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Elm Books is an independent publisher based in Laramie, Wyoming. We publish romance, disability literature, children's books, and more! Paperbacks and E-books are available for sale at our Store and through Smashwords. We're also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Take Off with Strange Flight! Elm Books Explores Sci-Fi with Disabled Protagonists

What does it mean to be a science fiction hero with a disability?

The authors of Strange Flight know living with a disability can be challenging—facing social stigma, inaccessibility, and invisibility that feels like navigating an alien world. And, all too often, people with disabilities are stereotyped as weak or incapable. Elm Books aims to do better—to recognize the creativity, perseverance, and diverse modes of understanding people with disabilities bring to our shared struggle for existence. What could be more appropriate for science fiction?

Strange Flight is Elm Books’ second science fiction anthology to exclusively feature protagonists with disabilities (the first was Dark Space). This collection from scholar and editor Leonie Skye features six short stories from authors with disabilities and disability allies.

When you get to the very end of the line—the end of freedom, of life support systems, of the world as we know it—how do you cheat fate and keep going? What mysterious portals might open onto new dimensions, what previously invisible corners be turned, what fantastical opportunities appear? How do disabilities open doors? Secure your space helmet, buckle up, and meet the protagonists of Elm Books’ second science fiction anthology, Strange Flight.

In Victoria Feistner’s bittersweet “Music of the Spheres”, an astrophysicist’s body is shutting down for good, but at the outer reaches of space her life’s research culminates in a unique kind of eternity. Yvette Franklin’s “The Darkness of Goo” explores communication and teamwork when sensory capability is limited-- stranded in a mysterious realm devoid of light and sound, Captain Nani and her crew must reunite and cooperate to make sense of their surroundings. In “The Reject” by Timothy Lamoureux, Ronan’s genetic disorder proves advantageous when he and his friends stumble into a deadly extraterrestrial trap. In “Twentieth Century, Go to Sleep” David Preyde tells the story of an unlikely alliance between a teacher struggling with PTSD and the time-traveling perpetrator of one of the twentieth century’s greatest crimes. Leonie Skye’s “Leavings of the Smooth World” paints a chillingly realistic picture of a not-so-distant future: on a scorched Earth where the wealthy scramble to buy up the last scraps of pleasurable experience, Leia must follow her aunt’s sensory clues to break through into a new world grown out of the old. Finally, in “The Argo Affair” by Lisa Timpf, Moira’s career as a detective on Earth is nearing an end, but her second life on a new planet awaits if she can solve one last crime.

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“Stories of characters with disabilities navigating science fiction worlds, from both #OwnVoices authors and allies … moments of loveliness and insight.” (Publishers Weekly)

"What happens in a future in which people continue to live with disabilities, mental illnesses, and neurodivergences? That question lies at the heart of editor Skye's collection, comprised of six stories featuring protagonists who live with chronic illnesses and other disabilities. ... These pieces range from stolidly cerebral to deeply emotional ... imagining hopeful futures for people with disabilities." (Kirkus Reviews)

In Strange Flight, six bold new stories—from authors with disabilities and disability allies—probe the idea of life-changing escape. Grab your copy today and explore alternate universes with us!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Elm Books is Reimagining Steampunk!

If you thought steampunk was just glued-on gears and fake posh British accents, you will never be so happy to be proven wrong! Sure, the 19th century was a time of exciting scientific developments, but it was also an era of great social inequality and ruthless colonial expansion. With Death in the Age of Steam, Elm Books authors are reimagining steampunk through the colonized, marginalized, and otherwise ignored voices of the time period.

Editor Jess Faraday writes, “My interest in steampunk writing arose from an argument with another writer, who said that no story could be truly steampunk unless the character were rich, white, able-bodies, Protestant, heterosexual, and male, as in the 19th century, these were the only people who ‘had agency.’ Gross historical inaccuracy and breathtakingly offensive generalizations aside, what I most took issue with was his idea that only the people on the top rungs of society have stories to tell. This is not the case, of course. We all have stories to tell.”

Death in the Age of Steam, the latest release from Elm Books, is a continuation of our “Death” mystery series. Each short story is packed with suspense and intrigue with a steampunk twist. A lady sharpshooter solves an impossible murder in the Old, Weird West, in "A Frame Most Fearful" by Emily Baird. In "The Megalodon" by Jack Bates, unlikely heroes foil the attempted sabotage of a magnificent new submersible. In far-off Jerusalem, a determined Rabbi uses logic and Kabbalah to solve a spate of mysterious murders in "Beneath the Holy City" by Edward Stasheff. "Mrs. MacAdams’s Establishments" by Yvette Franklin has a woman respectable by day and dominating by night who investigates a murder with the help of a Lovelace analytical engine. In "Blood in Peking" by JL Boekstein, you’ll find political intrigue, romantic misunderstandings, and vampires! In "Honor, Love and Photographs" by Christalea McMullin, ancient East Asian rivalries spring to life on the streets of East London. And in "Borderman H49" by Darren Todd, a peacekeeper uncovers a twisted plot to cause havoc between competing solar farms and steal the power of the sun.

