Shemika Demouchet Berry Cosplays Magra from HAXAN

Shemika Berry cosplayed Magra Snowberry from my novel Haxan at the World Fantasty Convention in Arlington, VA.

Here is Shemika’s portrayal in her handmade dress, the dress Magra wore in the novel.

 

A fan of Haxan cosplays Magra

Shemika Berry as Magra

 

“Magra was pretty under the glimmering lamplight. Her long black hair was brushed and she wore stiff, yellow calico. I had the idea she had dressed this way special for me, but I couldn’t prove it.”  —Haxan

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Blood, Dust, Wind: Another Day in Haxan

Hello, everyone! I’ve been camping and working on a new novel. I’m in Albuquerque at present but headed home soon. I’ve made a lot of notesKenneth Mark Hoover, author of Haxan for the new book and feel the story is coming along. I’m excited about what it portends for the future of the Haxan series, and my writing in general.

I also wanted to say I am grateful to everyone who purchased and reviewed my first novel, Haxan. I genuinely appreciate your support.

If you haven’t gotten Haxan yet, but are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, then please buy a copy! The book should also be in brick and mortar bookstores. If you don’t see it while browsing the shelves, please ask them to order it.

Thank you!

–KMH

Kindle Edition (Amazon):  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover-ebook/dp/B00HCHCLUQ/?tag=westeros-20

Paperback edition:  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover/dp/1771481757/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Apple iBook (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/haxan/id784425699?mt=11

Google (Play): http://books.google.ca/books?id=60iYAgAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haxan-kenneth-mark-hoover/1117715955?ean=9781771481755

ChiZine Publication: http://chizinepub.com/books/haxan

 

Hscsn by Kenneth Mark Hoover

CZP Bought My New Haxan Novel QUATERNITY for July 2015!

A lot of good news on the writing front, recently. Haxan has just been published by CZP last week, and I also learned they want to buy PulpFiction_112013_DSCF0017Quaternity for a July 2015 publication date.

As followers of this blog know Quaternity has a very special place in my mind. I wrote that novel, all 85,000 words, in 19 days. I mean, that was after about a year and a half of starts, stops, thinking about it, etc. Border trips, which I blogged about, and other research and fact finding trips.

Then, suddenly, the flood gates opened and it poured forth. It was an amazing experience in many ways. and as a result the novel became personally important to me. Yes, I think it’s my best. I tried to do something very different in that novel, both substantively and personally. I set out to write an anti-western, even an anti-mythological western. A complete break with the cliches and mythology that has held much of the western genre back for over a century.

That’s what I wanted to do. I will flat out say I think I have succeeded.

Those who know me know I don’t say that lightly.

I knew it was a big goal when I started the project. I was never certain I would find the key to unlock what was holding me back. After all that time spent and no real pages to show for it, I never quit. I never for one moment thought the story idea and what I was trying to accomplish wasn’t worthwhile or didn’t hold up.

That’s not always true with every story. Sometimes a writer learns when to walk away from a story. I never felt that with Quaternity. I always believed there was something special there, if only I could tease it out.

If only I could find the key.

I did. I finished the novel in 19 days and was floored at that process. Submitted it. It went through a couple of rewrites, and now CZP wants it for next year.

I couldn’t be happier!

It’s a validation. A big one. Yes. It’s that important to me.

Writer in Progress: Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover

In case you missed it, Darke Conteur ran a special post regarding my new novel Haxan which has just been published by CZP. If you want to read more, please click the link below, and please let her know in the comments section you liked what she did.

She even included an excerpt from the novel. Yay!

Thanks, Darke!

–KMH

 

WRITER IN PROGRESS: HAXAN, WRITTEN BY KENNETH MARK HOOVER

 

Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur

Thermopylae. Masada. Agincourt. And now, HAXAN.

THERMOPYLAE. MASADA. AGINCOURT.

AND NOW, HAXAN, NEW MEXICO TERRITORY, CIRCA 1874 . . .
Through a sea of time and dust, in places that might never be, or can’t become until something is set right, there are people destined to travel.

Forever.

Marshal John T. Marwood is one of these men.

Taken from a place he called home, he is sent to fight an eternal war. It never ends, because the storm itself, this unending conflict, makes the world we know a reality.

Along with all the other words waiting to be born. Or were born, but died like a guttering candle in eternal night.

 

What is Haxan? Haxan is Lonesome Dove meets The Punisher . . .  real, gritty, violent, and blatantly uncompromising.

