We All Float Down Here, Georgie…
So when Corruptor went live last Friday, I neglected to mention that there is new content within as well as a new ending. The print book also went from 300 pages to 450. Yeah, that’s a bit of a jump. Best of all, the novel (and series) was reclassified as YA, which is what it had been written as originally before I changed it for the original publisher.
Pick up a copy and leave a review. You’ll make an author happy.
So today Corruptor (Book 1 of The Warp) went live for a second time and is available for purchase. It has entirely new content within as well as a new cover on the outside. The print version is over 450 pages!!!
Secondly, I’m giving away the novella The Dead of Babylon from now until Monday. It’s alt-history with a dash of horror. I enjoyed writing it and might one day revisit the idea.
In the meantime, don’t forget to leave reviews!
This week is going to be epic.
Tomorrow the Forged in Blood anthology will be released. In it is my short story, Magnum Opus, and it tells the story of Rowan Moran, an Operative in the Freehold MIlitary Forces. This is a Freehold anthology, which means it’s going to have awesome stories by Michael Z Williamson and Larry Correia to name a few.
Then on Friday the re-release of Corruptor happens. I’m extremely excited about this one because this time it’s going to be a series. This is the first novel I ever wrote and even though it’s been 12 years since completion I still get excited thinking about it.
Downside to all this? I cracked a rib and bruised my kidney last week and it still hurts. Oh well. Ibuprofen and water for the next 20 days until it stops hurting.
Awww yeah, it’s that time once again to reveal the latest book cover. This is Darkling, the sequel to Wraithkin, and Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga.
I was talking with a few friends the other day about how I’ve been stuck at 45 reviews for Wraithkin. They’ve all been positive reviews (4.7 out of 5 stars) so I can’t complain, but I was reminded about my promise that if I got 50 reviews I’d barbecue a unicorn.
That got me to thinking… unicorn’s aren’t real, so what would I eat? I thought about what ancients believed were unicorns a few thousand years ago but remembered that rhinoceros are an endangered species, so that’s out. Then I thought “Well, horses are sorta related” but then realized that I did not want to be single, since eating a horse would most definitely cause my girlfriend to break up with me.
So I started positing other options. Dog? Well, dogs are good and loyal animals, and during the Dark Days they will not only be great companions but also first-warning alarm systems for when the zombies attack your compound. No, gotta save the dogs. Besides, Odin, for all his annoyances, is a really good dog. He might get upset at the idea that daddy is eating his cousins.
Cats? Cats are terrific vermin control, so no, no cats. I love my cats. They have helped me write thirty books over the past ten years. No, cats are good critters to have around. Can’t eat a cat then.
Suddenly I realized that I was having a Stannis Baratheon conversation with myself. All because I want to hit 50 reviews on Amazon.
God… rats? I’ve had rat. Nothing special there, maybe a little gamey. Worse than venison but still worlds better than sloth. Anything is better than sloth.
So… we get 50 reviews for Wraithkin and I’m back to barbecuing unicorns. Can we do it?
Yesterday while at church I had a strange thought about religion…
One thing that has always bugged me about organized religion (i.e., going to a church) is the strict limitations the church seems to impose upon your belief and your relationship with God. I was raised Roman Catholic and all my Masses were in either Latin or Spanish (living in Southern California during your formative years will make you bilingual even if you don’t want to) and it always felt too “strict” in terms of a healthy relationship in your worship. What I mean by this is that people oftentimes put a limit on just how you can go about worshiping God.
Let me explain.
Our pastor (good guy, always up for a spiritual debate, and is very accommodating for my random bursts of insanity :D) was preparing for church yesterday and one of the leaders (I should know what they’re called but I can’t think of the name off the top of my head) was asking us to let Jesus into our hearts before the service began. I got to thinking about that and wondering just how in the Hell they believe that we have the power to not let God into our hearts. Then the idea of limitations came to mind and while the pastor was talking about Joseph and the trials of life, my mind was off to the races.
Now, I know I’m not the easiest Christian to deal with (that’s gotta be the understatement of the year) since I ask questions about everything. I also would admit that I can be trying to anyone’s patience. All those warning labels aside, even I know that humanity tends to impart its own mental limitations and biases on God. It’s almost like we can’t accept God as God and we have to mold and shape Him, that we are unable to simply bask in a love that even we can’t fathom how deep it is. So we make restrictions and limitations, require people to let an all-powerful deity into our lives when He’s already there.
