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Episode 47 Published

This episode could have had several titles: “Patience”, perhaps, or “Quicksand”. In the end I called it “The Voice of Command” because that is what will echo the most as our little history unfolds. It draws your attention to the thing that shifts in this episode.

Behind the scenes, the next episode is already roughed out, along with several following, thanks to my Kansas sojourn. There is some connective tissue to work out, but a reasonable cadence of new episodes is a reasonable expectation. Whatever that means.

Thanks, always, to my noble patrons. It’s not your pledges that drive me, it’s your faith. I take that seriously.

Please enjoy Episode 47: The Voice of Command

Episode 46 Published

I like this episode rather a lot. It went through some pretty major revisions to reach this exalted state, but for the first time we see Elena actively influencing the world. And she does it in a way only Elena could.

Just so you know, there’s a lot of swearing in this episode.

Behind the scenes, I have a lot of episodes roughed out going forward, something I haven’t had for a while. The thing is there’s an episode between where we are now and that roughed-out sequence that I need to do first. The end of this episode spells out exactly what has to happen next; I’m just on the fence about how loud that action will be.

Probably pretty loud.

Thanks as always to my awesome patrons! You’re why I keep doing this.

Now, enjoy Episode 46: Strings

A Quick Progress Update

Episodes haven’t been coming out that quickly lately, and for that I apologize. However, I’ve just spent the last couple of weeks at summer camp with (among others) the incomparable Kij Johnson roughing out the next few episodes, bringing us to a Big Moment in the story. Smoke and confusion and pain and death. Soon(ish). A few other episodes first.

Then I went back to wrap up the episode that was almost ready for release two weeks ago when I started the workshop, and I realized why I had been reluctant to push the “publish” button: at the end of the episode our little band was exactly where they were at the start. It was interesting, and kind of fun, but nothing moved.

I fixed that problem in a way that really pleases me, but with all the new prose I need a little more time to make sure the people are human and the places feel real (my constant struggle). I also now need another episode between this one and the following roughed-out ones. It’s not about the destination; it’s about killing the assholes who don’t want you to get there.

But hang in there, my friends. Pain and death and smoke and confusion are right around the corner.

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!


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


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!


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 33 Published

We rarely outrun our pursuit, we outlast it.

Knives Episode 33: The Hardest Lesson has been published! Things happen, but they’re small things. Things that might or might not develop into large things.

Over there on Muddled Ramblings I talked for a bit about a character quirk of Martin’s I reveal in this episode, that to actually make sense I’d have to go back and tweak a lot of previous episodes. I left that quirk in for now, and perhaps you can spot it. In the next few days I’ll have to decide what to do about that quirk. Either erase it from this episode, or go back and do some rewritin’.

It is taking me much longer to get to looking at the goddam thing from the well than I thought it would. That’s because there are more important things going on. Or at least that’s my story now.

Behind the scenes, things are going pretty well. I’d like to welcome a new patron, and send out special thanks, while respecting privacy. Thanks, new patron! I’ll have your special access set up real soon. All y’all feel free to spread the good word.

Episode 32 Published

This is a gentler episode than we’ve had lately; if this were a heavyweight boxing match this would be one of the rounds where both boxers’ ears are ringing from blows in the previous rounds. Martin is not one to stand toe-to-toe with an opponent, so perhaps this is for the best. He is also not a team player, and that may show a bit this time around. Elena and Katherine have an accord, but how deep does it run?

From a writerly viewpoint, in this episode I’m working more on the connective tissue of the story than on the meat or the bone. But the best stories have great ligaments — the connections between characters and events that turn a travelogue into a story. So I’d best pay careful attention to this stuff. I wasn’t feeling terribly creative this afternoon, but I had a great time going back over the draft and adding another layer of detail to the descriptions. You learn a lot about a character by what they observe.

Some stuff I thought I’d cover in this episode has been pushed back; I’m not trying to be coy about The Thing From The Well, but there are more immediate problems to solve first.

Behind the scenes, progress on the next two episodes was, it turns out, greatly exaggerated. But the good news is that I had an idea today that totally ties the room together, but I hadn’t included in my plan.

So please enjoy Episode 32: What Needs to be Done

Episode 31 Published!

Knives Episode 31 is available for your reading pleasure. Important Things happen. There is negotiation that leans dangerously toward banter at the end, but then people start putting sharp things into each other and all is well. Now perhaps there will be a time of quiet for our little band. They certainly need it; they’re getting pretty banged up.

But life isn’t alway accommodating. We do have an Object of Great Importance right now, something you might call an Important Thing I might have mentioned before. But relax, kids; it’s not like that.

Behind the scenes, the next chapter is shaping up nicely, and the two beyond are coalescing out of the mists. The generous contributions from the Patreon faithful for the last milestone episode have now reached my bank account, and have been used to justify beer several times over. You guys rock.

Enjoy Episode 31: She is Family Now.