Tag Archives: zooscape

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…

Recommended Short Fiction: A GUIDE FOR WORKING BREEDS by Vina Jie-Min Prased & HOW TO SAFELY ENGAGE IN TELEPATHY WITH THE DOLPHINS OF OCEAN PARADISE by Elizabeth Cobbe


Two humorous stories told in experimental ways, both dealing with themes on freedom.

A GUIDE FOR WORKING BREEDS by Vina Jie-Min Prased is a delightful story told in DM/Text/Notification bits between a couple of robots, one having to mentor the other. There are dogs and killings and love and…you just really need to read it and smile along. Published in Made to Order Anthology and republished on Tor.com.

HOW TO SAFELY ENGAGE IN TELEPATHY WITH THE DOLPHINS OF OCEAN PARADISE by Elizabeth Cobbe is a serious tale camouflaged as humor. Told in a list/rule format style, this story takes you through the necessary precautions if you want to swim with the dolphins who can telepathically communicate with you. Only, there are asterisks and reasons for all these rules that you’ll come to realize. Published in Zooscape Zine.


“Dance of Wood and Grace” Published in Zooscape Magazine!

Dance of Wood and Grace has been published in the March 2021 issue of Zooscape Magazine! This is my second publication of the year and my first appearance in this adorable furry magazine.

Dance of Wood and Grace 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.

The inspiration for this story came from body mutilation and how in many western cultures and religions those mutilations are frowned upon, to the point where career paths and job security is put at risk because of them. I wanted to explore the idea that many of us don’t settle for the “pure” body we’d been born to, for the image we have, the delight we gain, the feeling of belonging in our own skin, is worth facing off against cultural stigma.

I hope that this story speaks to anyone with piercings, with tattoos, with surgeries of any types or desires for those surgeries, for anyone who has felt looked down upon for their choice in expression of their very selves.

In a metaphorical sense, this story also represents going after that which your are most passionate about, regardless of your level of skill. I know so many people who are miserable in jobs they’re well-suited for, who ache for something different. But again, cultural stigma strikes here as well, pushing us all into shapes and places we would rather not live in.

So I hope dearly that this story speaks to everyone who has ever had a passion and yet was told that they weren’t good enough at it, that they were too old to start a new career or a new hobby or a new anything simply because it’s something you’ve always wanted, something where you find satisfaction and contentment.

I say go after your loves and passions regardless that you may not be the best or that the learning curve may be steep. Because it’s better to love what you do/who you are, than be the best at what you do/who you are.

Dance of Wood and Grace can be read for free here!

<3 Marie C.

Recommended Short Fiction: HEART OF ICE by Anna Madden & AND THE RED DRAGON PASSES by Emily Randolph-Epstein


Dragons! These two tales are about two very different dragons, one fiery with fury, one quiet in her passing.

HEART OF ICE by Anna Madden is set in a secondary world and is about a dragon of the water who is in pain after her hatchling has been murdered. This is her path to vengeance, filled with a fury that can not be contained. Published in Zooscape.

AND THE RED DRAGON PASSES by Emily Randolph-Epstein has a contemporary setting and is about the passing of an old dragon and the need for  a human who loved her to sing her soul beyond that she might not remain stuck to this physical world. The story goes deeper, dealing with the main character’s view of who she is and her attachment to the dragon who always saw her real self. Published in Zooscape.


Recommended Short Fiction: FROM WITCH TO QUEEN AND GOD by L. D. Lewis & AS IF WAITING by A. Katherine Black


These are two stories both dealing with women taking the power of a choice into their hands, though they diverge in theme and in resolution.

FROM WITCH TO QUEEN AND GOD by L D Lewis is a dark tale about a merwitch who ascends to land with her army of unwanteds in order to become even more than who and what she is. This is a tale of power and control and its nuances. Published in Mermaids Monthly.

AS IF WAITING by A. Katherine Black is a lighter fare that follows a feline woman as she progresses through a physical representation of an impossible choice she’s deliberating over. This one deals with our conflictions in the face of multiple positive, wonderful paths where we can only choose one. Published in Zooscape Magazine.