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Author August 2011
Hello and welcome to my professional blog. In this blog, I will mostly write about writing, editing, publishing, slush reading and the calls for submission I am making or responding to. There will be writer advice based on whatever lesson I am relearning, interview links for current projects and random bits that relate to writing in some emotional or technical way. I have no filters and make liberal use of the tag system.

See my profile for my event appearances, book covers, bio and other such things.

My personal blog, gaaneden, is where I talk about my husband, my cats, my gaming and other randomness of everyday life. It is a lot less structured and a lot more fluff. Feel free to add my personal LJ as well.

Tell Me - Jean Rabe

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Jean is a wonderful friend of mine and we’ve talked about this book, The Cauldron, off and on for months. Now, Silence in the Library has put together a multi-book kickstarter that is 2/3rds funded for three books (including one by Timothy Zahn) that includes The Cauldron. Here, Jean talks about how The Cauldron, co-written with Gene DeWeese, came to be.
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The Cauldron (once called Mnemorphosis)

There’s a spaceship inside, aliens, an elephant, and the Civil War . . . oh, and a love story, too. How wonderful is that?

Not in a million light years would I have thought to combine those elements into a science fiction novel.

In fact, I wouldn’t have thought to attempt this book. Well . . . I did write it, you can see my name on the cover illustration. I mostly write fantasy, and I dabble in urban fantasy and modern-day adventure yarns. I love to read science fiction, but I haven’t written a lot of it.

So how did I end up writing what I consider an amazing book?

Gene DeWeese called me one day some years back.

Gene was one of my writer-buddies and at the time (‘cause I used to live in Kenosha, WI) a fellow Cheesehead. I’d met him many years ago when we both wrote books for TSR (he, Ravenloft, me, Dragonlance). I had read his books even years before that, and I’d invited him to a lot of the anthologies I edited. Gene wrote just about anything . . . contemporary, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. And he wrote all of it well. He was a New York Times Bestselling author, and he was known for his Star Trek novels.

Gene had a novel fragment in his computer that had been vexing him. Its working title was called Mnemorphosis, but it didn’t sit well with him, as he thought readers wouldn’t pick it up. He wanted to turn that fragment into a full novel, but he didn’t seem up to finishing it on his own. He asked if I’d like to tackle the project.

Dear God yes!

Although I usually work alone, I’d collaborated with Andre Norton and John Helfers, and had great fun doing so.

Working with Gene DeWeese was a dream. He had such an incredible imagination . . . hence the elephant and the Civil War. And he had such an elegant, beautiful, gentle soul. I cherished every day I spent working on The Cauldron, and every phone conversation and e-mail I shared with him. I wanted to get the book “just right,” just the way he’d envisioned it. And I managed to weave my own elements and side-trips in it too. Part of it is set in Wisconsin (familiar to both of us) and Indiana (where I’d lived for a time when I was a news reporter and he’d lived many years ago). So it was a perfect coauthor pairing.

The endeavor wasn’t without its difficulties. Gene was suffering with a form of dementia (and was well aware of it; he’d lament to me about things he couldn’t recall and memories that had been scattered to the winds). The disease claimed him before he could see The Cauldron in print. I’d like to think that his scattered thoughts helped make The Cauldron so wonderful. When you read it, you’ll see how so many disparate elements combine to tell one story.

My agent pronounced the book “weirdly good,” and endeavored to market it. After one of the New York publishers sat on it for more than eighteen months, deciding whether or not to take it on, I told my agent I’d get it into print myself.

It’s a Kickstarter project that starts in August. The Cauldron is perfect for a Kickstarter. It’s ready to be printed; it’s not one of those Kickstarters where if enough contributions are raised, the author will write it. Silence in the Library is the publisher. They’re awesome folks, and they love the book…maybe love it as much as I do.

It does, after all, have an elephant in it.

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Jean Rabe is the author of thirty fantasy, adventure, and mystery novels, a heap of short stories, and has edited a few dozen anthologies. She shares her office with three dogs and a cantankerous parrot. Visit her at www.jeanrabe.com.



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The Writing Life for Me

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I just got back from Gen Con. As usual, it was the busiest four days of the year – panels, signings, manning the booth. I got to see old friends and new. I sold a thing. I got offered a gig which I will do. I got to talk to a bunch of fans. I shared my experience and knowledge with those who asked. It was a convention.

We got to have three of AIP’s six authors at the table at one point. Four if you count me. Dylan, Ivan, and new author Wendy. She’s a sweetheart and smart! I’m so happy we’ll be publishing her next year.

