Story spotlight: “Family Fair and True” by Dayle A. Dermatis, in Stolen by the Fae

Family Fair and True,” by Dayle A. Dermatis, appears in Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.


My feet crunched over tiny snail shells as I descended, the air growing more moist and cold, and the darkness more complete. The weak moonlight couldn’t extend this far into the earth. I reached the bottom, breathing in the earthy scent of loam, and stopped.

I thought about why I was here, and what I wished for. I couldn’t go on if I had any doubts, any hesitation.

But this was what I had yearned for since I was old enough to understand what I was.

A plentyn cael . A changeling child.

My “parents,” Cerys and John (I couldn’t really call them my adoptive parents, as they’d had no choice in the matter), had brought home from the hospital a sweet, fair-haired baby and then found, shortly thereafter, a temperamental, black-haired thing in the crib. (The latter would be me.)

If they had tried any of the folk remedies to banish a changeling, they refused to tell me, but I couldn’t imagine that they didn’t make an attempt to get their real child back. Why wouldn’t they? Cerys was a professor of folklore and mythology at uni, and John was a renowned fantasy artist; they knew what had happened.

—from “Family Fair and True,” by Dayle A. Dermatis, in Stolen by the Fae

About Dayle

Dayle A. Dermatis is the author or coauthor of many novels (including snarky urban fantasy Ghosted and YA lesbian romance Beautiful Beast) and more than a hundred short stories in multiple genres, appearing in such venues as Fiction River, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and DAW Books.

Called the mastermind behind the Uncollected Anthology project, she also edits anthologies, and her own short fiction has been lauded in many year’s best anthologies in erotica, mystery, and horror.

She lives in a historic English-style cottage with a tangled and fae back garden, in the wild greenscapes of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time she follows Styx around the country and travels the world, which inspires her writing.

Find Dayle

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ BookBub ~ Amazon ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Find Stolen by the Fae

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

A Procession of Faeries

Learn more about the series, and follow A Procession of Faeries on Facebook and Goodreads!

Story spotlight: “Problem Child” by Tami Veldura, in Stolen by the Fae

Problem Child,” by Tami Veldura, appears in Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.


Pane nudged Kipt with one bony elbow. “You’re sure about this? It’s bigger than normal.”

“Big enough to count for two infants, I bet,” said Kipt. “And probably old enough that its head won’t flop around. Humans babies are oddly fragile.”

Pane glanced at the bed, then back to Kipt. “Well?”

“Quiet, I’m thinking.” Kipt had been drawn to stealing this child because of its size, but now that he was here, he had doubts. Faeries could draw the veil aside with a thought, but humans couldn’t even sense it, let alone move it. Infants could be brought across because they were small, like carrying a bag, but this child—a toddler, the humans called it—might be large enough to cause problems.

But he was behind on children and was sure this one would count for two, at least. It was worth trying, anyway.

Pane crept forward and lay the changeling down on the bed beside the human. It was smaller than the human, more bone and less fat. The changeling had grayish-green skin, Kipt had been told once, while humans ranged from pink to darkest black. To his eyes, this one was a medium brown. Like an opal. The two didn’t match, even in Kipt’s limited color vision.

The changeling wiggled to face the sleeping child and touched its face with long, thin fingers. All at once, its natural glamor took over, and suddenly there were twin human children on the bed.

“Ok,” Kipt said. “You grab the arms. I’ll grab the legs. Then we both draw the veil at the same time so we can bring it through.”

“I’m not sure—”

The human child’s face scrunched as it fussed in its sleep. The changeling mimicked it.

“Too late, grab the arms!”

—from “Problem Child,” by Tami Veldura, in Stolen by the Fae

About Tami

Tami Veldura is an enby/aro/ace author of queer fiction. They have published short stories in anthologies Fresh Starts, Hauntings, Love Among The Thorns, Love Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, Street Magic (a Diamond Quill Book Of The Year winner), the magazine Galaxy’s Edge, and they are a contributing member of the scifi magazine Boundary Shock Quarterly. They publish new work every month, crossing every genre, but always featuring queer characters and found families.

Find Tami

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ BookBub ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram

Find Stolen by the Fae

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

A Procession of Faeries

Learn more about the series, and follow A Procession of Faeries on Facebook and Goodreads!

