Category Archives: Crimson Hawks
I’m still chugging along in Nanowrimo, running over 34,000 words. Charming, my fairy tale fantasy novel with the amazing John Peck, is still being considered by a major publisher. HeroNet Files looks good to be published before the end of the year, although I’m feeling guilty as the one who has slowed the project down. I’ve still got some roleplaying stuff going as well. For Crimson Hawks fans, the second book is still really close. I’m hoping to have it out first quarter next year.
I want to say that I’m really pleased that another blogger, Becka, nominated me for an award. I’ll do a full post on that as I want to do it justice, but I want to say thank you. I’ve added a link to her site on the links on my sidebar. She’s a very nice lady, and I encourage everyone to cheer her on as she tries to complete Nanowrimo.
All in all, things continue, and I’ll be trying to post on a regular basis. With all that said, there should be a new Freedom Squad post up in a short while.
All the best,
Well, it’s almost that time again, that wild crazy month where I write 50,000 words in a month while still having a day job, being a dad and doing all of those other things that life throws at me.
It’s a wonderful, miserable, creative time.
I strongly urge anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel to go to nanowrimo.org and sign up. Take thirty days and do everything you can. Write without worrying about punctuation or plot. Give it a try. You might surprise yourself.
My first attempt was in 2008, and it was a miserable failure. I think I got about 8,000-ish words done (the official number was used for a blog that word press is putting out – I just can’t remember right now). I was rather disappointed with myself. After all, I’ve been a freelance writer for years, and I’ve written 17,000 words in a weekend before. Nonetheless, the piece that I created was eventually completed and became Souls of the Everwood. The link takes you to the paperback copy. The great part of it all was that I failed at writing a novel in November 2008, but I stuck with it in the months that followed and still got a novel out of it.
In 2009, I decided to try nanowrimo again, and I was determined to prove something to myself. Suddenly, James Markson came to life, and he dictated the first Crimson Hawks novel, a swash and buckle fantasy adventure. It was a rough ride, but I finished. I won. It was a spectacular feeling, and I truly love In the Service of the King. I wanted to create a fun, light read, and I think I accomplished it. I really need to finish the second one.
For 2010, I wanted to redeem Krueger and the cast of Souls of the Everwood and prove that I could complete a Krueger novel. This was the novel that I finished at 11:45pm on November 30. I was SO far behind that last week that I still don’t know how I finished it. I had to work too. I finally had that novel published this year, a sequel to Souls of the Everwood, titled Balefire and Brimstone. I got to introduce a new character and explore Krueger’s soul a touch more. I have an outline for a third book tentatively titled The Fall of Ostburg. It’s going to be about all the dark things that Krueger left behind at the end of Souls of the Everwood.
I’m hopeful that my efforts in 2012 and 2013, Covenant and Son of Helios, Champion of Ra will get to be published novels of their own one day, but both need a lot of polish and lengthening before they are ready to go. I haven’t completely decided what I’m doing this year, but I’m leaning toward something superhero-ish at the moment. I’ve also thought about doing that new Krueger novel. I enjoy having black powder weapons in my fantasy world wielded by a crazed one-eyed ex-demon hunter/ranger. However, if anyone has any thoughts on what I should write, please feel free to make suggestions. I’ve got a few days.
Anyway, I have suffered happily through National Novel Writing Month since 2008. I haven’t always enjoyed it, and I’m sure my wife hasn’t always enjoyed it. However, it’s made me a better writer and taught me how to write much faster. I’ve learned to write on spiral notebooks and napkins. I’ve used dropbox and emailed myself words, all to reach 50K in one month. My nanowrimo name is Vashar if you want to give it a try and track your progress along with me. Whether you finish 1,000 words or 50,000 words, you’ll be closer to completing a novel than you were before the month started. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.
All the best!
February went by in a blur. My apologies for not blogging, but I’ve been busy with work and rewrites. I keep having ideas on what to blog at all the wrong times.
Anyway, there is a promotion on Smashwords that runs through March 9 (this Saturday) which includes two of my books, In the Service of the King and Souls of the Everwood. If you create an account and enter RW100 on checkout, you can get them for FREE. I’ve linked them above and you should be able to search by title or author’s name. Free is good, especially for people who check my blog. These are only e-books and for a very limited time.
Additionally, a friend of mine, Brad A. White, has one of his books, Servant of the Muses, entered in the same promotion, and my good friend Wayland Smith has one of his books, In My Brother’s Name, about a terrorist attack on DC, on a 50% off promotion at the same site.
Everyone dealing with winter weather be careful out there.
All the best,
This weekend I’ll be attending the Baltimore Book Festival. It’s a great event with tons of authors and books for sale and an all around celebration of literature. Here’s the link. I’ll have both In the Service of the King and Souls of the Everwood for sale there at a special price for the event. I’m doing a book signing between 4:30 and 5:30 on Saturday, September 29 at the book sale booth for SFWA. My thanks to everyone involved in the organization, and I’m hoping that I might get a chance to see some of my friends from the Baltimore-DC area.
