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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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Life the Universe and Everything

It's that time of year again. Conference season has begun. I'm starting off my tour with LTUE this weekend. If you are somewhere near Provo, Utah, stop by to say hello. If you're not going to register for the (rather inexpensive) conference, there is a free-to-the-public book signing Friday night.

This conference is a great time to meet with friends and to do some networking. I hope to also do a little recruiting for the League of Utah Writers since we have our Quills conference coming up in August. (Spring Conference schedule is already mostly set.)

A cool bonus: I got copies of Crystal Empire in time to bring them, so it will be in the vendor room along with the rest of the series, and with a few anthologies I'm in.

Here is my LTUE schedule:

How to Judge a Book

Friday 10:00 AM

David Farland
M. Todd Gallowglas
John M. Olsen (Moderating)
Tony Daniel

We all know never to judge a book by its cover, but how do we judge it? Every bookworm has their own neverending reading list. How do we decide which books to read and which books to skip?

Book Signing Event

(Free to the public)
Friday 6:30 - 8:00 PM

This is the author signing to beat all author signings. Introduce yourself to your favorite authors and get your books signed. Bring your own books, and/or purchase select titles onsite. This is one event not to be missed!

Feedback, Critiques, and Criticism

Friday 6:00 PM

C.H. Hung
Kenneth Hunter Gordon
John M. Olsen
Jessica Guernsey
Quiana Chase
Michael F. Haspil

How to critique the works of others without hurting their feelings. Can you still be friends after that dreaded critique session?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Out with the old, in with the new

Another year in the books. (books! Get it?) Let's see what the master story submission spreadsheet shows.

In 2019 I had seven short story acceptances and one novel on twenty-one submissions, which is one less win on the same number of submissions from 2018. My acceptance rate is still pretty good at about 33%, so I'm pretty happy with how things went.

I also had a novel, Crystal Empire, come out this year. That makes about one novel a year. I'll keep that going with the novel I just turned into the publisher for review last December. It was provisionally accepted, so we'll see in a month or two what the publisher thinks.

My overall short story total sold is now twenty-seven. That is starting to sound normal to me, where the number would have been pie-in-the-sky fantasy when I got started.

What's next?

This coming year I'd like to put out a collection of my Science Fiction stories, and another of Fantasy stories. I have enough of each to top 40,000 words for each collection if I don't mix in the sub-genres of Steampunk and Urban Fantasy. If I added those, I'd be over 70,000 per collection.

I also plan to keep submitting short stories, but I may ramp back a little to make more time for the next series. I'll spend more time shopping my stories to the higher paying markets to see if I can disqualify myself from Writers of the Future by either winning, or by selling too much pro-grade work.

Speaking of a new series of novels, I'm going to start outlining this thing soon. Now that I know I have what it takes to finish a series, it's time to apply all my recent lessons and new skills to a whole new project. I think I'll hit science fiction this time around. Working with small press and self-pub, I have a bit more flexibility to write what I want, and I like that.

Another big change for this year is that in August I will migrate from President-Elect to President of the League of Utah Writers. That will certainly slurp up some of my time, as being President-Elect has for the past year-and-a-half. I enjoy giving back to the writing community that has taught me so much over the past few years.

2019 short story sales:

A Little Help from my Friends (an essay in How I Got Published and What I Learned Along the Way)
Stalemate (Secret Lunar Wars anthology should be out in 2020)
Maintenance Mode (Mecha anthology)
Retirement Plan (Storyhack Issue 4)
Providence Canyon (Heard at a Utah Diner anthology)
The Bannik and the Soap (Fae and Fate anthology)
Designated Survivors (A cancelled anthology. Going to sell it again soon, I hope.)


Sunday, November 3, 2019

November Status Update

There's a lot going on this month.


  • I'm writing a novel for NaNoWriMo.
  • I'm prepping for a December 17th release of Crystal Empire.
  • I'm editing another author's novel.
  • I'm spending extra time at the day job in a software crunch.
  • We host 20-35 people for Thanksgiving, depending on the year.
  • The daughter's boyfriend will visit from Chile if he can get a flight out.
Some of that, including some Crystal Empire pre-release art is in my November newsletter that you can find here.

I'm hoping for some time to sleep wedged in there each night. :)

If you sign up for my newsletter through the link at the top of my blog, you get my monthly status updates and my monthly Reading Corner where I highlight a book, often selected from or by the authors I know.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Quills 2019 Report

The League of Utah Writers just finished its 84th annual conference, renamed as the Quills conference last year. Since I'm the President-Elect of the League, I did a bunch of running around in the background. Luckily, I had a chance to catch a few of the awesome classes.