Story spotlight: “Hybrid Vigor” by Olivia Wylie, in Stolen by the Fae

Hybrid Vigor,” by Olivia Wylie, appears in Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.


The examining room smells of chemicals and cold meat. Sometimes I wish my sense of smell was more Human.

The metal drawer slides open on its rollers. It’s designed to hold a full-grown man; the little body on it seems dwarfed by the expanse of metal.

Pulling on gloves, I lean in, studying the child. Patricia coughs nervously. “So, what do you think?”

“I think that a wrong’s been done here,” I murmur, “but I imagine you mean do I know who did it…”

Gently, I lift one eyelid. Eyes completely dilated. I was afraid of that.

“Let me guess, these children didn’t die from drowning.”

“True. We can’t figure out what actually was the cause of death, we’ve listed it as massive systemic failure.”

“Close enough.” I agree, surprised at the sound of my own voice. It’s gone cold.

Straightening, I glance up at Patricia. “And why didn’t you tell the police your suspicions?”

The coroner shrugs guiltily. “Well, the last time something weird came up…you were a hell of a lot more use, to be honest.”

I nod, but I don’t drop my gaze from hers. “You need to tell them about these. They need to learn to keep records on murderers who are not Human.”

Patricia nods, her eyes gone wide. She swallows hard.

“Um…if this is a murder, we might have a bigger problem.”

That pulls me up and no mistake. “Explain?”

Patricia taps her forms.

“Yolanda had a best friend, Monika. She’s still missing.”

—from “Hybrid Vigor,” by Olivia Wylie, in Stolen by the Fae

About Olivia

Olivia Wylie is a professional horticulturist, business owner, and bard who specializes in the restoration of neglected gardens. When the weather keeps her indoors, she enjoys exploring the plant world and the complexities of being human in writing. Under her shared pen-name of O.E. Tearmann, she writes the hopeful queer cyberpunk series Aces High, Jokers Wild. Her solo work focuses on illustrated works of ethnobotany, intended to make the intersection of human history, storytelling, and plant evolution accessible to a wider audience. She lives in Colorado with a very patient husband and a rather impatient cat.

Find Olivia

Author website ~ Facebook ~ Gardening website

Find Stolen by the Fae

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

A Procession of Faeries

Learn more about the series, and follow A Procession of Faeries on Facebook and Goodreads!

Story spotlight: The Replacement by Ron Collins, in Stolen by the Fae

The Replacement,” by Ron Collins, appears in Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.


“Hello,” I say as I head toward the front. “You doing all right, ma’am?” I don’t get many put-together businesswomen in the store at 1:54 a.m. On their own, my eyes glance out the window to see if her car is parked at a bay, but there’s nothing there.

She turns then.

Her amethyst eyes make starlight of their own, but a starlight that cuts as much as it illuminates.

“Bron,” she says.

I stop, broom dangling from my hand, knowing things will never be the same again.

No one has called me by that name for a long time.

“Who are you?” I reply.

She smiles and I see heartache and pain as deep as anything I’ve ever felt.

A wind blows outside.

A discarded plastic bag tumbles past in the barren scape of the asphalt veldt.

“Adelaide,” she replies as if that says it all. “My name is Adelaide.”

Her voice is smooth and deep for a woman.

That’s when I notice the green breeches that finish off her outfit. They fit tight to her body, dropping just below the knee where they fall into a pair of dark boots laced on their outside with equally dark rawhide. The pants are the color of pine trees in winter, embroidered with a silky pattern of swirls and leafy outlines that seem to squirm and shift under the store’s stark light. Her scent arrives then, rich with woodsmoke and the outdoors.

“Welcome to Pick-Pack, Adelaide,” I say.

—from “The Replacement,” by Ron Collins, in Stolen by the Fae

About Ron

Ron Collins is a best-selling Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy author who writes across the spectrum of speculative fiction. With his daughter, Brigid, he edited the anthology Face the Strange.

His short fiction has received a Writers of the Future prize. His short story “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award.

He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has worked to develop avionics systems, electronics, and information technology before chucking it all to write full-time.

Find Ron

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ BookBub ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

Find Stolen by the Fae

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

A Procession of Faeries

Learn more about the series, and follow A Procession of Faeries on Facebook and Goodreads!

