“My name is Shelly. This is Shina, and that's Golden Pete. In my ancestors’ days, cats moused. If too many mice got in, the master kicked us out or worse. The dead are our generation’s mice, only ghosts don’t fill the belly. Kibble does.
“When too many dead come through the walls, the family’s too sad to remember kibble. While you’re here, the idiot box will call that depression. Mother will say it’s bad memories and pain. Father has referred to it as post-traumatic stress.
“They are right. The dead magnify those things and always have. Where dead linger, willpower and happiness are their dinner. We simply urge them to move on, by paw and claw and bark.”
Read the house pet ghostbuster tale in Cloaked Press's Fall Into Fantasy 2021 Anthology.
Beloved green tech CEO Eliza Gleen watches her world burn around her despite decades of hard work. Her A.I. assistant Nigel is programmed to have a hand in the code of each electric car and each automated urban farm their company produces.
It isn't enough. Madness gnaws at her mind. The world she fights for continues to burn.
Sometimes you need a little injustice to fight injustice.
Force Of Good is a cli-fi flash fiction story featured in Flash Fiction Magazine. You can read it for free any time. Pick up a complimentary issue of Flash Fiction Magazine while you're on their page!
Llena and her daughter Mary produce gorgeous paintings that bestow personality traits until the day they get robbed helping the mayor-elect of Berkshire. Constables and the old mayor's men are robbery victims too, and Llena suspects the thief has been stealing Frames from more witches that just her alone.
Weston robs stagecoaches and studios, stealing Frames from politicians who use them to gain personality traits that help them stay in power. Corrupt governors and mayors have relied on witches for too long to keep the gold flowing into their coffers. He wants all of that money back and he wants the Framers like Llena out of town.
Who is right is all a matter of perception. Llena and Weston are sure the other is wrong, and their revolvers may have to do the talking.
Perception Thief is available in Four Star Stories.
The Fiend In The Frame
Katelyn siphons negativity away from her yoga & martial arts students and into frames. The fiends within them take stronger and stronger forms, making it tougher for Katelyn to hide her Framing magic.
When a mother and son get too curious and a fiend escapes its frame, Katelyn's martial arts witchery is all that stands between the trio's sanity and the beast that wants to devour it.
The Fiend In The Frame is available in the Where The Sun Always Shines anthology, edited by Crystal L. Kirkham
Other Side Of The Line
Ranger Clarence Stoneburner returns spirited away children to their parents on earth. The kids who come back with mermaid tales are the lucky ones. Horror stories are what Clarence is supposed to prevent.
When an ex-Ranger abducts his new girlfriend's son and whisks him to a violent world, Clarence will have to cross lines and portals to find him.
A Portal Surveillance Agency short story, Other Side Of The Line is available in Kyanite Press Volume 1, Issue 3
Ales, Agents And Alchemy (Seeking new publisher)
Bartender Ryne Clayten can't prove his sister was murdered by the CEO of America's favorite pub chain. Alchemy that brews beers and distills liquor isn't a cause of death that the justice system recognizes.
CEO Lawrence Grant saved alchemy and brought it into the modern age. He couldn't have killed Ryne's sister, and he's got every right to systematically wreck Ryne's life-to the full extent of the law-for these false accusations.
Now that Grant's forced Ryne out of business school, Ryne seeks out Craft alchemy to turn it against the CEO. He brews his own ales with it. He finds he loves the alchemy that Grant used to end his sister's life. In Ryne's hands, the Craft could bring relief and enrichment to the public.
Ryne works with ATF agents, digs up old evidence around the Midwest, and seeks records to prove to the country that alchemy is prevalent and poisoning thousands because of Grant's actions. If he does prove Grant's guilt by the judge's deadline, he'll risk alchemy being outlawed.
Grant knows that his business wouldn't be the only thing ruined if alchemy becomes illegal. He'll make sure Ryne and his family aren't watching too closely the next time they share a drink together.
Novels in progress
Commanding The Swarm (Seeking publisher)
A.I. scientist Silvan Rathe’s robotic bees could be the catalysts that end the famines devouring America. Creating a better world for his son Ian means reviving farmland that climate change decimated, and pollinating crops that haven’t had pollinators since Colony Collapse devastated honeybees.
Silvan’s swarm hooks the attention of Vansen Tharius, an ex-marine who spearheads the Primacy, a rising tyrant nation-state who committed atrocities during the First Asset War in Europe. To control the swarm and the diminishing food supply, Vansen will seize any advantage he can, including Silvan’s son, who helped program the swarm.
Now Silvan must leave his lab and navigate the Second Asset War. Out of shape and out of his element, he must cling to his humanity and sense of humor in this undulating landscape of deceit and death in order to scour the Primacy’s darkest corners and find Ian before his life is lost forever.
The Reaper's Replacement (Complete, edits in-progress)
The Reaper could really put a brain out with that scythe of his. It harvests the human souls that feed Hell’s demons, so when the slimy-clawed Stygian murders The Reaper and tries to steal the scythe, Reap’s bodyguard Ava goes a little nutso. Without the scythe and a responsible someone to wield it, Hell would starve and Earth would be flooded with moaning, groaning souls.
Ava is not the demon for the job, unless that job is slamming Sin & Tonics with her angel with benefits. Laying low at her favorite bar only makes her, it, and her bartender angel into The Stygian’s targets. Ava doesn’t want The Stygian hounding her through Hell’s Eight Circles-we don’t talk about the Ninth-just because she deduced one of The Reaper’s other bodyguards backstabbed her and got The Reaper wrecked.
