Giveaway Signup

<== 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 sequel Crystal Queen.

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.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

And Another Thing...

I forgot to mention earlier that I got yet another Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future. These are the nicest rejections you can get for short fiction since they come with badges and certificates. If you're a writer and haven't hit it big, I believe the contest is worth entering, especially since it's free to enter and has a large cash prize and publication for the winners. It's an opportunity to compare yourself against others in an anonymous contest where you know they evaluate the stories instead of the authors. I know a handful of past winners, as well as several people who, like me, are collecting Honorable Mentions. I managed to get to Semifinalist once.
Writers of the Future Contest Honorable Mention

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Great reviews coming in

Here's a sample of one of the great the reviews coming in for All Made of Hinges. I copied his review to here for my story, but you can find his extensive review of every story in the book here.

Marching On to Glory, by John M. Olsen. This one is exciting! It also manages to bring in the truth that military leaders frequently do not take into consideration the strengths and limitations of their troops when they make their plans for conquest. It's also a good example of that genre of literature which demonstrates that a prophecy may be fulfilled in more ways than one. Join the troops of the gigantic airship, as they make their way to battle the mechanized monsters of the South, and on the way get a glimpse of what the Eternal City must be like. This one, as others, makes lovely reference to the genius works of John Moses Browning, one of which is strapped to my right hip at the moment.
Between that and The Hundred Worlds anthology, I've had a great December. Now to buckle down and finish my draft of Crystal Empire. Yeah, if you haven't heard, volume 3 of the Riland Throne trilogy went through a name change.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

New short stories

It's double release week for me, with two new short stories coming out. First (just out today) is the anthology All Made of Hinges which contains my story Marching on to Glory. It's a collection of Mormon Steampunk, and is lots of fun. The idea was to include in each story some element of steampunk and some element of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. In my case, I took the story of the Mormon Battalion and put them on an airship and armed them with steampunk-inspired repeating recoilless rifles.

I'm the editor for volume two of the Mormon Steampunk anthologies. Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel should be out in January 2019, with the third volume coming out in March 2019.

Second in line, coming out December 1st is The Hundred Worlds anthology, a shared-world where I'm writing in someone else's sandbox. This is a new experience for me, and it involved a lot of back-and-forth with other authors and the editor to make sure all the stories were consistent with each other since all our stories are in the same universe. My story Three Strikes tells of a woman with a lot of patience as she seeks justice for crimes against her family.

Both projects were put together with great editors and co-authors, and I'm happy how they have turned out. All Made of Hinges went to at least #6 on Amazon's Hot New Releases in one of their Steampunk categories today (it's first day).

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Crystal Queen Release

It's been released into the wild, to be found on Amazon and other sites. I'll have copies at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention this week, so the whole week is sort of a blur so far with no sign of changing. :)

I received a detailed review from Guild Master Gaming which breaks things down into several categories and analyzes things quite well. You can find it here.

Later in the month, I have two book signings in the Salt Lake City area:

  • September 15, 2018 1PM at Marissa's Books, 5692 South 900 East Suite 10, Murray, UT 84121
  • September 20, 2018 7PM at The Printed Garden, 9445 S. Union Square, Suite A, Sandy, UT 84070
Time to get things ready for the rest of my busy week!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

League of Utah Writers - Quills Conference

I attended the Quills Conference this past Friday and Saturday. I took lots of notes from several amazing presentations. One of the anthologies I'm in (Apocalypse Utah) won the Silver Quill award, so now my short stories have won multiple awards either for the story itself or for the collection it's in. It's great for feeling validated as an author. Will it turn into fame or fortune? Nah. Most awards won't do that, and for those who do, it's not guaranteed. Would I ever give up the award as useless? Of course not! Awards are cool!
Me with the Apocalypse Utah award.

I took a couple different classes from Maria V. Snyder who was one of the special guests at the conference. One was on properly portraying emotions, and the other on believable YA voices. Both classes were excellent.

I also took a class on deconstruction and criticism (the academic kind) from Johnny Worthen who moved from President-Elect to President within the League last night. (More on that later.)

David R Slayton (another special guest) talked about building worlds with a fatal flaw, something that leads to conflict within the world.

Theresa Braun talked about book reviews and how Amazon treats books differently based on when you get reviews and how many you get.

James A. Hunter talked about more details of how Amazon treats metadata, and how you can get the most out of it by understanding how it's used. It's important to get your first reviews from a relevant source to help Amazon put your book in front of the right buyers.

Classes covered a wide range of topics. Two or more talked about tax and IRS issues as they apply to authors. I attended one by Therese Francis on how to look like a business.

Aaron Michael Ritchey talked about story arc and character arc and how they interact, and we ended the class with a storyline brainstorm to apply the principles. It was a lot of fun and might result in some short stories or novels from the attendees.

Lyn Worthen taught about sharpening short story skills. I've team-taught with her before and she's an expert in the field, having written a huge number of short stories and been the editor for multiple anthologies. One of her latest anthos (Mirages and Speculations) won an award last night.

