Entertainingly Evil


“All you gotta do is go in and scout around.  We’ll be right here.”

The manhole cover lay next to the open hole in the dead-end road, where Bobby and Max had set it.  Weird gurgling sounds echoed out of the hole’s depths.

Danny squatted on his haunches, shoved a stick of gum in his mouth, and chewed.  “You sure?  Momma said not to go sticking my head in the underground.”

Bobby punched Danny square in the shoulder.  “You a momma’s-boy?  The creepers’ve been spotted ’round here and we need a place to hide if they show up again.  Man up and get inside.”

Danny didn’t like the smell, and he didn’t like the sounds, but most of all he didn’t like being called a momma’s-boy.  Besides, the creepers weren’t funny.  They’d taken kids from around the city, most recently a quiet little red-headed third-grader from his own school, even newer to the neighborhood than he was.

Bobby and Max waited, Bobby’s thumb wedged in his jeans pocket, fingers tapping an impatient rhythm on his thigh.  They’d been welcoming when Danny first came to town, but lately he’d gotten the feeling they were tiring of him.

This was a chance to prove himself.

“All right.  You two’ll come if I holler?”

Max flashed his I’m an angel smile that got him extra cookies from the lunch lady.  “You know it.”

Jaws working the gum hard, Danny levered himself into the hole and made his way hand-over-hand down the cold, damp ladder rungs.  Sunlight streamed in through the manhole.  A few crisscrossed beams shone down through the storm drains.

“See anything?” called Bobby.

Danny reached the bottom and stepped off onto the slanted concrete floor.  A stream ran past at the bottom of it.  Red graffiti marked the walls, angular and unreadable.  Moisture dripped from the ceiling.

“Ain’t nothing down here.”

“Go on a ways,” Max said.  “Gotta be sure there’s nothing further along that’ll come back up.”

Danny munched on the hardening gum.  It had already lost its flavor.  “What, you think the creepers are hiding in the underground?”

“We ain’t saying anything,” said Bobby.  “Just can’t hurt to be careful.”

Danny wished he’d brought a flashlight.  Not for the light, so much, but a heavy metal tube in his hand would sure make him feel a lot more bold.

He inched forward along the edge of the stream, careful not to touch the water.  Lord knew where it’d been.  His pulse thudded in his ears.

The passageway narrowed into a tunnel.  Daylight lit the tunnel’s mouth, but faded into a dim void farther ahead.  He didn’t like the look of it, but if he got it all scouted before bringing Bobby and Max down, they’d be impressed he’d done it on his own.

Danny curved his back into the rounded wall and scooted forward.  After a few steps, he heard a noise in the distance.  Sniffles, like someone was crying.


The sniffles stopped.  “Who’s there?”

Danny inched his way through the darkness until he came out the end of the tunnel into another pool of filtered daylight.  The little red-headed girl from school sat hunched against a wall, hugging her legs.  Her eyes were bloodshot, her face wet.

“Jesus.”  Danny knelt beside her.  “Hey, kid.  You’re okay now.  I’ll take you out of here.”

She shook her head, but let him pull her to her feet.

“Where’re the creepers now?” he asked, dragging her towards the tunnel.

“Ain’t no creepers.”

She slipped.  Danny hauled her upright.  “C’mon, watch your feet.  Whattya mean, ain’t no creepers?  You just like climbing around in sewers and scaring folks half to death?”

They came out into the wider space where Danny had first entered.  The light from the manhole was gone, leaving only the dim glow from the storm drains.  Danny swallowed his gum.  “Bobby!  Max!  What’re you playing at?  Open the cover!  I found that girl from school.”

“Too late,” the girl muttered, wringing her hands.  “Too late.”

“My left nut, it’s too late,” Danny said, forgetting he shouldn’t be crude.  “Wait here.”

He found the ladder and scrambled up.  Even if Bobby and Max had left him there for some kind of sick joke, opening a manhole cover shouldn’t be difficult.

He reached the top and shoved with one hand.


He tried again, lowering his head and pushing up with his shoulder, levering with his legs.  He grunted.  Winced.

Still nothing.

“Told you so,” said the girl.  “Don’t you think I tried?”

Danny pounded on the lid.  “Bobby!  Max!  This ain’t funny!”

A low rumble shuddered through the thick, damp air.

“Come down,” the girl squeaked.  “You gotta hide.”

Danny grasped the outside of the ladder, wrapped his feet around the edges, and slid down, landing hard on the concrete.

The girl grabbed his hand and pulled him into the tunnel.  Danny glanced back.  The silhouettes of two familiar heads stared in through the storm drains.

An inhuman roar echoed off the concrete.

The girl shoved Danny backward and he stumbled into a dark crevice.  She pressed herself in close, setting one finger over his lips.  He didn’t need the warning.

Thud-scrape.  Thud-scrape.  Something vast lumbered down the tunnel, shaking the ground.  Danny held his breath, trapping the scent of rot and sulfur in his nose.

Fighting the need to sneeze, he waited, cold sweat sliding down the back of his neck, a metallic taste on his tongue, until the rumbling was gone and the red-headed girl pulled her finger away.

“Ain’t no creepers up above,” she whispered, glancing towards the manhole cover.  “Just creeps who feed the underground.  I heard ’em say.  ‘She’ll keep it full for now.'”

Danny closed his eyes and clenched his fists so hard the nails dug into his palms.  He had to be brave for the girl’s sake.  “Don’t you worry.  We’re gonna be fine.”

He hoped he’d live long enough to get back above-ground.

There were worse things than being a momma’s-boy.


Rebecca Birch is a spec-fic writer based in Seattle, Washington.  She’s a classically trained soprano, holds a deputy black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and enjoys spending time in the company of trees. Her fiction has appeared in markets including Nature, Cricket, and Fireside Magazine.  Find her online at www.wordsofbirch.com. This story was previously published on Every Day Fiction.


Terpsichore by Dawn Vogel

One by one, the other dancers left the studio. Mia knew what they were thinking. Another lackluster practice. She shared their sentiment but, as the ballet troupe’s leader, had only herself to blame. For three months, something had been missing, but she couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

Last week, her therapist had given her the key. “You just need to find your muse.”

Terpsichore. Muse of dance. Mia had combed through her music collection and the internet, looking for a hint of the Muse. And now, as she placed orange candles around the empty studio, their flames duplicated by the array of mirrors lining the walls, she began what was purported to be a centuries-old ritual for summoning Terpsichore.

She had selected unconventional music. Some Finnish operatic metal band her ex had loved. But the song was “Terpischore,” and the rhythm worked. She’d considered translating the lyrics but decided it didn’t matter. She wasn’t a singer, so the music would be her voice for the summoning.

Candles lit, she located the song on her iPod and hit Play. As the music began, she danced–nothing spectacular, but perfect in form. Her movements became more graceful, the song suffusing her limbs with inspiration. But none of the troupe would dance to a piece with Cookie Monster vocals accompanying the operatic female singer.

When the instrumental section began, Mia spoke as she danced. “Terpsichore, come. I beseech you to grant me a fraction of your inspiration. I offer myself to you. Fill me with your light.”

The words flowed from Mia’s tongue in a way they had not when she had practiced them. But nothing felt different as the song neared its end, and her movements became leaden. Mia shook her head as she struck her final pose, her back to the mirrors. She glanced over her shoulder and jumped when she saw another woman standing to her right, watching her.

Mia whipped her head back around. No one else stood in the studio. She looked at the mirror again. The other woman was pale, with tangled white-blonde hair hanging past her waist, wearing a simple, modest white dress that reminded Mia of old photos of Swan Lake performances from more than one hundred years ago. The lowest inches of the dress were mottled with black and green.

“What the …?” Mia asked, backing away from the woman in the mirror.

“You wished to summon Terpsichore, did you not?” The woman’s voice had an unusual burbling quality.

“You’re her?” Mia gasped.

“It is one of many names I have been called.”

Mia frowned. “That’s not entirely a yes.”

“It’s not a no, either,” Terpsichore said. “You want inspiration for your dancing. I can provide that.”

A gnawing in Mia’s gut damped down her excitement. “What’s the catch?”

“Catch?” Terpsichore asked.

“I’ve seen enough movies to know when mysterious women offer you things, it’s never what it seems. There’s always something they’re not telling you.”

“Ah. Well, you will have to come to me for a time. But time passes differently here. You will not be missed.”

Mia’s throat grew tight at Terpsichore’s words. Tears threatened to spill from her eyes. The Muse was right. No family, no girlfriend, and few close friends. It still sounded too good to be true, but Mia wasn’t sure that mattered. If she were gone for a month, only the troupe would notice, but they wouldn’t care. And if she came back with the inspiration she sought, all the better.

“What must I do?” Mia’s voice was flat now.

“Douse the candles, but bring the last near to the mirror and place your hand on mine as you blow it out.”

Mia moved through the studio space, doing as she had been instructed. She considered leaving a note, but didn’t know what to say. Grabbing her iPod and tucking it into her waistband, she carried the last candle to the wall of mirrors and held her hand up to the mirror. Terpsichore matched her movements. The scent of brackish water overpowered the melting wax as she blew out the last candle.


Frigid water chilled Mia’s legs all the way to her knees, soaking the hem of her skirt. She hadn’t been wearing a long skirt. But the white dress with the mottled hem clung to her knees in the green water.

Mia looked around until she spotted white-blond hair, illuminated by the light of a dozen candles. The same candles Mia had blown out. Terpsichore’s hair shortened and turned the dull brown of Mia’s own hair, and her features shifted to mirror Mia’s. The Muse made flesh smoothed her short skirt and brushed across Mia’s iPod tucked into the waistband. She pulled it out and turned it over in her hands a few times before she dropped it and slammed her bare heel into the glass and metal. Each stomp distanced Mia from the warmth of the studio, even as shards of pain crept into her heart.

When Terpsichore spoke, it was with Mia’s voice. “You’ll be famous, Mia. That’s what you always wanted, isn’t it?”

Mia wanted to scream, to beg Terpsichore to get her out of the cold water, but a faint, wordless keening was all that escaped her mouth. Bubbles formed in her throat, turning the keening into Terpsichore’s strange burbling voice.

Terpsichore shrugged. “I’ll let you watch it all, Mia darling. You’ll always be with me.” Terpsichore raised her hand and snapped. The candles all went out, leaving Mia in cold, wet darkness on the wrong side of the mirror.

Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and a fiction and non-fiction editor. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, helps edit Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time to write. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their herd of cats.


My Birthday: Holiday for Everyone! by Shannon Page

 No, I am not so egotistical as to believe that the whole world drops everything to celebrate my birthday…though when I was a child, the evidence did seem to point that way. I could walk up to any random door and knock on it, and people would hand me candy!

You see, I was born on Halloween night. Holiday birthdays may not always be the best news—think of the poor late-December babies, forever folded in with Christmas and New Year’s if they’re remembered at all—but Halloween? It’s a day when everyone dresses up, parties, and eats lots of chocolate, but the only one getting presents is me. (Along with my birthday-mates, I realize, now that I have finally met a few!)

A Halloween birthday is one that everyone remembers. Even in the days before Facebook, I got so many birthday wishes—cards and gifts and emails. It’s always made me feel special.

But the best part about a Halloween birthday is the spookiness. Goblins and ghosts and things that go bump in the night…all these things give me a thrilling shiver, and always have. It’s no accident that I write about witches and faeries and magic to this day. I think anyone born on Halloween must have a little extra something in their blood…we are, none of us, entirely normal.

I loved my birthday when I was seven; I love it at least as much now that I’m seven times seven. And looking forward to many more!

Shannon Page is a contributor to Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology with her story, “The Longest Night of the Year.”



Cover and TOC of Naughty Or Nice: A Holiday Anthology

Naughty Or Nice: A Holiday Anthology
Foreword by Jennifer Brozek
“Cold Dead Turkey” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Mistletoe” by Jody Lynn Nye
“Coming up the Chimney Tonight” by Josh Vogt
“The Kwanzaa Kid” by Maurice Broaddus
“Letters To Santa (From the Arctic Academy for Gifted Creatures)” by S.G. Browne
“The Longest Night of the Year” by Shannon Page
“Passing the Torch” by M. Todd Gallowglas
“Forged” by Peter Clines
“Sweet Peppermint Blow” by C. Thomas Hand
“Monster Mingle and Kris Kringle” by Jon Del Arroz
“The Wench Who Stole Christmas” by E.S. Magill
“He Knows When You’re Awake” by Cat Rambo
“Spam, the Spooks, and the UPS Bandit” by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
“Santa’s Bloody Reign” by Timothy W. Long and Jonathan Moon
“The Toymaker’s Joy” by Lucy A. Snyder
“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” by Rachel Caine

Cover art by Stan Shaw
Release date: November 18, 2015


Jennifer Brozek Accepts Position as Managing Editor of EGM

When EGM began three years ago, Katie Cord had no idea of the projects that would come her way. The initial goal was to publish three anthologies, the Three Little Words Anthology series, and a young adult fantasy, sci-fi novel, The Heart-Shaped Emblor by Alaina Ewing. Back then, it was very easy for her to be in charge of everything: directing creative content, coordinating social media, managing the behind the scenes business, working with the authors, artists, graphic designers, and editors. As time has moved on, it has become too much for one person to handle. Katie has a vision of transitioning from a small indie publisher to a larger sustainable business that creates high quality, entertaining, and engaging books for readers. To do that, she needs competent, talented people.

So, it is with great enthusiasm that EGM announces Jennifer Brozek as the Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media. Jennifer currently is the creative mind behind Apocalypse Ink Production, a Hugo nominated editor, ENIE and Scribe winner. Jennifer understands the vision of Evil Girlfriend Media and has brought great flash fiction to our website with EGM Shorts.


Katie Cord will be crunching numbers and attending graduate school.


Evil Girlfriend Media Closed to Novel Submissions Until January 2016

If you love dark fantasy, science fiction and horror, you might find something to fall in love with here at Evil Girlfriend Media. Go check out our book page for more information on what we publish.

If you are shopping around a manuscript at this time, unfortunately EGM will be closed to ALL MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS until January of 2016. This means we will not accept any unsolicited novel, novella or novelette works at this time. No exceptions. Any submissions received will be deleted unread.

Although we are closed to manuscript submissions, Evil Girlfriend Media is still accepting flash fiction for the EGM Shorts. Please read the latest “From the Editor’s Lair,” to see what our editor, Jennifer Brozek, would like to see more of.

Good luck and we hope to see your finished manuscript in January.


2015 Publication Schedule

Evil Girlfriend Media is excited to announce our 2015 publication schedule. In the next couple of months, we will bring you interviews with authors, excerpts, and opportunities to obtain advanced copies of books.


Apocalypse Girl Dreaming by Jennifer Brozek




The Archivist by Tom D Wright


Rachel by Dobromir Harrison



Murder Girls by Christine Morgan

(Cover Coming Soon)


Naughty or Nice: A Christmas Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek with Jon Del Arroz

(Cover Coming Soon)


There Are No Heroes In This Book by Timothy W. Long

(Cover Coming Soon)




Coming January 2015 Jennifer Brozek’s Apocalypse Girl Dreaming



Evil Girlfriend Media is pleased to release the cover of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, a short story collection, by Jennifer Brozek. This collection features dark speculative fiction ranging from tie-in stories in the Valdemar and Elemental Masters worlds, weird west horror to satirical science fiction to urban fantasy with a horrific bent. Cover art by Fernando Cortes with graphic design by Matt Youngmark.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming is out January 16, 2015 in e-book and paperback.




An Interview with Seanan McGuire

By Jen West 




Seanan McGuire’s “The Lambs” kicks off the Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media with a near-future story of covert surveillance used as a tool for deterring school bullying. Beven is a “lamb”, a robot disguised as a human teenager who has been embedded within the local school system since first grade. Designed to be an easy target for intimidation and harassment, she interacts with her fellow students as if she were human, all the while monitoring and recording any abusive behavior for public playback at graduation. But when a former friend falls in with a group of bullies, her desire to protect her friend conflicts with her programming to be a snitch.

Seanan McGuire’s prolific works include two popular urban fantasy series: October Daye series and Incryptid series, both from DAW. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of anthologies, magazines and websites. She also writes horror as Mira Grant, and her novel Blackout earned a 2013 Hugo nomination.

Seanan is no stranger to the Hugo ballot or breaking records. In 2012, she became the first woman to have her name listed 4 times on the same Hugo Ballot. Then in 2013, she became the first writer, male or female, to have her name listed 5 times on the same Hugo ballot. In 2013, she and her colleagues at SF Squeecast took home the Hugo for Best Fancast.

Writing is not Seanan’s only tool in her bag of tricks. She is also an avid cartoonist and a seasoned filker having released several albums of original music since 2009.

J: In “The Lambs,” you address a growing public concern around school bullying. How big a problem do you think school bullying is today?

S: I think it’s a huge problem. When I was in school, the bullies couldn’t follow you home without revealing themselves to your parents. Now, thanks to social media and cellphones, there’s no getting away. It’s terrifying. I’m not surprised that we’ve seen a rise in teen and preteen suicides; I’m surprised it hasn’t been more extreme.

J: Did you draw on any of your own personal experiences from high school to write this? What was high school like for you?

S: High school was fine. Middle school was where the monsters were.

J: There was a line in “The Lambs” that jumped out at me: “Pretty girls were more likely to inspire outright rage when they hovered at the bottom of the pack, while girls who were considered unattractive inspired pity and disgust, but would eventually be allowed to fade into the background.” Do you think that is a universal truth in high schools? And where do you think teenagers learn this kind of pack behavior?

S: I don’t think there’s any one “universal truth” to bullying. If there were, there would be one right way to end it, and we would live in a kinder world now. I do think that we learn very quickly that the world is supposed to be easier for pretty people, and that this can inspire negative responses when we see that this truth is being denied. Pack mentality is a terrifying thing.

J: The “lambs” are inserted into schools like spies, which evokes a feeling of “Big Brother” is watching them. Do you think a bullying surveillance system is the answer to today’s real life bullying problem?

S: I don’t think we have the ability to set up this sort of passively positive monitoring, no. It would be the baby NSA, and kids would wind up being used to report on their parents. That’s the nice thing about fiction: I only have to focus on what I want to.

J: Why did you choose to have the robots disclose the bullying at graduation rather than immediately after it happened?

S: Bullies have always balanced action with risk. “I can attack that kid, but maybe she’ll tell.” By making bullying a big reveal at graduation, from what is seen as an unassailable source, they know that they can’t hide their actions from either their parents or authority figures. That’s much scarier than one detention they can forget about in a week.

J: In 2012, you were the first woman to appear on the Hugo Ballot four times. In 2013, you were the first person, regardless of gender, to appear on the Hugo Ballot FIVE times. Can you describe what that feels like from both the perspective of a writer and also as a woman in a generally male-dominated genre?

S: It feels like an inbox full of death and rape threats. It feels like people accusing me of excessive self-promotion while ignoring my male peers who did three times as much self-promoting. It feels like crying myself to sleep every night over something that should have been a joy and a delight. So yeah, it’s great.

J: That sounds very disheartening when you’ve put so much effort into your work. It almost sounds like being bullied. What keeps you writing and publishing amidst all the negativity?

S: I feel like we throw the word “bully” around so much these days that it’s losing all meaning. I do think there’s a lot of resistance to women breaking into certain areas, and that the backlash we face is much greater than it ought to be. But I am a grown woman who can step away from her computer. I have felt attacked. I have felt singled out. I have not been bullied. As for why I keep going, why would I start letting people tell me how to live my life now? I never let them before.

J: Do you have any advice to give other women trying to break into writing science fiction and fantasy writing?

S: Be kind. We are all in this together, and it’s not a zero-sum game. Make friends, take advice, and stand up for other women; you’re going to want them to stand up for you. Don’t let anyone walk all over you, but don’t attack for the sake of attacking, either.

J: What projects do you have in the hopper that we can look forward to?

S: The next October Daye book will be out in September; Sparrow Hill Road is coming out this May; and Symbiont comes out in November, under the Mira Grant byline.

J: Thank you for spending some time with us.






