This one time at Writer's Camp…
Man, basketball season has pretty much sucked away my entire life.
With practice almost every day and at least 2 games a week, and my regular 100+ hour work week schedule thrown in on top, it’s a wonder I even remember what my house looks like. We’ve gone through some major improvements as we get deeper into the season, and though we aren’t picking up the wins, we’re scaring the crap out of every team we play. The best part? I’m only graduating 3 seniors, and only 1 of them starts for me. I have a young team of sophomores and juniors, which means next year we’ll be a dangerous team. Especially with my guards getting better with each and every day.
While basketball is awesome, it also means that I haven’t been able to update here, or get any new writing done on Darkling. Which is a shame, because I believe that I can have the first draft completed within a month. That being said, basketball season is over after our February 28th game. That means by April 1st the book should be done. Which means… nobody will believe me if I announce it to be completed on April Fool’s Day.
I’m debating about setting up a mailing list here. I’ve never been a huge fan of them, mainly because they remind me of spam. That being said, I have a compendium built for the entire Kin Wars Saga made (albeit filled with spoilers because, well, spoilers) and I wanted a way to give it away for free. It dawned on me that people signing up for the mailing list could get rewarded with the free compendium. I was considering selling it for $1.99 until… yeah, mailing list.
I still might sell it and give it away. Who knows?
Don’t forget: if you picked up a copy of Wraithkin, give it a review over on Amazon. Many Bothans gave their lives for these review stars. The least you can do is leave some in remembrance of those poor, brave, retconned Bothans.
Just a quick update while on “vacation”.
Wraithkin is doing exceptionally well still, staying around the ranking I had anticipated while the holiday season is still in full effect. I’m hoping that the first two weeks in January see an increase in sales since that’s usually the time people start to buy their books again.
Saw an awesome review by JR Handley for Wraithkin as well. I should have pointed out that the Dominion, just like every other nation in existence, is not perfect. And I’ll leave it at that. You can go check out the review here.
Doing a little work on Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga today. Darkling is coming along splendidly and at a much faster pace than Wraithkin did. I’m happy with the plot so far and the newish character POV shows a different side to everything. I’m really enjoying writing these characters and this universe.
Okay, time for breakfast. Don’t forget to pick up your copy today!
Today is the release of the long-awaited first book of a brand new series I’m writing. Wraithkin is out and available in both print and e-format, and the early reviews is that all my hard work has come to fruition with this book. Run and buy, share, talk about it. Publicity never hurt a writer.
Between being deathly ill, work, and basketball, I have been unable to accomplish much lately.
First, the bad. I had pneumonia. It was bad enough to absolutely level me for over two weeks and I’m still not 100% better. However, I felt well enough to return to work (albeit in a limited capacity) so there is that. Basically, my stress levels were too high and my immune system was compromised due to this. I’m getting better, though.
The better? Basketball season is going well. My guys played their hearts out last night and won, improving our record to 3-7 on the season. Considering this is being considered a “rebuilding” year, I think we’re looking good thus far.
The best? Wraithkin will be out this Friday, Dec 16. Oh yeah.
And yes, I even got a promo blurb from the International Lord of Hate. That’s some shenaniganning right there (totally a word, shaddup).
It’s cover reveal day here and I am pleased to show off the cover for Wraithkin, Book 1 of a brand new series. Look at the texture, the color, the gorgeousness…
…you want to see it now, don’t you? Fine, I’ll quit yammering about it.
I feel like I just updated the site and yet it’s almost been a month since my last post. Wow…
I’m having a HUGE cover reveal here on Friday, November 18th. There will be dozens of people here to celebrate the cover reveal of Wraithkin, which is an absolutely GORGEOUS cover. It’s my first “solo” book in a while but also one that I’ve worked the longest on. I’m really looking forward to it.
Basketball season started off with a bang. We won our first game 62-37 while on the road. Next up is a tournament this coming weekend down in Christiansburg.
