“What are your books about?”

July 11th, 2015


What kind of books do you write?

Book cover illustration

I mean, what genre? Horror? Historical? YA? What?



What are they about?


About a man whose darkest art finds him.

About a boy almost a man and a girl almost a woman who talk themselves into the truth.

And two men who take on the world with a box of puppets and a concertina.

And a questing man who thinks he wants to see: and does. And then can’t stop.



All my novels (16 and counting, not counting short fiction) share one view of the world – through a crowd of  characters, situations, genres, all different lenses on that same view – that making art can be a question of life or death, of life and death, life’s laughing answer to death: and that there’s no steeper fun to be had than plunging into that making, and letting it make you who you are, always were, had to be.

And always, always, there’s the joy and play of language, the story and the words it takes to tell it as a game shared by the reader and the writer, collaborators, making our play together.

If you want to play with me, read on! Because that’s what my books are about.


In paradise with the BASTARDS

June 17th, 2015


Under the Poppy

Boys together, men together, partners and lovers and friends for a lifetime . . . It’s been a long road, and preparing to say my goodbyes to the story of Istvan and Rupert is more than a little bittersweet.

What I thought was the full story turned out to be only the first half of the first book, that grew to a second, that now includes a third. THE BASTARDS’ PARADISE, coming this fall from Roadswell Editions, completes the journey begun in UNDER THE POPPY and continued in THE MERCURY WALTZ – but journeys end in lovers meeting, so all bows taken are full of gratitude to the readers who made the journey along with these gentlemen of the road, and their puppets, friends, colleagues, enemies, and gods large and small, errant and invisible, all along the way.

Title Card MW02 - Cry the Mercury




June 4th, 2015

Selectric Artists logoWriting is a solitary task. When things go well, when they go ill, when they don’t go at all . . . It’s one person’s toil and one person’s vision.

But when the words are done, nothing gets done without the energy, encouragement, and effort of someone who believes in the worth of those words before anyone else has seen them. Christopher Schelling has been the champion and accompanist for my writing for many years, and I’m beyond grateful for them all: and for him, his guidance, his wit, and his tenacity.

This fall, Roadswell Editions will publish THE BASTARDS’ PARADISE, the final book in the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy, and it could have no better home.

Thank you, Chris, for always playing that accordion, and playing so amazingly well.






A screamingly bad review

May 15th, 2015

The goal of writing is to communicate, but the goal of communication goes beyond just being heard: it’s being understood. What the person who understands then does with the communication received, well, that’s past the writer’s purview.

Which is why bad reviews – really, scorchingly, over-the-top bad ones – interest me. Call the book names, call me names: now I know – you proved – that you heard what I had to say. Of course I’m happiest when what you heard pleased you greatly, but sometimes we scream the loudest when someone’s told us something we do not want to hear.


STRANGE and BAD and made of art

May 13th, 2015

Austen Bandy just wants to paint pictures and reunite with Emily, his ex – very ex – wife.

Book cover illustration


Grant Cotto just wants to help the gifted and troubled Robin Tobias – help him create his art.

Book cover illustration


How could everything go so immensely wrong for them both? Is art that dangerous?


BAD BRAINS and STRANGE ANGELS, available in ebook now.

A 30-minute Ring Cycle?

May 11th, 2015


As our commissioning patron Stan Mendenhall notes, “The entire Ring Cycle, consisting of 4 operas (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung), takes 15 hours to hear in their totality. If we produced all of these and started at 8pm, we would be done at 11am the next day.

“We are pleased to announce that ours will be the only ‘complete’ production of the Ring Cycle in 2015 in the United States. Of course we had to cut corners a bit to get it down to 30 minutes, but … Dr. Daniel Jordan, our librettist and PhD in Microbiology, and producer/director Kathe Koja … have reduced the number of characters in the ‘real’ Ring Cycle from about 36 to 3 (Wotan, Siegfried, and Brunnhilde), and Annie Gallup will be playing sections on the guitar. (Wagner on the guitar? Who knew?)”

Musical thrill and thrum, our nimble cast of three – Steve Xander Carson, Egla Kishta, and Jonathan West – plus the set and costume creation talents of Rena Hopkins, a wee Valkyrie drone in the skies and the lush summer landscape all around us  . . . Thirty amazing minutes. We’re going to have big operatic fun on the folly.

(Folly #2 above, with Daniel Jordan, Kathe Koja, and Steve Xander Carson.)