Seanan McGuire writes a lot of things, sometimes under the name “Mira Grant,” but mostly as herself. She does not sleep very much. In high school, she was once pushed into moving traffic by some kids who thought it was funny. This, among other things, inspired her story for this book. Seanan likes cats and Diet Dr Pepper and corn mazes, not in that order. Learn more about Seanan here: http://www.seananmcguire.com/.


photo (1)




Jen is a freelance writer in constant search for the next interesting character or story. Her interviews have appeared in such venues as Tor.com, Shimmer, Internet Review of Science Fiction, The Nebula Awards web site and Fairwood Press’s interview collection, Human Visions. She currently resides with her brilliant writer husband, Ken Scholes; the Wonder Twins, Lizzy and Rachel; two pudgy cats, and an intellectually ambiguous dog in St. Helens, OR.




Mr. Roboto, Or: How Peter Clines Learned to Stop

Worrying and Keep Loving Robots


gammaI grew up with robots.  They surrounded me.  In movies and television shows, on cartoons, in books.  I had robot toys and models.  Androids, astromechs, Orbots, Shogun Warriors.  I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to be an adult, because all the available literature (comics) told me by then I’d be able to have a robot best friend.  At the very least, a robot dog.  I also had rather extensive plans to build giant robots for the Army.  Which I would pilot, of course.

My childhood, it turns out, was a complete lie.

But I never did get past my fascination with robots.  It doesn’t matter if they’re  clockwork men, android cops, or just snap-together Gundam models.  Robots will always get my attention.

One of my favorite real-life historical robots was the Mechanical Turk.  I first discovered it sometime around third or fourth grade, and it reinforced the belief that a robot best friend had to be just around the corner.  It was a late 18th century automaton that could play chess at master levels, and it played games against Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin.  Decades letter it was revealed to be a fraud, but the idea of a chess-playing robot stuck with me.  Some people imagine dogs playing poker.  I imagine robots playing chess.

I also always liked “the parlor scene,” that bit in many turn of the century stories where the characters would gather around a fire, have drinks, and talk.  Perhaps some of them would play cards or checkers.  The Time Machine by H.G. Wells opens this way, with the characters discussing time travel with their host after dinner.

And at some point—I’m not even really sure when—the image in my mind became Victorian robots in smoking jackets and vests, some with bow ties while others wore ascots. Maybe one with a pipe and another with a glass of some robot-beneficial liquid.  And, naturally, they played chess.

So when Evil Girlfriend asked me about a robot anthology, well… it wasn’t hard to come up with something.




peterclinesPeter Clines is the author of the Ex-Heroes series and the acclaimed, genre-blending -14-. He grew up in the Stephen King fallout zone of Maine and made his first writing sale at age seventeen to a local newspaper. His first screenplay got him an open door to pitch stories at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He is the writer of countless film articles, The Junkie Quatrain, the rarely-read The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe, and the poorly-named website Writer on Writing.

He currently lives and writes somewhere in southern California, where he has been known to relax by doing basic maintenance on robot vacuums. So take that, Mrs. Goodell—he did become a robot repairman. “The Apocrypha of Gamma-202” is his homage to classic ‘50s sci-fi with a steampunk twist. He currently lives and writes somewhere in southern California.


GUEST POST: Lillian Cohen-Moore

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

(Katie’s Impromptu Title For This Guest Post)



Defining personhood, the concept of when we legally and biologically recognize the sentience and autonomy of another being, is one of those concepts I can’t set down. In The Imperial Companion, it’s one of the essential challenges of the story. Two humans from different worlds are helping an android, only one of which accepts androids as equal to humanity. I had a lot of other stuff on my mind while I was writing the story; faery tales, Western colonialism, recent advancements in emotions of artificial intelligences.

The android Imperial Companion Aleksei is seen by his designers as equal to any human adviser of the man he called his dearest friend. After a mysterious attack on the man he has faithfully served, the two are separated. He has to function on a world full of human/android tension to find him. Though his problems are about species, technology, and faith, I think Aleksei’s problems are as human as our own. We all struggle to be recognized as people; intelligent, and possessed of autonomy. Moving heaven and earth to help our loved ones is something we want to do to keep them safe, because the alternatives are unimaginable.

And, like Aleksei, we often need help from those around us to navigate an increasingly complex world.







Lillian Cohen-Moore is an award winning editor, and devotes her writing to fiction, journalism and roleplaying games. Influenced by the work of Jewish authors and horror movies, she draws on bubbe meises (grandmother’s tales) and horror classics for inspiration. The Imperial Companion came from a confluence of topics; current research related to the emotional range of artificial intelligence, colonialism in Western history, and dangerous faery tale journeys. 



Mechanicals and Wizards and Gypsies,

Oh My,

Or Round-Up at the Robot Rodeo


Image copyright Allen Douglas.
Used with permission of the artist.


“Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise” was one of those accidents of story that I fell into and had no idea how important it was.  In 2005, just after learning I’d won the Writers of the Future contest, I saw that a small press ‘zine was calling for stories for a special “mechanical oddity” issue.  Back in those days, I was dashing off stories left and right with little thought other than to land yet another tale in the boat and then find it a home out in the world.  I had been playing with a bit of lyric:  “Rudolfo rode to Glimmerglam in the Age of Laughing Madness” and it was laying around the factory floor when Leroy, my redneck muse, started twisting it up with whatever else he could find to fashion a mechanical oddity story.  The first line showed up fast and easy:  Rudolfo’s Gypsy Scouts found the metal man sobbing in an impact crater deep in the roiling smoke and glowing ruins of Windwir.

From there, the story took off and wrote itself over several lunch breaks spent nibbling tuna fish sandwiches at the Big Town Hero near my day-job office in downtown Portland, Oregon.  Robots.  An ancient wizard.  A dashing Gypsy king and his Wandering Army.  A fallen city.  When I finished “Of Metal Men…”, I learned that the magazine calling for those mechanical oddity stories had received their fill early and closed to submissions.  But that was okay, I told myself, because it really wasn’t that great of a tale.  It felt a little different and the world and characters seemed a little different from my norm.  But all in all, “Of Metal Men…” just slid off my to-do list and into my done pile with little fanfare and no expectations for it.  It found its way out the door in search of a market and was largely forgotten about until the next fall when Doug Cohen pulled it out of the Realms of Fantasy slush pile, passed it along to Shawna McCarthy, and turned it my first pro-level sale after Writers of the Future.  Still, until Allen Douglas hit me in the head with his art for the story, I had no clue of the story’s importance.

Writers are weird.  Ask any of us.  I’d gotten in the habit of occasionally Googling the titles of my short stories.  Sometimes it led to nice reviews I’d not seen while Googling my name.  Yes.  Weird.  Fortunately, you run out of time for that kind of stuff later.  Mostly.  But anyway.  On a lark, for no good reason at all, in the deep of winter with the story not coming out until spring at the soonest, I plugged in the title of my story while sitting in my cubicle at work.

 This is what came up.

If you know me at all, you can guess what I did.  Yep.  I cried.  Right there in my cubicle.

Art has always moved me, even before my stories started connecting up with artists.  It was especially surreal and powerful to see what an artist did with my words and I have several examples here in my house now.  What Allen Douglas did changed my life.  Because when I saw that image of Isaak, kneeling in the crater, weeping as the smoke poured off his back, I knew there was much, much more to that metal man’s tale.  My short story turned into…wait for it…four short stories!

I knew it in an instant.

Four interconnected stories about this survivor of Windwir and the impact of his programming upon Rudolfo’s world.  Of course, from there – a story too long to tell here – it evolved slowly into my series, The Psalms of Isaak.  The first two short stories comprised the beginning and end of the first volume, Lamentation.  And then the third and fourth stories (unwritten) became anchoring ideas in the second and fourth volumes.  The rest just kind of grew to fit the size of story bucket Leroy had in mind.  As I write this post, I’m now within a few months of finishing the final volume after a nine year journey with Isaak, Rudolfo and the Gang.  That first novel led to an agent and a five book contract with Tor within thirteen months of sitting down to write it.  And it led to the books coming out here and overseas to a lot of nice words and even a few awards.  From short story to writing career in thirty seconds, so to speak.

Part of the series’ success – and the story’s success, I think – is Isaak himself.  I’m often told by fans that he is their favorite character.  He’s also a character whose point-of-view we never experience.  We see him only through the eyes of the humans he’s met along the way.  I’ve been told how clever I was to honor Dr. Asimov with the name of my robot and maybe Leroy really was being clever.  I actually chose the name because it means ‘laughter’ (approximately) and I thought a weeping robot named laughter was a nice twist.  Leroy, obviously, is vastly more clever than me.

And Isaak weeps for what he’s done.  A mechanical who had no ambition for becoming human, he’s thrust into an innocent, awkward humanity from his first entrance onto the page and becomes a central figure over the course of five books.  At the time, I thought nothing of it.  Now, I can see clearly the homage I was paying to all of the metal men who’d influenced me.  Baum’s Tin Woodman grabbed me first, followed closely by Lester Del Rey’s Max in Runaway Robot,  C3PO (Star Wars), and Twiki (Buck Rogers)  showed up soon after.  There were more over the course of decades of science fiction but those are the first that leap to mind.  They were the ones I laid awake at night wishing I could build and then take to school with me.

So when Katie Cord decided she also wanted to pay homage to all the robots she’s loved and turned Jennifer Brozek loose to round up stories for Evil Girlfriend Media’s Bless Your Mechanical Heart,  I was thrilled to be invited to that rodeo.  I hope you’ll pick up your copy today and see what they’ve put together for you!





Ken “Trailer Boy” Scholes is the critically acclaimed author of four novels and over forty short stories. His series, The Psalm of Isaak, is being published both at home and abroad to award nominations and rave reviews. Publisher’s Weekly hails the series as a “towering storytelling tour de force.”

He is a winner of the ALA’s RUSA Reading List award for best fantasy novel, France’s Prix Imaginales for best foreign novel, and the Writers of the Future contest.

Ken is a native of the Pacific Northwest and makes his home in Saint Helens, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and twin daughters. You can learn more about Ken by visiting www.kenscholes.com.





Artist Larry Dixon tells us about his design for BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART:

I used the scale of the heart compared to the droid to represent a problem that was too big to fix.  The heart’s interior and the frayed circuitry are extremely delicate, and bright and beautiful, and a tangle.  The heart’s centerline is a visual play on the classic “broken heart” design of a jagged break, except of course, this bifurcation is part of that heart’s intended styling, a statement that hearts are in fact designed to appear broken, and be deeply accessible, as part of their function.

