Five interesting facts about Genghis Khan — in celebration of the publishing of my short story “Retro-Casuality or the Allergy of Genghis Khan”

Did you know that despite his infamy the cause of death and final resting place of 13th-century conqueror and imperial ruler Genghis Khan are both unknown? In my short story “Retro-Casuality or the Allergy of Genghis Khan,” a dystopian super hero tale recently published in Inaccurate Realities, I propose a solution to the mysterious death of Genghis Khan. Get your copy now in print or for the device of your choice. And now I offer five interesting facts about the Great Khan:

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His Name was “Blacksmith”

Until he was in his mid-40s, Genghis went by the name Temujin, which means “of iron” or “blacksmith.” He wasn’t called Genghis Kahn until he was declared leader of the Mongols in 1206. While “Khan” is a traditional title meaning “leader” or “ruler,” historians are still unclear on the origins of “Genghis.”

No One Knows What Genghis Khan Looked Like

No portraits or sculptures of Genghis Khan made during his lifetime survive. Descriptions of his appearance contradict. While many accounts depict him as tall and a mane of hair and bushy beard, a 14th century Persian historian named Rashid al-Din claimed Genghis had red hair and green eyes.

The Size of the Empire

Between 1206 and his death in 1227, Genghis Khan conquered more territory than any individual in known history –almost 12 million square miles. With that said, the Mongols’ brutal attacks may have reduced the entire world population by as much as 11 percent.

Religious Tolerance

Genghis Khan passed unprecedented laws declaring religious freedom for everyone in the empire. He often met with religious leaders to discuss the details of their faiths.

The Mysterious Death of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan died in 1227, but little else about his death is known. One legend has Genghis on his deathbed ordering his final resting place be kept secret. As mourners traveled to the gravesite, hundreds soldiers were to slaughter anyone they encountered on the way. Then, after the funeral ceremony, thousands of invited guests were to be slain, along with sacrificial virgins and horses. Finally, the soldiers were to kill each other and themselves. Talk about keeping a secret…

John Herman


Join me for “Social Media for Authors” –Saturday, Oct. 4

John Herman

Today’s authors use social media to promote themselves and their work—often without spending a dime. Join me in a hands-on, extended version of his popular presentation “Social Media for Authors.” Not only will participants share strategies for blogging, vlogging, photo sharing, Facebook, Twitter, podcasting, live video casting, and more, but participants will have the opportunity to generate and get feedback on a social media strategy unique to his or her work. Learn the right tools and strategies to build buzz to support your writing career. This workshop is offered in association with the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. Click here to register.


An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror

The Players’ Ring Late Night Summer Series will feature An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror with a selection of violent melodramas, suspenseful thrillers, and even a grisly song. Produced by John Herman & Friends. Directed by Michael Ficara, E. Christopher Clark, and John Herman. 2 WEEKENDS ONLY, July 6th through July 15, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 p.m., Sundays at 9:00 p.m. To reserve tickets, call (603) 436-8123 or purchase them online at And like An Evening of Steampunk & Robot Theatre and An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre, proceeds will benefit local charities and nonprofits! (More details after the poster!)

An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror (John Herman)(poster #1 by Matt Talbot of

Starting in 1897, a deconsecrated church in Paris held a lurid attraction, the Théâtre du Grand Guignol. It was the Moulin Rouge of terror and the cradle of modern horror. Now we are bringing the show to you!

(one of our props)

“An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror” will include new works of horror by Bryan White and E. Christopher Clark as well as an adapted work by John Herman.

Bryan is the creator of Cinema Suicide, the multiple Rondo-nominated blog dedicated to horror in its many formats. Bryan also writes for the popular Zombie Bomb anthology comic book from Terminal Press, and his work is seen in Screem and Rue Morgue Magazine.

Chris is a playwright and author whose latest work Crossroads (or The Piano of Death) opened the Late Night Summer Series. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Commonthought, Device, Entelechy International, Literary Matters, and Mill City Stories: Tales of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley.

“André de Lorde, original Grand Guignol director, judged success on how many audience members fainted during performances,” says John, who will re-imagine one of the masterpieces of the genre, André de Lorde’s Un Crime Dans une Maison de Fous (1925). “We are considering a special audience section with ponchos provided for blood splatter. Needless to say, this is not a show for children.”

