Thursday, August 17, 2017

WHAT IMMORTAL HAND blurbs coming in

The reviews are starting to come in for WHAT IMMORTAL HAND, the blurbs too. Check these out.

Also, remember that I'm giving away real paper copies of WHAT IMMORTAL HAND at GOODREADS. Here's the link to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

What Immortal Hand by Johnny Worthen

What Immortal Hand

by Johnny Worthen

Giveaway ends August 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, August 10, 2017


I am giving away copies of WHAT IMMORTAL HAND as a Goodreads giveaway. These are actual shelf-inhabiting copies, made of paper and ink. I'll even sign them, because God knows I'll sign anything. The difference being, these I will have read.

Here's the giveaway portal:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

What Immortal Hand by Johnny Worthen

What Immortal Hand

by Johnny Worthen

Giveaway ends August 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sign on up. Tell your friends, tell your enemies. Tell your streak.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

What Immortal Hand ARCs are afloat

I’ve sent out the ARCs for my new book, WHAT IMMORTAL HAND for reviews, and of course I’m collecting blurbs from other author friends of mine, and acquaintances and a couple flat out shots i the dark of people I like. So far so good.

So far so good.

But I am worried.

WHAT IMMORTAL HAND is dark. It’s a horror—adult and literary, but still a horror. The ideas and directions and content is adult and meant to be challenging if not troubling. All this is well and good and I know all my Horror Writing friends are down with this, but, let’s be honest: most of my fans know me (so far) from my young series, THE UNSEEN—ELEANOR, CELESTE and DAVID. Though there’s some darkness in those books, it’s nothing like HAND.

Granted I have fans of BEATRYSEL and they’ll be down with it, but in offering ARCs to so many of my fans, I know I’ll hit a few who’ll be shocked by my book. Will I lose a reader? A fan? A friend?

Coming September
This is the worry of all multiple genre authors. It’s why writers use pen-names for their different projects: Stephen King, Richard Bachman; JK Rowling, Robert Galbraith. I thought hard about having several pen names, but to be honest, when I started I was too lazy to do the double marketing required for two names. Since I’m now firmly entrenched in at least four genres, I think I made the right decision for me, but possibly not for my career.

Editors and publishers don’t like the multiple genre thing much either. It makes it harder to sell. My fans are spread out, hardcore horror buffs, sensitive YA readers, adult mystery buffs. As with the worry I have about WHAT IMMORTAL HAND, publishers can’t rely on fans of one of my books following me to another. So each books has to stand on its own and that’s kind of working against the momentum and fan base I have gone.

But the ship has sailed (to take a quote from WHAT IMMORTAL HAND). I can do nothing about it now but worry. I write what I do because I need to write it. “I write what I want to read, that guarantees me at least one fan,” is still my mantra, but let’s face it, I’m not alone in this. I like my readers and want them to like me.

I'm consoled in the knowledge that my fans are smart (they like me after all) and also by the strange idea—which most modern media outlets can't imagine—that readers like a little variety. People have favorites but there's room for good writing in any reader's collection.

That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking with it.

In any event, it's out of my hands now. All I can do is worry.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


When you turn most of your life upside down, don’t be surprised when the rest of it goes sliding down the ramp.

I’m moving. All of a sudden it seems. Old house out, new house on its way. Eventually. But first a stress sandwich with a side of panic. Endless hours of excitement, worry, and remorse and everyone’s nerves are frayed to a powder puff.

They say that moving is as stressful as a death or a divorce and I’d go so far as to say they’re probably more related than that.

It’s all about change. Change is a four letter word that’s six letters long just to screw with us.

Change seems to be the only constant in the universe. The delta of a mathematical equation, the crux of evolution, the one thing removed to make a perfect heavenly tableau. On the Christian God’s cloud garden, there is no aging, no death, no change. That’s how we see paradise.

But I digress.

I was bit by the change bug. After eleven years, a perfect storm of logic, emotion, and timing set me to sell my house without having another ready to take us. And it sold. And the factors that drove us to the decision have changed. Some by the whim of the punative universe, others possibly from the stress of the change itself.

The future is uncertain. It is full of change and changing change. And change—real change—is born in pain. And sometimes the pain is too much and to stop one ache, another will be endured. An amputated leg for a gangrenous toe. A new house for a stumbling relationship, a new god for a senseless death.

But I digress.

I’m moving.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

LUW Marketing Workshop

Writing is a joy. It’s an inspired act of creation and expression. It is a tonic for me and for most writers. Sometimes it becomes work and you have to force through it but it’s always worth it. That is always the best part of writing.

