Saturday, October 1, 2016

New York Comic Con Schedule




Next Friday, I will be appearing with some very cool writers (Rysa Walker, Gwenda Bond, Amy Bartol, and my separated at birth, much younger and much prettier twin, Alys Arden)  at BookCon at New York Comic Con.  The panel will be moderated by editor (and poet) Jason Kirk. 

Immediately following the panel (3:15 -4:15), I'll be available to sign books in the Autographing Area on the 6th floor.

From New York Comic Con Schedule:

October 07, 2016, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
BookCon @ NYCC - 500 W 36th St
From hyper-drive star ships to swords and sorcery to lustful vampires, science fiction and fantasy novels imagine worlds with infinite possibilities. But frequently, these worlds are remarkably similar to our own. Come hear bestselling science-fiction and fantasy authors discuss their imagined worlds and the impact of the collective SFF brain on the “real” world. Authors Rysa Walker (The Delphi Effect, Timebound), Gwenda Bond (Girl In the Shadows), Amy A. Bartol (Kricket series, Secondborn series), J.D. Horn (Witching Savannah series), and Alys Arden (The Casquette Girls) will debate and discuss, led by Senior Editor Jason Kirk of 47North and Skyscape.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mistakes I've Made on Twitter


If you're an unpublished writer looking to build a following on Twitter, here's a chance for you to learn from my mistakes before you make the same ones.

I got started trying to build a social media platform about six months before my publisher picked up my first book. Anyone who's trying to get their work published knows this is what you're supposed to do. Get out there. Build that platform. Pick up followers. Show people are interested in what you have to say.  It struck me as putting the cart before the horse, but that was the advice I was given, so I did my best to make it happen. 

Not knowing a thing about social media, I turned to Professor Google to see what advice I could find on growing a platform. The fastest way, it turned out, for an unknown and unpublished writer to pick up followers was to join the #followback groups. So I did, and I did find a quick swell in my number of Twitter followers. But what I ended up creating was the illusion of a social media platform, rather than a place where I could interact with people who were truly interested in my work...and more importantly where I could connect with people in whose work I have a genuine interest.

There were thousands of people I'd followed simply because they had agreed to boost my number, too. That meant I was being disingenuous with a whole crowd of people. 

So now I'm going back and doing the work I wish I'd done in the first place to build an organic following. I'm clearing out those with whom I've never had any interaction. Nothing personal.   If someone chooses to unfollow, then I know they were part of the artificial base.  

So here're my Twitter tips:


  • Only follow those people in whose work you have a genuine interest.


  • Interact with those you follow. They may not follow you back, but you may get a chance to learn something from them, or share something you know with them.

  • Don't sacrifice quality for quick quantity.

  • If you've already made the same mistake I did, don't sit around grumbling for for years--like I have--before you do something about it. (This would count as my second big mistake.)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Witches of New Orleans--A New Series Coming 2018



My new series, The Witches of New Orleans, is coming from 47North in 2018.

Wait? Witches in an enchanting Southern setting? Haven't we seen this from you before, Mr. Horn? 

Well, yes. And no. The new series is entirely unrelated to the Witching Savannah series, and features a new cast of characters as well as a new mythology. (SPOILER ALERT: No evil aliens.) The Witches of New Orleans world exists on an entirely different plane from that of Witching Savannah.  The new series will also have a different feel from Witching Savannah, and be written not in first person, single point of view like WS's first three books, but in multiple POV third person. 

So this isn't just  Witching New Orleans?

No, no, and definitely not. This series is the Witches of New Orleans, and the word "Witching" has been discarded for a few reasons, the most important reason being that I want to make it clear the two series are different and are in no way connected. 

But I liked Witching Savannah, and now you're telling me this new series will be nothing like it? 

Well, yes. And no. There will be magic, and atmosphere, all the twists and bendy turns, and big, I mean, BIG family drama. But the story will be grittier and, thanks largely to the multiple points of view, richer. 

But no crossovers? We won't see Oliver making his way down Bourbon Street? Iris in the Garden District?  Mercy in the Merigny? 

Sorry, no. 

No one--and I do mean no one--loves the Taylor/Wills/Poole family more than I do. They are my children. But I've spent many years with them now, and it's time for me to give some of the other voices in my head a chance to speak. (Yes. All writers are crazy. Some of us more than others.) 

So there won't ever be another Witching Savannah book?

I didn't say that. If I'm ever struck by a compelling enough story to make it worth undoing the happy endings my kids got at the end of The Void, I'll see if the publisher of the series is interested. I would like to revisit that Beekeeper character and share the secret of her origin.  So perhaps some point down the road, we'll spend more time with Mercy Taylor and family. (And, just in case anyone is worried, I've always been #TeamEmmet.)

Oh, all right. What is this new series about then?

