The race is on!

#DragonMoonNovel much?

The U.S. government might not be funding the human return to the moon, but at least it acknowledges that there is a dangerous space race underway.

VP Mike Pence passed along Trump’s direct threat to NASA that heads will roll at the agency if it doesn’t put Americans back on the moon within five years–six years ahead of the optimistic target already in place.

Yes, sir, there is a threat. It must be met. But meeting it only with threats to your own people isn’t going to get it done. Actually appropriating the money is the first step.

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Egle Zioma: one of the best cover artists ever

I woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning: the first character study of the hero of my forthcoming novel, Rise of the Stripling Warriors, by the best cover artist I have ever worked with, Egle (Cathy) Zioma.

Young Mayan warrior. Character sketch. Ixtil, son of Lamoni

Character study. Ixtil, son of Lamoni

Ixtil, son of Lamoni, lives for the Mayan ballgame pok-a-tok. He and his friends, the Cloud Jaguar team, drill and train, run and hunt, all in service of the game. The wars of their old enemies, the Lamanites, and their protectors, the Nephites, seem far away.

New converts to the worship of the God of Israel, their fathers and leaders, once the elite of the Lamanite war machine, have made a covenant with God to bury their weapons of war, never again to shed human blood.

Now genocidal war has found them in their mountain refuge. Homicidal King Ammoron has vowed to destroy the People of the Covenant and drink the blood of his enemies, the old royal family. Ixtil’s family.

The People of the Covenant face a stark choice: break their oath and take up arms to help the Nephites defend them, or be extinguished from the face of the earth.


Egle (Cathy) Zioma, the character artist of the enchanting cover of my novel A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, is brilliant, both technically and artistically. Her images done on my behalf are only the tip of the iceberg of a wonderful body of work.

Egle is a native of Lithuania. She studied Graphic Design/Fine Arts at VDA KDI (Vilniaus Dailes Akademija, Kauno Dailes Fakultetas)

Tour her amazing work on:


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The Sisters Sorenson and the Mechanical Man

Steampunk and Mormons? A natural fit!

Sister-wives Solveig and Hilda Sorenson bend their considerable skills to protect their aging husband from a corrupt deputy U.S. marshal.

The second in an ongoing series of Steampunk Mormon anthology volumes by Immortal Works Press, released in early 2019.

“Even at twelve feet tall, Iron Porter’s hair hung well below his shoulders, and his beard reached his midsection.

In the dark the effect was perfect. With the shock of the monstrous apparition looming from the winter night, the lights glaring in the marshal’s eyes, and the hair swirling, Solveig was confident the marshall had no idea he faced a mechanical man. An oversized visitor from hell, maybe, but not a mechanical man.”

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How do authors create major characters for their novels from scratch?

In answer to a question:

For me there are essentially three ways novels are born. When I start a novel, I start with an interesting:

  1. Character. If this is how your brain works, the question (how to create the major characters) is already partly answered. Ask yourself: what does she want? What is stopping her from getting it? Then fill in some blanks for yourself: who are her parents? How does she look, dress, behave? Where did she go to school? Is she a dog or a cat person? What did she have for breakfast? Ad infinitum.For the antagonist and secondary characters, you go through the same process: what do they want? What is stopping them from getting it? Etc.Different authors are more rigorous about this than others. Several successful ones I know write themselves copious notes—even essays—about the characters.

    Then, once you know the world the characters inhabit and the story they are involved in, you give the readers the details they need to know to move the story forward. Be careful not to over-indulge yourself: the reader doesn’t need to know everything you know.

  2. Story. If your novel is story-driven, who do the characters need to be to move the story forward? Then go through a similar process as in Step 1.
  3. World. For those of us who work in Speculative Fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, horror, etc.), a lot of our settings are not the one the reader lives in. For some readers, that is why they are attracted to a particular genre. If a different, interesting world is what prompts the novel in the first place, we must ask ourselves, what is different about this world that makes it somewhere a reader would want to spend the hours it takes to read a novel?Then we ask ourselves what the story is that illuminates the world, and finally, who are the characters that drive the story.

Myself, I tend to work top down: the stories and worlds are born of the characters, not the other way around. But many successful authors vary the order.

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How do I write a character that is emotionally traumatized without making the character boring?

In answer to a question:

In this case, don’t tell me the character is emotionally traumatized, especially by having him ponder it inside his own head. Instead, show me the effects of that traumatization. Especially show me how it is important to the story. If it has no effect on how the narrative unfolds, ask yourself why the average reader would actually care about the fictional mental problems of a fictional character.

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FyreCon 2018!

Once again I’ll be appearing at Fyrecon, Thursday-Sunday, June 21-23. Weber State University campus, Layton, Utah.

Fyrecon is a three day conference on the Art and Writing of Science Fiction and Fantasy that offers over 180 workshops and classes facilitated by published authors and working artists. Fyrecon also features four and eight hour master classes by bestselling authors and nationally recognized artists.This is a great opportunity to meet and greet your favorite authors and artists for free!

The night before Fyrecon I’ll be moderating a panel at the Fyrecon Preview at the Viridian Event Center! Master guest authors and artists will participate in a panel discussion on heroes and villains and will sign books afterward. The panel will feature:

  • Shawn Carman, Lead Writer for Legends of the Five Rings & Creative Director for Kyoudai Games.
  • Dave Dorman, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Illustrator, best known for his Star Wars artwork. He earned an Eisner Award for his work on Alien: Tribes.
  • Dr. Charles E. Gannon, National Bestselling Author, best known for his Caine Riordan series, and his work with Eric Flint and Steve White on the Ring of Fire series.
  • David Farland, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Runelords series and author, under the name Dave Wolverton, of Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia.
  • Preston Stone, Artist and Art Director for Fantasy Flight Games.
  • Chad Hardin, Artist for DC Comics, probably best known for his work on the bestselling comic book series Harley Quinn.
  • Christie Craig, a.k.a. C. C. Hunter, New York Times Bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series, the Divorced and Desperate series, and the Texas Justice series.
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Dragon Moon honored

Dragon Moon has been honored by the League of Utah Writers (LUW) with its
Gold Quill award as the best speculative fiction novel of 2017.

The novel, the tale of the new clandestine, high stakes space race that explodes when the People’s Republic of China places a new super weapon on the lunar surface, was in sterling company with Everstar, the last installment in the Vivatera series by fellow Xchyler Publishing author Candace Thomas, which took the Silver Quill.

The announcement came at the conclusion of the LUW’s Fall Conference, held on the campus of Salt Lake Community College.

Many thanks to the editorial team at Xchyler Publishing, including Penny Freeman and Jessica Fassler, for making this long-simmering dream a reality.


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A Dragon Moon review that made me smile

This quote from the Amazon review of Dragon Moon from Verified Purchaser Jamey made me smile:

“Don’t start reading it unless you are prepared to neglect all other aspects of your life.”

Thanks Jamey!

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Dragon Moon countdown

Launch party at Marissa’s Books & Gifts

July 21, 2017  6:00-9:00pm

Refreshments, door prizes, reading, signing

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Fyrecon! Great new event, summer 2017.

Fyrecon SET flyer

I’ll be appearing at Fyrecon, Thursday-Sunday, June 8-10. Weber State University campus, Layton, Utah.

  • Sneak launch for Dragon Moon.
  • One-man show: Papa Hemingway On Writing
  • Panel: Steampunk Tropes & Tips
  • Panel: The Writer’s Life for Beginners
  • Panel: The Future of Steam Punk & Cyber Punk

Dragon Moon will be available at a special sneak launch price.


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