Richard Martz is a bitter ex-mage cursed as punishment for the destruction of his previous magical coven. Richard is reluctantly drawn back into the world of magic and intrigue when he is approached by Holly Ellefson, daughter of a human mage. Holly is also part-fey, a bloodline taboo by both custom and treaty.
Agreeing to protect Holly, Richard pits his erratic, broken magic against the Twin Cities Magical Council. As Holly gains control over her fey abilities and the magical powers inherited from her mother, she discovers her family’s deep secrets: secrets the Magical Council would rather stay buried.
Caught between multiple enemies, Richard and Holly race to unravel the mystery of Holly’s heritage while healing the wounds of Richard’s tragic past, even as the forces arrayed against them tighten their grip, threatening death—or worse—should Richard or Holly fall into their hands.
Whispers in Space
This collection of short fiction and poems features all my space opera and science fantasy written to date and collected in one lovely volume for your reading pleasure!
Memory: Lucza Antreus, a woman whose mind and soul has been placed in a nearly indestructible body, seeks forgiveness and redemption for single-handedly causing the fall of an entire galactic civilization.
In The Stars They Offer: While exploring a derelict space station, one member of the mission experiences something radically different than her crew-mates.
Melpomene Run: An emergency courier run to an endangered colony turns deadly for Lt. Lisa Cochrane as she uncovers corruption, intrigue, and sabotage all around her.
I Took the Tear: A long science fiction poem about love and time dilation.
Nor To The Strong: A weary soldier must come to grips with the line between being a warrior and being a murderer.
Far From The Fields: During a scouting mission on a dead world, Robert Wilson’s past comes back to haunt him. Will he make the easy choice or the right one?
In the Void: A science fiction poem exploring themes of faith and exploration.
Tenari: While on a raid, Pirate-Captain Kathleen Reed and the crew of the Black Manta discover a ship full of child drifting in space and encounters an enemy from the Captain’s days as a Naval Officer.
Steadfast: Soldier embarks on a journey to save the life of his lover Dancer and their unborn child from a nameless bureaucracy whose rules disallow the disabled from having children. Can Soldier save his budding family while maintaining his honor? Or is it time to cast honor aside?
Old Blood’s Fate
When Jack Clausen shows mercy to a dying coyote, a powerful spirit approves from the shadows. The Great Coyote is about to change Jack forever, for the time has come to awake the Dreamer even as the Spirit Council watches, some with plans to betray Jack.
Unbeknownst to Jack, he must rejoin with that part of himself that walks as the Nightmare, though the Nightmare is protected by an ancient witch who has her own plans for Jack, his friends, and his allies, and even the Great Coyote can hope to control the outcome.
A story that entwines Native American folklore with the lives of two extraordinary mortals, the plot leaves nothing less at stake than the fate of human reality–not to mention human existence.
The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn
Arkady Bloom, Agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Supernatural Division, becomes embroiled with a deadly Italian spy, Turkish airship pirates, rebels bent on freeing India from British rule, a cursed artifact, and a statuesque sorceress with a steam-powered dragonet. However, the greatest danger Bloom faces may be his own torn loyalties.
Last Car to Annwn Station
Mae Malveaux, an attorney with Minneapolis Child Protective Services, is burnt-out, tired and frustrated. Passing on an invite from Jill, her flirtatious coworker, Mae just wants a quiet night in. Leaving the office late, she’s surprised to find the Heritage Line streetcars up and running and hops aboard, eager for a quick trip home.
But this is no ordinary streetcar. Death is one of its riders, and Mae is thrust into Annwn, a realm of magic and danger.
“Your transfer, miss. You’ll need that.”
Mae’s life is turned upside down as human and fae worlds collide. Her budding relationship with Jill takes a perilous turn when they are hunted by mythical beasts, and Mae is drawn into a deadly power struggle. With Jill at her side, Mae must straddle both worlds and fight a war she barely comprehends, for not only does the fate of Annwn rest in her hands, but the lives of both a human and fae child…
Last Car to Annwn Station was named a Top Book for 2011 by Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction and is available in ebook format at Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and in audio format at Audible.
Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep
A New Order
A new world is emerging years after war destroyed society. In a Minnesota lake, the last surviving loons, direct descendants of the legendary First Pair, await the one who can help heal the earth. Each year a human sacrifice is brought to them to be endowed with special gifts, but they come at a terrible price.
