Thanks for having me on, Duffy. I wanted to show you the connections between the five books coming out in 2023, all of which share a universe that I built: The Vale Megacosm

The five books are Bell Hammers (audiobook), The Greenwood Poet, Least of These Least, Tap and Die, and Harry Rides The Danger.

Basically, when I started The Vale Megacosm, I thought of myself primarily as a writer of science fiction and fantasy. That informed even all of the contemporary and literary fiction I wrote: I ended up writing many of my fantasy and science fiction characters into the plots of literary and contemporary stories. 

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This, of course, allowed me to troll literary magazines. Many of them haven’t even figured it out: they unknowingly published stories connected to what is, more or less, the Marvel universe or Star Wars or whatever. 

Bell Hammers includes chapters, for instance, that sold to the New Haven Review (Yale’s Institute Library) as well as The Misty Review. It’s a family saga, a tragicomedy, a climate fiction novel, many other things. I narrated Bell Hammers myself in the audiobook format, so you’ll get the hang of the dialect that way. 

In any case, the story features at least five magic spells, three or four huge events connected to the main fantasy story, and half a dozen key characters. You wouldn’t know that at first blush: it just seems like a hokey story about carpenters taking on an oil company in a Mark Twain fashion.

The Greenwood Poet is written from the point of view of the grandson of Bell Hammers as he interacts with the Fae creatures of Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It’s something like gothic fantasy short stories in a Neo-Romantic perspective on urban cemeteries: rather rural cemeteries that the urban world has grown around.

Least of These Least features some characters, of course, but it’s mostly a nonfiction book about our nonprofit work in Brooklyn. Of course, as the author often shows up as a character in my works, it’s still me…

Tap and Die features a hardened cowboy type — a pissweaver — who basically subverts (or inverts) the plot of Die Hard (Die Bard?!) in the main planet of the megacosm. It’s very, very fast-paced and most folks didn’t know what to do with it. The ones who love it, adore it.

Harry Rides the Danger was written after the Joplin Tornado as a way to motivate kids and adults to face their fears, but it’s set on the classic red fire planet of the universe.

In all of these cases, I am only just now starting to dabble with the interplay of worlds, magic systems, characters, themes, and artifacts. But those who pay attention are starting to see how all of this interlaces. 


Bell Hammers (audiobook)

bell hammers

“Schaubert recounts a mischievous man’s eight decades in Illinois’s Little Egypt region in his picaresque debut. Remmy’s life of constant schemes and pranks and a lifelong feud with classmate Jim Johnstone and the local oil drilling company proves consequential. This is a hoot.”

– Publisher’s Weekly

🏆 finalist for Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open.



Remmy grows up with Beth in Bellhammer, Illinois as oil and coal companies rob the land of everything that made it paradise. Under his Grandad, he learns how to properly prank his neighbors, friends, and foes. Beth tries to fix Remmy by taking him to church. Under his Daddy, Remmy starts the Bell Hammer Construction Company, which depends on contracts from Texarco Oil. And Beth argues with him about how to build a better business. Together, Remmy and Beth start to build a great neighborhood of “merry men” carpenters: a paradise of s’mores, porch furniture, newborn babies, and summer trips to Branson where their boys pop the tops off of the neighborhood’s two hundred soda bottles. Their witty banter builds a kind of castle among a growing nostalgia.

Then one of Jim Johnstone’s faulty Texarco oil derricks falls down on their house and poisons their neighborhood’s well.

Poisoned wells escalate to torched dog houses. Torched dog houses escalate to stolen carpentry tools and cancelled contracts. Cancelled contracts escalate to eminent domain. Sick of the attacks from Texaco Oil on his neighborhood, Remmy assembles his merry men:

“We need the world’s greatest prank. One grand glorious jest that’ll bloody the nose of that tyrant. Besides, pranks and jokes don’t got no consequences, right?”

The Greenwood Poet

Greenwood Poet

The Greenwood Poet spent two years spelunking the archive, grounds, and barrows of Greenwood Cemetery – America’s oldest and greatest rural cemetery. While there, he uncovered stories of love and loss, stories of shipwreck and tragedy. And he met several Fae creatures who had something to say about New York city. Written mostly in heroic meter with a couple breaks for spoken word and Renaissance meters, The Greenwood Poet calls us to return to the Arcadia in our own neighborhood.

Least of These Least

least of these least

It unsettles me that Jesus never specified on the second time he said it. The verse fills us with dread in where have we overlooked the hungry, the sick, the undocumented refugee or person experiencing homelessness, the naked, the prisoner? When have we neglected to quench, feed, heal, host, and visit? And when – specifically – have we done so to Jesus himself?

The dread grows.

For Jesus, the second time – in the judgment passage, says the least of these. These what?

These prisoners. These naked. These hungry. These thirsty. These migrants or homeless. It seems to me there are all kinds of ways to come in last place. And not just the most hungry, most thirsty, most naked, most unhomed, most imprisoned. It’s least socially. Least financially. Least in terms of quality of thought or emotional stability. Most lost spiritually. Least attractive. Most obscure. The one who brings the clearest shame. Poorest, most uninfluential, of lowest repute. It means the one who deserves it the least in every single category.

That. Is wild.

Some of the hungry did it to themselves. Some are dehydrating themselves and poisoning the water holes of their community. Some are naked cause they’re nudists or in the BDSM voyeur crowd or because they’re selling their clothes for drugs. Some are undocumented migrants because they’re escaping crimes they committed, because they’re running from their calling like Jonah, because they’re running drugs, or homeless because they love the adventure of sleeping rough. Some are in prison because they’re guilty. They’re the least. They deserved it.

Jesus says that’s him. What have you done for him through those you have every right to hate, shame, mistrust, avoid, or resent?

That should bother you.

Tap and Die

A cowboy separated from his wife visits an ambassador’s gala above an active volcano. Magical terrorists attack. Separated from his clothes and family, he must wield a lightning wand against an invading army in hopes to set the fantastic world’s diplomats free.

Will he make it out clothed, reunited, and unsinged?

Conceived as a genre-bending — even Nabokovian — satire of Die Hard, one Canadian booksellers thought this fantasy novella will start a new genre named Die Bard:

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