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Semper Malevolem

Category Archives: Heroes in Hell

End of Year Time

Tonight I’m going to celebrate the end of 2013 with panache and class.

Yep, I’m going to crack open a bottle of champagne, cook up some finger foods and pass out around 11:30PM. That’s just how I roll.

I’m so hardcore.

I’m looking back over 2013 and I must say I’m rather pleased with what I’ve accomplished. I passed my 2013 word count goal of 370,000 by a lot (501,200 is the rounded down number) and finished Wraithkin (100,000 words). I also wrote the sequel to Homeworld with Eric Brown in September (another… 75,000 words?), and saw four anthologies I’m in be published (What Scares the Boogeyman?, Dreams of Steam IV: Gizmos, Dreamers in Helland Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past). I’m writing a sooper seekrit project with Mark Wandrey right now, which should be done by March or April. I moved, which was a big deal (I liked Kentucky, but I love living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia). I got a dog. I joined my first fan club/organization. I kept my (relative) sanity.

Good things, all said in done.

For 2014, I have some very specific goals. First, I’d like to hit a word count goal of 500,000 words this coming year. Granted, this is going to be a bigger challenge than 2013’s goal, simply because I’ll have to average almost 1,700 words a day. That’s not a lot, per se, but it’s still enough to make me work. I’d like to finish Darkling, the sequel to Wraithkin, by September. I’d like to have my project with Mark done by April. I also owe my editor a bunch of Tobias Fox stories, as well as his first novel. I’d like to write a Star Trek novel, but I’d have to bug the agent about that one.

Things I’d like to get done: write the first Failsafe novel, titled A Banner Burned. That’s… probably not going to happen, simply because the amount of other projects I have to finish before then. I’d also like to write another novel in Eric Brown’s Homeworld universe, starring Saul, but that’s a “maybe sorta kinda” thing. I also would like to write Obliterator, the sequel to Corruptor, by the end of 2014, as well as begin Devastator. The Warp universe isn’t going anywhere, and with the advances in tech that have been sprouting up in recent years since I first wrote Corruptor (way back in… 2005? 2006?), I’ve gotten some awesome new ideas for the world (nice to see that my prediction of cloud-based free gaming came true) and really don’t want to waste the characters I have running around there (primarily Tori and Dylan). 

I’m hoping to get more reviews done for Shiny Book Review, but that might not happen. If I can manage three a month I’d be happy, but I may have to settle for merely two. 

I’m also looking forward to seeing more stories I’ve written be published. Anthologies such as Terror by GaslightHero’s Best Friend, Sha’Daa Facetsand Heroes All should be coming out in 2014, and all of them have stories I’ve written featured within. I’m also looking forward to the latest Dresden novel, Skin Game. I’m hoping that George R. R. Martin lives long enough to finish A Song of Fire and Ice.

I hope that my brother stays safe while finishing up his final rotation to A-stan. I hope my dad stays (relatively) healthy.

But most of all, I hope that everyone has a reasonably satisfactory 2014. I mean, there’s always some bad with the good. I’m hoping that the bad is outweighed by the tremendous good.

Dreamers in Hell Available

Dreamers in Helis now available for Kindle over at Amazon. The print version should be up within 24 hours (if, like me, that’s what you prefer). I’m pretty certain that if you order by the end of the week, you’ll have it in your hands in time to get 13 of the authors to sign it at Libertycon this year. I know I’ll sign it.

Plus, look at the gorgeous cover. GORGEOUS. You want it. You need it. You crave it.

Dreamers in Hell

Trolling For Love

I made a huge mistake today. I got sucked back into Wikipedia.

There’s just something amazingly addictive about updating wiki pages while adding information, updating, and even deleting irrelevant material. It’s not as though I have nothing else to do (he writes as he stares at the open word document which has been mocking him for three days). But there’s just this… sense of accomplishment? I don’t know. It could be why a lot of wiki editors are fascist thugs when editing. They don’t like being told they’re wrong. Or they just enjoy being trollish.

