Wednesday, October 18, 2017

LUW 2017 Fall Conference Report

This year's League of Utah Writers Fall Conference was even better than I thought it would be. Great program, location, guests and classes. It was fantastic.

I was master of ceremonies but will remain President-Elect for a while longer as we extended the term of our very awesome sitting president Jared Quan. I'll take over August 24-25, 2017 at the next conference, now to be known as The Quills Conference.

I got to announce that one of my favorite living authors will be a keynote speaker there. Tim Dorsey, creator of the amazing Serge Storms books will kick off the new Quills Conference with irreverent style.

On other fronts, I get to announce that I won another award. Let me preface this by saying that our contest this year had about 500 entries and we received personal congratulations from our secret judges stating that they do a lot of judging, and they were seriously impressed by the quality of our work.

My story The Strange Vanishing  of Charles Prescott, Billionaire won a Third Place in this year’s League of Utah Writers contest in Speculative Fiction Prose.

Since I entered it, this story was published and is available now in even better form in MIRAGES AND SPECULATIONS, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FROM THE DESERT. You can buy it now on Amazon or wherever they're sold.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

League of Utah Writers Fall Conference

Today’s Blog is in anticipation of a great weekend.

This weekend is the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference. Officially, it’s October 6 & 7 at the Taylorsville campus of Salt Lake Community College.

And, get this, the first day o the conference is FREE!

That’s right. Friday, is open to the public. Come on down and get some eduction, talk to writers, publishers, friends,. People who are literate and love the word. You know, good people! Saturday is cheap too and includes meals and the award banquet.

Everyone who is anyone will be there.

We have great guests including Kevin J. Anderson and J.H. Montcrieff. I, as president elect of the League will also be there. I am teaching several classes and hearing pitches (see below) but mostly hanging out and helping out where needed.

I know I should be stressed out about it, but I’m not. Its going to be a party!

Here's my official schedule if you want to hook up with me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

10:00-11:50 a.m.
Room 130 (ABC)

3:00-4:00 p.m.
Room Blue (030)

Kevin J Anderon
Master Class: Professionalism and Career Building
7:00 p.m. Oak (201)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

9:00 -9:50 a.m.
Room 023/025

Plus, I'll be all over everwhere as Master of Ceremonies!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

WHAT IMMORTAL HAND release report

This years’s Salt Lake Comic Con was one that I will always remember. It had the usual array of stars and cosplay, vending, networking, hanging with the like minded fandom of the state, but this year it also saw the launch event for my new book, WHAT IMMORTAL HAND. 

I’ve been talking a lot about this book, and will some more, but right now let me share a bit of what happened last Friday.

Salt Lake Comic Con graciously shared some space with us this year on Friday to coincide with the official release date for WHAT IMMORTAL HAND on Amazon and beyond.

My publisher came in from Los Angeles for the event. We handed out hundreds of tickets to fans and friends and we assembled in one of the writing rooms for a reading and a raffle.

It was grand.

We aslo used the opportunity to launch MIRAGES AND SPECULATIONS, a new speculative fiction anthology yours truly is a part of. We collected a few of the authors from the anthology who were at the Con and celebrated that new book with a Q&A and also more drawings for books and games.

I carried the glow from the event all through the convention and beyond. I still have a perma-grin. Of course I sold out of WHAT IMMORTAL  HAND before Salt Lake Comic Con was done.

Yeah, I had a good time.


Jay Barnson, Julie Frost, Paul Genesse and David West

Working the crowd

My table before the storm

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Letting go of Michael

2017 Salt Lake Comic Con
Here I am again on the eve of another book release. This Friday September 22 is the official launch for WHAT IMMORTAL HAND. Amazon will be live and I’ll celebrate at Salt Lake Comic Con with an event at 2:00 p.m. in room 255A. The whole Con is invited. Come if you can.

WHAT IMMORTAL HAND is a return to novel length horror for me. It is the spiritual successor to BEATRYSEL. The two books share a publisher and I am eternally grateful to Kate Jones at Omnium Gatherum for all her help (quick plug there).

You’d think I’d be used to these by now, having now had seven of them, but I’m not. Maybe when I get to seventy books moments like this will be expected and normal. Maybe. But not now. Surely not now. Not for WHAT IMMORTAL HAND.

Each book that I send into the world is a living breathing creation of mine, a child I’m sending off into the world. Hopeful and anxious that they will be accepted, have a long life, succeed. It’s always emotional. Part vindication, part terror. Part helplessness.

I’m nervous about this one like I haven’t been before because it is the most terrifying book I’ve ever written.

WHAT IMMORTAL HAND is the story of Michael Oswald, a burned-out insurance investigator struggling to find meaning in mundane daily life. It is a holy journey to the past, to faith and to madness. Its permeating horror lies in its challenge to Western philosophy. In writing it, I absorbed this other thinking and studied Hinduism and meditated long about the nature of good and evil against the realities I saw all around me. I summoned Kali, the Dark Mother, and communed with her until she became the muse for the book. I went to dark places and came back with ashes and tigers.

