Category Archives: Writing

Kal’s February 2023 Forecast

Happy February everyone! I know it’s been a while since my last update around here, but I’ve been writing furiously and I’m happy to say that my latest book, Sorcerers of the Black Fortress, is out with beta readers! I’m aiming to publish it in March, with a release party at FantaSci in Raleigh.

Sorcerers of the Black Fortress is the fourth book of the Eoriel Saga and it’s a beefy book at two hundred and forty thousand words and around four hundred and fifty pages, all-told. It has been a blast to write in my epic fantasy series again. On top of that, I’ve already outlined the next book in that series and I’m around thirty thousand words complete on that, with a goal of finishing it out in February and March.

My writing projects after that will be back to the Children of Valor and Forsaken Valor books. I plan to write the fourth Forsaken Valor book, followed by the seventh Children of Valor book.

Really excited to have this book done, it has been an off and on work since 2019, so getting it finished has been fantastic.

In other news, we’re buying a house and moving this month. This is going to be a hectic few weeks as we get moved in, though I should still be able to get writing done even so.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Coming Soon: Shadows of Valor

The next book in the Star Portal Universe, Shadows of Valor, will release 28 October. Shadows of Valor follows the story of those left behind on Century near the end of Valor’s Stand.

Left Behind.

Ashiri Takenata has crashed upon the surface of Century, in the final minutes of the defense of the system from invasion.  Alexander Karmazin is trapped in an underground prison cell while the renegade militia abandoned him.  Their planet has been conquered by the alien Culmor Empire.  

They have no means to fight back.  The enemy can bombard or gas the planet at any time, with any provocation.  The smart thing to do would be to give up.  To make the best of things, to try and rebuild, and to fall into line.

Ashiri doesn’t have it in her to give up.  She has already seen one world fall to conquest and rebuilt her life.  Alexander Karmazin, a child of two worlds, isn’t about to let either disappear under a conqueror’s boot.

The pair of them will figure out how to fight back.  They will get the word out to Century’s remaining defenders that there is still hope.  They will find a way to get help from Admiral Armstrong, and if that doesn’t work, they will free their planet themselves.

Because sometimes valor has to fight from the shadows.

New Release: Valor’s Inheritance

Valor’s Inheritance, the fifth Children of Valor book, is now live!

https://amzn.to/3tDTMKR

“Blood is inherited and virtue is acquired, and virtue in itself has a value that blood lacks.”
— Don Quixote

Jiden Armstrong has lost nearly everything.

Her home world and most of its people have been captured by alien invaders. All too many of the cadets and personnel she served with have been killed in the defense of their planet. The Century Planetary Militia’s starships and fighters thrown away by Admiral Drien to cover his cowardly retreat.

All that is left is a meager inheritance for the survivors: a handful of ships, off-world accounts, and refugees willing to give all they have to save their homeworld. Multiple factions of survivors compete to control those resources. Some, like Jiden’s grandmother, want to build up a force to liberate their planet. Others, like Admiral Drien, want to gain the support of a stronger power and let others do the bleeding to save Century.

Jiden, as before, is in the middle of it all. She will have to manage meager resources while she trains up new recruits to save Century. Because whether they can acquire more resources or not, the Centurions are going to save their people. Jiden knows that in the end: all the wealth and power of Century doesn’t matter; the true inheritance of Century is the willingness to shed blood to save it.

Kal’s June 2022 Forecast

June is here, and there is a lot going on!

I’m happy to say that the next main-line Children of Valor book, Valor’s Inheritance, is complete and will be coming this month! More to follow on the details of that launch (including cover, blurb, and more). I do want to say that part of the delay in this book was me determining the best way to tell the many stories in the Star Portal universe that I want to get told.

Also this month, I’ll be attending Liberty Con at Chattanooga, TN (June 17-19). Liberty Con is by far my favorite convention and it’s been too long since I’ve been able to see everyone there.

I’ve outlined and begun work the next Star Portal universe book, which is a spin off from the main series. My goal is to get that done this month. I’ve got a lot going on with a new job, still unpacking/getting settled in to the new place, and all the rest, but I am making steady progress writing again.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

For the Love of Death Snippet 2

Find Snippet 1 here.

In scoping out the bar, I hadn’t even noticed a pair of drunks who’d been snoring in their drinks.  As Amanda went for the jar, the two of them popped up from their table, any pretense of drunken stupor gone, drawing submachine guns from inside their coats.

The bartender had already brought up a saiga shotgun, and I was drawing my pistol aimed at him, even as Sam snatched up a heavy beer mug and threw it hard.

The mug struck the end of the bartender’s shotgun and spun it around just as he squeezed the trigger.  The shotgun blast caught both of the fake-drunks: a heavy slug ripping through the back of the one, out his chest, and into the front of the other, both of them tumbling, opening fire in death with their sub-guns, the roar of gunfire deafening in the small space.

Sam’s hand came down on my shoulder and he spun me around, the world seeming to slow as he let me see a bit of how he perceived the world.

