My Short Stories

Tales of mystery, magic, love, and myth.

Illustration for 'Red Ribbons' by David Gentry. Copyright David Gentry.

 Most of my short stories were written for magazines aimed at adults, but you can find my Kat short stories and my YA short stories at the top of this page, clearly marked. Most of the short stories on this page are free to read online, and I've included links below the story titles.

Kat Stephenson Short Stories (linked to the Kat Books)

Dueling Magics

Luckily, I didn’t need anyone to rescue me. I could do that for myself...

Taking place between Kat Books 1 and 2 and given away free online as a gift to Kat readers - read it here.

A Desperate Case for Magick

That meant that Angeline was my only hope...because Angeline would do almost anything, given enough incentive...

Taking place just after the end of Kat Book 1 and first published in Puffin Post, November 2011 - read it on my blog.

YA Short Stories

The Wrong Foot

A frothy, romantic comedy of manners, based on a skewed version of Cinderella and first published in Daily Science Fiction, November 8, 2013. You can read it free online or listen to it as an audio podcast at PodCastle (where it was republished March 21, 2014).

The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain

Forbidden magic and romance in Victorian England!

Published in the Victorian YA romance anthology Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society and Scandal, edited by Ekaterina Sedia,  in the US in September 2012. Also published in the UK under the (slightly differently spelled!) title Wilful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society and Scandal in June 2012.

Republished in Inscription Magazine, 12 May 2014. Read it free online.

The Five Days of Justice Merriwell

A sixteen-year-old girl finds the fate of her country in her hands, with terrifying magic and danger on every side.

An alternate-history fantasy story first published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 26 March 2009. Now you can read it free online.

Undead Philosophy 101

Eighteen-year-old Amanda has finally escaped her unconventional upbringing to go to college. All she wants now is to concentrate on her classes and ignore the vampires blending in on campus...but when her roommate is bitten, it's time for Amanda to take action.

Written as a Christmas gift for my brother Ben (who was a philosophy grad student at that point), who asked for a funny vampire story set in East Lansing, Michigan, our hometown. First given away as part of the December Lights Project December 2010. Now available as an ebook on Smashwords,, or

Other Short Stories Available as E-books

Some Girlfriends Can (a chick lit fantasy short story written for adults)

It's hard enough trying to be the perfect girlfriend. But how is Lauren supposed to compete when her boyfriend's ex is a literal goddess?

First published in Strange Horizons, November 2004. Now available as an ebook on,, and Smashwords (in all e-formats).
Honorable Mention, Strange Horizons Readers' Choice Poll 2004.
Republished in Escape Pod - 8 September 2005 - Listen to free audio podcast.

More Historical Fantasy Stories

True Names

When I let Sam sweet talk me into moving out here to the back of beyond to be his wife, it was all about the romance of the wild, the two of us standing at each other's sides against mountain lions and poisonous snakes, and me learning to be just as fierce against them as any man. Days like today somehow never got mentioned in any of his stories, back then.

First published in Strange Horizons, 9 November 2009 - Read free online.

Blue Joe

Jazz, war, and family love in 1940s Youngstown and Europe.

This story was written in memory of my grandfather, Emil Bauman, and his brothers, and it was first published in Shimmer Magazine, Issue 10, March 2009. I shared it later on my blog, where you can read it free online.
Republished in the anthology Bewere the Night, ed. Ekaterina Sedia, April 2011.

Stitching Time (PG-13)

A mail-order bride in 19th-century Northern Michigan finds more than she'd expected...

First published in The Fortean Bureau, March 2005.
Republished in Pseudopod, 6 April 2007 - Listen to free audio podcast.
Reprinted in Diet Soap, Issue 2, May 2008.

Ivy and Thorn

Betrayal and romance in Elizabethan England.

First published in Grendelsong, Issue 1, September 2006.
Reprinted in Quantum Kiss, March 2007.
Selected as a finalist for the 2007 Washington Science Fiction Association's Small Press Award.

Accident of Birth

From the moment Septimus O’Callaghan walked into Mrs. DeYoung’s Sunday garden party, looking as beautiful and as impossible as a young Greek god, I thought I could predict everything that was to follow...

First published in Lone Star Stories, October 2005 - Read free online.

Modern Fantasy Stories

Marking Time

Regrets, relationships, and the possibility of real magic...

First published in Daily Science Fiction, February 2015 - Read free online.

Clasp Hands

Mothers and magic and powerful aunts!

First published in Daily Science Fiction, May 2014 - Read free online.

Dancing in the Dark (PG-13)

This story was written in memory of a beloved relative who died much, much too young.

First published in Daily Science Fiction, May 2012 - Read free online.

The Spell Misspelled: or, The Trouble with Kings and Ghosts

My very silly Richard III short story, set in modern-day London and written after many fun trips to the Richard III museum in York (and a teenagehood obsessed with RIII)!

