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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Blood, Dust, Wind! Quaternity, a brand new Haxan novel coming from CZP

From the jacket copy:

Hell is truth seen too late.

Before he became a U.S. federal marshal in Haxan, John Marwood rode with a band of killers up and down the Texas/Mexico border.

Led by Abram Botis, an apostate from the Old Country, this gang of thirteen killers search for the fabled golden city of Cibola, even riding unto the barren, blood-soaked plains of Comancheria.

And in this violent crucible of blood, dust, and wind, Marwood discovers a nightmarish truth about himself, and conquers the silent, wintry thing coiled inside him.

COMING JUNE/JULY 2015 from CZP. Blood, dust, wind!

 

Quaternity by Kenneth Mark Hoover

 

“Showdown at the Cliche Corral” Live at Sunnyhuckle Magazine

“Fiction writer Kenneth Mark Hoover discusses his love for the true Old American West in literature, not the one born of Hollywood clichés, but the historically rich and fascinating one that is so often forgotten.”  –Sunnyhuckle

Mark here. My latest article “Showdown at the Cliché Corral” is featured on Sunnyhuckle Magazine. Once again I take Hollywood, cliches, myths, and western writers who should know better to the woodshed.

As you might expect I take no prisoners. Click below and enjoy the smell of burning gunpowder in the morning!

“SHOWDOWN at the CLICHE CORRAL”

Did you miss the new cover for my upcoming novel Quaternity? Here it is!

Hell is truth seen too late.

Before he became a U.S. federal marshal in Haxan, John Marwood rode with a band of killers up and down the Texas/Mexico border.

Led by Abram Botis, an apostate from the Old Country, this gang of thirteen killers search for the fabled golden city of Cibola, even riding unto the barren, blood-soaked plains of Comancheria.

And in this violent crucible of blood, dust, and wind, Marwood discovers a nightmarish truth about himself, and conquers the silent, wintry thing coiled inside him.

COMING JUNE/JULY 2015 from CZP! I  can’t wait!

 

Quaternity by Kenneth Mark Hoover

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(

 

 

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

A Summer Update, and Writing Monoliths

I am working on an espionage novel, trying to get it into shape for submission. That’s my big summer project, along with promoting the new novel Haxan. When I am finished with that I will turn my attention to writing a new Haxan novel in the series. I think I have a weighty enough idea for that.

When I first began to write I was worried I wouldn’t have enough ideas. But the nasty secret (and it’s not so secret) is you come up with too many ideas. So you have to pick and choose which ones are worth your time, and which ones are not.

I am reminded of the enigmatic Monolith in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The idea behind the aliens was they cultivated intelligence where they thought it might take root, and when necessary dispassionately weeded the growth.

Writing ideas, and how they take root in your mind, are a lot like that. Not all ideas are created equal. You must pick and choose which ones are worth your time. I will come across an idea and think, “No, I will let someone else write that one.”

Not because I think a particular idea is beneath me. I determine someone can do a better job with that idea than I can. I have to maximize my time with ideas that excite me. If I think I can do something interesting then I am on board. If I think it will be another average retelling…I cull it out.

So, yes, ideas are very important. Not that short stories can’t be weighty. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” comes to mind. But you need an idea that holds up over the length of a novel. “The Lottery” works as a short story. I am not certain it could work as a novel. Similarly, Moby-Dick is an excellent novel and would be difficult to present as a short story. (Although I have tried.)

So those are my summer plans. I’m in the thick of them as we speak. I’ll let you know how things develop.

 

daveinbed

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.

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

 

 

Valkyrie Artwork as Reflection for “Remember Me in the Halls of Valhalla”

When I was working on a story entitled “Remember Me in the Halls of Valhalla” I wanted to portray the Valkyries as true death-maidens rather than generic (and cliched) fantasy figures.

In my search I landed upon some artwork on the Internet. Just wanted to share some of them with you here. I never used them as inspiration. I already had that. But I looked at them closely after I had written the story to see if I could find inklings of that fierce death-maiden aspect I was going for.

Ride of the Valkyries by Miss Velance

Ride of the Valkyries by Miss Velance

 

Valkyrie by Avery Annarose

Valkyrie by Avery Annarose

 

The Dises by Hardy

The Dises by Hardy

 

Re9x1rue7czo1_1280

 

 

 

I have no credit for this last image, but it brought to mind the tone and darker atmosphere I was searching for in the story.

