“The Swift-Footed Darling of the Rocks (Do NOT Actually Call Me That)” published in Zooscape Zine!

My stabby unicorn story “The Swift-Footed Darling of the Rocks (Do NOT Actually Call Me That)” has been published in Zooscape Zine’s April 2022 issue!!

This is my second appearance in Zooscape (My story “Dance of Wood and Grace” was published in 2021 and has been nominated for an Ursa Major award in the short story category).

This new story is light-hearted and humorous, about a stabby unicorn who is, ahem, not exactly happy to have her domain terrorized by all those other twee unicorns who think she and her home need fixing. It’s about being able to be exactly who you are to the people who care. It’s also about rocks and moss and sandy ruins and is perfect for reading when you want to smile, or huff out a laugh.

You can read the story here on Zooscape’s site!

People have also said some very nice things about it :) which has prompted me to realize I need to start collecting quotes! That’s a thing I can DO now :) :) :) That’s a thing I SHOULD do!

 

 

“Delivery for 3C at Song View” published in Diabolical Plots!

“Delivery for 3C at Song View” published in Diabolical Plots! This is my first publication of 2022, but I sold it about a year ago now, so I’ve been sitting on this one for a little while :)

“Delivery for 3C at Song View” is a contemporary fantasy piece about a delivery driver (Door Dasher) who can passively, and inadvertently, grant wishes. When one customer she delivers to makes an offhand wish, chaos and hilarity ensues. There’s an underlying serious tone to this humorous piece, so that it has depth, dealing with the idea of being enslaved to wishes, and the easy casualness we wish for things.

One of the cool things about this story is that when I originally wrote it, I honestly thought there was no way I’d sell it. I thought it wasn’t serious enough, it wasn’t thematic enough, it wasn’t something, and yet I had an absolute blast writing it. I just didn’t know what in the world to do with it. I want to give a shout out to my fellow Odyssey graduate, Vikram Ramakrishnan, for pointing out the themes I had in the story and giving me the confidence to submit it–no one might be reading it otherwise so I’m very grateful <3

I also want to thank both David Steffan and Kel Colemen for being such great editors to work with. They found ways to make the story more seamless and suggested changes that just elevated the whole experience. So many, many thanks and appreciation for the work they put in :)

You can read the story for free on Diabolical Plots’ site here!

<3 Marie C.

Awards Eligibility List 2021!

I’m a little behind in my story announcements at the end of this year, a few that simply need a bit of photography love before I post. However, I would like to craft a fully-fleshed out eligibility post for awards season now rather than even later since I’m already awfully late.

This year I had 9 original stories published—the best publication year I’ve ever had, and far more than I ever dreamed of having!! I’ve listed them mostly in order of what’s available to read online and what is behind a paywall.

I’d really appreciate if you would give at least the first one, “To Seek Himself Again,” a read if you only have time to read one. The first four are all available online for free for you to check out my writing :)

Thank you for your consideration!!

(Please note: if you are nominating for awards and would like a copy of any of these stories in order to consider it, please email me at mariecroke(@)gmail.com to request)

8 Short Stories

1) “To Seek Himself Again” in Apex Magazine (Oct 2021) FREE TO READ HERE!

Keba, who has spent his life helping people craft the bodies that most represent themselves. From rabbits with bat wings and children with gills, he has built a reputation.

Only, when a lady shows up at his home, wanting a trade without being willing to part with a single part of her “pure” body, Keba is brought into a situation where life as he knows it, how the world knows it, might be lost forever.

2) “Flock of Words and Wonder” in Apparition Lit Wonders Issue (Oct 2021) FREE TO READ HERE!

The Library of All is an incredible place that can travel between worlds and houses every written work from every realm. These words arrive each day, differently shaped, a multitude of languages represented, they fly into the Library of All in the hopes of being sorted to their proper place.

3) “Aunt Taveaj’s Wolf-Friendly Sweet Shoppe” in Uncharted Magazine (Dec 2021) FREE TO READ HERE!

In those days, Aunt Taveaj’s Sweet Shoppe was a children’s delight, but the world is not always kindly to wolves. Come, let me tell you about my youth helping her bake, about the children I played with outside the shoppe walls that no longer exist. And I shall explain why our world looks the way it does now…

4) “Dance of Wood and Grace” in Zooscape Magazine (Mar 2021) FREE TO READ HERE!

