Category Archives: Fiction River


A few years ago I wrote my first thriller story to submit to an anthology called Pulse Pounders, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. To my delight, he purchased the story. To my astonishment, Publisher’s Weekly called the story “a nail-biter,” and then I was gobsmacked when the story was shortlisted for The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery 2016.

Now the follow up volume, Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline, has come out, containing a new, but very different, thriller story by me. The first story was about a mother saving her child, present-day. The new story is set in space, near future, and there are more lives at stake. But it’s also a very personal journey for the heroine…

It’s a story I’ve had in mind for nearly 10 years, but finally felt I had the chops to write. I hope readers enjoy it. (And I hope it’s another nail-biter!)

Right now, the only way to get Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline is part of The Bump in the Night Thriller Bundle (curated by none other than Kevin J. Anderson himself), via Storybundle.

For $5, you get the following novels:

Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg
The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski
The Devil’s Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lady Sherlock – Circle of the Smiling Dead by Brooks Arthur Wachtel
Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter
The Daredevil’s Club Artifact by Janet Berliner, F Paul Wilson, Kevin J. Anderson and Matthew Costello

For $15 or more, you get these, too!

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi
The Deep Sunset by Dean Wesley Smith
Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson
Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline by Fiction River
Into the Fire by Patrick Hester
Living Dead Girl by Susan Sizemore
Death Wind by Travis Heerman and Jim Pinto
Night Terrors by J.A. Pitts
Whack Job by Mike Baron

That’s 15 ebooks for $1 each. That’s an amazing deal. I cannot wait to read these!

Click here to buy!

Two fantasy stories and a romance (and a cherry on top!)

I’ve been remiss in announcing some new publications, so here are three—two fantasy stories and one romance story—for your reading pleasure.

Still-Waking Sleep by Dayle A. Dermatis
literary alchemical fantasy short story

Fiction River’s latest anthology contains my story “Still-Waking Sleep,” which is one of the more unusual stories I’ve written. The editor of the volume said I created a new subgenre: literary alchchemical fantasy. Okay, I’ll take that!

Tangent Online reviewed the issue and said of “Still-Waking Sleep,”

“Dermatis has a love of lush language…that fits well into the story.”

(I recommend you read the issue before you read the review, because it contains some minor spoilers.)

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Humans prove great fodder for fiction. But what about the universe of possibilities offered by the nonhuman protagonist? The eighteen daring humans of Fiction River’s latest volume explore just that. From a goblin who must choose whether to risk everything for love to a heroic rat adventuring at sea to sentient underpants (yes, underpants), these nonhuman tales demonstrate why Adventures Fantastic says: “If you haven’t checked out Fiction River yet, you should. There’s something for everyone.”

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can also check out the book’s product page here and learn more about the entire Fiction River series.

Girls That Glitter by Dayle A. Dermatis
urban fantasy short story

Fans of my Nikki Ashburne/Ghosted series, rejoice! For here is a new Nikki story. It has drag queens in it. It has a search for missing paperwork. And it’s my homage and fond farewell to the Sunset Strip House of Blues.

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Think you know a tavern tale when you hear one? Think again. The seventeen stories in this volume run the gamut of genre and mood. Bars filled with glitter and ghosts stand alongside taverns filled with orcs and adventurers. Exclusive members-only drinks served at the end of the universe war with coffee bars with strange employee policies in the Pacific Northwest. Dive bars, afterlife bars, gay bars—you name it, and you’ll find it in Tavern Tales. So, grab a drink and get ready for one of the most entertaining Fiction River volumes yet.

I love every story in this issue.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The book’s product page
More about the entire Fiction River series

Leave a Candle Burning by Dayle A. Dermatis
romance short story

The second issue of Heart’s Kiss is out now, with my story “Leave a Candle Burning.” Hurrah!