(poster #2 by Jeremy Couturier of

Send JOHN HERMAN to Space

I was chosen to be one of the 20 finalists (from thousands) to move into the public voting phase of the nationwide Space Race 2012 contest, and I need help.

LISTEN: John Herman talking SpaceRace 2012 on All Things Considered.

The Space Needle is partnering with commercial spaceflight company Space Adventures to make the actual spaceflight possible. Space Adventures has already sent seven people to space on privately funded trips, and it’s developing vessels to be sent into orbit in this contest. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, has thrown his support behind the contest, saying, “This new space race is important to our country in as much the same way as the one that I was a part of 50 years ago,” he said. “Today we’re embarking on a journey that will carry hundreds of thousands of people like you and me into space.”

My video has gone live on the Seattle Space Needle’s Facebook page and voting has begun. I ask you to please take a moment and vote… daily? I know. It is a lot to ask. I will be doing friendly reminders via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Viewers are allowed to vote a maximum of once per day through March 18th. After public voting has ended, the five finalists that receive the most votes will be invited to compete in challenges in Seattle. The grand prize winner will win a trip to space. For real.

I appreciate all you can do to help. Here’s the direct link to vote:

Fun fact: The March 18th end of public voting is halfway through the run of charity plays I am producing (See: and it is the very the day I shave my head to raise money for children’s cancer research grants. Here’s a link to that as well:

Awesome button (at top of post) by (equally awesome) artist Matt Talbot.

An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre

A couple argues in a bomb shelter over a dog puzzle. A man gets an unexpected visit from Intergalactic Salvage. CERN scientists experience the romance of multi-verses. “An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre” debuts nine original short plays including new works by Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly and best selling author of The Great Typo Hunt, Jeff Deck. The show runs at The Players’ Ring Theater March 9th through the 25th. Purchase tickets online at and let us know you are coming on our Facebook event page!

(poster by Jeremy Couturier)

Directors and actors are donating their time in an effort to raise money for the Cocheco Valley Humane Society, Jaden’s Ladder, which assists survivors of domestic violence, and the Millspace Project, which is building a civic center for arts, culture, and history in the renovated mills of Newmarket, NH. This is an opportunity to enjoy dynamic theater while also making a difference. I will also shave my head halfway through the show’s run to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except for the U.S. government. Donate to my St. Baldrick’s Foundation page here.

(Producer John Herman –before shaving his head)

I received forty-five play submissions after an open call for writers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. “Love Song for the Doomed & Other Stories: An Apocalyptic Theatre Anthology” will be released digitally for free under a Creative Commons license at midnight on Friday, March 9th, 2012. The anthology will feature the 45 original plays –as well as illustrations and a companion music album.

The plays presented for the stage run include:

“Love Song for the Doomed” by Matt Gold — directed by Chuck Galle
“Bad Dogs” by James Patrick Kelly — directed by E. Christopher Clark
“Dead Birds” by Jeff Deck – directed by Kathleen Cavalaro
“Collider” by Cullen T. M. McGough — directed by Tara Sullivan
“So Long: a tribute” by Jackie Benson — directed by Kathleen Cavalaro
“As Evidence” by Jefferson Navicky — directed by David Mauriello
“Our Happy Little Hole in the Ground” by Rob Hack — directed by John Herman
“Apocalypse Anonymous” by E. Christopher Clark — directed by Jaqueline Martell
“Hardscrabble” by Brandon “Our Hero” Gretter – directed by Michael Ficara III

(poster by Matt Talbot)

PREVIOUSLY: Last year’s production raised $3000 dollars for charities including A Safe Place, 20/20 VisionQuest, and the Lamprey Arts and Culture Alliance. See An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre. Check back on March 9th for links to companion music, illustrations, and all the submitted plays. And I hope you can come out and support the show!

ALSO: Check out some promo photos from the upcoming production… (more soon!)

(Jasmin Hunter and Lisa Griffin in “Collider” by Cullen McGough. Directed by Tara Sullivan. Photo by PT Sullivan.)

(Jon Cilley and Jacqui Baker in “Our Happy Little Hole in the Ground” by Rob Hack. Directed by John Herman. Photo by John Herman/Jon Cilley.)


