(Ashes of Grimnir) Warhammer Age of Sigmar

Hello all,

I wrote a thing, someone liked the thing and published the thing. That thing was Ashes of Grimnir a short story set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar universe.

Here’s the info: (Copyright Games Workshop Limited 2019)

Ashes of Grimnir cover.jpg

Ashes of Grimnir

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar story

After a mighty vision, Runesmiter Thorrok and his fellows set out in search of ur-gold, the coveted remnants of their ancestor god. But danger beckons…

READ IT BECAUSE
There’s little that’s more iconic when it comes to Fyreslayers than the quest for ur-gold – and this tale of twisted destinies and treacherous visions turns that into something special indeed.

THE STORY
Runesmiter Thorrok of the Ealring Lodge has had a vision. A vision of the ancestor-god Grimnir, father of the Fyreslayers. And a vision of that long-lost hero from the Age of Myth can mean only one thing: ur-gold awaits… Thorrok and his comrades seek this mighty prize, believed to be the shattered remnants of Grimnir himself, cast across the Realms for his children to gather. But can they overcome the manifold dangers that stand between them and their goal?


 

Those of you that know me will know that this is a dream come true. For a long time I’ve wanted to write a story for Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing arm) set in the Warhammer universes, and now that’s finally happened. I started pitching to BL about 7 years ago (ignoring the one terrible story I sent Games Workshop when I was a kid), which just goes to show that a healthy dose of perseverance and professionalism can go a long way. I hope to get the opportunity to write more stories for them, and buying a copy of this will certainly encourage them to ask me to.

You can get it here:

Black Library (Worldwide): Click here

Amazon (UK): Click here

Amazon (US): Click here

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My Year in Books 2015 (Part 1)

Last year I signed off the year with a list of books that I read in 2014. This year it’s already March and I haven’t got round to doing the same thing yet – okay, nearly the end of March. Well, I’ve been busy since early December putting together the application for my PhD, so as you can imagine I’ve been pretty occupied. All being well, it should now be off to the application panel for approval – fingers crossed.

So, I’ve found a bit of free time to make a post. I’m a bit sad that this is the first one of the year, but I hope to make some more this year. Anything you’d like me to write a post about, tell me in the comments section below. I’m open to suggestions.

I’m still working towards the draft of my World War One novel. It’s so close to being finished now that it’s frustrating, but there were parts of the story that I really wanted to make sure were told, so I had to extend the word count a bit and juggle some things around. It’s going quite well now and I aim to have it finished by the end of the month. (Oh crap, that’s next Thursday!)

On to my 2015 in the form of books then. This time I wanted to add the star rating for each book that I gave it on Goodreads, and perhaps write a little bit about each book. so, bear with me:


Serenity Graphic Novels #1-3 (****)

I started the year with these three graphic novels about everyone’s favourite Whedon show that got cancelled. If, like me, you love the show, then I thoroughly recommend reading them. Joss used them to continue the story in the way he would have like to have done, had they not been cancelled.

Robert Jordan – Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time #6) (***)

One of the longest series in fantasy seemed to get even longer with this book. I marked improvement on the last book, which was, the only way I can describe it from memory is ‘dull’. But there still seems to be something missing. I’m not normally one to complain about the journey – too many people want to jump to the end as if they don’t enjoy reading (see the Horus Heresy series) – but these books reveal so very little about the characters. Everyone just constantly seems grumpy with everyone else, particularly the women, and we don’t really see much of a character arc. One day I will read the next book and hope it does more for me.

Honour of the Space Marines – Anthology (****)

A nice little collection of Space Marine stories from each chapter.

Andy Weir – The Martian (*****)

I absolutely loved this book! If you haven’t read it yet, then what are you doing? Stop reading this rubbish and get on with it. I thought at first that the epistolary style would be a bit grating for an entire novel, but it really works. Andy Weir’s writing is vey natural, engaging and funny. I’m yet to watch the film, but I hear that’s good too.

Isaac Asimov – The Caves of Steel (****)

What’s there to say about Asimov? I find you either get him or you don’t. I was researching some Sci Fi crime and this fit the bill. An enjoyable read.

Ray Bradbury – The Martian Chronicles (****)

See above. A little too abstract for my taste, but still a good read.

Steve Parker – Deathwatch (****)

Also for research, but the less said about that the better. It was good to see a full story about the Deathwatch Space Marines. Steve is a solid writer, and I never find anything much if at all to be critical about his work.

Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (*****)

Yes, I’d never read it before. Oh, Neil… the only word I can truly use to describe your work is ‘fantastic’. Hearing him read at the opening of the Liverpool University lectures added to my love of this man’s work. I cannot recommend it enough, but you knew all about it already didn’t you?

That’ll do for now. This has made me want to go off and read.

I will endeavour to post part 2 tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

 

Far Worlds Released!

I meant to blog a few days ago, but I’ve been ill. Oh boy, have I been ill! 4 boxes of man size tissues was not enough to stall this manflu of epic proportions and getting up from the sofa still makes me feel dizzy. On Tuesday I had to drag my sorry arse to the driving theory test centre and spent a horrible 40 minutes curled over the desk. Thankfully I passed. I didn’t fancy having to do that again. (I already passed about ten years ago, but stopped pursuing the practical test after a couple of harsh fails.)

But that’s not the only good thing that happened on Tuesday, no!

Far Worlds was released.

Those of you that have been reading my blog regularly will know of this already, but Far Worlds is a speculative fiction anthology in which I have a story. Its been published by the lovely people of the Bolthole and is currently available on Kindle, here and will be available, I’m told, in paperback next month.

I just love the artwork for this book:

Image

I mean, look at it, how awesome is that? It’s a shame my kindle is black and white. I will be getting a paperback of it!

As part of the promotion for the book, the editors posted an excerpt from each story on the books Facebook page. So I might as well share the excerpt from my story again. Also, each story has its own internal illustration. Manuel Mesones (You can find him here) has done a fantastic job with each of these. I won’t tell you which character this is, but you can all guess in the comments.

Image

 

What he saw astounded him. He had uncovered a metal construction, approximately one metre in length, curved at one end. The most startling thing about the object was that it was fire-blackened from one end running along its surface, removing all detail, scouring it into a smooth plate. He had no idea what it was or where it had come from; he hadn’t seen anything like it before in his career. But whatever it was, he was sure of one thing.

 

It wasn’t from this world.

 

I hope that makes you want to go and read the story and please feel free to add your feedback and comments on here, Amazon or on Goodreads.

Once again, thanks for reading and I hope to be back with some more news soon!

 

 

Taking the Scenic Route

It’s mad that this is my first blog post of 2014, but then the year has started off massively busy. My New Year’s resolution was to write every day, which so far I have managed, even if only a few words, or I have done some editing. This worked out pretty well until I realised that I had a week to paint an army for a tournament in Nottingham next weekend. Life is about challenges right?

That’s kind of what this blog is about. I haven’t done any proper writing in the last few days because I’ve been knee deep in paint. I also felt that I needed to type up the writing we did in class this week as, once again, I didn’t feel like reading it out in class. (Turns out someone wrote a similar story to me, but did it better – such is life!) It’s also, partly, what the title is about; taking the scenic route to finishing my tasks for this week.

This week we had the external examiner, Carol Clewlow (I had to research that spelling!) who is a novelist in her own right, come in and talk to us. At first it seemed as if she would just talk us through the assignment, but that was only a brief introduction. What followed from that was a very interesting workshop about editing and scenes. We discussed the importance of bridging scenes – just getting a character where they need to be without boring the reader – and crucial scenes – where the detail is included – and their differences. Carol also talked about how it was quite often a shame that a scene was used as a bridging scene when it had the potential for some much more.

I just realised I’ve been typing this in silence without music. Sometimes when you get in the flow that just happens, other times I need music to help me concentrate. If you’re a writer, what do you write to? I tend to favour soundtracks as I find I often end up following lyrics if I listen to anything else. They also help me imagine the drama. I think today’s choice is Game of Thrones season 2, though it’s now making me want to watch it.

Carol gave us a bridging scene:

We left home at 6.30. Not long after turning on to the motorway we hit an accident with a long tailback. A wrecked car was still on its roof as we passed. Despite this we managed to reach dover by late afternoon and by evening we were in France.

