THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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AUTHORS-FORUMS- CHECK OUT ALL! > AUTHOR FORUM - HANK QUENSE

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message 1: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and science fiction along with an occasional article on fiction writing. He lives with Pat, his wife of many years, in Bergenfield, NJ. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Bergenfield is located 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Midtown is frequently referred to as the entertainment center of the galaxy because so many extra-terrestrials go there on vacation. A favorite vacation package for these visitors is to get a gig driving a taxi for a few days.
To date Quense has over three dozen stories and articles published. His novel Fool's Gold is a sci-fi retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth. Tunnel Vision, a collection of twenty previously published stories. Both books are available in ebook and print formats .
Build a Better Story is non-fiction and will help fiction writers with a process to develop a story.
Tales from Gundarland is a collection of humorous short stories and novellas.
He is presently working on a trilogy that is a blend of fantasy and science fiction and a fantasy novel.



My websites:
http://hankquense.com
htp://hankquense.com/blog

My books:
Tales From Gundarland is a collection of eight humorous stories. All of them take place in the strange land known as the Land of the Incongruous.
It is available in print and ebook editions and is sold in a number of places such as Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and the Istore. It will become available to bookstores in the Fall. Links to all these sites can be found on my webpage, http://hankquense.com/TFG-main.html

TWITTER
my twitter addy:http://twitter.com/hanque99

Build A Better Story is a non-fiction ebook describing a process on how to create a fictional story. It is available on Smashwords in a variety of formats and on my website in .PDF format.
Go here for more info: http://hankquense.com/BABS-main.html

Tunnel Vision is a collection of twenty previously published stories. There are ebook and print editions available. LInks can be found here: http://hankquense.com/TV-buy.html

Fool's Gold is a retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth. My version takes place in the future and has aliens instead of the traditional fantasy creatures. Links for both the ebook and the print version can be found at: http://hankquense.com/FG-buy.html
Tales From Gundarland Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous by Hank Quense


message 2: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
HI HANK- YOUR BOOKS SEEMS FACINATING!!
How did you come up with such an original idea as Land of the Incongruous?


message 3: by Brian (last edited Jul 31, 2010 09:03AM) (new)

Brian | 346 comments Welcome to the club Hank! I find the concept interesting of merging fantasy with science fiction. I was wondering about the general concept of the novels you are working on. Would the science fiction element take place on different planets ala Terry Brooks? If not how are the two fused into a novel? From what I observe on goodreads and the availability of both fantasy and science fiction at the local used book store, those two genres are the most popular and a crossover novel would appeal to many. How do you think of characters for fantasy writing, mythology, general folklore, i.e. wizards, trolls, etc or other? Can you describe generally what Rhinegold myth is about, never heard of it. My two favorite fantasy writers to date is George R.R. Martin and Steve Erickson. Best Wishes!


message 4: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments I wanted a subtitle that read "land of something." I started writing down possible last words, like whacky, bizarre, weird and so forth. After I had a lengthy list, I began to scratch some out and ended up with two or three. Incongruous won the competition


Rick wrote: "HI HANK- YOUR BOOKS SEEMS FACINATING!!
How did you come up with such an original idea as Land of the Incongruous?"



message 5: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "I wanted a subtitle that read "land of something." I started writing down possible last words, like whacky, bizarre, weird and so forth. After I had a lengthy list, I began to scratch some out and..."

very original choice!!!


message 6: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments Hi Brian
There are a few questions buried in the post. I'll answer them in a couple of posts. First the Rhinegold myth. It's ancient. It comes from the Dark Ages and takes place along the Rhine in Northern Germany. Richard Wagner used the story to compose his four operas known as the Ring Cycle. Tolkien also made liberal use of the myth in his Lord of the Rings.
THe myth concerns a magical horde of gold known as the Rhinegold. One of its properties is that it keeps the gods (Wotan and his buddies) from aging. A dwarf named Alberich steals the gold and fashions into a ring of immense power. The god Loki steals the gold but not before Alberich curses it.
It's a long myth and involves a dragon, the Valkyries, heros and a blood-thirsty Wotan.
In my retelling, I set it in the future and replaced the fantasy creatures with aliens from two different races.

