Blood Magic

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The new Princeps Venator book, Blood Magic, is now available.

The Universe Speaks Louder

Well, I’m now working on the next book in the Twilight Empress series, because the universe told me to. Well, YouTube. YouTube told me to write the next Twilight Empress book.

You see, I like music while I work. Some people find it distracting to read or write with music playing (especially music with lyrics), but I tend to work better when there’s noise. I have playlists for each book series which are supposed to be inspirational, but sometimes I want something purely random. Then I either just shuffle everything I have available, or I power up YouTube and listen to whatever comes up in my ‘mixtape’ list that day. I end up listening to some really weird stuff that way, but it works.

Recently, YouTube started throwing up a lot of AMVs based around Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra clips. It’s no secret that one of the inspirations for the Twilight Empress books is ATLA and TLOK, so I took this as a sign from on high that it was time for The Last Emperor to be written. (Another influence is the Matt Damon film The Great Wall, by the way, which I must get around to rewatching at some point soon.)

In season two of ATLA, we get introduced to Azula and her two friends Ty Lee and Mai. Azula recruits Ty Lee for her hunt for the Avatar from a circus where Ty Lee is the happiest she’s ever been. Azula basically threatens (non-verbally) to make Ty Lee’s life a misery unless she comes along. Ty Lee is later asked why she’s there since the universe told her to join the circus and she says that Azula spoke lounder. Whatever else I may have had planned right now, YouTube spoke louder.

Meanwhile, Blood Magic will be out next week. I have a few edits to do and a cover to come up with, but it’ll be out just after Easter.

Names

I’m somewhere around half way through writing a book, and I just realised I still don’t have a name for it. Sometimes, names are hard.

In Other (Gaming) News…

So, today marks a week of Anthem(tm) and last night I did the final mission in the initial ‘critical path’ storyline. According to the Xbox achievement, 1-in-5 players have got to the same point (I think it was about 16% last night; going up fast). It’s not exactly a long story, but it also drops a heaving, massive hint of things to come in the future.

There’s been a lot of noise about how bad Anthem is, especially on YouTube. Then again, according to a lot of YouTube gaming channels, the entire game industry is about to collapse and all the games being released are bad (except for that one they like). Since people have been predicting the end of EA (for example) for at least two decades, I’m taking most of this with a pinch of salt, but I have to admit that Anthem is not exactly a perfect example of software production. But what is? A little while ago, I started a playthrough of Rise of the Tomb Raider, which went really great until it crashed right at the end and corrupted the save data, making the game unplayable. My other game of choice at the moment is Destiny 2. For all the talk of Anthem‘s endless load screens and connection issues, I have far more problems with lost connections in D2, plus D2 has load screens just as long, they’re simply hidden better. And the amount of bitching about random loot drops in Destiny dwarfs the noise about Anthem‘s loot, and the same people are probably complaining about both being ‘the worst.’ Sigh.

My opinion (should you want it): I like Anthem. I enjoy the gameplay. I enjoy the interactions with NPCs in Fort Tarsis; there’s a real Mass Effect feel about some of the characters. It could certainly be better, but I have reasonable hopes that BioWare are going to make it better. More, I have reasonable hopes that the kind of better they’re aiming at is what I want to see. That last point is important because…

As luck would have it, Bungie put out the ‘reveal’ trailer for their Season of the Drifter content in the last day or so. It turned up in my YouTube recent videos list this lunchtime. Bungie are listening to their ‘core players’ when deciding how to develop Destiny. Unfortunately, that means listening to the minority of their players. Back to the Xbox achievements. I have one achievement for Gambit (D2’s PvP-lite competitive gaming option): ‘High-Stakes Play.’ You get it for winning one (1) match in Gambit. It does not take a great player to achieve this. I suck at any form of PvP and I hadn’t tried Gambit until very recently when I joined a clan (guild, league, whatever player groups are called in your favourite game) and was dragged into a Gambit match. Even playing with random pick-up groups, I’ve been on the winning side in Gambit. 16.05% of Destiny players have High-Stakes Play. I also have ‘Belly Of The beast’ for completing the Leviathan raid (which is now about 2 years old and I got recently). Me and 13.16% of players have that, which means that’s a load of end-game content Bungie have produced for 13% of their players. And now, those who yell loudest are controlling the development of Destiny. I don’t think I’ll be getting D3 or the next season pass, or whatever they go for next, because they aren’t really developing the game in the way want to see it developed. I don’t think they’re developing it the way most players want, just the loudest 20% or so. And I’m being generous with that 20%.

And in other (not exactly gaming) news, yes, Anthem has popped an idea or two into my head I’m developing for the book after the next Princeps Venator book. Well, Anthem and a bunch of other random influences. When I’m ready to reveal more about it, I’ll be dropping some concept art and such.

Fox 10 Art Dump

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Click on the image to go to my ArtStation site for a few concept pictures I did for Dance with The Devil.

Dance with The Devil (out now)

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Dance with The Devil, Fox Meridian 10, is out now.

A Dance with The Devil (cover)

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Dance with The Devil, the tenth Fox Meridian book, should be out in the next day or two. Hopefully, Amazon won’t complain about a hint of shadowy, naked Devil butt cos I really quite like how this came out.