Toby’s Alicorn Adventure is out and it looks amazing!!

Toby’s Alicorn Adventure, my middle grade fantasy short story about a little girl who finds an alicorn (unicorn’s horn) and uses a magical website to find its lost owner, is out in this month’s issue of Cricket: the Realm of the Imagination!

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It’s a real thrill to see my name in the table of contents of a magazine I love reading with my eldest daughter. She says it’s exciting for her too but… I might win the excitement award on this one.  *wink*

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Artist Benjamin Schipper illustrated Toby and he did a marvelous job. I’m so thrilled to see my characters come to life.


In the story Toby posts an ad to find the owner of a lost alicorn on a website for magical creatures called the Hag’s List. After posting her ad with directions to her bedroom window to claim the alicorn, a few shady characters turn up.

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My story was inspired by my partner’s misadventures trying to sell a tractor on a buy-and-sell site popular in our area. If you’ve ever tried to sell something on the internet, you can probably relate to the strange responses Toby gets.

I am happy to admit I squealed with delight when I saw the flying rhinoceros got his own illustration!

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If you want to read it for yourself or think your kids would enjoy my story, it is available on Cricket’s website, many fine bookstores, and your local library.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Poems for Le Guin

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance.


Ursula K. Le Guin Tribute Poetry Anthology

Eligibility: original poems which pay to tribute in some way to the late poet and writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Speculative elements are welcome, but not required. There are no limits to words, lines, or style.

Take Note: writers can submit up to three poems

What makes this call stand out: it’s a lovely way to pay tribute to a prolific writer

Payment: $20 per poem, reprints are welcome but the rate will be lower

Submit by: October 15th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

In the greatest foreshadowing fail I have come across, a writer who specializes in stories about ladies killing their spouses is charged with murdering… her spouse. Welp.

Last Thursday would have been Roald Dahl’s 102nd birthday. In tribute, Emmanuel Nataf put together this collection of Dahl’s “Gloriumptious” words. Best read with a smile on your face.

What I’m Reading:

I’ve been reading the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue of Uncanny. Having guest editors makes it stand out from other Uncanny issues in terms of overall style, but Uncanny’s ideals of inclusivity and imaginative fiction hold true.

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cover art: And With the Lamps We Are Multitudes of Light by Likhain

My favorite story in the collection is A. Merc Rustad’s first-contact story The Frequency of Compassion. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. Rustad is easily one of my favorite short story writers publishing today. I get a rush of delight when I see their name in a table of contents.

I tried and failed to chose a favorite from the nonfiction included in the issue. As a mother who experiences a varying range of anxiety, A. J. Hackwith’s And the Dragon Was in the Skin resonated deeply. Each essay changed something in the way I see the world. If you’re a writer, read them. Devour them. Listen. They have the power to make us better writers. Better people.

Julia Watts Belser’s poem You Wanted Me to Fly hit me hard, the last line especially. As writers, we need to do so much better.

If you’re not in a place to support Uncanny magazine financially (Space Unicorns!), you can read half of the issue for free at the link above. The second half should be available on the Uncanny website in October.

Happy writing!

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo!

After a dangerous voyage from the Rivendell wilds of New Zealand, my print copy of the children’s anthology Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Tales for Tired Tykes has finally made it to my mailbox.


This is a larger book than I had pictured, much bigger than a typical scribbler (school notebook). The print is a nice size for reading and the full page illustrations preceding the stories pop off the page. All of the illustrations were done by artist Jon Stubbington.

The table of contents is a series of those illustrations rather than words, which works well for the younger end of the 3-7-year-old audience. They select a picture and their readers turn to the page to read the title. This frustrates me a little, I’ll admit, being used to titles in my tables of contents, but my girls love this feature.


My story contribution, Leif the Story Hunter, sits somewhere in the middle of the book. Of course I flipped there to read it first. It’s about a boy who lives in the woods with his father, hunting for stories which they trap inside blank books and sell to the bookstore in the city. It’s a wonderful life, but when they trap the wrong story Leif’s father is held hostage until Leif can catch a replacement. Lief has never hunted on his own before…

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This is a fun book, and what’s great about it is that it’s geared to kids, not adults, on every level of its design. If you’d like to grab a copy, you can find them at the Patchwork Raven.

