Catching up…

Scars CoverThings 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.

Stormcaller CoverAlso, 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…


Gods, what a monster

Blood of AsaheimIt’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).

Incoming in March

That's a knife
That’s a knife

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately, mostly due to writing two (two!) books at the same time at the moment. That’s not quite as insane as it sounds, as the projects are spread out a bit in the schedule, but it’s still a tough balancing act at times. The first of these is Master of Dragons, the sequel to Nick Kyme’s The Great Betrayal. This is over halfway there now, and has been a lot of fun to write. Nick’s book focussed heavily on dwarfs; mine, as you’d expect, does the opposite and spends most of its time in the company of High Elves. Except to see plenty of detail on the Caledorian dragonriders and high politics in Ulthuan – two of my favourite things. The dwarfs do get a look in, of course: there are some very big armies out there in the Old World that must be written about. I have become a big fan of Hammerers.

The second projects is something of a departure for me in both subject matter and format. Can’t talk about that in detail yet, but I hope the clouds will lift a little soon…

In the meantime, March is a fairly big month for me, as I have two (two!) titles hitting the shelves. The first is Blood of Asaheim, my Very First hardback release for BL. Copies of this have, I’m informed, been spotted in the wild at a few events in Nottingham, but it’ll be a while before it becomes available elsewhere. I hope people like it once it reaches the shelves; I had a great time writing it. Fenris is beginning to feel (worryingly) a little like home.

Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational
Oh, I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when Horus gets here

The other release is my Very First purpose-written audio drama, The Sigillite, which I’m yet to get hold of myself but am assured does exist. This is now my third Heresy title, following Rebirth in Age of Darkness and last year’s novella Brotherhood of the Storm. Grappling with the sprawling Heresy timeline has always been something of a challenge, but with each release I feel like I’m getting slightly more of a handle on it. The Sigillite has the advantage of being a standalone tale, set in the mainstream Heresy storyline but not dependant on any particular part of it. It was a chance to (partly) flesh out the character of one of the most enigmatic figures in the saga. I hope it makes him a bit more interesting, but there’s still plenty of mystery left – above all, Malcador needs to remain mysterious.

If you fancy getting your hands on either of these releases ahead of time, you have at least two chances: the first is BL Live on 2 March up in Warhammer World. This promises to be a really fun event – I’ll be sharing the author stage with Dan Abnett, Jim Swallow, Nik Vincent, John French and many others, including some exciting new BL names. If this year’s Live is anything like past events, it’ll be an unrivalled opportunity to chat to authors and editors in a relaxed and informal setting. It’s a bit less frantic than the massive Games Day and Weekender shindigs, but all the more charming for it, I think. I’m really looking forward to this – hope to see it as bustling as last year’s event. Tickets are available from the BL website here.

Second, if you’re based in the south-west of England, you could also come along to GW Cribb’s Causeway on 23 March, where I’ll be signing books and generally hanging around to chat about all things BL. The details should be going up on the store’s Facebook page shortly. I met the guys last year and was lucky enough to see their unbelievable model of Averheim, taken from Swords of the Emperor. I’m told it’s even bigger now, so that’ll be worth coming to see on its own.

Any other signings, etc., and I’ll post the details here. In the meantime, thanks for all the tweets and messages about recent books – it’s always nice when people get in touch to say they’ve enjoyed something.

Right, enough bloggage; I have two (two!) books to write.


The last few weeks, it’s fair to say, have gone by in something of a mad rush. Following the wonderful BL Expo at the start of October we had the equally wonderful BL Weekender at the start of November. Both were superb events and a privilege to be part of. The Weekender was particularly good on Saturday when there seemed to be plenty of time to chat to people about all things 40K, Heresy and Warhammer. As ever, good to catch up with old friends and excellent to meet new ones. Roll on BL Live.

All of that took a bit of a toll on the writing schedule, so it’s nice to be back at the keyboard again. It’s been especially pleasing to get such lovely feedback for Brotherhood of the Storm, which was on sale for the slender window of a single week back in October and has now (I hope) reached everyone who ordered a copy. The nice messages on Twitter were much appreciated – if I didn’t reply to all of them, apologies (I blame the Weekender, and being rubbish).

