Greetings, Gentle Readers! I hope everyone had a fine and relaxing Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year! As 2018 wanes, I wanted to update you on some going’s-on, namely Twilight of the Gods and Conan.
1. Twilight of the Gods
The release date for Twilight of the Gods, the sequel to 2017’s A Gathering of Ravens, has been pushed back to 20 August 2019. This is *entirely* due to me not being finished with it yet. What’s the hold up? Primarily, it’s me trying to do too much and failing at the little things that really matter (like getting the damned thing wrapped up). To that end I’ve been trying to streamline my life, make more time to write, and keep the demons of depression and procrastination at bay.
I went in to TotG with the idea, “wouldn’t it be fun to write a novel by the seat of my pants?” The answer, of course, is no. No, it’s not at all fun. It’s harrowing, frustrating, full of dead ends and backtracking, and not something I’m ever going to try again. I’ve had to trash close to thirty-thousand words after writing myself into a corner, and this was *after* trashing my original idea and starting over earlier this year. So, yeah . . . it’s been ‘fun’.
So, where am I? I’m about 14-15 hard days from being finished, provided I can focus all my effort on it and not distract myself with errands, worries, and the like. Don’t laugh. I’ve lost more days to worries than I care to admit. So, that’s my goal for the short term: finish Twilight of the Gods with all due haste, then plunge into the synopsis for the last book of the Grimnir Cycle, called The Doom of Odin.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, then you’re aware of my fascination — nay, obsession — with Robert E. Howard, the Texan author who created Conan of Cimmeria in the 1930s. My first novel was originally a pastiche Conan novel; my third book, The Lion of Cairo, was an unabashed homage to REH’s Crusader tales. I wrote the introduction to Del Rey’s Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures. I co-wrote an adventure scenario for Modiphius’s Conan RPG, and contributed a small bit of text to the gazetteer section of the Core Rulebook. And I’ve always wanted to write fiction in the Hyborian Age.
A couple of months ago, I got the opportunity to do just that. Late last year, I heard through the grapevine that the holders of REH’s intellectual property, Cabinet Entertainment, were contemplating a reboot of the pastiche publishing program, last shepherded by Tor Books. So, I started spreading it around to any friends who might know the Cabinet CEO that I’d love some small part in it. Just to be considered would be a great honor. My friends were apparently quite persuasive, for late this year I was invited to pitch a book idea. I’ve had just such an idea for several years, so I took a few days to polish it up and submitted it. They liked it and my name was added to their list of potential writers. That was great!
But then . . . last month they contacted me to ask if I might try my hand at writing a novella, something that could be serialized in upcoming issues of Marvel Comic’s reboot of Conan the Barbarian or The Savage Sword of Conan comics. I was hesitant, as they needed it *fast*, but this was a bucket list level opportunity. I said yes. A couple of weeks later, I turned in the draft of an 18,000 word novella, called “Shadow of Vengeance”. It’s scheduled to be serialized over twelve issues of The Savage Sword of Conan, starting February 2019. “Shadow of Vengeance” is a direct sequel to REH’s own “The Devil in Iron” — where Conan the kozak chief must contend with a sect of sorcerous assassins sent to avenge Jehungir Agha, the slain lord of Khawarizm.
That was such a cool project to work on. I hope when it comes out you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think!
That’s it for me. Come 2019, I hope to keep the blog more regularly updated. Until then, Gentle Readers . . .