short story


I wrote this one for the Dereclit collection for Zombies Need Brains. It didn’t get in but I had lots of fun with it.

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The people of Nottingham live in fear of their malevolent Sheriff. Only one man gives them hope: Robin Hood.

Wintering huts compromised. Supplies gone. The winter will be harsh for Robin and his friends.

But not as harsh as the Sheriff’s killers if they get their hands on Robin.

A deadly game of cat and mouse in frost covered Sherwood. Snow betrays every step.

Robin Hood versus the Hunters is a fast-paced medieval adventure short story.

Every story in the Tales of Sherwood series stands alone. Follow the adventures of Robin Hood, his wife Marian, his best friend Little John, the Norman outlaw Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and all the other Merry Men in Sherwood.

I’ve just finished Covers 101 course by WMG Publishing. It was excellent!

I’m redesigning all my covers and the first one was the alternate reality short story A Long Way to Morning.

The cover image is by Galyna_P through Shutterstock.

I think the cover has Modesty Blaise -type vibe which is appropriate because MB comics inspired me to write it.

A short story collection about spies of some sorts.

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Publication year: 2019
Publisher: WMG Publishing
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 284

This Fiction River focuses on spies. They are set in modern or historical times, a few I think are alternate history. The only fantasy story is about mice and a cat. A couple are near future stories.

Most have a spy main character but in the other stories, the main character is close to a spy. Most are serious tales but a couple are just funny and fun.

“Spy in the Sky” by Tonya D. Price: Set in Cuba in 1960s, Roberto MacAllister is a very bright young man but he’s also the son of a traitor. His dream is to escape to the US and work with rockets. Instead, he catches the eye of a prominet Russian scientist.


“Meeting at the Rise and Shine” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Susan is very worried about what the actor-turned president Reagan is doing. Worried enough that she’s agreed to meet with a reporter, carrying secret documents with her. But is she doing the righ thing, after all?


“Highpoint” by Michael Kingswood: Jeremy analyzes satellite images, specifically nuclear sites in North Korea. One day, the images are missing.


“Through the Eyes of a Dog” by Angela Penrose: Shawn loves dogs and when a dog-loving billionare couple wants a dog trainer, he’s more than happy to apply for the job. But he has another motive, too.

“Cat and Mice” by Jamie McNabb: Lionel the orange cat has started to eat a mouse one a week. The mice decide to do something about him.


“Our Man in Basingstoke” by Sabrina Chase: This was a fun story about an older British man who offered his manor house to the war effort during WWII. He didn’t expect what the War Office would require him to do.

“Night Flight” by Jonathan Kort: Marcel is a Jew living in occupied France during WWII. He and his fellow Jews are trying to survive and perhaps do something better.


“End of the Line” by David H. Hendrickson: Ferguson is getting older and getting the shittier assigments. But this is a new low. He needs to go to a retirement home and talk with an old friend, an old spy, and see if he still has his wits about him. If not… well, the Unit can’t let him talk about anything really secret.

“The Florentine Exchange” by Dayle A. Dermatis: This exciting story has two women spies. Antonia is an experienced spy and she’s been ordered to train fastidious Libby. When Antonia’s ankle is twisted, Libby must take Antonia’s place at an embassy ball where she must give a thumbdrive to another spy. But on her way to the ball, Libby realizes she has two thumbdrives. Antonia is up to no good.


“The Message” by C.A. Rowland: This story is set during US Civil War. Sissie is a slave in the household of Miss Antonia. When the Union soldiers bang on their door, Miss Antonia orders Sissie to help hide letters.

“Not What You’d Expect” by Leah Cutter: The narrator in this story isn’t a spy herself. But she gets to know one, Patty, at their yoga class. When Patty needs someone to go with her to a conference to spy on her company’s competitors, it sounds like fun.

“Turkish Coffee” by Johanna Rothman: Mira was born in Virginia but she loves Jaffa. And now she works there. Her job is to discover people’s secrets. She and her parner need to find out who is trying to infiltrate reasearch nuclear reactors.