Strap on your goggles, get your gears spinning, and join your favorite Elm Books mystery authors for the previously untold stories of steampunk and the weird west!

Death in the Age of Steam is available in print or e-book format on Amazon and our website.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Volume 3: 1 June 12, 2016
Edited by Leila Monaghan

Last year, Elm Book produced one great new collection, Death and a Cup of Tea, and a beautiful second edition of Christmas is for Bad Girls, now available in paperback as well as e-format. Lots of news to share and looking forward to a great year ahead!
Leila Monaghan

Indiegogo Campaign

Introducing our first Indiegogo Campaign!  Only four days left so please help.  We are raising funds so that we can change the payment structure of Elm Books for our next cozy mystery collection, Death by Cupcake. We want to be able to give authors a lump sum of $100 rather than royalty payments.  Any and all contributions welcome.  Or just stop by to see the great video Jess Faraday put together for the campaign:

Publicity Happenings


Our PR representative, @LilyCallahan, is now regularly tweeting for @ElmBooks. If you are on Twitter, please follow both accounts and pass on the news!  

Email List

Please let me know at Leila.ElmBooks at if you would like to receive occasional e-mails from us with all the latest news.

Call for stories: Science Fiction

We now have a new Science Fiction editor, Leonie Skye.  Welcome Leonie!  Her first collection features heroic protagonists with disabilities.  Drop her a note if you are interested.

Elm Books is looking for short story submissions for our first Science Fiction & Fantasy collection (DEADLINE EXTENDED until 8/31/2016). We hope this will be the first of an ongoing series. We are interested in short stories (no more than 15,000 words) featuring heroic PROTAGONISTS WITH DISABILITIES (broadly defined) and that fall within ANY SCIENCE FICTION SUB GENRE. Stories may be soft or hard science fiction. We are particularly interested in anthropological, feminist, and speculative work that will keep us turning pages in the wee hours.  Please E-mail leoskye.elmbooks at  with your submission questions.

Reviews Death and a Cup of Tea

An interesting combination of very short mysteries. Some involve murder, some are just intriguing, one is set in the past, one in the future. Not all may be to the reader’s liking, yet for those who like something different, it can be found here.
A medical examiner is determined to find who killed a woman. In 1931 a head librarian must find out who is out to discredit one of her staff. The death of a tea house owner has a college student investigating. Her friend has died and Sofia can’t understand why he didn’t upload himself into the cyberget. A research mouse on a desk — how did it get there? Audrey’s making a deal and solving a murder. Getting rid of an unwanted member of the Tea Ladies may lead to murder. And a psychic prepares for a police interview when she is the last to see a man alive.
 Reviewed by: Susan Mosley

Publishers Weekly: Christmas is for Bad Girls 

No actual bad girls inhabit this happy holiday anthology—just feisty, sympathetic heroines, and heroes worthy of their love. Four stories are set in the present-day U.S., and two in Victorian England. Danger makes sexual tension run high in P.K. Tournes’s “A Partridge in Pear Treacle.” Love brightens a depressing holiday season in M.M. Ardagna’s “A Very Chunky Monkey Christmas” and a dreaded trip home in Lily Callahan’s “A Sprig of Holly.” In Yvette Franklin’s “Noisy Night,” single mom-to-be Maizy goes into labor on Christmas Eve, aided by her handsome gardener. In Jess Alynn’s “Mistletoe in Minnesota,” Emily inherits her aunt’s house and falls for the boy next door. A long wait ends with yuletide gladness when a long-lost cousin returns in Edith Elton’s “The Mad Hewitts.” Fans of quick, sweet holiday romance stories will savor this fine anthology.


Elm Books, 1175 Hwy 130, Laramie, Wyoming 82070

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kirk VanDyke's hatred of one's fascination with an idea of wilderness

More National Poetry Month excitement!

Elm Books proudly announces the launch of Kirk VanDyke's spare and lyrical book of poetry, hatred of one's fascination with an idea of wilderness, now available at

A 9 Month Winter
struggled putting
the clothes on a cotton line
in wind with gusts
sending a plastic bag in circles
between fences
but before the last shirt
was hung horizontally
it froze in the hand

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lily Callahan poem: The Birds are Back

My own contribution to National Poetry Month. 

