Fiction by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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Coming Soon. . .

"Reconnect," in Odyssey Magazine, ETA September 2014, "View From Space" issue.

"Demons of Disease," in Tales of the Talisman, in Volume 10, Issue 2, ETA Autumn 2014.

Find out when new stories are available!
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Ebooks | Stories Available to Read Online | Stories Available to Purchase in Print
Full Bibliography


Ebooks

Stand-alones | Anthologies


Previously published short stories and novelettes, now available as stand-alone ebooks!

"Ekaterina and the Firebird"

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"Ekaterina and the Firebird" is a new take on an old Russian fairy tale: the quest for a blessing from the elusive firebird. On Ekaterina's fourteenth birthday, a rare firebird sighting sets in motion a chain of events that will reveal hidden truths, transforming her life and changing her family's fortunes.

Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Excerpt:

Ekaterina’s parents always scolded her for running—such an unladylike exertion—but she was an excellent runner. She could outrace all six of her older brothers, though they teased her that it was because of her large feet. Now she sprinted as fast as she could. The light blanket of snow muffled the snap and crack of twigs as she ran. Melting snow soaked her thin slippers, and the jagged ends of fallen twigs poked her feet.

Only a thin sickle moon hung in the sky, but the apple orchard was lit as if by a golden harvest moon. Ahead of her, dancing fire flitted through the trees, illuminating the last hanging remnants of the apple harvest.

She chased the Firebird through her father’s orchard and across the bordering farmland. She had to slow down, or she would have turned her ankle as she ran over uneven fields of harvested rye, but cutting through the fields would get her there faster than taking the curving road.

Read more on Amazon.

This story is published by Tor.com.

Buy:
Kindle | B&N | Google Play | iTunes



"Salvaging Scottwell"

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In this feel-good, near-future science fiction novelette, Max is an obsolete, broken-down robot cop dog in charge of a poor neighborhood. When a local streetwalker is murdered, Max takes it more seriously than the human cops. Then an unscheduled upgrade gives him abilities that the powers-that-be never planned for him to have.

Excerpt:

Max woke up inside his kennel, unplugged his tail from the wall, and ran an automatic systems check. Recharging his battery had taken a half-hour longer than last month. He connected to the BigDog network so that he could send an error report about the battery. The automated reply told him that his error report had been filed, and a handler would contact him if any further action was required. The last handler contact recorded in Max's memory log was three years old.

He limped to the door of the jailhouse. His right third leg had broken down two years ago. It had taken three weeks for his movement pattern to functionally reform, but he still limped. His speed was a fraction of his original specifications. His right second leg couldn't provide the same motive power. It had been designed for stability, not speed.

He stepped out into Scottwell neighborhood to begin his patrol. His tail wagged once. Scottwell was more than just the neighborhood that he guarded; it was as much a part of him as his paws. When he kept himself and his neighborhood protected and well-maintained, he was a Good Boy.

His tail drooped. He hadn't been a Good Boy for a long time.

Read more on Amazon.

This story was first published in Jim Baen's Universe.

Buy:
Smashwords (many ebook formats)
Amazon (Kindle)
iTunes
Barnes & Noble (Nook)



Anthologies and magazine issues available as ebooks.


Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails (buy ebook on Amazon, also available in print)
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Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails is a collection of dark speculative fiction whose stories all focus on themes of loneliness, isolation, and abandonment. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Last Day Dog Rescue Organization. It includes my short horror story, "Belongings."

Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails
Excerpt:
Long ago and far away, the alabaster knife had held pride of place in a sunlit kitchen. Then came the death of the knife's owner, the inheritance, and the abusive neglect that scarred the alabaster handle and pitted the steel blade with speckles of rust. The knife endured, only to be passed along to the second-hand shop and the pawn shops. Then came the rubbish and the rag-picker and the bum and--finally!--the girl with small, cool hands who handed a couple of dollars to a bum, plucked the alabaster knife from his grimy hands, and carried it inside.

Read more on Amazon.

