As I mentioned in a previous post, I often do some reading in the target genre prior to and during working on a book. Now, I don’t really read a lot in the horror genre, with the exception of some Lovecraft, and Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, while involving monsters, aren’t really horror per se (though they are similar enough to what I write; there probably wouldn’t be a Jed Horn series without MHI). But in the workup for Older and Fouler Things, I finally picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, Residue, by Steve Diamond. Short version: it is phenomenal.
ARCs. Advance Reader Copies/Advance Review Copies. How to work this? According to what I’ve learned lately, in order to really put the Writer Master Plan into effect, I need more reviews in the first week. The way to do this seems to be ARC readers. The question at hand is, “How to handle the ARC readers?” Can’t just put the book up here. This is a business, after all. So, I’ve got three options, that I can think of. Option A: A subscription service, like Nick Cole and Jason Anspach have put together on galacticoutlaws.com. For a small fee, subscribers get the content in intervals as it’s produced. Option B: Put eARCs, PDF files of early copies of the book, up for sale right here (or on americanpraetorians.com, more precisely). They would cost more than the final release Kindle copy. This is something Baen has been doing for years now. Option C: Set up a volunteer mailing list, limited to 25-30 people, who will get the early version of the story as I write it. The caveat being, to stay on the list means emailing a link to the Amazon review within a week of release. So, good readers, what
Part of my “creative process” (damn, I hate that term) often involves reading in the genre I’m going to be working in. Call it “setting the tone.” I’ve had a few standbys for the shooter genre, ranging from Larry Correia’s and Mike Kupari’s Dead Six series, to Jack Murphy’s Deckard series, to Jack Silkstone’s PRIMAL series, among others. Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan series has been pretty good (though I’m way behind on that one), along with Dalton Fury’s Kolt Raynor series. I’ve also gone with some of the older books, such as Forsyth’s The Dogs of War, which I reviewed last week. Part of the inspiration for the upcoming Brannigan’s Bastards has been the old Pinnacle/Gold Eagle Action-Adventure series, such as The Executioner, Phoenix Force, Able Team, and Stony Man. But a larger part, among those old pulp shoot-em-ups, has been the Soldiers of Barrabas, or SOBs.
Somehow, I went 36 years without reading this book. That has now been rectified. I did see the 1980 movie, with Christopher Walken (very young and not quite as wooden and weird as he is now) some years ago. It follows the book for the most part, though it adds a few things. One of the elements that the movie adds is that it makes The Dogs of War an action-adventure. Which, while there is both, the book really isn’t. The actual coup, “The Big Killing,” as Part Three is appropriately titled, doesn’t start until Page 335. There are scattered bits of violence elsewhere, but that’s not really what the book is about. You see, the book is a manual for the preparation and execution a mercenary-led coup in a Third World country, in the 1960s.
The Jed Horn series usually hasn’t involved a great deal of research (certainly nowhere near as much as either the Praetorian series or Kill Yuan). A little bit of looking around for cool big-bore rifles for the Witch Hunters to carry, perhaps, but for the most part, the series has been a somewhat more serious version of telling spook stories around the campfire at Scout Camp (and depriving young Scouts of many hours of sleep). But with Older and Fouler Things, I ran into the need to do some research. Since the story is a cross between The Exorcist, Dracula, and an old-fashioned dungeon crawl (with holy gunslingers and a biker priest/exorcist), there is a substantial part that happens underground, in an old, abandoned silver mine. Now, I’ve been in a hard-rock mine before, but it was many, many moons ago, so memory is hazy, at best. I had to do some digging. The best resource I found was a YouTube channel entitled “Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places.” I got a good idea of general layouts of old hard-rock mines, whether silver, copper, or even tin. I also found some stuff that kind of fit in with the Jed
As some of you may remember, a few days ago I talked a little about a new plan, both for my writing and for marketing my writing. Part of that plan was creating first a Facebook Group, later to possibly expand to other outlets, in which we could build a community of action adventure/thriller enthusiasts. Because as much as I looked for one, that wasn’t specifically tied to a particular author or series, I couldn’t find one (with the possible exception of MackBolan.com, which isn’t so much a forum as a guide). That group now exists. There’s not a lot there yet, but it’s young, and that’s why it’s a group. It’s not just about me or the other authors who joined me in putting it together. Anyone who joins can add to it, posting about the books, movies, or games they have enjoyed in the genre, as wide as it is, along with anything else that might be applicable (guns, war news, cool military videos, that sort of thing). Anything that counts as an action thriller is welcome, from Mack Bolan and Casca to Tom Clancy and Brad Taylor. (And any of us in the recent indie thriller genre,
Edit 2 is finished, and the preorder for the Kindle version of Older and Fouler Things is up! It will release on September 22. In the meantime, here’s a look at Chapter 4. Oh, and there’s a cover, too. Paul didn’t show up to breakfast, even though it was pretty late in the morning, and the sounds and smells of frying bacon and eggs were permeating the entire house. After the events of the previous night, that was a matter of some concern. I was about to go check on him, but Eryn put a hand on my arm. “Let me get him,” she said quietly. “If he’s as traumatized as I think he might be, a gentle voice will probably help him a little more. No offense, hon, but you’re better at the ‘shooting monsters’ part, and I’m better at the ‘comforting victims afterward’ part.” I just nodded, and stepped back. I was still hovering in the hallway, though, and I still had my .45 on my hip. The combination of Magnus’ reaction to him, the eerie activity at the witching hour that morning, and his silence and absence at breakfast were not serving to make me particularly comfortable.
My friend Steven Hildreth just released his third novel today, The Ronin Genesis. From the blurb: April 20th, 2005. Three days have passed since Ben Williams survived the harrowing attack on Tucson’s Saguaro Towers Hotel. However, the danger has far from subsided. Unknown to the public, the Saguaro Towers was a covert CIA station; the attack, an Iranian false-flag operation aimed at breaching the American intelligence apparatus. The Iranian operative responsible for the attack is in possession of sensitive information and has gone off the grid. Short on options, the CIA turns to a small start-up private military company to hunt the Iranian. In turn, that PMC turns to Williams and members of his old Special Activities Division team. Through bloody mercenary combat with multiple factions hunting the data in drug-torn Mexico, Ronin Defense Institute will be born, but there is no guarantee their company–or the shooters themselves–will survive. I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t say much about it, though Steven did run a few bits of it past me for a sanity check. A review will be coming up in a while. But he’s done a pretty good job with his first two, and from what I’ve
Back in June, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach released a military SF novel entitled Galaxy’s Edge: Legionnaire. I’d been peripherally aware of Mr. Cole for a while, ever since Harper Voyager kicked him to the curb for political reasons. But what he and Anspach pulled off made me sit up and take notice. Because Legionnaire, a brand-new, independently-published mil-SF novel, shot to the top 100 on Kindle, and #1 in its categories, and proceeded to stay there. For weeks. And they made no secret that they wanted to share how they did it with other authors. I talked to Mr. Cole myself for a bit, and got the gears turning, even before they released their After Action Report podcast. Cole pointed me toward the non-fiction work of Chris Fox, who has been studying what works in independent publishing, specifically Amazon, for some time. I started doing some more reading.