Wednesday, January 30, 2013


“THE NEXT BIG THING” is designed to raise awareness of new works, or works in progress by posing ten delicious questions the work, and then tagging other authors to do the same.

I was nominated by Ann Marie Meyers on her blog, and Lehua Parker on hers.  I met these two excellent authors through Jolly Fish Press. Take a look back and check out their stuff. I'm thrilled to follow them. Also be sure to hop along to the fine authors I tagged at the bottom of this post. They’ll be up on the 6th of February.


What is the working title of your next book?
    BEATRYSEL, it’s a name of an angel – or a demon in Qabbalistic mythology.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
    I’ve been interested in the occult for ever, particularly the High Magic formats practiced by the Golden Dawn and echoed in the obscure rites of Freemasonry. There are so many offshoots of shamanism, New Age philosophy and other magical schools that many people believe they’re just different paths to the same goal, different steps to a shared song. With that in mind, I created a group of seekers all on different paths but sharing in fellowship around an occult bookstore much like one I knew in Oregon. I embraced the concept of angels and demons conjured to do a magician’s will as described in the ancient Grimoires, magical spellbooks. I put a modern spin on it all and thus was born BEATRYSEL.

What genre does your book fall under?
    Believe it or not, BEATRYSEL began as a love story, but it’s a horror. What becomes of love when it’s unleashed? Yes. It’s a horror. I’ll brand it as supernatural/occult thriller because “horror” as a mainstream genre has been sidelined by newer nomenclature.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    Julian Cormac: Jeremy Davies
    Molly Cormac: Rose Byrne
    Peter Stephensen: Mark Strong
    Octavia Crabtree: Geraldine McEwan
    Amanda Starling: Kate Mara
    Courtney Song: China Chow
    Beatrysel: Saoirse Ronan

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    Love has a power all its own.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    BEATRYSEL is coming in 2013 from Rainstorm Press as my debut novel. I don’t have an agent. I thought I needed one but so far I haven’t. There’s a lesson there for other writers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    BEATRYSEL was the second novel I began but the fourth I finished. It took years from start to finish due distractions and other projects. I hit a wall not so much in story but in process. The delay allowed me to learn how to write better and discipline myself. Once back into the project, it wrote itself. Editing to its current state took five months. I suspect there’ll be another go around before its available.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    Classically, I can’t help but see similarities in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the Faust legend. More recently, John Saul’s work, particularly Black Creek Crossing influenced the mood o my book.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    I witnessed my sister go through a sticky divorce and saw the raw emotional energy involved in that break up. Being magically minded, I wondered what that power would look like unleashed, how it would behave before it was upset while it was still cherished. What beautiful and terrible thing it would manifest as outside the human psyche.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
    I’m proud of my blurb: Unsatisfied with the ancient grimoires, the Magus made his own. Unsatisfied with the ancient demons, the Magus made Beatrysel. She was a creature of love. But there is no love without hate, no light without darkness, no loyalty without betrayal. And demons are greedy for flesh.

Jumping on!
    Visit these authors I've tagged next week for THE NEXT BIG THING:

    Sakina Murdock

    Erin Britt

    Susan Harris Dorsey

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I know how the candlemaker feels. He chooses the wick, a fine narrow braid, the finest cotton. The was is the finest he can find, make or gather. He colors it with his own blood if need be and heats it with the flame passed down for generations like the embers of a Roman house. He dips the wick, lets it cool, dips again, and again and again, putting his patience to the test, his art to the project. Eventually he has a taper, a unique meaningful and useful thing meant to illuminate if not the world, then a little place. But few use candles anymore.

I’m a writer. I write fiction. I write novels. I write things that cannot be consumed in a single bathroom sitting on a three inch iPod screen. I work in a dying medium. I make candles when there’re halogen bulbs, books when there are movies, paragraphs when there are tweets.

We still need stories like we still need light, but much has changed. Soft subtle flickering, hours of mood and glow are no longer in fashion. I see my kids drawn into the flashes and strobes of internet data dumps, Facebook quotes, Reddit headlines. They read only when required to do so by ancient teachers trained in obsolete technologies. If I’m to get them to proof a page for me, I have to catch them misbehaving and slap it on them in punishment; not the ideal situation for feedback.

Novels have become a luxury item, like candles at dinner or votives around a bubble bath. I can cater to these people, because they are my people. Perhaps one day someone will take my stories and adapt them for the screen, but until that, I will be content if my little light shines into someone.

And the art continues.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kirk Cunningham, Head Publicist: (801) 380-4503 |

Jolly Fish Press Signs Multiple Book Deal with New Author

PROVO, UT—Jolly Fish Press has acquired the publication and distribution rights for an exciting three-book series and one standalone novel from Johnny Worthen.

The series, Eleanor, a YA paranormal, takes the YA market in a radical and exciting new direction both in subject matter and narrative style.

The standalone novel, The Finger Trap, is an adult comedy brimming with insightful hilarity and lays the groundwork for a new beloved American character. The first of these titles will be published in 2014, with Eleanor leading the pack.

Worthen's works have impressed JFP enough to acquire his books for the next several years. JFP wagers Johnny Worthen will be a name well-recognized at the top of the charts.

Worthen graduated with a BA in English and Master's in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including running his own bakery, Worthen found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do: write. And write he does. When he's not pounding on his keyboard or attending writers conferences, Worthen spends his time with his wife and two boys in Sandy, Utah.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In my new project, code named “New Project” I have begun to put electrons to screen. I have a story, characters, twists and turns. I’m ready to go. I have a vocabulary and a sense of how it’s all done after writing so many, but every time I complete a chapter I stop and say “Wait. Now what? Who’s going on next?”

You see I’m trying to write a thriller. It begins as a mystery, conventional and gritty and then moves into horror, hopefully with the grace and finality of on oiled blade through a football jersey. See I really have the structure, even the act breaks, the intermissions and the blade, but I’m hung up on the structure of POV’s.

POV’s for the uninitiated means “Point Of Views” or narrative mode. My favorite method of story telling is first person, either omniscient looking over the protagonist’s shoulder kind of thing like in ELEANOR, or directly first person narration where the protagonist is actually telling the story in his own words, like in THE FINGER TRAP.

I used shifting first-person omniscient in BEATRYSEL to great effect and this is what I feel I should use in “New Project,” but I don’t have the stable of characters to do it. As much as I want to, I can’t. My characters are not interacting in a way that will allow it. There are moments I know when I can do, when I have done it already, but it’s a sporadic departure from the main narrative structure. Is that kosher?

I hope so. It’s what I got. But I can’t stop second-guessing myself.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

There was a time in my life when I wanted to go to India. That was replaced by a vow never to go there. Now, after months of related research, I’m thinking, not so much that I should go, but that I could go.

Between the Jungle Book and Gandhi how is a middle class American boy to conceptualize such a place as India? Snakes, tigers, tribal warfare and crowds, always crowds, makes even the brave Westerner cringe and the xenophobic curl up into a raisin. Even a cursory examination of the place confuses one with contradictions; wild and ancient, enlightenment and secular violence, clean rooms and dirt floors. By all accounts it’s a place of sensual overload, a beacon to the adventurer and spiritual seeker, and hell for anyone afraid to leave their comfort zone. So, as an American, bred to love my comfort zone and yet feeling adventurous, India is both exciting and terrifying. Great inspiration for a book don’t you think?