The droid’s lighting is red while the heart is blue, indicating incompatibility.  The droid’s 1950s-styled chromework has a patina like untended trim on a classic car, and is dented up, to represent that the droid’s been through a lot, but aside from that there’s no visible damage. Love’s like that.  I also went with the droid’s “skin” as black silicone rubber because, call me crazy, but I’d want my droids to be waterproofed.

The background has a zoom blur, a lot like a camera pull, to draw the eye more to the figure’s head.  There’s also a shadowy image of a ruined building behind it to give the impression that something’s gone badly, shown corner-on to bring to mind a cathedral by its symmetry.  It’s a strong vertical, to push the eye down (from where a title block will no doubt be) to an unseen, but felt, horizon line that grounds it. Lastly, though, the whole thing is engulfed from the sides by utter blackness, not to show dread or evil, but rather, a lack of information while the droid ponders the heart.

Find out more about Larry Dixon at  http://www.gryphonking.com/.


We are excited to release this anthology mid-April. If you are in the Seattle, WA area, plan to attend our book release party at NORWESCON 37.


Best Always,





Don’t make us eat your heart out, get over to the event page!



Yeah, it is a day for many that represents love, candy, flowers, and if you’re lucky… some really other great stuff. But for some of us, it represents other things: zombies, vampires, psychological terror, and really great stories. So, whether you’re looking for an inexpensive gift for your significant other, or something to distract yourself from all those people celebrating a holiday you could care less about. Come on over to the Facebook event, EAT YOUR HEART OUT: AN AUTHOR EXTRAVAGANZA. It is a great place to talk with some of the hottest indie authors and publishers (including us).





Rachel Aukes-100 Days in Deadland
A. Carina Barry-The Under-Circus and Other Tales
Owen Baillie-Aftermath (Invasion of the Dead, Book 1)
Jake Bible: Z-Burbia
Tonia Brown-Devouring Milo
Jason Christie-Zombie Killa
Joseph A. Coley-Six Feet From Hell: Crisis
Eli Constant-Dead Trees
Ricky Cooper-Designated Infected
Evil Girlfriend Media-Stamps, Vamps & Tramps
Craig DiLouie-The Retreat, Episode #1: Pandemic
Jackie Druga-Zombie Battle: Complete (5 books)
Dan Eagles-The Last Venture Capitalist
Kurt Fawver-Forever, In Pieces
Sarah Lyons Fleming-Until the End of the World
Rhiannon Frater-The Untold Tales Omnibus: Zombie Stories From the As The World Dies Universe (3 volumes)
Michael S Gardner-Downfall
Josh Hilden-The Shores of the Dead Book 1: The Rising
Michelle Kilmer-When the Dead & The Spread (2 books)
Eloise J. Knapp-Pulse
Sb Knight-Game of Straws, Game of Straws Origins, and Volume One of the Saga of Straws (trilogy)
Timothy Long-At the Behest of the Dead
Keith Milstead-Fish To Die For
Ripley Patton-Ghost Hold
Claire C. Riley-Odium: The Dead Saga
Damir Salkovic-The Black Ziggurat Double Feature
Randy Spears-Forget the Alamo: A Zombie Novella
Rachel Tsoumbakos-Emeline and the Mutants
Jack Wallen-I Zombie I
Darren Wearmouth-First Activation





Click here for some vampire goodness!

On the day of lovers and lonely hearts, we will be releasing our third Three Little Words anthology. It is a sweet, sweet gift to ourselves. The tone of this antho, like the other two, not only reflects the theme but also the editor. Shannon Page and Monique Snyman both came to their anthologies with a different world view which included their location, personal belief system, and the type of story they enjoy. Shannon Robinson is no different. Shannon R. is born out of a literary world that enjoys telling, play on words, long paragraphs, and beautiful metaphors. We at EGM look at our anthos and think, “Wow”.  We have stories from all over the world in these books. In our third anthology, it is an honor and privilege to publish stories by best-selling authors, award winners, and a couple newcomers that are on the rise. We hope that you purchase this anthology, leave us a review, and give us a bloody good Valentine’s Day.

What a talented lineup!

What a talented lineup!

Don’t get your heart ripped out.

Best Always,





In the summer of 2012, I attended the Cascade Writer’s Workshop in Vancouver, WA. It is a Milford Style Workshop geared mostly towards science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. In my group, a tall guy who dressed in a black suit wrote the most amazing old-school science fiction story. I sort of gushed over it. In the end, I felt myself saying, Bless your mechanical heart, regarding the main character. The story had all of the things I love: deep character, ethical and moral dilemmas, and the feel of a time in science fiction from before I was born.

Forward to 2013, I’m at one of the biggest comic book conventions in the world with a fellow writer. I’d recently met him at another con (he’s sort of weird, likes zombies and superhero stuff, what a concept).  He loves Gundam robots and to see his face light up as we passed display after display was such a treat.

A week later, I met Jennifer Brozek, an editor I’d followed on Facebook for years. She seemed sharp, liked the same things as me, and then the idea hit me. Let’s make an anthology of robot stories together and use a phrase ingrained in the Wernicke’s area of every southern woman’s brain, “Bless your heart”.

According to the urban dictionary, the phrase “Bless your heart” can mean anything from calling someone an idiot without being harsh, to a polite way to tell someone to go to hell, or even for them to f— off.  For me, this held true as I grew up as a child. As the nerdy overweight girl who wore thick glasses and read way too many books, “Bless your heart” was said constantly to me. I use it now for all of the above and even to tell people how sorry I am about a situation they may be going through without making them feel uncomfortable.

Regardless, Bless Your Mechanical Heart is what happens when an excellent editor and a southern gal who loves classic science fiction get together.  Jennifer and I love this concept and are excited to have the opportunity to publish the authors involved. We have pulled together a wide range of voices from urban fantasy authors, game writers, and pop culture sensations.  We hope you enjoy what we’ve cooked up.



 Edited and Introduction by

Jennifer Brozek

by Seanan McGuire

by Fiona Patton

by Lucy A. Snyder

by Jean Rabe

by M. Todd Gallowglas

by Mae Empson

by Sarah Hans

by Dylan Birtolo

by Lillian Cohen-Moore

by Christopher Kellen

by Jason Sanford

by Kerrie Hughes

by Minerva Zimmerman

by Mark Andrew Edwards

by Ken Scholes

by Jody Lynn Nye

by Peter Clines



Keep watching for the full cover by Larry Dixon.


Year Two Begins

Happy Anniversary

Today is our one year anniversary of opening and we are so proud to have published three books. The talent we’ve brought in includes: Clarion graduates, Writers of the Future winners, Nebula nominees and winners, and rising stars in both traditional and indie publishing.  Our editors, Shannon Robinson, Shannon Page, and Monique Snyman worked diligently with our authors to provide work that we could all be proud of. This is one of our major goals in 2014, continue to provide readers with high quality entertaining books


So, to start the new year out right, here is a little bit of what we have coming up. Some of the information is vague for a reason, but we are excited to share.


February 14th, we’ll release our third THREE LITTLE WORDS anthology, STAMPS, VAMPS & TRAMPS at the event EAT YOUR HEART OUT: An Author Extravangza.



Poster by Eloise Knapp


If you haven’t seen the Table of Contents for STAMPS, VAMPS & TRAMPS on our social media, we are very pleased with this collaboration of talent. We plan to release the cover within the next two weeks and a couple of advanced e-books for review. If you’re interested in reviewing, contact us at info@evilgirlfriendmedia.com.



A Three Little Words Anthology

by Shannon Robinson

By Kella Campbell

By Lily Hoang 

By Cat Rambo

By Paul Witcover

By Adam Callaway

By Nancy Kilpatrick 

By Barbara Barnett

By Carrie Laben

By Gemma Files

By Mary Turzillo 

By Megan Beals

By Dan Parseliti

By Christine Morgan 

By Sandra Kasturi 

By Rachel Caine

By Joshua Gage

We hope that you’ll join the event on February 14th and purchase this anthology packed with ink, fangs, and wanderers.

In other news, Jennifer Brozek’s anthology, BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART is on course to be released mid-April and we hope to have the table of contents by February. This anthology was not open to unsolicited submissions.


Katie has also made an executive decision to only produce one THREE LITTLE WORDS anthology each fall. As much as she loves anthologies and highlighting new talent, we want to focus on e-novellas and full length manuscripts for fans.


We will open again to submissions on January 7, 2014.  Please keep in mind, we have a 90-120 day turn around on submissions.




A Christmas Gift from Evil Girlfriend Media and Ken Scholes

ken story

What Child is This I Ask the Midnight Clear


Ken Scholes


It could have been snow, gently drifting down.  It could have been virgin white and cold as cold.  But it wasn’t.

It was ash and the night wind was hot upon me.

That’s what I remember now when I go out.

That first year when the world was on fire and we slipped over the broiling skin of it, we brave nine.  We ran the course all night but found nowhere to land.  For the first time ever I did not stop.  Not one place.  And all the while, as we slid through that broiling night, I kept humming that song.  The one about the star, the star.  Dancing in the night.

Tail big as a kite.

The end had come suddenly and they’d managed to do it to themselves.  I’d always known they would.


I’m airborne now and the past falls away.  The ash has long settled and it’s really snowing again.  We’re not as loaded down as we’ve been in the past but that will come in handy later.  Times have changed.  The list has changed, too.  And so has my work.  Naughty and nice are blurrier now so I’m less meticulous in checking.  I do the right thing, instead.

I don’t have to crack any whips or give any whistles.  We build speed to bend time around us.  We’ll do a year’s work this night and then we’ll sleep a while.  I check the ammunition in my assault rifle and loosen the strings on my sack.

Then we start landing here and there and I’m out doing the right thing.  Books for a library in Vancouver.  Needles and a whetstone for a circuit rider in Laramie.  We haul a starving family out of a dead mountain town in Oregon and assassinate a white supremacist who was building a skinhead army in Maine.  A handful of twelve-gauge shells for Leonard in Saskatoon.  A bottle of aspirin in Bo Phut, Thailand.  And so on.

We’re just turning north for home when we see the light.

A star, a star, dancing in the night.  Tail as big as a kite.

