Book Bomb! Empire of Silence

It is Book Bomb Day!

A Book Bomb is when we pick out a deserving author who could use a publicity boost, and get as many people as possible to buy their book in the same day on Amazon. The more people who buy, the higher it goes in the sales rankings. Once it gets on some bestseller lists, that gets it in front of even more new eyes. Success breeds success, the author gets new readers, and most importantly, the author GETS PAID.

Today’s Book Bomb is for my friend Christopher Ruocchio’s debut novel, Empire of Silence.

Empire of Silence
by Christoper Ruocchio

Don’t let the debut novel thing scare you. This book is excellently written. It’s like a Roman version of Dune. I’ve been listening to the audiobook and I’ve really enjoyed it.

I know Christopher because he works in the office at Baen Books. However, you’ll note that this book isn’t from Baen. Ironically enough, he’d just barely sold this book to a different publisher about a week or two before Baen hired him to work there. He’s a great guy and fun to hang out with, but I don’t pick BBs based on niceness, but rather because I think the book is awesome.

I hope you like it. Please help spread the word. The key to success in a Book Bomb is momentum. The more people who jump on board, the higher it gets in the rankings, the more new people see it. I’ve put on a lot of these over the years, and we’ve had some great results. So please tell your friends, share the link, etc.

I’ll be updating the sales rank throughout the day. I started launching these the night before the actual BB date because Amazon has a long delay before the sales start to register.

At  8:00PM MST:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,033 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

And I don’t usually do this section, but since I mentioned Audio:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

EDIT 1: So I wake up this morning to find that we are rolling!  Up 20,000 spots on Kindle, 50,000 in hard cover, and 110 in Audible.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,967 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

HOWEVER! I just learned of something even more important. Author Dave Butler (a prior Book Bomb recipient for the excellent Witchy Eye) has thrown down the gauntlet. Dave has declared a challenge. If we can get Christopher onto the Amazon Top 10, Dave Butler will wear a toga to LTUE.

This is serious business. Dave said in honor of Empire of Silence he will even wear it in proper House Marlowe colors (it’s from the book, trust me).

So if you participate and spread the word, not only do you get a book and help out a great new author and all around good dude, I will take many photos of Dave Butler in a togo to share with the internet.

EDIT 2:  Still climbing

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

EDIT 3: For the dinner time crowd, still climbing

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

EDIT: So I went to bed early so I missed get shots of the high, but we broke into the top 10 in genre, and bumped up everything else. Nice.

Infinity RPG 3rd Session Recap

I’m currently running an RPG campaign, and I always write up what happened afterwards for the players. But you guys seem to enjoy them, so I post them here too.  It is a sci-fi setting, think kind of a cross between Altered Carbon, Blade Runner, and Firefly.

We are playing again this weekend so it reminded me I needed to put this up.

Link to the 2nd session: http://monsterhunternation.com/2018/08/23/infinity-rpg-2nd-session-recap/

3rd Session Recap

When we left off last time, our heroes were at the Silvania spaceport on Paradiso, in the process of stealing a gunship from where it had been secured in an underground military bunker. While the others had been gathering/stealing supplies or hiring crew, Jimmy Moto and Gus (the soldier who’d been left to guard the ship) have been cutting off the docking clamps. All other systems are go. Once the last of the clamps are cut off, then they can open the blast doors, send the ship up the elevator, and get the hell off this planet.

Except that was when the Combined Army aliens appeared in the skies over Silvania, and the next stage of the invasion began.

Our session began with the PCs hurrying and setting up their defenses. They would need to hold off aliens until the ship could be freed. The defenders consisted of our six PCs:

Renzo Pierra: Bounty Hunter from Paradiso

Rikku Khana: Spec Ops from the orbitals of Earth

Two Vi: Hacker/spy from Corregidor

Subo “Jimmy” Moto: Engineer from Shentang

Ammar ibn Khalif:  “a hunting enthusiast” (i.e. assassin) from Bourak

Batwan Singh: a “diplomat” (i.e. troubleshooter) from Aconticimento

And the crew of NPCs that they’d hastily hired for their ship. Well, hired in the sense that they were paying some of them,and the rest were just really happy to get a ride off Paradiso since it is getting invaded by space aliens. I used the handy online character generator to come up with stats and personalities for each of them.

