Monday, January 9, 2023

2022 Read Books

 Here’ my annual report on books read.

In 2022, I set out to read 50 books and I read 70 books all told, though some were repeats. One book,Woke Racism, really grabbed my interest and since it was timely, available and the perfect length for long drives drives, I listened to five times. A couple others are re-reads to, because they were favorites and I was at ends. I discovered Harlan Coben and ran through many of his. I finally got around to Jonathan Franzen and didn’t hate him as much as I thought I would, I liked it in fact. Cixin Liu’s now classic trilogy lived up to the hype and Graeme Samson’s lovely Rosie books are delightful. My own work appears on the list and I must say I am very fond of my writing. Highly recommended. I read classics and bleeding edge, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, literary, non-ficiton—all kinds of things.

A good year all told for my book consumption.

The List:

Turn of the Screw, Henry James

The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, Dominic Smith

Ramayana, Valmiki

Of Civilized, Saved and Savages, Johnny Worthen

Blood Grove, Walter Mosley


Mermaid Confidential, Tim Dorsey

Animal Farm, George Orwell

A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan

The Maid, Nita Prose


The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

Hermit of Big Horn County, Johnny Worthen

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake


The Farthest Shore, Ursula K. Le Guin

All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

Nine Lives, Peter Swanson

Tehanu, Ursula D. Le Guin


The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Result, Graeme Simsion

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

Tales from Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley


Corrections, Jonathan Franzen

The Doors of Perceptions, Aldous Huxley

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz

Woke Racism, John McWhorter


Silverview, John le Carré

Woke Racism, John McWhorter

The Haunting of Maddy Clare, Simone St. James

The Devil and the Dark Water, Stuart Turton

Start Where You Are, Pema Chödrön


Woke Racism, John McWhorter

Teachings on Love, Thich That Hanh

Eleanor Script, Blake Casselman

When the Bough Breaks, Jonathan Kellerman

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah


The Hermit of Big Horn County, Johnny Worthen

Deal Breaker, Harlan Coben

Mindfulness for Beginners, Jon Bat-Zinn

Meditation for Optimum Health, Andrew Weil & Jon Bat-Zinn

Drop Shot, Harlan Coben


Fade Away, Harlan Coben

Rotters, Daniel Krauss

Back Spin, Harlan Coben

Of Heroes, Homes and Honey, Johnny Worthen

The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu


One False Move, Harlan Coben

Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles

The Final Detail, Harlan Coben

Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury

Darkest Fear, Harlan Coben


Plato and Aristotle, Aryeh Kosman

Promise Me, Harlan Coben

Long Lost, Harlan Coben

Food of the Gods, Terence McKenna

Chakras for Beginners, Brown Kadmon


The Issue at Hand, Gil Fronsdal

The Dark Forest, Cixin Liu

Death’s End, Cixin Liu

Stolen Focus, Johann Hari

Still Life, Louise Penny


Fairy Tale, Stephen King

Why Buddhism is True, Robert Wright

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Never Let Me Go, Kazua Ishiguro

Coconut Cowboy, Tim Dorsey


Next year, the goal is again fifty.


Friday, November 11, 2022

Of Civilized, Saved and Savages - pre-orders open

 We have a date for OF CIVILIZED, SAVED AND SAVAGES, The Second Book of Coronam.

January 10, 2023

Now available for pre-order:

Flame Tree


Barnes & Noble

Humanity gets another chance but will anything be different?

Reeling from the defeat of the armada and Enskaran counter-attacks, Hyrax searches for new revenue to rebuild. Its interests on Maaraw are threatened by revolution, while its mines on Silangan are shut down with native uprising. The occupied worlds bleed money and new unrest. There is but one place left to conquer: Tirgwenin, Jareth’s world, wild and unclaimed.

Enskari’s colony led by Alpin Morgan and his separatist sect of Bucklers is destroyed, the governor returned home to beg for relief and rescue. But Enskari is a different place, the war and a terrible religious purge have decimated his contacts and heightened class tension. The queen’s lover Sir Ethan Sommerled, savior of the planet, Morgan’s one-time patron, is at the center of the controversy. His path is precarious, his power tempered by politics of court. Morgan must find other allies if he is to return to savage Tirgwenin.

