Snakes, Revolvers, and Shovels

Story time, y’all.

I was engaged in a conversation recently about how parents deal with children who are distressed in the middle of the night, whether a nightmare, some other fear inducing situation, or other emergency. This brought to mind a story about your narrator being raised by his Greatest Generation Depression Era Grandparents.

When I was about 10 years old, I woke one night because I felt (and was quite sure I saw) a large snake slither over me on the bed. As this was deeply rural Oklahoma, this was well within the realms of the possible.

Now, I was a Very Self-Sufficient Child, but as you might imagine, a (quite possible) snake waking me was surprising and terrifying. During daylight hours a snake would have been little remarked upon, except to possible kill it if it was dangerous, but this was something like 2:00 AM, so I feel no shame in having set up a hue and cry, which summoned my grandfather from the next room.

After explaining what happened, he looked at me and said. “Wait here.” He left the room for a few minutes and when he returned, he handed me a loaded .22 revolver and said, “If you see the snake, you know what to do.” And then he went back to bed, leaving 10-year-old me sitting on my bed clutching a loaded gun in the same room as a possible snake.

At some point I dropped off to sleep. When I awoke, there was neither a snake nor did I have the gun. At the breakfast table, I recounted my tale. My grandmother looked my grandfather squarely in the eyes and said, “Arthur, you don’t give a child a gun to kill a snake in the middle of the night in the house.”

She vanished outside for several minutes, probably to the derelict cotton gin turned barn. When she returned, she handed me an army surplus folding shovel (aka an entrenching tool) with it’s very sharp point. “This is what you give a child to kill a snake in the house.” She then looked at me sternly. “Now finish your breakfast and go take care of the cattle (on horseback).”

This explains so much about me.

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Appearing at The Loft Wordplay.

Catherine Lundoff and I will reading from the Queen of Swords press anthology SCOURGE OF THE SEAS OF TIME (AND SPACE) on May 12th at 2:00 PM on the Target Stage as part of The Loft Word Play. Please come out and see us!

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No Longer Home

Here is the piece I performed this week at the Not-So-Silent Planet Spec Fic open mic. After a good 4 year run, this was the last time NSSP will be at Kieran’s Irish Pub. I wrote this specifically for the occasion and so will probably never be able to do it anywhere else again. I thought I’d share it with you. Hopefully, I will have video of the performance to put up soon.

No Longer Home

We returned one last time, to see, seeking closure. This place was no longer where our heart’s dwelled. But once…

The words fell tripping like lightning off lips and tongues to waiting ears, spun tales into the hearts of audiences, stories filled the room transporting us from the sadness of the day into imaginations deep with joy, transformed us from dull drones beaten by the relentless stamp of jobs and bills and fears into shining beacons of light and story.

We morphed into our truest selves, touched worlds unexplored, laid out verbal vistas like playgrounds of the mind. We pushed back entropy, struck sparks against the darkness, raised glasses, raised voices, raised each other up, created our chosen family, made space for professionals or first-timers, young, old, angry, funny, sad, joyous. We sought to centered those once silenced, once abandoned in the margins; oh, my brothers and sisters, in this space we were mighty.

All things change. This is truth. All things must change, even this place we loved, created as our heart’s home. This place no longer held us in its embrace.

And just like that, it no longer felt like home.

It no longer felt like home, so there was no reason to stay, and though the future seemed uncertain, filled with monsters built to feed our fears, our anxieties lurking poised to shred the community we’d built, we remembered. We remembered these walls, this shell, is not home. Home is where your people are. Remember this: home is always were your people are.

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New Announced Appearance

Confirmed – I will be the The Loft Literary Center newest book festival Wordplay on May 11th and 12th in Minneapolis.  I will be reading with Catherine Lundoff and Queen of Swords Press on Sunday the 12th at 2 pm on the Pop-Up Stage.

