Hello Again From the Writing Swamps!

I’ve been remiss from blogging these pages and I want to apologize. But it’s not like I’ve been sitting idle. Got lots of news coming up on the publishing front which I hope interests you.

First, my new Haxan novel Seven Devils will be published by CZP sometime next year. As I get more information I’ll let you know where to pre-order, etc.

Also, the black metal love story Litha will also be published next year. I’ll have cover reveal and all sorts of stuff for that, too. I’ve had lots of interest from fans for this work and I hope you’re as excited about its release as I am.

I am also planning to launch a YouTube channel in which I will do let’s plays, riff on writing, reviews, and maybe even free audio stories for my fans. It will be a fun place we can get together and share ideas and have a good time. I’m looking forward to it.

I have a few other things in the works but I can’t talk about them right now because I’m under NDA. But I think you’re going to be excited and will welcome more new content coming from me in the future.

I’ve also taken up classical guitar again. I’m working through the Noad book. Now I get to obsess over my nails again. (Yay?)

Lastly, I’ve done a lot better over the year with depression. Things have settled down for me quite a bit and believe me that is extremely welcome. Depression isn’t sadness. It’s much, much worse and I’m really grateful to be feeling better.

See you next time!

Kenneth-Hoover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Depression and Writing and Chess

I’ve been dealing with a lot of depression for the last year or so. I always have struggled with this, but it’s gotten worse. I’m taking medication and seeing a therapist, and it does help.

Meanwhile, I’m slowly moving back to writing again. I have three novels to complete so I think I will stay in Albuquerque for the month of July this summer and work. I need to get away and make some decisions. I’ve also started to play chess again online which is a decent way to keep my mind sharp. Relatively speaking, of course.

I will try to post/blog more here when I can to keep everyone up to date. Thanks!

 

A Year and a Day Completed

So I’ve done my Year and a Day for Wicca. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t get as much out of it as I wanted. This wasn’t due to Nordic Wicca (the eclectic brand I practice because I feel more comfortable with it) as much as it was to a lot of other personal problems and interruptions that took away my time.

There wasn’t anything I could do about it and I couldn’t ignore what was going on around me. Nevertheless, I intend to keep the altar and when the mood strikes me perform a small ceremony. I do like how it ties in so nicely with yearly patterns and the changing of the seasons and moon and sun. I like that a lot. Some mornings I will ring my bell and call upon Freya and Odin to give me strength to face what’s coming that day.

I am hoping some of the personal upsets I’ve suffered this past year will calm down. They have been extremely disruptive and personally painful. If they don’t ease off I will have to make other decisions about my life that don’t (and should not) involve my interest in wicca, or anything else.

I have to be mindful of priorities in my life, no matter what else might be sucked into the maelstrom around me. Writing, of course, always comes first. That is a no-brainer.

But not all is lost. All Hallows’ Eve is coming up and I plan to do a cleansing of the house with incense and bell, a ritual I did last year and enjoyed. It’s a fun, simple little ritual that helps breathe new life into your home and yourself. It’s fun and other people like to help.

So at the moment that’s my relationship with wicca. I really do like it a lot, but personal matters are intruding in so many other aspects of my life I can’t ignore them. I will celebrate yearly events when I can and of course I will blog about them.

 

Blessed Be. )O(

 

 

Headed for a Long Trip to Austin and New Mexico

I am leaving for Austin and then New Mexico. I will attend ArmadilloCon in Austin this weekend. Then head over to New Mexico (maybe with a side stop at Fort Davis, I’m not sure) for research on a new Haxan novel. I will also attend Bubonicon in Albuquerque.

At any rate I plan to squeeze in camping here and there, especially in New Mexico if I can swing it. Of course, I will take pictures.

I will update here when I can. Internet is spotty where I camp and hotel Internet is not always what it’s supposed to be.  Stay informed via my Facebook and Twitter links, however, located on this webpage. They are more reliable.

See you soon!

