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Now You Can Get the Ebooks Direct from the Author

Short version: you can now buy my science fiction and fantasy directly from me at I’m really excited about that! Also, if you look up ‘Stant Litore’ on Kobo, Apple, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, or the Kindle, you’ll find some great fiction to read!

Want to ride a tyrannosaur, travel across space and time to make first contact, or battle the hungry Bronze Age dead?

So, where can you find Litore’s stories?


First, check out This is a cool indie site where creators can sell games, comics, and books, and it is where you can purchase my ebooks directly; 95% of the purchase goes straight to me. This is my main storefront; purchases here support me the most. I like this store because I can include bonus stories with your purchase if I want to, you can tip me extra if YOU want to, and I can show off the beautiful books more fully. When you buy the book, you get to download either a kindle or epub file (or both!) that you can then upload to your e-reader or open with most e-reader apps. Come take a look!


Second, my fiction is also listed now in many ebook stores, including Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, Apple Books, and (for my Australian readers) Angus & Robertson. Some of the books are listed on Mondadori, as well. To shop these stores, just use the links below:

For an omnibus of the dinosaur gladiator stories:

For The Zombie Bible:

For Ansible Seasons 1 and 2:

For Dante’s Heart:


Need an ebook copy for your library? Stay tuned – The books will be listed in Bibliotheca and Overdrive very soon! Librarians are my heroes, and I’m glad to be able to get them easier access to the books.


Want audiobooks? They’re not all released yet, but those that are, you can find them here:

What I’ll be working on next:

  • Finishing Ansible: Season 3
  • Finishing the Lives of Unforgetting audiobook
  • Working on the next dinosaur story
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Islam in Science Fiction Starter Kit

Downloadable PDF:

Before heading out with my family to the protest of the Muslim Ban happening in our city today, I want to give you this. Stories are also a form of resistance. This can be especially true of science fiction and fantasy, where we speculate about other possible futures and other possible pasts. A few people asked me for this, so I made it for you: a one-page flyer Islam in SciFi Starter Kit. Use it. Share it. Print it. Email it. Included is a reading list of science fiction and fantasy either by Muslim authors or about Muslim characters who are not the media stereotype. There are links to free ebooksA Mosque Among the Stars is an anthology of stories from 12 authors, permanently free in PDF format. And the first three stories in my Ansible series about 25th-century Muslim interstellar explorers–I’ve made those free until February 8, 2017 on the kindle, in hopes that might help too. They’re yours; explore them.

Many of the world’s great scientists, mathematicians, scholars, doctors, and poets are Muslim. And arguably, the world’s first science fiction may have been Zakariya al-Qazwini’s 13th-century Awaj bin Anfaq, in which an explorer visits the earth from a distant planet. Much of modern astronomy has roots in Islamic cultures, and much contemporary astronomy research is conducted in Muslim-majority nations. With 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet, it is no stretch to think that they may have an enormous role to play in the future of science and technology and in our science fiction. (And, though I didn’t include it on the flyer because it is the one story everyone knows, Frank Herbert’s Dune, one of the monuments of twentieth-century American science fiction, imagined descendants of one Muslim culture playing a very large role in an interplanetary future.)

If you want to go deeper than what a one-page flyer and list and “starter kit” can provide, check out the Islam in Science Fiction website, which includes book lists and reviews, essays and interviews with Islamic artists and writers and with non-Muslim scifi writers who write stories with Muslim characters.

One of my friends who asked for this said that such a reading list was instrumental when they were first discovering that almost everything they knew about Islam was categorically false. I hope you find these stories open a door for you, too. It’s a big world and a big universe out there, and the people we meet in it are seldom who we expect, and seldom who we’ve been taught.

Stant Litore

Downloadable PDF:

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Fatigue’s Got Nothing on This

I am tired — so tired. Some of it is schedule, some of it is fighting the good fight, some of it is just plain weariness from a very intense few months. But this weekend, I’m going to be at a convention teaching emerging writers how to make their characters unstoppable and unforgettable. I will be sharing that with a room full of people whose hearts are on fire with creativity and who are just starting their journey. And I am probably going to learn more, and gain more, from their energy and excitement than they’ll learn from my knowledge. And you know what? That is going to be awesome. That outweighs fatigue. Seeing people take up the torch and run, and helping them to run faster and farther: that outweighs fatigue every single time.