A Free Spirit
Even as the rest of the world rebuilds, Grace Kriske’s life is shattered. Unable to walk, she feels utterly dependent on her family and trapped in a community that disapproves of her rebellious ways. Grace’s only solace is her lover, David Tvedt, a trader who wants to take her away with him—if she’d let him.
An Impossible Choice
Yet something else calls to Grace—the loons. They haunt her dreams, lurking in her mind as if part of her deepest primal self. But when Grace is chosen as the new sacrifice, she’s afraid. Will she risk everything to help the community that shuns her, or will she choose her own path?
The Horror at Cold Springs
Shimmers & Shadows
Michael Merriam’s diverse stories unfold where the faery realm intersects with the mundane world of the Twin Cities, in the spacefaring future of exploration and adventure, and in a mythical land of sorcery and danger. Here you will find tales of adventure, horror, enchantment, humor, tragedy, and romance where:
- …a young outcast strikes a hard bargain with the Muddy River
- …two very different spirits find sanctuary in a historic shopping mall
- …a space transport captain makes a difficult choice and falls headlong into the middle of a conspiracy
- …a fallen Seelie champion is caught between his dark past and unusual mortal friends
- …estranged lovers discover whether science or magic will save their dying Earth
- …death is not the end, time does not always run in a straight line, and the rain blesses both mortals and fae.
“A Glint Through Smoke and Flame” is a short science fiction piece exploring what will happen to the world after humanity is extinct. It appeared in the anthology Ruins: Terra, from Hadley-Rille Press in August 2007.
“A Hot Cup at the Last Station” is a tale of lost love, ghost trains, and finding your way back to living, set in an old train depot turned coffeeshop in a Minneapolis suburb. It appeared in Bards and Sages Quarterly volume 2, issue #3.
“All the Leaves Your Bed,” appeared in Shiny#4, in October of 2008. It is a science fiction and urban fantasy crossover piece set in a future version of Minneapolis. As the world slowly dies around her, Danielle Magnusson–who’s life is fading as well–holds the key to renewing the world. But can she learn to trust the spirit of the tree that resides inside her.
“And A Song in Her Hair” appeared in the December 2006 issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. This fantasy short story, called “darkly poetic” by Horror Scope and “poignant and rather chilling” by As if!: Australian Specfic in Focus, tells the tale of a dryad who teaches music, and her most difficult student. This story received an Honorable Mention in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 and is scheduled to appear in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine: Best of Fantasy II.
“And The River Shall Be Your Bed” is a ghost story of love, forgiveness, and redemption set in Minneapolis. When the ghost of Christine Larson reaches out across the veil to her friend Mandy and Mandy’s fiance Chad, what will be the price of forgiveness, and will Mandy and Chad be willing to pay? This story appeared at Tower of Light Fantasy
“Angel Above” is a romantic science fiction novelette of life and love in a virtual brothel. It was published online in two parts in the September 2005 and December 2005 issues of Lyrica.
“At the Edge of Twilight, Melissa Remembers Flight” explores what happens to super-heroes when, because of injury or illness, they can’t be heroes anymore. Do they fade away? Does the government they worked for really let them retire? Or do they find new roles in the hero-villain dichotomy? This story appeared in Three Crow Press in the summer of 2009.
“Beware the Dreaded Thesaurus” tells us what happens when words run amuck. This whimsical piece appeared in the poetry anthology Down Peaceful Paths published by Quill Books in October, 1990.
“By Moonlight,” an urban fantasy tale set in Minneapolis, follows Selma, a blind, middle aged magician as she tries to protect a new friend and potential lover from her half-fae brother. It was published in Aoife’s Kiss #33 in 2010.
“Callooh Callay” was published online in the Spring 2006 issue of Worlds of Wonder. Follow the adventures of the brave men and women of the Literary Character Retrieval Force as they face some monsters of Wonderland in this humorous science fiction short story.
“Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul,” was published as an e-story by MUSA publishing in December of 2011. At a late-night diner, the manager finds himself faced with a nightmare from his past: The Nalusachita, a mythical-creature of his Choctaw ancestors.Determined to protect his customers from the shape-changing soul-stealer but unsure how, the manager sets out to clear the restaurant at closing time.What neither manager or monster counted on was the eccentric patrons of the diner, and how they would react to the mythical creature…
“Cold Hand in Mine” appeared online and in .pdf in Khimairal Ink. Published in October 2009 and set in western Oklahoma, it is the tale of a spirit sent back to help the living deal with their friend’s transition to the next stage of existence.
