I hadn’t put my rifle down. Tom grabbed his M1A that had been leaning in the corner as we both turned and ran out of the ops room. Larry and Nick were already in Nick’s big diesel, and Tom and I hauled ourselves into the bed. It wasn’t quite the leap that it might have been a few years before, but we got ourselves situated and braced in a few seconds, before I banged on the roof of the cab with my off hand. Nick threw the truck in gear and we roared down the long driveway toward the gate. It was more a road than a driveway; the gate was almost a mile from the ranch house. Tom and I held on for dear life as the pickup raced over the unfinished gravel track, leaving a cloud of dust behind us. I could hear the shooting even over the roar of the engine and the buffeting wind of our passage. Those boys at the gate were getting some.
You know, a normal person, upon stepping out of a grocery store in a small town in Wyoming and seeing a dark red Crown Vic full of four young men, all Hispanic, all exuding the vato belligerence, two with shaved heads and goatees, watching them intently, might or might not immediately identify them as a threat. If they did, in this day and age, they might dismiss their initial concern as prejudice, and nobody wants to be prejudiced. So, they would try to ignore the mean-mugging and go about their business. To all outward appearances, that was what I did. But I am by no means a normal person anymore. Haven’t been for a lot of years. Most “normal” people would probably call me “paranoid” if they could see inside my head. I would probably correct them, pointing out that I am, in fact, “professionally paranoid.” It’s kept me alive in some very, very unpleasant places. I wasn’t looking at them as I walked across the street toward my beat-up old pickup, but was keeping them within my peripheral vision, watching them without focusing on anything in particular. I learned a long time ago that if you keep your eyes
Well, it took a couple weeks longer than I had hoped, but the outline for Lex Talionis, Praetorians Number 5, is done. Finally. This one has been a bear to get started, for a couple of reasons. One, shifting gears from two entirely different genres, in which I was immersed for the entirety of the summer and fall, between the novel that I otherwise can’t talk about yet, and The Canyon of the Lost, has been…difficult. Add in the grim(mer) nature of this final installment in the American Praetorians series, and you start to get the picture. I can say this much: the storm clouds have been gathering for the last three books, and now the thunder’s rumbling and it’s starting to rain. This is going to be a rough ride.
Been pretty busy lately. Got the first (and second) draft of an Heroic Fantasy story done that I’m trying to sell to an actual publisher, but while I wait on Reader Force Alpha, I’ve embarked on a couple more projects. The big one is, of course, Lex Talionis, American Praetorians Number Five. I’m still outlining, as this one is going to be a bear and a half. But it’s getting there. In the meantime, I’ve started in on a Jed Horn short story/novella (probably going to end up about the same length as Rock, Meet Hard Place). It’ll be going up on Kindle exclusive once it’s done. (Though it might get included in a later edition of one of the existing novels for those who want to have a paper copy.) Now back to the word mines.
I’ve gotten a request to start a newsletter. Would anyone else be interested in a quarterly newsletter with updates and announcements, such as pre-orders and release dates? UPDATE: You can now find a newsletter sign-up link at the top of my blog and on my website.
It is live! The Devil You Don’t Know is now available for purchase on all platforms. I’m hoping that some of you have already delved in and gotten hooked. http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Dont-Know-American-Praetorians-ebook/dp/B00V56OFQI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1435075644&sr=8-3&keywords=peter+nealen http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-devil-you-dont-know-peter-nealen/1122107089?ean=2940151965682 Thanks to the pre-orders, it’s up pretty far on the Amazon Kindle sales ranks right now, hitting the top 100 in both Organized Crime and Military thrillers.
So, the audiobook of Task Force Desperate is almost finished; a few final pickups and it will be ready to go. It’ll be on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes exclusively. The Devil You Don’t Know releases in 11 more days. The final versions are all uploaded, and it will be on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBooks, and Kobo (yes, I’ve actually sold a few books on Kobo), as well as paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I just got the paperback proof today: Coming up, I’m starting in on outlining The Walker on the Hills, the next Jed Horn story. There’s another project that might be in the works, but I don’t want to say too much about it yet. Suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into it, one way or another.
And, after 4,633 words worth of key-pounding today, I brought the first draft to a close. It’s slightly longer than Alone and Unafraid, before editing, and my books tend to get slightly longer as editing goes on. Whew. A 123,455-word manuscript knocked out in sixty-five days. I think I’m getting more practiced at this. It’s still coming out on June 23rd. For the Kindle readers, please go ahead and preorder (I’ll be getting the Nook and iBooks preorders up later; the manuscript has to be a bit further along before I can get it through the vetting process to get them on those platforms). The reason I’m pushing the preorders is because they all hit at midnight the day it comes out. That gives the book a good spike on Amazon’s stats, which gets it more visibility. It’s one of the little tricks independent authors need to learn to actually get somewhere. Now I’m going to go let my brain dribble out of my ear for a bit before I start editing…
Real life has intruded on the writing schedule lately, but the draft is still over 75,000 words. Also, the Kindle Preorder is up on Amazon. Release date is now June 23. He is called “El Duque.” No one knows his real name. Only vague descriptions and fuzzy photos of him exist. What is known about him is that he is the up-and-coming power in the converging underworlds of guerrilla warfare, spies, terrorists, and organized crime. He is known to have ties with Islamist extremists, Communist guerrillas, drug cartels, gun runners…if it is involved in global chaos, he has a hand in it. Now Praetorian Security has been contracted to hunt him down. Jeff Stone and his team pick up the scent in northern Mexico. But the closer they get, the more elusive El Duque seems to become. Jeff and his compatriots have long since learned that in the shadowy world of modern conflict, little is ever exactly what it seems. But as the manhunt leads them into some of the darkest, most lawless corners of the Western Hemisphere, they come upon an explosive revelation that changes everything. No one is coming out the other side of this mission the same.
A lone sheriff’s department vehicle showed up just ahead of the Harmon-Dominguez trucks. The firefight had been over for just over an hour. There were fire-trucks and ambulances just behind the sheriff’s vehicle. The deputy pulled up, got out, took a look around at us, walked over to the shattered cars and trucks full of bloating MS-13 corpses, and went back to his car without a word. The other first-responders went to deal with the overturned semi. The wrecker was half an hour behind the ambulances, who ended up just bagging up the bodies and driving away. When the Harmon-Dominguez convoy finally got there, they slowed way down and hesitated for close to five minutes, hanging back a good hundred yards from the scene. When they finally crept forward to the crashed box truck, they were slow, hesitant, and gave off the appearance of staring fearfully at the sheriff’s department vehicle. I just shook my head. We’d been contracted because some of the people Renton works with thought that Harmon-Dominguez was a front company for Mexican cartel interests. They wanted some inside reconnaissance, and we were it. And maybe my perception was colored by that knowledge. But these guys just