a burning green

Last night I finished this new novella, which I discussed a bit just the other day. I didn’t expect to be finished so soon, since I thought I was taking kind of a relaxed pace to this, but I finished it in about eight days. Which, I guess, is pretty relaxed for me, since I’ve finished novels three times this length in roughly the same amount of time.

The first draft is around 21,000 words, and it feels oddly satisfying to already have two novellas finished this year. I thought I’d be taking a long break from writing after finishing Songs of My Mother, but that seems to’ve unintentionally instilled some kind of work ethic in me, or at least a writing habit.

So hopefully I can keep this up, though the next idea I have is for something quiet a bit longer. Perhaps 100,000 words. It’s going to be sort of my largest statement about anarchism, in that I’m building a continent like Europe that will basically just be a bunch of functioning anarchic states.

It should be fun.

But this new novella, it had a pretty unpleasant name during the writing process, but I’ve landed on Born Under a Burning Green for now. It might change, and it might change often, but I like it right now, and it’s pretty appropriate.

It’s about 90% dialogue, really. Most of it is funny to me, though that might just be my own preference. But these two women with pasts that are only ever obliquely alluded to just talk about the world and their place in it. Sort of a pseudophilosophical text in a fantasy world. In many ways, it’s meant to mirror the standard epic fantasy quest storyline while also removing everything that makes that a typical story. So there is a quest, but the reader isn’t really aware of what it is. There are great actions taken, though many of those are left undescribed. And in most stories, these two would be villains, since they do little more than murder humans and monsters alike.

So it’s a black comedy, I think, but also kind of an aggressive text, in that it’s pretty unfriendly. Brutal characters who are, essentially, living in a peaceful world. They don’t so much fight other humans. They butcher them in an often gruesome manner, though a lot of that is left to the imagination. The only things they fight are the monsters which roam the continent. Strange, foul monsters.

But, yeah, weirdly proud of this, partly because of how peculiar it is, but mostly because it’s a very peculiar thing for me to write, and it’s told in a manner that’s unusual for me as well. There’s very little outside of quotation marks. So the whole narrative and world is given through dialogue, which is just kind of a wandering, fun, accidental experiment.

But, yes, it’s finished. I hope you get the chance to read it someday. And I hope you love it.

quiet breaths

I was feeling pretty down earlier today. Pretty down for the last week, plus a few days. I probably don’t need to tell you why, but a lot of it has to do, I think, with how often I kept tabbing over to facebook or twitter.

I’m forming bad habits again. Unhealthy, stifling habits. It’s something I’m actively trying to prevent: spending so much time online.

Tonight I’m going to play Final Fantasy XV, maybe try some origami or draw some maps, or maybe write some more of this novella I’m working on.

The current title is vulgar and only a placeholder, but it’s about two women in a pretty traditional fantasy world. But instead of going on a quest or fighting for some cause, they mostly walk around and talk. Both of them have no education and very little understanding of the world they live in. They know kings and gods have a place but they don’t understand any of it, so much of the novella is made up of philosophical discussions between these two incredibly ignorant characters as they make sense of the world and try to sort it out to one another.

The dynamic is pretty interesting to me, because the novella is about 85% dialogue with very little extraneous descriptions. Because of this, it has kind of a meandering and hopefully naturalistic feel.

The other 15% of the novella is them killing monsters and other people.

So it’s a very violent text, but weirdly fun to write, and endlessly amusing to me. Not the violence, but the conversations. I might even just toss a short section of it in here to give you a taste:

The girl said, “There are no gods. Everybody knows that.”

“Then what is the Tesha?”

The girl shrugged, “Don’t know. Probably just some guy. Who cares?”

Her companion gestured to the dead bodies, “Priests.”

“Priests work as much for the king as they do for the Tesha.”

“What king?”

“What?”

“You said—”

“The fucking king! Shit,” the girl threw down the bone she was whittling. “You know,” she whirled her knife as if the gesture encompassed the whole world, the bracelet of teeth clacking, “the fucking king. Everywhere’s got a king.”

“But which king?”

“Shit, I don’t know. Wherever we are.”

“If we don’t know what he’s king of, what makes him king?”

The girl slumped where she sat and sighed, “You’re really pissing me off.” She picked up the whittled bone and went back at it with the knife, the teeth bracelet rattling with every stroke. The scrape and grind of blade on bone vibrated up her wrist to the elbow.

Across the fire, her companion flayed the head of one of the dead priests, “Don’t see what there’s to get mad over.” Struggling with the skin on the nose, she gave up and sawed through the cartilage and let the severed nose fall to the dirt. “Who says there’s no gods?”

