Blog Tours, Guest Posts, & Interviews
A Polynesians in Space Novella for
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He opens his mouth, but doesn’t say what’s on the tip of his tongue. He pauses, then asks, “I know you think of me as a fishing hook. What’s your nattoo for Lolo?”
I hang my head. “Pua‘a,” I mutter.
He stops mid-rub. “No way. Your symbol for our sister is a pig? Where is it?”
I don’t want to answer, but Imi’s relentless.
“Tell me, Nani, or I’ll strip search you myself. You know I can.”
“Are you on my side or not?” I scowl.
“Where’s our sister’s nattoo, Nani?”
I sigh. “On my okole. Left cheek.”
~Nani’s Kiss, Fractured Beauty
Kakau is the Hawaiian tradition of tattoo. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of kakau throughout Polynesia and love to hear personal stories about the images people choose to wear on their skin. Challenged to write a series of stories about Polynesians in the future, I knew kakau had to be a part of it.
Long before Disney’s Moana and Maui’s dancing tattoo version of himself that functions in the story as his Jimmy Cricket conscience, I had the what if idea of nanobots as tattoo ink. What if tattoos weren’t permanent? What if nanobot technology could change tattoos? What if you had to learn how to control them? What if there was an app that controlled them and it was in the hands of a villain?
What if, what if, what if?
In Nani’s Kiss, a Fairy Tale Five novella in the boxed set Fractured Beauty, Nani’s secret thoughts are displayed on her body by her nattoos, nanobots that form images.
I gotta tell you, I’m loving this story device. It’s set to appear in other stories, including the second boxed set of novellas from the Fairy Tale Five, Fractured Slipper, available September 2017.
Nani’s Kiss in Fractured Beauty is available in eBook. On June 1, 2017, the price jumps to $4.99, so don’t miss out!
Four authors accepted a challenge from Tork Media Publishing: reimagine the classic western fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.
Angela Brimhall’s beast is a terrifying sea monster cursed by a scorned gypsy. He must risk all to save the strong-willed princess before losing his last chance at love and redemption, becoming forever damned to the briny deep.
Lehua Parker’s Nani is trapped by Indian and Hawaiian traditions and a fiancé locked in stasis in a medi-mod. Cultures and expectations collide in this sci-fi futuristic world where nano-bot tattoos and dreams reveal the secret of Nani’s heart.
Angela Corbett’s Ledger is determined to find out more about the mysterious woman who saved him from certain death and uncover the secrets of Withering Woods, but some beasts are better left caged.
Adrienne Monson’s Arabella rushes to an enchanted castle to pay her father’s debt, but is met with a burly beast with a mysterious past. It’s a howling paranormal regency romp that will keep you turning pages well past your bedtime.
Opportunities to be part of something this special are rare in life. Back in December Jonathan Diaz approached me and several other authors about participating in his quest to help pediatric cancer patients. He had the deceptively simple idea of taking photos of kids living lives far away from the realities of hospital corridors–dreams of being a mermaid, a bull rider, a dancer, a baker, more than twenty in all–and pairing each image with a short story.
I wrote The Mermaid‘s Tale for Caimbre, four years old at the time of her photo shoot and with a smile that makes you want to take her home in your pocket. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever written. How could I possibly come up with words to do justice to her photo, to her smile, to her dreams? I couldn’t, not really. I’m just a writer.
She and other kids are the TRUE HEROES, a collection of modern-day fairy tales about real kids who are fighting cancer. The book is available now in major bookstores and online through Amazon. All proceeds go to support the Anything Can Be Foundation in its mission to help pediatric cancer patients see themselves as the TRUE HEROES they are.
If you’re in the Provo, UT, area on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 3 pm, stop by the Provo City Library to meet some of the authors and kids. Pick up a book and support something truly special. Let’s show cancer how strong dreams can be. #TrueHeroes #ShowYourGold #hope
Johnny Worthen recently released his newest novel, The Brand Demand. An eclectic writer whose work spans many genres and ages, The Brand Demand is an adult eco-political thriller set in Utah and published by Cherokee McGhee. It’s available as a trade paperback and eBook.
In celebration of his fourth novel, Johnny’s dropping by his old blog tour haunts and sharing his thoughts.
Some authors take the time to plot the entire story and create extensive character backgrounds before they write, others sit down and wing it. What’s your writing process like and how do you balance planning with spur of the moment creativity?
Allow me to ramble: Every book is different, but I’m getting something of a system now that tells me that too much pre-writing will take the energy out of the work, if not the fun. My prewriting process usually consists of pages of notes, character lists with minimum descriptions and waypoints. A waypoint is a place I want to get to. They’re like plot points, but more general. I think of them as scenes I want to have, not just for the plot but for the theme. Theme is huge. It’s the biggest pre-writing concern I have. I need to know what the book is going to be about before I can write a thing. Waypoints are how I’ll to navigate the theme to get to the end that may or may not be plot dependent. “Galen meets with Carson,” “compare rich and powerful vs. invisible and powerful.” “Galen confesses to Bonnie. “Ideology softens” “Show the city in winter.” This kind of thing.
