Standalone Short Fiction

Slip through a portal to another world . . .

Visit fractured futures, mystical and darkly folkloric Otherworlds, and shadows of the past in these frightening, fantastical, and futuristic speculative short stories.

Jump to: A Song of Dark Things | Calloused | Castoffs | Children of Earth | Hollow | Mud Maidens Rise | On the Edge | The Patron Saint of Flatliners | The Pink Slime's Appointment With Destiny | The Unsought Light

The Patron Saint of Flatliners

Don't call her a ghost. And she's sure no angel. She's not sure what she is—besides lost. But when you flatline, she’ll be there. Fighting to send you back.

Sancta Faustina doesn't know why she's summoned to the side of the many victims of Vancouver's toxic drug crisis. Maybe it has something to do with the way she lived. Maybe it has something to do with the way she died. All she knows is there's yet another body cooling on the ground, a blitzed spirit bobbing halfway through the ceiling, and a foolishly loyal pup depending on her to fix it from the wrong side of the veil . . .

A dark urban "ghost" story for fans of Seanan McGuire's Ghost Roads. READER ADVISORY: Rated 18+ for profanity, drugs & alcohol, child abuse (non-physical, non-sexual).

  • Longlisted in the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize
  • Semi-Finalist in the 2023 Writers of the Future Awards

Reviews and commentary include:

  • "Heartrending! And excellent use of F-bombs."—reader review
  • "The story and the character were incredibly likable and powerful. One of my favs."—reader review
  • "...excellently written, well thought out, and deeply touching(...)truly captured the mysteries (Mysterion, smile) in daily living which exist for us all. The story felt like a love note to a single life which could be extended to all of our lives."—R. J. Johnson
  • "I was digging through some fairly obscure magazines to see if anything caught my eye, and this one did from the very first line and didn’t let up from there, delivering a tale of overdose, emotional isolation, and being there for others in a way no one was there for you. It’s touching, but in a way that never feels like it’s taking the easy way out."—Jay Tar Vol on Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog (full fiction round-up here!)

Edited by Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz. March-April ebook edition cover art "Friends" by Matthew Derrick, cover design by Anne Horn.

In memory of Francesca and the many victims of toxic drug supply, overdose, and opioid poisoning in Vancouver and beyond. Please read the author's note here.

Read on Mysterion


Ever wondered what goes on on the other side of the screen?

A body double has a dark encounter on a late-night shoot. Eerie, anti-capitalist, Twilight Zone-esque horror inspired by the author's ill-fated travels (travails?) through Hollywood North.

Available as audio performance only (text not (yet) licensed.) Story suitable for all ages. Full episodes/podcast rated for mature/adult audiences only.

Narrated by Sarah Ruth Thomas, produced by Jeff Clement, “The Find of the Century” illustration courtesy of Thea Arnman.

Listen on The NoSleep Podcast

Children of Earth

Zero-waste living comes at a cost.

Mirella has a messy basement suite, a messy crush, and a messy problem.

Eco-anxiety takes on a life of its own in this body-horror-riffic rom-com about a goblin-mode girl, toenail cryptids & a shared compost bin.

  • Longlisted in the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize
  • Honourable Mention in the 2022 Writers of the Future Awards

"Children of Earth" was written in a 2021 WMG Publishing Workshop with Dean Wesley Smith called "How to Write a Pulphouse Story" (for Pulphouse Fiction Magazine) and represents the author's debut genre pro-market sale in short fiction, acquired by Arley Sorg and Christie Yant for Issue #90 (April 2023) of John Joseph Adam's Fantasy Magazine. Cover art by Kevin Carden. Suitable for all ages.

Read "Children of Earth" or listen to the audiobook/podcast version (narrated by Judy Young) for free online at Fantasy Magazine. Read the accompanying Author Spotlight. Shop the full eBook edition of Fantasy Magazine Issue 90/April 2023.

Shop the ebook edition of Fantasy Magazine Issue #90

Mud Maidens Rise

Mirrors, childhood, and the liminal unseen.

An eerie little gothic nightmare for spooky wildlings. Just under 600 words of poetic flash fiction composed of cankerworms, Winnipeg snowmelt & UBC mud spun into a dark fairytale. Neurodivergence meets the patriarchy. Originally titled "Those Who Look At Hidden Things."

