Laurel Anne Hill's Blog
January 16, 2017
January 15, 2017
Go to http://www.wcwriters.com/genrela/program.html for Program Information. It’s not too late to sign up. Laurel Anne Hill and a magnificent cast of authors, agents and screen writers will be there.
December 24, 2016
October 24, 2016
PURCHASE THE ENGINE WOMAN’S LIGHT, KINDLE EDITION
A Life-Saving Mission
A mystical vision of an airship appears to fifteen-year-old Juanita in 1894. The long-dead captain commands her to prevent California’s thrown-away people—including young children—from boarding trains to an asylum. That institution’s director plots murder to reduce the inmate population.
Spirits watch over Juanita. But who is she? A mystic in love who holds life sacred?
Or a ghost-possessed railroad-saboteur?
To save innocent lives Juanita must take lives of the corrupt. How can she reconcile her assignment with her belief in the sacredness of all human life? And will she survive to marry her betrothed?
Juanita sets out despite inner trepidation to sabotage the railroad. Her ancestor Billy, the ghost of a steam locomotive engineer, guides her. Then bit by bit, she discovers the gut-wrenching truths all of her ancestors neglected to reveal.
Ghosts, Goggles, Guns and Grit
Come visit Juanita’s world—an alternate nineteenth-century California—where spirits meet steampunk, where both love and anger emanate from beyond the grave.
Sand Hill Review Press, Publisher
Cover art by Julie Dillon,
winner of Hugo & Chesley Awards.
More about Laurel Anne Hill at http://www.laurelannehill.com.
Book Release Schedule
E-book on Amazon as of October 21, 2016
Trade paper: Launch on Saturday,
February 4, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
at Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
September 25, 2016
Five years ago, Dan Kois wrote an article for the New York Times: “Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?”
“Look, writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub,” Kois quoted Stephen King as saying. “Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It’s a wonder that most of them don’t.”
Right on, Stephen. And sometimes one tub repeats the sinking process.
Way back when (around 1993-4) I wrote a fantasy short story: “Like Flecks of Mica.” The piece didn’t work as a short story. By 1997, I was paddling from Boston to London in my write-a-novel bathtub. The contraption deep-sixed. I raised it and salvaged the remains of my story. The tub sank again. I repeated the process several times, changed the book’s title, and even managed to acquire an agent in 2003. When my agent died, my manuscript turned into a waterlogged zombie. Coated in seaweed, my story threatened to eat my brain. Even my writing group—led by the amazing Charlotte Cook—couldn’t advise me how best to keep the vessel afloat.
Out of self-preservation, I abandoned ship and refocused on other projects. In 2007, KOMENAR Publishing released my award-winning novel, Heroes Arise (ForeWord Magazine Bronze Award, Science Fiction).
Heroes Arise changed the writing “game of zones” for me. I moved into the world of science fiction/fantasy conventions as a fledgling professional. I also encountered more opportunities for the publication of my short stories, including “Flight of Destiny,” a steampunk horror piece that won me the Horror Addicts (HA)/Wicked Women Writers Challenge title of “Most Wicked 2011.”
“Flight of Destiny” was my first attempt at steampunk. To receive a vote of approval from HA listeners meant a lot. In fact, the win thrilled me almost as much as the ForeWord Magazine award had. Best of all, I’d had so much fun creating and recording the story. Wow!
I remember my husband and me sharing a bottle of French champagne to celebrate the occasion. I also recall the warped wheels in my brain rotating, transmuting into brassy nerve. If I could steampunk a short story and win a prize, could I steampunk a failed novel and at least get the blasted thing published?
I revisited my novel manuscript, which was then going by the alias: Mystic Light from the Mountain. The story was supposed to be about Juanita, a young woman on a life-saving mission—a Latina who could visit and communicate with the dead. That wasn’t always on the page. I was too hung up on the ghosts of her ancestors. The first half of the novel felt disjointed. Juanita begged me for more room to do what she had to do.
Goggles wouldn’t be enough. My bathtub needed marine-grade caulking. In other words, my write-a-novel tub would require strong forward momentum and consistent rowing to stay afloat.