The not best parts, you hear me complain about a lot. The querying and glacial pace of publishing are terrible but that just begins the slog of marketing. This is what most new writers don’t understand and few are good at; the marketing of the book. A book, no matter how good or bad, is a product and must be sold. I’ve said many times that right now it’s never been easier to be published, but it’s never been harder to be read. That’s where marketing matters. And it matters a lot.

Writers are not by in large marketers—salesmen. Ir we were, we’d probably be selling cars or condos or bridges or something and getting rich instead of brooding with plots and character arcs, themes and twists that paint imaginary pictures into the aether of art. We tend to be introverted. Even me. Yeah, I know, me? Really. There are several Johnnys; one is a writer; the other a marketer who just happens to adore his product.

But enthusiasm isn’t enough. Marketing, as any business school will tell you, is a dynamic science of luck and perseverance,. The tools that work for one product one day, won’t work the next or for another thing. Finding an audience (customers) is paramount for authors and unless we just get stupid lucky, we're going to have to work a little to find them.

This is why the League or Utah Writers has put together a Summer Conference prequel class on marketing. A common topic in all modern writing conferences, the League thought to have a special dedicated half day seminar about the subject with professionals and amateurs who’ve waded into the ocean of sales and come out alive.

The seminar is Saturday July 29th at the Viridian Event Center, 8030 S 1825 W, West Jordan, UT 84088, Here’s a link to sign up and all he other info (just click on the graphic). If you do go you get a discount for the LUW Fall Conference in October. All good. There’s even going to be snacks.

I’ll be there to hear some great ideas and find reinforcement for some things I know. I invite all authors seeking to finds sales to come join us. It’s a cheap date and the information you glean might make the difference in a career.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Creative Writing Bootcamp Plan

This Saturday, I teach my first CREATIVE WRITING BOOTCAMP for the University of Utah Lifelong Learning Center. It’s a class that’s being taught by several instructors and is very popular. In planning my lessons I landed upon a fundamental philosophical problem in creative writing and thought to exploit it.

The world of writing is separated into two camps: Pantsters and Plotters. It's a reference to how an author approaches their writing. Plotters tend to outline their work first, have the ending in mind, organize. Pantsers “fly by the seat of their pants” and go where the muse leads them. There’s a long-standing feud between the two camps and it often gets bloody (see the famous Merriman City Authors massacre 1977).

I think every author is a little bit of both and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. I’ve called myself a plotter for most of my career because I think it’s the better side to be on. Generally speaking, a plotter is more productive. They can pick up where they left off more easily and have a plan that enables them to finish books. I’ve talked to sworn pantsers who’ve turned to plotting once their careers put them in the hot seat for deadlines. It’s a good way to go.

I still plot for the most part, but lately it’s been a really loose plot. I call it "waypoint writing." I have a list of things I want to accomplish in each book, each chapter and scene, and write to that. It’s a moving target. Sometimes I can’t get what I want to say into a chapter so I have to write another. Sometimes something new and amazing happens and I have to rework later scenes to accommodate. It’s a pantser inside the plot. I always have goals, themes and ideas in lists and maps, and I navigate the ocean between my points by these stars. It works for me.

Certain works demand more or less plotting. Mysteries require extensive thought beforehand if I want to play fair. Character studies can go where they will so long as I don’t loose the thread (see: Write as Fast as You Can). In truth. My most creative moments come from deep pantsting, I won’t lie. When I’m off the grid and letting the muse take over, some absolutely wonderful things happen. However I can’t count on her coming to each session. She seems to have other interests, music probably, so I’m often left to my own devices. That’s why I plot as I do.

I think a lot about these two approaches and notice myself switching sides here and there, leaning more this way or that. I teach plotting mostly, because it can be taught, but I am well aware that art comes from flying and not running on tracks. I struggle with it myself and have learned the hard way never to over-plot.

I will take this struggle of mine, this battle of writing styles, into my class. The first week of my class, we’ll pants the hell out of it (kinda). The second week we’ll plot the snot out of it (kinda sorta). And during the entire class, we’ll talk about how it all works and debate and discuss and come to an understanding if not a decision on what works best for us. At this moment. For this project. During this phase of moon. Sorta. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see what actually happens.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Single Woman

Continuing the challenge of writing a one hundred word story, I present today my quick response this writing prompt: IT WAS AS IF SHE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF "SHUT UP."

“Olly was nice but woke me up to go running every morning, and I need my beauty sleep so that wasn’t going to work. I had my eye on Steven anyway, so he moved in so fast the room didn’t get cold. That should have been a clue. The warrant wasn’t cold either and they grabbed him coming out of a 7-Eleven. Then Peter stole my mother’s clock to buy an ankle bracelet. That guy… But then Levon—“

“I just need two tacos with extra sauce.”

Her sigh came through the little speaker like a roar. “ Fine. Drive through.”