The Shapeshifter’s Story

It recently occurred to me that shapeshifters of one kind or another tend to show up in my stories quite a lot. This realization came to me as a bit of a surprise because I’ve never really considered myself particularly enamored with or fascinated by shapeshifter lore.

The shapeshifter in Skin Dancing is something out of a nightmare.

Two women meet in a bar in the boondocks on a sweltering summer night. Each woman revels in the presence of a kindred spirit. They share laughs, stories, and an appreciation for a rare drink. The setup is ordinary but there’s something just a little off-kilter.

The younger woman has no idea what the older one has in store for her.

The night stretches on. The younger woman gets so drunk she can hardly even stand. She’s at the older woman’s mercy. The predatory one prepares to strike but something unexpected happens.

Fate intervenes. The younger woman escapes a fate worse than death.

Lucky her. Right?


Read SKIN DANCER at SpecFics.

Short Story Status: Complete


My First Stab at Horror

When I set out to write my first (and possibly only) horror story, one thing immediately came to mind. It was that episode of the X-Files in which Mulder and Scully encounter that red-eyed creature that might have been one of the Conquistadors who came to Florida with Ponce de Leon in search of the Fountain of Youth. My mind drifted back to the last scene of that episode where Scully exits her hotel room and the last thing you see is that red-eyed creature watching her from under the bed.

Tightrope Cat isn’t so much an attempt to recreate that moment as it is an endeavor to capture the feeling that delightfully horrifying scene evoked.

I’m not exactly sure what else inspired this story. There are some tribal elements and in the story but while the protagonist suggests that her experience might be steeped in African lore, that isn’t something I know for certain. It’s a purely made up story, concocted from the flotsam and jetsam of my memories and many a half-baked notion.

Tightrope Cat aims to entertain and quietly horrify. I can’t say for certain that it achieves this goal but at the very least, I can confess that among my older works, it’s a definite favorite.


Read Tightrope Cat online at SpecFics.

Short Story Status: Complete

Hybrid Published in Black Girl Magic Lit Mag

My short story, Hybrid, has been published in Issue#5 of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag. This issue, dubbed the 2017 All SciFi Issue, invited stories with the theme New Year, New Worlds.

Hybrid takes place in the not-so-distant future. Humanity is beginning to branch out into the solar system and one aspiring astronaut is about to catch a glimpse of what’s waiting for us out there in the universe when she confronts a monstrous ghost of the American space program’s past.

The story is set at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Although I do plan on going there someday, I must admit that I’ve never been to Cape Canaveral, much less the Kennedy Space Center. As such, great liberties were taken with Geography and History in the writing of this story.

Try as I may, I can’t quite recall what inspired this particular story but Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine keeps coming to mind so maybe I was reading that book at the time. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Hybrid and I hope that readers will enjoy it too.

Buy Issue# 5 of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag

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The Nettle Tree

Genre Bender in a Blender

I think it was Cowboys and Aliens or maybe that Doctor Who episode set in the Wild West that first triggered the desire to bend the sci-fi and western genres. Never a huge fan of westerns, I just let that notion slide to the back of my mind and there it quietly lurked.

When approached with the invitation to submit a western—a strangely different kind of western—I must admit, at first, I was intimidated by the idea. I mean, writing a western was way, way outside of my comfort zone. Still, I was oddly thrilled by the prospect of trying something new, taking that step into the unknown.

At first, I desperately tried dredging up those ever so vague memories of every cowboy movie or television western I’ve even seen. The movie, Young Guns quickly came to mind but I was drawing a blank on everything else. I was, I admit, at a loss for a while. Then it came to me, not exactly in a flash but real steady like water that suddenly comes pouring out of a tap.

It started one day when I was humming along to The Real Folk Blues after re-watching an episode of Cowboy Bebop. I think it was after the ending credits, just before the fade-out, I watched as the nostalgic words flickered on the TV screen “See you, Space Cowboy…”

I suddenly knew that my story would be a sci-fi western and it would not be set on Earth. Almost instantly, my mind reached back to an old piece of flash fiction about shape shifting alien beings on some faraway planet that humans had colonized. I remembered wanting to explore that particular story idea just a little bit more. This seemed like the perfect time.

I started writing and in no time at all, Ephemera, a story about grave diggers leading the charge to re-colonize an alien frontier, sprang to life.

The Nettle Tree

Ephemera is merely one of the thirteen stories in The Nettle Tree anthology. In this awesome collection, tales from the past, present, near future and far future collide.

From gun-toting robots to aquarium-bound zombies, I—along with twelve amazing authors—bring forth a medley of colorful characters who delight, perturb, and plumb the depths of the human soul.

The Authors

Jeremy C. Shipp, Phil Richardson, Casey June Wolf, John Rosenman, Christopher Wolf, Clayton Clifford Bye, Leigh M. Lane, Richard Godwin, Salvatore Buttaci, Ken Weene, Kenny Wilson, Jim Secor, and Tonya R. Moore.


Publisher: Chase Enterprises Publishing

ISBN: 1927915104

Publication Date: 06/02/2016

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