A “Flight of Destiny” and Heroes Arise type of momentum and consistency.
I did my best to deliver. Thus, I’m happy to announce that Sand Hill Review Press has accepted my novel manuscript—now entitled The Engine Woman’s Light—for publication. The e-book ought to go live in October or November of this year, with the trade paper edition arriving by early 2017. Hugo Award-winning professional artist, Julie Dillon, has designed the cover.
Hmmm…1997 to 2017 represents twenty years. That’s one hell of a long transit time to London. I’m glad I kept striving to reach port. Juanita tells me she’s pleased, too. We’re grateful for all the people—especially freelance editor, Derek Prior, of Homunculus Editing Services—who tossed life preservers to us (or gave us a tow) along the way.
September 22, 2016
PRIZE MONEY, WRITING CONSULTATION, PUBLICATION: Call for Short Story Submissions from Laurel Anne Hill, Editor-in-Chief, Fault Zone: Uplift Anthology
I’m looking for strong short stories from non-members of California Writers Club, San Francisco/Peninsula Branch. Our motto is “Writers Helping Writers.” And we do! Please see the writing contest information posted above and below this notice.
September 19, 2016
Some Monsters Age Better…
…Than Others Do.
Con-Volution 2016 is coming up fast:
September 30 – October 2, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. The program schedule’s live on their website. Go to http://www.con-volution.com/.
I’ve listed my program schedule below and look forward to seeing you.
Laurel Anne Hill
How “Scary” is Science?
Saturday 10:00 – 11:30, Parlor 2036
There was a time where things like organ cloning and replacing body parts with plastics were things that fiction writers used to fuel thrills and chills; now we’re seeing these medical marvels come true. Are they still scary, or have we moved on?
Garrett Calcaterra, J. L. (Jim) Doty, Laurel Anne Hill, Kevin Roche (M), Heidi Stauffer
Devilishly Daring- Demonic Monsters
Saturday 12:00 – 13:30, SandPebble D
We’ll discuss the devils, demons, succubi and lords of the underworld that feature in our genre fiction and media SO often- because we adore them!
Chuck Serface, Loren Rhoads, Emerian Rich, J. L. (Jim) Doty, Laurel Anne Hill (M)
How Cthulu Became Cuddly?
Saturday 17:00 – 18:30, SandPebble B
How did the most terrifying beings of our imagination become cuddly plushies, love interests, and punchlines? We’ll look at the intersection of horror and humor, and whether they enhance or deface the genre.
Deborah J. Ross, Ms. Jennifer Carson, Laurel Anne Hill, Lee Moyer (M)
Sunday 10:00 – 11:30, SandPebble C
Meet and chat with the authors who comprise HorrorAddicts.net, and find out more about their monster favorites!
Emerian Rich (M), J. Malcolm Stewart, Loren Rhoads, Laurel Anne Hill, Sumiko Saulson
August 4, 2016
Looking forward to meeting you!
Kaffeeklatsch: Pat Cadigan, Laurel Anne Hill, Shanna Swendson, Carrie Vaughn
Thursday 15:00 – 16:00, 2211 (KKs) (Kansas City Convention Center)
Oceans: The Wettest Frontier
Friday 10:00 – 11:00, 3501F (Kansas City Convention Center)
Although science fiction tends to focus on strange environments in space, there are also strange environments (with aliens) here on Earth. Discuss fiction set in oceans — on Earth and elsewhere.
James Cambias, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Patricia MacEwen, Christopher Weuve (M), Alyx Dellamonica
The Steampunk Explosion
Friday 14:00 – 15:00, 3501H (Kansas City Convention Center)
Steampunk is one of the most popular and fast growing sub genres in fandom. From costuming to films to comics. Is there more that spurred its the rapid growth than “it looks cool”? Can Steampunk maintain its primacy in fandom?
Gail Carriger, Mr. Jeffrey Cook, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill (M), Nina Niskanen, Carrie Vaughn
Ethics of Tomorrow in Young Adult Fiction
Friday 15:00 – 16:00, 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Do young adult authors have a role in creating the ethical attitudes of tomorrow? How can young adult authors of SF&F write characters and stories that will inspire tomorrow’s adults and leaders to be more open-minded, tolerant, and moral? Do you see that happening in today’s young adult science fiction and fantasy, or not?
