Nostos No. 6


Lines of steel, smoke and shout
Metal church and earnest lout.
Darkness wither, ivy-heart beat
The cinder revival is button-stone feet.
Remember the gods, count up their names
titan-bone memory stokes up the flames.
The violet leaf and the shining thorn
All’s forgotten on seven-pence morn.
Circle of Six, five and the shadow
Beggars are princes in the ettercop’s barrow.
Keep a hand on the rail, and your stone on the blade.
Greenglass coffins wait in the shade.
Heroes or Fools or cannon-shot spite
All Time is stolen from the fingers of Night.

Three-Syllable Gospel – Notes

As therefore it was not impossible to God to create such natures as He pleased, so it is not impossible to Him to change these natures of His own creation into whatever He pleases, and thus spread abroad a multitude of those marvels which are called monsters, portents, prodigies, phenomena, and which if I were minded to cite and record, what end would there be to this work? They say that they are called monsters, because they demonstrate or signify something; portents, because they portend something; and so forth. But let their diviners see how they are either deceived, or even when they do predict true things, it is because they are inspired by spirits, who are intent upon entangling the minds of men (worthy, indeed, of such a fate) in the meshes of a hurtful curiosity, or how they light now and then upon some truth, because they make so many predictions.

Saint Augustine, City of God, Book XXI, Chapter 8

Just a little something from researching next project. PAY NO ATTENTION.

Inkshares Contest Survival Guide

With the announcement that my publisher is running another contest sponsored by The Nerdist, I raise my creaking bones from the sharp-edged divan of Anxiety and inksharesEditing to applaud and salute all the new campaigns! More writers, more books, more readers – these are always good things. It’s easy to think of writing as a purely competitive enterprise – especially in a contest framework, but you know what’s great about readers? They don’t want to read just one book – they want to read many books! And bringing more attention to my publisher helps me too – *rubs together hands maniacally* – now more people have a chance to see MY STUPID DORK BOOK FOR DORKS.

But let’s talk about your stupid dork book for dorks. And more importantly about how you can survive the next few weeks of the contest with crying in the bathtub only every other night.

