Vulcan's Fury - The Dark LandsNow that MISTRESS OF THE AGES is on the street, I thought I’d fill you in on the next project I’m working on, titled VULCAN’S FURY: THE DARK LANDS.

My apologies to fellow Star Trek fans, but VULCAN’S FURY has nothing to do with Vulcans like our beloved Mr. Spock. Rather, this book is something of an alternate history of ancient Rome with a sci-fi twist. The feel of the story thus far reminds me quite a bit of both EMPIRE and the books of THE FIRST EMPRESS trilogy, although set against the backdrop of Earth, rather than outer space.

The premise of VULCAN’S FURY is that the civilizations of the ancient world were destroyed by an asteroid impact. Pockets of survivors emerged after what was later called The Long Winter, among them a group of Romans who had managed to preserve their culture and a vision to build a New Rome come the day they could again live under the open sky. When the First Spring came at last, they found the world had forever changed: the boundaries between land and sea were all but unrecognizable, and even the positions of the stars in the sky had changed. Many animals recorded in the now ancient records of the first Survivors were gone. Over the centuries that followed, other creatures, some wonderful and others terrible, appeared, sent by the gods to replace some of those that had been taken away.

A few thousand years after Old Rome was destroyed, the dream of the Roman Survivors had become a reality. Vulcan’s Fury, as the impact event was known, had become a distant but poignant memory of how wrathful the gods can be, and it was the duty of every Roman to see that they were never angered again. Over those many years, the Roman Empire had finally brought to heel the entire known world, save the Dark Lands. Hidden behind a barrier of smoldering volcanoes and the deadly Haunted Sea, the Dark Lands were at the heart of ancient legends among the Romans of terrible beasts, and worse, that had once feasted upon the flesh of men in the earliest days of the First Spring.

But ancient legends held no fear for Princess Valeria, daughter of Caesar Tiberius Claudius Augustus. Enthralled by reports of strange happenings along the coast and bored by the life of a young Roman noblewoman, she begs her father to allow her to travel to the coast of the Haunted Sea to indulge her curiosity. Tiberius grants her request, anxious to see her safely away from Rome, where the Senate is plotting against him. Together with her closest companions, including her enormous hexatiger, Hercules, Valeria sets off on her adventure, unaware that she has set in motion a series of events that will change the history of the Empire, and all Humankind, forever…

So, that’s a bit more than you would get in a typical book blurb, but I wanted to give you more of an idea of where the story is coming from. I don’t have a publication date yet, of course, but as of this writing the manuscript is already at 41,000 words, so it’s moving along pretty quickly. I also don’t know if it will be a standalone or not – we’ll just have to wait and see!

Lastly, for those who have been wondering, MISTRESS OF THE AGES was not the last book of the IN HER NAME series. The story of the Kreelan Empire and Confederation of Humanity isn’t over yet. :-)

Posted in Blog

MISTRESS OF THE AGES – Calling All Beta Readers

Mistress Of The AgesI’ve decided that it’s time to go ahead and put out the call for beta readers for MISTRESS OF THE AGES. I’m still waiting for a few revisions for the very last chapters, but the rest of the book is ready for “beta testing,” so I’m going to go ahead and send out all but the last bit and then send that on once it’s ready.

For those who may be new to this game, the function of beta readers in my editorial process is primarily to find anything that jolts you out of the story or that you think, well, sucks. Finding typos and bloopers is, of course, always appreciated, but don’t feel like you have to dig around for them. I want you to read the book and let me know what, if anything, you didn’t like about it so I can put some final polish on it before it hits the street.

For those who are selected, I will need your feedback not later than next Sunday, 26 July. If you can’t meet that deadline, please don’t apply.

To toss your hat in the ring, submit a comment to this post telling me why you’d make a good beta reader. I plan to make the selections sometime this evening and will notify the poor fools, er, lucky winners tonight or tomorrow morning! :-)

Posted in Blog


Mistress Of The AgesThe time is drawing near, my friend! MISTRESS OF THE AGES is now in the second editing phase, and it’s around this time that I typically get the cover art ready…and here it is!

I’m sure you’re probably wondering about a release date. Unfortunately, all I can tell you at this point is that it should (hopefully) be within the next few weeks. I wish I could be more specific than that, but getting a book through the first and second stage editorial revisions, then the beta readers, takes a bit of time, and I’m not going to try and rush things along to meet a deadline. But the end, at long last, is definitely in sight!

I’ll keep you posted here and on my social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, the best way to stay in touch is through my mailing list, which I highly recommend you take a moment and join (especially since I’m planning a bit of fun for the release that will only be available to my newsletter subscribers).

Stay tuned!

Posted in Blog

The Draft of MISTRESS OF THE AGES Is Done!

