Thursday, September 5, 2019

September FanX 2019

FanX is upon us!

Come visit me at my table A16, in the creator's space or see me at my panels.

September 5-7, 2019

Salt Lake Convention Center
100 S W Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Thursday September 5, 2019

Stranger Things: Urban Fantasy Done Right

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm — Room 151D 
The hit Netflix show has become a worldwide sensation. Listen to creative professionals discuss what Stranger Things does right, and how you can emulate it in your own creative works.  

With: Shannon Barnson, Shelly Brown, Jared Garrett, J.R. Johansson, C.K. Johnson, Breezy Weekes, Johnny Worthen

American Apocalypse: Is the End Near?

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm — Room 255C 
Why do we think the end is neigh? How is this cultural fear represented in popular media such as books, television and cinema? What does it say about us? Group will discuss the historic, psychological and cultural phenomenon of the apocalypse as represented in our entertainment media and have a good time doing it.
With: Cody Goodfellow, Mark Avo, DJ Butler, Jodi Milner, Eric Swedin, Johnny Worthen 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Quills 2019 Afterglow

I’m still in the glow.

Wow, just wow. What a fantastic weekend just happened. The 2019 Quills Conference was a stellar event of community, education and encouragement.

If you weren’t there, you missed a great event. Mark you calendars for next year, August 13-15, 2020, where the League of Utah Writers and our annual committee turns 85.

That is some tradition there. That is some work, some love, some energy, some community.
Encouraging agent Samantha Wekstein
 to stay hydrated at Quills 2019

What a great thing is community.

I am so lucky to be a part of the writing world in Utah and beyond. Here I’ve found like minds, struggling to do their best, making mistakes, picking themselves up, hoping in the balance on Thoth’s scales that we come out ahead, having been a more positive force than negative in the world. In a community like the League of Utah Writers, where all are mentors and mentored, this goal is as achievable as a kind word, a useful critique, a sympathy and celebration.

I love writing conferences, they’re unlike any other event I’ve ever attended. Conferences like Quills, organizations like the League of Utah Writers offer opportunities to give back, to excel, improve, network, get silly, be hated, be loved, be alive. Live in Letters.

I want to thank the volunteers of Quills, the board, committees, guests and attendees who made it so wonderful and offered unparalleled opportunities to everyone. I got to thank a mentor, make new friends, learn from wise, mingle with my people.

My gratitude to all and everyone.


Thursday, August 8, 2019


This week at the Blog Mansion, for obvious self serving reasons, i'm going to like to a new review of THICKER THAN WATER by Guild Master Gaming, a site for geeks and hep cats.

Check it out:

Guild Master Gaming Review

THICKER THAN WATER will release in two weeks-SQUEEE! on August 22, 2019. I'll be celebrating the event at the League of Utah Writers Quills Conference. I hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

THICKER THAN WATER—Debts in the Desert

Tony Flaner’s new adventure, THICKER THAN WATER, is not only the best book ever written ever, but it’s also economically priced and makes a great gift,

But I digress.

I talk a lot about writing to theme, an unusual method of creative writing, one that I learned through my  training in literary and cultural criticism. Thank you, University of Utah. What this means is that I’m usually investigating a larger idea in my work. Larger than just the story, I mean. The story is in service to the personal exploration of the theme.

In Thicker than Water, I was driven by the idea of family connection and ancestral  debts. It was spurned by the tragic but modern phenomenon of losing connections with once dear friends and family. Maybe you’ve kept track of everyone who ever touched your life, but I unfortunately haven’t and coincidentally, neither has Tony.

There are people whom I’ve loved, who have loved me, put up with me, saved me in hard times, but still have fallen by the wayside of my life, lost in the distractions of growing up and growing through.

Nostalgia comes in times of quiet and in times of crisis. For Tony, it’s a tonic to reinvigorate him out of a stupor to repay an old debt to kind kin in the desert.

Tony’s debts are more defined than mine, his settings more cinematic, but the idea of a magical summer, mythical and meaningful as only retrospect can color it, is at the heart of the story on all levels. From his son’s music concert to the snake in the garage, all are pieces of the same familial puzzle.

And there’s plenty of  sarcastic social satire, Flanerisms and a ripping good mystery I bet you won’t figure out until the very end, when Tony tells you. Your mileage may vary.

