moving to a new domain.

I started The Munchkin Wrangler when I was a new dad. That was ten years ago and very much a different life. We lived in a different house, city, and state. We only had one child, and I was just getting started with this crazy pipe dream of maybe getting my foot in the door of this writing business.

Ten years later, the world has moved on, the munchkins aren’t so little anymore, and the full-time parenting is no longer my main occupation. I think the time has come to retire the Munchkin Wrangler and change things over to a slightly more businesslike domain. As such, further embloggenings and updates will occur at the new domain, which is If you want to continue following my scribblings, please update your bookmarks accordingly. (All the old posts and comments have been ported over to the new blog for continuity.)

lovely “angles of attack” review.

Claire Thorne at Fanboy Comics has written my favorite review of “Angles of Attack” so far (and one of my favorite general “Frontlines” series reviews). It’s a very perceptive and detailed review, and you should go over there and read it. She has kept it mostly spoiler-free, for those who haven’t read Angles yet, and she really gets what I am doing with the story in general and Andrew in particular.

I only have to correct her on one minor detail: Frontlines is not a trilogy. I had planned it as one, but things got a little bigger than expected, and there will be at the very least a fourth book (called “Chains of Command”), and maybe more.

paradise lost.

I just spent a long weekend down in San Antonio, Texas, for the Paradise Lost 5 writing workshop. I was invited to be a guest lecturer at the event, and I took the opportunity to participate in the retreat track. 

San Antonio is a lovely city, and the company was fantastic. I met up with my old friends Claire, Katrina, and Jeff, reconnected with fellow Viable Paradise XII grads Steve and Tim, and made a whole bunch of new friends from other Viable Paradise years and different workshops.

I also got to meet these two goobers for the first time in real life:

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Chuck Wendig and Delilah S. Dawson, both Internet friends I’ve talked to for YEARS. You know how you have this picture of people in your head from talking to them online, and then you fear the possibility that they’re completely different in real life? Well, Chuck and Delilah are precisely like I pictured them from our online talks. They are smart, funny, goofy nerds, and hanging out with them was a lot of fun because I am also most of those things.

My lecture went over very well (I talked about self-publishing and various ancillary things), and people did not fall asleep or throw rotten fruit at me, which I will call a success. I find that the more talking I do in front of larger groups, the more I enjoy it. 

We had fruitful work sessions, and then we all goofed off and socialized. There were group meals on the riverwalk and at various local eateries, Cards Against Humanities sessions, liquor store safaris, rooftop writing sessions, and the consumption of ALL THE BOOZES. And I got to fly First Class for the first time ever, which was a REVELATION. This is how reasonably comfortable and relaxing flying commercial can be? Well, sign me right the hell up.

Paradise Lost: AAAA+++++, 10/10, would goof around with old and new nerd writer friends again.

In closing, have some pictures from lovely San Antonio what I took mostly with my pocket point & shoot Sony. Some of them turned out all right, I think.



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got me a gen-u-wine series now, i guess.

This is the color version of the current Amazon Kindle screensaver ad for the Frontlines series. I’m biased, of course, but I think it looks massively cool. Can’t be long now before I have enough books out for a boxed Frontlines set…



Yes, there are indeed a million ways to die in the Frontlines universe. And I have listed them all alphabetically and then again by embarrassment factor in the appendices of Angles of Attack!

(The cover art is done by Marc Simonetti, by the way.)

“angles of attack” release day.

“Angles of Attack”, the third novel in the Frontlines series, is officially out and available for purchase. Those of you who pre-ordered the book should either get it delivered today (if you ordered the physical print or audio copies), or have it on your Kindelmaschines already.

“Angles of Attack” is available via Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audio formats here:

Go buy! Go read! And leave a review if you are so inclined. In the meantime, I am going to try and get some more work done on Frontlines #4, “Chains of Command”, instead of obsessively checking the Amazon sales ranking every five seconds while stress-binging on Nutella straight from the jar. NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT.



I am relieved beyond measure to see that “The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu) has been added to the Best Novel Hugo shortlist in place of “Lines of Departure”. 

I honestly can’t think of a novel I would have rather seen on the ballot this year than this one. It’s precisely the kind of science fiction the genre needs—hard and entertaining SF with great depth and scope. It’s truly deserving of an award, and I urge you to read it and consider voting for it if you haven’t already.

(Mind you that I am not trying to debase myself by saying that “Lines of Departure” wasn’t worthy of a Hugo. I just think that “The Three-Body Problem” is equally worthy of one, and in my own opinion far more so.)

The inclusion of  “The Three-Body Problem” on the Hugo shortlist reaffirms to me without any remaining doubt that withdrawing “Lines of Departure” from the shortlist was 1000% the right call to make. 

a statement on my hugo nomination.

Dear friends and readers:

I have officially withdrawn my acceptance of the Best Novel nomination for “Lines of Departure” at this year’s Hugo Awards. 