Brotherhood was an interesting project. It’s something of a challenge writing a limited-edition story within an ongoing series. Since some people won’t have a chance to read it (at least until it’s reissued in a couple of years or so), I was keen not to have any revelations in it that would impinge on the main novel line. Equally, I didn’t want to write something that had no interest other than a few combat scenes. The approach I went for in the end was to show three different characters on a quest to ‘find’ the Khan, who is as elusive in the fictional world as he has been in the real one. It’s as much about introducing the White Scars as a distinctive Legion as anything else. As a result it’s perhaps more introverted than most of the stories I’ve written, and purposefully leaves a good deal hanging at the end to be taken up in other stories, but it’s been great to see so many readers appreciate what I was trying to do with the mysterious Sons of Chogoris. Rest assured, there will be more of the Khan to come.

Otherwise, October also saw the release of Swords of the Emperor, the hefty omnibus containing my books on Schwarzhelm and Helborg. I have to say, I love the way this one looks. Fantasy books ought to be massive on the shelf, and this one is a proper bloater (although not as obese, I discovered, as the Sundering and Sigmar omnibuses, which are monstrous!). As it happens, Swords got a really nice review in SciFiNow recently, which you can read here. And if that’s not enough, there’s another one here. And one here, too. Thanks to all.

You still looking at us?

So what’s next? Well, I’m currently writing the second book in the War of Vengeance (or Beard, if you’re after my way of thinking) series. Nick Kyme’s epic The Great Betrayal concentrated mostly on the malodorous, short-sighted and unreasonable dwarfs, whereas my instalment, Master of Dragons, focusses on the fragrant, level-headed and magnanimous elves. The title, as will be obvious to anyone who’s read the first part, refers to Imladrik, whom Nick portrayed marvellously in his story and who goes on to form the centrepiece of mine. It’s early days at the moment, but I’m enjoying this one enormously (High Elves, dragonriders, laying waste to large chunks of the Old World — what’s not to like?).

Away from Fantasy, I do have a few other things in the pipeline, one of which is the Space Wolves. Expect to see some more bits and pieces from them in 2013, alongside the full-length novel Blood of Asaheim in March. Incidentally, I was asked a lot whether Aj Kvara, the character from my e-short Kraken, will be making a return appearance at some point. For a long time my answer to that was ‘no’, but after getting so many enquiries it’s gradually turning into ‘why not?’. I don’t yet know whether we’ll see more of the sullen Lone Wolf, but it’s certainly something I’m thinking about. Moral of the story: it is worth collaring authors at conventions with requests (as long as you’re nice to them).

Going continental

L’homme armé

Something different today. In the interests of international peace and goodwill, this post will mostly be in French.

Aujourd’hui, ce blog sera en français, en l’honneur de la nouvelle édition de «Les Épées de l’Empereur: Schwarzhelm». Mes excuses à tous les lecteurs natifs français: mes compétences linguistiques sont terribles – je aurait dû me concentrer davantage à l’école (heureusement, Google est là pour aider).

«Schwarzhelm» a été initialement publié en anglais sous le titre Sword of Justice, et est le premier volume d’un dyptique racontant l’histoire de Ludwig Schwarzhelm et Kurt Helborg. Je suis très friands de ces livres, et ces personnages. J’avais déjà écrit un livre pour la série des «armées Empire» appelée «La Compagnie de Fer» (qui est également disponible en français), mais Sword of Justice a été le premier de mes livres où j’ai eu le sentiment de vraiment avoir compris l’Empire et de sa culture.

J’espère que les lecteurs français aimeront ce livre – je suis sûr que le traducteur, Sébastien Delmas, a fait un excellent travail. Voici un court extrait:

Raghram se montra enfin. Son suaire de ténèbres s’évanouit comme une nappe de brume dispersée par le vent. Il se redressa de toute sa hauteur au-dessus de la silhouette robuste de Schwarzhelm. Le monstre était vieux et gigantesque, et le dépassait de plusieurs têtes. Il puait la mort et la corruption. Ses mains burinées tenaient une hache aussi grande qu’un homme. Quatre cornes imposantes ornaient son front, et sa gueule balafrée était garnie de crocs énormes. Il portait une cuirasse et des épaulières dentelées en fer. Ces protections grossièrement forgées étaient décorées des runes des dieux sombres.

