Get WANDER, the next Rucksack Universe adventure

Wander book cover - two black trees on a white background

Things are trucking along well for Wander. Over the past few weeks, I’ve set up ISBNs, done some other behind-the-scenes things, and am about to set up and start getting print copies (squee!). Are you ready for the next Rucksack Universe adventure?

Wander will be released in e-book and paperback on Oct. 19, 2018.

However… patrons can get Wander 2 weeks earlier, on Oct. 5. If you’d like to get Wander early and get other special access, stories, and more, head to my Patreon and become a patron today.

Become a patron

Pre-order the paperback

Reserve your signed & numbered paperback

Pre-order the e-book

Amazon Kindle


Apple Books




Back in the office + August 2018 writing report


Between Labor Day in the US, back-to-school prep, a big family trip, and helping my wife move out of her former music studio space (a story best told over a malty beverage), the last couple of weeks have been relaxing, inspiring, and intense.

My wife’s 20+ years remission—celebrating in Kauai

For starters, Jodie, the kids, Jodie’s parents, and I took a big 10-day trip to Kauai, Hawaii. It was part vacation, part celebrating Jodie for passing 20 years of remission from the cancer she had as a kid. She and her family came to Kauai when she was a teenager, so it was fitting that we return, with her as a brilliant, vibrant, beautiful woman, with her own business, family, and so many things she’s accomplished since recovering from cancer all those years ago.

Lots and lots of writing

While on our trip, we were (mostly) on vacation. I did take the opportunity to tour the island’s craft beverage makers and interview some folks though 🙂

I also wrote. During the trip itself, Aug. 26–Sept. 6, I scribbled 17,111 words, or 1,426 words per day. There were observations about Kauai and our own trip. There were notes from my chats with breweries.

There are also the beginnings of two new books. One came to me in a dream, a raucous retro freedom fighting story that’s going to be lots of fun to work up.

The other is a Rucksack story. But not the Rucksack we’ve gotten to know in other stories so far. This one will be the hero of old… as a young man. When he’s just, literally, finding his way to becoming the hero he’s destined and determined to be.

August writing

By the numbers, during August I wrote 43,482 words, at an average of 1,453 words per day. I wrote every day, which put my writing streak at 243 days in a row as of Aug. 31. August’s scribbling puts me at 362,042 words for 2018—on track for 500,000 words for the year. Those 362,042 words include fiction, 9 article assignments, content work for clients, and things for my Wanderers, my patrons on Patreon.

Those 9 articles, by the way, put me at 62 articles for the year so far. I’ve written and published 305 articles since 2011, and 2018 is on pace to be my biggest month yet for articles.

Back to work.


The key to Wander

Wander book cover - two black trees on a white backgroundYou would not believe some of the conversations that happen between editors and authors.

For a 264-page book, during the copy editing and proofing of Wander my editor and I went back and forth multiple times on about 250 words.

At question? The first couple of pages of the very first scene. I had edited it a fair bit, and he had also been working his editorial magic.

Now, though, we had realized something else. The text in question wasn’t just how the title character of Wander was being introduced. The text, said my editor, had to be just right—because it was the key to the entire book.

So we went back and forth. After, I believe, at least six iterations, we arrived at what we both considered just right. That passage is below.

Enjoy 🙂

Wander sat at the hostel’s computer. In the monitor’s reflection, dim and faint, as if staring out from another world, was a face that could be any face—male or female, young or old—with any shape, any skin shade, any hairstyle, anything whatsoever. The face of any traveler who has ever hit the road from any place that marked their first step. Wander had an anyoneness, an anywhereness that made Wander everyone in particular. An identity of all possibilities, as if the universe had split into infinite multiverses and anyone could set off on Wander’s journey.

Logging on, Wander wondered how many other people in the world had access to the internet but didn’t have a Facespace account. Or a Twitlinkpinstatoob+. Opening the daypack, Wander took out a small flip phone. A traveler on a nearby couch looked up from her bright-screened, too-big-for-the-hand Apsamgoo iGalixel and smirked.
“Trust me.” Wander’s not-too-high, not-too-low voice competed with the beeps and boops coming from the traveler’s phone. “Last thing I need is a data plan or unlimited messaging.”
The traveler shrugged. Instead of looking back at her phone, she stared at Wander. A wavy, wobbly silence passed between the two travelers. Wander could see the question forming in the traveler’s eyes. Are you a girl or a guy? A man or a woman?
Wander grinned and leaned forward, smoldering eyes narrow. “You’ll never know.”
The traveler’s gaze darted back down to her phone. Wander chuckled and returned to the computer.