Don’t forget that at the end of this month, Dreamers in Hell comes out. If you haven’t already, you should probably pick up Lawyers in Hell (which I’m in) and Rogues in Hell (which I’m not in) for some back story. Naturally, the books don’t necessarily “need” one another, but being able to follow serial stories like Janet Morris’ Eshi epic (I don’t know what else to call it) really makes a difference when reading the books as the series. Plus, you get other serial characters as well.

Let’s see… have you bought Michael Z. Williamson’s latest work, Tour of Duty, yet? It’s a short story collection (“anthology!” the sheep bleat in the distance) and it’s available now. Larry Correia has Warbound coming out in August. I’ve read it and it is an amazing finish to the Grimnoir Chronicles. I’ll have my copy of MHI for him to sign at LC26 this month, since this copy is #10 I’ve had to buy (people borrowing the book and not giving it back). I figured “Buy 10, get an autograph for free” or something.

Counting down until Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past is released. Gotta love all these books coming out.

Oh, I also am writing the following stories as we speak (type? converse digitally? technology is making idioms weird):

  • Blighted 
  • Most Faithful
  • No Time For Love
  • Pillars
  • Sacred Hunt
  • The Messenger

Those should keep me busy for the next few months. If not, I can always finish Wraithkin, edit some Christian Cole, or pound out Unholy Vengeance.


Dreamers in Hell cover

This is the absolutely gorgeous cover for the latest anthology I’m in, coming out at the end of this month. Dreamers in Hell contains my short Ponce de Leon story, In the Shadow of Paradise. It should be on sale at Libertycon, where many of the authors (16? 17?) featured in the book will be on hand to sign copies.

Dreamers in Hell

Contract Sent

Mailed off the contract for Dreamers in Hell today, which is a load off my chest. If you recall, In the Shadow of Paradise was supposed to be out in Rogues in Hell last year, but issues put it back a book. That’s okay, because it’s officially coming out this year. My Juan Ponce de Leon story is finally coming to life.

I have some exciting news coming up soon that I can’t quite share with yet, mainly because I only have a verbal agreement and nothing in the form of a contract. But rest assured, this is some very, very good news.

Unfortunately, with all this stuff going on (as well as gearing up for Libertycon 26 and moving in August), Shiny Book Review has fallen by the wayside. I have some books that need to be reviewed but I really do not have the time. With Barb fighting 13 different illnesses (I exaggerate — it’s only 4 but it must feel like 13 to the poor woman), plus with her own novel due to her publisher, SBR is getting set on the back burner for a little while. I know we’ll still be doing reviews, but (for now) just not as many as we had in the past.

Wake (Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past) should be coming out in July or August sometime. Nightwalker (Terror by Gaslight) should be around October (I think). A Promise Made (Sha’Daa Facets) should be out sometime in December (guesstimation). Anything after that? Who knows at this point. I do know that I have stories in anthologies coming out in 2014 and beyond, but a lot of that is in the air with firm publication dates (I typically don’t find out until a few weeks before it comes out… which is the way it is these days it seems). I do know I have a poem in Dark Corners as well, and possibly another Tobias Fox story (Collectibles) if I can ever get it finished and submitted in time. I also signed up to write five more Tobias Fox stories, though these aren’t set in stone (aka I don’t have a contract, just the interest of the editor).

I keep signing up for anthologies. Gah. Gotta quit doing that. Or at least, signing up and saying “Yeah, I’m on board” then realizing that you now owe stories to 14 different anthologies.


Mysticon 2013 AAR

So it’s late Sunday afternoon at Soldier’s Retreat and I’m coming down off of the high that was the awesomeness of Mysticon 2013. Finally got to meet Col. Tom Kratman in person, which was a hoot, because that man can tell a story. Had to keep it relatively PG-13, however, due to the underage midgets in the room.

Okay, so on to the convention after action review.

Left Lexington on Thursday since I wanted to be relatively fresh at the con for the following day, so I made a beeline for Casa Boyd. Got there, I think I had a salad and promptly crashed. Hey, cut me some slack. I’d just driven 6 hours and I’m not used to seeing that much daylight.