 

“In the Haxan series, Kenneth Mark Hoover is recreating the Old West. Or rather he would be, if the Old West was equal parts Gunsmoke and John Brunner’s Traveler in Black. . . . Fans of the western and dark fantasy genres alike should give this series a serious look.”
—Richard Parks, author of Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter and To Break the Demon Gate

 

Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover

 

Blood, Dust, Wind. An Excerpt from the Novel Haxan.

Here is an excerpt from my new novel Haxan published by CZP. Hope you like it!

–KMH

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Haxan, New Mexico Territory

Spring, 1874

 

I found the old man nailed to a hackberry tree five miles out of Haxan.

They had hammered railroad spikes through his wrists and ankles. There was dried blood on the wood and iron. Blood stippled his arms and chest. He was stripped naked so the westering sun could peel the flesh from his bones.

He was alive when I found him.

I got down off my horse, a blue roan I picked up in Mesilla, and went up to the man. His twitching features were covered with swarming bluebottles.

I swiped them away and pressed the mouth of a canteen to his parched lips. He was in such a bad way, I knew if he drank too much, too fast, he would founder and the shock would kill him.

He took a capful of water and coughed. Another half-swallow.

“I can work those nails out,” I said. “You might have a chance if a doctor sees you.”

He raised his grizzled head. His face was the colour of burned leather kicked out of a prairie fire. His eyelids were cut away, his eyes seared blind by the sun.

“Won’t do any good, mister.” He talked slow and with effort, measuring his remaining strength. He had a Scandinavian accent that could float a ship, pale eyebrows, and faded blue irises. “I been here two days.”

I tried to work one of the nails free. It was hammered deep and wouldn’t budge.

“No use,” he rasped. “Anyway, the croaker in Haxan is jugged on laudanum half the time. And the tooth-puller, he ain’t much better in the way of a man.”

I let him have more water. “Who did this?”

“People of Haxan.”

I tried to give him more water but he shook it off. He was dying and he knew it. He didn’t want to prolong the process.

“Why?”

“They’re scared. Like children are scared of the dark.”

He was delirious and not making sense. “Scared of what?”

“Me. What I know about this place.” His words and his mind grew distant together. “The ghost voices frozen in the rocks and the grass, the water and the sky. The memory of the world carried high on the wind.”

His head dropped onto his naked chest. He was losing strength fast. I tried to give him water again but he wouldn’t take it.

“What’s your name, mister?” he asked in a hoarse whisper.

“John Marwood.” I had other names, but he wouldn’t be able to pronounce them. Sometimes I couldn’t remember them all.

“I waited for you, son,” he said. “I called . . . but you didn’t get here fast enough. This moment . . . in time.”

I felt showered with ice.

“So you help her instead, Marwood. My daughter, I mean.”

“Let me help you first, old man. My horse can carry us both.”

“Thank you for the water. At least you tried.” His head rolled back. His breath sawed in his throat. “Did I tell you it snowed the day she was born?”

He gave a long, trembling sigh. With a sudden jerk his body slumped forward.

He was dead.

I cut him down and buried him in the shade of the hackberry tree. The sky was purpling in the east when I placed the last stone on top of his grave.

An hour of daylight remained. Across the empty landscape a single mourning dove flew to water. I walked over the hard ground looking for tracks. Two single-rider horses, well shod, and a wagon, had come from the north and gone back that way.

Headed for town.

The stirrup leather creaked when I mounted up. It was the only sound in the desert and it carried like a scream.

I shook the reins in my hand and pulled toward Haxan.

…………………

If you are interested in purchasing the novel then please check out these sites. The book should also start appearing in brick and mortar bookstores soon. If you don’t see it, ask for it!

 

Kindle Edition (Amazon):  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover-ebook/dp/B00HCHCLUQ/?tag=westeros-20

Paperback edition:  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover/dp/1771481757/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Apple iBook (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/haxan/id784425699?mt=11

Google (Play): http://books.google.ca/books?id=60iYAgAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haxan-kenneth-mark-hoover/1117715955?ean=9781771481755

ChiZine Publication: http://chizinepub.com/books/haxan

 

 

My Brand New Novel HAXAN is Launched!

My brand new dark western Haxan is being released by CZP today. Here are places you can order the novel, either e-book or print. Or if you are venturesome, do both!

I really hope you like the story, and I hope you tell people about it.

Thanks!

