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The Release: We Lost the Sky

February 28, 2019

You know what day it is? It’s my book’s birthday!

I can’t tell you how happy and excited I am to finally be able to let WE LOST THE SKY loose.


Being a published author has been my dream since I was a kid and now … now it’s happening.
Nate and Shaunn at Spaceboy Books have given my debut novel the best home I could hope for on board their awesome spaceship.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably know I’ve serialized a few novels online before and had a handful of short stories published. You probably also know that my health has thrown completely unforeseen challenges (post concussion syndrome, specifically) on my path for the past few years – and at the same time given me the push to properly realize that this is what I want and need to do.

Well, it’s time to let Renn, Mender, Teo and Luca tell their stories and invite you to visit their world!

I have collected all the relevant shop links for you here.

Also, ratings and reviews are crucial to a novel’s exposure, so if you read the book, I would appreciate it greatly if you can find the time to hand out some stars and a few words on places like Goodreads and Amazon.


The Final Countdown

February 15, 2019

First of all, sorry for getting that song stuck in your head!

But it really is the final countdown. WE LOST THE SKY will be released on February 28th, and the preorder period has begun.

Before I shove links at you, though, please allow me to share the official book trailer:


Excited? I hope you are. I know I am!

So where can you buy WLTS?

People are already saying some pretty awesome things about the book. Here are some of them:


January 3, 2019

It’s finally time to unveil something beautiful and very dear to me: The title and the cover for my post-apocalyptic novel which will soon be released from Spaceboy Books.

So, without further ado, please meet my traditional debut novel, WE LOST THE SKY:

Isn’t it awesome? If you are even 1/4 as excited as I am, you are pretty darn hyped! I have Nate Ragolia to thank for the cover design and Shaunn Grulkowski for cooking up the perfect name.

The book will be released on February 28th, and I’ll be sure to share links when it’s available for preorder as well as purchase.

For now, I can share the description from the back cover to hopefully pique your interest and curiosity:

In the distant future when Tuscany is a desolate wasteland ruled by the forces of nature, Renn is abandoned by his fellow wanderers. As a dust storm approaches, he struggles to find shelter in the ruins of an ancient city. But he gets more than he has bargained for when he accidentally awakens a dormant creature which resembles the maddened Moon servants from his people’s legends.

Meanwhile, a teenage survivor of the lost civilisation is keeping an eye on his old home, the one remaining great city, Florence. Unlike the city dwellers who rarely venture out of Florence’s protective domes, he scavenges long-forgotten technology while looking for others from his own time. And now he is building an army of artificial humans outside the city that no longer welcomes him.

The Florentines reject advanced technology and innovation. Yet, a restoration worker strives to learn engineering and longs to find out more about the strange relics that turn up on her workbench. She is caught between the city’s, wealthy, protected neighbourhoods and its outer slums, determined to help the impoverished denizens. However, both endeavours mean working against her own father and the ideology of the ruling class.

As tensions mount in Florence, Renn and an unlikely new travelling companion are drawn towards the city. But danger is lurking around every dune of sand. It is going to take more than luck to avoid suspicious settlers and survive the turbulent weather conditions and fierce predators longing to put a quick end to their journey.

Gift Ideas for the Writer in Your Life

December 20, 2018

The holiday season is upon us. But really, this list of gift ideas can be used at any time of the year. And I can guarantee that the writer in your life will appreciate these gifts.

I imagine the list you are expecting includes objects like fancy notebooks (and honestly, I’ve yet to meet a writer who doesn’t like notebooks), new pens or badges, mugs or t-shirts with “I’m a Writer!” printed on them.

But this list is a bit more personal and a lot of the items on will cost you nothing but a little time:

