Rejoining a Galaxy at War: New 8th Edition Warhammer 40K


A few more words on my quest to rejoin the 40K Collective.



I have converted the storage shed in the back yard into a painting studio.  At least a spray painting studio.  My buddy Ross left me some nice Citadel spray paints that he couldn’t take in the move, and I’m finally getting around to using them.


Here in this tray are the first recipients: my custom made Eldar Fire Dragons, made from the awesome Dark Eldar Warrior kits and other bits.  I always thought the thorny DE Warriors looked way more dragon-like than the smooth, elegant craftworld carapaces.  I’ll have more on these guys when the unit is finished and painted.

Last week, I bought the 8th ed rule book and 3 Indexes: Marines, Chaos, and Xenos 1, which is all flavors of Eldar plus Necrons.  Every time I browse through one, I get excited and inspired for that army again.

My main marine force is Crimson Fists (naturally–they’re obviously the iconic best!) but I also bought a bunch of Space Wolf stuff last year and have a love for those burly, lusty, savages too.  And I’ve always had a little thing for Dark Angels, too, though not enough to win out over other armies.  Right now, I’m tending toward a small contingent of Dark Angels to take along with Fists or Wolves.

And as I believe in embracing whatever it is that makes that army that army, my unit choices are very flavor specific.  Just about every unit in the Space Wolf force is very wolfy, but I especially favor Thunderwolves, Murderfang, and all the awesome HQs.  And in this new 8th edition and its “power level” point system, there’s generally not much difference between generic heroes and the named characters; like 1 or 2 points, versus the old system of spending 150 for a kitted-out HQ instead of almost 300 for a named HQ.  So there’s little reason to make many of your own.  Just take the guys who are cool and fight, fight, fight!

For Dark Angels, I again favor the flavor: Ravenwing bikers mostly, plus DA chaplains, like Azmodai, the really slick DA jetfighter (aside from a chaos dragon, the only flyer I fancy), and the bone-armored Deathwing terminators.  I’d take a squad of green marines to fill the ranks and just go with a small ally-type detachment.

But I have so much shit already, I don’t see me investing in Dark Angels anytime soon.


Though when I do, I’ll also use those models for Fallen in my Chaos army, along with a homemade Cypher.  He and his tricksy brethren are now in the Chaos index.  I’ve also always loved Huron Blackheart, along with most of the Chaos units, both traitorous and daemonic.  Chaos has endless combinations of cool and fun units, and I could play every weekend for a year and never field the exact same list twice.  Love my Chaos.

But my first 40K love was Eldar.  I started collecting them back when the Aspect Warriors were new in 1991, and they still shine as my fave 40K army.  So that’s where I’m headed right now.  And again, there aren’t many units I don’t like.  (Although my least fave approach is seer-heavy or wraith-heavy, which are both very popular builds.)  Aspect warriors are my bread and butter but my vision is a little darker than the traditional one.  Thus my “Black Phoenix” craftworld I started a few years ago, using mostly Dark Eldar models and kits to build custom guys.  I also love the speed and grace that the Eldar have moved toward in the last few codices, so I’m planning to be kind of jetbike-heavy too.  Oooooh, it’s going to be grand!

Grand, but slow going.  My “plan” (or “intention of a plan”) is to try and produce one completed, painted unit per month for the next six months.  It’s no way to crank out an entire army in short order, but it’s a good goal considering all my other commitments in life.  So we’ll see how that goes.

First up: my Black Phoenix Fire Dragons, including my own badass version of Feugan.

Stay tuned…

Superhero Ebook Giveaway and Sequel Pre-Order


Happy Sunday!

In honor of my newest release, Secret Identities (Secret Origins: Book 2), I’m giving away TEN e-copies of Masks (SO: Book 1).  

If you’ve already read or purchased Masks, you might want to skip to pre-ordering SIDs (as I affectionately call it).  If you’ve read neither but would like to give them a try, now’s your chance!

You can find the giveaway by clicking here.  This runs until July 14th, at which time ten winners will be randomly chosen by Amazon and notified of what to do next by email.  All you have to do to enter is click a button to follow me on Amazon (easy peasy).  Then you’ll just get emails from them when I release something new.  That’s it!

And you can find SIDs on Amazon by clicking here.  We’re in the pre-order period right now, and doing so will ensure your ebook is delivered on release day, which is (you guessed it) July 14th.