My original idea for THE BRAND DEMAND came from a vision of the ending. I saw the climactic moment in my mind and felt goosebumps. I then worked backward from that, inventing the characters that would get that ending, developing the theme to justify and explain it. I developed waypoints and outlined – only outlined – the characters. I then let their voices come out and gently guided the action to the end.
Many authors say they write because they cannot not write. If you couldn’t tell stories with words, what artistic medium would you choose?
I’m a modeler. That’s the archaic hobby of glueing plastic together and painting little men and spaceships. It’s a lonely outlet, but an art and I really enjoy it. It is however ridiculously frivolous and the finished models pile up with no place to display them. Sometimes you can build game pieces and theoretically have a use for them, but truth is I’m the only person I know who does this and games are few and far between. One day, maybe, I’ll get back to my collection and lose myself in little men and spaceships again.
Successful authors are more than writers; they are public speakers, educators, marketers, and business owners. As you’ve grown in your career which things have surprised you? Which aspects of being an author delight you and which horrify you?
I’m not sure what makes a successful author. There are no rules. We all just make it all up as we go along. It’s so much a matter of luck that if one were to think logically before embarking on this career they’d never do it. The odds are frightening, – horrifying, to use your word. Rejection is constant and unrelenting. You never get used to it. I thought I would, but I haven’t. They don’t sting as much as they used to, but they still bite.
The delights are when even against these odds, something gets through. Better still is the wonder that people read your work. And beyond belief is when they get it and appreciate it. It’s a drug I can only liken to the experience of finishing a book in the first place. It’s wonderful.
With such stiff competition and long odds, you’d think that writers would be a mean and bitter bunch, but they’re not. I’ve met so many wonderful people doing this. Helpful, encouraging, nice people who, like me, labor under the idea that the best way – the only way, to achieve one’s dreams is by helping other people achieve theirs. There’s a solidarity and friendship among the authors I’ve come to know. Of course there are few outliers who don’t get it, but I’ve been surprised at how warm the community generally is – so welcoming and supportive. It’s been a wonderful discovery of friends in arms.
Twitter: Twitter @JohnnyWorthen
When Maddie’s father catches her with a boy, he hauls her into town in a pig wagon and finds her a husband. But Peter’s cabin in the woods promises something very different than Maddie’s happily ever after.
Pretty Things, a retelling of “The Robber Bridegroom,” is the first novella in the Grimm Chronicles series. Warning: not your granny’s fairytales!
In the heat of the desert, Detective Cody Oliver inadvertently stumbles upon a strange garden adorned with exotic flowers. Upon closer inspection, he finds the garden is but a cover for the scores of bodies buried below. Soon, the small town of Mt. Dessicate plunges into chaos as journalists, reporters, and cameramen from across the nation descend upon the tiny, desert town to get a piece of the action.
Along with the media, a mysterious woman appears—she may be the only person who has come face to face with the killer, dubbed the Botanist, and lived to tell the tale. If Cody can’t piece together a timeline of the land the crime scene is located on, decipher how the woman’s mysterious past is connected to the killer, and bring the Botanist to justice, he may lose the people he values most.
When a young location scout from Hollywood dashes into a local Hawaiian bar, she bites off a little more than she can chew. Set in Hawaii with a hint of ancient mythology, Tourists is a companion story to the Niuhi Shark Saga and is intended for adults. Like the woman in the story, there’s no long-term commitment here. Tourists is a quick coffee break and dessert read.
Available in eBook from Amazon.
Secrets & Doors is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories by the Secret Door Society, a philanthropic organization of amazing people who also happen to be authors, editors, illustrators, and publishers. All of the proceeds from this book are going to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).
The cover was designed by Faun Jackson, a fine arts photographer who moonlights as a librarian. Published by Crimson Edge Publishing, Secrets & Doors is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon.
From the back of the book:
Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).
In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.
Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.
Quick note: while all proceeds benefit children, this one’s for adult readers of science fiction and fantasy.
I wrote a gritty short story called Red. It’s published in a collection of western horror by Griffin Publishers and available as a trade paperback and eBook through Amazon and other retailers. It’s not for the faint of heart–my son refused to read past the opening paragraphs because–well, he’s a gentle soul and at first this story is shocking and raw, but there’s a pay-off that puts the whole thing in a different light. I’ll be signing copies in February at LTUE and advanced copies will be available in January at FanX in Salt Lake City, UT.
From the back of the book:
The West has always been a symbol of the wild frontier, rugged adventure, and dangerous exploration. However, if it wasn’t for fear of the unknown, the West would just be another cardinal direction. Old Scratch and Owl Hoots delves into that fear and captures it in fourteen tales of terror set in the West ranging from the 1800s to the present day. Take a gander inside and you’ll find stories dealing with… …a strange creature on Antelope Island that can never satisfy its hunger… …a young girl kidnapped by highwaymen; but she carries a dangerous secret… …a woman’s vacation to Zion National Park that takes a dark turn when she can’t stop hearing the cries of a newborn baby… …an outlaw on the run from Porter Rockwell who finds more than he bargains for in the Utah wilderness… …a war veteran who carries a darkness inside him that threatens his very own family. Experience these stories and more in Old Scratch and Owl Hoots. All the stories in the anthology are written by authors with Utah connections. Some are veterans at the craft, while others are making their debut. Cozy up next to a campfire and delve into these fourteen stories and find out why it’s dangerous to be out and about in the West when the sun goes down.