Trooping through the cold wastelands of Vur-gin-ya, our intrepid hero marches on.

Trooping through the cold wastelands of Vur-gin-ya, our intrepid hero marches on.

He carefully traveresed the Eye-rahn Gait Ice Falls...

He carefully traveresed the Eye-rahn Gait Ice Falls…

Friday I rolled in to Mysticon around 3 or so. I didn’t have a room (I stayed with friends in town) but that wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I do best — party crash. Unfortunately, I found out later why I couldn’t seem to find any sort of room party whatsoever.

The line for attendees started here. These volunteers worked their tailfeathers off the entire weekend and really deserved a prize.

The line for attendees started here. These volunteers worked their tailfeathers off the entire weekend and really deserved a prize.

Anyways, the con has tripled in size since the first year of existence, and with the concom working their tails off to keep up with the  sudden influx of attendees. With the Author Guest of Honor being Orson Scott Card and the Media GOH Peter Davison, you could say that there were a lot of people.

So there I was, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, when suddenly someone told me that the dealer’s room was open. Since the con hadn’t really started yet, I was a bit surprised. But I sauntered in anyway and saw that, despite a lot of vending booths, there wasn’t a lot of things I could see myself wanting. However, I did score a comic book from Travis Surber (author/artist of Hainted Holler), as well as a Dr. WHOrse. Seriously. It’s freaking awesome.

The really freaking awesome Doctor WHOrse, by Travis Surber, and it's all MINE!!! Muwahahaha!

The really freaking awesome Doctor WHOrse, by Travis Surber, and it’s all MINE!!! Muwahahaha!

I did run into Mark Morgan, who is a villain in CorruptorHe gave me permission to use his name, and so I made him an awesome villain. He’s a nice guy though, even if I portrayed him as a money hungry, greedy little cyber terrorist.

My first panel came up and I had almost as many attendees as panelists. I was prepared for this, however, since I’ve noticed that my panel attendance grows throughout the weekend as more and more people discover that I’m actually a little funny at time. But I discovered quickly on this panel (Genre Mashups) that a select few people were more eager to sell their book than talk about the topic at hand. Again, I’m used to this, so I quickly decided to make the audience laugh at me (note: not with me, but at me. I sacrificed myself for the greater good), and this killed the self-promo bid and got the panel back on track.

After the panel ended (thankfully, nobody was killed during the making of the panel) we headed up to the con suite. There we saw the ultimate in cake design: The TARDIS, in cake form, complete with a working light and sound effects.

The TARDIS, edible form.

The TARDIS, edible form.

Sufficiently impressed, I headed back down to my next panel, Law Breakers or Makers, where we would proceed to talk about how all of us follow our own universe’s rules and a pox upon the household that breaks their own rules. Oddly enough, Stephen King came up once or thrice. No idea why **coughNeedfulThingscoughcough**.

Afterwards I went back to my friend Peggey’s house and crashed there. Was exhausted, but a fun and successful Day One.

Day Two began with me oversleeping. Yeah, still not entirely used to be awake in the daylight, but needs must and all that. I soldiered on and, after a quick bite to eat, headed back to Mysticon. I was hoping to find some room parties to go to that night, and hang out with some very cool people after my last panel (the infamous Iron Author) was completed. I found Tom Kratman, Andrew Fox (author of Fat White Vampire Blues) and Clay White (with his son, what’shisface) just by hanging out at the con suite. I figured my odds were good at meeting Orson Scott Card there (didn’t even see him all weekend… our panels never coincided), but alas the odds were not in my favor.

Note to self: do not live in District 12. I’d be screwed.

Went to the Baen Traveling Road Show and scored a free book (John Ringo’s Tiger by the Tail) and finally met Laura Haywood-Cory in person. Ran into Leon and KatieKat while I was in there, and dinner plans went astray when I went to the hotel restaraunt and they went elsewhere. That was okay, except for the fact that my dinner came five minutes after left and I had to get it delivered to my next panel, which I was almost late for.

