Tales from the Trunk


Episode 39: Michael R. Underwood - The Broken Summit

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!


Book Tour 14: Hailey Piper - Your Mind is a Terrible Thing

Welcome to season 4! This time around, Hailey Piper (@HaileyPiperSays) is leading the way with an appearance in support of her forthcoming novella, Your Mind is a Terrible Thing, which comes out May 7th, 2022! Hailey brings us some fantastic words to live by as an artist, and I hope we can all hold on to this throughout the coming year and beyond: "be brave: let it be weird."


Things we mention in this episode:

The 2021 Bram Stoker Award ballot 

Star Wars 


Off Limits Press 

Queen of Teeth, by Hailey Piper

"Recitation of the First Feeding," by Hailey Piper in Unfortunate Elements of my Anatomy 

The Shape of Water 

Tales from the Hood 

This Appearing House, by Ally Malinenko

The Fervor, The Hunger, and The Deep, by Alma Katsu

HMHS Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic

RMS Lusitania, not the sister ship to the Titanic

Wrath Goddess Sing, by Maya Deane


No Gods for Drowning, by Hailey Piper

Other Terrors, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason

Stephen Graham Jones 

S. A. Cosby 

The Book of Queer Saints, edited by Mae Murray

Eric LaRocca 

Joe Koch 

Hailey's website and insta 

Laura Lockwood 


Stick around next time, when my guest will be none other than our own composer, Lillian Boyd!


Episode 36: Ivy Noelle Weir - Archival Quality

For the final episode of our third season (wild, right?), I had the absolute delight of having Ivy Noelle Weir (@ivynoelle) on to record one of the most chaotic episodes, energy-wise, possibly ever in the history of this show! Ivy reads from The Archivist, the original title of the novel that became her and Steenz's graphic novel, Archival Quality, which leads us into a great conversation about how the transition from prose to comics came about, as well as Ivy's recently-released and forthcoming graphic adaptations of several works of classic children's literature.


Things we mention in this episode:

R. K. Duncan 

Magic: the Gathering 

The Mütter Museum 

The Clarion Workshop 

The Death of Jane Lawrence, by Caitlin Starling

"The Raven," by Edgar Allen Poe

The First Unit 

Eastern State Penitentiary 


The Phillie Phanatic 

Pennsylvania politicians convicted of crimes 


Neil Gaiman 

The Valkyries 

Tini Howard 

Vita Ayala 

The Eisner Awards 

Oni Press 

Eat the Rich, by Sarah Gailey and Pius Bak

Bountiful Garden, by Ivy Noelle Weir, Steenz, and Kelly Williams

Rumiko Takahashi 

Junji Ito 

Hellboy, by Mike Mignola

Molly Knox Ostertag 

The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang

The Magic Fish, by Trung Le Ngyuen

Tidesong, by Wendy Xu

Gotham Academy, by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher

Batman: The Animated Series 

Nintendo Switch 

Death Cab for Cutie 

Looks at the camera like I'm on The Office 


The Fall 

Maus, by Art Spiegelman

Barefoot Gen, by Kaiji Nakazawa

Anne of West Philly, by Ivy Noelle Weir and Myisha Haynes

Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery

The Secret Garden On 81st Street, by Ivy Noelle Weir and Amber Padilla

The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden (1993) 

Anne with an E 

The Library of the Dead, by T. L. Huchu


My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh

Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh

Shirley Jackson 

Witch Hat Atelier, by Kamome Shirahama


The Bachelor 


John Waters 

Ivy's TikTok and website 


Shelter in Place 23: R. J. Theodore - Flotsam

This time around, we're joined once again by R. J. Theodore (@bittybittyzap) to talk about the second edition of Flotsam, the first book in their Peridot Shift series! After an exciting excerpt, full of wheeling and dealing, we get into the history of the book, what changed since its first printing, and what's next for the series!
Things we mention in this episode:
Rekka's first appearance on the show, where they read from book 3, Cast Off
The Wayfarers Series, by Becky Chambers
"Oversharing," by R. J. Theodore
The Death of Jane Lawrence, by Caitlin Starling
Rekka's website, insta, and patreon
We Make Books, Episode 5 at the 2019 Nebulas
The Murderboard Episode, with Jennifer Mace
Stick around next time, when Ivy Noelle Weir will be joining me!

