The Veil War

"and then I was like, 'Holy crap, goblins!'"

Month: December, 2011

Contest thoughts

I am thinking of running a contest. I am wondering what you, the reader, would most like to see as prizes.

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Be a red shirt – get included in the story and killed, gruesomely. (And thanks to reader Charles Stewart, I can make your death gruesome and even more medically accurate.)
  • A special short story – with one of the characters, but involving things that didn’t make it into the final narrative; or alternatively a story with new characters involving events outside Lewis’ story.
  • Behind the scenes – get the poop on what’s happening behind the scenes.

Any other suggestions? Bear in mind that I am allocating approximately a $0.00 budget for this so don’t expect brand new iPad 2’s or anything. Time, I will invest. Just not money.

Update: I unaccountably, an unforgivably, named my source of information on trauma as Charles Williams, not Charles Stewart. My apologies and it now reads correctly.


Over at Whatever, John Scalzi is doing his annual pimp thread week wherein authors are allowed – nay, encouraged! – to leave a comment touting the merits of their work in the hope that eager readers will swarm them with love and money. Today is pimp day for traditionally published authors, tomorrow is for non-traditional. Which would be me. Assuming I can fit the criteria he sets, I’ll certainly be posting a link to the Veil War. Since Scalzi gets about 50k readers a day – readers that we may reasonably assume are heavily self-selected in the science fiction direction – one might hope that the result is more readers. Especially since the Veil War is free.

Last week I submitted the Veil War to Boing Boing’s submitterator, and got two visitors. I will admit that that was not the most successful propaganda ploy in world history, but, hey! A warm welcome to both of you. Don’t be shy, introduce yourselves!

Which leads me to my question for you: Where can I go to get the word out to more potential readers? More to the point, where I can increase my visibility without looking like a preening jackass?

I’ve pondered a more aggressive twitter campaign. I note that George O’Har and Steve Umstead – both of whom I mentioned the other day – have twitter followings of 850 and 13,000. I presume from the numbers that Mr. O’Har grew his Twitter following the old fashioned way and Mr. Umstead used more aggressive tactics. I wonder how much traffic @steveumstead is driving to his website? Granted, our situations are not identical – while he posted an excerpt from his upcoming eBook, he’s not serially publishing a whole story. I want readers, he wants readers and buyers.

Those of you on Twitter – if you had never heard of @veilwar, and @veilwar followed you – what are the chances that you might have ended up here?


Slightly off topic

But cool. Via Charles Stross (one of my absolute favorite writers) a link to Karl Schroeder (another of my absolute favorite writers) discussing the Fermi Paradox.

This is a huge question – and one that informs any science fiction that pretends to be serious. Right now, I’m busy assuming that the reason is magic and the Veil… but any sf that has people traveling through space has to cope with this, and most sf just ducks the issue. A very few confront it head on, and the best attempt actual solutions. These are really mind blowing:

After I get done killing goblins, that’s something I’d very much like to play with. (BTW Accelerando and Blindsight are free to read on the internets – just follow the links and start reading.)

Social Media actually can be cool

One thing that I didn’t expect (mostly because I never considered the matter) was that other authors might find their way here to the Veil War. Now, this is early days and I’m not claiming Steven King as a fan – though that would be super – but among the people who have signed up for the email are individuals that have published their work!

Since that is something that I aspire to myself, I find that pretty awesome. As I’ve been moving down this path, I see that there is a growing number of people looking to publish electronically as a strategy rather than merely as a fallback. In other words, the idea that you would consciously attempt to go an all electronic route and not seek a print contract as Plan A, and not some sort of 21st Century equivalent of the nasty old vanity press.

I’ve gone on a severe information diet recently in aid of being able to write more. I’ve cut my google reader feed to the bone, and I’ve stopped reading a lot of things that used to be daily fare. So, I’m not exactly going to read these myself in the next couple months. But I swear, they’re right at the top of the list. The very top. But since you all obviously have time to read things published on the internet, you might be interested in checking these out:

  • George O’Har has a couple books out, and more on the way. He appears to be vastly more credentialed than I, with deep ties to the academic-industrial complex. He’s an Air Force veteran, which makes my Marine characters (but not me) giggle a little on the inside. But The Thousand Hour club is pitched as a road novel that happens after the protagonist takes Winter Survival School. Hmmn. George is on Twitter for you to follow.
  • Steve Umstead writes straight up science fiction, at a price for which there are special terms. It’s gotten good reviews, and looks like the kind of thing you’d like if you like what I’m writing. He’s also got a blog, over here, and seems to be the publisher of several daily digests at
  • E. Royce White has a couple short stories available for free. Free! Just go over to smashwords and download them. He also blogs at Practical State.

Quite a few of our commenters and subscribers have blogs – something that is not surprising at all really. Check out Isegoria, Madd Medic, The Interface, Pondering…, and Rocket Jones. If I’ve missed anyone, let me know.

Late breaking! Must credit Veil War! Loyal reader Charles Stewart wonders if he qualifies for inclusion on this list!

I had to laugh, his curriculum vitae starts with West Point ’69 and goes up from there. MD, Multiple degrees, multiple books, many articles, professor of emergency medicine – if only for the fact that I have all the files for the Veil War, I’d think he’s more qualified than I am. You can download “Maxillofacial Trauma,” “Blast and Traumatic Brain Injury” and other articles for free on his website, and find links to books like the Weapons of Mass Casualties and Terrorism Response Handbook. I think I’ll know who I’ll be bugging with questions about the effects of combat trauma.

And since I mentioned degrees for Charles, I should add that George O’Har was also an electrical engineer and has a Ph.D from MIT, and is a professor at Boston College. Only fair.

Part Five has left the building

Part five is up, which puts us past the psychologically-significant 10,000 word barrier. A sneak peak:

“You know, for close in, what we really need?” Thompson asked.


“Flamethrowers. Like they had in those WWII movies burning the Japs out of pillboxes and shit. Magic armor will stop a bullet maybe, but Napalm, man, that’s the real deal.

The two subsided into silence. They were all tired. Lewis walked on, thinking. Flamethrowers.

Tell your friends, use the nice little social media buttons. They want to be pressed. Want.