Hannah Weisman: Trauma Doc from Earth (the Doc from the train ride)

Luke Mosley: Spaceship Pilot from Mars

Rafeeq al-Fadel & Jallal Abid: Naffatuns (soldiers with flamethrowers) from Bourak

Gus Tamatoa: Soldier/technician from Varuna. (who was here guarding the ship, can’t get ahold of his chain of command, and is going along because by golly, he signed for this thing!)

In addition the army had left Gus with a handful of robots (4 REMs and 3 Auxbots) to guard the bunker. They’re all going to get put to work.

The defenders

I gave the players a chance to set up their defenses. The black board in the middle represented the bunker doors they needed to defend. Also, they couldn’t risk opening them until the last minute because the aliens are going to be bombarding everything that looks like a ship. They’d need to hold the enemy off for three rounds, and then run to the ship once it comes up the elevator.

The black thing in the middle are the blast doors for the bunker they have to protect

What they didn’t know was that I’d set up the attackers so that each round a new random group of them would be dropping onto the board, onto a random side.

The invaders

###

Battle For The Silvania Spaceport

The second stage of the Combined invasion begins. As the crew rush to defend the bunker, plasma beams streak from the sky. The mighty skyscrapers of Silvania begin to explode in showers of broken glass. There are lines of fire through the atmosphere as hundreds of Combined drop pods fall toward the space port. Human ships attempting to flee are being shot down all around them. Combined fighters fly past, doing strafing runs.

The crew spread themselves and their guard robots out to cover as many angles as possible. Because it was randomly generated, I wasn’t even sure which direction of bad guys they’d be facing, or which kind. At first a bunch of Batroids attacked the command room, but they got shot to pieces, and Rikku rushed out and claymore cleaved the head off the last one.

Except the next round two groups dropped in, and all of a sudden Rikku found himself face to face with a bunch of Datruzi Witch Soldiers, who LOVED the challenge of some hand to hand combat. And over on the other side of the board, the little bunker Batwan is using is suddenly covered in Morats. (the characters still don’t know what any of these aliens are called, so I was just describing them dramatically, like “the seven foot tall, super buffed, red ape man seems eagerly enthusiastic to engage you in a sword fight”)

The bad guys are armed with whatever was on their mini, so the players are smart and target the ones with missile launchers. Only one missile launcher troop gets a shot off, but he misses, and blows a giant hole into a building.

Ammar is on the balcony of that three story building, when he hears something crash through the ceiling into the room behind him. Renzo is on a catwalk a level below, and he sees three hideous winged things (Fraacta) through the window heading for Ammar’s position.  Renzo chucks a hand grenade through that window and injures all three of them.

Things are starting to heat up. Some of our guys start catching plasma burns. Two Vi is murdering Morats with his shotgun. Ammar snipes the enthusiastic witch soldier through the brain before it can slice Rikku in half. One of the machinegun robots gets shot, but Jimmy climbs up to it on a catwalk, crawls over, and repairs it so it can get back in the fight.

In round three, three alien groups drop in, and with the survivors of the second round, there are A LOT of bad guys on the board now, and our guys are catching fire from every direction. But that’s okay, all they’ve got to do is hold one more round. The ship is coming up the elevator.

Except that’s when a fleeing cargo ship is hit in the engines, and comes spiraling down to slam into a building on one corner of the board. There’s a massive explosion, and the building topples into a flaming wreck.

Sadly it turns out that’s the building which houses the controls for the blast door. The doors are stuck!

There are two manual override consoles. Luckily Batwan is inside one of them (which is unluckily quickly being surrounded by aliens). But there is nobody near the other bunker (which is right next to the flaming wreckage of the building and cargo ship). So Jimmy and Gus sprint for the controls. They get shot at, but the smoke partially obscures them.

In proper PanO tradition, Batwan manages to fail to get the control to work this round.  Jimmy can’t quite make it to the other controls this round, so he and Gus take cover in front of the building.

Their combat robots have been putting in work. The shotgun robots are stacking corpses, but one by one they go down. Doc Hannah hangs her pistol out the window to crank off some shots at the Datruzi, but isn’t a very good shot, and gets wounded. Pilot Luke turns out to be pretty handy with a shotgun though.

Round four, and FOUR groups of aliens drop. Now the crew is completely surrounded. Things are getting desperate.