“Darkly Through The Light Waters” was published online in the September 2005 issue of Sorcery & Science and reprinted in the anthology You Don’t Know What You’ve Got… in March 2009 from Gryphonwood Press. Set in the intersection between Minneapolis and the faerie realm, this short story tells of a fey champion’s love, honor, and fall from grace.
“Doors Through the Places You Live” is a science fiction tale of two salvagers as they roam the haunted decks of derelict ghost-ship. Will they survive the restless spirits, and if so, what will they bring back to their own ship? This story appeared in Ray Gun Revival #55
“Duel in the Moonlit Snow,” is a short story in the series of tales about Rija, a heroine in my original fantasy world of Dolenbyd. After bandits attack the merchant train she travels with, Rija faces new dangers and the burden of responsibility. The tale was published online by Gryphonwood in June 2006.
“Ectobytes,” appearing in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Chaos Theory: Tales Askew, is the story of a group of paranormal investigators who must deal with a spirit that uploads itself in to one of their computers. Will they unravel the mystery of the ghost and set it’s spirit free, or will the ghost upload itself into one them next?
“Far From the Fields” is a science fiction short story in the November 2006 issue of Ray Gun Revival. During a scouting mission on a dead world, Robert Wilson’s past comes back to haunt him. Will he make the easy choice or the right one?
“Fetch,” an urban fantasy short story set in rural Oklahoma about a broken boy, his dead dog, and a lifetime spent seeking redemption, appears in print in the May 2008 issue of Fictitious Force and was reprinted in the charity anthology The Fleas They Carried by Bad Pony Press in 2009.
“Fey Child Fair,” in which I am a wicked fairy apologist, is a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy-tale from the point-of-view of the witch. Published online at From the Asylum, this story appeared in July, 2009.
“The Foundling” is the cheerful little tale of the ghost of a murdered child, the spirit of a shopping mall made manifest, a talking parking lot totem, and making the family of one’s choice. An urban fantasy set in Minneapolis, this short story was available online in the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of Chaos Theory: Tales Askew.
“Fourth Dimensional Pony in the Concourse of the Lost,” appeared in the Golden Visions Magazines Winter 2010 issue. This tale explores the plight of a group of lost souls in an airport and the creature summoned to carry them out of the darkness. When one of the lost performs a desperate bit of medicine to save his nephew, what will be the cost and how will reality change?
“I Took the Tear” is a long science fiction poem about love and time dilation. It was published in print in the April 2007 issue of Illumen.
“In the Stars They Offer” is a piece of flash fiction that appears in Golden Visions Magazine in July of 2008. It tells the story of Tira, who experiences something radically different from the rest of her crew while exploring a derelict space station.
“Jenny’s Magic” appears in print in the July 2006 issue of Beyond Centauri and online at Hazard Cat in October of 2010. This children’s short story tells of a very practical nine-year-old girl who must reclaim her magic from the cat who stole it from her. This story was nominated for the 2007 James B. Baker Award in short fiction.
“Kearsee’s Tale” is a story set in my fantasy world of Dolenbyd. This short story follows the monk Kearsee and the symbiotic creature named Solirik who resides inside her, as they search for a magical artifact and dodge zombies on a tropical island. This story appeared both online and in print in October 2007 in Worlds of Wonder.
“Melpomene Run” is a science fiction novelette. It appears online in the August 2006 issue of Ray Gun Revival. An emergency courier run to an endangered colony turns deadly for Lt. Lisa Cochrane as she uncovers corruption, intrigue, and sabotage all around her.
Appearing in the February 2011 issue of Ray Gun Revival, Memory follows Lucza Antreus, a woman whose mind and soul has been placed in a nearly indestructible body, as she seeks forgiveness and redemption for single-handedly causing the fall of an entire galactic civilization. This story was also recorded for the Beam Me Up! Podcast and can be heard in two parts: Part One / Part Two
“Nor to the Strong” is a science fiction story which appeared online in the April 2007 issue of Ray Gun Revival. A weary soldier must come to grips with the line between being a warrior and being a murderer. This story was nominated for the 2007 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award for Best Science Fiction Short Story.
“Out Among the Singing Void” is a science fiction and urban fantasy crossover piece set in a future version of Minneapolis. Appearing in print in Fictitious Force #3 in November, 2006, it tells the story of Maria and William, a married couple long separated by time and space, and their journey to find their way back to each other.
“Over the Bridge,” an urban fantasy set in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is the happy tale of a snarky Goth-girl, a snarly Unseelie, a dead body, and the Mississippi River. It appeared online at The Harrow in July 2007.