Release date for Michael Z Williamson’s Forged in Blood anthology, which is set in his FREEHOLD universe and features my short story Magnum Opus. It’s going to be a late 2017 release, September 5 to be precise. Might want to go ahead and preorder this bad boy now so you don’t forget later. It features some awesome authors like Larry Correia, Sara Hoyt, Kacey Ezell, Michael Massa, Tony Daniel, Tom Kratman, and Peter Grant. I was actually surprised to be invited in, and then thrilled to find out that I was writing about a character who was already canon in the series.
Other than that it’s been work, work, and work. Christmas is always crazy at work apparently, and we start our planning for it early. I mean, I’m knocking almost all of my Christmas shopping out this week.
I haven’t even massacred a turkey yet, dang it.
So the past two weeks have been very exciting.
First off, there’s a cover reveal for the next Baen Books anthology that I’m a part of. Forged in Blood, which is edited by Michael Z. Williamson and set in his Freehold universe, features my short story Magnum Opus, which is the story of Rowan Moran, an Operative before The War. It’s exciting, fast-paced, and a little sad. Personally I love it and can’t wait for people to read it.
Next is news that is even more exciting. I signed a contract with Theogony Publishing for WRAITHKIN, the first book in the yet-untitled trilogy set within the Dominion of Man. I’ve been working on this series for years and it is extremely nice to see it finally coming to fruition. They also have options for the sequels, DARKLINGS, and DEATHLORDS. I’m super thrilled to be working with the publisher and I’m looking forward to selling a TON of books with them.
Basketball season has started and my team is… not bad. We are definitely a lock-down defensive team that most teams hate to play, and I have a few big men who can dominate a game. In my head it reminds me a bit of the 80’s era Pistons. Our season starts at the home court of one of the top ranked high school teams in the state, which should be a good barometer of how well we’ll be the rest of the season.
This year started out crappy but has gotten progressively better.
Life has a way of grabbing you by the… nose and not letting go sometimes.
I’ve been deep in Darkling the past month, adding to it whenever I can and trying to get this book done by Christmas. I have a plan for Christmas and I’m trying to see if it will happen. It’s a “plan” inasmuch as a goal, really. Or a deadline for myself and others. I don’t know how else to explain it without explaining it in too much detail.
You see, Wraithkin is in the hands of both potential publisher and potential agent right now. Why the agent, you may ask? Well, primarily because I have a feeling that if Wraithkin gets picked up then I’m going to need one for the ensuing books of the series. But since I also am looking at indie publishing right now for the series potentially, I’m trying to get a feel for how this is going to work out in the long run. Gains versus losses and whatnot.
Plus, work has been hectic and basketball season is upon us, making my writing time lessen even further. I don’t have any free time right now already so this coming winter is going to be… fun? That’s the word, fun.
But then, I chose this and I love all of it, so that must make me a very special individual.
My brain works weird.
I was in the kitchen making dinner (and mentally writing Darkling, the sequel to Wraithkin), and my brain started thinking about my short story in the upcoming FREEHOLD anthology (ed. by Michael Z. Williamson).
There’s a part in the story (Magnum Opus) where it is revealed that my main character is gay. No big deal, he just wanted to be written that way (the four rough drafts that got tossed can affirm this). It was when I was thinking about my character when it dawned on me that I had written two more gay characters in the past as well. The first one was in Corruptor (good luck figuring that one out) and the second is in Wraithkin. The first one wasn’t a huge character, but the second one was a very important part of Wraithkin and was a central figure in the story.
Then my brain took one of those weird turns and I started asking myself “Is that what made him an Imperfect?”
In the “Dominion of Man” series, an Imperfect is a citizen of the Dominion of Man who was born with a genetic imperfection, be it a predisposition to cancer or something more serious, like Down Syndrome or Parkinson’s.
My first thought when I was outlining this series was “Why don’t they abort?” I mean, it’s the simplest and easiest way to ensure that the gene pool stays “pure”, right? I thought about it and decided that because of history, aborting a child (in their eyes) is a horrific thing and not even thought about. I haven’t decided what that event was yet, but it was serious enough for people to not even consider it.