The three Fraacta in the building are coming for Ammar. But he’s got the Climbing Plus ability, so he goes over the side and hides beneath the balcony. Unfortunately, when he declared he was doing that, Ammar’s player didn’t see that a really scary, floating ghost nightmare monster with the glaive from the movie Krull (Umbra Samaritan) was right beneath the balcony.

But that’s when our Naffatun earn their pay, and Rafeeq lit the scary alien up with his flame thrower (and I couldn’t make an arm roll to save my life this game). While Renzo guns down another of the Fraacta, Ammar drops safely to the ground.

Rikku and Two Vi are by the command bunker, and now they’ve got really scary company (Umbra Legates). But some good shooting rolls manage to put some of them down, but not before they kill the last of their security robots.

Batwan finally gets the controls unstuck. And since his door is covered with so many aliens that it would be basically Butch Cassidy to run out that way, he smashes out the window on the opposite side and climbs through.

Jimmy runs through the fire to get to the other controls, and unlocks it easily. The blast doors open and the ship rises through the hole. Poor Gus gets shot while he’s covering the door though, but he survives, and manages to cap the alien that shot him. Jimmy runs back out, throws Gus arm over his shoulder and drags him for the ship.

Now everybody hauls ass for the ship. There are a whole mess of aliens shooting at them, but a good Tech roll allows Jimmy to activate the engines just enough that they’re basically laying down a smoke screen for the entire center of the board.

This round everybody runs for it… Except for poor Two Vi, because during random character generation he ended up with a bum leg and a bad limp, so mechanically his mini moves fewer inches than everybody else, and all movement related skill tests are harder for him. So everyone makes it to the ship this round except for him.

Oh crap… So I figured up every alien that had a shot at him, and normally they’d all be rolling two or three dice, but because of the smoke giving partial cover, distance, and a moving target, I told him that each alien who could see him would only get one dice, and they’d be hitting on 4 or less. Sadly for him, I was rolling TEN dice. That’s a fistful of dice. We were all pretty sure Two Vi was going to die.

Ten dice… Only one hit. ONE.

It was his lucky day. So Two Vi got winged, but managed to limp aboard the ship.

They immediately blasted off, leaving behind a lot of pissed off space monsters.

Two-Vi had to run across all of that while getting shot at. Lucky bastard.

##

The Getaway

For ship to ship combat I tweaked the rules a little bit from what’s in the official game. I created six regular positions on the ship to fill, so that everyone would have something to do. In the case where an NPC had a higher skill than a PC, that PC would be copilot to add a +1 bonus to the roll, and the player would use the NPC’s skill for the pertinent rolls.

So Batwan was copilot for NPC Luke. Two Vi was Information Warfare (hacking), Jimmy and NPC Gus were Engine Room, Renzo and Rikku got on the close defense machineguns, while Ammar went to the missile bay.

So they’re blasting off, but they’re heading straight up, directly into the guns of the Combined invasion force. Plus they’re being pursued by three Combined fighters. They’re not going to make it through, so Luke suggested taking evasive maneuvers between the 200 story skyscrapers of Silvania. (which keep in mind, are currently being bombarded and are exploding). I made this suggestion because let’s face it, that visual makes for a kickass action sequence!

The weave and dodge between the exploding buildings and flaming debris. Two Combined fighters are right behind them, firing.

Two Vi uses a hacking program to spotlight the fighters for the guns, which makes them easier for the gunners to hit. Then Jimmy uses his technical skill to boost the guns (giving them an extra dice in burst). (the cool thing about playing with good players is that they come up with neat ideas like that, and forget the rules, the only rule I care about when GMing is the Rule of Cool).  Plus close range they get a +3 already, so they’re at +6 to hit, on five dice each. So the guns absolutely shred these Combined fighters to pieces, and they spiral off to slam into the buildings.

One other fighter is paralleling them, but Ammar smoked it with a missile (they’re dmg15 AP/EXP, so yeah, dude was toast).

Then the ship is free of the city and speeding over the top of the jungle. Once they’re out from under the invasion fleet, they point the ship toward orbit and put the hammer down.

##

The Wormhole

The ship that Cortez was on (the FS Monarcha) had reached the C7 Circular, and they watch helplessly from too far away to do anything as it jumps to the next system.

It will take them a few hours to reach the wormhole.  We didn’t cover this during the session (because I forgot), but since our guys have been in combat off and on for about forty eight hours now, with only catching a few naps here and there, they’re pretty exhausted. I’m assuming more sleep was grabbed during this lull.

