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Monday, December 01, 2008

Brag Time!

My story, "Without Napier" has been nominated for the Pushcart Award. Needless to say, I am pretty stoked. I don't think of myself as a literary writer, and when something like this happens, I am always caught by surprise.

"Without Napier" appeared in EveryDay Fiction earlier this year. As you may recall, it was a French Noir homage about the sidekick to a Great Detective, and how his life changes when the detective dies.

If you would like to give it a gander, you can find it here. It is quite short, but it got great reviews and was a reader favorite.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Filter House

Nisi Shawl, who is in my live crit group, STEW, has had her first collection of shorts selected by Publishers Weekely as a Best of the Year. Nisi's stuff is dense, rich and full of skewed visions. I don't know anyone who writes better than she does, and the recognition is entirely appropriate.
For those who fancy themselves as writers, this is a great companion to her book "Writing the Other" a fantastic how-to manual. One tells you how, and the other illustrates just how amazing our genres can be.

Filter House
Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct)
Shawl's exquisitely rendered debut collection weaves threads of folklore, religion, family and the search for a cohesive self through a panorama of race, magic and the body.

Come hang out with me at OryCon!

Here's the lowdown for my time at OryCon this weekend --looks like I'm gonaa have a lot of fun! Join me if you happen to be in the Rose City!

4:00PM-5:00PM Sunstone "Group 3 Dark Fantasy" - Michael Ehart and Devon Monk lead a critique group Michael Ehart, Devon Monk
5:00PM-5:30PM Salem "Readings with Michael Ehart" - Reading of the works of Michael Ehart by Michael Ehart Michael Ehart
6:00PM-7:00PM Mt. Hood Mythic imagery in speculative fiction Nisi Shawl, M.K. Hobson, Michael Ehart, Felicity Shoulders, Sara Mueller

12:00PM-1:00PM Mt. Hood "The structure of writing" - Structurally speaking, what makes a good story? Editors and writers (especially new writers) sometimes have different viewpoints. Experienced editors and writers offer their views. Mary Rosenblum, Jean M. Auel, Michael Ehart, Ginjer Buchanan, Blythe Ayne, Ph.D.
3:30PM-4:00PM Autograph Table "Signing with Michael Ehart" - Autograph session with Michael Ehart Michael Ehart
6:00PM-7:00PM Salem Non-European mythology – an untapped resource Nisi Shawl, Michael Ehart, Jayel Gibson, Felicity Shoulders, Dianna Rodgers

12:00AM-01:00AM Salem Midnight Horror Readings Joan McCarty, Dianna Rodgers, Michael Ehart, Edward Morris
10:00AM-11:00AM Mt. Hood That’s gotta hurt: how to wound, torture and maim characters Bart Kemper, Britta Dennison, Michael Ehart, Anne Sattler
11:00AM-12:00PM Medford Cyber crimes of today, and the future John Hedtke, Catherine Rambo, Michael Ehart, Randal Schwartz
12:00PM-1:00PM Salmon "The Marketing of Historical Fiction" - Does it only sell as romance and mainstream? How might historical fiction be made appealing to a broader audience? Michael Ehart, M.K. Hobson, Jean M. Auel, Joan McCarty

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Congratulations to David R. Montgomery!

David R. Montgomery has been awarded the MacArthur "Genius" Grant, moving him into a very limited club, the club of MacArthur recipients I have met, which has a membership of two. (The other was the late Octavia Butler).
Shaharazahd and I met Montgomery at a Conservation District conference. His presentation was based on his book Dirt, and was so compelling we bought a copy. Hi thesis is simple: the history of nearly any civilization is told in its soil. This was especially interesting to me in that I write fantasy set near the Bronze Age Collapse, an event still little understood by historians. It was the world'sm fisrt known dark age, and the economic, political and social collapse was unparalled since. Entire civilizations vanished overnight, and cities that had been occupied for hundreds of years were abandoned and never resettled.

Montgomery's book gave me a lot to think about, and some of his ideas may end up incorporated in future "Servant" stories.

At any rate, congratulations, David! Your book is pretty cool, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"The Death of Number 23" to Arkham Tales.

My WWI submarine boogie story has sold to Arkham Tales, a new magazine of weird fiction. I am thrilled to be a part of this project!
Their first issue will be in November; no word yet on when my story will appear.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"As From His Lair, the Wild Beast"

The latest Servant story is done and off to crit. My live crit group is starting up again after summer hiatus, just in time.
The new story has Ninshi and Miri fleeing the soldiers of the Temple of Ishtar, and a quite large beastie as part of the plot. 6500 words, a little shorter than I have been writing lately, but it was still good to be finished.
Next up, a promised novella that has them traveling to Illium to sort through the wreckage of the recently destroyed city, with some unusual allies along the way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back in the saddle

Finally got most of the real world issues pushed out of the way for a bit, and getting some words in a row. A few hundred yesterday, on a new Servant story for an anthology. More today, I think and back to full throttle by the weekend. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Has it been a month?

Wow! I don't think it has ever been this long between posts! I have been very busy, still writing, but sidetracked by putting in a hot tub, studying for a cert test, and just life in general.
I'll do better, promise. In a couple of weeks I should be caught up enough to at least pretend to post here :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Signing at Powells

When? 7 PM, Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
Commemorate Independence Day with a salute to all heroes!
Celebrate the holiday with a family event!
Come en masse in a rousing show of support!
What? Return of the Sword Multi-Author Event: Read, Talk, & Sign
Listen to exciting renditions of great heroic adventure!
Learn what it takes to become part of such an elite corps of authors!
Line-up to get the signatures of winning writers!
Where? Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR
Just west of Portland, Oregon
Who? In ToC order:
Jeff Draper "The Battle of Raven Kill"
Michael Ehart "To Destroy All Flesh"
Nathan Meyer "The Hand that Holds the Crown"
Allen B. Lloyd "An Uneasy Truce in Ulam-Bator"
and I have it on good authority that the spirit of Harold Lamb "Red Hands" will also be there
Bring the kids! Take the spouse!

Get your copies of RotS signed by 4 of the authors!

What, no book!?

