ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS BONUS GIVEAWAY WINNER!

So, two weeks ago I announced that there would be a drawing amongst people who shared the news of the ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS release within 24 hours online for a FREE Kindle copy of the eBook. And now that I am back from vacation I am able to announce that the winner is…

ANDREW WOODS! You’ve won a free copy! Get in touch with me on social media, that I may reward you!

All-Things-Huge-and-Hideous-Kindle

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New Stories and His Missing Materials: The Logoccentric Returns!

Hi, everyone! Well, it was a good vacation, but now I’m back! It’s the start of a bright new school year full of many good things! I got some great news in and around my vacation, so let’s get cracking!

First, if you’d like some real content, I’d like to direct you to my latest article published with SciPhi Journal (which is gaining readers by leaps and bounds) called “His Missing Materials” in which I take Philip Pullman to task for pretty much slandering the Christian faith.

As far as upcoming sales, I can’t name any right now, but it looks like I’ll have at east one if not two new announcements to make in the near future.

Finally, I’d like to share this awesome possible cover art for my next book, forthcoming as soon as I can get a small amount of edits back to the publisher:

Girl Who Wasn't

Blog On Hiatus

Hello, loyal readers. Time for a little bit of news.

I have been kicking out this blog on a more-or-less 3x weekly schedule for the summer. Due to the impending start of school and a family vacation, I am going dark on this blog until at least August 12. And I think I’m going to have to cut back to 2 blogs a week. Enjoy the rest of the summer, fam. And please spread the word about ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS, now out in paperback.

BOOK RELEASE: ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS! WITH BONUS GIVEAWAY!

“Hilarious! Veterinary horror like Terry Pratchett would write!”
— D.J. Butler, author of WITCHY EYE

“A rollicking adventure that hits all the right notes.”

–Christopher Ruocchio, Award-Winning Author of The Sun Eater Series

 

Yesterday, a dream of mine came true. I became a published novelist for the first time. All Things Huge and Hideous has been released in Kindle format. Sometime before September, it will be released in print format as well.

I’d like to thank all the readers who have made this possible, as well as Jason Rennie, my publisher and Superversive Press. Special thanks also go to D.J. Butler and Chris Ruocchio whose blurbs are above.

Now, I’d also really love it if folks would spread the word, so for the people who share this on Facebook, or Twitter, or even better, reblog it TODAY, I am going to put your name in a drawing to win a signed copy of the book! Make sure to tag me if you post it on Facebook or Twitter. If you do it somewhere else where I’m not a member (like Instagram or Twitter) then please shoot me a note on my Contact form with a link so I can see it. This offer is only good for the next 24 hours, starting at 7:00 am CDT July 27, 2019!

Anthology Give-Away! Holy C.O.W!

Hey, want to win an anthology with a bunch of awesome stories, including my latest, “Day Of Atonement?”

Holy C.O.W. Anthology Volume One: SFStories from the Center Of the World

Just enter at this link, right here, on Amazon!

And now, a teaser:

Rabban Shimon and Rabban Hillel each took hold of one of the thick doors leading inward and pulled it aside. Yossef entered.

            The room was just as unimpressive on the inside as it had been on the outside. It was no larger than a small house, from which all furnishings had been removed. In the northwest corner, a steep staircase descended into thick darkness. The only thing in it was a wooden table, tall but only about a cubit square. On the table lay a perfectly ordinary knife. Across from him, looking slightly stricken, was Matthias, and standing by him, the Bishop of Jerusalem, with his Chief Elder.

            The Bishop, a thin, spare man with a curiously rounded face, bowed slightly from the waist. “Peace be with you, Rabban Hillel and the followers of the Law. I greet you in the name of Iyesos Christos, the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach, and of St. Nicodemus the Rav Nakdimon.”

            The Nasi returned the bow. “Peace be with you, Bishop Konstantinos and the followers of Y’shua. I greet you in the name of the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak, the God of Ya’akov, and of the Elder Gamli’el of blessed memory. Give thanks to the God of gods.”

            “His mercy endures forever,” the Bishop answered. “Today, September 30th, in the Year of Our Lord 635, we present for ordeal before the throne of the Father, Matthias, a novice whom we would ordain a priest of Iyesos Christos.”

            “And today, on the 9th Tishrei, the year 4395, we present for the ordeal before the throne of the Most High, Yossef, whom we would ordain a Rabbi to teach the Law. Let His Will be revealed as it has been since the time of Y’shua, and the time of Moshe.” And he withdrew from his robes a box of acacia wood, polished with age. From it, he drew two stones.

