Author Archives: John Miller

About John Miller

I'm a middle grades teacher and rock climber. Always searching for new friends and classes to connect with.

RosettaBooks Announces Winning Authors in The Galaxy Project Sci Fi Writing Contest

Contest Winners Published alongside Classic Galaxy Magazine Stories

 in New E-Book Editions from RosettaBooks

I’m most pleased to share this news with you all!  I’m proud of this story and proud of the response it’s received so far.  I’m also a bit nervous about trusting it to Amazon’s Kindle.  John Miller keeps patting my hand, but I still feel like I ought to be able to hold a book!  I checked my notes and found that I first started working on “Vienna Station” in 1988.  It took awhile to get it right.  All you writers out there keep at it!

Read the entire press release here.

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Chaos Gate in the News

Chaos Gate continues to garner good reviews as more people read and appreciate the story. Robert Walch of the Salinas Californian encourages young readers to take up the book. He also offers a succinct summary of its plot. Check out what he has to say in his 4/22/11 review.

Chaos Gate,” by Robert Walton (Yorkshire Publishing; $10.99).

Local connection: Robert Walton, a community columnist for The Salinas Californian’s opinion page, is a longtime King City resident. His previous stories for children include “Joel in Tananar,” “The Dragon and the Lemon Tree” and “Flower Tumbles.”

An avid rock-climber and mountaineer, Walton has been published in the Sierra Club’s “Ascent” and in “Loose Scree,” a British publication. A dramatization of his prize-winning story “Three’s a Crowd” was broadcast on National Public Radio in 2006.

Content: This fantasy novel is set in the 17th century as the Thirty Years War disrupts a young girl’s family. Claire’s brother is killed and her parents are captured by raiders who attack the family on their way to Strasbourg. Although she is wounded, the girl escapes, but the shock of what has happened has left her mute.

Claire is discovered and comforted by an old woman and together the two begin a dangerous quest. Mere Rowan is not an ordinary woman; she is a magician who controls the portals to a number of “worlds.” Mere’s task is to defend the peaceful worlds from dark powers and evil creatures.

The kindly woman believes that what happened to Claire is the harbinger of an invasion from the chaos worlds. Along with some critters and a young Jewish boy, Mere and Claire begin an adventure fraught with danger that will determine what happens to Earth.

As the struggle intensifies, a nasty, shape-shifting lizard holds the key to whether the campaign will be victorious. If they succeed, Claire may be reunited with her parents, but if they fail, the denizens of the Chaos Portal will engulf them.

Author quote: “I’ve been privileged to teach in King City for 40 years now. The intelligence and resilience of my students inspires me. Writing for them improves both my teaching and my writing. Also, I try to create stories which will be of use to my many fine colleagues.”

Audience: This novel is intended for young readers age 10 and older. Although the novel’s eye-catching cover will capture one’s attention, it is the action-packed plot and delightful characters that will keep youngsters (and adults) glued to the page.

The novel is available at

Robert Walch of Monterey writes about Central Coast Authors for the Arts & Books page Saturday in The Salinas Californian. Contact him in care of Central Coast Authors, The Salinas Californian, 123 W. Alisal St., Salinas 93901; fax to 754-4293

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Joaquin Murrieta

Two short stories of mine appear in a new book, Award-Winning Tales, complied by R.L. Coffield. The collection was recently mentioned in the Salinas Californian. With permission from Robert Walch, the commentary appears below.

> Local connection: King City resident Robert Walton, a community columnist for The Salinas Californian, contributed two short stories for this anthology of Western short fiction. Walton’s fiction has been published by the Sierra Club’s Ascent and his poetry has appeared in High magazine, Loose Scree and in The Climbing Art.

> Content: Both of Walton’s short stories in this collection of Western fiction feature legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta. In the first tale, “Indio,” Murrieta takes it upon himself to deal with a Ute renegade named Indio who has been on a rampage.

When Murrieta discovers a family whom Indio has butchered, the bandit buries the victims and then mutters to himself, “Indio, it is time we met.”

What follows is the account of how the clever but aged outlaw lures Indio into an ambush. Unfortunately, the renegade is as wily as Murrieta and both men pay a price when the lead begins to fly.

Walton shuns a pat ending and leaves a little room for doubt at the conclusion of the story. One man is seriously wounded and the other — well, we aren’t quite sure what will ultimately happen to him. As Murrieta says, “The desert will finish Indio. Or it won’t. We’ve done what we could.”

In the second story, “Navidad,” Walton portrays his aging protagonist in a totally different light. Murrieta meets a young couple and their baby on the trail one evening and discovers the child is deathly ill.

Realizing they need assistance, he takes them to the cabin of a man he just met and the two men are able to lend the couple a hand with bringing down the infant’s fever.

The total opposite of “Indio,” this story shows a completely different side to Murrieta and it underscores his ability to quickly and accurately judge individuals he encounters on his journeys.