About my story:

Claudia lives a vagabond life, crisscrossing the country doing research for a reality show about American myths and legends. Christmas finds her in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, at a small hotel allegedly haunted by the Lady in White, who leaves a candle burning for her husband, lost in the snow.

The ghost might not be real, but Claudia’s attraction to the mysterious Reese, who once lived in the Victorian house, definitely is. Will he be what it takes for Claudia to change her wandering ways?

You can buy the issue on Amazon or Barnes & Noble in ebook or print form, from Kobo in ebook, or purchase directly from the website. You can also subscribe to the magazine, which might not be a bad idea, because I have a story in issue #3 coming up, too…!

emagazine: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
print: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Heart’s Kiss website

If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. The May newsletter has publication news about three additional new stories plus an upcoming novel! BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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So hard, but so worth it

It’s Saturday night, and I am fried crispier than I’ve ever been before.

I’m also filled to the brim with joy, with pride, with the creative energy of a group of fascinating, intelligent, and wonderful people who happen to be fucking phenomenal writers.

I can’t wait to go home.

I don’t want to leave.

Okay, yes I do. I’ll miss everyone, but I seriously need a couple of days to decompress, and snuggle with my beloved, and prepare the house for the new kittays (Thursday!), and get back to writing and my massive to do list. Sometimes I can look at my massive to do list and want to run away screaming, but right now so many things on it are fun or exciting. Story deadlines. New projects. Opportunities to challenge myself.

(It may take me several days to just parse my to do list into manageable chunks.)

My view leaving the Anchor Inn on my way to discuss my anthology, Doorways to Enchantment… Which door would you choose?

When Dean Wesley Smith asked me to be an editor at this year’s Anthology Workshop, I blurted “Are you kidding me?!” which in hindsight was so embarrassing because Dean doesn’t joke about stuff like that. I was, as my dear friend (and wonderful writer) Leslie says, “Exfrightened,” which means being excited and frightened in equal measure. I didn’t identify until I was standing up with the other editors that I was also dealing with a level of imposter syndrome. Kris and Dean have been my writing mentors for 15 years (as of this month!) and are award-winning authors and editors. What did little ol’ me know?

I probably spent more time than I should have reading the 1.1 million (yes, you read that right) words of short fiction written by the 50 authors (about 250 short stories). I’d been on the other side of the table for 11 of these workshops, so I was reasonably sure I knew what would be helpful to the authors. It’s not enough to say “This story didn’t work for me” (although occasionally that was true—sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it), and if I were rejecting a story, I wanted to give a thoughtful explanation of why. The fact that I didn’t figure out until the morning of the first day of the workshop part of what I was looking for in the stories for my anthology added a bit more stress…but I learned a lot right there. Quite a few authors thanked me and said they appreciated my comments on their stories, which let me know my efforts were the right thing to do. Yay for that.

I also learned so much from the experience itself—more than one epiphany, more than once a feeling of leveling up in understanding. I didn’t expect that.

My final story selections, with bonus! photobomb by Mark Leslie Lefebvre of Kobo Books (and another editor).

I’ve talked more in the past week than I normally do in two or three months. Remember, I work at home, where I occasionally talk to the cat. Obviously I have conversations with Ken in the evening and on weekends, and see friends as well, but this was eight hours a day, plus lunches each day with a small group of people who signed up to talk to me (cue imposter syndrome, although some people just wanted to hang out, and that was cool), plus a few dinners, plus breakfasts (by the end I was eating breakfast in my room because it had become too much), plus a two-hour Uncollected Anthology meeting today.

