“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.

Procrastination

He got cast out of Olympus, had a bum leg and his wife cheated on him. And he *still* hammered out the stuff of legends.

He got cast out of Olympus, had a bum leg and his wife cheated on him. And he *still* hammered out the stuff of legends. That's dedication.

The Black Library requires writers to contribute two parts in a short story submission: the summary and the writing example. My short story summary is finished. It went through two drafts before arriving at an acceptable level of quality. I glanced through it, looking for a good section to craft into the writing sample. After some thought, I decided that I wanted a section that includes both action and dialogue, and some plot driving elements with a touch of mystery. I wanted Xaphan to be in it, obviously.

But I realized that in my mind, every time Xaphan is in combat he is seen through the eyes of his enemies. I guess that’s fine for the purposes of this story. For some reason, it strikes me as easier to imagine being on the receiving end of a gigantic, armoured behemoth’s blood curdling fury than to be the one delivering it. This is why I should probably never box professional.

Xaphan spelled backwards can be “Nah Pax”, which can be a weird way of saying “No Peace.”

Stepping back, I was careful to write about the summary first and then focus on the writing sample. I think a lot of authors dive right into the writing sample and then try to tape a plot around what was written, because they’re too proud to throw it out. I’m guilty of that in the past. Sometimes however, I still do it just because skipping the planning and just writing is an amazing way to find inspiration and creativity. If I find an idea in what I wrote, I set it aside for later. It’s like sifting dirt for gold- you just want the gold.

Sometimes, that’s important. In truth, that’s exactly how this entire story came to exist in the first place. I jumped into the Bolthole and started hammering a random thought. An idea came of it, so I saved it. I’ve turned that idea into a full blown short story. So now I simply have to write the sample and I’m finished. I had to remind myself that the only way I will ever get published is to legitimately work at it. I’ve really stepped that up in the last submission window. And this one.

Will I get published? Statistically, my chances are no.

But there’s next year. And the year after. And the submission windows and other publishing companies and magazines. You just don’t give up because it’s what you love to do. So write on. I’m going back to work.

Irene and How-Your-Social-Life-Can-Survives-a-New-Game Guide

This is why I love Halolz.com.

This is why I love Halolz.com.

So D.C. took another round of natural disasters with Irene. Granted, Irene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall, but she still inflicted some damage on homes and infrastructure. It was worse than the quake, but we’ll make do.

While the storm hit, I spent the weekend at a friend’s place for a hurricane party. We brewed pumpkin pie ale and enjoyed pizza, guacamole and good beer while chatting and playing a card game of Would You Rather…

Games like that are always interesting, because on one hand you want to say what you would do and on the other hand you have to think in the shoes of the person who asked the question. There’s no real win or lose either, and such games like Apples to Apples are meant to curb any competition for a social aspect. You don’t have to speak to one another for chess. But Would You Rather… is all about conversation.

Cool thing though was that at the party, I got to know a gent I had met before. As it turns out, he and I had a lot in common, including both being Team Fortress 2 advocates as well as Warhammer enthusiasts. If you haven’t got Team Fortress 2, get it. It’s free on Steam and upgrading your account is a one time cost of $1 if you find yourself liking it. Anyway, this guy collected a Warhammer Fantasy army of Dwarves. I’ve considered a Fantasy army, but would want something I can use in the 40k universe as well. You can use feral Orcs or crazed Marauders in 40k in some capacity, but not Astartes in the fantasy setting.

Moving along, Space Marine is due out in 7 days. On one hand, I might want to make a crew of the Bolthole gang. On the other, my buddy will probably want to do an Angry Marines clan. I’ll figure out which soon enough. Now, if you want your social life to survive a new game that you will probably have to make for some preparations.

  1. Clean your house. Because you’re not going to be doing this for a while.
  2. Pay your bills. Too easy to forget to do this, so do not procrastinate.
  3. Stock up on quick meals. If you’re like me, you may want to consider some healthy food options if you’re watching your waist. But quick meals save time, and save money that would otherwise be blown on expensive pizza deliveries.
  4. Hang out with the friends who don’t play. You’re going to disappear for one, possibly two weeks. So hit the happy hours, buy them a round, laugh, smile. Be a good wing man. Make the most of it.
  5. Treat the girlfriend nice. Make or take her to dinner, be romantic. Do something wonderful. Or she won’t be around when you get back.
  6. Work out like a champ. Alright, your body is going to suffer from a wee bit of atrophy from sitting there for a few days. To prevent this, you may want to work out hard core so your body actually needs you to rest. What’s that, body of mine? You want me to take it easy? I can do that…
  7. Get a list of who is playing. Find your friends, get them together. At least they know where you’ve been, because they’ve been playing themselves.
  8. Figure out your time off. You would have had to prepare for this ahead of time, but a day or two can really make a weekend rock. If you have flexible hours, consider taking a few hours off a day for a week, so 6 hours work days for a week while using 10 hours of time off. Play it right and you can beat traffic home, giving you even more free time to play. However, I do not advocate working from home because you wouldn’t actually be working.

