Blood of the Green Children Cover!

BotGC-cover-bigHere it is, the recently finished cover for the Unseen, book two: Blood of the Green Children.  I beat my head against a wall for months trying to get this cover right.  I went through a variety of different ideas before finally settling on this.  Now that it’s done I’m very excited to share it.  So… here you go!

Required Reading: Rivers of London

I recently came across the excellent Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch.  If you liked my book, you’ll like this series.

I’ve often struggled with how exactly to categorize A God for Thieves.  Elisabeth is the one who put it out in the world, and the paths she went with broke down into, basically:

Horror > Dark Fantasy

or

Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban

These are both perfectly good classifications for my book.  But I often wish there was a category path that went Fantasy > Contemporary & Urban > Crime Fiction.  Because what I feel like what I’m writing are crime thrillers that just happen to have fantasy elements in them.

And that’s what Ben Aaronovitch’s books are like.  If you like a good mix of humor, magic, and mystery, you could do a lot worse than the first book, Midnight Riot.  Aaronovitch’s writing is excellent.  He’s built a very believable magical world inside London with its own rules and history.  There’s a great mix of twists you see coming and ones that surprise you but make perfect sense on reflection.  I also appreciate his excellent characters, with an ethnically diverse and gender balanced cast.  Not to mention a sprinkling of references so nerdy even I have to look one up occasionally.  I mean, book four has a “Shaka, when the walls fell” joke in it.

I finished reading the first five books in about a month, and I’m eagerly awaiting the June release of book six.

Really, what are you still reading this blog for?  Go read the Rivers of London books.

Fallout 4

I’m looking forward to the upcoming DLC for Fallout 4.  Especially the settlement building.  I saw that there are going to be more things to craft, but I feel there’s so much room for improvement to what is a fairly light aspect of the game.  A recent patch did a great thing by showing you what a settler was assigned to while you’re in settlement mode, but it can be more.

First, more stuff to build.  You’ve got tons of object assets, now let me put more of them in my settlements!

I want the happiness stat to be a little better explained, and a little more nuanced.  Example: As far as I can tell, there’s no reason to give anyone a bed other than a sleeping bag (which uses the fewest resources).  I want a boost to happiness if I give everyone a better bed with a frame (at a higher resource cost) and give everyone space between beds.  Maybe a nightstand for everyone.  I’ve actually already done this on my main settlement and I kind of want to be rewarded.

Actually, open happiness up.  Give each settler their own personal happiness stats.  They each want different things.  Maybe there’s a particular kind of bed they like, and they’re happier if they have one of the rare comfy pillows.  Let me assign settlers to individual beds.  (Stay out of that bed, Preston.  Goddamn it that is Piper’s spot!  Go to the corner Preston!)  Maybe every settler has a preferred set of clothes they want, depending on what job they’re in, and having those clothes makes them more efficient somehow.  Admittedly, a lot of this could end up just being more fetch quests, but let’s be honest, that’s pretty much what all of Fallout’s radiant quests are anyway.

So how about more quests?  Especially cases for Nick Valentine’s detective agency.  I know the last big bit of DLC starts with one of his cases, but how about a whole lot more.  Detective style quests could really open up more RPG encounters that this game was sadly light on.

Back to settlements, what about better building options?  I want to be able to turn the clipping and snapping off so I can put a wall wherever I want.  I’m tired of it insisting that for some reason this perfectly normal building corner cannot exist.  I want to create crazy sculptures out of junk.  I want to be able to assign settlers to a work detail where I can tag a junked car in the wasteland and have it hauled back to the settlement, either for scrap or as a foot for my recreation of Robosaurus.

Give me a working Prosnap camera in game.  Let me take pictures with it, then put them on canvases to hang in my settlements.  Huh?  Huh?  That’s a good one.  Give me photography quests.  Encourage me to explore and find great vistas to capture on film, or demand action shots with deathclaws mowing through raiders.

Fix the dialog.  I know it’s too late to change that most of the dialogue options lead to the same answers, but at least tell me what I’m actually about to be saying.  I don’t like guessing at what I’m about to say.  That’s the behavior of a crazy person.

Of course, there’s really only so much Bethesda is going to want to do, so maybe I should also be addressing this to the modding community.  Have at it!

Book 2

For those curious to know, I just finished the first draft of book 2, Blood of the Green Children.  It’s currently a little bit longer than the first draft of A God for Thieves was.

Happy Valentines Day.

Affiliate Links and DRM

This is sort of a good housekeeping, full disclosure kind of thing to start off with.  If a link on this page is going to Amazon or Smashwords, it is probably an affiliate link, which basically means that if you end up buying something Amazon or whoever will give me a small cut for having sent you their way.  It doesn’t increase your price or anything, it’s just a small part of how I try to support my family as a writer.

And on to something that people will actually like, let’s talk about DRM on my books.

A God for Thieves does not have DRM on it.  That way you can put it on your phone, tablet, or whatever and read it at your leisure.  I chose to go DRM-free on the basis that if my books were in dead tree format, nothing would really stop you from enjoying that book as you saw fit, or even reselling it to a used book store.  Heck, I buy most of my books used, so it would be fairly hypocritical of me to apply a different standard to my own work.

That being said, if someone seeds my book onto a file-sharing service and thousands of people start downloading it for free, I’m going to be pretty bummed out.  Like I said, I am trying to support my family here.