I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, working on The Darker Lord along with some freelance projects, and I have due dates in May and June. It’s been a crazy few months, and there are still other obligations, like my day job, being a Dad and obstacles like allergy season.
Still, one of the biggest obstacles I face is that feeling I get when I sit down and have to write. It’s a little like the picture to the left. I’m staring at my equivalent to the Death Star, a blank page.
It’s a terrifying experience which I think every writer has. Sometimes, you wonder who you are and where these ideas come from and are they any good? You do things even when you start writing and ask, “Should I have put a question mark at the end of the last sentence or a period?” You could even go through this entire sequence of events in your head where everyone wakes up, realizes that your writing is terrible, and you are laughed at ceaselessly.
I want you to know that it’s okay. Just write. It’s simple advice and you can find it all over, but it works. As soon as that blank page is filled with something, it gets easier. You can add to it or subtract from it or rewrite it a dozen times. In the Service of the King (A Crimson Hawks Adventure), started with a simple idea and became a two page short story that I wrote when I was twenty. I wrote the novel nineteen years later, so you never know what might happen.
All writers are afraid or nervous, but get started typing or writing with a pen and fill the page. It helps.
If you have the chance this weekend, April 28-30, please come see me at RavenCon in Williamsburg, VA. It should be a great time.
I’ll be be getting back to The Darker Lord now. All the best!
I’ve spent 2017 buried in writing The Darker Lord, the sequel to Jack Heckel’s The Dark Lord. It has been a tremendous amount of fun, along with a tremendous amount of effort. Due in part to that and a number of other things, I’m a bit behind on blogging. However, if you are interested in catching up, I’ll be attending the James River Writers’ March Writing Show as one of their panelists. It should be a tremendous time and a great opportunity to meet a number of talented authors. Please click here for all the details.
First, I want to apologize to everyone who checks this blog. I have done a terrible job of blogging over the last two and a half months. Part of it was my day job, part of it was a nasty cold that lingered forever, and a lot of it was writing. Oh and there were some holidays…
So, the biggest news is that The Dark Lord is out in paperback! When John Peck and I wrote The Dark Lord, it was a shift for us from the fractured fairy-tales of The Charming Tales to a parody of epic fantasy. Probably our smartest decision was to put in as many references to geek culture as we felt the story could take, from Star Wars and Star Trek to World of Warcraft, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and a plethora of Dungeons & Dragons to boot. In addition, there’s what we believe is a pretty good fantasy story with some strong arcane mechanics behind it.
I’m hoping to do a launch party in February or March, though I need to remember to contact my favorite independent bookseller, Fountain Bookstore and coordinate efforts. We decided not to do a launch celebration in December due to the holidays.
Currently, John and I are working on the next two books in the series…The Darker Lord and The Darkest Lord, and we will let the world know release dates when we do. If they are half as much fun to read as they have been to write, we’ll be doing well.
I’ve got two big events in April. First, there’s the Hanover Book Festival on April 22, 2017 where I will join about 50 authors selling my books, doing signings, and meeting with readers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building off 301 near Richmond, Virginia. I will also have a short story in the Hanover Writer’s Club anthology which should be on sale there. If possible, I may have the release of one of my Blue Oranda titles as well.
The following weekend, I’ll be in Williamsburg as a guest at RavenCon for the third year in a row. Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, is the guest of honor, and we should have a fantastic time. I’ll be doing a number of panels, although I’m not sure I’ll have a table. As we get closer, I’ll come up with something fun if you find me there.
Anyway, my apologies for going dark on social media. It’s been a bit overwhelming juggling the writing and life, but I think I’m back on the right track (no pun intended). I did complete Nanowrimo again, although it was a bit of a train wreck due to a freelance commitment, which I also completed. I definitely need to edit those 50,000 words before I share too much.
Thank you for visiting my blog!
All the best,
On November 1st, The Dark Lord, which I co-authored with John Peck under our joint penname of Jack Heckel (Wonder Twin powers, activate!), will be released as an ebook. It’s the start of a new series, unrelated to A Fairy-tale Ending and The Pitchfork of Destiny. It shares a sense of humor with The Charming Tales, but overall, it has a different tone, a touch darker and slightly more serious. The novel parodies epic fantasy, much in the same way our first series has fractured fairy tales.
In the book, Avery Stewart, grad student at Mysterium University, has assumed the identity of the Dark Lord on the sub-world of Trelari, a world similar to Middle-Earth, Azeroth, the Forgotten Realms, Krynn, the world of the Belgariad or any of a number of other fantasy novel settings. His purpose is to cause the Heroes of the Age to unite to defeat him, basically inoculating the world from evil, like a vaccine causing the body to protect itself from disease. Everything goes well, and with a few days to go, he leaves his experiment running. When an undergrad, Vivian, steals the key to Trelari’s reality, Avery has to go back to Trelari to set things right. The problems? His only ally is his roommate who made a boardgame out of his dissertation. Without the key to reality, he has to follow the rules of the sub-world, which means, among other things, going to a bar and recruiting a group of adventurers. The final problem? He’s allied with the same heroes who fought him as the Dark Lord.