That’s it for now but stay tuned because the September 2018 issue of Cricket: the Realm of Imagination is out and I’m watching my mailbox for it. It takes a little extra time to make it into Canada but it’s going to be worth the wait because my funny fantasy story ‘Toby’s Alicorn Adventure’ is inside! The girls and I love reading Cricket and I am so excited to see my story inside those beloved pages.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Constellary Tales

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance.


Constellary Tales

Eligibility: fantasy or science fiction stories from 1000-3500 words

Take Note: reading the welcome launch, the editors appear to prefer ‘hero’s journey’ stories

What makes this call stand out: this is a brand new market on the speculative fiction scene which pays pro rates

Payment: $0.06 per word

Submit by: this is an ongoing podcast/magazine, so submissions are open unless otherwise noted.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Here’s a timely article writers can use to write without using gendered language.

What I’m Reading:

I’m currently in literary love with Martha Well’s first book in the Murderbot series, All Systems Red. Yowza! This is not what I expected when I started hearing the term ‘Murderbot’ everywhere I went. Murderbot is a clone/robot with a dark past and an introverted nature who hacked their governor module to achieve free will. They just want to watch their soap operas, but now they have to protect their human crew on a hostile planet and-ugh!-the humans keep talking to them. Looks like I’ll be catching up on the other Murderbot books in the series this fall.

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How I feel reading Murderbot  – Photo by Pixabay on


Happy writing!

ghosts of the apocalypse


The ghost flames flickered over the branches, tasting the sweet sap. For half a breath we thought them safe until the phantom flames shimmered and spread their tendrils. The trees were engulfed. The flames rushed through the forest, devouring everything. When they finished with the Boreal, they started on the Amazon. Not a single dandelion was spared. Life on Earth was over.

Some say the phantom of that fire ate our souls as well, but there comes a bitter heartbreak to being forced off-world which lends itself to poetry and dark, deep thoughts of loss. We, the broken, exist to survive now. Our children will not be burdened by this darkness. For them we carry on.




Submit Your Stories Sunday: Artemis Rising

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday (previously known as Submission Sunday). Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance.

photo courtesy of rawpixel at Unsplash

Artemis Rising 5

Eligibility: speculative fiction written by women. This call covers all four of the Escape Artists podcasts. In the case of Podcastle, submissions must be fantasy stories up to 6 000 words.  Escape Pod is looking for science fiction from 1500 – 6 000 words. For Pseudopod, submit horror stories 1500 to 6 000 words. Cast of Wonders wants your young adult speculative fiction up to 6 000 words.

Caveat: for the Artemis Rising event, only women or individuals who have identified as a woman at some point in their lives are eligible to submit. However, at all other times writers who identify as men are welcome to submit their stories, so keep those links handy.

What makes this call stand out: because the Escape Artists markets are podcasts, writers will have the chance to hear a professional read their story.

Payment: $0.06 per word for original fiction

Submit by: Artemis Rising is open from September 1 to September 30th. Check the websites linked above for other submission dates.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Artemis Rising 2 cover art by Galen Dora

Writerly links worth reading this week:

This older link (from 2015), new to me, offers helpful revision suggestions to look at your work in new ways. 

Melissa Frey’s article How to Write an Antagonist Everyone Loves – and Why You Should is a quick study on adding depth to villains and what doing so can do for your story. If you’d like to take this idea further, I recommend Lesson from the Screenplay’s 2016 video The Dark Knight – Creating the Ultimate Antagonists.


the little diveman

Eldin glimpsed his mermaid in the water, the one who stole his heart when he rescued her from the beach. He’d given up everything to find her.

He rushed across The Sea Witch and struggled into scuba gear.

“You sure know what you’re doin’?” asked the Captain.

“Of course.” Eldin flashed his forged dive ticket again.

The Captain cursed as the boy splashed into the water. “No deeper than 30m or the decompression’ll kill ya.”

Eldin found his mermaid waiting for him, smiling and holding out her hands.

She led him to an underwater village built of kelp and coral.

The regulator he needed for breath wouldn’t let him speak his promises of love, but he rejoiced at the warmth of her hand against his glove.

His depth gauge read 120m when his mask cracked. Eldin paid it little mind, his mind too full with the magic of first love.

She let go of Eldin’s hand as a school of merchildren swam to greet her. When she gestured to Eldin they rushed to hug him. He tried to smile but his stomach knotted up with doubts. A smiling merman shook his hand. Her family, Eldin realized, her children. Her husband.

Eldin turned, hoping they wouldn’t see the agony of his shattered heart. He needed to get away. To find somewhere alone to howl with this awful pain.