“The Path” by David Stier: Aisha and her brother Ebrahim escaped from Afghanistan to US. Their whole other family is dead. Ebrahim hates the infidels and tries to force Aisha to live in the same way as she did in Afghanistan. But Aisha wants to succeed and goes to English classes in secret.


“Trafficking Stops” by Lisa Silverthorne: Sawyer Smith because a victim of trafficking she was fourteen. She managed to escape and is now doing her very best to stop the horrible people who sell teenagers and children. But now she’s working with a partner she doesn’t know.


“The Spy Who Walked into the Cold” by Ron Collins: Set in 1969 Chicago. Carl is a former Green Beret suffering from PTSD because of Vietnam war. Now, he’s a rookie FBI agent and working with a man who is spying on the Black Panthers. That makes him very uneasy.

This was the most down-to-earth Fiction River volume I’ve read so far. I love spy stories and these are very good ones. There’s also a lot of variety because a number of them are forced by circumstances to spy on others rather than being professional spies. Now I’d love to see a volume of fantasy and/or science fiction spies!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have another great Kickstarter project:
Colliding Worlds volumes 1-5.

It’s five volumes of science fiction short stories from Rusch and Smith. The stories cover just about every nook and cranny of the science fiction genre. From time travel to space opera to social science fiction. From hard science to parallel worlds to alien invasion. From historical to near future to far future worlds.

100 science fiction short stories from two of the best science fiction writers of our time.

It’s already funded and reached the third stretch goal. 12 days to go.

The stretch goals have more books: Fiction River Presents: Time Travelers, Killer Advice from Rusch, Laying the Music to Rest by Smith, and Life is a dream by Smith. For writers, there are Classic Workshops in the stretch goals and two SF Workshops in the pledges.

A collection of novellas and short stories set in these writers’ own worlds, except for Marr.

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Publication year: 2009
Page count: 358
Publisher: EOS

Originally, I bought this collection for Drake’s story because I love her Dark Days series. The only one I haven’t read before is Marr. All of these stories assume that the reader is familiar with the world and the characters.

Ley Line Drifter by Kim Harrison: The main character in this story is the pixie Jenks who is Rachel’s main sidekick in the Hollows series. A strange pixie enters his home but the pixie is there ask for help and not try to challenge him. After thinking it over, Jenks agrees to try to help him.

I love Jenks and this a great story about him. However, it’s further along the series than I’ve read and refers to things I don’t know about. Also, Harrison doesn’t open the world or the characters at all but assumes that the reader is familiar with the violent world of the pixies in the Hollows series. Also, the story is left unresolved.

Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost: the main character in this story is the vampire Bones. New Orleans’ vampire queen summons him. Her closest minion gives Bones the task of killing a pair of ghouls who eat their victims alive. Also, another vampire is hunting Bones.

Bones is a very powerful and charming vampire and uses his powers of seduction and intimidation to the max. He’s the main love interest in the Night Huntress series but carried this story alone well. Also, I think this story stood alone better.

Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson: This is the story of the parents of Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac series. A superhero has an affair with a supervillain. They know from the start that their relationship is doomed because they can’t alter their behavior or destiny. But they’d drawn together anyway.

I really don’t care for the way that the characters are born to good or evil in Pettersson’s series, so the story didn’t work for me.

The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake: Fire Starter vampire Mira is the Keeper of her town of Savannah. Most supernatural people in her town know to keep their secrets from human eyes. When a vampire is killed and left for humans to find, Mira has a big problem in her hands, especially when another vampire comes to town, intending on dragging Mira to Venice for punishment if she can’t solve the murder quickly.

This was a great Mira story, set right before the series starts. It gives her and her second in command Knox relationship a little bit more depth. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed.