We discussed that this scene has so much potential for detail which could add to the story. So, Carol gave us a task, turn this scene into a crucial scene. What follows is what I wrote in that task and also a later edit where she asked us to find that one part that needed more. Rather than splitting it in to two of what is essentially the same thing, I give you the finished version (I may also have cheated and added more as I typed it up – oops!):

We left home at 6.30 in a hurry to put everything into the car. The car screeched as the wheels spun off the driveway under the heavy way and we were away. Not long after hitting the motorway we hit an accident with a long tailback. It wasn’t uncommon given the circumstances. Everyone was in a rush to get away and rushing made people careless. A wrecked car was still on its roof as we passed, glass smashed across the carriageway. The poor people were still trapped inside the crumpled mess of the vehicle. The incessant cacophony of beeping horns wasn’t helping and there was no sign of the emergency services. They had enough to do right now. they would have a job getting through this crowd in time. The victims weren’t worth worrying about. No one could help them now, it was every man for himself.

Despite the crush we still managed to travel the 60 miles from Bromley to Dover by late afternoon. It’s amazing that even in an emergency most Brits wouldn’t drive on the hard shoulder. Its against the rules! But who needed rules now? The port got pretty desperate and fights were breaking out everywhere as we snuck our small car onto the ferry. By evening we were in France, a bit of money changing hands could get you anywhere. The badge didn’t hurt, but showing that around everywhere would raise too many questions. It’s a shame the ferry wasn’t going further, but I didn’t have that much money.

The crossing went relatively calmly, once people were onboard the hysteria had died down.

Driving down the ramp into the yellow ramps lights of Calais, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought about those trapped at home. Poor old Britain. For now though, we were safe.

 

Some of the group decided to completely change the original scene we were given, but I saw this more of an editing exercise. So what you can see here is a typical example of how I might edit. I’ll take a piece I have written and see if I can embellish the sentences that are already there. Sometimes I may need to take out a superfluous word and others I may need to alter the tense slightly, but as the scene we were given was already quite tight I didn’t feel any need to.

My scene could probably be edited further, but then isn’t that true of everything?

On another note, as anyone noticed that no one really talks on Facebook anymore? All that appears on my news feed is people sharing links to videos and various surveys that tell you which character from that poor remake of  that dodgy sci-fi film you are most like. What happened to people typing and having conversations, you know, social networking? Maybe it’s just my Facebook, but I was curious if anyone else had noticed a similar trend?

On that perfectly 1000 word count note, I shall leave you.

Once again, thanks for reading and any suggestions, comments or thoughts are welcome.

 

The Horror Goes South

So, I’m getting pretty good at this getting up earlier thing. I’m going to need to be once my day job’s working hours move an hour earlier and I may have to teach at the ungodly hour of 9.30 am (I don’t actually mind, it will be good for me). However I chose to shift my sleeping pattern around in order to do some writing in the mornings and then have more time in the day. I think I have successfully worked my transition in to a ‘morning person’, before now I was more of a ‘those-few-hours-in-the-middle-of-the-day-I-feel-like-doing-something…person’.

But I need to do some more writing. I’ve been pretty lax this week as I’ve had some other things on. I also haven’t written a blog since last week as far as I can remember. However that one at least was a story rather than my random ramblings. I’ve actually been busy sorting out my move. Yesterday I handed in the notice on my current flat, which is both exciting and scary. Exciting because I am now moving out of this flat which has caused me so many sleepless nights and moving somewhere new. Scary because the new place hasn’t actually gone through yet so unless it goes through by the time my notice runs out I may end up homeless.

So, what am I working on? Well, Games Day UK is coming up pretty soon, which I’m immensely looking forward to. Although my wallet is already silently weeping to itself in the corner. It doesn’t know what’s hit it yet! I do love Games Day, a place where like minded individuals all come together to have a day of pure geekyness about something they love. You will probably see me there running between various stands trying to catch as much new stuff as possible and take in all the atmosphere. Got to get to the Black Library, Forgeworld and I will also be checking out Fantasy Flight Games. I’m hoping to get hold of a copy of their new 40K game, Relic. I did have a few years out of going to Games Day and I really did miss it. I went again for the first time a few years ago and fell straight in to it without missing a beat. Though I don’t spend nearly as much money as I did when I was a kid. My poor parents!

Anyway I am digressing. The reason I mentioned Games Day is because, as the Black Library will be there, they have started to take submissions on the day. I am currently wondering whether to take something I have already written or begin work on a new 1000 word story to take with me specifically on the day. Any suggestions as to this will be greatly appreciated. If you really like something I’ve already written and think it’s worth submitting let me know.

