All posts by ka1spriggs

Kal Spriggs is a science fiction and fantasy author. His website is kalspriggs.com He is an avid reader of books, enjoys gaming, and lives in Colorado.

Kal’s January 2019 Forecast

So I’ve already posted a general outlook of what’s in store for me for the year.  What’s going on this month?  Well, I finished Jormungandr’s Venom, it’s off to the publisher soon and readers can expect it sometime around the end of the month (hopefully).  I’m making good progress on the fifth and final Children of Valor book: Valor’s Stand  and the plan is to have that one done this month.

Once I finish that, I can get back to work on the second book of the Argonauts in the 4HU.  My goal is to get that one done this month as well, and probably out to the publisher early next month.

So ideally there should be one book at the end of January with another one (possibly two) coming next month.  After I get both of those done, I’m going to start on the next Forsaken Valor book, which my goal is to finish in February.  If all goes well, I’ll finish that and then start on the seventh Shadow Space Chronicles book.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

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Kal’s 2019 Forecast

Happy New Year everyone!

2019 is here.  Boy do I have a full plate.  I’ve got six books that I plan to get published this year, another three or four books I want to get written, and a whole lot of writing to do in general.

Right now I have twenty two books in print (kind of mind-blowing to me when I think about it).  They’re set in five different universes: Eoriel, Shadow Space, Star Portal, Dead Train, and Mark Wandrey’s 4HU.  I have nine different series in print, with an average* of three books per series (and 4 more books written that haven’t yet been published).  This year I plan to finish the Children of Valor series, wrapping it up in book five, while continuing to write the spinoff series, Forsaken Valor.  I also plan to return to my Eoriel Saga, Shadow Space Chronicles, and Renegades series, with more books coming in all of them.  I’m working on the next Argonauts book in the 4HU as well.  My goal is to release a book every two months this year and finish the year at 28 published books.

Conventions are going to be coming fast this year.  I’ll be attending  LTUE in Provo, Utah (February),  Starfest in Denver, CO (April), Liberty Con in Chattanooga, TN (May/June), Spike Con/NASFIC in Ogden, UT (July), Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA (August/September).  I may be forgetting something here or there, but that’s what I see for now.  At roughly one convention every two months for the rest of the year, I’m going to be very, very busy.

I’m also trying to coordinate and set up some book signings at local stores here in Colorado, but I’m not sure when that will be happening.  I’ll be sure to post dates here as soon as I know.

On the blog post front, I’m going to be posting some additional writing blog posts as well as movie reviews, book reviews, and whatever else comes up.

Lastly I’m trying to get the audiobook versions of my YA series up soon, ideally over the next few months.  That’s all for now, thanks for reading, and have a happy new year!

*Okay, 2.44, but it almost rounds up!

Kal’s Farewell to 2018

Hey everyone!  As the year winds to a close, I thought I’d write a bit about what I’ve done and the obvious follow up to that is where I’m going next.  In 2018 I had five published novels, which is what I also managed in 2017.  My goal was higher, but I had a few things happen earlier this year, so I think getting those five out was good.  Two of those novels were in my Children of Valor series, with the third one being the start of the spin-off Forsaken Valor series.  The other two, Dead Train: All Aboard and The Colchis Job were both the starts of new series.

Writing-wise, I completed five novels, for a total of four hundred and fifty thousand words written.  Which is a lot of writing.  As the year winds to a close, I’m close to finishing another book, too, and prepping to start the next one.

I’ve also just approved the audiobook version of Valor’s Child and signed the contract to start the next one.

The year 2018 has brought some difficulties for my family, with multiple surgeries, the passing away of family, and a lot of stress and strain.  I’m very grateful to my readers and I want to thank all of you for reading and enjoying my books.  I’ve got a lot more of them planned, so as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Thanks everyone for reading!  2019, here we come!

King of the Seas: Aquaman Movie Review (no spoilers)

I watched Aquaman last night.  I’ve got to say, I haven’t been this hyped up about a DC movie in… well, ever.  Which is pretty amusing considering Aquaman has been sort of a joke for a long, long time.

The movie manages to live up to that hype.  It’s fun, it’s got good action, an understandable plot, and motivations for the characters that actually make sense.  They do a great job showing Aquaman’s character, in little things he does, not just the big dumb hero stuff of saving the world.  Some of it is sort of check the box, (save the nuns, check, save the trapped guy, check), but a lot of that stuff is cliche for a reason: it shows that he actually cares enough about people to risk himself to save people caught in the middle of his battles.

There’s a whole lot of comic book technology/magic.  It’ll make your head hurt if you think about it, so just eat your popcorn and enjoy it.  The other thing that rubbed me raw was the 2-3 minute pause to lecture about environmentalism.  Okay, I got it, it’s going to be a priority for the people (mer-people?  Atlanteans?) involved.  However, maybe instead of pushing issues that we’ve actually fixed in the past fifty years, you could focus on real environmental issues like illegal fishing trawlers that are pushing fish to extinction?  Oh, wait, those are Chinese fishing trawlers and WB doesn’t want to risk the Chinese market for the movie, so that won’t make the screen.