“Poor Mesk” is a short tale of love, duty, murder, and insanity on a dangerous space colony. It appeared online in April, 2007 in Worlds of Wonder.
“The Problem Was,” a short poem looking at the lives of those who have to clean up the mess left by zombies, aliens and Ragnarok–and the effect it has on their families–was published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #36 in September 2008.
“Protect and Serve” tells the story of Constable George Wellner, who protects the citizens of Morningside, Minnesota, whether they are space aliens, vampires, or other fantastic creatures. This piece appeared online in June 2007 in Bewildering Tales.
“Rainfall,” set in the intersection between Minneapolis and the faerie realm, was published online in the February 2006 issue of Deep Magic. Described by Tangent Short Fiction Review as “a breathtakingly beautiful story of a love that transcends time and space, a pure, self-sacrificing love,” this tales follows the lives of the all-too-human Robert and Zoe, an exile from the Summer Lands, as they encounter each other through the years.
“Red for Revenge,” a Little Red Riding Hood in space with assassins and zombies story, appeared online in Afterburn SF, in April 2007.
“Rija’s Tale” is the first of a series of stories about Rija, a heroine in my original fantasy world of Dolenbyd. This short story was published online and in print in the Autumn 2005 issue of Gryphonwood. What will become of Rija now that she has killed her husband, a Lord of the City of Sofia?
“Secret”combines elements of horror and modern fairy tales while exploring what it means to grow old alone. It appeared online in From the Asylum in January 2007. This dark tale was nominated for a 2007 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award in the category of Horror Short Story.
“Shades of Light and Foam” was published in print in the 2008 Cover of Darkness anthology from Sam’s Dot Publishing, May 2008. This dark tale of revenge involves the murderous Captain Muller of the ship Jenny Story, five angry Rusalka out for vengeance, and the hapless lighthouse keeper caught between them.
“The Shipmaster’s Widow” is a flash fiction story of love lost to a neutron star and lives left with unanswered questions. It appeared at 365 Tomorrows in February 2010.
“The Siege of Harnlow” documents more adventures in the series of tales about Rija, a heroine in my original fantasy world of Dolenbyd. Trapped in a castle under siege, Rija must deal with assassins, political plots, and an ill-tempered Chatelaine. This novelette was published online in five parts by Gryphonwood in October 2006 and was selected for The Best of Gryphonwood 2006 Anthology and was nominated for the 2006 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award in the Fantasy Short Story category.
“Silent Night” is a bittersweet historical fiction tale exploring one tiny corner of the World War One Christmas Truce of 1914. It was published both online and in print in December of 2006 in the mainstream magazine Haruah.
“Sixth Son,” a long poem riff on–and poke at–secondary fantasy tropes, was published online at Gryphonwood in April 2008.
“Starry Night” tells of James Monroe, a man stripped of his special ability to speak mind-to-mind with others who shared this rare power. When the voice of a dying boy speaks into his mind, James must overcome his own grief to help the boy understand what is happening to him. This story appears in the Summer 2010 issue of Golden Visions Magazine.
Appearing in the April 2011 issue of FlagShip, Steadfast
follows Soldier’s journey to save the life of his lover Dancer and their unborn child from a nameless bureaucracy whose rules disallow the disabled from having children. Can Soldier save his budding family while maintaining his honor? Or is it time to cast honor aside?
“Strangers on a Bus” gives the reader a small glimpses of what it means to be disabled, and explores how much people need other people. This piece of creative non-fiction appeared online in the literary journal Breath and Shadow in January of 2009.
“Susan Responds” appeared in the autumn 2009 issue of Illumen. In this short poem, Susan Pevensie responds to both Aslan and Lewis on the matter of whether she is a friend to Narnia or not.
“T.V. Land” is a short poem about wanting an easier life than one has. It appeared in Midnight Serenade, way back in June of 1991.
“Tenari” is a fast-paced space opera and high-adventure story that appeared in Ray Gun Revival #44 in July 2008. While on a raid, Pirate-Captain Kathleen Reed and the crew of the Black Manta discover a ship full of child drifting in space and encounter an enemy from the Captain’s days as a Naval Officer.
“Twenty-One,” a science fiction piece about saving the world again and again until finally the world is not worth saving anymore, was published September 2007 in Afterburn SF.
“Weaving Threads” was published online in Drops of Crimson in June 2009. This urban fantasy story tell the tale of a young Minneapolis girl who feels trapped in the desperate life she leads and the storytelling spider who helps her see her way to freedom.
