stories in and

Daylight Chasers by Rue Sparks

"I wish this day would never end" - One heart's desire leads to a tumultuous journey for an unlikely pair. Keenan, a guide at Daylight Chasers, is hired to lead Isabella through a day that "nearly" never ends. As the top agent, he excels at calming the excitable and inspiring the timid, as they journey across the globe one time zone at a time. Despite his years of experience, Keenan soon realizes that he is going to need a lot more than his familiar script when it comes to Isabella's expedition. When the planned activities all start going south, Keenan finds himself struggling to respond to Isabella's mercurial moods. With each adventure sending them further from the planned path, Keenan begins to wonder how can he be the guide when even he is feeling lost? This short story is a modern fable on mortality, bravery, and acceptance. ---- Content Warning: This book covers the many nuanced emotions surrounding death and loss.


The PoArtMo Anthology: Volume 3 by Azelle Elric, Meaghan Beatty, David Ellis, and Cendrine Marrouat.

Welcome to Volume 3 of "The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology"! This collection of positive and uplifting works has been created in response to PoArtMo, a year-long movement launched in 2020 by Auroras & Blossoms. PoArtMo stands for “Positive Actions Rally Thoughts & Momentum.” The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology: Volume 3 features a variety of different works by four contributors: Azelle Elric (drawings), Meaghan Beatty (essays), Cendrine Marrouat (poetry), and David Ellis (poetry).


The Galactic Culinary Society: The Secrets of Umami by D.R. Schoel

Edible Sonnets? Digestible Poetry? Whoever heard of such a thing? Jeane Oberon, Intergalactic Chef Hunter, that’s who! And if Jeane doesn’t unravel the secrets of the Esculent Sonnets of Umami first, her dastardly Greelon rival just might… and the Galaxy would be in a real pickle then, wouldn’t it?


Purgatory: A Tall Tales Story by Tim McLaughlin

A retired police officer takes a bus and finds himself trapped in a recollection of things he wanted to leave behind.


Winter Chills by D.B. Carter, Derek R. King, S.J. Lomas, Natalie Reeves-Billing

In the spirit of seasonal ghost stories, this wintry collection will send a tingle down your spine, but may also warm your heart. Six short stories range from waiting for a mysterious midnight train, attending a party with an unexpected guest, a life-changing reunion for a miserable family, receiving a holiday greeting unlike any other, a visit from an unusual group of carolers, and a journey through a blizzard with a twist. Grab a blanket, your favorite hot drink, and settle in for some Winter Chills. Stories included: By D.B. Carter: Departures and Arrivals The Christmas Card By Derek R. King: Defying Convention By S.J. Lomas: The Holiday Party The Carolers By Natalie Reeves-Billing: Go With the Wind


Sibling Rivalry, A Short Story by Anthony Francis

"A great choice for anyone who loves science fiction that asks hard questions about sentience and what it really means to make ethical choices." - Long and Short Reviews Nick Walker is the world's best designer of artificial intelligences, and today was supposed to be the pinnacle of his career: the field test of his greatest creation Nickolai. But now Nickolai is destroyed, its entire development team is dead and Nick's on the run, trapped in a deadly battle of wits with his previous creation, Nicole, a cold and devious artificial intelligence who has decided the last thing she wants in this world ... is a sibling.


