Woo! My New Story “Talitha Koum” to be Published by Frontier Tales in June

My new Haxan story “Talitha Koum” is scheduled to be published by Frontier Tales in June of this year. I am looking forward to this. It’s a “Magra” story more than anything else, and though written from Marwood’s perspective, it’s mostly about her.

We learn more about her early life and especially her mother, Black Sky. I’ve always felt we needed to know more about Magraand this story was that attempt. Also, this is the story in which Marwood pops the question.

So you will have to read it to see how it all ends!

Elsewhere, I went ahead and joined the DFW Writers’ Workshop. I think it will be beneficial.

I’m getting my other ducks in a row and plan to attend several SF/F cons this year. I’ll post schedules and such when I have them.

Thanks for your interest in my writing!


Banner designed by Reeve Notley

Banner designed by Reece Notley

DFW Writers’ Workshop

Last night I checked out the DFW Writers’ Workshop. It’s in Euless so this place isn’t around the corner from me. They host the DFWFullMoon Conference every year which is a pretty big writers’ conference in the southwest. Dues aren’t too bad for the workshop, $100 a year, and they meet four times a month.

When I first moved here I thought about joining this workshop, but for whatever reason I put it off. They meet and afterward head to the IHOP for coffee and snacks.  There are all sorts of writers here from beginners to professional, fiction to nonfiction and essayists. After the preliminary meeting where everyone announces if they got a rejection or acceptance or what they are working on, they break up into separate critique groups.

I’m going to be gone a lot of this summer, but I’m leaning toward joining. I have to do something to help jump start myself and get back in the swing of things. I can’t go four times a month, but once or twice would do, and it will force me to write because I can’t see myself going up there with nothing in hand.

Writing is all about what have you done lately. I can’t answer that with much clarity at the moment. Being around other writers might be more beneficial than I can say at the moment.

Finally Wrote Something New!

This weekend I wrote a book review and sent it off to an online magazine for approval. It was the first new thing I have written since last Ian FlemingNovember.

I’ve worked on edits and rewrites for Haxan and Quaternity at the request of CZP and that went pretty well. So it’s not like I have been completely fallow. But getting something else done, writing something new even if it was a book review….well, dipping my toe back into that water felt pretty good.

Got back from the Texas Library Association meeting in San Antonio this weekend as well. I made good contacts and have followups to pursue. I’m optimistic many of them will turn out well for me. Doing stuff like that keeps my mind off other things going on in my life right now.

At the moment, given how things are, I will take what I can get.

A Personal Writing Note on Future Projects

Now that life have settled down (somewhat) I am starting to turn my attention to a new writing project.making decisions for writing is sometimes difficult, but necessary

I’m debating which direction to explore. I think another novel is the right way to go. Novels work harder than short stories in the long run. But with Haxan coming out in May from CZP/HarperCollins I have to keep in mind some basic marketing stuff.

It would benefit me to get a short story or two out there before the novel launches to help generate interest.

I haven’t written anything new since November of last year. A lot of personal things have happened, and in the face of that I haven’t felt writing was a top priority when I had so much else to deal with.

Sometimes a writer has to force himself to write whether he wants or not. I think that’s the situation I am in now. I know it will help me both professionally and therapeutically.

Of course, knowing you have to do something is different from actually doing it. But I need to try and focus on what’s coming up despite any personal turbulence that goes on around me.



I’m attending the Texas Library Association for CZP Haxan promos!

Wow, this was unexpected but great news. I will be attending the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio on April 8 and doing Haxan promos for CZP. I will be at the Diamond Book Distributors booth, probably handing out Haxan postcards or something and talking to people.

CZP is also thinking if they download Haxan from NetGalley to read and review it, we can also send them the 1st three chapters of a future novel. Something like that to give them an incentive, maybe. Details are still being worked out but count me on board for this project.

The TLA is a pretty big deal. It influences what other state libraries buy. We are also hoping since I am a local author the librarians will order lots of copies of this violent, dark fantasy western.

I’m looking forward to this trip. I’m excited about the prospect of representing CZP at this conference and I want to do a good job for them.

Just as a quick aside, there is an existing link for the Haxan Kindle edition. The Haxan paperback can be ordered here.

The novel is coming out in May, 2014.

Here are some longhorns to get you in the mood:

Longhorn cattle drive, Stockyards, Fort Worth, TX

Longhorn cattle drive, Stockyards, Fort Worth, TX

Wow, my novel HAXAN is up for preorder by CZP/HarperCollins (plus a shout out)

All right, this is pretty cool. CZP/HarperCollins already has my upcoming dark fantasy novel Haxan up for preorder on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Thanks!