Two Lines by Melissa Marr: this is apparently her first adult supernatural thriller. Eavan was born to a family of monsters, the glaistig, who feat of sex and death. Eavan doesn’t want to be a monster like them, she wants to stay a human. So she has avoided both so far. But now she’s become obsessed with a very attractive drug dealer who is drugging young women senseless and selling them. Eavan wants to stop that but doesn’t want to kill him and is very attracted to him. The matriarch of her family, Nyx, wants to turn Eavan to a full glaistig and forces a very attractive bodyguard on her. The bodyguard, Cillian Owens works for Crypto Drug Administration and knows something about the supernatural world. However, he’s less than thrilled when Nyx bribes and threatens him to become Eavan’s bodyguard. But he takes his job very seriously. Eavan is also very attracted to Cillian and doesn’t want him to get to any danger because of her.

This was an entertaining story with a lot of sexual tension.

These were entertaining stories but I’m not sure how well the first four will open to readers who aren’t familiar with the series.

My first science fiction short story is live on Amazon: Everyone Loves Chocolate… right?

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Robin Valisse is representing Mars in the the Milky Way Interspecies Dessert Championships. The Tri-Planetary Union of Earth, Mars, and Venus are participating for the first time, so stress is high. Earth’s chef Rodrigue has nothing but scorn for the Martian dessert Valisse is preparing.

Everyone Loves Chocolate… right? is a fun short story about interplanetary food competition. It has about 7,500 words.

Today my second Robin Hood story went live on Amazon! Robin Hood and the Impostors is a historical fantasy novella.

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A powerful fairy is envious of Robin Hood’s fame. The fairy enlists three vicious killers to impersonate three Merry Men. Can Robin find the killers before they destroy his good name and the villagers betray him to the sheriff?

Robin Hood and the Impostors is a stand-alone, light-hearted historical fantasy adventure perfect for readers who are looking for a fun read. It’s a short story of about 20,000 words.

The first short story in the cozy mystery series Mom and Christy’s Mysteries.

Publication year: 2016
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 86

Christy is 35 and on the brink of a divorce. Her job was as the manager of her soon-to-be ex-husband, so she’s in a lousy waitressing job. However, Christy’s mom, Jo, has recently started a catering business. So, Jo invites Christy to return home and help her mom with the job. Christy agrees and moves back to Fletcher Canyon, and together with her mom. Their first catering job together is a birthday party for an 85-year old man. Christy’s cousin is his nurse. The party isn’t a success and ends with a whimper when Christy finds the man of the hour dead.

The local detective is very handsome but unfortunately his suspicions all turn to Christy’s cousin. Clearly, Christy and her mom must solve the case themselves.

This is a delightful, short mystery. Christy’s mom Jo is Filipino and Christy’s father was white. Christy is a fun character: she’s a bit overweight, she can’t cook but she can drive the catering van, just barely. There’s also a cat. Christy and her mom are on good terms and I loved their relationship. They both have a past and Jo’s best friend Weiling helps them a lot.

Christy is the first person narrator and she’s a lot of fun.

The mystery was just the right length for the story. I have the next story in the series already.

A short audio play based on real events in Marie Curie’s life.

Publication year: 2019
Format: Audio
Running time: 1 hours 19 minutes
Narrators: Kate Mulgrew, Francesca Faridany

From Audible’s description: “In 1912, scientist Marie Curie spent two months on the British seaside at the home of Hertha Ayrton, an accomplished mathematician, inventor, and suffragette. At the time, Curie was in the throes of a scandal in France over her affair with Paul Langevin, which threatened to overshadow the accomplishment of her second Nobel Prize.”

Mulgrew plays Ayrton and Faridany is Curie. They’re both wonderful and they’re playing wonderful women. The press is hounding Curie and calling her awful names. Curie’s daughters are also hearing all those things and Curie is on the verge of desperation. But Ayrton comes to help her. Neither of the women are perfect, but real people. They’re also friends who support each other but also fight with each other. Most of the story is their dialog, except for the end which was far weirder.

This was a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these women. Sadly, the world hasn’t changed much; many people still judge women based on their appearance or pretty much anything else than what they do.

