Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wrapping Up 2013, A Summary

One more year done. What a year it has been. A personal milestone of 40 years of marriage to my lovely Maria. A writer's milestone of 10,000 likes on my facebook page. Joy, sorrow, amazement, satisfaction, and discovery. It has been remarkable.

I won't go into all the political and social changes. There are more than enough bloggers to talk about that, and my opinions don't really mean enough to make that much difference in the long run. Perhaps if more people realized that, there would be more meaning to blogs in general. Nevertheless, I did want to express my dismay at the growing lack of respect for free speech in general and the expanding lack of tolerance for differing opinions. In a nation that was supposedly founded on the concept of freedom in diversity of belief, I see a growing division between people originating from that very diversity. Once this country prided itself on the concept of being a "melting pot" of many cultures, the sum of its parts being a greater "American culture", unique in itself. Not so any longer. The fire under the melting pot has gone out and the brew is separating. I grieve for that loss of identity that used to be called simply "American".

Enough of that. It is fast becoming an exercise in futility to remind people of what has been lost in the vague hope it can be regained.

I was glad to have finished the last volume of the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel. Many thanks to the people at Seventh Star Press. With that project out of the way, I am entertaining several others, one of which has long sat unrealized and whose time, I believe, has come. Although it has only a working title, I believe it will be a worthy addition to a time-honored genre.

To sum up 2013's accomplishments, I have these:

Broken -- Minds, like dolls, can be broken. Appeared in the final issue of Midnight Screaming Magazine (Kara Myrick Ferguson, editor).

Eclipse over Elmwood -- Was it a natural eclipse, or something else? Appearing in the Southern Haunts anthology from Seventh Star Press (Alexander S. Brown and J. L. Mulvihill, editors, 2013).

Guardian -- A soldier of the establishment or rebel? Appearing in the Perfect Flaw anthology from Seventh Star Press (Robin Blankenship, editor, 2013).

Identity Crisis -- A man discovers his true identity. Appearing in the Big Bad Anthology from Dark Oak Press (John Hartness and Emily Lavin Leverett, editors, 2013).

The Last Frontier -- James Mayberry finds himself the unwilling subject of an ambitious black project. Appearing in Dreams of Steam III: Gadgets from Kerlak Publishing (Kimberly Richardson, editor, 2013)

Manners Lives -- Death in deep space. What does it mean? Appears in The Fifth Di December 2013 magazine.

Yet to appear, hopefully soon:

Doom Angel - Book Three of the Angelkiller Triad from Seventh Star Press

Ninjabot -- What is a ninjabot? Appearing in the upcoming Blink! anthology from Ink Monkey Press (Mandi M. Lynch, editor).

An Object in the Sand -- To appear in the 2014 issue of The Martian Wave (J Alan Erwine, editor)

On the Edge -- Once encountered, some things are unstoppable. To appear in the upcoming anthology from NovoPulp.

Two stories with Pro Se Press which I am not allowed to discuss in detail due to contract restrictions.

With any luck, those are just the beginning. I'm looking forward to a fruitful 2014 and an even more prosperous 2015. I am excited to be expanding my writing frontiers into different avenues, from genre to mainstream, however I will never abandon genre writing. It is my first and most precious of literary loves.

Oh, by the way, for those of you who might have missed my interview on BlogTalkRadio's The Star Chamber Show, you can catch it here. Thanks again to the SCS folks for the chance to connect with the audience.

I guess that's it for now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!




Saturday, November 23, 2013

For November - Looking Back

As 2013 comes to a close, I have mixed feelings about the last several months.

Personally, the year has been an emotional roller coaster. For those closest to me, it has been much worse both emotionally and physically. I nearly lost my mother (she went on dialysis and then, wonderfully, was taken off) and did lose my grandmother (she was nearly 100 years old). My daughters have both had their own problems. My wife and I celebrated 40 years of marriage quietly, and my own 60th birthday slipped by with a whisper.