Here’s the plan: after breakfast tomorrow, drive to Portland and drop someone off at a hotel near the airport, then go home. Have lunch with Ken if we can peel ourselves off of each other. Unpack, toss laundry in. Maybe do a quick grocery shop (I did a meal plan last month). Take a long, hot, epsom-salt–filled bath. Watch TV or a movie. Sleep a lot. Monday I’ve got a massage scheduled and yoga in the evening; Tuesday I have a scheduled walk with a writer friend (because she’s awesome and I didn’t see enough of her this week) and I’ll get a chiropractic adjustment. (My right shoulder is swollen from lugging my computer bag around and also looking to the right at four of the five other editors.) Wednesday, back to work—unless I feel I need more recovery time. I’ll triage a few time-sensitive things before that, but mostly it’ll be about getting organized so I can hit the ground running. (And prepping for the kittays!)

I’ll probably write as well. Not just because I have deadlines, but because I’ve been missing it. I managed to write only one day this week, between being busy and braindead. (Yesterday I made up a new word: Nebulated, which means to be nominated for a Nebula award. This morning I said to one of my roomies, “I’m sorry, I haven’t had alcohol yet.” Thankfully she was able to translate that I meant caffeine. Egads.)

All that was written Saturday night. Here’s what I wrote Sunday evening:

I’m home, and managed to miss the actual snowfall (the roads were clear and the aftermath was pretty). Bath has been taken, suitcase is unpacked, and the first load of laundry is in. I had a small surge of energy earlier but now I’m wibbling. Any hint of decision making is off the table. Ken’s picking up pizza, and then it’s no brain necessary for the rest of the night.

I’m realizing this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t know if I could do it. I don’t know if I could have a year ago.

It’s a lot to process. For now, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I feel like I’ve leveled up, and I have a confidence I didn’t have before. The Year of Dare is going pretty well so far.

Mockup of the cover of my anthology, with me listed as Editor. Eeee! (Design by the extremely talented Allyson Longueira, publisher at WMG Publishing.)

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Hauntingly Good Publications!

So much good news to impart!

fr19-haunted-ebook-coverFirst, a new publication: Haunted, an anthology from Fiction River edited by the fantastic Kerrie Hughes, is now available. It contains my story “Land of the Living,” a Nikki Ashburne/Ghosted short story.

Rubicon: less rehab, more luxury spa for the ultra-rich elite of Hollywood.

Nikki Ashburne: less recovering from an accidental OD, more hiding from the world and grieving for her beloved grandmother.

Nikki’s Rubicon roomate: less alive, more ghost.

Nikki’s choice: less hiding away, or more living?

Available in ebook format from these fine establishments:
Amazon | all other retailers


facebookimage-1200x628-smallerMagical Tales of Witches!

I have a story in a frightfully luscious bundle of Witch stories!

For only $2.99, you can get 20 short stories of witches and spells. That’s a mere $0.15 per story. Way cheaper than the mocha frappuccino I had in an airport recently to keep me awake on the flight (I had work to do, don’tcha know).

I read all of the stories this month and let me tell you, they are delicious—some spooky, some funny, and all witchy goodness.

My story in this bundle is “This is the World Calling”:

Tansy and Ki come from two of the most powerful witch dynasties—and the feud between their families puts the Hatfield and McCoys to shame. So why, then, did their parents not care when the two would run off and play as children, lost in their own little world?

When they meet again as adults, Tansy and Ki’s mutual attraction makes it vitally important that they find the answer to that question.

Note that the price will go up to $4.99 on November 2, so strike while the witchy iron is hot!

Available in ebook format from these fine establishments:
Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

Pulse Pounders!

This one’s called Pulse Pounders, and it’s a bundle of novels and anthologies. Coincidentally, one of the books is the anthology Pulse Pounders, which contains my story “The Scent of Amber and Vanilla” (which was an honorable mention in the The Year’s Best Crime and Mystery Stories 2016). So if you haven’t bought the story already, here’s your chance to have it along with a bunch of other nail-biting, roller-coaster-ride stories.

Plus, the the anthology is bundled with 10 other books, all for only $15 (you can pay more if you want the novel authors, anthology editors, and/or the charity to get more). That’s a pretty sweet deal…just don’t blame me for your sleepless nights because you couldn’t put the books down.