Brian wrote: "Welcome to the club Hank! I find the concept interesting of merging fantasy with science fiction. I was wondering about the general concept of the novels you are working on. Would the science ficti..."


message 7: by Brian (last edited Jul 31, 2010 03:30PM) (new)

Brian | 346 comments Fascinating myth! Reading about the myth on your post gives me incentive to read the "Lord Of The Rings" series. I own the complete set. Very interesting how you wrote the retelling of the myth. That would change the story radically. Good to read that you are expanding your ideas into a trilogy. I see that "Tunnel Vision" is a collection of stories. Can you expand on that? Some writers find it easier to write a short story than a novel and the reverse some find writing a novel easier than short stories. The main reason many authors state is there is less time invested in writing on character development and complicated plots. Which do you prefer writing and why? Reading you bio you are equally adept at both.


message 8: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments More answers to your questions. Gundarland is in a parallel universe (as far as I can tell) and it is and is not like Pratchett's discworld. Gudar (the planet) is not supported on a turtle's back but the inhabitants come from a number of races; dwarfs, elves, yuks, even humans.
How do I come up with characters? I have no idea. They seem to pop into my mind unannounced and suddenly we're having a conversation. Over the years, I've developed Gundarland into a fairly organized place so I don't have to invent the background and setting. That makes it much easier to design stories.
Tales From Gundarland is all fantasy in a medeval setting. In my next book, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, the setting will be Gundarland in an early industrial age, ie. telegraph, steam engines, railroads etc. An alien ship shows up, orbits the planet and things go downhill for everyone involved.


Brian wrote: "Welcome to the club Hank! I find the concept interesting of merging fantasy with science fiction. I was wondering about the general concept of the novels you are working on. Would the science ficti..."


message 9: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments For years, I wrote short stories and got quite good at it. All the stories in Tunnel Vision were previously published. Meanwhile I bumbled around and wrote a really bad novel and had a couple others that never got off the ground.
A few years ago, I wrote a shot story that refused to stay short and ended up as a novella. So did the next one. For an unknown reason, I suddenly developed a real problem writing short stories. Longer ones are much more fun because the characters are more developed, the plots are more complicated and I can get more subplots into it. In my longer works, the main plot and characters aren't that humorous (but they aren't serious either). It's in the subplots that I can really let go and have a lot of off-the-stuff happen.

Brian wrote: "Fascinating myth! Reading about the myth on your post gives me incentive to read the "Lord Of The Rings" series. I own the complete set. Very interesting how you wrote the retelling of the myth. Th..."


message 10: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank
I would think it would be very difficult to keep track of all the various dwarfs, elves, yuks and humans. Do you do a character protrait for each or how do keep track of all the names and personalities! Tales From Gundarland Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous by Hank Quense


message 11: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments This is only problem when I'm writing a new story reusing the characters. Which I do more and more lately. I also reuse settings and locations when I reuse a character. This used to be a problem, but I solved it. I use a writing program called Storymill (highly recommended for fiction and non-fiction writers). I have a distinct file called Gundarland and I keep copies of all my Gundarland character sketches in the file. I also have sketches of locations I've used and other material so when I want to reuse a character I just pull the info from the file. It's like meeting an old friend you haven't seen in a while. I make sure I update the main file whenever I'm finished using the character


Rick wrote: "Hank
I would think it would be very difficult to keep track of all the various dwarfs, elves, yuks and humans. Do you do a character protrait for each or how do keep track of all the names and p..."



message 12: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "This is only problem when I'm writing a new story reusing the characters. Which I do more and more lately. I also reuse settings and locations when I reuse a character. This used to be a problem..."