Glad you asked! Here's the elevator pitch for the first book, The Final Days of Magic:

A young witch investigating a string of disappearances in New Orleans’s magical community must defeat the demon who claimed her mother’s soul, or be trapped herself in his nightmare realm.

But you all know me. It's gonna get all Southern Gothic twisty in about seven seconds flat with family secrets and betrayals. The mask will become a theme in the Witches of New Orleans in much the same way lying did in Witching Savannah.

But you get that 2018 is like a million years away, right?

I'm just getting started writing the first book, and can already feel a deadline breathing down my neck, so it feels more like seventeen minutes to me. My publisher wants to minimize readers' wait between books, so the plan is to debut the first book in January 2018, then summer for the second (The Book of the Unwinding) and fall/winter for the third (The Last King of Mardi Gras).

Okay. So shut up and start writing already.

On it. :)


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: Sybil Ward

This post is the latest in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com.

Sybil Ward
www.sybilward.com (work in progress)

Bio

Sybil Ward is a misplaced Tar Heel, hiding away in a small town in Georgia. She’s been (in order of appearance) a baseball player (a woman before her time), a seamstress, a soldier, an electronics instructor, a multimedia training developer, an IT manager, and now the owner of a web design company. She’s been with the same wonderful man for ages, mothered three lovely daughters, and is now elevating the art of spoiling with a brand new, glorious grandson.
And in the seconds between, she writes stories.
100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!
THE PAINTED TRUNK
Imagine a trunk – an old, decrepit box large enough to hold a body.
Now, imagine gaining the talent or abilities of anyone – author, actor, artist, athlete – just by putting something belonging to that person inside the trunk. Would you kill for that power?
Someone is.
When Cleopatra Gleason is murdered, Tabitha Spencer inherits the trunk with the request: “…use the trunk and figure out who killed me.” This puts Tabitha squarely in the crosshairs of the killer. If she’s going to stay alive long enough to solve Cleopatra’s murder, Tabitha must first learn to think inside the box.

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?
1. I draw a story map, which is actually an outline in pictures, so I can “see” the story. This isn’t a chapter-by-chapter map, this is more a plot point map. It lets me see holes in the story.
2. I read the story backward. Reading backward stops me from filling in the blanks instead of seeing the blanks.
3. One more read/polish from start to finish. Here I concentrate on strengthening the prose, improving the pace. I’m also mindful of the characters, their depth, personalities, etc.
4. Off to the critique group, a few chapters at the time, so I can revise as they critique.
5. If I'm lucky, the ms goes to beta readers.
6. One more serious revision for structure and word count. Here my wish list says professional editor. My piggy bank isn’t quite there yet.

What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?
The premise of give-give-give-get – I like. I want to build a following by paying attention to and supporting others, sharing my love of paper crafting, reading good books and sharing that experience, sharing my short stories and the bits and pieces that support my novel-length stories. Social, after all, means making acquaintances, even friends. I believe that will translate into supporters, readers, and customers.
All my social media accounts are in grow mode – slow but sure. I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I’m also on Wattpad and WriteOn.

Re: Questions

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CONTEST WEEK 3: Win the 3rd of 4 Fires, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black



Win the 3rd of 4 Fires, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black

SEE https://www.facebook.com/JackDouglasHorn/ FOR DETAILS!

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: Sean M. Davis

This post is the latest in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com.



Bio

Sean M Davis lives in and loves Detroit. He has written weird, disturbing stories for as long as he's been able to write, proven by his story, "Killer Morning," written in second grade. He lives with his partner, Kate, and five furry children.


100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!

"In God's Image" will appear in Borderlands 6, coming soon. In it, Viola struggles to hold onto her identity in the wake of God Re-forming the human race without faces.

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?
I wrote the first draft of this story as an assignment during the Borderlands Press Writers' Boot Camp 2014. The first draft received good reactions from my fellow grunts and the instructors, but was only 500 words long. For the second draft, I reread the story and answered all of the questions I could possibly think of, trying to create more back and forth for the character. The story is relatively simple after you get past its bizarre set up. After it was accepted for Borderlands 6, I took another run at it, cleaning up the little things I'd missed during the first two passes.

What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?

So far, I'm not that great at online promotion. I have a blog and I do things here and there (like this interview), but I don't have Twitter or anything else other than a personal Facebook page. I have lots of things on my To Do List, but when it comes right down to it, between my partner, my day job, hobbies, friends, and family, I'd rather spend my time writing. Even submitting stories on a regular basis has been a new development in my career.

I do go to several local conventions where I participate on panels and peddle my wares. Honestly, that's where I enjoy promoting myself and my work, though I understand the need for online promotion.

I suppose at this point in my career, I am more focused on having things to promote.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: GWEN DANDRIDGE

This post is fourth in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com.