Available worldwide Oct. 19, 2018

Patrons can get Wander Oct. 5

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The time and place of Wander

Wander book cover - two black trees on a white background

“Do you have a phone on you that I can use?” asked Wander. “Or maybe wifi?”

“Phones have cords and wires and are in buildings,” said Awen, “and I’m nobody’s wife.”

“Not wife. Wifi. Wireless. It’s for the internet.”

“Enter what net? Are you supposed to be fishing?”

“No… look, it’s 2018,” said Wander. “How could you not have seen a phone? I mean, yeah, mine is pretty antiquated, but it’s still a cell phone.”

“Two thousand eighteen?” said Awen. “That’s not the year. It’s AB 100.”

“One hundred? What the hell is A-B?”

– An excerpt from Wander

Part of the evolution of a story world is that you figure out a few things in advance, but mostly you learn as you go. Over the years as the world of the Rucksack Universe has expanded in my mind, I’ve figured out more of the past and the world’s status as we see it in the stories and off-screen.

A lot of the stories happen in what we would consider the past… but much of it isn’t our past. Wander is set in Ireland, but it’s not the Ireland we know. The Blast changed the course of the world. The Blast also happened in 1834. The other books you may have encountered so far take place in what for us would be the 1900s.

But here’s the thing. I knew that if I kept to the years we use, that would also bring in the history we know. If I set a book in, say, the 1930s, readers would likely automatically expect something about the Great Depression or World War II. The 1950s or 60s? Mad Men.


Different world. Different history. Different stories.

So different years.

Just as we have different year counts for different eras (such as BC’s “Before Christ” or CE’s “Christian Era”), the world of the Rucksack Universe has AB—“After Blast.” 1835 in our world is year 0 AB in the world of my stories.

My hope in my stories is that we find new ways to look at the world and at each other. Tweaking time and place can help us get a new perspective. And in Wander, I’m doing that in ways beyond what I’ve done in any other Rucksack Universe story so far.

Wander comes out Oct. 19. You can become a patron and get it Oct. 5, reserve your signed and numbered paperback, or pre-order your e-book today.


Honey, soup & soda: 3 new food articles

Part of what I love about living in Eugene, Oregon, is the number of dedicated folks who make amazing and tasty things. For the late-summer edition of Tastings, from local newspaper The Register-Guard, I got to visit a local honey producer, delve into the world of craft sodas that craft breweries make, and cool off with the ins and outs of chilled soups (and why you don’t call them cold).

Honey: The Queen’s Bounty honeys are pure Oregon gold

Soup: Slurp soup to beat heat?

Soda: Eugene brewers add fizz-ness to their business


It’s here! The cover of Wander + pre-orders now available +

Wander book cover - two black trees on a white background

Yall’ve been so patient with me. It’s been two years since The Lotus and the Barley came out—the last book, it turns out, that I would write with a small child in a carrier on my back.

And… I’m tearing up. Ahem.

I now have a first-grader boy and a self-described “fixer girl.” But here we are… with, at long last, the cover for the next Rucksack Universe book, Wander.

I’m fortunate to work with a wonderful cover designer. She always does stellar work… but this one… wow, this really got me right in the soul, the heart, the feels.

There’s some story behind this cover, of course. I’ll be going into more of that behind-the-scenes dish over at my Patreon.

In the meantime…

Get Wander before the rest of the world

Wander comes out Oct. 19… but patrons can get e-books and signed, numbered copies of Wander on Oct. 5.

Become a patron today

Pre-order Wander today, get it Oct. 19

E-book pre-orders

The e-book edition of Wander is available for pre-order now, US$4.99. You won’t be charged until release day. On Oct. 19, the e-book will instantly download to your app or device so you can start reading right away! Pre-order at…



Apple Books


Paperback pre-orders

Reserve your limited edition signed and numbered trade paperback!

The first 100 copies of the trade paperback edition of Wander will be available signed and numbered, for $20 (includes the book and US shipping).

