I’m very happy to announce that Heroes of the Empire, the final installment of the Unari Empire trilogy will release on June 7 on Kindle and other eBook formats and then in paperback shortly thereafter.
The world is falling apart around Aton Askins. His childhood friend is rotting in a cell for a crime she didn’t commit. There are soldiers in the streets of Cye and an army of angry widows waiting outside the city. His mystery employer might be using him to gather artifacts of the ancient gods to build some kind of weapon. Now he’s been given one last job, one last artifact to find, supposedly on a mythical floating island halfway around the world. He needs to stay in Cye to help his friend, but he needs to finish his work so he has the money to take his family away from the city. Most of all, he needs to keep those he loves safe from what’s coming.
The Widows Army is restless and may be slipping away from Belwyn of Annanais. Stuck outside of Cye, unsure of what to do next, she needs to do something, anything, to make sure the promise she made to these women to find answers about their loved ones doesn’t go unmet. When an unlikely ally presents himself, she uses the opportunity to enter the city and finally find the evidence she needs to show the world the truth of the Port Ambs bombing. All the while, the currents of protestors and revolutionaries are threatening to overtake her.
Lives collide and the fate of an empire hangs in the balance in this thrilling conclusion to the Unari Empire Trilogy.
“The Dragon of the Bailey” was inspired by the ravens at the Tower of London. Legend says that if the ravens leave the tower either the monarchy or the nation will fall. So, naturally, the clip the ravens’ wings! Ideas really can come from anywhere.
After what seems like a really long time (but it was really only a little over two years), I’m happy to report that I’m finally done with Heroes of the Empire!
This is book three in the Unari Empire trilogy, which means the saga is complete. From here it needs proofed by my editor and get finally assembled, but I can saw with confidence that the book will be released later this spring. Whee!
Next Saturday – February 11, 2023 – I’m happy to say that I’ll be taking part in a new event in Charleston, DualCon.
It’s primarily a gaming convention (of tabletop and video varieties), but it’s also having various folks there who are writers, cosplayers, and other creators. I’ll be there along with John Russo (who co-wrote Night of the Living Dead with George Romero) and author/actor Gerry Lee Vincent.
Should be an interesting day, so stop by and say hi! Buy a book! Or ten!
I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year, but I am stepping away from the blog for November due to a couple of pressing things that will take up a lot of time.
The first is that I’m ready to start the final edit of Heroes of the Empire.
I’ve gotten my beta reader feedback incorporated and can start my last run through before sending it to my editor for (hopefully) publication early in 2023.
The second is that, on November 20, the World Cup kicks off in what will be, for a couple of weeks, a complete orgy of top-level soccer.
The Cup should never have been given to Qatar in the first place (least of all because it requires the Cup to be played in fall/winter instead of summer), a decision that looks all the worse for the stories about the treatment of workers who built the stadiums. But the tournament is going to happen whether I watch or no, so I will not let the chance to watch a lot of great soccer over the course of a few weeks, not the least because it marks the return of the United States to the big show.
For the first time since 2019, the West Virginia Book Festival is back in full strength, including the marketplace, which means I’ll be there, too!
As you can see, it kicks off this Friday and runs all day Saturday. In addition to the marketplace full of writers with great books, the Kanawha County Public Library is doing its traditional used book sale. And, of course, there are numerous presentations from several authors, including V.E. Schwab and C.J. Box. The schedule of those presentations and various workshops for the festival can be found here.
The book is The Dancing Plague: A Collection of Utter Speculation, which you can get here (paperback) or here (Kindle eBook). My story is “The Consequences of Sin,” takes one of the traditional explanations for these kinds of phenomena (not really a spoiler – it’s demons) and twists it a bit, inspired by the Fritz Lang classic M. You can read more here about the background of the story (and other stuff) in this interview I did. The other authors did similar interviews, which you can find here.
Regular readers will know that lost of years I’ve done a story for Halloween here on the blog. Since this story is coming out in October and is sufficiently creepy (I hope), it will fill that role for this year. You can find links to all my Halloween stories here.
So, you know how I’ve released two volumes of the Unari Empire Trilogy, right? That would be Gods of the Empire and Widows of the Empire.
What about the final volume, you might ask, Heroes of the Empire? Any update on it? Yes, friends, and it’s good news!
But first, some context.
Although Widows just came out last fall, I’ve been working on Heroes since about a year before that. It was my NaNoWriMo project in 2020, so I started writing it in November of that year. I “won” that year, but the book was nowhere near finished, so I kept working on it into the new year. By June of 2021, according to a timestamp on the Word file, I had something saved as “First Draft.” Except it really wasn’t.
What had happened is that I got about 80% through the draft and my creativity came to a complete halt. I didn’t have a good idea of how to bring things in for a landing, so rather than try to push through the end, I took a different approach.
In my day job, sometimes I take pieces of legal writing from others in my office and synthesize them into a single brief. It’s safe to say that each of the attorneys in my office has a different voice and just cutting and pasting won’t work to produce a clear, readable final product. So I have lots of experience rewriting the words of others to produce a smoother end product.
When I wrote Moore Hollow and The Water Road I did the same thing – I took my first draft of each book and rewrote them completely, filling in any shallow bits and using the quicker pace to connect up things better. It worked well, but I hadn’t felt a need to write that way for the other books that followed.
Until Heroes. Since I was stuck I decided to pull a Bruford and go back to the beginning again and rewrite the first draft. According to yWriter I started that process last April and everything went swimmingly for a while, until things bogged down again. In particular, when I got to that ending, I just completely lost momentum. It wasn’t that I didn’t know where the story was going to end up, I just didn’t quite know how it was going to happen.
Last week I was bogged down (again) in what I thought was the next-to-last chapter. It shifts POVs a lot as the climax happens and that made it hard to write, anyway. Otherwise, I was just kind of drifting.
Then I got up to take a piss one night.
I was up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, my mind barely functioning, when it hit me. This was out of the blue inspiration of the kind I don’t generally have. The solution was simple – a short time skip to move straight to the consequences of what we’re seeing, rather than the details of the incident itself. I was so stoked I couldn’t really get back to sleep (which made work the next day quite a drag).
This is a long way of saying, this past weekend, I finally put the final words of the first draft of Heroes of the Empire into yWriter! It’s finished! Well, I mean, it tells a complete story. Now comes the fun part, the several rounds of edits, but at least I can see the end of the process at this point.
Thus, coming late this year or (more likely) early next, the final, gripping part of the Unari Empire story, Heroes of the Empire.