Okay, so no abortions. So how do they ensure that the gene pool stays pure?
Genetic testing came immediately to mind. I figured that they were technologically advanced enough to be able to find any genetic issues by the child’s 3rd birthday. A resulting positive test would result in chemical castration for boys or surgical sterilization for girls to ensure that they cannot have any kids. The parents are also retested for any signs of genetic mutation, as are any other siblings. If another child tests positive, everyone in the family is subjected to what the child went through. Cruel, horrifying, but effective. It’s also why the population of the Dominion is a measly 100 billion spread out across 38 worlds and space stations.
But that got me thinking…
When I got into an argument about homosexuality and sin and whatever with a minister and a lesbian, I was more or less a spectator as the sparks flew between the other two. The minister (First Baptist) was adamant that homosexuality is a sin (we were born (according to dogma), therefor we’re sinners to start, so what’s the big deal?) while the lesbian was pretty much denouncing religion as a bunch of hocus pocus. It finally boiled down to “choice” vs. “design”. That was when I put my two cents in.
“If it’s by design and you have no choice in the manner, and we’re a species who are designed to sin and procreate, wouldn’t homosexuality be a genetic flaw? If is a choice, by your terms wouldn’t that mean that choosing a religion and being gay are both a mental disability?”
Let’s just say that neither party was polite while they started in on me.
I used that lesson in Wraithkin. In that universe, where genetic purity and procreation are sacrament, homosexuality would be considered a genetic flaw and the individual would be removed from the genetic pool through the methods I mentioned earlier.
Horrific? Sure, definitely, without a doubt. Unfeasible? Welllll…..
We’re already creating designer babies, are obsessed with flawless physical bodies, and shun those who are different (be it socio or physio). Our world is already on this path if you look at it with a truly open mind and not let any preconceived notions of individuality or personal rights distort your thought process. Hell, I know I would love to have children who had no physical ailments and were a lot cuter than I.
(Note to self: must find half-Viking, half-Jamaican goddess for procreation purposes only)
I’m hunting for an agent (despite me stating previously that I never needed one. Turns out, I need one)
I’m going to be chronicling my search for it here and at the Mad Genius Club. It will be enlightening and probably stretch across 6-8 months (unless I get very lucky). In the meantime I’m gearing up for basketball season and finishing Darkling and the secret collab project. Meanwhile, the agent hunt has begun. I never wanted an agent but after waiting in a slush pile for almost 2 1/2 years I decided that I wanted to cut to the front of the line. The best way to do that is to have an agent.
So… there we go.
The inaugural Dragon Awards (hosted by Dragoncon, the biggest party for nerds in the entire southeastern U.S.) went off smashingly. I can’t wait for them to release the results numbers so we can see just how many people actually voted. I’m going to throw out a number and say… hmm… 10,000. While that may seem like a high number, I’m guestimating and lowballing the potential voters by comparing them to the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2016.
Worldcon had 7,338 members (supporting and attending) and 2,903 voters for the Hugo Awards in 2016. That’s roughly 39.56% of members voting.
Dragoncon had 75,000+ attendees this 2016, but I seriously doubt the voter turnout was equivalent to the Worldcon voting participation. I dropped about 20% of the prospective votes due to general apathy to awards on a whole by Dragoncon attendees, guessing that the amount of Dragon Award voters was about a measly 17%. That would make the vote total about… uhh… math sucks… I write books not equations… 11,250. This number is probably high, but still… that’s a hell of a lot of votes.
I’ll be honest. I did not nominate anyone for the Dragon Award. Not because I didn’t feel any books weren’t deserving, but because I’d read about 450+ books so far this year, so I felt limited in what I could nominate because my options were too numerous. So I decided to wait and see who the nominees were and then vote.
So what I’ll do is post my pick in italics, and the winner in bold.
- Best Science Fiction Novel:
my pick — Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
winner — Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
Thoughts: This was a tough category, because I thought both books had solid merits. I went with Charles as my winner due to past experiences working with him in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. Still, Wright’s work is top-notch and there is no shame in losing out to him.
