More hobby time.
I've been a Warhammer denizen since I was a kid. I have more models than I can ever paint or field built up in boxes in the basement. Recently I started getting the bug again.
I've always been into Chaos and Eldar. About ten years ago I get into Crimson Fists Space Marines. Then I got a Space Wolves bug a few years ago while I was in Japan. Bought a bunch of stuff that's never come out of the boxes.
My current thinkin' is to slowly build up a Chaos warband, one unit at a time. I don't really need to buy anything else, although I have... My plan is to paint up one unit a month. Last month, October, I painted my fancy Bones model Sphynx. She's Cleo, my Tzeentchy Daemon Prince. I've never really been into that particular flavor of Chaos, but the sphynx model inspired me. Egyptian style fits that theme well.
This month I bought a fantasy unit of Wood Elf Dryads. I always thought they'd make good Tzeentch horrors, amorphic daemons of fire and sorcery.
The blue horror is not a broken pink horror (if you know the mythos on that), but is the leader. The rest have blue flames coming out the back of their heads. Or growths of some kind, anyway.
These photos I added some saturation to to improve the light (and color, as a side effect) but they are otherwise unmolested, digitally speaking. I plan to eventually do the bases up as well, probably with some snow. But that's last priority.
While we're talking about good fiction, I thought I'd pass along a review of Cirsova issue #5, which was dedicated to Lovecraftian-type tales. The review is from writer Dave Higgins, who opens with this:
"[Editor] Alexander gathers a series of tales that suggest what might happen if people of violence and cunning rather than book-learning faced Lovecraftian threats."
Sounds like a winning combo to me!
Check out his review on his blog, which is here: https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/cirsova-heroic-fantasy-and-science-fiction-magazine-volume-1-issue-5-ed-p-alexander/
(Note that no stories of mine or Mr. Higgins appear in the issue -- this is a totally non-biased push!)
Just a quick mid-week note to tell you about a book I’ve been reading and a limited time Kindle Countdown deal on a couple of mine.
I’ll try to keep it short!
I told you about Kings of the Wyld some months ago, which I enjoyed immensely. Nicholas Eames comes back for the sequel with Bloody Rose, which moves on to the next generation: Golden Gabe’s badass daughter, the merc with a chip on her shoulder known as Bloody Rose.
While I loved the first book, this one... Was good, it really was! Same humor and classic fantasy tropes used to good effect. Cool characters and lots of great character development. If you read Kings and want more (as I did), Rose probably has just what you need.
So where’s the but I’m hinting at?
I tend to get bored with extra long books. I probably complain about “kids today” and their short attention spans decayed by Youtube and cellphones and all that crusty curmudgeon stuff, but I have my own limits on attention span, too. The book is about 500 pages, as was Kings. My problem with Rose, though, is that it just seems to take too darn long to get where we’re going. I’ve gotten through page 400, where the final conflict seems right there, ready to go! And yet, it takes another 100 pages to resolve it!
That’s just too much for me.
I imagine there’s way more scene and sarcasm and extra funny little details in there than I feel necessary, just like the previous 400 pages. Those are great fun elements, but like anything, there can be too much of a good thing. For me and my tastes, I’m just tired of some of the fun extra padding and am ready for the story to move on and wrap up. I envision that needing way less than another 100 pages to get done, and so... I’m out. The book overall just has too much filler for me. At 400 pages, maybe 425, I think it’d be perfect. But 500 is just more tastee food than I can eat. I’m full and just can’t take anymore. I wish we’d gotten to the last course of the meal before I get saturated, cuz now there’s no room for dessert. Sorry.
Ironically, King of the Wyld actually reminded me very much of my own fantasy novel, Tarnish. Even down to the names and descriptions of some of the characters and the whole retired heroes theme. And, doubly ironically, some folks might think that Tarnish doesn’t need to quite be 400 pages long. I can see that opinion and respect it, but I disagree. (So do the 20 reviews on it thus far, giving a 4.5 star rating overall.)
If you haven’t read Tarnish yet and are curious, now’s a great time to try it. This week only it’s on a Kindle Countdown Deal at half price: only $2.99 instead of $5.99.
The prequel, The Prince of Luster and Decay, is also on a Kindle Countdown, only $0.99 instead of $2.99.
These are only available on the US and UK Amazon sites (sorry, not my decision) and only for 4 more days!
Try these buttons to check them out. Since the two books are linked as a series, you can get to one from the other.
And as a reminder, my space pirate novella The Lion’s Share is also $0.99 while it’s in preorder, which is just until Monday!
Have a good week, weekend, and month of November! I’ll “talk” to you again next month for the year-end wrap-up!
Happy early winter... I guess.
I like snow but I'm not a huge fan of 30-degree drops in temperature. Or of a quick end to what might be my favorite season, fall. (As in "dramatic fall in temp and/or snow, I guess.)
But I do like November. My birthday's next week, Four Days of Feasting after that, and then the rather rapid wind-down of the year. (Not that any of us can believe that 2019 is over already. Holy cow, have I been in a coma or something?)
Well, I should be writing right now, so I'll cut to the chase.
Do you like space pirates?
How about wily rogues with snippy lips and secretly golden hearts? (Well, maybe not golden... Would you believe silver? Slightly tarnished?)
My Captain Leonidas Hawksblood stories first appeared in Hugo-nominated Cirsova Magazine. I have since been planning to write a series of novels featuring the The Lion's Share and its crew but... Well, let's just say it's on the list. And since I currently have to handle a 45-hour-a-week job and be a single parent most evenings, I'm not getting to write those anytime soon.