I could see the gunfire from the two dying men scythe into a group at a booth to my side, bullets from the dying men cutting through the three people there.  Any horror I might have felt was stilled by a combination of Sam’s perfect vision and the realization that all three in that booth were armed, weapons falling from their hands as they, too died.

My partner was still in the process of grabbing for the fence who still had the urn or vase or whatever it was clutched in his arms.  At the sound of gunfire, Amanda Ashburn transformed her grab into a dive to the floor.  At the far end of the bar, the two patrons who’d been trying to get the bartender’s attention had drawn weapons, too.  Seriously, is no one in here what they seem to be?

Under other circumstances, I would have gone for cover myself, but Sam’s hand held me in place like an iron bar.  I wasn’t sure if he was simply that confident of protecting me or if he just  wanted me to watch his handiwork.

The two pistoleers at the end of the bar were shooting at Amanda, the bartender, and maybe at me.  Sam didn’t even move, he just smirked at them as the bartender, still spinning from the impact, continued his spin as he fired off the rest of his magazine, one shot blasting the top off a beer tap, spraying both men in the face and throwing their aim off.

The bartender’s third shot caught one of the men in the throat and sent him backwards, while the fourth shot caught the other in the chest.  The bartender’s fifth shot went into a beer keg, blowing the top off and sending the beer tap rocketing back into his face, snapping his head back and dropping him back behind the bar, either dead or unconscious.

Eight people had died in as many seconds or less.  Under other circumstances, I would have been horrified.  With Sam, the only noteworthy thing was that all of these people had been armed and something of a threat to me and that he hadn’t leveled the whole place.

He let go of my shoulder, “You and your partner should leave, now, Ari.  Before things get too wild.”  He said it with a calm cheerful smile, as if he would quite like it for us to stay longer.

I moved.  Amanda had rolled to her feet, protectively clutching the bag of money to her chest with her right hand while she had her gun out with her left.  She didn’t flinch as I rushed over to her and the pair of us sprinted to the door.

On our way out, I shot one glance over to the corner, where the five I had noticed were still seated, watching us.  They’d made no hostile move, but the woman with the spider tattoo watched us leave with cold eyes.

Without knowing why, I could tell that she was sizing us up.  The violence and bloodshed that had just happened didn’t matter to her in the slightest.   The attackers who’d just died were as unimportant to this woman as the lives of insects.

Sam joined us, appearing at my side and falling into step with me as we got out into the street and headed for my car.  “Oh, Ari, the next few days are going to be so much fun…

***

Kal’s October 2021 Update

Hey everyone. Sorry it’s been so long without an update. My computer decided to die on me pretty unexpectedly. I lost a lot of files I’d been working on, unable to recover them, and without a computer to even use for blogging or writing.

Needless to say, my mindset in the aftermath wasn’t all that positive. Losing pages on multiple works-in-progress hit me pretty hard. My normal back-up process didn’t work. The way the computer went down, I couldn’t even access my auto-recover files.

I went from being really engaged and writing every day on multiple products to being stuck and not wanting to write anything. It’s taken me a bit to climb out of that, to rewrite what I lost, but I’m happy to announce that For the Love of Death is completed and I’ll be releasing that on 15 October.

I’m in the process of writing more Children of Valor books, with the current project (re)started and in-progress. My goal is to finish writing it this month. I have a lot of writing to do, so I’m hoping to get at least somewhat caught up.

That’s all for now, I’ll post snippets and the new cover for the latest book here soon. Thanks for reading!

Coming Soon: For the Love of Death

Hey everyone. Sorry for the long delay in updates, but I’m happy to announce that my next book, For the Love of Death, is coming soon! It’s the third book of the Angels of Death series. I’ve got it done, edited, a cover, and all the rest, so check back for more in the next couple of weeks!

I’ve also got some updates for the website and general news and I’ll go into that next week. That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Kal’s May 2021 Update

May the fourth be with you!

It’s May, I’m excited because I’ve got a lot planned to come out over the next few months. I’m working on some website updates (some of which have already taken place), working on two novels, and I’m generally pretty busy. But it’s all good work.

The seventh book of the Shadow Space Chronicles, The Star Engine, is coming on well, I should have it ready to go on time. I just released A Quiet Death, the second Angel of Death book, and I’m outlining the third one, For Love of Death.

I also went back and spent most of an afternoon and evening getting the paperback versions of several of my books (Hidden Valor and In Death’s Shadow being two of them) live on Amazon. With both of them, the issue had been with the covers (user error) and they’re now fully operational.

Moving forward, I’m planning on going back to the release style I used for the Children of Valor series, where I focused on one series and released multiple books in the same series in a row. I plan on releasing 3-5 books in a series before moving on to the next, releasing about every other month. That’s the plan, at least (we will see how it comes to fruition.

