Deputy Death

This is also posted at Curious Fictions, if that’s a preferable viewing platform for longer work.


A tingle started in the middle of Liz’s head, spreading down into her teeth. It was an odd sensation, but not unpleasant. She thought of it as her death sense, because when it kicked in, she was sure to find the body of some dead animal. The bizarre ability had yet to prove remotely useful, though it put her social life in critical condition. She looked up from her six-page, AP English paper, due tomorrow. Her eyes went to the window just as the sunshine-yellow Pontiac Aztek slowed, then stopped across the street. It was a weird looking car, not the sort of thing that belonged in this neighborhood with its green carpet lawns, evenly manicured hedges, and sport utility vehicles in the fashionable colors of hunter and maple. Each house was painted one of three approved shades of beige. Fortunately spring was far enough along that the landscape wasn’t completely bland, despite the developers’ best efforts.

It was sheer luck that she’d felt something dead in time to see this outsider, though she’d have to find whatever had died nearby before continuing to work on her paper. She could only ignore the tingling for so long before it became too distracting.

The driver’s side door swung open, and a tall thin man stepped out. He was pale, with light brown hair, and there wasn’t so much as a hint of khaki about him. He wore a shiny metallic blue, long sleeved shirt, tucked into snug black jeans. Liz briefly wondered if he might be gay, what with all the color, but decided he was probably just from the city. She’d heard urban people were flamboyant, and only the usual percentage of them were gay. He looked sort of like the people in her German textbook, foreign, so maybe that was his deal.

Continue reading Deputy Death

Tulgey Wood

This is also posted on Curious Fictions, if you prefer that interface for reading stories.


“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe; all mimsey were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe…”

“Is that all she says?”

“Yes. Over and over. Same thing.”

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!”

“What sort of rubbish is that? It doesn’t even sound like English.”

“Well it is, and it isn’t. It’s Jabberwocky. You know. The poem by Lewis Carroll?”

“That the guy who wrote about the magical wardrobe?”

“Not even close. What the hell kind of childhood did you have anyway? Didn’t you ever read Through the Looking Glass?”

“Irrelevant. Does she say anything else? Anything at all.”

“Well… not really.”

“You hesitated there. What is it?”

“Sometimes it’s as if she’s gotten stuck. She’ll repeat the same word over and over like she can’t remember the next line.”

“And then?”

“After a while she just kicks back in as if she’d never hit a glitch.”

“And what is this Jabberwocky…”

They think I can’t hear them, they think I don’t see what’s two feet away. Catatonic, they say. But I’m just ignoring them. They don’t know anything, and they’ll leave the room eventually. They always do.

Continue reading Tulgey Wood

The Beach

The west end of the beach was a picture of chaos framed by the orange of the sinking sun.

Donna watched, curiously detached, ignoring the sand that was creeping into her shorts.

The wind blew her hair into her face, and she reached for the purse she’d never wanted. Mothers’ purses were full of scraps of paper, crayons and trash. She dug through the folds of the imitation leather bag, pushing aside the comb. Her hair would only re-tangle in this wind. She was too much like her own mother, she thought, as she shoved the empty wrapper from a stick of gum into a corner. There it was. A tattered green ribbon lay twisted around a McDonald’s straw in the bottom of her purse. One never knew when they might need a straw. The ribbon was short, but it would hold her hair back for now.

She scooped up a handful of sand, plucking out the quartzite pebbles and precariously piling them on her knees. Once her collection was complete she wiggled her leg, dropping the carefully gathered stones to the sand. She felt stronger for destroying something she’d made.

The rescuers were still hard at work, their chains clanking together like so many little bells. With the sun as a backdrop, they were featureless profiles. The cry of triumph was quickly followed by one of dismay. Someone in the rescue boat held aloft a dripping empty baby stroller with seaweed dangling from the wheels.


This dark flash fiction (exactly 250 words) was written as a challenge to include one or more of the following: pebbles, ribbon, gum wrapper, baby stroller, seaweed, straw, comb. As a smartass, I used all seven.

