Laurel Anne Hill Meets “Women of Wonder” (Laurel’s Schedule at BayCon 2015)

Written by Laurel on May 19th, 2015

Laurel Anne Hill

Laurel Anne Hill

Hi everyone!  I’m looking forward to BayCon ( this coming weekend (May 22-24). The theme this year is “Women of Wonder.” Here’s my official schedule:

 1. Themed Reading: Women’s Work on Friday (5/22) at 3:00 PM in Stevens Creek.  (Amy Sterling Casil, Marie Brennan, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and Laurel Anne Hill)  In honor of the Bicentennial of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, hear authors read from stories about women that have jobs in a STEM (science, technical, engineering, and math) field.

2. Horror Addicts Panel and Celebration of Horror Addicts Guide to Life Friday (5/22) 8:30 PM in Stevens Creek.

3. Research: How and Why on Saturday (5/23) at 2:30 PM in Stevens Creek. (D. M. Atkins, Juliette Wade, Nick Kanas, Laurel Anne Hill, Fred Wiehe (M))   Do we really write what we know?

4. Writing Humorous SF/F/H on Saturday (5/23) at 4:00 PM in Lawrence. (Sarah Kuhn, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Griffin Barber, Laurel Anne Hill)  Writing science fiction, fantasy, or horror is hard enough, making it funny adds another level of difficulty. Is there such a thing as comedic timing when the joke is written instead of spoken? How can you tell when you’ve taken a joke too far? The panelists describe some of the pitfalls and provide some tips on writing humorous stories within the SF/F/H genres.

5. Writers’ Workshop on Sunday (5/24) Laurel Anne Hill will serve as a mentor at the Sunday morning writers’ workshop. This is a closed workshop, that is, open only to workshop leaders and those who submitted manuscripts for evaluation.

In between my above assignments, you’ll often be able to find me at the HORROR ADDICTS fan table.

Hope to see some of you there.

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill



Coming to the Big Wow!? Drop by Artist’s Alley to Talk with Laurel Anne Hill

Written by Laurel on April 14th, 2015

Laurel Anne Hill

Laurel Anne Hill

I’ve got a table spot at The Big Wow! this weekend, April 18-19, in the San Jose Convention Center, Artist’s Alley. My table place number is AA722. If you are at the convention, please drop by and say hello. I’m bringing copies of anthologies containing some of my latest works. The book titles are “A Bard Day’s Knight” and “Horror Addicts Guide to Life.”

For more about The Big Wow!, go to:

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill (Author of “Heroes Arise”)


Press Release: “Horror Addicts Guide to Life” Now Available

Written by Laurel on April 3rd, 2015 has just released the Horror Addicts Guide to Life. My contribution to this must-read for horror lovers is “Practicing Safe Satisfaction.” Horror Addicts Guide to Life is available at

The press release is as follows, in jpg, so the links within the file won’t work.

Happy Horror Reading,

Laurel Anne Hill

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Press Release_001


World of Fortannis: A Bard Day’s Knight. Interview with contributing author Jon Cory.

Written by Laurel on March 26th, 2015

Award-winning author Jon Cory

Award-winning author Jon Cory


A Bard Day's Knight, Edited by Michael Ventrella

A Bard Day’s Knight, Edited by Michael Ventrella










I’d like to extend a warm welcome to award-winning author Jon Cory. Both Jon and I have stories in Michael Ventrella’s new anthology: Tales of Fortannis: A Bard Day’s Knight  (Double Dragon Publishing, 2015). “Take Care on the Farfin” is Jon’s third short story in the Tales of Fortannis series.

I first met Jon while attending Charlotte Cook’s writing group. Through the years we’ve become good friends who trust each other’s suggestions about writing stories.

Jon Cory has two fantasy novels published so far: Award-winning A Plague of Scoundrels and Roly’s Relic

A Plague of Scoundrels

A Plague of Scoundrels


Roly's Relic

Roly’s Relic


Jon, how long have you been writing fantasy and what compels you to write in the genre?

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a kid, my mother said it did no good to punish me by making me sit in the corner. I would just turn the chair around and ride off on my imaginary horse into the Wild West, chasing the bad guys.

During my business career I did a lot of systems design where the ability to ask “What if” was a valuable mental process. The same concept applies to writing. The author starts with a plot, character, or situation — then thinks, “what if’,” twisting and turning, adding and subtracting elements to find a compelling story. Fantasy gives me the freedom to expand the definition of “normal.”

I write humorous adventures. My debut novel featured a stand up comedian from San Francisco time traveling back to the time of Seventeenth Century England’s King Charles II.