THICKER THAN WATER, A Tony Flaner Mystery, coming August 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


I am tickled tie-dye to share this today. Here is the cover for my next book THICKER THAN WATER, A Tony Flaner Mystery.

Coming August, 22, 2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


I am thrilled to announce the return of an old friend. Tony Flaner is back! Our sarcastic slacker detective is back in full form with the return of THE FINGER TRAP, winner of the Diamond Quill for Best Book of the Year.

Available now at Amazon

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Interview with Emily Merrell

This week, I'd like to share with you a long interview I did with the wonderful Emily Merrell. 

Follow this link to see my interview (disregard the picture of me—not my best). Also check out her other great podcasts and her music.

Big news on the horizon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Summer Symposium

A great one day event is around the corner up in Logan, Utah. 

On June 15, 2019 The League of Utah Writers and Utah State University English Department are proud to present the 2019 Summer Writing Symposium, featuring renowned authors, university writing educators, and presenters from the League of Utah Writers.

This is a full day of creative writing classes and presentations for just $25 (early bird pricing).

Intensive critique sessions and lunch are also included!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

What does the hero want?

One of the key questions to ask your characters as you prepare any writing project, is what they want. It’s a question about goals. It is not motivation, but actual tangible destinations. For example, Tony wants to find out who killed Rose Griff. Michael wants his nightmares to end. Eleanor wants to fit in.

Why they want these things—the motivations behind these goals—are interesting and complex enough to fill a book, but it’s the characters acting to achieve these goals, fulfill their wants, that supports a story where we get to ask them why they want it in the first place.

Characters can change what they want later on, that’s fine, but active characters are the ones who’ve set out to do something. They succeed or fail, but dammit, they try. That trying is the muscle of the story. Wanting that luring goal is what keeps them and the narrative moving. Taking a ring back to a mountain, helping a friend take a ring back to a mountain, getting the ring back so I’m not alone, my precious, are good examples of simple wants that motivate character to act. Without those wants, simple and plain as these are, the characters wouldn’t leave the shire (or the cave) and we’d have to Deus Ex Machina their butts into gear if we want more than a mood piece.

To borrow from Tony Flaner again, there’s a the push and the pull. If the action is thrust upon them, that’s reactive—the push. “Run there are dark baddies chasing us.” Once the character chooses to do something, that’s active—the pull. “I will recycle this ring because someone needs to do it.” Both function, but which is heroic?

Ay, there’s the rub.

What if we apply this simple self examination and story telling device to real life? What if I ask myself, what do I want? Then I carry it on to you. What do you want? Look at anyone, can you get a handle on them by figuring out their goal is? Hell yes. They want money, a girl, health, a puppy. It is a powerful tool when applied to others, but let’s face it, it is terrifying when applied to ourselves.

It comes down to this: Are we wise enough to know what we want and brave enough to act on it? Are we the active characters we’d demand in our books? Can we write down a quick statement or a numbered list of things we want? Are we actively doing things to achieve those goals? Or are we content with station keeping? Holding still? Is our want to be safe only? Unchallenged? Stagnant? Is that the list? Or are there real but not yet achieves goals out there that we’ve chosen to ignore?

In the story of our own lives, are we the protagonist or a side character? A walk on? An extra? Background noise? Are we an actor or a reactor?

Are we our hero?

It’s scary to think about.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Discouraging Travel

I flew to Michigan last week for StokerCon™. I don’t fly much. It’s expensive and frankly no fun. I’ve long thought that it is an authoritarian control power trip to discourage movement. After 9/11 when we were all scared, they took the gloves off and we our shoes. I don’t know of a single terrorist the extra hour of waiting in line to be x-rayed and groped has ever stopped, but it is doing something. It’s a deterrent, but I’m not sure it’s deterring what we think it is.

Remember when “show me your papers” was a clichéd Gestapo stereotype? That’s an airport now. Searches and questions and show ID and delays and suspicion. It’s how it’s done. You are made to feel like a criminal. Show me your shampoo bottle. Let me RFID your wallet.

The inconvenience and suspicion is not equally applied. Hell no. Not even close. You can pre-screen through the TSA if you have time and a computer and resources. You can buy an upgrade that lets you go through the fast lane at the security checkpoint where there’s less rigmarole. I guess terrorists can’t upgrade. it’s a microcosm of a failed state, a peek into dystopian America; one set of rules for the upper class, another set for the rest.