Order your books NOW to ensure their timely arrival!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Il s'agit sans doute d'une des plus belles créations de la sword and sorcery moderne."

High praise from over the water from

Cette fois ci je vais vous parler de Michael Ehart. Cet auteur préside au destinée d'une série de sword and sorcery qui comprend une petite dizaine de nouvelles. Cette série "la servante de la Manthychore" a pour cadre la Mésopotamie antique à l'époque des royaumes sumeriens et akkadiens. Son héroïne a été maudite par la Mathychore et condamnée à l'immortalité elle doit nourrir le monstre semi divin en lui procurant des corps et des âmes (généralement corrompues, les âmes, je veux dire). Le plus cher désir de Ninshi l'héroïne est d'être délivrée de sa malédiction et de retrouver son bien aimé qui est lui aussi affligé de la même charge. Au cours de ses pérégrinations, Ninshi fait la connaissance d'une jeune esclave Miri qu'elle va affranchir et adopter. Six des nouvelles de cette série ont été réunie en reccueil dont quatre précédemment publiées par le webzine Sword Review. Mais Ehart continue a conter les aventures de son héroïne notamment dans les colonnes de Flashing Swords ainsi que dans divers magazine small press. Bien que n'ayant lu que quelques unes de ces histoires, je souhaite que très prochainement un éditeur français s'y intéresse. Il s'agit sans doute d'une des plus belles créations de la sword and sorcery moderne. Michael Moorcock ne s'y est d'ailleurs pas trompé. Ehart est un de ses chouchous du moment.

My best babel fish assisted lousy translation:

"I will speak to you about Michael Ehart. This author governs the destiny of a series of sword and sorcery which includes ten short stories. This series “The Maidservant of the Manthychore” has as a framework ancient Mésopotamia at the time of the kingdoms of the Sumeriens and Akkadians. Its heroine was cursed by the Manthychore and condemned to immortality, she must feed the semi-divine monster by getting bodies and hearts to him (generally corrupted, the hearts, I want to say).
The dearest desire of Ninshi, the heroine, is to be freed of its curse and to find her lover who is also cursed. During her travels, Ninshi meets a young slave girl, Miri, whom she will frees and adopts.
Six tales of this series were joined together in order including four previously published by the webzine Sword Review. But Ehart continues to tell the adventures of its heroine, in particular in Flashing Swords and in various similar magazines. Although having read only some of these stories, I wish that very soon a French editor might be interested in it. It is undoubtedly one of most beautiful creations of the modern sword and sorcery. Michael Moorcock was not mistaken there. Ehart is one of the pets of the moment."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Love for "Jermaish the King" at the Fix

Very kind words indeed from Chris Butler in his review of issue #10 of Flashing Swords:

There is a school of thought that says that the best story in any collection should be placed as the next to last. I’m not sure I agree with this as it seems to me to be leaving it far too late, but certainly “The First Trial of Jermaish the King” by Michael Ehart is a real treat and one of the best here.

Ninshi and her adoptive daughter, Miri, are requested to travel to the aid of King Jermaish. Ninshi has a fearsome reputation, the truth to it being “much grimmer than even the songs.” She has lived forty lifetimes and has “been taken in bondage by a dreadful monster, which every few moons compelled her to lure men into the desert and kill them for it to feed upon.” Nevertheless, it seems that there is some history between Ninshi and Jermaish, and so she will help him in his time of need.

On arrival at the city of Ikizepe, Ninshi and Miri learn that a terrible killing force is loose in the city. Any woman who has not given birth to a child is at risk of being viciously killed. Ninshi formulates a plan to discover the killer or killers. The trail has twists and turns, a terrific fight with a genuinely scary creature (no stock werewolves or zombies here), and a convincing motivation for the killings. This is excellent work by Ehart, with memorable characters and sure-footed plotting. It is a murder mystery, of course. But also a terrific fantasy adventure.

The entire issue is good reading, and with Flashing Swords it is important to remember that the print version is only available for a limited time, so scoot over and get yours!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Without Napier" illustrated for interview

My story "Without Napier" was so well recieved that EDF interviewed me. The interview is here:

Many of our readers singled out Michael Ehart’s Without Napier as one of the best stories that we’ve published so far, and sent it soaring up EDF’s “Top Stories” list. Not surprisingly, the story placed as April’s most-read story. Michael graciously agreed to be interviewed, and we’ve included it below.

They also commissioned an outstanding illustration from Lindsay Joy. I have to say, it perfectly captures the feel of Yardi's grief and puzzlement at his change in position with the death of Napier. Once again, I am blessed by an artist who captures exactly the right moment and mood of a story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Like a duck

Sometimes when it seems like nothing is happening on the suface, my little web feet are paddling like mad. Tons of things going on and coming up, including one of my personal career goals, a signing at Powell's Books in Beaverton on July 1st at 7PM with fellow RotS writers Allen Lloyd, Jeff Draper and Nathan Meyer.
Here's the map:

Also, sometime in the next few days an interview at Every Day Fiction. I'll link that when it is up, but my story "Without Napier" was the most viewed of the month, and your votes pushed it into the top 25 list there. If you haven't read it, give it a peek!
And even more good stuff to announce later in the month!

Friday, May 02, 2008

"The First Trial of Jermaish the King" up at Flashing Swords

Flashing Swords #10 is up. Some really good fiction this time, including another "Servant" story--- "The First Trial of Jermaish the King" --- Those who have read the book know all about Jermaish. It's funny, I get more mail about him than any onther character except Ninshi and Miri. I suspect there are a great many women who have known a man like Jermaish, and strangely most of the letters and emails have encouraged me to put him in another story and then kill him off.
Wel, then, Jermaish is back...

Great review of Return of the Sword at the Fix

Some very kind words from Janice Clark :

Ninshi does not enjoy killing, but she does what she must and is very good at it. One would expect, given the nature of her servitude, that she would by now have grown bitter and cynical. Yet she shows far more compassion than the priests, who will do nothing to aid another if there’s no profit in it for them. Ehart likes to weave biblical references into his stories—besides the references to Noah and the Ark, I see a hint of the parable of the Good Samaritan in this one. Nicely done.