But there is a third planet obsessed with Jareth’s World. On Temple the prophet knows the secret, sees the threat, and rallies the Saved to defend civilization in a holy and bloody crusade.

Pre-orders are wonderful things for an author and a publisher and the universe at large. Order now. 

Blessed be.

Sunday, September 18, 2022



Tony Flaner is back in the backwoods of Northern Wyoming, cold nights and cold turkey from computer screens. The gang is there to help him along and make his life worse. The sheriff hates him out of principle but when a body, a naked body, a dirty naked body, appears atop a sacred mounting, who do they call? No... after them... after them too... a ways down the list... there,... no the next one... YES! Tony Flaner!

The Hermit of Big Horn County

Everyone has something to hide, even the naked guy.

A dare leads Tony and the gang to northern Wyoming for a trip off the grid to kick their screen addictions. No computers, no phones, no flushing toilets… wait, what?

It’s a place to hide, to be forgotten. To be left the hell alone. A perfect place for a hermit. A perfect place for a murder.

Lurking in the scree are old-fashioned motives, mud, mosquitoes, meadows, mountains, and more manure than any twenty-first century urbanite has any right to experience.

The 5th Tony Flaner novel. Very proud of this one. Like usual.

Saturday, June 25, 2022


You're invited!

Hey kids,

The Infinite Monkey Chapter of the League of Utah Writers (my stomping grounds), is hosting a virtual book club next month for OF KINGS, QUEENS AND COLONIES*.

I will be there to answer questions and hang out.

Host president Daniel Yocom will steer the conversation and look adorable while I will look embarrassed and fight imposter syndrome.

Date will be: Wednesday July 20, 2022

Time will be 7:00 MST

Place will be this Zoom link here:


You do not need to be a member of the chapter or the league or even the human race to attend, but it’ll help if you’ve read the awesome book.

To make that easier, my publisher is running a deal for the ebook until July 22nd. You can pick an up an ebook for one dollar nine and ninety cents or less (≥$1.99) from these locations.




Barnes & Noble (Nook)




Come hang out and discuss the universe of Coronam, pose questions, meet some fantastic people. See my new glasses.

Email me if you have any questions.


* PS – OF KINGS, QUEENS AND COLONIES is an official best-seller as of June 22, 2022. Squeeeeee!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Pikes Peak Writers Conference this week

 Hey kids,

Sorry for not posting in like forever, but as you know, I am at heart, a lazy man.

Depression is a thing too, as are new distractions, like washing and editing.

To counteract my laziness, I have made Frostian promises to keep. Namely, a bunch of conferences coming up. I love conferences. They energize, improve, connect, challenge and emotionally drain me like nothing else. Getting back in front of masses of people, leaving the house to interact with actually nearby human beings, free of Zoom restraints and mute buttons is a welcome return to what I once thought was normal.

My next one is Pikes Peak, this week. If you’re going, look me up. If you’re not going and want to, I bet you can still come. Here's what I'll be doing. It's a lot right? Yeah, it'll be aa blast.

Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Friday through Sunday — April 29 – May 1, 2022

Friday, April 29, 2022

8:30-9:30 pm. Pike's Peak 

Panel Moderator with Hannah Andrade • Elizabeth Copps • Lucienne Diver • Alice Speilburg • Samantha Wekstein

Join the agents as they answer questions.

4:45-5:45 pm. Royal Gorge Room 

Presentation: The Faceted Story

A presentation about those elements of narrative fiction that lend depth, value and resonance to writing. Every story has some, the best have many. We’ll learn how to identify which elements to include in your story. Subplots and multiple stories, arcs, settings, themes, novelties, information and more. A little foresight, a touch of research and a clear goal can nurture the muse to bring out the strength of the form.