And that’s not to mention dark riders, gelatinous slimes, golems, trolls, gnolls, and a plethora of traps… and more. Read the rest of this entry
Hi everyone! Today we have a special guest, Liana Brooks, author of the Time & Shadows trilogy. She’s one of our fellow Harper Voyager Impulse authors, and her third book, DECOHERENCE, wa…
Here’s a little update on the Hydra miniature post from earlier this week.I managed to get the Valkeeri Leader-A cleaned up after my black primer spluttered over her. If you study the pix, you’ll see some rough spots. That’s bad primer that the camera can still see showing through, not the miniature. Still, she looks good from two feet away, which is how I was told to look at minis. I did purchase more primer, however. Read the rest of this entry
I love the miniature hobby and play a number of board and wargames. Miniatures inspire me. I especially enjoy bringing them to life by painting them, and it so happens that we live in the Golden Age of Miniatures with lots to choose from.
There are a couple of companies, such as Games Workshop (thank you for letting me write Space Wolf novels!) and Privateer Press, who have fantastic games and are often found displayed in your FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store – I have three in my area).
There are also a number of companies that make wonderful miniatures, but are much smaller operations, sometimes a couple of partners with a garage for storage. They may be the sculptors of the figures or the writers of their own rulesets.
One of these companies is Hydra Miniatures. Unlike many gaming companies, I’ve never worked for or with them. To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never met and I doubt that they’ve read any of my books. I’m just a regular customer. Quoting from their website: Read the rest of this entry
A few months ago, Marvel announced a storyline in which it was revealed that Captain America was, and apparently always had been, a sleeper agent of the criminal organization, Hydra. This inspired a number of online rants and set the social media world aflame. Before I begin, I want everyone to know that I understand Captain America is fiction. Cap is Marvel’s character. They have a right to do what they want with him, and the current writer has a right to do a creative storyline. In many ways, this is similar to what happened when Spider-Man was replaced by Doc Ock ‘The Superior Spider-Man’.
So here’s how I feel about Captain America. Brace yourself. Read the rest of this entry
“Hello, my name is Avery, and I am the Dark Lord.”
Since the end of January, I’ve been working on my next Jack Heckel novel with John Peck, The Dark Lord. It’s a new series, separate from The Charming Tales, focusing on a grad student at an otherworldly mystical university and what happens when his experiment to unite the heroes of a magical world goes terribly wrong. Like the other Jack Heckel novels, it’s a comedic fantasy, though this one is about university life and epic fantasy. In other words, my college experience.
The process of writing consumes a great deal of mental energy. I come home from my day job and after spending time with my family, I shift gears in my head and enter my novel. If things go well, the words flow from my fingertips. If not, I end up forcing myself to write sentence after sentence or worse, I just play some version of Civ or stare into space, becoming more exhausted and hoping inspiration will strike.
This book in particular kept running into real world obstacles. In order to finish the edits, I had to lock myself away at night. As a result, I’ve done a terrible job of keeping up with emails. I know that I currently owe one of my wonderful cousins an email, as well as one of my best friends from high school, and any number of other authors, fans and friends. I haven’t even gone to many baseball games this year, and I love the Richmond Flying Squirrels. I even managed to let my SFWA membership lapse, but it’s back now. In any event, I apologize to everyone awaiting responses from me. It has felt a little like I’ve been walking through a long, dark tunnel.
Fortunately, I’ve escaped. And please don’t get the wrong impression – I really like The Dark Lord and it’s always fun to write with John Peck. It’s just nice to not be writing on a deadline at the moment. Of course, this means I should be working on the next book in The Charming Tales or the sequel to The Dark Lord. Or maybe something else entirely.
Anyway, thank you all for bearing with me and continuing to check this blog. I hope to have some new posts coming, including one on my thoughts about some recent comic book events and one about Doctor Strange.
All the best!
Besides writing, I love roleplaying, board games and miniatures. I use the games as inspiration for my writing as well as playsets for game designs.
For something different, I thought I’d share a few things currently on my painting table.
First, I recently received Zombicide: Black Plague from a kickstarter. The image shows a few of the heroes who are in progress. I really like Xuxa who is a Xena homage on the left. I need to get her face done. She’s amazing in the game. I have a number of others calling to me.
I’ve also been on a mythical Egypt theme for a while. I apologize for the blurry picture but that’s a Wargods of Aegyptus Asar heroine surrounded by some Reaper Bones mummies. You can see a British looking wounded Games Workshop wounded Praetorian with his legs sticking out behind a mummy and a Wargods elephant in the background. Read the rest of this entry