Buy:
Smashwords (many ebook formats)
Amazon (Kindle)



Apex Magazine, Issue 59 (buy ebook through Apex, also available free online)

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My essay, "After Our Bodies Fail," is in the April issue of Apex Magazine. This issue of Apex is about repair. About fixing the world, about how that goes right or goes wrong, about how pieces interconnect and fit together. Or don’t. About how the past can be repaired, or replaced, about the friability of a body, a plan, a history, or a life. Go look at the stunning cover art. Enjoy the excellent stories (particularly "Repairing the World," by John Chu, which is surreal and beautiful and heart-warming). Go read my essay if you want an uplifting story about medical practices past and future, and how we rebuild our lives after an injury. Or, you know, if you just really want to know about the goat testicles story.

Read more in Apex Magazine, Issue 59.

Buy:
Apex (DRM-free ePub/mobi/PDF)
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)


Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar (buy ebook on Amazon, also available in print)

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Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar includes my short story, "The Miracle Material." Jack Ketchum says about this anthology, "Many of the writers here are new to me, and that’s good. Because they’re so good. These are fresh, diverse, vibrant voices, strong enough to more than contend with the powerful old hands in attendance."

When manufacturers think they've found the perfect material, it soon becomes more common than plastic. That's when the troubles start.

Excerpt:

The landfill is safe. I think. Even tupperware frightens me now. The sight of a discarded teddy bear moves me to tears. I wonder if Meredith's teddy bear still lies abandoned on her bed, held under siege by the ever-glowing blue stars that decorate her bedroom.

I tell myself that Meredith is safe and happy. We came from the sea, the scientists said. When there were scientists. What could be more natural than for us to return to the sea? I tell myself that she is safe and happy within the bosom of the sea.

I know I lie.

Wherever Meredith may be, however she feels, she is not my little girl anymore. And it is all my fault.

Read more in Eulogies II.




Sky-Tinted Waters

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Sky-Tinted Waters is an anthology of 20 tales from local Minnesotan speculative fiction authors, ranging from debut talents to established professionals. It includes my science fiction short story, "These Things Take Time."

"The coffee's weak," Mark said. It came out more accusatory than he'd intended, but Lily had become quite inconsiderate recently. On top of the smaller things, like making the coffee the wrong strength, she no longer asked about his day, complaining about her work problems instead.

Of course, if she had asked about his day, he would have lied. She still believed he was working extra hours at the office. He didn't dare tell her about the project that was truly taking up his time.

Read more on Amazon.

This story was first published in Emerald Tales.

Buy:
Smashwords (many ebook formats)
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)



Northern Lights (buy on Amazon)

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Northern Lights is an anthology of local Minnesota spec-fic authors. The stories included are fantasy, science fiction, horror, and unclassifiable weird--and among them is my humorous horror story, "The Radiator Burped" (first published in Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine, in ebook format also available in the A Big Book of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful anthology).

Excerpt:

"Tsang!" he began, opening the door. He stopped when he realized that he was looking at Michael. "Michael, sorry. I thought you were my housemate coming back. I still haven't met him. Excuse me, I was just taking a nap." He ran a hand through his rumpled hair.

"I had to work longer than expected," Michael explained as he tossed his coat onto the couch. "Forgive me? It's too late to go out, but I did pick up a nice bottle of burgundy. If you have some spaghetti and sauce, we could improvise." Michael smiled. "Next time I'll do better. Hey, those are some pretty fine pictures. You paint, right? Are they yours?"

Eric shuffled his feet. "Yeah."

Michael's smile vanished. "Do you have a pet snake?"

Eric blinked. "No. Why?"

"I thought for a second that I saw something scaly in the corner . . . my eyes must be tired from looking at legal contracts. Never mind." Despite his words, Michael squinted at the corner.

Read more on Amazon.



A Big Book of Strange, Weird and Wonderful (buy on Amazon)

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A Big Book of Strange, Weird and Wonderful is an anthology of the best horror, fantasy, and science fiction from Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. Included is my humorous horror story, "The Radiator Burped" (in ebook format also available in the Northern Lights anthology).

Excerpt:

"Tsang!" he began, opening the door. He stopped when he realized that he was looking at Michael. "Michael, sorry. I thought you were my housemate coming back. I still haven't met him. Excuse me, I was just taking a nap." He ran a hand through his rumpled hair.

"I had to work longer than expected," Michael explained as he tossed his coat onto the couch. "Forgive me? It's too late to go out, but I did pick up a nice bottle of burgundy. If you have some spaghetti and sauce, we could improvise." Michael smiled. "Next time I'll do better. Hey, those are some pretty fine pictures. You paint, right? Are they yours?"

