Potpourri July 2020

This Saturday, I will be presenting on Writer’s Research for the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.

jamesyoung_2020 (This One)

You can join for free via Zoom.  

I’m basically going to talk about how to do historical research and also chase down various things about writing.  There’s going to also be a lot of Q&A, so if you’re wanting to pop in to ask me random questions there will be a chat available at that blog link.  No, I will not be debating “What is the best fighter of World War II?”

Nor will I be getting much into Victorian-era work.  Why?  Well, in addition to not being a Victorian historian, two hours after I’m done, the indomitable Holly Messinger is also doing a talk for the Olathe Public Library.  For those who don’t know Holly, she writes Weird West stories, does costuming, and also knows a bit of Kung Fu.  If you’ve ever had a bunch of burning questions about Victorian-era dress, where to find Wild West information, or general gothic tid bits, it’ll be well worth your time to drop in.  Here is the Zoom Link for Holly’s Presentation.

On another front, your humble narrator has just had an essay published in Proceedings‘ online magazine.  This had been an entry for their General Essay contest, and getting selected for publication from the bevy of other essays is quite an honor.

In celebration of the presentation Saturday and Against the Tide Imperial‘s imminent release (I swear, it’s almost done), I will be placing On Seas So Crimson on sale for $.99 / £ .99 from 11 – 18 July on both the US Amazon and UK Amazon sites.  (Sorry for any other Amazon sites, but those are the only two it will let me do a countdown for.)

MediaKit_BookCover_OnSeasSoCrimson(1)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B175FJG

In addition, Those In Peril, the first Phases of Mars anthology, is currently on sale for $.99 on Amazon and will be through Saturday, 11 July.  

512c8w43sel

 

Last but not least, my novellas A Midwinter’s Ski and Pandora’s Memories will likely become audiobooks by the end of the year.  I look forward to hearing them “brought to life” by a crackerjack narrator who sounds awesome, but more on that once things are closer to getting finished.

I will expound on many of the above things in my newsletter, but wanted to give people a quick heads up on some of the things going on.  If you’re not a member of the newsletter, you can join it here.

 

 

Conventions in a Time of COVID

Just popping in here briefly to inform everyone of another postponement.  Soonercon, originally scheduled for June, is now postponing to June 25-27, 2021.  As I’ve been doing to help ease the pain for most conventions, I’ve merely asked to have my vendor space passed forward to 2021.  I figure it’s the least I can do.  At the moment, this makes my next event to be Libertycon where I’ll be going as a professional and a couple of small engagements in St. Louis, MO and Lawrence, KS in the summer. Given how things are going, I’ll put those dates out once they’re reconfirmed.

Against the backdrop of a pandemic, this is not a back breaker for me.  I still have the day gig and *knocks on wood* haven’t had a brush with the virus yet.  Others are not so lucky.  A lot of artists, authors, and other entertainers I know are hurting horribly from the ripple effects of this pandemic, and it’s going to take awhile for the “Con Familia” to recover.  So I implore you, if  you know someone whose primary business is being a vendor at a convention or artist, please “toss a coin to your painter / writer, etc.”  If you’re not able to see them in person this year, I encourage you to go to their internet, Etsy, etc. and buy something.

Don’t want to risk dealing with germs possibly being carried on packages?  Well, if you have the change to spare, become a Patreon for a little bit at their lowest level of contribution.  Yes, it’s probably only a buck…but if 400 friends each donate a buck, that’s a car payment, groceries, utility bill, etc..  “1000 people, sufficiently motivated, can kill a hostile lion armed only with ice picks”-definitely applies in these times of economic stress.  To be clear–by no means should you put yourself at economic risk (unlike the hunters in the analogy), but every little bit would help artists who may literally be worrying about keeping the lights on.

(For those who like Anita C. Young’s art, her Patreon is here.  I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d go to the proverbial “Special Hell” if I didn’t promote my favorite artist and booth babe.  In that same vein, if you like fantasy art, I also recommend my regular con neighbor and  DnD player, Chelsea Mann.)

Failing direct economic action, promote your favorite authors / artists on social media.  Quarantine is a great time to dive into a new book series or recommend something for a group read along.  Or if you’re so inclined, buy a book to donate to your local nursing home, cancer ward, or assisted living library.  With a lot of the restrictions in place, the inhabitants of those facilities are not getting to see visitors.  You can both help an author and put a smile on people’s face.

Things are bad, but I’m convinced that we will all collectively make it through this.  Yes, it is grim when multiple friends are not able to hold funerals, weddings, or graduations due to this. I don’t even think we’re into the worst of it yet.  But at heart I’m an optimist, and so far Humanity has managed to pull through all sorts of calamity to get to this point.  Hug your loved ones close and check up on friends who may have been suffering from mental illness previously.  Try to get outside as the restrictions of your area permits.  Take this time to reconnect with someone you might have lost touch with.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of you later this year when all this is behind us, and hopefully with more books than you saw me with last time.

Warship Wednesday–Carrier Doctrine #1

Interesting thing I discovered about carrier doctrine in writing the Usurper’s War series in general, but definitely with regards to Against the Tide Imperial: The three main carrier navies in our timeline did things very, very differently.

