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← Click to join my mailing list and receive a free copy of my short story Crystal Servants, delivered through MyBookCave. Learn about some of the major players in my novel Crystal King and its sequels Crystal Queen and Crystal Empire.

Adrian, a spy for the King, sees a nobleman murder a servant. His desire for truth is pitted against the dangers of a high-stakes political game. When his friend Draken insists on pursuing justice, Adrian must protect those he cares about as the political games of powerful men alter the lives of everyone around him.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Whirlwind Continues

This week, I'm doing a presentation at Fyrecon titled "Structure, Outlines, and Other Things Pantsers Hate". Next week I'll be at the 20 Books to 50K writing conference in Las Vegas. I recently released Breakdown, book 2 in the Polecat Protocol series.

Add to that edits for book 3 in that series, assembling a Best-of anthology for the Planetary Anthology series, and editing two novels for a local small press, and I wonder when I'll have time to sleep.

Then there's the day job that runs 40-50 hours per week. I don't recommend a schedule like this since many people don't do well with so many irons in the fire. Sometimes I wonder how well I do at it. My problem is that I don't really know how to sit and do nothing. Relaxation means digging out a favorite project instead of a required project.

Such is the life of a creator. I love to build things. Woodworking, writing, editing, electronics, software, they all count as creative outlets for me. Those things all recharge my batteries so I can go out and socialize again.

What is your passion? If you're not sure, find something worth dedicating time to. Learn something new. Expand your horizons.

Need something to read? I've got Science Fiction: The Polecat Protocol trilogy.

I've got Fantasy: The Riland Throne trilogy.

And I've got a bunch of short stories in anthologies, including this collection that's all mine:

Monday, August 22, 2022

Quills Conference

 I've had a week of recovery time now, so I figured I should report on how the League of Utah Writers Quills Conference went.

The coolest thing for me was to be awarded the first annual Emerald Typewriter award. The League added published short works to the writing contest this year, and I took top honors out of all the categories with my story Death by Misadventure, which appears in the anthology Unmasked: Tales of Risk and Revelation. (You can click on the book cover image)

Outside of that, I spent a lot of time either teaching classes or helping with the book signings of several of our special guests. I really enjoy teaching classes, giving back to the writing community that was so welcoming to me a few years back when I got serious about my writing.

In other news, my book Dicovery: Polecat Protocol Book One came out in both print and ebook, but I didn't have enough time to take a box of them with me to the Quills Conference.

Jericho Jackson looks forward to finishing one last job: a high-risk, high-pay mining gig on a tiny moon in a distant star system. A string of disasters throws the operation into life-threatening chaos as his team is cut off from outside contact. Even with their specialized training, if the power dies, his crew dies.

Shanna Percival, his teammate and one-time girlfriend, keeps their equipment in top shape, but her tendency to stick her nose where it doesn't belong turns up a mysterious cache of data that shouldn't exist.

Knowledge is power. Her discovery could be the ultimate key to overcoming the growing danger, but time is running out ...

If you've read it, I'd love to see a review. If you haven't, give it a look. I'm also looking for advance readers for books two and three coming out later this year, so drop me a line if you're interested in joining the team.

Saturday, June 18, 2022


I have a presentation where I talk about lessons learned from 163 short story submissions over the course of eight years. I broke it down mostly by genre. Counting poetry as its own little sub-category, I wrote short pieces in eleven genres. That's a lot. Here's how they break down.

  • Fantasy
  • Folk Tale
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • Mainstrem
  • Poetry
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Religion
  • Science Fiction
  • Steampunk
  • Urband Fantasy

Short stories are my experimental space. I try new things to see what works. I'd never spread myself so thin with novels. (John takes a peek at his novel-length writing...)

Oops. Guess what. I may not be quite as scattered, but here's the list of my novel-length fiction genres.

  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Biography (fictionalized)
  • Military Historical Fantasy (sort of a genre mash-up)
I've also done technical writing included in about five or six how-to books related to computer graphics and artificial intelligence, but that was something like thirty years ago. Does that still count? Not really for the discussion on genre.

Many people tell authors to find a genre they love and to stick with it to have an easier path to success. This is because readers may like the science fiction I write, but may not be into fantasy. Sticking to one genre gives an author a more cohesive audience, and helps readers to find new stuff to read in their favorite genre by following the author.

The thing about that is that I think of myself as more of a generalized creator than an author in a specific genre. I grew up with my dad's library alphebetized by author. Thrillers and westerns sat next to science fiction and fantasy. I inherited that library and it sits in the room behind me on some shelves I built. It's still alphabetical by author.