Eric shuffled his feet. "Yeah."

Michael's smile vanished. "Do you have a pet snake?"

Eric blinked. "No. Why?"

"I thought for a second that I saw something scaly in the corner . . . my eyes must be tired from looking at legal contracts. Never mind." Despite his words, Michael squinted at the corner.

Read more on Amazon.



Stories Available to Read Online

Apex Magazine, Issue 59 (free to read, also available to buy as ebook)

(permalink)

My essay, "After Our Bodies Fail," is in the April issue of Apex Magazine. This issue of Apex is about repair. About fixing the world, about how that goes right or goes wrong, about how pieces interconnect and fit together. Or don’t. About how the past can be repaired, or replaced, about the friability of a body, a plan, a history, or a life. Go look at the stunning cover art. Enjoy the excellent stories (particularly "Repairing the World," by John Chu, which is surreal and beautiful and heart-warming). Go read my essay if you want an uplifting story about medical practices past and future, and how we rebuild our lives after an injury. Or, you know, if you just really want to know about the goat testicles story.

Read more in Apex Magazine, Issue 59.




"Ekaterina and the Firebird," at Tor.com (free to read)

(permalink)
"Ekaterina and the Firebird" is a new take on an old Russian fairy tale: the quest for a blessing from the elusive firebird. On Ekaterina's fourteenth birthday, a rare firebird sighting sets in motion a chain of events that will reveal hidden truths, transforming her life and changing her family's fortunes.

Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Excerpt:

Ekaterina’s parents always scolded her for running—such an unladylike exertion—but she was an excellent runner. She could outrace all six of her older brothers, though they teased her that it was because of her large feet. Now she sprinted as fast as she could. The light blanket of snow muffled the snap and crack of twigs as she ran. Melting snow soaked her thin slippers, and the jagged ends of fallen twigs poked her feet.

Only a thin sickle moon hung in the sky, but the apple orchard was lit as if by a golden harvest moon. Ahead of her, dancing fire flitted through the trees, illuminating the last hanging remnants of the apple harvest.

She chased the Firebird through her father’s orchard and across the bordering farmland. She had to slow down, or she would have turned her ankle as she ran over uneven fields of harvested rye, but cutting through the fields would get her there faster than taking the curving road.

Read more at Tor.com.

This story is also available in ebook format.



"Warmth in the Cold Time," in The Again (free to read)

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"Warmth in the Cold Time" is one of my older pieces, a very short, creepy-cute story that may keep you from ever looking at a nature trail the same way again.

After all the Others had gone, leaving the hillside strewn with trash, the People came out. Rocks shifted, rattling as if they were in a pan of boiling water. Stones rolled to a clear spot and began to rock back and forth like violently hatching eggs. Limbs extruded themselves, unfolding with the screech of nails on a chalkboard. They rose out of the hillside, from under trees or next to streams, from the very path that tourists had tread on earlier that day.

Read more.


"Gone Huntin'," in The Washington Pastime (free to read)

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This is a heartwarming literary story, a bit of a departure for me! I wrote this as a make-it-yourself Christmas present for a Wisconsin relative who hunts.

The man stamped his feet hard against the stoop when he stepped outside of his cabin. It was an hour yet before sunrise and cold enough that his breath frosted the air, hanging white against the dark of the trees. Even through the layered flannel shirts and down jacket he was wearing, he felt the bite of winter.

Shouldering his rifle, thermos in hand, he walked through the woods to his stand. Birds' sleepy chirps fell silent when he walked by, twigs snapping under his boots. There was just enough light for him to make out the path. When he reached his stand and climbed up the ladder, he saw fresh claw-marks from the black bear that roamed in the area on one of the trees nearby. They shone white against the dark tree bark. He was glad for his rifle.

Read more.

Also available to purchase in print as part of The Washington Pastime Collections Anthology Vol. 1.



"Good Help is Hard to Find," in Bosley Gravel's Cavalcade of Terror (free to read)

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Read or listen to my podcast of my super-short horror story, "Good Help is Hard to Find," to learn the secrets of successful marriage. Warning: graphic violence.

The man rising from his haunches shook his hands clean with an elegant, deadly grace, sending splatters of congealed blood to strike the wall and slowly ooze down. He wore leather gloves with shadows of old stains still obvious on them.