Writing-wise, the year has been fair to me. Besides the publication of my short stories in Southern Haunts, Dreams of Steam: Gadgets, The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil, and Perfect Flaw, I have signed contracts for publication of short stories in the upcoming issue of The Fifth Di and NovoPulp: the Google+ Speculative Fiction Anthology. The last Angelkiller Triad volume, Doom Angel, is due for release in December. This means I reached exactly half of what I want to do each year. I will have to literally double my efforts for 2014.

Close friends had physical and emotional challenges, and many are still going through them. The wife and I do what we can to help, but that usually means little more than moral support. Although our personal problems are tiny in view of the larger ones facing the world at large, that is little comfort. So it is that finding things to be thankful for on the 28th is more difficult this year than ever before.

Not to be cynical, but Thanksgiving seems to be becoming more irrelevant as the years pass. Nevertheless, I will do my best to keep it going, if only for the sake of my grandchildren, who deserve to have at least that one day of the year to look back and take stock of all their own successes and to thank the one who makes them all possible.

Cause that's what grandpas do.

Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Celebrating a Personal Milestone


One of the loneliest professions is that of a writer. Most of us spend our time isolated from others while we internalize and create stories from personal experience and observation. We become an amalgam of who we are and how we perceive the myriad others around us. Too often we lose ourselves in the process, and this is what makes writing so difficult. Good writing requires commitment to the craft above self-identification. We have to be the characters, the situations, the problems and the solutions.

It isn't often in the world of small press publishing that an author gets the kind of attention I have been privileged to receive on Facebook. I am delighted to know that my work reaches a wide audience, with fans in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, and 40 other countries. To celebrate my Facebook page reaching 10,000 likes, Seventh Star Press is sponsoring a giveaway of my last two novels, Angelkiller and Traitor Angel for US and Canadian fans. Ebooks will be awarded to overseas giveaway winners. Here are the details:

The last in the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel, will appear shortly to bring the story to its conclusion. The characters in the books are Jonah Mason, John Tripp, Steven Overguard, Janice Meeker, Harold Martin, Andrew Nicholson, and the Knights Jaelon, Malthusan, and Populus. Casualties are inevitable in all wars, and the Conflict between the Army and the Enemy is not exempt. In the final volume, not all survive the deadly encounter with Dorian Azrael.

Three characters do not survive, two become Knights, and one retires. It's up to you to make your best guess as to the identities of these six.

As I understand it, two contestants who make the most accurate guess will be chosen at random to receive softcover copies of Angelkiller, Traitor Angel and Doom Angel upon its release. If more than two of the contestants guess all six correctly, one chosen at random will receive a $100.00 Amazon gift card and up to three others will receive $25.00 Amazon gift cards in addition to e-book copies of the series. Please see the Seventh Star Press blog at the link below for the full details.

Entries should be addressed to Angelkillercontest (at) seventhstarpress.com with “Angelkiller Giveaway” in the Subject line. Contest ends December 11th. Winners will be announced December 18th.

I want to thank Seventh Star Press and everyone who has supported my work; family, publishers, and readers. Thanks for indulging me and I hope you enjoy the stories.

- See more up-to-date details on the contest at the Seventh Star Press blogsite.
It isn't often in the world of small press publishing that an author gets the kind of attention I have been privileged to receive on Facebook. I am delighted to know that my work reaches a wide audience, with fans in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, and 40 other countries. To celebrate my Facebook page reaching 10,000 likes, Seventh Star Press is sponsoring a giveaway of my last two novels, Angelkiller and Traitor Angel for US and Canadian fans. Ebooks will be awarded to overseas giveaway winners. Here are the details:

The last in the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel, will appear shortly to bring the story to its conclusion. The characters in the books are Jonah Mason, John Tripp, Steven Overguard, Janice Meeker, Harold Martin, Andrew Nicholson, and the Knights Jaelon, Malthusan, and Populus. Casualties are inevitable in all wars, and the Conflict between the Army and the Enemy is not exempt. In the final volume, not all survive the deadly encounter with Dorian Azrael.