Mistress Of The AgesAs the title declared, the draft manuscript of MISTRESS OF THE AGES is finished! I just typed “The End” this afternoon after wrestling the last chapter to the ground.

While it still has a lot of rough edges that need to be ground off and polished, I’m quite happy overall with the way the story has come out, especially since it has to sort of “plug in” to the events that happen in the original book I read.

For those of you who are clamoring about a release date, I still can’t/won’t give you one, just because I’m a big meanie. However, having said that, I can tell you that it will likely take me about a week to do my own revisions before kicking it to the first set of editors, who typically take the most time because they have to deal with my draft writing, which isn’t pretty. Then, after I’ve finished those revisions, it goes to another set of editors, who spray more red ink on it. After I’m done with *those* revisions, it goes out to a group of beta readers, who typically have a week to read and provide me feedback. Once those revisions are done (those are typically just typos and other minor bloopers), I’ll have become thoroughly sick of the project and will gladly hit the publish button just to be rid of it!

So, a semi-realistic estimate of when it’ll go out the door is something on the order of six to eight weeks from now. But if it takes longer than that, I get to blame someone else because they’ve got the manuscript, not me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, right?

Anyway, I hope you’ll think it was worth the wait, and I’ll keep you posted as it percolates through the chain.

Oh, and by the way: I’m having a devil of a time coming up with ideas for the cover! Anyone have any bright ideas? If I pick your idea, I’ll send you a signed copy of one of the books or give in to some other reasonable (to me, not you!) request. <grin>

Posted in Blog

March Madness Giveaway: The Winners

Okay, okay, I’m late in getting this off to the presses – don’t skewer me! I’ve at least got a good excuse, having been hard at work on Mistress Of The Ages (and no, before you ask, I don’t have a firm release date yet). But the contest winners are in for the March Madness Giveaway/First Contact fantasy casting call!

Before we get to the winners, let me first say thank you to everyone who participated. It was a lot of fun reading through the responses, and interesting to see the differences in how people perceive the characters. If the casting was to be by the number of mentions, Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead would have won by a landslide for the role of Ichiro Sato, with a close second for John Cho. Interestingly enough, Angelina Jolie got a lot of picks to play Tesh-Dar (having just watched Maleficent, I can see that). Did you hear that, Angelina?

That brings us to the fun part – the winners!

Oh, and by the way: I was hoping to just post some pics of the actors/actresses, but my laptop decided to go into rebellion. So I posted links to the various profiles on IMDb.com. :-)

Runner Up #2: Eduardo C.

Crew of Aurora

Captain Owen McClaren: Harrison Ford
Ichiro Sato: Johnny Depp
Yao ming: Keanu Reeves
Jens Amundsen: Vin Diesel
Raisa Marisova: Milla Jovovich
Anna Zalenski: Jenifer Aniston
Brenda Harkness: Angelina Jolie
Gene Kilmer: Brad Pitt

Leading Kreelan Characters

Tesh-Dar: Meryl Streep
Li’ara Zhurah: Natalie Portman

Others cast as Kreelan warriors
Michelle Rodriguez
Megan Fox
Liv Tyler
Julia Roberts

Additional Human Characters

Stephanie Guillaume: Cameron Diaz
President McKenna: Halle Berry
Admiral Lefevre: Nicolas Cage
Admiral Tiernan: Morgan Freeman
Ambasador Laurent Navarre: Leonardo Di Caprio
Patty Coyle: Sandra Bullock
Emanuelle Sabourin: Lucy Liu
Col. James Sparks: Orlando Bloom
Col. Grishin: Matt Damon
Roland Mills: Owen Wilson
Amelia Cartwright: Reese Witherspoon

Runner Up #1: Rob

Rob sent me a big PDF file with his picks for actors to fill the roles, their photos, and even pics he found as ideas for what some of the vehicles and ships looked like!

Ichiro Sato: Shota Sometani
Stephanie Guillaume: Jennifer Lawrence
Tesh-Dar: Bingbing Fan
Colonel James Sparks: Sam Elliot [I have to say, nobody but Sam Elliot should be allowed to play the role of a cavalry commander after his performance in Gettysburg! – MRH]
Colonel Lev Grishin: Willem Defoe
Captain Owen McClaren: Mark Harmon
Master Chief Brenda Harkness: Ronda Rousey
Admiral Patrick Tiernan: J.K. Simmons
President Natalie McKenna: Angela Bassett
Secretary of State Hamilton Barca: Oliver Platt
Minister of Defense Joshua Sabine: Keith David
Staff Sergeant Patty Coyle: Moon Bloodgood
Cpl Manfred Holman: John Leguizamo
Sgt Yuri Kirov: Peter Stormare
Roland Mills: Jason Statham
Emmanuelle Sabourin: Seychelle Gabriel
General Jaswant Singh: Udo Kier
General Sharine Metz: Claudia Christian
Ambassador Laurent Navarre: Peter Jurasik
Admiral Lefevre: Jean Reno
Li’ara-Zhurah: Rinko Kikuchi
Gunny Pablo Ruiz: Dave Bautista

1st Prize: Wayde F.