We had Michael Stackpole and Anne Hillerman visiting and teaching, along with several amazing out-of-state and local editors who took pitches. The majority of the teaching staff of about 35 people was made up of local authors, but that also included some folks who have been in the business for a while. I would name more of the awesome people who came to help out, but it's easier if I direct you to the league website to the Quills 2019 page. (The page may flip over to another conference or vanish eventually, but should be good for a while.)


Aside from all the other winners in the writing contests, it turns out that an anthology I edited, Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel (published by Immortal Works), won a Gold Quill award. I'm officially an award-winning editor!

We're already planning for next year, and we want to pull out the stops for an 85th conference in 2020, but before that we'll have a smaller locals-only one-day conference on April 18th. That one will be my responsibility, but we have a dedicated conference committee that knows what they're doing. They make my job much easier.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

FyreCon 3 Report

I had a great time at FyreCon, held June 20-22. I had a busy schedule, consisting of:

A book signing.

  • Some friends stopped by to chat and I sold some books.

Three solo classes.

  • Senses Beyond the Big Five: Expanding Your Descriptive Toolbox
  • Making Infinite Worlds in Finite Time
  • Beginning Calligraphy

One team-taught class with Lyn Worthen

  • Surviving the Slush Pile

A couple panels.

  • The Future of VR and Video Games
  • Robots, Androids, and AI
Now I need to update my presentations page. That's where I keep a record of what I've done, and when. This year I didn't teach anything on writing short stories, but the Slush Pile class covered bit of the same stuff.

The Senses class was great fun, and was the first time I've covered that material. It was inspired by my panel at MisCon a couple years ago talking about the senses involved in violence.

Infinite Worlds went well, and was a lot of fun reviewing ways of building background information on a world to give the characters something to do, whether they're aligned, opposed, or surprised by some aspect of the world around them.

Beginning Calligraphy was great fun as usual. I've taught that class I think four times now (three at FyreCon) and it's cool to see people excited about an art form that doesn't see much attention.

Surviving the Slush Pile was a great chance to help new writiers find ways to get past the first round of gatekeepers. Once you have a fair amount of writing skill, success often consists of being professional and following instructions.

The VR and Video Game panel was me and Jay Barnson talking to several local game development veterans and a couple of teenagers interested in games. I think we avoided traumetizing them with war stories.

Robots, Androids, and AI with Martin Shoemaker was great fun. We talked about the scientific views on AI and how that's too boring for fiction in most cases.

I attended a handful of classes and spent a little time at our bookstore table selling books, but I spent a lot of time on the honored tradition of networking and hanging out with friends, often in the Green Room (which was not actually green).

This time around I was also representing the League of Utah Writiers, and spent a little time supporting our volunteers there manning an information table. We have the League's Quills conference coming up in August, so we're getting the news out.

Overall, the conference was a great success. Attendance was up, several of my classes were near capacity, and a great time was had by most. Problems with an elevator (not me), a low blood sugar incident (also not me), and other challenges were dealt with quickly and smoothly.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Guest Blogging for Cannon Publishing

I wrote a guest blog post over at Cannon Publishing to talk about how to find a new favorite author. They've included one of my stories in their Hundred Worlds anthology.

Give the post a look!

(They've been rearranging the blog links, so if that doesn't work just go to https://www.cannonpublishing.us and jump through the Blog link at the top.)


Sunday, February 24, 2019

More Anthologies

It's been one right after the other for a while. It's great when things like up like this. For anthologies released in three months!

December 1, 2018 - The Hundred Worlds
December 4, 2018 - All Made of Hinges
February 5, 2019 - Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
February 14, 2019 - Trace the Stars

Just as a point of reference, I wanted to show my amateur author rank numbers on Amazon to show what can happen with a rapid-fire release schedule. Those who know how the rankings work will not be impressed by the absolute numbers I show, but what I want to point out is that short fiction can have cool side effects. When an author can maintain a ranking, the Amazon algorithms can notice. I hope it is self-sustaining.


Now, author rankings on Amazon don't really mean a lot in terms of dollars in the pocket. It works the other way around. Sell a lot, and your ranking goes up. Rankings are just one indicator that you have a little traction in the marketplace.

I also have a story in a First Contact anthology coming out within the next month or two. It's been a great winter. Now I need to buckle down and finish my trilogy. I'm about 15,000-20,000 words from finished. It won't be out until probably sometime in the fall.