Category Archives: publication news

“Red Light 262” in Prairie Fire

My short story “Red Light 262” is featured in the new winter issue of Prairie Fire, an award-winning Canadian journal published in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Prairie Fire has been publishing imaginative, provocative, exceptional, worthwhile writing for over 37 years, making it one of Canada’s oldest literary magazines.”

The idea for this story came to me on a camping trip to Arrowhead Provincial Park, near Huntsville, Ontario. “Red Light 262” was originally set in a provincial park but was moved to Grand Haven, Michigan in later revisions. I was also inspired by my Big Rig Adventure, travelling to California and back through fifteen states.

“Red Light 262” Excerpt

Moans escaped through the mesh windows—his and hers—but couldn’t be heard by nearby campers above the gurgling and gargling of the waste truck, sucking sludge from of the outhouse up the hill. It was early June, my first-night foray into campground prostitution.

Across the highway from the campground’s main gates was Lola’s, where miscreants, campers, and fishermen gathered. Al owned the bar, as well as five cabins that ran alongside, edging the river behind. I talked a couple of waitresses and one housekeeper into working for me on the side. Most of the johns came through Al. He could spot the kind of guy—The Lonesome Larrys, he called them—who might be interested. I too became adept at spotting potential clients. When there was a lull in business, I’d walk down to the main beach, find frat boys playing Frisbee or single dads watching their kids swim. I turned a few away, telling them that just because they were paying for a service didn’t mean a woman was going to suck a cock that hadn’t been washed in three days—swimming didn’t count.

Note: this story had fifteen rejections from literary magazines and journals before finding a home on the prairie—a reminder of the importance of patience, perseverance, and the belief in one’s work.

“Red Light 262” is included in my untitled second collection of short fiction. My first, Men and the Drink, is under consideration at several publishers.

Prairie Fire can be found in the magazine section of Indigo and in some independent bookstores.

“A Polite Woman” in Cosmonauts Avenue

My short story “A Polite Woman” appears in Cosmonauts AvenueThis story had twenty-four rejections before being accepted at this monthly literary magazine from Montreal.

The story begins…

“Marla was a polite woman. If a man wanted to sleep with her she never refused. With each new man, she adopted a cat—Fluffers McGee for John, Marion for Paul, Tiddlemouse for Richard, and so on. Her planner became full of daily romps, so too her house with felines.”
“A Polite Woman” is included in my first short story collection, Men and the Drink, which is under consideration at several publishers. Nineteen of the twenty-two stories in the collection have been published in literary journals and magazines in North America and the UK.

Follow Cosmonauts Avenue on Twitter @CosmoAvenue.

“Walking Past” in The Nottingham Review

My short story “Walking Past” appears in Issue 3 of The Nottingham Review This story had fifteen rejections before being accepted at this British digital literary journal. I love the cover photograph “Three girls in kitchen” by William Gedney.

“Walking Past” excerpt:

“There is a curious woman in my neighbourhood. She appeared two months ago and strolls around the building that sits on the corner of my block. Every morning I see her walking past on my way to the streetcar stop and again after work. Around and around she goes. I’ve never seen her in any of the stores the building houses—the grocery, the post office, the pharmacy, or the coffee shop. Sometimes she stands, staring into space when I pass. She doesn’t seem to notice me, or that I notice her—two invisibles.
She wears the same thing most days—an olive-coloured three-tiered skirt, an over-sized brown leather jacket, and weathered cowboy boots. I imagine a nice body under her many layers. Her straight blonde hair is well past her shoulders. And her skin is tanned with freckles, natural, not one of those fake carroty rub-ons.”
“Walking Past” is included in my first short story collection, Men and the Drink, which is under consideration at several publishers. 

Follow The Nottingham Review on Twitter

“Disconnect” in Necessary Fiction

My short story “Disconnect” is up at Necessary Fiction. After seventeen rejections, this story finally found a home at this webjournal published in Boston. 

Inspirations include my time working as a nanny, struggles with insomnia, and Trinity-Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Here is the opening excerpt:

“Disconnect” was written many years ago and is included in my first short story collection, Men and the Drink, which is currently under consideration at a few publishers. Here’s a cover I designed for fun…

Links to my online short stories

“Separated” in The Antigonish Review

My short story “Separated” is featured in the latest issue of The Antigonish Review, published at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

“Separated” is the third story in a trilogy that appears in my first collection, Men and the Drink. Part one, “20 Grit”, was published in Front & Centre #22. “Crappy Little Job” is the second story.

“Separated” Excerpt:

“With no cuts or scrapes to solve the mystery of my injury, I surf the web for information.

Dislocations, rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, bursitis . . . I stop at separated shoulder – the junction of the clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade), and humerus (arm bone) is disrupted. It is usually the result of a sudden traumatic event. Pain is severe at the time of injury. Alcohol’s oblivion spared me this. A small bump appears over the injury. I stand square in front of the mirror and see the protrusion. Separations are graded one through six, six being the worst.

Throbbing intensifies, and I wake nightly when inadvertently rolling onto my right side. By Sunday I concede the need for medical attention—a trek to the local emergency room in the morning.

No visible war wounds from the small mass gathered here today.”

Note: this story had thirteen rejections from literary magazines and journals before finding a home on the east coast… a reminder of the importance of patience, perseverance, and the belief in one’s own work.

