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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, February 17, 2016

Beyond Words

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt, hosted by Positive Writer. Please follow the link to learn more.

Hi. My name is John, and I am an introvert. (Everyone chime in with "Hi, John.")

It's like being eccentric in a way, since one of the cool things about being an introvert (or eccentric) is that you never consider it to be anything but normal. In the 7th grade I was voted the quietest kid in the school. I didn't know anybody, but apparently everyone knew me. I've known and enjoyed the life of a quiet introvert now for over half a century, yet introverts tend to form a small number of deep friendships rather than socializing widely. This was a handicap I didn't know I had.

I'd dabbled with writing fiction on and off for years. The sale of a story in 1995 was more fluke than skill. over the next eighteen years I collected quite a few false starts, and the occasional finished short story. My handful of submissions all garnered standardized form rejections. I was being crushed by doubt and had no idea how to improve.

It's not that I couldn't write. I'd written several chapters in popular books on software design. I just didn't know how to write fiction despite having read hundreds of books in the fantasy and science fiction genres over the years.

Then two things happened, with one triggering the other. First, one of my friends encouraged me to enter an anthology contest. That by itself would have resulted in several so-so attempts, and I would have figured I just wasn't fit to write fiction. It was the second thing which made all the difference.

As a result of my friend's invitation, I did some research and discovered the local writing community with all its quirky wonder. While my first attempts at writing were rejected as before, I was better at completing what I started. I also discovered a treasure trove of web resources on writing. Better even than those resources, I discovered within the local writing community a host of people ready to give me a hand, share encouragement, and let me join in as part of the community even though I was a neophyte.

Within months, I had turned the tables on my old failures and crushed my doubt. I won a position in an anthology, and got a view into the workings of a great editor who showed me what she was looking for in a story. Just this past week, two more anthologies were released with a story of mine in each, and I pitched a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2015 at a writer's symposium. The novel needs work still, but I know what it needs, and why it needs it.

Without that sense of community and belonging offered to me by local writers, none of that would have happened. I'm grateful for all my new friends, beyond words.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

LTUE 2016

Life, the Universe and Everything, as in the writer symposium in Provo each year.

This is my second year to attend, and I wish I'd decided to go a decade or two ago. I had a great time last year, but this year was leaps and bounds ahead for me personally. I know a lot more people now, and have stories in three anthologies, as of last Thursday when two were released in conjunction with LTUE. I had new business cards made up for the occasion to show off my three anthologies. You can find all three in my "Books" tab.

I started off setting up the vendor table for a group of Xchyler Publishing authors who get together at conferences to sell books and hang out. Here's my first official Dave Doering sighting as he came through the vendor area the evening before the conference started:

Dave Doering

It would take hours to do justice to all the fine panels I attended, so here's a smattering of photos I took throughout the three days. I'll also dump pics on Facebook and tag everyone I can.

Lindzee Armstrong, Eric Stone, Dene Low
 How to Pitch Your Novel

Candace Thomas, Lisa Mangum, Michelle Witte
Know Who You're Talking To

Rebecca Rode, Michelle Argyle, Angela Hartley, Larry Correia, Peter Orullian
 Defining and Measuring Success: It's a Mindset

Howard Tayler, Scott Parkin, Wayne Hanewicz

Michaelbrent Collings, Eric James Stone, Julie Frost, K. B. Rylander
Selling Short Stories

Robert Defendi, Michael Glassford, Alyson Peterson, Peter Orullian, Larry Correia
Writing Action Scenes

Larry Correia, Rachel Ann Nunes, Michaelbrent Collings
Keeping the Chatacter's Backstory Relevant

Kevin J Anderson Friday keynote

Steve Diamond, Larry Correia, Christine Haggerty, Michelle Corsillo, Adrienne Monson
It's a Book, Not a Baby

John D. Brown, Brandon Sanderson, Michael Jensen, Lynette White, J. Scott Savage
The Role of Magic in Your Story

Shannon Hale Saturday keynote

Chersti Nieveen, J. R. Jonhansson, Rachel Ann Nunesh, Michelle Corsillo, L. L. Muir
Bios, Synopsis and Blurbs

L. E. Modesitt, Shannon Hale, Brandon Sanderson, Jason King, David Farland
Writing Natural Dialog

Eric James Stone, Julie Frost, Scott Parkin
Escaping Semipro Hell

Aside from the usual panels, there were other things going on. The two books which were released each had an event. First was the Sibyl's Scriptorium event where I won Honorable Mention for my short story "The Blight". I got pictures of that one. I didn't get pictures from the horror panel which doubled as the release party for "It Came From the Great Salt Lake."

Jason King, Holli Anderson, David West
The Space Balrogs played host to the Sibyl's Scriptorium gathering

Peter Orullian spoke to the folks at the gathering before the awards

Me receiving my Honorable Mention

My friend Jay Barnson receiving his first place award

We spent one night with my son and his wife in Provo rather than driving all the way home that night. I looked at their fridge. I just ... Okay. That's cool. Don't try to read it.

Artists with word magnets. Not an expected result.
I'll declare the 2016 LTUE a success. I hope to see you there next year!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

LTUE next week!

I'll escape the day job next week on Thursday and Friday so I can go to Life, the Universe and Everything in Provo, UT. I'm really looking forward to the writing symposium this year. Last year was great fun, but I didn't know many people and had no fiction published this century to sell. This year, I have stories in three anthologies, a NaNoWriMo novel to maybe pitch, and a lot more friends to watch for, both as attendees and panelists.

I'll be attending the "Sybil's Scriptorium Contests Award Ceremony" Thursday night because I'm a finalist in their writing contest. The winners and runners up will be in "Sibyl's Scriptorium Volume 3" which hasn't quite made it to Amazon yet.

I'll miss the first part, but after SybScript, I'll head over to the "After Dark - Horror" late evening panel where the folks in "It Came From the Great Salt Lake" with me will be hanging out.

My day schedule for all three days will be a mix of writing, editing, publishing, and networking panels, along with a pitch or two of "Crystal King" if I can get enough polish on it in just one week. An editor friend has given me a list of things to check on and clean up, so it's touch and go.

For the signing event Friday, I'm supposed to be at three different tables, so it will be a high-calorie burn evening as I bounce between Sybil's, the Utah Horror Writers, and Xchyler.

I'll likely be at the Xchyler vendor table whenever I'm not in a panel. My wife Kelly is a real estate agent sponsoring their vendor table.