Pen Names, Genre, and Demographics

Pen Names, Genre, and Demographics

What’s in a name?

I’ve written under two names for years now, and yesterday I decided to add one more to my growing stable (my version of Pokemon Go!). As many do, I started writing under my own name, first for magazine articles back in the 90’s. Years later I decided to write a book on pre-Christian Northern European culture and present day manifestations (Northern Lore). That book was written under my pen name Eoghan Odinsson.

Eoghan is simply the Gaelic form of Hugh, and Odinsson is a tribute to Odin, god of knowledge and wisdom (and madnesss – yikes!) Most of my non-fiction is written under that name.

Genres and Demographics

So why did I do this? Mainly to tell readers what they could expect from my work, to differentiate the genres and demographics.

Genre is the type of story being told – Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, etc. Demographics, or Market segments, describe the structure of the population – usually referring to age groups.

Books for younger readers tend to be grouped by age regardless of the type of story. e.g. Early Readers, Chapter Books, Young Adult (YA). Each of those demographics could have stories about pirates, ghosts, spaceships, or family situations. As we get older, our reading preferences become more defined and we (arguably) benefit from having genre based groupings.

YA is the most prominent example of how genre and demographics can be blurred. Many adults prefer YA focused stories because they can have less overt sexual content, less profanity, etc. Not always.

People buying a historical romance are less likely to read a science fiction book by the same author – unless you’re a big name like Diana Gabaldon. Not that she’s written SF, but she is a scientist by training, so it could happen! (Paging Ms. Gabaldon!)

My son used to love R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Would you shop for a book on physics or gender studies by Mr. Stine? Not likely. Though he is a talented man.

With a pen-name that reflects your target audience, readers come to know what to expect of your writing. Why do we like McDonalds? Because we know what to expect.

The Real Slim Shady

My literary identities are as follows: (with Facebook links)

  • Hugh B. Long (The original me) – my default name for journalism and all fiction to date.
  • Eoghan Odinsson – For my non-fiction dealing with pre-Christian history, culture, and mythology.
  • Hugh MacGregor – my newest pen name which I plan to use for Fantasy projects.
  • Hugh North – in reserve. I had planned to use it for modern Thrillers (and yes, I have a draft thriller written!)

All of my pen names and internet domains will point back to this website for simplicity.

Writers at work

Writers at work

Some pics of writers who have inspired me, doing their thing.

And the winner is … The United Kingdom!

And the winner is … The United Kingdom!

The UK sweeps my Goodreads Giveaway! (whoops)

Following last week’s Oscar mixup, Goodreads sent me the list of winners for my giveaway for 10 copies of Abhuman: Resistance. As I glanced down the list I was somewhat surprised to see so many UK winners. Then I realized all 10 winners were from the UK? What?

My mistake. Somehow, when I added the UK to my list of countries for the giveaway, I must have deselected other countries. So the UK cleans up this round!

In the spirit of fairness, I will immediately sponsor a new giveaway for the USA & Canada starting tomorrow, March 7’th 2017

Sorry for the glitch!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Abhuman by Hugh B. Long

Abhuman

by Hugh B. Long

Giveaway ends April 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Hand of God – Frank Miller meets The OA

Hand of God – Frank Miller meets The OA

Wow. Another great show from Amazon. I just watched The Man in the High Castle last week, but back to Hand of God. After the first episode, I was sure someone had thrown Frank Miller in a blender with The OA.

The visceral in perfect harmony with the cerebral.

 

Red Shirts One – A Star Wars Story

Red Shirts One – A Star Wars Story

Redshirts One: A Star Wars Story

I just got home from seeing Rogue One. Not a bad movie, nor was it the epic new format that would crush all previous
versions (imho). I liked it. I prefer dark, more gritty movies and tv–generally speaking. The Battlestar Galactica (BSG) re-boot is one of my all-time favorites, along with Stargate Universe, both of which presented darker versions of the shows pervious incarnations. This movie spinoff is clearly aimed at a different slice of the moviegoer demographic.

I thought the casting was superb and the acting flawless. I did feel that they first half wandered a bit slowly, and perhaps murkily for me. I saw it in 3D which was a mixed bag – made it slightly harder to see the early parts that were quite dark, but when the battles in space popped up – damn! Those were spectacular. I plan to see it in 2D as well though.