Stolen by the Fae – A Procession of Faeries #6

Steal away to the wild world of the Fae!

In the darkest dark of night
The faeries come to see the sight

A sleeping child, sweet as can be
Its cheeks red as stolen cherries

They whisper, then sing the child a song
It stirs, and smiles, and slumbers along

Faster than the eye can see
They swap it with a sickly Fae baby

In the morn, the parents find the sight
Of a babe who looks like their own…but not quite

Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries, contains sixteen stories based on the mythology of the changeling, in which the Fae steal a human and replace it with one of their own kind. Sometimes their motivations are good…and sometimes they are not good at all.

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

The Stories

A man in “The Replacement,” by Ron Collins, has always felt different. He finally discovers the truth about his past, and it is not at all what he expected.

An elderly resident disappeared from the care home in “Honeysuckle and Blue,” by Karen L. Abrahamson. But how did he manage to get out through the locked doors? And are the wanderings of Posey, a dementia patient who’s over ninety years old, related?

In “The Bonds of, Like, Sisterhood or Whatever,” by Brigid Collins, Alyssa has the best big sister ever. So sure, Alyssa is a fairy changeling and Linn is human and isn’t really her sister, but whatever! The only real problem they’re facing is that they need a singer for their band, otherwise they won’t be able to compete in the high school Battle of the Bands. But maybe they could bust their other sister—the one Alyssa was swapped for—out of Faerie and she could join the band…

Poppy, a sixteen-year-old changeling, enters the Faerie realm in search of her real parents in “Family Fair and True,” by Dayle A. Dermatis. But in Faerie, the adage “Be careful what you wish for” takes on a whole new meaning.

Over twenty kids have been found dead in Olivia Wylie’s “Hybrid Vigor.” It looks almost like they drowned, but not quite. Can the Ard Ri of the Good Folk, who is part Dratsie and part Human, find the murderer before the latest missing child is killed?

In Leah R. Cutter’s “Fairy Traps,” Old Fairy Smithers is a terrible gardener, and not at all fun. But worse than that, she’s stolen a human baby! Terrence’s parents don’t believe him when he tells them about the baby, but can’t allow Smithers to put the human-fairy pact at risk, so he’s going to have to take care of things all on his own.

Someone has replaced the faerie ambassador’s baby with a human child in “Bait and Switch: A Crossroad City Tale,” by Rebecca M. Senese. Faerie Maeve Hemlock, lead detective in the Spells and Misdemeanours Bureau of Crossroad City, is called in to investigate, and finds there is a lot more going on than it appears.

Bug is stolen from his home and taken to the Dark Court on orders from the Queen of Faerie in Anthea Sharp’s “The Bug in the Dark Court.” Will his older brother realize he’s been replaced by a changeling and save him, or will Bug spend the rest of his days trapped in the Faerie Realm?

In “Hunter by Night,” by Annie Reed, Colton’s happy life shattered into a million pieces when a changeling kidnapped his pregnant wife. The police never caught the kidnapper—difficult to do when a changeling can shift their appearance to look like anyone—so now Colton scours the city at night, hunting for that one creature who robbed him of everything that made life worth living. But what he hunts down this night will change his life forever.

A feral cat is given the chance to spend 24 hours in another form in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The Destroyer.” Can he use this opportunity to vanquish the destroyer?

Behind on his quota of stolen human children, Kipt decides to take a toddler instead of a baby in “Problem Child,” by Tami Veldura. To his horror, he learns why faeries only steal babies.

Carol and her husband tried and tried to have a child in “Two Pies out of One Pan,” by Thea Hutcheson, but she remained barren. Finally she asked Brigid, the Tuatha Dé Danaan goddess of the hearth, for a miracle. But miracles do not come for free.

Deb Logan’s “Flutterbies and French Toast” takes us to a world where when children born to survivors of a pandemic reach the age of five, they develop strange and inexplicable powers which they cannot control. To protect their populations, governments around the world are locking up children. Rick and Jennifer decide to go into hiding to protect their daughter…but at what cost?

A haunting magical melody draws Queen Simone out of the Faery Realm and into the human world she once was a part of in “Street Song,” by Leslie Claire Walker. The song triggers violence in the streets, endangering innocents—including humans she loves. Can Simone find the source and stop the music before it kills?