Thanks for the kind words, Janice!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just Back from the Nebulas

and boy are my arms tired.

I am worn out, but I will have a full report in a day or so.

In the meantime some highlights were:

The incredible thunderstorm Friday night, viewed through the 15 story glass lobby of the Omni hotel in Austin.

A two-hour BS session with Joe R. Lansdale and others in the bar.

Mike Moorcock's speech, about the struggle through the years to make SF/Fantasy respectible--- his line about the mainstream critics thinking SF geeks had slide-rules for genitals had people falling out of chairs.

Doing the live blog, an honor I have had before but still is a great thrill.

Looking down during the live blog at the entree in front of me to find a 2 pound slab of steak--- Texas, baby, Texas.

Spending a very pleasant couple of private hours chatting with Mike and Linda Moorcock in their room just after he arrived, about mutual friends and shared interests, and complaining about the restaurants in our respective home-towns.

And after the ceremony helping Joe Landsdale clear a path through the crowd so Mike and Linda could get his wheelchair through, rear guard provided by John Picacio. We made our way to the largest table in the room, and sat to chat. To my left was John Picacio, with Boxcar Sanford and Kirryn Eis-- two of Michael's friends next to him, and then across the table from me Mike. Sanford is a musician and all-around good guy and Kirryn is a high-risk armed body guard-- a real-life woman of action. To my right was Joe Lansdale's daughter, a blond stunner whose impending marriage is the source of great wailing and gnashing of teeth by heart-broken young men throughout Texas, and next to her Joe. We were soon joined by Walter Jon Williams, and shortly by Michael Chabon. At this point I realized that no one would ever believe me when I told them who I was talking about writing with (believe me, I was not doing a lot of talking, there was far too much accumulated wisdom at that table for me to waste a moment doing anything but listening---) I told John Picacio that I felt like the world was a tuxedo and I was a pair of brown shoes, and at that moment a compact fellow wearing a black leather hat appeared to congratulate Mike and shake hands all around. Steven Brust was a bonus for all, as he seldom appears at such events, and was the final straw. I kept my James Bond cool, but it was a near thing :)

Breakfast lunch and dinners with many old friends and a few new ones--- Vera Nazarian, Lee Martindale, Peter Heck, Jane Jewell, Robin Baily, John Moore, Elisabeth Moon, Diane Turnchek, Sean Fodera, a very funny conversation about boxed wine labling with Joe Haldeman, and a crowd of others to be named later when I am less beat-up.

Keith has the first few photos up at North American, here:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Join the Nebula Awards live chat with Michael Ehart and Lee Martindale this Saturday!

Just like being there, only not as good!
Join hosts Michael Ehart and Lee Martindale as they preside over the live chat of the 2008 Nebula Awards. Chat room opens Saturday April 26th at 6:30PM Central near the cash bar and continues through the finish of the awards ceremony at 10:00 PM.
Martindale and Ehart hosted a similar chat at the 2005 Nebula Awards in Chicago, and though demand has been high, this has been the first opportunity to reprise what many people felt was the very finest and most entertaining live major writing awards chat that evening, anywhere on the web.
Cheer as your favorite author takes home the lucite!
Cry as Michael Moorcock's lifestory is inaccurately recalled!
Gasp at our description of this year's version of.... the Dress!

Just go to and upload the chat engine--- just takes a second and you too can enjoy the 2008 Nebula Award ceremony--- in your underwear if you like. We promise we won't tell!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ghost of Nebulas past

Mike Resnick is a very approachable guy. He saved my life once--- I was 13 and trapped with my mother and two younger sisters for the summer in a unkown town with no friends and miles and miles from the library. I walked to the corner grocer, who had a small paperback rack. There, under a stack of romance novels and westerns, right on the bottom row, was a fly-specked and shop-worn copy of "Goddess of Ganymede"--- I plunked down my 35 cents, and dashed home, hiding from my mother as best I could the lurid cover. I read it at least six times that summer.
When I told this story to Mike, he cried "I was only 16! It was a pastiche!" a reaction driven, no doubt by stern demands for an explaination for such derivitive stuff. Well, his career survived, and thanks to the slim, derivitive volume written by a 16 year old, so did I :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Bloodshed and pathos, my friends."

Kind words from Wes Lambert:

“To Destroy All Flesh,” by Michael Ehart: Further compelling adventures of Ninshi, from The Servant of the Manthycore. If you like heroic fantasy—and I’m assuming you do, if you’re giving this review the time of day—then I highly recommend Mr. Ehart’s book. Bloodshed and pathos, my friends.

Oh, and a review of the rest of Return of the Sword here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"To Destroy All Flesh" gets some love

Very kind review from Brian Hitchcock of "To Destroy All Flesh" from The Return of the Sword:

This story has a lot of humanity in it. That's the best word for it. From the agonizing deaths to the moral question at its core, this story looks at the human costs of the magic, mayhem and pure human malice that make up heroic fiction. The hero, Ninshi, is Ehart's titular hero from the novel Servant of the Manthycore. In this tale, a group of mountain bandits stand between her and the herb she must have to free herself from the Manthycore's arcane shackles.

Thank you Brian!

Everything you were afraid to know about Michael Ehart...

R. Schuyler Devin was kind enough to ask a few questions and post my answers as a part of his 6 Sided Q&A--- the entire interview is here.

He has kind things to say about my book, too, so give him a hit and check it out!

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Memorable Characters" up at The Book Connection

As a part of the promo for Return of the Sword, The Book Connection has posted a small article I wrote on Creating Memorable Characters--

Most new writers understand this, but many make the mistake of confusing a character with a bunch of character traits. Deciding that your detective walks with a limp, has a deep southern accent, has a peculiar scar on his forehead and drives a 1957 Vovlo sedan does not make him real to the reader. That might be a start, but unless there are real reasons for each of these things, they will remain what they are; a bunch of random things decided at a whim.

The rest of the article is here.