My only disappointment (SPOILERS!!!!!), is that the ENTIRE team dies. Yeah yeah, price of freedom, blah blah. Dramatic ending, yada yada. Missed opportunity I say. Sure, the ending was poignant, but as a fanboy, I’d rather look forward to more side-stories set in the Star Wars Universe. What? Those characters weren’t in the future movies? Of course not, but that isn’t to say they don’t have important and interesting side quests. I mean, come on … even George R.R. Martin didn’t kill the whole fracking Stark clan! (well, not in one season anyhow – LOL). I felt like I was watching an episode of Star Trek with all Red Shirts, hence this post.

Great movie.

Go see it.

BUT, here is the “Honest Movie Poster”

Author Hugh B. Long versus Stormtroopers
Red Shirts One - A Star Wars Story

Honest Movie Poster?

Love Star Wars? Check out these books:

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Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Here’s a short scene I may add to Abhuman: Revelation. I wanted to explore what it might feel like to be stalked at night, in the comfort of your own bed–normally a sanctuary.


They always came at night.

When you were still and warm and peaceful. Your heart making a tiny patter, your feet warm, and your head heavy. That’s when they came. That’s when it happened.

The commotion in the hallway woke Cheska. Ngome City was as still as the vacuum of space during the night cycle. Even essential workers, who’s jobs demanded odd working hours, made every effort to glide through the city like silent ghosts.

Someone began yelling. “No!”

That’s what had disturbed Cheska’s slumber. Then loud thumps, hard crashes, and the sharp rapport of objects breaking.

Her heart, which had been barely beating a few seconds ago, now pounded in her chest. She wanted to sit up, to look around. But she was terrified, because she knew exactly what was happening.

Yesterday Wei Lu had been sentenced to the Core for being a deviant (a death sentence), but the Covenant didn’t stop there. When a deviant was discovered, they expunged all living consanguineal relations—all family members up to, what people used to know as, great grandparents. But in Covenant society one never knew their direct biological contributors; each child was carefully crafted in-vitro, their progenitors chosen from the optimal genetic match within the 10,000 or so meticulously curated residents of Ngome City.

And that was the terrifying part about someone being sentenced to the Core—you never knew if you might be next. The convict could be a direct relation. Then the next night, after they were sentenced, designated members of the community would sneak through the city, extracting and extinguishing all consanguineal relations.

It was for the good of her people—she knew that. Still …

Cheska heard powerful sobbing outside the door to their quarters. She kept her head pressed hard to her pillow, forcing herself not to look up. She pulled the blankets over her eyes and tried to conjure up the most recent qvid she’d gone to experience with her best friend, Azara. Dolphins. She imagined their rough skin and playful chirping. She longed to see a real one someday, but she didn’t think their gene bank had samples to seed Krijese with. Not that she would ever see them, even if they had the samples from Earth. It would be centuries before Krijese had oceans capable of sustaining large aquatic life.

Loud voices, more sobbing. The sounds were growing more distant—it was done. Whomever had been related to Wei Lu was now heading to the Core. At least their end would be swift.

Why didn’t The Covenant adopt a more humane process for dealing with deviants? After all, they now grew their protein in vats; partly in deference to the suffering of animals, but also for efficiency’s sake. Couldn’t they reform these deviants? It seemed wasteful to her, but then, Cheska was only fifteen. She supposed there was a lot she had to learn.

She also had everything to lose if they discovered her secret—she was one of them.

Long blends fantasy and science fiction into an exciting read. This is The Chrysalids by Wyndham on steroids!

Amazon Reviewer

"... a splendid beginning to an intriguing new series"

Diana L. Driver

Author

Interesting character, riveting plot, and intriguing ideas make "Abhuman" a great read

Amazon Reviewer

Abhuman: Revelation

The Verdant Dream - Part  1

 
I think, therefore I am. They were wrong.
Cheska lives in Ngome, a glistening domed-city orbiting the planet Krijese. Her people are hard at work terraforming the planet below, making a new home for themselves. Life is good. Life is safe.

 

Unless you’re Abhuman.

In Covenant society, genetic mutation carries a death sentence. But Cheska has done a good job hiding her powers.

Until now.

Cheska begins having the most vivid waking dreams of a handsome boy named Taro. She feels unnaturally connected to him. Distracted by these visions, she accidentally uses her powers in public. Now exposed as Abhuman, Cheska is forced to flee her home.

Taro tells her in a waking dream, that somewhere on the planet is a safe-haven for Abhumans, called Sanctuary. But when her stolen shuttle crashes, she’s forced to limp across a devastated planet.

When she finally meets the resistance, they explain everything:

She is not who she thinks she is.