Ses yeux injectés de sang laissaient transparaître une ruse animale et toute la rancœur accumulée au fil des siècles par les créatures les plus malveillantes de la forêt. Toute l’aversion d’un monde primitif envers la civilisation des hommes se lisait dans ce regard. Cette créature ne ressentait rien en dehors d’une haine que seule la mort de ses ennemis pouvait apaiser.

Raghram se débarrassa des derniers lambeaux de ténèbres qui l’entouraient en rugissant, puis chargea. Ses gors le suivirent sans hésiter. La nuit était presque tombée. Les chevaliers tinrent leur position imperturbablement et se préparèrent au choc; Schwarzhelm rejeta sa cape en arrière. Il leva son épée, et tout ne fut plus qu’ombres et tumulte.

Together at last

You looking at us?

That’s Schwarzhelm and Helborg, looking suitably grim and purposeful. What a wonderful cover – very different from the original Warhammer Heroes line, but equally impressive. Swords of the Emperor is out in October, and will be my first Omnibus from BL. I’m excited about this – it’ll be a very big book when it’s back from the printers.

Some other stuff to report: the Wrath of Iron edits are all but done, and BL have put up an extract from the book on their blog to whet your appetite. Look out for this in July.

Luthor Huss continues to pick up reviews. Here’s one from the Lincolnshire Echo which was short but sweet, and a longer one from the I Will Read Books blog. Thanks to both!

Finally, a quick plug for the BL Weekender event in November. This is shaping up to be a huge event, with a whole swathe of authors and artists already confirmed. I’ll be there, and will look forward to chatting about all things Iron Hands, Space Wolves, Warrior Priests, and perhaps other stuff too.

Wrath edits, Huss reviews

Warrior Priest

Hmm. It’s been so long since I blogged that WordPress has changed its editor while I’ve been away. This is slightly disconcerting. There’s now a live preview, which shows a post as it’s being composed – typos, malapropisms and all. It’s very clever, but it does expose how haphazardly my mind works.

Anyway. Despite being snowed under with edits to Wrath of Iron, it’s been nice to see Luthor Huss get some attention in various corners of the internet. Kodanshi has made a wonderful recording of one of the opening sections – you can listen to it here. This was interesting for me, since I haven’t (yet) done an audio drama for BL. I wouldn’t have the first idea of how to create one either, so I’m very impressed with Kodanshi’s effort, and it was very nice to hear my words being performed.

A few reviews of the book have popped up, too. Graeme Flory over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Reviews has given it a write-up, which you can read for yourself here. He always has interesting things to say about the BL books he covers, so it was good to see that he liked it. I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that he’d included Sword of Vengeance and Dragonmage in his favourite books of 2011.

Prolific reviewer for The Founding Fields, Bane of Kings, has also penned a review, which is here. All very much appreciated. In other news, there’s an interview with the Bloghole here – thanks to Shadowhawk for setting it up.

What else is new? Well, expect to see a new Space Wolf story from BL soon. It’ll be called Kraken, and will be available from the website only. I’ll be blogging about that in more detail soon. I’m currently very busy on a novella, which I’m really enjoying – more on that soon.

In between all that, I’m finding time to read extracts of Nick Kyme’s marvellous upcoming tale, The Great Betrayal. Let me tell you, Dwarf (and Fantasy) fans: you’re not going to want to miss this one. I’ve been working with Nick for a while on some of the ideas for this series – I’m only halfway through the current draft, but already the book is bursting with cool revelations and epic battles. All good stuff!

Sadly, I wasn’t able to make the SFX Weekender this year as I’d hoped to. However, I am hoping to be at Adepticon in the Spring and the BL Weekender in November, so it’ll be good to catch up with folks then.

Finally, a quick shout-out to exceptional writer and expert editor Nicola Vincent-Abnett, who has been chronicling her remorseless rise to literary fame and fortune in her new(ish) blog over here. Proof, if it were ever needed, that success and general all-round niceness need not be strangers.

Merry Christmas!