The girl snorted and shook her head, “Everybody.”

“Everybody don’t mean shit. You mean Alton and his family.”

The girl blew the bonedust from her hands and examined the blade she was making out of the bone. Her jaw clenched on one side and she reached down to her feet and groped for something with her eyes still on the bone in her other hand. Grasping at nothing, she looked down and then around her.

“What?” Her companion paused what she was doing.

“There was a grindstone here.”

Her companion whistled and when the girl looked up, her companion tossed it to her. The girl went to grinding the boneblade smooth. “What’re you making?”

Her companion giggled, “Don’t know. Thought I’d make, like, a guitar.”

“With a skull?”

Her companion shrugged, “Not sure I know what a guitar looks like.”

“It’s like,” the girl paused, then giggled along with her companion, “like a thin thing and a hallow thing,” her words collapsed into full on laughter and her companion laughed with her.

The night wore on and the fire burned down to embers.

Her companion said, “Should we add more wood?”

The girl shrugged, “You tired?”

Her companion shrugged and tossed another log onto the embers, then a second. They sizzled, popped, and eventually lit.

“What got the wood wet?”

Her companion shrugged, “Blood, probably.” She was deboning the leg of one of the dead priests. “If there’re no gods, then why is there a Tesha?”

The girl sighed, “Same reason there’s kings, I guess.”

“Why’s that?”

“Shit, I don’t know.”

That’s how the novella begins and it continues in that manner. So it’s a mix of comedy and brutality that’s sort of oddly therapeutic to write. It helps me breathe easier.

It’s interesting to me what I’ve written since completing Songs of My Mother last year. I’ve written a novella inspired by Greenlandic cuisine, Taoism, anarchy, and pacifism, and now I’m writing something that is, in many ways, its opposite: a violent, meandering, chaotic text with ignorant characters who have an undescribed past.

I don’t know what inspired me to write this current novella. In the Greenlandic novella, I was seeking to find an answer to the violence I see in the world. In this, I can’t say I’m looking for anything. Maybe I’m running from something, or trying to explain bits of reality to myself, bits of america to myself. Because I see how the recent frustrations, fears, and concerns are playing out in this short, brutal, comedy.

But, yeah, I’ve also written a handful of poems about Trump. I’m collecting them into a collection titled The Golden King. Maybe it’s a form of resistance or a way for me to write out my greatest fears for the future, but it’s a pretty unpleasant text so far. It’s draining to write those poems and so I’ve only written five, but I think the rest of the collection will be from a different kind of perspective, and hopefully those will give me a sense of hope and peace.

Which is what I’m seeking, first in my own life, and then in the world. It’s why I’m going through the Tao Te Ching every day.

Trying to breathe and live quietly.

Which is not to say passively.

It’s difficult to be at peace right now, to find balance, and sometimes it’s making me feel hopeless, since I see no balance to this. But, ultimately, it’s helping me. Allowing me to step back and see the world with cleaner eyes. Eyes less stained by the brutality of the present.

And I need that. I need to remember that the world is still a beautiful place. That resistance is more than shouting loudly online. Resistance is a complex, multifaceted thing, yet it can be as simple as clearing your thoughts, playing chess, or folding laundry.

Resistance is persistence.

I saw an interesting thread of tweets by an Iranian responding to americans on twitter. He highlighted how Iranians live and enjoy life, even though they live under a brutal theocratic regime (and he reminds us that the US toppled a liberal, democratic government to put the theocratic dictator in place).

It gave me a quiet sense of hope. That life goes on. That even when things seem hopeless, even when life is at its darkest, people still find beauty and love and laughter. They dance, and they sing.

That’s resistance. It’s the kind few talk about, but it’s a terribly important form of resistance: to persist. To love. To live. To laugh. To create art and collaborate with other people. To build friendships.

And it’s inspired me to act on some long-standing plans. Like hosting monthly gatherings (this is in the planning stages, but Chelsea and I have some simple ideas) and then I have some other ideas that require a lot more planning and some funding, but we’ll get there. Even if it takes me years. We’ll get there.

I guess what I mean to say is that it’s important to remember to enjoy life.

So take some quiet breaths and look away from your screen at some point every day, and just talk to another human. Not about politics or current events, but about what interests them, or what interests you.

Maybe just have a beer with friends or take a walk by yourself with headphones on, jamming to music you love. Or take the headphones off and listen to the sounds of winter.

