27 January 2013

A Bold Re-Introduction (not for faint-of-heart)

It's rather odd, I know. Here it is the first month of the first year of the rest of our lives and few readers really know who I am. Especially if they are landing here for the first time. Recently I have been challenged to re-introduce myself, so it seems that before this first month ends it would be a good thing to do. Please bear with me.

The Blog Title

I've dabbled with blogs a couple times before this one, but when I told myself "This time for sure!" I decided to use it to promote my science-fiction trilogy THE DREAM LAND, for which I had high hopes of finding a publisher. That hasn't happened yet, unfortunately. Even so, that's where the title of this blog originates.

In the "Dream Land" two high school sweethearts discover a doorway to another world. As the story proceeds, the major event is the rise of the Empire of Sekuate and the subsequent wars the empire initiates. Deconstructing the rise of the empire and its domination of the planet seemed a suitable topic of research, requiring hours and hours of interdimensional travel.

Of course, since then, I've used this blog to promote other books, write about writing, complain about this or that, offer laments and cheers, and let the world know when I've been lax in writing on my blog.

Who am I? What do I do?

Stephen Swartz is the name and, past pseudonyms aside, I am what you see you get. I'm an English teacher by day, novelist by night. I've always been writing, it seems, starting with attempt to emulate my favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock and others. I think I have some clever, interesting "what-if" ideas and have been trying to put them into books all my life.

As I went through my education and started "real life" in the wonderful world of work (fast food, libraries, musician, National Guard, TV station, IRS, editor, teacher), I gravitated to "adult" literature, that is, contemporary literary works and well-known classics of literature. I spent some time in Japan as an English teacher and, returning to the US, I entered graduate school to become a certified English professor. Mostly I loaded up on writing workshops and independent studies in which I wrote poetry and fiction. Eventually, however, I had to switch gears and write a dissertation--a project which, ironically, turned me back to fiction writing.

In an MFA program, my thesis was a literary novel, an "anti-romance" where opposites attract yet struggle to stay together (things don't work out in the end; if they did, I could call it straight Romance). That novel, with years of tweaking, has been queried around and been entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition in 2011 and again (with more revision) in 2013. Once it's kicked out this time, A BEAUTIFUL CHILL will be standing on street corners begging for handouts.

The Future

I pledge to continue this blog until they pry the keyboard out of my cold, dead fingers. Or until Blogger crashes, whichever happens first.

Meanwhile, I suppose I'll continue teaching writing and gain some satisfaction from seeing my semesterly charges improve their skills. I will also continue writing for myself. I'm required to finish the third book of THE DREAM LAND trilogy or I'll have to strike the word 'trilogy' from the trilogy. I'm also engaged promoting my "test" novel, AFTER ILIUM, a sexy action-adventure tale set in modern Turkey.

Back in the 80s, I was on a streak and cranked out three novels: THE LAST SONG (futuristic sci-fi), YEAR OF THE TIGER (adventure/magical realism), and AIKO (love story set in Japan). Now I feel obligated to "punch them up" to make them publishable. I also have several new novel ideas waiting on the shelf--the biggest tome I've been saving as my retirement project, if that day ever arrives (currently exists as a Tolkien-sized screenplay).

So, if any of this makes sense and/or you are intrigued beyond words, then let me suggest you click on over to the JOIN button. Or join via Google+. 

I do not get too political or socially/culturally offensive, though I may occasionally border on sarcastic overload. I seldom act provocatively or insensitively (outside my novels, that is). I usually respond to comments, criticism, complains, and grammar errors.

In fact, if you have any questions about grammar and syntax, ask away! I also have some background in psycholinguistics and linguistics in general--which helps when it comes time to invent yet another alien language. I also enjoy drawing maps of places that do not really exist (at least, not officially).

Thanks for reading and welcome aboard!

Stephen Swartz

PS--You can read more about my novels by clicking on the tabs above.

(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. Happy to meetcha, Stephen! Congratulations on the books!

  2. See, I'm streaking. I like it so much better than editing. I mean I make myself for the majority of most years, but I still crank out 3 first drafts, (and generally only manage to clean up 2) so my editing stack keeps growing.

  3. Good luck with the novels Stephen! And thanks for participating in the Re-Introduce Myself Blogfest!

  4. Thanks everyone!
    Stephen, great idea having a "blog re-intro" tour!

  5. Great to meet you via the blogfest, Stephen.
    Congratulations on the novels.

  6. And, this is the Year of the Snake. Does Japan have the same symbolic calendar as China? Just the snake image conjures a story for me. It does not sound as if you ever have writer's block.