George G. Moore Signing

Music of Mars by George G. Moore My friend George Moore is having a signing for his new book, The Music of Mars on Saturday, April 21, from 11 AM to 2 PM. It’s being held at Comic Logic Books and Artwork, located at: 44031 Ashburn Shopping Plz, # 281, Ashburn, Virginia 20147.

Come check out the event and help give one of our local authors a boost!

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What Is Dave Working On?

Coming Soon

One of the most common questions writers get is:

What are you working on?

For most writers, that’s an easy question to answer. They just start talking about their current Work-In-Progress, or WIP.

From my day job in the Information Technology world, I’m used to multi-tasking. Due to years of on-the-job training, I find that I multi-task the same way as a writer, which most of my fellow authors in my writing group find bizarre. Or maybe it’s a peculiar form of ADHD. I dunno.

I work on a pipeline of stories at the same time, with different stories in stages like Concept, Outline, First Draft, Second Draft or Beta. Movement of a story from one stage to the next is usually driven by factors like deadlines, anthology schedules, marketing considerations, or, sometimes, I just need to work on this story right now.

I’ve sometimes confused my blog readers by mentioning stories further down in the pipeline before they’re even close to publication-ready. To add some transparency to my (unorthodox) process, I’ve now got a Coming Soon page that shows my entire pipeline and what’s in each stage.

You’ll see that I’m starting to roll some SF into the mix, as well as some Steampunk. There are also sequels to some of my existing stories on the way.

And no, I didn’t compile all this information just special for this new page. As a software developer, I use agile sprint management software to track all of my writing activities (it’s OK if you don’t know what that means). So I had all of that information already. I hope you find it interesting.

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Second Round: Cover Art Reveal

Second Round: Cover Art

This is the cover art for the upcoming anthology, Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar. This fabulous picture was created by Justin Adams of Varia Studios.

The anthology features stories set in a mystical bar that appears at different times and places throughout history, with Gilgamesh cursed to be its eternal bartender. My story, “The Whispering Voice,” will appear in this book, since editors Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray were kind enough to accept my story.

The anthology will be published in August by Zombies Need Brains. Preorders can be purchased here.

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Inspiration: Godzilla

Godzilla, In Perspective

This is a shot from the movie Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. I think this is a stunning scene that contrasts the human scale with the “monster scale” typically embodied in monster flicks. It emphasizes how dangerous the monster is, both from its respective size as well as the fact that nobody is even thinking about making any sort of move against the behemoth. The inclusion of the crew members in the helicopter is vital, because in this scene they serve as a surrogate for the audience.

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Novelette Series: Entertaining, Fast and Just Enough Plot

I’ve written about this before, about how I’ve always liked novelettes and, sometimes, their slightly longer cousin, the novella. The annual Hugo Awards for SF classify novelettes as stories between 7501 – 17,500 words (roughly 30 to 70 pages in a mass market paperback). Novellas run from 17,501 to 40,000 words (71 – 160 pages).

A lot of famous stories fall into these ranges. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a novella. So is Jack London’s Call of the Wild (one of my absolute favorite stories). Robert Silverberg is famous for his award-winning novelettes and novellas, such as Enter a Soldier. Later, Enter Another, Hawksbill Station and Sailing to Byzantium.

Even more interesting, some writers wrote frequently at these lengths and produced a body of such works in the form of series. Poul Anderson created his Technic Civilization Saga, now reprinted in seven largish volumes, as a mix of short stories, novelettes, novellas and novels. The Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was likewise a mix of short stories, novelettes and one novella (A Study in Scarlet).

OK, so it’s obvious that I like novelettes and novellas. Thus, it’s probably not surprising that I’m written a bunch of them, and am in the process of writing more. In fact, I’ve started organizing my work into a number of distinct series.

Science Fiction

While the bulk of my work has been in the fantasy field, I’ve still got several SF series in progress.

