Iron Henry and Veils

Writing is like falling in love. An idea or image enchants you and leads you from that first, easy kiss into the complicated mire of a fully realized story. There’s ups and downs. Sometimes you wonder what you saw in each other. Sometimes the enchantment dies, and you don’t know how you’ll ever work things out. And yes, some stories end with no closure, as abandoned drafts in the slush folder.

I have a fondness for all my stories, even those that I’ve abandoned. Like old lovers, there was once a spark. The fully realized stories, though, the ones who stuck with me, or I stuck with them, or whatever happens when the stars align; these are the stories I’ll go to bat for. I’ll keep working until they shine.

For the month of June I have two love stories to share. One much older, relegated to the slush folder for a year or so, and one brand spanking new, made just for the publisher’s call.

Why do men get turned into frogs? What do you lose, and who gets left behind when people live happily ever after? Read my altered version of the fairy tale The Frog Prince.

“Iron Henry” appears in the new anthology Fable.


Next, free to read at 101 Fiction, a dense drabble on images, aging, and the ties we can’t unbind. Follow the link to my story, and please linger to read more. There’s some stellar short fiction here to drabble away a summer day.

“Veils” in Issue 23: Pictures


Published by: Joe

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. Their short fiction appears in publications such as Vastarien, Southwest Review, Pseudopod, and Children of the New Flesh. He’s been a flash fiction judge for Cemetery Gates Media as well as co-editing the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Find Joe (he/they) online at and on Twitter @horrorsong.

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