New publications: Carnival Ever After, Notes on the Seventh Battle of the Queen of the Ruby Mists, and Green Leaves Against the Wind

So 2023 has started out with a bit of a publishing bang, with not one but two new stories, plus a poem:

Carnival Ever After, in Apex, is a fairy tale about what happened after the end of Charles Perrault’s “Diamonds and Toads,” both to the beautiful sister who married a prince, and the ugly sister who did not.

Notes on the Seventh Battle of the Queen of the Ruby Mists, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, collects the footnotes of a detailed research study on this fabulous battle. Still kinda sad that the footnote citing an article from First in Fae had to be eliminated, but sacrifices must be made in the name of scholarship.

This story is closely related to my earlier story in Reckoning, Footnotes on Phosphates, Nitrates and the Lake A Incident: a Review.

And speaking of Reckoning, I also have a new poem there this month: Green Leaves Against the Wind.


2021 Publication Roundup

Tradition says I’m supposed to tell you about the various things I published in 2021. So, here we go, organized by category:


“Rockshell,” in Dim Shores, Volume 2, Spring 2021, a portal fantasy. “Grows on me the more that I think about it,” commented one reader. Available for sale here.

Short stories, full length (that is, between 1000 to 7000 words):

“A Preliminary Study of Humans Under Beastly Enchantments and Covid-19,” in Departure Mirror’s January issue, called “a great imaginary romp” by Locus. It….appears to have vanished from the internet. I will probably be reposting it on Medium in the next few days, but in the meantime, if you’d like to read it, contact me for a free PDF. SFWA members can also download a pdf from the SFWA forums. UPDATE: You can now read this story at Medium for free!

Tweeting, in the February issue of Translunar Travelers Lounge, a story about a transformation told in a series of – you guessed it, tweets! Translunar Travelers Lounge was kind enough to format the story so that it really did look like tweets. My hands down most self-indulgent story of the year. It’s on the Nebula Recommended Reading list, and can be read backwards – or forwards – for free here.

This Is the Moment, Or One of Them, in the May issue of Apex, called “visceral,” “heartbreaking,” and “beautiful,” by reviewers. It’s also on the Nebula Recommended Reading List, has popped up on a couple of “best of” lists, and can be read for free here.

“A Very Little Something,” a horror story that appeared in the June issue of Lamplight. Largely inspired by a couple of trips to the Florida Keys, it contains arguably one of the worst marine biology jokes I have yet managed to slip past an editor. You can find the issue here.

Flash fiction: (anything under 1000 words)

For Want of a Dryad, in Café Irreal, February. This marked my return to Café Irreal after a long, long absence, which was pretty cool.

The Cracks in the Sphere, in Daily Science Fiction, also in February.

Coffee and the Fox, in Zooscape, in March, containing a couple of my favorite things – coffee and, well, a fox – plus my usual complaint about the heavy doors that block entrances to coffee places.

The Heron-Girl, in Baffling, in April. Another story about transformation and birds (that seemed to be a minor theme for me in 2021), set on Lake Apopka. On the Nebula Recommended Reading List.

Stepsister, in Daily Science Fiction, also in April. I almost feel impelled to write something about Cinderella every few years. This time, I focused on a stepsister. On the Nebula Recommended Reading list.

So You Want to Reach the Witch at the End of the Void, Daily Science Fiction, July. What can I say? I love list stories.

On the Ice of Nix, Nature Futures, September. Represented a personal milestone for me since, hey, I’ve been published in Nature! Not in marine biology, sure, but still!

Somewhens, Kaleidotrope, Autumn. Another exploration of possibilities.

Practice Limitations, in 666, a collection of 666 horror drabbles, from Black Hare Press, in October. Fun simply for the challenge of keeping the story under 100 words.

“Gaming with Death,” in 99 Tiny Terrors, Pulse Publishing.

And the Tale Unchanging, in Daily Science Fiction, November. So. This was a story I completely forgot about for years, found while looking for something else, and hurriedly shot over to DSF before I could forget it again. Sometimes it’s worth while to do searches like this

The North Pole Workshops, in Uncanny, December. “Certainly didn’t go where I was expecting it to,” said one reader. Inspired by a phone call that I had with a certain very large United States bank that shall go unnamed, this was easily one of my more popular stories this year. On the Nebula Recommended Reading list.

What To Do After Receiving a Starlit Pearl, which appeared in Mermaids Monthly in the very last few hours of 2021. Contains just a COUPLE of marine biology jokes.

“Dancing in Silver Lands” and “If the Shoe Fits,” in Dancing with Silver Lands, Neon Hemlock, December.


Beneath the Palace Dictionary the Last Evil Mars Moth Sleeps, Kaleidotrope, January. This was directly inspired by something said on Twitter by Fred Coppersmith, Kaleidotrope’s editor, so it seemed only fair that it appear there.

The Indifferent Song of C. Acer, Speculative City, April. This was written solely to amuse me; I was flattered, delighted and amazed to see someone agree to publish it.

Secrets, Frozen Wavelets, April. I love playing with words in tiny little poems.

Dracula Among the Ruins, Kaleidotrope, July. I also love vampires.

Hiding, Sycorax Journal, November.

Good People, Fireside, December. Not all fairy tales are true.

Books! Yes, in plural, books:

Resistance and Transformation: On Fairy Tales. Aqueduct Press. A collection of essays about the French salon fairy tale writers, which got a great review from Charles de Lint in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. (squee!) Available from Amazon here.

Dancing in Silver Lands. Neon Hemlock Press. I just love the way this tiny little chapbook of tiny little fairy tales came out, once past the Covid-related paper supply problems. The winner of the Outwrite Chapbook Fiction Competition, it can be obtained from the publisher now.

And now to see what 2022 brings.

Good People

What fascinates me about fairy tales is what’s left out. Often, this includes the thoughts of the servants and the courtiers, the ones who observed what was happening, but did not speak up, who appear in the corners of the tales, but silent.

My latest poem, Good People, loosely based on the fairy tale, “The Six Swans,” explores just a little of this. It can be read for free now at Fireside Fiction.

(And as always, if you enjoy this or any of my other stories/poems, consider purchasing an issue of the zine, or subscribing to a Patreon, or subscribing to the zine. Every bit helps these zines shine on for just a little while longer.)

Beneath the Palace Dictionary the Last Evil Mars Moth Sleeps

My first publication of 2021 is out – a small poem with a long title, Beneath the Palace Dictionary the Last Evil Mars Moth Sleeps, out in Kaleidotrope.

This particular poem was inspired by something the editor, Fred Coppersmith, said on Twitter – which suggests, I guess, that Twitter isn’t always a waste of time for authors.


The Silver Comb

My grandmother was born in Brooklyn, but her mother was from Ireland, and so, my grandmother learned about certain things to watch for – including combs or bits of combs left in the road or on the sidewalk, even cheap blue plastic ones. Bad things happened to people who touched them, she told me, and I believed her.

I spent years assuming this was just a way to keep me from putting colorful things I found on sidewalks into my mouth – wise advice for any item found on the street – only to find, years later, that this, like my grandmother’s stories of the evil puka that made bad things happen in the kitchen, was a little bit of oral culture passed down through Brooklyn. I never heard the banshee part of the story until much later – I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew it – but the connection between things found in the road – including silver combs – and banshees and evil things of the night is strong indeed.

Which more or less led to this poem, The Silver Comb, which just appeared in Mythic Delirium this month.  I don’t think my grandmother would have liked the ending, but perhaps you will.