I also attended a class by a local editor, Callie Stoker, on how to find and train alpha and beta readers.

All in all, it was an excellent conference. I went to great classes, hung out with old friends and new, and enjoyed the two days.

But then...

You see, I've been a local chapter president in the League of Utah Writers for two and a half years. Last night they announced me as the new President-Elect of the state-wide organization, elected by the board from a field of three candidates. That means I have one or two years to learn the ropes under the current president, then one or two years as President, then one or two years as Outgoing President. It's kind of a long-term commitment to a statewide organization with hundreds of members. It will be a learning experience, and it will require me to hone my time management skills if I'm to do the job justice. I still have the day job to take care of, still have a trilogy to finish and another series to start, and someone has to do all that yard work.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

What happened to June?

Bear with me to the end here because that's where the important stuff is. June was an extraordinary month. Extraordinarily busy, at least. Coming off the MisCon trip at the end of May, I figured things would settle into a pretty normal cycle as summer got underway. Silly me.
Brandon Sanderson signing a book for me at MisCon.

One week I attended two weddings and a funeral and had a book club in Austrailia talk about my book. Our grandbaby had a birthday the next week. Over the past three weeks, I've been reviewing options to install solar panels on the house and fielding visits and phone calls from several salesmen.

I won first place in the DragonComet writing contest which was announced at Fyrecon where I helped out with about seven classes, panels, and demonstrations, and had to cut that short on the last day to man a table at a community event in my hometown to drum up membership for our local chapter of the League of Utah Writers. With that win, I suppose that makes me an award-winning author. The contest had entrants from multiple countries, and I even beat out a Writers of the Future winner, and friend, who took second place.  (Sorry, Julie.)

My shiny DragonComet trophy and the book with all the winners and placers.

I also found out last week that FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention™ has two of my panel suggestions on their program for this fall to talk about writing sensory inputs beyond the big five, and how to steer your creative tendencies into the right path.

Here we are in July, and I feel a little bit dizzy.

The thing is, I got through it all and still took time to be with my family (both immediate and extended) because without them, all that other stuff wouldn't matter.

My brother-in-law and my son with their babies. That means the baby on the left and the dad on the right are cousins.
I still have a lot of things on my to-do list. I have Crystal Queen to get out on September 4th, and I've started writing Crystal Prince, the capstone of the trilogy. I have a tight schedule on some cool things at work. I have fireworks to blow up on the 4th of July. Behind all of that is family. It's why I do things, and who I do them for. Spend time with those you love.

Friday, May 25, 2018

MisCon is here!

This is my first time to MisCon in Missoula, MN, and it is shaping up to be a lot of fun. I'm about ready to head downstairs for breakfast on Day 1. I have a book signing today at the local Barnes & Noble from 10am to noon, then my con schedule starts. I will do a post-con report with pictures and stuff. Here are the events I'm helping with:

Sensing Violence (Writing)
Fri 5:00 - 5:50 PM, (Ballroom C)
Pros and Guests: Cheryl Glenn, Elliott Kay, Joseph Malik, John Olsen
Moderator: Joseph Malik
What does violence sound like? Smell like? How does it feel and taste? Are the details of violence like those we see in movies? If not, should you write them realistically or cinematically?

Pacing (Writing)
Sat 11:00 - 11:50 AM, (Ballroom B)
Pros and Guests: Tod McCoy, John Olsen, L.F. Patten (Laurey), Peter Wacks (pjwacks)
Moderator: Peter Wacks (pjwacks)
What are some effective ways to control the pacing of your scenes, chapters, and overall book? Is it structure? Paragraph-by-paragraph? Can you outline for pacing?

It Seemed Like She Was, She Thought (Writing, Makers)
Sat 4:00 - 4:50 PM, (Monster Tent)
Pros and Guests: LJ Bonham, Eric Scott Fischl, John Olsen, J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward
Moderator: J.A. Pitts
In Ken Rand’s Ten Percent Solution, he advocates that you take your story and cut 10%. That includes writing tight, precise prose, among other things. What are some of the best ways to do this?

Spotlight: Olsen, Kolva, Fischl (Meet & Greet/Signing)
Sun 10:00 - 10:50 AM, (Spotlight)
Pros and Guests: Eric Scott Fischl, Sanan Kolva, John Olsen
Meet a few of our authors, get signatures, and see what they're up to these days.

Getting Armor Right (Writing, Writing)
Sun 1:00 - 1:50 PM, (Monster Tent)
Pros and Guests: LJ Bonham, John Olsen, D.L Solum
Moderator: LJ Bonham
Historical, fantastical or sport, no one wants to bleed. Let's talk about getting armor right for both visual media and writing. Practical examples provided. Come find out how it's made and how it works and why.

My short story and novel experience will play nicely into these topics. Plus, I've made two shirts of chain mail armor before. :) I will also attend several other panels for fun. It will be a great (and long) weekend.