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  • Writer's pictureJ. Darris Mitchell

Milkweed on its way

ON Desk

I have three exciting pieces of news to share (well, let’s call it two and a half).

The first is that Kirkus Reviews is going to feature A Crown of Cobwebs in their magazine! I have never actually read said magazine, but it is sent around to editors, librarians and insiders to peruse what’s good and hot and they think I’M GOOD AND HOT! Maybe I’m paraphrasing.

Anyways, they told me that less than ten percent of their reviews get picked for this, so I’m totally honored! I’m not sure if you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of the magazine, but you can read the review right here!


It was great, right? Ok, twist my arm, you can buy the book here.

The second piece of great news is that I received a call from Flavio Flav. Flavio produced Interstellar Sunrise for me, a six-part audio drama that is absolutely spectacular. (You can listen to it here, or wherever you listen to podcasts). He wants to collaborate on another project, and I couldn’t say no! We’re still in the very, very early stages, but given the course of events in the world, I think we’ll be working episodically, which means you could be listening to another awesome audio drama as soon as this spring!

The third piece of good news is that I am literally 1 chapter away from being done revising the Crane and the Wolf (that’s why it only counts half, I’m not quite done yet). This is the fantasy bake-off but with a judge who turns into a werewolf if not satisfied. This story takes place in the same world as A Crown of Cobwebs, so those who have read ACOC will no doubt enjoy some of the easter eggs that get scrambled in Crane’s Kitchen! If all things go as I plan them to, I’ll be done within the week, then off to the editor!

Personal Note

The cold killed off a good number of plants we have attempted to landscape our front yard with, but not to worry! I have already planted milkweed seeds (cold stratified in the fridge for the last month) as well as plenty of dill. Our Texas mallow and mistflower seems to have survived, so in a few months it looks like we should have all the trappings for a spectacular butterfly garden!

I have also begun the germinate some seeds for our spring and summer vegetable garden. A grow light in the garage is coaxing basil, peppers, chives, tomatoes and cucumbers into existence! Despite gardening for years, I’ve never actually started seeds indoors under a grow light, so this is a new experiment for me. Normally I just plant directly in the soil—a process that works best if you’re willing to accept massive losses of tiny seedlings. With the freeze, I’m scared of frosts, so hoping to put some substantial lil’ plants in the dirt in a few weeks.

Bird of the Week

Stressed AF and desperate for a break, I seized on my wife’s complaint of the grandparents forgetting to return the kids’ water bottles as an excuse to get out of the house for an hour.

I headed towards Bullfrog pond, and watched the sun come up as I waited for Gigi to awaken.

While I waited, I was lucky enough to watch an American Bittern hunt in the shallows.

Bitterns are weird. They have a long pointy bill, but rather than pointing it at the fish and frogs they’re hunting, the keep it stuck up nearly vertical. This gives them the appearance of looking even more arrogant than other wading birds, as their nose is perpetually held high in the air.

Though the advantages of such an appearance become plain when the bird walked into the reeds and completely vanished, its bill now the same shape and angle as the reeds that its feathers mimic so perfectly.

Just before I left, a pair of sora sauntered past, heedless of my presence, their tiny bodies a reminder that I was here to retrieve things for my own tinies.

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