  • After the Fall: After spreading throughout the entire solar system and achieving a high level of technology, civilization has been demolished in a vicious war between humans, AIs and post-Singularity humans. This is a series of stories about the pockets of humanity surviving in pockets throughout the system, from the burning wastes of Mercury, a war-ravaged but terraformed Mars, the devastated Earth and other places.

          — Hell-Cats of the Burning Sands

  • Belters: In the 24th century, Jonas Kastle is a troubleshooter for the Outer Planets League (OPL) in the run-up to what may become the first interplanetary war.

          — The Deep Dive

  • Monumentalists: In the early 23rd century, Emily Dunkirk works for the Monumentalists, an organization dedicated to finding stolen artwork and returning it to its rightful owners. She specializes in retrieval, usually from people and organizations who don’t want to give up their stolen property.

          — Clash by Night

Fantasy

I have several series that are best classified as fantasy…

  • Forever House: Adventures involving the Forever House, a mystical tavern that appears in different times and places throughout the multiverse.

          — Rocco Fitch, on Fighting Evil
          — Hunting Expedition

  • Roadwerks Limited: Rocco Fitch, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan, inadvertently buys a magic road…and gets far more than he bargained for.

          — Road Trip
          — Paying the Toll

The Thousand Kingdoms

The Thousand Kingdoms is a balkanized nation of anarchic kingdoms controlled by the Tars Arcana, a ruling organization of powerful mages. It’s a post-feudal setting where the existence of magic has stunted the development of science. Series existing in this setting include:

  • Big Sky Country: Brant Halvar is a skyracer on the dangerous skyracing circuit. He and his crew overcome adversity as he advances through the ranks in his effort to be accepted into the elite Big Sky League.

          — The Mad Diver of Mistveil

  • Keeper’s Guild: Demetrius is a member of the Keeper’s Guild, an organization in the anarchic city of Mozanya that preserves the integrity of the city’s for-profit legal system by ensuring the safety of plaintiffs and key witnesses.

          — The Most Dangerous Thing

  • Pageeda and Scuffee: Pageeda, a young homeless girl living in the gritty port city of Mozanya, struggles to find out what happened to her older sister. She is befriended by Scuffee, a strangely intelligent, oversized cat who has escaped from the local Arena.

          — Bitter Days
          — The Threefold Revenge

  • The Royal Protectors: Lydio Malik is the Royal Bodyguard for Princess Analisa, the heir to the throne of Salasia. He and a team of others, including the princess’s maid and the Royal Mage, defend her from powerful forces trying to topple the ruling dynasty.

          — The Rooftop Game
          — Last Day on the Job
          — Unleashed

  • The Silent Knight: Ser Kedric Hawkthorn has been betrayed by his own liege lord, the so-called Boy King. Taking refuge in a rebellious province, the disfigured knight finds himself leading troops against his former king…and his mysterious backers.

          — The Silent Knight
          — An Unexpected Journey

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Profile: Guerra

Guerra is the wildcard in my upcoming novella, “Rise or Die.” He’s a seventeen-year-old warlord in conflict-ravaged Brazil, forged in the crucible of deadly asymmetric warfare since he was four years old. He’s got more bonafide combat hours than most soldiers ever see in a lifetime. Now there’s two separate groups chasing each other through the territory he controls, a band of art thieves and the Brazilian military units chasing them. Aren’t they going to be surprised when they meet Guerra?

By the way, Guerra means “War” in Portuguese.

As an exercise, I often start off by writing a profile for each major character in a story. Here’s the profile for Guerra, a dangerous, homegrown warlord. He’s 17 years old, 5’6″ and 125 pounds.


Guerra

Profile: GuerraI don’t remember my parents. I was maybe four when a war band killed my village. What I remember most was the heat and the tears and the screams and the smell of cooking meat. They burned everything and then they took me and some of the other children, maybe ten or twelve of us, with them into the jungle. I did what I was told to do, because that was how you survived.

None of the others from my village lived more than a year. They weren’t tough enough. Me, I took my first life before I was five. Turns out, I was good at killing. Really good.