I’m a trained historian (I hate that phrase but it’s the only want I can say “I went to school and learned lots of historical stuff so I know what I’m talking about” without sounding too snotty) so I know just when and how the bible was written. I also know that fellow “trained historians” removed pieces of the bible to fit their own narrative bias of the time. Some even changed the meaning of the Greek words to fit something else (hence “Thou Shalt Not Suffer A With To Live” causing the freaking Salem Witch trials) which has caused a few hundred years of grief. Again, human biases and nature in action.
I got into a huge argument once with my girlfriend awhile back about whether or not people of the Jewish faith would get into heaven or not. She insisted that they wouldn’t and I got a little upset, so I started lobbing in some cheap shots. I asked if a Jew lived a blameless life and worshiped God, then how could they not be allowed into heaven? Even an atheist, if they lived a life without traditional sin, should be able to gain entrance into heaven. I mean, if Bertha Better Than You can get into heaven, why can’t the atheist who lived without sin?
This is where mankind’s own sense of limitations comes into play. I feel that since God is all-powerful, then it shouldn’t matter what people choose to worship so long as it leads to living in a manner much like Christ. Think about it. If an atheist, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Hindu all live lives where they help the poor, treat their fellow man and woman as an equal, and love all, then why does it matter whether or not they’ve “opened their hearts to Jesus”? Their actions alone show that they are being Christ-like, which is something we all should strive for.
Human limitations. That’s where religious hangups all come into play. Our own misconceptions and personal beliefs warp what God truly is. At lunch yesterday my girlfriend mentioned that what we see in the power of God is just a sliver. I actually agreed with that because humans, at the most basest of levels, need limitations in order to even begin to wrap our brains around anything. If a pastor, imam, rabbi, or priest all catch a bare glimpse of the true power of God, their own biases and understandings will temper and shape that word into something that they can understand. This can be good and bad, but either way it’s still a limitation.
I think once we as a people quit throwing our own preconceived notions onto God we can truly begin living in a manner that we’re supposed to, which is to love and cherish one another and strive forward to better ourselves without condemning anyone else. If we are to survive as a species then this has to happen. If we can’t, then perhaps at least we can try not to blame others for mistakes of our own. Perhaps then we can take baby steps towards becoming the humans we were meant to become.
Everyone should be able to agree with that.
Over the last three days I’ve had free to write I’ve added 32,500 words. If I can do that all the time I can put out about one book every two weeks. I mentioned this to one of my publishers and he said “So do it.”
It’s like he wants me to go all hermitwriter on people…
There isn’t a lot to talk about on the writing front. Both Darkling and Devastator are coming along nicely. If I can keep the pace up, Devastator will be done by the end of the month, with Darkling completed by mid-September. Then I can crush the next two The Warp books out in rapid succession, then focus on the final Kin Wars Saga, Deathlords.
Yeah, everything is going according to plan…
School starts back up tomorrow at work. I’m actually kind of excited about it. A lot of our boys are playing football this year, which meant that we don’t have a fall soccer team. That’s okay, because it just means that our spring soccer team will be top-notch. One of our boys actually made the All-District Second Team last year as a freshman. That’s pretty good considering the kid had only started playing soccer a year or two before.
I’m also finishing up our basketball schedule for the upcoming season. I’m really looking forward to watching my star forward crack 1,000 points for his career. Three years as a varsity starter on the hill is rare, so to see him do it is kind of awe-inspiring. He also could break 1,000 career rebounds as well, but that would take some major 20+ rebound games. Still, it’s mathematically possible.
Wally is doing well, though with the decline of his kidney functions he probably won’t live as long as the other cats. Still, he’s a happy kitty who seems to be not bothered by his illness, so I’ll keep him fed and happy until it’s time.
Other than that, not much going on around Casa Cordova.
After speaking a bit with my publisher I can now confirm roughly my publishing schedule for the next 8 or 9 months.
- September 5 — Forged in Blood anthology, ed. by Michael Z. Williamson from Baen Books. My short story within is called Magnum Opus.
- Early September — Corruptor (Book 1 of The Warp) from Anticipation Press.
- November — Devastator (Book 2 of The Warp) from Anticipation Press.
- December — Darkling (Book 2 of the Kin War Saga) from Theogony Books.