Update: Forthcoming Apocalyptic Theatre Anthology & Stage Show Details

“Love Song for the Doomed & Other Stories: An Apocalyptic Theatre Anthology” will be released digitally for free under a Creative Commons license at midnight on Friday, March 9th, 2012. The anthology will feature 45 original plays –as well as illustrations and a music album. To celebrate, I am producing a three week run of plays selected from the anthology with a talented team of volunteer actors, directors, and designers at The Players’ Ring Theater. The show runs from March 9th through March 25th 2012. Proceeds from the show go to three soon-to-be-announced charities. There is still time for illustrators and musicians to join the anthology. Get in touch!

In the meantime, the shows selected for the stage run include:

“Love Song for the Doomed” by Matt Gold — directed by Chuck Galle

“Bad Dogs” by James Patrick Kelly — directed by E. Christopher Clark

“Dead Birds” by Jeff Deck – directed by Kathleen Cavalaro

“Collider” by Cullen T. M. McGough — directed by Tara Sullivan

“So Long: a tribute” by Jackie Benson — directed by Kathleen Cavalaro

“As Evidence” by Jefferson Navicky — directed by David Mauriello

“Our Happy Little Hole in the Ground” by Rob Hack — directed by John Herman

“Apocalypse Anonymous” by E. Christopher Clark — directed by Jaqueline Martell

“Hardscrabble” by Brandon “Our Hero” Gretter – directed by Michael Ficara III

Last year’s production generated 17 new plays, 8 original songs, and 8 illustrations. The nine play stage show: An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre raised $3000 dollars for charities including A Safe Place, 20/20 VisionQuest, and the Lamprey Arts and Culture Alliance. The production also garnered national attention with coverage in over 100 individual arts and culture blogs. We plan to do it all again!

What Should Be Done with the Colonial State House


HMS Resolute Desk, Oval Office

The original New Hampshire State House was built in 1758 as the seat of New Hampshire’s Colonial government, but it now sits in a trailer awaiting an uncertain fate. Different parties have convened to decide what will happen to the remnants of the structure, including a Save the Old NH Statehouse Committee and those funded under a federal $250,000 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. Recently local coverage of the saga quoted a participant in the process as saying if the structure is not being rebuilt, then “Just burn the damn thing and be done with it and erase it.”

I thought that I would offer another suggestion.

During his term of office, President Kennedy used a special desk gifted to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1879. The desk in the Oval Office of the White House was made from the timbers of the British barque-rigged arctic exploration ship, HMS RESOLUTE. I believe this wonderful historic precedent to take an iconic structure and repurpose it in this fashion should be looked at closely. While there are those that clearly see the value in rebuilding the old State House as a museum piece, I wonder if it would be more meaningful to make it a functional tool of democracy that can be gifted to the office of mayor of Portsmouth, for example.

Citizens can follow the design and construction of the desk through an interactive website that provides the history of the old State House in a dynamic way. There can be a companion children’s book and regional teaching curriculum to foster appreciation. When appropriate, the desk itself can travel across the state for special events, including Exeter’s American Independence Festival.

HMS Resolute, Etching

Submitted with respect to the many people have worked hard to come up with the best future for the old State House.

CALL FOR WRITERS: Apocalyptic Theatre

It’s the end of the world and I feel fine. I’m looking for original 10-minute APOCALYPTIC one-act plays. All submitted plays will be published on the Web as a Creative Commons licensed apocalyptic short play anthology that will include an original album of music and collection of visual art inspired by the plays. Select plays will be produced on stage at The Players’ Ring Theater of Portsmouth, NH, March 9th through March 25th 2012 with proceeds going to charity.

Last year’s similar production generated 17 new plays, 8 original songs, and 8 illustrations. The nine play stage show: An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre raised $3000 dollars for charities including A Safe Place, 20/20 VisionQuest, and the Lamprey Arts and Culture Alliance. The production also garnered national attention with coverage in over 100 individual arts and culture blogs.


Sign up by dropping a comment below.


All plays will be submitted to me digitally: john.c.herman“at” with the subject heading: APOCALYPTIC PLAY SUBMISSION. The final due date for play submissions is October 31st, 2011 at midnight. See what I did there? The roster of plays to be staged will be announced December 15th. At that time, they will be fast tracked into production. The remaining plays will be distributed to visual and music artists for the creation of complimentary works.