It builds and then blooms, a piercing white over the horizon to the east.  I shield my eyes and look homeward, then back into the light.  Is it a bomb?  Another crazy moving the world deeper into the hole it has fallen in?  Or a satellite falling from orbit?  Either way, it’s worth looking into.

I steer east and take us low.  As I draw closer, the light shrinks to a concentrated point of brilliance and I aim for it.  We pick up speed and rip open space-time for a split second.  Then, we bear down upon the town that sleeps beneath that unexplainable, spontaneous star.

There in the glory of that bright light, a child screams.


She is not on my list.  I’ve made no stops in this feral country in over a decade.  But I hear her screaming and it is as piercing as the star above.  I unsling my rifle and we drop right there to hover over what used to be a schoolyard.  I don’t know what I was expecting.  Someone being harmed.  Someone being carved up into pieces by primates gone horribly wrong.  I work the lever and feel the solid clunk of a chambered round.  Slipping my gloved finger around the trigger, I use my thumb to move the switch to three-round-burst and then I hit ground with a thud.  I race across the open concrete, stepping over the frozen clumps of gray weed and watching my breath billow into the cold night air.  The screaming stops.  I hear heavy breathing instead now.  Panting.

What are they doing to her?  I feel a rage coming on as the screams start again.  I push it down and use it to feed my focus.

Do you hear what I hear, the song asks.

I hear it, I answer.

They rape the world the same way they rape each other.

They kill the world the same way they kill each other.

No list to make or check here.  I am bent on violent righteousness when I kick down the makeshift plywood door propped up to keep the wind out.

Someone has turned the old lavatory into shelter but it has gone badly for them.  The boy lies cold and still and bloody.  The girl’s screams change from pain to terror when I storm into the cluttered room and I suddenly know that things were not what they seem.  I see her, in the corner, squatting in a nest of blankets.  Her brown hair is long and dirty.  Her brown eyes are wild and frantic.  The blankets are stained with blood and I understand why.  Pale and shaking, her eyes go wide as she sees me standing over the cold body of her dead mate, light spilling around me into the room.

Another contraction and she screams again.  I turn, run for the medical kit beneath the driver’s bench.  When I return, I go in slowly with my rifle slung and my hands up showing the kit.  “I can help you,” I tell the girl.

Her eyes roll and she tries backing away from me but falls back into the corner.  Her breath heaves out in ragged gasps.

“I’m a friend.”  I keep my voice low and assuring, just like in the old days.  Only this time, it’s not a frightened child approaching me from a long line in the mall, nervous at the presence the myth of me has become.  This frightened child huddles in a frozen elementary restroom  at the end of her tether, trying to shove life into a dead, cold place.  “I can help you,” I say again but this time I hear the doubt in my own voice.  There is too much blood.

I crouch and move closer, opening the kit and finding nothing at all that I can use.

Then behind me, in the schoolyard, a clatter arises.

The eight snort and stomp and when the howling starts outside, the light winks out.  The moon, hidden behind a layer of clouds, offers little visibility.

Pushing the first aid kit towards the girl, I draw my rifle again, thumb off the safety once more.  I never unchambered the round.  Too smart for that.

More stamping and snorting but no ringing.  I took the bells off their harnesses a long time ago.

“Dashing through the snow,” a voice whispers from the edge of the schoolyard.

“O come all ye faithful,” another says.

“We wish you a merry Christmas,” sings a third.

I look over my shoulder at the girl panting in the corner.  “Just stay put and keep quiet.”

Donder screams and bucks.  Dasher bleats and kicks.  I hear the whir of stones in slings, the distant clatters of shots gone wide.

Then, I’m outside and running at a low crouch.  I’m fast for a big man, even without laying my finger to the side of my nose.  I whistle and I hear the eight lifting off; I hear the labored breathing of the two who’ve been hurt.  I hear the disappointed grunts and hungry sighs.  I don’t wait; when one of them takes shape in the darkness, large and wide, I put a three-round burst into the center of its mass and listen to the rush of escaping air as that rush twists itself into a shriek of surprise.

Another shape forms beside it, this one bending to see to its friend.  I put another burst there.  I’ve done this before.  I do the right thing.

Then I stop.  I smell the burning powder on the midnight air.  I listen for my eight, moving in a slow, widening circle above me.

A third takes shape near the others.  I move closer, rifle raised.  It moves to the left and I tap the concrete with bullets near his foot.  “Hold,” I tell him.

I can see him now and he might’ve been human once but the traces of it have left his face and eyes.  He’s wearing a red hat like mine, only tattered and dirty.  He’s dropped his sling and one of his suspenders is loose and dangling.  Barefoot with wet trousers, he trembles before a vision he may have dim memory of, from a childhood spent before the world heaved its last sigh.

“Remove the hat,” I say, “and look to me.”

He pulls it off slowly.  Our eyes meet and I’m pleased at the fear I see there.  “Life is your gift this year,” I tell him through gritted teeth, “but it comes with a string.  Tell the others what you have seen and tell them to be afraid.  Every other night belongs to you but this one.  I ride on this night with justice and grace.”  I raise myself to full height.  I fire the rifle over his head.  “Now, run like a rabbit.”

He does and as he fades, the night becomes silent and holy for a heartbeat before a new cry, muffled and straining, greets its new home in a broken world.

I turn back and enter the lavatory and in that I am both too late and just in time.  The girl is fading fast and in her arms she holds a sticky, bloody bundle packed into dirty cloth pulled from her makeshift nest.  I see the cord that still connects them.  Her eyes are wide and her nostrils flare when I draw closer but she doesn’t flinch.

She points to me.  “Ho, ho, ho,” she says in a quiet voice before making the sign of the cross.  She passes the squirming bundle to me and says one final word:  “Charis.”

Slinging my rifle, I take the baby.  I do the best I can with the tools I have, cutting the cord, closing the mother’s glassy eyes.  I remove my jacket.  Then I clean the baby and wrap her carefully in it.

I want to stay and bury my dead but I know better.  I have not prayed in years but I manage one there beside the fallen mother and father, victims of a nativity gone wrong in a world that struggles between death and birth.

Then, I whistle for my eight.  We lift off into the night and I hold Charis close to me, giving the reindeer their heads to take us north and home.

As we fly, I ponder — I wonder as I wander — and I call up my list to see who on this night had wanted the gift of a child.  I weep at what I find.

“It’s no place for a child,” I tell the eight as we soar.

“I’m far too old for this work,” I say to them again.

“I am afraid,” I finally admit.

But a vision unfolds to me of a tiny girl in red with elves for her friends and family, raised up with the deer and the sleigh as humanity’s orphan, taught from their books and their art and the better parts of a species tremendously blessed and terribly flawed, trained to go out into that broken world and do the right thing.

And in that moment, the light returns but it is inside me and inside of the baby in my arms, and that light threatens to swallow me whole and I beg it to because within that light is hope and promise and I recognize that tonight was the night upon which the universe — or whomever ran it — gave back to me and did so with a holy charge.

Home arises to the north and we pound sky for it.  As we fly, the clouds lift and the starshine falls like a mantle of jewels over the crown of the world.

I feel the peace on earth within my chest.

Goodwill towards men lay sleeping in my arms.

“What child is this?” I ask the midnight clear.

“Yours,” it says, and weeping, we fly home.


Copyright Ken Scholes, 2007 – www.kenscholes.com

First print, Shimmer Magazine’s Christmas 2007, Volume 2, Bonus Issue #4

Second  (current) print, Fairwood Press, “Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects


Feed the Zombies! An All You Can Read Event

Our good friend, Tim W. Long is hosting an event of epic zombie proportion, and we just couldn’t pass up the chance to share in such a great deal for zombie fans. On November 27th, we’ll be offering Roms, Bombs & Zoms for 99 cents along with books by some of the best names in the zombie genre.


Come over to Facebook to share in a day of laughter, zombie talk, and some great deals.






First Activation – D. A. Wearmouth 

Autumn: The Human Condition – David Moody

Last Bastion of the Living – Rhiannon Frater

The Infection – Craig DiLouie

Domain of the Dead- Iain McKinnon

Downfall and Betrayal – Michael S Gardner

The Forgotten – Jackie Druga

Six Feet From Hell: Crisis – Joseph A. Coley

Game of Straws Origins – SB Knight

Beyond the Barriers – Tim W. Long 

Fish to Die For (666 Fish) – Keith Milstead

The Undead Situation – Eloise J. Knapp

Roms, Bombs & Zoms (A Three Little Words Anthology) – Katie Cord (Evil Girlfriend Media)

Epic Apocalypse – Apocalyptic Box Set ($1.99) James Cook, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Heath Stallcup, Shawn Chesser, and Mark Tufo



A little about EGM’s submission for the event:


Roms, Bombs & Zoms cover

When hearts rot, fu

ses ignite.Super geek gets the girl, a righteous preacher and his undead wife, fantastical zombies, the tantric art of zubbing, mindless hive workers, and traditional flesh eating walkers, this anthology has a bit of everything. Our twisted tales pull you into the darkest of darks, where hope is lost, and sustaining life is no simple feat.

Twenty-one authors congealed romance, bombs, and zombies into stories that are diverse, witty, and occasionally gut-wrenching. Travel through time to walk in alternate histories, visit magical realms, and face down pestilence that will literally rot your insides. This collection is sure to warm your cold, dead, heart.

Stories by Ken MacGregor, Patrick D’Orazio, Randy Henderson, and Kriscinda Lee Everitt, among others.


Even if you are not a zombie fan, you can get ahead on your holiday shopping by purchasing gift certificates for the zombie lover in your life. They make great stocking stuffers. 
Best Always,




Eat Your Heart Out or Our Brains

We released Roms, Bombs & Zoms on November 1, 2013 to the Kindle and Createspace. The book has an absolutely amazing cover with Michelle Kilmer and Aaron Sheagley modeling the imminent destruction of two lovers. The stories included in this anthology are varied and entertaining.

Roms, Bombs & Zoms cover

 From the dedication page:

Dedicated to all those who are clueless in romance,

dropping bombs without intent,

and for those brave zombies of heartache,

who rise and love again. 

Editor Monique Snyman chose stories varied in their themes from the lover back from the grave to the zombie drug addict. We are extremely pleased to offer this collection to our fans.


