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We All Float Down Here, Georgie…

Writing Frantically


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 SagaDeathlords.

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.

So Much In So Long (and thanks for all the fish)


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.

Book Cover Reveal Day!


Coming soon, the re-release of the novel that started it all. Now with a brand new cover!

Corruptor2

Libertycon XXX AAR – The Update Version


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.

Day One

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.

Stealth in space

Stealth in Space panel

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.

Nathan's Wardroom.jpg

The Wardroom

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!

Day Two

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.

branch coffee.jpg

Feed me!

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 DarklingWraithkin’s sequel. I’ve never seen people actively giddy about a reading from me before. It was strange.

4 Horseperson

I apparently suffer from RGCF, or “Resting Grumpy Cat Face”. It is oftentimes fatal. The guy on the right? Chris Smith. We wrote a book together.

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.

Day 3

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!

rodizio's

Me with Speaker to Lab Animals, Dr. Tedd Roberts. He’s a Baen author as well and our go-to guy whenever we want to theoretically kill everybody with something exotic.

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.

Day 4

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.

Time Marches On


I’m taking a quick break this morning from writing Darkling to update the site.

Uhhh… huh. Nothing much is going on. Libertycon is less than 2 weeks away and I am super excited about that. My vacation starts in six days (with only 3 days of work before that, cha-ching!) and I’m planning on getting a lot of stuff done in the books. I’m also working on the wikia of the Kin Wars Saga in my copious amount of spare time (where’s that sarcasm key?). I also did something… different 10 days ago.

I emailed the publisher over at Twilight Times Books and requested to have the rights to Corruptor revert back to me. She was gracious and accommodating and, as of June 30, it reverts back to me 100%. I enjoyed the working relationship I had with them and I wish them well with all their future endeavors. They’re some good people who have published friends of mine I referred to them, and it has definitely jump started more than a few careers, so I’m glad that everything worked out.

I had every intention of editing Corruptor, putting a new cover up and going indie with it but… things happen. I loved the book and the universe it resides in and, considering I’m a quick rewrite away from books 2 and 3 (Obliterator and Devastator) complete, it just made sense to take control of it once more.

Within 10 minutes of announcing this I had to separate publishers asking to take a look at it. *shakes head*

I’m going to talk with them both at Libertycon (they’re both attending as guests) and I guess I’ll make a decision from there.

It was also my foster dad’s 80th birthday recently. I had a joke about his AARP card but the humor there expired.

Anyways, time marches on…

Counting the Days


I keep getting older, and these publishers stay the same age…

Sorry Matthew McConaughey, that still sounds creepy.

I turned *coughcough* this past week and while I don’t feel any older, my brain is convinced that I am slowly falling to pieces physically. Sure I’ve had a lot of joint pain the past 18 months but what other former athlete hasn’t? As long as opiates and ibuprofen don’t take control I’ll be fine.

That’s what I tell myself. My doctor begs to differ.

I’ve been slowly adding more to Darkling and, while it’s still adding, I’m also taking stuff out at the same time. Wrediting is what I call it and yes, totally a legit word. Look it up. I’m also already writing Deathlords becuase I want to drive myself insane. On top of that I’m starting to flesh out the fourth books of the Kin Wars Saga, tentatively titled Spinesplitter. That one has a major historical link and, if someone knows Arabic history, can guess what direction this book will be headed. I haven’t officially titled books 5 or 6 yet but they do have placeholder titles. I might even keep them, who knows?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I’m not on World of Tanks anymore. Part of it is quality of teammates and opposing play, but most of it is because I’ve had some major changes in my personal life which takes away a lot of my free time. No, my girlfriend is not pregnant. Sheesh.

Other than that, work and prepping for Libertycon. Which basically means I’m counting the days until I can get on my vacation!

