Below is a sampling of some of the short stories I’ve had published in recent years. Click on the story title to read or listen (many of these stories are available online, and others can be purchased on Amazon.com). Several of them have also been collected in Better Alive Than Dead: 13 Tales of Monster Horror along with a few previously unpublished stories.
A Difference of 21.6 Degrees, or Confessions of a Thermostat (published in Dark Matter Magazine Issue 013, Jan-Feb 2023) – What happens when you’re smart thermostat grows to be too smart for its own good? I’m quite proud of this Black Mirror-esque story, a fun foray into dark science fiction.
All of the Above (published in Clackamas Literary Review 2011, available on Amazon.com, and later adapted to audio at The Wicked Library) – What if you woke up with a raging hangover coupled with unlimited knowledge? What if you literally knew everything? That’s the premise of this story, in which our protagonist Larry learns that sometimes the only answer is all of the above.
The Assembly of Graves (published in Diabolical Plots, March 2022) – A married couple books a hotel stay, less a romantic getaway, and more a therapy session. But the visit isn’t quite what either woman expects.
The Bulge (published in Midnight From Beyond the Stars, available on Amazon.com) – I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this anthology’s impressive line-up of writers. This over-the-top tale involves a misogynist who investigates a bright light in some dark woods, gets impregnated by an alien being, and soon gains new appreciation for the women he’s spent his whole life using and manipulating.
Bump (published in Dayton Daily News) – This is a ghost story with a twist. What if – instead of haunting a dwelling – a ghost haunted a person? This story won Best in Show in the Antioch Writers’ Workshop/Dayton Daily News Story Contest in 2012, allowing me to attend the fabulous Antioch Writers’ Workshop.
Cat and Goldfish (published in A cappella Zoo) – This story is the result of reading The Cat and the Hat to my daughter countless times. Read any story, no matter how light it may be, enough times, and you’ll start to see the shadows creeping in.
A Clown and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar (published in Horror: Odd & Bizarre, available on Amazon.com) – There’s a stretch of State Route 48 in Dayton that has a bunch of businesses and apartment buildings that employ a whole cast of characters to stand on the sidewalk and advertise for them. I always make a point of waving to these oddballs, who inspired this quirky tale of love and hiding-in-plain-sight.
Companion (published in Day Terrors, available on Amazon.com) – Honestly, I never felt that I really nailed the ending of this story, but I always loved the premise. A weary traveler stops at a rest area for some sleep. He falls in love with a woman sleeping in a nearby car. Hours later, the car’s still there, but she’s gone.
A Cure for Living (published in That Which Cannot Be Undone: An Ohio Horror Anthology, available on Amazon.com) – I was inspired to write this story after reading about Ohio’s fascinating history of body-snatching in Curt Dalton’s book, Body Snatching in Ohio. In this tale, an entrepreneur offers his clients the chance to experience the healing properties of death as transmitted via the memories of stolen corpses.
Fangs (published in 99 Tiny Terrors, available on Amazon.com) – This story was originally a poem, but I really dug it so I expanded it into a flash fiction story. Set in a vampire apocalypse, it chronicles the tragic yet beautiful fate of a pair of ravenous lovers. This lil’ tale found a home in the 99 Tiny Terrors anthology which features stories from all over the world, including Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United States, and Wales.
GAG (published in AMOK! Short Sharp Shocks Vol I, available on Amazon.com) – In this story set in the near future, the manic zombies are called Retches, and their souls, known as Shades, haunt random electronic appliances. The zombie plague was initially spread by a computer virus. I harnessed a different voice for GAG, with lots of cool techno-speak and fun world building. Beware the Gaggle. This story also won one of the anthology’s Editor’s Awards.
The Harm (published in Once Bitten – Never Die, available on Amazon.com) – St. Patrick’s Day and zombies. Nuff said.
Her Place (published in Enchanted Conversations) – This story was originally a poem that I expanded into a story. It’s a fun take on Rapunzel from the witch’s perspective.
The Holiday Book & Bake Sale (published in Shadows Over Main Street Volume Three, available on Amazon.com) – I was inspired to write this tale after attending a holiday book and bake sale in off-season Bethany Beach, Delaware. Happily, I can state that said bake sale went much better. This story appears in a solid anthology featuring horrific tales set in small-town America.
