Monthly Archives: May 2012
So, as if I didn’t have enough to do with working on In the Service of the King and Souls of the Everwood, I’ve decided to participate in Camp Nanowrimo.
Nanowrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month which occurs every November. Participants are asked to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I’ve participated since 2008 and both of my upcoming e-books were born there. Not only do they promote a more literary world, but they help support writing programs and educational programs for kids. Here’s their site: http://www.nanowrimo.org.
Camp Nanowrimo is basically the same thing, but set in June and August. I’m looking to jump start some of my fiction output, so I thought it would be a good challenge. That site is: http://www.campnanowrimo.org. I haven’t completely decided what to write, but I may finish my epic fantasy novel, The Lantern, or work on another in the Crimson Hawks series. I have my doubts about finishing, but it should be fun to try.
Please feel free to join me.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read and responded to my blog. In the last few days, I’ve received numerous personal emails, FB comments and I’ve received my first comment (thanks, Ranulf – you have always had my back!). I appreciate it all, even as I go through In the Service of the King for a final edit.
All the best,
As I’m taking a break on working on In the Service of the King, I decided to do another blog post.
Looking up on my desk, there is a squad of Warhammer 40K Wolf Guard Terminators peering down at me (for those who don’t know, these are plastic one inch tall miniatures of the most heavily armored Space Marines the far future can muster.) Jeff Smith, my co-author when I’m writing as Lee Lightner, once said that there wasn’t a single scene that couldn’t be improved by adding a squad of Wolf Guard Terminators. I’m mostly sure he was joking, but they provide me a spark when I get stuck writing. I don’t want to let them down. After all, they could come off the shelf and shred me pretty easily.
I also have a small statue of a white wolf which my sister brought me from Alaska. He has his head back howling at the moon. He’s been with me since the beginning of my published career. I began my writing freelancing for White Wolf Game Studio, and I owe Bill Bridges and Andrew Greenberg for giving me a chance. My debt to Andrew’s brother Daniel, who mentored me, is far greater, but I’ll cover that story in a later post. Bill really took me under his wing in the early days of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. He sent a wonderful amount of work my way, and I did my best not to disappoint.
Although I wrote DC by Night for Vampire: the Masquerade and worked on several projects later on for Mage: the Ascension, I think most people at White Wolf identified me as a werewolf author. I had an online presence as SilvrFang on aol in those days, and several people knew me better as Silver than as Harry. I’m so thankful for those early morning hours that I spent wondering how a Garou would react to the modern world or what kind of spirits I might find lurking in city streets. It was only natural that when I started playing Warhammer 40K that I’d identify with Space Wolves.
Through a series of strange twists and turns, I found myself working at Games Workshop at age 29. That’s when I met Jeff Smith. He and I were on a sales team named the Blood Angels, another of the chapters of Space Marines that inhabit the 40K universe. Jeff was a senior salesman, something of a sergeant at arms. He was the best of the best, the highest grossing salesman in the world at the time. When our team leader sent him to ask me who my favorite Space Marines were (the expected answer was Blood Angels), I failed to show the proper loyalty and identified myself as a Space Wolf. Now, for anyone who has met Jeff or seen him pretend to be angry, this was an act that took some amount of courage. Of course, I suspect that our old team leader knew what I was going to say, and that answer started a bond between Jeff and myself, because well, Jeff Smith is a Space Wolf through and through.
Within a year, Jeff had his own team – the Space Wolves. There are still friends of mine from those days who refer to me as a Wolf Priest. I never believed Jeff when he told me that one day we might write a Space Wolf novel. I was wrong about that (well done, Jeff).
I can’t help but wonder if there’s a wolf totem from my werewolf days that helped guide me down that path. If nothing else, wolves have certainly inspired me and sparked my imagination. Now, I’m going to get back to writing. Something about those Terminators…
By the time mid-June comes around, I’m hopeful that In the Service of the King will be published, so I thought I’d take some time to write about it.
First of all, it’s a short book, around 50,000 words, originally created for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) 2009. Since most traditional publishers prefer longer works of fantasy or science fiction, say a minimum of 80,000 words and up to even 200,000, it’s not a good fit for sending out to agents. I thought about trying to add words to it, but the story is complete as it is. I felt adding more would only dilute the pacing of the tale.
The size of the book reminds me of the old fantasy novels of my father’s which I discovered in our attic as a kid around ten years old. I remember reading Conan stories, along with Elric and a bevy of others all during the time I was discovering Dungeons & Dragons. Those were great books, and most of them weren’t more than 65,000 words. So, in some ways, I’m reaching back to my youth and a lot of my original inspiration.
In the Service of the King is the first novel about the Crimson Hawks, a mercenary company led by Captain James Markson, the narrator of the tale. I don’t normally write in first person, but I wanted to experiment for Nanowrimo, and something magical happened. I feel like I didn’t write the book as much as let Markson dictate it to me. Basically, he inherited a tidy sum of money from his father, a highwayman, and chose to invest it first in a bar, then in a mercenary company. What else could a young man want? Anyway, his company, the Crimson Hawks, is made up of the leftovers and unwanted of mercenary society. Fortunately, James has a gift for making people trust him.
Unfortunately, mercenary companies need contracts and money. So, when James receives a lucrative offer to help a king put down a rebellion, he can’t refuse it. Even if he knows that there’s something terribly wrong with it. Things get even worse when he stares into the gorgeous eyes of the leader of the uprising. Sometimes, mercenaries aren’t on the right side, but they still have to honor their contracts.
I think it’s a fun read (but I wrote it, so I’m biased) which one of my beta-readers called “unpredictably predictable.” As he said, you feel like you know what’s going to happen, but you never really know how it’s going to happen. So, please, if you have the chance, watch this space for the release of In the Service of the King, the first Crimson Hawks novel. I think you’ll enjoy it, and the second book isn’t far away.
Yes, world, I have a blog. Thank you to everyone who helped make this website and blog a reality.
I had a great time at the Nebula Awards this last weekend. It was a remarkable opportunity to meet established and aspiring writers and fans of sci-fi and fantasy. I also want to thank NASA for giving me the chance to return with some space coloring books and stickers for my daughter.
One of the authors who left the strongest impression on me was Myke Cole. After meeting him, I downloaded his novel Shadow Ops: Control Point on my Kindle. You can find out more about Myke at http://mykecole.com/. He’s a great human being who weaves his love of fantasy together with his military experience. The next book in the series should be out later this year.
For my current projects, I’m attempting to e-publish two short novels through Blue Oranda Publishing, Souls of the Everwood and In the Service of the King. Look for those soon.
All the best!