06/27/13

Kingdom of Glass Released!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to announce the release of my new novella, Kingdom of Glass. The story was written in the Foreworld universe (of Mongoliad fame) for the brand new (and uber-cool) Kindle Worlds platform.

If you want to hear my description of the story or the Kindle Worlds program, you can find it here. If you want to see the novella on Amazon, click here, or click on the cover image at left.

I’m really happy with how this novella turned out, and proud to be part of the new #kindleworlds program.  If you read Kingdom of Glass, please let me know what you think!

06/20/13

Kingdom of Glass: My “Kindle Worlds” Novella

Super excited to announce that I am writing for the brand new Kindle Worlds platform! For those of you who haven’t heard, Kindle Worlds is a program that allows authors to write in other authors’ universes. You can see the latest press release on Kindle Worlds here.

The cover hasn’t been released yet, so in lieu of that, here’s a Joan of Arc picture.

My novella is called Kingdom of Glass, and it is set in Neal Stephenson’s Foreworld universe (The Mongoliad, etc.). The story is about two English Shield Brethren knights in 15th century France, during the Hundred Years War. The knights, Myles and Bryan Stapleton, find themselves in Normandy, trapped between hostile French villagers and a growing army of Brigands. Cut off from their Shield Brethren comrades, the brothers must decide whether to stand up against innumerable odds, or to flee and leave the woman Myles loves behind. Kingdom of Glass takes place shortly after the death of Joan of Arc, at a time when the morale of both the French and the English was at an all time low.

It was a thrill to be one of the first authors asked to write in the #KindleWorlds program, and I have to say, I loved writing Kingdom of Glass. I am extremely happy with the result and can’t wait to see it on Amazon!

I don’t have a firm release date, but it should be very soon. I’ll keep you updated on my blog and Facebook page. If you read it, please drop me a note telling me what you think. I’m always interested in both positive and constructive feedback!

 

 

06/18/13

Nostrum: Episode 1 Released Today

The first episode of Edward’s continuing adventures was released today. Really nice to see Edward back in the saddle (so to speak), and to hear from readers and friends again. For those of you that bought Nostrum, I hope you find it as enjoyable to read as I did to write.

I thought I would post a few images of the abbey ruins in what is now known as Bury St. Edmund’s. It was Edward’s destination in The Scourge, and it is his starting point in Nostrum. Sadly, there isn’t much left of the abbey. Just ruined husks of stone that jut upward like decaying teeth. Whatever you may think of Henry VIII, he was responsible for the destruction of more architectural artwork in England than any other monarch. His war against the Catholic Church (a massacre really) left rubble across the kingdom and toppled some of the most magnificent buildings in the world. Asshole.

The cathedral in the background of the above picture was part of the original abbey (although the spire was added recently). As large as the cathedral is, it was a stubby little thing compared to some of the other buildings of the monastery. Evidence! I hear you cry. Show us evidence! And evidence you shall have. Above is a model of what the abbey looked like back in Edward’s days. The model was erected in the beautiful abbey park and stands among the ruins of the monastery. I have labeled it for clarity. See the arrow pointing to the “cathedral?” That little building in the model is the massive church you see in the background of the first picture, up above. Yes, the colossal building that you can see from just about anywhere in the town. It’s just a tiny little part of the model. Can you imagine now, my friends, what the Abbey of St. Edmund’s Bury must have been like? Fuck you, Henry VIII.

This is what Henry VIII left us. This, and a slew of books, movies, TV shows and dead wives. And the song Greensleeves, apparently. Despite the shambles that the abbey is in, I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. There is still a power and grandeur here. A nobility and a peacefulness that I have to admit seems almost supernatural. And I’m not the only one. On my last visit to the monastery, I saw a half dozen people holding dowsing rods and searching for energy fields among the ruins. I am not making that up. I actually asked one of them what they were doing, and that’s what they told me. I wonder what Sir Edward would have thought of that? Better yet, I wonder what Tristan might have said to them. Not that I should poke fun at them. It’s quite possible they know something I don’t.