We board by classes. First class, Comfort Class (which is a middle thing on Delta and has some leg room) and then economy, or the cattle. I saw that first class passengers also had their baggage marked so they’d be the first out of the plane. Egalitarian ideals do not extend past the curb in any way.

Bag fees are so ridiculous that everyone tries to carry everything on, so the already cramped cabin is twice that. On every plane I took they offered to have people check their bags for free because of bin space concerns. If only they’d offered that at check in.

Airports are huge. I thought I’d have a stroke changing gates for a connection in Detroit. Nobody told me there was a train until I was off my fifteenth conveyer belt and the gate was finally in sight. (Don’t they move cattle that way?) The distance to be a mile down the concourse. Similar experience in St. Paul.

Compared to most, since I did have some leg room by upgrading my ticket, I had it better on this last trip of mine than most. Not glass highballs like first class, but a complimentary bourbon in plastic. It was something. Nevertheless, if there’s a way for me not to fly, not to go through that humiliation of searches, the degradation of suspicion, the inconvenience of crowds, the insult of claustrophobic seating, I won’t fly. It’s discouraging.

I have to wonder if that isn’t the point.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

On my nervous way to StokerCon™

Hey kids, sorry to miss last week. I’ve been busy. Not much to show for any of it. Yet, but it’s coming.

I write to you today from a friendly but bustling concourse at Salt Lake International Airport. I’m on my way to StokerCon™ (remember the ™ or they’ll mess you up.) I’m going this time as an editor Omnium Gatherum Media as well as an author. I'm presenting three classes and taking pitches like Johnny Bench.

It’s in Grand Rapids Michigan. I’ve never been to Grand Rapids before. Or Michigan. My first impression is that it’s removed. I couldn’t find a direct flight. I’ll be visiting Detroit in a few hours. I’ll look for Tigers and Elmore Leonard references.

I hear there’s a Lyft and Uber strike, so my already late arrival will probably be later still. Taxi it is. I don’t cross picket lines. Not me. Neither should you.

This will be my second StokerCon™. The last one I was at was in Long Beach, California, aboard the Queen Mary. I met George R. R. Martin that trip. It was pretty great. The whole con, not just the ten minutes I talked to the Game of Thrones God. I’m looking forward this time to meeting new people and reacquainting myself with some horrible writers. It’s a horror writers conference. Get it?

I’m a little nervous about the trip. Flight included. Airline travel used to be fun. I’m old enough to remember that time. I’m old. It’s a trial now. Half an hour to have TSA question my choices of pumpkin seed brand. Twelve dollars for a three dollar salad and boarding forty minutes before the pilot comes out of the bar.

I’m flying mid class, called Comfort Plus because middle-class sounds too middle middle class. I board right after first class. So we’ll be the first to run the gauntlet, since they’re up front. They get to sit and pass judgement on my class and the economy people, thinking we’re peasants but trying hard as hell to avoid eye contact.

At the conference there’ll be no class. I’m going.

Get it?

Okay. The nervous blog must end.

I’ll report an interim blog report if the occasion warrants . In the meantime, look for me by the big lakes.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Summer Toads and Missing Moths

I had a summer of toads once. I must have been eight or nine, an impressionable age to be sure. We lived in an apartment, my mother, sister and me. she was doing what she could to provide as a single mom, my sister doing whatever it was she did that summer, and i found toads in the night.

The apartments were built on an old wetland I guess but no one had told the toads about the new landlord and that summer they sprang up and spread like rain. I never learned know how or where from—lord knows I looked. They were just there one night and for the nights that followed.

I remember seeing under the light of a distant streetlight, mounds of shadows wiggling and hopping. I’d catch them. It was easy. They were bigger than my hand. Expressionless, they’d look up at me and piss. That was their defense. I learned quick how to catch them and hold them so when the inevitable stream came, it would miss me.

I didn’t keep them. I just greeted them, admired them as only a little boy can admire a toad and set them down and watched them hop away. Or maybe they’d sit contemplating the strange visit we’d just had.

In the morning there was carnage. Flattened toads carpeted the roads. Hundreds flattened under car tires to a pancake , to cook solid and dry in the sun by the next night when more toads would come.

I never had another summer like that. The toads came back for a year or two, but never in those numbers. And then they didn’t come at all. Nothing. Never again.

