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.

More Pictures from New Orleans

Here are a few more pictures from my week in New Orleans accompanied by descriptions. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

What a view of the Vieux Carre!This was the view of the French Quarter from our 17th floor window. The weather was nice, mostly cloudy which helped with the sun. But the humidity was terrible. It had been a long time since I was this close to the Gulf of Mexico. I had forgotten what that humidity was like, ha.

Second StoryI like the architecture and stonework in the French Quarter. Hanging plants and American flag FTW!

Bloody MaryEven the Bloody Marys have crawfish in them! Very spicy to boot. What could be better for a breakfast drink?

Pirates AlleyBack around behind Pirates Alley. Faulkner wrote near here. I love this little nook and every time I am in New Orleans I make it a point to visit.

LightsThe shops are filled with beautiful pieces. I was captivated by the lights in this one and had to take a picture. (Even though it was against the rules of the store, sorry!)

Me, black coffee, a Maduro cigar, and Caribbean music in the background.While I was visiting the Cigar Factory a couple people stopped by to take pictures. I figured if they wanted a picture of me, then I should have one for posterity! 😛

The Cigar Factory in New Orleans

One of the places I found was the Cigar Factory on Decatur. It was interesting to me as a writer to see how they make the cigars and cure them. The shop was nice and I bought a few cigars and drank black coffee while listening to very loud Caribbean music. I had a good time.

Cigar Factory

 

Cigar Factory Store

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work bench

curing

Two Guys

Pictures from NOLA

Here are some pictures I took of my trip to New Orleans.

Light DarkThis is Maspero’s. Good food and $1 daiquiris. The daiquiris are short on liquor but long on taste.

Street BandWe saw many spectacular street bands. I might blog about them more later. Honestly, the music from these men and women on the street was often as good as anything we heard in the bars.

Iron LaceYou can’t walk through the French Quarter without seeing lots of French lace iron-work.

Street ViewAs a writer I would like to dig deeper into the art community here. Music and painting are very apparent, but I’d like to get in touch with more NOLA writers.

Empty BarMaspero’s again. I often sat here at the end of the bar so I could watch the patrons inside and the passerby outside. Writers are always watching people! 🙂

Pictures of My Border Trip to Ruidosa, TX

Once you drive through Presidio and make it through the Chinati Mountain Pass on Farm Road 170 the next stop along the Mexico/Texas Border is Ruidosa.

I wanted to stop because my latest novel Quaternity takes place outside the town for a chapter or three. It’s always beneficial for a writer to see a place first hand if you can, I think. Google Earth helps a lot, but you can’t beat seeing it with your own eyes if possible.

Ruidosa has an interesting history in the west. In the 1800s convicts used to be stationed here so they could fight the Native Americans. The land is stark and dry and you are surrounded by mountains on both sides of the border. Chinati Peak towers over the landscape.

Here are pictures I took around Ruidosa. I think there used to be a little community store years back, but it looked closed now. I didn’t see anyone about. There was an occasional motorcycle on the road, however, mostly sight-seers like myself.

Ruidosa Sign

Ruidosa Church

Adobe Church

Ruidosa Road

Mountain Range

Full Moon over Texas

FullMoonFull Moon over Texas.

OffsetFullMoonIt was as yellow as a saucer of cream!

HeavyContrastMoonPlaying around with the contrast in this one. Gives an artificial and spooky look.

Pictures from Presidio

A few pictures from my trip to the Border. These are from Presidio, TX

Mountains

Presidio

PatioRestaurantThis was a very good restaurant. Authentic Mexican cuisine. If you are even in Presidio, TX make sure you eat here.

MexicoHeaded into Mexico.

 

 

 

Rio Frio Photographs

I enjoyed the scenery when I visited Rio Frio. Here is another set of photographs. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Squirrel

 

Trees

 

ArchandTree

 

Arches

Bluff

 

My “Working” Trip to Rio Frio

While staying at Rio Frio last week I began the final edit on the Haxan prequel novel, Quaternity. I began making notes for the novel when I was staying at Palo Duro two years ago. I might as well cap off the work while camping alongside a western river in Texas, right?

Meanwhile, I also took pictures.

These are a few from the first day I was there. Hope you like them.