Read more.



"A Phoenix By Any Other Name," in Short-Story.me (free to read)

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A science fiction parable about the dangers of getting what you wish for, this is one of my earliest stories. It's also a quick read.

The tall, well-dressed customer smelled of wealth, power, and expensive cologne. Bruant, dealer in "Rare and Exotic Animals Imported from the Hinterworlds," knew who he was instantly. On the small, but exclusive, satellite Newfortun, Jahan Lupant III was the richest man anyone could name, though most looked uneasy and fell silent when asked how he made his fortune.

Read more.




Stories Available to Purchase in Print




Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails (buy on Amazon, also available as an ebook)
(permalink)
Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails is a collection of dark speculative fiction whose stories all focus on themes of loneliness, isolation, and abandonment. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Last Day Dog Rescue Organization. It includes my short horror story, "Belongings."

Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails
Excerpt:
Long ago and far away, the alabaster knife had held pride of place in a sunlit kitchen. Then came the death of the knife's owner, the inheritance, and the abusive neglect that scarred the alabaster handle and pitted the steel blade with speckles of rust. The knife endured, only to be passed along to the second-hand shop and the pawn shops. Then came the rubbish and the rag-picker and the bum and--finally!--the girl with small, cool hands who handed a couple of dollars to a bum, plucked the alabaster knife from his grimy hands, and carried it inside.

Read more on Amazon.

Buy:
Amazon (paperback)
B&N (paperback)



Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar (buy book on Amazon, also available for Kindle)

(permalink)

Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar includes my short story, "The Miracle Material." Jack Ketchum says about this anthology, "Many of the writers here are new to me, and that’s good. Because they’re so good. These are fresh, diverse, vibrant voices, strong enough to more than contend with the powerful old hands in attendance."

When manufacturers think they've found the perfect material, it soon becomes more common than plastic. That's when the troubles start.

Excerpt:

The landfill is safe. I think. Even tupperware frightens me now. The sight of a discarded teddy bear moves me to tears. I wonder if Meredith's teddy bear still lies abandoned on her bed, held under siege by the ever-glowing blue stars that decorate her bedroom.

I tell myself that Meredith is safe and happy. We came from the sea, the scientists said. When there were scientists. What could be more natural than for us to return to the sea? I tell myself that she is safe and happy within the bosom of the sea.

I know I lie.

Wherever Meredith may be, however she feels, she is not my little girl anymore. And it is all my fault.

Read more in Eulogies II.




"These Things Take Time," in Sky-Tinted Waters (buy at Sam's Dot Publishing)

(permalink)
(Originally published in Emerald Tales)

Sky-Tinted Waters, an anthology of 20 tales from local Minnesotan speculative fiction authors ranging from debut talents to established professionals, is now available for purchase from award-winning small-press publisher Sam's Dot Publishing. My short story, "These Things Take Time," (previously published by Emerald Tales), is among the selected.

"The coffee's weak," Mark said. It came out more accusatory than he'd intended, but Lily had become quite inconsiderate recently. On top of the smaller things, like making the coffee the wrong strength, she no longer asked about his day, complaining about her work problems instead.

Of course, if she had asked about his day, he would have lied. She still believed he was working extra hours at the office. He didn't dare tell her about the project that was truly taking up his time.

Read more in Sky-Tinted Waters.



"Gone Huntin'," in The Washington Pastime Collections Anthology Vol. 1 (buy on Lulu)

(permalink)
(Originally published in The Washington Pastime online)

This is a heartwarming literary story, a bit of a departure for me! I wrote this as a make-it-yourself Christmas present for a Wisconsin relative who hunts.

The man stamped his feet hard against the stoop when he stepped outside of his cabin. It was an hour yet before sunrise and cold enough that his breath frosted the air, hanging white against the dark of the trees. Even through the layered flannel shirts and down jacket he was wearing, he felt the bite of winter.

Shouldering his rifle, thermos in hand, he walked through the woods to his stand. Birds' sleepy chirps fell silent when he walked by, twigs snapping under his boots. There was just enough light for him to make out the path. When he reached his stand and climbed up the ladder, he saw fresh claw-marks from the black bear that roamed in the area on one of the trees nearby. They shone white against the dark tree bark. He was glad for his rifle.

