This one time at Writer's Camp…
Tag Archives: milsf
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.”
“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.
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
So apparently it’s Hugo season again (didn’t we just do this?), though this year I’m thinking “Yeah, I lost a lot of time and energy last year dealing with that public smear campaign. I’m not even going to pay attention this year.”
Seriously. In 2014 I managed to get a ton of writing done. 2015? Jack squat. Oh, I wrapped up a few short stories, and got most of Kraken Mare done, but when it’s compared to 2014? Nada. Zilch. Zero. Zip.
I liked it better when I was beneath the radar of the most virulent Defenders of Justice and collecting many royalty checks. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated being included on so many ballots for the Campbell Award. Yes, this is my second and final year of eligibility, but I really don’t care at this point. As I said earlier, too much energy was expended trying to defend myself and my friends from random attacks and accusations of racism (which still makes me laugh).
I hope my friends do well again this year. I truly do. When I get my voter packet, I’ll read all the works and vote, as I usually do. But getting involved? No thanks. Being nominated? No thanks.
I’d rather just continue to get paid.
You know the difference between living and surviving is?
I didn’t until this month began. Wow. Just… wow.
I’ve been working so much lately that I haven’t had a chance to really focus all of my energy and attention on Kraken Mare. Okay, let’s be honest here: I haven’t had a chance to focus any energy on it. Waking up at 0230 AM to be at work by 0330 and then working until 200 PM really, really blows. It saps energy, especially if you’re a morning person who considers “early” to be 0700 AM, and finding the energy after work to write is damn near impossible. You just want to sit down and veg.
I got the sequel to Superposition in the mail yesterday. Supersymmetry, by David Walton, looks to be a very interesting read. I love getting Advance Reader Copies from publishers. Makes me feel like I’m a boss or something. Unfortunately, they look weird on my bookshelves, so most of them are stacked atop one another. But anyways… considering how much I enjoyed the first book in the series, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed with this one. I should be able to crack it open next week.
I also picked up books 4,5 and 6 of David Weber’s Safehold series. So far it’s been interesting, but right off the bat in book 4 — A Mighty Fortress — I was inundated with a David Weberesque “staff meeting” scene. It’s his one flaw. He has to recap and reintroduce characters in a staff meeting type of environment, where political realties and events from previous books are rehashed in a debrief or meeting type of scene. I kid you not. Look at his various series. Prince Roger, Honor Harrington, Safehold… all “bring the reader up to speed” via what I call a “staff meeting.” It’s amusing if you’re looking for it, and it’s part of my David Weber Drinking Game I play when reading his work.
*Let’s just say that A Rising Thunder damn near gave me alcohol poisoning*
*No, I’m not showing the rules yet. I’m still determining points value with various friends*
The Hugo packets are out. In it, you’ll find both Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and Hill 142. I decided that I wanted people to enjoy both works and to be able to use those in their voting (to be honest, I think a lot of people have already decided, one way or the other, but whatever… I like to see people reading). I haven’t looked in my packet yet (see above) but I’m looking forward to it. I already own all of the books from the Best Novel category, so most of my attention will be focused on the shorter works I hadn’t read yet.
Oh, and for those of you who want to good military SF, The Hand of God by Eric Brown and myself is currently on sale for only $0.99. That’s less than a cup of crappy coffee costs these days, and it can be downloaded straight to your mobile, Kindle or computer. Give it a try.
(I was tagged in this by Amanda S. Green. She introduced her favorite character, Ashlyn Shaw, star of Vengeance From Ashes, here.)
As I walked into the bar, I began to wonder just what the hell I was getting myself into this time. Sure, I’m the author, and I create these people, but some of them seem to be able to slip the reins and run around without proper supervision. Vincente Huerta, the main character from Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, ship captain, smuggler, and all around pain in the ass, was one of those characters. He was brash, arrogant, and really needed to be smacked in the mouth. Unfortunately, this interview called for just one character, so there was no Jasmine to help me keep him in check. Which was a shame, really. I could use some backup when dealing with guys like him. It keeps me from killing them.
I spotted him fairly easily. He looks just as I figured he would: slightly overweight, thinning hair, in dire need of a shave. Taller than I expected, though, and much bluer eyes than any man with that Hispanic-sounding of a name should have. Contacts, perhaps? I wouldn’t put it past him.
He looked up as I approached. I almost grabbed a nearby bar stool and hit him right there. I have no idea why, I just did. He had this… smugness about him that I desperately wanted to beat out of him. I mean, seriously. He gives off that “I’m an ass, beat me with a baseball bat” vibe. For once I understand what a Charisma roll of 8 is really like.
