Spawn of Mars
Story vignettes are all well and good, but the best story is not a day in the life; the best story is the day between lives.
Drifting in My Lane
Years of Inconsistent Fiction
As a preface to this listing of my works, I want to say that if you came to me by any one of them, you would likely be jarred by many of the others, as I am not entirely consistent in my tone and genre. Oh, my stuff is usually fantastic, weird, magically real, or scientifictional; but I am somewhat rude to my readers in that I don't stick to their expectations. This is not a virtue, I earnestly admit. But there it is.

P.S. What follows is my oeuvre, excluding three children's books (The Endless Batteries [a chapterbook], Egg Bounce [a picturebook], and The Santa Mantle [a picture storybook]) and the forthcoming volumes of Stellar Stories.
The Giant's Walk
A Novel About Providence and Faith
In 1858, young priest Zebediah Goodnow and the orphaned Joanna pursue a murderous Giant and soon find themselves among the Martians. In 1957, astronaut Scott Winslow Hale takes his sick wife Helen to the shrine of the beatified Zebediah and, soon after, clashes with a stranger named Eddie. In a tangle of Providential events, perseverance and peace are drawn from the toil of Faith. 
Canto 1

Hale and well-tempered was Scott Winslow Hale. His body was military grade, and unscarred; his intensity in combat had been not an intemperate fury but an unflappable precision, and those frenetic months against China — as part of the 16th Fighter Squadron, 51st Interceptor Wing — had never made him a daredevil. Fit and level-headed, he was one of a hundred equivalent men chosen for the Astronaut Corps. His exemplary progress as an astronaut had pleased his superiors at NASA, so much so that he was chosen for the Virgo Project itself and would, in 1960, so long as President Dewey's "frivolous ambitions" were not killed by Congress, be among the first to walk on the Moon. To the consuming public, NASA had naturally emphasized Scott's apollonian worth. NASA had also naturally emphasized his delightful wife Helen. Only lately had things become awkward, as Helen's deterioration diverged her from the Hale perfection.

Her sickness had been patient: her symptoms smattered, each alone so seemingly petty; but after a time she was clearly amiss. And despite her being not even thirty years old, there was no mistaking it: paralysis agitans. The Shaking Palsy. She trembled. She stiffened. Her voice flattened. She couldn't summon a gesture. She couldn't remind herself to blink. Her presence flaked away and dementia was stirring. The pallidotomy, the opening up of her skull, the cutting of her brain, had failed. Oh, from the start she and her husband had prayed. They had recited every little prayer, every little novena, every little litany of hope. They had been stalwart; even then they were not hopeless. But they were afraid. They didn't want to part now, even if Heaven awaited both. Before the thoughts and words could never again be formed, Helen asked Scott to take her to Blessed Zebediah's shrine.

However much a Catholic child might be encouraged to admire St. This-or-That, This-or-That's tale could not compete with Bl. Zebediah's. To be sure, the densely sober minds of the Church bristled at the utter outrageousness of Joanna Hutchinson's memoir. Giant! Martians! Holes between worlds! Yet the piety and orthodoxy of Joanna could not be gainsaid; and she was hardly the only earthly witness to the Giant, nor to the Prince of Mars. What's more, Zebediah's heroism on behalf of the Blessed Sacrament was a magnificent lesson. And, well, if all of it came mixed with a trek through the Solar System, so be it. Anyhow, there was no fighting the popularity of Zebediah, especially once the healings at the Hole began. By 1944, the Church had enough evidence — and finally the inclination — to beatify Zebediah. Only one more miracle, directly and clearly attributable to Zebediah's intercession, remained for his canonization.

And like many Catholic children, Helen had enjoyed the colorful little books about Zebediah. When she learned more about him — the things deep in Joanna's memoir; the richness aside the storybooks — she became all the more fond of him. Zebediah's shrine may have been the only shrine in the United States, the nearest place of healing, the most reasonable place for her to go; but she would have chosen it in any event, as it was his shrine. Scott favored it as well. He had his own affection for Zebediah (indeed, this affection had been one of the happy, small things that had drawn Helen and him together). Still, he had to thank God that the shrine was just twelve hours north of Houston. NASA had been against their going at all, fearing the publicity that would attach to the Credulous Astronaut, His Dying Wife, and the Outer-Space Saint-to-Be; but an anonymous jaunt to Kansas, the briefest absence from the Virgo Project, would surely go unnoticed; and in the end, even the jittery bureaucrats were moved by Scott's determination to aid his pathetic wife. They let him go. And only now, on the road, away from his training, from the simple distraction of preparing for the Moon, did his determination waver and the certainty of Helen's death overwhelm him. Rationally he could hope for God's attention; but this trawling for a miracle seemed so merely desperate. Scott Winslow Hale was unfamiliar with desperation. It had begun to unnerve him.