Best Wishes,

Evil Girlfriend Media


Hard Realities, True Words

Hard Realities, True Words

   (guest post by Shannon Page)


When I eagerly accepted Katie’s invitation to edit Witches, Stitches & Bitches, I knew it was going to be an amazing book. And when the stories started pouring in, they were even more fantastic than I’d hoped.

It was an open-call anthology, and I didn’t have any preconceived notion of what kinds of stories I was looking for. The “witch, stitch, bitch” theme can be interpreted in so many ways. In making my choices, I did look for a balance in the overall book—several layers of variety. Though they are mostly stories for adults, there are a few with YA themes. The length varies from just over flash to novelette. And as far as tone goes, we have light, silly stories as well as some very dark and disturbing ones. But what they all had in common was this: they were great stories. They held my attention all the way through; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. They let me stop being “editor” and slip into being “reader”. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

I want to talk here about one story in particular. One of the darker stories (though, I believe, an ultimately hopeful and redemptive one). Gabrielle Harbowy’s “Blood Magic” gripped me from the start, and made me sigh with delight when I put the pages down. It’s a gorgeous, deftly written tale with some very dark happenings. (See Gabrielle’s thoughts on the choices she made in writing the story, in the guest post to follow this one). I knew I wanted it for the anthology; I knew I wanted it as the lead story.

But, as I mentioned, the subject matter is hard. All of us at Evil Girlfriend Media grappled with this, several times during the editorial process. We want to be sensitive to our audience even as we strive to bring you the best in evil entertainment. After much consideration, we ultimately came to the conclusion that, difficult though certain aspects of this story may be, the language is not graphic, and the situation drives the narrative action. Toning it down would remove its power, and would be playing false with the characters and the world.

And we did want to publish the story. It was just too brilliant to leave out, or to bury behind lighter stories. True words are not easy; the world is not a safe place—neither Aya’s world nor ours.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for giving us a chance—to entertain you, to challenge you, to delight you. We hope to continue doing so for a long, long time.

Purchase on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble


Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Cover

We are proud to release our first Three Little Words cover.




From the Back Cover:


Exquisite revenge and knitted doppelgängers; heartbreak and happy endings; unicorns, doomed dogs, and penitent frogs; steampunk fairies, conflicted stepmothers, and baseball—you’ll find it all here. Our literary alchemists weave a spell of fascination, drawing you deeper and deeper, tale by tale, until escape is impossible. But you’ll enjoy every minute of the plunge.

These sixteen deft and delightful stories involving witches, stitches, and bitches run the gamut from darkly disturbing to just plain fun. They will each take you out of the ordinary and into the world of magic, where older, weirder, or merely other rules apply. And just when you think things are all sewn up… some bitch may have a surprise for you.

Includes stories by Gabrielle Harbowy, Caren Gussoff, Kodiak Julian, and Christine Morgan, among others.



Table of Contents for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Announced

When Shannon Page handed over the final compilation for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches, we couldn’t stop reading all of the intriguing stories. It is with great excitement that we deliver this dark, devilish anthology to our readers. From the very first story, you’ll be “woven” into the worlds our authors created with themes ranging from revenge to unicorns. The witching, stitching, and bitching commences on Friday, September 13th, 2013.






A Three Little Words Anthology

by Shannon Page

By Gabrielle Harbowy

By Christine Morgan

By Bo Balder

By Stephanie Bissette-Roark

By Tom Howard

By Kate Brandt

By Caren Gussoff

By Bob Brown

By Garth Upshaw

By Kodiak Julian

By Julie McGalliard

By J. H. Fleming

By Eva Langston

By Camille Griep

By Alaina Ewing

By Rebecca Fung

Like the Witches, Stitches, and Bitches Facebook page for more information about authors and giveaways.


Table of Contents released for Roms, Bombs, and Zoms

On November 1, 2013, Evil Girlfriend Media plans to release a romantic, explosive, and incredibly undead anthology that will have you laughing, crying, and possibly gagging through out.  Our editor, Monique Snyman, chose stories that entertained her while bringing all three of the elements of the title together in unique ways. We are so proud of this talented team of individuals. They are as diverse as their stories ranging from screenwriters, indie authors, musicians, and traditionally published authors. You’ll find stories about zombie STDs, a female soldier who left her lover behind, a righteous preacher and the dilemma of an undead wife, a boy and his dog, plus many more.

Zombie Collage



A Three Little Words Anthology

By Monique Snyman

By Katie Jones

By Patrick D’Orazio

By Dana Wright

By Michelle Kilmer

By Ken MacGregor

By Kriscinda Lee Everitt

By Jay Wilburn

By Tom D Wright

By Michele Roger

By Randy Henderson

By Paul S. Huggins

By Katie Cord

By Joshua Brown

By Matt Youngmark and Dawn Marie Pares

By Kris Freestone

By John Edward Betancourt

By Killion Slade

By Anthony J. Rapino and Monique Snyman

Watch for the Table of Contents for Witches, Stitches, and Bitches edited by Shannon Page coming soon!



Our First Novel

Evil Girlfriend Media would not be on its current path without our first novel, The Heart-Shaped Emblor.  I met the author, Alaina Ewing, in the summer of 2011 at the Cascade Writers Workshop. We were both assigned to the same critique group. Her story resonated through me, there was only one slight problem, I wanted to shake some sense into her main character, Aislinn Moore. However, this powerful emotion created a friendship.  After several years, and a couple of rewrites, Alaina planned to self-publish the book. Instead, I offered to let her use a LLC  I created to self-publish my own work. She agreed.

It occurred to me over a couple of weeks, that maybe I should treat this as a chance to make my own dreams come true. I’ve always wanted my own business and love making ideas happen. One night over coffee and snacks at another writer’s house, we joked about me making Evil Girlfriend Media a real entity. I’d recently received encouragement from a pretty successful zombie writer to push it to the next level. There at our friend’s kitchen table, a book deal was born. It wasn’t long after that, I pitched to my writers group a collection of anthology ideas that I’d initially wanted to write as short story collections. I don’t want to get off topic too much, this is a blog about Alaina Ewing and The Heart-Shaped Emblor. However, I wanted everyone to know the importance of this first full length novel presented by our company.

So without further ado, here is the cover for The Heart-Shaped Emblor:


Should she choose the life of a normal college student or something else entirely?

Despite her best efforts, Aislinn Moore is not a typical teenager. She sees ethereal beings, has prophetic dreams, and knows far too many intimate details of her friends’ darkest secrets. She tries to avoid her supernatural abilities by focusing on her early entry college courses, sculpting, and relationship with the affluent older Cooper Greene.

When her abilities cause her to be alienated from friends and destroys her relationship with her boyfriend, it feels like she may have to face life with her abilities alone. Just when she thinks things couldn’t get worse, she sees a mysterious guy from her dreams working on her college campus.

Alexander Welch is everything she ever imagined him to be; sexy, protective, intelligent, and his dimple sends chills through her every time she thinks of him. There is only one problem… He is not human. He is a Ewlishash, a hope bringer, and despite the fact that she is falling hard for him, his touch feels like electrified razors slicing into her skin.

 As Aislinn grows closer to her dream guy, a world she never knew existed opens before her. There are battling forces at work, and Alexander is there for a reason, to protect and guide her. The closer Aislinn and Alexander become, the less his touch hurts and the more her powers increase. Leaving Aislinn wondering how they tie to one another. Before she can truly understand her gifts, she must unfurl the truth about him, the motivations of the Ewlishash, and decide who she really wants to be.



The cover was created by Mark Ferrari, a science fiction and fantasy artist as well as writer. He published his first book, The Book of Joby with Tor in 2007. Our cover model is medium Cassidy Rae, a teenager who really can see ethereal beings.  Then there is Alaina Ewing, a science fiction and fantasy author who puts elements of truth in all of her work. We will be adding the page for the book in the coming weeks. Tentative release date is September 22, 2013.


Best Always,

Katie Cord
President, Evil Girlfriend Media


Why(Y) By Sarah L. Johnson

We don’t need to say it. Some things you just know, because you feel them, deep in your chest, in the quiet space behind your heart.

When you come in this time, you’re almost smiling. Maybe not for me. I smile back anyway. You’re different, as always, but I know what to look for. There’s a violence about you, a disarrangement of the underneath. The ‘Y’ tells the story. I know what they did. They opened you up, investigated your insides. Why? To determine how, of course. That which lived in darkness, dragged dead into the light. Weighed and measured. Dissected and curated. Stuffed back in and zipped back up. When I think of what you’ve been through…and still you smile, almost.

You wait while I file paperwork and tuck the others in for the night. I try not to rush, that’s how mistakes get made, but it’s been months and I ache with missing you, like my insides are all backwards and out of order. Still, I’m glad we have a few minutes to catch up before it’s time to go. I do the talking. That’s how well I know you. I don’t just finish your sentences; I start them too. There was a time – so long ago I hardly remember it – when you would speak and sing, and mouth the words of a book as you read them. Your mouth is closed now, but you’re here. And it’s enough.

I wheel you into to the garage. Are you self-conscious about your handicap? Surely you must know I don’t think of you any differently. In the car, you need your rest, so I leave you in peace as I drive us home. From one garage, into another.

Straight to bed we go. I adjust the pillow under your head until you look comfortable. No matter how cold you are, you’ll never ask for another blanket. Good thing I always know what you need. I open the chest at the foot of the bed and pull out a quilt. It’s blue, like a patch of sunny sky. You love the sun, though your skin won’t tolerate it for long. We learned that the hard way, didn’t we? Better to live in the dark than to die in the light.

The quilt helps, but there’s no substitute for body heat. I undress and slide under the covers next to you. The fit isn’t jigsaw puzzle perfect, but as I wedge myself under your arm and lay with my front pressed to your side, I find my head settles nicely in the hollow beneath your shoulder.

I do miss you. I hate that I’m so needy, that I can’t help what I want. Not much, just skin. That’s all. Is that so wrong? I want to be close to you. As close as I can get before you leave me again. I know you’ll come back – you’ll be different though. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Looks aren’t everything, but certain faces are harder. Sometimes my eyes hardly recognize you. Thankfully, the dark space behind my heart always knows.

This time your face is easy and your body is beautiful. Young, smooth muscles. Skin, pale and hairless. A rare treat. I suck in my stomach and hook my leg over yours.