I had to take the week of Gen Con off writing for two reasons: 1. Con. That’s a given. Unless under deadline, I shouldn’t do a lot of writing at a convention because I’m so tired by the end of the day. 2. I did something very bad to my shoulder and needed to rest it. It seems to be better now. But no clicky games for the foreseeable future.

Not being allowed to write always makes me want to write more. I love conventions but I’m never happier to get home, back to my routine and to write. I’m almost half-way through Chimera Incarnate and Never Let Me Leave is fully outlined. I’m giving Peter M. Ball’s Flotsam #2 a read through and then it’s onto Dylan’s Sheynan #2 for a full edit.

It’s a busy schedule but I’m looking forward to it.

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I asked Erik Scott de Bie to talk to me about Justice/Vengeance: Libations for the Dead (Vol 1). I love comic books and I like Erik's writing. So, this kickstarter was a no brainer for me. I've worked with Eric on RPGs and and I've edited him. I think ya'll are going to like Justice/Vengeance. Here's what he had to say about it.

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Heroes.

That’s what it’s all about.

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved superheroes: people who stand out and above the rest, using the powers for the good of everyone. They may have got their special whammy from radiation, magic, aliens, or maybe they’re born with it (maybe it’s Maybelline), or maybe there’s nothing super-powered about them at all but their drive to do the right thing. The common denominator is that they can do something to help the world, and so they do.

It’s the same with the heroes of the character driven Justice/Vengeance, around whom I’ve built the entire concept.

Pre-law student Marcus Orestes has only just learned the identity of his birth father: Justice, one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. The revelation sets him on a quest to learn more about his father he never knew, the great power he wields, and the super-heroic destiny that awaits him: to become the new Justice.

His path crosses that of two powerful women.

The Latina superstar Angel “A-Girl” DeSantes is a superhero celebrity heiress melting in the spotlight with her own legacy to uphold. Possessed of superhuman strength, durability, and flight, she is stunningly effective in fighting crime, but her inherent clumsiness and lack of experience lead to a great deal of collateral damage that doesn’t play well in the tabloids. She’s coping with the pressures of fame and the niggling feeling that she’s supposed to be doing something more—much more—with her powers.

Enter also the retired former villain Vivienne “Lady Vengeance” Cain, a functioning alcoholic who struggles to control her dark, demon-fueled fear powers that threaten the world itself. She drinks to defend herself and everyone around her. After she was implicated in the murder of her former superhero team by their combined rogue’s gallery, most of the world thinks she’s dead, and those who know she’s alive want to fix that.

And lots of booze, ninjas, robots, demons, monsters, gods, demi-gods, and whatever else you can imagine.

Justice/Vengeance is my first comic book. It’s about doing the right thing, even if it isn’t always clear what that is. It unpacks some of the big themes I explore in my other work: the nature of good and evil, the difference between justice and vengeance, identity and moral agency. I make a concerted effort in J/V to embrace diversity of story and characters in a way comics haven’t always done all that well, across the lines of age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and motivation. And most of all, I'm just telling an awesome story: taking what is already fully formed in my head and communicating it to my audience.

I’ve wanted to do this since before I started writing. Here’s my chance.

And it’s going to be awesome.

Promise.

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Erik Scott de Bie is a 30-something speculative fiction author and game designer. He has published eight novels to date, including novels in the storied Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, the famous Traveller universe (his forthcoming novel Priority: Hyperion), a stand-alone novel for Broken Eye Books (Scourge of the Realm), and the original World of Ruin epic fantasy setting (his recently released novel, Shadow of the Winter King, is the first in that series). His short work has appeared in numerous anthologies and he is the author of the multimedia superhero project, Justice/Vengeance (live on Kickstarter during GenCon 2014!). In his work as a game designer, he has contributed to products from such companies as Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press, and he is a lead creative consultant on Red Aegis from Vorpal Games. Check out his website: erikscottdebie.com

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Gen Con 2014 Panel and Signing Schedule

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

If I'm not at a panel/signing, I’ll be at my Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in Authors Avenue. Feel free to come by and say hello. Make sure you ask for a Gen Con 2014 author story card!

Thursday
2pm – Rm243 – Writer’s Craft: Romance and Love Stories
4pm – Dealers – Signing

Friday
12pm – Rm244 – Editing: The Writer Editor

Saturday
11am – Rm244 – Publishing: Small Press
12pm – Rm244 – Publishing: E-Publishing
4pm – Dealers – Signing

Biking for MS

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The Husband, Jeff, is doing a charity bike ride to fight multiple sclerosis. He’s pretty close to his funding goal. It would be nice for him to make it. Here’s the official blurb:

“I would like to thank those that donated in my first round notification, and I’m trying to keep these relatively un-spammy.  But, if you have a moment to consider this, I and the MS community, will thank you.