Haxan Preorder Page

And another cool thing that happened. My novel was listed (with many other upcoming novels to be sure) on the Westeros.org site. Now that right there made my week because they didn’t have to do it:

Westeros.org List of Upcoming 2014 Novels

Finally, a writer friend of mine, John Zeleznik name dropped me in the Westeros thread. Thanks, John! So, all things considered, it appears we are inching closer to the May launch date for Haxan. Looking forward to it.

Cover Reveal! My New Haxan Novel Coming Soon!

Yay! My new weird western novel Haxan will be published by CZP in May, 2014. Here’s a peek of the cover designed by Erik Mohr.


My new novel Haxan slated for publication by CZP in May, 2014!

I am currently getting events lined up to attend and talk about the novel. I have been invited to ArmadilloCon in Austin for July 25-27. When I get a schedule of my panels and events I’ll share it here and on Facebook. Thanks!

Quaternity and Haxan Update

Still have some personal things on my plate which take precedence over everything else, but I wanted to catch you up on my

Busy writer is busy.

Busy writer is busy.

writing so far.

I finished the second draft of Quaternity and sent it to the publisher for review. I thought they had a lot of really good advice for me and I believe the novel is that much stronger for it. I feel I am lucky they took the time to critique it at this depth and commit so much time to it. They didn’t have to do that.

I added about 3,000 words to the original manuscript and now it runs about 78,000 total. Fleshed out some characters and brought Marwood more to the forefront in key scenes where he was something of a background character. I’m happy with how things have progressed regarding this novel. If you’ve been following this blog you know how much trouble I had with this book until the flood gates opened and I wrote the entire novel in 19 days. Pretty crazy, but I still view this novel as the best thing I have ever done. I raised the bar on myself a lot with this book and I was glad I met my goals.

I’ve also got news in the upcoming days regarding the novel Haxan which will be published by CZP in May of this year. Please, keep checking back.


Climbing Toward Light

I had a dream I was climbing a tall, slender tree. I was in a jungle, I think, and it was dark. There weren’t any other trees around I could reach.

When I looked down I was so high off the ground I became afraid. The ground was shrouded in mist and it looked too dangerous to climb back down where I came from. If I tried, I knew I would fall.

When I looked up the tree went on until it broke through the clouds in a feeble burst of sunshine.

It was a long, long way to climb up. There was a limb where I could rest and regain my strength until I made the climb up, up, toward the light.

That was the dream.

I’m making that climb now. I don’t know when I will get there. Or if.

Trees and Clouds

But I know for damn sure I am not going back down.

Invoking Freya for the Full Moon

Today is the full moon so I invoked Freya as the Mother Aspect of the Triple Goddess. Here are a few pictures from the ceremony. I did not, Freya2of course, take the photographs during the ceremony as that would have been disrespectful.

Freya is sometimes used as the Maiden Aspect of the Triple Goddess and Frigga is the Mother. I tend to use Idunn as the Maiden, however. Hela remains, naturally, the Crone Aspect.

Freya is a leader of the Valkyries and a sage mistress of cats. Her powers are love, beauty, war, wisdom, and sometimes death since she is a Valkyrie. She can be called upon for differing types of spellwork including enchantments, protection, wisdom, love, poetry and creativity. I think the reason I like to call upon her is for the creativity since that fits in well with my writing.



For the last quarter moon of this month I hope to invoke Hela and post pictures from that ceremony.

A Year and a Day

Nordic Wiccan AltarYesterday I took a purification bath and performed a self-dedication ritual. It went really well and I felt good afterward. I am on my way to explore the different parts of Wicca and try to deepen my connection with Nature.

As I said in an earlier post I honestly don’t know how much attention I can give to this. I will be honest and do what I can. But all in all I look forward to learning more about the seasons, and how to celebrate them.

I don’t have anything necessarily planned for the future. I found an acorn and put it on my altar. That’s a lot for me, I guess, haha. I also checked into a local Wiccan group and might go visit them one day soon. Again, it’s kind of dependent on my own schedule, which at the moment is kind of full.

But I’m in this for a year and a day and I will blog about it, and other things, when I can. Hope you stick around to read about it. :)


The Writing Log Jam is Finally Breaking Apart

I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough on the short story I’m working on. It’s called “Remember Me in the Halls of Valhalla”. I started this story at writer-smoking-pipe.jpgthe last WorldCon in San Antonio.