A Fistful of Time Slipping Through The Fingers


First off, I wanted to thank everyone who picked up a copy of Wraithkin over the past few months and then left a review. I really appreciate the reviews, especially when they average 4.7 out of 5 stars. It’s probably the highest rated book I’ve written, period. If you picked up a copy and haven’t left a review yet, I encourage you to do so. I heard somewhere that Amazon rewards you with leprechauns and pints of Guinness when you crack 50 reviews.

(ed. note — This might just be a rumor or a very closely guarded secret. Unsure at this time.)

Secondly, I’m still hard at work on Darkling, which is the sequel to Wraithkin. This book has been a bit of a challenge for me because, up until a week ago, there was something about one of the character’s arc that bothered me. It took a long conversation with a fellow author and good friend to figure out what, precisely, the problem was. Now that it’s all situated I should have the book done soon. His story was the only part which was bogging me down.

Keeping in that “change is for the better” vein, my work is changing from public to private school. It’s merely a reclassification and it really doesn’t change the way we’re doing things, merely how we look and function to the state. Now, so far as I can tell this is not set in stone yet, but it appears to be headed that way over the next month or so. But since plans oftentimes go awry, I’m taking a “wait and see” approach.

Other than that, nothing really new to report. I got the official contract for “Paint the Sky“, my short story in Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy’s Four Horsemen Universe. It’s going to be released at Libertycon this June so make sure that if you’re there you pick up a copy. I heard rumor that it’s going to be available in hard cover.

Speaking of Libertycon, I received my schedule of events. I’m BOOKED solid on Saturday. Here it is:

  • Friday – 5:00PM – Opening Ceremonies: Come boo me. It’s tradition.
  • Saturday – 10:00AM – What’s New in 1632?: A panel I seem to have been thrown on because I wrote a short story in it, I’ll try not to get on the real authors of that universe’s way.
  • Saturday – 11:30 – 1632 Mass Autograph Session: To be honest, I’m probably going to skip this. I’m having a 2 hour autograph session later and having this one kinda makes things redundant.
  • Saturday – 12:00PM (2 hours) – Author’s Alley: I’ll have copies of Wraithkin for sale. $15 per book (cheaper than Amazon). It also has a free excerpt in the back for Mark Wandrey’s Cartwright’s Cavaliers. I’ll sign it politely or, for more money, will mock whoever you choose.
  • Saturday – 4:00PM – Four HorsePersons of the Anthology: Kacey Ezell, Mike Massa, Chris Smith, and I team up for a reading again. Last year’s reading for us went extremely well, and this year it’s only going to get better. We even have THEMED t-shirts (I’m Pestilence… it’s a long story).
  • Saturday – 5:00PM – Freehold Written in Blood: Michael Z Willliamson and other guests (including me) will be talking about our short stories in the upcoming Baen Books anthology, Forged in Blood. This should be fun.
  • Saturday – 9:00PM – “A Fistful of Credits” release party: It’s also another book’s release party at the same time, but this is the one that I’ll be at. Again, I”ll sign any books thrust in front of me (I’ll even sign for Chris Smith so I can return the favor… I think he signs it “sooper speshul awthur Kris Smiff”.
  • Sunday – 10:00AM – Kaffeeklatsch: Coffee with me and other attending pros. Warning: do not tempt the authors before their coffee is poured. It is bad for your health.
  • Sunday – 12:00PM – What’s New From Copper Dog Publishing?: I have some short stories with them, and I owe them a short for another anthology (I’m sorry!!!), so we’ll probably be talking about that.
  • Sunday – 1:00PM – Autograph session: My last autograph session. I’ll be with some new writers named David Weber and John Ringo. Never heard of either of them so I’ll show them the ropes*.

(*that was sarcasm by the way)

Libertycon looks to be a lot of work this year which means it’ll be a lot of fun.

More News!


I go from 2 months without posting to 2 within a week.

Exciting news! Not only is “Magnum Opus” coming out in Forged in Blood from Baen Books this coming September, but another short story, “Paint the Sky”, will be featured in the A Fistful of Credits anthology from Seventh Seal Press, edited by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy, and is coming out on June 30, 2017.

