On Seas So Crimson
by James Young
GENRE: Alternate History
Adolf Hitler is dead. Great Britain has fallen. The Royal Family has fled to Canada, and the United States stands alone against the Axis.
On Seas So Crimson collects both novels of the Usurper’s War into a single package. Acts of War (Amazon Bestseller in alternate history) begins this universe with London on fire, while Collisions of the Damned (recommended by Alternate History Weekly) continues it with the desperate defense of the Dutch East Indies.
It’s never a good day when you become commander of a vessel simply because no one else was left. From what he understood, Keir had started the day as chief of Hood’s Navigation Division. That had been before the vessel took at least three 15-inch shells to the bridge area, as well as two more that had wiped out her gunnery directory and the secondary bridge.
Captain Gordon was right—she was a very powerful warship. Unfortunately that tends to make you a target.
“Commander, you are certain that…” Gordon started, then collected himself. “You are certain His Majesty is dead.”
“Yes sir,” Keir said. “His Majesty was in the conning tower with Admiral Pound when it was hit. The Royal Surgeon positively identified His Majesty’s body in the aid station before that was hit in turn. We cannot get to the aid station due to the spreading fire.”
“Understood. His Majesty would not have wanted any of you to risk his life for his body,” Gordon said.
“I just…” Keir started, then stopped, overcome with emotion.
“It is not your fault lad,” Gordon said. “Her Majesty will understand.”
Gordon turned and looked at the Exeter’s clock.
“Very well, we are out of time. Stand by to fire torpedoes.”
“Torpedoes report they are ready.”
“Sir, you may want to tell your torpedo officer to have his weapons set to run deep,” Keir said. “She’s drawing…”
There was a large explosion aboard Hood as the flames reached a secondary turret’s ready ammunition. Eric saw a fiery object arc slowly across, descending towards the Exeter as hundreds of helpless eyes watched it. The flaming debris’ lazy parabola terminated barely fifty yards off of Exeter’s side with a large, audible splash.
“I think we do not have time for that discussion,” Gordon said grimly. “Fire torpedoes!”
The three weapons from Exeter’s starboard tubes sprang from their launchers into the water. Set as a narrow spread, the three tracks seemed to take forever to impact from Eric’s perspective. Exeter’s torpedo officer, observing Hood’s state, had taken into account the battlecruiser’s lower draught without having to be told. Indeed, he had almost set the weapons for too deep a run, but was saved by the flooding that had occurred in the previous few minutes. In addition to breaking the battlecruiser’s keel, the triple blow opened the entire aft third of her port side to the ocean. With the audible sound of twisting metal, Hood started to roll onto her beam ends. She never completed the evolution before slipping beneath the waves.
Interview with the Author:
- Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
–Yes. I think that someone can learn how emotions affect others and apply that to their own writing. For instance, I am not a parent, but I have many friends who are. In addition, I have nephews and nieces of my own, plus an “uncle” relationship with many of said friends’ children. From this, I can extrapolate enough of the parental relationship for writing purposes. In similar ways, someone who is more “Vulcan” or stoic can do so as well.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
–I am friends with numerous other authors, so I’ll try to truncate this list. (Which is a way of saying if I omit anyone, it’s not purposeful.) First and foremost, I’m married to Anita C. Young, author of the Architects of Lore urban fantasy series. She helps me to become a better writer through love, support, and the occasional “Uh, if you do that in your book, people are going to hate you forever.” Susanne Lambdin (Dead Hearts series) and Tracy Dunn (Alex and the Immortals children’s books) have helped me to become better writers by virtue of our discussing the “How to…” of our craft during writer’s panels at various cons. Finally, Peter Grant, Thaddeus Nowak, and Chris Kennedy, three extremely successful independent authors, have all been helpful with marketing advice. It truly does take a community, and some of the best advice I can give to someone is to network early and often.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Teribithia, and it was an ugly cry. Which is ironic, given that character mortality is one of my writing traits.
- Have you ever gotten reader’sblock?
Yes, I have. Even worse, I have had it during the classroom portion of my graduate studies, when we were expected to read a book a week. That, needless to say, is problematic. The way I cured it was usually figuring out if it was the book that was bothering me or some other stressor in my life. In some cases, I had to just assume risk with regards to whether I would have to talk in the upcoming class. Thankfully, I had usually built up enough “class participation” prior to those nights to skate by.
- What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
“Small presses” that prey upon new or desperate authors, with unscrupulous agents a close second. While websites such as “ “The Passive Voice” make it much easier to sniff out a ruse, they only work for people who know about them or have the time to do research. As a general rule, I always advise people to have a legal professional look over anything they sign with a publisher. Second, remember that money always flows to the author, not away from. Finally, there is no reason to rush into a deal or respond to pressure to sign a contract. “Act in haste, repent in leisure…” applies doubly to signing one’s rights away, especially if the rights holder declares bankruptcy. You can declare bankruptcy to get out from under a bad mortgage. There’s no ready recourse for getting out of a bad contract.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distractions and stress, with “ankle biter” tasks not far behind. If I block off a set amount of time to write, it gets annoying when there are things that come up in the middle of it.
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It can do both. Energizing is when there’s a flash of inspiration that allows a scene to be plowed through. Exhausting is the opposite, i.e., there’s a sudden loss of inspiration or idea halfway through a pivotal event. Sometimes it’s best to just grit one’s teeth and keep going, with the expectation that you’ll come back and finish things off later.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
James Young is a Missouri native who escaped small town life via an appointment to the United States Military Academy. After completing his service in the Army, Mr. Young moved to Kansas to pursue his doctorate in U.S. History. Fiction is his first love, and he is currently the author of the Usurper’s War (alternate history), Vergassy Chronicles (space opera), and Scythefall (apocalyptic fiction) series, all of which are available via Amazon or Createspace. Currently living in the Midwest with his loving, kind, and beautiful spouse, Mr. Young spends his time completing his dissertation while plotting new, interesting ways to torment characters and readers alike. As a non-fiction author, Mr. Young has won the 2016 United States Naval Institute’s Cyberwarfare Essay contest and the U.S. Armor Center’s Draper Award for a battle analysis of the Golan Heights. He has also placed in the James A. Adams Cold War History contest held by the Virginia Military Institute and been published in the Journal of Military History (“The Heights of Ineptitude”).
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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
James Young will be awarding a 9 x 12 print of the cover painting, “Death of Kongo” signed by the author and the artist Wayne Scarpaci (US ONLY GIVEAWAY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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