Butler buys some old books from a woman who claims her husband made her daughter disappear years ago in DeAnna Knippling’s “Estimated Value.” There’s no way of knowing what really happened to the girl, of course…or is there?

In Jamie Ferguson’s “The Wishing Thorn,” Leah never believed in her Irish grandmother’s stories about trees granting wishes, but after having her life turned upside-down, she decided to see if the stories were real after all. She chose to make her wish of a blackthorn: the tree of warfare and ill omens, and the keeper of dark secrets…

Find Stolen by the Fae

Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads

A Procession of Faeries

Learn more about the series, and follow A Procession of Faeries on Facebook and Goodreads!

Small Gods Interview with Jason A. Adams on “The End of the Rainbow”

Jason A. Adams’ “The End of the Rainbow” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


When the world stopped spinning, Andrew pulled his britches up over his still-sodden tush, face flaming as dozens of strange…people…stared at him. Most were vaguely human, in that the right number of limbs were in the right places, but none looked exactly normal.

“Welcome to your new home, my boy,” Leary said. “Luchorpán Limited. Purveyor of the finest entertainments.”

Andrew gawped around. The room looked exactly like his old duty officer’s building back in Camp Lejeune. Industrial tile on the floor, bland white walls, lumpy chairs and couches.

The occupants, though…

Tiny girl-shaped things with dragonfly wings buzzed around, most carrying folders or stacks of papers. Taller beings with wizened old faces like shrunken apple heads stood around a water cooler drinking brownish liquid. A strange thing with one leg and one arm came hopping up and gave Leary what looked like a pile of invoices. Along the far wall, a row of offices marched. Through their glass walls, Andrew could see other bearded leprechauns like Leary. Things he couldn’t describe skipped by, the only recognizable bit the red caps that looked like some sort of uniform.

“What…who…” He gave up and tried again. “Are you people for real?”

“Real as rain,” Leary said. He marched Andrew to the largest office in the corner, signaling to a huge man-shaped brute with the right number of eyes in the wrong places. One was nearly in the center of the low forehead; the other, larger eye drifted close to a drooping ear. Its mouth hung open, flabby lips almost touching the hairy chest. Teeth filled its mouth. Big teeth.

—from “The End of the Rainbow” by Jason A. Adams

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

For my story “Under the Rainbow,” I wrote more about demi-gods. The mythological beings from a few different cultures. Leprechauns, yakshini, djinn, and so on. I chose these because they’re fun to play around with. If you look at such beings (and capital-g Gods) through the lens of the cultures that came up with them, they always reflect exaggerated aspects of that particular society. So what would they be like in the modern day and age? That’s the sort of what-if I love to dig into.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

My most recent story was a fun one about astronomers a few years down the road hunting for a certain space sedan that went missing. I’m not writing anything at the moment, and can’t say what I’ll write next. I never really know until I sit down and get started.

You’ve recently become a member of the Uncollected Anthology, a writing collective. Can you give us a sneak peak at what you’re writing for the next issue?

It’ll be something in the historical urban fantasy arena. I’m thinking I might play with a Western for this one.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

We’ll be seeing more of Andrew, Leary, Seema, and the others in the near future. Grab a shot of the Water of Life, get your dancing shoes on, and stay tuned for more!

About Jason A. Adams

Jason, a recovering Air Force brat who grew up all over the US and Japan, now perches in the mountains of Southwest Virginia with his beautiful wife Kari Kilgore, a few spoiled rotten house critters, and assorted wild visitors from the nearby forest. He writes across the spectrum. His stories include science fiction, fantasy, horror, Appalachian folk tales, romance, and other genres. Often blended together.

Find Jason A. Adams

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub ~ Amazon

Find Small Gods

Apple Books ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ PubShare ~ Universal Book Link

Small Gods Interview with Leah R. Cutter on “A Stitch in Time”

Leah R. Cutter’s “A Stitch in Time” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


As Viviane was merely a minor goddess of sewing machines, she didn’t have a real temple to inhabit. She didn’t have a set location either, in the living world, where worshipers came to her.

