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The Bear Wife – Catherine George

The bear wife took the cub to mommy and me yoga. She didn’t look much like a bear without her fur, but somehow the other mothers seemed to sense it; when she came in carrying the cub they shifted away, drifting on their yoga mats closer to the windows, to each other. She was left alone in the middle like a stone dropped into a lake, each woman a wave rippling outward. In tree pose she was a lightning-struck pine at the center of a clearing.

It must be something primal, she thought, lifting the cub up in a sun salutation. A smell, maybe, or a musk that hadn’t gone away when the fur came off (worried now, she sniffed at her armpit as she twisted into warrior pose, but she smelled nothing but the plastic roses of her deodorant). Anyway, she didn’t blame them for staying away. The bear was still in there, just below the skin; if any of them threatened the cub she’d tear the heart from their chest.

As the mothers eased into downward dog — a ring of A-frame cabins, each sheltering a baby — the weathered blonde yoga teacher approached her mat and placed a gentle hand on the bear wife’s back, correcting her posture. “Like this,” she said. “Keep your back flat.” The hand pulled away, a bird taking flight, then settled again, on the hunch of her neck. “Focus on pulling the shoulder blades together behind you.”

The bear wife didn’t bother to tell her the hunch would never go away. No amount of focusing on her shoulder blades would remove the grizzly in her.

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The Bear Wife – Catherine George
The bear wife took the cub to mommy and me yoga. She didn’t look much like a bear without her fur, but somehow the other mothers seemed to sense it; when she came in carrying the cub they shifted away, drifting on their yoga mats closer to the windows, to each other. She was left alone in the middle like a stone dropped into a lake, each woman a wave rippling outward. In tree pose she …
Read it "The Bear Wife – Catherine George"
The Soul Farmer’s Daughters – Kyle Kirrin
Thirteen souls flit about in mason jars on the mantle above my workbench. They’re bright—luminescent, even—but they’re not potent enough for the Duke. I glance at the ghostly light flickering within Vella’s abdomen, then pull another stool up next to mine. “Come, sit. I’ve got a surprise for you.” She joins me. “But isn’t—” “He’s still a little ways out. We’ve got time.” Seventeen minutes to be exact, I think, but never say. “Close your …
Read it "The Soul Farmer’s Daughters – Kyle Kirrin"
The Lightkeeper’s Wife – Amelia Dee Mueller
The first time Elsie Frasier tried to murder her husband, the other women of Auskerry called it a pretty meager attempt. Some insisted it might even have been an accident. He had fallen down the last flight of stairs in the couple’s lighthouse and only fractured the smaller bone in his arm. The next time, when he fell from his ladder while painting the kitchen cupboards, was nearly two years later, much too long when …
Read it "The Lightkeeper’s Wife – Amelia Dee Mueller"
Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean – Setsu Uzumé
Once the corpse is ready to return to the desert, it falls to me to gather her memories. The house where they fester has good bones, but its guts are in turmoil. A stain that looks like bile has seeped through the floor. That means many hours taking up the boards and hauling them to the firehouse. Hours of exposure. Any strong back can haul for the death carts, but carters can’t do their work …
Read it "Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean – Setsu Uzumé"

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A question for B. Morris Allen

Q: Do you use music for inspiration? If so what do you listen to?

A: Constantly. That is, I don’t consciously look to music for inspiration, but it helps me out all the same. I like to write (and read) with music on, and every now and then something will just jump out and suggest a story to me. Given that I’m not listening with my full attention, it’s a misheard lyric as often as not. Sometimes it’s a fragment of lyric that I repurpose. Either way, it goes down in the idea file for future use.

The only time I  consciously set out to work from a song was with my first ever story, “Blind”, written in the 1980s (published in 2011). It’s a very literal interpretation of the Deep Purple song by the same name. In slightly more recent days, I stole Brian Setzer’s title “Drive Like Lightning…Crash Like Thunder” for a pair of pulpy SF adventures, and a line from Fred Eaglesmith’s “Seven Shells” for a children’s story.

Those artists give you a feeling for what I listen to: hard rock, rockabilly, and gloomy singer-songwriters. Throw in some classic country (Merle, Waylon) and some Euro-pop (Herbert Grönemeyer, Fiorella Mannoia), and that covers a lot of it.


B. Morris Allen’s story “Adaptations to Coastal Erosion” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 24 June 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

More on rewrites – statistics, first 8 months

We recently published some statistics on rewrites. One thing we didn’t dig into in detail is just how many rewrites are involved. A word on process – when I offer an author a chance to rewrite, we’re entering into a relationship. It’s a rare case when I say to the author, “Fix these few things and I’ll buy your story.” (Even when I do, not everyone takes the offer). What I’m saying is “Let’s have …

About Michael M. Jones

Michael M. Jones lives in southwest Virginia with too many books, just enough cats, and a wife who’s always ready to provide an alibi and/or a shovel. He has a degree in Theatre he never uses, is working towards a Master’s in Children’s Literature which is just an excuse to read more books, and blames his Santa fixation on working retail at the mall during the Christmas season. He’s the editor of Scheherazade’s Facade.

For more information, visit him at www.michaelmjones.com


Michael M. Jones’s story “Regarding the Sainted Pirate Nicholas” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 1 July 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

Sheer – Phil Berry

Resten Light woke up, pushed the fibre blanket away, and pulled apart the two wings that formed the doors of his nest. He took in the immense sky, its colour and its shapes. Clouds coalesced around the upper reaches of the Far Tower. No-one in his community had seen the top or knew what shape it took. Some said it was flat – truly horizontal – but few believed that myth. Horizontal was unobtainable. He …

Multiple submissions – the first 9 months

We offer overview feedback for multiple (>5 stories) submitters, but we hide the info away at the very bottom of our Rejectomancy page, and not many people know about it. I heard from a writer today who had submitted to us many times, but hadn’t run across this little tidbit. Out of curiosity, I took a quick and messy look at how many people do submit more than once. Out of 1,368 submissions to date, …