I think back on that summer and wonder at it and mourn. As an adult I read that amphibians are among the most sensitive species on the planet, one of the first to suffer from a weakened environment. That was my first sign. The missing toads. The effects of my species on another

What makes me remember those toads now so longingly, so wistfully, is I remember seeing also under that distant streetlight in my childhood, swarms of moths. The light was clouded by fluttering insects. I suppose that’s whey the toads were there to munch up the low fliers.

The moths lasted longer than the the toads. They followed me to other houses, but now too, they are gone.

I remember not being able to open a patio door for fear of a hundred getting in the house. Patio lights a were shadow plays under talcum wings and head butts, misidentifying a sixty watt bulb as the moon.

Now nothing.

I haven’t seen moths in years.

Not one.

The toads and the moths— their fates were the same.

We too must be on the list.

This is anecdotal. This is personal. This is tragedy.

Thursday, April 18, 2019


I'll be at FanX this weekend, hanging out with the tribe. I'll be manning the League of Utah Writers table #31 in the Vendors area, west end of Aisle 1700 on the main floor.

Fri. April 19th & Sat. April 20th 

Salt Lake Convention Center
100 S W Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101 

Friday, April 19th

Author Spotlight 11:15-11:30 a.m.Convention Stage, Exhibit Hall 1831

League of Utah Writers Information Table #31
West end of Aisle 1700

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Peaks of Madness Cover Reveal

It's spring so you know what that means. Rain and allergies and surprise snow storms that seem to kick you square in the...

But also, the annual Utah Horror Anthology.

This year I was once again privileged to participate as an editor and contributor. It's release is imminent. The cover is below. Check it out!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Reading Time

I rearranged my schedule and it has made all the difference.

Live in Letters is this year’s theme of the League of Utah Writers. I thought of it. It’s my theme. I’m the president. It’s a challenge to make literature a way of life. Since I’m a writer, that’s not too big a stretch, but the other end, I noticed needed some attention.

I read a lot, but only in the odd moments between other things. My change of schedule was to give myself time to read. By scheduling some time each day, for me in the morning right now, it happens.

It’s that old adage about saving money from your paycheck. Most people get their paycheck and pay for the things they need first, and then, later if there’s anything left, they put the remainder away for a rainy day. The better way to do it, is to save money first, then pay the rest. The money at the end of the month is then free money, guiltless spending. Time is the same.

Everyone’s resources are different of course, but a time budget has to be as important as a financial one.

Putting the things one values high on the list means it happens. I’ve been really good at finding time to write, but too often at the cost of reading. I read plenty, but I honestly could and should read more. By blocking out some time each day, that happens. The internet doesn’t miss me, the TV can get along without me, and I am fulfilled.

I know I’m talking to the choir here, fellow readers, but I have noticed, because I looked for it, a distinctive improvement in my life since I started blocking time out early for words instead of waiting for time to show up on its own. For one thing, I concentrate much better. Reading in the morning, means the afternoon will be effective, whereas surfing news sites online, especially these days, meant the doldrums later. Knowledge, focus, enlightenment and studying my craft all at once. It is part of living in letters.

I’m not saying that reading is a panacea, but it is a panacea.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Allergies. Again.

The allergy fairy is visiting me. Or maybe it’s the second flu. Cousin cold or mange. I’m thinking allergy though. My hair loss hasn’t increased beyond the usual—off my head down my back. It is the time of year when winter surrenders its cold embrace of the planet and fresh beads appear on trees, tulips poke up in their beds and all nature poisons the air to get even with people for the things we did.

Pollen. It’s got to be pollen. It took me years and years of spring colds to finally cotton on to the idea that I might be reacting to a chemical assault from my back yard. Years of not noticing the timely nature o the snot monster’s visit. Like clockwork, plants go green in the spring, I go green in the gills.

My problem was the myth of endurance, that is thae lack of change. Growing up I never had allergies, this time of year was as wonderful to me as the post cards made it sound. Then I got older and some microorganism got my number, some resistance I had went dormant or fled to Hawaii and I was doomed to suffer for two weeks a year as penance for living another year.

It’s the deal now. I get it. Things change. I change. The changing seasons were a good hint, but my changing immune system is the goods.

It is metaphor for existence. It is warning to humanity, told through a member of its ranks, that nature is not without weapons in the battle for existence.

It is decay in new life. My health, the land’s rejuvenation.

It’s wonderful and pretty miserable. Mostly miserable. Lots of misery. Lots of Kleenexes an pseudoephedrine. The pharmacist must think I’m cooking meth by now.