Instead, she lived in a huge warehouse full of sewing machines that was located in one of those between places, outside of life and time. When someone had need, Viviane went to them, not the other way around.

She didn’t really remember when she’d been alive and traveled through time sequentially as the living did, though she supposed she had, at one point. Possibly from a much earlier time, as the treadle and hand-cranked machines were her favorites.

Even though it was just a warehouse, because it housed a minor goddess, Viviane still called it her temple. It wasn’t much of a temple, though the high peaked ceiling did lend a certain wonderful stillness to the air.

As the warehouse wasn’t set in a single location, the windows that filled all four walls from floor to ceiling showed different landscapes every day, frequently reflecting whatever Vivian was feeling. Sometimes the view was a forest, rich and verdant, with happy birds singing and shy creatures peering out from under the trees. Sometimes the view was a desert, broad and empty, with impossibly blue skies. Mountains occasionally appeared, or lakes fed by burbling streams.

Never cities, or ruins, or people. No one came to see her. Viviane still did the best she could, despite being lonely now and again.

When the dawn came, Viviane woke from dreamless sleep on her four poster bed tucked into a corner and covered with magnificent quilts, then flowed over to where the machines stood waiting.

—from “A Stitch in Time” by Leah R. Cutter

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

I originally wrote this story for the Maze & Labyrinths issue of Uncollected Anthology. I couldn’t figure out how to write about a maze. Mazes have to be built.

Then I was looking at one of my machine-stitched quilts one day, and realized that the stitching pattern produced quite a lovely maze.

Which lead to my goddess of sewing machines, who would trap her enemy in a quilted maze. I also used the quote, “A stitch in time saves nine” which is talking about that last stitch that a shroud maker did, stitching the shroud to the dead body, and the nine pound weight at the bottom of the shroud that would sink the body into the depths.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I just started a new novel in the last couple of days. It’s a new SF universe series, all new characters, new tech, etc. The books will have multiple points of view. I just finished the first chapter with the main character. Part of the fun, at least for me, is discovering how voicy the character is. She has so many opinions, and quite frankly, much more of an edge to her than I’d realized when I was initially thinking about her.

And that’s a big part of the fun for me, making things up and discovering new things along the way.

Your author tag line is “Come someplace new.” Why did you choose this, and why is it important to you?

Years ago, someone at a workshop asked me why I wrote, and how I would describe myself.

Many of the writers in that workshop responded that they viewed themselves as entertainers. That never fit me. Instead, I described myself as your tour guide. I have experienced some weird things in my time, seen some strange sights. I also have some pretty strange things in my head. “Come someplace new” implies that you’re not going alone, I’m coming with you. I’m going to be exploring just as much as my reader it. It really encapsulates what I feel is my relationship with my readers.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

I have a new SF series, The Long Run series, starting with Project Nemesis. All of the books are available for preorder. I describe it as Leverage versus Star Trek. It’s all about the capers, and getting away with some of the best cons in the universe. While sticking it to the man.

About Leah

Leah Cutter writes page-turning, wildly imaginative fiction set in exotic locations, such as a magical New Orleans, the ancient Orient, rural Kentucky, Seattle, Minneapolis, and many others.

She writes fantasy, science fiction, mystery, literary, and horror fiction. Her short fiction has been published in magazines like “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine” and “Talebones”, anthologies like Fiction River, and on the web. Her long fiction has been published both by New York publishers as well as small presses.

Find Leah

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub ~ Amazon

Find Small Gods

Apple Books ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ PubShare ~ Universal Book Link

Small Gods Interview with Johanna Rothman on “When Harry Really Met Aggy”

Johanna Rothman’s “When Harry Really Met Aggy” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


Satisfied, Aggy Pink leaned back in her black ergonomic chair, checking her left and right large monitors.

She picked her hands up off her black ergonomic keyboard. She, the Security God, had struck again! Her script found that pesky hacker and cut him off at the proverbial knees. She picked her white mug with the words, Security Guard God, and took a sip of her now-tepid tea. She shuddered. Hot tea was good. Hot or iced coffee was good. Tepid tea was not just not good—it was downright bad.

Definitely nothing that a Security God would drink.

—from “When Harry Really Met Aggy” by Johanna Rothman

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

I wrote about “Security Gods” as in the technical people who keep corporate folks safe from external and bad-guy hackers.

