Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another "Clash of Eagles" Update

Alright, it's that time of the year again: update time. 

Right now Clash of Eagles stands at 144,000 words, with the current chapter going on and on and on.

I've come down with the flu, which means I'll be at home until next Wednesday. I've got no fever (yet), meaning I have plenty of time to put into writing on this story. I do already have the scene with Jennifer finished, but I'll wait with an update until I've got more done. Should me health not deteriorate much I hope I'll be able to push all this a good deal forward during the next days. :)

On a side note, I went back at the covers again and decided to get rid of all the overly elaborate, embossed and textured fonts. With the logo there already are enough fancy elements, and simple bold letters do the job just fine. I've also looked at other mainstream AH publications, which seem to go with the same choice in font design; it's not the worst thing to run with the crowd sometimes.

The newest iteration of the covers, including the series logo.
On a last note, the additional backer rewards I mentioned (did I mention them?) for the more than long waiting period are getting done. They consist of signed individual hardcover editions (that means no more than 20 of these will exist world-wide) of both novels, with the Clash versions containing drawings of TBA characters.

Ms. Alison McNicol, for example, will receive one featuring the character she lent her name to:
Alison McNicol, introduced as an aide for an intelligence service officer, turns out
to be capable of handling a lot more than just a typewriter...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

War Blogger Reviews - The War That Had Many Fathers


The War That Had Many Fathers

The following is as much a translation of a review of a book as it is a look at the perception of the interwar era and the libelous use of the term "revisionism". The book its based on - The War That Had Many Fathers by fmr. Major-General Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof has been very successful in Germany (its 7th revised edition was published in 2012) and is also available in English (and at a reasonable price for such a hefty tome). Everything that follows after the break is a direct translation. My parts are [in brackets].

If you want to skip over the rather lengthy piece I translated from blogger MKH and get right to my verdict: if you are at all interested in the interwar period and the interactions between Poland, France, Britain and Germany and what policy goals stood behind them then this book is a must have for you.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

War Blogger Reviews - Dresden: The Inferno


Dresden - The Inferno (2006)

"Dresden - The Inferno" is, counterintuitive to the setting and title, a romance movie made for TV set against the backdrop of the historical attack against the city of Dresden in Feburary 1945. Produced by the ZDF, the Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (2nd Public Television Program), it premiered on March 5th and 6th in two parts of 90 minutes each. A so-called cinematic version of 145 minutes runtime was also produced, first broadcast on May 5, 2010. To stage his epic story, director Roland Suso Richter had a budget of 10 million Euros, access to original locations as well as access to the accumulated props of German public television.

Nitpick alert: I'll bitch about pretty much every inaccuracy I can find! You've been warned...

Originally named "The Fire", hinting at a connection with the very popular book by historian Jörg Friedrich, The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940–1945, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies in Germany after being published in 2002, "Dresden" was shot on original locations in the cities of Dresden and Chemnitz, while the scenes set at the hospital were shot in Leipzig. The exterior shots of the attack on Dresden were shot at an industrial site in Cologne. The rights to the movie were subsequently sold to TV stations in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Greece, Serbia, Thailand and Australia, making it a commercial success for the producers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Small Status Update

While I'm slogging through a pivotal chapter regarding a battle for Berlin and the fate of Germany I'd like to give you guys a small heads-up on what else is going on.

As you can see with the last reviews posted I have begun to port some of the more important posts of the War Blog over here. More will follow in the coming weeks.

While I'm in the preliminary stages of setting up a scifi series as a co-author, the majority of my productive time is spent with "The Burning Ages"-related tasks. While the work on CLASH is, of course, my primary concern, the creation and commissioning of maps for the scenario, the related special tasks regarding what I've got in store for the campaign backers to offset the long waiting period, and the return to WOLF HUNT also take their time.

While I'm very proud of my first novel I was never truly happy with it. It's got a slow start with lots of text that really does a poor job of conveying a sense of the setting's reality. Some of the pacing also has always been off. The saboteur/suicide bomber plot is the most egregious example coming to mind, but the lack of what I'd call 'organic dialogue', smooth world building in service of the plot - again, especially at the beginning - and very rudimentary characterization also are issues I've never really liked.

Now, I've improved my skills as a writer during the past two years. As such, I'm going back over WOLF HUNT with a fine comb to improve it where I can. Changes include but won't be limited to:
  • better 2024 world-building 
  • less info-dumps and more information being relayed to the reader via dialogues
  • an earlier introduction of Major Kaufmann
  • a far earlier saboteur/suicide bomber scene, increased tensions regarding BRIC/Russian naval and recon assets (as such the comment in WOLF HUNT about them being hit by some kind of BRIC EMP-mine making a bit more sense)
Most of what I'm going over happens prior or just after the time jump. Changes later in the plot will be most likely minor, though.
Once that's done, WOLF HUNT will see a multi-platform re-release together with its sequel, CLASH OF EAGLES. The optical changes include a series logo and a revamped layout and font styles. I'll probably have to add something to the lower right of CLASH's cover to make it appear less empty, but given my improved skills with Photoshop that should be within the realm of the possible, too.

New cover layout and fonts for WOLF HUNT and CLASH of EAGLES.
Click for larger resolution.
 
Now, even though I loathe the symbol I hated getting rid of the swastika in the flag designs, but since I'm aiming for the widest possible exposure of the stories I have to take local laws and (corporate) sensibilities into consideration. As such, to be able to distribute the story in many European countries I had to replace it with an iron cross. It's not the real thing, but it should do the job.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

War Blogger Reviews - The Most Dangerous Enemy

 
 
The Most Dangerous Enemy (2000)

Stephen Bungay's "The Most Dangerous Enemy" is the author's first book. Originally published in 2000, it's gotten reprinted several times already, the last time being 2010 when a newly illustrated edition was released. And when I say that this book is a veritable masterpiece, the praise is not premature. Indeed, as far as material specifically focussed on the "Battle of Britain" goes, I would say Bungay's book must very well be considered the new standard others will have to measure up against. This review has been written by also taking several very precise points made by the formidable poster IXJac on the Spacebattles forum.

Bungay asks a series of simple yet encompassing questions:
  • Why was there a battle at all? - Hitler wanted to force Britain out of the war, preferably via negotiated peace.
  • What were the real odds (not just bare numbers, but the impact of industry & logistics)? - The RAF was intrinsically better set-up and suited for the fight.
  • How well were the resources actually deployed, coordinated, and - crucially - led? - Bumbling amateurism on the side of the Luftwaffe, professionalism and foresight on the RAF's side.
  • Was there ever really a chance of invasion? - Given the performance shown, there was not. Bungay, however, makes it very clear that Germany very well had the aggregate means to stage one, as well as the very real chance to knock out Fighter Command for a suitable window of time.
  • What was it like as a pilot new to combat? - A very low life expectancy, or at the very least, a high chance to get seriously injured.
  • What were your odds if you were hit? - Depended on where you were hit, both geographically and on your aircraft.