The Eyes of the Valkyrie

Several days ago I finished my new Haxan short story “Remember Me in the Halls of Valhalla” and I think it came out okay.

Eyes of a Valkyrie

Eyes of a Valkyrie

I had a scene where I wanted to show these Valkyries were unlike the common blonde-haired, blue-eyed fantasy figures you often see. These were more like true death-maidens (though still beautiful) which is how they are portrayed in the Elder Edda, and other ancient sources.

In one paragraph I had the chieftain. Kara Wind-Travel, looking over the iron rim of her shield at Marwood as she recognized who (and what) he really was.

So I needed a pair of eyes.

Writers always steal body parts from other people. It’s a not-so secret thing we do. Truth is, most people never see themselves in fiction anyway, because as you write you tend to change other parts as well. Hence, the organic process that is writing…and most art in general.

But I really needed a startling pair of eyes to get me to bring out a very important part of the chieftain’s fierce character, and her emotion.

So I contacted a friend and asked if I could borrow her eyes for the story. She said yes, and the rest is history.

You know, sometimes being a writer is really pretty damn cool. You can make people kind of happy by doing what you do, and get a good story in the process.

But more importantly, you just kind of make your friends happy.  🙂

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

Mad Dogs, Lunatics, and Writers

For a long time I’ve been wondering how crazy stupid a person has to be to ever become a writer.the-writer2

Think about it. It’s a very solitary existence. You do most everything by yourself. Writing is very internal. You sit and watch people so you can learn about them. . You do a lot of people watching because at the end of the day you always write about people.

Even if your book is about robots and dragons you are still writing about people and their emotions and how they act.

But the real craziness comes when you realize there is no guarantee an editor or publisher will ever accept your work. You write send your stuff out and you do this over and over again.

That’s crazy.

That’s insane.

And the really inexplicable part is how we keep doing it despite the setbacks and obstacles, and no guarantee we will be published, or make money, or be recognized.

Because if fame is your goal….then you might as well give up because the likelihood is you are going to be disappointed.

But if all you want to do is write….well, that’s sustainable. That’s something to shoot for and be proud of. That’s accepting writing for what it is, and not what you want it to be.

Writing is crazy. It drives us crazy. It’s a damn crazy business.

Sometimes it takes everything I have to focus on this and try and understand what has me gripped in its power.

Reflection on Story Present

I’ve been struggling with my new story “Remember Me in the Halls of Valhalla” for several weeks now.

To put things in perspective I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Personal stuff has roared in and stolen much of my time. It happens. But I have kept this story on the front burner in my mind.

Several nights ago I had a breakthrough on the plot. I usually have a vague idea where I want to go and what direction a story should take. I knew where I wanted to go with this one, but the direction was shaky.

I always believed writing is an organic process. I knew a solution would come. I slept on it and the idea continues to hold up. I need to be careful, though, because the “reveal” which is part of the story could overwhelm everything else.

So I’m going ahead with this idea and see where the remainder of the story lands.

For future projects I’d like to get one or two more short stories written and then move ahead with a summer project I’ve been planning for months now. More on that later. Maybe. Not trying to be a tease, I’m not 100% certain I will tackle it, or that I will have the opportunity.

But I think I will, and the idea excites me enough to see where that story might go. For me, that’s the fun part.

 

Water Reflection

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.

“I’m your huckleberry.”

In an old writing group we had an ongoing joke you never “arrived” until you wrote an Elvis story. Many members did, I did not. Doc_Holliday

The same sort of thing might be said of westerns, but with Doc Holliday. This consumptive blue-eyed killer continues to generate stories, ideas, and unverifiable legends. I got to thinking. What if Doc Holliday visited Haxan, the one town in New Mexico Territory known as a vicious killing-bottle. Mightn’t he feel at home?

My “Doc Holliday story” was named “Tombstone” and it appeared in 2010 in The Western Online. Later, people got in touch with me and expressed how much they enjoyed it.

Finally, Holliday’s trademark quip has historical backing*, so that’s why I included it in my story.

Just follow the link if you want to take a peek at it! I hope you enjoy it.

 

TOMBSTONE

 

*Much of what we know about Holliday is shaky at best. I think that is what draws him to readers and writers. Aside from the basic facts regarding his life, almost everything else is a tabula rasa.

Doc Holliday in 1879

 

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.

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.

 

 

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