  • Buy their book.
    It’s not just about the money they make from it. It’s about supporting them and about improving their exposure or ranking on the sales platform you use. If you already have their book, getting it for someone else will kill two gift-birds with one kindness-rock.
  • Read their book.
    And if you do, they will be happy to know you did. I promise.
  • Review their book.
    This is important to book sales. In case you read their book, typing a review on Amazon, Goodreads or similar will be a wonderful gift. It doesn’t have to be a long essay or literary thesis. “I read this book and found it pretty good/fantastic/funny/interesting/heartbreaking/relatable/entertaining/scary” and a number of stars that match your experience (the more the better, of course) will do the trick and make the writer bounces around with joy.
  • Tell someone you know about the book.
    Word-of-mouth is powerful. Even if you haven’t read it, telling a friend who enjoys the genre or reading in general is a great gesture.
  • Share a link to their website or book on social media.
    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, your own blog, whatever SoMe you are into, really. This is easy and free, but the writer will be grateful.
  • Follow them.
    Not in a creepy stalk-them-on-their-way-home-from-work-with-a-crowbar kind of way of course. But if they have a mailing list, a blog or social media accounts, they will appreciate your following. You can even go on a spree liking their book related Facebook posts or Instagram photos of their cat posing on top of their book (not all writers have cats, but a lot of them do).
  • Add their book to a list or virtual bookshelf.
    Putting it on your wish list or want-to-read list on platforms like Goodreads will give it some exposure. Or, in case you own the book, take a photo of it and put it on any social media you prefer.

Happy holidays to you all! I hope the list was useful.

Stay tuned for title and cover reveal of this writer’s upcoming debut novel about the far future in the near future.

My love affair with science fiction (part four)

October 7, 2018

Welcome to the fourth and final instalment of this blog series!

Where were we … Oh yes. I didn’t just write that one science fiction story about Captain Hard although it’s the one that made the funniest anecdote. During my middle and late teen years, I was on a healthy diet of Lost in Space reruns, more Star Trek and books by Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke amongst others. My own tales included one about a spaceship pilot named Gary Stu who met a beautiful very-human-like alien named Mary Sue (not really, but I have to be fair, and they were a little on the cliché side of things).

I also wrote a story about an android who fled to Earth to hide from a band of nasty thugs, and while it had an unfiltered dose of stuff I found interesting at that point in my life and wanted to include because I could, it also had some of my first prods at moral dilemmas and ethical greyzones and a case of PTSD (not that I knew the term then) which probably sound like familiar subjects if you’ve read anything by me ever.

But after that, I began to explore other strange new worlds and threw myself at fantasy for a long while. My interest in science fiction, however, didn’t end.

At university, grinding away at my master’s degree in English studies, I signed up for as many literature courses as I could, and naturally my own interests played a part in which ones I took. There was something I wanted to say, something that had been rattling around in my mind since elementary school tried to teach me that fantasy and science fiction were insignificant and I felt there was more than entertainment to those kinds of fiction. And it was almost time for me to say it.

I heard the terms speculative fiction and magical realism for the first time. And I learnt I wasn’t the only one who wanted to say something about the importance of literature stepping outside the boundaries of mundane reality. I was introduced to literature by Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson, Neil Gaiman and Amitav Ghosh to mention just a few, and saw how some of the very best used fantastic elements to do something profound and important. Unsurprisingly, I wrote my final thesis on supernatural fiction.

And the rest is history. I’m certainly no Atwood or Vandermeer or Le Guin here, but I learnt that it isn’t only okay to enjoy the fantastic, the books that take a step through the back of the wardrobe and transport us to other worlds. It’s not necessarily pure entertainment, it’s a viable way of writing, and (as corny as this is going to sound) speculative fiction is where my own voice belongs and is at its strongest.

My love affair with science fiction (part three)

August 28, 2018

Let’s go down memory lane and revisit my childhood’s hometown (again) and talk about the disconcerting lack of interest people around me showed in science fiction.

I think my school was a little on the unimaginative side. Everything we read in class was some kind of social realism, and while there is a lot to be said for that, treating all kinds of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction as irrelevant is, if you’ll pardon my saying so, just plain idiotic.

Perhaps that was why everyone, including my teachers, was pretty clueless when I wrote a report about the Internet (in 1997 or 1998 I think), and since I did that sort of thing and also wrote my own stories, I was labelled a nerd. Some of the kids actually made fun of me for having my own email address because it was so incredibly geeky … I wonder if they’ve changed their mind since then.

So that was how it was in my backwater hometown. Only one or two other kids in my class watched or read any kind of science fiction. When I dressed up as a character from Star Wars at 15, most of my class mates had no clue whom I was supposed to be. And not because I did a lousy job; They simply had never watched Star Wars.