Three characters do not survive, two become Knights, and one retires. It's up to you to make your best guess as to the identities of these six.

Two contestants who make the most accurate guess will be chosen at random to receive softcover copies of Angelkiller, Traitor Angel and Doom Angel upon its release. If more than two of the contestants guess all six correctly, one chosen at random will receive a $100.00 Amazon gift card and up to three others will receive $25.00 Amazon gift cards in addition to e-book copies of the series.

Entries should be addressed to Angelkillercontest (at) seventhstarpress.com with “Angelkiller Giveaway” in the Subject line. Contest ends December 11th. Winners will be announced December 18th."
- See more at: http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2013/11/special-contest-for-h-david-blalocks.html#sthash.2VS1AE5f.dpuf
It isn't often in the world of small press publishing that an author gets the kind of attention I have been privileged to receive on Facebook. I am delighted to know that my work reaches a wide audience, with fans in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, and 40 other countries. To celebrate my Facebook page reaching 10,000 likes, Seventh Star Press is sponsoring a giveaway of my last two novels, Angelkiller and Traitor Angel for US and Canadian fans. Ebooks will be awarded to overseas giveaway winners. Here are the details:

The last in the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel, will appear shortly to bring the story to its conclusion. The characters in the books are Jonah Mason, John Tripp, Steven Overguard, Janice Meeker, Harold Martin, Andrew Nicholson, and the Knights Jaelon, Malthusan, and Populus. Casualties are inevitable in all wars, and the Conflict between the Army and the Enemy is not exempt. In the final volume, not all survive the deadly encounter with Dorian Azrael.

Three characters do not survive, two become Knights, and one retires. It's up to you to make your best guess as to the identities of these six.

Two contestants who make the most accurate guess will be chosen at random to receive softcover copies of Angelkiller, Traitor Angel and Doom Angel upon its release. If more than two of the contestants guess all six correctly, one chosen at random will receive a $100.00 Amazon gift card and up to three others will receive $25.00 Amazon gift cards in addition to e-book copies of the series.

Entries should be addressed to Angelkillercontest (at) seventhstarpress.com with “Angelkiller Giveaway” in the Subject line. Contest ends December 11th. Winners will be announced December 18th."
- See more at: http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2013/11/special-contest-for-h-david-blalocks.html#sthash.2VS1AE5f.dpuf
It isn't often in the world of small press publishing that an author gets the kind of attention I have been privileged to receive on Facebook. I am delighted to know that my work reaches a wide audience, with fans in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, and 40 other countries. To celebrate my Facebook page reaching 10,000 likes, Seventh Star Press is sponsoring a giveaway of my last two novels, Angelkiller and Traitor Angel for US and Canadian fans. Ebooks will be awarded to overseas giveaway winners. Here are the details:

The last in the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel, will appear shortly to bring the story to its conclusion. The characters in the books are Jonah Mason, John Tripp, Steven Overguard, Janice Meeker, Harold Martin, Andrew Nicholson, and the Knights Jaelon, Malthusan, and Populus. Casualties are inevitable in all wars, and the Conflict between the Army and the Enemy is not exempt. In the final volume, not all survive the deadly encounter with Dorian Azrael.

Three characters do not survive, two become Knights, and one retires. It's up to you to make your best guess as to the identities of these six.

Two contestants who make the most accurate guess will be chosen at random to receive softcover copies of Angelkiller, Traitor Angel and Doom Angel upon its release. If more than two of the contestants guess all six correctly, one chosen at random will receive a $100.00 Amazon gift card and up to three others will receive $25.00 Amazon gift cards in addition to e-book copies of the series.