The Brothers Washburn are Berk and Andy Washburn, two talented brothers from a sprawling family who re-imagine their days growing up in Trona near Death Valley with a certain twisted genius. Pitch Green, Book One in the Dimensions in Death series introduced us to Camm and Cal who with the help of the FBI reveal some of the noxious secrets hiding in Trona. Just in time for Halloween, Mojave Green, Book Two is ready to sweep readers back to the desert for more suspense, horror, and thrills.
The Brothers Washburn stopped by to chat about their experiences.
Pitch Green and Mojave Green are the first two books in The Dimensions in Death young adult horror series. Based on a scary story we used to tell as kids to our siblings and friends, these books combine horror, suspense and mystery, moving at a breathtaking pace as our protagonists fight for their lives while they battle a monstrous evil presence hiding in and around an old, deserted mansion in a small mining town, located near Death Valley in a desolate part of the Mojave Desert.
The mansion was built almost a hundred years ago by an eccentric genius, who got funding and structural specifications from a clandestine source of ancient wealth and knowledge. One night the genius was mysteriously slaughtered, and ever since, children and other defenseless animals in the Trona area have been disappearing without a trace on a regular basis. In the first book, Pitch Green, we meet two teenagers, Camm and Cal, who are destined by wit, pluck and luck (not always good) to become the balancing force against the unearthly predator, who came to call the mansion home. Our heroes are hurled from one scene of horror to the next. Though their intentions are good, they don’t understand what they’re facing, and by the end of the first book, a door has been left open to predations on an even grander scale.
When we were writing that first book, we thought that writing the novel with the best story we could tell was the hardest part of the business. But, when we started looking for a literary agent or publisher, we were surprised to discover the getting a novel published is in many ways more difficult than writing it. Surely getting your book published was the hardest part. But, when we started marketing our book, we were surprised to discover that building a fan base was the most difficult part of the business. We’re still building a fan base and that’s still difficult, but we understand now, there may still be more surprises down the road.
In the second book, Mojave Green, a call from her best friend, Cal, brings news Camm had hoped never to hear. Children are again disappearing from Trona. Has the unnatural creature they killed last year returned to life or has the ancient Searles Mansion spawned a new menace? Ignoring dire warnings from federal agents, the pair take a road trip home with unsuspecting school friends in tow and discover the situation has gotten worse. With giant predators seemingly coming out of nowhere, enigmatic forces tear the friends apart, pulling Cal into another world, where his chances of survival are slim. Finally coming to terms with her feelings for Cal, Camm desperately seeks help where she can, even from the dead, but can a rogue agent and other peculiar misfits help her uncover the long-lost secrets that she needs to rescue Cal and stop the inter-dimensional attacks? The destiny of her own world may lie in Camm’s young hands.
In the second book, the desert around Trona is the setting where much of the story takes place. And, the desolate desert environment is a perfect stage for this kind of story. While the events are limited only by our imaginations, the location of each event is firmly anchored in the reality of what is Trona and the desert around it. All the landmarks described in the book actually exist and their descriptions add to the bleakness of the story. A desolate landscape works well as a backdrop for giant, marauding, alien predators.
In the third book, Green Death, both Camm and Cal are tested to their limits. Cal is whisked back to the alternate world by federal agents to find his friend Lenny and to help implement a process to control the random transition of life forms between the two worlds. Cal will ultimately have to face the deadly, giant Mojave Green before his work is through. Camm will have her own demons to fight and cannot avoid a show down with the undead, ravenous green rat that is determined to eat her alive. And behind it all, the gargantuan mansion still stands in its eerie, creepy splendor, a mausoleum of yet undiscovered ancient secrets. As everything comes to a climax, who will be left alive? Who will be left behind? And what will be the destiny of our own world?
Can’t wait. Thanks for stopping by, Berk and Andy. Mojave Green is published by Jolly Fish Press and is available as a trade paperback and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine book retailers.
Goodreads: Berk Washburn; Andy Washburn
Isn’t it gorgeous? I love all the hidden faces and creatures in it. This is a new edition of Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman with illustrations by E.K. Stewart-Cook. From the back of the book:
How can a boy succeed where an army has failed?
Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a bandersnatch. Elora hides behind her scars, feeling unlovable in a world that only confirms her doubts.
Before Tjaden has a chance to convince her that scars don’t matter, an even more terrifying monster comes between them—the Jabberwock.
If the secrets of the vorpal sword fail, so will Tjaden.
This book is on my to read list. I’ll be reviewing it soon. There’s a pre-release eBook sale going on where Jabberwocky is a steal at $.99. Don’t miss it.