The Anatomy of Seahorses on Tales to Terrify podcast

Tales to Terrify April coverMy tale, “The Anatomy of Seahorses” is out now in audio format in episode 69 of the excellent Tales to Terrify podcast.

As for the narration, I think it’s brilliant. Jedidiah Kalanu Shepler recounts the story in a performance not unlike Ray Winstone or even a young Michael Caine – the English bad boy character is perfectly crafted by Jed.

When the story first appeared in The Horror Express magazine a few years back, it attracted this review by Peter Tennant (of Black Static magazine) on the Whispers of Wickedness website:

“With the possible exception of the [Dear R] Koontz, The Anatomy of Seahorses by John Dodds is the finest story THE has to offer, the tale of professional tough guy and contract killer Wilbur, who is in the Far East to retrieve a valuable package for his employer. Dodds does everything right here, succeeding in the difficult task of creating a credible killer and then making him sympathetic by invoking terrors even more fundamental to the human condition. His evocation of the foreign setting is perfect too, with the spirit life woven seamlessly into the physical world, and the people given attitudes and traits convincingly at odds with our own Western world view. And Dodds’ writing grips from the very start, bringing an intriguing plot to life, providing the essential colour and sound and fury, with phrases that ring in the mind, such as the simply wonderful, ‘The corpse looked like four gallons of snot spread on a log,’ which I so wish I’d come up with myself.”

On the podcast, too, you’ll find a really nasty story called  “It’s Just Tearing Me All Apart” by O.D. Hegre, narrated by Stephen Kilpatrick, a fact article,  “Horror 101” with Kevin Lucia and a poem,  “The Taemor” by Alexei Collier.

Tales would value your comments on their website, and star ratings on itunes. The podcast is always free, though donations are welcomed to keep the podcast alive. I do hope you will consider giving Tales to Terrify your support.

Sugar Ceremony (free ebook)

They buried the candyman, the child killer. Except that one child, Marianne, knew he wasn’t really dead. Because the candyman was in her home, living with Marianne and her mother. Sugar Ceremony, a short story by John Dodds. tackles the difficult and terrifying subject of child abuse and murder from the point of view of one child who becomes the potential victim of one such abuser.

I’m offering this story free in ebook format. It originally appeared in the now defunct Judas E-Zine, and the new version has been slightly edited Hope you’ll pic up a copy and, of course I would appreciate comments and star ratings on Smashwords, if you’re so minded.

The brilliant cover photograph is by a friend, Nicola Miller – you’ll find more of her stunning work on her Flickr pages.

And the winners are…

Choosing four winners for the 50 word short story competition was really tough. They were all excellent in their own way. But here are the finalists, whose tales had just that slight edge for me. Congratulations – your ebook voucher will be coming through your email.

Tim E-H
A Brief Interlude in a Spring Affaird Between Two (Partially) Deaf
Sjepson 1 
Untitled story about suicidal thoughts.
Family Apocalypse


Warriors and Wenches now on Kindle, Nook and more

Warriors and Wenches book jacketI’m happy to announce that my raunchy historical romance anthology, Warriors and Wenches (under my pen name, JT Macleod),  is now available in all formats (paperback, reading devices including Kindle, Nook, Sony e-reader, etc). But no version you can wrap around the leg of a carrier pigeon – yet!

Various formats:  Smashwords.
Paperback: Amazon and Lulu.

Out of my head

The title song for Pilar Allessandra’s wonderful screenwriting podcast, On the Page, has the catchy chorus, “Get it out of your head, and onto the page.” Lately I’ve had to follow that advice or risk going off the rails.

Call it cabin fever from being snowed in, and without water in the house for almost three weeks; call in my warped brain. Whatever it is, I’ve woken up several mornings recently with weird after images from dreams (normal), but more significantly with weirder phrases or word groupings. Two examples: “Baby Want Perambulator” “Zebras need Zippers” and “On the Care and Maintenance of Mermaids.”

The mermaid thing turned into a 4,000 word short story, which I am shopping around. And I’ve begun a story with permabulators and zebras in it – which I feel will end up being a piece of nonesense for the trash on my iBook.

If anyone else out there has had similar experiences – or even stranger ones – do please let me know. Failing that, send the guys with the straight jackets out to catch me.

Coming soon in Steampunk Tales magazine

Cubes is about an inventor obsessed with the idea of solving the problem of randomness and chaos in the world – with very peculiar consequences. Here’s how the story begins:


When Stapleton witnessed the trolleybus accident that killed six people and injured ten more he was struck by a notion that refused to budge even now, two months on, like a sliver of meat jammed between a gap in his teeth.

The notion, or idea if you will, was this. Had he been on the opposite pavement he would have died as surely as the woman and two children exiting Millward’s department store.