First, I need to explain some recent changes in my schedule of appearances. I was planning to attend comic cons in Miami and Pensacola in January and February, but that’s fallen through. The people organizing my schedule for those events didn’t have enough time to get it put together. Instead, they’re scheduling me for appearances at two other comic cons later in the year:

Salt Lake Comic Con, which takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 24-26.

Indiana Comic Con, which takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 29-May 1.

See the Appearances section in the web site for more details.

In other news of the day…
I just turned in the manuscript for The Alexander Inheritance. That’s a novel I wrote with Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, with whom I’ve also collaborated on three novels in the Ring of Fire series: 1636: The Kremlin Games, 1636: The Viennese Waltz and the forthcoming (no date set yet) 1637: The Volga Rules.

The Alexander Inheritance is not part of the Ring of Fire series, but is related to it. Like the novel Time Spike, which I wrote with Marilyn Kosmatka, The Alexander Inheritance posits that another Assiti Shard strikes the Earth, this time in the near future, and transposes a cruise ship in the Caribbean into the Mediterranean just after the death of Alexander the Great. That period in history is often called “The Age of the Diadochi”—that’s a Greek term that means “successors”—and it was one of the most savage periods in human history. By the time Alexander’s generals finished carving up his empire, Alexander’s entire family had been wiped out—wife, sister, mother, half-brother, son, you name it—and only three generals survived out of the dozens who started the civil war.
Think of it as Game of Thrones on steroids.

I’m now back to work on The Gods of Sagittarius, which is a novel I’m writing with Mike Resnick. This is unrelated to any other work I’ve done. For lack of a better term, it’s a space opera—although one with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Think of it as Galactic Indiana Jones and the Alien Terminator Seeking the Divine Old Ones For (respectively) Enlightenment and Vengeance and you won’t go too far wrong.
Here’s an excerpt from an early chapter in the novel:

It took Occo less than fifteen medims to reach orbit and not more than another twenty to dock with their spacecraft.

Getting aboard the spacecraft was not difficult, leaving aside the task of squeezing out of the flyer itself. The spacecraft was also of Chlarrac design and manufacture, but the Naccor Jute had been willing to expend more credit to have it configured for Nac Zhe Anglan occupants. Senior castigants like Occo were hardly showered with luxuries, but they weren’t subject to the worst frugalities, either.

They received a few perquisites, too. One of them was the privilege of naming their spacecraft. When Occo was given this one after her ordination, she had named it Kurryoccoc: Shadow Wife.

It now needed to be renamed also. As she began the launch sequence, she pondered the possibilities.

Battan Kruy: Widow of Slaughter. That had a nice reek to it, like the stench of butchery.

Or possibly she should stray farther afield, sever all ties to her personal history…

Perhaps… Hrikk u Cha? Trader in Death?

Then a whimsical thought came to her. She swiveled her head to face Bresk. “What did you say that Human monster was named?”


“Grendel it is, then.” She brought her head back to face the computer. “Record name change of spacecraft. Eradicate Kurryoccoc. Replace with—”

Her familiar farted derision. “If you insist on pursuing this madness, at least name the ship after the greater monster in the legend.”

She paused. “There’s a greater one?”

“Sure. Grendel’s Mother.”

A new question occurred to her. “That’s right, I forgot. Humans have two genders also. Which was Grendel?”


That wouldn’t do at all.

“Ship,” she commanded, “rename yourself Grendel’s Mother. And set course for the wormhole terminus.” She didn’t need to specify which terminus since Flaak’s system had only one. Which, of course, was another reason it had been chosen as the location for the home cloister.

Again, in vain. Now that she was finally leaving, having settled on her course of action, she allowed herself to be flooded with sorrow.

To sorrow, alas, was added vexation.

“Oh, yes, Grendel’s Mother was by far the nastier monster!” Bresk enthused. “Just listen to this:

“                                Grendles mðdor,
ides, āglæc-wif                yrmþe gemunde
sē þe wæter-egesan        wumian scolde…”

Although I only write one story at a time, because I do so much collaborative work I’m always simultaneously working on other manuscripts, mostly in an editing capacity. At the moment, I’m engaged in three such projects:

Also with Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, I’m working on a novel titled The Demons of Paris. This is something of a cross between alternate history and urban fantasy—allowing for medieval values of “urban.” Due to some sort of (as yet unexplained) cosmic disorder, two universes seem to have intersected with each other. One of the effects is to send a minivan full of modern teenagers back into a fourteenth century Paris which has suddenly been afflicted by demons. A number of these demons discover that modern gadgetry, mechanical as well as electronic, makes for a marvelous symbiosis.

So, the van is now Albert; one of the cell phones claims to be the angel Raphico, and a teenager with a hearing problem discovers that his cochlear implant is now answering to the name of Merlin…

Gorg and Paula are writing the first draft, and so far they’re up to about 80,000 words. Parts of it need a little reworking, but overall it’s shaping up very nicely.
I’m also working with Alistair Kimble on our (unrelated) urban fantasy Iron Angels. And I’m helping Anette Pedersen finish her novel in the Ring of Fire series titled 1635: The Wars For the Rhine.

I hope to turn in Anette’s novel soon. We’re just working on the final polish. Some of that is needed because I wound up using a character Anette introduced in this novel as one of the two lead characters in my short novel “Scarface,” which appears in Ring of Fire IV, which will be coming out in May of this year. This won’t be the first time in the Ring of Fire series that a sequel got published before its prequel, and I doubt very much if it will be the last.

In short, I am not idle. And thus, doing my bit to thwart the Debbil.