Secret Identities will also soon be available for pre-order on B&N, Kobo, and Apple/iBooks, and when they’re ready on those ends I’ll post those too.

More to come.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Warhammer 40K 8th Edition: Impressions

As I read through the new rules and my chosen armies’ datasheets, I plan to squawk about it a little bit.  Here’s some of my first impressions thus far:


More Killy

Games will likely go faster (like a red-painted war wagon).  Which is especially good for me, ‘cuz the games me and J would play took forever!  But the swiftness will come from the games being way simpler and all the extra rules being on your datasheets, thus eliminating the need to look up rules all the time.

They’ll also go faster because I think models will die faster, overall, despite the addition of more wounds on many of them.  Saves are no longer absolute valued, they are modified.  So the 2+ all but guaranteed save you’ve been counting on for your termies, Phoenix Lords, etc, is no longer rock solid.  Neither is the 66% chance on space marines or any other 3+ save.  Only invuln saves can’t be modified, and even they are no protection against “mortal wounds.” Most psychic powers and special circumstances, like being trapped inside a transport that blows up, deal mortal wounds, which you just take, no saves of any kind allowed.  Many weapons also do more than one wound, so even though your jet bikes and terminators may have 2 wounds now, they might still lose them both to one hit.

A note on shooting: we’re back to you picking your own casualties, which I always liked from 5th ed.  There was something to be said of the “cinematic approach” to first models in the line of fire dying first, but it forced heroes to lead from the back, which is a cowardly skaven thing.  When your guys die, you get to decide who dies, preserving your special weapons and coolest models and allowing the fodder to be the first to go.  Way more fun that way.

More killy stuff: There’s morale.  Models flee the board from failed checks.  Models flee.  The board.  You don’t take additional wounds that you then might get saves on, whole models disappear, no matter how many wounds they have.  And you don’t involuntarily fall back by inches.  Whatever the numeric difference from your check total versus your Leadership, that many models go bye-bye.  Narratively, I would prefer to think some of them left the battle to carry off the dead and wounded, or to rally reinforcements from reserve, rather than bolted from the fight.

The “to wounds” chart is simplified too.  Basic math comparisons dictate what you need to wound.  Is this weapon’s Strength less, equal, or more than the target’s Toughness?  Is it half or twice as much?  That’s all you need to know.  And everything can wound everything!  Even a laspistol might damage an open panel on a landraider’s flank if you roll a 6.  (Much more killy.)  But with the landraider’s high save and wound total, it’s still not going to bring it down with one shot.  (More on that below.)

I’m not saying any of this is bad, I’m just saying models will go faster now.  Which is all well and good.  If you get a game done in short order, then maybe you can get two in on one afternoon!  More fun!


Unit Types, Vehicles, and Realistic Freedom

Another big difference (and also related to model death) is that there are no unit types anymore.  Everyone plays by the same rules.  Unit types are been replaced by keywords, so certain effects still apply to “the type of unit” a model is, but they don’t have their own sets of rules.  Vehicles now have Toughness, Saves, Wounds, and can even attack in melee combat!  I was weary of how well this would work initially, and haven’t been able to test it out yet, but it sounds grand!

First let’s look at what this really means: that it frees everyone up to do everything!

There are no more Independent Character rules.  Character hero models running solo do not “join” units, and therefore do not have their influence and lives bound to that one unit.  The biggest reason for “joining” before was to keep your hero from getting shot to hell all by himself.  Safety in numbers, hide in the crowd.  Now a “Character” (keyword) can only be specifically targeted if he’s the closest model to the shooter, or if he’s so big as to be an obvious target (designated by having 10 wounds or more).  (He can also be picked out by snipers, if the sniper datasheets say so.)  So they can be in very close proximity to a unit, or multiple units, without having to turn their backs on others to benefit just one.

While we’re on that subject, there is also no more “locked in combat.”  All the effects are kind of still there: you can’t target a unit that is within an inch of the enemy (presumingly fighting) because you might hit them; units so close can only fire pistols at that range, no other guns; they can’t declare a charge against anyone else, etc.  But they are not “locked,” per se.  They can freely decide to fall back, if they wish.