    Writers will be challenged to expand their fiction into elements beyond mere story and character. Emphasis will be placed on theme as well as history, education and entertainment qualities. Examples and techniques will be offered to help shape niches and expand any story into new areas of interest.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

8:30-9:30 am. Palmer/Academy Room 

Presentation: Morning Zen and the Way of the Writer

Author Johnny Worthen shares his discoveries studying eastern philosophy during the pandemic and their surprising applications to the life of an author. Sessions include directed mindfulness meditation and lecture on basic Buddhist concepts explaining how they may be successfully applied to the journey of writing.

9:45-10:15 pm. Bookstore (Three Creeks) 

Book Signing 

Come out and see me or I'll be so lonely... I'll be signing all my books.

3:15-4:15 pm. Seven Falls 

Panel Moderator: Adapt your Novel to the Screen With Ines Johnson

In this practical workshop, veteran television writer and screenwriter instructor Ines Johnson will guide novelists through a series of steps designed to take a manuscript from the written word to the visual world of the screen and teleplay. Using a number of books that have been adapted successfully, and some not so successfully, into movies and television series, Ines will show authors how to break their novels down to their story core of the word and logline, and translate their plot points into the beat sheet of the screen.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

9:00-10:0 am. Teller 

Presentation: Deeper Reading for Deeper Writing

Consciously or unconsciously meaning is hidden beneath signs and facades in literature, layered in word choice and focus. Through shared reading, discussion and meaning and themes, we will learn to consciously see what our subconscious feels within a text, those elements that unite and undercut, but always elevate craft into art. Once you understand deconstruction, your reading and your writing will never be the same.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Johnny's 2021 Read Books

 It’s time for my annual “What did Johnny Read Last Year” post.

2021 was another year for stress and unpleasant worry. To combat the decline of western civilization and implosion of capitalism, I challenged myself to read 50 books in the calendar year and successfully consumed 59. Pretty awesome.

Below is the list. You’ll see certain patterns there. I fell in love with Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin and I devoured books on Buddhism while boning up on the rise of the grain state and astrophysics. And of course, I perused a few classics.

The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information, Noel Botham

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller 

Ravel, Cassidy Ward

Orlando, Virginia Woolf


We Can Build You, Phillip K Dick

White Trash Warlock, David R. Slayton

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

The Counterfeit Connection, Johnny Worthen

Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D H Lawrence


Passage Meditation, Eknath Easwaran

No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners, Noah Rasheta

Squeeze Me, Carl Hiaasen

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh



Tropic of Stupid, Tim Dorsey

Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie

Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty

Steering the Craft, Ursula K. Le Guin

Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie


The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman

What the Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula

Skios, Michael Frayn

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

A Briefer History of Time, Stephen Hawking


If Not Now, When? Infinite Monkey Anthology 

They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera

Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Strong in Broken Places, LUW anthology

A Promised Land, Barack Obama


Stargazer, Anne Hillerman

The Hypnotist, Lars Kepler

The Upanishads, Eknath Easwaran

Information Doesn’t Want to be Free, Cory Doctorow

Radicalized, Cory Doctorow 


Eastern Standard Tribe, Cory Doctorow

Overclocked, Cory Doctorow

Buddhism for Beginners, Thubten Chords

Walkaway, Cory Doctorow

Maximum Bob, Elmore Leonard


Little Brother, Cory Doctorow

Runaway: Poppet Cycle 2, Donna J. W. Munro

Bonfire of the Vanities, Thomas Wolfe

Catwings, Ursula K. Le Guin

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel


Catwings Return, Ursula K. Le Guin

Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, Ursula K. Le Guin

Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer

Jane on Her Own, Ursula K. Le Guin

Seeing Sideways, Kristin Hersh


Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

Homeland, Cory Doctorow

The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers

Captains Courageous, Rudyard Kipling

The Man with the Golden Arm, Nelson Algren


The Four Seals of the Dharma, Lama Khenpo Ngedön 

Against the Grain, James C. Scott

Why Buddhism is True, Robert Wright

The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber & David Wengrow


The challenge continues. 50 books in 2022.

Peace out,


Monday, November 15, 2021

Letting go of Coronam


This time it’s different.