Closer to the release, I’ll confirm your reservation and we’ll make arrangements for payment and shipment. And remember, a signed and numbered edition of Wander is perfect for the holidays!

Reserve your copy now

(no upfront cost)

Need to catch up on the Rucksack Universe?

Don’t worry, Wander won’t spoiler any of the other four books, and none of them will spoiler Wander!

All titles available worldwide in e-book and trade paperback. Get caught up on the series now before Wander comes out Oct. 19:

The Martini of Destiny

Home Sweet Road

Forever the Road

The Lotus and the Barley


Outpost Blog: Follow Up Email Etiquette: Get a Response Without Being Annoying

New business article: Outpost Blog: Follow Up Email Etiquette: Get a Response Without Being Annoying

Working on content for the Outpost Blog has been a great way to teach myself more about email and being productive. This piece in particular was something that I’m sure we can all find useful. After all, how often have we written an email… then wondered when we would ever hear back?

Full story: Outpost Blog: Follow Up Email Etiquette: Get a Response Without Being Annoying


Patreon: Why I back Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is creating nonfiction about writing, publishing, and business. She’s been a professional writer for decades, writes under different names in different fiction genres, and has a solid head for all the behind-the-scenes, inside-the-contract aspects of the writing and publishing business.

She’s also the sort of writer a lot of writers can’t stand, because she has the audacity to assert that in order to do well as a writer, you have to be a businessperson along with being an artist or craftsperson. I back Kristine on Patreon out of my gratitude for all the advice she’s given over the years, and because of how much I’ve looked to her perspective to help me make my own business and creative decisions.

Check out Kristine’s Patreon


July 2018 writing report

July 2018 writing report: 42,042 words

By the numbers, during July I wrote 42,042 words. I wrote every day, which put my writing streak at 289 days in a row as of July 31. July’s scribbling puts me at 318,560 words for 2018—on track for 500,000 words for the year. Those 318,560 words include fiction, 7 article assignments, content work for clients, and things for my Wanderers, my patrons on Patreon.

But I’ve gotta be honest, y’all.

July was hard.

Some days felt like a big slog, and it could be a struggle to keep putting one word after another. That’s not my normal though, so during August I’ve been reflecting on why July’s writing was so hard.

Part of the problem: Someone else’s writing process was in my head, and I was over-criticizing my own gut-checked, heartfelt, head-ratified, experience-forged process. Not to say that I can’t improve. I consider myself a lifelong learner who’s always trying to improve what I do and how I do it. It’s good to reflect on new ideas, and see what works well for your own process. So I’ve done that, come to my own conclusions about what I can improve—and I’ve kicked the rest out of my head and writing room.

I also realized I had my fiction too all over the place, and it was making it hard for me to focus and motivate. I’m making some tweaks on my fiction, with the idea that I pretty much have one book and one shorter piece of fiction going each month. Sundays I also don’t work on any writing but some straight-up fun and exploratory stuff, such as getting to know new Rucksack Universe characters, or riffing on some alternate history, things like that.

Since making these changes in August, my motivation is higher, and I’m finding the words more easily again. A sign that the creativity was there, it was just having a hard time finding the right direction to come out.

I’ve also been racking up more fiction rejections (with the most recent arriving this morning, in fact). But I keep at it. One word. One submission. One completed manuscript. One new release at a time.


Back to work.


Oregon Beer Growler: Two New Breweries Bring Innovation to McMinnville and Beyond

In the heart of world-renown Willamette Valley wine country, two new breweries are doing some fascinating work with beer. Including one of the few breweries dedicated solely to brewing gluten-free beers.

Evasion Brewing is focused on creating gluten-free beers that anyone can enjoy. Allegory Brewing is producing ales and lagers based on experimentation and adjuncts, with a focus on unique, limited-release beers instead of flagships.

Full story in the Oregon Beer Growler



Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

FREE Sample

Check out this free sample of FOREVER THE ROAD

Anthony's third book, FOREVER THE ROAD, is a Best Books 2015 Fantasy pick from Library Journal's SELF-e, and a 2015 Oregon Book Award nominee.

Download your free sample to find out why Nth Degree's reviewer said this "high-stakes story, told with wit and compassion," left him "completely gobsmacked."

Rucksack Universe

Travel fantasy tales
of wit, adventure & beer

Forever the Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novel - learn more and buy now

Home Sweet Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

The Martini of Destiny by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

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