5 min read

Welcome to Words and Birds!

Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy and read good books
Welcome to Words and Birds!
A ring-necked duck with opinions, spotted in Arizona.

For a good long while now it’s been tough for creatives to reach folks—turns out that social media platforms run by tech bros are unreliable. You can spend years building an audience and then they’ll change the algorithm or reveal themselves to be such terrible humans that people flee by the millions, and now we’re all wandering around from site to site, wondering if we’ll ever find a safe place to land.

One happy solution is to get stuff you like delivered directly to your inbox. Email thumbs its nose at algorithms and says neener-neener! Signing up for newsletters can keep you reliably informed, and I’ve enjoyed reaching out to folks with my newsletter up to this point. Platforms like this, however, offer a perk that a simple email service does not: the ability to comment on posts and basically have a community of people who dig the things you do.

But this platform also allows me to provide paid content for those who’d like to throw some support my way in return for stuff that (hopefully) makes them smile.

So whether you're arriving from my old newsletter or are brand new—yay! Welcome and thank you for following me here! The free level is pretty much the same as my old newsletter: You get emails that keep you up to date on my books and events as well as what I’m reading these days, with the added bonus that you get to comment and talk to each other or me if you’d like, and if I can entice some other writers to chuck a thoughtful essay my way every so often, that’ll show up too. (Important note: When you sign up it will send you a confirmation email, and your email client might shuttle the confirmation to spam. Please check your spam/junk folder, mark as Not Spam, and then confirm if so.)

A paid subscription gets you all the free content, but it also gets you special goodies. For quite some time I’ve had folks ask about the possibility of more Oberon stories that are ok for kids—basically the same but maybe fewer musings on the joys of poodles—and I’ve been wanting to do it but never found the time. In 2024, I’m making time and hoping y’all will help me out. If you subscribe at $6 per month (or $60 yearly, twelve bucks off)—you’ll get a new Oberon short story in your inbox each month. They will be bathtime stories where Oberon learns about a real historical figure Atticus met back in the day, and from that Oberon will generally derive some life lesson that fits somewhere on his moral compass between more sausage and fewer squirrels. At the end of 2024 I’ll have them recorded by Luke Daniels, and in early 2025 the collection should be available in print, ebook, and audio. And besides those words, you will also get BIRDS. Because I kinda promised that in the title, didn’t I?

I’ve become a bit of a shutterbug in the past few years, getting outdoors to look at cute critters and capture their likeness on a memory card if I can. Mom has gotten into it too, and since we live in very different regions and climates, we get a good variety of chirpy friends. And other critters too! So if you dig looking at birds and other happy creatures, you’ll get to enjoy a gallery of them every month. What are those like? I’ll show you. All pics are by me unless specifically noted as Photo by Mom. And if you view your emails in a browser (which you should always do instead of your email client) you get the chance to embiggen and zoom in on the pics for more details. Try clicking on one—it’s rad.

My recommendations are stuff I’ve actually read and enjoyed, and that’s going to be science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, and the occasional nonfiction book. They’re not paid or sponsored and if you wind up buying the book using the link, I make jack squat on that because I’m not an affiliate. They are simply me telling you about stuff I liked. My links, by the way, are always to bookshop.org, which is a site that hooks you up with a local indie store so that a small business gets a little cheddar instead of a giant megacorporation. Please, buy books wherever you want and in whatever format you want! You have the title, so go for it! But if my links can help a small business, I’m gonna heckin’ do it.

My general all-purpose recommendation is Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Why? Because: Spiders! In! Space! Yes! Uplifted spiders! The first character we meet is a rather odious person and I was like dang, I hope we don’t get a lot more of this, and happily, we don’t. We get a fascinating spider society evolving over time because of a mistake the odious person made. Honestly, this was such a great surprise and I wound up reading a bunch of other stuff by Mr. Tchaikovsky as a result.

Children of Time

SPIDERS! IN! SPAAAAAAAACE!!! You should read it and be happy.

Children of Time at Bookshop.org

So yeah—that’s the deal. Free emails about books for everyone who becomes a member of Words and Birds, plus new original stories and photos for folks who’d like to throw some support to my yearlong Oberon project. And once you sign in, please leave comments, say hi to folks! Say hi here—and if there are certain kinds of content you’d like to see from other writers, please let me know in response to this post and I’ll see what I can arrange.

Thank you so much for reading my books and spreading the word. I appreciate you! And welcome, once again! Please subscribe, and I hope you enjoy.