Sometimes We’re Cruel and Other Stories


Ebook and paperback now available here!

A town where people go missing and inexplicably return as cruel versions of themselves.

A not-quite-human mother races against time to build a new body for her ailing daughter.

Lovesick ghosts inhabit the body parts of living people in a world where the only other choice is amputation.

A woman takes extreme measures to combat the repercussions of a childhood hazing ritual gone wrong.

Obsession. Selfishness. Cruelty. Doppelgängers. In these dark, speculative stories—six reprints and six never before published, including the novelette “Girls Tied to Trees”—J.A.W. McCarthy explores how far humans and the not-quite-human will go to tame the darkness in their world and within themselves.

Praise for J.A.W. McCarthy and Sometimes We’re Cruel:

“A horror revelation, Sometimes We’re Cruel is part fantastical body horror, part meticulous dissection of the soul. Bodies are shared, reshaped, escaped, leaving us with a residue of dread. Easy to tell from early on that this merciless book is something special. At the crossroads of Gwendolyn Kiste and David Cronenberg, J.A.W. McCarthy will haunt you.”

Hailey Piper, author of Queen of Teeth

“Written with the painstaking finesse of a master wordsmith, McCarthy’s collection Sometimes We’re Cruel firmly cements her as one of the finest storytellers of modern dark fiction.”

Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

“There’s a peculiar darkness to Jen’s writing which immediately draws me in. Like those peripheral entities you can’t ever quite see—Sometimes We’re Cruel is like having coffee with one of those. Like hearing something we’re not meant to be privy to from an unflinching orator.” 

Scott J. Moses, author of Non-Practicing Cultist

Photo by Jenny Jimenez

J.A.W. McCarthy’s short fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including VastarienLampLight, Apparition Lit, Tales to Terrify, and The Best Horror of the Year Vol 13 (ed. Ellen Datlow). She lives with her husband and assistant cats in the Pacific Northwest, where she gets most of her ideas late at night, while she’s trying to sleep. You can call her Jen on Twitter @JAWMcCarthy, and find out more at

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