With my eyes and fingers, I learn the new you. Exploration and cartography. Science, but also ritual. I catalogue all your shapes and colors and bumps and dips. Finally I come to those familiar bloodless wounds, the ones you always carry no matter how your face changes. Why(Y)? Why is it never enough? My hands travel slow and quiet. Not so cold anymore. Sometimes I wish you’d be more aggressive. Just once, I wish you would kiss me. It’s all right. I understand your limitations.

A weary weight sinks into my bones, but we have to make the most of this time. They’ll be expecting you tomorrow. People coming to say goodbye and see you later.

For now, it’s only us. You’re warmer now. It’s my warmth, finding you the way you always find me.

Don’t worry about a thing. Don’t I always take care of you? I’ll make sure you’re ready. On time, dressed in your best, and more or less whole. No need to introduce me to your family, or your friends. Better for them to look through me. I’ll watch you go, and I’ll wait for you to come back. I’ll look for the incision, the Why(Y) carved in flesh.

Rest now. Lie with me. You don’t need to say a word.

Sarah L. Johnson lives in Calgary where she spends a lot of time untangling her earphones. Her short fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, Room, Plenitude, and the Bram Stoker nominated Dark Visions 1. Her novel ‘Infractus’ is set for release in 2015 by Driven Press. This story was previously published in the Cucurbital 3 anthology.


The Smoking Nun by Sarah Hans

When you arrive on my doorstep, your face will be haggard, dark circles pooling beneath your eyes. I’ll open the door and you’ll reel back as billows of acrid smoke pour into the alley. Then, squinting, you’ll waft the smoke with one hand and try to see me in the sliver of doorway.

“Are you Chanda?” you’ll ask, glancing furtively down the alley, examining every shadow.

I’ll reach out and tap the sign that hangs beside the door. The Smoking Nun, it says, in four different languages. Herbalist, occultist, psychic. There’s even a little painting of me, grinning and wreathed in smoke. I like that picture; it makes me look like a benevolent grandmother.

“I need your help,” you’ll say.

I’ll nod and beckon you inside. You’ll start coughing as soon as the door is closed, overwhelmed by the smoke. I’ll guide you to a seat you can barely see and pour you a cup of tea so hot it steams.

“Drink it,” I’ll command in a voice that sounds like I’m either a heavy smoker or a creature that crawled out of the darkest depths of the sea. “Helps with the smoke.”

You’ll pick up the cup and cradle it in your hands, letting its warmth seep into your skin. You might blow on the liquid for a few seconds before taking a tentative sip. It will be bitter, it’s always bitter, and you’ll make a face. I’ll laugh, with a sound like a drowning man’s last desperate gurgle.

“What kind of nun are you?” you’ll ask, glancing at the unfamiliar religious icons that crowd every surface of my basement apartment. You’ll eye my saffron robes, brow furrowed.

I’ll wave the question away. “You’ve never heard of it.”

“I need your help,” you’ll finally say as I fumble with the hookah. “I’ve been to see priests, rabbis, ministers, even the pagan lady who sells tarot cards. No one can help me. I’m desperate.”

You’ll pause, and when I gesture to continue the rest of the words will tumble out. “There’s a creature following me. I think it’s made of shadows. I know that sounds crazy, but I can see it moving in the darkness. My cat has disappeared. I sleep with the lights on now—but of course, I don’t really sleep, not anymore. It’s not a demon or a golem or an evil spirit….”

“It’s a harbinger,” I’ll rasp.

“Harbinger… of what?” you’ll ask.

“Do you know what a deva is?”

Your eyebrows will draw together in an almost comical expression that is so predictable, I won’t be able to stop myself from laughing again. “No.”

“It’s the Hindu word for deity. God.”

“What does that have to do with me?”

I’ll smile and offer you the hookah’s mouthpiece. You’ll hold up a hand to pass. “If you want my help, you’ll smoke,” I’ll say.

You’ll swallow, and frown, and maybe open your mouth to protest, but in the end your desperation will rule you. It’s just one drag, what harm can it do? You’ll close your lips around the mouthpiece and suck the smoke into your lungs. I’ll do my best to remember what that first taste feels like, the surprisingly sweet flavor of the smoke on my tongue, the lightness spreading through my limbs as the herbs take effect.

“Seeing a harbinger means you’re destined for greatness,” I’ll explain as I get up and make the remaining preparations. You’ll stare at your numb fingers and your pupils will swell. If you’re really lucky, your mouth will fall open and drool will drip down your chin. Meanwhile, I’ll draw circles and lines in chalk on the floor around the table. I have the patterns memorized after so many years, but the lines are probably still mostly intact from the last time, so I’ll need only to trace.

“I don’t understand,” you’ll mumble, shaking your head.

“Don’t worry,” I’ll say, drawing the last few symbols and rising with a groan. My bones are getting old. “This will all be over soon.”

You’ll stare at me, and you’ll notice the chalk in my hand, the dust on my skirt, and your eyes will go to the symbols on the floor. “What is this?” you’ll gasp.

But now it’s too late, of course. If you’ve retained enough motor control to attempt escape, you’ll rise and stumble to the edge of the circle only to find that you can’t leave. Most likely you’ll be too high to stand, though. The herbs are twice as powerful when they’ve been consumed as drink and smoke.

At the end, as I stand over you and begin chanting, you’ll mumble something pathetic, like “You were supposed to help me,” or, my favorite, “Please, god, no.” Ah, irony. Gets me every time.

Each deva is a unique experience. Your energy will taste like absinthe or honey or maybe rosewater. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt much; nobody screams or thrashes anymore thanks to the herbs. You’ll feel very heavy and tired, fall asleep, and never wake again.

Well, not as yourself, anyway. Nothing will remain but shadow, a creature that seeks out slumbering gods. You’ll try to warn them but—and this is my favorite part—you’ll drive them right into my waiting arms, so desperate they’ll drink my tea and smoke my hookah with barely any convincing required.

Once I’m sated, and you’re reduced to a shade, I’ll close all the curtains and return to my original form to bask in your divinity. If you’re truly powerful, it might be days or weeks or even months before I emerge from my cocoon.

I love America. It’s like a buffet for someone like me, a place where people with divine blood can flee those who hunt them, a place where DNA is endlessly combined and recombined to create new gods from no familiar pantheon. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. For I am hungry. Very hungry.


Sarah Hans is an award-winning editor, author and teacher. Sarah’s short stories have appeared in about twenty publications, but she’s best known for her multicultural steampunk anthology Steampunk World. Sarah’s next project is an anthology featuring characters with exceptionalities called Steampunk Universe. You can find Sarah online at http://sarahhans.com/.


Glass Future By Deborah Walker

The waitress seems reluctant to come over, pretending not to see us, even though I’d tried to catch her eye several times. We’d ordered our omelettes forty minutes ago. How long does it take to crack a few eggs into a hot pan?
            “Do you think she’s post-human?” I whisper to my husband. She looks too good to be real.
            Caleb glances over. “Maybe. She’s very pretty, but mods are so subtle, it’s difficult to see who’s human and who’s not.”
            I wonder why such an attractive looking woman’s doing working in a low-rent place like this, a greasy-spoon cafe in a habitat on the edge of Rhea.
            We’d booked into the habitat’s motel, last night. It reeked of overenthusiastic, grandiose plans for the future that would never come true. At dinner, I’d watched motel’s guests. I knew them, their small time liaisons and their wild plans. They didn’t want much, just enough to be able to turn up on their home habitat and impress the ones who stayed behind, impress the ones who said they’d never amount to anything. They all ended up here, or someplace like it, scrabbling for success, trying to make a splash in an over-crowded system. This was a place for people who’d never escape the gravity well of their own failures.
            It was a sad place to end a marriage.
            “Is she ever going to come over?” I ask.
            Caleb’s says, “I see that we will get the omelettes. They’ll be . . . disappointing.”
            I smile. Caleb has a sense of humour about his gift. Even now, when he knows what I’m about to do, he still keeps cracking jokes.
            I take a deep breath and say,  “I want a divorce.” I wait a moment to see if he’s going to make things easier on me. He doesn’t say anything. I don’t blame him.  “I’m so sorry, Caleb.”
            “So am I.” He stares out of the window. “We’re on opposite sides of the reflection, Alice. You knew that when you married me.”
            I look at his reflection in the metal glass window. Caleb was a designer baby. A person designed for space. The multiple copies of his genome in each cell protect him against ionization radiation. But modding is always erratic. There’s no way to predict how changes to the genome will affect the body–or the mind. Multiple genome people, like Caleb, developed unusual connections in their brains. Pre-cognition. They remember their future. And all of them are unable to pass the mirror test. They can see their reflections, but they can’t recognise themselves. Caleb hasn’t got the self-awareness that most human babies develop at eighteen months. That used to fascinate me, that lack of self. It seemed so strange, so exotic, now I find it sad. When love turns to pity, it’s time to end the relationship. Caleb didn’t deserve my pity.
            I look beyond Caleb’s  reflection to the habitat’s garden. Gardens don’t thrive in space. The light collected from the solar foils and re-transmitted to the plants is wrong. Earth plants either wither and die or they go wild. The habitat’s garden was over-grown and mutated. Swathes of honeysuckle blooms, with enormous monstrous blooms smothered everything. “It’s a pretty lousy garden.”
            “All these mutants should be cut away,” says Caleb. “I’m designing Zen gardens for the Oort habitats, swirls of pebbles, low maintenance.” A heartbeat later, he says, “Why do you want a divorce, Alice?”
            He was going to make me say everything, “I’ve met somebody else, while you were working on the Oort Cloud project.” Caleb’s an architect, very much in demand in the ongoing push of colonisation.
            “Did you?” The note of surprise in his voice is convincing. Caleb’s good at pretending to be something other than what he was. Every moment he swims in the seas of his future. Even when he met me, he must have known that one day we’d be here. Poor Caleb. No wonder most pre-cogs end up in hospital, overburdened by the nature of their gifts, or more specifically, overwhelmed by the fact that they’re unable to change anything they see. “And you love him?”
            “I do. I’m going to move in with him. I’m sorry, Caleb.”
            “I know.”
            The waitress comes over. She places two plates of greasy omelettes on the table. She looks at Caleb, her violet eyes widening in recognition. Caleb’s famous. There aren’t too many functioning pre-cogs in the system. Every now and again, someone will put out a documentary about him, usually spurious, about how he’s refusing to use his precognition to help people. It doesn’t work like that. The future’s set. No amount of foreknowledge will change anything.
            “Thank you,” I say, trying to dismiss her. Just because I don’t want him, doesn’t mean that I want anybody else to have him.
            The waitress lingers at a nearby table, straightening the place settings, wondering how she can attract him, thinking that a knowledge of her future might bring her an advantage– just like I did when I Caleb. She’s looking for her future, wanting to use Caleb, not realising that they only thing we, on this side on the mirror, will ever have are reflections.
            “We’ll keep in touch, Caleb,” I say.
            “No, we won’t. Goodbye, Alice.” He leaves the table, walks over to the waitress. He says something that makes her laugh.
            I walk out of the cafe, into the unseen future, without him, stepping into my future, my unseen and unknowable future, without him.

Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in the country, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two teenage children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration.


Contents of Care Package to Etsath-tachri, Formerly Ryan Andrew Curran (Human English Translated to Sedrayin) by Holly Heisey

In this package:
1. Three letters. (With our instructions on opening order, per Human dating system.)
2. One musical instrument, harmonica.
3. One plastic package containing three toothbrushes.
4. One tube of toothpaste.

5. One cloth Earth mammal, bear (unsure of further classification), filled with synthetic material. (We are sorry for the lack of symmetry, the cloth mammal was obviously damaged and repaired at some point. We were told not to modify it.)

First letter:

July 18, 2041

Dear Ryan,

They told me you’d get this after, so you won’t really be reading my words, will you? And you told me yourself you’d forget your own language, though I hope to God you don’t forget your planet, and your wife. And your daughter.

Ryan, how could you? I know this was supposed to be a nice letter to settle you into your new life, to bridge the transition, and God knows you tried to talk me into doing it, too—

I’m sorry.

No, I’m not fucking sorry. You left me for another species. Not another woman, Ryan, or even another man. Another fucking species.

If this is supposed to be the last letter, I guess I should say I love you.

Are you dead now? Can I mourn you?



Second letter:

July 19, 2041

Hey, Bro.

The Sedrayin consulate people said you’ll be travelling in a bubble-ship that breaks some sort of theory, and time will move faster for us than it does for you. That’s okay, I get that.

I just wanted to tell you that I support you in this. I don’t understand it, and I’ve asked the pastor what she thinks, if it’s even in the Bible. She quoted me some nonsense that had nothing to do with anything, and then just said the best thing I could do was accept you where you’re at.

I like that.

Because I’ve always looked up to you, you know? You were so different. I used to make fun of you for sneaking out at night to go and look through your telescope, especially when there were a lot more…ah, entertaining things you could be doing while sneaking out. And you just smiled, and said it made you feel calmer. And maybe I didn’t press too hard, because I didn’t like when you were so restless. I knew you weren’t happy.

But man, coming out as another species? Bro, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. I look at the Sedrayin in their enviro suits, with their blue skin and weird–sorry Bro, I still have a hard time, I’ll get better–oddly shaped oval eyes, and the way they kind of walk with that forward slant, like they’re coming at you with all they’ve got.

Dude. You have always walked that way. Oh my God, I never noticed that until now.

Bro, I guess you look different now.

Anyhow, I hope you remember me. Meet a hot alien babe and fall in love. Have lots of alien babies. (Whoa, Jenna will have alien siblings???) I’m sorry they couldn’t come with you. Man, I know that’s hard.

I love you. I hope you’re happy, now. And, you know, have fun seeing the stars for real, and living on another planet! Dude, how cool is that!


 P.S. Oh, I found your harmonica the other day and thought I’d send it along. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea, because do you even have lips now? Well, something’s gotta blow air.

Third letter:

July 20, 2041

My dear Ryan,

Oh, I’m sorry. I should call you Etsath-tachri now, right? Yes, I checked the spelling.

Etsath. I’m sorry I waited until the last minute to write this letter, I almost didn’t make it in time, but they held the courier shuttle at the consulate so I could write this.

I just wanted to say, I love you, son. This is all so new to me, the aliens being here at all—what are there, twenty-something species we’ve now had contact with? And I saw on the news that there’s another ship inbound from outside Jupiter. But honey, it’s hard. This isn’t the world I grew up in. The world I grew up in was having a hard enough time accepting people like myself and Leanne, but I—we—love you so much that we’re changing, too. We’re changing the way we look at the world. Or any world, if I think about it.

We always knew you were special. You spent hours with your science books and games, and you loved your art, though the galleries said it was too symmetrical. I guess that makes sense, now. I won’t ever let anyone paint over your mural of the stars in your bedroom.

I packed some toothbrushes and toothpaste, I know you always forget those.

I know we’ve already said our goodbyes. I will miss you like nothing I’ve ever missed before.

Thank you, son, for being my son. For being born to me. You were the greatest gift the universe could ever give me.

Be the best damn Sedrayin you can be. Be yourself.


P.S. Please forgive Sophie. I’ve talked with Jenna. She misses you, but she said she knows you’ll be watching over her in the stars. She wanted to send something, too. She said to hug her teddy bear whenever you’re feeling sad or lonely, and you’ll remember how much she loves her daddy and be happy again. The kids, they are so quick to understand.


Holly Heisey’s short fiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and Escape Pod, and she is a multiple finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest. Holly lives in Pennsylvania with Larry and Moe, her two pet cacti, and you can find her online at: http://hollyheisey.com


What the Dollhouse Said by Karen Bovenmyer

Eleanor gets on the bus in uneven pigtails and a faded dress. Don’t sit by me, new girl, I think. Billy pokes me with a pencil, but sees her quick. Coyote boys always see what’s vulnerable and trembling, and she probably knows that, because she sits behind the driver.

Things we find out about Eleanor: a bunch of teenagers live in her house and she cries during Animal Kingdom because she has a pet rabbit named Ralphie. Coyotes can’t resist tears—they are merciless. I feel real sorry for Eleanor, even though she keeps them all, especially Billy, away from me.

She cries more than I think anyone can, at first, but she is the only kid who visits the dollhouse. I don’t know how it got there. It looks like it grew by accident in the root knuckles of a wide old apple tree on the edge of the playground. It smells strongly of cats, like my aunt’s house, and is white as antlers. It twists like grandma’s fingers, but the spines and knobs come together to make something that looks like a dollhouse just the same, with an open door, windows, and a steeple roof. There is always a small animal rotting there, tufts of fur missing.

At first, Eleanor seems scared of it like the rest of us. The coyote girls (they move in packs too) tell her she smells like Goodwill. The coyote boys throw gum or capless markers that leave black splotches on her clothes. She finds out quick that when the coyote boys are chasing her, they won’t come close to the dollhouse.

I feel sorry for her, watching her cower away from it, yet close enough to the dollhouse to keep back the coyotes. But, even in her apple-root circle, she is my shield. With her on the playground to taunt, I’m forgotten. They are held apart, Eleanor and the circling coyotes, but I know it won’t last. The apples grow red and heavy on the boughs, and coyotes are smart hunters.

She stops crying eventually. Even when Billy pulls the wings off a fly during times-tables, Eleanor doesn’t cry anymore. When he smashes it across her spelling test, she hands it in with guts smeared across d_e_f_i_n_a_t_e_l_y. Her face is stone.

She spends every recess at the dollhouse, closer and closer. I see her with her ear pressed against the open attic window, like it was telling her secrets. The coyote girls avoid her. Maybe coyote girls are smarter than coyote boys.

When the apples get big and start to fall, Billy sees how many bruises he can cause when the recess teacher isn’t looking. Since unafraid-Eleanor isn’t as much fun anymore, and, really, nobody is safe when the apples are ripe, I brace myself. When Billy nails somebody else in the face with an apple, the recess teacher takes a bloody nose to the nurse. No one’s surprised when Billy throws an apple at Eleanor. The other coyotes join the game and throw apples at her and the dollhouse, laughing.

Eleanor protects the dollhouse with her body. Apples pelt it and her with dull thuds. I think she’ll start crying again, but she doesn’t. The coyote boys run out of ammunition. Apples are scattered all around the dollhouse and Eleanor, and there are no more in reach of anybody else.

Eleanor stands up.

That look is only for the coyote boys. All the color flows down out of her face, like she is horn or bone. Her eyes and mouth look like the empty holes of the dollhouse.

Billy picks up a rock. The other coyotes pick up rocks too. I know Eleanor isn’t going to move or give in or duck. They are going to hit her with rocks while the teacher is gone.

I grab Billy’s wrist. “Stop,” I say.

He pushes me down. I cover my head, but Eleanor steps out from under the apple tree. She touches Billy’s shoulder, lifts up on her tiptoes, and whispers in his ear. Billy’s head tilts toward her, as if to hear her better. He makes a choking sound. Then he runs from her, tears on his cheeks, sobs floating in the air behind him.

The coyote boys look at each other. Eleanor looks at them, no expression at all on her blank-paper face. They drop the rocks and run. There is only me and Eleanor and a dead rabbit under the drooping apple boughs. She holds her doll-like hand out to me, white, empty, alone.

I take it.

The coyotes leave us alone now, Eleanor, and me. We never cry. We spend our time at the dollhouse, listening.

Karen Bovenmyer earned her MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program in Summer of 2013. She is lucky to train future faculty at Iowa State University, where she works primarily with inspiring Ph.D. students who enthusiastically share speculative-story-idea-generating research. This story was previously published on Devilfish Review. http://karenbovenmyer.com/


From the Editor’s Lair by Jennifer Brozek

EGM.Shorts will run through April 2016. I am choosing the last of the stories over the next month. Then, I will announce the next endeavor Evil Girlfriend Media will embark upon. Look for a new call for submissions in January 2016.

The month of November is a month of transitions. As it turns out, this month’s unintended theme is all about transitions. Most of them growing darker than before.

“What the Dollhouse Said” by Karen Bovenmyer
“Contents of Care Package to Etsath-tachri, Formerly Ryan Andrew Curran (Human English Translated to Sedrayin)” by Holly Heisey
“Glass Future” by Deborah Walker
“The Smoking Nun” by Sarah Hans
“Why(Y)” by Sarah L. Johnson
“Terpsichore” by Dawn Vogel
“The Underground” by Rebecca Birch