She is not what she thinks she is.

And, she is supposed to save them all.

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The Covenant

A YA / Sci-Fi Series

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Yule Lads?

Yule Lads?

The Icelandic Yule Lads

You can learn all about the Yule Lads on Wikipedia

The Yuletide-lads, Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Their number has varied over time, but currently there are considered to be thirteen.[1] They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children on window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes,[2] depending on the child’s behaviour throughout the year.

History and origins

The Yuletide-lads originate from Icelandic folklore.[3] Early on their number and depictions varied greatly depending on location, with each individual Lad ranging from a mere prankster[4] to a homicidal monster who eats children.[5]

In 1932, the poem "Jólasveinarnir" was published as a part of the popular poetry book Jólin Koma ("Christmas Is Coming") by Icelandic poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum. The poem reintroduced Icelandic society to Icelandic Yuletide folklore and established what is now considered the canonical thirteen Yuletide-lads, their personalities and connection to other folkloric characters.[6][clarification needed]

The Yuletide-lads were originally portrayed as being mischievous, or even criminal, pranksters who would steal from, or otherwise harass the population (at the time mostly rural farmers).[7] They all had descriptive names that conveyed their modus operandi.

The Yuletide-lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Grýla and Leppalúði. They would trek from the mountains to scare[8] Icelandic children who misbehaved before Christmas. Additionally, the Yuletide-lads are often depicted with the Yule Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who do not receive new clothes for Christmas.

Modern depictions

Yule lads lighting a Christmas tree in Akureyri

In modern times the Yuletide-lads have been depicted as taking on a more benevolent role[9] comparable to Santa Claus and other related figures. They are occasionally depicted as wearing late medieval style Icelandic clothing[10] (only in some books and decorations), but are otherwise generally shown wearing the costume traditionally worn by Santa Claus.

List of Yuletide-lads

The Yuletide-lads are said to "come to town" during the last 13 nights before Christmas. Below are the 'official' thirteen Yuletide-lads in the order they arrive (and depart).

Names in English are based on Hallberg Hallmundsson's translation of the poem.[11]

Icelandic Name English translation Description Arrival Departure
Stekkjarstaur Sheep-Cote Clod Harasses sheep, but is impaired by his stiff peg-legs. 12 December 25 December
Giljagaur Gully Gawk Hides in gullies, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal milk. 13 December 26 December
Stúfur Stubby Abnormally short. Steals pans to eat the crust left on them. 14 December 27 December
Þvörusleikir Spoon-Licker Steals Þvörur (a type of a wooden spoon with a long handle – I. þvara) to lick. Is extremely thin due to malnutrition. 15 December 28 December
Pottaskefill Pot-Scraper Steals leftovers from pots. 16 December 29 December
Askasleikir Bowl-Licker Hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their "askur" (a type of bowl with a lid used instead of dishes), which he then steals. 17 December 30 December
Hurðaskellir Door-Slammer Likes to slam doors, especially during the night. 18 December 31 December
Skyrgámur Skyr-Gobbler A Yule Lad with an affinity for skyr. 19 December 1 January
Bjúgnakrækir Sausage-Swiper Would hide in the rafters and snatch sausages that were being smoked. 20 December 2 January
Gluggagægir Window-Peeper A snoop who would look through windows in search of things to steal. 21 December 3 January
Gáttaþefur Doorway-Sniffer Has an abnormally large nose and an acute sense of smell which he uses to locate laufabrauð. 22 December 4 January
Ketkrókur Meat-Hook Uses a hook to steal meat. 23 December 5 January
Kertasníkir Candle-Stealer Follows children in order to steal their candles (which in those days were made of tallow and thus edible). 24 December 6 January

See also

References

  1. ^ Celebrating Christmas with 13 trolls Retrieved 1 June 2013
  2. ^ Bad Santas Retrieved 1 June 2013
  3. ^ Eve Online Introduces the “Yule Lads” Retrieved 1 June 2013
  4. ^ The Yule Lads Retrieved 1 June 2013
  5. ^ Forgotten Yule Lads and Lasses Retrieved 1 June 2013
  6. ^ "Best places to spend Christmas". Retrieved 1 June 2013
  7. ^ "The Yule Lads: Friends or Foes?" Retrieved 1 June 2013
  8. ^ "Bogeymen: Five scary visitors in the night". BBC News. Retrieved 1 June 2013
  9. ^ Top 10 places to spend your 2010 Christmas Retrieved 1 June 2013
  10. ^ Yule lads: Peoria woman’s family surprises her with Icelandic folklore Retrieved 1 June 2013
  11. ^ "Hallberg Hallmundson's translation of 'Jólasveinarnir' by Jóhannes úr Kötlum". Jóhannes úr Kötlum, skáld þjóðarinnar. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 

External links

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Etymology of Gallifrey?

