Just a quick post, as I’ve neglected this blog for far too long. I discovered when I fired up WordPress in a rare lull between frantically writing books that I’d left some questions unanswered for almost two years. That’s pretty terrible, even by my standards. I’ve replied now to all those posters (some of whom may well have retired, or emigrated, or answer to different names now), so if you left a message here in the dim and distant past, hopefully it’s got a response attached to it now. Many apologies!
The main problem with blogging is that it’s generally last on the list when workloads are heavy, and BL’s been keeping me busy for a good while now. There’s a few things I’d like to do around here to bring things up to date, including working on chronological lists of my various series (White Scars, Space Wolves, other stuff), but I’m mindful of over-promising and under-delivering, so I’ll keep that as an aspiration for now.
In the meantime, my twitter account (@wraightc) gets updates, so it’s not entirely dormant online. I’ll be at BL Live 2016 by videolink (sadly, I can’t make it in person), and hope to get to some more events next year.
In a break from all the apologies and general grovelling, here’s some actual news: my latest book, The Carrion Throne, will be out in spring 2017, and features Inquisitors. And expect to see some short fiction and audios from BL between now and Christmas, too 🙂
Things have been apocalyptically quiet around here over the past few months. That’s entirely due to being busy with a whole swathe of projects, most of which are nearing the end now. The serialised run of Scars is now over, which has been a really fascinating experience. Thanks to all who enjoyed it and got in touch here or on Twitter to say so. For all those who’ve been waiting for the hardback edition, my current info suggests it’ll be available from January next year. It’ll eventually be issued in all the usual formats, including audio. Aside from things like a Dramatis Personae and author’s afterword, the book versions will have the same content as the ebook episodes.
Also, Master of Dragons snuck out somewhere amid all the White Scars hoo-hah, and is now available for sale. That’s Part II of the War of Vengeance series that I’m writing with Nick Kyme. Lots of High Elves and (as you’d expect from the title) dragons. Had a great time writing that one, so hope people enjoy the read.
Finally, I’m back with Space Wolves again, penning Stormcaller, the follow-up to Blood of Asaheim. This is keeping me very busy all the way up to the BL Weekender II, which I’ll be at too. Hope to see lots of people there! After all that, I may even try to find some time to blog properly again…
The Wulfen are a fascinating element of the 40K mythos, and a large chunk of what makes the Space Wolves so interesting for me. I’d written about an individual Blood Claw succumbing to the curse (or is it?) in Battle of the Fang, but I’d always wanted to write more about them, preferably in their own tale. To my mind, the Wulfen are more of a ‘horror’ concept than a straight SF or fantasy trope, and I think anything featuring them should have that vibe in it.
I had the pleasure of discussing this a bit with Dan Abnett at the recent BL Live seminar on the Wolves of Fenris. Dan made the point that the Wulfen, like so much about the Space Wolves and their origins, need to retain an air of mystery, of ambiguity and speculation. We should never have a definitive account of where they come from, what causes the change, and indeed what exactly it does to them. Like the werewolves of legend, the Wulfen should be forever just on the edge of the camp-fire, their eyes shining in the dark, never fully coming into the light.
Hopefully Wulfen captures this side to them, as well as also fleshing out one of the coolest stories from the Codex. It was originally penned for one of the event-only chapbooks, but with the release of its big brother it’s now emerged as a standalone e-story. I’ve added it to the 40K page – to anyone who gives it a try, hope you enjoy the read!
Had a great time at BL Live at the weekend. This one seemed much bigger than the previous year’s, and the day certainly flew by. Thanks to everyone who came over to say hello or get a book signed – was good to see some familiar faces. Apologies to anyone who I didn’t manage to speak to: the seminar programme was pretty full this time around and there wasn’t much time to hang around. I hope what I said made some sort of sense; if it didn’t, I blame lack of sleep, and possibly over-excitement.Now then. Since getting back I’ve had a very pleasurable task of sifting through all the entries to the Blood of Asaheim competition. Thanks to everyone who entered – it was great to get so many mini-bios. Despite Twitter’s best efforts to be difficult, I managed to extract them all and create a long list, which has been gradually whittled away at during the day.