Another aspect of this freedom is that entire units of guys don’t all have to shoot at the same target.  Which is more logical and realistic, right?  The missile launcher can target the flying tank that’s rumbling airborne at extreme range while his buds all shoot the more immediate infantry on the ground.  Why wouldn’t the most elite fighters in the galaxy be able to split their fire?

Also, if you wield multiple weapons, you can use them.  All of them.  Split up your attacks in melee and shoot two-fisted.  A guy with two pistols can fire them both like the badass cowboy mutha he is.  Again, silly rules get out of the way for obvious combat fun.

So generally, models do not become artificially locked into modes—firing as a group, stuck fighting one group, stuck supporting one group—but instead are free to act like real people would.

I was supposed to be talking about unit types, right?  So again, no more classifications defining units by certain, separate rules to remember.  Everyone is the same type of unit with different descriptors, though some special rules tend to apply to common descriptors.

“Fly.”  What we’ve known as Flyers no longer inhabit their own celestial realm of hoity-toitiness either.  Full-blown flyers are still harder to hit from the ground, but this is the universal -1 modifier (like cover and firing heavies when moving and assault weapons while running).  They have minimum move ranges but now disappear from the battle if they leave the field.  And they have an advantage shooting at the slow, vulnerable targets on the ground, and can fire all their weapons even if they advance (run).  So, okay, there are some special shooty rules with them.  But after that, they function like everyone else.

And the keyword “fly” isn’t just for them.  Jet bikes, jump infantry, hover tanks—they all fly!  Which means they can all move over models and terrain and, more importantly, they can all shoot at and even assault other flying units!  Makes sense, don’t it?!  So your jet bikes and jump infantry can use the altitude that comes with their very nature to fly up and attack a flyer as it goes by.  The shackles of gravity discrimination by “unit type” are taken off!  Only makes sense.

Another huge change is that Vehicles are no longer their own thing either.  As I said, they all share the same stat line.  They just have higher Toughness, a great Save, and much more Wounds than a walky-talky-fleshy guy.

One of my biggest complaints of 6th and 7th edition was Hull Points.  In 5th, my dreadnought could take several Tau missile hits and, thanks to some dice, only be “shaken.”  My tanks could take great abuse, as they should, and might last the entire battle.  With the addition of Hull Points, three glancing shots that didn’t even penetrate my armor caused my dreadnought to roll over and die.  And with the vehicle damage chart, my mighty Chaos Crab Monster would make threatening gestures with his massive claws from the deployment zone, then get hit by a single krak missile and blow up in a fabulous display of shittiness, possibly taking a few more of my chaos marines with him.

No more.  No more glancing to death.  No more one-shot explosions (unless the weapon just does that much damage to your light assault crafts).  Now, you wound a vehicle’s 7 or 8 Toughness, it makes armor Saves and takes Wounds.  Most (if not all) vehicles, once reduced to 0 Wounds, still have a chance to explode.  Roll a die; on a 6, it blows up.  Simple, cinematic, fun, and fair.  And a lot less likely to deprive you of your proudest, toughest models on Turn One.

Some vehicles and monstrous creatures also reduce in effectiveness as they take damage.  This is another Age of Sigmar innovation that I wasn’t too sure about, but now that I see it, makes way more sense.  As a landraider or carnifex takes damage, its effectiveness in battle wanes.  So instead of an immobilized or weapon lost vehicle damage result, it just slows down and can’t shoot as accurately.

Unit equality (if I may be so liberal) is the same across the board.  No more Jump Troops vs Jet Pack Troops, Cavalry vs Beasts, Artillery vs Chariots, Monsters vs Infantry.  Basic tenants rule for everyone.  Your stats and datasheets tell you all the now-integrated rules that apply.  You have a jet bike?  Your Move shows it, along with a turboboost Ability and the keyword “fly”.  Period.  Done.

It’s nice.



New 8th Edition Warhammer 40K Books: Quest for the Tomes


Not too long ago, I received an email from Games Workshop (via the general mailing list) saying, “Get these codices while you can,” because a new edition was about to come out.  Get these expiring and about to be useless $50 books before we take them off the shelves because they won’t be valid anymore. 

I thought, “You sons-a-bitches.”

I wanted to fax them a picture of my middle finger.  Or my pale, hairy ass.

The cycle of new 40K editions over the last several years has come across to me (and others) as greedy ways to boost short-term sales.  Kind of like all those terribly pricy text books you had to buy in college.  “We changed 3 things and rearranged some tables, come buy all our books all over again.”