Entries should be addressed to Angelkillercontest (at) seventhstarpress.com with “Angelkiller Giveaway” in the Subject line. Contest ends December 11th. Winners will be announced December 18th."
- See more at: http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2013/11/special-contest-for-h-david-blalocks.html#sthash.2VS1AE5f.dpuf

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Updating? Not Really

There are a couple of reasons I haven't been keeping up with this blog. The first is, I am a lousy blogger. That pretty much takes up 90% of the reason. The rest is that a lot has been happening in the background that was a whole lot more interesting than anything happening in my life. All I do is write and look for inspiration in the world around me. That's pretty boring compared to the war in Syria, the government shutdown, the Mexican cartels, Snooki having a break down, the revelation that cats can be stressed by too much attention... the list goes on. As a result, I find I am a bit down.

Soooooo... I have decided that I will concentrate on what I do and let the rest of the world take care of itself without my attention. This is what children do, and it seems to work very well for them. In fact, their happiness seems to fade in direct proportion to how much attention they pay to the world around them. It appears that maturity is connected to concern and worry. I find this unsatisfactory, therefore I reject it.

Enough philosophy.

I have finished the last of the Angelkiller books, Doom Angel, and sent the manuscript to Seventh Star Press. They tell me to expect it to be released around Christmas. I find this satisfactory.

My flash fiction Ninjabot will be appearing shortly in the Blink! anthology from Ink Monkey Press (Mandi M. Lynch, editor) and my short story Jack in the Box will be coming out in the Southern Haunts II anthology (Alexander S. Brown and J.L. Mulvihill, editors) from Seventh Star Press. The NovoPulp anthology (Niamh Brown and Micha Fire, editors) will feature my short story On The Edge. Also, satisfactory.

Interestingly, my facebook page is approaching 10,000 LIKES. I have asked SSP Managing Editor Stephen Zimmer if we can do something to commemorate this "milestone". Yes, I know it's a silly thing to celebrate, but, hey, you take the joy where you can get it or you get none. Skate on over there to find out the details as they develop.

Working on projects for two other publishers, a couple of folks I really enjoy working with. Will reveal those projects when allowed.

::Sigh:: Feeling better already. Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Recounted

May of 2013 is one of those months that happens once in a lifetime (obviously) and thank God for that.

We had some significant changes to our physical and metaphorical households which I will not go into. Suffice it to say things are different now than this time last year in ways that will leave their imprints on more than just our lives.

The Big Bad Anthology (Dark Oak Press, 2013)
I had one story appear during the month, Identity Crisis, in the Big Bad Anthology (John Hartness and Emily Leverette, editors; Dark Oak Press). I had to step outside my comfort zone to write this particular story, as the villain is the protagonist and there is really no hero in the story. As a writer of mostly pulp where the good guy/bad guy motif is a given, this was a real challenge. I was frankly surprised and delighted the story was accepted.

I was unable to attend the Alabama Phoenix Festival, but heard it was a great success. I hope to be able to attend next year.

I had set a personal goal of May 31st to finish the manuscript on Doom Angel, the last of the Angelkiller Triad, but it looks like it will be July before I can finish anyway. There is simply too much real life going on to think otherwise.  I have been concurrently working on some other stories, but they may have to be dropped to finish this project on time.

Anyone who believes writing is easy has never been inside a writer's head with a deadline looming.

Okay, back to the notebooks. Til next  time, stay low and keep your powder dry!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh April Rain!

Well, the shadow which was April is past, and I can't say I'm sorry. Except for two or three bright spots, the month in general has been physically and emotionally hard. But enough said about that.


I am still shooting for May 31st to finish Doom Angel. The feedback I got from reviewers on the first two books has molded this one into something a bit different that I first intended, but I believe it still retains the original impact. I hope the ending is something unexpected by the reader yet, upon reflection, inevitable. The Angelkiller Triad has been a statement of my philosophy on life as much as an urban fantasy story. It has been cathartic to write, and I hope it is a series the readers will be able to savor for years to come.

