“Marching Time” Release and More!

Wait! Wait! I have an excuse for my absence! Because we’re finally about to release this!

marchingtime

After months of work, we’re finally about to release the new anthology from the Bolthole, Marching Time. A collection of stories involving the various aspects of war and time traveling, Marching Time is the second anthology we’re to publish.

Marching Time should be available on Amazon later this week. I should also note that we’ve started work on a third anthology and the call for submissions will be going out shortly. If you’re new to writing and want to get a tale in or an old hand who wants to try, keep an eye out and expect the submission flyer real soon. But you may want to check out and read the anthology to make sure it’s your cup of tea.

 

The Black Wind’s Whispers, Out Now!

The Black Wind's Whispers, by the Bolthole.

The Black Wind’s Whispers, by the Bolthole.

After months of work, it’s finally here… The Black Wind’s Whispers. Available now on Amazon. (Also in England.)

Included within are nine tales of  horror, featuring new twists on classic monsters, managed by yours truly, James “He2etic” Fadeley. Edited by CS Barlow and Andrew Aston, it features tales by Andrew Aston, Alec McQuay, Simon Howers, Jeremy Daw, Johnathan Ward, Robbie McNiven and Keanu Ross-Cabrera. Cover art by the amazing Manuel Mesones!

But best of all, it includes a tale from special guest author and veteran horror writer, CL Werner!

Get your copy today from Amazon! Smashwords version coming soon!

Hammer Holidays Competition Reviews

What he did to your chimney is the least of your concerns, because I don't think he's bringing you coal. Anyway, click for more.

What he did to your chimney is the least of your concerns, because I don't think he's bringing you coal. Anyway, click for more.

So the reviews and scores are in. Congratulations to first place winner, MalkyDel! Second place goes to Raziel4707. You can read the holiday stories, but here are the reviews.

Untitled by Mauthos
He got caught up painting pictures. These scenes of description were both beautiful yet run-on. Chunky paragraphs were made from one sentence and a lot of commas. There’s no shame in breaking up sentences and descriptions a bit and pacing them out.

Despite their length, I loved the descriptions at the beginning. The festiveness and celebratory nature of the holiday was some of what I was looking for. But towards the middle, it began to become a touch tedious. Drinking, eating, debauchery, we’ve already covered that.

Part of me was looking for some kind of holiday tradition outside the norm, like gift giving, or beating a goblin-shaped pinata or just some event that set it aside as a holiday. We dress in costumes and give candy on Halloween. On Easter, we scavenge for hidden eggs. Christmas and birthdays get gifts. You get the idea.

The story eventually provides what is effectively two holidays. That celebrated by the dwarves and humans, and that by the lizard men. The story rounds off in a hunt hosted by the lizard men, which clarifies the seemingly unrelated chase scene.

I think there was a good idea here that wasn’t executed well, and if I were to redo it, I would have written the tale from the point of view of the lizard men and cover the ritualism and traditions of the Winter Solstice Human Hunt. Otherwise, except for the whooping at the end, why is this any different than what the lizard men do the rest of the year?

Coburnacht by Raziel4707
The thing I love about this story is that it reminds us that there is a legitimate history to holidays. We are so quick to dismiss many holidays as “inventions of consumerism” and never acknowledging that there is a legitimate, historical reason that day is observed. We frequently honor these traditions without ever knowing why! Raziel also got points for inventiveness and not forgetting holiday traditions as the gift giving and other activities.

I must admire Raziel’s clever use of the historical retelling as a means to keep the story within a Warhammer 40k context: War. It’s a shame that the story was told like a Wikipedia article instead of a tale through the vox of Rasmusson like many of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (although a story told entirely in Dreadnaught-speech caps would… annoy, to say the least). But the tale is generally solid if Wikipedia-ish, making it a touch dry.

Grandfather’s Day by MalkyDel
I think this is our winner. A cool idea, a well told story. A sense of tradition, a touch of history and reasoning. Above all, I like that it takes place from a completely different, weird point of view.

The most interesting comments about this piece didn’t come from me, but from our mystery judge, a non-Boltholer named Jacob, who enjoys fantasy and frequently DMs his own gaming sessions. Jacob mentioned that he hates horror, but was pretty fascinated by the bizarre nature of the tale. He was very taken in with it. So well done, MalkyDel. You may have won over a horror hater.

Congratulations folks! Look forward to the next competition after the Black Library submission window!

An American Response

Antipope preparing to fire his laser eye.

Antipope preparing to fire his laser eye.

Over at the 122nd Cadian, writer Antipope mentioned an article written in the magazine Kathimerini, which is published in Greece. The article in question was basically a hit piece against Warhammer 40k and its fans.

Now in America, we’ve encountered this kind of journalistic garbage before. Back in 1982, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons player named Irving Pulling committed suicide. His mother, Patricia Pulling, believed that her son’s roleplaying hobby had something to do with it, and this in turn started what some deem the “moral panic” of the roleplaying community. She started the Bothered about Dungeons and Dragons (BADD) group, which pretty much ended in 1997 after she passed away from cancer.

Nor was this the only controversy around gaming. Besides the short lived BADD, we still deal with activist (though no longer attorney) Jack Thompson, who continues to lead the charge against violence in the video game industry.

Kathimerini‘s charges against Warhammer 40k players range between questioning their intelligence and referring to them as social losers and and lack of female players to going so far as to suggest that they are influenced by the so-called “extreme right” of politics.