Cabin

 

Inside Cabin

 

Water

 

I thought this tree provided an interesting contrast against the sky.

 

I thought this was a pretty reflectiona and tried to capture it.

The Old West: A Study in Black and White Photography

Some black and white photographs I took around Presidio, TX.  Black and white photography works best when you have good contrast between  light and shadow. That’s what I was working for here. Hope you like them! 🙂

Old Fence

Old Fence

Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock

Abandoned House

Abandoned House

White Church

White Church

Adobe Church Window

Adobe Church Window

I’ll post more pictures as I process them. The trip to Presidio via Rio Frio was a big success, and I have lots to share about it. 🙂

First Pictures from my Photography Class!

Here are several photographs I took during class. Still learning about the camera, and how to manipulate all the controls it offers me. Hope you like them!

Coming Home

Coming Home

Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

 

Reflection

Reflection

 

 

Life is Getting in the Way of Writing

Got a lot to do today. Yesterday was busy, too. More than usual. Classical guitar and photography class took up most of the day yesterday. Today I am meeting my writing buddy at the coffee shop and will push to get this edit done on the new short story. At least whip it in recognizable shape.

Then I have to take the truck in for warranty service. I might be able to put that off until tomorrow. Once I get back home I can start signing up for specific science fiction conventions. While this is going on I need to keep getting my gear ready for the camping trip next week. Squeeze in lunch and classical guitar practice during the day. That’s along with the thousand other things I have to take care of.

Sometimes I feel I am trying to get too much done too quickly: classical guitar, photography, writing, camping, tutoring, working on the Argo Navis stuff, etc. As a result I get nothing done. Or not enough.

I am usually better compartmentalizing time and priorities than this. Writing is the main focus. A lot of other things are demanding attention and taking away the time I need for that.

I believe if I can get this short story shaped up that will go a long way to open up my time and making me feel better about what I have accomplished. This story is nibbling at the edges of my consciousness and I want to get it polished and move on to working on something else. Good grief, I haven’t even begun reading aloud the last Haxan novel for the third edit!

Hopefully I will get caught up on one or two things today and can cross them off my list (or shorten the list) and make progress. I need to get caught up. I don’t want to keep losing ground.

It is a busy time right now. I’ll get through it, but at the moment I feel I am slipping behind. I don’t like that feeling.

The Border Trip: Rio Grande

Traveling along the border between Texas and Mexico means you travel along the Rio Grande. The river played a big part in the novel because it was analogous to the border that exists in a man’s heart. Since the novel is primarily about a man finding himself, having a majority of the novel take place along the border was a good artistic choice, I  hope.

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062Those are the Organ Mountains in the background, I think.

The Border Trip: Fort Davis Camping

Here are more pictures from what I have been calling my Border Trip. It’s the trip I took from Laredo to Nogales in preparation to writing the novel I have just completed.

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091The buttes in the distance are fantastic.

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Here is my campsite at Fort Davis. There was a lot of wildlife here, including javelinas and deer. I worked on the novel a little bit at this picnic table and felt I was making some progress. Little did I know the real writing would not take place until Thanksgiving of this year, and I would finish a 85,000 word novel in 19 days!

Dust Storms Around Antelope Wells, New Mexico

When I was on my Border Trip earlier this year, researching the novel, I often ran into dust storms. Here are a few pictures of them. It was strange how they came in waves and would buffet the truck, clear off, then come again.

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This was a pretty little church north of Antelope Wells.

 

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Fort Davis. I camped here for three nights.

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The valleys around Fort Davis are really pretty. This is in Texas.

 

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Another view. I love the stark beauty. It’s a harsh land, but that is what draws me to it, I think.

 

Cow Cabin Camping in Palo Duro Canyon

I got back from my camping trip in Palo Duro and I had a very good time. I have done a lot of tent camping over the years, but I am now a big believer in cabin camping. Or at the very least Cow Cabin Camping.

These cabins were built by the CCC during the 1930s. There’s not much to them inside other than important appliances like a microwave, refrigerator, heat and air conditioning, haha. They also have double bunk beds and ours had a wooden table we could eat at. It was quite comfortable.

