So, This Happened

Dave Reeder, from Breach-Bang-Clear (which I’ve written some articles for in the past), is a bit of a fan of the American Praetorians series.  So much so, in fact, that he commissioned an American Praetorians Radical Firearms RF-15 for me. Haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet, but it feels good, and it looks badass.  Consider this your official Thank You, Dave.

Eyeing the Backlist

I’m reading Chris Fox’s book, Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life into Your Backlist.  With The Unity Wars launched, and so far doing just about as well as Brannigan’s Blackhearts (rather than exponentially better, as I’d hoped), I’ve started thinking about the fact that my backlist isn’t quite earning as much as it should be. I’ve already done a little bit along these lines, with the new cover for Kill Yuan.  Reading Chris’ work, however, it could probably use some more tweaking, mainly in the blurb, keywords, and marketing aspect. American Praetorians and Jed Horn get a bit thornier. At this point, I think that a full relaunch of both series would be in order.  Jed Horn hasn’t ever done as well as the Praetorian books, in no small part because I simply marketed it to my fans, such as there are, and they were looking for military action.  It didn’t really make it in front of the more MHI/Repairman Jack sort of audience.  So, in addition to new covers for the first two at least (and probably new type for all four), it would benefit from a full relaunch. The Praetorian books get a little more complicated.  Task Force Desperate

Busy, Busy

I know, I haven’t been posting here much.  Need to get on that.  Probably need to do some scheduling. But I’ve been busy.  Very.  I’ve got another new series in the works, and it’s more than a little different from anything I’ve done before.  I’ve played around with military action adventure, horror/fantasy, and heroic fantasy (though y’all haven’t seen that much of that yet).  But this is going to be science fiction. Now, the funny part is that I originally started tinkering with writing, back in high school, with science fiction.  I still have notebooks (somewhere) of notes, starmaps, and starship diagrams from those days.  I had an entire sweeping timeline of wars between alien empires and human-alien alliances.  It was, to borrow a turn of phrase from Nick Cole and Jason Anspach, WingCommanderNotWingCommander with a leavening of StarWarsNotStarWars.  In fact, Task Force Desperate started out as a mil-fic backstory leading into the “21st Century Chaos” that was part of the backstory of what that epic evolved into.  (It isn’t anymore; the Praetorian Series became very much its own thing.) What I’m working on now isn’t that particular epic.  It’s much more “The Clone Wars meets The Horus Heresy with

Telling Spook Stories Around the Campfire

Telling Spook Stories Around the Campfire

I got my start as a storyteller in the dark, around campfires, up at Camp Fife in Washington State, about eighteen years ago, now.  In a real way, the Jed Horn series is simply a continuation of that old tradition. There are two kinds of campfire story; the traditional ones that are passed down from fire to fire, for years, only changing in small details of the telling, flexible things that are simply the flavor the teller adds as he goes.  The other kind are the ones I mostly told; the improvised scary stories. My first was pretty simple.  A wisp in the woods, a curious Scout, and a game of cat-and-mouse underground with a monster that could change shape at will.  It wasn’t the best spook story ever told, but I had already learned a few things from it.  Between that one and a couple of the later ones, I developed a few rules.

The (Literary) Problem of Evil

From a piece by John C. Wright, from a few years ago: In none of the stories I just mentioned, even stories where the image of Our Lord in His suffering nailed to a cross is what drives back vampires, is any mentioned made of the Christ. Is is always an Old Testament sort of God ruling Heaven, or no one at all is in charge. So why in Heaven’s name is Heaven always so bland, unappealing, or evil in these spooky stories? I can see the logic of the artistic decisions behind these choices, honestly, I can. If I were writing these series, I would have (had only I been gifted enough to do it) done the same and for the same reason. It is the same question that George Orwell criticized in his review of THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH by CS Lewis. In the Manchester Evening News, 16 August 1945, Orwell writes that the evil scientists in the NICE [the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments, who are the Black Hats of the yarn] are actually evil magicians of a modern, materialist bent, in communion with ‘evil spirits.’ Orwell comments: Mr. Lewis appears to believe in the existence of such

The ARC Conundrum

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

The Writer Master Plan

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.

Another Article, and Another Review

My latest is up on Breach-Bang-Clear, concerning weapons being, in the words of Sam in Ronin, “A toolbox.”  Knowing your tools means that firearms aren’t like the latest iPhone.  (Of course, the Facebook comments on B-B-C’s page have already gone off the rails…never read the FB comments!) The NRA recently decided to disallow revolvers and 1911s from their “Carry Guard” classes. They have since reversed that decision, probably after millions of gun owners took to the internet to tell them it was stupid). This decision seems to have once again highlighted the differing opinions in the firearms community about what is and is not an “obsolete” firearm. I almost said, “reignited the debate,” but who are we kidding? It’s never stopped. Read the rest on Breach-Bang-Clear. Also, a fellow denizen of the “Men’s Adventure Paperbacks of the ’70s and ’80s” Group on Facebook, Greg Hatcher, has read and reviewed Lex Talionis.  It is an excellent review. “I’m not much of a joiner, usually, but I do belong to an online community that is devoted to reading and collecting the men’s adventure paperbacks that dominated drugstore spinner racks in the sixties and seventies. It happens that many of us write the

New Ideas

So, after scrapping the first 400 words of the next chapter of Lex Talionis (getting close to finished, but not there yet), I had an interesting idea for a new series. This wouldn’t be taking the place of any other projects, but would be woven into the years’ schedule along with others.  The idea was spawned by thinking of the old action series, such as Executioner, Phoenix Force, Able Team, Soldiers of Barrabas, or Stony Man. What if I came up with an episodic (old-school episodic, with continuing characters but not necessarily any long-spanning arc) action series, roughly 40k-60k words per story (roughly the length of A Silver Cross and a Winchester or Nightmares)?  It would be somewhat less “THE WORLD IS ON FIRE!” than the Praetorian series, mainly focusing on going after various bad actors in various real and fictional parts of the globe.  Short, pulpy, hard-hitting action pieces, not terribly geopolitical or intrigue-heavy, but with long-running characters and fast pacing.  With a set, fairly low, word count, I could concievably knock one out in about a month, month-and-a-half, and get the ebook out for around $3. What do you think, readers?  Interested?