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  • Writer's pictureJustin Watson

Writing Update: All Will Burn!

No, that's not the state of my writing career, it's the title of the latest anthology I'm in.

A burly father holding his children protectively.
Out from Raconteur Press on January 12th! Cover art by Cedar Sanderson.

The theme of this anthology series was something that arose from a conversation Kacey Ezell and I had with some of our friends at LibertyCon, two, maybe three, years ago. We shared the sentiment that while both of us were happy to assume risk to our lives on behalf of strangers (Kacey flew helicopters in Iraq, I was on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan), both of us would just as willingly burn the world to protect our kids.

A lightbulb went off--hey, that's seed for good drama right there! Lots of great stories revolve around parents doing whatever it takes for their children. We could spin off a few dozen banging stories with the theme of parental sacrifice in the central conflict without getting repetitive.

Fast forward and Kacey has talked Ian McMurtrie (aka Lawdog) into a themed anthology from his company Raconteur Press, and the first volume does well enough to justify a volume 2.

My contribution to All Will Burn 2 is a bit of Christmas present to myself. You see, I'd been in the salt mines of revisions for my part of a collaborative novel (the sequel to Romanov Rescue), and had just sent the corrected pages back to Tom and Kacey when Ian approached me and asked if I wanted to submit.

I love the Romanov series, but I'm not going to lie--it is a ton of intensive research and discipline to maintain authenticity when you're writing strict alternate history. Thus, I jumped at the chance to stretch my legs with a shorter story that could be set anywhere.

From my twisted subconscious emerged a dark fantasy tale of maternal devotion, despair, bloody vengeance and the persistence of the small, still voice of hope.

Oh, and there are vampires, too.

I'm really proud of how this one turned out, I hope you'll give it a read when it comes next Friday (as I'm writing this). I'm especially thrilled because fantasy and science fiction have always been equal in my heart, but all of my previous published works have been either sci fi or alternate history, now I can say I am, in fact, a Science Fiction AND Fantasy author. :)

As for what's next, right now, I am:

  1. Finishing up a couple subplots for Countdown: Criminal Enterprise, the next book in Tom's M-Day military thriller series.

  2. Doing the final edit on my first solo novel before I submit it. It's a military fantasy wherein Roman, Hellenistic, Egyptian and other ancient cultures and pantheons exist alongside modern technology. I'm dubbing this category of military fantasy Machine Gun Mythology. :) A nice Jewish boy finds himself serving in the Hellenes Army amidst a deadly power struggle between empires--none of whom care much if he lives or dies. Working title is Gods and Men Alike.

  3. I've finished a draft of my story for the second Carrera anthology for Tom, but since we're busy with the Romanov Rescue II, I'm holding onto it until we've got that edited, submitted, and ready to hit shelves.

  4. I also owe Dr. James L. Young a couple short stories for two more Raconteur Press anthologies, ideas for those are percolating as we speak. As an aside, I've read James's contribution to the next Carrera anthology as well, and you guys are in for something dope when it comes out.

  5. I'm continuing my research into the Russian Civil War, both because it's a fascinating topic and because after everything else on this list is complete (I'm shooting to get all this done this year), it will be about time to come back and write Volume III of the Romanov Series.

Lots of exciting stuff! I was initially going to talk a little bit about my process and how I'm balancing all this with raising a not-small family and a corporate career that is, uh, no mere afterthought, to say the least, but this going on a little long.

Hope you're all off to a good start in 2024! God bless you and yours.



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