It’s a good day to live, even if everything seems terrible.

glossolalia

Sitting at the Hong Kong airport, about to spend the next dozen hours in the air, and Trump is now president and a thousand other things.

One good thing that happened to me this week is that I finished a new novella. It’s called Glossolalia, or don’t scream it on the mountain.

It’s about one tenth the size of Songs of My Mother and about as opposite of that book as a text can be. I wrote more about both books a month ago. Incidentally, that post is also sort of about Trump, too.

But I’m very happy to have finished this, even if it took me about a month longer than I expected, and mostly because I spent three weeks or more not writing (it was the holidays, and stuff or whatever).

But the novella is influenced a lot by Taoism, anarchy, pacifism, Trump, Kyle Muntz’ new novel, The Effigies, and then all this random research I did about Greenlandic cuisine.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

I’ll be on  a plane, heading back to Trump’s america.

chasing and running

The night alive with moonbright butterflies swarming over the massacre. But for the screaming, the night was calm.

That’s the start to the novella I wrote this weekend. I spent a few hours hammering it into shape, and I feel really good. Really happy.

The image at the top is also very fitting for the novella.

The story may be terrible, but I tried a lot of new things here, so it was exciting. I planned on finishing it this Wednesday, but I ended up writing nearly 10,000 words yesterday because it was just flowing, so now it’s all finished and edited just two days after starting it.

But that’s how it always is with my writing, yeah?

It’s been a weird year for me, in terms of writing. I burst out of the year with a lot of productivity, but haven’t done much since finishing Dusk Country Blues way back at the end of January.

I think I made a big mistake in taking a break from the novel I was writing to dive into Dusk Country Blues, though it seemed right at the time. But, as is typical, me taking a short break becomes a long, long break.

Anyrate, I’m going to jump back into that novel tomorrow (or tonight), and hopefully finish it this month.

But, yeah, this novella. It’s called Runner (for now), which is kind of a poor title and is most likely going to change. But I did a lot of stuff differently than usual. It’s a chase narrative, for one thing, so there’s a kind of constant tension and my protagonist is having a pretty rough time, to say the least.

I also included interior, even though this is third person. This isn’t weird to most people, because everyone does third person with the interior of characters. But I haven’t written like this in maybe ten years. I have a strong rule against interiority in third person. But, for whatever reason, I wanted to try it here.

It made some things insanely easy, which is why I think I always considered it a cheat. But it was a useful experiment, and hopefully a successful one.

I’ve come to realise, too, that the length I think I work best at is from about 7,000 words to 50,000 words, which is the most awkward length of stories when it comes to publishing. Too long for short stories, too short for novels, and novellas are hard to find homes for. There’s always Tor, sure, but what’re the chances of me getting into Tor?

So it goes.

But, yeah, feeling good. Feeling productive.

If you want to take a look, give me a shout. I’m proud of it but also would like to get some extra eyes on it.

I wrote a lot of it to this song.

dusk country blues

This weekend I did something I’ve never done before. I took a break from the novel I’m writing to write something else.

Started it yesterday, finished it today: a grand total of just over 16,000 words.

It’s called The Dusk Country Blues and it’s certainly one of the strangest and most explicit things I’ve ever written. It’s also something I’m really proud of and happy with.

Here’s how it started.

Kyle Muntz showed me a story he was struggling with and asked for some suggestions. It was this story about two brothers and a girl with antlers living in this place called the dusk country, which is full of these huge abandoned manufacturing plants.

His story wasn’t working and we talked about it for about an hour. I kept getting more and more ideas and telling him about all kinds of things he could do with this story. Thing is, he’s trying to keep it a short story, so probably somewhere around 5,000 words. That made some of the ideas just too big to tackle in that amount of space and those ideas would’ve distracted from the real story: the relationship between the brothers and this antlered girl.

So I told him to write it a certain way for a short story and then to write it again as a novella or even a novel, if it turned that large.

Incidentally, this is exactly how the novel I’m working on began. A short story that was too big for its size, so I rewrote it into something very different, only to realise that if I combined the two short stories [which would work], then I could tell the whole story and I’d have a nice short novella. But then I got a few more ideas and now these two short stories are turning into a novel that may be up to 100,000 words.

Anyrate, so I suggested Kyle try that, but he told me he probably wouldn’t, and then he encouraged me to write the longer version of it.

I kind of shrugged that off, but over the next two days, all I could think about was the dusk country and these three people.

So I wrote the first half yesterday and sent it to Kyle.