My next panel, Kill ’em!, was a lot of fun and I got to share how I killed one character not once, but twice in the same book series. This was met with some skepticism until I explained the way to properly nuke a grave from orbit. After that, everyone was on board (as well as feeling sorry for me, since previously mentioned character is based on someone) and the audience was really into it. Tony Ruggiero (author of the Immortal Servitude series) did a great job at balancing my relative insanity, and we all agreed: no character is sacred.

George R. R. Martin would have loved that panel.

Afterwards I scarfed down my dinner and met Peggey, David and Ellie as they were preparing for the Masquerade. Ellie was a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who, and a very good one at that. She won a prize (along with the mini-Dr Who and the mini TARDIS — all kids who were under 10 and dressed up like Doctor Who) and I took a few pictures of them.

Mini TARDIS with mini Doctor Who and mini Weeping Angel.

Mini TARDIS with mini Doctor Who and mini Weeping Angel.

Afterwards it was time for… IRON AUTHOR!

This is something I had never done before and was eager to try it. However, as soon as the words “Disney Stunt Cock” were thrown out there, I knew I was doomed.

The sick and twisted authors of IRON AUTHOR. Not featured (aka hiding) KT Pinto and myself.

The sick and twisted authors of IRON AUTHOR. Not featured (aka hiding) KT Pinto and myself.

…so skipping over specific details…

Thought about going to the Bella Morte concert after the last panel but by then I was exhausted. So I staggered back to Peg’s and fell into bed, remembering to set my alarm since I had a book signing at 10 the next morning.

Made it to the book signing on Sunday with about 3 minutes to spare. This was my singular complaint about the weekend — why in the world do you schedule the younger authors to do signings at oMG in the morning after a Saturday night? Sold my last copy of Lawyers in Hell and talked to the amazing Amanda Carruba about potential book covers later on down the road. Ran into Brandy and Derek Spraker (they who run Libertycon) and had breakfast with them, which was nice because they are absolutely awesome people. Ran into a few more familiar faces (sorry if I can never remember your names. Really!) and then called it a day after making one last journey through the Dealer’s Room.

I have to say, even with the massive amount of people in the con, it was a fun time to be had. I was able to duck away from the larger groups with some ease and find some quiet time to myself, which is important if I want to keep my sanity. I also was able to meet some new people, sign a book that someone had purchased at a con in Texas and came all the way to Mysticon just for me, and reconnect.

Definite good time. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves!

Steampunk Dalek. Inebriate! Inebriate!

Steampunk Dalek. Inebriate! Inebriate!


Hey, someone felt sorry for me and went ahead and let my muse speak. Scary, right?

Well, here’s the link.

Also, writing. I’ll be around for a real update soon.

I Got Nothing

Feeling a bit melancholy today, so I went ahead and started listening to music from the Final Fantasy series. You know, that game series that pretty much shaped my formative years (okay, Final Fantasy III and beyond)? Yeah, that one.

Hey, speaking of, if it’s called Final Fantasy, why are there fourteen games in the series? I always wondered…

…and now my playlist decided on Apocalyptica’s version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”. Yeah, even my computer is being melancholy.

Yes, ooh shiny moment. Anyhow…

I’m not sure about my summer convention schedule at the moment, mainly because I have a few deadlines looming (10! Motherfreakin’ 10!!! What the hell was I on when I agreed to all these?!?!!?) and I’m beginning to think I might be a little late on a few of them. The main ones need to be finished by June 1, but fortunately those are three short stories that I am (more or less) about finished with. The scary ones that are looking to screw up my con schedule are The Green Jewel, The Midnight CrewFailsafe and Wraithkin (Failsafe and Wraithkin both need to be in the hands of someone other than myself by the end of summer and holy crap I am so behind). Then I really need to finish Orchimedes, start Wraithguard, convince Corruptor’s publisher to pick up Obliterator, get with one of my coauthors about our collab project (still untitled but pretty much being written as I speak), finish Of Sloth and Woe… dear God, this is getting crazy.