“Apocalyptic” sounds pretty dark, but I encourage you to explore any aspect of it that you wish. I hope to receive comedies, romances, and maybe even a musical. Check out the following link for inspiration: Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction


In late September, I will host a gathering for playwrights who want to workshop their submissions. The physical gathering will take place in New Hampshire, but there will also be a live web video chat workshop occurring at the same time for playwrights outside of New England. In order to be notified of the exact date, time and location, you must sign up by submitting a comment below.

Next: Sign up. Write a play. Spread the word!

24 Hour Novel Project

Dream of writing a novel but can’t find time to write? You may need to rethink that. A team of wordsmiths from across the country wrote an entire novel collaboratively in one day: 23 authors, 1 illustrator, 24 hours. The 24 Hour Novel Project led by New Hampshire artist and writer John Herman was a featured work at the inaugural NewMediator Art Show at Nighthawk Books in Highland Park, New Jersey, and viewers around the world watched via the web as every word was composed in real-time.  The collaboration culminated in a free Creative Commons licensed e-book available for download below.

To get the novel quickly, download the OVERFLY PDF which will work with most devices including KINDLE, DROID, iPAD, iPHONE, iPOD, or your personal computer. The formatting is going to be a little altered for each device, but hopefully it will be very readable.

If you want a file specifically designed for your NOOK or KINDLE, then you need to download the novel via one of the hosted links below. FYI: The file host makes you wait briefly before you can download the file in order to force you to glance at their advertisers. Wait 25 seconds then click REGULAR DOWNLOAD.



Please explore our author’s biographies and links below. Also feel free to congratulate them using the hashtag #24HrNovel on Twitter.

M.F. Bloxam – M.F. lives in Portsmouth, NH.  She is the author of THE NIGHT BATTLES (The Permanent Press, 2008).  Learn more about her work at

Kathy Boss – The author of two children’s books, Kathy, was born in Australia, raised in Canada and now lives in New England. She is currently working on a novel about a “love child” born in the 1970s who, as soon as she is old enough, flees her parents liberal, nomadic lifestyle. She turns mainstream and ends up so buried in the safety of suburbia that she yearns for the freedom of her youth, but cannot forget its price.

Dan Brian – Dan is a former music journalist and current fiction writer. He regularly fortifies his apocalyptic-scenario escape routes and consumes more Taco Bell than healthy. He reviews whiskey on the Dandy Scotch Brawlers podcast and exorcises writing demons on his blog.

Kathleen Cavalaro – Although screenplay writing is her area of comfort, Kathleen has also dabbled in lyrics, short stories and poetry. Her first play, “At My Window,” is set to open the 20th season at the Players’ Ring theater in Portsmouth, NH, in September 2011 (starring the person below me).

E. Christopher Clark – Chris is an author, educator, and all-around geek who is passionate about storytelling in all its forms. The founder of the pop culture blog Geek Force Five, his work has also been published in Commonthought, Device, The Bradford ReView, and in Literary Matters, the newsletter of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.

Deanna L. Cooley – Deanna, 24, graduated from Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Communications – English. She is currently working on completing her first novel.

Benjamin Kane Ethridge – Ben is author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE, recently nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in Superior Achievement in a First Novel. His official website presence is Purchase BLACK & ORANGE, trade paperback or on Kindle via Amazon.

Chuck Galle – Chuck authored STORIES I NEVER TOLD MY DAUGHTER, a memoir of a raucous life before, during, as well after the so-called Sixties. He is currently working on a “cozy” mystery story with an itinerant actor sticking his nose into murders among his cast members. Chuck also acts on stage and screen and has been seen in fifteen TV commercials over the past three years. His website is

Jasmine Giacomo – Jasmine writes in the fantasy and mystery genres from Washington State, where she lives with her husband and two small children. She also enjoys geocaching, history, science and puzzles, holds a black belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, and particularly enjoys reading and writing fight scenes. Check out her blog at Worlds of Jasmine for free short fiction or purchase books (ebook and print) from Amazon.

Matthew Gold – Matt is a writer of speculative fiction and lover of robots the world over.  His last book THE WONDERS AT YOUR FEET deals with themes of murder, fame, and infamy alike and can be purchased through Amazon and other online retailers.  Check out his blog, where he writes about technology, politics, and mental illness.