Mother Figures by Amy Barnes

Amy Barnes has a knack for what Jennifer Pieroni has called “smart surprise”. Each of these mother/daughter stories grabs the attention with its first sentence then continues to wrongfoot the reader willfully as it proceeds. The stories are focused, lean, yet packed with unexpected details – stigmata, plastic eyes, industrial bras, a watermelon called Trudy, vulture balloons. Barnes has a voice that is entirely her own. ―Michael Loveday author of Three Men on the Edge From the first sentence of each story in Mother Figures, Amy Barnes entraps us and stuns, taking us into a variety of worlds, strange and surreal—we embark on a journey involving distorted familial relationships, and through these contorted realities, there is a booming thread of truth, mirroring our need for love and friendship. Magically entertaining, Barnes is on the forefront of breaking barriers in the craft of flash fiction. ―Shome Dasgupta author of Mute Mother Figures both elevates and devastates. In twenty-three tiny stories, Amy Barnes explores the oft-searing complexities of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships through a funhouse lens of pop culture, religion and artifact. Each story is a tightly-woven portrait that exposes our most intimate relational fissures with surprising language and a playfulness that punches to the emotional core. ―Sara Hills author of The Evolution of Birds Reading Mother Figures feels like lifting a band-aid: sharp, ugly, and vulnerable, but tender too: and after, relief: you feel as though the new light and air will heal you. ―Meagan Lucas author of Songbirds and Stray Dogs, and editor, Reckon Review In ‘Mother Figures’ Amy Barnes explores the subtle complexities of female relationships. Each story, steeped in rich detail and nestled between the real and the surreal, will pull you in and keep hold of you long after you’ve finished reading it. An absolute delight. ―Laura Besley author of The Almost Mothers and 100neHundred


Ambrotypes by Amy Cipolla Barnes

We are all slightly askew,” says one of the characters in this delightful and moving collection of innovative stories that bend, at times, toward allegory. Here's a vintage world of cigarette vending machines, Jazzercise, Sears photography studios, McNally road maps, full-service filling stations, and Green Stamps dish sets, a world where a sister with sugar for shoes who desires an octopus lover, giraffes who give funeral eulogies, a student with a backpack wormhole that houses Einstein, and a woman who places a want ad to see if someone has found her name—all highlight our humanity, its losses and its longings, and in moments, the last times we don’t know are the last times. I loved these stories.” — Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir “Read this collection slowly. Each of these stories unfolds like a palimpsest of images you'll want to spend time unpacking. At the heart of Barnes' prose are the intricacies of human relationships made technicolor by magic realism and the author's expansive imagination.” — Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins “No one aces the first sentence test quite like Amy Cipolla Barnes. Every story in her whimsical debut begins with a zing. With irresistible openers like: "There’s a beach ball in the apartment toilet," "I knew what I was doing when I swallowed the glass piano," "My great grandmother hung the moon," and "My third baby was born an alligator," how can we not keep reading? These may be AMBROTYPES, but Barnes writes in living, breathing color to bring us captivating, quirky family snapshots that engage faith, myth, fairy tale, and a little magic. For all the absurdist delight, there's no shortage of heartache or truth: "I prayed hard that my plastic Jesus would find my daddy either real pants or a job; It felt like too much to ask for both." Barnes is adept at rendering the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar in these sharply observed slices of life that never fail to snap, crackle, and pop.” — Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace “Nothing can really prepare you for the people you'll encounter in Amy Barnes's Ambrotypes: little girls with feet made of sugar; alligator babies; wives who grow feathers; fathers made of origami. These stories are surprising, wholly original, and go down easy -- the perfect reading for our current reality.” — Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and The Mermaid of Brooklyn


Impress of the Seventh Surge by Jessica Mae Stover

In an outbreak everyone must make choices. What will yours be? With the definitive American pandemic accounting still pending, it’s trailblazing scifi author Jessica Mae Stover who brings the receipts and then sets them aflame in Impress of the Seventh Surge, a novella about a conscientious pandemic evacuee working to free the next victims of a mysterious virus. Familiar and otherworldly, explosive with originality and utterly unconventional, coated in the residue of rage and the red tinge of fever dreams, Impress of the Seventh Surge is a plunge into near-future social bonds, technology, law, love and fascism; a profound story about justice, psychic AIs, and rising body counts that demolishes the borders between literature and technology. In these electric pages Stover ingeniously devises the next evolution in cyberpunk fiction. With her trademark “deep point-of-view” that pierces the veil between reader and character, impressionistic and startling prose, and the surreality of a video game, every twist of phrase in Seventh Surge is a knifing reminder that Stover’s experimental framing is, in fact, all too real. Impress of the Seventh Surge is an astounding work of gravity and furious speculative fiction — a scifi “what if” that doesn’t ask what would you do? but instead demands to know what you will do.


