Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Guest Post with Dan Stout - Titan Song

Photo Content from Dan Stout

Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller. Dan's stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Intergalactic Medicine Show. His debut novel Titanshade is a noir fantasy thriller available from DAW Books. To say hello, visit him at www.DanStout.com.


  • 10) Noir and Fantasy Like peanut butter and chocolate, the wonder and awe of fantasy balances the grim cynicism of noir mystery, blending into a delicious, nearly addictive treat.
  • 9) Secret Idealism Speaking of grim cynicism, the real secret of TITAN SONG’s protagonist, Detective Carter, is that he actually isn’t a cynic -- he’s a disillusioned idealist. Carter doesn’t despair because the world is hopeless, he’s heartbroken because he knows how good we can be, and how frequently we fall short. That sounds like a subtle change, but it’s actually a very different worldview, and it makes for a more emotionally resonant reading experience.
  • 8) Disco There’s no style more stylish that bell-bottoms and sequins.
  • 7) That Gorgeous Cover The combo of Chris McGrath’s artwork and DAW’s distressed cover design perfectly captures the mood of Titanshade. It’s worth picking up the book just so you have an excuse to see that cover on a regular basis!
  • 6) Peek Behind the Fantasy Curtain I’m fascinated by how the infrastructure of a fantasy world would actually function. How do the police and military deal with the reality of magic? How do politicians try to take advantage of sorcery? What do ordinary people aspire to, when the impossible can be made real? It makes for conflict and excitement, and great story fodder.
  • 5) Buddy Cop Vibes The interaction between Carter and Ajax is so much fun. The inherent conflict between their personalities is tempered by the affection and respect they feel for each other.
  • 4) 1970s Technology It’s a fact: Payphones and 8-tracks makes solving crimes more interesting.
  • 3) Expanded World In this volume, we get a better look at another species on the world, the Barekusu, and we also learn more about how all these species arose in one place. Not everything is answered, but the bigger picture is coming in to focus.
  • 2) Blue Collar Attitude From the start, The Carter Archives has taken a blue collar view of the world. While the characters are plucked from a range of societal backgrounds, Carter himself is firmly planted in a working-class background and mindset. His conflicts with the wealthy elite of Titanshade has as much due to with his belief that workers have value as it does with where his investigation has led.
    And the no. 1 reason to read TITAN SONG…
  • 1) Face Mandibles I mean, come on! What’s not to love about face mandibles!!
Writing Behind the Scenes
This is a totally fun question!

Okay, here are two quirks about my own writing process.

First, for some reason I don’t understand, my first drafts are filled with characters whose names begin with the same initial letter. So the first draft might ask the reader to keep track of Sam, Sally, Shane, and Sean, or maybe Victor, Valerie, Vijay, and Vance.

As you might guess, this is incredibly confusing, and there’s no way a reader could possibly follow who’s who. In fact, this problem is so pernicious that when I've gone in to fix it, I've suddenly realized I was simply changing Brad and Brenda to Carrie and Carl.

It's a quirk that got so obvious that I couldn’t resist having a little fun with it. In The Carter Archives, all Mollenkampi males have names that start with “A”. In the world, this is a cultural norm, but from my standpoint, it’s a little dig at my own mental quirk.

Another quirk I have is part of the on-going writer’s challenge of time management. I’ve found that I can maintain a very high level of focus when I’m writing in a new environment, or with a new structure. But gradually I begin to find cracks in the order, and ways to procrastinate. After about six months, I’m not nearly as productive in that writing spot or with that system, and I need to find some new structure to use. As a result I tend to hop from one environment to another, spending six months at a co-working space or nine months at a library or cafĂ©.

Of course, in 2020 I was working entirely from home, so that required a whole new level of incentives and ways to navigate distraction. Currently I use a combination of Cal Newport’s time blocking technique, Jessica Abel’s focus tools from Growing Gills, and a reward system that uses my 2nd grade sticker album and D&D calendars from the 90s.

It's almost unspeakable nerdy, and I love it!

The third book in the acclaimed Carter Archives noir fantasy series returns to the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Forbidden magic, murder... and disco. Carter's day keeps getting worse.

With the return of spring, new life floods into Titanshade. The sun climbs higher and stays longer, the economy is ascendant, and ever more newcomers arrive to be part of the city's rebirth. Even pop culture has taken notice, with a high-profile concert only days away. When a band member's murder threatens to delay the show, the diva star performer demands that the famous Detective Carter work the case. But Carter has secrets of his own, and his investigation unearths more victims and dark secrets, triggering a spiral of deceit, paranoia, and nightmarish magical transformations.

As conspiracies are exposed, Carter is sucked even deeper into the machinations of the rich, the powerful, and the venerated. Soon the very foundations of the city threaten to collapse and Carter's own freedom is on the line as he navigates between old enemies and fragile new alliances while racing to learn the true cause of this horrific series of deaths.
You can purchase Titan Song at the following Retailers:

 1 Winner will receive a $15 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I do laundry, cleaning relaxing and reading.

  2. I usually lounge around the house on my days off.

  3. "What do you when you have a day off?" Wild, crazy stuff! I pursue a life of adventure and excitement!

  4. I like to spend time with my grandson on my days off!

  5. I get caught up on chores around the house.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  6. When I have a day off, I enjoy doing self care things like a long hot aromatherapy soak, reading and fun cooking.

  7. I'm retired, so all my days are days off! I do like to read.

  8. If it's a nice day, I take my pups out for a walk, get some coffee and watch them play at the park.

  9. A day off? All my days are off.
    Thanks for the contest.

  10. Everyday is my day off. I enjoy laying around relaxing reading books or watching movies