R.W.W. Greene – Rob is a former journalist turned high-school writing teacher now pursuing his MFA in fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He writes fiction and records podcasts (See: Peek inside his pulsing brain at his blog.

John Herman – 24 Hour Novel Project creator John is an artist, writer, and web adventurer. His projects often explore the crossroads of society and technology. He is also working on his first (solo) novel. His website is Follow him on Twitter: @johnherman

Jasmin Hunter – Jasmin is a freelance writer and photographer with a weekly article in the Seacoast Scene.  She has also contributed stories and photos to Experience Magazine, The Portsmouth Herald, Fosters, The Wire and Portland Phoenix.  Other credits include the monologue Sundance recently performed at The Players’ Ring Theatre in Portsmouth, NH. Website, Twitter @jasminhunter.

Steve Johnson – Steve is a writer, actor, radio DJ for WSCA 106.1 FM and producer of charity storytelling event A Winter’s Tale. He is currently pursuing a side career as an amateur perfumer and fragrance writer.

James Patrick Kelly – Jim has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, plays and planetarium shows.  His short novel BURN won the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula Award in 2007 and he has won the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award twice: in 1996, for his novelette “Think Like A Dinosaur” and in 2000, for his novelette, “Ten to the Sixteenth to One.” His website is

Christopher Klemmer – Christopher Klemmer is a sketch comedy writer for Portsketch and lives in Portsmouth, NH. Whether it be alarming fellow middle school peers with disturbing stories in creative writing classes or writing press releases as a sports information director in college, writing has been a constant thread in his life. His favorite book is THE STAND by Stephen King but he feels his life is more like “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.

Margaret McAleese – Margaret’s full-length play, There’s a Girl in Boston, was commissioned by Yellow Taxi Productions in Nashua, NH (considered for the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award). Her ten-minute play, Captured, was selected for New Hampshire Theatre Project’s New Works Festival, and her short play, Seven Sisters, appeared in An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, NH. Margaret’s essay, From Haystacks to Handbrakes, was the first-place winner of the “My Brooklyn” annual writing festival at the Brooklyn Public Library in 2007.

Joe Stanganelli – Joe is a Boston-based writer, communications consultant, and attorney.  In addition to writing scripts, songs, and stories, Joe writes about business and technology topics for United Business Media and other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeStanganelli.

Laura Thomas – Laura lives in beautiful Portsmouth, NH with her boyfriend and their two spoiled dogs. This is her first time working on a novel; usually when she tries to sit down to write she is distracted by the sudden need to do laundry, drinking more coffee, and wondering if she could survive alone in Jurassic Park. Laura is passionate about improv and sketch comedy; find out more about her group Portsketch.

Jillian Thiele – English teacher, writer, and improvisor, Jillian proudly hails from NH, where she enjoys performing with improv comedy troupe Stranger Than Fiction, directing student productions, and spending time with family at home and in NY.  A traveler, indie music lover, and cine-phile, Jillian appreciates the nooks and crannies of life, finding time to write when she’s not correcting papers. Follow her on Twitter: @jillianthiele

R.T. Tompkins – R.T. is a robot prototype who favors tacos and music above all else. Check out his experimental instrumental band Winterstar and fabulously offensive podcast The Waysiders. Follow him on Twitter: @onewordheadline

Dan Tuohy – Dan is a journalist, son of a publican, son of a sailor, and son of a gun. During the 7th Inning Stretch, he stretches. And sings. His Info-IV is Twitter @tuohy His website is

Erika J. Wilson – Erika studied at the University of New Hampshire, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in honors English.  She is heavily involved with the production and writing departments of DARWiN’S WAiTiNG ROOM comedy troupe and Shoe Slung Films.  She enjoys script and creative writing, poetry and editing with hopes of someday becoming a published author.

And our cover art illustrator:

Stephen Bobbett – Stephen is a freelance illustrator, writer and visual designer living in southern New Hampshire. His work has appeared locally in The Wire, Foster’s Daily Democrat, and the Trees & Hills Comic Group. He is currently publishing a series of comics called Daydream, based on the nightly subconscious lives of real people, which you can find at Twitter: @stephenbobbett

24 Hour Novel Project