–KMH

 

Kindle Edition (Amazon):  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover-ebook/dp/B00HCHCLUQ/?tag=westeros-20

Paperback edition:  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover/dp/1771481757/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Apple iBook (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/haxan/id784425699?mt=11

Google (Play): http://books.google.ca/books?id=60iYAgAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haxan-kenneth-mark-hoover/1117715955?ean=9781771481755

ChiZine Publication: http://chizinepub.com/books/haxan

 

And for fun, here is a cool Haxan* bookmark created by Reece Notley you can slap on your website. That way, when the Eternals of Haxan night-walk you (and they will), you will be protected.

Unless you want to be taken from a place you call home, and forced to stand against that which must be faced….

 

haxan_banner

 

*Tomorrow, an excerpt from Haxan because why not?

Pre-order Information for My New Novel HAXAN

Thermopylae. Masada. Agincourt.

And now, Haxan, New Mexico.

We go where we’re sent. We have names and we stand against that which must be faced.

Through a sea of time and dust, in places that might never be, or can’t become until something is set right, there are people destined to travel. Forever.

I am one.

—Marshal John T. Marwood

 

Here are the sites where you can pre-order my new novel Haxan published by CZP. Haxan will be launched on June 17, 2014. Hope you like it!

 

Kindle Edition (Amazon):  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover-ebook/dp/B00HCHCLUQ/?tag=westeros-20

Paperback edition:  http://www.amazon.com/Haxan-Kenneth-Mark-Hoover/dp/1771481757/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Apple iBook (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/haxan/id784425699?mt=11

Google (Play): http://books.google.ca/books?id=60iYAgAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haxan-kenneth-mark-hoover/1117715955?ean=9781771481755

ChiZine Publication: http://chizinepub.com/books/haxan

 

My new novel Haxan slated for publication by CZP on June 17, 2014

Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover, published by CZP

My Schedule for ArmadilloCon 36, Austin, TX, July 25-27

Here’s the latest attending schedule for my upcoming appearance at ArmadilloCon 36. Come see me in action!

 

Twin Paradox Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Conference Center Gibbons.

A discussion of the twin paradox and how it affects the world today.

 

Space Westerns Sat 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Room F Crider.

Why are Westerns so good in space?

 

Reading Sat 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Southpark A

(I will do a reading from my new novel, Haxan)

 

13 Assassinations Sat 11:00 PM-Midnight Room E de Orive.

Does martial arts have a place in fiction?

 

Looks like this schedule is going to be a lot of fun.  Come see me. If you can’t find me, try the bar! –KMH

Writer in Progress, HAXAN, by Kenneth Mark Hoover, hosted by Darke Conteur

Darke_Conteur

Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur has a big blog post on her website about my upcoming book Haxan, including links, blurbs, and places you can purchase the novel being published by CZP.

She did a really great job, and this series Writer in Progress is something she does regularly for lots of other really good authors.

 

Please check it out!

 

WRITER IN PROGRESS, HAXAN, by KENNETH MARK HOOVER

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

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!

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.

Looking at a Story with Fresh Eyes

I’m a couple of chapters into the new novel.Sleeping and looking at the story later always works for me.

After I wrote the first chapter I was pretty okay with it. I knew it wasn’t perfect but there was enough there for me to feel it was well within my ability to fix.

After I went to sleep and looked at it the next morning I saw it afresh. This helped a lot. It always does. I experience this quite often with my writing and I know other people do. It never ceases to interest me, though. I can write a story and put it away and when I look at it again I see it in a whole new light.

I see things that were hidden to me and I can fix them. I like when this happens. I’ve been working on the opening to this novel since Monday. It’s still not perfect but it’s better than it was.

I’ll take that kind of progress any day of the week. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld

Tablet depicting Sumerian Goddess Inanna

He clawed feet is an ancient way to depict the fact she visited the Underworld.

“From the great heaven she set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven the goddess set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven Inanna set her mind on the great below. My mistress abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inanna abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.”

 

Thus begins one of the most famous Sumerian myths of all time, with one of the most famous introductory passages of all time.

The new novel I am working on is a retelling of the Inanna myth. Inanna was a Sumerian goddess of fertility, love, and war. Venus is her star. As she descends to the Underworld, ostensibly to find either power or knowledge (the poem is open to interpretation), she has to divest herself of her garments. This is probably a metaphor for divesting herself of certain earthy illusions, but it can play either way.

Anyway, as you might suspect, descending to the Underworld is a really bad idea on her part, and it doesn’t work out the way she thinks. When she does not return, her loyal servant, Ninshubur, goes in after her.

