Hi, there! As you might have guessed from my intermittent posts, I’ve been very busy so far this year. I’m just finishing up the first draft of a sprawling new alternate-history novel, plus I’ve been working to assemble some of our follow-on expansions for the Alternity game. The Protostar setting book is at the printer as we speak, and I’m now finishing up the design and development work on our Xenologist’s Guide. It’s all fun stuff, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
Okay, on to a couple of quick notes:
Emerald City Comic Con
Going to be in the Seattle area next weekend? You can catch me at Emerald City Comic Con on Sunday, March 17th. I’ll be participating in a panel of military SF writers entitled Hoorah Hooah or Oorah at 12:15 in room WSCC 603. (I’m thinking the panel title refers to the proper spelling of the Marines’ general response to anything exciting.) Afterwards, I’ll be doing book signings at the Writers Block Author Autographing (Tables 1 and 2) from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm.
Drop by and say hi, even if you don’t have anything you want me to sign!
Scornful Stars Cover
I’ve got a cover for my next Sikander North book, and it’s gorgeous! Here’s a look:
Scornful Stars is Book 3 of Breaker of Empires, and it marks Sikander’s first time in command of his own ship, the destroyer Decisive. Naturally, Sikander and his crew become embroiled in a sector ravaged by piracy and the machinations of great powers trying to win the loyalty of a rebellious governor.
(A side note for you ship nerds out there: Decisive is inspired by the U.S. Navy’s Porter class and the Royal Navy’s Tribal class—designs that shorted torpedo capability to make room for more guns.)
I also spend a little time taking a closer look at Sikander’s family and the strained relationship between Kashmir and the Aquilan Commonwealth. Sikander’s conversation with his brother Devindar is one of my favorite parts of the book. Scornful Stars will be out in December of this year; wish it were sooner! You can pre-order it here.
The New Phillies
I’m a big baseball fan, and I’ve been cheering for the Phillies since the days of Schmidt and Carlton and Luzinski. As spring training gets going, I have to say I’m more excited by this year’s team than I’ve been in seven or eight years. The Phillies front office managed to pull off one of the most dynamic off-seasons of trades and free agent signings that any club’s ever managed to pull off. They say that you don’t win championships in the off-season, but this is a much improved team and I think they’re going to be fun to watch. Setting aside the Bryce Harper signing for a moment, the Phillies made major improvements at shortstop, catcher, first base, and left field (by moving Rhys Hoskins to first base, where he belongs), plus they reinforced their bullpen.
I worry that the 3-4-5 spots in the rotation are pretty ordinary, but that’s not an uncommon situation around the league, and I have to imagine that the lineup the Phillies have put together is going to score a *lot* of runs. Combine that with a bullpen that can shorten games, and I think you’ve got a winning formula.