21, which can be purchased electronically or in print. The Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review is a fine magazine that published another odd story of mine, The Last Time We Saw Charlie, in 2015. I’m willing to bet a drink that Roadkill Rodeo is in the top five stories with a dead psychic lemur narrator. Top ten for sure. It is one of my personal favorites and I’m glad it found a good home. 

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People Who Live in Invisible Houses in Jersey Devil Press

Jersey Devil Press published my short story “People Who Live in Invisible Houses” and I am grateful. This bleeds over the edge of technology and standard house paint into the fantastical. There aren’t a lot of homes for this sort of thing and Jersey Devil is one of the best. They are Heroes of Literature. 

This took a longish time (5+ years) to get right. So many drafts. Survivors of my writing group will be glad to see an end. An early version of this got me into the Tin House writing workshop, I still don’t know how. I didn’t workshop the story at Tin House, but did with Kelly Link when she taught a two day at Hugo House. She patiently explained the flaws, which were legion, so I re-framed the whole thing. It still took three more years of revisions. 


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Bomb Shelter in Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream published my short story Bomb Shelter, with a great collage by Jeff Hersch. This is my first full length short story published in a while, but two more will follow soon. January is an embarrassment of riches and I am grateful.

This is a rare thing for me: a realistic story rooted in personal experience. Real stuff includes the Beanfields, the dirt fort, terror at impending nuclear war, a murderer and a gun. But none of these people are my family. Such is the nature of fiction.

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