Read more in The Washington Pastime Collections Anthology Vol. 1.



"The Radiator Burped," in A Big Book of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful (buy on Amazon)

(permalink)
Ever wondered about the things that go "bump" in your apartment? This humorous horror story has the answer.

Eric chewed on his pencil as he re-wrote his ad. GPM seeks N/S housemate(s) for spacious two-bedroom . . . but he didn't want a pair of newlyweds. If he wanted cooing doves, he could have gotten them from his second-to-last boyfriend, the pet store owner.

None of the respondents to his last ad had seemed quite right . . . in the head.

"Hi! This is Eric. Please leave a message after the beep."

"Beep. I have two cats, a ferret, and a bunny-rabbit. Is that okay if I putdown an extra deposit? The place sounds fine and so do you. You know, if you're lucky I might even bring a hamster."

Read more.




Full Bibliography

Published short stories:

* "Demons of Disease," in Tales of the Talisman, in Volume 10, Issue 2, ETA Autumn 2014.
* "Reconnect," in Odyssey Magazine, ETA September 2014, "View From Space" issue.
* "Belongings," in Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails, ebook and paperback editions (buy), April 2014.
* "Ekaterina and the Firebird," at Tor.com (free to read), Kindle (buy), B&N (buy), Google Play (buy), and iTunes (buy) editions, January 1, 2014.
* "The Miracle Material," in Eulogies II: A Horror World Anthology, print (buy) and Kindle (buy) editions, July/August 2013.
*"The Perfect Costume," (reprint) in From Their Cradle to Your Grave, January 2013 (out of print)
* "Salvaging Scottwell" (reprint), Kindle (buy) and Smashwords (buy) editions, December 30, 2012.
* "Warmth in the Cold Time," in The Again, September 2012 (free to read).
* "The Perfect Costume" (reprint), in Best New Vampire Tales (Vol. 2 or 3, TBD), pub date forthcoming.
* "These Things Take Time" (reprint), in Sky-Tinted Waters, May 2012. (buy)
* "Gone Huntin'" (reprint), in The Washington Pastime Collections Anthology Vol. 1, May 2, 2012.
*"The Radiator Burped" (reprint), in A Big Book of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, April 1, 2012.
* "Gone Huntin'," in The Washington Pastime, February 12, 2012 (free to read).
* "Good Help is Hard to Find", in Bosley Gravel's Cavalcade of Terror, August 25, 2011 (free to read or listen to).
* "The Radiator Burped" (reprint), in Northern Lights (print anthology, click through to purchase), September 1st, 2010.
* "These Things Take Time," in Emerald Tales, Volume 2 Number 2, April 2010 (out of print).
* http://twitter.com/thaumatrope/statuses/8159537369, Thaumatrope, January 24, 2010 (free to read)
* "A Phoenix By Any Other Name," Short.Story.me!, December 12, 2009 (free to read)
* "Salvaging Scotwell," Baen's Universe, December 2009
* "Periwinkle Eyes," Art Times Magazine, March 2009
* "Blood for Oil" in the Fall 2006 issue of Allegory Magazine, formerly known as Peridot Books. Issue available as $2 PDF here.
* "Waiting" in the April 2003 issue of AlienSkin Magazine
* "The Perfect Costume" in the October/November 2003 issue of Dark Krypt

Published nonfiction:
* "After Our Bodies Fail," an essay in Apex Magazine, Issue 59 (free to read), DRM-free ePub/mobi/PDF (buy), Kindle (buy), and Nook (buy) editions, April 1, 2014.
* "Registering Copyright" in FundsforWriters, December 27, 2013. (free to read)
* "The Nitty-Gritty of Copyright" in Writing-World, Issue 11:04, February 17, 2011. (free to read)

Audio readings:
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* The Circus of Brass and Bone by Abra Staffin-Wiebe, an ongoing post-apocalyptic steampunk serial (free to read or listen to).
* Jagged Spiral. Lament (part i), from Fire and Ice. 2013, MP3 file. Bandcamp.
* "Black Swan, White Swan" by Eugie Foster, in PodCastle, November 11, 2011 (free to read or listen to).
* "Good Help is Hard to Find" by Abra Staffin-Wiebe, in Bosley Gravel's Cavalcade of Terror, August 25, 2011 (free to read or listen to).