            Yossef swayed where he stood, and he thought he heard Matthias gasp. Surely the Urim and Thummim had been lost in the time of captivity. He dared not speak, but stared at Hillel. But it was Bishop Konstantinos who spoke. “They are not the ancient relics of Israel,” he said kindly. “But they serve the purpose. As once we cast lots to determine the successor to our Lord’s betrayer, so we now cast them, that we may know the Will of God concerning you.”

            Yossef’s vision darkened and his breath quickened. This was the secret of ordination, then? No wonder they kept it a secret! He felt as though he were in a dream. God is present in this room, he thought. It was too big to take in.

            “We ask the Will of God concerning these men.” The words and the action cut across Yossef’s reverie. Konstantinos and Hillel cast their lots into the wooden table. The rattle of them echoed off the walls. Yossef stared. They were inscribed with ancient letters whose meanings he could not guess at. The Bishop and the Nasi gazed at them for a long moment. “The Will of God is that the disobedient should perish,” said the Nasi, and his voice was dead in the air.

            “This is the Will of God,” echoed the Bishop.

            The disobedient should..? What did that mean? Yossef turned to ask, but the men had the stones in their hands again, and the Bishop intoned, “We ask the Lord to reveal the disobedient.” The lots spun through the air as one and rattled in their tray. They gazed upon the stones. “The disobedient is the Jew, Yossef.”

            What? No, that couldn’t be!

            “The disobedient is Yossef,” the Nasi repeated, and he looked old and shaken. “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

            “Rabban Hillel,” breathed Yossef. “What have I..?”

            The older man gripped his upper arm with surprising strength. “You must be silent, Yossef. This is the Will of Adonai, which you swore to obey.” Yossef stood as if paralyzed. He had sworn. Sworn to obey the Will. Sworn by the Name.

            Bishop Konstantinos approached the table. To Yossef’s distant surprise, he left the stones on the table.

            He picked up the knife.

            Moving swiftly, he pressed its hilt into Matthias’ hand.  “Do it quickly, son.”

            Matthias’ face was a mirror of Yossef’s own. “Father, I don’t understand.”

            “This is the ordeal of ordination. You have sworn by Christ to do the Will of God as it is revealed to you. Do it quickly.”

ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS: NOVEL RELEASE IMMINENT!

Well, this is a post I’ve been working toward for a long time. Just got word that Superversive Press is ready to release ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS in the next 24 hours. Links will appear when I have confirmation of their code transmission. It is my first full-length novel, a dark fantasy comedy chronicling the misadventures of Dr. James DeGrande and his assistant, Harriet Templin, pressed into the service of the Evil Dark Lord of the World.

I made myself a promise a couple of years ago, that whatever else happened, I would not let my 45th year go by without publishing a novel, one way or another. Today (or perhaps tomorrow) by the grace of Christ, that promise is fulfilled.
There are so many people I have to thank for this moment, I’m going to screw up and forget some of them, so if it’s you, you have my deepest apologies. First, I’d like to thank Jason Rennie, my editor, for doing the hard work of getting this ready to launch before Dragon Con in a month. If you’re there, please stop by. I’d like to thank many beta readers, especially Ralph M. Seibel and Jon Miles for their time reading the manuscript, and valuable tips. Cedar Sanderson and Jim C. Hines for encouragement and time on their blogs when the first part of this book was out as DOCTOR TO DRAGONS. I also thank Christopher Ruocchio and Dave Butler, a couple of much more established writers, who took the time to blurb this book. Great thanks go to my wife, Katie Huggins, who endured — as most writers’ spouses endure — endless moping over quality and the tapping of keys in the background. UNlike most writers’ spouses, however, she also endured being relentlessly questioned about the ailments and habits of various animals so that I knew my veterinary medicine wasn’t completely laughable. And finally, special thanks and honor go to George and Linda Huggins, who made this series possible by introducing me at a young age to both contemporary fantasy, AND the books of James Herriot, MRCVS, without whom the eponymous tales of James and Harriet would never have come to be.

#SFFPIT Today! Retweets Urgently Requested!

#SFFPit is an annual contest in which unagented authors, like myself attempt to attract the attention of agents and publishers for their novel manuscripts. It’s going on today. So if any of my followers have a manuscript they want attention for, this is a great time to get out there and start pitching. On that note…

If any of you are on Twitter and can today, I could really use your help. I am participating in #SFFPit today. It’s a Twitterpitch contest for novels to attract the attention of agents and publishers. I’m pitching two books today, and the more retweets I get, the more likely I am to be seen. Please do NOT like the Tweets (unless you are an agent or publisher and want to see the manuscripts! Then, PLEASE like them!) because that’s how publishers and agents signal they are interested! Starts at 8am CDT and goes on until 6pm. I’m @GScottHuggins Thanks very much!