It did get a better in high school (or the Danish educational system’s equivalent). But I still had to find my spec fic fixes online.

My love affair with science fiction (part two)

July 29, 2018

I was 11 when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’d written stories before, most of which had fantastical elements. One had to do with a time machine. Another was about a couple of kids who travelled to a parallel world by magic.

By the time I turned 11, I had raided the local library for non-fiction books about space. I especially remember a book series for kids which introduced me to black holes and Stephen Hawking. I devoured European comics in great quantities and especially enjoyed Tintin’s journey to the Moon and the Yoko Tsuno series about a kickass Japanese woman with a degree in electro engineering who made contact with aliens. I had also decided my favourite of Walter Farley’s books was The Island Stallion Races (from 1955 in which two alien shapeshifters and their spaceship interfere with an otherwise run-of-the-mill horse book. Yes, you read that right.).

I loved acting out stories when I played as a kid. My action figures and My Little Ponies had names and background stories. At one point, the other kids thought they were too old to play. They wanted to “hang out” instead. Of course, I could still play on my own, but I wanted something else. And that’s when I decided, as much as a pre-teen can make major decisions, I wanted to become a writer.

My first longish story (50 pages or so and followed by a number of sequels of the same length) was science fiction. I was very into the original Star Trek series at this point, and I think it was around the same time that I read the Danish translation of Douglas Adams’ The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The story was about a spaceship and its crew who went on various missions to fight evil aliens and deal with various demands made by their leaders back on Earth. I think I had just started to learn English in school the same year, and thus my vocabulary wasn’t very large, and I certainly did not know much slang. For obvious reasons, I wrote in my native language, but since American TV shows were cool, I wanted to give my characters English or American sounding names.

The captain of the spaceship was a really tough sort of bloke, so he needed a short, poignant, no-nonsense name. Something that sounded cool and had a bit of oomph … And thus Dick Hard was born. Yeah. So that happened. It wasn’t until years later when I found myself thinking of the story that I realised what I’d done.

Well, I spent many fond hours of my childhood with Captain Hard and his crew before I moved on to the next story, and the one after that, and the one after that …

My love affair with science fiction (part one)

July 8, 2018

If you’ve read any of my stories before, you might think science fiction is a sudden shift from my normal focus (fantasy in all its high, low and urban capacities). But I’ve always had a fascination with science fiction, and it’s how I began to tell stories in the first place. Come on. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. This is going to be a series of posts, and it will include a story I’ve been longing (and dreading) to tell for years in a later post.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin with my very first exposure to science fiction.

This was back in the 1980s, well before Netflix and quite a few years before my family got its first VCR (that’s the precursor to a DVD for those of you of a younger persuasion). Every evening, the Danish TV channel (yes, there was just the one) had a show for children for around 30 minutes. I remember a lot of them quite fondly.

I think I was three when the show broadcast a short series known as Bamse på planeten. That’s Danish for Teddybear on the Planet. The aptly named Bamse has since become a major character in children’s TV here, but it was this particular series that I fell in love with then and again in subsequent reruns. In it, Bamse (who happens to be a human-sized yellow infantile teddybear and is actually a giant costume worn by the dude who plays him) travels to a small planet called Joakim.

There’s a lot of miniscule volcanos on this planet, some of which can be used for baking bread, a sentient flower and a peculiar creature called Forlæns og Baglæns (that’s Forward and Backward) who has a face in each end. To this day, I’m not entirely sure whether Forlæns og Baglæns should be considered Siamese twins, a single entity with two heads or something different altogether.

Bamse also encountered a human named Arthur who looked after various planets in space and used his spaceship with the number 42 to travel between them. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference only dawned on me when I read up on the series to write this post. Arthur also sings a song about being super busy but still chilling and about using your imagination.

Well, my imagination certainly benefited from the show. It captivated me and got me hooked on stories about space travel, other worlds and fantastical creatures.


May 3, 2018

I’ve got news. Big news. Probably the biggest news I’ve ever shared with you.

In December, I finished writing a novel that I’d been working on determinedly for a while. A few months later, I had edited it and gathered comments from my trusted beta readers and was ready to start querying. And now … well, I think you’ve guessed where this is headed, but let me say it anyway, okay?

I have a publisher!

