I have been more or less blogless week after week. It’s not for lack of things to say, after all with the current political and intellectual climate as of late there’s plenty of stuff to make me laugh or cry going on. I just have been without any kind of time. No, seriously. People look at writing as some kind of hobby. Well, my hobby is beginning to pay off (thanks to all of you out there), and the more it pays off, the more it becomes a job.
I have been referring for months to my latest novel, The Last Dragoon, and since I’ve been silent the novel has been submitted, and has been accepted for publication through Dark Quest Books. Editing has started, and I am taking even greater care than on past projects to avoid any grammatical travesties that may have crept into the manuscript. I’ve got a few cover art ideas to the publisher – though that kind of thing is largely up to the artist – and the back cover text first draft.
The Ivy City is dying. It flails under a sea of the risen dead, the holy churches broken, the nobles largely destroyed, the population leaderless and alone. A despicable wizard, scion of the noble line, has shoved the Ivy City to the brink of death as he seeks what he sees as his rightful throne. The city itself is bleeding and growing cold. Tattered crimson ribbons of blood fill the gutters.
Doomed by his forbidden love, discarded by the crown, forgotten by the people, a disgraced hero rises from the ashes to combat the rising darkness. Accompanied by a novice of the god of death, this armored savior will crash headlong into the ranks of the undead. As the legions of the unliving surround and entrap him, he faces the dark truths of his own failures, and discovers the limits of his warrior will.
He will fight because of his oaths to the crown and because of his oaths to the city. But, in the end, he will fight against a horde of nightmares because he has sworn with the totality of his soul to the crown princess, whom he has vowed to love forever.
The only questions that remains are:
What if ‘I will love you’ forever meant forever?
What is the raw power of the human soul?
And can it be enough against an army of the dead?
And I picked out the teaser text from the main manuscript:
Again I adjusted the helmet, hefted the axe, and met up with Bilford. He nodded to me as we walked, shoulder to shoulder, through the ranks of men toward the front line.
“Shouldn’t you stay back to direct the battle?”
He snorted, “Have you ever seen a man lead from the back that was worth a dead dog’s danglies?”
Despite myself, I chuckled at the ribald soldier, “You have a point.”
We took a few more steps, progress slowed in the crush of men. The closer to the front we got, the more the electric currents of fear and rage thrummed from soldier to soldier. The sergeant looked me up and down. “Beautiful armor. Family heirloom?”
I shook my head. “It belongs to my order, who entrusted to me.”
He frowned, puffing on the stub of the harsh tube of leafs, “Have you ever actually seen battle, nobleman?”
I simply nodded. “Many times.”
“Anywhere I may have heard of?”
“Some of us have been fighting these things all night already without benefit of a gate or an army,” I shot back.
That put a rock in his shoe, and he hefted his axe and turned to face me pugnaciously, “Who did you say you fought with?”
“The dragoons,” I said.
The sergeant, all warmth gone, growled, “You think you are a Silver Dragoon?”
I nodded, feeling a chill run across the crowd at my back, “Yes. I am the last.”
“Wait, you think you are Reinhart? That Reinhart?”
“You are a madman!”
And then the next blow came, and it was too much for the venerated shields of the people. The doors cracked, and hinges screamed in protest as they twisted under titanic forces. They fell slowly, too grand and prideful to admit their time had finally come. They slammed into the ground with a reverberating slap that nearly deafened everyone for a block in every direction. Beyond, restrained by two man-thick crossbars, was a nauseating giant. The fires seemed to die back in fear, hiding from the sky-rattling noise of the beast.
Four times the height of a man, greasy and leaking blood, with blackened juices oozing from every exposed muscle, the cobbled together thing leaned heavily on lower arms made of the desecrated statues of two of the holy gods. The heavy stone rams were what had felled the mighty gates, and even now it contemplated the bars that imprisoned it and prepared to smash them to pieces. Beneath the barrier, sewn together out of man-sized shapes, pieces and parts, the dead hissed and shrieked.
I pointed to the colossal monstrosity with my axe, feeling my whole being suffuse with the very essence of battle. I roared, “You had better hope I am a sane man, Sergeant!”
Then the dead charged.
A new editing pass for I Know Not has just been completed, a new cover has been designed, and even more exciting plans are in place for the re-release. I’m starting on the sequel now that Dragoon is largely done. Even more, Galactic Creatures has gone to press and shown up in stores! If you are in the area, come to Balticon and join in the launch party! I get to hobnob with a lot of more accomplished authors, and beg work from publishers.
Wish me luck!