To the former charges of being nerds, I would simply respond with a lone middle that I’m sure the writers of Kathimerini can devise the meaning too. But to the latter charges, I feel it necessary to say more.

Let me start with the question of “there are no female players” to which I reply is incorrect and complete bull. Sarah Cawkwell is about to release her new novel from the Black Library. Our friend Dorian loves the psychology of the fluff, while Raye Raye does some amazing Night Lords miniature over on her blog.

As both a fan of the Warhammer 40k tabletop game and the novels they produce, I am quite cross with the journalists not only for the insults to Warhammer 40k fans, but also for the underhanded stab at America and its players as well. In this case, Kathimerini‘s editors chose to take a response from a lone player who claimed to have seen swastikas tattooed on the body of an American player. I had absolutely no idea that the poor body art choices of one player automatically condemn the entire American fan community.

I find it even more amusing that a tabletop game about a completely fictional universe, which some could argue traces its roots to fascism or even Nazism, is cause for any alarm. Have you seen Hollywood and the entertainment industry? We have dozens if not hundreds of movies, books, comics and games directly about Nazis, fascism and World War II.

Just because he looks like a member of the gestapo doesn't mean I'm his number one fan. Just ask the Guardsmen.

Just because he looks like a member of the gestapo doesn't mean he's popular. Just ask the Guardsmen he executed.

There’s Saving Private Ryan, The Dirty Dozen Schindler’s List and Inglourious Basterds just to give you a start. Both the movie and especially the graphic novel V for Vendetta used themes of fascism. David Fincher himself admitted that Fight Club involved the use of fascism. There’s Day of Defeat and some of the Call of Duty titles.

It sometimes feels like much of the entertainment industry is desperate to prove itself the quintessential expert on fascism and Nazism, or at least on killing them. So just why the hell these writers feel the need to pick on us in particular is beyond me.

And non-fictionally speaking, scholars, politicians, pundits and talking heads go on and on about what fascism is and who is basically a Nazi. And some scholars admit that plenty of first world countries have embraced certain aspects of fascism either economically or in public policy (or both), even if they reject the entire package. And yes, some claim that even America has become fascist.

But I digress. The fact is that the writer and editors of this particular piece over at Kathimerini were determined to find the latest outrage or topic for the 2 minutes of hate.  It was a sad attempt to create nontroversy, slandering Games Workshop, The Black Library and their fans not just in Greece but all over the globe.

Perhaps the last thing I have to say about this is the coincidence, the beating heart of Warhammer 40k has to do with the inherent strong of a centralized, monotheistic religion against varying forms paganism. And these pagan religions just happen to be followers of daemons, a Greek term for nature spirits, which is a frequent source of contention within the stories depending upon ones view at the time.

I just find it amusing that this author’s piece just happens to skip over the fluff despite its distant relation to Greek classical mythology, in their rush to bash us.

If the writer and editors could find time in their busy schedules of inoculating Warhammer 40k fans from ever reading their magazine again to notice this blog post, then I hope they’d take me up on the offer to buy them a copy of Horus Rising. I would relish an opportunity for them to join a few nerds in understanding the pain staking details they work upon to make their figures incredible to look at. And perhaps a few moments to actually play the game.

And when they finish, perhaps recognize that they, in a mean spirited sense, chose to step on a harmless and fun hobby. And feel it necessary to apologize to Antipope, Games Workshop, The Black Library and the Warhammer fans across the world.

And perhaps having learned from this lesson, recognize that a good journalist wouldn’t stoop to cheap shots like what they pulled here.

Oh and PS, Antipope has asked me to air our grievances to Kathimerini. I have done so,  I invite you all to help us. Read Antipope’s article and respond to Kathimerini at syntaxi@kathimerini.gr or pistoles@kathimerini.gr. Thanks!

Bolt-Horror Competition Update

I command you! Write! Wriiiite! .... Wriiiiiiiiite!

I command you! Write! Wriiiite! .... Wriiiiiiiiite!

Contestants have until tonight to contribute their 2,000 word piece. So far, four entrants have entered.

Whether you’re a rabid Warhammer fan or just a writer who wants a crack at winning a book, feel free to try your luck by posting your story here.

Raziel4707, Narrativium and I have discussed how we’ll be doing the judging. We’ve decided to go with a basic 1 through 10 point scale, 10 being highest. Once we have the scores we’ll take the average of each, and the highest score wins. Any ties will be discussed.

As I understand the frustrations of writers, I will also be creating a special blog entry for the contestants where I critique their stories. I will not discuss the values of what I feel makes a good horror story at this time, as that would be unfair to those who have already submitted a story. But I will review the stories for each writer to help them improve.

Keep calm and carry on.

Lord Lucan, Professional Writer

Yep, that's Lord Lucan. Go on! Give him a hug...

Go on! Give him a hug...

Congratulations are in order.

Lord Lucan, now better known as A. R. Aston, has recently been published. His short story can be found in Stone Mind’s Folly. You can also check it out on Amazon.

This is a big day for the writers of the Bolthole. First Pyroriffic (Sarah Cawkwell) gets The Gildar Rift, and now Lord Lucan is making a mark of his own. Drop by the Bolthole and wish Lord Lucan well on his posting! Oh, and buy his book too. You can afford $2.