That’s less that two months away!

Here is the cover for the anthology. One day my name will be big enough to grace the cover of an anthology.

Fistful of credits

A Snippet from “Forged in Blood”


So I’m in another Baen Books anthology, this one titled Forged in Blood which is edited by Michael Z. Williamson and is based in his “Freehold” universe. Here is a quick description from the book:

NEW STORIES OF A MYSTICAL KILLING SWORD SET IN MICHAEL Z. WILLIAMSON’S FREEHOLD SERIES 

WARRIORS AND SOLDIERS TIED TOGETHER THROUGHOUT TIME AND SPACE.

From the distant past to the far future, those who carry the sword rack up commendations for bravery. They are men and women who, like the swords they carry, have been forged in blood. These are their stories.

In medieval Japan, a surly ronin is called upon to defend a village against a thieving tax collector who soon finds out it’s not wise to anger an old, tired man. In the ugliest fighting in the Pacific Theater, an American sergeant and a Japanese lieutenant must face each other, and themselves. A former US Marine chooses sides with outnumbered Indonesian refugees against an invading army from Java. When her lover is stolen by death, a sergeant fighting on a far-flung world vows vengeance that will become legendary. And, when a planet fragments in violent chaos, seven Freeholders volunteer to help protect another nation’s embassy against a horde.

Featuring all-new stories by Michael Z. Williamson, Larry Correia, Tom Kratman, Tony Daniel, Micahel Massa, Peter Grant, John F. Holmes, and many more.

The following is the intro for mine:


In all of life there is a song. A natural rhythm, as it were, to the order of the universe.

Every heartbeat, every inhale and exhale, contained a note which ran in perfect harmony with the heart of the galaxy.

For Operative Lieutenant Rowan Moran of the Freehold Military Forces, the music of the universe reached its crescendo whenever he wielded his katana in the embassy’s dojo. With each cut a new note was created, with every thrust came a change in pitch and tune. His constant practice in the ancient art of iaido could easily be parlayed into a musical score, so quick and precise were his movements.

Even after many years of practice, however, his movements were not yet perfect. The music which was supposed to flow through him in steady rhythm was not present, a clunky thresh piece over the symphonic artistry which he was supposed to feel. The blade felt wrong in his hand, the sword unbalanced. He knew that there was no way the sword was the issue. Neither was it the art. No, he knew that the problem lay within himself. He frowned and made three more quick cuts through the air, the blade of the sword flashing in the bright light with each movement. His frown deepened and his brow furrowed in frustration. Iaido was not supposed to be easy, but no matter how hard he tried to lose himself to it, he was unable. This he blamed on his own failings. For as deep into the art as he was, Rowan could never fully lose himself. An Operative was never fully ignorant of his immediate surroundings.

“Good morning, Ambassador,” he called out as he flicked his wrist slightly. The katana whispered through the air and, with movement borne of long practice, the face of the blade was wiped clean on his sleeve. Historically, it was a maneuver to wipe the blood of an enemy off of the face of the blade before the katana was sheathed. To an iaidoka, however, it came as naturally as breathing.

“Good morning, Lieutenant,” Ambassador Kiem Luc nodded respectfully in reply. He always tried to surprise Moran, and always failed. “Your form looks good today.”

“Thank you, sir,” Rowan said as he sheathed the blade. He turned and looked at the shorter man. “The answer is still no, sir.”

“I could order you to go,” the ambassador said with a small smile. There was no heat in his statement, merely fact.

“I still don’t understand why you insist on me accompanying you alone to this function,” Rowan complained in a low voice. “I told you that I was more than happy to remain as an anonymous member of the protective detail.”