I knew if I thought about it long enough, and talked to a couple of writers and bounced some ideas, something would come to me. I think I see a way out. I like the direction that is starting to take shape in my mind for this story. I’m kind of eager to see how it will all turn out, assuming I sit myself down and actually write it.. I’ve also had a helpful idea or two regarding the hobo novel which I put aside. I am hoping these log jams are starting to break up and I can start producing work again.

In other writing news I heard from CZP and sent them some marketing stuff for the upcoming Haxan novel which will be published next year. I had a good time working on that because it got me to thinking about the novel again, which I haven’t done much lately. I have  a tendency to put a story behind me completely when I’m finished with it because my whole process is “Start writing the next one.”

Everything else being equal (which it never is) I’m okay with where my writing is at the moment. I’d really like to finish this particular short story, though, because I want to find something else to work on.

Short stories are fine in the interim. But I want a bigger project to occupy my time.

Making Magickal Wands for Wicca/Paganism

One of the nice things about Wicca is you can fashion the tools you need for very little expense. One of these is a wand.

I started with several choices and diameters of wood. The first two in the picture below are juniper, then I had an apple branch followed by maple. I asked the juniper tree permission before I took the branches and give it a big drink of water afterward. The apple and maple were picked off the ground from dead branches.


Here is the apple wand after I stripped the bark. I left some for a handle and left the knots and whorls and buds because I liked the way that looked.

photo(4)Next I worked on the maple….


Here is the apple wand completely carved and sanded and polished. It is 13-inches long. I don’t think I will paint it or glue crystals to it. I prefer a more natural look. But if you decide to make your own wand you can do whatever feels right for you. There is no right or wrong way, it’s the intent that matters most here. You can even buy one from a metaphysical shop if you wish.


Here are all three together. (Sorry for the blurriness.) At the moment the apple wand is on my altar. (Oh, you didn’t know I have an altar? I guess I should blog about that!) I think I might carve the big fat juniper wand with sigils and decorate with hair, feathers. At the moment I’m happy with the apple and maple wands so I doubt I will mess with them further.


Apple, juniper, maple wands.

Different woods have different magickal properties. Maple has feminine and masculine energy which fits with the God/Goddess dual aspect of Wicca. A horned owl is considered the sacred bird of this tree.  Maple wands are used for spiritual healing. They enhance  knowledge and communication.

The Apple tree represents female energy and is a symbol of fertility. Since I am doing Nordic Gods it fits with Iduun who grew golden apples to convey immortality to the gods. Apple is good for fairie magick, love, peace, harmony.  I have yet to find information on juniper. Not that it matters. It’s not the wand, it’s the witch who holds the wand that is important, along with his intent. Don’t have a wand? You can use your finger. It’s not the tool…it’s the intent that is always most important in Wicca.

Blessed be!  )O(


Loki stole Idunn’s apples which, as you might guess, caused quite a lot of consternation among the Nordic gods.

Relating the Thoughtforms of Animism to Everyday Modern Life

One of the tenets of Wicca/Paganism is the idea that everything around us, rocks, trees, clouds, is alive. This animistic idea that animals, plants, even natural phenomenon itself have spiritual essence is ancient and very, very attractive.

As I move into Wicca/Paganism I find these ideas do enlighten my perspective toward the world around me.

Foggy street outside my house this morning.

Foggy street outside my house this morning.

Now if you ask do I believe a rock is alive in the sense we understand the makeup and biological processes of living things, no, I do not. But if you ask does that rock have a significant role to play in the overall makeup of the world and its environs then, yes, I can kind of see that.

I guess more than anything it’s being aware of the interconnectedness of things around me. Being Wiccan/Pagan gives me a jumping off point, or a skill set if you wish, to be more definitive about this worldview. The breadth of understanding it gives to my writing is, in my opinion, incalculable.

This morning I got up early and went outside to see a foggy street outside my house. The idea of animism really came home to me in that instant. No, I do not believe the fog itself is alive. I do think it has an interconnectedness with the things around it, however, certainly in a physical way, and in my mind, perhaps spiritually as well.

And I think that’s the key to much of this as regards the spiritual side of Paganism. It’s a reflection of our own minds, and what we bring to the world through our own observations and thoughtforms that helps us relate to the world. Then again that’s the motive of all religions. As a writer I find that fascinating, and very, very enlightening.

Noticing the Four Elements of Wicca

Since I have started turning my attention toward Wicca for reasons I set down in this earlier post, I have become increasingly aware of certain things around me.

In Wicca the elements, Earth, Air, Wind and Fire play an important role. Not surprisingly, I have become more aware of their influence and existence.

When I am walking outside I notice the wind moving through the tops of the trees. How it feels against my face. I notice the rain and listen to the sound it makes dripping off the roof. How the ground feels beneath my feet, what it smells like. The shape of fire in the pit and how it gyrates.

