If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Ed Ahern.

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How do you deal with writer’s block?

Type the crap out of it until it runs clear.

How long does it usually take you to write a story?

First draft: Four to six days depending on life interferences.

How do you research your stories?

Online, mostly. I also write retold folk tales, so I buy very old folk tale books, find a story I like, and then research it a bit on line.

What are you doing to market yourself?

I’m the heretic in the room. I dabble in Facebook and Twitter, but suspect that much of social media is just posturing for one another. I write about writing on Twitter, and that seems to attract more followers than pimping my latest pub cred. I also make a dedicated effort to get stories and poems reprinted on the unproven theory that the more readers encounter (and hopefully like) my stuff, the more likely they are to read more of it.


“The Birthing” by Ed Ahern

Matt shuffled closer. As his shock abated the anguish of his cauterized finger drummed against his throbbing collarbone.

Still screwed. This whatever-it-is is bigger than me, and I’m too crippled to fight. Find a branch or a rock? Meanwhile, kiss Girra’s ass.

The fire burned in a shallow pit, but Matt couldn’t see any wood or charcoal, just burning dirt. “Please, sir, how did you get that to keep burning? And how did you do this to my finger?”

Girra’s belly swayed as she stepped toward him. “Another nattering chimp. My names mean nothing to you?”


“So stupid. They are the names your kind gave to fire gods. Elementals. The fire burns because I will it so. Just as your finger burned. Just as you will burn.”

“But you appear human.”

Sort of.

“Ah. We are the essence of flame, eternal, never seen except as candle or conflagration. But your kind creates billions more and different kinds of fires, forcing us to breed. And to breed we must appear to take animal shape. For my Birthed to best acclimate to your fire, I have taken your shape. But we are hermaphroditic. I procreated with myself.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Witless. Do you know of Plato’s cave?


“In a cave much like this one, an ignorant man—that is you—sees fire-cast shadows and thinks the shadows are beings. But they are not. What you think you are looking at is shifting shadows of an entity you will never comprehend. Be resigned to ignorance.”

Something shifted in Girra’s belly, and fire light seeped through the skin. “But if I am ignorant and cannot harm you, why must I die?”

“So that your kind remains blind to us. Your race hasn’t believed in elementals for two millennia. We prefer it.”


Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had a hundred seventy stories and poems published so far. His collected fairy and folk tales, The Witch Made Me Do It was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His novella The Witches’ Bane was published by World Castle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror stories, Capricious Visions was published by Gnome on Pig Press. Ed’s currently working on a paranormal/thriller novel tentatively titled The Rule of Chaos. He works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.