Still writing though. I’m good. The shot across my mortal bow is not unheeded. Make hay fever while the sun’s shining. Or something like that.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Jodi Milner – Stonebearer’s Betrayal

It’s been a while since I’d had visitors at the Blog Mansion, but when I heard my good friend Jodi L. Milner was looking for ink and had dared to touch upon my esoteric interests, I summoned a few friends and had her over.

Jodi L. Milner: What kind of interview room is this? Occult symbols, incense, swords…

Johnny: I do some of my best interviews here. Stay in your own circle though. If you leave it, the other interviewers can get you.

Jodi: What other interviewers?

Johnny: Oh, they’re here. Just let the smoke get a little thicker, they’ll visually manifest.

A Voice from the west: WHY ARE YOU HERE?

Johnny: Tell him.

Jodi: We’re talking about my new book, Stonebearer’s Betrayal.

A voice from the south: WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Jodi: At its heart it's a coming-of-age story where Katira, at the very adult age of eighteen, believes she has her life figured out. She knows her place, understands her path, and is destined to be the best healer in the northern Panthara mountains, just like her mother. That all changes when demons attack and throw her world into chaos, threatening to destroy both her and her family. To survive, she must find the strength within herself to face her worst fears and protect the ones she loves.


Jodi: Behind all the chaos is the Archdemoness Wrothe. She has escaped from her prison and will stop at nothing until she gets her revenge, which includes plans involving Katira's father. Is she a friend of yours?

A voice from the east: NOT RINGING ANY BELLS.

Low haunting laughter.


Jodi: This is where my favorite elements of the story come in. The magic preserves those who possess it, making them essentially immortal. These immortals formed a secret society, The Stonebearers of the Khandashii, to organize their efforts to aid and protect the people of the world from threats like Wrothe. The name Stonebearer comes from the focusing stone they are bound to that allows them to direct the flows of magic. There are limits, however, the energy required to perform this magic comes from the user. Not only does this cause the user pain, it can kill them should they attempt to use too much. To complicate things further, the magic itself scars the user's skin along the pathways it follows to leave the body.


Jodi: I'm totally blaming network cable when I was a teenager for my inspiration, that and some truly excellent books. I survived adolescence watching The Highlander, Xena, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues all while reading all the fantasy I could get my hands on.  

The incense gathered and morphed. Ghostly shapes could be imagined in the quadrants.

Johnny: How long did it take you to write?

Jodi: Including all the times I stopped because life got complicated, 10 years. But, to be fair, I had to learn how to write a book and that wasn't exactly easy. Plus, I had one baby when I started and then proceeded to create two more before I was finished. Honestly, making people is much easier than writing a book. It's the keeping them alive and healthy that's time consuming.

Voice from the west: ARE YOU MAKING IT INTO A SERIES?

Jodi: Yes. Books two and three are written and are entering the editing and polishing process as we speak.

Johnny: I’m always interested in how writers get started. Tell me the: story of how you got into print.


Ghostly giggles.

Jodi: You mean selling my soul actually works? That would have been so much easier. I started with short stories and worked my way up, learning about the publishing industry as I went. When my book was ready to enter the world I reached out to agents and publishers for almost a year before I signed a contract with Immortal Works Press. Do I think it's funny that my book deals with immortals and I sighed with Immortal Works? Yes, I do.

Voice from the east: NO BLOOD PACTS? NO SACRED OATHS?


Voice from the south: SHE’S NEW AT THIS, GIVE HER A CHANCE.


Devious laughing.

Johnny: Tell us how your human community has helped your writing.

Jodi: I owe my entire writing career to the amazing authors in the Utah writing community. Without their support, guidance, and advice I would have never made it to this point. I'm a proud member of the League of Utah Writers.



Gusts of wind shaking the coagulated smoke.

Johnny: Don’t believe them. They don’t know Oprah.


Johnny: These are lowly demons, they’re just book fans.


Johnny: I wasn’t.

Jodi: It’s getting hard to breath in here. My eyes are burning.

Johnny: Tell us where we can find out more about you.

Voice from the north: YES AND LEAVE A LOCK OF YOUR HAIR.







Amazon Author Page

Stonebearer’s Betrayal on Amazon

Publisher-Immoral Works

Johnny: Well I guess that does it, Thanks for coming over Jodi.