Stant Litore

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Hope is a Powerful Thing

Some days, the fear and hate with which we treat each other makes me want to crawl into a corner and say, “I give up.” But then, I see my beautiful children playing, or laughing, or sleeping. I think of their empathy and compassion and creativity. And I tell myself: They are the future. And I will have hope that the children of the future will be kinder and wiser than we. And hope is a very powerful thing.

I think of the courage and perseverance of a young man who spent Christmas with my family and who is applying for college this week, who was orphaned as a baby and fled through five countries in search of a safe home. I think of the power of his dreams. And you know what? My daughter’s laughter and that young man’s dreams that survived so much darkness and pain — those things are louder than any fear in the world. And always will be.

I think of my youngest daughter painting with her toes, making the most gorgeous art during the years when her blindness was worse. I remember her giggling at nurses days after we were cautioned that she had an uncertain future. I remember the way many suburban moms shunned her the first time we took her trick-or-treating, but I also remember the first time she stood, when we were told she never would. Her determination is stronger and worthier of my attention than any hate in the world. And always will be. Hate may burn a village or a thousand, yet it is the most brittle thing there is.

Every moment we give to fear is a moment we could be living in faith. Every moment we recoil from the hate and violence in the world and allow it to slow us, is a moment we could have spent hoping and acting and telling stories that warm hearts and feeding hungry people and inviting refugees over for Christmas. Fear can go hide in its own corner. Let’s make the future, tirelessly, and let’s hope against hope that our children prove kinder and wiser than we.


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What is Colorado?

Now, I’ve recent heard a few out-of-state folk who have a bit of a stereotype about my adopted state Colorado (I’ve lived here 15 years), who think we’re all either mountain men or potsmoking hippies. Well, just to set the record straight, I’ll tell you what Colorado is: badass. When you fly in to see us, you will be greeted first outside the airport by a demonic horse with glowing red laser eyes so evil that it crushed and murdered its own creator; just think of what it might do to YOU. You will be welcomed to town by people whose idea of after-work relaxation is jogging up the side of a fourteener (we have 52 of these). When we go to live concerts, we have the bands play under the open stars. We think whiteout winter driving conditions just mean that maybe you shift down a bit on your way into work. Our international airport was built on a burial ground and one of the concourses plays indigenous music 24/7 to keep the dead peaceful. We have more microbreweries per capita than any other state in the US (which is why we also made it illegal in our state to ride a horse while under the influence), and we invented the cheeseburger, the license plate on your car, and the Chipotle burrito. We can be downright scary if you mess with us: we have the world’s highest-elevation alligator colony, 500 ghost towns, a haunted mountain hotel, and NORAD; for 60 years, we’ve tracked Santa’s flight from the North Pole and stood ready to shoot him out of the sky if he tries anything funny in our airspace. We have the only city in America with four recipients of the Medal of Honor. We kicked off both the New Age movement and Focus on the Family; we have one town where it is illegal to fire a catapult at a residence or place of business, and another town where it is illegal to lend your neighbor a vacuum cleaner. We don’t know our own minds and we don’t need to, we just like the mountains.

Stant Litore

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It’s 1160 BC, and the Dead are Coming

“When you see another’s face — the face of a child, or of someone hungry or hurt, someone pleading for your love — their eyes look back. You look at them. They look at you. Only the dead don’t look back.”

SITLcoverIt is 1160 BC. For years, the prophet Devora has blamed other tribes for the hunger of the dead and the gruesome death of her mother. But this day will bring her both tidings of a swarm of the dead greater than any she has ever known and a supplicant who will shatter every hard shell she has formed around her heart: Hurriya, who has carried her infant across the length of ancient Israel in search of a miraculous cure. Hurriya, a refugee from the tribes Devora has hated. Hurriya, who is receiving terrifying visions of the future—like Devora’s own.

In the nights to come, all strangers in the land must stand together if they are to survive.

Strangers in the Land is back on the kindle, and better than ever — get your copy here. This Silver Edition will be in paperback in the next couple of weeks, in time for the holidays.

“To say I loved this book would be an understatement. I could not put it down.” – The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Beyond the rich historical background and the desperate fight for survival, Strangers in the Land is a story about otherness, what it means to be a ‘stranger’ … Far from being ‘just another zombie book’, it is a remarkably clear look at what it means to impose a system of inequality among a culture.” –

“Stant rebuilds the zombie mythology from the ground up.” – Rob Kroese, author of Mercury Falls and Schrodinger’s Gat

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Life After NaNoWriMo, Day 5: Discover Your Character’s Family

Dear writers and storytellers,

Here, as promised, is the fifth of five excerpts from my popular book Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget. I am offering one excerpt free each day this week on my blog. Each includes practical tips and exercises for digging more deeply into the inner lives of your characters — helping you to make your characters and their stories unforgettable. I offer the fifth of the five excerpts below.

