Happy February! If you’re in Texas, I hope you still have power or get it back soon. Wherever you are, I hope you’re keeping warm. Bundle up, put on some hot chocolate, and let’s get right into the January recap, shall we?
The first week of January, I flew out to Michigan for a retreat at the home of one of my writer friends. It’s a very cozy house where the four of us hang out for a week and exchange critiques, brainstorm books, talk about process, and show each other our favorite fun shows and movies. I brought the sketchy outline I had for the sequel to Unfinished Business (second in the Wolftown series, so “Wolftown 2”—it does have a title, but I’ll get to that in a bit) and left with a clearer idea of where to take the story and more excitement about starting it.
Further Confusion returned for the first time in three years! It was fun to get back to the San Jose Convention Center and see old friends there. I hung out Friday and Saturday around the FurPlanet table and signed books and chatted with people. Compared to MFF, it was low-key, but that was nice, because it meant I got to chat with the FurPlanet crew also, some of whom I hadn’t seen in ages. It was a real pleasure getting to chat with everyone who came to buy books, too. A couple times people didn’t recognize me, but if they started talking about my books I tried to introduce myself quickly (they were always saying nice things, but I don’t want people to be embarrassed—well, that’s not strictly true; I am a fox, after all, so I like seeing people a little embarrassed, but in a professional setting I try to minimize that).
Sunday I stayed home to take care of the dog so my partners could enjoy the con, and as a result I missed the Night Market Saturday night (though I did see the line—hey, maybe it’s worth trying to find a bigger venue next year). Heard it was fun, though!
Monday I got some time to sit down with Savrin and Fuzz for a Southpaws episode, which you’ll be able to hear sometime this month, probably. It was fun and I wish I could’ve chatted with them for another hour, but I had errands to run, alas. I did take the opportunity to tell them the tentative title of the next Wolftown book, so if you’re curious, check out the episode!
And the last bit of January was spent working on that very book. It’s going a little slower than I’d like, but there’s a lot of dog care right now and even with all three of us home, I don’t want to disappear into my office and not help out. The book will get done, and I’m excited to have everyone see it. I hope to have a good chunk more of it done by the time the next Dispatch rolls around. And in March I’ll be heading to Furry Fiesta, where I’m doing a couple panels.
Also hey! I’m still posting book notices and stuff to Twitter, but most of my personal posts are moved over to Mastodon, @KyellGold@vulpine.club. Follow me there and be part of the furry community there as Twitter degrades.
Books: Nothing new on the audiobook front. Return From Divalia is available everywhere now. If you have read and liked it, writing a review is one of the most helpful things you can do for it, and it’s free! (It doesn’t have to be on Amazon, but that’s still where most people go for their books;
Other upcoming releases:
The Price of Thorns: Scheduled for spring 2023 (TFF or AC). In a fantasy world where stories are woven into the fabric of magic and life, Nivvy the thief is hired by a mysterious woman, and this job will change his life in ways he could never have anticipated.
Squeak Thief: Complete but not scheduled yet, maybe late 2023. A rich mouse hires a fox thief to steal from his own family, but the job quickly spirals out of control.
In progress: Robin Hood fanfic and Ty Game sequel (on Patreon), Wolftown 2, untitled fantasy world project.
We started The Last Of Us (HBO), like everyone else in the world, and holy crap that’s a good show. I never played the game, but Hashtag has, so he tells us about what they’ve changed, and almost universally they feel like good decisions. It’s hard to adapt a game—which relies on constant interaction, in this case usually meaning fight scenes—to a dramatic show, which relies on character growth and where a quick series of fight scenes would exhaust the characters and the viewers. The showrunners here do a really good job of presenting the dangers of the world without making them overwhelming. And the third episode, as I posted, just wrecked me.
The White Lotus (HBO) — I hated many/most of the people in the first season, but I loved the show. The same dynamic applies to the second season, now set in Sicily, where Jennifer Coolidge returns to bring her narcissist energy to another unfolding drama. The welcome late-career renaissance of F. Murray Abraham continues, and Aubrey Plaza is another familiar face in this season, as is Todd (from The Magicians and The Order, not Bojack’s Todd, although you can see the similarities if you squint), but honestly everyone is great. I am impressed with Mike White’s ability to bring relatable cringe to the screen, and in his and the actors’ ability to give me some sympathy for some pretty terrible people (I don’t know how I ended up liking Meghann Fahy’s Daphne, but I did). After making a season each about money and sex, Mike White says maybe he’ll tackle death in the third. I’m here for it.
Vengeance (Amazon Prime) — I got partway through this movie on the way back from MFF and then made my boys watch it with me, but it didn’t show up in last month’s Dispatch because I was focusing on shows. Since then I’ve seen it twice more to show it to different groups of people, and it has rewarded repeat viewings. B.J. Novak (Ryan from The Office) wrote, directed, and stars in this dark comedy about a New York writer, Ben, who flies to a small town in Texas to attend the funeral of Abby at the request of her family, who think he was her serious boyfriend. In reality, she was one of many hookups to him and not much more. After making it through an awkward funeral, Abby’s brother Ty tells Ben that Abby didn’t just die of an overdose; she was murdered. He asks Ben to help avenge her death. Ben refuses—until Ty reflects on what a great story it would be, at which point Ben realizes that this might be the way for him to get that podcast going that he’s been trying to pitch. He’s in, and we’re off. This movie is so well written that every time through, I find little things I’d missed that support the story and theme; the acting is stellar throughout; and it’s funny—until it’s not. Novak in particular does some great reaction work. Boyd Holbrook and Ashton Kutcher lead a stellar supporting cast. I don’t want to say anything more about it because part of the joy is in the discovery of this movie. Check it out.
The Premise (Hulu) — Watching Vengeance made me curious about another B.J. Novak-written project. He doesn’t act in these, though he does introduce each segment. There are five episodes, each standing alone, and each one based on a sort of less science fictiony Black Mirror premise. For example, in the first episode, a man discovers that an incident of police brutality was caught through the window in the background of a sex tape he made, and has to decide how much of his private life he’s willing to expose in the name of justice. The episodes range from outright funny to dark, and I thought the first, second, and fifth were the best, but all five were enjoyable.
Thanks for reading Dispatches From Kyell! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
I hope you have a good idea to continue the Wolftown series. I enjoy reading Unfinished Business very much. When you finish the story where will you be publishing it, now that Heat is no more. Also, is/are there any more werewolf titles from you? If so, could you please let me know what they are. I only have one other WW title, The Silver Circle, which I enjoyed very much.
I suspect I might be the first Amazon review of Return From Divalia.
I'm hoping it appears soon on Goodreads so I can also review it there and get reading credit for it ;)