Actually, I’m lying. I didn’t see this in the wild, but it’s hit the desks at Black Library Towers, and I’m pretty much in love with how it looks.
I like how subtle and understated it is. It’s not wacky or cartoony, and credits the license with some intrigue and maturity. Admittedly, only in our beloved 40K license could you consider Hellpeople on Fire in the Shadows to be “subtle”, but let’s just say I’m pretty damn pleased with this one. The Night Lords Series has had some of the most consistently beautiful artwork BL has ever produced (Thanks, Jon Sullivan; look for your name in the Foreward), and even though it’s a change in direction, it’s one I’m dead pleased with.
As you may know, my sadfaced, lip-quivering rants about artwork are rare but, uh, “pointed” and “poignant”. I’ve never been afraid to sink to the lowest depths of unprofessionalism in saying I can’t stand a cover. But my last three have been this one, The Talon of Horus, and Armageddon. If it was BL’s intent to butter me up with lovely covers and shame me into hitting my deadlines, then… fuck, it might actually work.
Anyway, more details as they come in.
EDIT: Details have come in. Regarding the contents, here’s a l’il glance at what’s inside:
On another note, remember my Deathwatch Campaign? Brother-Intendant Deiphobus of the Minotaurs is rolling along with some slow painting progress. Better photos coming soon:
You may remember that I’m starting a Deathwatch game soon – next weekend, in fact – with a few of the members of my 40K campaign group. It’ll also be the first field test of the (finally finished) Aaronorium, which is the best name for a games room since Futurama’s “Angry Dome”, “Calamatorium”, or “the Accusing Parlour”.
I’m making an effort to blog a little more this year, especially about hobby stuff, so we’ll start with a teaser. Our GM Mark (who plays Eldar, for the record) is notorious in our gang for going all-out in terms of effort at our 40K campaign weekends. His models are insane. As an example, he pro-painted a Blood Bowl orc team for me for my birthday. But this is above and beyond the call of duty. He had actual props made for when we’re sat around the table.
Check these out…
Holy fucking shit, right? I need a weapons rack for the Aaronorium so, so badly.
The guys in my DW group haven’t even seen these yet, so consider yourself on the bleeding edge of my delicious but ultimately futile existence.
The Black Library Weekender is mere days away.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I’m “not a big events guy”. At GDUK, you’ll usually find me taking longer breaks than the other authors, or signing for less time, and going to spy on people’s armies instead. I like doing panels with Graham of the McNeill Clan, and John of the French bloodline (and anyone from Forge World who will sit next to me for more than three minutes with me lavishing kisses upon them), but BL’s brand new events overseer (who is called Claudia, and is lovely, by the way) was very thoughtful in arranging a slightly less hectic schedule for me than last year’s Weekender. I barely survived last year’s one. And this year, I may not have a surprise midnight kiss with a burly male prison guard to boost my morale.
So while I’ll miss the Everyone Sit In A Room With Aaron event (which was humblingly full, last year), I’ll be less frantic and rushed with 800 panels and stuff, so I won’t constantly be saying “Uh, fuck off, I have to go to a thing now” if you happen to stop me in the hallway or the bar.
You can find a schedule thingy here: http://www.blacklibrary.com/Events/weekender-2013.html.
Also of note, I think my Mum and Stepdad are showing up to collect Shakes on the Saturday morning/afternoon, so if you want to see what I’d look like if I was a couple of decades older (and female) then I’ve got you covered.
I should (should…) have finished The Talon of Horus by the weekend, as well. If you ask me about it at the event, and all I do is hang my head and weep soulfully, then you’ll know just how well that intention worked out in the end. As with every book I write, I hate it and I’m sure everyone will hate it, too. We’ll see if time plays it out that way. It’s the story of the warriors who form the Black Legion first coming together to seek the lost First Captain Abaddon, and ends with Abaddon’s inevitable return to confront the clones of Horus – the first thing of note in the Black Legion/Sons of Horus’s famous post-Terra history.
Which all obviously leads into the second novel being about the Black Legion’s first few years of struggle.
I’m a little worried about a storm of 1-star reviews (“Abaddon doesn’t show up until really late!”) just because he’s on the cover, but whatever. If I wasn’t second-guessing myself and rewriting every line three times in a state of awkward discomfort, it wouldn’t be me. I’d be, y’know, someone brave instead.
I feel a little guilty about anyone who makes the main characters, though. First Claw aren’t equipped to be great on the tabletop, but at least they’re pretty easy to model. The ‘main character squad’ equivalent in The Talon of Horus (and going forward through the series) is the Ezekarion, and they’re not going to be easy to model. They’re also not actually tabletop legal, and would cost about 3,000 points if they were. So I apologise in advance.
The Tale of Five Heretics is, as you can see, massively delayed. I’ve accidentally started a Minotaurs army, and the maddest thing is that – for once – I’m actually painting them. And it’s fun. I’m enjoying it. This is progress on an unprecedented scale for me, given that I’m the guy that recently fielded 1,000 points of unpainted Chaos Marines, and still claim victory with 4,000 points of unpainted High Elves in my teens. The good news is that from mid-November onwards, I have a lot more free time again. I’ll have a proper update around then, hopefully with my first 3-man Sky Hunter Squad in the bag. I went from hating those models to absolutely adoring them in the space of about a week, and now I can’t get enough of them.
In other news, here are some of the fruits of my Facebook wall and various inboxes.
Is it inboxes? Inboxii. Inbeexes.
Whatever. You may recognise Defreee’s freaking killer representation of these fine, polite young men:
Before I go, did I tell you a few of us are gearing up to play some Deathwatch in January? Hopefully a long-running campaign, and we’re looking to make it more than just a series of shooty-death-kill scenes. I’ll have more info soon, but right now the line-up runs a little like this:
- Varianus Noster, Praesarius of the Ultramarines 5th Company. [Devastator]
- Jorran, Battle-Brother of the Imperial Fists 5th Company. [Tactical]
- Droitus Mallory, Battle-Brother of the Lamenters. [Assault]
- Deiphobus Lorec, Intendant of the Minotaurs. [Apothecary]
Given my shameless love of Apothecaries, it’ll be no surprise that I’m playing Dio. It was hard resisting Devastator, Tactical, and Librarian (because of heavy bolter, awesome bolter, and psychic powers, respectively) but nothing beats a narthecium.
Some interesting tensions between the Chapters, too. Hope it works out.
And lastly, you can see Katie thinking about whether to join in or not, over at her blog right here. It’s a conundrum. She likes her D&D gnome, and Space Marines… aren’t D&D gnomes.