Available in ebook format from Storybundle

What Beck’ning Ghost
a gothic romance novel

WBG cover webTouch not the cat bot a glove…

The MacPherson family crest above the door gives Rachael de Young, genealogist and psychic, an unexpected chill. She doesn’t know that by crossing the threshold, her life will change forever. Because the MacPhersons are a family cursed by jealousy, betrayal, and fire….

Rachael grows closer to the truth even as she grows closer to the ghost of Jordan MacPherson, who died in the tragic fire…and could very well be the person sabotaging her research. But she must trust Jordan’s love in order to find the strength to face her own fears, break her one cardinal rule, and stop a madman before he can kill again.

Available from these fine establishments:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | AllRomanceEbooks

Waking the Witch
a gothic novel

wtw cover webFour boys confess to the murder of a woman who died a hundred years ago…

The violent encounter Rowan Everly survived in college jolted awake her psychic power to see past images while holding a related object. At the behest of a friend, she comes to the privileged prep school town of Millburn, New York, to investigate the current rape and murder, and hopefully clear her friend’s son’s name.

Rowan’s not sure she’s up to the task. Her deeply ingrained mistrust of men makes her question where her loyalties lie. The deeper she investigates, the less anything makes sense. The boys seem truly horrified by what happened—almost as if they hadn’t had control over it.

Her initial encounter with sheriff Toby Candusco isn’t pleasant for either of them. But his calm support of her, and his unwavering desire to see justice done, gives her the strength to not only face her fears, but to reexamine the core beliefs that shape who she is.

Only then can she face and destroy the real menace…and save everyone around her.

Available from these fine establishments:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

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Writers! Here’s a great opportunity!

Writer friends! Want to write for professional short story markets and experience in real time how the selection process works, while hanging out with a whole slew of smart, savvy, creative, and fun writers and editors?

If you’ve known me for a while, you know I attend an Anthology Workshop on the Oregon Coast every year, and have sold a number of stories to both DAW Books anthologies and, more recently, Fiction River anthologies. This coming year, I’ve been invited to be one of the editors.

I’m told there are a few slots still open in the upcoming workshop, so let me tell you all about it.

Editors this year are Dayle A. Dermatis (me), Leah Cutter (a fabulous writer), Allyson Longueira (editor of Fiction River: Presents), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (multiple-award-winning writer and editor), and Mark LeFebvre from Kobo Books. Kristine will be editing two very special volumes, so the writers attending will be writing six stories for six anthologies.

Attendees will write two stories in early December, then four stories in four weeks in January. You get the anthology theme on Monday, and the story will be due the following Sunday. Lather, rinse, repeat. The anthologies will be different genres, so writers will get to stretch their wings as well as write in genres they already enjoy. (I challenge myself to write a story for every anthology, no matter how I feel about the theme. I have sold stories to themes I loathed—much to my surprise and delight.)

Anyway. This year, stories will also have two other special project chances:

A story, if not picked by an editor for an anthology, will have a chance for that editor to pick it for a special “Editor’s Saves” volume of Fiction River. That’s seven anthologies every story will have a chance to be in.

On top of that, WMG Publishing is bringing back Pulphouse Magazine, edited by Dean Wesley Smith. This will be an invite-only magazine, with stories only from this workshop, not open to outside submissions. Dean intends to fill the entire first year of Pulphouse Magazine, four issues, at the workshop.

Doing the math (ow), that means the six stories written by attendees will have a chance at seven anthologies and four issues of Pulphouse Magazine. This is way more than previous workshops, and I’m super excited!

WMG pays professional rates for stories, and you will have the chance to review the contract before you commit to selling them your work.

Plus there are lunches with editors and other writing/publishing professionals, and so many amazing talks every evening. The Uncollected Anthology project, for example, came from some late-night brainstorming sessions.

Dates are February 25 to March 5, Lincoln City, OR.

