Dark Winter – Part 21

DarkWinter_H1Z1_Header

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

The helicopter landed gently, Chris hardly feeling the skids touch cement. He likely wouldn’t have noticed anyway, his attention was on his new surroundings. He’d never been here before, but knew of it.

The reports, everything they’d been told, were wrong.

The campus was on several thousand acres of woodland, that much looked to be true, but none of the imaging they’d been given really captured the scope. They’d landed on a helipad next to a long runway. The A-10 Thunderbolt II’s were just now landing, their big turbines roaring as they passed. To the other side was a low, squat building that looked like a bunker. There were other buildings like it, tucked back beneath the trees. Some were open and Chris saw more A-10s and even an F-15C. Those kinds of aircraft simply were not sold to civilians.

What the hell is going on here? Continue reading

Dark Winter – Part 4

DarkWinter_H1Z1_Header

“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”
– Bob Dylan, “All Along the Watchtower”

Her vision came in patches of light and darkness as consciousness ebbed in and out. Windshield wipers slashed at the snow. Trees rushed past. The faces, however, the faces were the worst. They appeared suddenly, eyes wide with madness instead of terror and were gone with a loud thump that shook the SUV’s entire frame. It shook Katie too, but she found no energy for fear, for anxiety, for remorse. She could only lay there, barely moving. Drawing a breath was hard enough.

Antiseptic. She smelled antiseptic. The odor was strong and stung her nose. It overpowered everything. She lifted a hand, her left hand, and saw it was wet with it. Her face too. The taste of it was on her lips.

“Awake?” Continue reading

More hints of what’s to come

So, I am in the midst of some major fiction writing.

The company I work for is very tight on what I can and can not do with intellectual property that may earn me money, so every piece of literature I write (for profit) has to be passed through a strict process of approval. For that reason, I’m turning this blog into something of an outlet for my other, less salable work. It will be the place where all my non-earning writing can go, which will be cool! I’ll write whatever comes to my mind and wants an outlet. It’ll be fun.

If I have some fan fiction to write, it’ll go here. If I have some horribly cliché story idea that I just want to write about anyway? No problem! This will be a blog where my fun, just-for-kicks stories can find a home. If and when any of my professional work comes out, I’ll be sure to link you all. Then you can be the gal or guy that says “Hey, I read that guy’s bullshit stories!” Should we ever meet at a signing or a Convention, we can laugh about them.

And now, an updated image of my upcoming story header.

DarkWinter_H1Z1_Header

I’m not sure it’s quite done yet. It might go through a few more iterations. I feel like it might need a subtitle. We’ll see as time goes on.

The Space Cantina – From the bottom of a well

SpaceCantina_Header

So it’s been quite a while since I had an update on here. Sorry about that, it’s mostly me. Okay? Really, it’s me. Not you. You were great. You ARE great and that’s what’s important. Take that with you. Hold on to it. Cherish it.

Actually I’ve been swamped at work. For those who don’t know, I work in the Video Game industry and the company I work for is ramping up for some big goals. What that means for me is a ton of overtime. I mean a ton. I didn’t know what a metric f*ckton was until now.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, oh no. I’ve been writing as much as I can possibly dare. I’m still working on that novel and it’s coming along. Novels take time though and I definitely am finding just how much. I’ve revamped and retooled parts of the story half a hundred times, but I feel like it’s finally getting there. Maybe I’ll even have something to share soon. Maybe.

What else? 36 Hours got a whole new revision (actually 2 revisions) and is currently out and about, so perhaps I’ll have something to talk about on that front soon. You never know!

Did you enjoy Hallow Hill? If you haven’t heard, FYI Weekly is running it on their site! Go check them out! Also, I want to say hello and thank you to all those wonderful folks in Perth who are reading it!

I have a new revision of Hallow Hill coming, but the world is different. Aranor is getting a big revamp, a good reskinning as it were. I can’t wait to unveil parts of it for people here soon. I’m pretty proud of it!

Anyway, if you’re still here, thanks for reading!

Hallow Hill – Part 4

HollowHill_Header2

He dreamed of the dead.

This one, like so many others before, took him back to Hallow Hill during the deep winter, before the Blood Plague came. The whole House came together and fires would be lit in the hearths as cousins and uncles would tell their tales of gallantry from the previous year. They would speak of exploits at the Bridge, a narrow pass through the vast mountains separating the east and the west, or across the Skipping Stones, a series of islands that bridged the gap between the Twin Cities that looked at one another over the Sea of Stars.   Continue reading

The Space Cantina – Novel writing, progress and sushi (okay, there’s no sushi, sorry)

SpaceCantina_Header

I realize it’s been over a week since my last post, sorry about that. I wish I had a really, really good excuse but I don’t. Really what’s been going on is simply work, work, and more work. 50-60 hours a week kind of work. This is the second time it’s really kept me from posting a story though and thus, my goal keeps getting punched in the face.

