Coppice & Brake
Crone Girls Press
21 Mar 2020
Nominated: Pushcart Prize
“A snout breaks the surface of Greek yogurt in the 32-ounce container I have freshly opened and set on the counter. It sniffs cautiously, then sneezes and sprays yogurt everywhere. I yell. It pokes its entire head out and chirps. Mel is at daycare, Bill at his office. I’m between jobs and spend my days looking for work and being the stay-at-home dad, which includes grocery shopping and treating myself to some yogurt with a little honey.
“I’m not eating this.”
A man must hunt down a magical creature in his home before his husband and daughter see it and he loses them forever.
My latest short story, “The Yogurt Swimmer,” is included in the new dark fiction and horror anthology Coppice & Brake, edited by Rachel A. Brune, published by Crone Girls Press, and available for purchase now on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. Working with Rachel has been an absolute delight. She is a fantastic editor who suggested edits that vastly improved one of my favorite moments in the story. Coppice & Brake is packed with many other stories from many wonderful writers and I’m excited to dive in.
“The Yogurt Swimmer” had a simple genesis. I opened a new container of Greek yogurt in my kitchen and was struck by how pure and creamy and delicious the yogurt looked. In my daydreaming mind’s eye, though, I pictured that purity destroyed by something undulating under the surface. How frightening and disturbing it would be if something burst through the surface to stare up at me! Carrying that disturbing image and a bowl of yogurt mixed with fruit and honey with me to my desk, I started typing.
“The Yogurt Swimmer” was born.
That was on Sunday, February 18, 2018, and I finished a first draft of the story that day. A couple days later, I took a second draft with me to my critique group in the Master Workshop taught by Reneé Bibby at The Writers Studio Tucson. The reaction of my classmates to the story was so awesome and encouraging: it creeped them out in the most wonderful way! I continued rewriting that month, the rest of the year, and throughout 2019. By the time I submitted the story to Crone Girls Press, I had written 16 drafts.
I’m so happy “The Yogurt Swimmer” has found a home and I hope readers of dark fiction and horror will enjoy it and all the other stories!