Tales from the Trunk


Book Tour 19: Valerie Valdes - Fault Tolerance

This time around, I’m very pleased to welcome back one of my guests from this show’s very first season, Valerie Valdes (@valerievaldes), to talk about the conclusion of her Chilling Effect trilogy, Fault Tolerance, which just released this Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022! Val reads to us from the opening chapter, which leads us into a lively discussion of video game tropes, fanfic, screenwriting, and who Val mains in Super Smash Bros.


Things we mention in this episode:


Val’s first-season episode

Chilling Effect, by Valerie Valdes


Mass Effect

Fix-it fic


Chekhov’s gun

Mario Kart

Mad Max: Fury Road


Super Smash Bros



Assassin’s Orbit, by John Appel

The Memory War series, by Karen Osborne

Megan E. O’Keefe

K.B. Wagers

The NeoG series, by K.B. Wagers

Annihilation Aria, by Mike Underwood

Imperial Radch trilogy, by Ann Leckie

The Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee

D.J. Older

Mike Chen

Rebecca Roanhorse

Doctor Aphra, by Alyssa Wong

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)


Austin Walker

Five plus one fic

Harold (improv)

Conrad Verner

Tekken 2

Marvel vs. Capcom 2






Shang Tsung

Tron Bonne





Mr. Game & Watch

Horizon Zero Dawn


Val’s twitch

Guardians of the Galaxy (2021)

Girl by Moonlight

Blades in the Dark

Magical girl genre

Persona series

Serial Experiments Lain

Brandon O’Brien

Mike Underwood

Iori Kusano

Jeoi Gawain Lin

ArvanEleron on twitch

Arvan Eleron’s Youtube channel

Stone the Crows, by Grant Howitt

Friends at the Table Partizan

Beam Saber, by Austin Ramsay

Scum and Villainy

Ms Marvel

Our Flag Means Death

Moon Knight

Knights and Bikes


Join us again next time, when Rem Wigmore will be returning to the show!


Episode 41: Miri Baker - ”DUEL”

This time around, we’re joined by the one and only Miri Baker (@MiriBaker). Miri brings us a trunked story from ye olden days, all the way back in 2011, plus a lot of great conversation about the load-bearing parts of our personalities, cosplay, and how genuinely liking the things we like is good, actually.

This episode’s reading carries content warnings for blood, extremely unsafe handling of swords, and extremely incorrect understanding of swords. It is just under 20 minutes long.


Things we mention on this episode:

Blue at War, the cape Miri made for Amal El-Mohtar for the 2020 Hugos

Lillian Boyd

Machine of Death and This Is How You Die, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde

Duotrope’s Digest

The Submission Grinder

Wondermark! By David Malki


Fence, by C.S. Pacat

Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon’s Lexicon, by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant

Be the Serpent

Worldcon 76

Fullmetal Alchemist

Himoru Arakawa

Neil Gaiman’s Journal


Arthur, season 14, episode 4, ­“Falafelosophy

Miss Snark’s Blog

Query Shark

George Clponey

John Scalzi’s Whatever

Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds

Mary Robinette Kowal’s My Favorite Bit

Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup

Writing Excuses

Schlock Mercenary, by Howard Tayler


Fantasy Rants

Gaia Online


Uncanny Magazine

Viable Paradise

Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey

Sarah’s Star Wars tweets

Amanda Cook’s episode

The Hugo Awards

Yaya Han’s ultimate bodysuit pattern


Annalee Flower Horne

Anime Weekend Atlanta

Friends at the Table

Gravity Falls

Steven Universe

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Archive of our Own

Fanfiction dot net


Riot Games

League of Legends


Rooster Teeth

Red vs. Blue


Persona 5 Royal


The Locked Tomb series, by Tamsyn Muir

Nona the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

Cybergoth freeway rave

Miri’s portfolio

Rekka Jay

This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone


Stick around next month for the return of Valeria Valdes and Rem Wigmore!


Book Tour 18: Ruthanna Emrys - A Half-Built Garden

This time around, it’s my pleasure to welcome Ruthanna Emrys (@R_Emrys), who joins us to talk about her new novel, A Half-Built Garden, which comes out on July 26th from Tor Dot Com publishing. We talk about ecological sci-fi, the things that got left on the cutting-room floor, and Ruthanna’s current reads.


Things we mention in this episode:

Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys

David Bowie

The Innsmouth Legacy series, by Ruthanna Emrys

Seanan McGuire

Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota, by Amelia Gorman

Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki

Ruthana’s Patreon

Reading the Weird on Tor.com

Anne M. Pillsworth

The City We Became, by N.K. Jemisin


Tune in next time, when my guest will be Miri Baker!