  1. Use your campaign dashboard. Inkshares gives you plenty of easy tools to link up all of your Facebook, Google, etc. contacts and puts them in a handy list called the Reader Pipeline. This is a perfect way to start keeping track of who you  have contacted, who’s pre-ordered the book, who you need to beg harder. There are also built-in tools to contact prospective readers and also to THANK people who bought your book.
  2. Get comfortable with asking people for money. Yes, I know. It’s terrible. But you have to do it. All of the easy/passive ways you can ask aren’t going to get you there – i.e. posting on Facebook, or your blog, or Twitter. You are the best salesman of your work – you need to go directly to your friends, family, acquaintances, vague strangers, lemurs and ASK for the pre-order.
  3. Take a long look at your writing schedule. Assume it’s going to get thrown away for most of the contest. It’s a stressful time! You are going to start refreshing the contest page a few times an hour in the last few days of the contest – go ahead and accept that your writer-brain has checked out, and you are pure rodent-lust. It can be extremely demoralizing for writers – as surprise! – writing is what keeps us happy and reasonably emotionally balanced. You need to account for that, and build in some slack in your support network. (see: crying in the tub.)
  4. Get to know the other competitors. Not just follow their campaigns from the shadows — talk to them! 5 winners are going to make it, but there’s nothing saying that even more can hit the overall Inkshares funding goal. The more you share resources, readers, knowledge, and support the easier things will be for all of you. I made several friends during the last contest and I’m very glad that they are still talking to me. One of the winners of the last contest is putting another book up – JF Dubeau – he would be a great resource to you for help and ideas.
  5. Noblesse oblige. No doubt, tensions are going to run high as the contest heats up – it pays to remember that you all have the same goal, the same dream. Go out of your way to play fair, to help out the other campaigns. We’re all a bunch of small-timers trying to take the leap into a bigger arena. Even if you win, you can still stumble. Nerds must be held to a higher moral code – we are all taught by the finest stories and the greatest heroes.
  6. Updates. When you send out updates to your backers – remember that they are your allies, your friends and boon companions that want to help you make your dream come true. They are not your servants or conscripts. Ask them to help you, give them clear instructions of things they can do to aid the campaign – but don’t forget to entertain them! Show them exclusive parts of the book, concept art, videos, terrible pictures of yourself. Don’t just send out endless ‘GET MO PREORDERS’ updates – if you cause your core audience to tune you out, that’s hard to come back from!
  7. Cry in the shower. There are going to come moments when you will wonder why you jumped into this thing. We make stuff, we write stuff – it’s a learned skill to put your work out there in the world where anyone can bang on it, or worse ignore it. This contest is 6 weeks of permanent vulnerability – it will be hard. And it’s okay to feel bad. Here’s another post I wrote all about the emotional damage of self-promotion.
  8. It is okay to ask people for money. I’m saying this twice, because it goes against the grain for so many people. My day job is sales, so I have a much thicker skin about it – but even I get squirmy when it’s for my nerd poems. People want to help you – don’t feel like you have to make them read your excerpt, or explain the whole book to them. Don’t sell the book – sell YOU. Look in their eyes and ask for ten dollars. This contest is purely based on unique readers – not preorder count, so you don’t have to stress about getting multiple books out of people. Just ask – I promise that it is okay.
  9. Take breaks. Seriously – as much as you can, especially those last two weeks. You are going to become an internet-octopus, dripping your tentacles across all platforms looking for information and preorders and mentions and ideas and any glimmer of aid that can come to your campaign.  Go on walks. Play video games. Write if you can. There will come moments where you will stare at the contest page and try to WILL the numbers to go up – these are normal, but get your support network to pull you away from it as much as they can.
  10. Contact Inkshares with questions or concerns. Some weird stuff happened last contest. A glitch with some referral credit, things not appearing properly on campaign pages, etc. Everyone at Inkshares was always quick to respond, eager to fix the problem, and as transparent as they could be about the source of the problem and the solution. They want to get it right and they work hard to do so – it’s why I’m quite glad to have them as my publisher. (HEARTS 4 INKS)
  11. Cry in the shower.
  12. Your book is not on trial. There are a lot of moving parts to this contest. People are going to pre-order your book because it sounds awesome. Or because you asked them. Or because they liked the cover. Or, or or…if you find yourself slipping down the ranks, it DOES NOT MEAN your book is bad. Maybe the other books are doing a better job of pestering people, or they have a bigger family, or, or or. Do not start beating up your book and blaming it for not being shiny enough. Unless your book is into that and has given clear, vigorous consent.
  13. You can do it. By that I mean – you can get your book out into the world. This contest, the next contest, regular funding through Inkshares, Kickstarter, self-publishing, finding an agent, printing it out on copy paper and hiding it in Waffle House bathrooms — you can do it.

Enough blathering from me! Good fortune and good campaigning. If you have questions about anything, drop a comment below or look me up on Twitter – @gderekadams.

Asteroid Made of Dragons: First Read Impressions

Banana cover

I’m a little muddled honestly. I think it’s a stronger book than my last, but I don’t have the same feeling of certainty after the first read. Maybe because this book has a LOT more moving parts? I feel like it all works, the baseline mechanics of it all, and some scenes really shine, and the end really surprised me? It makes me deeply happy, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be.

I think it may just be a matter of form. Riddle Box was a murder mystery and that structure is a joy to inhabit — AMOD follows a three-act structure with a meta-narrative frame and all sorts of weird  hyper-narrative threads that shoot off all sorts of places. I like them! I want them to be there! But I guess it’s hard to quite feel it all settle in my head quite yet. RB was a dark lance to the heart, AMOD is this strange spinning wind chime that looks different from every angle.

I’m also serving a lot of masters in this book – something that is giving me no undue amount of anxiety-knives in my spleen. As always, the book must deliver on its own merits – one episodic adventure served a la carte. But, I also want readers who’ve followed me from the first two books to find the threads and rewards there for them – BUT BUT this is a bigger debut for a larger audience with my new publisher, so I don’t want new readers to feel unwelcome or confused, I also need to introduce the world and my entire ethos in an exciting and palatable fashion, ALSO I need to set up some secrets and foreshadowing for things that will happen in later adventures ALSO ALSO AS WELL AS just frankly deliver on the fun of the premise.