There is one bit of drama though, because during random character creation, because of an incident that happened in his youth, Batwan has a small problem with his cube, in that a small portion of someone else’s personality was recorded on his cube. And sometimes this other personality can manifest. Which we all discovered was a little girl named Cindy, who was very confused with all the exploding alien stuff.

Which kind of freaked out our poor NPC pilot, because that’s like some weird demonic possession stuff or something (Luke’s character trait from the random generator was religious, and because the mini I’m using has a crucifix on his neck, I made him Catholic). So he called the Doc to come up to the helm. But Hannah’s seen cube echoes before, so she had Cindy take some pills so Batwan could come back.

Once they are free of the Combined Army’s hacking attack on Silvania, they can once again access the datasphere. Except Aleph on Paradiso is still hunkered down, uncommunicative, while it tries to figure out how to defend itself from being infiltrated by the superior alien tech. So communications in this system are still iffy.

In space, PanO and Yujing warships have been pouring into the Paradiso system, and they’re congregating on the new wormhole that opened up to the alien system. This wormhole is now codenamed Acheron Falls, and the improvised blockade is stopping most of the alien ships from reaching Paradiso.

Other human ships are covering the wormhole to the Svalarheima system in case the Combined break through, to keep them from spreading into other human systems. But since this is the second line of defense most of the warships here are ones that were damaged in battle earlier and had to pull back.

They get hailed by one in Chinese. Unidentified civilian vessel, this is the INV Luyang. You are entering a restricted area. Slow your approach. The wormhole is currently open to military traffic only.

Now this is a problem. They’ve got a pass from Aleph, but since the Yujing navy can’t talk to Aleph right now either, no way to confirm it. The Luyang is a battleship that could blast their little gunship out of the sky with one shot. Except scans show it is badly damaged, specifically it’s systems, which means that it would be targeting manually, so they might have a chance if they need to make  run for it.

There is one guy aboard who was Imperial Navy once, but Jimmy was a lowly engine room grease monkey, so it isn’t like he can pull rank. HOWEVER, Ammar was undercover as an officer in the Celestial Guard in the Imperial City for seven years. So Ammar responds, uses his old CG ID, and baffles them with Imperial bureaucracy bullshit about how he is on a secret mission from the Imperial Service.

Despite his personality of five or something awful like that, he manages to pull it off. And the Yujing guy he is talking to asks him to please hold while he fetches his superior.  The only other person aboard who speaks Chinese is Jimmy, who is now suspicious why his Muslim friend from Bourak has a legit Celestial Guard ID, but Jimmy’s real good at not asking uncomfortable questions. Especially ones that end in a stabbings.

The superior is XO Julianne Zhang. And when she gets on, Jimmy immediately tells Ammar “I’m not here”… Because during character generation, one life event for Jimmy was that he had an affair with someone of higher social status and it ended horribly. Since this happened during Jimmy’s naval career, we decided that Julianne kinda hates his guts now.

The Luyang let’s them pass through the wormhole, but says that there are some discrepancies. They’ll send a message to the Yujing navy waiting on the other side of the gate about Ammar’s mission so they can board and question him (which would be bad).

But Two Vi manages to use his hacking skills to disrupt the message. He tries to kill the signal entirely, but only manages to damage it. So fingers crossed…

When they come out on the Svalarheima side (and since I decided that wormhole transitions are challenging, half of our guys get violently ill again) more Yujing frigates are approaching. However this time when they hail our ship, it turns out that they just received a garbled message from the Luyang, something about an Imperial officer aboard this ship.

Since these guys actually have access to the whole datasphere, Ammar can’t use his fake ID without risk of being caught, so Jimmy takes the call, and gives his real name and former rank. Only he wasn’t an officer, so he apologizes for this misunderstanding.  They buy it, but with the complication that they’re going to report all this to the Luyang once they go through the wormhole… Which means that Julianne Zhang will find out that Jimmy was on the ship she let go through. I’m sure there will be no horrible consequences for this at all.

The Yujing frigate warns the ship that there is something wrong with its transponder, because it’s not showing a name. They’ll need to get that fixed. Then they go on their way.

Of course, this immediately kicks off a debate between the players about what they should name the ship. It even starts a bidding war between some of them (which is funny, since half of our guys ended up being hyper-elite rich types). But our Nomad Hacker and our Yujing Engineer both have the same idea at the same time, and immediately start rolling dice to just name the ship while everybody else was debating. It was pretty funny.