Gwen Dandridge

Bio

I was born in the deep South, but I lived on Long Island most of my first years. It was after I moved to Berkeley, dragging along three small children, that I started to think about creating something more... 

For awhile I managed to bury my after-work creativity into dance. I flitted from Scandinavian to Irish, to English step dancing, to Morris dance and sword. Having a short (or sometimes long) fling with each until finally settling on Morris and English short sword (Rapper) as my favorites. 

After moving to Central California and marrying my love, my creativity has evolved even more, into more tangible forms: mosaics, stained glass, and finally, writing.


100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!

The dragons came from beyond, demanding a virgin sacrifice. When Princess Genevieve is handed a golden token, she accepts her fate. She must, in order to save her kingdom. But the journey to her final destiny is complicated by the arrival of a 1970s Berkeley co-ed. To Chris, the whole scenario reeks. Where she comes from, corsets are for burning and virgins hard to find. She's sure the dragons are out for more than innocent blood, but the only way to find out is to accompany Genevieve. 

Genevieve is duty-bound–unless Chris is right. Then her sacrifice would mean nothing.
 

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?

Painfully slow. I write slowly, I edit faster, but slowly. I rewrite for the second and third and fourth times--slowly. My writing group pokes, prods and generally encourages me to cut out redundancies, to step up to the plate with my plotting and stop whining. 

I make sure that I have a professional copy-editor do a final, Hail Mary, over the whole thing before I send it off with its little wings still wet.


What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?

I live on Facebook, I barely Twitter, I have a website and an unloved blog. 

I'm very funny sometimes, but not always. Mostly in "The Dragons' Chosen" not so much in "The Stone Lions".

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We have our first winner!

Congratulations to Jaysen Mansfield-Jarret for winning the 1st round of the Witching Savannah coloring contest. Check out the original and the winning entry below. 

See https://www.facebook.com/JackDouglasHorn/ to find out how you, too, can try to win one of the remaining Kindle Fires. 







Jaysen Mansfield-Jarret

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: JOSH VASQUEZ



This post is third in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com. 

JOSH VASQUEZ







Bio

Josh Vasquez is the author of the Savannah Zombie Series. He lives in Savannah, Georgia with his wife and daughter.
The city is currently zombie-free.


100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!

Nineteen, a college dropout, and working as a grocery store clerk was not how Jeremy Riggins imagined the prime years of his life. Helping his mother with bills, while his father lives in luxury not too far away, life does not seem fair.

Then the zombie apocalypse shambles into Savannah, Georgia.

Jeremy has to fight his way through the city, search for family, and fight off the undead horde. He’ll join up with a diverse group of characters to make it out alive. Could his mother’s religion be right? Is this the end? Can he survive the zombie apocalypse?

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?

*pours whiskey*
Huh, what? Just kidding folks.
*hides whiskey*

This may be super weird, but I actually enjoy editing. Writing is fun, don’t get me wrong. It’s all, “YEAH! WORDS! IDEAS! THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN!”

But then it comes the time to actually read what you wrote and you’re like, “Holy crap on a mechanical pencil. I wrote this? I wrote this. This is what I wrote.” And you just sit there and stare at the steaming pile that wafts up from your keyboard. (Or paper, if you still use that stuff.)
Editing is taking that pile and molding it, shaping it into what you really meant, taking your word vomit and turning into a gosh darn novel. You see all the little nuances and side stories you subconscious put there, because you’re freaking awesome and that’s how you roll. (Go you!)

For me, what this looks like is taking my first draft and shaping it into a longer 2nd draft. THIS IS FOR MY EYES ONLY! I read it, add to it what it needs, and subtract what it doesn’t. Then I copyedit the thing and let some trusted people read it. Since I’m self-published, this is a list of people who know books and love books. But, I also try and get someone who is not a reader, because if I can keep their attention, I can keep anyone’s attention.
From there a third draft fixing anything they caught or stuff I missed the first couple go arounds. Then I hit that scary little button that says, “PUBLISH.”

What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?

Originally, I had a Facebook page, a personal Twitter account, a book Twitter account, and a website/blog. I ran a Facebook ad for my Facebook page and got a bunch of Facebook likes, which in the end, was really only a waste of my Facebook dollars. So, I dropped that platform. To be honest though, I’m at an age where Facebook is super lame, but I’m still like, “Snapchat can suck it.”

Right now I focus on hanging out on Twitter. The important thing with social media is do what YOU like to do. It’s not to sell books. Don’t be a spam bot. Nobody wants that. Be a human being.

I like playing hashtag games and will RT/Like you if you’re funny. There’s enough negativity in this world; I’d rather share some laughter.

@beencalled

@SavZombieNovel

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: ROSA LEE JUDE

This post is the second in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com. 