I need a drink just from reading all that.

On the plus side… uh, yeah. I got nothing.

Here’s a picture of my cat.

Not sure if this is my cat or if I am his human.

Olympic Sport of Procrastinating

Seriously, gatos. It's not like you'd know what to do with me even if you did catch me... which you never will, because you lack thumbs and can't unlock screen doors.

There is a male cardinal on my bird feeder right now, tormenting my kitties. He chirps, they chirp back.

The brainwashing has begun. Excellent

Received my first royalty check last week and (I’m rich! Rich! Bite me, haters! Muwahaha!) can now buy myself dinner. Yeah, really. Authors don’t generally make a lot of money, you know? We have to have second jobs (or in my case, four, because I can’t help but to work this much) to pay off the majority of the bills.

But yeah, this check was for Corruptor, which has done surprisingly well (considering all the crap that happened leading up to the release) for being such a small little novel (little as in 120,000 words, but I digress) with hardly any publicity behind it. Of course, the first quarter in sales was the best so far, and I don’t think I’ll see those numbers ever again. At least, not until other books take off and people hear that I’d written this “other” book long, long ago.

Yes, I have delusions of grandeur. Sue me.

Still writing, still working, still reviewing. In fact, I have a review going up today over at SBR. It was a disappointing book, but I survived. Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Allison Weir’s The Wars of the Roses. That was a much better book, though she does have one annoying habit in her writing style that nearly drove me crazy.

We’re hoping for a July release of Rogues in Hell, which features In the Shadow of Paradise, my contribution. You can see a brief snippet of it here. One of my favorite short stories to date. We’re also hoping to see both What Scares the Boogeyman? and Sha’Daa: Pawns before the year is out. Still not sure what timeframe we have for Wraithkin (75% done) or if we’re going to have a sequel for Corruptor (still debating if I want to get Obliterator published or just kill it).

I should read some more. I’ve got Robert Hoyt’s Cat’s Paw and it’s sitting there, mocking me, reminding me that I only have an hour a day or so right now of free time to read and I should be reading it. Blargh.

Okay, enough procrastinating. I swear, if it was an Olympic event I’d gold medal it every single time…

Book Pretty!

Work (the non-writing variety) has been utterly brutal these past three weeks. I’m looking forward to a few days off, and then in a few more weeks off to Mysticon! Woohoo!

Note to self: no absinthe. Not ever again. EVER. You know it’s bad when I’m begging for some vodka to chase the original drink down with.

However, I have received a copy of the preliminary book cover for the next Heroes in Hell book, which (I may have mentioned this before) has had the title renamed from Adventurers in Hell to Rogues in Hell. I prefer Rogues, so this is actually a good change for the book overall. Here’s a copy of the book cover (preliminary; contrast will probably be brought into play, as will some more lightening I bet):

Pretty nice, eh? I like it. It’s coming out this summer, sometime. Also, Sha’Daa: Pawns will be released soon as well. I’ll have that book cover in a month or so.

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year in the publishing sense.


…and we’re back.

Sorry for the outage. I originally was leaving up the SOPA/PIPA protest for the weekend, but on Monday I lost my internet (“Lost: Reward” posters were, inevitably, a failure) and only got back online today. That means I missed my review on SBR, lots of interesting things on the ‘net…

…and the renaming of my next anthology. No longer is the title of the book going to be Adventurers in Hell. Now it’s titled Rogues in Hell which, to be honest, I like more. The cover is gorgeous (I can’t wait until I can share it) and there are more stories in this one that the last. (Note to self: go edit the bio page)

Not much else going on. Basically, this was as good of a week as any to lose the internet.


Thought about adding a new page on the website for book covers but… eh. Once I have more book covers to share (Sha’Daa: Pawns, Adventurers in Hell and What Scares the Boogeyman?) I’ll probably create the page. It’s not that hard really, one of the main reasons I like WordPress so much as a website platform. Most people use it as a blog (which this is, really) but it is nice if you don’t want a flash-heavy website (or the hassles of server downtime).

