The end

TWE sketch 2015

This early sketch from the story’s genesis this spring was a scene I couldn’t erase from my head: the hero, alone on a new world, comes across the wreck of a starship.

The past few months have been, from a writing standpoint, arduous.

I’ve held myself to a challenge to write at least 5 pages every day and, by and large, I’ve done so. There’s been days where I’ve pounded out far more, and a few days missed.

Today, I finished the first draft of The Word Endangered, the direct follow-up to The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed, taking place ten years later.

The total is thus: since Sep. 1, I’ve written 111,192 words, or almost 433 pages, bringing the total word count to 137,856.

This is the most productive I’ve ever been on a project, even taking short stories and flash fiction into account. What’s most exciting to me is wrapping up the journey my heroes and villains have taken, and getting to see the changes their experiences have wrought.

Bear with me as I decompress over the next few days, and I’ll have an updated summary/back cover blurb for the book. For now, enjoy the sketch that provided inspiration over the months.

#giantstevehead: A podcast

Giant what?

Yeah, I know.

Back a while ago I recorded a two-part podcast with Daniel Thompson of The Very Serious Writing Show, and it turned out great. We had a blast discussing all things sci fi and fantasy, and the ins and outs of writing.

The odd hashtag? Well, when SoundCloud put up the podcast, they made my author photo…abnormally large. Giant-sized. I, of course, find it amusing.

Here’s the two pieces that went live yesterday and this morning:

As you can tell from the URLs, it’s a conversation that touches on a wide variety of topics, dealing with both my published novels and projects underway.

Speaking of the latter, The Word Endangered topped 80,000 words and 300 pages the other day. The goal is to finish the rough draft by the end of November and edit the book in December. Fingers crossed!

‘The Word Endangered’

Yes, it’s true. My big project which consumes most of my writing time these days is the next book in The Face of the Deep, a sequel to The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed.

It introduces a new cast of characters to the galaxy, but also makes uses of familiar faces, and by the end of this novel you’ll see some important family members reunited.

At the rate I’ve been going — that is, roughly 5 pages a day — I hope to finish by January 1. We shall see. And when I say “finished,” I mean the first draft. Then comes editing and all that jazz.

Anyway, here’s what I have for a rough back cover story. Geek out:


It’s been ten years since the Realm of Five staved off overthrow by its secret police, Kesek, and instituted religious freedom for all people. Texts can be freely printed and distributed. Fear of being discovered and imprisoned by Kesek has been replaced by elation at the ability to openly believe.

But with that freedom comes conflict. Sects argue. Religions fight. People want new places to live in peace. More than ever, settlers strike out for the quiet corners of space.

Zarco Thread and his wife, Ria, head up a surveying crew on the Starkweather frontier. Their job: to give a close-up report on worlds with great potential for colonization. That’s what their exploration of Walpole was supposed to be.

What they discover there, however, leads them into a conspiracy to undo the last ten years and to usher in a new era of strife.

With a hero of the battles against Kesek and the Martians leading them in search of answers to a mystery, and with the Crown Marshals in hot pursuit, Zarco and Ria must choose the right course while keeping their nascent family alive. They’ll need all the help they can get, and they’ll find in the form of new allies who have already saved the galaxy once.

There are forces at work that have fed off the remnants of Kesek, suborning them to their cause, forces that have committed atrocities against the people of the Realm.

And they are more than mere human.

The “I Didn’t Win A Hugo” Sale!

This was going to go one of two ways: either my short story Turncoat would receive a Hugo Award or it wouldn’t. No need to add anything more to the thousands upon thousands of words written about the Hugo controversy from both sides – which, ironically, probably total enough of a tome to complete a sci-fi trilogy. Which is why I spent the intervening months from nomination to award night writing fiction rather than commentary.

To commemorate my fleeting appearance in Hugodom, I’m holding the “I Didn’t Win a Hugo Sale” beginning this week. It’s by no means a petulant title, simply factual; if I had won, it would have been the “I Won A Hugo Sale.”