So when the new rumors went to flying, I was naturally skeptical.  Very skeptical.

I’ve been stationed in Japan for nearly 3 years now and in that time have only played once.  So I wasn’t too worried about a new edition.  Haven’t been playing, and now not planning on playing.  Screw those greedy corporate bastards.

But then I started actually reading the rumors and leaks.  That this edition wasn’t just bolting on a few new rules to the clunky old machine, haphazardly spraying on an uneven coat of paint, and charging $200 for a new go.

This was “the edition you asked for.”

No, really.

So between getting actual gamer feedback and simplifying the rules to look more like their well-received Age Of Sigmar redesign of WH Fantasy, the game was starting to sound pretty good.  (I was also skeptical of the Age of Sigmar reboot of WH Fantasy, btw, though I was never a huge fan of the Fantasy system anyway: even more complex than 40,000 Rules and seemed to require a calculator to even play the game!)

If they could thin 40,000 Rules down to 8 to 12 pages, that was an amazing revelation to me.  I was now interested.  And the more I saw, despite my own hardened pessimism, the more I liked the way it was looking.

Within a week, I was actually excited.


Getting the books themselves, then, proved to be a worthy quest.  (Relatively speaking.)

I had to find locales in Japan, and books in English.  There are 3 or 4 GW stores in Tokyo, but that’s a ways to go for me.  In my store search, I also got a few other pings for non-GW stores, one much closer to my base.  Long story short, I ended up journeying to a city I’d never been to before, in a foreign land, using a paper map as a guide (I’m not into the whole cellphone omniscience thing).  I’d called the day before and spoken to a woman who kind of spoke English and reserved me some books.  Namely, the Rule Book, the Marines Index, Eldar Index, and Chaos Index.  A hefty, blind purchase.  But I figured that I hadn’t spent any hobby money for a long time, so why not?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new datasheets were being combined into affordable softbacks with multiple related armies all in one book.  Given the easy of access, I figured I had to buy those books.  With three affordable tomes, I had all colors of Space Marines, Eldar, and Chaos Marines and demons all covered, plus Necrons for good measure.  Easy peasy.

But I ended up paying more than the listed market price for everything.  I don’t know if the markup was simply because we are in Japan or if my shop owners charged a little more, but I honestly didn’t mind.

This was a very small little hobby shop owned and operated by a very nice elderly couple.  The husband didn’t speak English and the wife just barely enough.  The shop was more about model airplanes and trains and modeling supplies than it was a gaming shop, though they did have a rather impressive selection of Warhammer stuff, as well as a rack full of Citadel paints.  There were a couple small displays of painted models too, most of which had been painted by the owner.  His wife bragged that he was a beginner, but, damn, did they look nice!  Way nicer than my meager, atrophied painting skills could manage, and I made sure he knew as much.

I spent about half an hour on the trains getting there, and a little more time walking the streets, so I took my time to check out all the nice toys on their shelves.  Saw some cool new stuff I wouldn’t mind having (like the 30K style termie models), but I’m not in a hurry to buy more.  Not using all the stuff I have now.  When it came time to pay, I found out they only took cash.  Darn it.  So then it was a quest to find an ATM that would take my American card.  The two bigger banks with whole lobbies full of ATM machines didn’t work.  It looked grim, my long quest cross country for naught.  Then I found a little booth with a single machine and that one worked out.

So my mighty quest was a success.  I might have paid a bit more, but it went to the mom and pop shop of a really nice elderly couple, so money well spent.   In fact, the venerable Papa-san rounded down the total price for me, threw in a couple of (no doubt expensive) Citadel-brand paint brushes (after I told him about my waning painting skills), and a few odd sprues to boot!  I didn’t even find out about the sprues until I got home and opened up the tiny plastic bonus bag.  Three marines and one of the cool Age of Sigmar space marine wannabe guys with a hammer and shield.  (Which I think could make cool special space marine units too—especially the winged guys for angelic vanguard vets.)

So there’s my long-winded story about how I fell back into love (obsession) with the new 40K and made the perilous journey of a lifetime to score the new books on opening day in a strange land.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging further about my impressions as I get into the books.  I’m actually about to take 2 weeks of leave to relax with the family and supposedly to get some writing projects done.  So much for all that…  I’m sure this new distraction will impede those lines of progress.  But at least I’ll enjoy being delayed!