facinating!!! never heard of that program- but it certain seems invaluable to writers!


message 13: by Brian (new)

Brian | 346 comments Intriguing your comments of writing short stories and novels. You description is an evolution of your writing and finding your niche. One example that comes to mind is Stephen King who's short stories are not very good and more adept at writing novels. I enjoy subplots immensely and I would recommend "Gardens Of The Moon" by Steve Erickson which has been well reviewed here on goodreads. His subplots are many and challenges a reader to concentrate. Very few authors have a cross section of both like yourself. Curious as how you came up with the great idea for Storymill. I know it has been a useful for your own writing. The other obvious motive is to help other authors. I was wondering the feedback you have received from "Storymill"? I agree with Rick, that would be very valuable for those authors not as accomplished as yourself. Reading your above post it is a natural gift to have characters just pop into your mind. Very unique!


message 14: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments Storymill is an invaluable program: everything a writer needs to work on a story (or an article) is in a single file and accessible with one or two clicks. Character sketches, plots, scenes, chapters, drawings, notes, links to web sites etc all in a one place.

Natural gift? Perhaps, but it could also indicated a warped mind.


message 15: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments BTW, I found out this morning that Tales From Gundarland is a finalist in the fantasy category at the Readers Favorite site. Awards will be announced on Sept 1.


message 16: by Rick (last edited Aug 01, 2010 06:57PM) (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "BTW, I found out this morning that Tales From Gundarland is a finalist in the fantasy category at the Readers Favorite site. Awards will be announced on Sept 1."

Congrats Hank - From what I have read- several stories- it is very much deserving!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I am looking forward to reading your book 'Tales From Gundarland', but will wait until it comes out in print.


message 18: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments It is in print, Gail. It's at Amazon. If you go to the link above, on my website, that page has links to the Amazon page. It will be order-able by bookstores in the fall

Gail "cyborg" wrote: "I am looking forward to reading your book 'Tales From Gundarland', but will wait until it comes out in print."


message 19: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 244 comments Hi Hank,

Love your book so far! Also have now followed you on Twitter. I am wondering what aspect of your writing do you find the most difficult? Is it the story construction or adding in the humor?


message 20: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments The two parts aren't really separate; they're part of the overall process. To generate humor, I have to build characters with definite, strange quirks (i.e. Shakespeare's Romeo, now a poor dwarf miner with aspirations to be a professional ballet dancer and in love with a rich elf maiden). The ballet dancing is part of the character development. The romance stuff comes from the story construction. Story construction and plot are two separate but inseparable functions to me. The story construction purpose is take the characters and put them into situations where their quirkiness can take over and motivate them to do bizarre things.
I guess this is a long way to say, the story construction is hard and takes me a long time. BTW, this is my take on the whole concept of writing fiction and other writers may object or have a different process. Every writer approaches story construction in a different way.


message 21: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 244 comments Thank Hank, that is very interesting. How much hours is the most you have ever written for in a single day?


message 22: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments I spend most of the morning "writing" but doesn't mean I'm actually working on a story. Besides Tales, I also published a ebook on fiction writing in the spring so I'm pimping two books at once and haven't been able to get any writing done in while.
I usually start around 6:30 in the morning and go to 10:30 or 11:00 with time out for breakfast and a newspaper. I also put in a hour or so in the PM but that is usually brainstorming stories or editing.


message 23: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 244 comments Do you take naps? I'd have to think it is an exhausting effort.


message 24: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments No, I don't. Occasionally, I'll plug into an mp3 player, stretch out on lounge chair and listen to music for an hour but that's it.


message 25: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 244 comments Of all your characters, are any based on people you have known or are they perhaps a composite of those people with their quirks accentuated?