A Familiar Story – the Series

The digital and trade paperback editions of It Sounds Familiar are starting to become available across additional platforms. This is the second book in the A Familiar Story series.

Two paperback books (Something Familiar and It Sounds Familiar) on a wooden table, separated by a green and blue glass orb.

The first book, Something Familiar, a story about a witch looking for a familiar and a shape-shifter who has run away from home. You can read the first few chapters for free over at Curious Fictions, if you want to try before you buy.

The second book, It Sounds Familiar, picks up with our witch and familiar pair coping with the biases they face in a society that is widely opposed to shape-shifters.

Non-Binding – Part 1

Adric notched his key into the lock, surprised when the light force pushed the door inward. He stared at the widening gap in confusion. It wasn’t like his parents to leave without latching the front door. He stepped over the threshold, his step faltering when the scent of blood hit him.

Normally it would be appealing, maybe even triggering a hint of hunger, but this blood was wrong. It was strong enough that he should have picked it up from the sidewalk. It smelled of family and magic. He gasped, his keys clattering to the wood floor as he clutched at his chest.

Continue reading Non-Binding – Part 1

Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 2

<<< Go back to Part 1


The cabin had been quiet for a long time.  Laura pulled on the dark clothes she’d stuffed under her pillow before going to bed.  She pushed aside her blankets and slipped off her bunk.  She crouched there, her bare feet sticking to the floor and her shoulder level with her mattress, and listened.  Over the pounding of her heart, she could hear the three younger girls breathing, but that was all.  She reached under the bed for her shoes and socks, but carried them as she took baby steps toward the door.

She made it to the hallway without bumping into anything.  She took a slow breath and tried to relax.  She’d never woken anyone up while going to the bathroom.  Why was she worried about it now?  And why did everything seem so loud?  She crept to the couch.  Kaveh looked like he was asleep, and she was half tempted to go back to bed and forget about the whole thing.  She could say she’d fallen asleep. But then he would think she was a wimp.  Besides, how else would she find out what happened at magic camp?  As she reached for his shoulder, he rolled over and looked up at her.

Continue reading Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 2

Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 1

This is also available on Curious Fictions, if that platform is preferred for longer works.




The gravel crunched under Laura’s feet as she crossed the road to the old logging trail.  Faint shadows of mist clung to the low spots.  The trees were spread out, so there was plenty of light, and the area had been logged out in the past, so there were no enormous trees.  Her passage startled a Broken Window bird, who crashed and clinked at her as it sought a higher branch.  The grass was long and thick, and Laura’s canvas sneakers were quickly soaked.

Before swapping charms yesterday, Laura and Kaveh found a spot in the woods, where they could practice without being seen.  He’d said they should practice magic in preparation for school, but it was such a secret she suspected they weren’t supposed to be doing it by themselves. Instead of deterring her, it made their trade more exciting.

Continue reading Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 1

Something Familiar – Teaser 7

The seventh chapter of Something Familiar is now available on Curious Fictions (along with chapters one through six) for those who need a try before you buy option.

Cover of the novella Something Familiar.

If you read any of the teasers and want to find out more, Something Familiar is available in a variety of formats and from many retailers. You can also check with your favorite bookseller or online store, as it is available outside the US as well.

For those who’ve already bought it, thank you for your support.

Something Familiar – Teaser 6

The sixth chapter of Something Familiar is now available on Curious Fictions (along with chapters one through five) for those who need a try before you buy option.

Cover of the novella Something Familiar.

If you read any of the teasers and want to find out more, Something Familiar is available in a variety of formats and from many retailers. You can also check with your favorite bookseller or online store, as it is available outside the US as well.

For those who’ve already bought it, thank you for your support.

Something Familiar – Teaser 5

The fifth chapter of Something Familiar is now available on Curious Fictions (along with chapters one through four) for those who need a try before you buy option.

Cover of the novella Something Familiar.

If you read any of the teasers and want to find out more, Something Familiar is available in a variety of formats and from many retailers. You can also check with your favorite bookseller or online store, as it is available outside the US as well.

For those who’ve already bought it, thank you for your support.