A responsible demon would avenge Reap’s death. Someone with their shit together would stop The Stygian’s engineered war between humanity and demonity. A war he designed to give him power over Earth and Hell the moment he gets his claws on that scythe. All Hell’s got is Ava, her angel with benefits, and a goof-nugget demon with deadly arcade money. Saving Hell’s got to be someone else’s job, right?
The Eye In The Dark - Cynergy is ruining Curtis Crane's junior year. He used to hit hair metal concerts with his neighbor and best friend Janet until this modern magic barged into 1982 and slammed him with crippling migraines.
When a Cynergist ex-con tries to murder Curtis's father-a beloved beat cop-Curtis uses his own Cynergy to save him. That's how a team of obsessed scientists track him down and try to turn the young-and-future-officer Curtis into their prototype Cynergist hunter.
Curtis can't hunt the ex-con stalking his family and protect Janet and his future career at the same time. It's not the Cynergy that makes you choose. It's the people using it to take everything from you. Whether they mean to or not.
Blogs, Podcasts And Articles
Sight Askew - A wizardly hobo and a magic-starved witch's road trip through an ever-dark cityscape turns into a deadly mind game and a deadlier race. All because a once-exiled queen sets her sights on a hostile takeover of the city's light industry.
The witches with the spells to bring light to every corner of the world might be a hobo's only hope at being free enough to finish the road trip, if they don't become the queen's method of seeing everything and enforcing her bloody rule first.
Contemporary Fantasy Blog: The Reaper's Case Notes
The Reaper's been sifting through his memories, hunting for what he really wants. Harvesting Earth's souls leaves him with little time to wield a pen in place of his iconic scythe. His demon bodyguard Ava Vasaga has got the magic and martial arts skills to defend him from thieves who want his scythe, but can she help The Reaper piece together the mysteries in his past? Hell would starve for souls and Earth would be flooded with them if they fail.
Their battles for Hell's soul hide secrets you might miss if you don't read The Reaper's Case Notes!
Each Case is a three-episode short story stuffed with snark, martial arts, historical fantasy, and nuggets of Hellish wisdom as Ava & The Reaper romp through soul-strewn Earth and a modern Hell that blends Dante with drunk demons.
You know the best thing about strong antagonists? They make the heroine better. Ep. 34 has all the evil writing tips.
Find out the difference between an antagonist and a villain. Enjoy a blend of writing tips and geekery, and learn how to piece together an antagonist that hooks readers and makes your main character get out of the comfort zone. A Necessary Evil Podcast - Keep It Evil!
Struggling with obstacles in your muse's way? There are plenty of awesome tricks and exercises to help you get past them in Ep. 84.
Learn how to recognize writing obstacles and how to defeat them with writing exercises that are fun and productive. Utilizing these exercises throughout the writing of your story will help you grow and hook readers! A Necessary Evil Podcast - Keep It Evil!
What makes swearing in storytelling so fun? Is it the world building woven into the curses? The satisfying syllables?
Phonic exercises and fears buried deep within swearing makes Ep. 111 a blast and the best 30mins you'll spend today! Piss chickens and bubble nuggets abound in this episode. A Necessary Evil Podcast - Keep it Evil!
Squirrels aren't known for their laser focus. Writers sometimes have the same attention span as squirrels.
To celebrate the release of my debut novel Ales, Agents & Alchemy, Crystal, Sam and I go full squirrel and geek out about everything from writing tricks to drinks.
THEN we lay some ground rules about developing laser focus as a writer. The focus to achieve that writing goal or finish that story. There's enough tips about laser focus in this podcast interview to get YOU focused on cranking out thousands of words and feeling productive.
Fun first, serious later.
Listen to the Squirrel Writers Podcast for free right here!
The Whatcha Doin' Podcast is such a fantastic place for writers and for anyone with tons of geekery energy. The A.C. interviews indie authors from around the globe, and this October 10th, 2020 episode is all about what makes stories favorites.
Join us on one of many stops in my Debut Novel Podcast Celebration Tour!
Ales, Agents & Alchemy's magic system and weaving beer brewing techniques into the magic is front and center here. We can't help gushing about favorite drinks, The Magicians, anime, and stories that influenced us from elementary school to every-day life.
Listen to the Whatcha Doin' Podcast for free right here!
The wonderful Danielle Ancona and I present a live reading of my debut novel, Ales, Agents & Alchemy! Curious about magic systems that weave real hobbies into a story's character-driven plot? Join us on a journey of beer alchemy geekery!
We gush about everyone's favorite lesbian ATF agent Kelly Clayten and discuss the combining of beer brewing and genuine police procedure with an alchemy system the villain twisted in order for alchemy to survive in this skeptical modern age.
Teaser In Twenty is free to view on YouTube here!
Bonus Episode of Sample Chapter Podcast Oct. 2020? Heck yeah!
The Sample Chapter Podcast features live readings from indie authors and storytellers from all over the country! Learn about writing in isolation, journaling for self-discovery, and identifiable villains in episode 145 right here! And what the heck is a Yoga Witch? All this plus a sample chapter from my debut novel, Ales, Agents & Alchemy, is just a click away!
Tune into the Sample Chapter Podcast here for free!
The Grind is one of the many demons your favorite writer constantly battles with in order to bring more books into the world.
You gotta battle it too. Get confident. You can reach that writing goal.
Check out the link for a guest blog on the fabulous Developmental Editor Haley Sulich's site: Write Plan
Contrast and change have helped storytellers for centuries by blending the familiar with the challenging. For writers, breaking out of your comfort zone is easier when genre-mashing happens. Readers get tastes of worlds and characters they might not otherwise encounter thanks to contrasting and changing stories and genres. Curious about why blended genres can be so alluring?
The Allure Of Contrast And Change In Short Stories is available in Four Star Stories.
Jabe Stafford has asserted his right to be identified as the author of these works.