It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.

I also wish to disassociate myself from the originator of the “Rabid Puppies” campaign. To put it bluntly: if this nomination gives even the appearance that Vox Day or anyone else had a hand in giving it to me because of my perceived political leanings, I don’t want it. I want to be nominated for awards because of the work, not because of the “right” or “wrong” politics.

Thank you to everyone who voted for “Lines of Departure” because you read the novel and genuinely thought it worthy of award recognition. Please be assured that I did not reach this decision lightly, and that I don’t want to nullify or minimize your opinion. But keeping the nomination is not a moral option at this point, and I hope you will understand.

This is my choice alone, and I am making it without pressure from any side in the current Hugo debate. Please respect it as such. 

Marko Kloos

April 15, 2015



He’s home among his family again, where he belongs. I feel a little better now. 

personal effects.

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Henry’s collection of bandanas. He got one every time he had to make a trip to the emergency vet. There are three of them in that picture, but I think there was at least one more I did not keep for some reason. As you can see, he was a little mischief magnet.

I am still heartbroken. I have barely eaten since Sunday and have had no desire to eat. (Henry would think this foolishness.) Things have gotten a tiny bit easier, and sorting through his things and looking at his pictures has helped a little. I won’t truly start to get back to real life until his ashes come home and I have some sort of closure.

I don’t want to keep depressing people with posts about my dog, but writing about him and sharing it has helped me to process the whole thing. When it happened, it was just too fast and traumatic to let me feel anything but numbness for a while. Still, everything in the house reminds me of the fact that he’s no longer there, and it will take time before it doesn’t feel like a fresh wound anymore.

Dogs. To think we opened our home and our hearts to these creatures that can wound us so very much when they take their leave. People have suggested we go and get another dog once we feel the time is right, but we have other dogs. Just having another dog is not the point, and never was. Henry was that once-in-a-lifetime dog for me, the one you bond with above and beyond all the others, the one that has your heart in a way the other dogs don’t quite manage. Before Henry, you could have asked me “Has there been a special dog in your life?”, and I would have answered, “What are you talking about? They have all been special.”

Now I can say, “Yes, and his name was Henry, and there will never be another one like him.”

And I don’t want to try and look for the thing we had in another dog. It happened on its own, not because I sought it out, and trying to duplicate it would be a disservice to him and diminish our bond, and it wouldn’t be fair to the new dog because this is a pair of shoes no other dog can ever hope to fill. (Or tear to shreds, as the case may be.)

No, I think I’ll leave it be, and rest in the knowledge that I had my time with him, and that I was lucky to have had it.

losing one’s heart.

Henry’s death is hitting me hard.

We’ve lost dogs before, and I grieved for them every time, but this one is a deeper hurt that any of the others. The ones we lost before Henry had been barely born, or they were old and had long and happy lives behind them. Even Sam, my Golden Retriever who died accidentally back in 2002, was nine years old and had lived almost a full life. Henry hadn’t even come into his own as an adult dog yet—he was barely three, and still infused with the vigor and hotheadedness of youth.

I can’t really pinpoint what hurts the most about his untimely death. It’s the sum of all the contributing factors, I suppose. Part of it is the speed of his decline. There was no time for me to even prepare for the possibility that he might not come back.

Part of it is the bond I had with him. He was truly my dog, and I was his favorite human, and he loved me deeply. Sitting in this chair, I won’t ever see him rounding the kitchen corner again and then just taking a quick sprint and an effortless leap into my lap (whether I was working or not), for the customary expression of love where he tried to merge his face with mine and nip at my nose.

Part of it is the way in which we went. I was there at the end, but I will always hate the fact that he got to spend the last two days of his short life in a place he didn’t like, with people he didn’t love. I should have been with him then.

Part of it is the knowledge of all the time that was taken from him. After having suffered through this winter with the rest of us, he won’t get to experience spring again, won’t get to lie on the warm patio stones with the other dogs and joyfully bark at passing bicyclists and joggers. We won’t get to walk out in the autumn air again, just him in his chest harness and me holding the leash and letting him map the world with his nose.

The house is much too quiet now. All the activity that used to annoy me a little when I was trying to work—the scurrying, the probing of cabinet doors for an unlatched one, the patrolling of the kitchen for dropped food—all of it has ceased. The three remaining dogs are snuggled up in front of the pellet stove and quietly napping. Little Ygraine keeps looking for her playmate and protector on occasion, and it breaks my heart all over again because we got her as a companion for him, and he’s gone, and she will be all alone when the two old dogs are gone too.

I have a deadline, so I have to go back to work and write, and maybe it will take my mind off thinking about my little buddy, who will never sit on my lap and look out of the window for squirrels again. But I go back to work with a broken heart. It will come back together in time, as it usually does, but a piece of it will be gone for good, and it will have the shape of a stout, happy, smart, and loving black-and-red dachshund.