(Right now I'm working to finish a 3rd Identity Crisis Superhero book so I have a nice, rounded trilogy done before weighing my next project for 2020. I have lots of sci-fi stuff that's been waiting patiently for years. Actually, I have a whole crap-ton of ideas that have been waiting for years. Damn day jobs!)
Anyway, I figured I might as well put these out as-is for now and worry about "the further adventures of" when I get to it.
The paperback version (if I were to make one, which I probably won't at this point) would be 116 pages. That's 116 pages of wise-cracking space piracy for $0.99 during the preorder period, which lasts until Monday, November 25th. After that, the price will go up to $2.99 for the foreseeable future.
If you want to check it out at your favorite ebook retailer, just click the button below. It's a universal link, which will give you options on where you want to shop (Amazon, B&N Kobo, Apple, etc.)
Thanks and have a good weekend!
Just a quick holiday hello. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Luckily trick or treat was on Saturday where my mom lives, so my son and I could hit the neighborhood while it was really nice outside. Because today, the weather is going to be horrible! Cold and windy and raining. I don’t think we’re going to make it around tonight.
In other news, while finding time to write has been here and there between work and family duties, I finally did finish painting this cool sphynx model.
I’ve had a life-long, off-and-on obsession with the Warhammer 40K miniatures game and have a horde of models sitting in boxes in the basement as I type this. A month or two ago, I bought this sphynx model just because it was cool and started painting it. And just this week—while sick at home with pneumonia—I finally forced myself to break out my old, drying-up paints and finish this project. I managed to get it done in just two sit-down sessions, which is amazing for me in and of itself.
And I’m super happy with how it turned out. I’m learning new techniques and painting philosophy, trying to keep it simple and not get too caught up over minor details. Just let the washes and drybrushing handle those. Didn’t know I still had it in me! I’m at least 20 years past my artistic prime!
If you want to share either costume or model pics, I’d love to see them!
Happy Halloween everyone!
I thought I'd tell you about some reading I’ve done over the last few months.
Let me start by saying that I haven’t followed any comic books in about 20 years. Maybe more. Except for maybe an occasional short-term story arc that sounded especially good. Unfortunately, most of those usually ended up being a disappointment. (Which is why I write my own stories now—just can’t trust others to write the things that I want to read.)
Anyway, there was a lot of nerdly talk online about a new rebirth of the X-Men books. When I was in middle school and high school, the X-men were my comic book heroes. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Incredible Hulk got me into superheroes on Saturday mornings, but the The Uncanny X-Men got me reading about them.
So when the Internet was all abuzz about the new redo of the X-Men, I decided to get interested. I figured it’d be fun.
Plus, there was just this little bit of Ebay-style excitement about tracking down the issues I’d already missed by that time. Driving around town to various shops, hunting down the books and scoring them before someone else snatched the last ones away. Kind of like when you’re bidding on items on Ebay—it’s not even that you need that damn little piece of junk on there, in the end it’s more about beating everyone else bidding at the last second!
I won’t tell the whole story, but I will say that there really wasn’t much conflict involved. It was mostly setting up a new situation for the forth-coming, regular X-books to run on.
The story was written by Johnathan Hickman, who’s has been hit and miss for me. His Avengers Infinity series several years back hopped around so much and seemed to skip scenes so that, as far as I could tell, there was no coherent story. The Secret Wars reboot a few years ago was pretty cool, mostly because it had amazing art and was an alternate reality for familiar characters (I love those things). His East of West sci-fi series seemed really cool when it first started several years ago, but again... It starred the Four Horseman in a sci-fi Western setting, and claimed to be inching toward the end of the world. Therefore, I assumed the story would move along toward that obvious end at a quick pace. I was wrong. Much like this X-men run, it quickly got watered down and stretched out like cheap saltwater taffy on a spindle and after several issues where nothing really happened... I gave up on it.
I remember, back in college, likening comic books to soap operas and it’s still damn true today: They give you just enough per episode to make you come back for maybe just one more to see if it’ll be good. Just a hint of the good stuff yet to come. But that good stuff keeps getting delayed, and delayed... Just to keep you coming back for mostly empty promises.
(Note that I didn’t watch soap operas! But all my roommates did, including the other male. That’s how I know that... Honest!)
Anyway, that’s pretty much what happened on this X-men run, too, but stubbornly stuck it out. The story arc had three main plot points:
So, as ever, in the end, the whole thing turned out to be rather disappointing. The best thing about it was all the alternate cover art on every issue. The story started out kind of cool, it was nice to see my old friends again, but the damn thing could easily have been told in 6 or 8 issues instead of 12. Each also featured wasted pages that were just blatant stalling for time so they could stretch this whole thing out. Would it have been so hard to come up with 2 or 3 pages of colorful, action-packed frames, instead of just text filler and info-graphics?
The whole arc was 12 issues long and they charged $4.99 an issue. (The first and last, I think, were even a dollar more.) I prefer not to add that up for my own sake, but you can do the math pretty easily yourself. Imagine paying 5 bucks per chapter for a book and finding that, in half of them, nothing worthwhile even happened. (And some people complain about paying that much for a whole damn novel!)
So why did I go on? I guess I hoped it would turn around and been worth it by the end.
Ultimately, the experience reinforced two things that I’d already known:
Also, not to continue being a downer, but in case you were wondering, the X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie was as bad as you expected too. (Which is why I only paid for a Red Box visit on that one.)
Okay, that was pretty cynical. So what’s not disappointing?
Trying out a Halloween wig. Can you say, Dark-Haired Fabio??? ;)