Jodi. It was fun. Creepy but fun. Give me a hug!

Johnny: No!

She steps out of the circle and is engulfed in whirling sulferous smoke.



Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gary Numan

I’ve rediscovered an old friend. Gary Numan, the 80’s New Wave pioneer who had a break out hit with his 1979 song Cars. Most people’s knowledge of the man and his music ends there, relegating him to the world of one-hit wonders.

 I was more tenacious than some, but not most. I followed his career for a while into the mid-eighties, three or four albums, but when he moved from synthesizers to guitars, I lost interest. He was just another three cord wanna-be rock and roller I thought. Striving for mainstream acceptance with conventional tools. He fell off my American radio stations and it it was natural to relegate him to the back of my cassette case and forget he existed as I followed other experimental bands.

But, whereas I gave up on him, he never gave up and his new album crossed my internet browsing and I gave i a listen.

It was very cool.

I brushed off my old albums and gave them a new listen and then dug into the decades of work he’d put out without my knowledge. Like binge-watching a career I saw his evolution and growth. He never stopped his experimentation. He built upon his moody vibes and throbbing dance songs that made me wiggle in my seat the first time I heard them.

He’d had changes in his life. He’d touched a nerve in politics before it was normal for artists to have and voice political opinions. He’d married, had kids and never stopped writing music. He was successful. He was under the radar, the mainstream had their new flash in the pans, but he’d found an audience and had kept them. They’d allowed him to continue creating.

He stayed dark and brooding, echoed the theme bands of his birth, Flock of Seagulls and the like, live shows with costumes and trippy lights, How'd I miss all this? I asked myself. Oh, yeah. Wrong continent.

Now, I’m digging on the new album. Now critics are re-evaluating him as well. Musicians are commenting on his influence on their careers and he’s been named “the Father of Dark Wave.” Pretty damn cool that he has a sub-genre of his own. What artist can hope for more?

I love this. Not only because it’s like meeting an old friend and falling in love again, but as an artist it thrills me that he kept at it. I was too quick to dismiss me, but luckily for everyone, he didn’t listen to me. He had his own path and every album I download and listen to is a picture of progress, a gem and joy. He inspires me.

O,h and his new album is charting.

Check out Gary Numan, Savage (Songs from a Broken World).

Thursday, March 7, 2019


I’ve been using that word a lot this week. I wrote it in my newest Work In Progress and just texted it again to someone. I spoke it three times and slept on it last night.

It’s one of those words that can’t be spelled properly without an exclamation point. It’s half onomatopoeia half ancient comment.

 It is a way for the civilized to show

We can only imagine that there was a moment in history when the phrase existed earnestly, but now it has a unique place in American vocabulary as an intellectualized exclamation of mock surprise. Singular or plural it is sarcasm embodied in an erudite enunciation.

Have you ever considered this?

You have?


Thursday, February 28, 2019


Let me state, for the record, that writing is great. I mean it. It’s a wonderful activity, an unparalleled job.

It pays shit.

It’s wall to wall rejection.

It’s unending work.

It’s draining.

It can be drudgery.

It can be thankless.

It can feel like having your chest exposed to swarming hornets.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What writing has that makes it all worth while, is creation, expression, art. It is the feeling of elation when you channels the muse to the page. It is feeling of having written a phrase, a sentence, a scene that speaks truth. Witty, and wise. Fumbling and fearful.

Feeling the pulse, writing, having written.

They are great things.

Now. Back to work!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

LUW Spring Conference 2019 coming up

Let us consider the writer, an artist, a lone voice in the creative wilderness, dreaming and plotting, creating and expressing. Now imagine a collection of these, a room of creators, each driven to make and imagine, witness and weave. If energy and love were light, we'd be blinded to see it.

We writers are driven by unseen forces, muses, geniuses, the subconscious, working at first alone, listening to the aether for inspiration, testing the limits of our own skill to bridge the quiet moments when the angel is silent. Then perhaps to open our book and our heart to others.

Alone we make, but then, like a great migration, we collect together in miraculous conclaves. It is a wonder. We congregate to congratulate. We share. We understand each others perils, if not our genres. We sympathize with the journey, if not the outcomes. And we share our knowledge and talents to strengthen the community as whole.
It is the best in us.

This is the purpose of our conferences, to reach our dreams by helping others reach theirs. To go forward by helping others come along. 