So where is S&S going? Joining a discussion

If you aren't regularly visiting SFReader, you might want to give them a try. Some very interesting discussions there, from folks at a variety of experience. This topic has been going on for several weeks at my forum there. You might want to take a look---

Its not like an Andy Hardy movie-- "Hey Pablo, let's throw us a new movement! I'm thinking we can call it Cubism... you in?" We can self examine until we disappear into our own navels, but the truth is we all need to be taking chances and thrashing away as we write what we write. For me it means leaving behind many tropes that seem fuzzy. I find it very unlikely that you will see me writing anything with elves, dwarves, half-anythings, Dark Lords, farmboys of destiny, a "noble" nobility, or using the word "mage" or using any setting that seems even vaguely "jolly old England" or some twice removed derivitive.

I want fantasy that kicks my butt, that has me standing in the backyard looking at the stars with tears on my face and my heart thumping, like The Ship of Ishtar did to me when I was 11 years old. I want stories about heroes, who will do what ordinary men wouldn't or couldn't, who do what they must and pay the price, where the last man standing tells the tale of his fallen comrades, and weeps because he failed to join them. I want the moral ambiguity of poor choices and the fight every step since to rectify them or die in the attempt. I want a hero who, like Conan, will grab the girl and let the jewels fall, but curse into his cups every night that follows for the missed treasure. I don't want to read about pure, knighly Elves--- I want Long John Silver with a cutlass in one hand and the other outstretched, asking me as a true shipmate to sign articles and come aboard.

I write fantasy about big, dreadful, human choices, and that is what I want to read. The heroes I want to read about wave as the Farmboy of Destiny rides off to face the Dread Lord of Despair, far away in the Dark Lands, and while FoD is saving the world sleeps with his girlfriend, absconds with Parish Library fund, and fast-talks his way into the Bandits Local 410 and, after stealing an election via 2 slit throats and a stuffed ballot-box, becomes the Bandit Cheif in time to lead them to save the village from the marauding Huns so that FoD has something to come back and look down upon.
Or through greed and ignorance, give up any chance of happiness and instead wanders bitterly looking only for hope or an end to pain, blighted and alone, until some small thing allows them to find redemption, not for themselves but for others, in some small way.

The difference between King and the spatterpunks was that King forgot to make it hurt. Same for the Cyberpunks--- Gibson remembered that the real thing that unites us is not wonder or hope, but the universality of shared tragedy. It has to hurt, somewhere. Your characters must need to be at a point where some true human pain is revealed, and through that examination of the human condition, some answer given, while acknowledging the fact that when the story is done, there was a price paid by the characters as well as the reader.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Without Napier" in top 25 at EDF

Check it out! And thanks to everyone who read, commented, or voted!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"Without Napier" up at Every Day Fiction

I had so much fun writing this French Noir pastiche. Please check it out, I think you'll like it!

More Nebula photos from the dawn of time

This scruffy looking guy was allowed a shot as MC that year--- I remember him writing a comic book or something--- he seemed harmless enough. I hope he manages to find some sort of success as a writer.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

More Nebulas past

Here are a couple of guys who are both great to hang out with, and as you can see they have been hitting the caffiene pretty hard. Mike Moscoe Shepard had a short that was up for the Neb that year--- I see Mike around a lot, and often share panels with him. He is a fixture of NW conventions, and just an all around great guy to hang out with. His Kris Longknife stories just keep getting better and better.

Gardner Dozois is another great conversationalist. Gardner sent me one of my favorite rejections, over 20 years ago. It was so kind, and so careful that it made me re-read the story and I realized that if I were to send this out to other editors, I would be blighting my writing career for decades to come. I drove a stake through the blamed things heart, and buried it at midnight at a crossroads wreathed in garlic.

Gardner has never bought a story from me, I am guessing just on the basis of that one dreadful piece of writing I sent him, even though I have fixed his computer for him a few times.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Counting Down to the Nebulas

I am thrilled to be going to this years Nebulas in Austin--- especially since Michael Moorcock, who was kind enough to write the foreword to The Servant of the Manthycore is being honored as Grandmaster--- plus my good friend Lee Martindale may very well be a presenter and we are reprising our stint from 2005 as official Live Bloggers of the ceremony, plus Vera Nazarian, who was kind enogh to write a blurb for Servant is up for a well-deserved Nebula award.

In celebration I am posting some photos of the last Nebulas I attended, in 2005. I'd post from the year before, in Seattle, but I can't find the photos :)

Let's start with my favorite, me with Janis Ian and Anne McCaffery. Anne was being honored as GM that year.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kind words from Jeff Draper about "To Destroy All Flesh"

Thanks, Jeff!

This is the story I was really looking forward to and it definitely does not disappoint’ve just got to love the props in this one. Doesn’t everyone have a huge ancient boat just laying about the place?

Full review here:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Nice words about The Servant of the Manthycore from the Harrow

Thanks, Dru!

Servant of the Manthycore is an accessible and intelligently written heroic fantasy that is inevitably reminiscent of Conan's adventures through Cimmeria, but with a darker edge and more appealing protagonist. Ninshi is a Cain damned for love rather than envy. With luck, we'll read more of her adventures elsewhere.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Only His Name" at EDF; Wall Street Journal really likes them---

How often do you get to praise the Wall Street Journal?

Check out my story today at Every Day Fiction:
The publisher, Jordan Lapp, took a chance on a boxing story, remembering that many of the great writers, pulp and otherwise, wrote 'em. Now, as I am best known as a fantasy writer, this was a double chance on his part. Comment is greatly appreciated!

Lapp's willingness to think outside the standard model has produced a very enjoyable format for flash fiction--- every day a new 1000 word or less piece is dropped into your inbox. I often read the day's story over my morning coffee.

The Wall Street Journal thought it was a good idea, too:

Every Day Fiction features a new short story every 24 hours. The first line from a recent entry: "A woman sat in a brown cubicle, unplugged. She went to get coffee from the lunchroom. When she took out the milk from the refrigerator, the milk bottle spoke."

So, now and then they get it right :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Servant story to Flashing Swords

I just returned signed contracts for "The First Trial of Jermaish the King" to Flashing Swords. For those of you who have read the book, this will be a return to a character that gets me more fan mail than any other, excepting only Miri and Ninshi. Most of the mail is from women who sadly a) know or have known a man just like Jermaish, and b) want to know when I am going to write another story with him in it, and kill him off.
Ahhh, romance! Well, the good news is that at least a) has happened, and you will be able to read the story May 1st.
As for b)... well that would be telling, wouldn't it?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Get ya red-hot con report here!