I’ve also been given an opportunity of possibly having something published on Amazon. On a forum I peruse they are compiling a horror anthology and I have had my name listed as part of it. I already have a story idea; A Lovecraftian horror set on the Island of Portland in Dorset. That’s all you’re getting out of me for now. I just have to write the thing…I’ve not really written any horror before (except for Tyranid infested space ships) so I’m a little bit scared by it. I’ve done the leg work, I’ve written a plot outline, I just need to research the writing style and get to work on it. I will try and do that this week, look out for updates and wish me luck.

On Twitter the last few days I seem to have had a lot of authors follow me. I’m slightly perplexed, do they like my work? Is my writing starting to have some form of impact? If so, that’s really great, wow. Or maybe they have just seen that I have called myself an ‘aspiring-writer’ and have decided to see what I come up with. That’s also great. Perhaps they can offer me some advice? If you’re reading this, please send some twitter-esque tips my way!

Right, I really must get on with my day and some writing. This blog, amongst cooking breakfast and tidying some of the flat, has taken me the best part of an hour to finish. Ooops.

 

More stories soon, hopefully. Thanks for reading.

 

Fallen Angel

I was recently having a chat with a friend of mine. We talked about a gaming group we have set up and how we were going to integrate some role-playing elements in to it. He told me of a character he had come up with for a game of Deathwatch; a black shield from an unknown chapter that had no recollection of his past. The day after I wrote a few notes about this character and came up with this little background story for him. I hope you like.

Continue reading

The Swordsman

Two blogs today? Oh goody! And this one actually has a story in it! Hurrah! No more endless ramblings of the insane. Well actually there are some quite insane parts in it…nevermind eh!

This is a story that I came up with and sent off to the Black Library in the first of their submission windows that I was truly aware of. It includes a certain well known character that they wanted a story for, only I decided to tell the story from the perspective of the other side. Lets see if you can guess who that character is? (answers on a stamped addressed postcard…or a comment, your choice). As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t hear anything back from them regarding this story. I didn’t expect to, it was a good plot, in my honest opinion, but rather than writing 1000 words of flowing sample text I naively wrote several short samples of the scenes which I was going to include which amounted to approximately 1000 words. However I still like the plot and it’s something that I would like to work on and refine and maybe one day have published, if I get lucky.

I’ve included the Summary I sent to them to start off with so you get a basic feel for the story. I would include the synopsis I wrote, but I don’t want to give too much away. The following is the sample text I sent them, along with some better, more recent additions. Let me know what you think and if you can guess who that famous character is!

Without further ado, The Swordsman:

Summary

 

The Swordsman is a lieutenant in the venerated Albun Hussars Imperial Guard regiment. He considers himself the finest Swordsman in the guard, but constantly reprimanded and mocked for his selfish attitude and disregard for his orders he still has something to prove. On the world of Comorran he will face his greatest challenge yet. In the network of trenches The Swordsman will battle against the forces of Chaos, the Emperor’s Children Renegade Space Marines and their greatest champion. Will this be his making or his downfall?

Sample Text

 

He loathed the way the others talked about him, he was no child, he was a veteran of many battles with the Albun guard. He could decide which was the best course of action, when to stand back and wait for the enemy to come and when to make sure they paid for their heresy.

He drew his power sword, a family heirloom, and began to sharpen it as he always did in these moments of anger. It helped to calm and settle him for the oncoming battle. Letting them get inside his mind was foolish and would probably end up getting him killed. He just had to concentrate of what he did best. He would prove all his doubters wrong sooner or later.

A wailing siren brought him out of his inner turmoil and as soon as he registered what it meant he began collecting his armour jacket and weapons. He would need them for what was about to come. The siren was a warning to all members of the Albun Hussars, that an attack was imminent. They would all need to man their stations and await the inevitable death and destruction any attack presaged.

His small platoon command squadron was waiting for him as he arrived at their designated trench board.

 

The enemy were now pouring in to the trench system in numbers. Those tasked with holding the end trenches failing in their given duty. There was nothing he could do except keep firing and The Swordsman added to the weight of fire with the snap of his own laspistol. He kept firing, change clip, fire again at wave after wave of horrific face masks all of a different grotesque image. Some of the icons even making him head sick and forcing him to look away.

Something would have to be done and quickly in order to stymie the tide. The enemy could not be allowed to gain a foothold in the trench system or they were all dead.