Challenger by Jaxon Lee Rose

Siggy Smith is an immigrant, a wife, a mother, a soldier, and a shapeshifter. She served in special forces, did her job well, and was honourably discharged so she could start her family. Today, she is a confessed killer convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to liquidation. Aberrants don't have the luxury of sitting in prison for years awaiting their final sentence and making appeals. Aberrants sentenced to liquidation are terminated quickly, efficiently, and brutally. Siggy Smith has accepted her fate, welcomes it, and while she sits in shackles waiting for her time to come, she's visited by a government official who offers her the chance to wipe her record clean. An unprecedented move that could not only grant her freedom, but possibly change laws for future Aberrants. The deal? Serve five years on a new, elite, experimental military squadron tasked with hunting down and killing the monsters and threats deemed too dangerous for standard military to face both on and off U.S soil. Chances are she won't live long enough to enjoy her freedom when the contract is up, but whatever happens before then will be far more interesting than being dismembered and incinerated in a public execution.


The Stars Will Guide Us Back by Rue Sparks

The special ability of a jellyfish may be one man's only hope to save his husband. In a world where the gods have returned, their only folly was not expecting humanity to fight back. When trauma disconnects someone's soul from their body, one person has the ability to reunite them. A family gift of reading the spirits in flames has taken everything from her, but can it give her everything she needs? In The Stars Will Guide Us Back, thirteen short stories encapsulating the elements of speculative fiction and magical realism travel the themes of mental health, loss, mortality, self-confidence, and finding hope through difficult circumstances. Explore the immersive worlds within, along with a range of peculiar, distinct, and queer characters. Sometimes confidence comes from knowing we have no other choice, and the ones who rescue us come from the strangest places. Dark and light collide in this collection that highlights the liminal spaces of the human experience. --- Content Warnings: Apocalypse/End of the World Scenario Brief Mentions of Toxic Masculinity Depression & Anxiety Cosmic Events Domestic Violence (Off-screen/Implied) Gaslighting Grief & Loss Homophobia (Verbal) Mentions of Unsupportive Parenting Terminal Illness


We All Have Our Demons by Gerrard Tyson

Frok is a demon who thinks his smarts are his ticket out of Hell. In 1992, Akuma is the president of her college goth club (but don't call it goth club. That's so lame!) Evan is the mysterious stranger who has a secret to share with Akuma and her friends. Is the secret that he's a psycho? The book is funny, sexy, and spooky, but it’s not horror or romance, and it’s not for children, it’s for very childish adults.


Twelfth Moon by Halli Starling

Elsie’s a small town with a lot of heart. Isn’t that how most small town romance stories begin? But this isn’t any love story. These five stories cross paths and connections, age, gender, sexuality, and different kinds of relationships. Stories like that of Harriet, the owner of Twelfth Moon perfumery and adopted mother to her nephew, Nu. Harriet always figured she’d be single for the rest of her life, but Dela Atwater appearing in her shop one blustery autumn day sparks something within her. A bit of romance and longing she’d long thought buried. And what about Nu, Harriet’s nephew? He’s quickly falling for Miles, who works in the coffee shop next door to Twelfth Moon. The shop is owned by Miles’s brother, Jones, who has his own ideas about sex and lust and romance (or lack thereof). Across town, Maeve is learning how to exist as a widower but when they meet Evie, a spark is lit. And Yuri, Nu’s best friend, is anxiously awaiting the holidays so he can see his girlfriend, Beckett, once more. It's about hope and joy and queer love in so many shapes and forms, from the author of the dark fantasy/romance novel Wilderwood ("...will shatter readers’ expectations with its bewitching complexities..." - The BookLife Prize).