And now, on to your free tip for the day:


by Stant Litore

Who is your character’s family? How do they look at their parents? What do they think of the ways they are like (or unlike) their parents? The nature of your character’s relationship (or lack thereof) with his or her parents can be a driving force in your character’s life.

So can the absence of parents.

Example: Dinosaur Cowgirl

In Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, the Chicago wizard Harry Dresden is an orphan, and his yearning for a family drives a lot of his choices. For example, in the novel Ghost Story, Harry runs some big risks—almost to the point of losing sight of his mission—in order to help a young gang member who is an orphan. Harry can see that the youth is a “good kid” in a bad place, and because of his own history as an orphan, he can’t simply walk away.

In Skin Game, there is a touching scene where Harry watches the Carpenter children rampage playfully through his best friend’s house. An older child carries a younger child on his shoulders while holding his hands up against his chest like tiny arms and making growly T-Rex noises; another child flees while the girl being carried yells gleefully, “No one can escape dinosaur cowgirl!” Watching their antics, Harry gets almost tearful. These children have security and affection that he never had.

What lies simmering in the heart of your character, when they think about their family? Were they an only child? Were they an older, younger, middle child? Where are their siblings now? All of these questions can yield vital clues to who your character is and the choices your character might make in the story.


It’s time to interview your character about the things we’ve discussed in this chapter. For this exercise, write down a list of questions – e.g., What were your character’s parents like? What is her scariest childhood memory? What is one time she was really furious with her best friend? If she could have one thing more than anything else in all the world, what would that be? What does she do before going to bed each night?

Give the list to a friend and invite them to add questions of their own. (That part is important.) Then roleplay your character and have your friend conduct the interview, asking questions of your character. Try to get as “in character” as possible. If you can, dress up as your character (even if it seems silly to do so). At the least, step out of the room as you, take a few deep breaths, and step back into the room as your character, before beginning the interview. If you are nervous about the exercise, just remember that you are a writer. Playing pretend is what you do. Getting inside a character’s head is what you do.

Record the interview, and play it back afterward. Maybe discuss it with your friend. Perhaps try doing this with two or three friends at different times. The key is to be surprised by new questions and to see how your character responds.

If you have a friend who is an actor,  a theater major, or similar, have your friend read a scene and then ask your friend to roleplay your character. This time, you ask the questions.

Always take time to reflect after an interview. What questions surprised you, and what answers? Are there new opportunities and ideas for exploring who your character is, and how they interact with others?

Read more in Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget!

Stant Litore

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Life After NaNoWriMo, Day 4: Discover Your Character’s Friends

Dear writers and storytellers,

Here, as promised, is the fourth of five excerpts from my popular book Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget. I am offering one excerpt free each day this week on my blog. Each includes practical tips and exercises for digging more deeply into the inner lives of your characters — helping you to make your characters and their stories unforgettable. I offer the fourth of the five excerpts below.

And now, on to your free tip for the day:


by Stant Litore

You can tell a lot about someone not just by who their friends are, but by why they are friends. If your protagonist has a confidant, what key moment originally established their bond?

There is a great example of this in the Nick Cage and Tea Leoni movie The Family Man. Nick Cage’s character has a long-time buddy that he goes out to have beers with, goes bowling with, a “one of the guys,” working-class character. At first, watching the movie, you assume the relationship between these two men – both of them dads and husbands in a small suburb – is relatively superficial. After all, you don’t see them talking about their feelings on the screen; they joke around; they are just buddies.

But then comes a brief, pivotal scene in which a neighbor’s wife is flirting with Nick Cage’s character, and he flirts back and gets her phone number. He then brags about it lightly to his friend. His friend doesn’t give him the high-five response he clearly expects; instead, his friend suddenly turns serious. “I can’t believe I’m hearing this,” he says. And he starts to get angry. “Do you remember what you told me when I was thinking of cheating? You said, ‘Don’t give up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure who you are.’”

That is such a powerful line of dialogue! And it only takes a moment on the screen to deliver it. So much backstory is contained in that one line! Suddenly, the way we look at these two characters and their friendship is entirely different. They aren’t “just buddies.” Nick Cage’s character stood by his friend and was there for him, challenging him at a really critical moment in the past, and now his friend is returning their favor. Their friendship may not be something they talk about often, but it is ocean-deep and has a floor of solid rock.