His excitement got me really jazzed to finish it, so I wrote the second half today. Just finished about half an hour ago.

It’s really funny to me, because Kyle and I have often joked how we’re slowly becoming the same writer. We both come from experimental backgrounds and are sliding into more straightforward and less stylistic writing. We’re also diving into genre fiction, which has, I think, been freeing for both of us.

We often talk about stories and give each other suggestions. We’re typically each other’s first readers. And so it amuses me that he wrote a story that inspired me to essentially rewrite his story, coming up with something very different, but also intensely similar [for obvious reasons].

He’s writing another draft of his dusk country story soon.

But, yeah, maybe this isn’t interesting to other people, but I find it funny and exciting.

Also, a novel I plan on writing this summer was directly inspired by a story Kyle wrote a few months ago.

What I’m saying, I guess, is that talking about ideas and being unguarded with your suggestions and inspirations is useful for the creative process. It’s good to inspire one another and to work off each other’s inspirations.

Anyrate, I want to share one of my favorite bits from this novella. It gave me an interesting way to go about worldbuilding, which is to do it through absence or contrast.

“You awake?” I felt his voice vibrate through the mattress, through my skin pressed against him.

“Yeah.”

“Tell me a story?”

“What you wanna hear?”

He shifted beside me, his body coiling in on itself. “Something beautiful.”

The cracks in the ceiling were just large enough to see through but there was only blackness. The faint glow of the fireflies only revealed outlines of our room. I rolled over to face them, my back pressed against Abe’s. I imagined this is how we were in the womb. Reluctantly pressed together. All that’s desirable in a man pouring into him, while I leeched what I could to make myself whole. Somehow I stole enough to have the voice that belonged to him. The rich and unforgettable one that would fit inside his lungs and mouth so well, completing the image of a human perfected. But the voice was mine and Abe couldn’t sleep without it.

I stared at the fireflies rattling against the glass chaotically. “Years ago, the dusk country was alive. The hum of machinery was everywhere. The sun came up and stayed up for hours. It went up so high that you could look straight up and it would be there before it fell back down. Mothers and fathers went to work and made the machines sing. Children gathered together in the sunlight and played games. They didn’t just collect fireflies. They collected spiders and beetles and butterflies. They traded them, not as a commodity, but like treasures. The streets weren’t full of dust and grass didn’t break them up. No, people got in cars and made them move. They moved as fast as you can run and no one got tired. There was food everywhere too. People ate more than insects and plants. Even the river flowed clean. The dusk country was a town made of light. Even the streets had light. And night would come but there were stars. Like a thousand fireflies but way up in the air. So high you couldn’t even reach them standing on a building. And there was a moon. It was like the sun but smaller. Night lasted only a little while before the sun came back. The best part was seeing people smile. Seeing people everywhere, smiling. Just smiling for no good reason. Just smiling because the sun was shining.

“You know what the best part was?”

“What?” his voice only a whisper.

“People didn’t just disappear.”

If you’re still reading this and want to read an extremely bizarre story about two brothers, a girl with antlers, an abandoned town full of abandoned buildings and machines, a place where the sun only ever reaches the horizon for a few hours before descending back into hours of night, then give me a shout.

Here’s a song by a guy with a beautiful voice.

on marketing your novel

With the approach of Noir: A Love Story, and the fact that Twilight of the Wolves and Girl with Ears are still going largely ignored, I’m realising how difficult it is to get people to care about what you spend all those hours writing.

It’s frustrating and disappointing. You put a lot of work into writing something to make it as great and awesome as it can possibly be, and then you even give it away to people for free, hoping they’ll review it or tell other people to read it. And then you wait, and you hope that it works out.

I feel as if I did a lot to try to promote both Twilight of the Wolves and Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp, even giving a two for one deal the entire month of April, but it doesn’t seem to have done much. Probably I could’ve done more, or should’ve done more, but I didn’t write them to market stories.

And that’s what we have to be, in essence. As small press authors, as independent artists, we need to be our own PR, Marketing, and Sales departments, and that depresses the hell out of me. Especially because these things are actually just as important as the quality of the book itself. The best novel in the world without a campaign behind it won’t do much.

And I think that’s been part of the failing of Twilight of the Wolves. As much as the editorial and publishing team understood the novel, the marketing team has done essentially nothing with it. They sent out a bulk email to publications, which received basically no response. I’ve contacted about fifty publications with no real response. It’s very depressing, doing what you can and still getting nowhere. I’ve written about the accidental unmarketability of my book, which is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate into any real interest in the novel, as far as I can tell.