Earth is my body

Water is my blood

Air is my breath

and Fire is my spirit.

Now of course I have always seen these things before and noticed them. You can’t help but get stuck in the rain and not notice that. Or be hit by a hurricane or whatever. But I guess what I am trying to say here is because I am sort of focused on trying to understand Wicca I am more aware of these things than previously. I didn’t need Wicca to help me find this connection to Nature. It’s just a way that helped me focus, I guess is what I am trying to say.

So anyway it’s been pretty cool. And as a writer it really does help me to see these things around me in a different light, so to speak.

As I mentioned earlier I have been doing a lot of research. I learned there is a facet of Wicca called Seax Wicca that does use the Norse Gods. I looked into it but I still think a solitary, eclectic path will fit me best. I have decided, however, to seek out some other Wiccan groups in the area later and perhaps contact them. They have little meetings and get to know you lunches and whatever every week and if nothing else it will help me (force me) to be more social. Which is something I always struggle with. (Just ask my writing buddy!)

So that catches you up on everything Wicca this week. As for my writing I have to finish the short story and really search around for a new project to work on. I may return to the hobo novel or go in another direction. I haven’t written a good hard SF story in a long time, I might think about that.

I leave you with Earth, Wind and Fire. We will take Water on account.      )O(


My New Path into Norse Wicca

Freya is one of the gods I will use in my journey through Nordic Wiccan.Many years past a couple of friends and I were talking about religion. What we liked, what we didn’t like. I said then, “If I had not been born a Catholic I would have followed Wicca.”

I never forgot that. To be honest, I never realized at the time what being born, or not being born Catholic, had to do with following any religion for any reason.

But there were parts of Wicca I always liked. Its close relation to nature. Ritual. Reflection. Seeking wisdom. Acknowledging the old ways and the old gods. Forming and shaping parts and elements of the belief to fit your own worldview. A very personal and eclectic system to be built, if that’s what you wanted.

Over the years I wondered if that was what I wanted. I remain unsure to some degree. But I have decided to follow Wicca for a calender year (loosely, Samhain to Samhain) and delve into it and learn.

My reason for this is twofold. One, just by learning more about this cannot but help me with my fiction. I write a lot of dark fantasy. I have never been well-steeped in some facets of that world. Knowing more about it, learning more about it, can only help me as a writer if I continue to write.

And I will continue to write.

Second, I honestly do like the nature aspect of this. Helping me connect more to nature can only be a positive thing. Anyone who follows my blog or knows me well knows how much I like camping and getting away and being by myself. I am hoping I can find new synergy Odin is the male god I will worship in my journey through Norse Wicca.here. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t care. It’s the journey that interests me most. As a writer I am always more interested in journey than in endings and beginnings. Seeking wisdom. Looking into yourself. Being alone without being lonely. That has always been who I am.

I’m going to blog about this and I am going to approach it legitimately. Now, I certainly do realize that with my deep background in physics and chemistry and skepticism leavened with an INTJ personality there may be some bumpy roads ahead. That’s all fine. For what writer alive thinks  human life isn’t about conflict? At the core of things, what else is there to write about? What else do we write about?

So I am going to be very honest with myself about all this. I know there are some things I am going to have a hard time accepting. I may never accept any of it. Maybe I won’t like it. Maybe I’ll get tired of it. Maybe the pressures of the every day world will find a way to tear this idea from my consciousness.

I’m all good with that. I’m a writer first. You think I am going to pass up the opportunity for potential story ideas?

I don’t know how much of this I can do, either. I want to be honest about it and approach it openly, but I can’t lie to myself. I doubt I am going to have the time to celebrate the many-fold parts of this. But I will be honest about it, and my intent will be good, so I’ll see where it goes.

So for one calender year I am going to follow Wicca, learn about it, do it, perform it, be honest to it. If I don’t like it I will stop. If I do like it I will keep going. No matter what happens I will blog about it and write about it here, and use all those experiences to broaden my fiction.

Valkyries and gods seeking wisdom. What's not to like in Nordic Wiccan?There are many ways to seek the path. I think the eclectic one, a solitary path, is right for me. I am not interested in covens or anything like that. In Wicca there is often the Lord and Lady you pay homage to plays a prominent role. But you can choose other pantheons. Lots of witches do and that seems to be a path I would like to explore. The Norse gods have always interested me and here’s a way I can delve more deeply into that mythology. To really get at the bones of the myth and immerse myself in it without being fanatical about it all.