“You’re late,” he told me. I looked at my phone, confused.
“No, I’m right on time,” I countered.
“In my line of work, if you’re on time, then Customs gets you. Always be early.”
What a load of crap. I’m being lectured to by my own creation. I seriously need to kill this asshole off.
I joined him in the booth and watched him pound back a shot of bourbon. Cheap bourbon, I’ll add. The man hasn’t found much work lately, and times were lean, even for the most effusive of alcoholics. I ordered water from the passing waitress, who nodded in my direction before sending a scalding look at Vincente. I smiled. Nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to smash his face in.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” he asked.
“Well, for starters, tell me about your past.”
“Nothing interesting there.”
I pull out my notepad and look it over. “Considering I have your life story right here, I’d say that you were lying.”
“If you have everything, then why are you bugging me about this stupid interview?”
I swear to God I’m going to break his nose.
“Look, Vincente… I just want to hear it from you. For instance, I have you being married twice. That caused some consternation with me, since I don’t think that was meant to be.”
“Tell me about it. We managed to null that marriage less than ten hours after it happened. Glad that woman agreed.”
“Which woman?” I asked. “Mooney?”
“No, not her,” he growled. “The other.”
“Come on Vincente,” I prodded. “What’s her name?”
“You’re the damned writer, you spoil the sequel.”
He had me there. I hated spoilers. Especially when they were my fault.
“Okay fine. We’ll try talking about something else then. Tell me about your ship.”
For the first time, he takes an extreme interest in the interview. “My ship? She’s beautiful. I converted the interior holds into airtight, individual storage bays and added an armored personnel carrier for those smuggling rendezvous where I might get shot at. She’s got the best communications ‘net on the market, and that includes the black market, and my engineer can get her into skip space with hardly a bump. She’s the real deal. You looking to rent her out?”
“No, not really.” I was sort of confused by his response though. I was pretty sure that he no longer had the Fancy and was, in fact, in the market. But then again, the guy is a born liar.
“A shame. I need the money,” he said as he began to slide out of the booth. I looked at him, surprised.
“Where are you going? I have a few more questions to ask you.”
“Sorry chief, gotta run. My permit’s about to expire and this here rock doesn’t do credit the way they used to. Plus, I think I owe the dockmaster money.”
I watched him walk away and I couldn’t help feeling that I’d gotten the shaft. Sure, he answered a few questions, but this wasn’t what I had been hoping for. I wanted to have my readers get to know him, and instead–
“Here’s his tab, sir,” the waitress slipped me Vincente’s bill as she passed by. “He said you’d take care of it.”
Son of a bitch. I hate that guy.
Before you freak out and grab your pitchforks, I’m hard at work on Murder World: Kaiju Dusk. Really, I am. It’s coming along nicely, and I think everyone will be pleased to know that Captain Vincente and his crew is back for a second round. Eric and I should have this novel done by the end of July. In the meantime, you can still pick up a copy of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn on Kindle for a mere $0.99. That’s way less than a cup of coffee, and less than a reprocessed cheese and “pink stuff” burger from a fast food restaurant. So pick up a copy of the book instead of another greasy cheeseburger. Your intestines will thank you.
That was a short pitch. Huh. Maybe I should try to offer something more? Ehh…. no, I think that’s good. A $0.99 book. Yeah. Good enough.
My brain couldn’t get into the mood for writing Kaiju Apocalypse III today, since this flu thingy has been kicking my butt this week. Instead of calling it a lost day, though, I decided to work on this fantasy idea my Muse has been beating me over the head with the past two weeks. I mean, I’d kinda outlined it before (okay, I drew up some geographical maps and created an 8 pointed magic system) and talked a bit about it, but I’d never actually tried writing it. I think because I was fighting my Muse again and trying to make it an urban fantasy thing when it needed to be a classic fantasy piece.
So I started I, Godslayer today and immediately put down 2,000 words. It sort of surprised me at just how much my Muse apparently wanted to write this story. So hooray for my foray into humorous high fantasy?
I see that quite a few people have purchased Murder World: Kaiju Dawn but very few of you have actually written a review up on Amazon for it. Is it really too difficult to say “This book sucked” or something else (preferably, “This book rocked!”). Everyone has been in shock over the fact that some Kardashian wrote a book and lamenting the fact that they had it ghost-written as well, and that this hurts “real” authors. No, that doesn’t hurt real authors, actually. The fact that people call it a piece of crap and managed to write 61 one-star reviews is what hurt “real” authors. I mean, people say the book sucks and jeer the fact that they can’t write, and yet they still push the sales up and give it reviews. You want to keep sh*t like this from happening, every day reader? Give a book your enjoyed a rating on amazon. It helps and also validates to the author that people have, you know, read the book.