He glanced around the trenches taking in the individual battles that were taking place and looking for the best place to add his forces to. Furthest to his right the fighting was heaviest and amongst the guardsmen desperately fighting for their lives by clash of bayonet and blade was a group of black armoured traitor marines. The lieutenant quickly made up his mind. This would be the best place to strike. The traitor guard would be looking to their superhuman allies for leadership and confidence. If his platoon could hurt them in some way then perhaps they could change the tide of the battle.

With a quick barked order to those around him, The Swordsman led his platoon along the trench. Periodically, stragglers from the main enemy force would be encountered along the trench and the men of the Albun guard would dispatch these with a quick salvo from their lasguns or a bayonet thrust.

As The Swordsmen gained ground on the traitor marines he drew his sword from the scabbard at his waist with a sharp scrape of metal on metal and levelled it at the figure he assumed was their leader. As the champion of the black clad warriors saw this act of defiance he licked the burnt lips of his ritually scarred face and grinned in acceptance.

 

The traitor was a swordsman in his own right. The forms he made, precise and practiced with years of experience. A thrust here, a feint, a backwards step there. Keeping the opponent occupied and allowing them a confidence while staying completely in control. Almost as if it were a game. Every movement fluid and accurate with an ease born of confidence. Such supreme confidence it permeated his very being. The figure in black was grinning, each kill becoming quicker and quicker.

 

Human swordsmen met superhuman champion in a clash of blades. Sparks flew as the two powerful fields encompassing these ancient weapons tried to occupy the same space. The traitor marine was immensely powerful and The Swordsman struggled as blow after blow landed on his own power sword, feinting from side to side and trying to return a blow against the champion. The leering scarred face would not stop laughing in an effort to put him off and it was all he could do to concentrate on the battle at hand. Each blow he blocked with his power sword sucked more energy from his reserves and he already knew he was flagging. The duel had only been taking place for a few moments but it already felt like a lifetime to the lieutenant. He would have to do something quick in order to change his luck, or this superhuman monster would take his life and lead these forces in to the heart of Imperial lines.

He fainted to the side again in an effort to avoid a killing blow and launched one last desperate attack at the chaos champion. Amazingly the lunge connected in the waist of his enemy cutting through the armour with ease and splashing a spray of bright red blood over his weapon and body armour.  The disfigured face of his enemy still laughed and it was almost as if the heretic was enjoying the pain and bloodshed.

With this sudden boost of confidence and in disgust The Swordsman lunged again, splitting armour and carving the torso of the traitorous marine in two.

The face was no longer laughing.

 

Juran hated sentry duty, it was cold, wet and miserable and what was worse, he had to sit still and keep watch, any shift of movement might alert the enemy and get him killed. This only added to the Emperor forsaken discomfort of this wet and muddy planet. He would rather be in the trench waiting to go over the top than be sat here waiting for the next poor soul to take over sentry duty. At least then he could move his aching, atrophying muscles.

There, a faint glimmer of…what…a piece of enemy armour, weaponry? No, it was just his mind playing tricks on him, eager for something to pierce the unending boredom of keeping watch over the enemy’s lines.

A tinkling of armour and a crunch in the dirt drew his attention behind him with a start.

‘Oh, it’s only you, what are you doing sneaking up on me like that? I could have shot you.’

The figure said nothing and so Juran returned to his duty, looking out over no-mans land to spot any potential movement of the enemy.

He assumed his comrade had moved on, perhaps to the latrine to relieve himself until a shuffling sound behind him roused him again. There was only time to shift a little in his seat before a cold cramping sensation in his gut stopped him in his tracks. Looking down he could the tip of a sword glinting in the moonlight emerging from the middle of his stomach. Juran barely had time to utter a grunt of pain before the laughing figure behind him slit his throat and the last of his life bled in to the muddy ground.

 Loren was the night shift orderly. He preferred this shift as it was calmer, easier. The quiet hours of the night gave him all the time he needed to think, to ponder while he went about the steady routine of his work.

The wounded soldiers rested peacefully in the medical cots behind him, accompanied by the soft sound of snoring. Occasionally the grunted sounds of discomfort from injuries broke the peacefulness of the room. Despite being protected from the desperate cold outside the infirmary, there was a definite chill in the ear tonight.

Loren pulled the thick fur-lined collar of his coat up around his neck to keep the cold out, it didn’t normally affect him this badly but tonight was unusual.  He had a notion of movement behind him. He dismissed it readily, probably just one of the wounded soldiers rolling in their sleep, dreaming.