More to come…


Secret Origins: Cover Reveal

I have the cover for Secret Identities (Secret Origins: Book Two) going into its final revision stages.  There may be some changes yet, but overall, it’ll look like this:


It’s as much a crime-noir story as it is a spandex story.  Taking a little different approach to the genre with this one.

I hope to have the ebook up for pre-order within the next week, hopefully less.

Stay tuned…

Another Wonder Woman: Get It While It’s Free!

With the world being taken by storm (and it’s about time) by Wonder Woman, I thought it a good time to remind those interested that my own femme fatale badass superheroine is still out there for free, but not for long…


You can still nab Silk Spider: Behind the Eight-Ball as a free short story download, but that window is closing fast.  In the next few days, it’ll go back to being a regularly priced ebook.  (And also in a collectible paperback chapbook.)

Get your hands on it at all the usual online locales.  Here’s a few of the more common ones (but you can probably find her just about anywhere):  Amazon , B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.


Discoverability & a Sci-Fi Book Bundle

Reposted from Blaze Ward’s own blog.  He speaks briefly of the task of indie authors and does so better than I could:


(or: how you can help)

You’re consuming this right now on one of my social media outlets (website, Amazon, FB, Goodreads, etc.), so I’ll generally be safe assuming you know me, or got here through a connection who does.

Discoverability is the problem for the modern indie writer. In the old days, you submitted your story to a publisher, eventually finding one who said yes. After that, they took care of everything: editing, printing, marketing, etc. Your book ended up in book stores, or at the pharmacy, or the grocery, or on the rack at the airport. People walking by looking for something would pick it up, toss a coin in their head, and buy it.

Bang, they have discovered you as an author. If they like you, they look for more of your books. They tell their family and bridge club about you. Others find you. They buy your books.


Doesn’t happen like that any more. At least not for indies like me.

I own it all (well, Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) does, and pats me on the head encouragingly on occasion when I say or do something really stupid, but you get the point).

No advertising budget to pay for space on the shelf at B&N. (What? You thought the book store chain selected what to prominently display? No, they rent that space. End caps, islands, etc. $)

Where does that leave us today? This is where you come in.

I’m in a bundle.

Story Bundle wraps up a set of books and makes them available for one low price for a very limited period. (3 weeks, buy it or regret forever.)

To bundle is an exercise in collective advertising. I put a novel into the Moonscapes Bundle along with a group of other folks. I tell all my friends, fans, and followers. They buy it.

In the process of reading, hopefully they find another writer or three they like (us all being on the same general topic: big science fiction in this instance).

So, our sales have been great. Not earth-shattering, but pretty damned good. Time for the next push.

What you can do for me today is send a link to this article to all your reader friends who might be into getting a bunch of SF novels for a low price. And these are some amazing people I got lucky enough to be included with.

Or you share this on your social media page so all your friends who don’t know me from Adam look at it and wonder what this is all about.

This is a Story Bundle called Moonscapes.  And the beginning of the Jessica Keller Chronicles, so they’ll need Queen of the Pirates next.

You can help all of us by doing one tiny thing to advertise. Help me get the word out to more people.

thank you

Fantasy Trilogy 50% Off

portrait of a brutal warrior with sword in smokeContinuing my summer reading series of coupon sales, you can now get the entire Tarnish Trilogy for 50% off the normal price on  (If you’re not signed up on SW yet, don’t sweat it, it’s easy-peasy.  And I’m pretty darn sure they take PayPal.)

All you have to do is enter the coupon codes for each book.

And where do I find these valuable codes, you ask?  Well, they’re right there on the book’s page on Smashwords!  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

But just in case, here’s each book’s page and coupon code anyway:

The Quest (Book 1):  PJ24N

Among the Shadows (Book 2):  ZG63K

Heroes and Villains (Book 3):  RB75V

Heroes and Villains, by the way, now also includes the prequel novella The Prince of Luster & Decay.  So you’re basically getting FOUR books, three of them at 50% off and one at 100% off.

Just sayin’.

But act now!  This sale ends when this month ends!  On July 1st, these coupon codes will no longer work!

Do it.  Do it now!

And enjoy.  🙂

And please, tell you friends.  Hell, tell your enemies!  I don’t have a loud enough voice on the internet to get the word out all by myself.