The Veil War

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

Month: April, 2012


Chapter 19 is up! And yes, there is mayhem. A little violence, the more sensitive of you might want to avert your eyes. Teaser:

In the distance about five miles out and a bit east, Lewis guessed, was a low rise of rough terrain; lumps of bare, black rock sticking out of a shallow sandy swell. There the 116th had taken up a defensive posture.

North and west of the cavalry, Lewis could see a goblin assault readying in the flat ground to the left. Seven regiments of goblin infantry were moving out of column. There looked to be about a thousand goblins in each, so at least seven thousand total. They were equipped like the goblins they’d fought back in Iraq; bronze breast plates and helmets, carrying swords and shields. Their banners snapped in the growing breeze. Windrows of goblin corpses in the field before them showed that this wasn’t the first assault, but likely the largest so far.

As always, please note in the comments any typos, mistakes, and errors. And also feel free to lavish me with praise. That’s always nice.

Movement to Contact

Chapter Eighteen is now up, and hey, look at the time! It’s not 11:59! I actually hope to get back to early morning Thursday postings for chapters, but the quantity of rewriting I’m doing is a lot more than I (rather naively, as it turns out) expected. Teaser:

“Fuck!” Coleman shouted, and spun the thumper around to the right. “Who fucking shot me?”

Angelo, standing in the bed of the humvee behind, opened up with his .50 cal. Lewis watched the tracers reach out across the sandto a battered Toyota pickup racing toward them. Two bursts disabled the engine and the occupants piled out. Another burst cut one of them in half.

We’re now in Part III, which doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything to you except that it’s battle time. And as always, your help in catching errors and mistakes is always appreciated. Further, since we’re moving into combat mode again, that will mean greater opportunities for you veterans and gun enthhusiasts to be nitpicky as much as your black little hearts desire offer constructive and useful criticism to improve the story. So enjoy.

Spiders from Space!

Doesn’t quite have the cache of “Pigs in Space” but an interesting idea. Baen has an article up on what it sort of starfaring species social spiders might turn into. Interesting stuff:

Think Like Spiders with Starships

…First they have to find us. Or at least they have to find suitable sites to establish new nests, presumably rich, wet worlds like our own Earth. The drive for spiders to expand territory results in exploratory threads sent out at random. If strands stick, spiders investigate.

Imagine a technology that mimics what spiders know from biology. Von Neumann probes scattered to space might carry explorers who evaluate new nodes, new planets. Each planetfall expands a web work across space of increasing complexity and shifting connectivity. Communication vibrates along the connection points like a hum across the galaxy, with the spiders focusing on attractive worlds. The fact is, with expansion following their ancient ethological roots, they might eventually visit every world in the Milky Way.

…When they arrive here, they will not care about individuals. They will seem pitiless in the way they advance. There will be no opportunity for prisoner exchange. No quarter given or expected, indeed no conception of such a thing. We will likely not understand them and they can’t even try to understand us. We will see a campaign of conquest, but should realize the intellectual emptiness of evolution’s moral compass.

As a hierarchical species capable of independent thought at different levels, our advantage on the battlefield will play greatly to our advantage. While initially we may be awed and cowed by the technology they wield, the uncanny way they coordinate their ground troops, or their pitiless methods of advance, human instincts should launch our own problem solving abilities to defend our world and defeat the menace. We, who killed mastodon with fire-hardened sticks. We, who took the dens of cave bears as our own. We, who crossed mountains with nothing but furs wrapped about our bodies. We, who must now repel the seemingly implacable alien menace from our midst.

The tactics and strategy of the spiders following ancient biological algorithms would manifest in rapid adaptations on a battle field. Fluid with emergent properties, spider troops react almost instantaneously to our positions and movements with their own age old mechanisms honed over almost a half billion years longer as a social species. But their thinking is not heuristic, it is only reactionary. And this is their weakness. Our individuality will outwit programming.

Reminds me a bit of two of my favorite sf novels – Blindsight by Peter Watts, and Killing Star by Zebrowski and Pellegrino. (You should read both instantly.)

Chapter 17

Here we are. Escaped from the darker recesses of my mind is Chapter 17. Your by now traditional teaser:

Lewis’ sword moved with agonizing slowness as he struggled to parry Siegfried’s attack. The baron was so damn fast, Lewis thought. Lewis managed to get his sword up to block the cut he expected but the baron’s sword wasn’t there. Siegfried’s sword somehow whipped up and beat Lewis’ blade away, out of line and to the right. Mentally and physically off-balance, Lewis winced. Here it comes.

