Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wargame Preparations

I've taken a few days off from writing to prepare for Cold Wars, a historical wargaming conventions I go to every March. I've mentioned my wargaming before. This year I am teaming up with Matt Iverson for the 1000 point Field of Glory doubles tournament. I've faced off against Matt a few times in tournaments before, but this year we will be partners. This works out well for me as he is one of the best wargamers in the country (and he always beats me).

What does this have to do with writing? A lot, actually. I really strive for historical, technological, and military realism in my writing. You won't find any Conan-like warriors single-handedly wading through an army of goblins in my novel. The action in Eternal Knight is gritty and realistic. The armies behave like real armies would on a battlefield.

Anyway, I'm off to finish painting some generals.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I've never entered a contest before, but I'm going to give this one a shot. It is sponsored by the Guide to Literary Agents blog (one of my favorites). I have to submit the first 150 to 200 words of my full length (Middle Grade or Young Adult) novel. Due to the recent changes in my manuscript, Eternal Knight now fits in the YA category.

Here's a look at my entry:

Hadde crouched behind the rotting trunk of a fallen tree. Ahead of her the Kiremi raiding party crept deeper into the forest. She counted a score of them--more than enough to destroy Long Meadow. And the Kiremi weren't alone. Strange warriors in fur cloaks marched with them.

She flexed her fingers against the cold wind and gripped her bow tighter. Dromost take them! Isn't the Wasting enough?

Dry leaves crunched behind her. Startled, she ducked and turned, but it was only Belor and Calen. "Danger, close," she hunter-signed. "Stay low."

Belor nodded and the two hunters crouched lower as they made their way toward her. Hadde was about to turn back to the raiders when a gust of wind sent a wave of dead leaves washing over them. Nearby, a Wasting-weakened tree branch cracked and fell crashing to the forest floor.

Suddenly, three arrows whipped into the forest, one embedding itself into a tree just strides from Hadde. Belor and Calen snatched arrows from their quivers.

...and wish me luck! First prize is a critique of 25 pages of the manuscript, a query critique, and two books from the Guide to Literary Agents.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kemp Sweep Complete!

Whooohooo! I just completed the "Kemp Sweep" of Eternal Knight. This sweep was based on a comprehensive critique of the novel by my friend Kemp. Someday, after the novel has been published, I'll share his critique with you. I cannot emphasize enough how important good critique partners are to the writing process.

What's next? Right now my wife is reading the novel. I'll call this the Wife Sweep. Helen is looking for copy editing errors and areas where a reader might want more clarity. The Wife Sweep will not take long and will result in a very clean final manuscript.

All done? Not quite. I've decided to make one significant (but not awfully difficult) change to the manuscript. I'm gong to change Hadde's (my protagonist) age from twenty-four to seventeen. Why make such a change?

1) It will add more tension to the novel. Hadde will go from experienced veteran to young adult. When she makes it to Salador the culture clash will be much greater due to her youth. She will also not have the veteran confidence to deal with some of the conflicts she finds herself in.

2) It will allow me to promote the book as a young adult fantasy novel. I have become convinced that a YA fantasy with a strong female protagonist will be a stronger sell than a straight forward fantasy.

How long will these revisions take? Not long. Perphaps two weeks to make revisions, a week to do one final sweep, and one week to prep my queries and launch them into the world. It's getting close!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Arrived

My friend Christian Cameron's latest novel just came out in England. [For some crazy reason he hasn't been picked up by a US publisher yet.] Christian writes fantastic historical fiction. The Tyrant novels are set in the ancient Hellenistic world and follow the adventures of Kineas (an Athenian mercenary commander), and in this novel, his children. The latest novel, Funeral Games, is the most action packed of the three novel. I enjoyed it greatly, and highly recommend the entire series. The earlier novels are available in the United States.