In some ways, thinking about it, it was an impossibly difficult task to set. There’s an unavoidable element of subjectivity in my favourites, not least because I had half an eye on what I could conceivably use in an upcoming book. Since the winning entry will be a cameo, I couldn’t make use of some of the more intriguing suggestions that required a bit of screentime to make work – they had to be the kind of thing that would make sense in a short scene. There were also some lovely ideas based on factions that, despite thinking around the issue, I couldn’t find a good reason to include.
The Space Wolves were a popular choice, not surprisingly, and I ended up with a whole gang of wonderful names: @husker04’s Thorgerd Bloodeye, @MattRose611’s Egil Drakesbane, @Mauthos’ Amarog Folkvardr and @Stygian_Mole’s Venerable Dreadnought K’rul Waymaker, the “Glacier that Howls”, were particularly good. I also liked the inventive ideas supplied for the Nurgly horrors. My favourite of these was probably:
Jon Danger Schafer @schafecast
@wraightc #BoAcomp Marcous D’Envis Emissary of Grandfather. Honeyed words through blistered lips. Sentient tumours have schemes of their own
In truth, that was mostly because of ‘Sentient Tumours’, which I also think would be a great novel title. It was also good to see a few entries from outside the Adeptus Astartes. One that made me chuckle was the cleverly post-modern:
Greg Dann @ChildofFang
@wraightc #BoAComp Rochim Louger – an Imperial Grunt, dour in nature and convinced he is nothing but a bit part in another person’s story
I also liked:
Adam Heterick @theheterick
@wraightc #BoAcomp Konrad Jurgurthine, unsanctioned psyker, inquisitors bastard son, on the run, acrobatic, impetuous, intelligent, suave.
It’s great to write these kind of characters, but in the end I just couldn’t see a way of getting him into the story. This was easier with the numerous Battle Sister submissions, many of which were superb. This one caught my eye as a great example of squeezing a lot of info into a tiny mini-bio:
Xhalax McLoftuson @morbius_sire
@wraightc #BoAComp Felicity Krastov: Sister Famulous to Planetary Governors. Circumspect. Quietly dangerous. Not well liked.
Unfortunately, as anyone who’s read Blood of Asaheim already will know, this is a bit close to an existing Sister Famulous, and I couldn’t really see room for two. Which leads us, however, to the winner, which is (drum roll…):
Chris Quinn @irlchrusty
@wraightc #BoAComp Sister Nuriyah. More bionic than flesh, overly zealous. Pyromaniac, replaced arm with flamer. Foul tempered but faithful
I liked this for a few reasons. First is the name, which is appropriately Sister-y and nicely meaningful (given her nature). Second is the fact that she’s usable in a short scene without a lot of info-dumping: everything about her is exemplified by the attributes listed in the bio. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a gloriously 40K concept. Is there anything more impractical and absurd than replacing a perfectly useful arm with a bolted-on flame-thrower? How do you tie your shoelaces? There’s no doubt, though, that it would be handy in barbecuing the odd heretic, which is what Sisters are there for.
So, congratulations to Chris Quinn, who wins a signed copy of the book. Commiserations to those who missed out, but thanks very much for all the entries – I had a great time reading through them.
I seem to be all over the BL Facebook page at the moment, which is both exciting and oddly terrifying. The period just before new books comes out is a mix of, well, excitement and terror. You want them to do well, to hit the right notes, but by this point there’s nothing more you can do to help them – they’re on their own, out in the wild.
Anyway, enough of my insecurities. The interesting thing, regarding this poll, is that my audio drama The Sigillite seems to be making some waves. This caught me on the hop a bit: I’ve been so consumed with the Space Wolves books and caught up in the razzmatazz of the Blood of Asaheim launch that I’d almost forgotten about it. That’s the thing about writing schedules – they fool you.
So, to make amends, here are some thoughts on what was going through my head when I wrote it. Obviously Malcador is the main interest here, but he’s a tricky character to handle. He’s one of those elements of the Heresy that really needs to retain some mystery, so I was keen not to give an exhaustive account of him that blew all the secrets and speculations. In addition, though he’s a psyker of incredible power, he’s not really a warrior (the primarchs were created for that), so I didn’t want to have him feature in lots of combat action.The story of the Sigillite revolves around other things. We get glimpses, rather than extended reveals, into the world he inhabits. We learn a little more about what he’s doing on Terra while Dorn is rebuilding the Palace walls (he hasn’t been just kicking his heels waiting for Horus to turn-up). Some bad things have been happening under the Palace foundations which are only going to get worse, and Malcador has a major role to play in resisting them.
