I’m happy to report I have a short story called “Willing” included in a digital anthology for the Kaidankai Podcast. They’re using the anthology to help raise money to support the podcast.

The story came to me when I was camping out in Gunma Prefecture last year. Most of the time I like camping where the car is right next to where you set up your tent (which should tell you I’m not properly camping in any sense of the word), but this particular campsite had a parking lot down a slope away from where the campsite was. They offered little wagons to shuttle stuff back and forth, at least, and I guess it helped give a more secluded feeling to be away from the car. Still, the feel of that campsite was eerie, at best. It was way too quiet, way too still, while I camped there.

And like in the story I wrote, there was a rundown building standing off to the side where the bathrooms were. I used the bathroom in the middle of the night, and just the vibes coming off the building made me regret that decision.

I left the campsite the next day feeling like I’d escaped a horror movie, though nothing had happened.

I couldn’t help but put my favorite guide, Celea, into the story, though she’s not named. I love her random adventures saving people from the supernatural.

For anyone following along, this is the fourth time she’s appeared in one of my stories. You can read the other stories featuring her below:

“The Bucket Fountain”

“The Guide”

“The Anchor”

One final note: I actually wrote down this time what song I listened to while writing this story. I have it below if you’d like to listen to it while reading.

My greatest fear as an author

I’m almost done watching Season 2 of Loki on Disney Plus (I know I’m behind. I hate waiting every week for a new episode so I’m in the camp that waits until every episode is out before beginning to watch), and episode 5 struck a nerve with me.

There aren’t any spoilers, so don’t worry.

One of the characters in episode 5 is at a bookstore trying to buy a book that won’t scan. The cashier insists she has to be able to scan the book for inventory control while the character says he could just pay for the book with cash, without need for a receipt. The cashier then checks the book jacket and sees the character is the author of the book, and another person working at the store chases him out of the store, saying, “You again? Stop coming here! No one wants to buy your books!”

There is horror, and there are traumatic scenes in movies. Sometimes they can be both, too, which this scene was for me.

Because I could see myself doing something like that all too well. I finally get one of my books published, only for everyone to unanimously agree they never want to read them. I’m, thus, stuck wandering from bookstore to bookstore (or the book sections of Big Box stores) surreptitiously dropping my books off onto the shelves and praying.

The greatest fear for me, anyway, as an author is not that people won’t like what I write. I don’t care if someone reads my books and says, “Give me my time and money back. This was the worst thing I’ve read since that counting book I read to my kid last night.” I don’t care if reviewers say absolutely horrible things about me as a writer. None of that would matter, because at least it meant they’d read even some of my book.

No, the worst fear for me is no one wanting to read the books in the first place. I don’t know if every author shares this fear, but I would have to imagine they do. What author wants to pour their heart and soul into a book, only to be met by a world that won’t even read it?

I’m going to continue plodding along, writing and trying to get these books I can’t stop writing published, all while praying there is at least one person on earth who wants to read them.


This is the last in a sudden string of publications, I think, but I had a short story called “Marella” published in issue 3 of Lit Shark on Halloween as well. I wanted to give the two stories published on Halloween a little space in between, which is why I’m posting about this one now. You can read the story here.

I know I wrote earlier that at some point I would like to remember what songs I was obsessively listening to while writing each story, and I finally wrote down the song for this one. It was Placebo’s cover of “Running up that Hill.”

I’ve loved this song for years for the mood it gives while writing dark stories, and I honestly didn’t even know it was a cover until Stranger Things fans went nuts about the original a little while back to the point where I, who has never seen Stranger Things, knew about it. The lyrics for the song make me think Placebo’s chilling rendition is better than the original, but that’s just my humble opinion.

Anyway, if you feel so inclined, please listen to the cover song while reading the story.

I decided to write “Marella” because I feel like pop culture has moved mermaids firmly into the realm of being good creatures (I’m looking at you, my beloved “The Little Mermaid” movie). My understanding is they were actually feared creatures when tales of them first spread, I’m sure by sailors who wanted to have something to blame when things went wrong at sea. I thought it’d be nice to add another dark story about them to their lore.

I had fun writing this from the perspective of the mermaid, too, who doesn’t see what she’s doing as being necessarily wrong. For her, the drowning is a means to an end, and I’m not sure if that makes her a pure evil villain or not.

Marella, in case you’re interested, comes from Latin and means “star of the sea.” More often than not, I’m extremely careful about the names I choose for my characters.

The Remaining Ashes

I’m excited to share I had a short story published on the Coffin Bell literary website just in time for Halloween (in America, anyway). You can read the story here.

I’ve noticed a pattern among some of my short stories where they’re villain-origin stories more than anything else. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always found it a fascinating study to determine what makes someone decide to throw their moral compass away.

For this story, I also took the superstition I’ve learned since living in Japan about how mirrors can be evil. The only magical concept I had about mirrors prior to living here came from Alice in Wonderland, and The Matrix. However, I noticed one day while visiting my friend’s apartment that she kept a cloth over her full-length mirror tucked in the corner of her bedroom. When I asked why she covered it, she said something along the lines of how the cloth helped keep out evil spirits at night. Until that point, I’d never thought of mirrors in such a dark light before.

I thought it was an intriguing idea, and I wanted to do something with it in a story. Hence, “The Remaining Ashes.”

This is also my second interpretation of an “oni,” or demon, in a short story (the other was in “The Chains“). For this story, I thought of this particular oni as one who had lost its physical form and needed someone with the potential to do dark magic to help it.

After writing this story, I toyed with the idea of making it Chapter One of a longer book, but I’ve since gotten distracted writing other books. Maybe someday I’ll revisit it, but until then, I hope you enjoy it!