Case in brilliant point: The League of Utah Writers Spring Conference which is happening this April. Here we summon our own and a few friends to present insights to us all. Small or big— a comma, or a magic system, dialog, setting, plot, all is discussed and examined to improve our craft. For those seeking, there is hard learned advice about marketing tips, netting agents, cornering publishers, blogs and book signings. At every level, with every facet there is something to learn, and something to share.

Spring Conference is a gem of an event. It’s priced to allow everyone to come. It encourages us all to be a part of the process. It is a chance to build up our skills, knowledge and resume. It’s a chance to be with each other, each of us artist and writer defying the blank page, turning expectations into realities, bucking the odds, enjoying the ride. Dreaming the dream and making it real in letters.

Living in Letters.,

Make sure you have April 27th blocked off on your calendar for a casual, exciting, and rejuvenating event. Sign up is now at the League of Utah Writers website.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


I’ve been visited by a true ruler of the planet. I’m not sure which variety, pedigree, house or cadre, but one of vessels of life itself has made residence in my sinuses and is ruling my body in aches and sneezes, oozes and limits. It is, however, a generous ruler, and gives freely its largess of copious snot.

Fortunately, I am a-self-employed writer, creating masterpieces out of trauma, big and little. Here’s one now. When I finally get the energy to write again, I’ll have a renewed understanding of sickness, infection and misery that I might have forgotten from the last hundred times I was here. Am I fortunate or what?

My doctor swears I’m not contagious, at least I think that’s what he said. It was hard to understand him through the blue biohazard suit.

I suffer, and like all great writers, and men in general I hear, I shall not bear my misery alone. I will tell the world! I will move them to sympathize, to feel the pressure and my dry nasal passages, the dizziness and dehydration. It burns, it smears the world. Pressures the senses, makes things oblong, stretched, and gooey. Here is proof that reality is only what we perceive, and is how we perceive it. The world is thick semi-clear yellowish resistance. This is true. This is here. The air is thick, pushes back against the slightest disturbance, a hand reaching for a tissue, a head raising to see the cat. The pillow is harder, the Kleenex turned to sand paper, the water to paste, the caffeine to nectar. Time is not frozen, but freezing. Glacial and quiet. Long moments of nothing, staring, empty, waiting, and sudden returns to now, which is later but still the same. Pills alarm, reminders to eat, stand, email, think.

It is a gift. That which does not kill me makes me stronger. I count my blessings that this bug is not anti-biotic resistance and that I have the time and means to mend and notice it. I bow down to the rulers of life, the teachers of death, the lenses of reality.

I got a bug.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Snowed In

I can’t remember the last time Salt Lake City shut down due a snowstorm. I remember some pretty hellish depths growing up. Remember driving to college dictating my will over a phone up on Wasatch, but today, the whole valley shut down. For a foot of snow.

I’m embarrassed. Come on, Utah. This is, well Utah. We have skiers on our license plates. Snow shouldn’t be a stranger.

But it’s wrecking havoc.

The first major storm of the season is always the worse because people forget how to drive in snow. Driving in snow is about stopping in snow. Sure you’ve got four wheel drive and can zip through a foot of snow like it’s fog, but I don’t care how big your Hummer is, you can’t stop any faster than anyone else and all that speed means that the freeway gets closed for a half a day. Congratulations.

I suppose there are snow plows out there pushing snow banks into recently cleared driveways, but they aren’t here yet. Are there as many as there used to be? I feel old remembering my childhood when a storm would hit and the roads would be cleared in an hour. What happened? Layoffs? Tax cuts? Run out of salt? Something’s different, I tell you.

Drivers are stupid and over-confident. Check.

Snow hasn’t really stopped. Check

But this is Utah. A mountain state. Home of the Winter Olympics.

I should be able to go get a burrito!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wasatch Fellowship Conference

I’ll be the Wasatch Fellowship Conference this weekend. It runs Friday and Saturday up in Kaysville. If you’re looking for some writing inspiration and networking, this would be a good place to look 

Wasatch Writers
Fellowship Conference

Hopebox Theatre
1700 Frontage Rd.
Kaysville, UT 84037

Here’re my specific assignments

Friday, January 25, 2019
Panel 6:00-6:50 p.m. (Main Room)
Traditional Publishing

Saturday, January 26, 2019
Presentation 2:30-3:20 p.m. (Small Room)
A Study in Mystery