Knives. Guns. It didn’t matter. If I could lift it, I could kill with it.

But it was like I saw things different from everyone else. Enemies don’t just walk in front of your gun, especially if they got guns, too. You got to arrange for them to be where you want them. I was good at that, too. Really good.

I’m not a child no more. I’m too dangerous. I’m a threat to the ones above me. In the jungle, you kill threats. I want to live, but I got to become something else to do it. I got people depending on me now.

I’ll paint the jungle red with blood if I have to.

It’s rise or die.

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Monday Mashup: Doc Savage vs. Terminator

Doc Savage vs. Terminator Today’s mashup is a fake book cover featuring the inimitable pulp hero, Doc Savage, vs. the Terminator, from the famous movie franchise.

Doc Savage was featured in his own magazine in the 1930s and 1940s, a response to a similar magazine featuring the Shadow. All of the Doc Savage stories were later reprinted by Bantam in the 1960s and 1970s (when I encountered them). More novels have been sporadically published in the years since the Bantam reprintings.

Doc Savage is a heroic figure of a man, trained since birth to be extraordinary, both mentally and physically. From his headquarters in the Empire State Building, he fights crime with the help of an oddball crew of five unusual and uncommonly talented military veterans.

The Terminator, of course, was sent back in time at the behest of Skynet, an Artifical Intelligence that decides to use time travel to eliminate its enemies before they can organize resistance to it.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Doc Savage, the so-called Man of Bronze, really fought against the Terminator? I’d certainly buy that book.

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Profile: Carlitos Paiva

Carlitos Paiva is the villain in my upcoming novella, “Rise or Die.” In 2214, he and his hand-picked unit are military advisors in Brazil during a long, long civil war. Unfortunately, he’s working for the losing side. His employer, General Diego, needs his help in arranging a strategic exit to a luxurious life in exile funded by a cache of stolen artwork. However, somebody is trying to steal that cache from both Paiva and Diego. That’s a bad idea.

As an exercise, I often start off by writing a profile for each major character in a story. Here’s the profile for Carlitos Paiva, international mercenary and military advisor. He’s 42 years old, 5’9″, 217 pounds and has close-crapped black hair and a salt-and-pepper beard.


Carlitos Paiva

Profile: Carlitos PaivaI just follow the money. I’ve got some specialized skills that are in high demand. The downside is I have to travel to some of the most God-forsaken spots on this planet to exercise them. Like Brazil in the middle of their damned civil war.

You can call me a mercenary, if it makes you feel better.

Security services, corporate extraction, tactical decommissioning, military consulting—I provide whatever the client needs. I’ve got a team that I regularly work with and a boatload of mil-grade gear, plus I can field larger units with sufficient lead time for recruiting and training. It’s a profitable, albeit dangerous business, but one that I’m well prepared for thanks to my military experience.

One big score, though, could push me over the top.

I’m good, but the years are catching up. Tech only makes up for so much. One big payday and I’m running Paiva Security Services from a corner office somewhere. Living the high life and sending others into the field and raking in money without personal risk. This thing in Brazil could be just the ticket.

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The Whispering Voice

Khalish, the God of the Forlorn Hope I just finished a new short story, around 6400 words, called “The Whispering Voice.” I’m submitting it for the anthology, “Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar,” edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (wish me luck). It’s a sequel to the original anthology, “After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar,” which appeared in 2011 from DAW Books, by the same editors.

The Ur-Bar is a magical bar that appears in different cities throughout history, with Gilgamesh, the legendary warrior king, as the eternal bartender. He’s cursed by the gods, having achieved immortality but remaining trapped within the confines of the bar.

Each story has to feature the Ur-Bar in some significant fashion. My story explains what happens when a woman with an insoluble problem meets the long forgotten, has-been god of forlorn hopes.

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Foreclosure

Here’s a Halloween story called “Foreclosure,” which was created according to some very exacting microfiction rules. It tells a complete Halloween story in just 101 words, including the title.

Foreclosure: A Halloween Story in Just 101 Words

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