They never check the chimney

So, last post of the year. It’s been another busy one, and I feel in need of the break. The Iron Hands are proving hard to finish off (which is appropriate, I guess), so I’m burning the midnight oil again on the final sections of Wrath of Iron right now. This needs to be finished off soon for lots of reasons, not least to make room for a number of exciting new projects in 2012. One of these is the War of Vengeance sequence in collaboration with the super-busy Nick Kyme. It looks like I’ll be doing more power-armoured types before I get to my installment in the series, though I’m not saying who, when or where yet. Except that they like bikes.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who posted here in 2011. It’s been fun, not least because this was the year I finally got to write a 40K novel – the first, I hope, of many – as well as my first novella and a bunch of other cool stuff.

Now, some people have somehow managed to get hold of advance copies of Luthor Huss – there’s even a review over here (cheers for that!). In case you haven’t, here’s something to whet your appetite – a sample from one of the early chapters. There’s a slightly longer version up on the BL site here. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas, and here’s to more mayhem and madness in the New Year…

Mila hadn’t stopped screaming inside, but her parched throat could utter nothing but broken gasps.

She’d stayed on her feet, hammering away with Pieter’s sword, holding back ranks of living dead. She’d broken their bones and prised their fingers from her limbs, but still they’d kept coming. She’d crushed their fragile skulls and disembowelled them with heavy, twisting lunges of the blade, but still, endlessly and with neither fear nor weariness, they’d kept coming.

She’d made it back to the site of the bonfire, right in the centre of the village, just in time to see Margrit dragged down to the earth by a gang of claw-handed assailants. The girl had fought on for a while, throwing a few of them off her, lashing out and screaming the whole time. Margrit was like all daughters of Helgag – tough as tanned hide and strong from the grind of endless labour – and hadn’t gone down easily.

But they’d got her in the end. Once she’d lost her footing, they could go for her throat. Mila had watched, still a dozen yards away, as they’d got their gaping jaws in place and had bit down.

Then they’d come for her.

No one else was left. Ever since she’d hacked and shoved her way back to the bonfire, Mila had known she was alone.

There she stood, her back to the fire, watching the space before her fill with more of the undead. They jabbered at her, and their eyes glowed.

I don’t want to die. Not yet, not like this.

The undead hung back, chattering in near-silent, deathly voices. Mila stood before them, panting heavily, holding the sword as straight as she could manage, waiting for the first one to move.

‘Come for me, then,’ she growled, speaking out to stop her mind locking in panic. ‘Who’s first?’

They didn’t respond. The chattering whispers grew a little louder.

‘Come on!’ roared Mila, swinging the sword back and forth. ‘Come and–’

She never finished. The horde of undead warriors suddenly broke, folding in on itself as if something huge had impacted on it. Their whispers became thin howls of rage. The skeletons and corpses turned away from her, consumed by something far more pressing within their ranks.

For a moment, Mila couldn’t make anything out. The dull red of the fire was dying fast, staining the walls of the hovels in shadow. She stayed where she was, looking around her in a kind of stupor, unsure what to do.

Could she make use of this? Could she get out of Helgag? Or should she stay close to the light? She felt her own breathing, hot and deep, and the sweat on the palms of her hands making the sword-grip sticky.

Then, finally, she saw him.

For the first time, alone in Helgag, half-deranged with fear and fatigue, she saw him. Days later, when the last of the fires had finished burning and the ashes had cooled, she would remember many things about that moment. She would recall the way the flames glinted from the curved plates of his armour like cascades of rubies. She would remember his eerie silence in battle, more complete and more unnerving than the undead themselves. She would remember how his mournful face reared up out of the dark, fixed in an expression of frigid disdain, his bare forehead bound with rolls of scripture and shining with sweat.

At the time, though, still locked in a vice of her exhaustion, she was only struck by one thing.

The way he moved.

He carried a huge warhammer, golden-headed, spiked and heavy. It swung in perfect arcs, cleaving chests, bursting open skulls, crunching through skittering thickets of stick-thin limbs. Mighty arms, each the girth of a lesser man’s thigh, propelled the weapon with efficient, murderous grace. A long red cloak swirled in his wake, wrapping him in a skirling halo of crimson.