Ask yourself: What was the pivotal moment in the past that shaped your character’s bonds with a friend, and importantly, how can you reveal that moment at a key point that surprises the reader and moves your plot forward?


Write three brief scenes; in each, your character attempts to a second person about the friendship he or she has with an old friend. This is an opportunity to see if you can uncover fresh perspectives on the friendship. In the three scenes, the second person who is listening is:

  1. A child on a playground.
  2. The friend. At the friend’s deathbed.
  3. Your character’s ex-lover.

Read more in Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget — and watch this blog for tomorrow’s tip!

Stant Litore

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Life After NaNoWriMo, Day 3: Discover Your Character’s Deepest Wound, Fear, and Desire

Dear writers and storytellers,

Here, as promised, is the third of five excerpts from my popular book Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget. I am offering one excerpt free each day this week on my blog. Each includes practical tips and exercises for digging more deeply into the inner lives of your characters — helping you to make your characters and their stories unforgettable. I offer the third of the five excerpts below.

And now, on to your free tip for the day:


by Stant Litore

We are driven by our desires, our fears, and the core wounds of our lives. These supply the goals we want to achieve, the barriers we strive to overcome, and the inner obstacles that slow us from leaping over those barriers.

So it is critical to ask these questions about your characters:

  1. When was your character most loved?
  2. When was your character hurt?
  3. What choices did your character make at that time?
  4. How did your character feel about those choices?
  5. How has your character repeated those choices, perhaps in smaller ways, ever since? How is your character driven by those past choices?
  6. What triggers memories of that past? What triggers might others trip over unknowingly?

Example: Rachel’s Bracelets

There is a clever scene in Sharon Shinn’s novel Archangel that illustrates how triggers of past memory can be used in a way that builds emotional tension, throws wrinkles into the plot, and sets up a key moment on the character arc. In the story, Rachel and Gabriel are preparing for an arranged marriage. Gabriel has great wealth and power but essentially a good heart; Rachel, until recently, was a slave. The reader knows this, but may not fully appreciate the emotional impact that history has had on Rachel until this scene.

Gabriel throws a banquet in Rachel’s honor and invites every dignitary he can think of. He wants very badly to show her that he means to treasure her. During the banquet, he presents her with an expensive gift: two heavy, solid-gold, jeweled bracelets. Rachel looks down at them and freezes. Her entire body goes cold and rigid. She starts to shake. Very quietly, she says, “I will never wear these,” and then flees the room.

Gabriel and the other guests are left shocked by her departure.

Of course what has happened is that the bracelets have reminded Rachel of manacles. We learn this when Gabriel pursues her to her quarters and tries to comfort her; Rachel lowers her sleeves (until this point in the story, she has kept her wrists carefully covered) to reveal the bruises her slavery has left around her wrists. The revelation is powerful and poignant and even shocking, and it opens a key moment on the character arc: How will Gabriel react? And how will Rachel then respond? It is an opportunity to move their relationship forward.

For Rachel, the gift of golden bracelets was the trigger for her deepest wound and her most terrible fears. What might trigger your characters’ most significant past experiences and feelings (whether terrifying or joyous)? What is a touch, a smell, a sound, that is meaningful and historical to your character?

The trigger can be something quite small and subtle. For example, a mentor of mine many years ago told me how her eyes would mist over every time she heard the sound of someone jingling car keys in their hand. Her father had died when she was young, and she missed him so much. When she was small and her father would come home from work, he would jingle his car keys as he climbed the stairs. Whenever she hears that sound, her loss and her love for her father rise to the top of her heart.

What triggers your characters’ feelings from the past? 


Write three brief scenes, each making use of one of the following as a “trigger” for feelings welling up from your character’s past:

  1. A red cord tied around a bunch of bananas at the grocery store.
  2. Children humming.
  3. The scent of bacon.

In all three cases, write a scene of conflict between characters. Use the trigger to pivot the scene from one mood to another or to abruptly change the course of the conflict. Write all three to be poignant, not amusing.


Repeat Exercise 18. This time, write for humor.

Read more in Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget — and watch this blog for tomorrow’s tip!

Stant Litore

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Life After NaNoWriMo, Day 2: Discover Your Character’s Secrets

Dear writers and storytellers,

Here, as promised, is the second of five excerpts from my popular book Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget. I am offering one excerpt free each day this week on my blog. Each includes practical tips and exercises for digging more deeply into the inner lives of your characters — helping you to make your characters and their stories unforgettable. I offer the second of the five excerpts below.

