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Comms

You’re better off lifting than weeping

By | Comms | 9 Comments

Writing, like any artistic endeavor, is fraught with mental health pitfalls. This has always been the case, for as long as we’ve cared enough about artists to learn of their personal lives. Some of this is due to the uncertain nature of the business: fortunes rise and fall quickly, ambition is rarely paired with reward, and the snipe-hunt for respectability and social-standing is most often tied firmly to non-creative fields. And some of this is genuinely linked to root level mental health: your brain making too much of the sad chemical, and not enough of the happy chemical. In recent years, many prominent members of my genre have admitted to their struggles with depression, and I’ve seen it cut through luminaries in every other aspect of my life. I am now reading Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, only to discover that Capain Merriweather Lewis (the explorer of Lewis & Clark fame) suffered from severe depression that most believe led to his…

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An open letter to Chief Warrant Officer Brad R. Torgersen

By | Comms | 622 Comments

Chief Warrant Officer Torgersen, As you are no doubt aware, The Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Repeal Act of 2010 removed barriers to homosexual members in the armed services, who may now serve openly and as equals. You have long held the position that homosexuality is immoral behavior, and most recently made denigrating jokes regarding the orientation aimed at Mr. John Scalzi. Your moral positions are your own, and I will not question them. However, I will remind you that you are a military officer and charged with the leadership of men and women of *all* walks of life, religions, creeds, sexual orientations, socio-cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Every single one of these people has the right to believe that you will faithfully discharge your duties as an officer, not spend their lives carelessly, not make them endure unnecessary hardship, that you will care for them with compassion and dedication. On or off duty, you are *always* an officer. Your repeated statements of your thoughts…

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The Skull Throne Release Day

By | Comms | 2 Comments

Buy it on Barnes and Noble Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Indiebound Buy it at Powell’s THE SKULL THRONE, by Peter V. Brett, is out today. As I type this, the book is ranked #54 out of all books on Amazon Kindle. Not #54 out of Dark Fantasy, or Science Fiction and Fantasy, or even Fantasy. #54 in BOOKS. All books. This includes the Harry Potter novels, and 50 Shades of Gray, and the Bible. Suffice to say that the book has received a warm reception, and I couldn’t be happier if I’d written it myself. I’m one of the lucky few who got to beta-read the book. Pete and I have been encouraging one another to write, and pushing one another to be better at writing, for somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years. He has pulled my fat out of the fire personally and professionally, propping me up during a crisis of faith, convicting me when…

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Letter from a cadet

By | Comms | 2 Comments

A few months ago, I received a letter from a cadet at one of the United States military academies. The cadet was a fan of my work and had met me at a convention, and felt comfortable enough with me to get in touch. This cadet was struggling with their decision to join up. They joined because they believed in the ideals of honesty, integrity, duty, and helping others. They still believe in these, but were struggling with doubts as to whether the military was where they were supposed to be. The letter didn’t come straight out and ask it, but it was clear the cadet wanted to know if I thought they should stay in, graduate and commission, or ring the bell and head home. When I first read the letter, I panicked with the kind of pompous overestimation of my own significance that is common to writers. Surely my answer would impact the future of this person’s life, the future of the military,…

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Nobody owns the military experience

By | Comms | 2 Comments

My novelette, Weapons in the Earth, is coming out in John Joseph Adams’ military fantasy anthology, OPERATION: ARCANA. It’s a Prisoner of War (POW) tale, told from the point of view of non-combatants. I was really proud to write it, if only because I hope it’ll shift the conversation on what constitutes a “military” story. After being asked how I considered it to be a “military” story in multiple interviews, I thought I’d talk about the issue here. It’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. Most “military” fiction addresses the warrior’s point of view, whether it be a dissection of tragedy like THE FOREVER WAR, a Ringoesque piece complete with blazing guns and waving flags, or the more balanced treatment in a Campbell or Buettner novel. Some highlight heroism and make forays into “gear porn,” others focus on the challenges of reintegration and the return home, but ALL share this – the warfighter is the center of the…

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