In Which I am Back in the Saddle

Slowly, the world turns, leading to more troubles and more triumphs. You may have read about the troubles in the last post: a double-hit of injury and unemployment. But pain doesn’t last forever, and, in my case, unemployment doesn’t either.

I lucked out in more than one respect — I managed to make it to the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, and networked my butt off. Not every meeting bore fruit, but one did — I met Y-Lan Boureau, the founder of a startup called ThrivePal. She was looking for nerdy writers, and I happened to be one. As of April 12th, I have some contract work with ThrivePal, so you may consider me gainfully employed as a writer once more.

That’s probably the biggest news, but as far as You the Gentle Reader are concerned, it may not make a vast, visible difference just yet. I can’t talk about the project, probably for a long time. So let me distract you with something that might entertain… a lovely bit of cover art!

Remember this one?

I still don’t know where the pink hair came from.

Like with Keen Edge of Valor, a character from one of my stories made the cover of the brand-spanking-new installment in the Libri Valoris (Books of Valor) series. Keen Edge up there has the Lady of the Lake on the left with King Arthur’s spear (the Rhongomyniad), as detailed in “The Torturer of Camelot.” Well, now we’ve got a new heroic trio, and I’m not talking about that movie with Michelle Yeoh. I’m talking about…

The cover of Paladins of Valor, 5th book in the Libri Valoris series.
Warning: Contains an unsafe level of redheads.

All the Details, a.k.a. A Brief Commercial

Paladins of Valor is the fifth and last anthology in the Libri Valoris series, and it’s coming out April 19th, 2024. As I write this, it’s still in pre-orders, but by next week’s FantaSciCon, it’ll be available to all.

For Paladins, I wrote a story called “High Water Mark” in which a paladin, her apprentice, and a formerly enslaved camp follower serve the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. The paladin, Seraphine, is pictured on the left with her armor and a Sharps rifle. (Yes, I know plate mail doesn’t stop Civil War-era rifle rounds. I took that into account in the story.) The apprentice, Miri, and her new friend, Jessie, are just as important, but you’ll have to read the piece to see how it all shakes out.

There’s 14 stories of paladins in the anthology, some of whom you may know from already-existing worlds printed by Chris Kennedy Publishing. The guy in the middle of the cover is Gavin, the bearer of Nuada’s Silver Hand in a story of the Milesian Accords universe by Jon R. Osborne. (The dog’s name is Zeus.) The legionnaire on the right is (I think) from the Roman-esque Chronicles of Hanuvar universe by Howard Andrew Jones, and he’s Killian Pullio Vicentius. I’m not 100% sure, because there’s also an appearance in the anthology from the legendary spear-wielding centurion Longinus. But that story takes place a long time after the Roman era, so either it’s not him or the artist just put him in armor because of the Rule of Cool.

What Other Books You Got?

If anthologies aren’t your speed, I don’t have any other new writing coming out, but I have been reading and reviewing books on the regular. A website called asks authors for their three favorite reads of the last year so they can build a library of short and sweet reviews. Their landing page lists the most popular. They hit me up and I sent in my faves. It sort of defeats the point for me to repost them here, so here’s the link to my three — one traditionally published, two indie.

And What of That Fancy New Novel?

The short version: I’ve been focusing on getting a job and researching games at night. I’ve been almost completely stalled on Civil Blood’s sequel. Over the last two months, I’d guess I got about 5,000 words added. Not zero… but not good. Hopefully my life will get a little less complicated and I can make some real progress.

Time to get to work.

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