And now, on to your free tip for the day:


by Stant Litore

What are your character’s intimacies—things your character knows that she shares with very few people? In compelling stories, characters have secrets, intimate knowledge about themselves that they conceal from themselves or from other people, just as we do in our own lives.

Showing these on the page not only reveals what your character is most shy about or values highest; they also provide you with ingredients for key scenes. The scenes in which a character chooses to reveal (or not to reveal) intimate knowledge are often rich with possibilities for tension, emotional conflict, and catharsis.

Example: Penelope’s Tree-Bed

At the end of The Odyssey, when Odysseus has slain the suitors and stands ready to reclaim his house, there is a tender scene in which he and Penelope look across the room at each other. This is not Hollywood; he and his wife, separated for twenty years, do not rush across the room, leap into each other’s arms, and swing around in a circle to swelling, orchestral music. He has been gone twenty years. Penelope needs to know if this man is still her husband. She needs to know that in two ways – is this man actually Odysseus? And is he still her Odysseus, the man she once knew?

So Penelope tests him. She suggests that he sweep her off her feet and take her to their bed, and drops a few details about the bed. The bed she describes doesn’t actually exist. Odysseus, perhaps with a look of wonder and beseeching in his face, answers by describing the bed that does exist. “What are you talking about?” he asks. “I carved our marriage bed, with my own hands, from the trunk of a great olive tree that stands in our bedroom, rising out of the floor and up and right through the roof. I carved the bed in an alcove, right in the living wood; I carried you to it on our wedding night.”

This is something only the two of them know, a memory and an intimacy that only they share. By the fact that Odysseus knows of it, and by the tenderness in his voice as he speaks of it, Penelope knows that he is still her Odysseus. Then the tears and the embraces come.

 Example: The Heel of the Loaf

Here is a story an editor shared with me, some years ago. An elderly couple are having dinner, and are fighting heatedly. The argument gets louder and louder; they fight like this many nights and go to bed bitter with each other. As they fight, the husband is serving food onto his plate and his wife’s. At one point, he slices the loaf of bread on the table and puts the heel of the loaf on his wife’s plate.

“And that’s another thing!” she yells. “Why do I always get the heel of the loaf? What am I, a servant?”

He doesn’t reply, and she falls silent when she sees the shock on his face.

There is a pause.

When the husband breaks the silence, his voice is soft and filled with wonder, concern, and a little hurt. “That’s my favorite piece.”

Two intimacies are shared at this moment, without being stated directly. He never knew that she feels devalued when he gives her the heel of the loaf, and she never knew that all these years, he has been giving her the first cut of the bread, giving up his favorite piece so she could enjoy it. The entire scene turns on this small gesture, this brief revelation, because it reveals to each character so much about how the other feels. After this moment, they can’t fight any more; the scene will probably have a happier ending than the reader initially expected!

Read more in Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget — and watch this blog for tomorrow’s tip!

Stant Litore

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Life After NaNoWriMo, Day 1: Discover Your Character’s Habits

Hello fellow writers and storytellers,

NaNoWriMo is done, and some of you now have chapters upon chapters of manuscript, and you now face the hard work of revision and deepening of your story. Where to start?

To help, I’d like to offer five excerpts from my popular book Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, one each day this week on my blog. Each daily blog will offer practical tips and exercises for digging more deeply into the inner lives of your characters — helping you to make your characters and their stories unforgettable. I offer the first of the five excerpts below.

Here is your free tip for the day:


by Stant Litore

What are your character’s unique habits, and what do they reveal about your character’s traits and life choices?

Example: A Prayer Before Bed

In the film Shadowlands (dramatizing scenes in the life of C.S. Lewis, the author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) there is a touching scene in which Jack Lewis brings his wife, Joy, home. She is dying slowly of cancer, and they married while in the hospital. After tucking his ailing wife gently into bed, Lewis, a long-time bachelor (he is about fifty), is unsure what to do. “Just do what you do every night,” Joy tells him.

Lewis shambles about the room, walking through his routine, narrating it: “Well, let me see, first…I come in through the door…and I walk over here…” He looks puzzled as he hangs up his coat and hat; he has never had another person in the room during his night-time routine. At last, he kneels beside the bed, folds his hands, and bows his head in prayer. “And then…then I pray,” he says.

Joy laughs, delighted: “Like a little kid!” Her eyes shine with amusement and love. “You’re just like a little kid!”