The Birds are Back
  by Lily Callahan

The grass stays dry and brown
Dead leaves still hang from the few bushes
But the birds are back

Little larks dart across the yard
  so something must be there to find
And a ragtag flock of seagulls swoop and dive
  no orderly goose formation for them
But they are migrating
  so the lake must be letting go of its ice

The birds are back
Soon green leaves will sprout
And we will stare at the grass
  wondering if it is any longer
      or greener than before

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kirk VanDyke Poem: Spring Mud

In honor of National Poetry Month, we will be running poems by Elm Books authors.  Today a short piece by Kirk VanDyke from his hatred of one's fascination with an idea of wilderness coming soon from

Spring Mud

spring mud the snow only left in crevices
wind from west has a memory of past months
limestone flats a muddle skinned spotted growth
something youth left millennia ago
town below in ordered gridline-
somewhere out there our friends run courses
circular job regularities in angled projections
their efforts our lives continuance
while out here we look over barbed wire containment
imagining their minds work in familiar patterns
below, far below in that ordered gridline
slight variations from the identical
their voices heard yelling in gusts
whispering in momentary calm
this is me you us ours, this is

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kirk VanDyke's Figures on a Beach

Elm Books ( is currently selling three books.  I'll talk about Death on a Cold Night and Christmas is for Bad Girls in other posts but today I wanted to discuss Kirk VanDyke's Figures on a Beach.

Kirk is an author and poet who grew up in Texas and now lives in Wyoming.  His work, including his short mystery in Death on a Cold Night, his poems in hatred of one's fascination with an idea of wilderness (soon to be distributed by Elm), and Figures on a Beach deal with the implications of schizophrenia, trying to sort out the fact and fiction of one's own senses.  Kirk self-published Figures on a Beach in 2008 and we are really proud to be distributing it.  Elm Books has a commitment to diversity in its offerings and this includes the world of disabilities, disability memoirs and well-informed disability fiction.  Figures on a Beach is loosely based on Kirk's own experiences and captures life as a schizophrenic.  Told from the first person perspective of John Jones, we get to feel what it is like to live on a beach in an old van with a random group of strangers, make do on a couple of dollars a day, and be yelled at by the random figures of one's imagination.

Figures can be found at Goodreads at:

and is also available as a part of a free giveaway that ends March 31:


I try to take a drink of coffee but find only an empty cup. I throw off the blanket and grab my jacket for a walk on the beach. I walk toward the surf and then wander down the beach, passing wood, trash and clam holes. I step around the tar balls that dot the brown sand. A plover darts back and forth with the tide, busily looking for food. I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, for my situation. The sorrow was turning to anger and it was becoming pointless. I could turn round and round in self destructive mental gymnastics, but what good would it do? Exhaust me. I walk the beach quickly, but as the surf changes my mood, my pace slows. I like walking along the National Seashore better, but this state beach is also nice. It seems a bit more crowded, though.
"You where an idiot to trust that old couple from Colorado. You should have known from the beginning that something was up. Remember the bad feeling you got from them the moment you met them? You didn't trust yourself and you never can because you are a fuck up. Now look. What are you going to do now? You can't trust any of these people on the beach to help you. Are you going to run back to your family?" Ben is back and he is as annoying as ever.
The hell with you, Ben. But maybe he is right. He is probably right. I walk faster again and feel lost. I was feeling better but now I am completely confused. I stop. Slowly and purposefully, as in a ritual, I remove a can of Copenhagen and forcefully pack it. I take a pinch and place it between my cheek and gum. I walk. I stop. I turn and begin walking back. What does a suburban business man know about life on the road? Why does he have to vacation with me? The hell with him. He is probably right, though. Four pelicans glide over the water with effortless motion. I want to be like a pelican but I feel more like a plover, running back and forth. At least the damn plover is accomplishing something. I don't seem to accomplish anything. God, I am worthless. I would pray but I don't believe that any absolute being or activity would give a shit about my neurotic rambling. Why would it? Why should any other human, for that matter?
My perceptions have become increasingly disjointed so that fluidity no longer exists between multiple experiences. I don’t know when it began, a gradual process that leaves me looking at the world as though I were inside a pinball machine. But the pinball player- not me, I’m the ball- I think the pinball player is on acid, a perverse omnipotence that rearranges my thoughts and all input. Like I said, it was gradual, so that life now seems normal this way. Sometimes there are breaks in the disjointed nature of my experiences, but these breaks constitute a swing of experiences to the opposite of the fluidity continuum. During these breaks, experience flows like a salty wave that leaves me paranoid about the exact nature of reality. It leaves me swimming in a fishbowl of phenomena, peering at the world through thick, contoured glass.
Presently I am alone and lost, but I am going to find something some day. I don't know what that something is but I will find it and it will be good. Life will be like a chocolate bunt cake and I will grow fat and lazy. What kind of life is that? Fat and lazy? I reconsider my position and decide it would be better to live and experience some discomfort to remind me that I am alive. Maybe I should be like those Zen monks who train themselves to embrace pleasure and pain equally. Take it all in and eat it up!