Tall Tales: Volume One by Tim McLaughlin

Father Benedict de Monte has been assigned to gather information on a small cult in America. He quickly learns, however, that the scope of the cult has been greatly underestimated. John Matteson's vacation to Chicago takes a turn when he meets Jackie Veracruz and a ghost woman who has been waiting for him. Will they be able to help her find peace before she endangers everyone they know?


The Blind Guides: A Tall Tales Story by Tim McLaughlin

A standalone short story that was originally available as convention swag in 2021, "The Blind Guides" introduces a group of WWII vets who find themselves uncomfortable with civilian life and head out for a cross-country road trip; but what they discover in the Utah desert changes their lives forever.


Tall Tales: Volume Two by Tim McLaughlin

With the consequences from Volume One still reverberating in their lives, the cast of Tall Tales must face growing challenges in their own way. Jackie's trust for Hecate wanes as she learns more about her divine patron's intentions. Benedict and Akshainie's crusade against the Brood of Nachash brings them into contact with Matteson, who is dealing with significant changes to the people in his life. But when lives are on the line, the group must decide what risks they're willing to take to stop the cult once and for all.


What Mattered Most by Quill Holland

At the end of the world, you must choose: survive and succeed or make peace with your failure – which will it be? A.R.C Project Rebirth: a simple mission to outlive and outlast an inhospitable Earth and repopulate it once it has recovered. Yet, for Chloe, a cyborg member of the project, the operation is anything but simple. Extending well beyond its original completion date and with no signs of recovery, Chloe spends her days living in the past, avoiding her hot, dry, and barren reality, just waiting on the world to change. When events take a sudden and disastrous turn for the worst, Chloe must compete against herself, her fellow project members, and even time itself, to keep herself and her precious cargo alive; humanity’s fate depends on it. Faced with the possibility of not surviving, Chloe must reconcile between her past and present to decide – what mattered most?


The Last of Her Kind by Quill Holland

What would it feel like, to be the last? She is alone and on the run: from whom, she doesn’t know – it could be any one of the many alien travellers moving through the crowded spaceport. All she wants is to go unobserved and to continue living. But when an alien xenologist spots her, he sees the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to speak with a surviving member of the Rav’ian race, and he is driven to engage with her – but she doesn’t want to be engaged with. For both the observed and the observer know the same, terrible truth: that she is the last of her kind!


Hurricanes 2007 by Darío Aguilar Peregrina

A long time ago, a meteorite fell in the middle of a hurricane killing several researchers from the National Hurricane Center, swallowing up the entire storm. While investigating the incident, scientists experimented with the remains of the space rock, discovering that it had the capacity to manipulate the hurricanes or any other natural phenomenon, including the earth's subsurface, being these reasons why the project was titled "Hurricanes 2007". Subsequently, a highly gifted mercenary called Katrina Fernandez, popularly known in her country as "Hurricane Katrina," heard that there was a reward for stealing the project, but in doing so and being surrounded by police, decided to commit suicide.... 10 years later, the Doctor Dominic Carson Phoenix, who was a member of the project, kept a complete sample finding that it had healing powers and after suffering an accident with his wife and daughter, dying the former, Dominic decided to inject the entire substance to his little girl named Darcy Ember Phoenix, who miraculously recovered from all her injuries ... Meanwhile, in the country known as Mexico, a young lesbian navy cadet called Rio Pedroza was fighting every day for a better nation that lately was filled with corruption, violence, unemployment and crime. But when one day she was called to bring help to the Drayson Martle Harbor, things would change... A story filled with violence, darkness, hope, solidarity and love would begin…


Narmer and the God Beast by JD Weber

“Had I anything in my heart but hate for my brother and pity for myself . . . I may have suspected I was about to meet a god.” Broken and bleeding into the cool Nile waters – shattered by his brother’s cruelty – young Narmer pays the crocodile no heed as it enters the stream. Let it come. But the hunter swims on, and only then does Narmer know its aim, the defenseless god-beast drinking and playing up-river. Dinosaurs will again roam the desert sands, uniting the disparate Two Lands into one great Egypt, if Narmer can drive off the crocodile, if he can endure his brother’s malice. If he can save this sacred creature and be saved by it . . .