The English Heritage has done a brilliant job in maintaining the monastery grounds. Gardens bloom every spring and summer, walking paths wind though the various ruins, and a large playground and discovery area sit on the edges of the abbey park.

Many of the gatehouses, like this one (the Abbey Gate) still stand, thick and tall as castle keeps. You can still tour the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Church of St. Mary (both magnificent structures). You can still see the walled Abbott’s Bridge over the River Lark. The walls of the monastery holdings still meander through the town, visible for long stretches then disappearing into history’s oblivion. The bones of the monastery still gird this ancient market town. And I hope they always will.

That’s all for now. I thank you for your interest in my books and my historical ramblings. I truly hope you enjoy Nostrum and look forward to speaking with you in the coming days.

Moo.

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06/17/13

Great Helms

On the cusp of The Scourge:Nostrum release date, I thought it might be helpful to provide a few details about the helmets that Edward and Tristan wear (or should I say, the helmets that Edward wears and Tristan is always losing).

A Germanic great helm.  No “none shall pass” jokes please.

Both Edward and Tristan wear great helms. Edward’s, I imagine, is something like the example to the left. In the late 14th century, Great helms like these were slowly being phased out by bascinets and sallets. The great helms were clunky, provided poor visibility, and the visors couldn’t be raised. Even worse, the flat tops were catastrophically bad when struck by warhammers or the spikes on polaxes. But Edward was an old-school knight. And he would have shunned the new styles for as long as possible.

Many knight helmets of this period had crests on them, and we know from historical records that Edward’s bore a unicorn. (I’m not certain he would have worn the crest while questing, but I thought it added more personality and detail.) Knights wearing these sorts of helmets occasionally wore a bevor or gorget as well. This was a metal or leather collar that would protect the throat, although a chain mail coif was probably more common.  Below are some examples of what Edward and Tristan’s helmets might have looked like when new.

This one has a rounded top and a little more flash. Tristan would be more likely to wear it than Edward.

The helmet I displayed at the top of the page might have looked more like this when it was newly forged, although I doubt the air holes and cross would have been so cleanly cut.

The decorative fabric on this helmet looks nice, but is the last thing you want when facing a horde of clutching plaguers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice side view on a short great helm. I like the squatness of this helmet. It doesn’t seem quite as cumbersome as the others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back (hopefully tomorrow) to talk about the release of The Scourge: Nostrum tomorrow. If you buy it, please drop me a line and let me know what you think of the first episode. I hope to see all of you on the Amazon Discussion Forums!

06/11/13

Cover Reveals: Scourge and Scourge: Nostrum

Hey there,

So, big news on the artistic side of things. 47North has given me two birthday presents on this fine June 11. They finalized the cover for The Scourge:Nostrum (Book 2 of The Scourge), and they have re-released The Scourge (book 1) with a brand new cover. Can I just say that 47North is the best publisher in the world? Yes I can! And I will! They worked with me tirelessly on the Nostrum cover, accepting suggestions and re-designing over and over again until we reached something that both the publisher and I liked. Big thanks to my editor, David Pomerico, for his tireless work on this.

First up, The Scourge: Nostrum (release date June 18):

This cover clearly shows what the book is about. The knight in the foreground is, ostensibly, Edward. Nice dynamic pose with suitably battered and weathered armor. Flailing hands in the background indicate to the viewer that this is not a typical historical fiction. Blood-spattered environment tells readers that this might have some gore and violence. The helmet on the knight is not a greathelm, but I think we can live with it. I can, at any rate =)

 

 

 

 

The Scourge (book 1) underwent a facelift as well. Those of you with the print version might notice that the background image for this is basically the same artwork from the back cover. Although I truly love the first cover, and prefer it artistically to this one, this design has a certain elegance and mood that I like. The cover also clearly depicts what the book is about: Three knights on a journey, with supernatural enemies standing between them and their destination. I think this will more clearly define the book for shoppers and steer the novel into the hands of the people who will love it most.

Big thanks to everyone at 47North!