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 thatâ€™s fallen through. The people organizing my schedule for those events didnâ€™t have enough time to get it put together. Instead, theyâ€™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 dayâ€¦
I just turned in the manuscript for The Alexander Inheritance. Thatâ€™s a novel I wrote with Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, with whom Iâ€™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 â€œThe Age of the Diadochiâ€â€”thatâ€™s a Greek term that means â€œsuccessorsâ€â€”and it was one of the most savage periods in human history. By the time Alexanderâ€™s generals finished carving up his empire, Alexanderâ€™s entire family had been wiped outâ€”wife, sister, mother, half-brother, son, you name itâ€”and only three generals survived out of the dozens who started the civil war.
Think of it as Game of Thrones on steroids.
Iâ€™m now back to work on The Gods of Sagittarius, which is a novel Iâ€™m writing with Mike Resnick. This is unrelated to any other work Iâ€™ve done. For lack of a better term, itâ€™s a space operaâ€”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 wonâ€™t go too far wrong.
Hereâ€™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 werenâ€™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 historyâ€¦
Perhapsâ€¦ Hrikk u Cha? Trader in Death?
Then a whimsical thought came to her. She swiveled her head to face Bresk. â€œWhat did you say that Human monster was named?â€
â€œGrendel it is, then.â€ She brought her head back to face the computer. â€œRecord name change of spacecraft. Eradicate Kurryoccoc. Replace withâ€”â€
Her familiar farted derision. â€œIf you insist on pursuing this madness, at least name the ship after the greater monster in the legend.â€
She paused. â€œThereâ€™s a greater one?â€
â€œSure. Grendelâ€™s Mother.â€
A new question occurred to her. â€œThatâ€™s right, I forgot. Humans have two genders also. Which was Grendel?â€
That wouldnâ€™t do at all.
â€œShip,â€ she commanded, â€œrename yourself Grendelâ€™s Mother. And set course for the wormhole terminus.â€ She didnâ€™t need to specify which terminus since Flaakâ€™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.
â€œOh, yes, Grendelâ€™s Mother was by far the nastier monster!â€ Bresk enthused. â€œJust listen to this:
â€œÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grendles mÃ°dor,
ides, ÄglÃ¦c-wifÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â yrmÃ¾e gemunde
sÄ“ Ã¾e wÃ¦ter-egesanÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â wumian scoldeâ€¦â€
Although I only write one story at a time, because I do so much collaborative work Iâ€™m always simultaneously working on other manuscripts, mostly in an editing capacity. At the moment, Iâ€™m engaged in three such projects:
Also with Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, Iâ€™m working on a novel titled The Demons of Paris. This is something of a cross between alternate history and urban fantasyâ€”allowing for medieval values of â€œurban.â€ 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 Merlinâ€¦
Gorg and Paula are writing the first draft, and so far theyâ€™re up to about 80,000 words. Parts of it need a little reworking, but overall itâ€™s shaping up very nicely.
Iâ€™m also working with Alistair Kimble on our (unrelated) urban fantasy Iron Angels. And Iâ€™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 Anetteâ€™s novel soon. Weâ€™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 â€œScarface,â€ which appears in Ring of Fire IV, which will be coming out in May of this year. This wonâ€™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.