Movie Reviews (or something) Far Too Late: Paranormal Activity

DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT: As far as the film goes, I’m going to reveal a plot point.
As far as the review goes, I couldn’t even finish this movie.

I wanted to watch this because I was in the mood for a good creepy ghost story, and I’d heard good things about it.

OPENER: Dude and Dudette moving into apartment. Setting up camera in bedroom to record source of creepy noises that sometimes trouble them at night. Dude is slightly annoyed at Dudette for inviting a psychic consultant to advise them on the source of these noises, which has been messing with her since childhood.

EXPERT: Hey, this thing you’ve got here is not a ghost, but a demon. Potentially very dangerous.

DUDE: So, how about we get a Ouija board and ask this thing what it wants.

EXPERT: Okay, that’s a really terrible idea because that would be inviting it to notice you. Goodbye.

DUDE: Well, I don’t believe in this enough to take an expert’s advice seriously, but I believe in it just enough to still think Ouija boards are a good idea because I was the one who thought of them.

DUDETTE: Hey, babe. Since I’m the one being haunted by this thing, maybe I should get to make the call on how we deal with it.

DUDE (pouty): Well, okay, but you know I think I get a say, too because I didn’t know you came with a demon.

DUDETTE: Just promise me you won’t get a Ouija board.

DUDE: Okay, I promise I won’t buy a Ouija board.

Aaaaand, that was it. I was out. At this point, I can’t spend another second of my precious and finite time on this planet with these two morons. I’d rather be doing something less predictable, like picking my nose. Dude is a complete ass who wants to poke the demon because he wants to be in charge and be right. Dudette is a complete idiot who can’t see that Dude is about to go borrow or otherwise acquire the Ouija board that he only promised not to buy (oh, he is so clever, a master of verbal trickery, this one) so he can poke the demon. This is the very archetype of the Idiot Plot. And I’m going to be expected to spend the rest of the film sympathizing with these two morons, who will check out books about demons, but will never once consider going to church. At this point, I’m rooting for the demon, but figure that watching it eat them slowly from the feet up isn’t on the table.

Shame.

Movie Reviews Far Too Late: Lifeforce

Kevin Murphy, who voiced MST3K’s Tom Servo, in his book A Year At The Movies, recalls deciding to go see the movie Pootie Tang, and encountering a pair of young men arguing about whether to go see it. When he asked the dissenter why he didn’t want to go see it, the reply was, “Because I think it’s gonna be as stupid as I think it’s gonna be.”

And now for my review of Lifeforce.

When that movie came out in 1985, I was twelve. I hated horror movies, so was uninterested. But I knew the movie was about space vampires, and that sounded pretty stupid to me.

Over the years, a number of people have referenced the movie, and it seems to have attained some sort of cult following as an underrated 80s classic. So when I saw it free to watch on Amazon Prime, I decided to see if maybe my twelve-year old self had been overly judgmental. And indeed, it was not so bad as I had thought.

It was much, MUCH worse than I ever could have imagined. I owe my twelve-year old self an apology. And any of you out there who recommended that movie? Yeah. So do you.

How can I summarize Lifeforce? It’s as if it was made by people who had seen the movies Alien, Poltergeist, and The Exorcist, but hadn’t really understood them. These same people had also, however, watched a whole lot of softcore S&M porn and understood it very well. Perhaps too well. The whole movie is about the leading men being unabashedly drawn to an alien who looks an awful lot like Liv Tyler (so, I mean, good taste, there, at least. Note to self: also, Liv Tyler was supposedly 8 years old in 1985. Is it possible that she’s actually a vampire? Research!!), and on the way they acquire telepathic powers that make them capable of telling when a woman wants it rough. Really, I’m not making these plot points up.

During the film it is deduced that the space vampires are truly the source of the vampires of legend, because they demonstrate a whole lot of the classical vampire vulnerabilities and powers, such as vulnerability to being staked, transforming into a giant bat, and becoming a huge glowing ball of light that flies around the city sucking the life out of people using the special effects from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. We all remember when Dracula did that, right?