message 26: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments no. To my knowledge, none of the characters are folks I know and I don't use quirks from those people. Many of the quirks I sue are kind of universal, such as tunnel vision (everyone has it, but some of my character shave it to an alarming degree.) Another is politicians who are incapable of telling the truth and who can't understand why reporters are so interested in mundane subjects like corruption..


message 27: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments I'd love to get some feedback from book lovers.
So what, as a reader, strikes you as humorous in stories? Characters? settings? situations? play on words? Combinations of these factors? Or something entirely different?


message 28: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments My scifi short story Uncle Sidney's Tailor Shop has just been published by Afterburn SF. Follow this link to read it free: http://www.afterburnsf.com/?p=241


message 29: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments Tales from Gundarland won a medal in the Readers Favorite competition in the scifi/fantasy category. It's also picked up three rave reviews. Read the press release: http://www.prlog.org/10908980-tales-f...


message 30: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "Tales from Gundarland won a medal in the Readers Favorite competition in the scifi/fantasy category. It's also picked up three rave reviews. Read the press release: http://www.prlog.org/10908980-..."

CONGRATS HANK!!! AND A VERY WELL EARNED MEDAL!!
Tales From Gundarland Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous by Hank Quense


message 31: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments Thank you, Rick


message 32: by Hank (last edited Jan 21, 2011 03:41AM) (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments My new novel, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, is now available in print and ebook versions. It's book 1 of a trilogy and it's a unique First Contact story. It is part adventure and part corporate and political satire spiced with comic relief.
In it, you'll find nasty, snarly aliens, fantasy creatures, humans, romance, magic, and -- just like the real world -- incompetent politicians and feuding bureaucracies.  What more could a fantasy or scifi reader ask for?  

Zaftans are a gruesome alien race. They stand seven feet tall, weigh over four hundred pounds and stink like fish guts left in the sun. Resembling giant squids, they have eight tentacles that can be used as arms or legs. When in a good mood, they are merely hostile. All zaftans consider treachery and assassination to be social skills and list them on their resumes.


message 33: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "My new novel, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, is now available in print and ebook versions. It's book 1 of a trilogy and it's a unique First Contact story. It is part adventure and part corporate and politi..."

I am reading Zaftan Entrepreneurs now and it is truly a unique and very enjoyable read!!


message 34: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments Thanks Rick. I had a blast writing it because of all the satire I aimed at corporate greed and incompetent bureacrats


message 35: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments I'd like to invite you all to join me when I hold two interactive web video chats. I'll be talking about the stories and characters in my collection of short stories and novellas, the award-winning Tales From Gundarland. These are different from audio chats in that there is a website used to show the video feeds.

The half-hour chats are scheduled for January 29 at 2:00 PM EST and January 30, at 5:00 PM EST. On my website, http://hankquense.com click on the widget date to register. An email will be sent to you with the link to us to join the chat.
Everyone who participates will be entered in a drawing for a grand prize and I'll offer discounts on the book


message 36: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "I'd like to invite you all to join me when I hold two interactive web video chats. I'll be talking about the stories and characters in my collection of short stories and novellas, the award-winnin..."

sounds wonderful Hank- count me in!


message 37: by Hank (new)

Hank Quense | 72 comments In satirizing governments in Zaftan Entrepreneurs,I used this passage:
"To him, one of the most fascinating historical aspects of governments was their complete disregard for governing. Governments were single-minded and interested only in increasing their control and any governance that came out of the government's actions were purely coincidental. .... The lowest flunky as well as the most powerful bureaucrat was more interested in protecting his sinecure than in helping the citizens who coughed up tax money to pay the government worker's salaries."

Is this a fair assessment of governments? What do you think?


message 38: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12878 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "In satirizing governments in Zaftan Entrepreneurs,I used this passage:
"To him, one of the most fascinating historical aspects of governments was their complete disregard for governing. Governments..."


I think that the fact that politicians on both sides of the political spectrum begin fundraising for their next election, days after being elected to their current terms, says it all


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