Blade & Branch & Stone Up At Podcastle

Blade & Branch & Stone is now up at Podcastle! This is a lovely audio recording of my story, ably hosted by the amazing Matt Dovey and a trio of great narrators.

(This is also a LONG one, folks. It was a failed novel; you should be glad I stopped at 11,000 words.)

This story is a deliberate homage and (I hope) tribute to good old JRR Tolkien.  I’ve always thought the ending of The Lord of the Rings was too easy. The men inherit Middle-Earth, and the elves conveniently go over the sea, abandoning the land they’ve fought for, and the Ents… well, they’re in the woods somewhere. What happens when the age of colonialism comes and trees are cut down and men sail all over the world? Blade & Branch & Stone is a story about a world without a conveniently evil Sauron, just two very different perspectives on the planet. Hope you enjoy it.

(And if you do, please throw some support at Podcastle. They pay writers very well, and each year they do an awesome showcase of women & nonbinary writers, Artemis Rising, and do it all based on support from listeners. They’ve been my favorite short story podcast through four different editorial incarnations and eight years.)

Music Monday: New Spoon!

Hot Thoughts is out and I freaking love it! Not as much as They Want My Soul, but I can understand why the Spoonies went for something weird and experimental and atmospheric instead of a rerun of a great pop record.

There’s about four real standout songs on the album, and this is my favorite, with its crunchy Wurlitzer and crazy middle:

 

Second Novel Freeze-Up

I’m not sure what “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is about, but I can give a stab at my own version of the lyrics:

Teardrops on the manuscript

Writer’s searching for his groove

Seems like the whole world’s writing pretty

And you can’t get this draft to move

Something something, Second Novel Freeze-Up.

(Baby We Were Born to Run-on Sentence?)

If you, Faithful Blog Reader (hi Mom) have noticed that my blog is not so much like a blog lately, and more like one of those abandoned gas stations in the Mojave Desert… yeah.

I sold a trilogy last year, and I had only written the first one. Turns out it’s hard to write the next one while you’re in the middle of selling the thing. And signing contracts. And a nightmare of an election. And and…

There’s a playful kid in my head, who makes explody noises even when he’s trying not to, who will always and forever need some Star Wars toys to bash together (shh, it’s perfectly healthy for a grown man to have a collection of toys).  For years that kid has been like, “I play, you make something out of them, the money gets me more toys.”

All of the sudden, me and the kid were over that big hump–here we had an agent and editor & first book deal, with a tight deal to turn in the second and third books and the kid SCREAMED. And hid under the bed. And said STOP LOOKING AT ME.

This was not the plan, kid. You were supposed to be a fire hose of inspiration always. I was just trying to tap into your madness.

So the beginning of Book 2 was… not great. Not in any of the three incarnations I wrote before I just forced myself to finish it. As I got into the middle, the kid came out of hiding, wiped his tears, changed his pants and started playing again. But you will not be surprised to hear that, now that we have rough drafts of Books 2 & 3, I am rewriting the entire beginning of Book 2. And having more fun this time.

You want to know more about this sequel, you say? You haven’t even read the first novel and you want more? Preorder the first one already, baby, and then sign up for my newsletter! (Either click that link, or you’ll be prompted as soon as you navigate away from this window.) Every month, I send a non-spammy email with updates on my appearances, what I’m reading, and where my stories are appearing.

The Kid needs more toys. Come on now. Sign on up.