Look how much that character’s habits reveal about him! Not only that, but the habits are shown to the reader at a key scene where the writer has opportunity to reveal things not only about C.S. Lewis but also about Joy, and about their relationship. It would be a mistake (in most cases) to open a chapter with a lengthy description of the character’s habits. Find an opportunity to reveal them where the revealing has impact on the plot or on relationships that are key to your story – as in the case of Shadowlands, where one character is sharing his habits with another for the first time.


Make a sketch of your protagonist’s morning routine and consider its implications. What is the first thing your character does, each day? Does your character hit the Snooze button on the alarm eighteen times before rolling (literally) out of the bed, with a groan? Does your character leap to her feet and begin doing aerobics in front of the mirror? What kind of alarm clock does your character own? Does it beep and screech? Does it play music? What station? (In Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden never punches Snooze because he has a Mickey Mouse alarm clock, and he tells the reader that the couldn’t live with someone who would punch Mickey Mouse. That is a revealing detail!) If your character lives with a spouse who is not a morning person, what does she do first in the morning? Rise and tiptoe softly out of the bedroom, gently, not wanting to wake him? Does she kiss his shoulder or his hair before tiptoeing out? Is there a morning when, angry, she breaks from routine, goes to the kitchen and slam cabinet doors and slam the skillet down on the stove, and generally makes as much noise as possible? Is there a morning when she decides to wake him in a more intimate way?


Make a sketch of your protagonist’s evening routine and consider its implications. What is the last thing your character does, before bed? Does he cover his head with a pillow? Does she sing softly to herself or say mantras, hoping to ward off nightmares? Does she clutch a teddy bear close, almost childlike, feeling in the moment before bed each night a terrible loneliness? Does he drink himself to sleep? Does he masturbate? Does he brush his teeth, fastidiously, for exactly two minutes, and then put his brush carefully in its holder and tidy the sink before approaching his carefully made bed? Does he read one chapter each night from a novel before flicking off the light? Does he leave all the lights on? Does he leave just one light on, maybe in the hall? Does he, each night, check the bedside drawer to make sure his gun is ready?

Our habits define us; they structure our lives and they reveal about us more than we think.

Read more in Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget — and watch this blog for tomorrow’s tip!

Stant Litore

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What Are My Characters Thankful For?

I asked my characters what they’re thankful for this season…

Devora (upper left): “I’m still breathing.” (points at one of the people reading my blog) “He’s still breathing.” (points at another) “Her, too.” (points at another) “And he’s breathing.” (squints, then lifts her blade Mishpat warily) “I think.”

Father Polycarp (2nd from the left): “That you are listening to me. And that when I fall, there will be someone to keep walking. There is a very long way to walk.”

Regina (upper right): “Freedom. My freedom.” (rubbing her wrists gently after the bonds are cut)

Yirmiyahu (bottom): (silence) (glares at me through his lank, tangled hair)

Get all their stories today, at a discount price, and know that 50% is going toward funding Grey Havens Young Adult and teen literacy in Colorado:

What are you thankful for, this season?

Stant Litore

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Help Me Support Colorado Readers

Support Grey Havens YA this season by ordering Stant Litore’s The Zombie Bible: Silver Edition Digital Box Set (on sale this season on Kindle and Nook). Through Dec 31, 50% of royalties go to GHYA.

Hi everyone! As you know, I’ve been deeply involved for years in the Grey Havens Group, and am a huge admirer of their youth branch, Grey Havens YA (GHYA), which gives teens in northern Colorado a home to come discuss books, imagination, and philosophy. It is an amazing group, and something I would have given a lot to have when I was a teen living in the country. Whenever I see them gathered for an event, I am so moved by their camaraderie, their deep love of sharing stories and of creating art, their passion for reading, and by the self-confidence these teens have built together.

GHYA is a shoestring-budget operation, and I want to help by giving them 50% of my royalties for The Zombie Bible: Silver Edition Digital Box Set to GHYA through December 31, 2015. Please help me by sharing the word and, of course, by buying the books! If I can get GHYA just $250, that supplies their book budget for the spring. If I can get them $500-$1000, they’ll be able to increase their membership, or perhaps get equipment to replace the truly archaic and at-the-brink-of-breaking computers and projectors they currently work with.

You can read testimonials from Grey Havens YA members and families here. And you can get the ebooks on Kindle or Nook (or give them another as a holiday gift). Tweet and share this post to let your friends know!