That’s why I have decided to go with Odin and Freya. Perhaps Frigg in place of Freya? I’ll have to think about it and do more research. It remains to be seen which one speaks to me the most. Conventional Norse choices, I suppose, but they seem right to me at the moment. Which is not to say I might not turn to Lord and Lady or even other gods like Egyptian, Celtic, Japanese, or what have you. There are a lot to choose from. You can follow whomever you like, who speaks to you, as long as you have good intent. But I think Norse feels right to me in a very deep and personal way. Especially these gods known for wisdom and strength and knowledge and beauty. I like that. I like that a lot.

The eclectic part will work better for me rather some something more structured like, say, Asatru. Although there are parts of Asatru I like as well. Oh, well, I also get to decide if I use a Pentacle, Valknut, or Triquetra on my altar. Not that I have an altar. Gotta make that someday. Fun!

So there you have it. This is what I am going to do. Well, aside from writing. I’m going camping tomorrow in Santa Rosa, NM and later Palo Duro if I’m not too tired. I intend to finish the Haxan story while camping, do a ton of reading and think about this decision at more depth.

While I am out I am going to look for a wand. They say the tools of your altar find you when you are ready. We will see about that.

This is something that has been building in the back of my mind for more than half a decade now. Now I am going to do it and learn what I can and have fun.

So mote it be.


Looking Beneath the Surface

I have been thinking about the hobo novel.Guess I will have to start this novel over.

If I went forward it would be fine. No one would know differently. It reads fine, the story works…but I am not happy.

And that’s the problem. It’s fine. But I don’t want to compromise, if that makes sense.

I am not satisfied with “good enough to get by” for my own writing. For better or worse I hold myself to a higher standard. I may not reach that goal. But I am not happy with writing the ordinary. I’ve written that already. Formulaic stories no longer interest me. They don’t challenge me in any way and they don’t bring anything new to the field of literature.

I want to write stories that unfold beneath the surface. That’s what I am missing here. I have the top part down pat. I don’t yet know what’s going on beneath the surface. And that’s what I want to understand and write about.

So. What to do. Well, obviously I have to rethink this novel. Like I said, it’s fine the way it is. I don’t think any publisher would say they don’t like it or have any problems for what it currently is, and for what it says. But I don’t like it. So I have to fix it. I have to figure this out. Just takes time.

I always have before.

Meanwhile, I will move on to a different writing project while this one simmers.

A Study in Character Motivation Revealed through Style and Voice: “The Bruja and the Ferryman”

Not too long ago I learned I had an upcoming Haxan story in which I used voice and style to reveal character motivation which would be published. I even blogged about it.

Well, that dark fantasy story is now live at Frontier Tales and you can read it for free. The story is about Magra Snowberry who is trying to get home. She runs into a strange ferryman and three apocalyptic horsemen who are looking for a fourth rider.

I ask you, what better way to get your morning started than some Old West necromancy?

I tried to do other things in this story, including the use of vernacular and dialect. Like anything else in fiction a little of this goes a long way, so I used it sparingly.  I believe this gives it impact without making it too difficult to read, but that’s for the reader to decide.

I really do hope you take a look at the story and I hope you like it. Thanks!

“The Bruja and the Ferryman” by Kenneth Mark Hoover

New Haxan Story “The Weight of Memory”

While I was attending Lone Star Con last week someone asked me if I wrote the Haxan stories in chronological order.

I had to admit I did not. I write the stories as they come to me. Sometimes they might be in order, often not. I usually have some idea, however, where they fit along the timeline. Though not always.

This brand new story which has been published by The Western Online is a story which appears at the beginning of the that timeline. It presages the appearance of Marwood, and gives some idea of the ancient lineage of the Eternals and those who are chosen to stand.

A nice dark fantasy to get your morning started. What better way to start the day? Just click the link below and read for free. Hope you like it.

“The Weight of Memory” by Kenneth Mark Hoover


What’s for Dinner? Texas Hash!

Posted about having this on Twitter and a friend wanted the recipe. Ask and you shall receive! We’ve been making this dish in our family many years. You can swap out or change the main ingredients to make it vegetarian if you so wish. Easy to make, and yummy. Have fun!

1 pound ground beef

3 large onions (cut in rings or chopped)

1 large green pepper (chopped)

1 can tomatoes

1/2 cup uncooked regular rice

1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef in large skillet until light brown, drain. Add onions and green pepper, cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, rice, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Heat through.

Pour mixture into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover, bake 1 hour.

Eat ‘em up, cowboy!*


Texas Hash, a family favorite.


*Sorry about the blurry picture. Steam got on my camera lens, haha.

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