I think, relatively, I’m maybe not even selling that poorly, considering the indie press market, but it’s disappointing to me that I’ve not sold even 100 copies, and have only sold about twenty copies since the publication date. I have two reviews in publication of the novel, with only one more review being on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s frustrating, yeah.

And so I’m trying to think about how to make Noir do better out in the world. I think it’s a novel better geared towards the indie crowd, and it feels as if there’s already more people paying attention to it. But I’m still not sure where or how to get it reviewed. I sent out about fifty ARCs of Twilight of the Wolves, which resulted in three reviews so far. I suppose I could do the same thing and hope for the best, but I don’t know if that’s useful.

Luckily, there’s some time to figure it out. Much less than there was before.

And then there seems to be a debate about promoting yourself on social media that’s sort of devolved into a chaotic sprawl of vitriol, so I’ll step past it, but I don’t think social media works to sell books. It can, sure, and I’m sure everyone who bought Twilight of the Wolves first came across it on facebook, but I don’t think it’ll do what people expect it to.

Too, I’m not sure what works better, or if there’s a way to push your books without being obnoxious. Probably I’m thinking too much about this side of publishing and should just get back to writing. Unfortunately, taking on a lot of new work responsibilities has cut my time to read/write to almost nothing these last three weeks.

Anyrate, I guess the point here is that I’m looking for reviewers for Noir: A Love Story. I can send you a digital copy. I’m also looking for reviewers for Twilight of the Wolves and Girl with Ears.

If you’re interested, get in touch. You should know where to find me.

People will always tell you not to worry about your sales, and they’re right. I expected too much from Twilight of the Wolves, and that’s going to be a long, slow sell, if it ever picks up. But I think what frustrates me is that I know a lot of reviewers/interviewers/readers and they also don’t seem to be interested in the novel, which is a bummer. But, I mean, that’s what the post I previously linked is all about: writing books no one wants.

But, yeah, rambly post. Trying to think of ways to market my novels. To make people care.

And how do we get people to care? I’d argue that there are more readers than ever, but there are also more writers than ever. How do you reach people when they’re bombarded by so much every day/week/year?

That’s the trick. Usually it means getting a bigger venue to care.

But that is anything but easy.

the song of the black mages

My story about Vivi from FFIX came out from Cartridge Lit last week, which has to be the coolest idea for a magazine ever. Literature influenced and about videogames. It’s perfect.

The story’s called The Song of the Black Mages and is the first of many stories I’ve written/am writing about Vivi that takes place between the last battle of FFIX and its ending cinematic. I hope you dig it.

Over at Entropy I have a few things going on as well.

Short Film of the Week: On Your Mark by Hayao Miyazaki

Short Film of the Week: Red by Jorge Jaramillo & Carlo Guillot

Sunday Entropy List: Favorite Animated Films

Editors’ List: Favorite Books Translated into English

And then I’ll also just remind people that Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp is only a dollar and Twilight of the Wolves is only three, so go out and get them! They take place in the same world and are amongst my best writing, I think.

Oh, also, go buy Green Lights by Kyle Muntz! Read a review at HTMLGiant.

And since we’re talking about books released, a whole load of them were just released by Lazy Fascist Press, which means all kinds of awesome. Pay special attention to Michael J Seidlinger and Brian Allen Carr.

every book i ever wrote and all their awesome titles

Everyone should be jealous of them. I’m going to list them all here, because it feels like a thing to do. I’ll put them in order of when I started writing them, so it’s in a different order than how they’re published and most of these haven’t been published and some aren’t even finished.

I decided to make this list because I just saw that Noir: A Love Story’s galleys are ready.

noir cover

2010

Noir: A Love Story

The first novel I ever wrote. A detectiveless detective magic realism novel with 26 narrators.

The Day I Swallowed the Moon

An anti-novel that I broke by experimenting. Going to go back and finish it some day because I know how to fix it now. It’s a werewolf novel.

Echoes

Intensely surreal novel written to be the exact opposite of Noir. It’s a single first person uninterrupted narration. No jumps in time or anything. Just nonstop narration. Full of swordfights and extremely long conversations about the world they live in, which is constantly shifting.

Ash Cinema

My first published novel is a triptych novel about love and Death, and especially about Sebastian Falke, a fictional avant garde filmmaker.

2011

To Leave Only Shadows

An apocalyptic polyphonic magic realism novel that might be psychological horror. 13 narrators. A city in decay, plagued by giant ravens, and spontaneous combustion.

