This collection of short stories won the Black Quill Award, Best Dark Genre Collection (2010).
A young bride and her future mother-in-law risk everything to escape it.
A repentant father summons help from a pot of tar to ensure it.
A starving woman learns from howling winds and a whispering host, just how fulfilling it can finally be.
Can it be love?
Love and loss are the two prevailing themes in this 93,000-word short story collection, featuring 19 of the author’s tales — five of which are original to this collection:
– “When Fat Men Love Thin Women”
– “The Death Artist”
– “The Uncertainty Principle”
– “The Love Clinic”
The rest of the stories appeared in such publications as On Spec, TransVersions, Prairie Fire, Northern Frights, Dark Planet, Descant, ChiZine, and the Tesseracts and Queer Fear anthology series.
Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West’s most dangerous outlaw gangs-the troop led by “Reverend” Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned “hexslinger,” and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow’s task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook’s power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.
Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world-a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis.
Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook’s witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow’s only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess’s fate comes clear-the doom written for him, and the entire world.
You must let blood to get blood.
New Mexico, 1867. As consort to resurrected Mayan goddess Ixchel, hexslinger “Reverend” Asher Rook has founded “Hex City,” the first place in all of human history where magicians can live and work together safely. But this tenuous peace is is threatened by the approach of Rook’s former lover, Chess Pargeter, bent on revenge over Rook’s betrayal, as he kills his way toward the very same spot, dragging Pinkerton agent-turned-outlaw Ed Morrow along with him. Because Chess, sacrificed in Ixchel’s name, has become far more than just a hex: his very presence has torn a crack in the world, remaking everything around him. And as the cycle of Chess’s power approaches its climax, Chess, Morrow, and a young spiritualist named Yancey Colder—caught up in Chess’s vendetta—will all have to shed yet more blood as they face down his mysterious patron demon, known only as the Enemy . . . along with every other enemy Chess has already made along the way.
Sally Ann is a bright and bubbling farm girl, still caught in the thrill of a brand-new husband and a shining future ahead. When a careless exploration leaves her trapped underground, she learns to live again in the absence of everything she once knew. Even driven by love and light, Sally Ann finds the deepest darkness within herself in When Darkness Loves Us.
Old Martha Mannes has been a part of Morgan, Illinois since her birth. The whole town knows her as the dim-witted woman who was born without a nose, but Martha’s mind wasn’t always a blank slate. Unlocking the monster buried deep in her memories may bring back the sparkling child she once was…or it may send those around her crashing down into the nightmares of a little girl gone wrong.
This two-novella collection twists together the beauty and horror underlying the seeming simplicity of small town life.