Why did you decide to write short stories for the World of Fortannis anthologies?

Fortannis in my mind is like a village wherein the various authors have their own houses to create their stories. There is variety and freedom of individual expression within an overall organizational structure. And one that encourages the authors to write their own unique plots and characters. Fortannis is rich in possibilities.

Your World-of-Fortannis characters–particularly Sarlon, Minnow and Mumblepeg–are colorful and engaging. What inspiration led to their creation?

Remember the story of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite? King David wanted him out of the way. He told his army commander to put Uriah in the front of the battle so he would most likely be killed. I always wanted to write a story from the viewpoint of Uriah. “You got to be kidding. Me lead the charge?”

Sarlon is the nephew of King Bellabond. The king wants to get rid of anyone with a claim to the throne so he keeps sending the young knight on impossible missions. I visualized Sarlon as a bad boy sellsword knight who keeps surviving on his wits and charm.

Mumblepeg, the spotted dwarf, is Sarlon’s cantankerous sidekick, and a lot smarter than people think. He is the foil for the young knight’s bold ideas and impulsive actions. The dwarf considers himself as Minnow’s protective uncle.

Minnow is the orphaned wild child of the forest. Her mother was an elf, her father a human. Minnow taught herself magic from an ancient illustrated book. The problem is that she can’t read so her magic is prone to go awry. Minnow’s free spirit and struggles as a teenager appeal to readers.

When you created your World-of-Fortannis pirate characters, how did you avoid creating stereotypes?

By making Le Forge, the red-headed pirate captain, a complex character — a mixture of good and bad. He is a businessman engaged in a dangerous but highly profitable trade. As Sarlon observed, “Things with Le Forge are never as they seem.”

What other works have you written and what are your plans for future stories?

My second novel, Roly’s Relic, was a humorous adventure rather than YA Fantasy. The positive feedback from readers regarding Sarlon, Mumblepeg and Minnow are encouraging me to expand the trio’s adventures into a novel.

Thank you, Jon for being a guest on my blog. I’m looking forward to reading more about Sarlon, Mumblepeg and Minnow, and any other characters you create.

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill (Award-winning author of “Heroes Arise” and over twenty-five published short stories.)


2015 San Mateo County Fair Literary Contests: April 1 Deadline Approaches

Written by Laurel on March 16th, 2015

Are you interested in writing inspiration, fun, contest cash prizes, and publication (even if you don’t win a prize)? Then check out what the San Mateo County Fair has to offer.

The deadline for literary contest entries is April 1, 2015. Minimum age is 16 years old for those entering literary contests in the adult divisions.  For full details, go to REGISTRATION IS ONLINE AND OPEN.

Entries are being accepted from writers inside AND outside of California, $10 per entry.

The literary stage schedule will be posted before June, and will include writing workshops, panels, and writing consultations with professional writers, editors and publishers. All FREE when you purchase your admission ticket to the fair.

Note: The following announcement was posted as a jpg file and the links are not operative:

Single page contest flyer my update_001


Laurel Anne Hill Looks Forward to RadCon 2015

Written by Laurel on January 21st, 2015

I’m so looking forward to the RadCon Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention February 13-15 in Pasco, Washington.  Check out the video/slide show I created at RadCon 2014:

Here’s my schedule at RadCon 2015: 

Fri Feb 13 5:30:pm

Fri Feb 13 6:30:pm

Student Writers: Tips for Growing as a Writer


Our visiting writers and editors give out tips and tricks to our aspiring young writers!If you are a student writer, interested in improving your writing, this is a “must attend” panel!

Alexander, Alma Hill, Laurel Anne Pauli, Frances Slater, Rob


Fri Feb 13 8:00:pm

Fri Feb 13 9:00:pm

Cultural Appropriation


How can you write something you *don’t* know? Come talk with our panelists about writing varied cultures without insulting the members of those cultures.

Bonham, Maggie Hill, Laurel Anne Shawl, Nisi Stern, Renee


Sat Feb 14 5:30:pm

Sat Feb 14 7:30:pm

Writer Workshop and Critique


Join RadCons writers as they share the rules of writing and give constructive feedback on your current work.

Anske, Ksenia Frishberg, Manny Hill, Laurel Anne Kehrli, Keffy Stern, Renee


Sun Feb 15 11:00


Sun Feb 15 12:30:pm

Help! I need an editor!


When is the best time for a starting writer to seek an editor? Are there other acceptable substitutes? Our experts discuss this and other cost saving editing tips.

Bolich, Sue Ellis, John Hill, Laurel Anne McDermott, Will

 Hope to see some of you there.

