2017 Eligibility Post

It’s that time again, folks! If you will, please indulge me in talking about the work I had published this year, and if you enjoyed them, please consider them for nomination and share this post with others.

Bear Language
Illustration for Bear Language, by Galen Dara

My short story “Bear Language,” was published at Fireside Fiction in May, and can be found here to read: https://firesidefiction.com/bear-language

It is a story about family and abuse, about language and power, about failing as a parent and growing up enough to realize that love can’t always save everything. It is a hard story to read, but I’ve been thrilled that it has resonated with so many, and so grateful for the love it has received from readers. It’s appeared on multiple recommended reading lists of 2017, and is currently listed in the SFWA Nebula Recommended Reading List. Thank you again to Brian White, Daniel Jose Older, Pablo Defendini, and Galen Dara, for helping to make this story what it became.

Here are some nice things folks have said about it:

“This is a beautiful but wrenching story about family and about truth and about beasts and monsters . . . It’s a beautiful and magical piece about safety and about protection and you should definitely give it a read!” – Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

“The voice is perfect in this bittersweet and fierce story about family and strength and survival. Plus, Susan is such a good bear—and one should never get between a bear and her cubs.” – Merc Rustad

“I love this story so much. LOVE. IT. Heartbreaking and dark, this story of two children stuck in a house with an addicted and abusive father who is not capable of being the parent they need, still manages to be oddly uplifting, thanks to the presence of a Very Good Bear. I really love how Cahill manages to infuse a desperate and nightmarish situation with a fairytale vibe, and gleams of resilience and hope. This story will stick with me for a long time.” – Maria Haskins

“Such a stunning, completely absorbing story. A bear has broken into a house and trapped two children and their father on the upper floor. But who is the real threat to the children? This story is so perfectly done. It’s full of hurt and truth and love that exists but which cannot save.” – Vanessa Fogg

And here are some of the 2017 reading lists it can be found on:

Quick Sip Reviews 2017 Recommended Reading List – Charles Payseur

Some Favorite Stories of 2017 from Sam J. Miller

My 2017 Recommended Reading List from Maria Haskins

Some Awesome Stories from 2017 from Merc Rustad

My Favorite Short Fiction of 2017 from A. C. Wise

Awards Recommendation Post 2017 from Jordan Kurella

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Shimmer Issue #38 Cover by Sandro Castelli

My other short story published this year was “Salamander Six-Guns,” at Shimmer Magazine in July.

It can be found here to read: https://www.shimmerzine.com/salamander-six-guns/

It is a story of pain and loss, of scaled creatures from another world looking to dominate this one, and the two broken men who have to last long enough to stop them, let alone figure out their feelings for each other. It’s a queer Weird Western with magic six-guns, were-alligators, and dragons from another dimension looking to burn it all down. Thank you to all those who have read it and enjoyed it, and thank you especially to gunslinger elite, Elise Catherine Tobler, without whom it wouldn’t be what it is.

Here are some of the nice things folks have said about it:

“Tragic, heroic, and built around aliens bent on twisting the human landscape, be prepared to jump into an exotic yet satisfying ride.” – Tangent Online

“I’ve been quite impressed with some of Martin Cahill’s recent stories and ‘Salamander Six-Guns’ is pretty great. Not one to miss . . . This is an action-packed and nicely weird western story featuring mutants, guns, loneliness, and hurt . . . It’s a story that centers this idea that trying, even against a seemingly-insurmountable foe, is the only real option. Because without trying, everything is already lost. And it’s a dark and moving story with a fast pace and a fun aesthetic, which makes for a great read!” – Quick Sip Reviews, Charles Payseur

“This is such an extraordinarily weird and wonderful western. A gripping story of love and vengeance plays out in a world that has been fundamentally altered by the arrival of… something new… that has changed both the landscape and the people in it. Action, emotion, and glorious prose.” – Maria Haskins

“The greatest part of the story is some of the beauty of the lines. Cahill is clearly a writer who is as much in love with the sound of language as the story it tells.” – SFF Reviews

Thank you once again to all of the editors who published me this year, and to all of the readers who read, supported, and shared my work with others. Your continued support and enthusiasm for my work means the world to me, and I can’t wait to show you what I have coming out in 2018.