The Blood has hit a wall. Not because I don’t really know where to go with it, I do, it’s just that I’m finding myself dividing too much time between other projects and not working on the novel. I get very few hours to sit down and put words on the page, and if I dedicate it to The Blood, I don’t dedicate it to the novel. So which do I concentrate on? Part of me feels awful for putting the novel first, because I think I do in fact have several folks who read this blog. It’s to you folks I’m talking to now. Continue reading

The Space Cantina – Thoughts on 36 Hours, writing and what’s next

SpaceCantina_HeaderPart 18 marks the end that revision of 36 Hours. I hope everybody enjoyed it! It’s definitely a moody piece, something I actively worked to achieve. I loved Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a book I tried to give homage to with 36 Hours. It wasn’t a story of huge heroics, of running in like Rambo and gunning down all the bad guys, it was a story about regular men trying to survive a horrible situation. It was a story of loss, both of life and hope. World War One shattered an entire generation around the world, and I’d hoped to capture just a small sense of that with my rendition of the United State’s own spirit-rending crisis.

I think this story requires one more revision and in that revision I feel I need to change Kat’s name. Kat is the name of Paul Baumer’s comrade in All Quiet and someone who served the same role for Paul as my Kat did for Tommy. It’s hard to change though, because Stephen Katzin is forever Kat in my mind. Maybe I’ll get away with it remaining the same, I don’t know. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 13

36Hours_Steampunk_Header

The wind blows cold from the east, carrying with it the scent of freshly turned earth and blood. It unsettles my hair but its caress is soft enough to make me close my eyes. I can not reconcile the things I see with reality and I shut them out. Darkness is much easier to understand than this.

I stand here for an eternity. The whole of the world moves on without me. The war ends, life begins again, the Union and Confederacy collapses. These images are more real to me than the present and I surrender to it. Continue reading

The Space Cantina – Dreaming in aether

My first introduction to “steampunk” is hazy. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was my first exposure to the forerunners of the genre, but it wasn’t literature that first got me into it. I’ve been attending Dragon*Con for almost a decade now and it was the culture of steampunk that influenced me. The people all dressed up in brass and steam vented tech hooked me deep and I never resisted the line. That was a horrible metaphor, I should really apologize for that but I won’t. See? Punkness.

My creative outlet for anything steampunky was roleplaying at first. I played Changeling: The Dreaming and Mage: The Ascension by White Wolf Studios. If you know anything about those old games you might understand what I mean by that. I’d invent my head off with a Son of Ether or create some awesome gear-operated armor for my Nocker. Even WoW had the Gnomes. I love me some gnomey goodness. FOR GNOMEREGON!

In 2009 I participated in NaNoWriMo and it was a fantastic experience. 50,000 words in one month was a challenge but it wasn’t nearly the impossible climb people told me it’d be. I just wrote everyday. That was it. I wrote about a victorian-esque world where mages were hunted down by religious zealots called Paladins and had to fight off these horrid creatures I called…. horrors. Okay, not my most brilliant name, but it didn’t matter. When I finished writing that, people read bits of it and told me “I love steampunk!” But… I didn’t set out to write a steampunk novel. Actually what I felt I’d created was “MagicPunk.”

That book died an early death just after NaNo. I just didn’t have the outline solid enough to keep it going. One of my two main characters got stabbed in the face right in the middle of the story, so that didn’t help either. It went into the drawer and I wrote a bunch of science fiction stories for a while. Still, my fascination with victorianesque worlds and magic continued to brew, bubble and boil. Several months ago I dug out my notebooks (I have a marble black/white notebook for every story I write) and read the notes for my novel from graduate school. This novel (my thesis) involved the conventional fantasy trope of a young group of heroes trying to fight off a great evil. I LOVE this story trope, and I will never grow tired of reading its many variations. But that story, much like the NaNo novel, died an early death as well. In reading my notes, I grew misty-eyed and nostalgic.

I also slapped it ontop of my NaNo notebook.

MagicPunk lives. It wasn’t what I ultimately did with the story, but a great deal of ideas came together when I looked at them together. I stole elements from both and even stole the seed of a novel concept I’d been keeping for a rainy day and threw that in. In stewed like … well, stew, in a crockpot, and came out smelling and tasting not at all like crap. I then set to work on massaging out overused tropes, cliches and adding conflicts, characters and seeds for the story’s future. What came out of it was something I’m tentatively calling my “Aether Dreams” cycle.

It’s steampunk, edging on dieselpunk with a heavy feel of World War I tech to it. Added to this world is Aether, a mysterious substance that is both a powerful fuel and a heretical substance. Those who chose to study and manipulate aether go mad, grow sick or kill themselves with their experiments… except for those who learned to control it, and those who did are capable of fascinating technology. Unfortunately their research was cut short by the untimely demise of their king, the overthrow of their kingdom and subsequent subjugation by a technocratic, heavily religious Empire.

I’m not going to go into much more detail about any plot elements yet but this world really got me thinking and writing. I love it and with the story I’m plotting, I hope some readers do too. Some of you know that I’m fascinated by military history and there is plenty of that influence in my story. I’m not talking about cold, detailed battles where I describe who ordered who, who shot who with which volley… no. I write about characters and about the conflicts that hit close to their hearts.

I know this wasn’t a fiction post and more about my writing ideas, but I’m glad you stuck with me so far. Next week I should be getting the first bits of 36 Hours up. Yay, more fiction!

/Hackett Out.