Jane Ann McLachlan (M), Tamora Pierce, Kathryn Sullivan, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill
Hard Fantasy — Does it Exist?
Friday 19:00 – 20:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
‘I’m going to write about what Tove Jansson called “the lonely and the rum,” the unschoolable and ungroupable, those strange and shaggy literary creatures that have no ilk or kin and that mathematically can be contained in no set smaller than the set of all sets contained in no other sets’. (Michael Swanwick).
Does Hard Fantasy have a place in fantasy literature, and how should we approach it?
Michael Swanwick , Mr. Preston Grassmann (M), Sebastien de Castell, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Courtney Schafer
Writers Workshop 9B
Saturday 13:30 – 15:30, Lester Young B (Marriott, Writing Workshop) (Kansas City Marriott Downtown)
Susan Forest, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill
Space Technology Spinoffs
Saturday 16:00 – 17:00, 2210 (Kansas City Convention Center)
There have been some 2,000 technological products, inventions and ideas trasferred from NASA missions to commercial products and services. Of these, many have made life on Earth better in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, energy and environment, information technology, and industrial productivity. Panelists discuss their favorite examples of space technology spinoffs.
Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Les Johnson, Janet Freeman-Daily (M), Joy Ward, Brenda Cooper
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading: Group Reading
Sunday 10:00 – 11:30, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Join members of Broad Universe — a nonprofit association dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and promoting female authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror — as they read tidbits of published works and works in progress. Hosted by Loren Rhoads.
Loren Rhoads (M), J. Tullos Hennig, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Roberta Rogow, Kathryn Sullivan, Paula S. Jordan, Katie Li, A C Ellas, Tamara Jones, Wendy Van Camp
Terraforming Terra: Geoengineering for Climate Change Survival
Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, 3501B (Kansas City Convention Center)
What can we do in terms of really big engineering projects to change or adapt to what looks like a pretty hot, wet, and stormy future?
Gregory Benford, Ian McDonald, Patricia MacEwen, John DeLaughter PhD, Elizabeth Moon, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill (M)
PLUS, Laurel Anne Hill is in charge of the Broad Universe Table (Section I, Table #17) in the Dealers’ Room, and will be spending around 15 hours there during the con. Please drop by.
June 25, 2016
I purchased a copy of Tory Hartmann’s novel, First Friday, from her at the 2016 San Mateo County Fair. As Editor of Sand Hill Review Press, Tory was pushing her literary wares. She’s a friend of mine and a great writer with a keen sense of humor. How could I go wrong? Besides, the blurb on the back of First Friday lured me in.
The O’Neil Household is rife with saints and sinners. Statues and paintings of the Virgin Mary are everywhere, as this large Catholic family still keeps many old traditions nearly lost in the 21st century. Every first Friday of the month, Malachi and Irene insist that the kids come up for 7 am mass at Old Mission Dolores in San Francisco. That same night there is an enormous First Friday dinner at the house. The adult children may roll their eyes during grace and make fun of their parents for being so old-fashioned, but they all show up. Agnes Anne, 28 and the last child living at home, is trying her best to launch an independent life, but her stutter, lack of self-confidence, and the lecherous advances of her brother-in-law stall her exit. One day, she brings home a nice Jewish man and all hell breaks loose.
The book is character driven with a strong component of tension. Colorful characters abound, yet the story always belongs to Agnes Anne. Even “Our Lady of the Belgian Waffle,” a metaphorical garden snail, and sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) can’t upstage her. Dialect, essential when used, is masterful and never feels overdone. (Yes, all you writers’ workshop leaders out there: Dialect CAN work.) WARNING: Don’t start reading First Friday at night if you have to get up early the next morning. I read until 1:20 am and nearly fell asleep with my nose in my cup of breakfast coffee.
Thoughts that First Friday left behind in my brain—other than the fact that Tory Hartmann truly is an author worth reading.
I will never look at pancakes the same way again.
I will think twice before harming a garden snail.
I will never stop believing in miracles.