So, I registered to be a part of a charity biking event this year ( Sep 5th  – 7th), riding with Team Microsoft, and am raising funds to support the charity.  Your donation can be matched by Microsoft as well if you also submit it as a matching donation.

Mile by mile and dollar by dollar, Bike MS is changing lives. That's why I registered for Bike MS and why I'm asking you to support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS, but they can't do it without our help. It's faster and easier than ever to support this cause. Simply click the link below to visit my page and make a donation.

Your donation supports cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every dollar helps.  Every person makes a difference.

Please support me by making a donation! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on progress to my goal.

Click here to visit my personal page.

If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=13428368&pg=personal&fr_id=23318&et=FJPFY5fcTDRgFdJlu9UTDg&s_tafId=350823

Thank for thinking about it.”

Tell Me - Kenneth Mark Hoover

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for the Haxan world by Kenneth Mark Hoover. I love a good weird west tale and Haxan is it. Someday, the worlds of Mowry, AZ and Haxan, AZ will collide and it will be epic.

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HOW I CREATED HAXAN

I fell into writing westerns, and dark fantasy westerns, entirely by accident.

About five years ago I started listening to the Old Time Radio Gunsmoke series. These were created and written by John Meston, a writer who wanted to bring adult sensibilities to the western. He hated what Hollywood had done to the Old West, relying on crude mythology and cliches. He wanted to write adult stories about the men and women of that time in a responsible way, leaving behind more cartoonish aspects which had taken root in the collective mind.

The OTR portrayal of Matt Dillon is very different from the television version. John Meston created Matt Dillon as a man as violent as the men he has goes up against. In fact, in the radio series, Matt Dillon is almost a psychopath who beats men within an inch of their life. Kitty, in the radio series, is a worn-out prostitute, and Doc Adams is a gibbering ghoul intent on collecting autopsy fees.

While listening to these episodes it wasn’t long before I knew I wanted to do something along the same lines. I had no intention before then of writing westerns or using a western setting as a backdrop in my fiction. John Meston, and his work, set the hook in my mind. I feel I owe him a lot.

Around the same time I finished reading the entire comic book run of Jonah Hex. I liked the hard-bitten edge of the character as written by John Albano, and the art of Tony DeZuniga has never been matched, in my opinion.

One afternoon I went outside to sit in the sun and I started making notes. I first had the town as Hex, New Mexico, probably a result of the comic influence. But I quickly changed that to Haxan, which is a Swedish word for “witches” and is the name of an excellent silent horror film from 1922. Just like that I had the entire plot of “Haxan” in my mind.

I started doing research, and to make things a little different leavened dark fantasy in the story. Not a lot. I didn’t want the fantasy to overwhelm the historical aspect at all. I had seen this in other “weird westerns” and frankly, never thought much of it. I didn’t want the West to be another generic (and replaceable) backdrop to my story. I wanted “Haxan” to be about the West, and any dark fantasy present would be included to illuminate that singular aspect.

I must say I have never thought I wrote “weird westerns” although the Haxan stories, and the novel published by CZP, are categorized that way. Being pigeonholed is a crux every writer must bear, and I don’t let it bother me too much. But, to me, your typical weird western is just another cliched story with vampires, werewolves, and the occasional Cthulhu-type monster in a walk-on role. I am a big reader of history and philosophy. I know the most frightening monsters have always been human. So that’s what I set out to write.

I’ve said many times Haxan is my own little dark corner of the universe where I get to play with matches. The setting and the characters lend themselves to many different story styles and genres. But I am always careful to make the West, and its culture, and the men and women of all races who struggled everyday to survive, my central focus. This came home to me in a big way when Jennifer Brozek remarked I should start writing stories about the other people in Haxan rather than concentrate on Marwood. I immediately saw what she was getting at. The whole mythos of Haxan needed to be told, rather than one slice from an individual viewpoint.

I haven’t looked back since. I’ve published about 20 Haxan short stories and more are coming. The novel Haxan was published by CZP earlier this year, and they’ve scheduled the next one, Quaternity, for May 2015. I will begin work on the third Haxan novel, Seven Devils, this fall.

So far I’ve enjoyed writing in the world of Haxan very much. People tell me they like the stories and the characters a lot. But I haven’t done it entirely by myself. I have some very good writers and friends I bounce ideas off to gauge their reaction whether a story idea is worth pursuing.

No writer writes a story entirely by himself. But as of today I am a citizen of Haxan, New Mexico, circa 1874, and I think I am going to stay there for a while.