This generalized concept of a creative doesn't stick to just writing, either. I've written software as my profession and as a hobby for decades. I do woodworking and calligraphy. I tinker with microcontrollers to run fancy Christmas lights. I've built a ukulele and Irish tin whistles. I still have a lego set that went with me to Brazil over 50 years ago. I like to creat things, and stories are one of those things I create.

I may focus primarily on one genre at a time (like how I'm doing more science fiction shorts now, and releasing my Polecat Protocol series this year), but my interests range pretty widely.

If you dig a little, I'm sure you'll find you have a list like mine, but with different content. If you want to bring out your creative side, maybe you will want to focus on one thing, like drawing dog portraits or bronze sculpture casting. Focus is a great way to become an expert and gain both skill and recognition. For others, being a generalist like me might work better.

Find your creative path and enjoy the ride.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Coincidence or Convergence?

It's Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember those who died while serving in the military. It's also been a weekend with an interesting coincidence.

I have a book coming out in the next few weeks called "High Hopes." It's an adventure story set in World War I about Marines, Biplanes, and gargoyles. It turns out that the publisher emailed me yesterday asking for some extra info such as an author bio and photo, and any dedication or acknowledgments.

Due to the holiday weekend, as well as the subject matter of the book, I thought I'd write a dedication a little different from my normal entry.

To those who have risked or given their lives defending others.
And, as always, to Kelly.

Through this dedication, I'm able to take part in Memorial Day just a little bit more than normal. You see, I have two brothers, a son, a nephew, several neighbors, and a whole raft of friends who have served in the military. They all lived through their time on active duty, so I remember them on Veteran's Day instead.

For Memorial Day, my gratitude reaches to cover those I don't know who have given their lives. It's a small thing, but if you gather enough small things, it's no longer small.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Apex Writers Group

I gave a presentation to the Apex Writers Group tonight talking about how to overcome the fear of failure. I had a long list of stories and examples, and had a lot of fun with the topic. If you're not failing from time to time, you're not setting high enough goals.

As one example,I set a goal in 2017 to receive 30 short story rejections, so I turned the negative of rejections into a scoring mechanism. I ended that year with 41 submissions, 34 rejections, and 7 sales. Without the weird goal, I wouldn't have submitted nearly as much or paid as much attention to submitting my short stories.

Speaking to that writing group can give you a strong case of Imposter Syndrome. If you look at their website, they list Brandon Sanderson and other NY Times bestseller authors as past presenters.

If you're interested in writing, check them out to see if the group is a good fit for you. It was Dave Farland's brainchild, but it's carrying on with others at the helm now that Dave's gone.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Upcoming Writers Conference

 We have a local writing conference coming up on April 23rd, 2022. Most of it will be online so you can sign up to attend the event from anywhere and view classes at your convenience. There will be an in-person keynote, but I think even that will be streamed live to attendees. For the book signing, that's a hard one to handle online, so you're on your own there. :)

I've recorded three different classes for the conference.

  • Making Infinite Worlds in Finite Time
  • Short Story Prep and Submission
  • Care and Feeding of Your Amazon Author Account (This class is brand new.)
Our spring conference is a one-day event, but the recorded classes will be available to all attendees both before and after the one live day. Come join us for a great conference!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Review, 2022 Goals

 2021 was the year for stacking things up in the pipeline. I published three short stories and a poem, which is the least I’ve published in several years. The stories were each from a different genre, and the poem was my second published work of poetry, which I suppose means the first poem wasn’t a fluke. Each of these anthologies is cross-genre, so I've included a note to tell you the genre of my contribution.

Death by Misadventure, in Unmasked (Urban Fantasy)

Living on Borrowed Time, in Strong at Broken Places (Fantasy)

Time Machines Only Go One Way, in If Not Now, When (Science Fiction)

Peter Sinks, in Beyond Beehives (Poetry)

2022 will be the year of the pipeline. Remember that I mentioned I was stacking things up? I have a military UF novel coming out through a small press in Q1. I have a 50K-word science fiction short story collection to format and release in Q2 or early Q3. I’ll use the collection as a promo piece by including chapter 1 of the next novel in the queue. I’ve written two books of a trilogy with the third outlined, and I want to release them in Q3 and Q4 about a month or two apart.

If you’re local, or if I bumped into you at 20 Books to 50K in Vegas this past November, you might have seen the awesome cover art I picked up for the trilogy.

So that makes five novel-length releases planned for 2022. It’s not quite as scary as it sounds, since that only requires writing one novel from scratch, with the rest patiently waiting for me to get to them. The scariest part is the marketing plan for the trilogy. I have an experienced editor and an experienced book formatter (also both authors) in my group of gaming friends, so I’ll draw on a team of experts as I jump into the new year with both feet.

Now that I’ve shared my 2021 results and my 2022 goals, y’all can hold my feet to the fire as you watch for future reports. 😊