“Where the Leftovers Go” is a whimsical fantasy poem for children. It was published in the January 2007 issue of Beyond Centauri.
“Wings”is the story of Lottie Caldwell and the terrible choice she faces: Save the other passengers on a damaged airplane from the vengeful ghosts of her dead family, but lose her soul to them, or save herself from her family and allow the other passengers to die. “Wings” appears in the November 2010 issue of The Absent Willow Review.
By Polaris Bright is a third collection of 20 fantastic short stories by 20 talented Minnesota science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors, all members of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. I had the pleasure to compile and edit this anthology, which was published in 2015 and is available from Alban Lake Publishing.
Table of Contents For By Polaris Bright:
Nine-Fingered Maria by Hilary Moon Murphy
Peaceful, Colorado by J. Michael Neal
Night Visitors by Leanna Timanus
Wandering Eye by Susan Taitel
Painting Clouds by Michael A. O’Leary Jr.
Fruitful by David Steffen
Beyond the Water by Sarah E Olson
Red Sky at Night by Jason D. Wittman
Dreaming of the Manananggal by Victorya Chase
Puppy Love by Jo Robson
Death and Chaos Board the S.S. Cleopatra by Sam Hirte-Runtch
Calling Kuloskap by Roy C. Booth
Alpha Spy by Erika Hammerschmidt
Muse Bovine by Terry Faust
Diplomatic Relations by Abra Staffin-Weibe
Brennen and the Wolf by J. Nelson Aviance
Ravensdaughter’s Tale by Margaret Taylor
The Sisters of Maria by Eli Effinger-Weintraub
I.P.A.N.E.M.A. Girl by Sean M. Murphy
Homeward Through Darkness by Conrad Zero
Sky-Tinted Waters is a second collection of 20 fantastic short stories by 20 talented Minnesota science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors, all members of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. I had the pleasure to compile and edit this anthology, which is published by Sam’s Dot Publishing in 2012 and available from Alban Lake Publishing.
Table of Contents For Sky-Tinted Waters:
Tutivillus by Lyda Morehouse
Siren by Jason Wittman
Misprint by Tyler Tork
The Starlite by Joel Arnold
Unbelieving Jaxx by John F. Montagne
Broken Up by Jo Robson
Trespassers by Cynthia Booth and Roy C. Booth
Ratatosk by Sam Hirte-Runtsch
The Haunting by Holly Day
Pinky the Invisible Flying Pony vs. the Giant, Carnivorous, Poisonous,
Exploding Spider-Leeches by Conrad Zero
Play Time by R. Scott McCoy
Worst Friends Forever by Rob Callahan
At the Roots of the World Tree by Catherine Lundoff
Off the Shelf by Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli
A Veiled Affair by Leanna Timanus
The Milkshake Story by A. Christopher Drown
These Things Take Time by Abra Staffin-Wiebe
Unpleasantness at 20,000 Feet by Terry Faust
The Grand Cheat by Hilary Moon Murphy
The Weed on the Floss by Eli Effinger-Weintraub
Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales, is a collection of 20 fantastic short stories by 20 talented Minnesota science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors, which I had the pleasure to compile and edit. This anthology was published by Sam’s Dot Publishing on September 1st 2010 and is available from Alban Lake Publishing.
Table of Contents For “Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales:”
Kissing Frogs by Jaye Lawrence
Three Views of the Maiden in Peril by Catherine Lundoff
The Desires of Houses by Haddayr Copley-Woods
Come and Catch Me, Henry by Jason D. Wittman
The Disconnected by David Steffen
The Leviathan’s Teeth by Kelly Barnhill
Dinosaurs of the Great Depression by Damian Sheridan
Garbage Man by R. Scott McCoy
Guess Who’s Coming to Gotterdammerung by Terry Faust
Bright, Bright City Lights by Lyda Morehouse
Can’t Stop, Won’t by Carrie Devall
At The Edge Of Twilight, Melissa Remembers Flight by Michael Merriam
Daedalus by Patrick Sullivan
Sabine Baring-Gould and the Werewolf by Roy C. Booth
Oh, Hell by Britt Aamodt
The Question by Sharon Boerbon Hanson
Narcissus in Links by Joel Arnold
The Radiator Burped by Abra Staffin-Wiebe
The Robber King And The Blood Orange Tree by Maggie Della Rocca
Run of the Fiery Horse by Hilary Moon Murphy