*You know him as Kilted Dave and what the fancy title means is that he’s one of the poor souls I’ve convinced to give me at least one post a month. Yes, I’m still taking guest posts from the rest of you, but you’re under no obligation to do one a month, while the poor
saps souls in the raiding party are on the hook for that. So, without further ado, I’ll let him introduce himself. (And Raiding Party is, of course, in keeping with the Hun theme.)*
I’ve been instructed to introduce myself. And to make it amusing. Very well.
I am called the Kilted One, the Blurred Barista, the Red-Bearded Pirate, “Hey, You,”
the Scourge of God, and (my favorite) the Magnificent Bastard.
I come from a long, long line of scoundrels, ruffians, and assorted barbarians (sometime within a generation of the Battle of Hastings, I have an ancestor called Thom the Saxon). Those arbiters of all things cultural – the Hellenes – gave the concept to their conquerors/conquered the Romans (it was a very confusing assimilation for all involved), and they applied it to – so far as I can tell – all of my ancestors, as far back as anyone can find. Gaul, Pict, Gael, Celt, Scot, Angle, Saxon, Dane, Norse. Without expensive tests whose legitimacy has recently been called into question, it seems clear I am the penultimate product of as shady a gang of ne’er-do-wells as you’ll find this side of Tortuga (not the one in the Caribbean Sea; the raucous freehold occupying the hollowed out moon of a nameless planetoid hurtling ’round the white dwarf companion of Ultima Baengari, binary system famed in story and legend. I would say more, but we haven’t the time).
I am the proud holder of a degree in that most useful and least marketable of (in)disciplines: philosophy. My BA in BS has served me well in the decade since I made off with it. I learned early on that nobody likes philosophers (much like prophets in that regard, but more on that later) so I figured a term of enlistment would provide adequate recompense for my profligate education. After six years nowhere near a mast (boy and man), I discovered the Navy had no more interest in my high-minded mannerisms than did that bane of all thinking people, Academia. No really, listening to static and not seeing the sun for weeks was pushing me rapidly toward doing something precipitous. Well, those, and bureaucratic nonsense I have since learned is standard.
But now I’m free: free of obligation, free of trousers and free of that gods-be-damned hole in the ground. Free to starve to death on my own merits. Fortunately, behind every man stands a woman, prodding him in the back with drawn bayonet. And Mrs. Dave, aka Sarah the Younger, aka Sarah the Blonder, aka Mischief, aka A Trial To Me, aka the mother of my as-yet-unborn spawn, does her share of prodding. I just wish she’d take the batteries out of the prod. But seriously, Mrs. Dave is a gracious lady who allows me to pursue my writing with only the simple understanding that I’ll clean her house, cook her meals, father her children (in various stages of potentia) and generally prove to one and all that I’m more or less civilized. Also, it brings closer the day when I’ll keep her in the manner in which she’d like to become accustomed.
When it comes to the lies I tell for a living, I seem to have fallen into a peculiar niche. My prose isn’t so much purple as it is a shadowed lavender, and my protagonists seem to barely know what they’re about. I’d blame this on a relative lack of experience, but I’ve got several hundred thousands of words (some of them even in sentences, no less) in multiple works spread across several (sub)genres. The published works are, on the one hand, rural fantasy (that peculiar subgenre of contemporary fantasy that doesn’t happen in a city) and on the other hand, something I think of as a cross between fairy tales and Lovecraftian quasi-horror.
I have other projects in various states of disrepair and decay, to include steampunk, second world fantasy, space opera, a couple of post-apocalyptic adventures, pulp adventure, and military SF. I come by it honestly, as – at age seven or so – I picked up a nifty book on my father’s shelf. The book had a dragon on it, and I thought, “cool.” Eventually, I hit a point where, halfway though half of the books I picked up, I thought, “I bet I can do better than this.” After the Navy and I called it quits (always nagging, calling at odd hours to check up on me, issuing orders she knew wouldn’t be obeyed) and I had my aforementioned sugar-mama (Hi, Dear! What’s that knife for?), I’ve shuffled off to the bucolic countryside for a life of lit-RAR-y leisure. It is the most pleasant thing, staring deeply into candle-flames until early in the morning, sleeping until nearly noon and then slaving over nearly two hundred words, polishing them until they fling back the rays of the setting sun. Romantic, non?