Eyepenny

This is the inverse of To Leave Only Shadows. That makes sense if you read To Leave Only Shadows, but this idea came much earlier, and I wrote Shadows to learn how to do this one, which is unfinished and the novel I still think of as my first one. It’s a very old idea and the novel keeps growing to the point that I’m afraid to look at it.

The City of Lost Things

Alternate history. In 1999 half of the moon breaks off, collides with the earth, which sparks a fifty year war that decimates the earth. This takes place from 2001-2049, and is told in five parts. It’s mostly about living in a city at the edge of where the moon crashed, which is called the Lunar Sea and becomes the Lunar Forest. Starts as mostly realism but becomes sort of magic realism/science fiction by the end. Unfinished.

Loveless

Takes place in the same world as City of Lost Things and is also unfinished. It’s about a one handed female detective living near the City of Lost Things, and is what I’m calling oneiric noir. Intensely surreal and the narration’s pretty fractured and anti-linear.

Poetics

Takes place in the same world as above but set about 400 years in the future, after wars have torn earth apart, and people search for a new world in ark ships. A surreal space opera about revolution and AI and posthumanism. The people are the second and third generation of people living in the ark ship.

the gods we’re not

Set in the same world as the above but about a hundred years before Poetics. Begins as cyberpunk and turns into a pretty surreal biopunk novel. Still unfinished, but I keep telling myself every six months to go back in and complete this dummy.

And then the Wolves

This is actually the first thing I wrote in the epic fantasy world of Twilight of the Wolves. It’s set about 400 years after and takes place during a war. It’s less obviously fantasy, but it’s rooted in that world.

afterLife

Unfinished. A verse novel set in the world of Death for the worlds described above. It’s about a boy who grows up in the afterlife and begins fracturing his personality over and over again while all the new dead from the wars are collapsing always into the world of Death. It’s linguistically abrasive and crazy surreal.

To Live [published as Twilight of the Wolves]

My surreal postcolonial inverted epic fantasy. The second novel of mine published. It’s about the clash of cultures, imperialism, democracy, anarchism, religion, war, and especially about what it means to be human.

2012

Transdimensional Transgender Transubstantiation: A Memoir

The most bonkers thing I’ve ever written. Two photons of light escape from an exploding star, get mashed together, land on earth, become a man, who then splits into a man and woman. The woman births a new universe. It’s very strange and surreal.

Paradise, Lost

Another one abandoned because I made a stupid prose experiment that I didn’t like. It’s magic realism and it’s about suicide, bipolar disorder, alchemy, pornography, transhumanism, and the internet. I really should get back to this one. I wrote 20k words in the first 24 hours of it, though I abandoned it three days later because of how I broke it. I know how to fix it though.

The Curious Girl Floating There

My first graphic novel with [stolen] photography by Natsumi Hayashi about a girl who can’t stop floating and the boy who loves her. Hopefully this can someday be published, but I need her permission, which I can’t seem to get.

2013

a palimpsest

My gargantuan novel to end all novels: 101 narrators. Right now it’s about 150k words, which I wrote January of last year. I keep meaning to go back to it but I took a break which accidentally keeps going on. It’ll probably be about 300k words by the time it’s finished, which is sort of why I keep pushing it off. It’s sort of based on how I imagine Roberto Bolano’s life to be, and since I’ve done no research, it’s pretty much just whatever I feel like. It’s a mix of realism, surrealism, apocalyptic fiction, memoir, love note, critical analysis, and epic fantasy. Oh, there’s also a play about a woman who digs up her own grave in the middle.

Times from Before

My second graphic novel, this time using Kyle Thompson‘s photography, but he said he didn’t want me to publish it, so I guess I won’t. It’s pretty intense and surreal and sort of elliptical.

TANKATANKATANKA

My first poetry collection written over a weekend while feverish. 119 poems, most of them haiku and tanka in style and form.

–i am alone facing the moon rising on the edge of a mountain–

My second collection written over a different weekend using tanka, haiku, and ryuka poetry. 126 poems. It’s dedicated to Yoshiya Chiru, a prostitute poet who starved herself about 400 years ago.

( )

About a man who fades into himself. It’s sort of psychological horror, maybe. About dissolution and dying.

Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp

A serial novel about a girl born with wolf ears set in the same world as Twilight of the Wolves. In this first part she’s thrown into an infinite castle and must fight her way out with the help of an insane man who was trapped in the castle.

Ancient Robots of the Distant Future

Collection of stories and a novella about a robot from our near future who lives for thousands of years. The stories begin in the near future and go through the end of civilisation and to where it begins to rebuild itself, so the robot sort of takes on a mythic quality.