Thank you for reading and for considering these two stories for nomination.



Hopeful Ink: Writing in 2016

2015 was a big year for my writing, and I’m hoping to keep the trend going for 2016. Last year, I joined the amazing NYC writing group Altered Fluid, finished my first novel, wrote/started dozens of short stories, and continued to learn from and make friends in the world of publishing. With all that in my back pocket, I hope to make 2016 an even more stellar year by producing more work, stronger work, and pursuing it as far as I can. Below are some of the big projects that I hope to achieve this year, and if no one else reads this, at least I can look at it as a measure of motivation in the flagging days of writing.

Magnetic – This is the novel I wrote last year and is currently in its third draft. I’m revising it, and will be sending it out to my beta readers and writing group hopefully by the end of February. A story of mad science, grief, stand-up comedy, relationships, love, doubt, and faith in the family you’ve chosen, I’m hoping to start sending this to agents by the summer, so fingers crossed!

Empire’s Arrow – The first in an epic fantasy duology, EA is the story of a middle-aged women working for the postal service, feeling as though she’s wasted her life, having to work with her ex-husband  in order to stop a national conflict from igniting. Throw in some memory magic, stone swords, mad empresses, elemental golems, and a suppressed history between two broken people, and you get Empire’s Arrow. Outlining on this is going well, and I’m hoping to start a first draft by the time Magnetic is ready to be sent out to beta readers.

Seven Bullets – This is the codename for a story that I want to tell that is really important to me. It’s something I’ve been noodling for a while, and while I’ve been incredibly nervous to start it, I’ve spoken with enough writer-y friends and publishing friends that have shown me this story can have merit, and is worth pursuing. I’m very scared that I’ll get it all wrong, but it’s absolutely worth it to write it and see what vision emerges. What’s it about? Without getting too deep, it’s about how pain can be random, about  systemic violence against women and minorities, how to move on from trauma, if it’s even possible, and what that looks like. If it looks like I’m being vague, it’s because I am. But time will tell the shape of it all. Hoping to get to this this year.

Otherwise, I’m making two more promises for this year, ready?

1: Sell at least two short stories.

2: Review every book I read on this blog.

One of those is easier than the other.

Fingers crossed both can be achieved, yeah?

Stay tuned, viewers. This is going to be a big year, I think, and I’ll be here to catalog it the whole thing.


My first pro piece is now officially out in the world and it still has me swinging wildly between Terrified and Excited with the speed and verve of a metronome at the highest setting.

Looking at it now, my mind is frenzied, searching and picking apart what I wrote, constantly asking questions of, “Was that a good choice? Should I have changed the ending? Will they get it, understand it like I had hoped they would?”

I can think all of these things that I want, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t, change it that is. As of this moment, the story is no longer mine and that’s, y’know, that’s okay. It shouldn’t be mine forever. Being published is being able to let your ideas out into the world to exist on their own, and hope that others can keep it afloat, alive.

But yeah, it’s out there and reception has been pretty good so far. Most folks are enjoying it, and being terribly creeped out, (which is absolutely fine since it is a horror story).

So to everyone who has given my work a chance, thank you. Like I said in the Author Spotlight, time is one thing readers have so little of, so thank you for giving me some of yours.

Big thank to everyone at Nightmare Magazine for helping this piece come together: John Joseph Adams for buying a story from a relatively new guy and giving him a shot. Wendy Wagner for helping to format and refine this story into something solid, with sharp edges. EC Myers for being an awesome interviewer and giving me the chance to express my love of Back To The Future in a public forum.

And as always a mighty thank you to Kat Howard, who has been my council and supporter and mentor through all this.

If you’d like to read the story, you can find it here: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/never-fire/

If you’d like to read my Author Spotlight with E.C., you can find that here: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-martin-cahill/

And as always, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.