For those of you keeping score at home, this chapter marks the end of what I like to call Part II. Captain Lewis’ story falls into roughly three parts, four if you’re being generous. Part I is chapters one through eight – up to the meeting with the crusaders. Part II is the bridge to the big battle and Part III, then, is the big battle. The very last bit is the conclusion, and I guess we could call that Part IV. I’ve written over 22,poo words for the rest of the story, and I know right now that I’ll be adding more as I go back through this stuff getting it ready to post. So far, including today’s extra long 3000-word chapter, I’ve posted 41,000 words.

As always, feel free – nay, feel obligated – to note in the comments any mistakes, grammatical errors, typos or infelicities of language. Comments on the story are of course welcome as well. I accept full responsibility for all that is published here. (But not the blame.)

The Really Big Idea: Tim Miller

I ran into Tim Miller on the Twitter, and saw that he was a writer. Sweet, I thought. Then I saw that his book was titled, “The Hand of God.” Sweeter. Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down started playing in my head. I looked closer, and saw that there could be no song more appropriate to the matter of the book. Check it out.

PS., I am such an asshole to have this sitting in my drafts folder for so long without publishing it. My apologies to Tim, you the dear reader, all the small gods of propriety and the universe at large.

The Birth of the Hand of God

The idea for this story came from a combination of a several things.  I was at a time in my life, almost exactly one year ago, when things were going incredibly bad for me.  I had just had a business fail, we’d lost our house, cars and had to move across the country to find work.  Shortly after that our marriage totally fell apart and we’d separated.  During that mess, my ex decided to take our daughter and move to another state with her without telling me or allowing me to see her (that’s all been worked out now), so needless to say, I was in a very bad place at the time.  I was broke, lonely and quite angry.

During this time, I had begun watching Dexter.  Everyone knows who Dexter is, for those who don’t, he’s the serial killer who works by day as a forensic analyst for the Miami police department.  Well, I found the show highly intriguing and it made me think.  As I was thinking, I reflected on my up until now, useless college degree in Bible and religious studies.  I remembered when I was involved in ministry how many people in churches and even preachers would do bizarre, and often horrible things to others and say it was because God told them to.  They felt “led”, “guided” or “convicted” by the holy spirit to do whatever crazy off the wall thing it was, which in their minds got them off the hook.

So with those ideas, Pastor Charlie was born.  I thought, what if there was a preacher who thought God was telling him to kill sinners in a brutal and ritualistic way?  So I began writing it, but not from a cop or someone’s point of view trying to stop him, but from Charlie’s own point of view.  I thought it would be fun to take the reader inside of his twisted mind and see how he justifies what he does.  Things get more interesting in the book, when another preacher comes along with a few of his own tricks up his sleeve and the story continues to evolve from there.

Some of the biggest issues I had in the book was how grounded did I want the book to be in reality.  Did I want it to be totally realistic?  Or did I want to put a supernatural twist on it?  I struggled with this off and on a lot, but in the end supernatural won.  I figured you can’t have a book dealing with religion from such an angle without some supernatural activity.  I think in the end it made the book much more interesting and raised the stakes considerably. There is an underlying message all throughout the book that things are never what they seem, or what we might expect them to be.

The Hand of God was a lot of fun to write.  I’m currently working on a second book in the Pastor Charlie series.  The biggest challenge with any of these stories is getting him into these jams, and then figuring out how I’m going to get him out.  Especially with as powerful his enemies are.  Either way, I hope everyone enjoys reading it and maybe even learn a few things as well. I learned a lot while writing it.  Thank you to Stephen for having me here.  Feel free to contact me!

Buy The Hand of God: amazon

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Chapter 16

I really don’t want this to turn into Veil War Fridays. But that seems to be the way of things, lately. My apologies for the untimely posting, but between work and a sudden, uncontrollable desire to rearrange a lot of the stuff that has happened in the last couple chapters (and indeed, the next couple as well) things have taken more time than I had hoped.

So, excuses out of the way, here at long last is Chapter Sixteen.

“Your sword is a prize of battle, won from the goblins. Prince Raimond and the Strategos both realized at once that it did not have the look of the goblin-work.”

“I noticed that myself, but I didn’t think much of it. My knowledge of goblins being so extensive.”

Father Pietr smiled. “Yes. There are goblins on many worlds; even goblins from the same world have different customs, different ways of sword-making. Could it not be from some tribe we know nothing of? But there is this: your sword looks like something out of our own history. A sword, much like yours, rests in the royal armory. It was taken from the dead hand of a goblin king by King Henric II six hundred years and more ago.”

I have a question for my readers. I have throughout this whole story kept the writing as spare as I could. No florid descriptions – just sketches of description and characterization (brief, but hopefully evocative) and focusing most of the effort on dialog and descriptions of the action. I’d like your opinion on how that is working.

And as always, please point out in the comments any grammatical or other errors. While I try to make it as clean as I can before posting, I don’t have a professional editor on staff, more’s the pity. Thanks for your patience as I try to push this out the door as fast as I can.