6 min read

Stone Soup Digest 05.12.23

WGA, Bigolas, Raw Dog
Stone Soup Digest 05.12.23
Photo by Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash

Welcome to the Stone Soup Weekly Digest! This is where I share what I'm up to and some of my favorite things from the internet. Subscribe to Stone Soup to get this in your inbox every week.

The WGA is on strike! The Writers Guild of America is currently advocating for higher pay and better working conditions for writers everywhere. Strikes are the absolute best tool in the arsenal of any worker, and creative fields are no exception. No matter how passionate we are about our work, we have to know that we and our peers and colleagues deserve to be treated with humanity and paid a living wage.

Click here to learn more about the strike, how you can support writers, and what solidarity looks like in an uncertain time. If you live near a picket line, stop by with pizza, snacks, bottled water, or even just a kind word. Honk your car horn when signs tell you to — the noise tells studio executives that people out in the world are on the writers' side. Express your support on social media.

Remember, worker solidarity means that we support each other in productivity and in protest! If you love the work writers do, have our backs when we advocate for ourselves! This strike is a battle to make sure that the world can continue to benefit from the amazing work of these creatives.

Finally, if you're participating in the strike, feel free to reply to this email with any information on specific ways we can help support your efforts! I'll add details to this post as they come in, and I'll keep subscribers updated as the strike continues. Solidarity forever! Keep up the good work.


Personal Canons Cookbook Call for Submissions

The Personal Canons Cookbook is reopening for submissions from Indigenous authors throughout the month of May! Tell your friends! Tell your social networks! Tell everyone!

Run Your Campaign Like a Romance Novel

The brilliant Josh Storey wrote this essay on how romance novels can inform the way a TTRPG campaign is run:

“A kissing book?” Some of you may say, and in response, I say, “Hell yeah, a kissing book!” If you believe romance novels can’t reach the same epic highs and dark, horrifying lows as your favorite Hero’s Journey example, my friend, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. After all, in a romance, good sex scenes and good fight scenes are practically the same things. Lots of thrusting and attention to positioning…

All kidding aside, though, whether you’re battling the antagonist on a crashing airship or making out with your rival under the harvest moon in a romance, the point of an action encounter isn’t the actions themselves but how the interaction between the characters reveals the depths of emotion, motivation, and history shared between them.  In other words: relationships.

Go read the rest here!

Locus Awards

In case you missed it, the Locus Awards finalists were announced! Just Like Home, which I happened to write, is a finalist for Best Horror Novel. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for it! I hope you'll consider voting for it on your final ballot.

The Sun and The Star is an instant bestseller!

Mark Oshiro's collaboration with Rick Riordan, The Sun and The Star, hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller list and also everywhere else. Congratulations, Rick & Mark!!

No Substitutes

I wrote this essay on substitutions in recipes and knowing when it's time to do as you're told.

Just Like Home Paperback Preorder

Just Like Home comes out in paperback this month! You can preorder it now! My publisher will be so happy if you do.

Big Dickolas Energy

If you haven't been on Twitter this week, you might have missed the one true influencer rising to power. A user who goes by Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood recommended This Is How You Lose the Time War and was met with a profoundly enthusiastic response from fans and new readers alike. The result? This four-year-old book became the #3 bestselling book on Amazon. Out of all books. You can read a Slate interview with Amal El-Mohtar, one of the coauthors of the book; here's where you can read an interview with Mr. Dickolas himself.

The Worlds of Possibility Kickstarter Ends Soon

Julia Rios is collecting their Worlds of Possibility series of short stories into an anthology with 30 stories, 13 poems, and illustrations originally commissioned for Julia's Patreon. There are only two weeks left, so go check out the Kickstarter page and help bring this book into our world.

Follow Me on Tumblr and Instagram

Twitter is a dumpster. This week I remembered that other social media platforms are where good interactions actually happen, so I'm reminding you, too: follow me on Tumblr and Instagram, where I'm trying to exist more.

Personal Canons Cookbook Highlight: J.M. Coster

J.M. Coster is a Chinese-American erstwhile MD turned professional storyteller. She writes speculative fiction and is an associate editor for the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast magazine Escape Pod. She has worked as a process consultant for multiple award-winning speculative fiction authors. In her role as narrative designer at the critically acclaimed video game studio Butterscotch Shenanigans, she tells the most honest lies she can. Her recipe for steamed fish with chopped chilis and a spicy Hunanese condiment will make at least four generous servings.

Read Your Tongue Remembers.

I'm Reading: Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus

Hot dogs. Poor people created them. Rich people found a way to charge fifteen dollars for them. They're high culture, they're low culture, they're sports food, they're kids' food, they're hangover food, and they're deeply American, despite having no basis whatsoever in America's Indigenous traditions. You can love them, you can hate them, but you can't avoid the great American hot dog.

Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs is part investigation into the cultural and culinary significance of hot dogs and part travelog documenting a cross-country road trip researching them as they're served today. From avocado and spice in the West to ass-shattering chili in the East to an entire salad on a slice of meat in Chicago, Loftus, her pets, and her ex eat their way across the country during the strange summer of 2021. It's a brief window into the year between waves of a plague that the American government has the resources to temper, but not the interest.

So grab a dog, lay out your picnic blanket, and dig into the delicious and inevitable product of centuries of violence, poverty, and ambition, now rolling around at your local 7-Eleven.

Barnes & Noble | Local Library | Bad River Website | Find an Indie Bookstore

As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason during the trials of Apollo. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life—literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe. At least, that's been the case so far...

Now Nico is being plagued by a voice calling out to him from Tartarus, the lowest part of the Underworld. He thinks he knows who it is: a reformed Titan named Bob whom Percy and Annabeth had to leave behind when they escaped Hades's realm. Nico's dreams and Rachel Dare's latest prophecy leave little doubt in Nico's mind that Bob is in some kind of trouble. Nico has to go on this quest, whether Mr. D and Chiron like it or not. And of course Will insists on coming with. But can a being made of light survive in the darkest part of the world? And what does the prophecy mean that Nico will have to "leave something of equal value behind?"

Barnes & Noble | Local Library | Bad River Website | Find an Indie Bookstore

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