Be Careful, My Children

Another polyphonic novel, 25 narrators. It was meant to be written for J David Osborne’s Broken River Press, and I only had a week to write it. It began as a murder mystery but eventually became something altogether different. It’s both science fiction and fantasy. Set in a reality where the moon cracked and half fell to the earth [much like City of Lost Things, but the timeline diverges]. 150 years before the novel, all white people on earth died, and 50 years after that all the males on the planet died. The world’s dominant cultures are Argentinian and Korean. So this is the third/fourth/fifth generation of a purely female world and the world’s dying from previous cataclysms, and everything’s going extinct except for wolves. People discover a civilisation of human-like creatures who look like tiny males. From there things get very strange. It might actually even be weirder than Transdimensional Transgender Transubstantiation.

2014

13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain

I’ve started this novel three times and scrapped what I had. It’s a novel about giant monsters, and it’s going to be awesome because I had a breakthrough today.

Let me sleep beneath the dirt of a wasted world

Novella set in a world created by the awesome Joseph Michael Owens. It’s about a plant/human hybrid set in a fantasy world who accidentally gains godlike powers.

remember me as a time of day

My third graphic novel, which needs to be rewritten. This iteration is too internal and too much about a very sad moment in my life that I was dealing with by writing this novel. Artwork by the amazing Jazmyn Mares

The Dust Cartographer & Theory of the Infinite Castle

Novella also set in that same world created by Joseph Michael Owens but it takes place in an infinite castle. It’s about a plant growing legs and becoming a mobile creature and a god who’s lived so long her brain’s rotted in her own skull and then the civilisations that have sprouted within the infinite castle believing it to be the whole world.

you are the sea drifting endlessly through the sky

My third poetry collection made of 100 poems in a range of styles, but mostly haiku and ryuka. Probably also dedicated to Yoshiya Chiru.

Wolves at the Shore/We are the Moon Tonight Bathed in Fungal Light

My novel in progress. This is the first first person narration I’ve done since Echoes. It’s a horror novel set a few generations in the future after the earth began fighting back against humanity. Fungus is swallowing civilisation and most of the earth. Lots of biopunk and cyberpunk and fantasy and surrealism and even a few myths. Doing the kind of fun stuff I always do: inventing religions, cultures, and ideologies. And, of course, there are wolves.

So, yeah, those are my novel[la]s and poetry collections. To go along with all that, I have about 600 pages of short fiction, which could use a nifty name. Though it may not look like it, all of the novel[la]s take place in the same interconnected web of realities. The City of Lost Things begins a timeline that stretches into the fantasy world of Twilight of the Wolves. The City of Lost Things is also a world in reflection to the one we live in, which is the reality of Noir and Shadows. Eyepenny is set in yet another reflected reality. Be Careful, My Children is in a timeline that broke off of The City of Lost Things’ timeline. What binds all these various realities together is a consistent mythology and echoes of the worlds in each other, so characters don’t really reappear in different novels, but their shadows do. For example, the protagonist of Eyepenny is the reflected self of a main character in Shadows. Be Careful, My Children is, in a sense, a reflection of Noir, but everything turned to an extreme, and sort of maybe completely insane. Also, the protagonist of Loveless is a character in a film made by Sebastian Falke from Ash Cinema. Sebastian Falke is actually sort of the secret architect of all this, in that his films kickstarted several entwined realities.

But probably you don’t need to know any of that.

Some things that appear in almost everything: dust, wolves, ravens, a child goddess, giant trees/towers, dreams becoming reality, travelling between realities, and finding love in an uncaring world.

But, yeah, probably this is only of interest to me. It also makes me feel like I’ve written much more than I actually have. Hopefully all these novels will some day be real and published. But who’s to say!

something special for april

Twilight of the Wolves was released on Friday but now it’s April, and because it’s April, I decided to do a little special offer. So, for the entire month of April, when you buy any edition of Twilight of the Wolves I’ll also send you a digital copy of Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp.

It’s that simple. Just buy the book, show me the receipt, and I’ll get you my novella as well.

I thought this would be fun thing to do, and since they take place in the same world, I think they complement each other quite well as they both play with surrealism and fantasy. But, yeah, spread the word and buy a copy!

If you want more information about these two books, you can find them at their related pages:

Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp

Girl With Ears & Demon With Limp is a fast-paced, surreal rendition of a Medieval tapestry. Set within an infinite castle, from which a young wolven girl and an insane man wish to escape, it’s Kafka turned inside out. And like Kafka, these characters are seeking to make meaning for themselves in a world where meaning has vacated for other lands.

