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.

Signup available

BloodHeart_3DTook me a while to get around to this. Stop by The Face of the Deep and follow my blog so you can stay up to date on the latest writing news. Drop your name in the form at right to subscribe.

What’s new?

Two book giveaways starting in July.

One for my new released, The Bloodheart — a signed copy of the print book, which includes the original sketch for the flyinglands. That sketch isn’t available in the eBook.

QM_AMD_900The second is for Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted. See, you can’t get this one anywhere as a hardcover novel these days. When it was originally published, Marcher Lord Press made it available as such. But now? Limited edition.

The best way to get in line for these is by watching my blog. I’ll be on vacation to a distant land soon, and keep everyone apprised.

‘Bloodheart’ takes flight

It’s here! The Bloodheart is available in e-book form from AmazonBloodHeart_3D

The paperback version is online, too, from Amazon and in the CreateSpace e-store.

It’s been an interesting journey from vague concept to flesh-and-blood adventure. I wrote The Bloodheart in between working on a couple of other projects, and have amassed fond memories of writing key scenes while on work-related road trips and family vacations. Discussing plot elements with a friend was also a highlight.

I should admit that there’s a special bonus for readers who buy the paperback: an afterword that describes the genesis of The Bloodheart, and the original piece of art I drew two and a half years ago that inspired the entire book. Don’t get me wrong, I think e-books are amazing technology, but I’ve always been partial to the real deal.


(And an alert for readers who squirm at profanity: this is not an explicitly Christian novel, meaning, it would not fit in with the CBA publishing “rules.” As such, there are occurrences of mild profanity, and at least one strong expletive. Let’s call it rated PG-13 vs. the rest of my work, excepting Quantum Mortis, which fits rated R.)

‘The Bloodheart’ Update

I must say, my favorite part of self-publishing a book is getting the proof copy in the mail. It arrived this afternoon, about 24 hours earlier than expected, which is also a bonus.


The Bloodheart will be available within the next month, though I have yet to set a date. We have a family vacation coming up at the beginning of July, so it’s more a matter of whether or not I want to deal with the release in the weeks prior or the weeks after. Good thing is, I have no deadline.

Special thanks to Kirk DouPonce of DogEared Design for the cover. It’s simply fantastic.

I’ll add a page about The Bloodheart, complete with its map of the Cities of the North, posted here soon. Meanwhile here’s the back cover promo:

The world is gripped by magic. Islands soar. Ships fly.

And whispers abound: the Bloodheart.

Long has it remained dormant, hidden from the dark forces that would tap its power.


Bowen Cord seeks only treasure, and despises his heritage as an ice-summoner. Magic could not prevent his wife’s death. What allegiance, then, should he owe it?

When he learns of a priceless relic abandoned in the ruins of a floating island, he leaps at the chance to earn a fortune. Small matter to take with him an orphan boy who hails from the same isle—yet the boy is a mystery, and from their first meeting Bowen knows not whether his presence is a boon or a curse.

But when a king’s ruthless agent pursues them, threatening his stalwart crew and ship, Bowen is thrown into a quest for something far greater than treasure. He must harness the ice and confront enemies far more powerful than any he’s ever faced.

There is no return from his path. It ends only with the answer to one question:

Who controls magic?

Putting pen to paper

Time for a writing update.

I’ve been fairly quiet when it comes to the Internet, because I’ve spent the bulk of my writing time on the novels in progress. To say I’ve had a productive 365 days — make that 425 days, because I’m counting from last February — is an understatement.

– February 2014 – Finished The Bloodheart, a 70,000 word fantasy novel

– May 2014 – Finished a rough draft of a second Quantum Mortis novel, 74,000 words

– July 2014 – Finished For Us Humans, a 96,000 word sci-fi novel

– August 2014 – Wrote Turncoat, a 5,000 word sci-fi short story (published in December 2014 in Riding the Red Horse by Castalia House and nominated this spring for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story)

– April 2015 – Finished Airfoil Origins, a 150,000 word superhero novel

Whew! After all that, much of the rest of my work has been editing said projects. Okay, it’s not all editing. I tried to set aside Airfoil because I told myself it would be best to let it sit a spell before I leapt into a sequel. That didn’t work. I missed the characters and the adventure immediately, so I’ve put together about 8,000 words over the past few weeks.

I’m also doing some writing for an online gaming project, creating fictional back story at 3,000 words or so a pop. I finished one section a couple weeks ago and have now started on a second.

All this writing took a backseat to a half-week Computers in Libraries national conference in Washington, D.C., the past few days. Best part about going to a giant conference in a large city? (Besides the conference, of course, which gave me a thousand ideas for improving and altering things at our library.) Answer: bookstores. There were three bookstores and a comic book store within six blocks of our hotel. I stopped at every one. Heaven!

‘Turncoat’ receives nomination for Hugo Award

The news is official: Turncoat, my short story featured in the Riding the Red Horse anthology of military science fiction and fact, has been nominated for a 2015 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. You can click on Turncoat anywhere in this post to read it.

You’ll remember Riding the Red Horse was released in December 2014 and has since garnered excellent reviews. My short story chronicles an artificial intelligence that serves the integrated man-machine forces in their interstellar uprising against humanity, set after Quantum Mortis: A Programmed Mind and centuries before the events of Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted and Gravity Kills. 

I’d seen Turncoat listed on the Rabid Puppies slate posted by Vox Day, and was pleased to read positive comments from folks who’d enjoyed reading it. Despite feeling confident about the quality of the story, I was surprised when I received the email a couple weeks ago informing me of the nomination.

You can see the full list of Hugo nominees here.

The Hugo Awards will be announced Aug. 23 at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention or Sasquan 2015 in Spokane, Wash. I plan to be there.


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