Episode 40: Amanda Cook - ”Snow Day”

This time around, it’s my delight to be the first podcast out there to host up-and-coming author Amanda Cook (@AmandaCook627)! Amanda reads her trunked story, “Snow Day,” which leads us into a delightful conversation about cozy fiction, early-career writing, cosplay, and patience!
This episode’s reading carries content notices for some brief mentions of guns and other weapons, along with a mention of nuclear war.
Things we mention in this episode:
Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
Rubys Delivery,” by Amanda Cook
The Golden Orb, by Amanda Cook
When We Were Forgotten, by Amanda Cook
Weaving Serenity,” by Amanda Cook
Lily and Ink,” by Amanda Cook
Hells Library series, by A.J. Hackwith
Sweep of Stars, by Maurice Broaddus
Amanda’s insta, Facebook, and blog
Tune in next month, when my guests will be Ruthana Emrys and Miri Baker!

Book Tour 17: Sarah Gailey - Just Like Home

This episode carries content warnings for mentions of parental death, terminal illness, serial killers, and feelings of powerlessness. Additionally, the reading from this episode contains an overall sense of tension and dread. If you would like to skip the reading, you can skip forward 18 minutes from the beginning of the reading to bypass it.

This time around, we’re joined once again by the incomparable Sarah Gailey (@gaileyfrey) to talk about their incredible (and incredibly terrifying) new book, Just Like Home, available July 19th wherever fine books are sold! Sarah tells us about the staggering number of rewrites that this book went through and what was learned along the way.


Things we mention this episode:

The Luminous Dead, by Caitlin Starling

The Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer

Flowers for the Sea, by Zin E. Rocklyn

Queen Amidala

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

And then a skeleton popped out

The Death of Jane Lawrence, by Caitlin Starling


Eat the Rich, by Sarah Gailey and Pius Bak

The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

The Foundations of Decay,” by My Chemical Romance

The Great (TV)

Veep (TV)

Number One Fan, by Meg Elison


Empire of the Wild, by Cherie Dimaline

Sarah’s website and Insta

Stone Soup newsletter



Join us in two weeks, when my guest will be Amanda Cook!


Episode 39: Michael R. Underwood - The Broken Summit

Update: I've fixed some issues with the audio mixing for this episode that should make it easier to listen to now.

This time around, it’s my absolute joy to welcome Michael R. Underwood (@MikeRUnderwood) to the show! Mike reads from his trunked novel, The Broken Summit before (and after) we have a conversation about the intersection of writing and tabletop roleplaying, the life of a content creator, and some excellent advice about shaping your career goals.


This episode’s reading is 17 minutes long and carries content warnings for themes of war and imperialism.


Things we mention on this episode:

Friends at the Table

The Adventure Zone

The Quiet Year

The McElroys

Thirsty Sword Lesbians

Tom Clancy

Angry Robot Books

Penguin Random House

Hot Wheels boosters

Chilling Effect, bu Valeria Vlades

Yoon Ha Lee

River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

Sarah’s Star Wars tweets

Genrenauts series, by Michael R. Underwood

Monster of the Week

Tortall setting (Tamora Pierce)

Blue Rose (RPG)

3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Shadowrun 3rd Edition


Dogs in the Vineyard

Apocalypse World

Blades in the Dark


Indie Press Revolution


Creative Commons

Game Jam

Open Game License

Powered by the Apocalypse





Mage: The Ascension

White Wolf Publishing

The Game Master’s Apprentice


Friends Journal Quaker Spec-Fic issue


Clarion West

Cassie Alexander

Better-Faster Academy

Dear Writer, You Need to Quit, by Becca Syme

The Nebula Awards

George R. R. Martin


Elden Ring


Maya MacGregor’s TikTok

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, by Maya MacGregor

Hank Green

Celebromancy series, by Michael R. Underwood

Citizen Sleeper

Dungeons and Dating series, by Katherine McIntyre

Mike’s Twitch 

Val’s Twitch


Karen Osborne’s Twitch


Join us again next month, when my guests will be Sarah Gailey and Amanda Cook!


Book Tour 16: Marion Deeds - Comeuppance Served Cold

This time around, we're joined by author Marion Deeds (@mariond_d) to talk about her new novella, Comeuppance Served Cold, a wonderful alternate-history fantasy-noir out now from Tor.com publishing. Marion talks about baking versus cooking when working on books, and we muse on the current golden age of SFFH novellas.