Episode 35: Sam J. Miller - Blue Matter

This time around, I'm joined by multi-award-nominated-and-winning author Sam J. Miller (@sentencebender)! Sam reads from his trunked novel, Blue Matter, which leads us into a great conversation about YA, the ways that genre books are in conversation with each other, and why we're ultimately glad that our journeys as creators have been the shapes they are.


Things we mention in this episode:

The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller

Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller

The Blade Between, by Sam J. Miller

Michael Pollan 

Ted Chiang 

The Clarion Workshop 

Octavia Butler 

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

John Bellairs 

Joan Aiken 

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss

Mutual assured destruction 

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss

RuPaul's Drag Race 


Be the Serpent, Episode 91 

Beowulf, translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

Iambic pentameter 

"The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe

Hudson, NY 

This Is How You Lose The Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar Max and Gladstone

Mexican Gothic, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

Notes from the Burning Age, by Claire North

The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

The Unbroken, by C. L. Clark

The Death of Jane Lawrence and The Luminous Dead, by Caitlin Starling

Boys, Beasts & Men, by Sam J. Miller

Sam's website and insta 


Join us again next month, when I'll be talking to R. J. Theodore and Ivy Noelle Weir!


2021 Awards Eligibility

Yeah buddy! It's awards season once again! And just like we have every year since the show started, we've got a roundup of eligible works from past guests!

This episode's full transcript, with links, is below.


Hello, and welcome to Tales from the Trunk: nominating the stories (and other things) that did make it. I’m Hilary B. Bisenieks.

Listeners, it’s that time of year again, where we’re all looking back—maybe frantically—on what we did last year and what we consumed as awards nominations open up. To help with that, I’ve once again reached out to all of my past guests to see if there’s anything they’d like me to mention on this show. The full transcript of this show will also be in the show notes, so don’t worry if things go by fast.

To start off, I know I’ve tweeted about it, but I want to thank every single one of you who nominated this show for Best Fancast last year. I’m still in a bit of shock that this show made it to the Hugo award long list. This year, Tales from the Trunk is eligible for Best Fancast for the Hugos and, until January 21st, r/Fantasy’s Stabby Award for Best Audio Original - Nonfiction. It would be a huge honor to get your nominating vote for either award.

John Appel, who joined us on book tour last summer, is eligible for both Best Novel and Best Debut Novel in the science fiction category, where applicable, for Assassin’s Orbit.

Nino Cipri is eligible in the Best Novella category for Defekt, the sequel-ish follow up to 2020’s Finna.

R. K. Duncan, who joined us way back in our very first season, has five eligible short stories, which you can find in his awards eligibility post, linked in the show notes. Of those, “Her Black Coal Heart a Diamond in My Hand” is dearest to his heart.

Sarah Gailey, one of this show’s staunchest and most long-time supporters, has The Echo Wife, eligible for Best Novel, and their limited series, Eat the Rich, eligible for Best Graphic Story and other comics categories.

Sarah Hollowell (you didn’t think you’d get one of these Sarahs without the other, did you?) is eligible for Best Novel, Best Young Adult, and Best Debut Novel for A Dark and Starless Forest!

Tyler Hayes (Tyler, please forgive me for putting you slightly out-of-order) has the story “The Devil You Don’t” eligible for Best Short Story.

Jordan Kurella has both a story and an essay eligible this year! Their story, “Personal Histories Surrounding La Rive Gauche, Paris: 1995-2015” carries content warnings for mentions of suicide and psychological abuse, and is eligible for Best Short Story. Their essay “Un/Reliable: Reflections in The Drowning Girl,” which carries content warnings for discussion of mental illness and suicide, is eligible for Best Related Work.