From my perspective, there’s not much difference between the “good” hackers and the “bad” hackers—except for their choice of employers. I don’t even mean that in a cynical way. But, I continue to explore what makes people decide to work with the system and against the system.

People are just so interesting!

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

For fiction, I’m working on some capers, a form of a fun heist mystery. I wrote several stories for a workshop and they weren’t quite right. Now that I learned the form of this kind of story, I plan to redraft them this week. Maybe into next week.

For nonfiction, I’m finishing the Successful Independent Consulting book.

But here’s what’s fun. Since I want to keep writing fiction along with my nonfiction, I have a challenge that works for me: How many days this week can I write 1000 words each of fiction and nonfiction? I’m good at choosing one or the other. I want to be able to choose both. And I think differently with fiction vs. nonfiction, so that’s fun!

How do you integrate storytelling into your non-fiction books, and why?

I use a ton of stories in my nonfiction. First, because people like to read about other people. Second, because the story creates the context. People can read about that context and ask themselves what’s different and what’s similar? What can I, as a reader, do with this information?

But even more important, writing these stories tells me what I learned. Nonfiction writers think and learn as they write. In my fiction, I cycle back in the story to place a piece of equipment or a person where I need it. In nonfiction, I cycle on the ideas so I clarify what I learned to me first, and then to my reader.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

I have a short nonfiction book coming out soon: Free Your Inner Nonfiction Writer. That’s a book about how to write nonfiction so you edit last, not as you go. I’m working on the cover, so “soon.”

About Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman writes about smart people. Sometimes, those people seek out trouble. Sometimes, trouble finds them. Regardless of how trouble arrives, these characters find solutions. In addition to her short story collections, she has published short stories in Blaze Ward Presents, Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, Fiction River, and Heart’s Kiss.

Johanna has published nineteen nonfiction books about many forms of management. Because managers need a sense of humor, Johanna incorporates humor—not just practicality—into her nonfiction.

Find Johanna Rothman

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub ~ Amazon

Find Small Gods

Apple Books ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ PubShare ~ Universal Book Link

Small Gods Interview with Mary Jo Rabe on “The Gods of the Black Forest”

Mary Jo Rabe’s “The Gods of the Black Forest” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


Dobel, the disgruntled god of the Hohfelsendobelbach brook had had enough. He might only be a minor god, but he didn’t have to endure every unpleasantness his environment had to offer. The water in his brookbed splashed angrily over its banks.

Without giving it another thought, he gurgled a lament to his colleagues. All of them were minor gods residing in the streams flowing down from the steep mountains of the southern Black Forest into the Dreisam River in Freiburg and from there onward to the Rhine River.

They existed as individual gods in the brooks but also occasionally joined together in a meditation cloud above the brooks to increase their combined powers. Here tired gods could absorb the extra energy the others had available. In this meditative cloud state they were sheltered from the distractions of the mortal world.

They all took their individual power from the energy in the moving water, the fragrant air blowing around the trees, and the pressure the rocks and boulders exerted on each other on both sides of the narrow gorge called the “Höllental”.

However, today even the bright sun sending down welcome, sharp shadows into the narrow gorge couldn’t improve Dobel’s mood. He was mad.

—from “The Gods of the Black Forest” by Mary Jo Rabe

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

I live in Neustadt, right in the middle of the Black Forest of Germany. Freiburg, a university town with many similarities to Madison, Wisconsin, its sister city, is on the western edge. To get from Freiburg to Neustadt up through the narrow Höllental (Hell Valley) with high mountains on each side, you can either take the Höllental train or drive through the crowded, mostly two-lane, occasionally three-lane, B31 federal highway, also infamous/notorious as the “Madrid-Moscow Express” due to its intense truck traffic. My “gods” are the minor deities living in the many brooks and streams that flow down the mountains of the Black Forest through the Höllental along the B31 to the Dreisam River in Freiburg.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’m still writing mostly short stories with occasional poems. What’s fun is seeing a crazy idea in some science report and then wondering if I could make a story out of it.

You grew up in the U.S., and have lived in Germany for a very long time. How has this impacted your writing?

I grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa and went to school in a small town (then 450 inhabitants, now about 200) where the 1960’s for all practical purposes didn’t take place. There was a smooth transition from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. The firm belief there was that things weren’t great, but would always stay the same. School was infuriating. Girls had to wear dresses/skirts with blouses, and were only allowed to wear slacks under their dresses during cold winter days but had to remove them as soon as they got into the building. The home ec teacher constantly warned that girls who wore tops with polka-dots along with striped skirts would be considered low class, etc. The superintendent of a neighboring school proudly proclaimed that if he had to eliminate chemistry or basketball due to financial constraints, he wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate chemistry because the whole community benefited from basketball games while chemistry was only of interest to a few eggheads who would go off to college and never return.

I fled to college at Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan, and participated in their Junior Year in Freiburg program (at the age of 20, back in 1971) where I met Franz. I returned to MSU to finish my degree in German and math, then, thanks to the kindness of strangers (a long story), managed to get a job in the chancery office archives for a year while Franz completed enough courses to apply for and receive a Fulbright scholarship to the U.S. We got married in Sabula, Iowa, in 1974 and went to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I got my library science degree and Franz a masters in geography.

We returned to Freiburg in 1976. In the meantime, my old boss in the archives, who turned out to be the greatest boss ever, was charged with starting a library there, and he got me a job (another long story). I stayed at this library, first called the chancery office library and then the archdiocesan library, until December of 2016 when I retired, overjoyed that I could hand over my users to my extremely capable and conscientious successor who had been my student help in the library for the previous six years.

In 1980 we moved to Neustadt when Franz completed his degree in English and geography at the University of Freiburg and got a teaching job in Donaueschingen. Neustadt was exactly halfway between Freiburg and Donaueschingen. “Donau” is the German name for the Danube, and Donaueschingen claims to be where the Danube begins. (It is actually the location of the confluence of two rivers, the Brigach and the Breg which then flow together to form the Danube).

I discovered my love of science fiction in Milwaukee but didn’t really start writing until 2001. Fortunately, I started reading the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith around 2009 which helped me deal with my (still strong) imposter syndrome.

Naturally, people often ask me to compare living in the U.S. and in Germany. The only honest answer continues to be “On the one hand, on the other hand …” My experience has been that living for a long time in a foreign country makes you skeptical about the way things “have to be”. Actually, there are always options, other possibilities. Successful societies where people live good lives tend to be flexible. Both Germany and the United States could use more flexibility, though in varying areas.

What impacted and impacts my writing the most are the people I have met and the settings I have experienced in the past 71 years. I have had the privilege of getting to know so many good and kind people throughout the years. Their numbers make the assholes easier to endure.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

Kate Wilhelm’s book, Storyteller, musings about the Clarion workshops, was comforting for me. She wrote that there were two kinds of writers, storytellers and wordsmiths, and that Clarion tried to help both. I realize that it is better to be a storyteller, but deep down, at the level of unconscious instinct, I tend to be a wordsmith. So, I keep working on my storytelling skills.

I tend to write mostly science fiction, since that’s what I love to read, with occasional fantasy and historical fiction. So far I have let other people (kind editors of magazines, anthologies) do the hard work of publishing my stories, which are generally, but not always, feel-good, with happy endings. My feeling is that if you want to think about depressing things, you can watch the news. I happen to like fiction that is upbeat and entertaining, but of course everyone else’s preferences will vary.

About Mary Jo Rabe

Mary Jo Rabe grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa, got degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she became a science fiction writer and fan. She worked in the library of the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany, for 41 years and retired to Titisee-Neustadt, Germany.

Find Mary Jo Rabe

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub ~ Amazon

Find Small Gods

Apple Books ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ PubShare ~ Universal Book Link

Small Gods Interview with Blaze Ward on “Power”

Blaze Ward’s “Power” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


“What’s the catch?” he asked.

There was always a catch. Every hint of magic or power he’d ever encountered had suggested that the limits were often hard and rude. Even for gods, which just suggested to Gunderson from time to time more powerful pantheons, even more remote.

Maybe you eventually got to the Christian God. Or Thoth. Odin. Somebody up there in charge.

Hopefully, they wouldn’t bother with a little guy like him.

