This week my short story “Of Stench & Sisters” came out with Menacing Hedge’s Winter 2020 issue. This story is about a deadly illness that sweeps over a farm, leaving two young girls alone to deal with the effects of unburied decomposition. I wrote the first bits of this story one summer while a deer was decomposing on the street by my mailbox in the July heat. The smell was oppressive, and while I was dealing with it one night, I asked myself, “How could this situation be worse?” One of the rabbit trails my brain went down produced this story. Given the subject matter, it’s a bit of a grisly tale, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
Some other great pieces I’d recommend checking out in the issue include a pair of vastly different, but equally interesting, relationship stories—Jack King’s “Teegarden’s Star” and Kelle Schillaci Clarke’s “Me, Only Better”—as well as Katherine Fallon’s two poems on our multiplicities of selves (“my ordinary self” vs. “my extra-ordinary self”) and Eli Karren’s wry and reflective “Townie” poems (there are many lines I love in these).
In other news, another one of my stories, “Country Crypt,” won first prize in the 2019 Bucks County Short Fiction Contest last month. The judge, novelist Kelly Simmons, described the story as “…a gorgeously vibrant portrait of grief and dread [that] offers the reader abundant tension and story questions throughout…” and praised the “terrific opening paragraph [that] features a vivid description of the room and its dusty wonders, utilizing wonderful metaphors—like the desk drawer’s underbite—to make the home come quite literally alive.” (Yay—and thank you!) You can read more about the contest here.