L. D. Lewis, who joined us this past spring, is eligible in a bevy of categories! Her stories “From Witch to Queen and God” and “Dizzy in the Weeds” are both eligible for Best Short Story. FIYAHCON 2021, like the 2020 version, is eligible for Best Related Work, meanwhile, and the Hugo Award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine is eligible for Best Semiprozine.

Sarah Loch has a number of stories and essays eligible, all of which you can find in her eligibility post. Of those, she’d like to particularly highlight “How Dungeons & Dragons Helped Me Escape a Cult” for Best Related Work.

Jennifer Mace, the English One, is eligible for Best Fancast for Be The Serpent—and I should mention that this is their final year of eligibility—along with Freya Marske, the Australian one, and Alex Rowland, the American One. Additionally, Macey’s poem, “letters from the ides” is eligible wherever speculative poetry awards are given, and her poem-story, “Birds Are Trying to Reinvent Your Heart,” which is eligible for Best Short Story.

Speaking of the Australian One, Freya Marske, who joined us in the traditional serpent month, October, is eligible for Best Novel and Best Debut for A Marvellous Light.

Preeme Mohamed, who joined us again this summer, has had quite the year as far as novellas go! These Lifeless Things, And What Can We Offer You Tonight, and The Annual Migration of Clouds are all eligible for Best Novella. Additionally, A Broken Darkness is eligible for Best Novel. You can find a link to her full eligibility post in the show notes.

C. L. Polk has an eligible story, “The Music of Siphorophenes,” and a novel, Soulstar, and, in a first for guests of this show, their Kingston Cycle, consisting of Witchmark, Stormsong, and Soulstar, is eligible for the Best Series Hugo.

dave ring has a trio of eligible works this year: The Hidden Ones is eligible for Best Novella, “Top Ten Demons to Kill Before The World Ends” is eligible for Best Short Story, and Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness is eligible for Best Anthology!

Elsa Sjunneson is eligible for Best Fan Writer for her editorial column at Uncanny Magazine, where she’s just finished her tenure as nonfiction editor (Uncanny is eligible for Best Semiprozine). Additionally, “Ocean’s 6” is eligible for Best Short Story, and Being Seen is eligible for Best Related Work!

R. J. Theodore has two stories eligible for Best Short Story, “A Ship With No Parrot” and “The Coven of TAOS-9.” Additionally, Underway is eligible for Best Novella, and Self-Publishing Formatting Guidelines is eligible for Best Related Work. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that We Make Books, which Rekka hosts with Kaelyn Considine, is eligible for Best Fancast!

Rem Wigmore, who joined us for an impromptu Oceana Month is eligible for Best Novel with Foxhunt.

Fran Wilde, who joined us way way back at the start of 2021, would like to highlight “Unseelie Brothers, ltd.” which is eligible for Best Novelette. You can find other things she wrote and read last year on her blog, linked in the show notes.

Finally, last, but most certainly not least (and who would have thought that we’d have so many W-names?), John Wiswell would love for you to read and consider his novelette “That Story Isn’t The Story.” His other eligible works can be found on his site, linked in the show notes.

2021 was absolutely a wild year, but I hope that this episode helps jog your memory of some of your favorite things, or maybe even introduces you to a brand new favorite that you missed the first time around. I’m deeply grateful for your consideration of this show or any of the works mentioned on this episode, as are all the amazing, talented creators behind those works.

As mentioned at the top of the episode, links to all of the works mentioned, along with any eligibility posts, whether specifically called out or not, will be in the show notes.

Thank you so much for listening, and thank you to all of the amazing creators who have been a part of this show over the past three seasons!

Tales from the Trunk is mixed and produced in beautiful Oakland, California.

Our theme music is “Paper Wings,” by Ryan Boyd.

You can support the show on patreon at patreon dot com slash trunkcast. All patrons of the show now get a sticker and logo button, along with show outtakes and other content that can't be found anywhere else.

You can find the show on Twitter at trunkcast, and I tweet at hbbisenieks.

If you like the show, consider taking a moment to rate and review us on your preferred podcast platform.

And remember: don't self-reject.

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