Category Archives: Science Fiction

Hands of the Master

Just in time for National Piano Month, our newest publication features a dark story about obsession.

When Celia first hears a recording of pianist Jiri Mrazek, a world-renown pianist who died the year she was born, his powerful, passionate playing changes her life. Drawn to his music, she soon discovers parallels between his life and hers. And when she makes the final round of the prestigious Horowitz competition at age twenty-one, the exact age that Mrazek won the same competition, she realizes her destiny is to be Mrazek’s musical heir. But her endless practice injures her hands, her small, weak, useless woman’s hands. And so, against the advice of her mother and doctor, she undergoes a cutting-edge procedure, a duel hand transplant. With hands like Mrazek’s, nothing can stop her from following in his footsteps. But surgeries carry risks, and dreams nurture the seeds of obsession. Mrazek died at a tragically young age. Celia must discover just where the parallels between her life and Mrazek’s end.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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Filed under Music, Science Fiction, Stories

Harden Times

Read the “story behind the story” about our newest ebook , a reprint of Susan J. Kroupa’s award-winning story, “Harden Times.”

One horse. Two strangers who each desperately need it.

Rachel sits alone in her house and watches the city around her slowly disintegrates, depopulated from a deadly plague. Like most good Mormons, she has a year’s supply of food and clothing in her basement, saved for “hard times.” She had prepared to survive a disaster, never imaging the worst disaster of all might be to survive—alone. And then a horse, a bay mare, trots into her yard and into her heart.

But someone else needs the horse as well, a ten-year old Navajo boy. Johnny Calico, his adopted family now all dead, lives by his wits, eating the food left in empty houses, and hiding from the Church officials who want to consolidate the population into a smaller area. He sees the horse as a lifeline, a means to return to his relatives on the reservation in Northern Arizona. Even as Rachel feeds and brushes the horse, finding purpose in her life for the first time since the Death, Johnny plots to steal it.

First published in Realms of Fantasy (2001), “Harden Times” was later reprinted in Irreantum. It also won an award in the 1999 Utah Arts Council Contest, where the judge, author Ron Carlson, praised the story for its “clear and forceful” writing, and for the characters, “both close to the end of their ropes, tentative, fearful, yet both refusing to let go of hope.”

Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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Filed under Native American, Science Fiction, Stories

Counting Calories

Can a weight loss program be too effective?

Some hungers can never be filled. Now that Jenny knows this—knows it in the worst possible way—she worries about getting enough of a settlement out of Robert to survive. And then he chooses to meet at Mike’s restaurant, El Hombre Gordo. Does he even remember that’s where Jenny spent so much time with Mike, before Robert’s charm and good looks stole her away? Before hungers for love and beauty convinced her to make the two biggest mistakes of her life? She harbors no illusions about starting over again, not with food prices skyrocketing, not with her looking the way she does now, but sometimes, just when you think you know the menu, life serves up surprises.

Susan J. Kroupa offers a provocative look at our national obsession with weight loss and body image. Available now on Kindle, Nook, and in all formats on Smashwords.

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Filed under Science Fiction, Stories, Uncategorized

Stories, Stories, Stories!

Laurel Fork Press is proud to announce the publication of two new stories by Susan J. Kroupa

Kem Song

Running a kemfarm is hard work especially during shearing and lambing seasons, but Ana has never yearned for anything more. Until some off-planet developers start buying up all the land in the area. When they visit Ana dressed in their elegant clothes, talking about all the cultural opportunities that life in a richer place can offer, they make Ana feel very small-planet indeed. And there’s nothing small about the money they offer her for the farm. But what about the kem? Her good fortune will lead to their misery. When the answer comes from a surprising source, Ana realizes that some questions stretch across millennia and inspire astonishing works.

First published in Beyond the Last Star: Stories from the Next Beginning,  Susan J. Kroupa’s lyric story engages the reader in a far-future story that resonates soundly with the world we now live in. Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in any format on Smashwords.

The Niman Project


 Honani only wants a fresh start. One free from the evil that has plagued both his people and destroyed his personal life. With the help of an Intergalactic Ethnic Recovery organization, he brings a colony of people to a backwater planet, where he and his people plan to live the traditional Hopi Way. But Honani has forgotten that in the ancient myths, every time the people try to leave evil behind, a witch, carrying evil, steals into the new world.  Soon Honani discovers that his new world also has a witch, a teenage girl, who forces Honani into hard choices and devastating insights.

Award-winning writer Susan J. Kroupa spins a tale steeped in Hopi culture that gives a chill warning to those who, in embracing the past in order to save the future, ignore the dark visions in favor of the light.

The Niman Project

 …”Kroupa present Hopi lore so gracefully, with such simplicity, that the reader is drawn into the story and the lives of her characters without effort.”From a review of Susan J. Kroupa’s “Scapegoat.” by Nancy Varian Berberick, Tangent, Winter 1996.

Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in any format on Smashwords.

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Filed under Science Fiction, Stories, Uncategorized