Novels

The Walking Tree 

Fourteen-year-old Noah Marten has always felt things too deeply. She is easily nauseated, often dizzy, and prone to unexpected bouts of tears. While her family’s move to the country is just what her mother’s health demands, Noah can’t help but feel like she is living in a stranger’s shoes. She misses the way things were when her favorite restaurant was three blocks away, and her mother was quick to laugh. But more than that, she wonders what this new life will be like. 

On her third night in the strange house, Noah cries herself to sleep. And that’s when she hears the song. The largest tree in the forest is singing to her in a voice that she cannot resist. It soaks up her sadness and turns it into music, filling her head with visions of ancient days. And then, it tells her to CLIMB! Among its high branches, Noah is shown pieces of a world far wilder than the one she has known—a world where trees not only walk, but run, and where demons lurk in the darkness beneath the earth. 

With the help of Gideon, the groundskeeper’s son, Noah is determined to protect the tree at any cost. But when the Blight, a creature of shadow, escapes from its cage and returns to finish what it started long ago, Noah and Gideon realize that they have entered into a fight much older and wilder than they bargained for. 

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Your Eyes On Me

There are only nine days left before the world ends. Planes are grounded and roads backed up, leaving nowhere to go. People are caught in the middle of the lives they’ve been living. For some this is enough; for others, it feels as though the end has already begun. 

Spunky, directionless, and terrified of being forgotten, Charity ricochets from moment to moment in search of anything to help her forget her unavoidable fate—whether it’s boys, drugs, or online shopping. The last thing on her mind is the girl she met at summer camp all those years ago, when her problems could be laughed away over a soccer game, and her parents hadn’t split her world in two. 

Introspective, deep-feeling, and unable to shake all the questions in her head, AJ tries to face her final days the way she’s faced everything: with a pen in hand, trying to capture every detail. There are so many things left to feel, but with the end looming, the one thing on her mind is the girl she can’t forget. The girl who promised to write back, and never did—her Charity. 

While Charity throws herself angrily at life, AJ begins writing one final letter to her long-lost best friend, a letter she knows she will never have the chance to send. 

 

A Note On The Human Café

The first book that I ever wrote was called Arthur of Oakland. I wrote it in roughly 2007 in two spiral-bound notebooks, both green if I'm remembering right. I don't think I could tell you much that I remember about it, except that dodo birds make an appearance and Oakland was a fantastial world full of talking, sword-fighting animals, and not a city in California. 

If I'm being honest, that book was the beginning of all this. I was ten years old. And since then, I haven't stopped writing. But seeing as I'm not sharing that book with you, here, or with anyone anywhere, then we'll jump ahead, eight years or so, to the book that actually started things. 

When I wrote the Human Café, it was like nothing I'd ever written before. It was one-part response to, one part departure from the fantasy that I'd known and loved for the last nine years.

I'd finished High School, and started college. I was working full time in a coffee-shop. And fantasy had lost its color. Don't get me wrong, I still loved it. (I still love it.) But for some reason that I didn't understand, it felt hollow. The emptiness, if I'm not mistaken, was the dissonance caused when my own capacity for story, for feeling and thought, outgrew the medium I'd loved for so long. 

The result was a shift that, for a long time, I thought I'd never recover from. For me, the most defining memory I have from this period was actually the long months after The Human Café was finished when I, at eighteen years old, thought I probably peaked. I'd never write anything again, at least nothing worth reading. At least not that summer. 

And yet, here we are. The writer's block, the dissonance, didn't last forever. 

The Human Café is a book about a shift, that represents a shift. And just like the characters in it are forced to say goodbye to a piece of themselves, so I felt like I had to. After self-publishing in 2016, I found that other peope responded to the book the same way that I did.

And now, three years later, in a very different stage of life (and yet, not), I am actively working toward large-scale publication again. If you've been following along since the 2016 Kickstarter days or before, or if you're just discovering this blog, welcome! Hopefully soon, there will be updates to follow. 

Until then, enjoy the first chapter of The Human Café: A Café That Is Human. 

Yours,

JD Miller