This is probably the most eclectic batch of tags I have ever posted.

Music for Writing

What has two thumbs and makes the summer blockbusters epic? This guuuuuuuuuy!

What has two thumbs and makes the summer blockbusters epic? This guuuuuuuuuy!

For about three years, I’ve sharpened my writing skills on first the Black Library’s forum boards (which no longer exist), and then the Bolthole. Well, it’s not uncommon for writers to listen to music during the writing process in order to pump up or inspire them. Music is just creatively inspiring like that.

In the last two years however, I took advantage of the ability to anchor links within words to allow my readers the chance to listen to the same music I did during the writing process. It was a nifty idea only available online.

Still, a lot of talk goes into the kind of music that writers should and would listen to while writing. I’ve personally found that anything without lyrics allows the writer to focus on the work with minimal distractions. So to help out other writers, be they Warhammer fans like myself or doing their own thing, here is a list of twenty music pieces to get the creative juices flowing. It’s up to you to decide what works in what settings. And don’t be afraid to plug the names or artists into Pandora to see what you get.

  1. Epic Themes vol. 3, Dawn of War OST.
    An epic war piece great for action.
  2. Dream is Collapsing, by Hans Zimmer.
    An adventurous piece where things take a bad turn. I trust you’ve seen Inception
  3. Explosive, by Bond.
    A burst of violins with a beat in the background, mixing classical and technical.
  4. Palladio, by Escala.
    You’ve probably heard this before in diamond commercials, so you may want to check out the remixed version.
  5. Daath, by Diatonis.
    Creepy ambient music for horror and ghost stories.
  6. E.S. Posthumus,by  Ebla.
    Need something biblical? Ready for metanoia or the angels to fall upon a foe with swords?
  7. Time, by Paul Cardall.
    A peaceful piece for when you need to build a moment of wonder.
  8. Clubbed to Death, by Rob Dougan.
    Because something is happening and you’re not sure what. It neither slows the pace down nor speeds it up, but keeps it even.
  9. Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix), by Yoshida Brothers.
    For that mixture of fast paced action and the exotic.
  10. Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber.
    Do not listen to this unless you feel like being depressed over the results of man made tragedy.
  11. Mind Heist, by Zack Hemsey.
    Because someone is clearly up to no good.
  12. Yeah, kinda like that...

    Yeah, kinda like that...

    Radioactive Sunrise, Fallout 3 OST.
    An ambient piece that is haunting in a way I can’t explain.

  13. Uprising, by West One Music.
    A well named piece that suggest people growing tired with the current status quo and moving towards change by any means necessary.
  14. Requiem for a Dream Remix, by Clint Mansell.
    To be honest, this theme was used in various shapes and forms throughout the whole of Darren Aronofsky’s film. This remix wouldn’t exactly have fit it, but made it into some kind of epic, almost mythical piece.
  15. Def Con, by Immediate Music.
    For when the world’s explosion is pretty imminent.
  16. Preliator, by Globus Epicon.
    A chorus filled piece that I believe was used in the Spider-Man 2 commercials. Good for intense rivalries.
  17. Linger in Shadows, by Wojciech Golczewski.
    Something mysterious that takes a dark, drastic turn into something violent and tragic.
  18. Trailblazing, by Steve Jablonsky.
    Something honorable and sorrowful in one. Makes you instantly think of soldiers forced to do their duty despite the dangers. Probably why it ended up on the Pearl Harbor soundtrack.
  19. Ecstasy of Gold, by Ennio Morricone.
    A building piece that screams ‘obsession.’ If you haven’t seen The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, then shame on you.
  20. Code Red, by Elliot Goldenthal.
    From the soundtrack of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, this track screams mounting trouble.

That’s all for now. I’ll seek out more within a month.