They both rolled two successes (tech vs. hacking), so I did evens/odds on a dice. Evens was Saipan (for Two Vi) and odds was Sally Forth (for Jimmy). So the winner is… Jimmy (and that scene was amusing for the GM).

So the Free Ship Sally Forth took off after the Monarcha.

A note on the Sally Forth. The players still don’t know who built it, who had it before them, or how the PanO navy captured it. It’s basically a top of the line ghost ship, with an engine that allows it to transit wormholes by itself (something so complex you normally find them on warships or couriers owned by top tier mega corps). It’s built from parts from various worlds, but everything has been scrubbed clean. It’s basically sanitized.

Their target has left the C7 Circular and is heading for the planet Svalarheima (it is about a four day journey).  It is a fast ship, but since it is a luxury liner, it is accelerating at a rate that provides a comfortable constant Earth standard gravity to its passengers. So if our guys turn and burn, they’ll be able to catch up to the Monarcha in a few hours.

Cortez and the Black Box are (hopefully) on that ship somewhere. The PCs start doing hacking, education, analysis, and lifestyle rolls to try and learn everything they can about the ship they’re pursuing.

The Monarcha is the flagship of the Royal Spacer Unlimited megacorp. It is one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the galaxy, and all the passengers are hyper-elite social status. The problem is there are about 5,000 passengers and 1,000 crew, and hiding somewhere in there is Cortez who is a super hacker.

There’s some debate about how to tackle this, from discretion to piracy. Including the assassin suggesting they just blow up the ship with a missile and pick the Black Box out of the wreckage. Except Renzo points out that they don’t know if the Box is detectable or destructible. (plus, the whole killing 6,000 innocent people would kind of suck).  When the passenger manifest shows that the Prince of the Funduq Sultanate is aboard, Ammar decides his just blowing it up option is bad.

(Well, that and the Monarcha dwarfs them and has a considerable battery of self-defense guns, but I didn’t tell them that just in case they were crazy enough to try the pirate method. They also have a battalion of Corporate Security Units on board. These are super rich folks pirates would love to kidnap for ransom, so they ain’t messing around.)

Speaking of the passenger manifest, I’ll get into that more in the next session’s recap, but there are a lot of important and dangerous people on this ship. Renzo’s biggest concern was if Colonel Hassan (his law enforcement enemy) or Arslan of the Druze Society (his criminal enemy) were aboard. But nope. Not yet. J

They decide to use Batwan’s ID and status to ask to board to rent a suite, where they’ll search for Cortez discreetly. It’s SUPER EXPENSIVE, but they’re hoping Alpeh will reimburse them for this once they get the Box. They are given permission to dock.

The Sally Forth fits in the shuttle bay with room to spare. They leave the NPCs to guard the ship, and are met at the airlock by Captain Beltran Delgado, who is very polite, but also a stern hard ass who is basically the god of this ship. He’s got a retinue of assistants to help Batwan with his things, and a group of CSUs to enforce The Rules.

First rule, no weapons or armor. Security is handled by the CSU. Their equipment has to be left on the ship. Nothing will be allowed to upset or endanger the other passengers (our guys look at sneaking something like a pistol past, but there are high tech scanners, so they’d most likely fail).

Also, since the PCs are all a filthy mess, they’ll need to visit the quartermaster to get clothing that meets the dress code. Since Batwan and Rikku are hyperelite, they’ll be treated well. Ammar doesn’t want to identify himself, but is willing to pay the “background and credit check waiver fee” (also super expensive), to get in with a fake name. Renzo, Two Vi, and Jimmy are basically treated like servants. So while the first three are given nano-tailored suits that can change colors and patterns by twisting the cufflinks, the other three get the same grey coveralls as the janitorial staff. Jimmy remarks these are the nicest duds he’s ever owned.

The PCs start checking the place out, and it is really fancy. You don’t normally see spaceships with this much furniture inside. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to have a working fountain inside a space ship? (the water droplets make the form of a swan!) Two Vi checks to see if he can hack into the security system, but it is high quality and tight (they actually have a team of Tunguskan Intervenators running security). There’s also no cameras outside of the common areas to hack into, because the hyper elite value their privacy.