Published in the Colinthology, a charity anthology whose proceeds go to the Bristol hospital charity Above & Beyond, October 2012.


That Wednesday, the witch found five silver paperclips laid across her doorstep, next to an apple and a sharpened No. 2 pencil.

First published in Fantasy Magazine, August 2009 - Read free online.

It's All About the Shoes (PG-13)

First published in Flytrap, Issue 8, November 2007.


First published in The Town Drunk, May 2007.

Retold Myths and Mythical Stories

Lighting Candles

For anyone who ever felt a fleeting moment of sympathy for the evil older sisters in fairy tales…

First published in Flytrap Magazine, Issue #11, March 2014 - Read free online.

Inside the Tower

I've hated my mother for half my life, but watching her die is killing me.

First published in Strange Horizons, January 2005 - Read free online.
Reprinted in Jabberwocky anthology, ed. Sean Wallace, July 2005.


She’s lurking outside my campfire again...

First published in Aeon, Issue 8, August 2006 - Read free online.
Republished in Toasted Cake podcast, April 2014 - Listen free online.

The Little Tailor

I wrote this story in memory of my great-grandfather, Mosche Gerschfeld, who first told me the fairy tale "The Little Tailor" when I was five years old.

First published in Say..., May 2005.
Republished in Serendipity, Issue 3, November 2007 - Read free online.

By the Light of the Dark (PG-13)

A retelling of "East of the sun, West of the Moon" - and a romance about marriage.

First published in Grendelsong, April 2007.
Republished in Quantum Kiss, January 2008.


First published in Lone Star Stories, December 2004 - Read free online.
Republished in Podcastle, 18th April 2008 - Listen to free audio podcast.
Republished in The Lone Star Stories Reader anthology, November 2008.
Nominated for the 2004 Speculative Literature Foundation Fountain Award.


I’m not sure I like our games anymore...

First published in Flytrap, Issue 2, May 2004 - Read free online.

Breath of Clay

This was my first pro story sale, and I wrote the story when I was 21, years before my next story sale. I've grown a LOT as a writer since publishing it (thank goodness!), and I would write it very differently if I approached the same story now...but I'll never stop being fond of this one.

First published in Jewish Sci-Fi Stories for Kids anthology, ed. Yaacov Peterseil, 1999.

Science Fiction Stories

Dreaming Harry

Making a bad night even worse, Elizabeth Nichols woke at 3 a.m. with an unmistakable feeling of nameless, creeping dread... A funny spec-fic story about the true horrors discovered in parenthood. 

First published in Unidentified Funny Objects, edited by Alex Shvartsman, December 2012. 
Shared on my blog for free, December 2014 - Read free online

Iota Draconis

They were saved, after all their fear and despair...and now it was time for her to redeem her promise.

First published in The Sixty: Arts of Andy Bigwood, a science fiction anthology and art book ed. (and illustrated by) Andy Bigwood, April 2011.
Shared on my blog for free, August 2011 - Read free online.

The Andrassi Agreement (PG-13)

A science-fictional comedy of manners. How embarrassing are your relatives? ;)

First published in Lone Star Stories, December 2008 - Read free online.

Behind the Rules (PG-13)

A woman designed to be the perfect wife discovers the shattering secrets behind her marriage.

First published in Forgotten Worlds, July 2006.
Republished in Escape Pod, 28th March 2008 - Listen to free audio podcast.

After the Change (PG-13)

First published in Future Bristol anthology, ed. Colin Harvey, April 2009.

Adventure Fantasy Stories

Fire Magic

(Co-written with Patrick Samphire.)
First published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue 23, June 2006.
Shared on Patrick's website, 2010 - Read free online.

How to Recognize a Dragon

First published in Full Unit Hookup, Issue 9, August 2008.

Horror Stories

Locked Doors

You can never let anyone suspect, his mother told him. That was the first rule she taught him, and the last, before she left him here alone with It.

First published in Strange Horizons, January 2007 - Read free online.
Republished in Pseudopod, 27th April 2007 - Listen to free audio podcast.
Republished in Running With the Pack, ed. Ekaterina Sedia, April 2010.
Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: 21st Annual Collection, ed. Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin J. Grant.

Red Ribbons (PG-13)

First published in Black Static, Issue 11, June 2009.
Republished in Wicked Women, an anthology edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber, October 2014. 

Wolf's Kin (PG-13)

First published in Space and Time Magazine, July 2009.

Ghost Stories

Speaking English

First published in Belong, ed. Russell B. Farr, April 2010.

What they said

"laugh-out-loud fun ... witty, tart, and satisfying"

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, The Fix
on "The Andrassii Agreement"

"witty and charming ... entertaining and meaningful"

Paul J. Iutzi, The Fix
on "It's All About the Shoes"