For more information, see (The website says the workshop is full, but I’ve been told there are still a couple slots available. At worst, you’ll be put on a waiting list, and you’ll know by the time the first story assignment is sent out whether you’re in.) If you’re interested, contact Dean Wesley Smith via his website. I’m also happy to answer questions about the workshop and my experiences with it over the years.

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What do Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, and I have in common?

OMG OMG OMG flaily hands! My thriller story “The Scent of Amber and Vanilla” is an Honorable Mention in the The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016!

You know who else is on the Honorable Mentions list? Shirley Jackson, Stephen King,* and Elmore Leonard. Among others.**

Yes, I am running around the apartment screaming. No, I do not have pants on.


*Ironic note: The story was inspired by a writing exercise in King’s On Writing.

**Also, my friends Annie Reed, Kelly Washington, Dan Duval, and Angela Penrose have stories in the volume, and I know several other people in the Honorable Mentions list, so booyah! to all of you. I’m going to go lie down now.

Reasons why you should come to my booksigning

Reasons why you should come to my booksigning in Salem tomorrow.

  1. The book, Sparks, is an amazing anthology of Young Adult fiction by some phenomenal writers. I haven’t read all the stories yet, but the ones I have? They will blow you away.
  2. It’s not just my booksigning—four of the authors will be there. That’s a lot of bang for your buck (and signatures in your book)!
  3. Author signings are an exercise in humiliation (I have stories) (personal stories).* So your presence gives you two options: (a) lessen my humiliation or (b) stand in the corner and witness my humiliation and giggle. Your choice.
  4. The book is a limited edition pre-release available only at this signing! So you will get a collector’s item!
  5. Boooooks! So many books!
  6. Reading is sexy!
  7. There will be cookies.
  8. I will probably wear something more formal than a Styx T-shirt.
  9. I might even wear makeup.
  10. Support local bookstores! Wooh!
  11. Did I mention how wonderful and positive and empowering the stories in this book are?
  12. And that I’ll be signing with authors Leslie Claire Walker, Kim May, and Sharon Joss?
  13. Plus, cookies!

Reader’s Guide Bookstore
735 Edgewater St. NW, Salem
1-3 pm

*Like, the time the only person who talked to me was a homeless guy. Who was not interested in my book. Or the time I sold one whole book…to two people who were going to share it. (Don’t get me wrong: I’m very happy they bought my book and I’m very, very happy when someone reads my book by any means possible, including borrowing from a friend and libraries, because my ultimate goal is to share my work with others. It was just that this was a huge signing with hundreds of readers…) Or the time my books didn’t show up. (Okay, that wasn’t humiliating, just kinda sad.) Or…

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Pulse Pounders is here!

Pulse Pounders, a Fiction River thriller anthology, is now available! It contains my story “The Scent of Amber and Vanilla.” Publisher’s Weekly (!!) says

Dayle A. Dermatis’s “The Scent of Amber and Vanilla,” about a woman trying to protect her child from her psycho partner, is a nail-biter.

FR Pulse Pounders ebook cover webIf that’s not enough for you, the anthology contains a never-before-published story by Frank Herbert (I’m in an anthology with Frank Herbert! My name is on the cover of an anthology along with Frank Herbert’s! Frank freaking Herbert!), as well as a story that utterly blew me away when I first read it, “The Chair” by J.C. Andrijeski. Oh, and stories by Phaedra Weldon, Kristine Kathryn Rusch…so many amazing authors.

Did I mention it was edited by Kevin J. Anderson? Let me mention that now: Kevin J. Anderson edited this anthology. It’s a fangirl’s dream, I tell you.

Note: If you have a Kobo reading device (or a way to read Kobo files), they have a special edition of the book with three extra stories.

Order from Amazon
Order from Powell’s
Order from Barnes & Noble

Available in ebook format from these fine establishments:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Come celebrate with me on Facebook or Twitter! Wooh!