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Welcome!

I’m glad you decided to drop by to read Knives. You should know that there is violence ahead, and profanity that sometimes verges on gleeful. But if you don’t mind those things, and if maybe you find “good” and “evil” too rigid of concepts to actually apply in the real world, then you might enjoy Knives. I know I do.

This page is where you will find news and updates about the story. The whole story is here, or you can dive right into episode one. Each episode links to the next, so you can bump right along.

Don’t be shy about leaving comments! I would enjoy hearing what you thought. The spam-blocker might get you at first, but be sure I will find your comment and free it for the world to see.

Episode 44 Published


Today we learn something about the Soul Thieves that might just Change Everything. The Wanderers in the group seem to be hit the hardest by the events, and Martin most of all.

From a writing standpoint this episode developed differently than most I write. I had been looking forward to this episode for a while, but after I laid out the Big Event I looked back and thought, “Huh. That seemed bigger in my head.” Of course what that meant was I had faithfully recorded a set of facts, but I had not told a story. As I did several editing passes, the prose got wider. I suppose that happens with every episode to some extent, but this was a very exaggerated version of the process.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I’m trying to figure out why comments are not enabled at the ends of the episodes. I’m pretty sure I intentionally disabled them, thinking conversation could be here on the announcement posts, but I have come to realize that the comments belong with the material being commented upon. Somewhere is the code I wrote to stop them from happening.

“Why is the banner at the top of every announcement now?” I hear you ask. The sharing thingie I use to post this to Facebook assumes there will be an image, and leaves a big empty rectangle if there isn’t one. Technology! Gotta love it.

Anyway, enjoy Episode 44: Liberated by Fire.

Episode 43 Published

Apparently I accidentally hit the “publish” button already, but now the episode is actually finished, with a title and everything. The core of the little group is perhaps strengthened a bit, but Martin has some bad news for the others.

This episode contained a lot of connective tissue for the story, but honestly not as much meat as I like to offer in each serving. Still, some of the things here may come to matter a great deal later on.

Behind the scenes Episode 44 is moving along; unless something crazy happens the wait for it should be (relatively) short.

Enjoy Episode 43!

Episode 42 Published! And, um… episode 41.

If you remember back to Episode 40, we had an ally of dubious value named Worm. Worm was badly messed up by a rival Soul Thief. Episode 41 deals with the immediate aftermath: Worm is dying; perhaps the wisest course of action is no action at all. But Worm could teach Elena serious killin’ skills, if he doesn’t get her killed first. Elena just has to accept that she will not be fixing what’s wrong with Martin. Which means she has to accept that Martin may die sooner than either of them would like.

Episode 42 finds Worm without a hand and Elena with a clearer understanding of the wish that’s moving her. I’d like to say more, but she says it better than I ever could. This might be an episode you think about in the long term.

Behind the scenes, it would appear that I neglected to announce episode 41. Sorry about that. Momentum has been precious to me, and when I push an episode I throw myself at the next one with full fury. I actually published Episode 42 a few days ago. I’m dancing at the edge of chaos, letting the moment carry perhaps too much weight against the master plan for the story, but even so each episode goes through a lot of revisions before I inflict it on you.

Please enjoy Episode 41 and Episode 42.

Episode 40 Published!

Seemingly out of nowhere, we have Worm. He might be a problem. He might be a solution to problems. Most likely, he’s some of each. But today we learn that no matter what Martin thinks of him, there are other folks who have strong opinions about the Soul Thief.

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve published an episode. It might be hard to believe, but this episode was actually pretty easy to write — once I wrote the right episode. I wrote the wrong episode about five times, and spent a lot of time trying to fix each one. Then I wrote the right episode, which was way more fun and landed quite naturally in the right spot.

I especially wanted this episode to be right, because here we are at a payday. To my patrons, I can only return humble thanks for your faith and your support. It means a lot to me.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I’m trying to figure out why it’s not possible to comment on the episodes themselves. At one time I thought comments should go on the announcements of the episodes, but that was dumb. I just can’t remember how to undo it.

If you want to review where we were, here’s Episode 39. If your memory is better than mine, you can dive right into Episode 40.

Episode 39 Published!

This episode has been almost ready for a week or more, but it wasn’t quite ready for the light of the LEDs in your screen. Today at last we crossed that threshold. I approach these moments with a combination of pride, relief, and the certainty that if I waited another day I could make it better. But I’ll feel the same way tomorrow; so at some point it’s time to set the words free.

Interestingly (to me, at least), the moment I can let go often comes after I delete a chunk of the episode and replace it with what should have been there all along.

But while this episode crept toward the light, it has been a big time for Knives. Welcome new patrons! You broke the Patreon widget in my sidebar, you’re so awesome!*

The episode is about a moment when people who maybe don’t want to fight each other realize they’re probably going to have to fight anyway. Neither side can compromise their goals. And Elena grows up a bit. Maybe Martin is good for her after all.

