Racism in The Poppy War?

R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War starts as a typical coming-of-age fantasy about a girl from humble beginnings who discovers she has special powers. Despite a cliched beginning, the first chapter had me hooked, as it's probably the best bit of writing in the novel --- not surprising given the knock-them-dead-from-page-one nature of publishing today. The... Continue Reading →

Station Eleven Review

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (what a name!) centers around an apocalyptic, end-of-the-world scenario involving a super-flu that wipes out most of humanity. It's a more concise and grounded version of Stephen King's The Stand, and was of particular interest to me given our post-COVID world. Mandel weaves a complex narrative with multiple... Continue Reading →

A Girl Called Wolf by Stephen Swartz

In today's exciting podcast, I sit down with Stephen Swartz to discuss his semi-biographical novel, A Girl Called Wolf. It's the harrowing true survival tale of an Inuit girl named Anuka (a fan and friend I've known for many years through Facebook) and the rare indie book deserving more attention. Then in true Story Matters... Continue Reading →

I’m done; it’s all a scam

Amazon ads? Scam. Bookbub? Allauthor? Awesomegang? Scam. Scam. Scam! What about review sites like Goodreads? IndieReader? Kirkus? All scams.  I have spent the past several years trying to game the indie scene, but it simply does NOT work. Having wasted God knows how much money, I've had to rationalize these expenditures, telling myself it's a long-term... Continue Reading →

MAIL GRAB!

In today's lighthearted episode of the Story Matters podcast, I read some of the ridiculous, absurd, frustrating, enlightening, and inspiring mail I've received over the past month. A guy who can't spell the word "you" wants to be a published author. Another person tells me he's going to write fan fiction based on Aenya, and... Continue Reading →

The Three-Body Problem

In today's podcast, Heather and I discuss Chinese novelist Cixin Liu's Hugo award-winning, The Three-Body Problem, a book President Barack Obama called "wildly imaginative." The Three-Body Problem is a welcome foray into the hard science fiction genre. When it comes to astronomy, mathematics, and the forefront of scientific theory, Liu knows his stuff. His ideas... Continue Reading →

The Rings of Power Was . . . Fine

While it may not be the popular opinion to hold, like most things on social media, and especially for every frothing-at-the-mouth critic on YouTube, hatred for Amazon's "The Rings of Power" has reached a fever pitch and is entirely overblown. Is it a great show? Not really, no. Is it worthy of Tolkien's masterpiece? Certainly... Continue Reading →

Noora’s Song

Noora's song features prominently in The Princess of Aenya. When Radia goes on the run, disguised as a serving girl named Noora, she sings her song in the Cosmos Theater, only to have the wilting flowers on the tables bloom. She sings it once more near the end of the story, before her gruesome confrontation... Continue Reading →

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