In truth, the vampires develop their new and frightening powers at the twin speed of plot and arousal, but let’s be fair, so do the humans. Nothing in the whole film ever happens for any reason other than that the writers decided it was time for it to. No question raised by the film is ever answered, including whether Liv Tyler and Captain Sex Slave live or die at the end. But that’s okay because we aren’t interested. The only question that REALLY interests me is how they managed to persuade Henry Mancini not only to score this film, but to produce one that sounded like John Williams’ and James Horner’s Greatest Meh.

In Defense Of The Road More Traveled: Novels and Short Stories

The other day I was on a friend’s page and I saw a debate raging on whether writing short stories is a necessary, or even a desirable step, toward learning to write novels. I didn’t weigh in then because I didn’t have the time, but I kind of wish I had, because the debate seemed to miss the point from my perspective.

To summarize the arguments that I admittedly skimmed, the perspective generally expressed seemed to be that 1) short stories really only help you write more short stories because b) the pacing required in a novel is completely different, and includes iii) much more worldbuilding and the inclusion of subplots that cannot be present in the short story. So if you want to write novels, you’re going to have a lot of unlearning to do. Also, there was brought into the discussion the examples of many people who wrote chiefly novels and had enjoyed success without ever writing a short story.

Let it first be admitted that such people exist. They are slightly more common than the Harper Lees and J.K. Rowlings of the world that publish their first manuscript to worldwide acclaim. But not a LOT more. I would like to set forth my rebuttal to the above points, and add some experience of my own.

Is it true that short stories only train you to write short stories? And the answer to that, in my experience is absolutely NO! It’s completely wrong. For one thing, too many of the same skills are involved. Short story writing and novel writing both demand clarity of writing, good prose style, the construction of a coherent plot and the depiction of engaging characters. AND good short stories include excellent worldbuilding as well.

Arguing that short stories don’t help people become good novel writers is a bit like marathoners looking down their noses at people running the mile. THAT won’t help you run a marathon. To a certain extent, that’s true: the pacing and running style will be different and in may ways, more demanding. But what running the mile WILL build is basic athleticism.

However, isn’t there some truth to the idea that you should do what you want to do? Isn’t the best training for running marathons, well, marathons?

And the answer to that question is “yes and no.” Because we always have to remember that the VERY first rule for writing books that sell is, “If it results in books that sell, then it was a good method.” So, if you want to write novels, and you write a novel without any trouble, and it sells, then none of this applies to you. But for MOST of us, that’s not how the process starts. Most of us encounter great amounts of difficulty even finishing a BAD first novel. And for most of us, the first novel IS bad.

The major advantage of writing short stories (and I will admit to stealing this list from Steven Barnes) is that it is MUCH easier to finish a short story, to receive criticism on a short story, to re-edit a short story, and to sell a short story professionally. The sheer time and effort that goes into writing a novel precludes those processes from being as easy. And in the event that you write a short story that is an irredeemable pile of shit — which you are likely to do at least a few times — then you lost only a fraction of the time you would have lost writing a novel that is an irredeemable POS.

Bear in mind also that marketing short stories takes much less time than marketing novels, except for small presses and places you might already have an in with. Even for very good stories, go back and read DJ Butler’s story of how he came to sell Witchy Eye to Baen Books if you don’t believe me. It took me 2.5 years to get a rejection from one major house. They’re still considering another one of mine, four years later.

If you can stomach a decade of rejection with NO successes and few hints as to whether you are on the right track, then perhaps writing novels IS your best strategy. But if you need some success to keep going, and want some evidence as to the general caliber of your writing, then short stories are the way to go.

A minor advantage of writing short stories is that they can be bridges to novel contracts. My first novel that I get prorates for (which should be coming out later this year) happened exactly this way. I got noticed by Digital Fiction Corporation, a fine, if small, publisher, because I wrote a story that performed well for them. And many, many writers still do this today. As I understand it, that’s how Brad Torgersen got picked up at Baen, primarily because he’d been wowing the readers of Analog with awesome shorts. Now it sure as hell isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be noticed, but it is not uncommon.

Now, obviously, this advice is going to be more for people who are looking at trad pub options than for those who are determined to go indie. If you’re not looking for a publisher, then this doesn’t really matter a darn. But if you are publishing indie, and the books aren’t selling, then I have to wonder how you know the work was ready to publish.

Admittedly, that question can be asked of any work written by any author: you might ask me, “then how do you know that your unsold novels are ready to publish?” And that’s correct, I don’t until they sell. But having a dozen or so pro short-story sales under my belt means that I can look back and say that there is some evidence that I have achieved a certain level of professional expertise in writing in general. And that can be very important indeed. So if you’re having trouble writing and selling novels and don’t know what to do, I very much suggest that getting short stories out there is the way to go.