"Fettuccine and Shrimp..." audio is live at Toasted Cake

by Dan Stout in

This is one I'm especially excited about!

The amazing Tina Connolly has done a reading of my short story, "Fettuccine and Shrimp in Bayou Cream Sauce" over at the Toasted Cake podcast

Tina is a fantastic reader, and I think she perfectly hit the story's notes of humor and melancholy. 

It's free to listen or download. Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast! Tina's story selections are top-notch, and Toasted Cake is a terrific source for quality audio fiction.


by Dan Stout

Learning my Lines: Throne of the Crescent Moon

by Dan Stout in ,


One of the most powerful tools available to writers is to read and study the work of those who have gone before. For me, hand copying and examination can reveal the techniques of another author and help me advance my own craft. I've written up some of these observations to share with other readers & writers.


There's a lot to love in Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon. But one thing I took away was his nimble shuffling of POV chapters, each jumping to the character who is most logical to follow without becoming confusing. 

He does this a few times in the course of the narrative, and each time it was clear what was happening, who was involved, and when everything was taking place. That's not something I can say about every book I read.

The best example -- and the one that really made me sit up and take notice -- happens just over 25% of the way into the story.

At this point in the story the protagonists are arguing, and tempers flare enough for them to stomp off and give themselves (and each other) some breathing room. The next two chapters each follow a different character in the wake of the fight, jumping back to start a few seconds later after the argument ends, as if they're all tree limbs extending from a broad trunk.

The "trunk" chapter is written from the point of view of a character named Litasz. She and four other people are in a room, and as the chapter comes to a climax, Litasz's old friend Adoulla  ends an argument by storming out of the house. 

"Some fresh air," he blurted, and bolted for the door, slamming it behind him.

After this comes four brief paragraphs establishing how the roomful of people react to Adoulla's departure. The next chapter begins:

Adoulla slammed the heavy wooden door to his friends' shop behind him. 

So we're slid back in time, prior to the last four paragraphs of the previous chapter. But look at what Ahmed's done here: he's hanging his time shift on the strong physical act of slamming the door. That's an action that all readers will relate to. We know what it looks like, what it sounds like. Hell, we've probably done it ourselves a time or two. 

Even better, the door slam is a turning point in in the trunk chapter, and it happened only a couple pages ago. Further, Ahmed uses the same verb, "slammed," reinforcing the connection. Even a casual reader will remember it when the next chapter begins. 

So with this new starting point, we follow Adoulla as he storms off from the argument and collects himself. Clever enough, but what blew my mind was that the following chapter begins like this:

Raseed bas Raseed watched the Doctor storm out of the shop and slam the front door. 

We're back in time, but as a reader I still knew exactly where we were!  Ahmed's use of the door slam in the trunk chapter marked it in memory. The use of it in the following chapter underlined it. And now, many pages after the original event, I slipped back into the time stream with no trouble at all. 

Note the recurrence of "slam" yet again, and that this POV shift is happening immediately after the chapter following Adoulla. If we'd stayed in his POV for multiple chapters, I suspect that I'd have had a harder time returning to the door slam, but as it's written I found it easy, even natural to do so.

The new chapter follows Raseed as he travels into the city. While we're in his POV, our experience is enriched by knowing what is happening to Adoulla simultaneously. 


Throne of the Crescent Moon is great fun, but it also displays some pretty skillful handling of reader expectations. Reading it helped me learn how to lodge a moment in a reader's mind, and then use that later, like a rock climber setting a piton. 

by Dan Stout

Alpha-7 DE11 Audio Adaptation up at Centropic Oracle

by Dan Stout in


My short story, "The Curious Case of Alpha-7 DE11" has been adapted for audio by the good folks at Centropic Oracle. 

I particularly enjoyed this audio production, and the attention to detail in the performance and sound design. 

You can listen for free here, and The Centropic Oracle is a great source for all kinds of fun audio from many more authors. Check them out, and tell them I sent you!

by Dan Stout

Learning my Lines: Sparrow Hill Road

by Dan Stout in

One of the most powerful tools available to writers is to read and study the work of those who have gone before. For me, hand copying and examination can reveal the techniques of another author and help me advance my own craft. I've written up some of these observations to share with other readers & writers.

This excerpt is from SPARROW HILL ROAD, by Seanan McGuire. The quote below comes early in the book, and demonstrates how to quickly create a bond between reader and character.

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by Dan Stout

Titanshade coming from DAW Books

by Dan Stout in

I couldn't be happier to announce that my novel Titanshade has been accepted for publication by DAW Books. 

Titanshade is a noir fantasy thriller.  It infuses classic detective tales with sorcery and strange creatures, all set in a world where 8-Tracks are state of the art, and disco rules the radio.

DAW is a terrific home for this book, and for the sequel that's currently under construction. They're an established company who've managed to maintain a family feel, and it's a joy watching this book become a reality. I'm immensely grateful to Sheila Gilbert at DAW and to my agent, Nat Sobel at Sobel Weber Associates for believing in this project. 

Check back for updates on release dates, cover art, and more.

DAW logo.jpg
by Dan Stout

Agents & Spies and "The Hula-Hoop Heart"

by Dan Stout in


The Hula-Hoop Heart will be reprinted in a hard cover anthology entitled Agents & Spies, forthcoming from Flame Tree Press.

I've worked with Flame Tree before, and I'm delighted that this story will get another day in the sun, along with a collection of classic tales and modern authors.

The Gothic Fantasy line is a series of beautifully designed, hard cover volumes that mix a genre's foundational stories with newer voices. I'm always happy to add another of these editions to my shelf, and can't wait to get my hands on this volume when it releases in October..


by Dan Stout