The first thing Batwan does is request some CSU’s for his “personal security”, and he specifies that they need to be former PanO military. Since the comfort of the passengers is the most important thing, the Captain is happy to oblige and provides a contract for two (also very expensive). Later on, Batwan uses his intimidation ability to coerce these poor schmucks into getting him some weapons. They can’t do lethals, but they supply two flash pulsers and a stun pistol.

In the casino, Ammar gambles. Poorly. However, the others are keeping an eye out, checking on the other passengers, and they noticed that one dude has been watching Ammar suspiciously. He’s a big Germanic dude, who I describe as looking kind of like Dolph Lundgren. A little asking around indicates that the man at the poker table is Klaus Vaerst, and the reason he’s looking at Ammar suspiciously is that he’s Magna Obra Corp’s Director of Security.

(and if you remember the first session, Magna Obra was who Cortez stole the Black Box from to begin with. And Ammar is the one who dumped all of Magna Obra’s R&D files onto Mayanet, which caused a great deal of embarrassment for them. Not to mention a 13% drop in stock value)

Rikku has gotten a few drinks in him, and decides that he’s going to force the issue and pick a fight with this Klaus Vaerst guy. He’s just the director of security and clandestine murdering for a galaxy spanning mega corporation. How tough could he be?

So Rikku goes over and spills his drink on Vaerst.  Vaerst is very polite about it, but Rikku is belligerent (and his English is specifically “Scots English”) so as he yells at Vaerst, the German can’t hardly understand a thing that he’s saying. “Aye! Ye spelt me drank!” “Excuse me?” “Ye fargin’ kunt I’ll keel ya!” “Pardon me, I speak fourteen languages but I do not understand whatever mangled garbage dialect you are speaking.”

But when two CSU’s come to break this up before it upsets any other passengers, Rikku shoves them both into Vaerst. Before ten other CSUs can step in and discreetly beat Rikku’s ass, Vaerst agrees to this challenge to a duel (and Rikku’s player is like, wait, duel, what?). It turns out that the hyper elite love violence as much as anybody else, so they’ve got a full arena and dojo aboard the Monarcha. And Vaerst would enjoy a “bout of fisticuffs”.

So they go to the arena. While Vaerst is rolling up his sleeves and asking what rules they should use, Rikku sucker punches him in the head. And it turns into a fist fight. Only this isn’t Vaerst’s first body, he’s got the best metachemistry money can buy, so he turns on this +3 brawn and regeneration and the two of them start beating the crap out of each other. Because my dice hated me that day, Rikku ended up breaking Vaerst’s nose.

Vaerst laughs at this, because “I seldom bleed my own blood!” Rikku decides this is a good chance to make a graceful exist, and declares that he accepts this apology! In honor of this new friendship, Vaerst offers to take Rikku to dinner (steaks made from recombinant dinosaur DNA). It turns out that Vaerst has been to Rikku’s family orbital around Earth forty years ago back when his grandfather first built it (all the other PCs were like, hang on, your family owns an entire orbital? And Rikku was like, we own three).

At this point we were out of time, so we wrapped it up.

For next time, hiding somewhere aboard the Monarcha is Cortez the rogue Bureau Toth agent. In his possession is the Black Box from the mysterious alien race known as the Tohaa, which maybe their only hope to defeat the Combined Army invasion.

All they really know about Cortez is that he’s brilliant, ruthless, and won’t hesitate to kill anybody who gets in their way. They’ve got 72 hours to find him before they reach Svalarheima, and they’ve got to do it on a ship full of powerful people, many of whom would love to take the Black Box for themselves.

September Update Post

I’m thinking that attending back to back giant megacons isn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done. I had DragonCon last week, got home Tuesday, and Thursday I was at Salt Lake City FanX.  Cons are fun but mentally tiring for writers, because we’ve got to be switched on the entire time we’re talking to fans.  So that was like two weeks of nonstop talking. So yesterday I did nothing but sit on the couch playing Rome: Total War (a classic, and it’s on iPad now!).

So here is what is going on:

Book Stuff

Target Rich Environment came out last Tuesday and as far as I can tell is doing extremely well. It hit #1 in anthologies on Amazon.

The book store I was signing at had a couple cases of them at SLC, but sold out the first hour, so the next day I brought in my personal stash of comp copies and cleaned out the B&Ns between my house and the con on the way there to consign. (I hate when fans come a long way to see me and leave empty handed).  Those all sold out too.