My website hasn’t been really updated in four years or so, so expect the homepage to change a bit, addition of a store for merch and signed books, and some other things, all in the near (ish) future.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Hidden Valor: First Snippet

Hidden Valor is coming next week!  Here’s the first snippet:

Chapter 1: The Heights I’ve Reached

Prince Ladon kept me standing as he read over the report I’d written up on Princess Kiyu and Jonna Hayden’s activities.  He had a bit of a sneer on his face.  “This is all?” He looked up finally.  “Conversations about classes?  I expected more from you Vars, much more.”

“We’ve been on break the past month, Your Highness,” I told him as calmly as I could manage.  What did the idiot expect, that the two of them would be discussing how to overthrow the Empire?  Even if I had really been his loyal spy, it would have beggared belief that I’d have something incriminating after only a few weeks of working for him.

Of course, I wasn’t his spy.  I wasn’t even Vars, the son of the late pirate marauder Wessek.  My name was William Alexander Armstrong.  I wasn’t even from Drakkus, I’d grown up on the dry, dusty world of Century and the real Vars had kidnapped me and kept me as his prisoner and slave.  I’d escaped and taken my revenge on Vars and Wessek, but in order to survive here on Drakkus, I’d stolen Vars’ identity and taken his place here at the Drakkus Imperial Military Institute.  Prince Ladon, though, thought I was Vars, and furthermore, I had convinced him that I would be his agent and spy on my only two real allies and in exchange, he hadn’t had the three of us murdered.

“All the more reason you should have had more for me,” Ladon’s lips drew back and he threw his datapad down on his desk.  “Classes are about to start up once more.  Once they do, neither of us will have time to meet frequently.  I’m giving you one week, to the official start of classes and I want to see something more interesting than…” he shook his head, “tactical preferences.  Do you understand me, Vars?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” I told him.

“You had better, Vars.  I’m taking a risk taking you on as your sponsor.  My father is still quite cross with you for what happened at Century.  It was quite embarrassing, him having to withdraw like that,” He shook his head, “And before you think I’m stuck with you, you should be aware that I still haven’t told him or anyone, really.  All I did was stop the boot pressed against your neck.”

Prince Ladon’s father, Crown Prince Abrasax, had been the patron for Wessek.  The two of them had some kind of plan to take over my homeworld, but it hadn’t gone well, thanks to my sister and my grandmother.  Crown Prince Abrasax had shown up with a huge fleet, but my grandmother, the Admiral, had found out about the arrival thanks to my sister, Jiden.  From what I’d heard, the Crown Prince had been forced to power down his weapons and withdraw.

It was the first time in decades that anyone had forced the Drakkus Empire to do anything.  That kind of black eye hadn’t sat well with the Crown Prince, and he’d blamed Wessek and his son Vars for their part in the failed operation.  Of course, since I’d taken Vars’ place and Wessek and Vars had both died in the process, that left his wrath coming down on me.

“Understood,” I told Prince Ladon.  I didn’t let any of what I felt onto my expression.  I had grown very good at hiding my real emotions, hiding everything about me, in the past couple of years.  It was amazing what the constant threat of death did for my ability to focus.

“Dismissed, Vars,” Prince Ladon waved a hand.  “And don’t let anyone see you on your way out.  I wouldn’t want our arrangement to become public.”

I left, slipping out into the corridor, keeping the hall monitors interrupted with the code the Prince had given me for that exact purpose.  I was going to have to come up with something to give Prince Ladon, something to keep him satisfied, without doing actual harm to Jonna or Princess Kiyu.

I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I was going to have to figure something out.  Some part of me whispered that it didn’t matter what I figured out in the short term, Prince Ladon wouldn’t be satisfied until both of my friends went down, and he saw me as a means to that end.

I was going to have to figure out what to do about that.  One thing at a time, I told myself.

***

New Release: Army Space Corps: Vernian Space Gun

Hey everyone, I’m happy to announce that the first book of my new series, Army Space Corps, is now live!  You can find it on Amazon (https://amzn.to/2vofJTd)

For over 225 years, the United States Army has fought every enemy of the nation from around the globe, but now there’s a threat never before seen and it comes in the form of a transmission from a nearby star.

The transmission shows a war, a war on a scale never seen by man. And that war is on Humanity’s very doorstep. Major Daniels knows that Earth isn’t ready for that kind of war. In an era of fighter jets and smart-phones, we don’t have the technology or infrastructure to begin to fight aliens with the power to travel the stars.

But that’s the impossible mission set before him and his team. The United States will need defenses, ships, stations, bases, and weapons capable of fighting that enemy. The first hurdle: finding a way to stage supplies and materials in orbit for the massive surge in space infrastructure. It would require every scrap of lift capacity in the entire world five times over and Major Daniels has to find out how to do it fast.

His solution is simple: build the world’s biggest gun and start firing payloads into orbit. The execution is what’s wrought with peril. Because even if bureaucratic infighting and simple physics aren’t enough to stop his project, then real enemies here on Earth might well be.

Daniels has to figure out the problems with his Vernian Space Gun and keep an eye on his back, because some nations on Earth see the alien threat as an opportunity to settle old grudges and they don’t care about what might happen to all of Mankind in the process.