5 Things You Should Know About the Plague of the Dreamless

My first-ever SF novella, Plague of the Dreamless, is officially on pre-order! Yes, I’m terrified (a whole book! That people might read! Aaaaah) But BESIDES that Plague of the Dreamless is also book #5 in Engen Books’ multi-author Slipstreamers series. Engen is producing a new Slipstreamers episode every three weeks featuring the adventures of anthropologist Cassidy Cane, an adventuress hired by a professor to explore the far side of a series of portals he’s discovered. She gets adventure, he gets funky alien tech. It was described to me as “Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who” and right away I knew I wanted to be involved in the project (hashtag: Whovian).

Okay, I’m nervous enough that I’m about to start rambling, so without further ado, here are five things you should know about my book Plague of the Dreamless:

  1. the sky in the alien story world is inhabited by giant cephalopods who exude a gaseous fog in their sleep that powers all of the industry in the endless human cities.

2. the cityscape is filled with rickety skyscrapers, each floor added haphazardly on top of the last, mismatched in size and function, and prone to collapse.

3. on their sixteenth birthday, all citizens must submit to having their imaginations removed to make them better, more compliant workers

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

4. in the absence of imagination, the humans’ brains cease to dream, leading to physical breakdown that becomes fatal over time. The locals refer to individuals suffering from this affliction as ‘Dreamless’

5. The only way to cure the Dreamless is to buy them a dream from the Dreamkeeper… *if* they can afford one (whispers: no one can afford one)

Cassidy Cane arrives on this world in search of alien tech but soon stays to help the citizens of this SF dystopia. Unfortunately, she might have accidentally introduced the common cold to this new world and… MAKES STORY HAPPEN. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn. *flails*

The ebook is scheduled to release on November 27th and you can pre-order it at the links below. Paperbacks should soon follow but I don’t have those dates just yet.

Click here for Amazon U.S.

Click here for Amazon Canada

Click here for Amazon UK

Thank you for reading and a big thank you to anyone who pre-orders. Stay safe!

(all photos, with the exception of the cover, are from pexel)

Meriden’s Moonlet at Hybrid Fiction

I’m pleased to announce that my flash fiction story, Meriden’s Moonlet, has been published in Hybrid Fiction‘s August issue. Check out this beautiful cover:


The issue in its beautiful, hybrid totality is available for purchase on Hybrid Fiction’s website here, and Meriden’s Moonlet is available at Hybrid Fiction‘s website as August’s free content. Click here to go there now. Huzzah!


Meriden’s story has been near and dear to my heart for a long while. His is the first story in which I tried to express a character’s change from seeing themself as a hero to realizing they’re actually just a bully, and doing something about that. The moonlets, the fireflies, they ignite some magic in my soul. I think this is my favourite story that I’ve written to date and I hope you like it.

Recognize Fascism (updated)

Will you be a part of the rebellion?

I am pleased to announce that my story A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion will be the first story in the upcoming Recognize Fascism anthology. Edited by the wonderful Crystal Huff and published with World Weaver Press, each of the 22 stories in this collection are written on the theme of “the moments when people see the fascism in front of them for what it is, accept it as real, and make the choice to fight it.” The anthology will be funded via kickstarter, and you can view that campaign here.

My story follows an elderly protagonist suffering from a degenerative time disease caused by a lifetime of illegal time travelling. She is horrified to discover a fascist leader is coming to power in the timeline she set aside to keep her estranged family safe from her enemies, but she struggles to keep herself from blinking out of time. Is she up for one last fight?

Artist Geneva Bowers has illustrated a vivid, gorgeous cover for the collection, check it out:

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You can check out more of Bowers’ vibrant artwork at her website here.

We’ve had a wonderful response to our kickstarter campaign so far (we hit our initial goal in 12 hours!!) and it feels so good to see that what we’re doing is resonating with people. When I first saw the call for submissions for this collection I knew I wanted to have a story inside. I’ve always seen writing as a form of resistance and I desperately wanted to be a part of this project, so I wrote the best story I could and sent it off. My acceptance came over a year ago and I was so chuffed. Last summer editor Crystal Huff and I headed into some serious editing work and they polished my little story into something I’m proud of. We planned an autumn fundraiser and – it all fell apart.

The publisher folded for personal reasons and our dream appeared finished. Freed from my contract, Crystal gave me permission to shop my story around with their edits in place, but my heart wasn’t quite in it, you know? The magic was in the collection, and the sparks it could send out into the world and the unseen differences it could make, because stories matter. But, as it turns out, Crystal Huff hadn’t stopped believing in Recognize Fascism.

Early last winter, they contacted me to let me know they’d found a new publisher for Recognize Fascism who would honour our original contracts if we still wanted in: World Weaver Press. I may have jumped out of my chair and danced a silly dance when I got  the news.

I’ll admit, I was worried that a kickstarter might struggle in our COVID-ravaged world economy, but I clearly underestimated people’s need for stories and heroes that fight fascism. Me too, world, me too. Our kickstarter is running until August 28th, 2020, if you’d like to be a part of this movement. Ebook and paperback copies of Recognize Fascism are included in the tiers, meaning you can support us just by snagging yourself a copy.