“The power is bound into an item, Gunderson,” she said in a dark tone now. “It gives the holder power over me.”

He couldn’t help the eyebrow that went up at that.

“And we’re going to bring that back into the world?” he asked raggedly.

—from “Power” by Blaze Ward

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

Anacapa, a Goddess of the Chumash Tribe that lived in the Los Angeles basin before the colonists came. It’s a Gunderson Case File (#8) so a Hardboiled PI set in 1955 where all things are possible, from historic fantasy to aliens. If you have cash, Gunderson can solve your case.

In this case, I wanted to explore the history of Los Angeles, and how the Spanish colonized Alto California. Unfortunately, it involved getting about as close to a genocide as you could, because the Mission system was set up to destroy all native culture and any natives that refused to convert. One of the stats I saw suggested that by the dawn of the 20th Century, the Chumash had been reduced to less than a few hundred survivors, with a lot of folks that had crossed over. I have wondered if losing the Mexican-American War allowed some of these tribes to survive.

In Gunderson’s case, he has to deal with a dead necromancer (not a typo) in order to help a woman from the tribe who wants to save it. And gets tangled up with the goddess herself, quietly helping on the sides because Gunderson will save or destroy her.

All the awesome messiness of a Gunderson case, with him and his take on ethics, which is a recurring theme in my writing.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

Working on a Space Western series that will come out early next year. Just finished Novella #5 today, with all of them written like episodes of a television show. I drew inspiration from a couple of places, but that’s Episode One, then I went off on new tangents. First Readers have had great things to say about it, and I get to write some light and fun stuff, after finishing an epic space opera in the second book in Kincaide’s War: Vehicles of Epiphany.

Also working on some thriller/action-adventure stuff for a project next year. Not starting a new pen name, but I’ve been doing a lot of stuff in that genre and intend to drop it all in Feb 2023.

Tell us about Blaze Ward Presents! How did you come up with the idea of this series, and what do you most enjoy about it?

BWP started out with the above diagram. Moles. I was teasing some folks and one of them suggested we do an anthology based entirely around the idea of moles. He was kidding. I wasn’t. Even reminded him a few times, but he chose not to submit (was in a later issue).

And we were off. The goal here is that by doing royalty share, I can pay everybody equally, and accept all manner of stuff instead of just manuscripts. We’ve had graphic novels. A couple of folks have written musical scores. Art. Poetry.

Whatever can convey the theme.

Originally, they were twice a year, but right now I am doing them in the spring. Submissions will open April 1. Stories due April 30. Published on June 1. Not a lot of time for folks to screw around, but I’m working with pros that think having a whole month to write a story is utter decadence.

We have also started doing occasional special editions in the fall, with an open call for “After The Fall” running right now. (Deadline June 30. Pub Oct 1 so I have more time and folks have had several months to work with. Different cast, usually.)

For me, the best part has been that at least four people have told me that I was their first “professional” publication (in quotes because we’re not paying pro rates, but I treat them like professionals and hopefully train them how to act like it with the next editor.

And there have been some utterly amazing stories. I got three in Small Gods that would be contenders for awards, except that fantasy requires pro rates to quality. Grant, Jones, and Broughton all knocked it out of the park.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

Blaze Ward Presents – Weird
Boundary Shock Quarterly – Science Fiction
Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem – Mystery
Cutter’s Final Cut – Themed

About Blaze Ward

Blaze Ward writes science fiction in the Alexandria Station universe (Jessica Keller, The Science Officer, The Story Road, etc.) as well as several other science fiction universes, such as Star Dragon, the Dominion, and more. He occasionally writes odd bits of high fantasy with swords and orcs. In addition, he is the Editor and Publisher of Boundary Shock Quarterly Magazine. You can find out more at his website, as well as Facebook, Goodreads, and other places.

Blaze’s works are available as ebooks, paper, and audio, and can be found at a variety of online vendors (Kobo, Amazon, and others). His newsletter comes out twice a month (Publishing newsletter and Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef newsletter), and you can also follow his blog on his website. He really enjoys interacting with fans, and looks forward to any and all questions—even ones about his books!

Find Blaze Ward

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Patreon ~ Amazon ~ Blaze Ward Presents

Find Small Gods

Apple Books ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ PubShare ~ Universal Book Link