I think Wayde must have gone through and picked out every character in the book. I had to go back and look some up just to make sure they were really in there! And not only did he choose a given actor/actress for each role (with only a few exceptions), he also chose alternates for some of them, which I’ve included in parentheses. Note, however, that I didn’t link to the alternates in IMDb – I have to get some writing done yet today. I particularly enjoyed one of his choices for Ichiro Sato: Wayde’s son!

So, congrats to Wayde, who walks away with the $50 prize. His picks are listed below. I pulled out some of the major characters and put them at the top. Now let the filming begin…

Midshipman Ichiro Sato: Daniel Henney (Aaron Yoo, John Cho, or – better yet – my son) [Kudos on that one! – MRH]
Tesh-Dar: Famke Janssen
Li’ara-Zhurah: Saffron Burrows
Stephanie Guillaume: Audrey Tautou (Chloe Grace Moretz)
Admiral Patrick Tiernan: Brendan Gleeson (Liam Cunningham, Kenneth Brannagh, Iain Glen)
Emmanuelle Sabourin : Parminder Nagra
Colonel James Sparks: Matthew McConaughey [Okay, I take back what I said about Sam Elliot. McConaughey would make an excellent cavalry officer, too! – MRH]
Staff Sgt Patty Coyle: Kate Hudson
1st Sgt Roland Mills. Jason Statham (Dan Bilzerian)
Gunnery Sgt Pablo Ruiz: Michael Peña
Capt Owen McClaren: Bruce Willis (Iain Glen, Michael Rooker)
President McKenna: Gina Torres

Lt Raisa Marisova: Natalie Zea (Rebecca Romjin, Katee Sackhoff)
Lt Jensen Amundsen: Michael Nyqvist (Stellan Skarsgard)
Lt Cdr Raj Kumar: Naveen Andrews
Ensign John Waverly: Dave Franco (Josh Peck, Jaden Smith, Logan Lerman)
Chief of Engineering Aubrey Hannan: Jason Isaacs
Master Chief Brenda Harkness: Gabrielle Reece (Tricia Helfer)
Midshipman Anna Zalenski: Oksana Okenshina (Olesya Rulin, Osalda Dychauk)
Petty Officer Yao Ming: Jet Li (Daniel Dae Kim)
Seaman 1st Class Gene Kilmer: Ray Stevenson (Dan Bilzerian)

Commander Pavel Sidorov: Sergei Bodrov
Captain Rhonda Burke: Gillian Anderson
Admiral Schiller: Arnold Vosloo
Vladimir Penkovsky: Terry O’Quinn (Aleksey Serebryakov)
Defense Minister Joshua Sabine: John Jackson (Michael Biehn)
Secretary of State Hamilton Barca: Duane Johnson [I’m assuming he meant Dwayne Johnson. The Rock goes diplomat! Yes! – MRH] (LL Cool J)
General Jaswant Singh: Akshay Kumar
General Sharine Metz: Eva Mendes (Catherine Bell)
Ambassador Faisul bin Sultan: Ben Kingsley (Yousuf Azami)
Dr Anton Novikov: Pasha Lychnikoff
Captain Leona Bennett: Patricia Clarkson
Dr Larsen: Joel Kinnaman
Vice-Admiral Mary “Bunny” Richards: Helen Mirren (Tilda Swinton, Rachel Weisz)
Ambassador Laurent Navarre: Jean Reno

Commander Scott Morrison: William Baldwin (Gregg Henry)
Lt Commander Vedette Pergolesi: Monica Belucci (Catherine Bell)
Ensign Kayla Watanabe: Grace Park (Maggie Q, Grace Huang)
Ensign Natalya Bogdanova: Karen David
Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Jaworsky: Wentworth Miller
Commodore Rafael Santiago: Raymond Cruz (Emilio Rivera)
Rai Tomonaga: Hiroyuki Sanada (Ken Watanabe, Masachi Odate)

Sgt Hadley: Eric Banna
Cpl Manfred Holman: Taylor Kitsch

Know Anybody In Hollywood?

Hey, if you’d like to see these books turned into movies (or a television series like Game of Thrones), let your favorite actors, directors, or producers know! Many voices are more effective than just one, as mine hasn’t gotten us anywhere. But maybe yours will… :-)

Posted in Blog, Contests

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