But then I found that they had me scheduled to sign at a different booth that was there, which had more TRE (after I’d spent hours telling people I was sold out) So if you saw the update photos on Facebook this weekend, that’s what that was all about.

If you’ve not checked out Target Rich Environment yet, you should. I’m really proud of it.

There’s been a lot of questions about why there is no audio version. I wish there was, but that’s Audible’s decision. It’s because so many of these stories have appeared in other anthologies over the years (or were an Audible exclusive like Tom Stranger) that they didn’t want to compile them, and then have customers get mad that they spent a credit for some stories that they’d already gotten before.

My next release  is the sequel to Son of the Black Sword, called House of Assassins, which will be out in February.  It is bad ass. In fact, Jim Minz has been my editor on a bunch of my books, and he told me he thinks it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

I approved the final copy edits a couple weeks ago, so we should be seeing an eARC for HoA soon I assume. Otherwise, the regular release will be in February.

I’m currently working on Monster Hunter Guardian. I got back Sarah’s edits before I left for Dragon and started on the final pass. This is a Julie Shackleford novel that takes place at the same time as Monster Hunter Siege. I’ve been planning this collaboration with Sarah Hoyt for about five or six years now.

But Guardian should be done and turned into Baen, hopefully by the end of the month. I’m not sure but I believe they are planning on an August(?) 2019 release. Toni unveiled the cover art at the Baen roadshow at DragonCon (It is awesome).

I’m also one of the editors of Noir Fatale, along with KC Ezell. It’s a collection of noir sci-fi and fantasy stories from a bunch of really awesome authors. We’ve got all the stories in (they’re really good), KC just wrote her intro and kicked it back over to me to write mine.  Noir Fatale will be released by Baen in a October 2019 (I think).

I was 35,000 words in working on the third book in the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior (it goes Son of the Black Sword, House of Assassins, Destroyer of Worlds) when I got back Guardian form Sarah. So once I send off Guardian and Noir Fatale to Baen, I’ll be back to working on that next.

Oh wait, I also owe Mike Williamson another Freehold story before October. Gotta squeeze that in there.

There is gong to be another volume of Target Rich Environment. Right now I’m just trying to nail down which of my stories I’m able to reprint at this time.

There will be another Monster Hunter Files, but I need to talk to the authors I’ve picked to coordinate a bit, because this one is going to be five novella sized stories, and they’re going to be linked events.

There are lots more novels planned, so if I didn’t list it here, don’t worry, it is still in the works. Including more MHI, and another trilogy of Grimnoir novels (my story in Noir Fatale is specifically about one of the characters in the next trilogy).

And finally, last week I signed another contract for a 3rd Tom Stranger with Audible. This time it is going to be another Tom novella, plus two short stories. One of which is tentatively titled Dick move, space fish, which tells the story of Jimmy the Intern giving Stranger & Stranger’s new employee orientation to a dolphin. Yes. I have a weird job.

Con and Event Schedule 

My summer had LibertyCon, GenCon, DragonCon, and Salt Lake FanX, but I do believe that I am all done for the year.

I believe my next event is LTUE, which isn’t until February.

I’ve been drafted to teach another master class workshop at Fyrecon again.

Yard Moose Mountain Update

Building a house is a stressful pain in the ass. But after two years of infrastructure and paperwork to develop this thing, it is finally starting to look sorta house shaped.

We’ve got basement walls, basement plumbing, and they were doing the backfill yesterday. I should have slab poured on Friday. Now it is just a race between us and the weather.

 

My Salt Lake City FanX Schedule

I’m still suffering from a condition called Dragon Brain (symptoms include doing nothing but laying on the couch streaming old episodes of Kitchen Nightmares for up to 24 hours) but already I’m off to another convention tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6th

2:00 PM What I Know Now, What I Wish I Knew Then: A Writer’s Journey – 251A

4:00 PM All That Glitters. Building a Believable Magic System. – 151D

6:30 PM Book Signing – Bard’s Tower Booth 401

8:00 PM Tick, Tick, Kaboom. Launching an RPG Campaign – 251A

Friday September 7th

12:00 PM Makers of Stories: Writing Novels and Short Stories – 151D

3:00 PM Book Signing – The Printed Garden Booth 801

Saturday September 8th

12:30 PM Book Signing – Bard’s Tower Booth 401

3:00 PM The Predator, 30 Years on the Hunt – 151D

4:00 PM Book Signing – The Printed Garden Booth 801