I am numb, bloated, mildly hung-over, my feet hurt, and my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton. All the hallmarks of a successful con! It started out great and just went uphill from there.

Full report here: NorWesCon

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Norwescon Itinerary

The Inverted Fantasy Hero Thursday 9:00 p.m. Cascade 4
Panel discussion about turning "bad" character types and monsters into sympathetic protagonists and why we still love anti-heroes.

Mario Acevedo (M), Michael Ehart, Christopher Konker, John Picacio

Everybody Kills Somebody, Sometime Friday 11:00 a.m. Evergreen 2
What are the rules for traumatizing, maiming, and killing fictional characters believably? Learn the gentle arts of fictional murder from the experts.

Michael Montoure (M), Michael Ehart, Pat MacEwen, James H. Cobb

Die Laughing Horror's Not Funny! Or is it? Friday 4:00 p.m. Cascade 6
How do authors like Christopher Moore make things that ought to gross you out give you the giggles? What's the trick to making Horror hilarious?--come and find out.

Michael Ehart (M), Mark Henry, Richelle Mead

Non-Western Mythologies--Inspiration from Other Places Friday 5:00 p.m. Evergreen 2
Western mythology and legend have had a long-lasting effect on Fantasy/Horror, but they aren't the only game in town. Native American, Asian, African, and other myths, legends and folktales are also great fantasy fodder. Get in on a discussion of some alternative sources to spice up your Fantasy / Horror.

Kevin Radthorne (M), Leah Cutter, Michael Ehart, Alma Alexander

Stealing Time: Utilizing Historical Fact and Research in Fantasy and Alternate History Friday 6:00 p.m. Evergreen 1
Panel discussion on gathering and using real history, family lore, and regional eccentricity to enrich Fantasy including Alternate History, Urban Fantasy, and Gothic Horror.

Kat Richardson (M), Leah Cutter, Michael Ehart, Rhiannon Held

Curtain Up: Speculative Fiction Onstage Saturday 9:00 a.m. Cascade 10
With the current trend away from realistic theater toward big spectacle productions, SF/F is a natural fit for new dramatic material. There are certain rewards and challenges of staging speculative fiction, and we will discuss the degree to which the source material must be altered for the new medium, the demands of writing for the stage, andd fiction that utilizes theatrical conventions.

Lisa Mantchev (M), Michael Ehart, Richard Stephens, Craig English

Reading: Michael Ehart Saturday 10:00 a.m. Cascade 3
The Servant of the Manthycore
Michael Ehart

Autograph Session 2 Saturday Noon Evergreen 1 & 2

Short Fiction Markets Saturday 1:00 p.m. Cascade 9
Print vs. electronic, pro vs. semi-pro: who's publishing short fiction and what's the best market for your story?

Marti McKenna (M), M.K. Hobson, Michael Ehart, Lisa Mantchev, Karl Johanson

Heroine's Journey Saturday 2:00 p.m. Cascade 5
Is the Heroine's Journey different from that of the Hero? A discussion of the differences in Male and Female Heroes and how they effect plot and character development.

Mike Shepherd Moscoe (M), Michael Ehart, Rhiannon Held, Alma Alexander

No, Really, That Makes Sense! Saturday 4:00 p.m. Cascade 8
Our distinguished panel of experts explains why certain widely-seen SF and fantasy elements that seem absurd actually have legitimate explanations. Come hear why it makes sense for barbarian sword babes to wear chain-mail bikinis, why computers on starships never crash or lock up with indecipherable error messages, and why male scientists in SF are always really good looking guys who are irresistible to brilliant, beautiful women.

Michael Ehart (M), Kat Richardson, David Nasset, Sr.

Crossing Gender Lines Saturday 7:00 p.m. Cascade 6

Discussion of the pitfalls and pleasures of writing characters who aren't of your gender and of writing to appeal across gender lines. From the tough to the tender get in on some hot cross-gender discussion about why a heroine ain't just a hero in a dress, nor is a sensitive hero a girl with different plumbing.

Michael Ehart (M), Mark Henry, Gordon Van Gelder, Mary Rosenblum

I Just Sold My First Story/Novel! Whoopee! Sunday 2:00 p.m. Cascade 5

So what happens next? Come and listen to a few that were touched by the pixie dust. You might be surprised ... and forewarned.

Michael Ehart (M), Lisa Mantchev, Richelle Mead

See you there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

They're Not What They Seem: Tales of mimcry and deception

They're Not What They Seem: Tales of mimcry and deception--- just heard from Janrae Frank who is doing her first anthology in over 10 years. She has kindly agreed to use "An Exorcism Striaght, Hold the Elvis", which was the first Joe Denfar story.
I am very excited, as I have always felt that Joe's premier outing deserved to be available in print form.
I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Return of the Sword Arrives!

Return of the Sword arrives!
Return of the Sword

An Anthology of Heroic Adventure
$16.50 plus shipping

Return of the Sword is a brand new anthology of blood-pounding, spine-tingling stories by some of fantasy's most critically acclaimed Sword and Sorcery authors.

Stacey Berg, Bill Ward, Phil Emery, Jeff Draper, Nicholas Ian Hawkins, David Pitchford, Ty Johnston, Jeff Stewart, Angeline Hawkes, Robert Rhodes, E.E. Knight, James Enge, Michael Ehart, Thomas M. MacKay, Christopher Heath, Nathan Meyer, S.C. Bryce, Allen B. Lloyd, William Clunie, Steve Goble, Bruce Durham, and Harold Lamb present you with enough fast paced adventure to keep you reading for hours.

A hand painted, wrap around cover by fantasy artist Johnney Perkins ensures that Return of the Sword will not only be enjoyable to read, but also look good on your coffee table or bookshelf.

Too long have the halls of fantasy been dominated by packs of weak-kneed elves hunting goblins and doughty dwarves mining for gold. Return now to the days of true adventure. Unsheath your sword and enter if you dare!

