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Pre-Order The Hydra Offensive!

The Hydra Offensive has a release date!

September 21st!

You can pre-order immediately at the links below:





Keep your eyes open for the cover reveal for The Hydra Offensive as well!

The Hydra Offensive Blurb, Version 2

Having completed The Hydra Offensive last night, I’m going to give another try at the blurb. I trimmed it down, and tried to make it fit a little better into my strategy of making Hydra “new reader friendly”.

Let me know what you think!
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Excerpt: The Hydra Offensive

Here’s the first bit of The Hydra Offensive! I’m just about finished with the first draft, so if I work hard, I can have it out by January! Please be advised, this is literally the first draft so it hasn’t been edited.

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That Time of Year…

…when you don’t really get anything productive done.

This year, I’ll be working part-time at Best Buy (Black Friday was absolutely crazy) and working full-time at UPS for the Christmas Season.

Unfortunately, my writing is going to suffer and I’ll probably be posting very little.

However, I did manage to finish Battle for Broken Plains and I’m getting ready to send it to a couple of Beta Readers. It clocked in at just over 27,000 words, about twice as long as I originally expected.

My plan is to put Battle up for free across all of the major distributors and advertise it as much as possible to garner readers.


I’m going to try to get more work done on The Hydra Offensive, which is currently sitting at a sliver under 44,000, with the goal of having it completed and published before June. While 2 books a year isn’t the pace I’d like to keep, the rigors of life are such that it’s going to have to suffice.

Making Room

As I work on The Hydra Offensive, I’ve run into a problem. I originally had planned to have 6 total POV Characters, including return characters Raedan, Hadrian and Eadric from The Cerberus Rebellion and three new POVs. There would be 2 sets of 2 POVs that would follow basically the same plot lines and then 2 independent POVs with their own plot. Those 2 wouldn’t get a lot of time until mid-way through.

Well, one of the plot lines (2 POVs) has grown into a lot more than I originally planned for it to be. According to my initial outline, I should be at around chapter 12 or 13. I’m at Chapter 23. I’m finally approaching the point where the 2 independent POVs should start getting more time, but I’m beginning to worry about the end size of Hydra if I put them both in.

If I do put both of them in, I can see Hydra ballooning to over 120k words, and while that’s not as big of a concern as it may have been before, I’m more concerned with running into the George RR Martin problem of diluting the focus of the novel.

I’ve looked at it and I can reasonably push one of the subplots into the next novel, tenatively titled “The Centaur Campaign”, but if I do that, I worry that I’m going to run into the same problem until I run out of novels to push storylines to. Cutting the proposed storyline won’t either because this is a major character who features prominently in the series going forward.

Funny enough, and on  a related note, I’m actually going back through my novella “Battle for Broken Plains” and adding in a new major POV. This character got some time later in the story, but I think that things will flow better, and avoid as much infodump, by adding the character in earlier in the piece and slowly introducing the content.

Have you ever had to push a character into the next book to make sure your novel doesn’t get fat?

The Problem with Sequels

I recently joined the website Scribophile. Essentially, writers gather there to critique and be critiqued by other members of the site. It works on a sort of tit-for-tat system where you get “Karma” for doing critiques and then spend that “Karma” to post stories for critique.

I’m 23,000 words into The Hydra Offensive; Book 2 in the Ansgari Rebellion Series. I didn’t post The Cerberus Rebellion on this site so as I start posting The Hydra Offensive, I’m running into the issue of bringing new readers to my world.

At first, I thought of this as a problem. Why would someone start with Book 2 in the series? Then I remembered, that’s how I started the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. I bought Ashes of Victory (Book 9 in the series) because of the cover art; I bought Books 1-8 and the 3 Honorverse anthologies because of the writing.

I came to the realization that you have to hook readers at the beginning of the book whether they are invested in the series already or not. I need to make sure that the beginning of the book keeps moving, without bogging down with backstory and infodumps.

Have you ever started mid-series and gone back and purchased all of the previous novels? What caused you to do that?

Politics in Fantasy

I recently did a post for Guild of Dreams (here) that discussed the differences in my writing. One of the things that I think really separates my writing from the rest of the Fantasy floating around is the blending of technology and politics with standard fantasy fare.

Politics can take many different forms and can be present in any government system that you decide to use: from a clan where everyone is vying for the favor of the Chief, to an aristocracy where the Nobility fight amongst themselves for power, and a Republic or  Democracy where government officials fight for both power within the government and the favor of the voters.

Political interactions can be used for many things in your world, or not at all. For myself, I really enjoy building and tinkering with political systems and writing the interactions between different parts of the government.  In many of the Space Opera novels that I have waiting for a proper write-up, I use the Political Interactions to drive plots and sub-plots.

From a major character’s entire occupation and their driving factor, to secondary plots that drive minor aspects of the story, to back-plots that are mentioned or foreshadowed, but don’t come to the foreground until they are ready to hatch.

In the Griffins & Gunpowder universe, with the nation of Ansgar in a Civil War, politics become a major player.  And that’s one of the things that sets my universe apart from others.

As an example, two of the main characters in The Cerberus Rebellion are siblings; one inherited their family lands from their father and has worked to continue to grow the influence of the family. The other brother has taken over a neighboring Barony when the former Lord died without an heir. His brother, in order to avoid conflict with the rest of the nobility, arranges for his younger brother to inherit the territory.

The elder brother is focused, one may say obsessed, with expanding the family influence and this leads to actions and events that involve the politics of alliances, betrayal and double-crossing.

History as Inspiration

When I first started building the world of Zaria, I was just putting ideas together to see what worked. I weeded out the ideas I didn’t like and added new ones.

Once I had fully (well, I thought fully) developed the two halves of my world I started to see two patterns developing in the two story lines.

One half of the world was developing in a manner that loosely followed the events of World War 2. A nation that invades its smaller neighbors, a coalition of nations (including one across the sea) that join together to stop their common enemy.

On the other side of the world, the nation of Ansgar and the trials that it goes through are somewhat similar to the American Civil War (there are some very noticeable differences). It was made even more acute by the fact that the Ansgari-Rebellion series (name-in-progress since I decided to use my original idea “Griffins & Gunpowder” as the universe name) uses technology that was used in the American Civil War. I’m a huge American Civil War history buff, so it really doesn’t surprise me that my subconscious worked this into my world.

And I’ve decided to use the similarities to draw inspiration from the battles and events of the American Civil War, albeit with a decidedly Griffins & Gunpowder twist. You’ll just have to read it to see… The Hydra Offensive is at 8k words and counting!

Hydra is Underway!

Having completed Battle for Broken Plains yesterday (just over 18,000 words, before editing) I decided to spend today getting The Hydra Offensive plotted out.

I had about half of it done last week, but I realized that I needed to stretch out my series’ plot by rearranging which books were going to be #3 and #4 and that meant that I needed to change how Hydra ended before I even started writing it.

Well, I got the plotting done and now it’s time to write!