Etymology of Gallifrey?

I got this Merriam Webster word of the day this morning and had en epiphany: Could we all be TImelords? Just saying … 😉

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Abhuman Cover Tweaks

Abhuman Cover Tweaks

 

GREE EYES

BLACK EYES

 

 

Which version of the cover do you prefer?
All About The Covenant

All About The Covenant

What The Covenant is all about

“Star Wars and X-men meet The 100”

Star Wars and X-men meet The 100

That’s exactly the kind of story I set out to tell. It had to be like Star Wars, sweeping, nothing less than pan-galactic. Rich in history and lore, and deeply layered. I wanted the incredible, and semi-plausible, powers, such as found in the x-men series. No super, ultra powerful mutants who can kill nations with a puff. I liked the idea of powers though: telepathy, enhanced strength, speed, healing. There are lots of “powers” that we can actually tap into with current science, and if we extend that vector out a century, so much innovation is likely. Finally, I wanted the depth of character that had me spellbound in The 100, by Kass Morgan (Books and TV).

I suppose you could call this series: Warring Galactic Mutants with Feeling?

NOTE ON POWERS: What you’ll notice in Book 2, is that I start to explain a bit about how Abhumans power their powers, or fuel the fire. We have the energy in our bodies to do astonishing things — it’s all in the calories. Let me know what you think of that system.

Why These Story Arcs?

Why am I writing this series? To tell a story, of course. But who’s? At first, the book was supposed to be a straightforward Science Fiction story, told equally from the points of view (POV) of a teenage boy and girl. It was their story, their yin and yang. But as I wrote, the focus of the story changed. I’d never believed this kind of thing happened – where characters would really start to assert themselves and take you in places you didn’t intend to go, but it does–it did. And so the story became about three incredible women [Cheska, Delfina, & Madchen] and the challenges they struggle to overthrow an evil theocracy. It became a story about their intertwined roles as daughter and mother, hero and villain, or mentor and protege. And not to worry, there’s lots of action gluing it all together.

I’m also going to explore a few serious subjects in these stories. Philosophical, such as free-will and morality. But also more serious, and immediate issues, such depression. Do we think a hero does all this stuff, and his emotional state is perfectly balanced? I highly doubt it. So I’m going to explore what I think might happen to heroes who’ve had to much thrust upon them.

Real People

“Real people? I thought you wrote fiction?” Yeah, I do. But I want you to feel like the story people in my books are alive–like they have needs, wants, desires–real lives. To that end, I always start character building with a picture. I start by borrowing an actor’s photo for a quick mental sketch–that nails down hair, features, height, weight, etc. In order to share my characters with you visually, I commissioned a series of character sketches, see below. Then of course I do the normal writerly things, like make sure they have lots of problems.

Click the image to see the full list of major characters.

Aoratos Resistance

Intergalactic Dictionaries

I admit it, I use a lot of strange words in my fiction. I borrow shamelessly from dozens of languages. One thing a few people have asked for over the years, is a pronunciation guide. And so, I put one together for The Covenant series.

Here’s Abhuman as an example:

Some also wanted a quick guide to the various Abhumans – what types of powers they have, etc. I haven’t gone into great depth, you’ll have to read the books to experience the real terror that is The Covenant.

The Covenant Series Structure & Philosophy

How am I structuring this series? Great question! Abhuman started as novella that was well received by Beta readers back in 2015, and I began working it into a larger, full-length novel. But I ran into personal health issues etc, and the project got delayed. This summer (2016) I decided to continue the project, but to write more frequent installments–going back to the novella format.

These are NOT short stories- the first novella is around 37,000 words long. 50,000 is where novel territory begins. This is a similar strategy employed by many authors testing a new series – such as Wool (The Silo Saga) by Hugh Howey.

At an average of around 175 pages, these novellas are about the same size as “novels” that I used to read as a Young Adult (12-18). These days, novels have gotten fat. No two ways around it. 50k words used to be a solid novel. Now 120k+ is the norm, depending on genre.

