Sunday, July 5, 2020

Quills 2020 Virtual Conference August 13-16th+


I want to invite all you writers out there to come to Quills, the League of Utah Writers Fall Writing Conference. This event will be virtual so the whole world can come. It’ll have scores of recorded classes that’ll be available for some time, including early access for those who register soon. there’ll be live Zoom workshops with great authors and teachers, me included, so that’s cool. Chances to pitch to agents and editor and a general virtual new normal Covid-19 writing fest. Here’s the flyer and check it out at August 13-16 plus (classes stay online for a while).

By the way, League of Utah members get $40 off the conference cost. Membership costs $30. You can thus get deep discount and join a League of Utah Chapter and Zoom in with us for critique and more writing goodness. Just saying. My main chapter is called the Infinite Monkeys. More info here: You don't have to live in the state to join. Lockdown has opened the world.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Great News in Johnnyland

I've been sitting on the news as it developed, as we moved through negotiations in a pandemic across time zones and oceans. For many moons I have been silent, waiting, hoping, working. Buoyed by my agent, Terri Baranowski at Gateway Literary, I told a few earlier this week, but now, for sure, today, it is in the can.

I have just signed the biggest contract of my career. My epic science fiction series has a publisher. And a really good one. Flame Tree Press has acquired the rights to my Coronam Trilogy!


Flame Tree is an international publisher with offices in New York and London, globally distributed through Simon and Schuster which makes me now an international author, or I will be when CORONAM begins in 2021.


Happy Dance!

I really adore this series. It’s timely, epic and vast. It’s Dune meets Childhood’s End with a detour through Sixteenth Century history and a long stop at Roanoke. I call it social science fiction because of its themes and rhythms.

It’s a happy day.

I may be locked in my house, cringing at current affairs beyond my control, but the contract is signed and I am exploding with excitement. Writers tend to be isolated souls, weathering constant rejection and loneliness, seeking validation of any kind. For any author, a moment like this is historic, meaningful and rare. A longed for relief that justifies the pain and confirms the faith.

Thanks for sharing this with me.

Stay tuned and stay safe,

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Grifty Shades of Fey

I had the honor of being part of an unusual project this past year. Fiction Vortex, always on the cutting edge of publishing, arranged for the publication of an anthology of original stories about Faeries, with undercurrents.

It's a handsome book and I share pages with such friends and inspirations as David Farland, Patti Larsen and Michaelbrent Collings. Michael Cluff is another great and longtime friend.

My contribution, A BARGAIN WELL MET, took me out of my comfort zone. I'm not a fantasy guy usually. Sci Fi I can do. gritty contemporary, magical realism, urban fantasy sure, but trope fantasy was a challenge. I finally focussed on my own back yard, on a piece of untended land our laziness has created but which has a long tradition. A fairy garden. The inspiration caught and one of my most tender stories ever was born.

If you're looking for a great read in these hard times, might I recommend GRIFTY SHADES OF FEY.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Charm

My WHAT IMMORTAL HAND just got a new cover. Here it is.

Pretty cool huh?

Why a new cover? Glad you asked. This is actually the book’s third cover. The first was this:

Then this:

Finally this:

I like them all. They’re all cool and eye-catching, but the first two failed to capture the essence of the book, at least from a marketing standpoint.

The book is a literary supernatural thriller, a horror perhaps. Compelling, scary, brooding, even disturbing. The previous covers failed to adequately express this. One would like to think that a cover is just a way to keep the pages together, but in the real world of commerce and business (shudder), it has to make promises of content and mood, so the buyer knows what they’re looking at, so they will be more informed to investigate, and so buy the book and so make everyone happy.

This is a great book. I am very proud of it, a feeling shared by my publisher. It is a testament to out faith in it that we are still tweaking this wonderful tale to expand its audience.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, do so now. I’ll wait. Amazon Link


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

My 2019 Reading Success

One of my 2019 resolutions was to read fifty books. I am here to announce that I hit that goal and more. As I make the same pledge again, fifty for 2020, let me share with you my lovely list of sixty—yes sixty books—that I consumed this year.

It is a potpourri of subjects, some self severing, some recollections. Fiction, non-fiction, read, listened to, written and edited. Not a moment spent reading these books was wasted, in fact having thoroughly embraced the literary lifestyle, I will confess that reading is an absolute joy. Do yourself a favor; read. There’s nothing like it. Pleasure, wisdom, fancy.

Books read by Johnny, 2019:

Writing as a Sacred Path, Jill Jepson
Becoming, Michelle Obama
Art Matters, Neil Gaiman
While Mortals Sleep, Kurt Vonnegut
The Curse of Lono, Hunter S. Thompson

Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
Open Veins of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano
One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz

Donn’s Hill, Caryn Larrinaga
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
How Dams Fall, Will Falk
No Sunscreen for the Dead, Tim Dorsey
Decline and Fall, John Michael Greer

Generation of Swine, Hunter S. Thompson
The Secrets of Story, Matt Bird
The Counterfeit Connection, Johnny Worthen
Beyond the Cabin, Jared Nathan Garrett
Rubberneck at the Cloud Nine Club (Club Cloud and Queen), Victor O’Neal

Nothing is True, Everything is Possible, Peter Pomerantsev
Song of the Lion, Anne Hillerman
Thicker Than Water, Johnny Worthen
2,000 to 10,000 Words, Rachel Aaron
Hocus Pocus, Kurt Vonnegut

Mr. Paradiso, Elmore Leonard
True Hallucinations, Terence McKenna
A Magical Education, John Michael Greer
Cave of Bones, Anne Hillerman
Squirm, Carl Hiaason

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
Homo Deus, Yuval North Harari
Deck Three, Bryan Young
Lady Bits, Kate Jonez
She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
The Tale Teller, Anne Hillerman
Deadly Gratitude, Lori Donnester
Damned, Chuck Palahniuk
The Blessing Way, Tony Hillerman

In The Wake of Captain Lord, Johnny Worthen
Doomed, Chuck Palahniuk
The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
Write to Market, Chris Fox

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Practicing Mind, Thomas M. Sterner
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder

Revelation; Poppet Book 1, Donna Munro
Authority, Jeff VanderMeer
Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer
The Many-Headed Hydra, Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker
Candide The Optimist, Voltaire

Warpaths; Invasions of North America, Ian K. Steele
The Hermit of Big Horn County, Johnny Worthen
Empire of Light, Alex Harrow
On Fire, Naomi Klein
Between Two Hills, Johnny Worthen

Join me in another fifty this year.