- Best Fantasy Novel:
my pick — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
winner — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
Thoughts: I had pegged this book back when it first came out as Larry’s best work to date. I never really imagined him as a high fantasy author, and this book blew any preconceived notions of Larry being a “monsters and guns” guy away. This is one of the rare fantasy books I’ve reread multiple times where the authors name on the cover isn’t Weis or Hickman. Plus, while I love Butcher, I just didn’t feel the same about this new steampunk series as I did his Codex Alera one.
- Best YA/ Middle School Novel
my pick — Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
winner — The Shepard’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
Thoughts: no shame here. Pratchett is the greatest, and even though I secretly hoped that Freer could pull off the upset, I knew deep down that Pratchett had this one locked up. If Freer hadn’t been nominated, my vote would have gone to Alethea Kontis’ “Trix and Faerie Queen”. I don’t do YA/teen romance normally but Kontis is a terrific writer who makes “the kissy parts” not too over the top. 😛
- Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
my pick — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
winner — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
Thoughts: Not a huge surprise here, though Django Wexler’s “The Price of Valor” was pretty good. Matched up against Weber’s SF/Fantasy mashup, though, it pales in comparison. This series is better than Weber’s Honor Harrington one.
- Best Alternate History Novel
my pick — Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
winner — League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Thoughts: For a voter, this category sucked. I had to choose between Novik, two separate 1632 novels, and Robert Conroy’s “Germanica”. There was no way I could put one above the other, so I pretty much dismissed the 1632 novels out of hand due to what I termed in my head a “vote split”, leaving “League of Dragons” and “Germanica”. I then pretty much flipped a coin 13 times (superstitious) and “Germanica” came out on top, 8-5.
Voting in this category, as previously stated, sucked. I hate when the decision is damn near impossible.
- Best Apocalyptic Novel
my pick — A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchman)
winner — Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
Thoughts: I have a vested interest in seeing a good friend win, so I picked Wandrey over Cole, even though I enjoyed both books equally. Considering how little press or push there was behind Wandrey’s latest, I was proud of how well he did to even make the short list. Cole’s novel was a tremendous piece of work and I’m glad that it was picked up.
- Best Horror Novel
my pick — Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
winner — Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (self-published)
Thoughts: This is the only category where I disagree with the process, primarily because I felt that “Souldancer” should have been in the Best Fantasy list. Still though, Niemeier’s “Souldancer” was an amazing (if slow-paced) work. I felt that “Honor at Stake” should have won, but I can’t fault them for sticking Souldancer in this category. It’s a weird freaking book!
- Best Comic Book
my pick — Daredevil
winner — Ms Marvel
Thoughts: I don’t really have an opinion on this one, because the most recent Daredevil is the only comic I’d read of those on the short list. Can’t vote for something I hadn’t read.
- Best Graphic Novel
my pick — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
winner — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
Thoughts: This one was a no brainer. An excellent book that is part of an excellent universe. I only wish that Gaiman wrote faster.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
my pick — The Flash (CW)
winner — Game of Thrones (HBO)
Thought: Penis! Floppy Penis! God damn you, Trey Parker! I can NEVER get that South Park song out of my head whenever I hear the GoT theme song come on and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!
In all seriousness, Dragoncon was made for something like Game of Thrones. I love The Flash, though, and with the series setting up the FlashPoint universe, the writing and series is going to be headed in a new and exciting direction. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it seems to be a long and predictable chess game where it’s Daenerys/Snow vs the White Walkers for control of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
my pick — Deadpool
winner — The Martian
Thoughts: I knew The Martian was going to win, so my Deadpool vote was a defiant vote in the face of conformity or some crap. I would have LOVED to see the hundreds of Deadpools at Dragoncon race up there to accept “their” award. Alas, it was not meant to be. A terrific movie beat out a hilariously fun one.
I don’t remember any of the games I voted for, which is a bad sign. I might have missed them.
So thoughts? How did your vote compare to the winners? Any surprises?