Short Stories

On the gritty backstreets of a crumbling city, tough dames and dangerous men trade barbs, witticisms and a few gunshots. But there’s a new twist where urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: WEIRD NOIR. Featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren. The ambience is pure noir but the characters aren’t just your average molls and mugs—the vamps might just be vamps. It’s Patricia Highsmith meets Shirley Jackson or Dashiell Hammett filtered through H. P. Lovecraft. Mad, bad and truly dangerous to know, but irresistible all the same.
My story, "Sins of the Brother" is a DragonEye tale from Vern's early years. When a Corsican Twin he owes calls in a debt to save his twin, Vern finds himself set up for kidnapping and worse.
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Mother Goose is Dead Cover Mother Goose is Dead: Twenty four modern stories of myths, fables and fairy tales. Authors include Aaron Polson, Amelia Mangan, J.B. Dane , Bob Nailor, Eric Diehl, Jason Lavertue , Jeff Houser, Shelle Klein, Jodi Ralston, Jon C. Crusoe, Karina Fabian, Kim Richards, Kirk Dougal, Klaus Mundt, Bridges DelPonte, Cate Karin, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Michelle Klein, Mike Rimar, Patricia A. Schiml, Rob Rosen, Barry Napier, Scott Virtes, Steven Westcott, Joette Rozanski, and Michele Acker.
"The Faerie Truth Behind the Fairy Tales," in which Vern talks about various fairy-tale scams.
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Firestorm of Dragons Firestorm of Dragons: So, you want to know all about dragons? Run the gamut of stories about the mythological beasts in "Firestorm of Dragons." Humorous tales of extreme sports with genetically-engineered animals and pesky door-to-door salesmen with scales, exist beside conventional stories of treasure and deceit, hunter and hunted, hatred and sacrifice. See how dragone exist today without most humans noticing, or abandon all preconceived notions and imagine a dragon as a 1940s-style detective. Let your experience with dragons end with a trio of stories depicting the possible end of dragons--one uplifting, one poignant, and one heart-wrenching in its meloncholy.

"Dragon Eye, PI": The story that started it all! Vern, a cynical dragon-turned detective is hired by a princess to find lost jewels, but when he finds out the amber contains holy relics that might get him some of his abilities back, he not only has to fight evil elves, but temptation himself.
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Book of Tentacles cover Book of Tentacles: Come here . . . but not so close that
THEY can reach you. Not so close that
THEY can whisper their secrets into your ear.

THEY know the frailty of our minds, and the
joy of perverting sanity. THEY long to share
their stories of how the human race falls, of
sacrificed princes, and of mad women roaming
the streets of lost cities. THEY have tales
to tell of murder, mystery, magic, and of
things you cannot see.

THEY want you to listen. THEY want you to know.

Now come here. But not too close ...
or the tentacles will find you.

- strange last words of the mysterious Edward J. Read more!
"Mishmash": Ever wonder how Vern and Sister Grace started working together? Join their first case where they must learn to trust each other to defeat a tentacled demon that threatens Los Lagos.
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Perfect Ten Cover "Perfect Ten": The common wisdom is the men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but for insurance actuary Sheila Mars, her "perfect 10" hails from somewhere a bit farther off the beaten path. In an effort at spontaneity, she finds herself dogged by a potential lover who is out to howl. In the end, it takes the Las Vegas police, a Native American nation, and a magic-slinging nun from out of this world to put the collar on her date. A new story in the DragonEye PI universe!
Review from Walt Staples: After reading this tale, one realizes not only is it very good Chic Lit, it's also great Guy Lit, and is safe to leave out where the kids can get their hands on it (providing, of course, you got to finish it first before it disappears down their hobbit hole).
NOTE: Electronic Formats Only
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"Amateurs" (originally published in The Sword Review): A hapless woman hired Vern to deliver a message for her to fulfill a geas. The payment--a dragon stone, a thing of magic and beauty forged at the beginning of time. What seems a simple job for tempting pay quickly becomes another STUC (Save the Universes Case) as the message was a declaration of war between Pixie clans fighting for territory in Mundane Los Lagos. Vern thinks he can handle it, yet when his “client” turns out to be the Egyptian Goddess of War, it will take more than careful scheming to work things out. Can he and Grace prevail? And how does all of this tie into the Biblical Plague of Locusts? When it comes to the power of God, all the rest is the work of amateurs.
Honorable Mention in 2008 Year's Best Fantasy.

"Christmas Spirits" (Originally published in Flagship): When a Scrooge of a developer threatens the businesses and homes of the people of Territory, neither Vern nor Grace are feeling the Christmas spirit. But when the developer is threatened by the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they put aside their humbug feelings in order to solve the mystery. Will they succeed before the Ghost of Christmas Future? And will their modern-day Scrooge have a change of heart?
Revised and offered in serial format at November-December 2011.
"Coyote Fires" As a forest fire threatens Los Lagos, Coyote comes to Sister Grace with a desperate plea to find the person who wants to steal his treasure. Naturally, there's a link between that and the fires--but what?
Offered in serial format at November-December 2011.
"A La Mode" in 10Flash: When some over-competitive types want to hire Vern to eat a virgin to get her out of a modeling contest, he has a little fun playing on an old cliche'.
"Beautification Claws" in Bards & Sages Quarterly: A member of the Los Lagos Beautification Committee learns how beautiful territorial markings can be.
"Brother Silence" in Residential Aliens: Vern returns to the Silent Brothers monastery to solve a mystery of the lost voices.
"Home Improvements" in Residential Aliens: Industrial espionage is not the same when it involves a cricket and Baba Yaga.
"It's Petty Pace" in 10Flash: Vern's wanted in connection with a missing person case, but the question isn't where the victim is, but when and why.
"Thief Whisperer" in The Prairie Dawg: (DragonEye, PI spin off). A thief learns his lesson when he tries to steal an enchanted purse.