Changing the Western (for the better)

While I was attending SoonerCon a week or so ago a writer friend relayed a conversation she had with a family member. She said the uncle stated he liked to watch westerns because "they were real." She proceeded to tell him, No, they were not real, but only Hollywood's version of the Old West.  What …

Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby (review)

I am not a big fan of romance. I don't think much of most fantasy, either, because a lot of it draws too much on what has been done before and comes off as lazy. It feeds upon itself too much, especially when it comes to plot and motivation and the world the characters are …

My Elevator Pitch for the New Haxan Novel “Quaternity” and Other Philosophical Arguments on Recursive Genre

*Press elevator stop button. Cage jerks to a halt.* "I can sum the novel up pretty fast. Jorge Luis Borges said man will one day resign himself to new abominations, and that soon only bandits and soldiers will be left. Which is why I'm going to beat the living shit out of you right now." …

Chicon7 Update: getting tired but still going

Last night I attended the Chizine party and had a really good time. Talked writing with Janet Harriet and made new friends. Also did some preliminary convention planning with Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory, the owners of Chizine. Sandra Kasturi introduced me as a new Chizine author and mentioned the Haxan novel. I talked to …

Attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, 2012

I made it to Worldcon in Chicago yesterday. So far it's been good even though I had to wake up at what, I forget now, 3:15 am? Had a little trouble with the plane trip from Dallas because we had to go back from the runway because there was a problem. After an hour wait …

“Western Horror, My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover” by Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur interviewed me recently and we talked about a lot of things including the current state of publishing and genre. I had a good time doing this interview and I hope you like it, too. Here's the link to the interview. Hope you enjoy it and don't forget to leave a comment and let …

In Search of Bold Story Ideas…and settling on the warm safety of cliche.

I guess one of the things that surprises me most is how easy it is to come up with ideas for stories. I wrote about this before. I used to be worried I would never have enough story ideas when I began to write. Now I have too many. I suppose that's growth of a …

Reading Outside Your Genre Even if it Kills You

There are lots of ways to get better at writing. Sitting down and writing more is one of the more obvious. Another helpful way is to read a lot, and read often. That is also obvious. If you write science fiction you should read a lot of science fiction. If you write romance you should …

I Could Write This Story All Day Long, But I Won’t

A stranger rides into Haxan. He badmouths Magra Snowberry. Marshal Marwood then meets him in the plaza. I am here to tell you I could write this story all day long. I love this story. I could write it again and again, in different ways and perspectives, and be in clover. I would love it. …

Doorway to the Past: The Bush Knob Massacre and the Larn Wall

While I was visiting Fort Griffin I heard a story about a man called John Larn. He worked for Bill Hayes. In 1872 Hayes went to New Mexico with a herd of cattle expecting Larn to watch his stock at Fort Griffin. Larn rebranded the cattle as his own. When Hayes got back he discovered …

More Conversation with Story: Does this genre make me look pretty?

Story: I'm back. Me: You were gone a while. Story: The editor had a lot to say about me. Maybe you should read his comments. Me: Wow. These are a lot of changes. Nothing too spectacular, though. I think I can do this all right. Story: Did you see his last suggestion? Me: Uh oh. …

Lonesome Dove Theme: A story of friendship and love written in music by Basil Poledouris

I am not a fan of Basil Poledouris. Much of his music sounds the same with sweeping themes, grand entrances and quiet interludes. That's what he writes and he does it well with with poetry...but he writes it too often. However, if you have to listen to Poledouris you can do a lot worse than …

White Zombie (1932) – Old Fashioned Love and Death Sprinkled with Haitian Magic

White Zombie (1932) is a classic Pre-Code film starring Bela Lugosi. Though it was roundly panned at its release it has, over the intervening decades, become a seminal horror film as regards subject matter, direction, and artistic photography. To be sure the acting is a heavy handed and creaky, not to mention the squeaky musical …

A Conversation with Story: Advancement of Plot through Conflict

Story: What's up? Me: I'm writing a love scene. Story: I see that. Where's the conflict? Me: What conflict? It's a love scene. They're in love. Story: You delight in making my life difficult, don't you? Me: Of course not...oh, I see what you did there. You advanced our dialog through conflict. Story: Exactly. All …

Pride and Prejudice: If People Were Ants We Wouldn’t Need Stories

About three years ago I read the first 100 pages of Pride and Prejudice and then I bailed. I was taking some very heavy damage from several hardened missile silos down below me. I had lost all aileron control and the self-sealing fuel tanks, well, were no longer self-sealing. I had to eject fast or …

Conversation with Story: Trusting the Reader to Trust You

Story: What are you doing? Me: Writing. Story: No, what are you doing? Me: I thought I was writing. Story: You don't see what you did back there, did you? Me: Back where? Story: Five pages back. I'll wait. Me: Oh. Yeah. Well, you see, I wanted to make sure the reader understood what was …

I remember when every SF book I read the story was new. And now….

I've read a lot of science fiction in my lifetime.  Maybe I've read too much. It seems I've reached a point of diminishing returns.  The science fiction field isn't that large. You can pretty much exhaust it if you read voraciously.  Then you move on to the magazines, but after a while you realize you're …