Toadstones by Eric Williams

Sixteen stories from the Bowels of Hell. You can’t chear death, but death can still cheat you. Gods are real. Monters too. Like sheepoids, creepoids, and landlords. Take the ghost bus to a showing of a haunted film; it really is to die for. Keep your distance from the uncanny residents of a picturesque wasteland. If you forget your wallet at some sketchy jobsite in the middle of nowhere, just leave it. Some things are better lost. Stepped in the history of Time, Earth, and B-Movies, Eric Williams creates worlds where nothing is what it seems, and be you graverobber, podcaster, or small-town veterinarian, there are no magic charms to protect you. A collection where Weird is the norm, where the unreal is all too real, Toadstones is a reminder that we don’t know everything, actually.


Light Beyond the Glass by K. J. Harrowick

Jàden's on the run from Enforcers with only one shot to flee to the stars with the man she loves. But between the surface of the moon and starship Hàlon is a predator on the hunt.... one she can't seem to escape.


I Am Not Brad Pitt and Other Stories by Ross Dreiblatt

I AM NOT BRAD PITT is the first of three riotously absurd tales in Ross Dreiblatt’s debut short-story collection sending up America’s sometimes-fatal celebrity obsessions. “I Am Not Brad Pitt” opens in a prison cell in which Mr. Pitt’s clone-like doppelganger, Tobey Crawford, remorsefully recounts the sequence of unlikely events that resulted in his wrongful conviction for murder. The second story, “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself,” considers the possibility that Keith Richards (along with, for good measure, Dolly Parton) is, indeed, a vampire. Nobel-Prize laureate Bob Dylan, the story’s vampire-killer, is equipped with more than just a harmonica and tambourine. The final work in the collection, “Keeping Compliant With The Kardashians,” examines whether Kardashian family members are, in fact, aliens from another galaxy and what precisely is their interest on Earth. Each of the stories are told with engaging humor, and each pokes fun more at American culture than they do, generally, of the celebrities themselves.


Pretend to read this book to avoid talking to strangers by Cassie Bailey

Description ‘Pretend to read this book to avoid talking to strangers’ is the new e-book by Cassie Bailey. Six short stories explore love, loneliness, and the human search for connection. ABOUT THIS BOOK: We all seek to belong somewhere. But what does it mean to really feel that sense of belonging? To feel truly connected – to our Earth, and to each other? Wires doesn’t mind being alone when the world ends, but she’d rather be with the girl she loves. Sharon connects with others through her daydreams, even when she can’t talk to them in person. Kelly and Adam seek connection through their art, but is it at the expense of their relationship? And somewhere, deep at the bottom of the ocean, a woman speaks to the sea and stars, as they help her remember where she belongs. Each tale was written at a different point in the author’s 20s, and the scattered but reflective story structures explore the inner workings of her neurodiverse brain. At times humorous, other times devastating, this debut collection fuses poignant poetry and open dialogue. ‘Pretend to read…’ will leave you thinking a little deeper about how the human mind experiences and searches for connection. 24,968 words ADVANCED READER REVIEW: ‘From the moment I began reading dizzy & wires, I was awed by Cassie’s ability to turn her heartfelt thoughts into poetry. Her neurodiverse brain is an absolute gift and the magic, depth, and originality she produces within these pages is a thing to behold. Raw, vulnerable, at times quirky and at other times thought-provoking, these short stories are the kind you’ll want to come back to again and again and you’ll keep discovering fresh delights you missed the first time around.’


© 2022 Hakea Media | Terms | Privacy