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[sticky post] Welcome to My Blog

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 - 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.

Freelancer Summary June 2014

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)



Ever wonder what a freelance author/editor does? Each month of 2014, I’m going to list my daily notes on what I do. As I always say, being your own boss means you choose with 70 hours of the week you work. None of this talks about the random pub IMs, time doing research, time reading books for blurbs, introductions, and reviews, or short author questions. It doesn’t cover my pays-the-bills work either. This is just publishing industry stuff. “Answered pub industry email” can be anything from a request for an interview, to contract queries, to reading anthology invites, to answering questions about dates… and the list goes on.



June



 



Sunday


2014.06.01



Answered pub industry email. Blog post.



2014.06.02



Answered pub industry email. AIP blog post. Wrote the Origins Game Fair convention card. Edits on Famished: The Commons. Approved cover art.



2014.06.03



Answered pub industry email. Freelancer summary blog post. Edits on Famished: The Commons.



2014.06.04



Answered pub industry email. A whole lot of Origins Game Fair prep as a dealer and as a panelist.



2014.06.05



Answered pub industry email. Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming.



2014.06.06



Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming.



2014.06.07



Answered pub industry email. Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming.



 



 



Sunday


2014.06.08



Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming. Pre-pack prep for Origins.



2014.06.09



Answered pub industry email. Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming. Pre-pack prep for Origins.



2014.06.10



Final edits on Apocalypse Girl Dreaming and emailed to publisher. Pack and travel to Origins Game Fair.



2014.06.11



Origins Game Fair. Dealer table setup. Answered pub industry email.



2014.06.12



Origins Game Fair. Dealer table. Panels.



2014.06.13



Origins Game Fair. Dealer table. Panels.



2014.06.14



Origins Game Fair. Dealer table. Panels.



 



 



Sunday


2014.06.15



Origins Game Fair. Dealer table tear down. Panels. Answered pub industry email.



2014.06.16



Answered pub industry email. Travel home from Origins Game Fair.



2014.06.17



Answered pub industry email. Project expense summary projection on potential project. Invoice client. Pub industry phone call x2. Contract negotiation. Blog Post.



2014.06.18



Answered pub industry email. Blog Post. AIP Blog Post. Noted freelance expenses from Origins. Contract negotiation. Googlegroup management for both AIP and JenniferBrozek.



2014.06.19



Answered pub industry email. Practice reading for live event. Edits on Famished: The Commons.



2014.06.20



Answered pub industry email. Reading at Waywards. Edits on Famished: The Commons.



2014.06.21



Answered pub industry email. Contract negotiation. Edits on Famished: The Commons.



 



 



Sunday


2014.06.22



Finished edits on Famished: The Commons. Pub industry phone call. Back cover copy for Flotsam 1: Exile.



2014.06.23



Editorial reading on The Bringer of War. Invoiced a client.



2014.06.24



Answered pub industry email. Editorial reading on The Bringer of War. Blog announcement of Chicks Dig Gaming.



2014.06.25



Answered pub industry email. Editorial reading on The Bringer of War. Facebook interview.



2014.06.26



Answered pub industry email. Back cover copy for The Bringer of War. Editorial reading on The Bringer of War. Anthology story pitch.



2014.06.27



Editorial reading on The Bringer of War.



2014.06.28



Answered pub industry email. Editorial reading on The Bringer of War. Contract negotiation. Approving new cover art.



 



 



Sunday


2014.06.29



Answered pub industry email. Editorial notes for The Bringer of War. Contract negotiation. Signed and returned Melissa Allen series contract.



2014.06.30



Answered pub industry email. Final polish of Exile: Flotsam 1. Blog announcement of Melissa Allen series sale. AIP Blog announcement of Cross Cutting trilogy acquisition.



My Melissa Allen series is sold!

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’ve been sitting on some big news as all the details were hammered out. While I was at Origins Game Fair, I got an offer from Permuted Press for the first three books my young adult SF-thriller series. The Melissa Allen series (Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die). As I told my parents… “It’s the kind of stuff I wished early Stephen King would have written for teenagers. So, yay! Only 7.5 years after I became full time freelance author!”

I’m super excited to be part of the Permuted Press family and I have to thank Tim Long and Katie Cord for making sure me and the head honchos from Permuted met.

Here’s a bit about the first book:

NEVER LET ME SLEEP
Troubled teen, Melissa Allen, wakes to find that everyone in her house, on her street, and in her town is dead. As she learns that the unexplained massacre expands well beyond her town, she discovers she is not alone and what hunts her isn’t human. With her only support the voice of DHS Agent David Hood on the phone, Melissa must survive long enough to break the signal that murdered everyone she ever knew and stop the creatures before their plans succeed.

Chicks Dig Gaming!

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Chicks Dig Gaming:
A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It
essay collection slated for November 11th release


Mad Norwegian Press is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of Chicks Dig Gaming --- an essay collection and sister publication to the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords, the Hugo-nominated Chicks Dig Comics, and more.

The book is edited by Jennifer Brozek (Apocalypse Ink Productions), Robert Smith? (Who’s 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die) and Lars Pearson (editor-in-chief, the Chicks Dig series), and features essays by nearly three dozen female writers.

Contributors include Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…, Indistinguishable from Magic), Seanan McGuire (the October Daye series); G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen), Rosemary Jones (Forgotten Realms), Emily Care Boss (Gaming as Women), Mary Anne Mohanraj (Bodies in Motion), Jody Lynn Nye (the MythAdventures series), E. Lily Yu (“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”) and more.

Also included: exclusive interviews with Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens and Dragonlance author Margaret Weis.

Chicks Dig Gaming will be published on November 11, 2014, and retail (print version) for $14.95. The book will also be available as an ebook on Kindle, Nook and iBooks on the day of release.

To request a review copy of Chicks Dig Gaming, or to schedule an interview with one of the editors or contributors, please email: MadNorwegian@gmail.com

A web-quality version of the Chicks Dig Gaming cover is attached; please email: MadNorwegian@gmail.com if you require a print-quality version.



I'm super proud of this collection. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it. Lars and Mad Norwegian Press took it in ways I didn't expect. This is a fabulous set of essays. Really. I don't think I could be more proud than I am right now about this book.

Origins Quotes

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Some really awesome things said to me at Origins. I want to remember them. It's quotes like these that make going to conventions and working my butt off worth the sweat and toil.

“I want to be you when I grow up. You are just awesome.”

“Last year, you told me that I should consider writing short stories because they do have a faster turnaround than novels. I did that and I just recently made my first sale. Thank you for that.”

“You may not remember me but last year, you told me that I needed to focus and figure what I really wanted to do… and I did. I decided that I wanted to edit comic anthologies. Here are my first two. So, thank you for that kick in the butt.”

“You are one of my favorite people at Origins. I always have to come see you.”

A conversation with a nine year old budding author that was just too cute for words. “My first story is a mystery and I don’t know if I have enough paper to print it out on but I wanted to know… how big is a chapter?” and “Do you get to draw the pictures, too?”

Bubble and Squeek for 17 June 2014

Author August 2011

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

REVIEW: Geeky Library reviews Bless Your Mechanical Heart and give it 5/5. Woo-hoo!

REVIEW: National Space Society reviews Beyond the Sun. I can’t actually tell if they liked my story, “Dust Angels,” or not. You decide.

READING: This Friday, 20 Jun 2014, I will be at Waywards Coffeehouse, reading from my story in By Faery Light.