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New Appearances in 2019

Hey, Everyone! Here is a list of conventions and other events Michael will be attending! I will update this list as we add things, so make sure you check back and navigate to the Appearances page!

13 Gears  is an eclectic Steampunk Expo in the Twin Cities hosted in the  historic Grain Belt Brewery building. February 9th and 10th.  I will selling books at a table with Queen of Swords Press and author Patrick Marsh. 

Paganicon is an alternative spirituality and religion convention held in Plymouth, Minnesota. It is a mid-sized convention with a wide variety of panels, rituals, workshops, and music. March 22nd – March 24th,  2019.

I will be appearing with Queen of Swords Press at the Twin Cities newest bookstore, Cream and Amber in support of the anthology Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) on May 19th in Hopkins, MN.

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2019 Artist Goals

This year I promised I would keep my goals to things I can control.  To do anything else is to set myself up for frustration. With that in mind, here are my 2019 Artist goals.

  • Find a title for Baseball Sorceress novella and prepare it for submission.
  • Continue submitting novel to agents.
  • Continue submitting short fiction to markets.
  • Prepare and submit a short story collection.
  • Finish preparing and published the Sixguns & Sorcery omnibus edition.
  • Seek out more opportunities to perform in storytelling shows.
  • Work on returning to acting.
  • Write a feature length stage play.
  • Write a feature length screen play.

This seems a little ambitious to me, but at the same time, no sense in not going for the gold.

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2018 Year in Review Post

Unless something wacky happens, 2018 is in the books for art career stuff. It was a pretty low-key year this year.  I am in the middle of agent queries on a novel, preparing to publish an omnibus edition (with new material) of my Sixguns & Sorcery novellas, and preparing the still untitled Baseball Sorceress novella for critiques. I will talk about my 2019 goals in a later post.

Essay Publication:

  • “We Are Not Daredevil. Except When We Are Daredevil.” Uncanny Magazine #24.

Short Fiction Publications:

  • “Fast Gliding Down the Rails” in The Unfit.
  • “Tenari” in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) 

Stage Plays Produced:

  • “The Cursed Script” Co-written with Fox Barrett. Three performances as part of Planet Fest.

Literary Readings:

  • Except from “Tenari.” Eat My Words Books.
  • Except from “Tenari.” Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)release party. DreamHaven Books and Comics.
  • “All Our Love, the Future, and excerpts from Not Enough Midnights and “Untitled Baseball Story.” DreamHaven Books and Comics.

Spoken-Word Performance:

  • “The Most Wonderful Time.” The Not-So-Silent Planet.

Master of Ceremonies:

  • Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Presents: Word Brew 6.

Podcasts Guest:

  • The Not-So Silent Planet Episode TBA.
  • The Not-So Silent Planet Episode TBA.


  • “A Blind Person Walks Into A Theater.” VSA Minnesota. Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Other Appearances:

  • GPS Geek Emporium. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Twin Cities Book Festival. Falcon Heights, MN.
  • Books and Beer Pop-up Bookstore. Minneapolis, MN.
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Reading and Signing at DreamHaven Books this Wednesday!

Reminder that Wednesday I will be reading from my space opera short story “Tenari,” published in this anthology, and will be there to help the editor and publisher sell books! Come out for the release party! Details in the link below!

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Featured Storyteller at Not-So-Silent Planet!

Tuesday, November 20th. Kieran’s Irish Pub. I will be a featured storyteller. Come on down for SF/F/H tales, drinks, food, and a story about being trapped on a deep space cargo freighter with your family over the holidays.  Click the link below for more details

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Up Next: Readings in Support of Scourge of the Seas of Time(and Space).

I will be taking part in two readings in support of the release of Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space).

December 5th 2018 At DreamHaven Books,  2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406, at 6:30 pm.

December 13th 2018 at Eat My Words Books, 214 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.

Editor Catherine Lundoff and anthology contributor Michael Merriam will be reading and signing books, chatting about piracy and handing out some munchies.

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