Tales from the Trunk


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.


Shelter in Place 22: Jennie Goloboy - Obviously, Aliens

This time around, my guest is author and agent Jennie Goloboy (@JennieGoloboy), whose Obviously, Aliens released in November 2021 from Queen of Swords Press! After hearing the opening chapter of the book, we get into what made it and what didn't in the final draft, along with some great talk about the craft of humor writing and some excellent recommendations! 



Things we mention in this episode:


Queen of Swords Press 

Foxhunt, by Rem Wigmore 

Doge (meme)

Terry Roy 



Peter Thiel 

Monty Python's Life of Brian 

Men in Black 

The War of 1812 

P. G. Wodehouse 


Denver International Airport (DEN) 

Ted Lasso 

The Murderbot Diaries, (Wikipedia) by Martha Wells

2021 Hugo Award results 

Soldier (1998)


The Imperial Radch trilogy, by Ann Leckie

The Last Watch, by J. S. Dewes

Jennie's website 

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, by A. J. Fitzwater


Episode 34: Victor Manibo - ”The Casket”

This time around, I'm joined by the amazing Victor Manibo (@VictorManibo), author of The Sleepless, coming out in June of 2022 from Erewhon Books! Victor reads his trunked Poe retelling before we launch into a discussion of life after NaNoWriMo and how he went from never having heard of the event to getting his book onto store shelves.


Things we mention in this episode:



"The Cask of Amontillado," by Edgar Allan Poe


The Luminous Dead, by Caitlin Starling

"There is no there there"

Publishers Weekly (PW)

Nina Niskanen 

Mary Robinette Kowal 

Viable Paradise 

Rubber ducky debugging 

Jennifer "Macey" Mace 

Valerie Valdez 

Brass Goggles 


Fae's purrs 


Cowboy Bebop (anime and live-action)


Animal Crossing: New Horizons 

The Expanse 

Victor's website and insta 

Obviously, Aliens, by Jennie Goloboy

Queen of Swords Press 


Join us again next month, when my guests will be Jennie Goloboy and Sam J. Miller!


Shelter in Place 21: Cassie Alexander - AITA?

This is a spicy one, folks, so put those headphones in! This time around, it was my absolute delight to talk to Cassie Alexander (@CassieY4), author of many fine, spicy books. This time around, we're talking about her newest, AITA? and the fugue-state that Cassie wrote this book in!


Things mentioned on this episode:

AITA? (subreddit) 

Schitt's Creek 

Her Ex-boyfriend's Werewolf Lover, by Cassie Alexander

Blood of the Pack, by Cassie Alexander

Sons of Anarchy 

Chuck Tingle 

Quiver & Quill, by A. M. Kore

Mothman (cryptid)

Cassie's website and TikTok 


Stick around for next time, when Victor Manibo will be joining the show!


Shelter in Place 20: Merc Fenn Wolfmoor - The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt

This time around, we're joined once again by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor (@Merc_Wolfmoor) to talk about their new novella, The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt! We talk about queernorm worlds, physical video game packaging, and some of the great things we've been reading.


Things mentioned on this episode:

Grimdark (genre)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Friends for Robots, by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

Neon Hemlock's novella series

Network Effect, by Martha Wells

Caitlin Starling

Premee Mohamed

The Annual Migration of Clouds, by Premee Mohamed

Archival Quality, by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz

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

Finna and Defekt, by Nino Cipri

Merc's website


Episode 32: Freya Marske - ”One Version of Yourself, at the Speed of Light”

This time around, I'm joined by multiply-Hugo-nominated podcaster and author of the forthcoming novel, A Marvellous Light, Freya Marske (@freyamarske), thus completing the prophecy. Freya reads an excerpt of her story, "One Version of Yourself, at the Speed of Light," which leads us into a great discussion about using our day-job-expertise in our writing, the end of Be the Serpent, a hot take about historical fiction, and of course a lot of talk about fanfic.


Things we mention in this episode:

Be the Serpent 

Alexandra Rowland 

Jennifer "Macey" Mace 


The Kingston Cycle, by C. L. Polk

Edwardian England 

World War One 

The Hugo Awards 


My episode being interviewed by Sharon Hsu 

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) 

Kudos (AO3)


Crack fic 


Five things fic 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Ninefox Gambit, the first book of The Machineries of Empire series, by Yoon Ha Lee

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine

Battlestar Galactica 


Ted Lasso 

Summer Sons, by Lee Mandello

Dark academia 

Friends at the Table (specifically Sangfielle, their current season)


Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer

Seducing the Sorcerer, by Lee Welch

Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

The works of T. Kingfisher 

Freya's insta and website 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe 

Infinity Stones 


Join us again next month, when my guests will be Merc Fenn Wolfmoor and Nina Niskanen!


Shelter in Place 19: Rem Wigmore - Foxhunt

This time around, to open out our unintentional Oceana month, I'm joined by the delightful Rem Wigmore (@faewriter), whose novel, Foxhunt, is available now, wherever you get your books, from Queen of Swords Press. They read us a slightly-spoiler-y excerpt of the book (you can skip ahead 11:40 from the start of the reading if you'd rather not be spoiled) that leads us into some great conversation about banter, taking the piss, and how mythology might survive into the future.


Things we mention in this episode:

Hades (game)

Orpheus and Eurydice 

The Realm of the Elderlings series, by Robin Hobb

These Violent Delights, by Chloe Gong

Butcherbird, by Cassie Hart

Riverwitch, by Rem Wigmore

The Contemporary Witchy Fiction project

The Waikato River 

Rem's website 


Join us again on the 15th of October, when my guest will be Freya Marske!

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