Edited by John Joseph Adams with Wendy Wagner. Suitable for all ages.

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Coming from Lightspeed Magazine in July 2024!

The Pink Slime's Appointment With Destiny

The Scouring Is and Was and Will come again. But one damaged survivor dreams of a damp fungal paradise far from its caustic fumes . . .

A humorous SF-lite adventure clocking in at just over 3k words about humidfier scum escaping cleaning and the inevitable downfall of all colonial ambitions. Frothy, funny, and fungal.

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith. Story suitable for all ages; magazine as a whole recommended for mature/adult audiences only.

Subscribe to Pulphouse Magazine for a whole year of wacky & weird lit for under USD$60 (ebook) or USD $200 (print, US only)!)

Coming from Pulphouse Magazine, Issue 31!

Castoffs in It Was All a Dream: An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right

Payment by the pound . . .

A decade later, a demon shows up to collect his payment. Dinner aims to deliver.

My gross-out horror-comedy short Castoffs (all-time fave editors' notes have included "extravagantly bizarre," "equal parts tantalizing and perverse," & "fun in its own insane, visceral way") is just one of 28 tropey tales of horror and madness collected in this subversive anthology featuring a star-studded lineup and custom b&w retro-horror-style interior artwork for every story.

Edited by Brandon Applegate. Cover art by Evangeline Gallagher. Interior art by Christopher Castillo Díaz.

Castoffs is recommended for all ages. The anthology as a whole is recommended for mature/adult audiences only.

Shop the Anthology

Calloused* in There's No Place

Steel strings cut deep. But it's when you stop feeling the sting that you need to start worrying . . .

A washed-up rockstar searches for home, hope, and an escape from fae-cursed hunger amidst the wreckage of the career she stole from under the hill and over the sea.

This short, multiple timeline/experimental retelling of "A Song of Dark Things" took a Silver Honourable Mention in Writers of the Future Awards 2022 Q3 and is rated all ages/adult.

There's No Place is a multi-genre anthology from Renaissance Press/Presses Renaissance edited by H.E. Casson. Contributors have experience of housing insecurity (though not necessarily traditional homelessness) and all stories explore ideas of "home." The anthology is rated for mature/adult audiences.

(*Moving alert! This story is relocating from the "Standalones" section to launch a new series page soon!)

Shop the Anthology in Paperback Shop the Anthology in eBook

A Song of Dark Things* in Unknown Realms: A Fiction-Atlas Press Anthology

When being stolen away by the fairies offers more opportunity than trying to live in the real world, there’s only one thing to do— plan a heist.

Desperate to escape a dead-end future in the Scottish Highlands, a musical teen makes a deal with the fae to achieve her dreams of stardom, only to discover her heart's desire comes at an unexpected cost.

Contemporary dark fantasy inspired by Scottish folkore Thomas the Rhymer & The Fiddlers of Tomnahurich for fans of Holly Black, S. Jae-Jones, & Melissa Marr—plus NINE other speculative stories in this multi-author anthology.

(*Moving alert! This story is relocating from the "Standalones" section to launch a new series soon!)

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On the Edge

There are two types of stories about fairyland. Ones where the traveller returns...and the other kind.

A New Adult Dark Fantasy about walking on water, adulthood & escaping reality in the Scottish Highlands.

This story first appeared in Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine (June 2019) and was reprinted in Frozen Wavelets by The Earthian Hivemind (licensed 2019/reprinted 2022).

It has one of the author's (and readers', apparently) favourite endings, and comments include: "exceptional and lyrically beautiful" and "It's got the spooky, fair folk vibes that I live for; the atmosphere really just shines in this."

Read on Enchanted Conversation Read on Frozen Wavelets (Reprint)

The Unsought Light in Seasons Unceasing

Family. Freedom. Fate. What do you do when there are no good choices left?

When an otherworldly stranger offers a chance at escape from the stifling bonds of impending arranged marriage, duty and desire collide in a war that threatens to bring down her family, her clan, and her village.

This gothic retelling of Japanese folktale The Maiden of Unai is a historical tragic romance in the vein of Rome & Juliet with a supernatural twist and is available as a standalone ebook and in the Worldsmyths Publishing anthology Seasons Unceasing.

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