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This one time at Writer's Camp…

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.

A Basketball Update


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.

Crap.

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.

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Update and Merry Christmas


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!

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Release Day


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.

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Book 1 of the Kin Wars Saga

That Random Update


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.

wraithkinfullcover

And yes, I even got a promo blurb from the International Lord of Hate. That’s some shenaniganning right there (totally a word, shaddup).

Cover Reveal!


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.

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Ain’t No Time For Turkey


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.