My microfiction “Familiar Girls” was published by Blood Song Books in “Curses & Cauldrons.” Their witch-based anthology boasts “over 200 tiny dark tales of magic, mischief, murder, mayhem & madness” and is available as an ebook or trade paperback. I’m proud to be published alongside so many great writers, including my wife!
My absurdist flash fiction Garden of Forking Palms was included in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Mojave River Review. My title plays with Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths,” but roads diverge from there. The story is about a man who wakes up to find a garden on his hand. And then he has to go to work.
I wanted to explore our universal experience of not-quite-fitting-in, of having something weird or silly to preoccupy our social discomfort. My argument is that weirdness, silliness, those things that fluster, they might actually be our most beautiful or interesting attributes. Dave doesn’t make the right decision in the end, but he might someday with time and maturity and that steady growth of self-knowledge.
Mojave River Media is a busy publishing center with books, anthologies, and review magazines. This includes Mojave River Review, a prose and poetry anthology produced biseasonally.
Literally Stories published my fantasy story, “Black Bear on White Paper.” The story takes place in a realm I’ve envisioned for some time: a forest world founded on an endless, underground library. Unexplained, and mostly unexplored, the library is attended by a small cabal of librarian-monks. The concept combines Borges’s “The Library of Babel,” Tolkien’s Mines of Moria, and the medieval monastery.
Literally Stories was started in 2014 by a wiggle of writers, including a bloke named Adam West (no, not that one). The magazine not only provides a platform for prose and poetry, but encourages reader feedback and author interaction. There’s even a comments section labeled “Your Thoughts” for criticism of the magazine itself. The hope is to give “each story its moment in the sun.” Naturally, this might provide a healthy tan; for others, a nasty burn.
The android was making them all uncomfortable with its Zelzer Stiff eyeing them from its hip. It’d only been forty point three seconds since the landmark decision to include artificial humans in the Second Amendment and this son of a manufacturing plant had just walked into the Rig & Rattle with a laspistol holstered, twinkling. Kghoshi—a real bastard on a good day—splashed his drink on silver chestmetal and said, “You packing, tin can?” The bartender—a saint on a bad day—put an arm on the droid: “C’mon, now, let’s not do this.” The move was registered as an offensive action and the android shot the bartender between his eyebrows. Kghoshi’s finger moved a centimeter toward his gun when a second shot put a red dot on his forehead as uniform as urna. The men in the bar leaped to their feet. Offensive actions. The men in the bar toppled over chairs and tables. By the time the android reached the counter, empty now of breathing souls, a feed of reaction times, facial registers, psycho-prints—all pointing to self-defense—had been submitted to local authorities.
Published at Rune Bear Weekly on December 6th, 2018.
The Tishman Review nominated my story “And We Who Never Died” for Best Small Fictions.
BSF is an anthology that honors the “best short hybrid fiction published in a calendar year.” The Harvard Review wrote that the pieces in BSF are like a “splash of ice water in the face,” a wake-up call to “your life… unspooling.”
When I heard I’d been nominated, I was like cool beans and moved on to lesson planning and grading.
Then Coffin Bell posted this:
And I discovered that MY WIFE HAS BEEN NOMINATED.
As of this day, she and I are no longer friends. No longer best friends. No longer lovers.
But bitter enemies locked in literary combat.
THIS. MEANS. WAR.
This piece won 2nd Place in Zeroflash’s June Contest. So, progress, I guess. The prompt was to write a fantasy adventure akin to a choose-your-own-adventure novel but under 300 words. I decided on fun over phenomenal and literary fathoms. Credit where credit’s due—my pal Jevin Goleman came up with the title (mine—”Ironfell”—not so good). (more…)
Zeroflash, a flash fiction magazine that features many, many great interviews with writers and publishers alike, has a monthly competition series. The winner receives an original illustration of their winning entry, ten pounds, an interview with Uprising Review, etc., etc.
I submitted a story to the February competition (judged by Alex L. Williams) and lost. My story didn’t even make it to second or third. It wasn’t featured on the list of honorees.
S’all good, though. I did better than my wife. She submitted a piece which was so bad that it never materialized among the February entries. (Just kidding, it was probably buried in the slush.)
Again, it’s all good. Rejection is a step toward success. Sometimes rejection’s a success all by its lonesome. And if that’s even remotely true, I’ve made it.
The February prompt was this draconic kaleidoscope with granite blues and pinks and a hidden zero. And it was the caption: “I’m asking for the trippiest, freakiest, most surreal piece of prose you can concoct. Let your mind roam and your words dance.” 300 words minimum.
by Jon Stubbington (2018)
So here’s my loser’s piece. I went for Paracelsus meets the goblins in Twilight Eyes meets skin made out of asbestos. You be the judge if it works or not.
There Would be Warmth
by Desmond White
Now the mediæval men knew a thing about doomsday. They scribbled its steps in codices long-brown, although none of them were excited about cityside basilisks and resurrected gods, content with pulling gold from menstrual blood. Not me. All my years I burned to clear the crust of life from this planet. (Humans, dogs, the yellow cities, trees, all that color.) So I studied the works recounting the Vulcani, those lizards that grow in fire like fishes in water, what some call salamanders. If you grow them big enough they’ll survive outside their element—bigger and they’ll turn the elements into char.
I get a fire going until the flicker-roots are blue and the smoke thick enough to climb, then I step between logs glimmering like sticks in a stomach. The lizards see me and run and die in the cold, so maybe, I think, I must accustom the new hatches to my scent. The eggs are easy. I find a clump of black logs glowing with a thousand eyes and there I find them, small, angry. I raise one to see if the fetus is kicking in the ash, but I take the egg too close to the air element, or maybe wind blows out of jealousy, and the egg turns to coal in my boiled fingers. The fire is kind enough to lift my tears. The next egg I push down my throat, placing it by the heat of my liver, wrapped motherly in blood-web, and now I’m running out the tipi, running for the lake to wash the blackened scale of my skin, to feel the living stone inside my belly, to finish what the mystics never started.
An edited variant of this published at Rune Bear Weekly on April 25th, 2019.