May your holidays and holy days be merry this season —

Stant Litore

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Putting the Community back into Storytelling


Storytelling is a communal act. Our ancestors sat around a fire sharing tales and giving each other chills. My Patreon membership is a way to use modern-day patronage to achieve that again. It means taking writing fiction from something that just happens on a dining room table to something that happens around a community fire or a community table, with boisterous laughter and shared tears. And that’s how it should be.

If you’re the kind of reader who has always wished you could sit down on a porch with one of your favorite writers to just listen to the rain and ask them that question you’ve always had or even just hear them spin out new ideas, then you belong here. That’s the kind of connection I want with my readers; that’s the kind of connection I want with you.

It is like a book club — the best book club in the world, not only because you’re getting regular new stories, but because you get to chat with the author all along the way.

Patreon provides a wonderful platform for this, and for inviting your support of my stories (in the form of a monthly subscription). When you become one of my Patreon members, you get backstage access to the stories I’m working on, and your patronage funds great new books like these — and helps me keep them risky and independent, the way they should be!

Patreon is making it possible for me to spend more of my time and energy doing what matters most to me: creating great stories, and interacting with great readers.

Will you join me? To join my membership, it only costs the price of a venti way-too-many-ingredients-in-it latte with whip cream, and you get a lot. I hope you’ll come take a look and considering joining my early members. If nothing else, this is going to be a very exciting experiment, and you’re going to want in on it.

Here’s the scoop:

And you can learn more about the Patreon platform for memberships to support the arts here:


Stant Litore

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Surviving the Winter Days

The last two years have been an endurance trial. Tonight I sit and weigh the situation.

The bad:

  • Over 70 days of hospitalization for my one-year-old daughter, fierce little Inara, who has seizures, blindness, and is developmentally delayed by well over a year. Her health has scared us and there were times when my wife and I feared for her, desperately. Pieces of her story can be found here and here. The past eleven months have been better, but recently her seizures are returning.
  • My wife, Jessica, heart of my heart, has suffered anxiety and chronic and excruciating pain since January, a severe worsening of earlier pain. She is as often in bed as she is out of it. I miss our romance, and it is painful to see her suffer.

The obstacles:

  • There are hardly any of Jessica’s family in the area, and one of our most beloved relatives took the last voyage, this summer. As for my own kin, I am estranged from them. They never accepted my wife.
  • Costs are stressful. I am the breadwinner–a role that I feel equipped for, so I do not resent it–but my ability to bring home our bread is put frequently to the test. I am strained by my family’s medical expenses and support needs, and by the additional student debts that have come home to roost much earlier than planned. We have had to place my wife’s educational goals on hold, due to her pain and baby Inara’s needs for special care.

The good:

  • The laughter of my children and the love of my wife. That above all.
  • My faith. That is a boat keeling through choppy waters. The boat requires a great deal of oarwork, but in this storm I am glad to be in it.
  • A secure career in the education industry, in pursuit of good and useful goals.
  • Supportive colleagues and an incredibly supportive boss.
  • Solid health insurance. That matters.
  • A competent and loving nanny. With me at work during the day and Jessica in acute pain, and with no family nearby, this is expensive but a necessity, and we are glad to have her.
  • A (relatively) peaceful and spacious place to live. We rent, we do not own–homeowning was another goal that the last two years cast by the wayside–but the place we have is a good place.
  • Both my publisher and my church community have really come alongside us. Friends from my church have given their time, and prayer, and even made a massive tactile quilt for my blind daughter. My publisher shipped entire boxes of children’s books for my little ones, to show their support.
  • The novels and “living the dream.” I have received good reviews and frequent and kind letters from readers. Those half hours that I slide in at lunch or after my girls are in bed, when I scribble and dig and churn through a desperate story, those are precious to me.

On the whole, the good outweighs the bad.

This is a good life, though one that demands all my resources and will. I have had to adopt a warrior/provider mentality and a certain ferocity, because there is no room for a relaxing of the guard, or laziness, or dwelling too much on needs of my own that are unmet while my wife is ill.

This is winter.

I think life is like this:

  • In the summer, the days are long and warm and full of life and lovemaking and laughter. The nights are present, but they are brief and hold little pain or fear.
  • In the winter, it is the nights that are long, and cold and fierce. The days are present, too, but they pass swiftly as a shadow over the grass.

Winter can last long, but that does not mean there will be no more summers. And I sowed many things in the summer that I have since reaped, and that give comfort and sustenance now: a marriage with a woman of astonishing beauty and a giving heart, good friendships, the foundation for a good and meaningful career, and some training in the patience that I now need desperately to endure long nights by my child’s bedside or long months while my wife lies ill.

