Publication News: “Worm Bagging” by Roni Stinger

My stories are often completed in many layers over time, and this one began in 2019. The initial seed and first draft for “Worm Bagging” came out of the Firebird and Bioluminescence module from Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth.

I’ve spent some time in caves and have been interested in Imawari Yeuta since I first learned about the cave. Bioluminescent worms are also intriguing but not found in South America. But what if they were? And what if there were unknown species deep underground in parts of the cave no one had explored? And what if there’s a speleologist that would give anything to make a new discovery? What would they be willing to sacrifice? And what might these newly discovered life forms be? Questions, my work often begins with questions.

I researched cave systems, microbiology, and bioluminescence, and somewhere along the lines I discovered a strange phenomenon amongst some nematodes. That’s when I found the story arc and knew the lengths my speleologist would go for a new discovery. To find out more, you’ll have to read “Worm Bagging” in Issue #17 of Unnerving.

The story you’ll find in those pages has come a long way since that initial draft. I workshopped it for the portfolio at the end of Intersections. Then again, in Richard Thomas’ Advanced Creative Writing Workshop. Then again, with Kelly Robson, Sarah Read, and Brian Evenson in Day of Reckoning. I pulled it apart and rewrote it more times than I can count. Finally, it found its published form in Moaner Lawrence’s Fright Club.

What never changed was the initial idea and the voice of our speleologist. The ending was also inevitable. This is a creepy one and not for the squeamish.

There is nothing like Storied Imaginarium workshops to generate new stories and poems while also providing expert feedback to help them on their way to publication. This is the fourth piece I’ve sold from Storied Imaginarium workshops. The third is out this month in Dark Matter Magazine. But that’s a story for another time.

Author Bio: Roni Stinger lives in Vancouver, Washington. When she’s not writing strange dark stories, she’s wandering the forests, beaches, and streets in search of shiny objects and creative sparks. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Dark Matter Magazine, MetaStellar, Hypnos Magazine, All Worlds Wayfarer: Through Other Eyes, and The Molotov Cocktail

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Facebook: Roni Stinger

Twitter: @raestinger

Instagram: @raestinger

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