Enjoy Episode 39: A Rebel.

The next Patreon goal is ambitious, both financially and from the perspective of my workflow. Tell your friends! Put me on the hook for regularly-scheduled episodes! It’s what we all want!

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* Actually, changes in the data from Patreon broke the widget. I’ll be working on that this week. But you’re all still awesome!

Moving!

Knives will be offline for a little while this afternoon; the server upon which it resides is going to be moving from one Mysterious Bunker Somewhere Near Las Vegas to a different MBSNLV.

I’m not sure how long the system will be down before it gets plugged back in and the new DNS info propagates through the Web-Tubes.

See you on the other side!

Moved!

The move is complete. You may carry on as you were.

Episode 38 Published

I’ve been working on this episode for a while. I had a great intro, but the next plot movement didn’t carry much action. I wanted to dress it up. After a while I quit moaning about it and Wrote The Damn Chapter, and it came out pretty well. Except… that intro I was so happy with? It didn’t belong at the top of this chapter. It had to go. But I needed something there — it was time to get another glimpse at Martin’s thoughts. It just had to be the right glimpse.

Any time you start an anecdote with “I once killed a man who…” I think it’s going to be an interesting story. So during the quiet passage of days at Rock Fork we learn a little more about what makes our hero tick. And, now that I think about it, what doesn’t.

Then everything changes. There’s a new threat, and it’s not like any they’ve faced before.

Enjoy Episode 38: Worm!

Never forget, dear patrons, that this whole endeavor is powered by you. I thank you for you support and ask only that you spread the word.

And Hey Wow! Another Patreon goal met! Which means I owe another backstory. While I get off my sorry ass and get to work putting Katherine’s story on these pages, it’s time for the Mighty Benefactors of All Things Sharp and Pointy to decide whose backstory comes next. Feel free to talk among yourselves while I figure out if I can create a poll in a sensible location.

I expect I’ll be churning out this hastily-written, not-terribly-edited treatise in November. It’s what Novembers are for, after all, even allowing for the fact that I’m getting married in December.

Author’s hints to the voters: Elena’s story before Martin walks into the bar in Mountain Hole is horrible, and it might be tiresome to wade through it since the first ray of hope for her happens right in the current story. Stories of survival despite unrelenting horror are inspiring, but her backstory would not include the actual getting-out-alive part. Might be a drag. A couple of other characters have come and gone, but probably haven’t made a big enough impact to be interesting. Mrkl might be an interesting choice; that backstory would include a previous version of Martin. Then there’s the King or that Baron that got killed, but those stories would be so spoiler-heavy they would ruin everything.

So think about it, ye Mighty, and don’t forget to include inanimate objects in your discussion. Martin’s lovely black-bladed knife, which has a twin somewhere that took the life of its creator, or Bags’ shiny sword.

Or maybe go afield and find a god from one of Elena’s curses, or a character from Bags’ backstory. (I’m wondering if I’m going to regret mentioning that.)

It’s up to you, Mighty Ones.

Episode 37 Published

What happens to a society whose order depends on stone walls when those walls don’t work anymore? Old Robert has some theories, and a lot of what he says makes sense. Sometimes the dispassionate view of an outside observer can add clarity. That doesn’t mean he’s omniscient, though. I mean, what are the odds that everything he says is correct?

At first Episode 37 was too short. Then it was too long. Now… maybe a touch long. In the end, there’s a lot of exposition as the folks have a chance to consider the implications of the events up until now.

Behind the scenes, this episode was a long time coming, and I apologize. There were two factors: 1) I did a lot of writing but on a different story, and 2) Keeping any sort of flow with this much exposition is challenging. I felt it was time, though, for the people in the story to consider the big picture rather than stumble around blindly, lest they fall too far behind the reader in putting things together and become annoying.

But now please enjoy Episode 37: Lessons and Questions.

Not my finest hour naming chapters. If you have a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

Episode 36 Published

A quiet place, relatively safe. Physical wounds can be tended to, but perhaps those are not the only injuries our little band of heroes has suffered. It is, at last, a moment to pause, and to decide how to act rather than merely react. Which begs the question “Just what is it we want to accomplish?”

I like this episode for a few reasons. The last sentence is the biggest of those. A big moment for Katherine.

Anyway, enjoy Episode 36: People Like Us.

Behind the scenes, I didn’t get as many actual words written as I had hoped to while in Kansas. The reasons for that are complex, but with the help of the Repeat Offenders I came to a couple of significant decisions, story-wise. One of those changes is particularly scary (for me), and will be challenging to get right. To be honest, it paralyzed me for a bit. I have taken on a new tactic as I make my way to the big change: Try not to think about it too much.