What’s up for grabs?QM_AMD_900

      1. One complete set of The Face of the Deep universe, autographed: The Word Reclaimed, The Word Unleashed, and Broken Sight, the last of which won the 2010 ACFW Carol Award for Speculative Fiction. Sale Price: $35, shipping included.
      2. Six copies of Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted in limited edition hardcover. I say “limited edition” because AMD is only available in e-book form at this time; the hardcovers are from the brief run AMD had with Marcher Lord Hinterlands before Castalia House acquired the right. Sale Price: $17, shipping included.
      3. Two copies of The Bloodheart, my newly-published fantasy novel. Sale Price: $11, shipping included.

Yeah, it’s a limited stock, but that’s what I have on the shelf of my in-house “store” at the moment!

Also, my apologies but if you want me to ship internationally it will cost extra based on nation of origin.

Email me at my contact page to get yours before they’re gone.

Word count update: Stories abound

airfoil in flight 1For a while this spring I assumed I’d only have one project going: namely, the sequel to the superhero novel Airfoil which I finished in April. But the ideas bursting out of my head always have other plans.

So I decided to just roll with whatever project strikes my fancy, whenever I get ideas for them. It’s resulted in my having written approximately 63,000 words on five different things between mid-April and now. A summary:

  1. FOTD IV – 26,000 words or about 100 pages – I know, it’s a big clunky acronym, but it’s the placeholder I’m using for the follow up to The Word ReclaimedThe Word Unleashed, and Broken Sight (making it technically Face of the Deep Four). This one features a surveyor named Zarco Thread and his ace pilot and wife, Ria. Of course, many of the characters from the old series will reappear and figure centrally in the plot.
  2. Airfoil: Masks – 12,000 words or 48 pages – The sequel picks up a few months after the finale of Airfoil:Origins and has librarian-turned-superhero Brandon Tusk grappling with some huge problems and some big enemies. Plus, there’s hints his high-profile crimefighting has spawned imitators.
  3. Bounty Hunter – 1,100 words – This is an idea I got this week: a sci-fi story set in the same universe as For Us Humans (the as-yet-unpublished tale of aliens and art theft.) The goal is a quick, action-packed novella about a bounty hunter named Lee Vitagliano and his adventures in the interstellar Consociation, where humans are decidedly at the bottom of the social and legal food chain.
  4. Bloodheart 2 – 2,200 word – Yes, you read correctly. There will be a sequel to The Bloodheart.

Math geniuses out there may have noticed this count is 20,000 words short of 63,000. That’s because the missing amount is wrapped up in six short fiction pieces I wrote for the Takamo Universe online game, which I mentioned couple weeks ago. Some have been featured on their website, and others stored as encyclopedia entries. I’m due to produce a short story again, marking my seventh contribution, sometime this month.


Stay tuned for more news regarding the Hugo Awards and all their infamy.

Back to space opera

MarcherLordShip_NATALIA_ZOJALately I’ve returned to the realm of deep space for my science fiction, inspired by the short fiction I’ve been commissioned to write. My most recent projects include a smattering of short stories and what I term encyclopedia entries for the Takamo Universe, an online game that’s reviving the play-by-mail game from the 1980s of the same name. It’s been great fun, having been given free reign to create nations and characters for inclusion in this massive galaxy.

The Takamo Universe creators posted a two part short story, Patrol Craft 606, on their site. It deals with a military unit from the nomad nation of Albion, the origins of which I wrote back in May. Very much enjoyed the quick write on these, and look forward to adding more to this sci-fi universe.

You can take a peek at Part One and Part Two for a quick read.

The same projects also prodded me to do something I’d been pondering for a couple years now: a return to the galaxy described in The Face of the Deep books and Broken SightSo I dug up story ideas and half-finished character sketches, balled them together, and presto! Five chapters and nearly 20,000 words later, the followup has begun. No idea yet on a title, but it takes place 10 years after the events of The Word Reclaimed and The Word UnleashedYou’ll meet new characters and revisit old favorites (of mine, and possibly yours) on an adventure that once again spans the galaxy.

No ETA on this one. I’m editing For Us Humans, the alien art theft project as I call it, and also the Airfoil superhero novel. It’s anybody’s guess as to what will get done first, but I’m betting the alien one gets into print before the rest.

“The Bloodheart” giveaway started

BloodHeart_3DSo, the first giveaway of the summer is up. Swing by Goodreads and put your name in for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Bloodheart. Drawing ends August 4.

After that, if you aren’t the winner, I’ll have autographed copies for purchase.

Remember, it’s the print edition of The Bloodheart that contains the afterword and original illustration that inspired the novel.


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