- February 2018 — Obliterator (Book 3 of The Warp) from Anticipation Press.
- May 2018 — Vindicator (Book 4 of The Warp) from Anticipation Press.
- June/July 2018 — Deathlords (Book 3 of the Kin War Saga) from Theogony Books.
Yeah, that is a crazy publishing schedule. Of course, this involves me knocking out the books in a rapid succession, but it’s not as though I haven’t done it before. Granted, I’m trying to get as much done as possible before basketball season starts, because I know for a fact that once we start the 2017-18 season you can kiss any writing production goodbye (except for Christmas break).
After that, it gets a little crazy. I have a proposal for three more books in the Kin War Saga that the publisher might be interested in, but it involves madness and chaos, which I do well so I suppose he’ll be interested. I also have a six book alternate history/steampunk series in the works that I’ve been batting around for awhile now, based on the universe I created with The Finder’s Keeper. Still working on a title for the series but I’m kinda leaning towards Honor Bound but, as always, that’s subject to change.
After that? Well, lots of projects still in the works. I’m going to wrap up the second Murder World book (Kaiju Dusk) eventually. I swear. Then I’ll be dipping my toe back into the YA field with the Cole series. That should keep me busy until 2021.
That felt weird typing out.
Coming soon, the re-release of the novel that started it all. Now with a brand new cover!
Libertycon was a blast as usual, with plenty of programming to go around for everyone. Steampunk? They have authors for that. SF? Same. Fantasy? Oh yeah.
Brandy Bolgeo Spraker and her crew of loyal minions once again did an amazing job of putting together a fun and creative convention. This year the Chattanooga Choo Choo kinda screwed just about everyone on their rooms and it cost them, with half of the con attendees being forced to stay at the Marriott instead. This was a ton of lost revenue on their part and I can tell you that Libertycon XXXI will not be at the Choo Choo. Where then, you may ask? Nobody knows yet.
So we rolled into Chattanooga around 1600 hours on Thursday, per the norm, and we find our roommates almost immediately. They were happy to see us but we almost immediately parted ways since we had dinner plans with bestselling author Doug Dandridge, Larry Southard, and Seamus Curran. Once again, as is becoming a Thursday night tradition, we descended upon Lupi’s Pizza in downtown Chattanooga and had some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. I’m not a beer fan but they even have good beer. Afterwards I found some old friends and got many hugs. I also got our badges early this year, which was nice. I hate waiting in lines. Ask the poor girl at Chick-Fil-A. I wandered over to the not-yet-open consuite and said hi to Vonnage and Subdude, then wandered around catching Pokemon (don’t judge me) for the next hour before I decided to call it a night.
Friday I didn’t want to get out of bed but finally got up and moving around 0800. We went over to the Frothy Monkey, a new boutique-style restaurant located within the Choo Choo.
Side note: the Choo Choo used to offer a breakfast buffet in their dining area, which was always frequented by us. This year there was none, but they had the Frothy Monkey, so I wasn’t going to murder anyone… yet.
I’m turning into a big coffee snob (Starbucks couldn’t beat that into me, I wonder why?) and the Frothy Monkey had this amazing latte that was banana flavored. They drew hearts on it and everything (someone told me the waitress was hitting on me. I reminded him that I was probably older than her dad). I then scarfed down this awesome omelet (many sins can be forgiven if the omelet is good enough) and make my way over to check-in at con.
While I had already gotten my badge, this is the best place to find old friends on the first day of con. I ran into, dang, just about everyone and exchanged more hugs (I’m a hugger, what can I say?), then was told that I have to attend this panel on stealth in space. So I followed fellow Four Horseperson of the Anthology Mike Massa (long story) over to watch some really neat guys talk about stealth in space and how hard it is to hide a fully-powered space ship.
I already knew the reasoning (ships bleed heat, and an IR scanner would spot that thing from a looooooooong way away, especially if you already have a pre-scanned image of the area to compare it to) but I wanted to hear what Chuck Gannon and the others had to say. While there I did have an idea about how to stealthily bomb the hell out of a planet, but it would require lots of math and a little bit of luck.
From there it was on to Opening Ceremonies, where I caught a glimpse of Guest of Honor Kevin Hearne…
A brief note here. I saw Kevin from a distance at Opening Ceremonies, and then I did not see him again the rest of the weekend. I am a HUGE fan of the Iron Druid so when I had heard that he was going to be this year’s GoH I was excited. Needless to say, between our schedules not working out and never running into the man, I was a bit bummed.
