Friday, May 26, 2017

I'm Moving my Blog

I've been intending to transfer my blog to my official website for a while now. This will make it easier for me to manage the blog, as well as make my articles and features easier to access for fans. I'll leave this blog up for now so that people can still read the past articles, but all future articles will be appearing at the following location:

My Official Website

Friday, May 19, 2017

A New Home for my Creative Writing Classes

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article announcing that because of significant life changes, I'd have to reevaluate my career as an author and creative writing instructor. in the article, I said that while I would continue to write no matter what, I would also have to change my short-term goals in order to better support my changing situation. Well, I'm very happy to announce that I've had a new opportunity present itself which I feel will help with both aspects of my life.

I was recently made a non-credited instructor for South Puget Sound Community College and will be teaching creative writing for their continuing education program. The classes will take place at their Lacey building, just a few miles north of my home in Olympia. I've been given free reign to create all of my own curriculum for the weekly, evening classes. I've got two four-week courses happening in the summer, and another two courses in the fall.

I'm so very grateful to have this new opportunity to help new writers learn their craft while at the same time do what I need to do to support my family. If you or someone you know has always wanted to learn more about creative writing, please take the time to check out my course offerings for this summer and fall. All classes are open to the public, and are designed to both educate and motivate.

My Creative Writing Courses

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ten Animal Companions You Don't See in Fantasy

From the wizard's familiar to the ranger's best friend, animal companions are a common trope in fantasy games, books, and movies. But while there are a few species that seem to get all of the love (wolves, cats, tiny dragons, etc.) there are plenty more than won't be standing nobly beside our heroes anytime soon. Here's ten of them...

1. Alligator - Could be risky if you forget to feed it, but having this thing curled around your chair at a tavern would definitely add to your intimidation factor, if nothing else.

2. Emu - I hear these things are actually quite fierce, but who could take you seriously with a big chicken following you around?

3. Koala - For some reason, Australian animals never make it into fantasy worlds, which is a shame. These guys are so cute!

4. Kangaroo - See number 3.

5. Porcupine - Can't you just see one of these perched on a wizard's shoulder? Any part of him not covered by beard or robes would have bandages on it.

6. Beta fish - I just like the idea of a ranger carrying around a fishbowl with him everywhere. "Raxis, what do your fishy senses reveal about this area?"

7. Elephant seal - Limited mobility, but trust me, you'd demand respect!

8. Humming bird - Likely to have a hyperactive personality, but all that speed has got to come in handy.

9. Armadillo - It comes with its own armor!

10. Cockroach - Useful for rogues trying to scout out a place. Definitely would add a negative charisma modifier though.

What other animals can you think of that don't show up in fantasy? Comment below!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Looking Back on My First Book Tour

After traveling more than a thousand miles through five different states to promote the latest Keltin Moore novel, my greatest reaction to the trip is a feeling of gratitude. I'm grateful to Aaron Volner for orchestrating the stops along the route. I'm grateful to the friends and family that graciously gave me a place to stay along the way. I'm grateful to the library branch managers, book store owners, and event organizers that were willing to take a chance on a largely unknown author from the Pacific Northwest. And I'm especially grateful for all of the new fans and friends that I gained while on the road.

I wonder if perhaps readers are a little spoiled in the Pacific Northwest, with so many authors and writer communities in the region. This certainly didn't seem to be the case in some of the more rural areas that I visited on the tour. More than once, I'd be chatting with someone at my signing table and they'd have a sudden realization that I was the author of the books laid out in front of us. They would get so excited! I remember one sweet new fan who bought all four of my books and then was delighted to find out that not only was I planning on signing all four, but I was personalizing each one. She was so thrilled, she had to run and tell her husband about it!

There were other folks who seemed equally uncertain about how to take me, if not quite as excited about it. One man in Salt Lake City took ten minutes deciding whether to buy The Beast Hunter. He'd pick it up, read a random page, set it down, ask a question, pick it up, read a page, etc. Eventually, he decided to buy it from me to save himself the extra cost of ordering it online and paying for shipping. 

"Great!" I said, taking one of the books and opening to the front page. "Would you like it autographed?"

He eyed me suspiciously. "Does that cost extra?"

I suppressed a smile. "Of course not."

"Well, ok then."

 "All right," I said. "Would you like it personalized?"

"Does that cost extra?"

Despite a very few exceptions, everyone that I met was friendly and enthusiastic to have me among them. While attendance at most events was modest, those that came were always excited to be there, and that's what counts. One bookstore owner in Rock Springs went so far as to give me one of her handmade window displays "to remember them by". I'll certainly remember all of the wonderful people I met on the road, and I look forward to doing another book tour in the future. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hello from the Road!

I'm currently in Wyoming taking part in my first book tour, and thus far it's been an exciting and exhausting experience (nice alliteration, eh?) I've done a couple of events so far, one in Salt Lake City and another in Rawlins, Wyoming. While attendance at my events has been somewhat sparse, book sales are fairly strong, and I've met some great people along the way.

I'm especially grateful to the friends and family that have generously invited me into their homes along the route, which has cut down on expenses and helped to dull the pain of being separated from my family back home. I'm especially grateful to fellow fantasy author Aaron Volner, who not only orchestrated this trip but has also been doing the lion's share of playing host to a wandering book writer.

Later today, I'll do a reading and sign books at the Book Barn in Rock Springs, and tomorrow I'll be doing more of the same at WyoCon, I'll also be giving a new, fun presentation on how to hunt and kill monsters. I'm looking forward to both events, but I have to admit that my most anticipated stop will be the last one. After all, there's no place like home. :)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pictures from the "Into the North" Launch Party

This way to the party!

Our "Welcome" sign was drawn by Maura Moffat, cover artist for "Into the North"


The real reason everyone came...

Big thanks to Brenda and the rest of the Tumwater Timberland Library!

"Thank you everyone!"

Story time.

Look at that crowd!

Trying to remember how to spell my name.

Connecting with an adorable fan.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Interview with Connie J. Jasperson

Earlier this week I was invited to do an interview with fellow fantasy author and good friend Connie J. Jasperson about my latest book. Click the link below to check out the full interview: 

You can also meet Connie and hear more about her stories at tomorrow's online launch party, along with four other great guest authors that will be attending.