It had even begun to fracture him. Later that night they stopped at a motel. As Helen slept, Scott was restless. Suddenly, against the darkness, he saw himself in a terrible vision, trapped on the Moon and arguing about something with Zebediah; while, beside the two of them, Judas laughed.

Amazon Link

The Chicken Bone
A Collection of Six Stories
A baby appears in a home and no one remembers being the mother. A woman considers an invitation to adultery. A passionless girl lives in a land where the heads of some people hover. A young wife is presented to a man who is strangely amputated. A critic reviews an atypically transgressive play. A man finds himself married to a former porn star, a woman he has adored for years. 
A Confusion of Moms

Well, Betsy, about the only thing we've decided for sure, though we really don't know for sure, but we've decided to agree that the baby isn't Mom's, since Mom is way past that age anyhow. This made Mom, like, gleeful. "I'm a grandma, I'm a grandma," she said over and over, though I can't say if she was glad she was a grandma or glad she wasn't a mom again.
The Full Chorus Sings of Dorothy Fitzgerald's Many Virtues

He's forgotten who I am. Other women may fall easily but I cannot. Yes, he and I are older now. We each have traveled long enough to meet each other again. He supposes, therefore, that I have changed, as though time requires that we change.

I stepped to the window and looked down and saw someone, boy or girl but young for sure, dodging the traffic, which was thinner than the crowd, and hurrying towards and past our building. The scream came from a head that was hooked in the someone’s arm. The head belonged to the neckless woman I’d seen five minutes before.
Fifty Words Each

Seventeen 50-word stories, including "Recklessly Re-Dialing," "For Son and Country," and "The Funeral Is Not This Week."
The Amputated Man

The amputated man lived far enough away that they had to drive. The drive wasn’t long — a few turns, a few lights, then across the unmapped line between markets with bulletproof glass and those without. Nick took Bobbie to the side of the bullets.
The Astonishing Lawrence Lyrik Agitates the Servants of the Censor

For daring to view Lyrik's work, for daring to legitimize him, I and the rest of the audience, as we entered the Hall, were pummeled with words and sometimes with spit and always with hate.
The Chicken Bone

When a reporter asks her — and even now they still do — why she would have married someone like me, she answers, simply enough, that she loves me. Reporters, of course, do not believe in love, and so they continue to speculate publicly about her motives — and about mine.

Currently Unavailable

Sideways of the Earth
Stories About Pugnacious Footefake
Pugnacious Footefake — bachelor, volunteer fireman, and seller of shoes — is beset by the unearthly and the magical.

One night the moon falls into his yard. Then he meets a frenetic mousefox while taking the census. Two children try to sell him a cup of gravity. An event with a fax machine prompts him to arrange a marriage. He finds himself on a snowy world, with a Princess trapped in ice. He receives an unusual package that keeps changing its mind. A roach starts a conversation with him. And on a summer evening in a forested park, he is kidnapped by a pitiable nymph, who wants to grant him three wishes. 
Blue Moon

Pugnacious was awakened not by the rumble of the nearing moon but by a tapping at his window. Sleepily he looked to the glass and saw behind it an anxious star.
Easily a Hundred

He told the Census Bureau that he would count the people. The Bureau told him that wasn't necessary. He said it was. The Bureau said it wasn't. I'm volunteering! said Pugnacious. We don't need you, answered the Bureau.
Neighborhood Commerce

The children, a boy and a girl, were manning what appeared to be a Lemonade Stand. Except that there wasn't any lemonade in the pitcher. There was — well, as a matter of fact, Pugnacious would have thought the pitcher empty, except that it didn't seem empty. Then again, it didn't seem full, either. And it was clearly swelling inward — if a thing can indeed swell inward.
The Fax & Francine

Francine, who was taller than her mother, moved a bit behind her, as though to hide herself. She kept pushing her glasses back up on her nose. Meanwhile her mother inflated herself, again inhaling the lovely day, and then sighed for a very long time.
The Woeful Princess

Pugnacious knew he was not in his town of Flattened Hills anymore because there were no streets, no curbs, no sidewalks, no cars, no shops, no signs, nor any traffic lights. No pedestrians either. There was snow, however, crusted by ice, more furiously white than the sun above.
The Capricious Package

It was bound in twine and heavy for its size. It had no markings from the post office nor from any delivery service, but in a luminescent cursive it was addressed to The House of Liggip ap Num.
Making Pranks With Roaches

A prankster was calling the Thornberry home, often as late as midnight, and asking for Pugnacious. As soon as Pugnacious was on the line, the prankster simply chortled and hung up.
The Essential Wishes of Pugnacious Footefake

Pugnacious checked his watch. He could tell already that the nymph was going to delay him for a while. He hoped that Lily and Edie were not too near the end of their circuit. He should have ten minutes or so. He could only hope the nymph would be expeditious.

