Reader Mailbag #9

Anonymous asks:

So stormcast have the human keyword. But what does this mean? Does this mean human as in their biology or or does it mean human as in their Humanity and Soul. Can they truly be called humans at all anymore?

That depends entirely on your definition of humanity.

Did you come up with the idea for the great. oubliette?

Nope. I believe Phil Kelly came up with that one.

How well did gravewild fare against the nighthaunt legions that attacked during the necroquake?

Not well, but better than most.

Do the freeguild have skyships and a Navy?

Some do, some don’t. The freeguilds vary in size and composition.

What does grave-silk look like? Does it have any special properties? And what is damask? Also what does stargleam taste like?

I’ve never given it much thought, but I imagine it looks like the hair of a corpse after its been in the ground for a few months. It’s as strong as steel, when treated with unguents composed of corpse-fat and shadeglass. Damask is a real thing. Look it up. And it tastes like moonlight.

In the free cities of Sigmar what is the development level of economics. Like does investing exist? joint ventures? Do Early stock market exist?

Different cities have different economies. Investment does exist, as do joint ventures.

With many of the Great cities of order being based off of Azyrhaim, which is a meritocracy. Is there a lot of social mobility in the free cities?

Depends on the city, and the people in charge.

How aware are the Gods of their aspects? We’ve seen Nagash is at the very least dimly aware of his other aspects sort of like you’re aware of your hands. But how do you think other gods like Sigmar or Alariele view them or the interpretations that Mortals come to when trying to understand them?

Some are more aware than others.

Why didn’t Archaon destroy the Black Pyramid after he seized Nagashizzar? And in the core book it says Arkham continued to oversee the building of BP, how could that happen if Nagashizzar was under the control of Chaos?

That I don’t know. A good question to pose to one of the loremasters, like Phil Kelly or Nick Horth.

Are you of the belief that once a man of woman falls to Chaos he is doomed forever, barring getting a haircut from Ghal Maraz? How far is too far gone if it exists? Is corruption complete or a series of events to damnation?

All of the above.

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.

Reader Mailbag #7

Scott Harper asks:

Is there any chance the Blood Dragon novel will ever be printed in any form?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: It is unlikely for a number of reasons. The foremost being because it never actually got past the pitch stage, due to scheduling conflicts with the End Times material. Essentially, the End Times happened and any Warhammer Fantasy novel that hadn’t already been contracted was never going to be.

Another reason is almost certainly the relatively poor sales of Master of Death. While Neferata earned out its advance fairly quickly, the sequel did surprisingly poorly.  Master of Death suffered a death of a thousand cuts, the most grievous of which were likely the sudden change in format from paperback to trade, as well as the utter lack of marketing it received upon its release.

Regardless the combination of timing and sales effectively killed any chance Blood Dragon had of being commissioned, or of an omnibus being assembled.

tldr; sometimes vampires don’t rise from the grave.

Reader Mailbag #6

On Twitter, @TaxFraud0 asks:

Have you ever considered writing about the people/culture of a city from the fractured States of the mortal realms (before they were wiped out in the Age of Chaos of course). I presume they’re quite different from Sigmars cities.

I have, actually, in Nagash: The Undying King.

That said, I’d love to write another book (or even a series!) set full on in the Age of Myth, before everything went to hell in a hand-basket. Unfortunately, there’s not much interest in it at the moment – at least from me.

I know Gav Thorpe’s newest novel, The Red Feast, is set in the time before the Age of Chaos. And David Annandale’s Neferata: Mortarch of Blood is set partially in the Age of Myth. So if you’re looking for that sort of thing, why not check those out?

Reader Mailbag #5

On Twitter, @schafecast asks:

How is it going?

‘s going fairly well, actually. I’m surprisingly busy for this time of year, even accounting for a six month old daughter and an imminent change of scenery.  I’ve got a collection of short stories coming out in a few weeks, Doug Bradley (of Hellraiser fame) had some nice things to say about my contribution to The Wicked and the Damned in a recent interview, and the new projects I’m working on are both financially and creatively rewarding.

So, all in all, things are good.

Reader Mailbag #4

@Psyker_Scum asks:

A few for now:

When working for an established IP, what is the process for making a pitch?