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill (Author of “Heroes Arise”)


Rolling to Steamtown (The Zany Adventures of Author Laurel Anne Hill in Scranton, PA)

Written by Laurel on December 21st, 2014

The Hill Steampunks

The Hill Steampunks

I faced the downhill grade in front of me and tightened my grip on the back of David’s wheelchair. The clerk at the Lackawanna Station Hotel had recommended THIS STREET for pedestrians headed to Steamtown? Could I even maneuver my husband down this hill without duplicating a comedy cliché?

“Do you think we can make it?” David said. He sounded unsure we’d survive to attend his grand-nephew’s wedding in the Poconos this weekend.

“I’ll lean backwards,” I replied. “That should help.” I’d only need to hoof it one way. Once we finished touring Steamtown, we’d catch a taxi back to the hotel.

If you can get there.

If you can get there.

I played counterweight and inched down the hill, heart thumping and palms sweating. The uneven sidewalks in this part of Scranton sure left a lot to be desired. David and I had always loved to take walks together when we traveled. We couldn’t dance together anymore. Just because a poltergeist now inhabited his knee replacement was no reason to stop all our strolls, too. We reached the base of the incline without me tripping or wetting my pants. Then I steeled myself for the next exercise: crossing the railroad tracks.

Yesteryear's train station is today's hotel.

Yesteryear’s train station is today’s hotel.

 Now, I’ve crossed many a railroad track in my day. The trick is being sure there’s no train coming and, of course, not getting stuck. The “Wheelchair Management 101″ data base program in my brain performed a quick computation. I’d pull David and the chair over the tracks instead of pushing.

“Ready, set, go!” I said.

Except we didn’t go far. We stalled on the tracks. David couldn’t walk and I couldn’t push or pull him. And I heard the horn of a diesel locomotive.

New Jersey Central RR Freight Station

New Jersey Central RR Freight Station

Okay, we were close to Steamtown. They ran tourist excursion trains there. Diesel trains, usually. Not far up these tracks, a closed barrier sat across the rails. The train we heard probably wasn’t headed in our direction. However, the police car rolling by screeched to a halt.

“You can’t go this way,” the policeman shouted.

Tell me about it.

“We’re trying to visit Steamtown.” I put on my best little-old-lady-stuck-in-a-stupid-situation expression. “The hotel people told us to take this route.”

Another diesel horn sounded. The concerned policeman freed David and the wheelchair from the tracks. 

“You’ll have to go back up that hill,” he said. “Go over to the shopping mall. There’s an entrance there.”

“THAT hill?” How the heck would I manage?

“I can’t help you,” he said. “I have to get back to my car.”

I thanked him. I pushed. I pulled. I prayed. A small audience gathered, some people asking to help, others staring like they’d now seen it all. I would have handed out business cards directing them to my author’s website, but I didn’t dare relinquish my grip on David’s chair. I didn’t even dare change drivers, despite offers of assistance. By the time I reached the top of the hill, I sweated like a marathon runner in the Mojave Desert.

The next blocks were flat, if not entirely wheelchair friendly. Passers-by rendered aid at street corners, assuring us we could reach Steamtown through the mall. I checked my little map. The passage from the mall to the historic museum appeared short and straight. Why had the staff at the Lackawanna Station Hotel not directed us this way in the first place?

I found out why when we reached the door to Steamtown in the mall’s food court. The elevated pathway looked like a combination of a roller coaster track and a third-world foot bridge. Plus the Scranton Police Department had recently closed the route for safety purposes.

So much for local police intra-agency communication.

Maybe if I pushed David a few blocks past the mall, we’d find a real entrance to Steamtown. More nice people helped us to navigate more defiant street corners.

“I’m afraid there’s no safe access to Steamtown for a wheelchair,” a kind woman informed me. “Right now you have to drive there.”

Plenty of pork was spent to build the place and no ADA access? By the time we went back to the hotel it would be too late to call a taxi and return here before closing time.

“We made this side trip to Scranton for nothing.” David sighed. He sounded as disappointed as I was.

“Not for nothing,” I replied. “Scranton has a lot of great people and we got to meet some of them.”

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo  Dandy & Bandy Gandy Dancers

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Dandy & Bandy Gandy Dancers

I rested my hand on David’s shoulder. As one, we listened to the horn blasts of locomotives from Steamtown. We watched a train pass in the distance. We took photos of some historic buildings. A warm breeze carried the aromas of diesel and days gone by.

“How about we dance at the wedding reception this weekend?” I said. My brain already calculated a way.




May you encounter wonderful people this holiday season.

Laurel Anne Hill (Award-Winning Author of “Heroes Arise.”)