He released his dive weights, rushing to the surface, heedless of the Captain’s warning.

They never found his body. Some say he turned to sea foam, his sorrow clinging to the surface of her world and to his.



Submission Sundays: A Neurodivergent Guide to Space Time

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance.

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Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Space Time

Eligibility: Speculative, original fiction or poetry featuring the concepts of space, time, and neurodivergence. Following through to the original call in the link below will lead you to a greater explanation of what the editors categorize as neurodivergent.

Caveat: stories should not exceed 10 000 words.

What makes this call stand out: this collection offers a great chance to blow up some negative neurodivergent tropes once and for all.

Payment: $0.01 per word, currency unknown

Submit by: September 30th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

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Photo by Pixabay on

Writerly links worth reading this week:

Jenn Zuko tackled the “mother knows best” trope at Writer’s HQ. She pin-pointed exactly why the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy disappointed me, but also why many historical accounts of ‘bad-ass’ women disappoint as well.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware highlighted the disturbing fine print on a popular, or at least heavily sponsored, writing contest. In response to this criticism, the contest offered writers a half-off coupon for their entry fee. Um, what?

Joslyn Chase wrote an article about covers that sell for the Write Practice which offers wonderful strategies and tips for writers struggling with their back cover blurbs.

As writers on social media strive to become more inclusive, it’s common to see descriptions of images and memes on facebook, but did you know you can do the same for images on twitter? Yeah, me neither. Click through for full instructions.

Happy writing!

yesterday, in my nightmares

I settled in to feed my youngest. Her skin was hot. She’d had a fever since midnight the night before. I checked it again. 37.5 C, a low grade fever at best. Nothing to worry about. Teething, maybe a molar.

She latched on to nurse. I turned on the library app on my phone and settled in to read till she finished.

Her body jolted. The dog whined. “Did something scare you, Nim?”

She stared at the ceiling. She jolted again. And again. Her eyes rolled back. I sat up, trying to break her latch because she’d bitten me.

She cried, strangely. She huffed at the air with desperate grunts.

My eldest daughter started to cry.

Nim kept huffing at the air.

Then she seized. There was no doubt in my mind this is what you called it. She jolted on and on, then grew still. But her eyes, her eyes were vacant. They stared at the ceiling, at a single focal point. I called her name. But she didn’t turn and look at me.

She’s not in there, I thought, dialing emergency services. I’ve lost her.

She seized again, much longer this time, as I held her little body to mine and she stared at that spot on the ceiling while my heart filled with horror.

Her body grew still and at last her eyes left that terrible spot. She put her head down on my shoulder and vomited herself empty.

The ambulance arrived sometime after that. I tried to collect my wits and everything I’d need for the hospital while we clung to each other.

The long drive to the city was followed by tests, x-rays, and samples of her bodily fluids. She slept in my arms and her Dad’s as we waited in her emergency room bed.

The tests yielded no infections. The doctor spoke to us of febrile seizures, caused by a sudden spike in temperature. It could happen again the next time she has a fever. Or not. It’s not uncommon among children. Febrile seizures run in families, though they’ve never showed up in either of ours.

She’s fine.

The words sink in but I’m half afraid to believe them. Those eyes focused on the ceiling, so vacant and staring, haunt me.

She’s fine, I want to holler at the nightmares that have hijacked my thoughts. I clench my fists. I pull her closer, careful not to wake her up.

She’s fine.

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Submission Sundays: Arsenika

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance.

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Eligibility: Original, speculative poetry or flash fiction (less than 1000 words). Writers are welcome to submit 2 pieces of flash or 5 poems at a time.

Head’s up: Arsenika’s website has a fine collection of free-to-read stories available to see the kind of stories the editors prefer (or to read for fun!)

What makes this call stand out: Arsenika’s rates for flash fiction are considered professional rates ($0.06 per word at the maximum word count)

Payment: $60 for flash fiction, $30 for poetry, American dollars.

Submit by: September 15th, 2018, for this particular call. However, as an ongoing journal Arsenika has rolling submission dates. Please check their website to be sure.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

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Writerly links worth reading this week:

Electriclit wrote an excellent summary of the twitter uproar regarding penis-shaped soap that appeared in a book box this week. Warning: this is NSFW industry news. On a marketing note, going viral has only helped this subscription box and its elements.

This powerful piece on the writing mother by Claudia Dey entitled “Mothers as Makers of Death” has me wondering if she’s been inside my head for the past six years.