At some point in the campaign, there should be a clip of me reading a selection from my story A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion. Eek! Watch this site and I’ll post about it when it’s up. UPDATE: it’s out today! How’s that for timing? If you want to watch me read my clip, click here and the link will take you through to the kickstarter update where it’s posted.



Unknown Writer #4897980z has big news!

Yesterday I discovered my Metaphorosis story, Zsezzyn, Who is Not a God, made a list of Must-Read Short Speculative Fiction for June 2020 on Tor.com – seriously, click here, I’m not making this up. I checked it a bunch of times to make sure it was real and – it appears to be?

Now, this probably isn’t a huge deal if you’re famous, but as Unknown Writer #4897980z I – just read my name on Tor.com (whaaaaaaaaat?). This is very encouraging!

Also? Metaphorosis editor B. Morris Allen put some serious work into this story. They had me change the ending, tweak this, tweak that, change Zsezzyn’s name so it stops making that association to readers, and this other thing too. I was challenged, they were patient, and the story is so much better for their hard work and skill.

If you haven’t read the story or you would like to read it again, Zsezzyn, Who is Not a God is available to read or listen to on the Metaphorosis website here.

I’ve mentioned a few times in the life of this blog that in writing nothing happens for a looooooong time and then everything happens at once. In keeping with that, Engen Books decided that the Must-Read list is a good time to announce some news I’m relieved I don’t have to keep under my hat anymore:


You’ll have to wait a little longer to hear more about this project, but November isn’t too far off.

Thanks for reading, I hope you find some success and something to equally encourage your work today. Keep writing, and please, keep healthy.

Just Enough for Jenny is now available on Short Èdition

Hello writers! I’m happy to announce that I’m feeling much better and Submit Your Stories Sunday WILL be happening this week (stay tuned… )

In more personal news, my flash fiction piece Just Enough for Jenny has been published by Short Èdition/Rendez-Vous fiction! This market was featured on a Submit Your Stories Sunday about a year ago, so if you’d like details on submitting to them, check out that post here.

Just Enough for Jenny tells the story of a grieving fisherman who spies a mermaid in the bay and remembers an old bit of folklore that just might save his beloved. If you’d like to read my story, click here. I’d love to hear what you think! All stories are available on the website without charge. The fun thing is that my story will also be in one of their short story dispensers, fun little vending machines for short stories in waiting areas around the world. How cool is that?

Wishing you well, see you Sunday!

facebook live and new releases

I’ve been neglecting my between-Sundays posts during this strange time of plague and for that I am sorry. I had planned to fill the space with book reviews but stress has given me a case of reader’s block that I’m hoping will clear up soon. But, I have been writing, editing, and doing writer-adjacent activities. One of those was trying out facebook live and reading a story for the stuck-at-home masses. I’m camera-shy so it was difficult to work up the guts to try it, but it went well and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I set the settings to public, so if you’re interested, and especially if you have a kiddo around,click here and go have a listen. The story I’m reading is called ‘Toby’s Alicorn Adventure’ and it was originally published in Cricket a few years ago.

Today is also the release day of the Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology, which is home to my story Parachutes and Grappling Hooks as well as many other wonderfully pulpy stories and even pulpier writers. You can check that out by clicking here.

I hope you are well. If you are doing any online things to entertain or promote your work, feel free to drop a link in the comments so I can support you. See you Sunday!

pile of hardbound books with white and pink floral ceramic teacup and saucer
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

parachutes, grappling hooks, and pulpiest scifi

Engen Books has announced me as one of the authors in the upcoming anthology Pulp SciFi From the Rock with my story Parachutes and Grappling Hooks. Whew. That’s one less secret under my hat. But… THERE ARE MORE *bursts with excitement*

In the meantime, you can read Engen’s official announcement and check out some of the other authors by clicking here.

woman in blue striped flannel shirt holding a book indoors
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

space, time, and all worlds wayfaring

I hope everyone is enjoying their Decembering. It’s been a wild month here in the Shelbyverse, what with school Christmas concerts and the usual holiday scramble. Of course, when it rains, it pours and in keeping with that I had two stories come out this past week. The first was my space witch story The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe in the December issue (#135) of Space & Time. In an extra thrill, my name is on the cover! I love magazines and anthologies that do that for writers. They know.


The issue is available here with a small paywall to purchase the issue of this excellent, (and long-lived!) speculative magazine.

Another one of my stories, Dragon Crossing, came out in All Worlds Wayfarer literary magazine, which you can read online for free by clicking here. This story is very special to me and I’d love it if you read Dragon Crossing. In fact, my birthday is this weekend and the reading of a writer’s story makes a wonderful birthday gift (wink).

That’s all for now, I’ll be back on Sunday with a new Submit Your Stories Sunday post and in the meantime I hope you find a way to close out this tattered old decade with a smile.

