So, the earlier poll (coupled with a mirror version on The Action Thriller Renaissance on Facebook) was pretty definitive. The votes are for the volunteer Advance Review Copy Reader List. So, since the first draft of #1 is past half-finished, as of now, I am putting out the call for volunteers who would like to receive ARCs of the Brannigan’s Bastards series. The signup comes with a caveat: continued receipt of ARCs is contingent on an Amazon review during the first week of release. A link to said review can be sent to the Contact form here on the blog, or by PM on Facebook. I’ve got to put that in there just to be sure that there is a purpose to this list, and I’m not just giving stuff away for free. Also, the list will only include the first 25-30 people who sign up. I’ve got to cut it off there. It’s possible that you might still sign up before I yank the form (since I can’t just sit here and watch it), but if you’re number 31 or higher, my apologies. Sign up here.
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,
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.
The final edit of Lex Talionis is done, and the files have been uploaded to KDP and Createspace. Still waiting on the final cover file for the paperback, before I can order the proof, but everything is on schedule for release on the 6th. Editing is probably the most grueling part of the writing process, especially when you’re trying to squeeze three passes into three weeks, and the manuscript starts at 161k words. The final version comes to around 165k words, only reinforcing its position as the longest book I’ve ever written. As I read through the book three times, I sort of thought of a theme song for this final ride of the Praetorians’ founding team. It didn’t come from any of the music I listened to while writing it; music with lyrics tends to be a bit of a distraction while writing. I wrote it mostly to the soundtracks from all three Expendables movies, along with a bit of a few Western soundtracks, and Bernard Hermann’s score for North by Northwest. Editing mostly happened to the soundtracks from Hell or High Water and Logan. (It’s that kind of book.) But this just seemed to fit the whole thing:
It was brought to my attention that the option to update the Kindle version of Kill Yuan, for those who have already bought it and would like it with the new cover, was not automatically showing up. I had thought that it was supposed to, but after some digging, I found that I needed to contact Kindle Direct Publishing and ask them to make the update available. I did so, and just now got a reply that, while the changes are “minor” enough not to justify notifying those customers who had already purchased the book, the update is now available. If you have already bought Kill Yuan, and want the new cover, go to the “Manage My Content and Devices” page on Amazon (or this link: (www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/manage), and there should be an “Update Available” button to the right of the title.
It’s going to be a couple days before it pops up on Amazon and iTunes, but the Kill Yuan audiobook is up for purchase on Audible! Finally! So, now there’s not only a new cover, more along the lines of the classic Action/Adventure novels (I got comparisons to old school Mack Bolan from both Jack Murphy and Larry Correia when I showed each of them), but now you can listen to all the carnage and mayhem in your car (or shop, or office, or whatever). I really think Cody did a damned good job with this one. He managed to make each of the voices distinct. It’s a good listen.
Well, after a 4057-word day, the first draft of Lex Talionis is done. Finally. This thing is a beast. It is the longest book I’ve written to date, topping the final draft of Hunting in the Shadows by over 13,000 words, weighing in at 161,860 words. And that’s before editing, where a draft usually gains a couple thousand words. But there were a lot of threads to tie up in this one. It’s brutal, it’s bleak, but I think it’s a fitting end to the series. There are parts that were quite uncomfortable to write, and probably will be a bit uncomfortable to read. It is a cautionary tale in many ways, as the tagline, “War and Politics Have Consequences” should probably tell you. I’m going to take a couple of days to let the gray matter rebound, and then it’s into editing. I’ve got thirty days to get this monster ready to go.
What’s that? “Second Edition,” you say? Well, as it happens, the story is the same. A couple of typos have been corrected, but that’s the only change to the actual novel. The big change is the cover. A few people have expressed misgivings about or outright dislike of the original cover, finding it a bit too much like Archer, and therefore suggesting that the book is a parody, which anyone who has read it can tell you it is not. It is an action/adventure thriller, along the same vein as the Praetorian series. Now, I’d already been hearing a bit of this, though I’d also heard from people who really liked the cover. But when the International Lord of Hate himself, Larry Correia, suggests, “You might want to consider a different cover; it looks like it’s a comedy,” you listen. So, shortly after LTUE, I contacted Kevin Granzow, who has done covers for a couple of friends of mine, including Steven Hildreth and Ross Elder. Behold: The page on Amazon hasn’t updated with the new cover yet, though the preview file on “Look Inside” has, strangely enough. The paperback is also going to be unavailable until I can get a
I know, I was going to blog more. Twice a week or so, I said. Well, it’s been busy, but here’s a quick rundown as to why. I had to take a few days “operational pause” on Lex Talionis to do some re-thinking. As originally outlined, the final chapters were a bit too episodic, as in, “This happens, and then this happens, and then this happens.” Good storytelling ties things together a bit more. It should be more along the lines of, “This happens, which leads to this happening, so then this happens, but then…” The new direction should tighten things up and get it more into the latter model. Still a lot to do; probably 20,000-30,000 words left, which will put it as the longest Praetorian story to date, a title presently held by Hunting in the Shadows, at 148.5k. Audiobook production on Kill Yuan is about half done, and it’s coming along well. That’s bitten into writing time a little, as well, as I’ve got to review each chapter as Cody finishes and uploads it. But it’s solid. He’s doing a great job. Somewhere in there, the idea that led to the “New Ideas” post down below began
So, I’ve been keeping this a little quiet until we got the ball rolling, but Kill Yuan went into production as an audiobook last week. I’ve listened to the first fifteen minutes, and it’s badass. Note, this is not the same narrator who did Task Force Desperate. Cody Parcell, who’s done audiobooks for M. Todd Gallowglass, is taking the reins on this one, and so far, he’s nailing it. Hopefully it should be up on Audible and iTunes in a couple of months. And for the fellow nautically inclined, he will be pronouncing “gunwale” properly. You’re welcome.