This story is about a sauropod-like creature named Dirt of CrystalSleep who is born into a city where the caste-system is stringent and specific. Yet, that doesn’t stop him from harboring a whisper-want for something different.

5) “Ragged Roots of the Blossom Born” in Upon a Thrice Time (Air & Nothingness Press Nov 2021) READ HERE!

I used both Thumbalina and The Twelve Dancing Princesses in a mash-up of two fairy tales. I altered the ending of Thumbalina and made her and the swallow from her story my lead characters and gender-swapped the twelve princesses to princes. The story is botanical in nature, with the princes being of the trees in their forest, so that instead of dancing their shoes to worn bits, they are grinding down their very roots each night. And it’s Lina’s job to save them.

6) “Ten Poisons That Cannot Kill the Queen” w/ANNA MADDEN in Lackington Botanicals Issue (Dec 2021) READ HERE!

She wants to avenge her brother’s death and so sets out to assassinate the queen. Also botanical in nature, this time of the dangerous quality, with the story thematically dealing with the dangers women face in powerful positions, the higher sacrifices made, and the insidious beliefs that lead to wrong conclusions.

7) “Drop Shipment Standard Procedure” in Dark Matter Magazine (May/June 2021) READ HERE!

The short story revolves around a drop shipment with a spattering of language and translation difficulties interspersed within.

8) “How Many Crab Pots Does it Take to Destroy a Neighborhood?” in Dark Moon Digest (Jan 2021) READ HERE!

I set this mystery/horror story in a bayside community similar to the one of my youth, with a young girl investigating strange occurrences, partially to tap into my own history, partially to capture that sense of feeling off in one’s own skin, in one’s own home.

And then things turned creepy quite quickly.

Novelette

1) “Veins of My Sister” in Deep Magic (Spring 2021) READ HERE!

Long after a war base has been deserted, it still thrives, now as a city called Tews, led by Jes, woman of grit who will stop at nothing to keep her home safe.

But it’s not just the people who give Tews its reputation as a force to be reckoned with, for it was a veined city, moveable through space, weapons reacting as fast as the thoughts of whoever controlled her. Only now, there are problems. One such being Jes’s sister returning abruptly, arriving into Tews completely ignorant of the bounty Jes has put on her head. And she didn’t come alone…

“Flock of Words and Wonder” published in Apparition Lit’s Wonder Issue

My story about an abandoned magical library has been published in Apparition Lit’s Wonder issue!

“Flock of Words and Wonder” begins in the Library of All, an incredible place that can travel between worlds and houses every written work from every realm. These words arrive each day, differently shaped, a multitude of languages represented, they fly into the Library of All in the hopes of being sorted to their proper place.

On top of being published in print, this story is also available in audio, recorded by yours truly! This is my first time ever getting to record my own self reading one of my stories, so it was especially exciting (and a tad nerve-wracking!)

I would like to thank the amazing Maria Dong, the guest editor for this issue, for all her help and guidance in making this story the best it can be. I would like to also extend my appreciation for Rebecca Bennett for her edits, Amy Johnson, for her guidance, particularly for the audio version, and the entire rest of the team at Apparition Lit <3

You can read or listen to “Flock of Words and Wonder” here!

~Marie C.

Recommended Books: THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY by Katherine Arden


THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY
Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy, which includes The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch, is one of those rare beasts where each installment is as glorious as the last.

The story revolves around Vasilisa, or Vasya, who is born as the youngest child of a lord in Russia during a time when the old traditions of honoring the spirits have begun to fade in favor of Christianity. Yet, she is one who can still see the spirits, who understands the need to continue offerings to them in order to retain their protection and support in times of strife.

The Bear and the Nightingale is told in a beautiful, sedate style, traveling through Vasya’s youth, her encounters with the spirits and her struggles with a newly-come priest who begins to hear a voice that he thinks of as the voice of God. She is also introduced to Morozko, the demon of Frost and Death, who has unknown goals of his own for interacting with her, and threatened by the coming of the Bear, another of the great demon spirits who thrives in chaos and life. Continue reading