Reader Mailbag #8

Dustyn, on Twitter, asks:

Hey, Josh, what do you like to do to get you in the mood for writing 40k? Any stories, movies, music, or shows just pump you up for writing in the setting and set you in the right headspace?

Good question!

And the answer is – not a blessed thing.

Or, rather, nothing specific. I tend to find inspiration in music, but never anything in particular. I don’t have a set 40K playlist, for instance. Generally it’ll be whatever music I’m listening to at the time, which varies depending on my mood at the moment. I wrote one book listening almost exclusively to Earth, Wind and Fire’s greatest hits, for instance.

Now, once inspiration hits, I often assemble a rough and ready playlist from the songs that I find myself listening to on repeat at that particular moment. Such playlists might only have three or four songs, or it might have fifteen or twenty. Again, it depends on my mood.

I’ve made some of these playlists available for folks to peruse, if they’re interested.

Hail to the Queen: The (Unofficial) Neferata Mixtape

So, my recent spate of highly unofficial, in no way endorsed by anyone, End Times inspired mixtapes have apparently been quite popular. I chalk it up to the interest in the End Times as a concept, rather than my…eclectic taste in music, but hey, I’m just happy to be here. Anyway, of late, more than one person has asked me if I had a mixtape for a certain Mortarch of Blood. The answer was, of course, yes. And I figured it was high time to give the Queen of Queens a bit of the spotlight before things…well. It’s called the End Times for a good reason, people. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, yeah?

Of all of the myriad and colorful Warhammer characters I’ve had the chance to write about, Neferata has to be my favorite. I was tremendously lucky to be able to write about her as often as I have done, and I enjoyed every Machiavellian minute of it. WHF has precious few female characters of note, and I’m honored to have been the one chosen to tell Neferata’s story.  And now, I give you the (unofficial) Neferata mixtapeto join those made for Mannfred von Carstein, Arkhan the Black, and Vlad von Carstein.

Hail to the Queen. Continue reading

Kiss The Ring: The (Unofficial) Vlad von Carstein Mixtape

Chris Wraight’s The Fall of Altdorf, the next volume in the End Times series, is now available for preorder, and to celebrate I decided to put together a third (unofficial) End Times mixtape, this time centering on one of its main characters, Big Daddy Fangs himself, Vlad von Carstein. You can find the previous two (unofficial) mixtapes, ‘The Nine Tracks of Nagash’ and ‘The Baddest Man (Un)Alive’ here and here, respectively.

Vlad, like Mannfred and Arkhan, is a character I have a tremendous amount of affection for, though for different reasons. Mannfred is pragmatic, and Arkhan is cynical, but Vlad is an optimist. He’s a king without a kingdom, a husband without a wife, and a man without allies, but for him, those are merely problems he hasn’t solved yet.

After all, once you’ve conquered death, everything else is easy. Continue reading

The Baddest Man (Un)Alive: The (Unofficial) Arkhan the Black Mixtape

A few days ago, I posted ‘The Nine Tracks of Nagash’, my unofficial End Times mixtape, celebrating the macabre machinations of Mannfred von Carstein, one of the protagonists of The Return of NagashI intended it to be a one off, but people started asking if I had made something similar for the book’s other major character–Arkhan the Black.  Which I had. So, I figured why not share that one as well? As before, this is made up of some of the songs I was listening to when I wrote scenes featuring the character. Continue reading

The Nine Tracks of Nagash: The (Unofficial) Mannfred von Carstein Mixtape

 Strange as it may sound, I really like Mannfred von Carstein. There’s something about his single-minded megalomania that puts him right up there with Cobra Commander and Megatron in the pantheon of pop culture villainy. He’s not an antihero or a tragic villain, really. There’s tragedy in his past, sure, and he’s capable of courageous acts in the service of his desires, but those things are buried beneath six feet of petty, spite-filled malice.

And, whatever else has happened, whatever else is revealed, the End Times are his fault. He started the countdown to doomsday the minute he set his sights on bringing the Undying King back from beyond the veil of night. And for that, he deserves his own soundtrack, unofficial though it may be. Continue reading

Theoretical Unofficial Soundtrack (for a Novel I May Never Write)

One of the few writerly idiosyncrasies to afflict me is the need for a good soundtrack. When I sit down to start a new novel or short story or whatever, one of the first things I do is to put together a quick list of subject matter-appropriate songs. The list is usually never more than seven or eight songs that I then play in a repetitive loop until I despise the very sound of them.

Like I said, idiosyncratic.

Continue reading