Meet Laurel Anne Hill’s Character: Juanita, a Heroine of Color. (A “Meet My Character” Blog Tour Posting)

Written by Laurel on August 25th, 2014

Hello everyone. I’m Laurel Anne Hill, award-winning author and former underground storage tank operator.

First, I want to thank Emmy Z. Madrigal  ( for inviting me to join in the fun of this MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR. Emmy has created some imaginative characters. I’m honored to accept the challenge of following her. 

Next, I’ve got a status report. My long-time work-in-progress “spirits meet steampunk” novel chugs toward the birth canal for books. One way or another, my baby’s gestation will end during the next two years. I’ve lived through major rewrites, a progression of titles, and an agent who died. And, still, my main character, Juanita, continues to demand the publication of HER story: The Engine Woman’s Light. Juanita is quite opinionated. I’ll let her speak for herself.

This is NOT the cover of Juanita's story. It's a scene from her vivid imagination.

This is NOT the cover of Juanita’s story. It’s a scene from her vivid imagination.

My name is Juanita Elise Jame-Navarro, and I’m the main character in Laurel Anne Hill’s essentially completed novel: The Engine Woman’s Light. Please note my surname does not acknowledge my father. I don’t know who my natural Papa is or was. My dead family won’t tell me, although I visit them often at the Shadow World’s Portals. My natural Mama gave me away in 1878, shortly after my birth. I bet I would have died — even been murdered — in that asylum for unwanted people, but a kind woman helped me escape the train headed there. Ever since being rescued, I have lived in Promise, a tiny village in the southern Sierra foothills in American North California. The approximate date of my sixteenth birthday approaches. With the blessings of my ancestors and God, I plan to marry Galen, the man I love, when I turn eighteen.

I am fictional yet resent the label. I live on the pages of my story. How dare people suggest I don’t exist? Just wait until I blow up one of those horrible trains used to transport lepers, unwanted babies and other cast-off people to a big workhouse and asylum in British South California. Then you’ll see how real I can be.

Oh, don’t worry, no passengers will be aboard the train I target. Only crew heading to their next pickup location. My foster Papa says killing anyone is wrong. God will stop all the trains to that wretched institution if we have faith. I do agree life is sacred. Yet saving lives requires taking action. (Ask my author how her Mexican great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother took action during the nineteenth-century French invasion of Mexico.)

Besides, I’m a mystic traveler, which is like being a shaman in some ways but not others. I must do as my dead family requests, or I’ll soon end up buried six feet under. And they’ve requested I wreck the biggest steam locomotive that California — North, South and Baja put together — has ever seen.

As you can imagine, my intended attack won’t please American or British authorities. I’m already planning my escape. I’ll need to seek refuge in Mexico after I destroy the train. Maybe I’ll have to walk there. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find an airship willing to give me a ride. I suspect members of my little community (especially Galen) will help me destroy the train and all forty-four of us will go into hiding together. IF we can stay clear of American federalmen, British constables and the nefarious Mendoza family, I think we’ll have a good chance of crossing the Mexican border to safety.

Notice my emphasis on that big fat “if.” I do fret about danger. But, wait. If insurmountable obstacles already lurk to block my path, wouldn’t my ancestors have warned me? Maybe not though. Some of them are a bit forgetful. Hmmm…

While I ponder my potential fate, please go mark your calendars. On September 1, 2014, you’ll have the opportunity of meeting characters created by the six authors listed below. Use the links my author has provided.

And don’t forget to watch for periodic announcements regarding the availability of my own personal story. I’ll make sure my author, Laurel Anne Hill, keeps you posted.

Warmest regards,

Juanita Elise Jame-Navarro
a.k.a., “The Engine Woman”



Sandra Ulbrich Almazan ( Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading when she was three and only stops when she must. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her works include science fiction (Lyon’s Legacy and Twinned Universes) and fantasy (several short stories and the forthcoming Seasons’ Beginnings). She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene, and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

Judith Grout  (www.judithgrout.comDuring my formative career years, my left brain launched me into the fun and fact-filled science of healthcare. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. I wallowed in assorted body fluids using analytical methods such as chemistry, hematology, microbiology (my fav), among others in assorted locations across this great land. The paychecks were regular (although at times Spartan.) But I stuck to the professional grind for 40+ years, accumulated my nest egg, and retired.

Now I’ve started my second career using a liberated right brain, writing, running the gamut from freelancing to fiction. I published my debut novel, Chasing the Strawberry Moon, Hitchhiking (for girls) in February of 2014. Reading it will scratch that itch you’ve had yearning to know more about 1939, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and a looming World War II. Hope to see you in the pages.