“And as part of my protective detail, I want you to accompany me inside the event as my social companion,” Kiem said as he took a step closer. Rowan could see that the season politician was doing his best not to let any irritation appear on his face. “Caledonian policy prohibits armed guards within the presence of their royals, which puts the Freehold in a bind. Our ambassadors are not to be unescorted by at least one armed guard anywhere outside the embassy. The Caledonians want us to play their power games and I refuse. I’m irritated, and the Citizen’s Council is as well. Caledonia, Novaja Rossia, all of them. They know we want to withdraw from the UN and they’re making fun of us for thinking we can. It’s time that they learn that their morals are not our own, that our customs and beliefs are not theirs to dictate. We are more than an idea, Rowan. We’re an actual nation. It’s time for them to quit looking down on us.”

Rowan could read the tension in the ambassador’s body language and mentally grimaced. “No offense, sir, but you are a bit on the short side.”

Luc smiled. “If I thought I had any chance in hell, Moran, I’d kick your ass.”

“Noted, sir.”

“Social escort, Rowan,” Kiem said, his tone changing ever so slightly. “Please. Just you alone. No one else from the detail. Caledonians should be providing enough security to blanket the entire building, so you alone should be enough on the inside. Outside we’ll have a Rapid Response Team ready to move at a moment’s notice. That way I get what you want, and you get what you want.”

Rowan thought it over. The head of the embassy’s security detail would likely flip out over the idea of the ambassador going in practically unescorted, which made Rowan a bit happy, they were still following the rules, per se. While he respected the woman, a little professional competition never hurt anybody. Plus, there was no reason for him to avoid the “pie with a fork” training he’d received. Still, there was one thing that continued to bother him.

He hated formal functions with a passion.

“I need you, Rowan,” the ambassador pleaded. He laid a hand on the Operative’s arm. “I won’t lie and say that it would be the end of the world if you didn’t attend and I had to take someone else, but I can’t think of anyone else that I would want on my arm tonight.”

“You,” Rowan breathed as he bowed his head in acquiesce, “are a slimy politician, sir.”

“Not slimy enough for Earth, though,” Kiem said with a small smile.

“Thank Goddess.” Both men could readily agree upon that sentiment.


What’s really cool about this anthology is that everything follows a timeline, and mine is set specifically 50 years or so before the event in Freehold. Since I’ve listed this book as one of my Top 5 all-time favorite science fiction novels, you can imagine just how happy I was to have been invited to participate. And then, cherry on top, given me a character and story that Mike had thoughtfully outlined already in The Weapon.

The story wrote itself, really.

Here is the list of contributors for the anthology. This is one hell of a collection of authors who write science fiction. I’ve read all of these stories and I can honestly say that they are all very, very good.

Here is the link where Larry Correia snippets his story as well, as a bonus because I’m super freaking nice.

Contributors
Zachary Hill * Larry Correia * Michael Massa * John F. Holmes * Rob Reed * Dale Flowers * Tom Kratman * Leo Champion * Peter Grant * Christopher L. Smith * Jason Cordova * Tony Daniel * Kacey Ezell * Michael Z. Williamson

forged-in-blood-cover

Coming September 5, 2017 from Baen Books

Keeping Busy


Time sure does fly.

I’ve been working a lot and wrapping up the basketball season. First year with a new offense, only 1 returning starter and a bunch of young guys and we finished at 10-19. Not too bad, considering. In the month of February it finally clicked and our PPG went up by almost 14 points per game and our shooting percentage went up a bunch too. We were ranked nationally in rebounds per game and our MVP was 2nd in the nation in rebounds per game. All in all, not bad. Next year looks even better as everyone becomes more familiar with the offenses and defensive rotations.I’m gunning for a 20 win season.

Of course, all this basketball means I have done very little writing lately. That all changes now that basketball is over. I’ve already made a goal to complete Darkling by the end of the month, and have my short story A Battle of Wits to be done sooner than that. I also need to finish Terrance the Terrible Toy Train of Tehon, a short story set in the Sha’Daa universe, and also wrap up Deathlords by the end of 2017.

Keeping busy, you know.