The newest issue of Phoebe is out, and I’m happy to say that it includes my short story “The Fat Man Invites You to a Picnic by the Sea.” It’s a love story. I’m afraid it’s print-only, but here’s an excerpt:


          The fat man implores you to join him. This is a picnic for two.

          The menu will consist of a bucket of clams fresh from the sea, red-skinned potatoes tossed in sheep’s milk and blue cheese, acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and braised lamb, and one sliver of peppermint cheesecake, as small and rich as a poem.

          The picnic will be held tonight, just before sundown, at the gazebo overlooking The Devil’s Punchbowl, where the Pacific Ocean whirls and roils in that great rocky cauldron at the edge of the world. You know the place well. You visited it on your first outing with the fat man, drove there from Salem as he sat in the passenger seat smoking menthols and humming Mahler’s Fifth. At the time he was built like a carnival barker, rotund but not yet fully globular.

          His affection for you, however, was already immense…

          …You seemed to understand everything about the fat man. You saw that he was someone who for much of his life had felt invisible despite—in truth, because of—his tremendous size. So many times he had felt unseen by the rest of the world, by eyes that linger on the slender or the muscular but pass over the large and the soft. You realized that the fat man’s bombast was a form of revolution, a demand to be seen, demand to be acknowledged. He chose to embrace his girth, to flaunt it, to force the world to reckon with his immensity. You understood this. His size did not repel you. A spirit such as his, you said, required a grand container….


I hope everyone’s having a good 2017 so far. Maybe this year will be better than the last.



If you have five minutes to spare, head over to Gravel magazine and check out my story “Train Nights,” which appears in the latest issue. I spent far, far too long researching late nineteenth / early twentieth century railroading for this story, which is under 1,000 words. It’s also a horror story. Happy October!

To read, follow this link:


A beautiful new issue of Fourteen Hills was recently released, and it includes my short story “If in the Night a Grizzly Bear,” which, out of all the stories I’ve written, has the best title.

The journal is print-only, but if you can get your hands on it, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s about a troubled man coming to terms with events in his past, which include surviving a plague of red dust and being subjected to a painful ordeal with a mysterious machine. The title comes from a “Montana lullaby” his grandfather sang to him:


If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes slinking through your door,

He’ll take a taste

Of your face

When you start to snore.


A grizzly bear’s a ghastly beast

With teeth as sharp as knives.

He’ll turn your tongue into a feast

And gobble up your eyes.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes crawling in your room,

Don’t delay,

Just start to pray

Before you meet your doom.


A grizzly bear’s a loathsome lout

With black and empty eyes.

He’ll open you from gut to snout

And snack on your insides.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes growling in your home,

You’re out of luck

‘Cause he will suck

The meat off all your bones.


A grizzly bear’s a gruesome brute

With paws of razor claws.

Your tender parts are juicy fruit

In his wretched jaws.



If in the night a grizzly bear

Comes creeping to your bed,

You’ll hope to die

After you eyes

Are gobbled from your head.


A grizzly bear’s a fiendish fiend

With fur as soft as lace.

He’ll give a belch after he’s cleaned

The meat off of your face.


I hope everyone’s having a nice summer.



My short story “Dangerous to Go Alone” has just been published in issue 7 of Pinball, a very cool online literary magazine. This story is a re-imagining of an iconic moment in video game history, from the The Legend of Zelda. Hope you like it!

Hey, a Pushcart Nomination

November 15, 2012

I was checking my junk mail folder today when I saw an email from the good folks at JMWW telling me that they were nominating my short story “Young Billy is Reprimanded for Teasing His Sister’s Ghost” for the 2013 Pushcart Prize. I marked it as “not spam.” JMWW is a classy online journal that has published a lot of excellent writers, so this is a big honor. Of course it’s a long shot that I’ll make it into the anthology, but I’ve been told that the story has been “sent to New York,” so at least I know that it will be read by someone important. Or maybe by someone who works for someone important. Or, more likely, by someone who volunteers for someone who works for someone important. And really, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Story published in JMWW

December 20, 2011

If you have a moment, please head on over to JMWW to read a short story of mine that was just published in their winter 2012 issue. It’s called “Young Billy is Reprimanded for Teasing His Sister’s Ghost.” It includes the following paragraph:

I know it’s cold in your room, buckaroo, I’m so sorry about that. It’s a well-documented phenomenon associated with poltergeist activity. But think about how your sister must feel. All she has to wear is that thin nightgown. Look at her over there curled up on the floor. See how she shivers? She shivers like that all the time now, champ. All the time.

Click here to read the story.

The wonderful comic above is “Remember” by Kyle Parker and Dale Beran.

The mysterious Cage Beneath the Stairs has appeared at Hobart.

Click here to investigate.

I have a new story up at SmokeLong Weekly. It will later be published in SmokeLong Quarterly along with an interview.

Here are the first two sentences:

“Carmella said you rode a mechanical spider to our doorstep and waited seething in the rain with a rose stem crushed between your teeth. A late rain for the season, but it always rains on my birthday.”

Click here to read it.

The lovely art for the story (below) is by Ashley Inguanta.

The Broken Plate 2011

May 10, 2011

The Broken Plate is a journal out of Ball State University. The 2011 issue is out, and I have a story in it called “The Mud Hole.” It’s about a boy who digs a mud hole in his backyard. The story also prominently features a man with no feet and a toaster. The story also describes the sensation of mud squishing through your fingers and toes, which is, as some of you may know, a delight.

The Broken Plate 2011

A Small, Good Thing Part 2

January 5, 2011

The editor of decomP, Jason Jordan, informed me last week that he would be nominating “A Thousand Fires” for the 2011 Micro Award, which is “presented annually for the best work of flash fiction originally published in the previous calendar year.” Huge thanks to Jason for this honor. Happy 2011, everyone. Be good to the people you love this year, for God’s sake.