[Editors’ note: Help STOP This grinning idiot won’t write the bloody stories STOP All we get are weak daydreams STOP Send red meat and whiskey-soaked gunpowder STOP Use the FTL matt-trans for Krim’s sake STOP Don’t know how much longer we can hold off the entropic drain STOP]
Sorry, where was I?
Oh, yes. Our hostess has asked me to go on a bit about my ambitions and what I want to get out of writing. It’s pretty simple, really: I want to write good stories, and mostly, get paid for them. Simple, and as easy as any other trained skill. Which is to say: not at all. At least, not when you need to know what you’re doing. So I’m working on that part. For a given value of work. Yes: working on that, as well.
Along those lines, I do have a few writers whose work I study, and of whom I’d be delighted to be called derivative. Larry Correia, besides being a Wise Latino and a friend, has a way with words that draws the reader on. I think I managed to avoid staying up until the sunrise with Warbound, but then only because I firmly left it in the other room. Had I taken it to bed, “to finish the chapter,” I’d have been doomed to finishing it in one sitting. As I’ve done with all the rest of his books. I’m firmly of the opinion that the best compliment a writer can get is, “you bastard, you kept me up until the wee hours on a school/work night!” That is what I want out of writing.
I keep Sarah the Wiser’s (you heard it here first, ladies and germs!) work in mind, and that of her spiritual forefather, RAH (pbuh). Our hostess has a manner of pacing that I wish to emulate, though it’s double tough to cut out the boring bits (but I love that sentence! I neeeeeeed iiiitttt!) Mad Mike’s gift of gab, as what translates into his writing. Oh, John Ringo, No’s seemingly magical ability to take anything and turn it into gold. The Mad Wizard’s way with plausible-seeming high technology. Col. Kratman’s insouciance toward the opinions of his fellow humans, as well as his and Mr. Drake’s ease with military history and the filing off of serial numbers of the same. Dozens of others, whose names and qualities escape me at the moment. There are even those whose work I do not wish to emulate, but from whom I learn something every time I read them. There are even those who simply serve as a negative example. Too many to enumerate, and I’ve not the energy to give them press. Maybe later. If you behave.
When it comes to the more rollicking discourse we tend to enjoy here, I have opinions – as should have become apparent by now – even strongly held ones. I am, however, a naturally retiring individual. I don’t particularly enjoy interpersonal conflict, especially over things on which I lack certainty. Trained in the Socratic Method as I am, and indoctrinated in the professional paranoia of the intelligence community, I’m sure of my lack of knowledge and wisdom in most arena and disinclined to advertise the fact.
Moreover, I often lack the patience for the cut and thrust of online debate, and as physical violence is somewhat frowned upon (re-institute a Code Duello!) and I mislike shaking in impotent rage, I’d liefer play the diplomat to the rest of the Huns’ savagery. ‘Tis more fun that way.
Oh, as regards prophets and philosophers.
There are generally two kinds: fore-tellers and forth-tellers. Often, these are two responsibilities of the same person. What we do here is – hopefully – both. We speak truth. Not to power, thank Bob, we’re not nearly that far gone. We tell it like it is. The world is thus, and we’ll say it to your face. Doesn’t matter if you want to believe some figment of a brain-sick, maundering freeloader of a demagogue. And people don’t like that. They don’t like being told their deeply cherished foolishness is so much dross.
Which is why we’re clever about it, ’round here. We dress it up all fancy-like; hang it round with rocket-ships and battle scenes, romances and betrayals and any other scores and scores of literary devices that strike our fancy. That’s what Human Wave is, after all: truth cloaked in pretty
lies, falsehoods, fictions. The kind we like to read, and reread and read yet again. The kind that inspire us to look at the messes around with hope, rather than despair.
Or at least with an eye on which parts of it to plunder and which to burn. Until the next raiding party, you hoodlums, keep your blades sharp and your pens sharper.