I thought they did a very good job landscaping the outside as well. We had a patio and an aluminum picnic table out back along with a water faucet and fire pit. We couldn’t use the fire pit or the fireplace inside the cabin because of the burn ban.

We didn’t see a lot of wildlife like we usually do. This may have been because we went during Spring Break and there were a lot of people in the park. It was nice and quiet and deserted where we were, though.

There are only four cow cabins available and you have to make a reservation. I like Palo Duro Canyon a lot and I hope to get back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Banks of the Clear Fork

This is the middle of the Clear Fork of the Brazos. This was the main water supply for The Flat and Fort Griffin. As you can see the water level is very low due to the drought. I’ve never stood in the middle of a river before. Now I can say I have.

This is a view of the Clear Fork from a higher elevation. When The Flat was here I am thinking all these trees were gone and the river banks were denuded for building material and firewood. Many of the trees that grew along the banks at the time were cottonwood trees, not mesquite. People used cottonwood to put up buildings, but it is a poor wood for that. It’s soft and doesn’t last long. It wasn’t until people “civilized” the country when the mesquite took over.

This was a pretty little sun drenched glade on the banks of the Clear Fork. Again you can see it is dominated by mesquite trees, though. I was surprised to see how green everything was, though, given the parched look of the rest of the landscape.

As you might guess water was very important in the west. Water is important wherever people live. There is no way the Clear Fork can support 5000 people on The Flat now, but it did at one time, and it really brings home how much water is being used up river for other things, and the price of the drought that is parching all the southwest right now.

The Flat: 5000 Buffalo Hunters, Ranchers, Prostitutes, Drunks and Criminals in One Place

While researching Fort Griffin and The Flat we came across a little town being rebuilt in the old western style. The owner claims he is going to turn it into a tourist trap when he completes it all, haha, but it is open now for anyone to browse around. So we took advantage of it!

At one point in time The Flat had over 5,000 people living there. Wyatt Earp met Doc Holliday there and Big Nose Kate also used to hang out at The Flat. Once there were over 200,000 buffalo hides piled up at The Flat. The ground was soaked with blood. It was a real western boom town…and now it is trying to be recreated by historians and Old West buffs alike.

The only thing that exists from the original Flat is this jail cell. Everything else is gone, but this has endured. What a monument! But the ground itself is full of old square head nails and rusted bolts and whatnot. We picked some up. One word of warning, however, they really don’t want you to go out there with a metal detector, which makes sense. They don’t want the land being dug up by amateurs.

There is a good story associated with this jail. (Though not necessarily this cell.) There are a lot of police records kept from that time and one of them from a sheriff says something along the lines of, “I arrested a mean buffalo hunter and put him in jail. But he was so mean I had to shoot him.”

That was the real Old West, my friends.

Ah, the personal conveniences of the Old West. I get tickled when I see movies that show western streets from that era. They are so clean and straight and level…when in reality they were little more than mud pits filled with refuse and filth. Do you doubt me? Cram 5000 unwashed people in a small area and then get back to me on that one….

You can tell the men working on this town are doing so from a real labor of love. You can walk into many of these buildings and they are even decorated on the inside with furniture, paintings, etc. It is an amazing accomplishment and they haven’t even finished!

I thought the wagon yard was amazing. The guy built this stone fence himself. Back in the day there were a lot of stone fences because the mesquite trees weren’t as thick as they were today, and the cottonwood trees along the Clear Fork had been felled to raise The Flat. But, being cottonwood, it didn’t last and the buildings fell apart and disappeared over time. But by then the boom was over anyway and The Flat was a ghost town…and then not even that.

I was personally fascinated by these wagons. I leaned over the stone fence and stared at them a long time, trying to get a feel for what it was like to use these things everyday of your life. I wondered who had used them, and why, and what their lives were like. For a writer it was a great experience. I can’t wait to get back there. I loved it.

Unknown Legend

I want to ride a motorcycle in the desert at night. I want to be on a dark road that points toward the setting moon that hangs in the sky like an orange lantern.

Then I want to open up the throttle and see if I can’t reach it before it disappears below the horizon, forever.

The Writing Window

Writing is like a window onto another world. What we see there has to be brought to the reader through words. It’s not always easy, but that’s what we do as writers.

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