…and got a pretty loud cheer when I was introduced by Toni Weisskopf, the head of Baen Books. My people tolerate me so this is good.
After opening ceremonies I grabbed some food and went to a panel or two as a fan (you never stop truly being a fan) and then started to hit the room parties.
Nathan Balyeat and I have been friends for over 15 years now, so he knows me fairly well. So when I told him that we were going to invent a drink called the “Redheaded Trixie” (in honor of Trixie from John Ringo’s “Black Tide Rising” series) he actually was a bit surprised. Nonplussed, he decided to go ahead and wing it, and we would see what we came up with.
He nailed it. It was red perfection.
At this point I was on door duty, carding ID’s for anyone wanting to get into the room party. I had a hand stamp and everything, I was official. I was also mildly inebriated (don’t slip your security drinks while they’re working!) but managed to keep out all the underage riffraff. I also accidentally interrupted a deaf 80 year old’s orgy (this is what he claimed, the two elderly women who went in five minutes later backed this, so…. *shrug*), so I guess my security measures were so-so.
It was fun, providing security for my fellow TRMN/IAN members while they did an awards ceremony. It was a successful room party and I was looking forward to the following night.
But first, to sleep!
I woke up bright and early and hangover-less, which almost got me stabbed by about 40 people (it wasn’t even March 15!), and went back to the Frothy Monkey for breakfa– haha, nope, no time for that since I had a panel at 1000 hours for something I haven’t written for in awhile now. What’s New in 1632? was pretty good overall, except I was sorta lost since I stopped keeping track of the 1632 series about a year or two ago. Outside of the main series and the ones that Eric Flint writes with Chuck Gannon I really don’t keep up with it any more. Too many side stories and spin offs for me to keep track of.
I actually left the panel with about 10 minutes left because 1) nobody asked me anything, and 2) I didn’t know what they were talking about. I don’t think I’ve ever cut out early on a panel before. I felt a smidge bad but that quickly disappeared when someone asked me why I wasn’t going to the 1632 mass autograph session. When I told them that I had sold a single short story 3 years ago to their electronic magazine, Grantville Gazette, I was informed that I should go anyway and support my fellow authors.
Look, I can be a cheerful person in the morning, but I need food in me first for that. Since I was scheduled for an OMG o’clock panel there was little chance of me getting food or caffeine before the panels began, so my patience was a little thin when I asked said person if they were going to tell the 1632 authors to come support me during my mass autograph session later. I mayyy have come off a bit snarkish but at least the person conceded my point.
After that I managed to eat about half of a sandwich from the Frothy Monkey (why is they AM service so much better than their dinner service?) before I went to my 2 hour time slot at the Author’s Alley.
Last year was my first year getting on the Author’s Alley, and it was extremely profitable since I sold out. This year I sold more books but did not sell out since I brought more than usual. Still, I cleared out about 75% of what I brought and it was enough to help pay for my cat’s vet bills as well as Odin’s boarding fees. I signed a lot of autographs and really enjoyed running into fans from last year who lambasted me for the ending of Wraithkin. I also was able to announce that Chris Kennedy picked up the rights to Corruptor and the rest of the books in The Warp universe, which was exciting. I also got to talk about my short story in A Fistful of Credits anthology, which was called “Paint the Sky”. Initial reviews have been positive with more than a few telling me that it was one of their favorite stories in the book.
I then went to the Baen Traveling Road Show and scored a free copy of Chuck Gannon’s latest Caine Riordan book, called Caine’s Mutiny. I’d read the first two books of the series and hadn’t finished the third yet, so this now means I have to finish it before I start the fourth book. Got to see some really cool covers coming from Baen Books in the next two years and also hang out with fellow Four Horseperson and Baen author Kacey Ezell. We then made our way through the downpour (yes, it rains in Chattanooga and I was unprepared for such an eventuality) and to our reading, which featured all four of the Horsepersons (Kacey Ezell, Mike Massa, Chris Smith, and myself). We had a good turnout during the reading. Kacey and Chris read from their short stories in Forged in Blood, another anthology that all of us are in, while Mike read a snippet from his current collaboration with John Ringo, titled More Than His Salt. I shocked the heck out of everyone by reading the opening of Darkling, Wraithkin’s sequel. I’ve never seen people actively giddy about a reading from me before. It was strange.
