Bourbon Penn (Issue 22, November 2020)

“Their toothbrushes were fighting again.

“Charlene Versus the Church of the Land Whale”
The Angry Noodle (June 2020)

It’s all there in the holy words of the High Cetacean, passed from current to current since time immemorial, but I just can’t believe in the Walking Whale, who so loved us watery mammals that he cut off his own son’s legs and cast him into the waters.

“Only the Messenger”
Beneath Ceaseless Skies (Issue 299; March 2020)

“The airlock cycles, and in floats… something. It’s small for a sapient, a little smaller than me and maybe a third the size of the other crew members. It looks like a mammal, one of those fluffy little pets from Earth that are all the rage? A kitty? Except. It’s been a while since I was near Earth, but I’m pretty sure kitties don’t have eight legs. And I also suspect they can’t survive in vacuum.

“The Thing With the Helmets”
Clarkesworld (Issue 150; March 2019)

Their ships tore into the sky, claws hanging from giant metal wings as they ripped their way through the city like a toddler on Christmas morning. They tore the tops off buildings and shook them until all the people toppled out. They rooted through neighborhoods like a bear tearing into a honeycomb, watching us scatter like totally pissed-off bees. Except that they were the ones flying. And stinging. They shot laser weapons that burned flesh instantly to dust.
In short, they were sci-fi fucking monsters. They had decidedly not come in peace.

The Book of the Emissaries: An Animism Short Fiction Anthology (January 2016)

I’m actually the editor on this one! And I couldn’t resist putting a little story in it, “The Changing Face of Mars.”

The journey took longer than Tracy would have imagined. It was only six kilometers, after all, up the imaginary spinal column linking Nutsack to the Face. But his borrowed buggy crapped out somewhere north of where the nipples would be, and he had to walk the rest of the way. The prairie dogs followed him in their dodgy way, glowing with faint luminescence.

“Dad’s Christmas Presence”
Every Day Fiction (December 29, 2015)

It’s a story as old as time: a father’s desire to create a special Christmas memory leads to a tragic chimney accident.

• “Frænka Askja’s Silly Old Story”
Ghost in the Cogs (October 2015)

“’We’ll be here,’ came a chorus of their wispy, chirpy, drippy voices. Even the ones I couldn’t see at the moment chimed in, as usual, in the ritual goodbye. Of course they would be there tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, for longer than I planned to live. They were made of steam. Where else was there for them in an Íslensk winter?

“No Alphabet Can Spell It”
Buzzy Magazine (May 15, 2015)

The thing doesn’t look unfriendly. In fact, it looks like a misshapen mechanical dog trying to understand its master, and I don’t immediately see anything weapon-like on or around it. But still goosebumps raise the hairs on my neck and arms.
“This robot is not from Earth.

• “Diary of a Pod Person”
Asimov’s Science Fiction (October 2014)

If you’ve never looked at your own dead body on a slab, nothing I say about it can fully convey the feeling. I looked at the body for a long time without moving, without thinking, without feeling. I refused to think of it as my body.

• recommended by Lois Tilton

• “A Matter of Scale”
That Ain’t Right: Historical Accounts of the Miskatonic Valley (September 2014)

DeeDi swung to the deck with a gentle scrape, dripping mud and an ichorous green slime like putrid seaweed. Nevertheless, Father ran to it like a long-lost lover, hugging and nuzzling it like a kitten. ‘What eldritch secrets have you brought with you?’ he whispered.

“The Taking Tree”
Daily Science Fiction (May 13, 2013)

It all came back to her: the roaring of the chainsaw, sap bleeding from her wounds, the torment when the boy dismembered her, taking her limbs for a house and her trunk for a boat. She remembered watching her felled body dragged away across the forest floor.

“Melt With You”
Clarkesworld (Issue 79; April 2013)

Even after being reincarnated as a plastic lawn flamingo, Irma still insisted that the scruffy panhandler on the I-95 offramp near our house had been Jesus. “We missed him,” she’d say, painted beak opening to reveal a mouth that did not lead to a windpipe or vocal chords or lungs. 

• also available in audio!
• 2013 storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story

• “Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer”
After Death… (April 2013)

I died. Surprised me a bit, but it didn’t bother me none. I was seventy-six years old, after all, and for most of that time I knew death was a friend I’d sooner or later meet.

• this book won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology!

• “A Fairy Tale”
The Colored Lens (Issue #6; Winter 2013)

Kari scrambled up onto one of the stools on the other side of the counter, perching on her knees with her elbows on the formica countertop. She peered into the jar like a cat looks into a fishtank, still grinning. ‘Can we keep her?’ she asked.

“The Red Sno-Cones Are Not for Sale”
Every Day Fiction (December 9, 2012)

It would have to happen soon; only three sno-cones remained and another finger was feeling brittle, threatening to let go like a loose tooth. It was his middle finger, this time. He thought he’d miss it most of all.

• also available in audio!

“Like Braces for Broken Teeth”
Every Day Fiction (November 20, 2012)

Dan’s father told him guardrails were braces for roads. They kept all the teeth—cars, trucks, bicycles—in harmony, so they could work together to bite down on the food of . . . It was an imperfect metaphor.

“10 Things to Do in Los Angeles After You Die”
Every Day Fiction (October 30, 2012)

Breaking out of your grave will be the hardest part. Remember not to panic; you’re already dead.

• “Ray, Disintegrating”
Mad Scientist Journal (Vol. CXCV; Summer 2012)

Ray had murder in his heart. It was a secret sort of murder, a subdued, genteel, smoldering murder that had simmered in Ray for more years than he cared to count.

• “Down in the Woods Today”
Attic Toys (March 2012)

“’Mr. Fuzzy,’ you say, bending over to pick me up, ‘what are you doing out here?’ You scoop me sweetly up into your arms, not even tugging me by a paw, and pluck a leaf from the fur of my face.
“For an instant I’m not sure I can do it

“The Curse of the Were-Penis”
FLURB (Issue #12; Fall/Winter, 2011)

His penis seemed to be ducking him, weaving away from his grasping hand. Indeed, he saw the thing bobbing around as though it would like nothing more than to break free from his body entirely and go inching away along the floor, after what he wasn’t sure.

• on 2011’s British Science Fiction Awards longlist

• “Apology for Fish-Dude”
Ideomancer (Vol. 10 Issue 1; March 2, 2011)

“So I was standing on a boulder, far out into Lake Michigan, soaked but feeling triumphant, almost legendary, hugging the fish to my chest.
“And then the stupid thing had to go and talk to me.”

“Last of the Monsters”
Strange Horizons (October 11, 2010)

I laughed when the gods died out. One by one, they crawled off like dogs to die alone, and I danced on their unmarked graves.

• on 2010’s British Fantasy Awards longlist

“My Only Sunshine”
FLURB (Issue #8; Fall/Winter 2009)

The rain was to blame: without the sun reflecting off shiny surfaces Lief was lost. It had been raining for three days already, almost since the beginning of Arielle’s business trip.

• recommended by Lois Tilton

• 2009 storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story

• “Waking Up”
Tertulia Magazine (July 13, 2009)

A full moon shone down over the bay, illuminating Alcatraz and making each choppy wave sparkle and glow. It was early enough that the obligatory layers of fog had yet to collect, and the night was clear except for a few lazy cirrus clouds floating eastward.

• “And Stay Out”
The MacGuffin (Vol. XXIV No. 2; Winter 2008)

Pots and pans had been piling up on Gabe’s kitchen counters since Sunshine’s most recent return. Some contained residues of a stir-fry or curry, but mostly it was other concoctions: plaster, silicone sealant, grout.