One other objective I had was to shed just a little light on what the Loyalist command is thinking at this stage in the Heresy. Quite understandably, we’ve had a lot of material in the novels expanding on the Traitor motivations, to the extent that the ‘bad guys’ come across pretty well. We’ve had slightly less coverage of what Terra was thinking, which has the unfortunate effect of making their intentions rather hard to fathom. Don’t expect masses of information in The Sigillite, but there are some pointers there, and I’d expect more to made of this kind of thing as the series progresses.
As ever, I hope people like it. Malcador is one of the really intriguing elements of the Heresy drama, and I’m sure there will be plenty more outings for him as the action gets ever closer to the Throneworld.
You’ll have to be concise – that leaves you only around 120 characters to play with. It’s worth making it good, though, as I’m currently planning the second book in the series and thinking about what’s going in it. If I like your idea enough, I’ll add the winning character as a brief cameo, thus immortalising your creation in print. Here’s an example (that is neither original nor very good) to give you the idea:
@wraightc #BoAComp Ragnar Blackmane: youngest ever Wolf Lord, heir to Berek Thunderfist; rash, brash and impetuous; called the Young King.
If that sounds good to you, start thinking, and then start tweeting. I’ll keep the competition open until just before BL Live – midnight GMT on Thursday 28 Feb – and any tweets received before then will be considered. You can send as many in as you like, but bear in mind that if you spam me with dozens then you’re unlikely to win – try to limit entries to two or three ideas at most. I’ll contact the winner the following week, and I’ll publish the results, and the best runners-up, here.
You can suggest names from any part of the 40K mythos, but it’s worth pointing out that the factions represented in Book II are likely to be Space Wolves (naturally), various bits of the Ecclesiarchy including Battle Sisters, and Imperial civilians, governors, etc. There’s also a fair chance that servants of the Dark Gods will turn up, who may suffer from a fair degree of plague, pox, rheumatism, etc. If the winning character name isn’t from one of these factions but is amazing enough, then it’ll have achieved the mighty feat of actually influencing the plot.
So, that’s it. Good luck!
Rules and Stuff
1. Character name and bio must be original and created by you: neither an existing part of the 40K background nor any other fictional background.
2. Inclusion of the character into upcoming books is subject to editorial consent. If it gets used in a Black Library publication, then it’ll be copyright Black Library.
It’s finally landed, and it’s a big beast indeed. Forgive the repeat posting about Blood of Asaheim – it’s my first hardback release, and I’m still quite excited about it. There is something special about hardbacks, after all – the size, the weight, the solidity. It feels like you’ve created something that might last for a while, and that’s a nice thought to have. I’m biased of course, but I think it looks fantastic, especially Raymond Swanland‘s gorgeous cover art. Fancy picking up a copy? There’ll be plenty for sale at BL Live, which is now less than a month away. Last time I looked there were only 30 tickets left, so might be worth hurrying if you want to come along.
Incidentally, there’s also a teaser right at the back of the book advertising a short story called ‘Wulfen’. Wonder what that’s about?
Other than that, I’ve done a little housekeeping around here, adding links to some recent stuff that’s come out recently or will do soon. Apart from the mighty Blood of Asaheim, the 40K page now has an entry for the Advent short Failure’s Reward. I’ve also added The Sigillite to the Heresy page.
Sadly, as many of you will know, Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review stopped publishing new pieces a while back. I’ll miss the site: I enjoyed Graeme’s reviews and thought he always had interesting stuff to say. I’ll leave the link up, as there’s loads of material still up. I don’t read nearly as many reviews as I used to, but I did notice that the British Fantasy Society is publishing reviews of a lot of BL books recently, so I’ve added a link to their site.
Not before time, I’ve also added three new BL authors’ websites: David Annandale, who penned the recent Chains of Golgotha and Lord of Death, real-life Boba Fett Josh Reynolds, author of the new Gotrek and Felix novel Road of Skulls, and fellow south-wester Guy Haley, whose Baneblade and Skarsnik are out soon. Nice to see such new blood writing for BL (though it does remind me, rather depressingly, of when I could claim to be a newbie too).