Things we mention this episode:

Story Hour

Laura Blackwell


Helen Crawford-White

Tor Dot Com

Queen of Swords Press

Neon Hemlock

Hugo ballot

Premee Mohamed

The Poppy War, by R.F. Kuang

Victories Greater Than Death and Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, by Charlie Jane Anders

Our Opinions Are Correct

Be The Serpent

Marion’s Facebook and Blog

Fantasy Literature dot com

Falstaff Press

Aluminum Leaves, Copper Road, and Golden Rifts, by Marion Deeds

Kat Hooper

Kate Lechler

Alix E. Harrow


Episode 38: Andi C. Buchanan - Invented Wings

This time around, we're joined by Andi C. Buchanan! Andi reads from their trunked YA steampunk novel, which leads us into a great discussion about steampunk, accessibility, well-intentioned white people (like us), and their brand new book, Sanctuary, which came out earlier this week from Robot Dinosaur Press!

Show notes coming soon!


Book Tour 15: Maya MacGregor - The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester

This time around, it's my absolute delight to welcome Maya MacGregor (@Maigheach) to the show to talk about their brand new book, The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, which releases this May!


Things we mention in this episode:

Jennifer (Macey) Mace's appearance on this very show

Look to the Sun, by Emmie Mears

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune (2021 film)

The Death of Jane Lawrence, by Caitlin Starling

Pine, by Francine Toon

The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins

The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben

Pretty Little Liars 

The Books of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Charles Vess 

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, by Gabriella Coleman


This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends, by Nicole Perlroth

Nina Niskanen 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons 

The Forgetting River, by Doreen Carvajal


Maya's Insta and TikTok 


And of course, Maya's cats, Tara:


And Willow:



Stick around next time, when I'll be joined by Andi C. Buchanan!


Episode 37: Lillian Boyd - ”Inside Job”

It's my absolute delight, this time around, to welcome our very own composer, Lillian Boyd (@herelieslill), onto the show. Lillian reads her short-story-that-should-be-a-novella, "Inside Job" (cw: gore, skip forward 10:15 to avoid) before we just go off on an extended tangent about horror movies, noir, pulp, and being as thoroughly on our bullshit as is possible.


Things we mention in this episode:

Rank and Vile

Tetsuo the Iron Man

28 Days Later

My appearance on Rank and Vile

The Reinvented Detective, edited by Jennifer Brozek and Cat Rambo (2023)

Raymond Chandler

Guy Noir: Private Eye

A Prairie Home Companion

Nick Danger

The Firesign Theater

Clive Barker

Nightmare Alley

Guillermo del Toro

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

Nick and Nora

Humphrey Bogart

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler

H. P. Lovecraft (notable racist)


Neuromancer, by William Gibson

Blade Runner

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

"Panama," by Van Halen

Terry Pratchett

Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Discworld

The Bromeliad

Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler

Chandler's cat letters

Guards, Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman

Ichabod Crane

Michael Kane

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

"The Book Job," The Simpsons season 23, episode 6

"Falafelosophy," Arthur season 14, episode 4a

"Neil Gaiman! What are you doing in my falafel?"

Alanis Morisette

Amanda Palmer

Tori Amos

Fiona Apple

"Silent All These Years," by Tori Amos

Where's Neil When You Need Him?

The Crüxshadows


"Mr. Sandman," by The Chordettes

"Enter Sandman," by Metallica

Hot Topic

"Cry Little Sister," by Gerard McMann

The Lost Boys


Ego Likeness

The Velocipastor


Siouxsie and the Banshees



"Running Up That Hill," by Placebo

"Running Up That Hill," by Kate Bush

Velvet Goldmine

"20th Century Boy," by Placebo

"20th Century Boy," by T. Rex

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Queen of the Damned


Failure to Adapt

The baseball scene from Twilight


Blade 3: Trinity


House of Wax

Friends at the Table: Sangfielle

The VVitch

Sarah Gailey's appearance on Episode 1 of this very show

Hailey Piper

Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy, by Hailey Piper

Trouble and Her Friends, by Melissa Scott

The Mountain Goats

Alien Vs. Predator

Fireside Quarterly, June-July 2021

The Rank and Vile list

Bride of Frankenstein

And Now the Screaming Starts!

Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh

The Crow: Wicked Prayer




Lillian's Twitch

Hair Metal

"Dream Warriors," by Dokken

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The Books of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Charles Vess

The Farthest Shore, A Wizard of Earthsea, and The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Keebio's Iris keyboard


Pictured above: my personal Iris keyboard (rev 2b, Kailh speed copper switches, Matt3o DSA Nerd keycaps)

Bán Dénes, mrzealot


Ghost in the Shell


Hako Royal True switches


Lillian's website, soundcloud, and reedsy


Join us next month, when my guests will be Maya MacGregor and Andi C. Buchanan!

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