The Fireman

I’m delighted to offer a new short story, one that means as much to me as anything I’ve written to date.

“The Fireman” (read or listen: narration starts @ 6min mark) is out today at the award-winning PodCastle, narrated by the best voice in the business, Keeper of the Buttery Man-Voice himself, Dave Robison. If you’re curious, in a moment I’ll share why this story means so much to me, but honestly, just do yourself a favor and let Dave’s dulcet tones transport you to the fiery world he brings to life with the magic of his wizard’s tongue.

Photo credit: Gabe Medina

So, why does this one mean so much to me? First, it’s edited by Eleanor R. Wood and hosted by Matt Dovey, co-editor and host of PodCastle, respectively. These two brilliant writers and editors have each had strong influences on my storytelling, starting from way back when we were critiquing each other’s work in the same online writing group. Matt Dovey and I both won the Writers of the Future Award the same year, so I had the pleasure of adventuring around Hollywood with him. He is the Most British Person in the World.  

But the most personally meaningful aspect of this story is how it began.

A decade ago, when I was working as a wildland firefighter, a friend and coworker confided in me about his long struggle with bipolar disorder. As much as tried to empathize, I struggled to grasp what drove some of his strange behaviors, and I began writing the story as an attempt through allegory to better understand him.

Years later, after his untimely death, I revisited the story he’d inspired. This time, I saw more of myself in the main character than I’d previously allowed myself to recognize, and realized that all along, the friend I’d found so inscrutable mirrored some of my own habits. Leading me to a more honest self-awareness is just one way the fireman continues to enrich the many lives he touched.

Perhaps, through this story, he’ll enrich your own.


Enjoy “The Fireman” here. Narration starts @ 6 minute mark.

Hunting el Chupacabra

Did you resolve to read more in 2022? No? It’s not too late. Yes? Good for you! And me, because I’m pleased to offer my freshest short story, “Hunting el Chupacabra,” now available in Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging (ebook, paperback, & hardcover). You know, because the 2020s haven’t given us enough monsters.

This one’s an adventure story featuring two unlikely hunting partners: a wounded veteran of the War in Afghanistan, now employed shooting feral hogs from helicopters, and a patchouli-perfumed Sasquatch enthusiast on break from Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Following a string of reports—and one photograph—of a bipedal, hairless creature mutilating sheep across Texas, our odd couple teams up to hunt el Chupacabra … and the $20,000 bounty a rancher has posted for whoever brings him the body of the beast.

What our pair finds, deep in the Texas backcountry, is unexpected … and even more valuable than the bounty.

I hope you enjoy the adventure. As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Happy New Year, humans (and monsters too)!