Every time I launch a book, I take a moment to consider. It’s a milestone in any author’s life. Even for those authors who’ve forgotten how many books they’ve published and have three lined up for this week. It matters. It’s important. It’s emotional.

The old analogy that books are like children is real. We birth them, form them, love them and then set them out into the world. Our hands are tied then. There’s really nothing we can do after they leave. We can’t control who they meet, how they’re received. The love they get, the heartbreak. Maybe we can offer few good word here or there, a boost where we can, a defense when we’re able, but it’s the book’s life now. We only started it. Nevertheless though our power to shape its destiny is waned, our attachment has not. It is a part of us and will always be so. A reflecting however dim of ourselves. A dream we once had. An hope, a prayer, an idea we dared share.

But this one is different.

It’s been mentioned to me that I have a different voice in every genre, Tony’s sarcasm in the Flaner series is a world different from Eleanor’s longing in the Unseen. The holy madness of WHAT IMMORTAL HAND is a qualitative divergent from the seriousness of THE BRAND DEMAND. To all these genres I now add science fiction.

I write from the inside out. That is, I begin with an idea, a theme, and then form a story around that. I attribute this to my training in literature and critique as opposed to creative writing. Sometimes the theme is constructive, that is to say, another armature to compliment setting, character, and plot as a skeleton for a compelling story. Sometimes, the theme is engulfing and desperate, a long-form reach for meaning and understanding. Coronam is the latter. Coronam is my dread of history turning into fear for the future. My questions here address have to do with the individual and the community and the proposition. that society can evolve.

Through the creation of my fantastic worlds, I found not only a better understanding of history but hope for the future. The key, and here is a spoiler I suppose, is knowledge. I believe we already have the other main ingredient to make it work—compassion—or at least we can find it. That is a certainty.


A different thing in my writing career. It’s an homage to the great epic science fiction authors of the past, those greats who weened me in the day. Asimov’s FOUNDATION TRILOGY, THE FOUR LORDS OF THE DIAMOND and of course and most importantly, Frank Herbert’s DUNE. Every writer who read these growing up, breeds within them a desire to make their own epic, to join those ranks, to participate in grand storytelling. Coronam is mine. 

It is a complex piece, multiple points of view, many worlds, as many weaving plot lines and history echoes all held together firmly by the idea of evolution and new chances. I have a beautiful queen fighting for her thrown and for her people against a rising tyrant. I have a pirate lover sworn to her side; a zealous priest doing God’s own work, however cruel it may be; a doomed colony with good intentions but bad luck; and a child whose suffering turns to enlightenment. These are alien worlds with familiar shapes, people who look different but aren’t. There is environmental danger, human caused and natural. A sun who warms the planets and makes the miracle that is the system, but is volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous.

Now, on the eve of its release I can only hope that it’ll be well received. It is dense, more DUNE than TWILIGHT, if you know what I mean. It flows in longing ideas and evocative prose. It is epic.

It is different.

I wrote the book because I wanted to read it. That anyone else wanted to, is a bonus. That a fantastic press like Flame Tree wanted to publish it, puts me over the the moon—all of them! It is out of my hands now. I did the best I could and now it stands on its own.

But this time it’s different.

This time the stage is bigger, the distribution world-wide, the fan base potentially global. It’s intimidating. I won’t lie, this book could make me. Or break me.

And anything in between.

All we can ever ask for in life is a chance, right? Do our best and be content? The severing of art from artist which happens whenever a work is finished and released, teaches this lesson in harsh helplessness. The book has its own life now, will have its own fans. We are related but not the same. Our fates will be forever different and yet shared. I have set the solar-sails to catch the storms of the sun. It sails now without me. Others now have the control. But I buoyed in optimism, confident in my team, excited for possibility, and steeling myself for whatever may comes, equally vulnerable to success and failure. I’ve been here before.

But this time it’s different.

Familiar, but new. This is history repeating itself, in micro and macro, fantasy and reality. But this time it’s different. This time it’s bigger. This time the stakes are higher.

OF KINGS, QUEENS AND COLONIES: A Book of Coronam. Humanity gets another chance, but will anything be different?

Thanks for your support.