The Antigonish Review can be found in the magazine section of Indigo and some independent bookstores. 

“Between the Pines” in Paragon

My short story “Between the Pines” appears in the current issue of Paragon, published at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

This story takes place in Ottawa and was inspired in part by neighbourhoods Glen Cairn and the Byward Market, as well as my experience working in childcare. “Between the Pines” is included in my first collection, Men and the Drink.


“Pinky is relieved, along with her students, when the bell rings at lunch. She walks five blocks to her retreat, a long narrow park that edges the Ottawa River. It’s quiet contrast to classroom chaos is soothing. She strolls along the stretch of green until she comes upon the two large Austrian pines. She sits between them on a blanket of brown needles.

The pines are similar to those that dominated her front lawn when she was a child. Although the two trees started off as saplings, one had trouble keeping up with the other. Every Christmas, Pinky would hang heavy loops of blue and green lights on her wrists and unwind them slowly for her dad. Eventually he needed a ladder to reach the tops. Her cat Tommy would often climb them and meow. She wanted her dad to rescue him, but he always said that the cat was fine, that Tommy liked to be in the trees because he felt safe.”

Thank you to the editors at Paragon Press for accepting my story.

A reminder of the importance of perseverance… “Between the Pines” was rejected thirteen times before finding a home on the East Coast.

“Derry Daring Rides” in The Loose Canon

My short story “Derry Daring Rides” can be read in The Loose Canon, an online journal from Montreal. Zsolt Alapi, co-editor of Siren Song Publishing, knew my writing through Black Bile Press in Ottawa and asked if I could send a couple stories his way. I thought “Derry” would be a good fit for The Loose Canon, and so did he!

Evel Kneivel vs. Derry Daring 

“Derry Daring Rides” excerpt:

My glorious minions. Fred says. I know you’ve been waiting to hear me unveil my sentimental favourite. I loved Steve Austin too, Dougie, and Lee Majors did a bang-up job on TV, but for me, nothing beat the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle Stadium.

I sit and turn up the volume.

That’s right, folks. Evel—that long-forgotten genius of daredevil. A man who wasn’t afraid to face his fears. A man driving a legacy. A man who lingers in the minds of men everywhere. Evel and his awesome stars and stripes motorcycle came with a ramp, launch pad, and fold-out stadium stands. That sucker went a mile! Okay, maybe not a mile but at least ten feet. And the sky-hook, don’t get me started on the sky-hook! That was his coup de grâce…

…It’s Angie on the line, Fred says. Okay Angie, let it ride. What was your ultimate toy?

“Derry Daring,” I say. “She was to Evel Knievel who Pinky Tuscadero was to The Fonz.”­­­ 
I like the cut of your jib, young lady. Tell us more.

“Derry Daring Rides” went through many incarnations and is part of my first collection, Men and the Drink. This story was inspired by Evel Kneivel, the 1970s toy Derry Daring and my favourite Toronto dive bar from days gone by, The Duke of Connaught.

Dive Bars: 10 Quintessential Quirks

Other stories you can read online…

Thank You for Disappearing” in PANK
Little Hawk” in Little Fiction
Rivals” in Joyland
The Promise of Puppies” in Dragnet Magazine
Hybrid Love” in Lies With Occasional Truth

“First Dive” in The Dalhousie Review

My short story “First Dive” is in the latest issue of The Dalhousie Review, published at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This is one of my earliest works and is included in my collection Men and the Drink. It is the first part of a trilogy that revolves around a young female narrator over a period of three years. The second story, “Permanent,” was published in The Nashwaak Review, and the third, “Black Satin Pants,” is still looking for a home. I was close to retiring “First Dive” as it had been rejected eleven times, and I wondered if it was strong enough to stand alone without the rest of the trilogy.

Much thanks to the fine folks at The Dalhousie Review for accepting my story.

“Thank You for Disappearing” in PANK

One page from this story was written over two years ago… and then another page a year later. It wasn’t until last summer that I wrote a complete first draft. This is becoming a reoccurring process: fermentation in the brain for long periods of time before pen goes to paper, fingers to keys. Workshopping the story with a first reader and my writing group during the revision process was invaluable. After submitting the story, an acceptance letter from the prolific Roxane Gay, co-editor of PANK, was fantastic news!

More online fiction:
“Little Hawk” in Little Fiction
“Rivals” in Joyland
“The Promise of Puppies” in Dragnet Magazine
“Hybrid Love” in Lies with Occasional Truth

“Little Hawk” in Little Fiction

My story “Little Hawk” is up at Little Fiction. This story went through many revisions, workshops, and rejections before finding a home. I haven’t come up with a cool-enough one-sentence synopsis to hypnotize yet, so I’ll just encourage you to check it out when you have a few free minutes. This story is in my first collection, Men and the Drink.

Inspiration included kitchen work in restaurants, sibling relationships, the rural-urban divide, and Moss Park in Toronto.

Much thanks to Troy Palmer, editor and creative director of Little Fiction, for his excellent fine-tuning and beautiful cover design. To learn more about Little Fiction, read this recent interview with Troy at The City Fox. All short fiction at LF can be found HERE.

My other online stories…
“Rivals” at Joyland
“The Promise of Puppies” at Dragnet Magazine
“Hybrid Love” at Lies With Occasional Truth