They brushed the snow from their eyelashes, and they looked out across the divide. It was hard to picture a steam engine here, grinding and huffing behind them, but the Major's notebooks were filling with inky measurements. He could see it. And what a view.

-These Imaginary Acts


Nicholas Maistros is an award-winning fiction writer whose work can be found in Best Small Fictions, Boston Review, The Baltimore Review, Witness, The Los Angeles Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Nimrod, Sycamore Review, and Washington Square Review, among other publications. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University, where he taught courses in literature, composition, and drama. He is querying his debut novel.

Nicholas has worked in Broadway merchandising and nonprofit finance. When he isn't binging campy horror movies or scouting a new brewery, he's usually reorganizing his comic book collection, or maybe dragging his kayak to a lake in Michigan. He lives with his partner in Dayton, Ohio.


"The End of Track," story

The Los Angeles Review - December 2023

You, surrounded by track, your big bald head and scruff of beard, your shoulders like the rocks that threatened to crush the pass..."

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"It All Goes," story (Pushcart nominee)

Bridge - September 2023

'When you hear me say, What’s disgusting, you’re gonna say, Union busting. Got it? At the top of your lungs. What’s disgusting--those are the magic words. And you say…' Devon whispered it, these new words he was ready to learn by heart."

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"The Still, Small Voice That Thunders," story (2022 Aura Estrada Short Story Contest Finalist)

Boston Review - February 2023

Rita wore her helmet to the ceremony. They all did. Anonymity was part of the job; they didn’t even know each other."

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"The Sudden Ocean," story

Best Small Fictions 2022 (Spotlighted Story)
The Baltimore Review - Fall 2021

Then, finally, there was water. No more road. And panic in my mother’s eyes, a panic that, even at nine, I realized had been there the whole time."

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"Spine of Empire," story

The Write Launch - January 2022

He looked up into the latticework of the bridge, looked to the top as though to see the accident play itself over, to see the man falling."

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"I'm Not the First to Write About This," story

Cagibi - 2021

We all got out of that room alive, and there would never be a thing we would write that wouldn’t in some way be about 'it.' "

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"The Young Ones," story (Best American Short Stories & Pushcart nominee)

Longleaf Review - Spring 2021

I’d waited for him to come to my side of the room, had been pretending to admire, for too long, something that looked as though it had once been Apollo and Daphne but was now melting like hot wax."

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"My Father's Auburn," story

Washington Square - Winter/Spring 2015

My mother thought abduction. My mother thought, as the rest of the town thought, stranger, outsider, a wandering evil. But I didn't."

"Even Farther Than That," story

Sequestrum - Spring 2015

Malachi in motion. How he spun on his feet and how his knobby elbow cut the sticky apartment air. The flip of his wrist and his splayed fingers as the phone left him."

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"Full of Life Now," story

Beloit Fiction Journal - Spring 2015 Vol. 28

I expected him to jump up, do something wild, snatch the papers from my hand and fling them out the window. What a feeling that was, making Walt Whitman squirm."

"The Importance of Being Helpful," story (Pushcart nominee)

Sycamore Review - Vol. 26, Issue 1, Fall/Winter 2014

I think it was the song that did it. The piano and the choir and Michael's voice asking us if we still cared."

"Room Nine," story

Witness - Vol. 27, No. 2, Summer 2014

Well she calls me, and she tells me she sees divots in the floor. I don't know what she's talking about, and I tell her as much, and she keeps saying, 'Divots, Jimmy, divots. They're all over.'"

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"Someone Else's Boys," story

The Literary Review - Vol. 56, No. 3, Early Fall 2013

You will never know the proper way to desert someone."

"Woman of the Year: A Gay Man's Meditation on Marriage," essay

Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry - Vol. 54, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2011

The shot did not end; it drifted on for another few months, the two of us slowly discovering who we were, or who we thought we were, without the other…without those incessant songbirds singing like they knew the score."

"Opening the Doors," book review

Colorado Review - online

Confronted with racial prejudice, violence, and socioeconomic strife, it isn't enough to simply excuse ourselves from the fictitious 'bad guy' court—Well, I'm certainly no villain, so I can't be part of the problem."

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"Chasing Gideon," book review

Colorado Review - online

Houppert takes her exploration of the public defense crisis to its logical and emotional extreme—faced with murder, can we as an evolved society still realize the need for justice over vengeance?"

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"13 Loops," book review

Colorado Review - online isn’t only the unreality of the image that so unsettles the viewer, the ludicrous absence of life in still black and white, but the disturbing reality of the carnage that led to the existence of the photograph in the first place."

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Palooka, co-editor

Issues 1-2, 2011

"If You Knew Then What I Know Now," book review

Colorado Review - Vol. 38, No. 3, Fall 2011

"Miss Cindy," story

Bellingham Review - Vol. 32, Issue 61, Spring 2009


Desperate Living Creatures: a Novel

With the observational acuity of Andrew Holleran and the menacing psychology of Ottessa Moshfegh, Desperate Living Creatures is a work of literary fiction that explores the pervasive classism, racism, and privileged passivity in a troubled American metropolis.

Julian surrounds himself with performers—comedians, cartoonists, and opera singers in their early thirties who gather in Harlem apartments to convince themselves of their potential. Distracted by their dramas and day jobs, they don’t notice the police watchtowers monitoring them from every street corner. They wear masks, if they remember, to protect themselves from the smog that enshrouds the city. Without looking, they pass taxicab strikes and the camps of climate refugees on their daily commutes.

They don’t inquire too deeply about Julian’s degenerative illness, which slowly claims his body. They don’t ask where he’s from or why he’s hiding, and they don’t seem to notice Julian’s brother, who may or may not be dead, and whose ghost won’t stop reminiscing about the glorious crimes they committed together.

It isn’t until Addy Pruitt, the darling of Dustwick, Missouri, takes the room across the alley that Julian finds someone who might hear his confession. She is hiding too, Julian is sure of it, and when her past follows her to this choking city, it is Julian’s consequential action, or inaction, that will determine her fate.

Email to request the complete manuscript (100,000 words).


"The Sudden Ocean," reading

NYC Best Small Fictions Reading, January 29, 2023

"The Young Ones," reading

Longleaf Dream Issue Launch Party, May 8, 2021

"Collecting," reading

No, You Tell It! April 2013