My plan is to have three novellas represent one larger “cycle”. The first, is called the Abhuman Cycle, consisting of Books 1 to 3 in The Covenant series. Once all three novellas are in print, I’ll issue an Omnibus edition, collecting all three novellas into one larger book. That way folks can collect the smaller novellas (each with unique and stunning cover art), or buy the Omnibus edition.

  1. Abhuman Cycle (Omnibus)
    1. Abhuman: Revelation (The Covenant – Book 1)
    2. Abhuman: Resistance (The Covenant – Book 2) (Q3 2016)
    3. Abhuman: Redemption (The Covenant – Book 3) (Q1 2017)
  2. Metahuman Cycle (Omnibus) – coming next year
    1. Metahuman: TBD (The Covenant – Book 4)
    2. Metahuman: TBD (The Covenant – Book 5)
    3. Metahuman: TBD (The Covenant – Book 6)

My tentative plan is to finish the Metahuman Cycle in 2017, then see how you folks are enjoying the series. I have truck-loads of ideas for future installments, so if you love it, tell me! Heck, tell everyone! 😉

That’s about all my news for now.


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Alternate Cover for Abhuman: Revelation

Alternate Cover for Abhuman: Revelation

Revised Cover

I was tinkering with a more fantastical feel. Something that evoked Cheska’s innocence, yet captured the darkness she would embrace. This cover is NOT in print (yet).

Here’s the background alone

Learn More


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Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding

World-Building in general

Most of us have seen meme’s where the depth of a movie’s content is compared to that of a book. Usually the movie is depicted as the bit of the iceberg above water, and the book, the portion beneath the waves. But there is a third layer – world-building. That’s the massive portion of the work.

Some writers take little notice of world building before hand, and just make it up as they go. Others go the the extreme of crafting detailed worlds long before they ever write a word.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I like to feel comfortable enough with the surroundings that I can describe most areas. In addition to the setting portion of world-building, there are also the politics, religion, inter-personal interconnections. As a reader, you may never see any of that. But we, as writers, should be well acquainted with those details: a person behaves based on what he’s experienced or done before. Build a solid frame and your house will stand a century. The same is true for works of fiction. That’s not to say world-building is the be-all and end-all, but it’s important, especially for works of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Here’s my take on the literary iceberg:

Hugh's Literary Iceberg

Hugh’s Literary Iceberg


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Abhuman: Resistance – Call for Beta Readers

Abhuman: Resistance – Call for Beta Readers

workflowCall for Beta Readers

It’s that time again! I have the next book in The Covenant series ready for Beta Readers.

WHY?

You get to tell me what you like, what you don’t like, or what you’d like to see happen differently. I listen to my readers.

COST?

$0, Nada, Zip. It costs you nothing. I’ll send you a FREE copy in the format of your choice (PDF, ePUB, Kindle)

BENEFIT?

In addition to early access to the story, you’ll also get entered into a draw for a $25 Amazon gift Card

WHEN?

I’m hoping to get all feedback returned and collected by Jan 15’th 2017. Then I’ll draw winner for the gift card.

HOW?

  1. DOWNLOAD THE BOOK: http://bit.ly/2hbAOI7 (zip file has PDF, ePub, and Kindle versions)
  2. Make some Notes
  3. E-mail me your thoughts on the book (beta@hughblong.com)
  4. I’ll enter you for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 

Abhuman: Resistance

Pre-Order Available

Abhuman: Resistance (The Covenant – Book 2)

Cheska has the power to save them all, but only if she can save herself first.

She may be the most powerful Abhuman every born, with the power to bend space & time. Most fear her. A few seek to control her. Her powers pale compared to the evil theocracy that has enslaved her people.

Genetically engineered to emerge within the enslaved human population, Cheska is haunted by the terrible responsibility thrust upon her. Now that her powers have fully manifested, new memories emerge, and surging emotions threaten to tear her apart.

She never asked for this. Never wanted this. The resistance say that she is their salvation, that only she has the power to fulfill the prophecy and deliver them all from slavery. But she’s already lost almost everything, and they want to take even more?

When the resistance receive a distress call from Cheska’s mother, still up on their cityship in orbit, Cheska demands to be on the rescue team. If she has the power to save her people, then she’s determined to start with her mother.

Betrayed, she makes a harrowing journey through a planetary superstorm, only to find her people already doomed.


She has one shot to save them all, but at what price?

real-book-01


WHAT? You haven’t read the first book? Shame on you! Kidding 🙂 Grab a copy of Book 1 here:

Abhuman: Revelation (The Covenant – Book 1)

abhuman1

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