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
Once again, it’s been a little while since my last blog post. It’s a tough juggling act between writing, real life and marketing my writing (by doing appearances and writing blog posts).
The biggest writing news for me has been the release of The Pitchfork of Destiny by Jack Heckel in paperback. I’ve been really pleased with the initial sales, and I’m happy about the appearances I’ve made with it. In particular, I had a great time at RavenCon in Richmond, VA (thank you, Fountain Bookstore!) and my co-author, John, had a fantastic experience at the Phoenix Comic-Con.
On the Jack Heckel front, John and I finished the first book in a new series, entitled The Dark Lord. The first draft came in at 107,000 words, but I’m sure we’ll cut some material and it will probably come in around 90,000 ish when all is done. It’s an interesting tale of a graduate student at a mystical university who is forced to experience the tropes of an epic fantasy story while traveling to another world. Oh, and he’s got to save his thesis as well, which involves saving that world, which would be easy, except he happens to have been “The Dark Lord.” Like The Charming Tales, it should be amusing, however, it’s more for a teenage audience than The Charming Tales. Read the rest of this entry
Check out @HarperVoyagerUS’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/HarperVoyagerUS/status/732570834146078720?s=09
While I’m eagerly anticipating the ebook release of The Pitchfork of Destiny on Tuesday, I received some unfortunate news. The Virginia Voice fundraiser will not be taking place on April 10th. Several members of the Hanover Writers Group as well as some good people at Virginia Voice worked very hard on the event, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’d still encourage everyone to at least visit the Virginia Voice website (virginiavoice.org) and be aware of the good that the organization does.
As half of Jack Heckel, I’m working on the first book in our new series – The Dark Lord. We are hoping to do to epic fantasy what Charming and company are doing to fairytales. This doesn’t mean that The Charming Tales are coming to an end, only that we want to expand our horizons and try some other things. Read the rest of this entry