As far as writing, I’m making slow but continued progress on Charming and actually got some work done on Ashes and Cinders (Book 2 of the Crimson Hawks). I’m hopeful that I’ll have copies out for beta readers soon.
All the best,
In addition to Charming, I’ve been working on the sequel to In the Service of the King. I’m making good progress and looking at a possible Halloween publication. I thought that I’d share a draft of the introduction. Enjoy and thanks for supporting the Hawks! I can also use more reviews and comments. 🙂
For as long as anyone can remember, the Kingdoms of Valinar and Khargoth have struggled along their border, at times raiding one another, and at other times, engaging in all-out war. The balance of power shifted from one side to the other over the centuries, but neither side had ever secured a lasting advantage.
Valinar was known for its Orders of Knighthood, dedicated men who swore themselves to their order, willing to prove themselves against all odds, and competing with the other Orders to prove their skill at arms. The skill of their armorers and blacksmiths was, if not legend, certainly praised throughout the known world, and most men say that only the mighty elephants of the Southern and Eastern Lands are more dangerous than their great warhorses, the Valinar Destriers. Even their regular footman, sworn to the defense of their regent, were known to fight with courage and determination against all foes, perhaps due to a desire to prove themselves worthy to share the field with the knightly Orders.
Their foes from Khargoth were known as a mysterious people from the far North clinging to ancient ways from a time before civilization. Tales abound of witch-queens, cannibalism, human sacrifice, necromancy, demon worship and the like among the people of Khargoth, though certainly many of these stories are exaggerated.
The conflicts between Valinar and Khargoth historically occurred in one of two ways. First, there were the Valinar Crusades. A member of the clergy or the nobility would whip the country of Valinar into a frenzy of outrage at their twisted and evil neighbors and the Orders of Knighthood would all pledge to outdo one another in purging Khargoth from the world. The armies of Valinar would venture into dread Khargoth, liberating anyone they could find, which would be only a scattered few as the people of Khargoth tended to flee into the hills when they found out a crusade was coming. A great battle would take place at some point and win or lose, the crusade would suffer losses. Then, winter would come to Khargoth and take its toll, convincing the proud crusaders to return to the warmth of their homes.
Then there were the Khargoth invasions. Waves of barbarian warriors would surge out of Khargoth into Valinar, wearing only furs and tattoos as armor, with wooden spears and oversized axes as weapons. Exhorted by chanting priests in black robes, these hordes would destroy all in their wake through brute force, not sparing women, children or livestock. Sometimes, warlords in crude metal armor might lead them, other times, scantily clad heavily tattooed women believed to have dark powers. Inevitably, these hordes would be met on the field of battle by the determined defenders of Valinar and the Orders of Knighthood. A great battle would take place which would shatter the horde, and defeated, the scattered survivors of Khargoth would flee back to their homeland.
And so it was for years upon years until the Great Battle of the Ice River. Khargoth had raised an invasion force and had made a crossing during the relatively hot summer after the floods from the spring melts had subsided. They had destroyed a small hamlet near the river and moved perhaps ten miles in the direction of the fertile heartland of Valinar, when they were met on the field by Prince Kaspar and the resplendent flower of Valinarian knighthood.
The battle took place across a set of rolling fields, where the summer crops were doomed to be trampled no matter the outcome. Kaspar, with his golden mane of hair and gleaming armor, shouted encouragement to his fellow knights, all of whom enthusiastically desired to prove their mettle and earn glory for their families against the hordes of Khargoth. For such battles are the nobles of Valinar born and their great destriers bred. No battle line had ever survived a charge by the knights of Valinar, and today would be no different.
The hordes were a shambling mess, holding their weapons crookedly and awkwardly, limping and stumbling forward. They had not waited for a battle cry or a command to charge; they merely poured out of the large number of tents at the Khargoth encampment and surged forward. A few of them fell to their knees in the field and did not move.
The knights did not notice the odd behavior or that the men and women in this horde were smaller than the barbarian invaders from the stories of their youth. They did not question that there was no roar of a battle cry. The strange black tents placed evenly at the edge of the Khargoth camp, conspicuous from their color and because no warriors staggered from them, drew little attention. No, the knights and their leader, Prince Kaspar, were focused on victory. Pointing his sword, Kaspar shouted the command to charge, and the knights moved as one.
The ground shook with every hoofbeat and some of the enemy tried to turn and flee. Still others collapsed. A few half-naked warriors armed with battle-axes could be seen in the Khargoth encampment, each one appearing more formidable than any of the masses in the field, but they held back and waited. Even if they had taken the field, the results would have been the same – gory carnage for the glory of Valinar.
Only the weight of the bodies slowed the knights. Not a single member of the horde put up a fight as they were smashed by steel-shod hooves or skewered at lance point. Still, the charge lost momentum, and finally, the clouds of imagined glory cleared from the minds of the knights.
According to the survivors, it was Prince Kaspar who first noticed what had happened.