To discover Michael’s madness, I went a little mad myself when I wrote it. Because of this, I am sure,
the book rings true and honest, a story about crime and horror, true because it hasn’t a false note in its perverted reality. At least not to my ears.

Like every book I write, it’ll have to find its own audience—sing me the multiple-genre-author blues—but I think it will. The book is good. really good, in my humble opinion. It is unique and effective. At it’s core is a good yarn. A little experimental (enough to make editors cringe) but it delivers. It is exciting with twists and dark corners. Hallucinations and yearnings for greatness and purpose. It’s complete with complex characters you can love and hate, and profound concepts you can mull over or run past to get to the juicy parts.

Did I just review my own book? I think I did. What can I say? I really like it.

And now it’s out of my hands. Literally. I won’t be there when the reader accompanies Michael down his surreal desert roads. I won’t be there to explain my inspiration and intent, my dislike of commas, the symbolism and literary references.

It is and always will be a part of me. A moment, an idea. I gave it birth and now let it go. Now Michael must assemble his own streak, or he may hunt alone. Such is the nature of the tyger, my dark and brooding son.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Official WHAT IMMORTAL HAND Launch Party - Salt Lake Comic Con

I’m thrilled to announce that the official launch event for WHAT IMMORTAL HAND will occur next Friday at Salt Lake Comic Con!

The event is scheduled for Friday 2:00—3:00PM in room 255A. We will have a prizes (lots!) and I will do a reading, sign some books, take questions and otherwise be damned happy to alive and have another book in print.

HERE's the official FaceBook event page if you want to check it out.

As you know, if you've heard me talking about this book at all, it was really an experience to write. I've never inhabited a character like this before. I shared Michael Oswald's trip across the country, to the past, and to his terrible truth. I acknowledge the Dark Goddess as a muse for this. I read it now and I am struck by how sure every beat is. Fiction or not, it is a true book.

And just in time for Halloween.

Also being celebrated at the release party will by a new anthology I’m privileged to be a part of called MIRAGES & SPECULATIONS. We’ll have other authors from that book there to help celebrate the craft, the art, and the thrill of having a book out.

All Salt Lake Comic Con patrons are invited. Stop by my booth at BLUE-17 on Thursday or Friday morning for official tickets which will get you in the raffle. I think we're giving away a Kindle among other things.

There's also chatter about an after-party at the Destinations bar in the Marriott Hotel afterward. 

Yeah, I'm pretty happy about all this.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Writing Young Adult Literature Class this Fall

If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never be able to experience a Fall without having that feeling of excitement and worry that accompanies going back to school. I have it now and to compound it, I really am going back to school.

This Fall I am teaching at the University of Utah with the Lifelong Learning Program (continuing education).

I'm teaching a class that starts soon. It is a six week course, two hours a week on Tuesdays. It is a workshop and a writing seminar geared toward writing young adult literature. Thus the name.

Writing Young Adult Literature

Tuesday Nights (6 sessions)
September 19th — October 24th
6:30-8:30 p.m.

From Catcher in the Rye to The Hunger Games, 'YA fiction' seeks to address the problems and transitions of its target audience -- while also having the potential to captivate adult readers the world over. Discover the secrets of what makes fiction 'young adult', and what makes great YA fiction, from an award-winning author of the genre. Learn how to appeal to the 'gatekeepers' (the adults who help guide the young adult reader), avoid genre taboos, and how to manage the responsibilities as an author whose work can impact its reader unlike any other genre.

I’ve never taught this one before, so it’ll be an adventure.

Sign up now. Space is still available.

I'll talk about my other class when it's closer. (Hint: Creative Writing Bootcamp.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Johnny is Busy

I write this blog today from fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm here to play with fabulous Henderson Writers Group. We're talking Theme!

This event kicks off a month of huge writing events for me. 

After this, Thursday August 31st, I'm in Kearns for an Authors in the Round event. Talking "Editing and Publishing" there.

5350 South 4220 West 
Kearns, UT 84118

Week after that is a big one. The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold Conference. One of my all time favorites.

— September 8-10, 2017

Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel
3801 Quebec Street 
Denver Colorado 80207 USA 

Here's what I'm doing there

Friday September 8, 2017

Presentation: Glimpsing Horror
4:00-4:50 p.m. Big Thompson

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Panel: Birds of a Feather — HORROR
11:00-11:50 a.m. Winter Park 

Presentation: The Faceted Story
3:30-4:20 p.m. Big Thompson 

Not even a week after that, I'm off to Boise for their inaugural BOISE BOOK FEST.

—Septmber 16, 2017 

Boise Centre
850 W Front St. 
Boise, ID 83702

Presentation: A Novel in 90 Days.

The week after that, I begin my six week class on Writing Young Adult Literature at the University of Utah. More on that later.

And of course Salt Lake Comic Con! I've been assigned Blue 17 for an awesome table. Come see

— September 21-23, 2017

Salt Palace Convention Center
100 S West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1408

Back to back to back events! Kinda cool actually. Come chase me down and we'll talk.