Hey! You Know What? I’m one of 30 Amazing Authors! It Says So Right On the Cover!

“The Magic Tassels” is in The Write Festival’s Fantastic Stories Anthology

This is one of those fantastic times when an editor contacts you and asks you to submit a story to a festival.

“Are you saying I’ll win?”

No, the editor wasn’t. The editor was asking me to submit a story to a festival.

Because she likes my work and believed it’d be a nice fit.

“Are you one of the judges?”


So what the heck, go for it!

I submitted The Magic Tassels thinking I didn’t have a chance.

Turns out I did.

I received an email that my work was shortlisted.

Then I received an email that it was going to be published.

And you know what?

I’m so glad!


Want to know the story behind the story?
Long ago I studied cultural anthropology/behavioral psychology specifically with indigenous communities and as a participant/observer.

Part of that participant/observerness meant learning what they wanted to teach me. One thing I learned is that there are twelve disciplines (that I know of) within most Shamanic Communities regardless of their location, environment, …

One such discipline is that of StoryKeeper and another is StoryTeller. People confuse the two and StoryKeeping is a different discipline from StoryTelling. Both are extremely important to the people.

StoryTelling is the use of traditional mythologies and related cultural metaphors to guide the people, heal the tribe, remind, teach, et cetera. If you’ve ever been with someone who could hold your attention, cause your imagination to fire, make your heart pound and breath come in gasps while they told a story, you’ve been with someone who, in traditional cultures, would be the people’s StoryTeller. StoryTeller disciplines appear in modern societies as everything from stand-up comics to psychotherapists to engaging lecturers to (ahem) authors.

StoryKeepers and StoryTellers may share a few stories in common and that’s where the similarity ends. StoryKeepers are the living histories of their people. StoryTellers will create new stories based on need, StoryKeepers can’t with a few specific exceptions.

StoryKeepers’ role is to preserve the history, unchanged, from generation to generation while adding each generation’s story to the history of the people. It is no small task and various cultures have methods for developing a memory that blends synaesthetic recall (think “full sensory eiditic memory”) with hyperthymesia, et cetera. Modern studies have shown that these methods make use of neuroplasticity to a high degree and people trained in such disciplines have described “feeling” their brains making new connections.

One thing required of all StoryKeepers is that they create a story that tells of their coming into the tradition. So the two occasions when StoryKeepers add to the people’s history are when they add their own story to the tribe’s tradition and as new historical elements are added (usually with agreement of the people).

“The Magic Tassels” was my addition to one culture’s history when they asked me to become a StoryKeeper of their people.

“Cold War” is in Daikaijuzine Sept 2020!

Those wonderful, brave, and intelligent folks at Daikaijuzine are publishing my short story, Cold War, today.

I first wrote the story in 1987 and it lay dormant for a long time. It originally appeared in Midnight Zoo, October 1992 and was reprinted in Horizons Science Fiction, April 1999, and my self-published anthology, Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires V1 2016.

Fortunately, Daikaijuzine’s editors and publisher have exquisite taste.

Don’t you think?


“Don Quitamo Sails” is in Harvey Duckman Presents Special Pirates Issue!

C.G. Hatton, the gracious and EverWise editor of the Harvey Duckman Presents series, mentioned a few months back that Harvey was planning a special Pirates issue. Would I be interested in submitting a story?

My immediate response was “Sorry, I don’t have anything in inventory even remotely to do with pirates.”

But then I remembered a story idea I had almost two years previously. I was driving around back country roads (a favorite pastime of mine. Gives me a chance to relax, think, flush out some cobwebs, work out story ideas, plots, develop characters, refine dialogue, all those good authory things. And smoke a cigar), turned around a bend in the road and BOOM! I saw a ship plying the ocean, a man straight out of Procol Harem‘s Conquistador, one foot up on the gunwhale and staring ahead from the bow, humanish creatures racing about the deck, the ship, The Lady Eglesia, under full sail and suddenly her sails became wings as she lifted from ocean to air and then changed again to a hull as she slipped through the atmosphere into space.

I literally pulled over to the side of the road and made notes. A full page and a half. The opening straight through to the introduction of the Merchant Vessel Tyree calling for help as a dark ship pursued her through space. Even the title, Don Quitamo Sails.


I mean, just wow.

“Yeah, sure, I may have something for you. Give me a bit.”

I had no idea where the story was going. Truth be told, I had no idea what the story was about.

And aside from a few books I’d read researching anthropology and linguistics issues, I didn’t know much about pirates, ancient through modern (although they are a fascinating study, I’ve come to realize).

So where did the story go?

Stop being the author, start being a character.

My studies of storycrafting and storytelling caused me to create helpful (to me) adages. Example: when you’re stuck, stop being the author of the story and start being one of the characters in the story.

Another great one comes from Cozy author Donna Huston Murray; when you’ve run out of things to do with your protagonist, write about what the antagonist is doing.

Thankee, Donna, works every time.

So I became Don Quitamo for fifteen-twenty minutes.

And the story revealed itself to me.

And here’s what author and fellow Harveyist Mark Hayes wrote about Don Quitamo Sails:

Joseph Carrabis first came to my attention in the third Harvey Duckman volume with one of the oddest and in many ways most beautiful short stories I’d read in an age. In this regard he represents all that is great about been involved in the Harvey Duckman Anthologies for me, because they give the reader (and the writers for that matter,) a chance to discover new authors they would never otherwise have come across. He is not alone in capturing my interest, he is one of several authors that I have been lucky enough to discover through Harvey and while not every Harvey author may have become my favorite, every one of them has becomes someones I suspect. Joseph in this regard, is one of mine, (but don’t tell him that…) mainly because I never know what to expect from one of his stories.

Yeah, I’m liking it.

And thanks to #weareallharvey for signing me aboard.

Other fine authors are in the Pirates issue include Liz Tuckwell, R. Bruce Connelly, Nils Nisse Visser, Mark Hayes, Peter James Martin, C.G. Hatton, Andy Hill, and Kate Baucherel (and you should read them all).

The Settlement now on Chronosphere Fiction Podcast

I delight when an editor/publisher asks for my work. It’s happening more often and I’m thrilled. Reminds me of Sally Field in Soapdish.

They like me. They really, really like me.

Recently Daniel @Fishbonius French of Chronosphere Fiction asked me to send him something and I did; The Settlement from Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires.

Strangely, he accepted it (there’s no accounting for taste (and thankfully he likes my work)). Stranger, he let me narrate it.

This man is brave. Infinitely brave.

The Settlement is also available as an ebook. Enjoy!

The Lonely Oak’s in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 5!

Once again, I am honored.

The glorious, wise, and beautiful folks at Sixth Elem6ent, home of Harvey Duckman Presents and many awesome, independent books, published The Lonely Oak in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 5.

(and they want more of my work!)


Other fine authors are in HDP5 as well. (you should read them all)

(have to see if i can get a few more links in that opening paragraph…)