7 Reasons to Pre-Order Your Flights (from the Rock)

Huzzah and hello, for today is the day I put on my big-girl marketing pants (which don’t fit well and WHY ARE THEY SO ITCHY) to give you 7 Reasons to Pre-Order Flights From the Rock. Flights is a beautiful anthology of speculative flight stories releasing July 14th, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland (AKA the Rock) to Ireland. A century ago, Alcock and Brown spent June 12th preparing to launch their epic flight. This June 12th, we’re preparing the epic launch of our own flights, and I’m here to give you 7 Reasons to pre-order your Flights from the Rock ebook today:

promo.png1. everyone knows advance tickets, especially for Flights, are best booked and ordered in advance. The more advance the better. In fact, I’m pretty sure the best day to order THIS flight is today.

2.Complimentary pretzels!! And by pretzels I mean a mind-contorting glimpse into my loopy imagination… via my story, Borrowed Wings, found in Flights from the Rock and which may or may not be about the living taxidermy of damaged fairy wings. Twisty. Like pretzels (no regretzels!).

The thing about pretzels is that you’re also going to need something to drink, which brings us to reason #3 why you should pre-order Flights from the Rock today:

3. we’ll let you carry liquids bigger than 100 ml on this flight, bay-bee. Heck, you can read this ebook with a coffee mug/teacup/wine glass the size of your head if that’s your Best Self. You want to soar into the blue beyond on the the wings of your imagination from the comfort of your overflowing bathtub? Go for it.

4.  On Flights from the Rock, there are no economy class seats. Every seat is a first-class trip to Imagination-town.

flights_promo copy.jpg

5. woke up to discover your passport expired/lost/chewed to bits by your imaginary hellhound Cerberus IV? No problem. The Flights from the Rock ebook will be sent to your device on July 14th by Amazon’s magical ‘whispernet’ and promises not to ask for your passport, I.D., or rifle through your luggage (some exceptions may apply if your e-reader has picked up a poltergeist, haunted virus, or is possessed by a demonic librarian).

6. no extra travel insurance needed! Flights from the Rock‘s Armchair Airlines is covered by your existing health insurance/Medicare so you can feel secure no matter how lost you get in our stories.

7. By pre-ordering your e-copy for $2.99 today, June 12th, you will help my squadron of story-eyed pen pilots defeat the algorithm bombers and soar us to the top of Amazon’s Ace-sellers list, making you a hero and all of us victorious over the lows of reality, gravity, and all the other -itys.


E-copies will be landing on July 11th, a few days before the official release July 14th, as a thank-you for helping our mission. Pre-orders are available for $2.99 (Canadian funds) by clicking here. Armchair Airlines thanks you for your patronage. And so do I! *hugs you after asking permission*

IWSG and the power of words

Hello and welcome to the May Day edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). On the first Wednesday of every month the IWSG meets to share their goals, insecurities, and writing challenges. If you’d like to join or lurk around to see what’s happening, you can link to the other members here.


This month’s optional question is “What was an early experience where you learned that writing had power?” For me it was reading Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl in grade school. I read this book four or five times between grade five and twelve. Here was a girl my age(s), who faced a tragic end in a concentration camp when the words ran out, mentioned only in the forward and the echo of the empty pages before I reached the back cover. When I read her words, I felt her essence flutter in the pages. This handful of stories written by an adolescent girl taught me more about empathy then I could have experienced in my privileged childhood. I spent hours staring at the ceiling, contemplating how many other Anne Franks died in those camps. She wasn’t just a character or a distant historical figure, she was my friend. That is a formidable power for a small book to have.


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beaked hazel says “hooray for spring!”

April’s been good to me. The Frye (literary) Festival is in full swing in my hometown of Moncton, NB, I became a fox-winning poet, had a short story accepted for Kaleidotrope in 2021, and I received my contributor copies of Unlocking the Magic. Check out this gorgeous cover:


My favorite short story writer, A. Merc Rustad (now writing as Merc Fenn Wolfmoor), wrote the story directly before mine in the book, and that makes my imposter syndrome get up and start yelling louder than I’d like. But also… WHAT A THRILL OMG.

In a twist, my favorite novelist retweeted me a few days ago, which was… unexpected.

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that explains all those notifications

See, Neil Gaiman answered a tweet I had tagged him in a few months back, which had a turtling effect on me as an introvert. I put the masterclass away for a few weeks until it felt safe to go back. In writing this new tweet, I didn’t tag him, and so felt comfortable tweeting about how the class was inspiring me. Not shown in the above screenshot is the entire thread, where I finish up by calling Neil a modern-day muse which I meant but probably would never have written had I known he would read it (blush, blush). My inner introvert felt safe with no tags and no hashtags, guessing this tweet would get my usual two or three likes. It was up to 551 this morning. Happily, this time around it didn’t have the same turtling effect on me, though I do think if Mr. Gaiman’s going to keep using my tweets to sell his masterclass he should come over and have spaghetti with my family or something *wink*

I hope April was good to you as well, and I have my fingers crossed that May is going to be gangbusters for all of us insecure writers.

Cheers, and happy writing!