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Fire & Light

Stories of Doom and Wonder

A short story collection coming in September


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The Acreage

A story of silence and trespass.

All year, Greg Harris longs for nothing more than the silence and peace of hunting in his 300 acre woods. When he sets out on his first day of bow hunting, he looks forward to a full week of quiet solitude, even the forest isn't what it used to be and a new housing development has cropped up on his southern property line. When someone breaks into his truck, he begins to wonder if he’s alone in the woods. With only his wit and the reluctant help of Donny Schmidt, a hapless local cop, Harris has to find out who, if anyone, is on his land and what they want before they do harm to the acreage or kill him with a stray bullet.

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The Beast on Button Up Hill

FROM ANY POINT IN BRIARDALE, the bare crest of Button Up Hill looms. Two great sentinel oaks stand to either side of the hill’s grassless forehead, like a pair of disapproving grandmothers watching over their ward of rowdy children. If you climb the hill and peer into the intervening space between the trees, you might notice the subtlest mottling of the air, like waves of heat rising from black asphalt on a summer day. If you wait long enough, for a season, for a year, you might just see the air discolor, thicken and even open like a yawning mouth. That’s where it happened. Here is where Jonathan died. On the wind-struck apex of Button Up Hill.

Once described as ‘Stranger Things meets E.T.’ The Beast on Button Up Hill tells the harrowing story of Greg and Rebecca, two small town kids who have to pick up the pieces after a friend’s mysterious death at the hands of a force they don’t understand.

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The Dry Valley

ON TUESDAY, CALLIOPE RUBY BAKER saw the monster for the first time. It stood across the road looking at her. Shaking, she hid behind the curtain by the TV and watched it back. Finally, the monster sunk back into the weeds at the edge of the road, its patchy head vanishing among the chicory. Cali blinked and wondered whether she had seen it at all.

Calliope’s life is that of any other rural middle schooler except that her grandpa isn’t the man he used to be. A year ago, he went quiet. Now Calliope and her grandma live in a house dark and heavy with silence. Then one day a monster appears bearing a truth so startling it will change everything Cali thinks she knows about her grandpa, her family and even herself.


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The Weapon

In the beginning, there was the weapon. Cold and sharp and mean. It was given as all things were given to the stable children: once and never again. The storm gray metal streaked with black. Even now, it gleamed.

When the city of Amelekhem was destroyed, Vayud’s family fled into the desert with only themselves, a cart and a camel to their name. When a terrible event tears his family apart, he finds himself caged. Little does he know the horrors that await him and the other stable children of Chert at the hands of the uncaring galarati, the brutal wielders and the tyrannical consul. There, he must fight for his life and that of his only friend, Ayu, while trying to figure out a way to escape the city and free the stable children.


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The Long Cold

It is the bitterest of storms during the longest winter Odveig has ever seen. Worse, an avalanche has raged over the faraway Gruthold Valley where another gnome and a herd of reindeer have gone to seek shelter. Alone and far from the Grutholds, Odveig must seek the help of animal and gnome alike, while battling the vicious cold, the ever-lurking mennesker and his own growing doubts to find Hundein and bring the herd to safety.

Click here to read now for free


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The ACT Accelerated

A no-nonsense prep book featuring the winning strategies of myself and fellow master-tutor Brenda Alberts. Over the past decade, we've improved the ACT scores of over 350 Minnesota students. At 150 pages, the length is perfect for students pursuing self-study on a tight schedule -- and a modest budget. Packed with hundreds of practice questions, diagrams, strategies and 50 videos, The ACT Accelerated is an unparalleled guide to the ACT, the most important college entrance exam today.