Kenneth Mark Hoover Writer Biography

Kenneth Mark Hoover

Kenneth Mark Hoover

 

Kenneth Mark Hoover has sold over sixty short stories and articles. His fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, and many other magazines and anthologies. His first novel, a dystopian SF called Fevreblau, was published by Five Star Press in 2005. He is a member of SFWA and HWA. His interests include Shotokan karate and Nordic Wicca. He also likes beagles and pecan coffee.

His latest novel, Haxan, is a violent dark western published by CZP/HarperCollins in 2014. You can find out more about Mr. Hoover and his work from his blog kennethmarkhoover.me (you’re reading it now!) or his website kennethmarkhoover.com.

Wake Up Call to Failure

Had my confidence badly shaken this weekend as regards my writing. It worked out in the end, at least I hope so. But it was a wake up call.When a witer doubts his own ability it is the death-watch beetle in the soul.

Dealing with loss of confidence has always been a problem with writing. I tend to skate high above these sorts of things, but when faced with my artistic and technical limitation in such a blatant and shocking way, it takes me aback and I start to doubt my own ability.

I think writers often wrestle with this kind of personal failure. It’s one thing to deal with rejections, missed opportunities, and what not. That’s baked into this profession and if you don’t learn to deal with those setbacks early on you never will find success.

But when the limiting factor is yourself, and when you had no one but yourself to depend on in the first place….it’s shocking.

No one holds myself to a higher standard than myself, especially when it comes to my writing. No one.

My feet still feel as if they are on shifting sand. It was one hell of a wake up call. I think it will be okay at least to the point the problem will be corrected.

But I cannot help but feel I failed myself in some fundamental way.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

)O(

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.

Summer Doldrums

This has not been a great summer so far. I’m ready for the Fall.

Progress on the novel is slow but I’m not obsessing over that. Because of things I had to deal with last month (and last week) I haven’t had the time. That’s one thing about writing I don’t obsess over. Sometimes you do not have the time or the availability to write. When it’s out of your control you might as well go with the flow and wait until things settle down.

That’s the place I find myself in now. It’s fine. I can wait.

I’m still excited about the new novel. I’m in this scene where I either have to go on, or back up 3 or 4 pages and start over. I’m leaning toward the latter but I would like to understand why the scene isn’t working, or why my instinct tells me it isn’t working, before I rework it. That’s my habit. I like to understand why something isn’t working in a story before I go ahead so I can avoid it again in the future.

Anyway, this summer has not been great, but those things aren’t writing related, just personal. I’m ready for stuff to settle down so I can focus on other things.

writing

WHC and New Orleans Report Winding Down

I’ve had a good weekend. Did a lot of walking and thinking which for writers are two activities that go well together.

Came to a decision about the hobo novel. I am going to start work on this soon. I had an idea of going back to the Cigar Factory on Decatur and writing, but TBH I didn’t want to lug my computer that far.

I’m lazy.

Anyway, headed home tomorrow and I’m ready. I’ve eaten a lot of good food here, but I’m ready to head back to Texas and eat pork fajitas and drink an ice-cold Lone Star.

Picked up some books and anthologies from the World Horror Convention. Very much looking forward to reading them. In the interim I became aware of a writer called Lucy Taylor and you can pencil me in as a big fan. Her work is very, very good. How was she flying below my radar? Who knows. But I will be following her career from now on.

Met and made some new friends at the convention. All in all I had a fun time, but I do confess the walking wore me out.

See you next time when I am home!

WHC and New Orleans Report

Today is my first full day at World Horror Convention. I’ll be attending a panel or two on marketing, and I have a reading marked down from one of my friends I want to attend.

I cannot seem to upload pictures from this connection. Nothing I can do about it other than wait until I get home, I guess. But look on the bright side. There will be lots of pictures coming!

I’m looking forward to seeing the dealer’s room later today. That’s where I will often find people I know. Writers tend to congregate among lots and lots of books. 🙂

Food here is great, which you expect since it’s New Orleans. The weather hasn’t been too bad. It’s overcast so we aren’t being blistered by the sun. Making sure I stay hydrated with lots and lot of liquor water. I love the street performers and all the history here. It’s a great place to absorb what makes people tick.