I knew about Curie, of course, and even knew that she’s invented the portable X-ray machine and used it during World War I. Not from a history course, though, but from an episode of Timeless. However, I haven’t heard of Ayrton who was an electrical engineer. I must find out more about her.

A short story collection of various genres. Like, the name says, almost all of them are fast-paced and exciting.

Publication year: 2018
Publisher: WMG Publishing
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 295

This is another Fiction River collection which as stories from multiple genres, from sci-fi to fantasy to modern military action/adventure. It also has a story with a penguin main character and one story has a cooking contest.

“Payback is a Bitch” by Diana Deverell: Bella is in charge of providing private security for US government people in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She’s on a supposedly routine drive, when her team of bodyguards turn against her.

“Death-Blind” by Robert Jeschonek: The main character of this story wakes up in a maze, his own voice blaring at him, urging him to kill someone before the time runs out.

“The Airship Adventures of Captain Jane Fury” by Anthea Sharp: The captain of the HMS Minotaur, an airship, is on an urgent mission which could very well change the future of Britain, if she arrives on time. A storm, a band of pirates, and even a bigger menace try to stop her.

“Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest” by Henry Martin: A group of SEALs has been ordered to take back a cruiser which has been high jacked by pirates. Things go wrong from the start.
“The Tomb of Arisel” by Bonnie Elizabeth: The main character needs desperately an item from the catacombs below the temple of the Goddess of Love, Arisel. But she has fearsome guardians.

“Goodnight, Madison” by Lisa Silverthorne: Five days ago, Sam’s little daughter disappeared. He’s a police detective but he can’t find the person responsible. Until other kids start to disappear and Sam gets a letter.

“Romancing the Puffin” by Louisa Swann: Magnus and his moody but brilliant girlfriend are in the Antarctic, studying penguins. Now, she’s transformed him into a penguin and he must try to survive to find out if she can forgive him and turn him back.

“Dominant Species” by Dayle A. Dermatis: The main character of this story is a shapeshifter. She also works tirelessly to expose animal abuse. This time, she heard that people on a remote farm abuse dogs. Unfortunately, the situation is far worse and turns out very badly for her.

“Three Seconds” by T. Thorn Coyle: Zachary used to be a troubleshooter and a killer but he gave it up when he met the right man. But Zachary’s past has come to haunt him.

“Blood Chase” by Leah Cutter: Parayat is a loyal servant of the emperor and was born a star sister, able to create illusions. Now, the emperor has tasked her to slip inside the house of a traitor and kill him.

“Caterpillar Boot Man” by Valerie Brook: Cuba has been beaten bloody and now an armed man is chasing him in a car. Can Cuba get away?

“The Case of the Dead Son” by Laura Ware: This is a noir urban fantasy story. Eli Leafrunner is a police detective and a half-elf. He works in the Neighborhood, the dark underbelly of the Islands of Fantasy where most magical people live (and run it for humans to visit). Sorin is an influential elf. When his son’s death was declared a suicide, Sorin put a death curse of Eli. Eli has just hours to find out what really happened to Sorin’s son.

“Breakfast at Luigi’s” by Thea Hutcheson: Deirdre is a smart and beautiful young woman. She’s found a “sugar daddy” in a retired mob accountant, Luigi. When two hitmen invade the house, Deirdre is terrified but determined to get out alive.

“Black Phantom, Gray Op” by Stefon Mears: Aren Vestergaard has just quit from the Navy. He bought a ship and has set up a charter piloting business. On his first day, two people hold him on gunpoint and force him to take to a planet deep outside of human space.

“The Last Ramekin” by Liz Pierce: Molly is a kitchen witch and all the other cooking wizards and sorceresses look down on her. She’s made it to the final round in the contest and is determined to give it her all.

“The Princess, the Huntsman and the Monster” by Erik Lynd: Emily has just escaped from a man she thinks of as the Monster. She’s naked and alone is the snow.

I enjoyed almost all of the stories. The last one is the slowest but it’s pretty good. “Romancing the Puffin” and “The Last Ramekin” were my favorites.

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