The USN basically went all in on “every carrier throws a haymaker.”  This was shown both in early task force doctrine (where each carrier and escorts operated separately for the most part) and in how the aircraft were warmed up, parked, then launched.  Although this had the advantage of “not all our eggs are in one basket,” it also made strike sequencing problematic.  The “dribs and drabs” approach likely saved Shokaku at Coral Sea, and then also was detrimental during Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz.  On the other hand, the spread out arrival of the American torpedo bombers and inadvertent lack of synchronization at Midway fortuitously wore down the Kido Butai‘s CAP / disrupted Nagumo’s strike iterations.

For the early war (as in before late ’44), the unfortunate combination of the RAF being responsible for equipping the Fleet Air Arm from basically 1924 through May 1939 plus European geography did no favors for RN carrier design.  This is not to say that the carriers were “inferior,” as some historians have stated.  No, it’s to say that despite an early lead in developing the type, the RN focused on gunline in basically a littoral setting rather than open ocean combat.  Thus, a RN carrier task force meeting either an IJN or USN force of equal strength in daylight during 1942-1943 would have had problems.  If the numbers were uneven?  Well, not to say “foreshadowing,” but you’ll see my take on things when Tide finally comes out.

As to the Japanese–diagramming out “split deck” strikes by division is a pain in the neck.  There are advantages to it, and some of those are discussed here, once again, in this article.  But man, those disadvantages are killer.  Especially when one has to factor in “Who is the duty carrier?” and whether or not the Tone and Chikuma‘s searchers should be augmented.  As noted above, at Midway the added friction of split deck operations eventually undid the Kido Butai’s sequencing…and that’s how you end up a bunch of Dauntlesses dropping virtually unopposed.

As a teaser, I’ll present the strike that gets launched in one Against the Tide Imperial‘s key sequences:

1st Division (Akagi and Kaga)

17 Shiden

15 Suisei

27 Tenzan

2nd Division (Hiryu and Soryu)

21 Zero

16 Suisei

12 Tenzan

3rd Division (Taiho and Shokaku)

20 Suisei

24 Tenzan

Now, in each of these cases, rather than each carrier launching an “alpha strike” of their own group, each division has designated one vessel to provide the fighters / dive bombers, the other the torpedo bombers.  I can only imagine this gets kind of hectic if one doesn’t have the fuel or time to practice it.  It also means _every_ carrier will be launching / recovering aircraft at the same time.  Taken to the next level, suddenly Japanese outcomes at Pearl Harbor (see no third strike), Midway (see returning Midway strike discombobulating ability to react to ship sighting), and Philippine Sea (see lack of strike training due to fuel issues) make a lot more sense.

In the Usurper’s War timeline, this is a pretty hefty strike.  Defending against it, the RN force only has a total of 66 fighters (of which 16 are Sea Hurricanes) on four flight decks.  Given deck handling practices, CAP rotations, and the fact that there’s a rather major intelligence miscommunication that’s coming, they won’t get that many fighters airborne.  How does it turn out?  Well, you’ll know in a few months… 😀

Now It Can Be Told

So for about two months now, I’ve been having to sit on the line up for Trouble In The Wind.  Behold, the magnificence of the headliners…

Trouble Ebook Cover Big Lineup

If someone had told me when this whole indie thing got started, “Hey, you know someday you’re going to be editing an alternate history anthology with S.M. Stirling in it?”, I would have advised them to lay off the peyote.  If they’d then added the rest of the names on that list?  Well, I would have slowly backed away while searching for a weapon to deal with the crazy person.

I’m astounded and stunned to be working with titans.  We won’t even get into Team “And More.”  December 13th is the expected release date, so buckle your chin straps.

 

Cincinnati Comic Con 20-22 September

So I’ll be doing Cincinnati Comic Con 20-22 September.  The general floor plan is below:

Cincy Convention Hall

Booth #520, my digs, is zoomed in on in the following pic:

Cincy Floor Location

 

I hope to see some of y’all there!  I love meeting fans in the wild, and this will be my first time in Ohio!  Provided Amazon doesn’t botch the shipping, I’ll have copies of all my own books and anthologies there, to include To Slip the Surly Bonds.  Which, btw, now has an “orange tag” signifying it was #1 in a category (no, that doesn’t get old typing it!):

ORANGE TAG 2

Hope to see you guys Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!

Music Monday: A Classic Gets the Epic Treatment and Some News

It’s the third Monday, and you know what that means–SCORE DAY!

A big trend in trailer music lately has been to update classic, recognizable songs and give them the “Epic” treatment (i.e., soaring instrumentals and drum tracks).  If you can hear the “Trailer Voice” guy narrating your book trailer to one of these songs, that’s kind of the point.  😀

Speaking of climatic scenes, two bits of info.  First, just a reminder, To Slip the Surly Bonds dropped last Friday (print cover shown to cover the additional cover art awesomeness!):

Print Cover

It has been climbing the charts and was #1 on the Historical Fiction New Release Chart last night (Sunday 15 September 2019 in case you’re reading this much later).

ORANGE TAG

Second, I’ll be at the Cincinnati Comic Expo this week!  I will (thanks to the Amazon gnomes getting it done early) have print copies of To Slip the Surly Bonds as well as the first copies of Anita C. Young’s State of Mind artbook!  Stay tuned during the week for location and maps!