My novel could not have found a better home. The publisher is called Spaceboy Books. I’ve read a few of their titles and enjoyed them immensely, and the vision of the founders corresponds perfectly with my own views. Furthermore, they exclusively publish science fiction which is great because my novel happens to be one (post apocalyptic fiction to be precise).

At this stage, I can’t share any details regarding my book, but I will keep you updated as soon as I can tell you more about it.

– But I do have one more announcement: Spaceboy Books publishes an annual collection called Boned and donates the proceeds to charity. The 2017 edition has just been released, and it contains a short story by me. Incidentally, that very story inspired my novel and can be said to be a prequel to it. So if you are curious, why not pick up the collection, discover some great, new writers and support a worthy cause at the same time?


April 21, 2018

From: M. Howalt
To: The Internet (ATTN: Blogosphere)
Subject: On being a writer with PCS

Dear Internet,

I’m sorry for leaving you so suddenly and without much of an explanation. I know it made me seem flaky and may even have worried some, so I’d like to tell you a little bit about what happened and what I plan to do now.

In September 2015, I suffered a “minor” injury, a concussion to be specific. It wasn’t a serious accident that caused it, and it should have gone away on its own after a few days. Or weeks. Or months. It didn’t. Hence the snarky quotation marks above. I now have a condition called PCS (Post-Concussion Syndrome). It means that I am easily exhausted and get nasty headaches and nausea if I work with backlit screens for too long, and even reading on paper can be quite straining.

I imagine that when I hit the upload button for this blog entry, I will have written it over two or three days, proofread it on another day and waited one more day because sharing the link on social media also demands screen work and concentration.

Will my condition get better? Yes, probably. Do I know when? No. Am I going to let it get me down? Heck no.

That’s the situation. That’s the lamentation. Now let’s move on to the silver lining. Putting activities on indefinite hold, having to plan and prioritise every single thing I do and needing to rest every day have provided me with a lot of healthy insights. I’ll stick to the writing-related ones here although I could go on about mental health and mindfulness too because … you know, it’s a blog about writing.

The first thing I learnt is how important writing is to me. Yes, I knew it was important, sure, but the moment you physically cannot skip a day writing and catch up another day, the moment when you can’t check Twitter and Facebook and write on the same day, the moment when you miss playing a computer game and know you could play or ten or maybe fifteen minutes, but also know that it would mean not writing that day (and maybe the next if you play for a little too long) … When you have to make constant choices, you find out what it is that you can’t imagine living without.

So I wrote. I wrote, and I worked on finding the best method for me to do it. I have recently finished a novel (but more about that in a later entry) that came to life during my PCS struggle. To begin with, I used a dictation app on my phone for a few minutes every day. Then I took notes and drafted scenes in a notebook and dictated them afterwards. Then finally I got a fantastic tool to help me (and I owe my friend Aden Ng a huge thank you for pointing out its existence to me!): An Dasung e-ink monitor. That is a non-backlit screen, much like a Kindle.

Of course, those are just the technical aspects. I think most writers probably prefer to be able to immerse themselves in their writing, to get into flow without interruption for hours when inspiration hits. Without that possibility, I had to find a way of accessing that place in my mind anyway. The solution to this, for me, is to have a huge synopsis pinned on my wall, to leave a note at the bottom of the document I’m working at on my computer to remind me what’s next and to write so often that I never fully leave the universe of the story I’m working on. And to spend some extra time with my characters by drawing them and such.

It’s not the fastest I’ve ever worked. But it is definitely the most consistent. And it is the first novel-length story where I have had no blocks and have almost been in flow every time I put my fingers on the keyboard.

I think all this amounted to the realisation that at this point in my life, writing is both the hardest thing for me to do and the easiest and definitely the thing I need to do.

So … What now? Well, my main interest lies in storytelling. In novels and short stories. But I also miss putting my thoughts out in non-fiction form. I miss blogging, so I have decided to do that. At a slow, calm pace that suits my current needs. So I’ll plan and write ahead and schedule my blog entries. I’ll focus less on links and media and probably make shorter entries (splitting some up in instalments) to allow for semi-regular updates.

I think that’s it for now. If you’ve followed me for a while: Thank you for sticking around! If you’re new here: Welcome! Regardless, I want to thank you for reading.

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