In this case, it is the accidental meeting with the man who owns the isolated cabin who is the individual Murrieta “connects” with. The need to assist the young couple just shows how well the two men understand one another.

> Audience: Anyone who enjoys Western fiction will enjoy the selections in this anthology. Walton’s work is excellent and it’s no wonder Walton, a very gifted writer, has won a few awards for his stories.

> Robert Walch of Monterey writes about Central Coast Authors for the Arts & Books page Saturday in The Salinas Californian. Contact him in care of Central Coast Authors, The Salinas Californian, 123 W. Alisal St., Salinas 93901; fax to 754-4293; or e-mail to

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Author Visit

Writers, especially writers who write for young people, need to meet with their readers as often as they can. I got a great chance to do this on 3/11 when I spoke with sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Chalone Peaks Middle School. They were funny, energetic and bright in a lively afternoon exchange of thoughts about my writing. I discovered that they like what I’ve said so far and want to hear more. What is a book, after all, but an extended conversation?

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Chaos Gate

Robert Walton

Robert Walton relaxes on the summit of the Citadel, Pinnacles National Monument, after a recent climb.

A good story offers readers the chance to test their minds and courage against the story’s problems. They won’t accept the offer, however, if they aren’t inclined to join the story’s family of characters. I tried my best to achieve both a good story and a good family of characters in Chaos Gate.

I’ll tell you a secret here. I wasn’t really in control of the characters in Chaos Gate. Once I get a story underway, the characters begin talking to me. I can’t force dialog upon them. A book then becomes something of a collaborative effort between me and the folks I’ve created. They take on personalities of their own and often won’t do what they’re told. When this happened while I was writing Chaos Gate, I knew that I was making a good, honest effort. I hope you’ll agree.

I wrote The Dragon and the Lemon Tree almost thirty years ago. I intended it as something of a diversion for our eldest son while Phyllis was pregnant with our youngest son. One of that book’s characters, Mere Rowan, remained in my mind. I knew that she wasn’t done speaking and acting, so I began a more ambitious project with her at its center: Chaos Gate. Reading The Dragon and the Lemon Tree is not at all necessary to completely enjoy Chaos Gate. Both books are entirely self-contained. I just wanted to let you know that Mere Rowan was around earlier and reassure you that that doesn’t matter at all. I just like the lady and she’ll be back in future stories.

Reading the Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis was pivotal to me. I was amazed by how much fun the fantasy settings allowed. I still treasure Lucy’s first visit to the snowy woods and her meeting with Mr. Tumnus. I’ve tried to let my fantasy settings generate adventures, lots of them, for my characters. I’ve also tried not to be quite as loose with story logic as Professor Lewis was, but you can be the judge of that.

One final shared secret: all of the scenery I’ve described is quite real. I’ve walked around this world of ours quite a bit. I discovered early on that my imagination doesn’t come close to the amazing beauties waiting outside our doors.

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Filed under Chaos Gate

Book Signing


Posted: Wednesday, Dec 8th, 2010

BY: Sean Roney (King City Rustler)

Numerous people kept Sol Treasures crowded with fans for a local author’s book signing.

Local author Bob Walton held a book signing last Thursday at Sol Treasures Arts and Cultural Enrichment Center for his latest novel, “Chaos Gate.” Though he signed books through the entire evening event, Walton’s first half hour was spent signing books from fans, many of whom had bought multiple copies. Throughout the event, he wore his author’s shirt made for him by the late Betty Anderson, featuring a dragon and a lemon tree.

“I figured this is the best venue for the arts in South County,” said Walton of Sol Treasures when asked about his choice of venue for the book signing. “I appreciate the heck out of all the stuff they’ve done.”

While Walton signed books and visited with guests, Sol Treasures volunteers provided refreshments and took care of the book sales.

When asked about his reaction to the turnout, Walton said, “I didn’t know what to expect. I just hoped everybody would come and have a good time. And it looks like they are.”

The crowd at the event not only chatted with the author, but visited with each other in the art gallery.

Walton said, “Sometimes you’ll find an author at a book store and it’s like a production line. But here all these people know each other and are friends. It’s a good chance to catch up at another friendly event. It’s one of the things that makes a small town wonderful.”

The novel on sale last Thursday was “Chaos Gate,” which was published in September by Yorkshire Publishing in Oklahoma. The fantasy novel is a sequel to Walton’s earlier work, “The Dragon and the Lemon Tree,” and continue the adventures of Mere Rowan.

Writing in the fantasy genre has something that Walton said has been an interest since he read C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories when he was young. “I had never read fantasy before,” said Walton. “I’ve re-read those stories many times over the years to my classes and to my kids. The idea of fantasy really appealed to me. I’ve been doing it now for close to 40 years.”

Image: ‘practice’


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