F.M. Kahren (fmkahren.blogspot.comF.M. Kahren is the author of Brand Loyalty, his debut novel and Matt Rommel’s first adventure and Beyond the Law, Matt Rommel’s second adventure. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English, Dr. Kahren also has a masters and doctorate in business administration from the University of North Dakota and Golden Gate University respectively. He has published a number of technical articles for industry journals and is the author of Strategic Planning: The Practices of PCS Companies and the Academic Literature. In addition to serving as a Minuteman missile crew commander and missile operations staff officer, Dr. Kahren has worked extensively in the telecommunications and rail transportation industries. The latter experience allowed him to perform a number of studies in Latin America regarding privatized rail concessions for prospective concessionaires. As he sums it up: “I’ve had some interesting jobs, been fortunate in my friends and family, and managed to educate myself. I’ve traveled the miles and read the books. Now, I want to bring interesting stories to people and entertain them. The Matt Rommel adventures are just such stories. On the lighter side, he was awarded a “Dishonorable Mention” for Vile Puns in the 2007 Bulwer-Lytton contest, a venue in which the purple prose is deliberate. He lives with his family in Northern California.

L. Jagi Lamplighter ( L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of the YA fantasy: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. She is also the author of the Prospero’s Daughter series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained. She has published numerous articles on Japanese animation and appears in several short story anthologies, including Best Of Dreams Of Decadence, No Longer Dreams, Coliseum Morpheuon, Bad-Ass Faeries Anthologies (where she is also an assistant editor) and the Science Fiction Book Club’s Don’t Open This Book.

When not writing, she switches to her secret identity as wife and stay-home mom in Centreville, VA, where she lives with her dashing husband, author John C. Wright, and their four darling children, Orville, Ping-Ping Eve, Roland Wilbur, and Justinian Oberon.

Her website is: 
Her blog is at:
On Twitter: @lampwright4
Read the first four chapters of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin for free: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin on Amazon:

Lauren Rhodes  (
Loren Rhoads is the co-author of the novel As Above, So Below (with Brian Thomas), solo author of the memoir Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. Two of her stories about Lorelei the succubus have been published in the anthologies Sins of the Sirens and Demon Lovers.

Denise Verrico  ( Denise Verrico is a New Jersey native, who grew up in Pennsylvania. She is the author of the Immortyl Revolution urban fantasy series soon to be reissued by Crazy Duck Press. Denise is a roller coaster fanatic and lives in Ohio with her husband, son and flock of spoiled parrots.


100 AUTHORS Event on September 20, 2014: Dr. Joy DeGruy will speak. Award-Winning authors Laurel Anne Hill and Beth Barany to give workshops

Written by Laurel on August 21st, 2014

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Come to the “100 Authors” event on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 725 Monte Diablo Avenue in San Mateo, California.

Dr. Joy DeGruy ( will speak about post traumatic slave syndrome. Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society.

Award-winning authors

Laurel Anne Hill

Laurel Anne Hill: Fantasy is about more than just Harry Potter (10-11 or 12; 12-2)

Laurel Anne Hill ( and

Beth Barany

Beth Barany: Creativity Coaching for Writers

Beth Barany ( will present workshops. Laurel will show off her steampunk outfit and cookie press. Many authors will sell their books and read. Watch this website for more information about the schedule.

Admission is free to the public. Donations will be accepted to help cover the costs of the center’s annual youth writing contests. Call (650) 344-8690 to sign up to sell and read from your books. 

100_Authors_-__2014 (2)_001 70 percent


Author Day Book Signing on June 14 at the San Mateo County Fair

Written by Laurel on June 1st, 2014

At the 2014 San Mateo County Fair, thirty-one local authors will gather near the Literary Arts Stage in Expo Hall to sell and sign their books on June 14, 2-4 p.m. Here’s a great opportunity to support local authors and your own reading habit. Plus you might even find a perfect gift for a friend.

Authors present will include Beth Barany, Ezra Barany, Rita Beach, Jacqueline Berger, Karen Blake, Loretta Breuning, Michael P. Burwen, Kalamu Chaché, Robert M. Davis, Darlene Frank, Valerie Estelle Frankel, Caroline Goodwin, Rain Graves, James Hanna, Holly Harman, Laurel Anne Hill, Michele Jessen, Marjorie Bicknell Johnson, Audrey Kalman, Ellaraine Lockie, C. Sanford Lowe, F.M. Kahren, Claire Mack, Arlene Miller, Elise Frances Miller, Sue Oksanen, J.L. Powers, Emerian Rich, Sandra Saidak, Sumiko Saulson and David T. Wolf.

To learn more about these talented local authors and poets, go to