Shadow of an Empire Cover Reveal!

Here it is, readers! The official cover for Shadow of an Empire, releasing June 1st!

book_cover

Yeah, that’s it! This wonderful piece of art was created by the stellar Michal Kváč, whose site you can access at that link! I highly recommend them!

Now, if you’re a patreon supporter, that means head on over to my patreon page, because you guys are getting the full size image available both with text and without text as a 5K wallpaper. Trust me, it looks awesome. That’s a patron-supporter early bonus … the rest of you will have to wait a while.

But there it is, in all it’s golden glory. Shadow of an Empire will be available for pre-order soon!

 

Oh, and you guys may have noticed, but the site looks a little different now … Just some nice thematic changes.

The LTUE 2018 Report

It’s time for another LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) report! And this time, not in place of Monday’s Being a Better Writer post!

Why, you may ask? Okay, and you may be asking “What’s LTUE?” as well. So, in reverse order then.

LTUE is one of the best “secret” cons for writers out there, if not the best. It always has a massive, smashing guest list full of friendly authors, editors, and publishers, hundreds of awesome panels those same people participate in … and then just plenty of fun stuff too. Want to learn how to write romance, or common submission pitfalls? Want to catch the latest scuttlebutt and undercurrents from the industry, or hear embarrassing mistakes from now-famous authors?

Okay, you might not get all of that in one year, simply because you’d probably have to hit multiple panels at the same time, but all of that can be found at LTUE. It’s a convention for writers, about writers, by authors passing on their knowledge. If you like BaBW, LTUE is a con you should go to. February of every year in Provo Utah.

Now, the second question: Why is this report going up early? Oh, and shorter? Well, quite simply because I wasn’t paneling this year and was too broke to go to all three days (much sadness on that point). LTUE is a con, after all. Expect to pay (though students get in for $5 a day).

Anyway, with my knee dragging my finances down, I only was able to afford going to a single day. Naturally, I picked the day I most wanted to go to, which included a relaxed sit-down with Larry Correia (because the guy is fun to talk with), and went then.

So, what’d I pick up from this year’s LTUE? It was a mixed bag. Not at all because the con wasn’t as good this year or something, but because, personally, where I’m at.

Look, I’ll get two things out of the way right away. The first is that LTUE is fun. Like, ridiculously fun. Even if you’re there flying solo, it’s a good time. Everyone is there to talk about writing in some facet or another, from just starting out, to being stuck in a death spiral, to trying to submit their first manuscript. That’s awesome.

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The History of One Drink

Greetings and salutations readers! I’m hard at work trying to wrap up Jungle‘s first draft (it is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a jungle), but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep you guys in the know. And today, I’ll be doing that with a recap of the creation of One Drink!

Yes, this post was a Patreon reward. Supporters got to see this all the way back in May. Now that Halloween is almost upon us, however, I feel that the time is right for a revisiting of One Drink with its ghosts and its necromancers and—of course—its straightforward protagonist. Where it all came from, how the first book came to pass, and naturally, what came next.

If you’ve not read One Drink, then be forewarned that this post contains spoilers. Seriously. For a 99-cent book that’s been out for almost five years now. Nudge nudge, why-haven’t-you-just-read-this-already? There’s a link to it right here!

But yes, spoiler warning.

And now? Let’s take a look at the history of One Drink

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The LTUE 2017 Report

As usual, this year’s LTUE report is going to take the place of today’s (well, technically yesterday’sBeing a Better Writer post. Three day’s summation of the best writing-related con stuff ever? You bet!

So, where to start? How about with a quick reminder of what LTUE is? For those who’re missing out (and yes, you are), LTUE is short for Life, The Universe, and Everything, and it is a writing con by writers and editors of genre fiction, for writers and editors of genre fiction. And anyone else who wants to come (*cough cough* unlike certain other cons I could think of).

Which basically means it’s freaking awesome. The guest list is, as always, insane. L.E. Medesitt Jr. Mary Robinette Kowal. Dan Wells. Lisa Mangum, Larry Correia … Seriously, that’s barely scratching the surface. Everyone from Sanderson to Wiesskopf has showed up at LTUE before (and many are regular attendees). It’s probably one of the best-kept “secret” cons out there.

And you really should be going. Seriously.

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The 2017 Dragon Awards Nominations Are Open!

So, remember those Dragon Awards last year?

No? Yes? Maybe?

The Dragon Awards are DragonCon’s answer to the glut of award competitions that are facing issues and difficulties, usually because they limit those who would nominate to select groups, thereby causing no end of problems. Which is to be expected when you’re restricting in some manner your selection of who is allowed to nominate and vote for the “best” of anything.

The Dragon Award’s solution? Anyone can nominate! Drop in your name and e-mail address, and you can nominate whatever you want for the awards! Likewise, that same e-mail will get a notice reminding of when it’s time to vote—which again, anyone can participate in.

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Advent Beware: X-Com Character Pack Preview!

Ever played X-Com? It’s a pretty classic series, hailing from the early 90s, that puts the player in the boots of the “Commander” of an anti-alien task force, tasked with countering an alien threat to life on Earth.

The original trilogy is well-known among PC aficionados as one of the golden series of the early 90s, offering steep, punishing gameplay, plenty of challenge, a brutal-but-rewarding sense of success as you learned to carefully juggle research, politics, and—most importantly of all—your soldiers to beat back the alien threat. Later sequels continued the trend of working with highly interconnected systems that gave players a vast array of freedom (though not success) to work with to counter the alien threat.

Of course, this series is now over two decades old, making replaying some of these older titles more than a bit difficult (not that it was ever easy in the first place). Thankfully, sometimes good things do get to come around again, and in our modern day and age, the series has been rebooted with X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and then the more simply named X-Com 2.

Like all good sequels, X-Com 2 built on the foundation before it, including one of X-Com‘s most popular ones: the ability to create and customize the soldiers under your command, right down to their names, looks, and their biography.

In other words, a determined player could create themselves and their friends in a game, then send them out against the alien threat to see how things shake out. Or create very creative likenesses of favorite characters from other sources.

X-Com 2 seized on this popularity both by giving players more customization options than ever (except when it came to faces, sadly), and by making incredibly easy to import and export character files. Meaning that anyone can invest a bit of time into the character creator and not only enjoy watching friends, family, or heroes try to save the earth in their game, but can share them with others as well so that those they know can do the same.

Right, that’s the background. Mostly for those of you who don’t play X-Com and would otherwise have no idea what this post was referring to.

You can create replications of anyone. Including characters from books. See where this is going, yet?

Yeah. Within hours of acquiring X-Com 2 for myself a few months ago, I’d spent less than three hours playing the game, and more than five hours sitting down and recreating a bunch of characters from my books and work in X-Com‘s character creator.

I’m pretty happy with the results. They’re not perfect, but I’m entirely accepting of that since I get to watch Colony‘s Anna tear through the Advent like there’s no tomorrow.

And you know what? You should be able to too.

Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out a way to host the Character Pools so that anyone who’s curious can download and import them (WordPress won’t let me do it without some technical trickery might not even work, and even then would have to be undone by anyone who downloaded said packs), so they’re not available just yet, but I figured I’d give you all a quick look at what you can expect when you add said packs to the game. So far I’ve got two ready for deployment, one for Colony and one for the Unusual Universe (One Drink, etc). I just need to figure out hosting, like I said. I may end up working them through the Steam Workshop. Anyway, let’s give you that look I promised. Some of it may not make sense if you’re not acquainted with X-Com, but a look at a visual rep of some favorite characters can still be fun, right?

And, for legalese, I don’t own X-Com or claim any of the rights to it. Duh.

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