In ancient times Venus was considered to be the Star of Inanna

Venus is the Star of Inanna

I became aware of the Inanna myth a year or so back. I immediately thought it would be a nice framework for a story. At the time I was thinking about writing a Great Depression novel. I wanted to examine the hobo culture at the time. Personally, I don’t buy into the romanticization of that period. Frank Capra’s idealistic portrayals aside, I don’t think it was a heroic lifestyle at all. I believe it was brutal, hard, dehumanizing, and violent.

That’s the novel I am going to write, anyway. Or attempt to write.

There are many translations of the Inanna poem online and you can find them rather easily. The problem with the translations is the language itself is so ancient you can read many things into it. Which, for a writer, isn’t all that bad.

Thus, Inanna. This is the project I am working on now and will be blogging about, including aspects of the hobo culture and their lifestyle. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out. 🙂

Inanna

Another depiction. Again notice the Star of Inanna (Venus) in the sky.

Another depiction of Inanna

The ordinary people above Inanna are the people of Earth. The creatures below are those of the Underworld.

Finished Notes for New Novel, Still Hazy on Characterization

I finished the bulk of my notes for the new novel. I like what I have so far. I haven’t reconciled the problem of having the story down without a firm grasp of the characters, but I believe I am making progress on that front as well.

At any rate I hope I am making progress on that.

Right now I am thinking I might plan a trip up to Dalhart and Boise City which were the epicenter of the Dust Bowl and plays a part in the novel. Not a big deal. This isn’t like the Border Trip I took when I was researching the last novel. I honestly felt that was necessary because the border itself played a big part in the novel and you could argue it was a character itself.

Not the same with this new novel. But it can’t help to get a firsthand look at this area and get a feel on how it shapes people. That can never hurt.

I won’t lie. I’m a little nervous about not having the characters down as well as I would like. That is so unlike me when I write. But every day that passes I see a little more, turn another little corner. It’s not much, but I hope collectively it will be enough.

I’m even toying with the idea that my main character is all wrong and that’s what I need to change. Either change him, or delete him and come at the story from another angle.

I believe in the story. I like the idea. I am not as happy with the character I have picked to tell that story. That’s my problem right now.

I haven’t found a way to reconcile it and it keeps me up at night.

 

 

 

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.

A Writer’s Reach

Slowly getting my ducks lined in a row and will start the new novel soon. I’m looking forward to it. The original idea has stayed with me for some time now so I think it has merit. I’ve had ideas come and go before, and you come to recognize this as a writer. Not all ideas are equal. Some aren’t worth your time.

But this idea about hobos and Sumerian mythology has me captivated and I am looking forward to exploring the themes and characters more.

I am attending the World Horror Convention in New Orleans next week so I will be busy with that. I hope to start writing the novel when I get back. I do have a propensity to always start a short story when I attend conventions so I may do that in New Orleans. Not a bad thing. I could use another short story under my belt.

Last week I started reading Beowulf again. I haven’t read this since high school. I also did some extra homework and read up on the background, literary criticism and other things surrounding this story. It fascinated me and got me to thinking about a writer’s reach.

The author of Beowulf is completely unknown. But the story has endured all these centuries because it speaks to places deep in our heart and has the capacity to move us and make us relate in ways other stories cannot. How does this happen? I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately.

It’s funny. No matter what we write we never really know how it will affect someone or what kind of reach, social or historical, it will have. Even if the story disappears it still affected you in some way when you wrote it. I have been thinking about that a lot and it has moved me in some subtle ways.

Over the weeks I’ve heard from friends and gotten support about my writing from them. It means a lot to me. I suppose all writers are looking for validation of some kind, even if it’s nothing more than the personal knowledge of accomplishment. I never got into writing to see my name in print. I got that out of my system when I was working on the school newspaper. When I started writing professionally I used a pseudonym because it didn’t matter to me whether my given name was on the story or not. At the time the story was more important than my name.

Today that is still true. I just use “Kenneth Mark Hoover” out of laziness. I honestly get no gratification at all out of seeing my name in print. I just don’t care about that. For me as a writer it’s the story that matters most.

I suppose that’s kind of an aberration. I won’t deny it.  But for me the reach doesn’t come from the author’s name. It’s what he has to say on the page that resonates.

This is what I try to keep in mind when writing. It’s never about me. I want to be invisible on the written page. Let the story speak. Let it have reach.

The author of Beowulf is unknown. But the story endures. That speaks to me.

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.

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