Kin & Kind, at last

So I was having an exchange with someone who ordered a paperback copy of Kin & Kind for a friend, trying to make sure she understood that it would not reach her friend before Christmas, and was that still okay?

“I’m ordering it for her before the book was even supposed to be out!”

Well, that’s a valid point, if the book was still on schedule it wouldn’t even be on sale before Christmas, so you make a good argument and thank you. :)

Because, yes, Kin & Kind is releasing early!

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Another review of Shard & Shield

I don’t post about every review, obviously, but Publishers Weekly is kind of a big wheel in the industry. A couple of weeks ago they published a review of Shard & Shield, a bit late for its mid-2019 release but I’m not complaining; there’s always time to join a series!

And I was delighted to find some very flattering comments, such as, “satisfying, high-stakes fantasy…with tightly plotted action sequences and taut suspense” and “multidimensional characters make consistently believable choices…. high fantasy fans will find plenty to enjoy in this fast-paced adventure.” Yay! Thank you!

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Why The Shard of Elan owes its existence to trained chickens

Okay, I didn’t realize the full extent of how hilarious that title was until I came back to it. But it’s accurate.

In August of 2004, I checked into a tiny motel in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Each of the dozen rooms was decorated with a different theme, and mine was Coca-Cola.

I was in Hot Springs for three weeks of Bailey & Bailey chicken training workshops. (This is a sort of litmus test — if you work in modern animal training, you probably responded with, “Oh! Wow, cool, what an opportunity!” If you don’t, you probably responded with, “…Wut?” Because this is the author blog and not the training blog, I’ll keep it short and say that Bob Bailey and his late wife Marian were, with Keller Breland and B.F. Skinner, some of the most important researchers and practical administrators of modern behavior science. The chicken training workshops were legendary, and I owe a huge debt of training success to their teaching.)

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Art & Artifice, a new story

Good news! That story I promised for gifting season (and we’re still within the 12 days of Christmas, so still in gifting season!) is here!

[Edit: Oops. When I wrote this post, that part about gifting season was true. But since apparently I flubbed publishing this post, it’s, um, less true now. Yep, I just found this post still unpublished, so, well, better late than never, right? At least subscribers still got the news!]

Art & Artifice

“Art & Artifice” is a novelette set in the time of Shard & Shield, taking place after Shianan and Ariana have brought back the Shard of Elan but before the protective shield has been erected. They are assigned to investigate and stop a series of Ryuven raids on a farming village.

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Villains Gallery

Tonight some friends from church held a “decompression night” and invited a bunch of us over to blow off steam. We had stress balls to squeeze, bubbles to blow, putty, over-sized Jenga, punching bags, wrapping paper swords, cornhole, video games, and a Nerf shooting range (with paint for the darts to mark your shots).

They’d set up a villains gallery for target shooting, with four rogues to take fire. There was the demogorgon from Stranger Things, Harry Potter’s Delores Umbridge, and–

…Oh, wow.

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I’ve mentioned before my annual maze project, and I’ve just completed this year’s.

It’s a challenging task, since I got into the habit of making some literary reference, usually related to a project published that year (first found out by Google Maps in 2015), and since I’m working without much of a plan in vegetation taller than my eye level, just working with spatial awareness and distance guess-timates to produce my pattern. But I have to say, I’m pretty proud of how 2018’s trail came out:

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