The First Trial of Jermaish the King finished and off to crit.

A new Servant of the Manthycore story. This one kicked my butt; I was trying to do a couple of complex things with it, and I am not certain it worked.
I am hoping the complexity and ambiguity in the emotional through-line comes across as deep and insightful rather than muddy and unclear.
For those who have read my book, a favorite annoying twit returns--- and I finally used the results of the sword-naming posts from nearly a year back.

Monday, March 03, 2008

People who like my book get Nebula Awards

Or a least get nominated:)
Congratulations to Vera Nazarian for her nomination for Best Short Story "The Story of Love" and of course to Michael Moorcock, who is being honored as Grand Master!
Both were kind enough to write very nice things about The Servant of the Manthycore, Vera wrote a killer blurb, and Mike wrote the foreword, which is almost embarassingly positive.
Write nice things about my book >>> get recognized by SFWA. Coincidence? You be the judge!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Million Writers Award

I was pleased to learn that my story "Stand, Stand, Shall They Cry" was nominated for the Million Writers Award--- "Stand", which appeared in Flashing Swords #8 was 5th place finisher in this year's Preditors and Editors Poll.
If it makes the final ballot, there will be a chance to vote--- I will certainly keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kind things said at Powell's

So many people have been saying such nice things about The Servant of the Manthycore. This is from Powell's:

I started reading the Servant of the Manthycore series on The Sword Review site. I found it to be well researched historical fantasy. The characterizations, atmosphere, and action combine to make one feel they are actually experiencing life in ancient Mesopotamia... a vivid fantasy that lives and breathes.

Terry Weide, author of Dream of Power, Dream of Glory

Thanks, Terry!

Folks on Amazon with kind words...

So far it has been all good...

M. Pizzo
"...Ehart pulls from a known world (expertly and factually), and while it's far enough removed from our own to solidly qualify as fantasy, it freed him to create a fascinating heroine and story. I like my characters morally ambivalent...people who do what they know they gotta do -- but suffer exquisitely and privately for their conviction. The Servant is that and more. She is a warrior woman hell-bent, literally, yet utterly sympathetic. (Buffy who?!) This book is fast-paced, terrifically-written, and character-driven - and it is both heart-breaking and optimistic. Buy it today - you won't put it down until you're done with it."

Nathan E. Meyer
"Michael Ehart... weaves a cast of complex, vividly drawn characters in morally difficult situations against a well crafted historical/mythos backdrop and then proceeds full speed with his story.

Adventure, battle, the eternal power of love, betrayal, ambiguous decisions by courageous characters. I can't give this book enough praise."

Jeff Draper
"The stories that make up the narrative arc are... filled with good guys and bad guys and fighting and blood and magic. There's just nothing not to like.

...what really attracts me to this story is the main character and the weight of betrayal that she carries around for many, many years. Ehart masterfully weaves her through her paces and combines longing sadness with grim determination. She is a character that reveals both the good and the evil that men do."

More kind words

A very nice review of The Servant of the Manthycore on Book Book:

...the manthycore holds her childhood love captive. as the monster feeds, she always asks to see the vision of her lover, radiant and young, as she remembers him. altho ninshi has not aged, she is scarred by the countless fights she has endured, older from the weight of the curse she has beared for so many centuries.

it is her "daughter" miri, a slave girl ninshi purchased on a whim, who allows us to see the soft side of our heroine. it is through miri we piece together more of ninshi's stories. ehart does a fine job in his prose, evoking the feeling and setting of the time.

Thanks, Cyn!

Friday, February 15, 2008

RadCon today---see you there!

Itinerary for Ehart, Michael
Panel Start Panel End Panel Title

Panel Location Panel Description
Moderator in Bold

Sat Feb 16 4:00:pm Sat Feb 16 5:00:pm Small Press
Cobalt What is small press? Who publishes? What can you expect? Why small press is putting out the best Science Fiction in the industry.
Ehart, Michael Eudaly, Rhonda Kenyon, Kay Slinski, Beth Swenson, Patrick

Sat Feb 16 1:00:pm Sat Feb 16 2:00:pm Special Abilities: What is the price of Power?
Garnet So your character has special abilities, magic, super strong, fast, or what ever. What is the cost? How to keep real without writing a Greek tragedy.
Ehart, Michael Fredericks, Deborah Helfers, John Louve, Rhiannon McGalliard, Julie Morgan, Christine

Sat Feb 16 11:00:am Sat Feb 16 1:00:pm Lunch as a Book Signing
Bronze The Barnes and Noble Book Signing. Barnes and Noble join with the Northwest’s finest authors and provide you a two hour window to track down the greatest writers and make them sign your books. Bring the stacks, the piles, everything you have at once.
yyAlexander, Alma Radford, Irene Lake, Jay Taylor, Bruce Bonham, Maggie Ehart, Michael Cherryh, Carolyn Turtledove, Dr. Harry yyBob Brown yyBarr, Donna yyBriggs, Patricia yyCooper, Brenda Fredericks, Deborah Helfers, John Kenyon, Kay Levine, David R.

Sat Feb 16 9:00:am Sat Feb 16 10:00:am Swords and Their Friends
Harvest A Hands on discussion of swords, armor, and related handheld weapons. Geared twoards the writer, collector, reenactors, gamers, and general enthusiasts. I'll bring mine and so should you.
McWatters, Mike Farley, Mike Radford, Irene Ehart, Michael

Sat Feb 16 12:00:am Sat Feb 16 1:00:am Midnight Horror Reading
Cobalt Come and hear the Best Horror Writers in the Northwest read their short Horror at Midnight, Friday the 15th.
Morgan, Christine Ehart, Michael Lake, Jay Eudaly, Rhonda McGalliard, Julie White, Lori

Fri Feb 15 4:00:pm Fri Feb 15 5:00:pm Computer Security
Harvest So computer hacking is done by bored kids with nothing better to do right? WRONG! The world of computer security has changed dramatically in the last five years. Come and join in a discussion lead by Dr. Carol Taylor, EWU Professor in Computer Science and Mark Rounds Instructor and PhD Candidate in Computer Science about the realities of cyberscape.
Ehart, Michael Levine, David R. Taylor, Carol

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Without Napier" to EDF

Just got an acceptance for my French hard-boiled noir story "Without Napier" from EDF. I really enjoyed writing this pastiche of the French detective stories of the 50's and 60's. I'll keep you posted as to when it will appear.
If you are not already a subscriber, get on over there. Every Day Fiction has become a part of my morning ritual--- a new story appears in my inbox each morning, and I read it over my first cup of coffee. best of all? It is free.