Plus, I don’t have to contact my webmaster (or webmistress) about an update. That’s kinda nice to have control over that.

The annual Preditors & Editors poll is up. Right now, Lawyers in Hell is in first place for anthologies. Why not help us pad that lead (and help me) and vote? As last year, scroll down after clicking this link and click the button for “Lawyers in Hell” and then follow the instructions. It’s that easy and, best of all, you can help me redeem myself after last year’s disastrous 2010 Best Thriller campaign (thankfully, I did not have to do the “Thriller” dance at Libertycon, as per agreement if I won. I finished in 9th (as I said, disastrous)).

First review of 2012 went up on Sunday over at SBR. I reviewed Variant by Robison Wells, which was an amazing book for the debut novelist. Here is the link, which (as I detail in the review) is on my must-buy list now. I’ll be more diligent about reviews over there. Work just took hold and refused to let go until after Christmas.

I think I’m back now, which is good. I have only a limited time before the craziness begins.

I’ve got the control back and this time, I’m not letting go.


Internet is Back

You may have noticed that a lot of my posts are now “naked”. Until this “SOPA” thing goes the way of the dodo (thanks, Congress, for making yourselves look even dumber than normal), I am being über careful about any images that go up here.

LOLcatz is safe (for now), but I was in a “click and swipe” mood and everything got zapped – including my book pics (oops).

Once again, life has stepped in and squashed any hope I had of updating SBR and getting the three reviews up. The three books I had planned to review are Blackdog by K. V. Johansen (eh), Planesrunner by Ian McDonald (pretty good) and Variant by Robison Wells (f*cking epic). Variant in particular bugs me that I haven’t reviewed yet, mainly because it was that damn good. I also need to get around to reviewing Vampire Empire: The Rift Walker, which was the sequel to The Greyfriar. Then I need to review… uhh…. hrm… something else. I don’t remember what it was off the top of my head and I lost my list.

Getting ready to make an announcement for a project I’ve been working on. Publisher said it’s a tentative “yes”. I’ll have more this week about it.

I hear the cover for Adventurers in Hell is stunning.

I can’t wait to see it (and post it here).


The classic original cover... note the detail of the devil as he devours all.

I guess I can make it official now.

I have another short story, In the Shadow of Paradise, that is going to be in the next Heroes in Hell anthology, titled “Adventurers in Hell“. It’s a great story starring Ponce de Leon, he of the Fountain of Youth fame, and it took a lot of work to get this story to the place it needs to be. Over here you’ll find a brief snippet, though I’m sure some of you already found it (if you haven’t, for shame).

I already have the next story set up for another HiH anthology, so long as I’m invited back. Ponce de Leon will be returning, and he’s not going to be having a good time.

Edit: fixed the link. Somehow I was sending people to Yahoo! instead.

Lagging Behind Schedule

With all those cameras, you'd think someone had a clue...

I hate it when my plans all go awry. As a writer, it especially pisses me off when my characters go off on tangents without my approval (or giving me a head’s up… what the hell, Tori? Your story’s been told already) and force me to change direction with something I’m working on.

Or when, more often than not, my writing schedule changes because my work schedule had been in flux for the past six months.

I’ve been battling a cold off and on for the past week, and combined with 60+ hours of work, my writing schedule has hit the wall. I’m glad I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, because I’d be horribly left behind. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about it in October, but decided that I don’t have the time or energy to work on a novel. I have too many short stories due, one of which, In the Shadow of Paradise, is back in the publisher’s hands after some minor tweaking. I forgot to mention just what Ponce de Leon is doing while having him do it. Whoops. Glad the editor caught that. Somehow I forgot to mention this in all the craziness in hell.

I was reminded by another editor tonight that The Cold still needs to be finished. Yeah, work makes me forget things. I have time tonight to work on it so once this is updated I’ll get to work on that. Then time to finish A Promise Made, then… hmm. No more short stories due for the rest of the year.

I swear, people, I’m working on more books for you to buy! I promise!