Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I got tagged by Ian Thomas Healy for this, and it seems like a good idea.  Here are The Rules.
Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog.  Tag five writers/bloggers and add links to their pages so we can hop along to them next. 

I'll tag:  Mark Bousquet, James Palmer, Bobby Nash, Sean Taylor, and Ian Watson.

Okay--here we go:

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?
Sentinels Vol. 7: Metalgod

Where did the idea come from for the book?

First--the idea for the title came from learning that the (mostly awful) movie “Rock Star” was based on a book or story called “Metal God,” which is a reference to what heavy metal musicians that become huge celebrities are sometimes called.  I got to thinking about that title and decided that it would make a great name for a supervillain in a superhero-type story.

The idea for the story came from wanting to have the Sentinels face a very menacing villain who turns out to be both more and less than he first seems.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Superhero Prose Fiction corner of New Pulp.  It also touches on Space Opera—as do all of my Sentinels novels—but that’s mainly because superhero stories have always been adept at bridging the divides between street-level action and grandiose cosmic space opera (think of an average issue of Avengers or Fantastic Four, for instance).

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ultraa is very similar, in physical appearance, to Captain America—so see any list of “actors who should’ve played Cap instead of Chris Evans.”  Lyn (Pulsar) could be played by any talented Asian-American young woman in her teens or early twenties.  Esro Brachis would probably be the toughest to cast because of his more complex character and personality.  (Interestingly, it seems like the Tony Stark we see on the screen, portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr, is much more like Esro than he is like comic book Tony Stark!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Pulsar and her newly-recruited Sentinels face a deadly and enigmatic foe on Earth, while Brachis and Mondrian cross the galaxy to attempt to avert a Kur-Bai civil war!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

From 2008-2012, Sentinels books were published by Swarm Press, an imprint of Permuted Press, a noted zombie/apocalyptic fiction publisher.  In summer of this year, White Rocket Books took over publishing rights.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ve been working on this one, on and off, for a year now.  I’m hoping to push to the conclusion in the next couple of months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Sentinels books always have an “Avengers” and “Justice League” feel, but I think this one in particular has a little “Thunderbolts” flavor, as well.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

All the classic comics stories I’ve read over the years.  And of course now that I know the Sentinels characters so well, they inspire me to keep up with what they’re doing.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Start with SENTINELS Vol. 1: WHEN STRIKES THE WARLORD.  It all begins there.  It’s the first volume in the opening trilogy, “The Grand Design.”  Then comes the big “Galactus-level threat” trilogy, “The Rivals.” This new book, METALGOD, is the opening chapter in the third trilogy, which is called “Order Above All.”  If you like superhero action in the tradition of the Avengers, colorful characters, cosmic outer space adventure, tons of characters (good, bad, and in between), and an ongoing storyline of epic proportions, you will love this series.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Current Projects

Some other writers have posted this sort of thing lately, and I don't mind jumping on the bandwagon when it's a good bandwagon.  So here's a quick look at what I have going on right now:

My current writing and editing projects, listed in order of priority to finish.  Includes progress to date and estimated time of publication, if known:

1.  SENTINELS Vol. 7: WORLDMIND (novel)  - 40,000 words complete - Nov or Dec 2012

2.  THE SHATTERING, Legion 1: LORDS OF FIRE  -  40,000 words complete - January 2013

3.  SENTINELS (Omnibus 2): THE RIVALS  -  Complete; awaiting cover - Winter 2013

4.  DECADES OF DOMINANCE: AUBURN FOOTBALL IN THE MODERN ERA  (with John Ringer)  -  85% complete  -  Spring 2013

After these four, I'm looking ahead to continuing the BRAND project I first mentioned yesterday, plus a new (secret) anthology I have cooking, plus the next BLACKTHORN anthology, plus another appearance by GIDEON CAIN.  And of course in the wake of HAWK's success, we will be seeing FALCON and RAVEN in their own books, continuing the "Shattered Galaxy" saga.

And of course 2013 will see the second volume in this new Sentinels trilogy, Vol. 8 overall:  THE DARK CRUSADE.

Completed projects awaiting publication include a 45,000-word novel (for Airship 27), a 15,000-word novella (for Pro Se Productions) and a 15,000-word novella (for New Babel Books).

There you go-- way more than I should have said in public.  But now you have a pretty good idea of what I'm working on and what I'd like to see done and out to my readers by the end of next year, if all goes well. 

To order copies of any of my books on Kindle or for Nook or in paperback, simply visit


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This just came to me out of nowhere about half an hour ago, and I had no choice but to write it.  See if you can tell what it's about and where it's going!  --Van

Chapter 1
Brand pulled the segmented metal door up and shoved it into its open overhead position, then gazed down at the collection of futuristic laser guns, particle beam weapons, grenades, smart flyers, hoverbombs, drones, and racks of ammunition that filled the little storage unit.  He looked it over once, then nodded his head.  He did not smile.
Turning back in the direction he’d come, he allowed himself a slight wince at the pain radiating from the searing injury he’d suffered a short time earlier.  The radium laser round had mostly bounced off the surface of his deflector suit, but the power level had been sufficient and the range close enough that a significant portion of the blast had gotten through and gouged out a chunk of his side, just below the ribs.  The pain was bad enough—though his suit had by now pumped something like a gallon of painkillers into his system—but he didn’t even want to think about what the radium charge on it was doing to his internal organs.  He needed to get into the med-coffin right away.  Unfortunately, he had too much else to do before he could indulge in such luxuries.
Growling softly at the pain that flared up as he turned back toward the storage unit, he reached in and detached a quad rifle and a blast pistol from the racks of weapons, along with sufficient charges and ammunition to see him through the job that lay ahead.  He held both weapons up, one after the other, inspecting them carefully before sliding the pistol into his empty holster and setting the rifle against the outside wall next to the door.  He also grabbed some fresh clothes, all in black, along with a hoverdisk and a force-sphere generator.  Lastly he took a new deflector suit—one that didn’t currently sport a six-inch-wide hole in the left side.
Satisfied, Brand stepped back and reached for the overhead door.  He pulled it back down, closed it securely, and locked it in place.
It took him longer than he would have liked to change out of the old suit and clothes and into the new ones.  The pain was growing more severe by the moment.  He shrugged it off.  Nothing more to be done about it for now.
The new clothes in place and the weapons secured to his person, Brand walked a dozen yards to the intersection at the end of the short aisle he’d occupied.  Rounding the corner, he stared down a corridor at least a hundred yards long.  Clean and pristine white were the walls, floor, and ceiling, with the gray rectangular outlines around the doors the only color breaking up the image.  The doors were different from the overhead garage-style one he’d just closed, too—these were standard, eight-foot-tall jobs with brass knobs.
He started forward.  Doors went by on left and right; none of them revealed any markings at all.  It didn’t matter; he knew which one he was looking for.
A few more steps and he stood before his objective: Just another white door, unmarked like all the others.  But he knew it was the one.  Drawing his pistol in his right hand, he reached out with his left and seized the knob.  He turned it and the door swung open onto a nightscape blinding in intensity and flooded with sounds of blaring electronic music and shouts.
His eyes narrowed.  He hated confusion, noise, distractions.  Hated those things with a passion. 
But this was where he needed to be.  Where he had a very particular job to do.  It was time, he knew, to get to it.
He checked his pistol once more, then stepped through the doorway into another time and place.  The door to his own world swung soundlessly closed behind him.