Friday, February 08, 2008

#13 in Epic fantasy!

Oh, how I love Canada! Slipped to #19 at this writing, but peaked today at #13 on Amazon Canada!

Sic transit gloria Amazonia

Just had pointed out to me that The Servant of the Manthycore is #55 in the Dark Fantasy catagory on Amazon Canada. When I announced this at work a co-worker opined that I had clearly captured the entire dark fantasy readership of Canada, all 2 of them.
Anyway, basking in the small and temporary glory!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

February's First Sale!

Just heard from Camille and Jordan at EDF. They have decided to go with my boxing story "Only His Name." It was great fun to write, and I am thrilled to have another story with them.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Michael Moorcock's kind words

While it seems that I have shouted it from every digital rooftop, it has been pointed out that not everyone knows or realizes that Michael Moorcock, the legendary dfantasy writer, creator of Elric and many other classic characters, was kind enough to write a foreword for The Servant of the Manthycore.
For those of you who have not yet read the book, here is a teaser--- Mr. Moorcock's foreword:

In the fine tradition of Mary Renault, Henry Treece, Thomas Burnett Swann or Rex Warner, Michael Ehart has given us an outstanding story of the ancient world. This is a narrative concerning the fantastic unlike most books published today as fantasy fiction. It resonates with the authenticity of genuine myth, bringing a deep, true sense of the past; a conviction which does not borrow from genre but mines our profoundest dreams and memories; the kind which give birth to myths. As Ehart's protagonist, the beautifully realized warrior woman sometimes known as Ninshi, tells us "Songs all end up right. Life does not." Yet, as she demonstrates, it is part of the human condition that we are forever striving to make things end up like the songs.

This novel demonstrates the difference between a good folk tale, a genre story and an enduring myth. The genre story usually dodges the facts of genuine tragedy while the myth, or the story which retains the quality of myth, does not.

Michael Ehart's story of dark bloodshed, torment and betrayal invokes the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia, of Ur and Babylon, set against landscapes we all now know so well from our nightly news bulletins. These are the places where our oldest mythologies began and where our youngest ones are now being created. He provides us with telling images as well as some tremendous descriptions, none more so than the terrifying monster of the title.

This is a grim and gripping tale appealing to all of us who grew up fascinated by our Indo-European heritage, by Fraser's Golden Bough or Graves's White Goddess, by Zoroaster and the Epic of Gilgamesh or tales of the Minotaur, even Beowulf and The Green Knight.

This book is a thoroughly engaging page-turner. It's a very long time since I read a fantastic tale as good as this. Michael Ehart is an impressive talent.
-- Michael Moorcock

Now you know why I was walking on air when I received this!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

P&E Final Results

Thanks to all who voted for me. The Servant of the Manthycore finished 16th, which amazed me as it was out for six weeks in 2007. Even more amazing was this:

Flashing Swords had one issue, and "Stand, Stand Shall They Cry" was in it--- FS finished 9th in magazines, and "Stand" was number five.

Thanks to all who voted for me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New flash to EDF

As part of a conversation a few weeks ago, someone commented that flash and pulp were incompatable, and I disagreed. To prove my point, I promised Jordan Lapp at Every Day Fiction that I would send him at least three classic pulp styled stories, each less than a thousand words. The first was a French Noir detective story, and tonight I sent him the second, a boxing story "Only His Name" --- I think the third one will be a sword and planet pastiche that has been stewing in the far reaches of my imagination. We shall see...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Manthycore update

I started tonight on the first little bit of a new Servant of the Manthycore tale, with the working title of "The First Trial of Jermaish the King"--- yes, everyone's favorite loutish young king is back, with a problem that only Ninshi can fix.

The story is in direct following sequence to "To Destroy All Flesh" which will be appearing very soon in the "Return of the Sword" anthology coming from Flashing Swords Press. I am extremely excited about being in this anthology, as its TOC reads like a Who's Who in upcoming fantasy writers. I am equally excited about the story, for a number of reasons. First, I was able to find some interesting things about the character of Miri, and her changing perception of her terrifying adopted mother. As she grows, her reactions to Ninshi change, and I am finding that perspective very rewarding to explore. Second, the story did some things that I have been slowly working toward with the stories from the start, stylistic things that I have been groping at and have slowing been able to find.

This might be a good place to discuss those stylistic things. For quite a while, the Fantasy genre has been dominated by Jordan-like Tolkien derivatives, massive tomes of castle drama chunked into 500 page doses. I have no problem with that, because of course for the longest time that has been what sold best, but I think that it also has ghettoized an already fairly isolated genre even further. That people read less is not in question, but the fact that Harry Potter openings had to have security guards and Dan Brown's dreadful piece of hackwork sold more copies in five years than Catcher in the Rye has in 40 tells me that people will still buy books, if you give them a fantasy that they actually want to read.

Now, if I knew the secret to what that actually might be, a lot more than the 80 or so people a week who read this blog would be tuning in. But I do know what I'd like to see, what I have spent money on the last 40+ years of my reading life, and a part of that is what drives me to write what I write, in the fashion that I do.

Fantasy has been dominated by the Brits, with even the most American of writers writing Brit tropes, in imitation of Brit writers. I am an American, and while I love me some Tolkien, I also have a taste for American pulp fiction.

It would be ridiculously pretentious of me to say that I really know what I'm doing here, but what I'm trying to do is write Fantasy in a distinctly American voice, with American sensibilities and expectations. I have some thoughts for myself that may be useful for someone else who may have had that nagging little desire to write something different, but hasn't quite figured out what. Not saying anyone else needs to follow Michael's ideas, but they might give you something to think about.