He looked down on his crushed foe and saw that she was slightly plump and had a stick tied to her arm. Her features were those of a Valinarian commoner, and though her clothes were filthy and she had a fur on her shoulders, her clothes marked her as Valinarian as well. After the initial shock of his observation, he dismounted to examine the corpse more closely and saw that her tongue was missing.
They had slain their own people.
“Stop!” he shouted. “They are our people. It’s a trick!”
The perfect battle line of charging knights had become a disorganized mass of horrified men. A few tore off their helms in dismay and disgust. Some dismounted to try and aid the trampled people.
Loud shrieking whistles pierced the air, causing even some of the battle-trained horses to rear. With a creaking and humming, the black tents opened as blasts of steam rent the air. What stepped forth were constructs, mechanical creations, vaguely in the shape of men, towering over knights and men as if they were giants. They raised their heavy iron arms and sprayed fire over the hosts of knighthood.
Men melted along with their armor, and the finest steeds in the world burned. The ground shook as the machines marched forward, some swinging massive maces, crushing everything they struck. Others screeched and lurched forward, simply crushing anything that found itself underfoot.
For the first time in recorded history, the knights of Valinar panicked. Several fell from their steeds to be trampled by their comrades who tried to flee. More gouts of flame consumed those who tried to fight. One of the constructs swung a chain with a blade attached with enough speed to eviscerate whatever it touched.
Prince Kaspar stood his ground bravely, though his horse had long fled, as one of the constructs loomed over him. He shouted, “For Valinar!” and charged, before a metal arm crushed him.
The flower of knighthood was no more.
When King Denis of Valinar was informed of the crushing defeat and the death of his son, his heir, the court fell silent. Age had fallen heavily on the king in the last few years since the queen had passed, and all knew that he had considered stepping aside for his son. Now, in the twilight of his reign, he faced a catastrophe as great as any that had fallen upon Valinar.
After several moments, the King spoke.
“Can anyone tell me where my daughter is?”
There was a collective set of uncomfortable shuffling and gasps. The king had not spoken of his disinherited disgrace of a daughter in years. Some believe that his separation from her had driven the queen to despair and ultimately, to her death.
One of his advisors, Boris, stepped forward. He took a deep bow. “Your Royal Majesty, as per your directions, we have kept men watching her through her travels. She spends most of her time in a merchant city at a tavern.”
“What? She has fallen to serving drinks?” he said, somewhat astonished.
“No, sire, it is the headquarters of a mercenary company.”
“She’s a mercenary?” the king said, seemingly to himself. He nodded. “We will need men to defend Valinar from these diabolic creations of Khargoth, but… she will not come.” He sighed.
“I’m certain that if her company were contracted that she would come. The captain of her mercenary company can be persuasive, I’m told, and I’m also informed that your daughter is very close to him.”
More silence spread across the court. A dark look fell over King Denis’ face.
“What is the name of this captain who is close to my daughter?”
Wonderful news today!
In the Service of the King is now available in physical form. It’s a little more expensive that way, but since paper and printing go into it, I think it’s understandable. I’m very excited.
Here’s the link below:
An update on Souls of the Everwood will be coming soon, and some good progress has been made toward publication on Charming.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I’m still dealing with no electricity at home from the storms over the weekend, but thank goodness for family and friends giving us relief from the heat.
Here’s the Kindle link:
I’ll have some information on Souls of the Everwood , a darker fantasy novel, posted soon.
My apologies for not getting much done on the blog this month. I’ve always read on blogs about how things come up to distract authors – now, I understand. I’ve included a little bit for everyone below.
First of all, work continues on all things related to the Crimson Hawks and In the Service of the King. I’m currently on track to have the book e-published before June 30. I’ve still got a bit to go on the second book, Ashes and Cinders, and the third book, Coins and Crusaders, was the subject of my Camp Nanowrimo attempt. It is currently stuck at a dismal 6000 words. Still, all in all, it should be a good month for the Hawks.
For my Games Workshop fans, I had a very good conversation with Jeff Smith, my Space Wolf co-author, earlier this month. I’m hopeful that we may be getting together sometime this summer to start work on another novel to propose to Black Library.
Souls of the Everwood has suffered some delays due to my distractions, but I’m thinking that it’s only about a month behind In the Service of the King. My current goal is to publish it before the end of summer. Krueger’s second book, tentatively titled Black Powder and Brimstone, shouldn’t be far behind.
I’ve made progress with getting some artwork for the cover of a superhero anthology that I’m working on with a couple of other talented writers.
White Wolf fans should check out the following blog. I’m excited about the possibilities of this new game, and hopefully, I’ll have a chance to work with a number of old friends and some very talented people.
Finally, I’m also close to seeing the publication of Charming, a novel that I’ve written with my friend John Peck. In this day and age of fairy tale mania, we’ve had our comedic fantasy novel written for a year and a half. With all the movies coming out about fairy tales, I promise that I have a story that will make you laugh and make you think at the same time.
Thanks for all the patience and I’ll see if I can’t get an excerpt from one of these works up here in the next week.
All the best!
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,