I would love for there to be 30 reviews on Murder World: Kaiju Dawn by the end of the day. That would be awesome. It’s not going to happen, though, and I believe this is because the average reader would much rather tear down a novel they hate instead of talking up a novel they enjoyed.
And before you cough and say “Jason, what about your review of Catching Fire?” you should recall that I was practically gushing over The Hunger Games. So hold on a second before calling me a hypocrite, mmkay?
And write a damn review.
So I decided to try something different this time around with the release of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn. I’m going to run a contest.
That’s right, a contest.
Running until Friday, June 6th at 10:00 PM EST, everybody who buys (or has already bought) a copy of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and sends me a screen-shot of the receipt is entered to win a free book of mine of their choice, print or ebook (unless, you know, it’s out of print… then it’ll have to be an ebook).
The drawing will take place Friday once the submissions are closed. Once the winner is announced, I’ll either ship it you them or give it to them in person (if they’re at a convention I’ll be attending in the near-future).
Now, a few notes.
When you send in your screenshot, please put it in the body of the email and do not send it as an attachment. It’s easier for me to keep track of everything if it’s in the body of the email itself.
Once you’ve purchased Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, if you share it on Facebook and send me another screenshot of it (again, in the body of the email) you get a second entry into the contest. Write a review on Amazon.com about Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and get a third entry, which greatly increases your odds of winning.
Send your screenshots to cordova829@[removeme]gmail.com
Good luck to all!
Yesterday I had this wonderful 1800 word update ready to go up and I promptly deleted it all by pushing the wrong button. Since I don’t type up blog posts first on a word document, then paste it here, everything was completely loss. Angered (at myself, because when I go dumbass, I don’t do it by halves) I went ahead and just said “Screw it” and went to play World of Tanks instead. I felt a little better afterwards, but not that much.
Kaiju Apocalypse is doing well on Amazon, though it has slipped a little bit this week. It got into the 4,000’s (overall Kindle books) over the weekend but, since May is jam-packed with new releases from the “Big 5” bigger authors, sales predictably slipped. I hope it gets back on track this weekend, which is the usual time that ebooks see an uptick in sales. Don’t forget, the print version of Kaiju Apocalypse is available now as well. Sure, it’s short, but at least I can sign it.
Speaking of Kaiju Apocalypse, the sequel is currently being written with co-author Eric S. Brown. Right now the title is simply Kaiju Apocalypse 2 (because it’s original, right?) but it should change before we send it in to the publisher. I’m hoping for Kaiju Armageddon , but I doubt I’ll get it. Eric’ll probably name this one, since I named the first Murder World novel.
Oh yes, there will be more books in that series. I’m currently plotting it out while Eric works on KA2. Murder World: Kaiju Dawn was a fun book to write, and I hope that the sequel, Murder World: Kaiju Darkness can top it. After that, who knows? Kaiju books are a lot of fun to write. Who knew that I’d find a nice little niche for me here?
Wraithkin is with the editor. Not sure when that is coming out, but my guess would be end of this year or early next. October 2014 would be amazing, January 2015 would be challenging (sales are usually better before December, and then get better after February). I should probably continue working on Darkling as well (second book of the series). It’s sitting at around 12,000 words (I’ve started with writing Andrew’s scenes first, unlike Wraithkin, which started with Gabriel) and I’m weaving my way through it. Have to be careful how I navigate here, since Darkling is going to be much, much darker and bleaker than Wraithkin could ever hope to be (and considering the crap I pulled on my heroes in the first book, that’s saying something). Eventually (assuming they like Darkling as much as they liked Wraithkin) I’m going to wrap up the initial trilogy with Deathlord.
Yep, I said initial trilogy. You see, while it would be tempting to write a prequel series about how the Dominion of Man came into being, it’s going to be much more fun to cause the entire known galaxy to burst into the flames of war. As I said a long time ago, though the heart of this series is a love story, there is something darker afoot in the undertone of the books. Not entirely sure what (I have three scenarios, and all lead to a “happy ending — of sorts) this is, but it’s there. I can feel it.
Go buy my book! Yes, I have no shame. What, you expected a demure approach to this “selling” thing?
Similar in appearance to Kaiju Apocalypse (but a different universe and story altogether, I promise) here is the rough draft cover for Murder World: Kaiju Dawn. Co-authored with Eric S. Brown again (we make quite the team — this is the third book we’ve collaborated on in the past 8 months), it should see a release over the next few weeks.