1. As much as I appreciate the term Sword and Sorcery, I'm not certain it applies anymore. To most people it means bad Conan rip-offs on late night TV and Xena the Warrior Princess. Originally it applied to some pretty gritty stuff, including Howard's original Conan, Lieber's anti-heroes Fafred and the Grey Mouser, and Moorcock's very dark Elric stories. These were not written for kids, they were hard-core pulpy works of sock-you-in-the-eye fiction. I'm not certain what we should be calling it, but it is probably time for a re-branding.

2. With that re-branding should come a re-thinking. The genre came from the pulps. They were adventure stories, some with historical basis, many without. In fact, many were closer to westerns or hard-boiled detective stories than the high fantasy of the multi-volume doorstop type. I had a critic call one of my stories "Castle Noir", which I thought was pretty cool. I am thinking that good heroic fantasy might do well to forget the anglophile Tolkien tropes, character types and the whole idea of "races" and concentrate on mood, character, plot and atmosphere rather than the too-often seen half-elf on a quest to partner up with a dragon-rider and a trusty wood ranger.

3. So for this post, I'm going to call the stuff I have been trying to write "Hard-Boiled Fantasy", because those distinctive American forms of the Hard-Boiled Detective and the film noir feeling of failed moral choice and struggle for redemption has guided some of the best, or at least most enjoyable reading and movie-going I have experienced, from High Noon and Shane to The Maltese Falcon and the Long-Legged Fly.

There will be more of this, as I can work it out. As I said, I am groping toward something here, something that I hope will make what I write better for me as the writer and more interesting and alive to you as the reader. I may be miles off base here, but that problem is self-correcting: if people stop buying my stuff or writing me to tell me they like it, then I will know.

In the mean time, feel free to tell me what YOU think in the comments.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time to do some site work

Clearly, as some things are out of date, and some things just not there. I need to update the publication page, add a page for appearances, and certainly add a page just for The Servant of the Manthycore. The "Read me in 2007" column needs to be archived, and maybe that should be the format for the publication page, going by date rather than catagory.
As always, squeezing out the time is the problem. Any suggestions or things you would like to see? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Preditor and Editors Poll

I have been honored again this year with nominations in the annual Preditors and Editors poll, one for Best Novel for Servant of the Manthycore, and for Best SF/F Short Story, "Stand, Stand Shall They Cry" which appeared in Flashing Swords.
I am once again shameless--- if you haven't already read them, please do so, and if you liked them, please vote for them!
The link is here:
Voting ends the 15th of this month.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

This year's first sub

There was a very stimulating conversation over at sfreader a few days back about the basic incompatability of pulp styles and flash. The arguement went that pulp in all its forms was character driven and the constraints of the short form wouldn't allow for it.
I disagreed: one of the prime skills of the greatest of pulp writers, including Lester Dent, Louis L'amour, and even later pulpsters like Stephen King is the ability to create a believable, real-seeming character in just two or three lines.
So I gave it a shot. I went for the pupliest of pulp styles, the French hard-boiled crime story. I set the story in Marsielles in 1960, with an aging thug protagonist lurking through the shadows like Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless.
999 words to finish under a thousand, and off to Every Day Fiction. I really had fun writing this noirish pastiche, "After Napier" and I am excited to see what the folks there think of it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Reminder

If you haven't checked it out, Residential Aliens has an anthology. One of the cool things about ezines is the free sample aspect. I have several times discovered some very good stuff by reading the ezine behind the anthology. Gives you a great idea of the editors taste before shelling out for the book form. The anthology is here, and from the reading I have done on the site, the anthology looks like a winner.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rustycon 25 Schedule

Rustycon 25 is next weekend, locally. Light schedule, but some fun stuff, and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the GoH, so we will be harassing her as much as possible:

Itinerary for Ehart, Michael
Moderator in Bold

Sun Jan 13 1:00:pm Sun Jan 13 2:00:pm Christian Fandom
Yestler Boardroom Join others of like mind to discuss Christian Fandom.
Michael Ehart Mir Plemmons J. Spyder Isaacson Janice Clark

Sat Jan 12 8:00:pm Sat Jan 12 9:00:pm Autograph Session With Michael Ehart
Yestler Boardroom Authors & Artists gather to sign their works for you
Michael Ehart

Sat Jan 12 1:00:pm Sat Jan 12 2:00:pm The Joys of Research
Beacon Hill Room - West How much detail is enough to sound credible without bogging down the story. How to avoid "facts" that are irrelevant or inaccurate. How to become an instant expert in time to meet an editorial deadline. How to know that your research is not full of BS because your source (the internet) might have been written by so many idiots?
Jesse Brocksmith Michael Ehart Irene Radford & P.R. Frost Ted Butler Kevin Radthorne Andrew Nisbet

Fri Jan 11 11:00:pm Sat Jan 12 12:30:am Midnight Horror Reading
Yestler Boardroom Bring your favorite horror stories and read them with the group. Share those bloody, gory, nasty moments!
Michael Ehart Douglas Cooper Julie Hoverson

Fri Jan 11 4:00:pm Fri Jan 11 5:00:pm Characters are People Too
Queen Anne -TOP What small details, idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, or foibles have helped bring this or that r protagonists and antagonists to life in books you’ve written ... read? (And what writer isn’t glad that their characters can’t take them to court for intentional cruelty.).
Michael Ehart Julie Hoverson Janice Clark Cynthia Ward Rob Vagle

Their website is here:

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


A new year, and plenty to look forward to! Sales of The Servant of the Manthycore are strong, I have stories in at least 2 anthologies coming out soon, as well as a story in a magazine, so I am starting out the year with a handicap of 3 :) I had 14 stories appear in print in 2007-- perhaps I will exceed that in 2008.

Tons of conventions coming up, starting the weekend of the 11th with RustyCon, where my pal Elizabeth Ann Scarborough will be Guest of Honor, then one a month until summer. We are planning on the Nebulas in Austin in April, with a visit planned with Michael Moorcock while we are there.

The plan is to finish the second Manthycore book, The Tears of Ishtar, by mid-year. I will keep you posted on that, too.

Please have a wonderful 2008, will you? Prosperity, peace and publication to all!