I promised another Thran Chronicles book to Sams Dot before the management change. I don't think I will be finishing that one anytime soon, at least not until White Cat shows it is capable of handling the titles it has already adopted. I may just take Deity elsewhere for publication, depending on when the manuscript gets finished.

I was disappointed I missed PulpArk 2013, but glad to hear it was such a success. I spent that weekend with my younger daughter and her family for her birthday. Hopefully next year the two will not coincide and I can attend both.

My laptop gave up the ghost a week or so ago, and the cost to fix it was much the same as the cost of a new one. So it is, I have parted the ways with my old friend (whose acquisition is a story in itself) and will be moving on to another shortly. I have been using a notebook computer, which is the same as a real computer only hit by the shrink ray from Despicable Me. I honestly don't see how anyone can use one of those for an extended period of time without developing some very nasty finger cramps.

Sometime in May I will he headed to Birmingham for the Alabama Phoenix Festival. This will be my first time there, so I'm looking forward to finding out all about it.

Anyway, I need to get back to the notebooks. Happy spring, everyone! And, til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Marching On...

So, March is over and quite a lot happened.Of course, the highlight of the month was Midsouthcon 31 in Memphis, Tennessee. I received an education in steampunk, cyberpunk, and dieselpunk all at once while sitting on a panel. That, plus fighting a bout of the aggravating gout, made for an interesting three days. Nevertheless, I did get the chance to touch base with several publishers and fellow writers.

Many congratulations to Robert Krog for his winning the Best Novela Darrell Award for A Bagful of Eyes (Sams Dot Publishing) and to A. Christopher Drown for his first runner-up for Best Short Story, The Milkshake Story (Sky-Tinted Waters anthology, Sams Dot Publishing, ). Both awards are well deserved.

Three anthologies were debuted at Midsouthcon that contained my short stories.

First was the latest in the Kerlak/Dark Oak Press steampunk series, Dreams of Steam III: Gadgets (Kimberly Richardson, editor). It features The Last Frontier, a James Mayberry story. Mayberry is fast becoming my steampunk adventurer character. I may continue to develop him, as I understand there is likely to be another Dreams of Steam call sometime soon.

Second was the Seventh Star Press anthology Perfect Flaw (Robin Blankenship, editor). My story Guardian appears in that one.

Lastly, also from Seventh Star Press, was Southern Haunts (Alexander S. Brown and J.L. Mulvihill, editors), in which An Eclipse over Elmwood resides.

There are still a few more stories to come out yet from Pro Se Press (Grudge Match), Dark Oak Press (Identity Crisis), and Ink Monkey Press (Ninjabot and possibly He Who Hesitates). I did have my share of story rejections as well, but that's to be expected, I guess. Not every story will find a home the first time. The rejected stories have been rewritten and sent on their way again. Those and the others I have in the notebooks will, I hope, fill out the year with new publications.

Have set a personal goal of May 31st to finish the manuscript for the last of the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel. After that, it's back to the novels and short stories running up against short deadlines in June. Wish me luck.

Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Yesteryear

Yesteryear by Tommy HancockTitle: Yesteryear
Author: Tommy Hancock
Publisher: Pro Se Press [CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011)]
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1461061598
ISBN-13: 978-1461061595

One of the brightest of the rising stars in the New Pulp movement is a jovial, fedora-bedecked fellow by the name of Tommy Hancock. I had the pleasure of meeting Tommy some time ago and was taken by his friendly personality and deep knowledge of fiction that disappeared years before he was born. That someone of his youth should be taken with the writings that formed my own interests when I was a boy (so very, very long ago) seemed odd at first, but Tommy's enthusiasm wasn't just that of a fan. It was that of an individual dedicated to the resurrection of a genre I thought would languish in obscurity forever.

In Yesteryear, Tommy Hancock has created the beginnings of a new series of novels whose heritage reaches back into the first part of the 20th century. In Yesteryear we are once more caught up in the intrigue and fascination of costumed heroes and villains, set in their native era. We get to find out where these characters come from, what they fear, and what they're capable of doing. When the particulars of their lives are threatened with public exposure, we find that even the best can sometimes be untrustworthy. The tell-all book central to the story, written by a legendary figure Ramsey Long, appears on the doorstep of a journalist and sets off a firestorm that echoes throughout the pages.