I’ve been writing off and on which I try to make a habit of when I attend these cons. It’s a nice way to recharge my batteries.

I have this week carved out for the JTR story which is okay. But I can’t deny my thoughts and creative energies are turning more and more to the hobo novel.

Maybe I need to accept the fact the hobo novel is the more important work right now and start that.

Headed out to the convention to poke around a bit and then head out for lunch.

World Horror Convention in New Orleans

Made it down here for WHC. I’ll pick up my preregistration packet later today.

I took pictures but they’re not uploading. I’ll try again later.

Life in the Rear View Mirror

I guess there comes a point in your life when you are farther along past the middle, and closer to the end, than you are to the beginning.

I’ve been reflective of late. Not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it depression related. It’s just a point in my life when I am hearing about friends who are dying or going through bad things and of course that gets you to thinking.

But when I relate this to my writing I see there is a lot I want to do and accomplish. I have finished two new Haxan short stories and now I can start turning attention to a brand new novel.

This is happening, however, in the context of looking at my writing in a rear view mirror. I look at what I have done so far and, yes, I am happy with that. But I am not satisfied.

I think that is a positive thing. Because I am not satisfied there is still more I want to do and prove to myself as a writer.

I feel I am in a good position right now, as far as my writing goes. Of course, I have been doing this long enough to know the other shoe can drop at anytime and there’s nothing anyone can do. There are no guarantees in life, and ever fewer (as in zero) when it comes to writing.

But I’m going to keep doing it and see what happens.

The Source of Shotokan Karate

This is an excellent video which showcases many historical elements of Shotokan along with some very old footage.

As an old karate guy myself I can watch this kind of thing all day long. A lot of little snippets here which should give you a flavor of what karate is about, and martial arts in general.

Don’t worry, this is still primarily a writing blog, but martial arts have been a part of my life since I was in my early twenties, so it’s only right I share things like this when I find videos that might reach a broader audience. Speaking for myself I can watch old Shotokan videos of guys doing techniques all day long, but I know when I bring something like this to the blog I probably need to be a little more general.

Hope you like it!

 

Well, Guys, Theater 13 Radio is Off the Air

When I was thirteen I used to listen to a black and white transistor radio tucked under my pillow. One night I found a Chicago station and heardWhen I was young finding Old Time Radio was a way for me to head into the light....  The CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall.

Just like that I was hooked. I fell in love with radio dramas and wanted to hear more.

Popular for its time, CBSRMT was a modern program aired by CBS during the late 70s and early 80s and produced by Himan Brown. It was an attempt to recapture the magic of Old Time Radio. When we moved from Illinois I always made it a point to find a station that aired this program so I could continue listening, and I would often ask my grandparents what they remembered of OTR.

As an adult I discovered real OTR, old time radio, and its fans. I began to collect and research these old programs and listen to them whenever I could. As a professional writer I saw the intrinsic value of these radio shows beyond their nostalgic worth. I knew I could learn a lot from these programs on how to write a tight cohesive story, and I did.

I had fun running the station for two years, but it got difficult to maintain. We don’t have the best Internet around so I always had to worry whether we were streaming or not. Sometimes the electricity went off at night, a regular occurrance here in Dallas. So I had to restart the computer and more often than not go into the server and restart that.

It got too difficult to maintain. I was always worried I wasn’t providing the promised service I wanted to provide. Sure, the Internet station was free for listeners, but even so that shouldn’t mean they had to put up with spotty service.

I think we did well given the fact a lot of people said they liked it and enjoyed it, but the service didn’t live up to my standards.These were because of things outside my control (Internet, electricity, servers down) but that didn’t mean I wasn’t concerned and bothered by it.

So, the Internet station is off the air. I am going to miss it. I am not going to miss worrying whether we would stay on the air when a thunderstorm came through or why the computer shut down during the night or why everything appeared to be working correctly but we couldn’t connect to the server.

So we are off the air and the website and the servers are shut down. But the memories will remain. 😦

 

Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....

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