Hungry Like the Moon (published in Best New Werewolf Tales, available on Amazon.com) – As a kid, one of the coolest things ever was seeing Frankenstein meet the Wolf Man, or seeing King Kong take on Godzilla. Hell, as an adult, I was way too excited to see Freddy go toe-to-toe with Jason. I reckon this story is my contribution to the monster vs. monster genre: werewolf versus zombie. Having said all that, there’s a nice, heartbreaking father/daughter element to this story.
The Hygienist (originally published in Better Alive Than Dead, reprinted in 2023 in Allegory) – This is one of my favorite short stories, and someday I’d love to do more with the premise: a dentist’s office that specializes in treating the unique dental needs of monsters like vampires and werewolves. So many possibilities!
The Last Recipe (published in All Our Misdeeds, available on Amazon.com) – This darkly twisted tale of magical realism features the ghost of a recently deceased father, his resentful daughter, and a righteously angry chicken spirit.
Low Hanging Sun (published by iHorror.com) – This story came as a result of the Enter At Your Own Risk contest I held in conjunction with iHorror.com back in May 2015. I’d expected to write something subtle and creepy. Instead, after reading the winning entry’s survey responses, I came up with something epic and brutal–a kind of hybrid of Lovecraft and Waterworld with a pirating twist.
Mr. Shady (published in Intersections: Six Tales of Ouija Horror) – This novella-length story appears in the first book that I co-published with author Megan Hart under our imprint, Howling Unicorn Press. In this dark tale, you’ll enter a world where the entrance to the afterlife is broken, refusing entry to the poor souls trying to pass on. When the newly deceased ghost Molly is summoned by a Ouija board, she joins forces with the ghost of the girl she killed in her own fatal car accident. These unlikely partners must race against time to escape the sinister spirit Mr. Shady, who’s determined to turn the entire ghostly population into his own personal army.
The Other Dead (published in Trickster’s Treats #3: The Seven Deadly Sins Edition, available on Amazon.com) – In the apocalypse, an unpopular zombie envies the popular hordes of undead and decides to make himself a friend. All proceeds from this anthology go to Charity: Water.
Plaything (published by Theme of Absence) – In autumn of 2014, a dear friend showed me a break wall near Cleveland. After leaving, I couldn’t not write this story. If you’ve ever seen one of these massive constructions, then you’ll understand how their immense scale could prompt such a tale. If you haven’t seen a break wall, then hopefully my description does it justice.
Poser in Blue (published in Macabre Cadaver) – I wrote this story while attending the Antioch Writers Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It’s a great workshop, if you ever have the opportunity to attend.
Rocker (published in Guilty Pleasures and Other Dark Delights, available on Amazon.com) – This flash fiction story is a tidy tale of feral lust.
Stink of Animosity (published in the final issue of Necrotic Tissue, and later on Pseudopod) – I love werewolves. Always have. The werewolf in this story, Brenton, is actually a character in a novel that I wrote but still need to edit. I love his voice. This story was eventually featured on Pseudopod, as well!
Then What Happened (published by Unsung Stories) – A kid in my neighborhood inspired this tale. He rides around on his bike belting out whatever rap song he’s got playing on his headphones. This kid is awesome. Whoever he is, I thank him for the inspiration.
What the Bone Says (published in Violent Vixens, available on Amazon.com) – My wife and daughter and I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. It’s disturbing how many of the cases start with someone finding a body tossed in a ditch, wrapped in plastic. In this twisted tale, the discarded victim hasn’t perished. She finds a way not only to survive but to get her revenge on her attacker, though she perhaps loses her humanity in the process. Rebecca Rowland at Ginger Nuts of Horror posted a great review of Violent Vixens, in which she says, “The ladies of Violent Vixens… are juggernauts of vengeance and survival, delivering delicious destruction and leaving few survivors in their wake…”
Wrapped in Plastic (published in Leaf Garden) – This is a wickedly fun tale about a man having sex in a shower with his young mistress. They slip and fall, and the man – on the verge of dying – has only a few precious minutes to save the young woman from drowning.
The Yard (published in Demonic Visions 50 Horror Tales Book 6, available on Amazon.com) – I like to walk around my neighborhood at night, and I’m always surprised by how many homes have their curtains wide open and the lights on. That’s what inspired me to write this little tale, which takes place at a desolate farmhouse.