Everything was in motion. He was like a whirlwind of steel and gold, spinning and striking his way through the heart of the horde. It was all so perfectly, so flawlessly balanced. Every blow found its mark, driving apart the knots of screaming horrors and fracturing their eerie unity. He was like a reaper in high summer, raging and circling, and they broke against him in futile fury.

Mila, her own struggles forgotten for an instant, watched it all unfold, her jaw slack and her hands loose.

They no longer looked invincible. In the face of that man’s onslaught, the walking dead looked suddenly fragile. The armoured figure waded through their midst, smiting down any that got close enough to feel the bite of the warhammer. His expression remained downcast. His thin mouth remained fixed in an unbending snarl of disapproval. He uttered no war-cry, though it looked like he was constantly whispering something to himself.

His dark eyes snapped up, just for a moment, from the slaughter, and he saw her. He fought over to her position, throwing corpses in either direction as he hacked a path through the horde.

‘Daughter, are you alone?’ he asked, knocking aside the grasping arms of dogged pursuers before coming alongside her and whirling around to face the rest.

Mila knew that, in the respect that he intended, she was entirely alone – all the others in Helgag must surely have died or long since fled.

But, for all that, she couldn’t answer his question in the way he’d expected. Her fear seemed to have shrunk away from her, to be replaced by a strange, burning sensation in her breast. Her sword felt light in her hands and she brandished it eagerly, looking for more targets. Her face rose, no longer disfigured by screaming, but calm and purposeful.

Hope, that most dangerous of emotions, had returned.

‘Not any more,’ she said, and took up the fight again.

Here’s Luthor…

Somehow he looks even more intimidating in the flesh (so to speak).

Afficionados of the Warhammer Heroes range will notice that the cover designs have changed from the early days. Gone are the double covers, and the name of the book now runs vertically along the spine-edge. While I liked the old designs, there’s no denying the new format makes the title more striking (and the book easier to hold). I’m very impressed, once again, with Cheoljoo Lee’s cover design, which captures Huss perfectly.

Luthor Huss is due out in February 2012, but look out for pre-orders earlier from the BL site.

It’s oh so quiet…

It’s quiet. Too quiet

Well, yes. There’s not been a lot of content around here for some time. While that might give the impression that nothing much is happening, pretty much the opposite is actually the case. The lack of posts here is a symptom of being very busy with my current projects, some of which are complete, some running behind schedule, and some barely out of the blocks. This is all very exciting for me, of course, but it does leave very little time for anything else.

So, what’s been happening? Well, I’m now over half-way through Wrath of Iron, my Iron Hands book. This is part of the Space Marine Battles series, so expect lots of things being blown-up, thrown around and generally getting broken. In between all that planet-sized carnage I’ve tried to delve a little deeper into the Iron Hands psyche too, and I’ll post at greater length about that once the novel’s written. Space Marines are tricky things to write about, and the Iron Hands are about as tricky as they come. I hope long-time fans will like my take on them, although you’ll have to wait until July next year to find out what’s in the book. A couple of little factoids in the meantime: the protagonists are from Clan Raukaan, and the story features two characters who first emerged in my short story ‘Flesh’ (which can be found here).

Life on Medusa was rubbish

Otherwise, it’s been nice to see my novella Dragonmage get some positive press. Graham’s Fantasy Book Review covered it a while back, and you can read the review here. More surprisingly perhaps, the august British Fantasy Society seems to be reviewing Black Library books at the moment, and they’ve posted a write-up for Sword of Justice on their website. Always good to see mainstream Fantasy sites taking a look at some licensed fiction.

Anyway, right now I’m trying to get Wrath of Iron in the bag before the Christmas break, which would be very nice, sanity-wise. After that, who knows? I have a suspicion I’ll be writing some High Elves in 2012, as well as some Space Marines, both from a Chapter I’ve written about before and possibly from one I haven’t. All very vague, but I’ll post more here once stuff is confirmed.

In the meantime, I should mention that I’ll be at the marvellous SFX Weekender on the 2-4 February along with some other BL authors, so come along to that if you fancy getting your hands on Luthor Huss before anyone else.