Kudos for Tory Hartmann (http://www.toryhartmann.com/).
Laurel Anne Hill (Award-winning author of Heroes Arise.)
May 19, 2016
Laurel Anne Hill, author of “Commanding the Stones,” beside the Seine River in Paris 2002
Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published their fourth anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Laurel Anne Hill and recently she talked to David Watson–from HorrorAddicts.net–about her writing:
Cathedédrale Alexandre Nevsky de Paris
Paris Sewer Tour: Tunnel Drain
What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about? My short story is “Commanding the Stones,” about Yana, a middle-aged Russian-American woman on a business trip to Paris with her husband in 1995. In “Commanding the Stones,” a murder, Yana’s troubled marriage, her mysterious benefactor, and a Russian fairy tale—a twisted variant of The Stone Flower—add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.
What inspired the idea? My love of Russian fairy tales and painted lacquer boxes sparked the initial inspiration. Then I visited Paris during the month of November in 1999. Through the rain and chill, a story line emerged.
Once Upon a Scream (An Anthology, HorrorAddicts.net)
When did you start writing? I started writing before I could read. I created stories and my older sister wrote them down. I illustrated them with pictures from comic books and magazines. My first short story was published—in the kids’ section of a major San Francisco newspaper—when I was eleven. The piece was absolutely terrible, but I had no clue. The San Francisco News paid me $2, enough for eight double-feature movies back then.
What are your favorite topics to write about? Many of the stories I craft have inspirational premises. Worthiness is rewarded. The power of love, honor, faith and duty can surmount daunting obstacles and transform lives. But I also like to write about the jolting “rewards” unworthiness can bring, and the sometimes blurred line between virtue and vice. Whatever I write, I love to use my imagination.
What are some of your influences? Without a doubt, atmosphere and music influence the direction of many of my stories. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, I made three trips to Paris—all during the November time frame. When first working on “Commanding the Stones,” I took the Paris sewer tour. The unpleasant taste of the air near an underground sewer drain let me picture ominous things happening to my protagonist. My mind processed the many details of the scene. Back home in California, I listened to Russian Orthodox chants to set my mood, allowing ancient magic and mysteries to merge with modern times as I worked.
What do you find fascinating about the horror genre? The physiological reaction a scary movie produces in me. The increase in my heart rate and breathing. The tensing of my muscles. It’s like I’m the one in danger. I’ve had a half-dozen or so close brushes with death—experiences that had nothing to do with movies. During those times, survival—and the various chemicals released into my bloodstream to secure it—exhilarated me. Not so with movies. When an emphathetic character on the screen escapes death, I feel more exhaustion than elation. When I read horror, however, my brain does a better job of moderating the intensity of my physical reaction. Maybe that’s why I prefer scary books to scary movies in recent years, although I do adore both.
What are some of the works you have available? My award-winning novel, HEROES ARISE, and many of my thirty published short stories are available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Anne-Hill/e/B002XK5R5S. To listen to my stories I’ve recorded (including award-winning “Flight of Destiny” and “The Grave of Mario Bandini”), go to Welcome to my Bedroom Closet at http://laurelannehill.libsyn.com. For my darker short stories in print, read “Wings of Revenge” (in The Wickeds), “Till Death Do Us Part” (in Horrible Disasters), “The Vengeance Garden” (in Spells and Swashbucklers) and “Fowl Consequences” (in Fault Zone: Diverge).
What are you currently working on? My novel, The Engine Woman’s Light (a spirits-meet-steampunk, weird west tale) was accepted for publication by Sand Hill Review Press last month. I anticipate it will be available in 2017. I’m preparing to serve as editor for the next Fault Zone Anthology. That, too, will release in 2017. Also, I’ve started working on a short story for Horror Addicts’ next anthology. For long-term projects, I’ll either return to a novel-in-progress (magical realism) set in Mexican California, or start a new one based on my recently-published fantasy short story, “Going Revolutionary.”
Where can we find you online? For my website, go to http://www.laurelannehill.com. My Amazon author page is at http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Anne-Hill/e/B002XK5R5S. For Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/laurel.hill.7.
One of the historic stone tunnels of the Paris sewers, labeled with the name of the street above.