Amateur Sleuth

It's no secret that I like poking fun at various tropes, and I've written parodies in more than a few genres. But I've never tackled the "amateur sleuth" mystery before, and I've never written two novels at the same time—until now. While I'm still posting episodes of AGROTHARN regularly, I'm also writing my first Inspector Broekstein Mystery, Murder at the Manor, and posting one chapter at a time on Kindle Vella. Here's the blurb for this spoof-of-sorts:

"What would you say if I were to tell you I believed ... that in the heart of every man and woman alive, there lies the potential for ultimate evil?"  So begins a mystery of murder, jealousy, and revenge, as old friendships are tested and new alliances form. When a wealthy heir invites half a dozen people to his newly inherited estate, all hell breaks loose, and it will be up to the quirky, lovelorn Inspector Willem Broekstein to find out whodunnit.

Read the first three chapters for free right here.

Production Wrapped

This project has been in the works for a while, so I'm very pleased to announce that all of the audio files have been uploaded in record time and approved, and we're just waiting on the quality control folks to give us the green light. Then my brand-spankin' new audiobook will be available from Audible and Apple!

Last year, I signed a contract with another producer, but things didn't pan out. I wasn't sure I'd find a suitable replacement, but as soon as I heard John Warren Hart's audition last month, I knew I had the voice(s) of Trouble on the Range. He really went above and beyond to bring these characters to life.

Free Audiobook: Haiku + Microfiction = Maikro

Be the first to enter one of these Audible codes:


AGROTHARN vs. the Story Cubes of Doom

This month I'm giving myself a little exercise: writing an episode in my AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian serial every day using story cubes. This is an activity I used to have my creative writing students do, and they really enjoyed it. Appearing on the Alternate Futures podcast back in April reminded me how much fun—and how much of a challenge—it can be to include four random things in a story; but thanks to that experience, I came up with a crazy new character I never would have met otherwise.

You can check out the first six episodes right here, and if you're interested in trying story cubes with your own writing, here are a few online versions I'm using: Story DiceStorygen, Story Constructor.

Novel #16

Finished writing my sixteenth novel this week, and it's my shortest yet: only 53K. The first draft was 30K, so I put some extra meat on its bones this time around—mostly situational comedy and quirky characters doing their thing. The more absurd, the better. I realize not all funny bones are created equal, so some folks will love it and others will hate it. That's okay. I enjoyed writing this thing and sharing each chapter with my first and favorite reader. A fun summer write/read.

All 26 episodes are now available via Kindle Vella, and I plan to keep them there for at least a few months or so. When I eventually pull Uncommoner from Vella and release it wide in eBook, paperback, and audio, I'll be using the cover art I've included with this post. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Check out the first three episodes for free right here.

New Short Story: Dark Delights

Dark Delights
by Milo James Fowler
Copyright © 2022 Milo James Fowler

They stand at the water’s edge, three forms as still as statues, as small as elves from another world, another time. Their eyes glow like pinholes in the darkness, twitching this way and that as they track their quarry across ripples and slick mud.

Grandmother watches from a distance, smiling to herself, praying they remember her teaching. Hopeful they will.

Emery reaches out as the golden beams of dawn’s first glow cut across the earth. She grasps her tin sieve with tiny hands and bends at the waist to catch the dark delights that slink her way. They stretch from the silhouettes of trees and large rocks, growing in size as they slither.

Hello, Hoopla

So this is pretty cool: a bunch of my books are now available at your local library! As long as your library has partnered with Hoopla to make a wide variety of digital content available (eBooks, audiobooks, videos, music—all kinds of good stuff), you'll be able to read my novels, novellas, and short stories for FREE on the device of your choice.

Publishing wide through Draft2Digital has its benefits, and this is definitely one of them. For a while, though, there's been an alert on my D2D dashboard warning "Long Processing Times" with Hoopla. I started to wonder if my books would ever make it through. But here they are, at long last. About a dozen are ready to download now with another dozen on the way.

If your library doesn't happen to offer digital content via Hoopla, kindly advise them to get their act together. Then all you'll need is your library card number to create a user account, and you can start enjoying some free stuff. Aren't libraries cool? Don't delay; check it out today.

Noveling Update: Uncommoner

New month, new project. After finishing up the third book in my latest trilogy and sending it off to my publisher, I figured I could use a little break. So, just for fun, I'm diving into a novel that I haven't really known what to do with—until now.

I've decided to rewrite it as a follow-up to Return of the Knave (free everywhere eBooks are sold). Some time has passed, Gertrude & Alfred are now married with a baby, and the plot is convoluted with lots of new characters, but the Princess Bride-ish elements remain.

Uncommoner is the polar opposite of the grimdark genre, and you're welcome to follow along here where I'm posting a chapter at a time.

WARNING: This is not your fairy godmother's adventure story. It is a tale of uncommon heroes and horrid villains, of virtues and vices, of courage against powerful evil schemes. Gird up your funny bone, dear reader, for giggles, groans, and gasps in equal measure await!

Book 3 is (Almost) Done

My goal was to wrap up edits on the final book in my
Interdimensionals trilogy by June 1, and I met that arbitrary, self-imposed deadline with time to spare. The only problem? I'm not thrilled with the ending. Too much dialogue, and not enough action.

I know what it's like to be left feeling unsatisfied after devoting weeks to reading a series: the hollow, sinking realization that This is it? So I do everything I can to make each of my series go out with a bang. And from what I can tell, my readers appreciate it.

The Interdimensionals is a sci-fi/horror story, so of course it's not going to end as tidily as I like. Every good creepy tale leaves you with a clawing fear that the nightmare isn't really over. But at the same time, having action occur "on camera" is way better than having characters talk about it in retrospect. So that's what I'll be revising.

Got my notes ready to go, and I know which scenes I want to replace. It'll make for one doozy of a finale, and whether or not it's a crowd-pleaser, I'll know I've done my best. After spending the past six months on edits instead of writing anything new, it's time to shift gears and get creative again.

Alternate Futures

Recently I was invited to appear on the Alternate Futures podcast, and I had a great time discussing science fiction, writing, and publishing with host Edwin Rydberg. Part of the interview included a Story Cubes challenge; I was given the following random images to turn into a first chapter or short story: bowl, whistle, burglar, pointing & staring. Somehow, they led me to come up with a new character in the sword & sorcery genre, where I've never dabbled before. Here's how it opens:

Long ago, before the days of recorded history, during the Hyperbolean Age of a much younger Earth, AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian roamed the ancient volcanic lands in search of fame and fortune. Thanks to his magical porridge, which he ate religiously, he had seen the future. One of many alternate futures, to be exact, which seldom came to pass. Much like the flying T-Rexes his forefathers had promised for ages: "Someday, we'll all be flying around on T-Rexes!" they'd claim. "Just you wait!" But no, that never happened. The mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex never did sprout any wings, nor did anyone invent rocket boots for it. And it devoured anyone dumb enough to try mounting it. Thus, AGROTHARN had to content himself with riding a geriatric and often depressed Triceratops named Fred.

Listen to the interview and hear the rest of the story @ Alternate Futures.
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