ROSA LEE JUDE



Short Bio


Rosa Lee Jude began creating her own imaginary worlds at an early age. While her career path has included stints in journalism, marketing, hospitality & tourism, and local government, she is most at home at a keyboard spinning yarns of fiction and creative non-fiction. She lives in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia with her patient husband and very spoiled rescue dog.

The Enchanted Journey is Rosa Lee’s second series. She is also the co-author of the award-winning time-travel series, the Legends of Graham Mansion. Learn more about her writing life at RosaLeeJude.com.

Facebook.com/rosaleejudeauthor
Twitter.com/rosaleejude


100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!

Perhaps Tremble Dawson should have paid more attention to her unusual bosses at the advertising agency or the sparks that fly out of her fingertips. Despite the clues, Tremble is not prepared to learn that her existence is full of secrets from a magical world. Her life is turned upside down when a handsome stranger offers to be a special kind of bodyguard to protect her from an evil force bent on making her fulfill a twisted prophecy. As she discovers her true identity, Tremble realizes there’s a bounty on her future and she must pay the price.

TREMBLE is Book One in The Enchanted Journey trilogy.





Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?

The editing process is crucial. For both of my series, I have used a four-step approach with four different editors. My main editor is the first person to edit the finished manuscript (after tons of self-editing, of course). She makes deep edits that encompass not only minor spelling/grammar errors, but also flow, plot issues, and story holes. My next editor focuses on spelling and grammar as well as inconsistencies in the story line. The third editor reads as a true reader and offers opinions/suggestions regarding how the story interests/grabs her and its believability. Lastly, the fourth editor is the “Eagle Eyes” editor. Between each of the previous edits, I have made changes and updates, the last editor is the final eyes on the manuscript and incorporates all of the previous editing tasks in the final read. While this process is going on, the manuscript is also read by numerous beta readers.

Editing is a daunting process. It is every bit as important, though, as all of the drafts that a writer makes throughout the crafting of the story.




Sunday, March 27, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: RYAN COLVERT


This post kicks off a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. I've come to understand that there are (at least) three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing  and those who are taking the self-publishing path must build muscle: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work. There are a zillion and a half places where published and already well-known self-published authors are sharing their insights into these areas, but I thought it might be both helpful and fun for those who are newer to the business--and it is a business--to have a chance to chime in, too.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com. And now over to Ryan.


Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile:


 RYAN COLVERT


Bio
Ryan Colvert was raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, with one grandmother who was devoutly religious and named Mother of the Year for the entire state and another grandmother who played the banjo, smoked a pipe and scared him to death with ghost stories. He loved them both, but you can guess which one he takes after. He lives in the Atlanta area with his husband of nearly 25 years.
http://ryancolvert.com   Twitter: @RyanColvert

100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!
A Moroccan fire-spirit trapped centuries ago is free and burning alive every descendant of the one who trapped it.
Jamal Williams is just trying to make ends meet in Savannah, Georgia when he is attacked for the actions of an ancestor he knows nothing about. With no knowledge of the supernatural, he must find a way to save both himself and his unborn child from the spirit—and he has to do it in the middle of the worst hurricane to hit Savannah in a century.

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?
My first step was to identify and fix as many story-level issues as possible by myself. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find everything, but I didn’t want to put it in front of beta readers only to have them point out problems that I already knew about. When I did give it to beta readers, they were a mix of family and friends, readers and published authors. They gave me diverse and valuable insights—for example, the readers tended to focus on how they received certain characters or situations, while the published authors would discuss those things plus structural elements.
(For example,one published author pointed out that there was a weak spot at the end of first 50 pages—an especially bad place for a weakness because most agents ask for the first 50 pages as a partial.)
As a third step I’ve hired a professional developmental editor. In addition to helping me make direct improvements to the current project, this is teaching me things that will also benefit future projects.

What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work? 
The first thing I did was choose a pen name. That was an exercise in itself, but the reason I chose a pen name was that I wanted a name that was easy to spell, that wasn’t already taken on Twitter and Facebook, and for which I could get the URL. As soon as I chose the name, I created the accounts and purchased the URL to “reserve” them.
Since then, I’ve been blogging (occasionally) and building a Twitter following (still quite small, but taking off lately). At the beginning I blogged about the craft of writing, but then I decided that there are plenty of authors already doing that. Now I focus on things that I think will be interesting to the broader community of readers, like vignettes, short stories and book recommendations.

Monday, February 29, 2016

THE LINE is coming to Russia



THE LINE is coming out from Eksmo Publishing in Russia as GRAN' (Threshold). So excited to see this happening.

https://www.livelib.ru/book/1001524569

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coming March 1st!


"Pitch" is coming out  as a solo short March 1, 2016!