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Kenneth Mark Hoover has sold over fifty short stories and articles. His first novel, Fevreblau, was published by Five Star Press in 2005. His work has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons and the anthology Destination: Future. He is a member of SFWA and HWA and currently lives near Dallas, TX. Mr. Hoover can be reached through his website kennethmarkhoover.com where extra content, including character biographies and photographs, can be found regarding the world of Haxan.






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The Writing Life

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

My life is boring from the outside. All I can talk about is what I've edited or written. I'm in a groove of work and not much more right now. A number of projects are falling in my lap all at once.

I just finished the final edits of my Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. It's been officially accepted and all that. I also just turned in Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press), the first book of the Melissa Allen series, my YA SF-thriller where I kill a whole state in the first chapter. Today, I'm working on the page proofs of Shattered Shields and I know page proofs for Chicks Dig Gaming are on their way.

Now, I'm shifting to writing-writing-writing. I'm working on Chimera incarnate (Apocalypse Ink Productions), the final book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles. Then I will be all about Never Let Me Leave, which is Melissa Allen #2. I also have 3 short stories due by the end of the year. So, my days will be marked by word counts, revisions, and page proofs. It's boring from the outside but awesome for me. I'm busy but I'm happy.


Still to be released in 2014



  • August, Doc Wagon 19 (Catalyst Game Labs)

  • October, "Dreams of a Thousand Young," Jazz Age Cthulhu (Innsmouth Free Press)

  • November, Shattered Shields  (Baen Books)

  • November, Chicks Dig Gaming  (Mad Norwegian Press)

  • December, "Written in the Wind," No True Way and Other Tales of Valdemar (DAW)

  • December, Apocalypse Girl Dreaming (Evil Girlfriend Media) - Though, this may move to early 2015


 

I Love New Book Covers

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)


I have a novelette in this first one, Jazz Age Cthulhu, called "Dreams of a Thousand Young." Pre-orders will start in September and it will be released in October.



I have a new short story in this one, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, called "Written in the Wind." This is my second Valdemar story. Pre-orders are available now and it will be released in December.


 


 

Vacation

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The Husband decided a couple months back that he wanted to go on a real (not to a convention, not to Sherpa me around, not to try and sell books) vacation. I agreed. Fortunately, with the timing, all the stars aligned and this vacation happened right after I signed a three book deal. (Whoo-hoo!) That meant I could actually relax, too.

We went to Sooke, Canada on Vancouver Island and stayed at Points West (who was quite pleased to host “a real author.” It was wonderful. Exactly what we both needed. We slept in. We had two planned events (Afternoon tea at the Empress and a visit to Royal Roads University) for the entire trip. Everything else was spur of the moment.

We spent one day just driving up the west coast of Vancouver Island from Sooke to Port Renfrew. We came across three amazing, amazing places. You see, beyond being B&B country, it is Artisan country and there are roads signs that say “Artisan” and the name of the artist country. We stopped at a bunch but here were the stand outs.

Aivars Logins, Wood Artist – The sign wasn’t much but I like woodcraft. Man, oh man. If I was rich, Aivars would never be out of work. You have got to see his carvings. Small or large, all of it was amazing. Also, he and his wife live in a 14-sided house that looks a little like a gussied up grain silo. He let me look around it because it was so interesting. We bought a burl cedar bowl so I can stick all my random jewelry in my office in one place.

Foggy Mountain Forge – This place. A working forge with the nicest guys ever. Marty made us a steel feather from a thin rod as he was showing us how everything worked. I also picked up a card holder that won’t walk off and Jeff got a ridiculous mace. Marty, it turns out, is also the fire chief in the area while his son, Justin, who specializes in weapons, is also a volunteer firefighter. Marty’s wife is an EMT. It makes sense. They all know how to deal with fire. I had a blast at this local artist. It’s the kind of place you revisit. And I’m sure some version of the Gilbertson family is going to end up in one of my books.

Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery – Mead! And honey! We met Dana in the tasting room and wow, they make excellent honey. No fooling. We came home with several bottles and honey and some honey-logenberry jam. It was so good. Dana is personable and happy to talk about the meadery. Soon, the place is going to sport one of the only honey / beekeeping museum on the island. The adding ego boost was running into a family from Redmond where the wife said, “I’m so excited to meet a real live author!” It was fun and another brush with being an "obscure celebrity."

Now that I’m home, I feel relaxed and able to meet my work schedule for the rest of the year. Which needs about 1000/day/5 days a week for the next 26 weeks. Doable as long as I’m consistent. Every writer needs a real vacation to refresh the creative well. This was the perfect one for me.