“None of Mine Bled Dry” (in Three-Lobed Burning Eye #34) December 2021Cormac’s mother binds their magic as soon as they discover it. She believes there are only two options for survival: hide their magical gifts, or have their magic co-opted to grease the gears of industry. But what Cormac loved about magic, even before they opened to it, is that it cares as little for the structures and rules of society as Cormac themself does. Cormac aims to prove that neither hexes nor the rules of men and women are enough to limit magic—or themself.
“Lies I Never Told You” (in Diabolical Plots #81) November 2021Shanna’s father is psychic. On paper, at least. Everything he writes down comes true. Whatever the notes might say, Shanna learns as much from them about the things people don’t say. Just because every word Dad writes is the truth doesn’t mean Shanna’s read all the truths he has to tell.
“The Mountain Will Move If You Ask” (in It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility) June 2021Sense8 meets Fantastic Four. Ianto doesn’t have the kind of extranormal gift that lets his teammates reshape flesh, twist light, or command the psychic forces that connect them. What he has is a head full of chaos. Chaos that lets him predict the fluidic changes—both benign and violent—which otherwise occur without warning in the ground beneath their feet. His job is to see trouble coming. To keep everyone on a safe path. Today, he failed. Now he can’t see anything ahead but dead ends.
“Everything Important in One Cardboard Box” (in Diabolical Plots #63) May 2020*Content Warning: Domestic Violence. Max has found a magical box that never gets full. It’s just the place to keep all the things he loves but his boyfriend, Roderick, doesn’t want lying around. Every time he packs something away, though, Roderick finds something else to hate. How long can you shove your troubles in a box in the back of the closet before it’s time to unpack, and what will you find when you finally do?
“The Hammer-Royal Ten Step Model for Making the Superhero A List” (on Cast of Wonders) March 2020*Hank’s the son of super heroes who don’t want him to be super. He’s making a list to make it to the A list, anyway. He’s going to be a super-powered star. No matter what it takes. Or who it hurts.
“Your Apocalyptic Disaster Will Continue After These Commercial Messages” (in Cockroach Conservatory, Vol. 2) January 2019*The story of attempts to survive in a world where extra-terrestrial technologies are being integrated and exploited via late capitalism, told through a series of bid requests by an ad agent to a rep at a production company.
“If Only Kissing Made It So” (on Cast of Wonders) February 2018*We can sum this one up by its first line, so: “This afternoon, the boy I’ve had a crush on for years told me two things: he loves me, and he’s a time traveler. I’m not sure if I feel crazier believing the first or the second.”
“Blood and Water” (on Cast of Wonders) May 2017*Five years ago, the boy Michael loved disappeared into Lake Michigan. But, Michael insists, he didn’t die. What follows is a story of secrets both fantastic and mundane, where believing in love may just be more difficult and painful than believing a boy can walk on water.(reprinted as a 2017 Staff Pick with additional commentary January 2018)
“Technically Magic” (in Transitions and Awakenings: No Regrets) May 2017*Brody Kerr loves piloting hovercars, making magic, and bedding as many men as possible. In a world where magic and advanced technology are locked in a culture war, he prefers not to think about the impossible in-between he lives as a cyborg who can channel mana. Mana breaks every rule but its own, but can Brody use it to help Micah and Hannah, a pair of magical siblings trapped in an isolated community that wants to break them? Brody hopes so, and not just because of how hot Micah is (though that certainly doesn’t hurt).
“Drowning Joys” (in Aliterate #2 and online at Aliterate’s website) May 2017*From a river in medieval Scotland to the contemporary bar scene, the kelpie Callum has baited prey for centuries. Much as he enjoys the freedom modern society grants him, however, he’s about to discover that he may be just as mired in his past as the familial warnings he so easily dismissed in his youth.
“Fragile Insides” (in Orthogonal: Code) July 2016*Heady looks larger than life, but the slightest impact can shatter her bones. On the Rim, the asteroid ghetto peopled by victims of a genetic plague, every blow is harder than the last. It’s no surprise that Heady’s is a life of broken pieces and hidden pain. When she finds another woman whose pain is all too clear, fighting for her patient’s life may be Heady’s one chance to salvage the disparate fragments of her own.
“Taste of Birdsong” (in Betwixt #11) July 2016*Sovani’s is a world full of change, where trees migrate and each season brings a different sense with which he and his people must navigate the world. He has always felt lost, overwhelmed, insufficient. When his coming of age requires him to stay in one place, will the chaos sweep him aside, or might he finally discover the strength to stand strong?
“The Wind at His Back” (in Clockwork Phoenix 5 and online at Mythic Delirium Books) April 2016*Sheriff Benito Aguilar just wants to to be left in peace with his husband, Casey, on their little frontier farm. He’s pushed down the violent mistakes of his past wrangling twisters, locked it all away from the people he loves. But a man who spent years inside the bloody heart of storms should know better than to expect the weather can stay calm forever.
“Broken” (on Escape Pod #509) November 2015The Skew breaks everyone in different ways, but the citizens on The Rim still cling to the myth of normal. Sy doesn’t, and that concerns everyone. If he wants out of the mental institution which currently holds him, Sy will have to find a way to integrate the world he sees with the world everyone else wants to see. Hacked genes, hacked code, hacked minds, and shredded hearts.
“Hide Behind” (in The Sockdolager #3) September 2015*Set in the same world as “Tall,” an American West where folklore is fact. Meet Hayashi Yuna, a frontier doctor struggling to unlock the secrets of a preternatural tree alongside her research partner, Ruthie. When a local giant is murdered, the struggle to unravel buried secrets becomes far more immediate, and the potential consequences far deadlier.
“At Her Fingertips” (in Betwixt #7) April 2015*The Skew gave Acaja eight extra fingers that don’t work. She became the best mechanic on Rixzah, anyway, and a certified roid jump pilot, besides. And she’ll get off this dirty little asteroid on the Rim if she has to build a jump ship with nothing more than her wits and what she finds in the junkyard. (Reprinted May 2020 under Jaxton Kimble on Escape Pod #732)
“Tall” (in Twice Upon A Time: Fairytale, Folklore, & Myth. Reimagined & Remastered.) January 2015*A young woman’s quest to claim Annie Oakley’s gun in order to save a town from becoming yet more collateral damage in the feud between Paul Bunyan’s giants and Pacos Bill’s tornado wranglers. This is complicated in no small part due to personal history between Bill and the gun’s current owner. Also, there is at least one monster, because there always is, right?
“Detritus” (in Sci Phi Journal #3) January 2015*A short story with asteroid colonies, genetic plagues, a giant scientist, twisted relationships, and a justifiably cranky detective coping with all of them the best way she can.