Amazon Link

Noah, Penny
A Novel About Youth, Romance, and Ancient Wisdom
Penny is thirteen and something of a frantic girl. She has had her eye on Noah for a while. About a week ago, at the Valentine's Day dance, she and Noah danced for the first time; and ever since, Penny has been more impatient than usual. Her romance with Noah is not developing quickly enough to put her at ease.

Then an odd creature appears. This creature, whom Penny names "Fyfe," is ancient and immortal, but does little other than spy on people. He has decided he wants to spy on Penny and Noah. He has also, on a whim, revealed his existence to Penny. And so, on top of her troubles with Noah, Penny finds herself shadowed by a three-inch-tall something-or-other... 

Fyfe says he's not a guy, not a gal, not a person, just a thing.

So he says.

He still has arms and legs and hair and teeth and fingers and a nose. He talks and he hears. I've pinched his arm, he didn't like it but he let me, and I know he's no hallucination. Oh, sure, at first I thought I'd gone totally nuts. I was nuts enough, you know, not insane but nuts enough (because of Noah), so why shouldn't I start hallucinating? I get myself all twisted up and everything disconnects and I start seeing things. I fuss about Noah until my head pops, enough to spill my wits on the ground, and my eyes go witless and do what they want and start showing me this three-inch guy.

Guy. Gal. Person. Thing. Fyfe. Whatever.

Whatever he is, he's real. I'm not crazy. Everything in the world is the same as always, same colors, same smells, same stupid stuff I have to live. Now, added to that, there's Fyfe, too, in some ways no worse than an unexpected crack in your window; and to tell the truth maybe I am crazy, because I'm already getting used to him.

More or less.

You know what he said to me today? This:

"Once I am dead I'm content to be dead. I never mean to be born again. Wherever I fall down to die I prefer to stay — by then I've always had my fill of living; but no matter how dusty my bones become I always stand again. I have been born so many times. I have had so many lives. I have sat with Adam and Eve, watching as they ate in their Father's Garden. I am so very old. I don't look it, however. Call me handsome, if you like; I won't object. At the very least I'm youthful. If I weren't three inches tall I'm sure I'd be mistaken for an angel. If I do say so myself."

You're right. That's not something you get used to, not easily anyhow. What can I do, though, but take him at his word? I never mistook him for an angel, he doesn't have wings and he doesn't shine, but, you know, he is three inches tall, and if he says he snacked with Adam and Eve, who am I to argue?

Currently Unavailable

Books Published by Simon & Schuster
Three Works for Juvenile Readers
They are You Must Kiss a Whale, The Wrecker, and Thundershine. They had their time and are now all out of print. You can use the internet to track them down easily enough to see what they're about — and to see what reviewers thought about them. I actually think The Wrecker remains quite good and Thundershine was somewhat misunderstood. Oddly, since they were published by an actual publisher, they don't feel so alive to me. I certainly don't disavow them — I like them all; but I did nearly forget to mention them as part of My Works.

Do check out all three, if you can.

P.S. I am very fond of "Poof Poof Ya Does Me a Favor" in Thundershine.
Contributions to Magazines & Anthologies
  • "The Woeful Princess" in Trapped!
  • "Some Things Missing From Her Profile" in StoryHack #1
  • "The King's Portion" in PulpRev Sampler
  • "Ambit of Charon" in Planetary: Pluto
  • "Due a Hanging" in StoryHack #6
  • "The Fourth Gift" in Cirsova Summer Special 2020
  • "An Uncommon Day at the Lake" in StoryHack #7
  • "Dead Neighbor" in Cirsova Magazine Fall 2021
  • "The Impossible Footprint" in Cirsova Magazine
    Awaiting Acceptance...
  • "Wayward Scarecrow"
  • "Banana Man"
  • "His Own Ends"
  • "O Po Teef"
  • "The Unshrouded Stars"
  • "A Devil's Intuition"
  • "Fishes & Wishes"
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    Spawn of Mars
    StoryHack #7
    Cirsova: Spring 2022
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