Tag Archives: 2016

Kal’s December 2016 Forecast

December is here!  Happy Holidays to those who celebrate.

I’ve finished The Temple of Light, fifth book of the Shadow Space Chronicles.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the first round of edits and hope to have it to my beta readers soon.  With the holidays, that means it probably won’t be ready to publish until early January.

I’m really excited to get this book out.  It’s got a fantastic cover coming, tons of action, and I think everyone’s going to love it.  I’m going to create a launch page on Facebook, and I’ll link that here as soon as I do.

Speaking of the Shadow Space Chronicles, I’m reviewing the audiobook narration for The Prodigal Emperor, the third book of the series.  I’m hoping to have that reviewed this week and that means it’ll hopefully be released before Christmas, so perfect timing for listening to spaceships exploding over the holidays.

As far as writing, I’m currently working on Heir to the Fallen Duchy, book four of the Eoriel Saga.  This is going to be a big book.  As the quest to repair the Starblade begins, the main characters will face all new threats (and some old enemies we love to hate).   I’m having a blast writing it and I can’t wait to finish it and get it out to all of you.

That’s all for now.   I hope to have some book and movie reviews for everyone soon.  Thanks for reading!

Honor Con 2016

Hey everyone, just a quick reminder that I’ll be at Honor Con 28-30 October, 2016.  If you’re in Raleigh, NC for the weekend and are up for a Military SF Convention, come see me!

I’ll have a table for the whole weekend and you can find my events listed below.  For more about the convention, check here.

Friday:

3 PM: Ebooks vs Print

4 PM: Publicity for Newbies

Saturday:

9 AM: Building an Alternate History World

2 PM: Ow, My Spleen!

Sunday:

9 AM: More than Swords: Military and Fantasy

This is my initial schedule.  It may change.  I’ll also be at my author table when I’m not on panels/finding sustenance/trying to sleep, so feel free to find me there!

The Mars Plan

spacex-mars-interplanetary-transporter-launchTo say that I was excited about SpaceX’s mars plan announcements last month would be an understatement.  Their plan is ambitious and exciting and my first thought was: “where do I sign up?”

For those of you who haven’t heard at this point, they want to transport people, 100-200 at a time, to Mars to found a colony and they want to begin doing it in 2024.  SpaceX’s goal is to do this in eight years.  Eight years.  After they get the tech ironed out, they want to have a real colony, planning on a million residents.

To say this is a big effort would be a massive understatement.  Can they really do it in this period of time?  I have no idea. There’s so many regulatory and technological hurdles, that I wouldn’t be surprised if they run into delays.

But all the same, I’m hopeful.  Over the past twenty years, it seems all that governments have done with space is to say “we can’t.” I’m excited because SpaceX is trying.  It’s going to cost them ten billion dollars… but if they pull it off it will be incredible.

Still, that leaves me with some comments on their plan.  They’re going to use liquid oxygen and methane for their ITR.  It makes sense, they can probably produce both on Mars once they have a colony up and running.   I can’t help but feel nuclear propulsion, that is, using fission processes to heat water or gas and then ejecting it out a rocket nozzle,  would be a more viable alternative.  It’s far more fuel efficient and when you’re going to be reusing a rocket anyway, it seems like a better alternative.

Granted, that might limit the rocket’s use to space due to the general public’s terror of all things nuclear and radiation.  Still, build it on Earth, get it into space, and then use it as a space-taxi to service all your needs.  Maybe in a few years, huh, guys?

My other thoughts: assuming this does get off the ground, it’s going to be huge.  We’re not talking a visit and that’s it, we’re talking a million people living on another world.  Our technology now makes that a long voyage under the best of times.  This will be our generations’ Plymouth Rock (Hopefully not Roanoak).  This is the start of something new, something amazing… and we need to do our best to make sure it succeeds.

I tip my hat to Elon Musk… and I’m glad he continues to dream big, especially when so many other people are looking at the ground.  I’ll finish this with the first question I asked: Where do I sign up?

 

Kal’s October 2016 Forecast

October… my favorite month for a number of reasons.  Not least of which is that I love the fall.  Lots of cool weather that’s perfect for curling up and reading/writing a book.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing.  No, really, it’s about all I do in my free time.  Write and think about writing.  It’s sort of taking over.  The good news there is that I’m putting the finishing touches on Renegades: Out of Time.  The third novel of the Renegades series is just that, a novel.  It’s every bit as manic and crazy as the other ones, but it follows a more traditional writing style.  Why is that, you may ask?  Because for this story, it flows better.  At this point, too, most of my readers should know the characters well enough that they don’t all need their own stories.

Look for Renegades: Out of Time to come out sometime in November.  Which leads me to what I’ve finished outlining and plan to write next: The Temple of Light, the fifth book of the Shadow Space Chronicles.  In this one, we’ll start to dig into what exactly Reese is doing with those alien artifacts he’s been collecting.  We’ll see more about the mysterious Minder, and we’ll start to see why it is the Balor are so set upon human extinction.