I wish it were summer. But it is not.

I am weary, but I know I am strong enough to endure the winter. And that endurance will not be without enjoyment. It may be the cold season, but my house is warm, and it is full of good books—some of them my own—and with the love of my wife and the laughter of my children, and when they are unwell, the house still sounds with the echoes of earlier joy and rings with the expectation of more joy in the future.

Let the wind howl as it will. This is my home, and these are my own, and I will enjoy my life with them and keep them protected until the days are warm again.

Stant Litore

Stant Litore is a novelist. He writes about gladiators on tyrannosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future. Explore his fiction here. And here is one of his toolkits for writers, and here’s another book where he nerds out about ancient languages and biblical (mis)translation. Enjoy!

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What E-Publishing Means to a Country Boy

New data from the BookStats survey reveals good news for the world of publishing, selling, and buying books: With the continuing explosive rise of ebooks, many more books are being sold than in previous years, and — despite the doom and gloom messages in the media about the decline of print, publishers (on the whole) saw a $1 billion increase in net revenues in 2012.

Someone asked me a while ago what the rise of ebooks means to me. That made me sit back and think a moment, because it means a lot to me. And not just what you’d expect. Here are the answers I came up with. I’ll talk about what it means for writers and what it means for readers. (That second one is the big story. Scroll down for it.)

For Writers: All Bets Are Off

For the first time in quite a while, writers have options. A writer with a fantastic story, some marketing chutzpah, and the self-discipline of an old workhorse can take a decent shot at self-publishing, and that’s been good for a number of novelists. It’s a long shot, but thanks to the rapid growth of the e-book market and the ease of connecting writers and readers via the Internet, it’s far more feasible than it has been in the past.

Another thing that’s exciting to me is the new species of publishers emerging. Some of the small presses are not only entrepreneurial but also give their writers a fair deal, which is something that hasn’t really been the norm among large publishing houses since the 1950s.

And there are the Amazon imprints – Montlake, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, and the others. These not only offer a fair deal but a very powerful marketing engine, and they’re run by innovative people who invest in the author-editor relationship. They’re bringing good work out and they put their weight behind it – not just behind one or two titles they’re banking everything on, they put their weight behind all their books. I’m impressed by that.

All of this means that a good writer has a better shot at making a living than has been the case in quite a few decades.

That’s a good thing.

For Readers: For the First Time
Books Are Just as Available in the Country As In the City

But what the e-book market and the digital publishing phenomenon really means to me is bigger than that. Much bigger.

Let me tell you a story. I grew up country. We had a library in town a twenty-minute drive from our pasture, and that library could have fit inside a school bus, though I have fond memories of it. For years the nearest bookstore was housed in a dark old warehouse forty minutes north. Once a month my mother would drive up there in the station wagon with me in the passenger seat and we’d go hunting for books.

But you have to understand that back then gas was seventy cents to the gallon where we lived. It sure isn’t that now. If you live as far back from the city as I did as a boy, in this economy, you probably aren’t going to be paying for gas to drive forty minutes to the bookstore. And if you have kids or hold two jobs, you just won’t have time.

But for eighty dollars you can buy an e-reader. You don’t have to drive to the city to a store to pick it up; they’ll ship it to you. Then you can get the classics for free; it will probably take about an hour to download three or four hundred of them. Then you can get the dollar deals. Then you can splurge on a few higher-priced books that you have always wanted to read. A little over an hour and let’s say a hundred and twenty dollars, and you own a library.

If you didn’t grow up where I did, you may not understand what this means, but it’s worth hearing. I know a lot of people with e-readers who are reading voraciously, who had very little access to books previously. When I was a boy, before we found that warehouse, we had just the books my mother had brought out of her father’s house and stored in a dead, heavyweight 1960s refrigerator that she had repurposed as a bookcase. As a child, I wasn’t even allowed to read anything other than picture books at the library until my parents faced off with the librarian behind a closed door and left him shaking and pale.

Now, an hour and a hundred twenty, and you own a library.

The number of rural people who are reading regularly is growing fast. And that’s what digital publishing really means.

Stant Litore

Stant Litore is a novelist. He writes about gladiators on tyrannosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future. Explore his fiction here. And here is one of his toolkits for writers, and here’s another book where he nerds out about ancient languages and biblical (mis)translation. Enjoy!