I won’t say that this draft has succeeded on all of these fronts. I will say that it is in the process of getting there.


  • The frame story really lands for me – not sure how betas and editor will feel, but I think it will be especially nice for readers of RB and still work thematically for new readers.
  • First act really cooks along – lots of fun, strong starts, distinct voice for each section. May also just be because it’s been the longest since I wrote this section, but I enjoyed first act the most.
  • Xenon is the best. Suck it, all you old characters. You bore me.
  • First Act feels a lot like Spell/Sword in the Jonas & Rime chapters – wacky battles and teen angst.
  • Second act feels lumpy. There’s a chapter that straight SUCKS. Just halting, charmless, and bad. All connective gristle. Lots of re-writing here and the whole second act – this is where the reader gets to spend time in Gilead, and I don’t want that to be wasted.
  • Third Act we’re back to ACTION, ticking clock, asteroid falling, all that – the mechanics and emotion all land fairly well, need to work through the rise and fall of some of the action sequences. There’s a sequence i’m calling ‘Rime Goes Boom’ that I need to muse over and play with, going to need feedback on that one to get it to sing properly.
  • Denouement makes me grin like a huge nerd, its the anime ending – I can already feel the wind of the next adventure blowing and it’s exciting and makes me happy, especially because the plan is to leave Aufero to its own devices for a while after AMOD.

So, a complicated reaction. Lots of work to be done. God I’m glad I’m not doing it alone.

If you aren’t already – follow the book’s progress on my Inkshares page – where you can BUY IT if you’d like, or just malinger in the shadows and watch it change and grow and get better and better until its too hot for you, just way the fuck out of your league.

Straydog Stammer

Coming back sometimes, flipping times like a rolodex

to my younger self, hammering away sans respect

to the idle box i’d be spamming and scratching

looking for fire with a match that wasn’t catching

stomp and stammer, praying for the manner

of device and craft, of thor’s fucking hammer

to break the wall of the world with my science

mjolnir’s breaking, now i got to try this

hustle and grease and the black knight’s deceased

trying to get more when the most is the least.

if i can just keep moving, keep rattling the wires

the solution will fall out, and my brain on the spires


i’m older and colder and Mulder and Scully

stomping on the ice, glass that i sully

with my whisper-gleams that i steal from the fabric

Hoppin and bopping and boosting the magic

easy to forget the eggs, the chicken and the box

which came first, doesn’t matter when the locks

you break are the locks you make

and the chains you snap are at the bottom of the lake

with the lady and the blade and the fool and his masquerade

while i’m sitting at tea with Death saying ‘pass the marmalade’



two mirrors looking back, and neither the wiser

my heart is a storm and my third eye’s a miser

but all that i have is two holes in my soul

punctured and engraved and bound in white gold

and sometimes they line, like a telescope made of pain

and all i can do is yammer and dance in the City of Rain

reaching back now, holding hands with a shadow

of me and me and my brain in the green window

hold on to me then, and i’ll hold on to you now

we can’t forget what and we never bow

thirteen devils singing on the mantel

five demons bound silver and vandal

flipping and flapping and laying down the lines

hoping and hopping that i don’t forget the rhymes

please forgive the memory still burns

sunlight and salt and what are the words?

i end this here, but howl all the same

straydog stammer remembers his name.


ah, those people

kneeling in a circle of light

and the feather-crown beast

came and sat

and waited and

thought a bit

then broke the circle

and spilled the people

then fled

another temple desecrated.

part of me wants

to have known

to have been there

to have cried out

a warning this time.

but i was not

but i was

but i am

but please hear me say

it is coming

it is gone

my heart rings like a stone bell

and you all, in the circle of light

i’m crying and you don’t hear me

and that is as it is

but i am here

and the clack-clack bird is flown

and we remain

and you remain

and the circle of light still shines

and i am crying for you out here in the dark