It’s going to be fun.  There’s going to be exploding space ships, intrigue, character growths, character deaths, more exploding space ships, and all-in-all, it should be lots of fun.  My goal is to finish it in November which means a publishing date sometime in December or possibly early January depending on feedback from my readers..

My writing goals after that are a bit more complex.  I need to do a third Wolf Rising book, the fourth Eoriel Saga book, and I’m going to also somehow fit in there finishing off a couple other projects that have been setting on the backburners.

Also this month I’ll be headed out to North Carolina.  In addition to visiting my grandfather, I’ll be attending HonorCon, a military SF convention in Raleigh, NC.  It looks like it’ll be a ton of fun, so if you’re in the area and not cleaning up from hurricane damage, then by all means, come visit.  I’ll have copies of all my books and I’d love to sign some for you!

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Movie Review: The Magnificent Seven

the-magnificent-seven-2016-5kI generally don’t review remakes and normally I stick to science fiction or fantasy for my reviews of movies and books.

I’m making an exception because I enjoyed Magnificent 7.  It was a fun, action-filled movie.  It didn’t drag out some long-winded message about how terrible our ancestors were (mine were over in Europe) or some weird camera angles with an obtuse story.  This was a simple story about seven killers putting down a very bad man and his army.

As remakes go, it’s better than most.  In fact, it would have been just fine as a movie by itself, without using the Magnificent 7 title.  It still harkens back to the story of Seven Samurai, but that’s fine.  That story in itself is simply a retelling of many stories, where heroes are humanized by showing that they possessed human traits and flaws.

In that, Magnificent Seven meets a level of success but also sadly falls short of where it might have been.  In part, this is due to the excellent actors they had.  They don’t go into the backgrounds of the various characters.  This moves the story along, but it also leaves the viewer feeling robbed.  I left the theater wanting to know more about the men who had died… this was because of the tremendous actors more than the writing.  They managed to portray histories of loss or darkness with a look or a single gesture than they did by words or exposition.  In that, we probably have a good director and excellent acting to thank.

In part, I like that because too many hollywood movies have become so explanatory as to be annoying.  If someone mentions that at dawn, they’ll move out, it almost feels as if someone will pause to mention that it’ll be light at dawn, so we can see things.

Magnificent Seven doesn’t do these explanations.  We don’t know whether most of the men who fight (and die) against the villain are good or bad, we don’t know why many of them chose to fight.  We get the sense that some do it for good reasons while others do it merely because fighting is all they know how to do.   You can tell they put thought into those reasons and I wanted a bit more on the why.

The action is smooth and the violence is both shocking and satisfying.  Though towards the final part, you start to wonder just where the villain got so many mooks willing to charge in and die so readily.  The action isn’t hard to follow, though there are some rather severe liberties taken up with one weapon system in particular that had me rolling my eyes.  (Spoiler: Gatling Guns should not work like an MG42 and even it might have difficulties achieving such levels of destruction.)

I’d recommend it.  The humor and one-liners are fantastic.   The action is exciting, the villain is a weasel, and the heroes stand out for the fact that they are courageous despite their flaws.

Kal’s September 2016 Forecast

September is here!  With it, I’m happy to announce that The Sacred Stars, the fourth book of the Shadow Space Chronicles series is also here!  It’ll be available in just two more days.  That’s right, exploding space ships in only two more days.

I’m also happy to announce that the audiobook narration for The Shattered Empire is done.  I’m doing the review now and I hope to have it approved and available for general purchase through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve begun outlining the third Renegades book and as soon as I finish my current work in progress, I’ll dig into it and hopefully that’ll be ready to publish at the end of October.

My current work in progress is an urban fantasy novel which, once I’ve finished it, I’ll be sending to a publisher.  It may be a while before anyone sees it, but it’ll be worth the wait, trust me, it’s tons of fun to write and the responses I’ve had back so far suggest it is even more fun to read.

Lastly, I’m doing a giveaway with this month’s newsletter.  Run’s Coffee Mug and a signed copy of The Sacred Stars.  Sign up by this weekend and you’ll be eligible.

That’s all for now.   Thanks for reading!

Kal’s MALCon 2016 Schedule

Here’s my schedule for Myths and Legends Con 2016:

Kal Spriggs (7 panels):
Fri, 9:00 PM-9:50 PM, Writing Combat in Science Fiction & Fantasy (Lawrence, KS)
Sat, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Get’r done: Fighting the Day Job (Helms Deep)
Sat, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Sympathetic Villains (Helms Deep)
Sat, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM, How to Kill Your Best Friends (And Get Away With It) (Lawrence, KS)
Sat, 8:00 PM-8:50 PM, Ow, My Spleen! (The Shire)
Sun, 9:00 AM-9:50 AM, Mixed Genre Authors and Writing (Kings Landing)
Sun, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Humor in the Modern Action Story (The Shire)

It’s going to be a busy convention, should be a great time!