Christopher Barzak, author of Before & Afterlives

edward j rathke has given us a fable bright with language, an adventure story, a coming-through-pain endurance test – but most of all, a lovely and touching tale about the place two forgotten outcasts make for themselves in the world.

Amber Sparks, author of May We Shed These Human Bodies

Twilight of the Wolves

Like a Terrence Malick film set in a universe as rich as Game of Thrones, Twilight of the Wolves is a different kind of fantasy novel: endlessly inventive, thoughtful, and almost painfully beautiful.

–Kyle Muntz, author of VII and Green Lights

Twilight of the Wolves is an unusual and poetic epic fantasy, with a world, civilizations, and mythologies all of its own, yet unmistakably reminiscent of our past and current world. Best of all, Twilight of the Wolves puts on center stage the people and socioeconomic classes who are often marginalized, suppressed, or overlooked in other types of epic fantasy and secondary worlds, in a passionate and compassionate study of love, languages, and humanness.

Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin

coverdraft3 Twilight of the Wolves - Edward J. Rathke

so much selfpromotion

Makes you feel weird about yourself. Or it makes me feel weird about myself. It’s bad for the heart.

I think, for now, I’ve posted enough about Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp and Twilight of the Wolves, though I got some cool feedback and words about both yesterday.

I have some work I need to catch up on. This week has been difficult, to say the least. Hearts are fragile things. It started on a pretty unhappy note, and I don’t know if it’s getting better, but I feel like I’m able to be more productive today. Hoping to finish Part One of 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain, which has been forcibly pushed aside for a couple weeks, despite my best efforts. After that, I want to start on the graphic novel.

Let’s talk about movies, since it’s been awhile since I posted about what I’ve been watching. I’ve been keeping up with my movie a day schedule, sometimes watching a few each day, and since I’ve watched so many since last posting about them, I’ll just do brief recaps, because none of them have been very exceptional.

Rewatched the entire Lord of the Rings in a marathon with the roommates. What’s funny about watching them all back to back is that you really get to see all the problems with them. The first one is clearly the best, and only because it’s structured just like a horror film, and uses a lot of horror techniques. The problems with the following two are related to their success and the time between releases. I think Jackson probably went back in with all the new money and tried to make them more epic high fantasy in tone, which also made them sort of hokey and awkward. Some of the funniest moments happen whenever the main characters encounter any other character. No one ever has a normal conversation, or even interaction. Everything’s piled with awkward and bizarre. Legolas is constantly saying the strangest things you’ll ever hear anyone say, and it all seems so out of nowhere. And then he’s always looking around, shiftyeyed. I can’t remember what else was funny/weird about it, but there are a lot of things. Everything in those films is super weird.

The Man of Tai Chi has some super awesome action sequences intercut with Keanu Reeves proving that he’s an alien. He clearly was raised by wolves and only learnt to speak human language as an adult, and he learnt from zeroing in on William Shatner’s Captain Kirk. Stick around for the fight scenes, but pay attention to Reeves. It’s the closest we’ll get to a truly alien performance.

Project A is awesome because Jackie Chan is awesome.

Rewatched The Dark Knight and it’s still awesome, and it’s really awesome in comparison to Equilibrium, which I watched for the first time a few days after. That movie is just hilariousbad.

Thor: The Dark World is as silly as the original, but it lacks the purposeful humor. Everyone’s still always wearing armor, and really weird armor, at that, but this time everything’s so serious. It really cripples the film. It always seemed weird to me that Kenneth Brannagh directed the first Thor, but now I see what he really added to it. He knew how to handle inherently silly material, but he gave us stakes that we sort of cared about by making us enjoy the characters. This new one’s too serious and, well, silly.

Airplane is just silly in a lot of the right ways, but, I mean, it has sort of 70s casual racism and sexism, so there’s that. But it’s hard to take anything in that movie seriously, as it’s just a series of gags and oneliners.

Cutie and the Boxer is a great documentary about art, and the sacrifices it leads to. It tore their family apart, but they’re still together, sort of wallowing in misery. It’s tough to watch at times because you realise what’s happened to them and why, but it’s also full of beautiful moments. It shows love in all it’s horror and perfection, which are often happening at the same time.

I can’t remember what else I’ve watched. Mostly silly things and action movies. Sometimes you need that.

Now to get back to the real work.

I’m lagging behind.