Depends on the IP. Most publishers have their own process for pitching. It might take the form of an elevator pitch via email, and then a full write-up later. It might be more involved, requiring meetings, either in person or via Skype.

Once, I pitched a story to an editor over a beer or twelve and had a contract the next morning when we sobered up.

Favourite joke or reference you’ve hidden in a story?

See, I have a bunch, but I hate spoiling them. Maybe the Frankenstein reference in Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, but only because I’m surprised it made it past the editors.

Are there/we going to see some Royal Occultist stories featuring St Cyprian’s predecessors? Or perhaps Gallowglass when she’s inherited the role?

Yes to both! There are in fact a few stories about St. Cyprian’s predecessors available. There’s a story about the first Royal Occultist, John Dee:

  • “A Tiger’s Heart, A Player’s Hide”Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu, Snow Books, 2016; The first Royal Occultist, Dr. John Dee, and his assistant, William Sly, investigate a mysterious plague afflicting the playhouses of London.

There are also a few stories about Thomas Carnacki and a younger St. Cyprian:

  • “Monmouth’s Giants”Carnacki: The New Adventures, Ulthar Press, 2013; Thomas Carnacki makes the acquaintance of one Charles St. Cyprian as they investigate ghostly giants in Guildhall. 
  • Hochmuller’s Hound”Blood Trails, Emby Press, 2014; Thomas Carnacki and his assistant, Charles St. Cyprian battle the monstrous Hound of Mons.
  • “The Charnel Hounds”, Patreon Backer Story #5, 2017; Thomas Carnacki and his assistant, Charles St. Cyprian confront an infestation of ghouls in the trenches.
  • “Dead Men’s Bones”Kaiju Rising, Ragnarok Publications, 2014; Thomas Carnacki and his assistant, Charles St. Cyprian join forces with an American ghost-breaker to battle a giant made from the corpses of fallen soldiers.

There’s a story about Carnacki’s predecessor, Edwin Drood, coming soon:

  • “The Disagreeable Bridegroom”Their Coats All Red, 18thWall Productions, TBA; Edwin Drood and his apprentice, Thomas Carnacki, investigate a peculiar haunting, involving the East India Club and a debt generations in the making.

And there’s a Gallowglass story, set in the 1950’s, forthcoming in the next year or so:

  • “Unquiet in the Earth”, Sockhops & Seances, 18thWall Productions, TBA; Ebe Gallowglass and her assistants investigate ghostly giants and government conspiracies in a Cornish village.

I’ve also got an Aylmer Beamish/Edwin Drood story, tentatively titled “The Flesh Engines”, that I’ve been working on off and on for a while. I’m hoping to get it finished this year, schedule permitting.

End the debate: What is the best cryptid?

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, obviously.

Nobody works in a vacuum, so was there anything in particular that influenced your writing in 2018?

Honestly? The imminent birth of my first child. That’s the sort of event that develops its own gravity – all things begin to bend towards it. And now that she’s been born, all things still bend towards her. She has rapidly become the centre of my universe and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reader Mailbag #3

@BrownDog400 asks:

AOS Question: Among the GodBeasts, there are a number of who are the progenitors of some of the realms species. Is there a GodBeast progenitor for Horses? Or would there be one GodBeast for Horses, Pegasuses, Unicorns and other equine species?

Interesting question. There very well could be.

I can imagine a monstrous figure – a Sleipnir or Uchchaihshravas – sprung from the ocean of stars to gallop endlessly across the realms. A being that moves so swiftly, those who observe it see only a flickering shape, resembling the Uffington White Horse.

Where its hooves touch the ground, mountains are thrown up and valleys dug. It is not always so large, swelling or shrinking according to the path it travels. Maybe it changes shape, depending on the realm. In Shyish, it is a ghostly titan, heralded by thunderous hoof-beats; in Azyr, it is accompanied by hurricane winds and booming thunder; in Aqshy, it draws a hot wind in its wake, setting fire to the dry grasslands.

Regarding its status as progenitor, perhaps the first horses sprang from its blood and sweat, shed in some ancient battle or trial. Maybe the gods tried to tame it, and in doing so wounded it, causing the great beast to shed its blood as it raced across existence, and thus spread the various species of horse to every corner of the Mortal Realms.

I think that’d be pretty cool, myself.