The movie glossed over some of the who’s who,  as well.  We get that the “fishermen” and the “brine” kingdoms don’t want to fight.  They’re also fish people and crabs, apparently, with no mention of how or why they evolved that way, while the Atlanteans somehow stayed as they were.  It didn’t need a ton of exposition, and I’ll admit, it all looked cool, but a bit more about what happened that they all changed so much might have been good.  Same for the Trench, though the sahuaghin-like creatures obviously couldn’t talk for themselves, it would have been nice to know what drove them so crazy (maybe the pressure, maybe they made pacts with cthuluoid entities, who knows?)

But by and large, the movie had good pacing and a plot you could follow.  Mamoa’s Aquaman shows moments of intelligence and compassion (two features sadly lacking in other DC movies).  I found myself on the edge of my seat for some of the movie because they actually made you care about the characters and there were a couple of times that I had no idea how they were going to get out of situations.  The underwater fight scenes are epic, the underwater cities are pretty epic, too.  There’s a bit too much shaky-cam at times, but I could still follow the action.

There’s also a lot of homages to the inspirations of the comic books.  There’s a HP Lovecraft book, Jules Verne references, and enough references and asides to make geeks, well, geek out.  They were little things, but the fact that they were there suggested a lot of thought went into the movie.

All in all, I’ll put it up as the best of the DC movies, hands down better than Wonder Woman and so much better than Batman v Superman and Justice League that it’s almost comical.  This is the sort of movie they should have done from the beginning, with a lead actor who’s given a bit of free reign to make his character his, to own it and add in his own humor.  Make no mistake, this movie succeeded because it embraced the weirdness that is an underwater kingdom and a superhero who swims well and can talk to fish.  They played that up for the ladies with a leading man who was eye-candy, but they also gave him the freedom as an actor to include his humor and swagger, and his performance felt far more human than the walking, talking, statues we had in Batman V Superman.

This was a fun, enjoyable movie.  It was good enough that I plan to see it a second time.  There’s nothing about the movie that startles or amazes, it was just a solid, fun movie.  I very much recommend seeing it in theaters, too, if for no other reason than to really enjoy the special effects.  A step in the right direction by DC, and I hope they’ll continue this with Zach Levi in the upcoming Shazaam.

Solo Movie Review

As the year has been pretty busy, I didn’t get to see Solo while it was still in theaters.  To be clear, I didn’t approach this movie expecting it to be the best Star Wars movie ever.  I wanted something fun and light-hearted, something to distract and entertain.  And coming away from it, that’s what I got.

It is fun, fast paced, and it’s got enough action and characterization that you come to care about the characters involved.  The movie went through extensive rewrites and reshoots when Ron Howard took over.  You can pretty much identify, scene by scene, where his influence is.  The actors, action, and plot move along comfortably.  Other sections lag behind a bit and there’s a much more campy feel.

The story has plot-holes you could drive a Star Destroyer through and additions to the Star Wars setting that range from interesting to asinine.  But it moves along well, the acting isn’t bad at all, and it passes the bar of being *fun* if a little bit of a stretch at times.  It feels very rushed.  Solo goes from a street rat to an “experienced” smuggler in the course of a movie.  Sections of the ending were clearly in the campier/more humorous tone rather than the grimmer, darker tone of other parts of the movie.  This would have made a better TV series than a standalone movie.

Solo is a movie that didn’t do well not because it wasn’t a decent movie, but because of the disappointment that fans had with The Last Jedi (and that in itself is a can of worms I’m not going to open right now, but you can read my review of TLJ ).  It’s also a movie that didn’t necessarily need to be made and which answers questions most of us don’t have.  We don’t need to know where Han got his blaster or his dice, or why he likes the YT 1300 Corellian Freighter.  There was a perfectly good novel series that covered all that, once upon a time.  It’s not to say the actors or director did a bad job.  They didn’t. There were sections where I was caught up in “young” Han’s story… but again, it’s a story that didn’t need to be told.  It was entertaining and fun along the way, but I wish the focus had been more on the story itself, rather than an origin story for Han.  I wish there’d been more characterization.  More ties to a greater universe, instead of the barrage of homages to the original trilogy.

New Release: Lost Valor

Lost Valor, book one of my new YA series Forsaken Valor, is now available on Amazon!    You can get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2UGbaeS

Thief. Orphan. Beggar. Spy. Killer

They say that without the dark, we would never see the stars, without losing the light, we can never truly see it. Well, I’ve lost the light, I’m in a dark place, a planet where the sun never shines.

My name is William Alexander Armstrong. Pirates took everything from me: the lives of my friends and family, my freedom, and even my honor. But I’m not going to let them take my drive. I’m going to escape, I’m not going to stay trapped, working as their slave. I’ll work with the cast-offs of society: thieves, beggars, and murderers. I’ll work with genetically engineered critters and mad doctors. I’ll lie, I’ll cheat, I’ll steal, and I will kill. I will do everything I can to escape.

I might be lost, I may be forsaken, but I will find my way to freedom, and when I do, I will bring fire and destruction on those who took everything from me.

If you want to read the snippets, you can find them here:  https://kalspriggs.com/2018/12/12/lost-valor-snippet-one/