The book itself has been reviewed extensively, so if you want to know what the consensus is reference its publication, check Amazon. I found the novel interesting mainly because it is the herald of a movement that is quickly gaining momentum, outstripping steampunk and dieselpunk in its reach. Oh, and by the way, if you want to annoy Hancock, ask him what he thinks of dieselpunk.

Overall, this is a two-thumbs up book for anyone interested in pulp fiction, or just like adventure stories.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wait a Second, Month!

February has not been kind to yours truly. However, every writer has at least one month each year (s)he'd like to forget, so I guess it's good I got mine out of the way early.

I got a polite rejection slip from Shimmer for my short story No More Running, but as consolation I can look forward to the appearance soon of the short stories Grudge Match from Pro Se Press, Eclipse over Elmwood from Dark Oak Media, The Last Frontier in Dreams of Steam III, and (maybe) Identity Crisis in the Big Bad Anthology. I continue to finalize Doom Angel for Seventh Star Press and work on other stories for open anthologies. Currently under consideration for publication is On The Edge, The Price of Immortality (reprint), and Hero. I'm writing stories for submission to Robert Krog's Pirate anthology and Pro Se's Sixguns and Spaceships, and rewriting a couple of others for resurrection.

Due to personal reasons, I was unable to attend Mysticon this year. I hope to be able to make the con next year, however. I do fully intend to make it to Midsouthcon in Memphis next month. I have only missed one or two of them since the middle 1990s, and those because of illness.

Not much in the way of writing news otherwise. Life has a way of pushing to the front of the line at times. More later as it appears. Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry.




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Year, A New Direction

Well, 2013 is well underway. My writing projects have stalled at various points of development and I have become involved in other projects as well.

As of the first of January, I retired as editor at parABnormal Digest. In the two years since its inception, PD has become one of the best paranormal magazines in the market, providing quality fiction and non-fiction for the entertainment and education of the community. I am proud to have been part of its birth and nuturing and honored to have been able to work with Terrie Leigh Relf and Tyree Campbell to bring PD to the public. I didn't simply walk away from the magazine, however. I helped sign on talent for the next year. Congratulations to all the writers and artists, past and present, who have been and will be part of parABnormal Digest.

I am slowly insinuating myself into the New Pulp community. One of the fascinations I have always entertained is pulp fiction. Until I met Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Press, I never realized that the majority of my fiction was in actuality "pulp". I was delighted to have my short story "Kelly's Beast" featured in PSP's Pro Se Presents #13 and hope to have more appear in the pages of their publications in the near future.

I was overjoyed to hear of the reemergence of Amazing Stories magazine. After its demise in the 1990s, there were a couple of abortive attempts to resurrect it as a print magazine. This time Steve Davidson is going the digital route, making it principally an online effort. I think that probably has a better chance at success. I wish him the best of luck.

I have also signed on with NovoPulp, a small group of ambitious writers and editors who are attempting to form a community to produce an anthology online. As the digital sphere is quickly overtaking the printed, it seems only reasonable to at least explore this possibility. Although in many ways I am still a literary dinosaur, I am willing to at least try to learn. However, I still feel that older heads such as myself are needed to hold the leash on the animal that could outrun our ability to be successful in the market.

People may be fascinated by the new, but they still find the familiar more comfortable. New things are tolerated in small amounts. The familiar can be consumed in mass quantity.

I will be headed to Mysticon in Roanoke, VA, the end of February, so the next post may be a little delayed. I hope to get it done before Midsouthcon. Meanwhile, enjoy this book trailer for my latest release from Seventh Star Press.

Off to the notebooks and, now, also to the workboards. Til the next time, stay low and keep your powder dry.