From there the four of us high-tailed it over to the Freehold: Written in Blood panel, where Michael Z. Williamson had us sign more of those cursed book plates. Book plates, for those who don’t know, are little stickers that authors sign and people then buy to slap inside the cover of the book that they were all in. It’s usually done when a book comes out after a time when the people signing the book plates can get together, hence the need for book plates.
After some good-natured grumbling we all went to dinner with Baen Books and had a marvelous time. I finally broke down and fan boy’d Chuck Gannon, who laughed at me. I’ve known Chuck for a very long time, so it was all in good fun. I then got to talk with John Ringo and Mike Massa some, as well as editor Gary Poole. I pitched an idea/story and Gary said to write it and send it so that’s thrilling news. I just gotta finish up a few things first and then… Captain Annie and the crew of the Failsafe returns!
Made it back to the room party/book release party of A Fistful of Credits, where I got to “officially” meet my brother from another mother, author Jon del Arroz. We joked about taking all the good writing jobs and stealing all the white women. He’s even a baseball fan, which proves to me that we’re related somehow. Granted, he’s an A’s fan, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
From there I party hopped, bouncing from room to room and running into old friends and making new ones. I actually went to bed somewhat early, staggering in and crashing at about 0200. My roommate had ordered pizza as penance for snoring so loudly the night before so we gladly scarfed down some Domino’s before going to sleep.
Sunday morning I was up, chipper and ready to roll. My roommates hate my ability to go without sleep and drink all I want and not suffer hangovers, so I get something from the Frothy Monkey before rolling over to my next 1000am panel, which was What’s New from Copper Dog Publishing? I got to run into the musically and lyrically gifted (and perverted) Beth Waggonner, who’s rendition of the “Summer of ’69” almost caused much beer to be spilled the prior Libertycon. We goofed off and talked about the benefits of small-press publishing, as well as some of the drawbacks. Overall it was a good panel.
From there I actually had some free time, so I perused the dealer’s room and spotted a few things I would have liked to buy. Due to budget constraints I was unable to get the messenger bag I wanted. Next year, Miskatonic University bag, next year.
I then had my final panel of the weekend, which was an autograph session with John Ringo and David Weber. I joked around with people in line about being the unwanted third person in the threesome but after John left it was just David and I signing autographs. David is a funny and knowledgeable guy who can remember details of a book he wrote 15 years ago. I ‘m not talking about general details, no. I’m talking specific math details and obscure characters that he mentioned in passing. The guy has one of the best memories ever, and that’s saying something.
Later that night we went out and did our annual Rodizio’s Brazilian BBQ, this time with a group of 36. Last year we only had 18, so word spread somehow. I may have *cough cough* helped with that some, since I invited every Baen author I could find. I again gorged myself on all types of food, including grilled pineapple, beef, lamb, chicken, fish… I had the meat sweats and it was GLORIOUS!
I paid for it later, but man oh man was it worth it.
Went to the Libertycon Dead Dog Party and talked with Michael Gants again about collaborating on a project we’ve been toying with for over 10 years now. Our schedules have never meshed up but my upcoming schedule actually doesn’t look so bad, so I think in 2018 we might get it done. Lack of sleep finally caught up with me so I went to bed.
Breakfast at the Frothy Monkey a final time (they made some money this weekend, I can tell you that) and then it was time to hit the road. I needed to get back in time to pick up Wally from the vet and Odin from the dog sitter. While on the ride home, however, the vet calls me and reminds me that they will be closing at 4pm for the holiday. Since they had neglected to tell me this beforehand when I dropped him off and told them when I was picking him up, this meant that I was in no hurry to make it it home on time.
Stupid…. ugh. I could have spent more time with my friends!
All in all, Libertycon XXX was a lot of fun. Made some new friends and got to see a lot of old ones. Also raised a toast to Gary Roulston, one of my first readers. Gary died last week right before Libertycon and I haven’t had time to process his death yet.
This is something I wrote when I got back from Libertycon Monday evening:
We are born with family but as life goes along a new family emerges that is chosen, and those bonds that are forged are oftentimes stronger than even blood. I love you all and I will be counting the days until I get to see my family again.