“Damn, these guys ain’t even trying to blend in, are they?” Jack muttered. “No, they aren’t,” I replied from the back of the van, where I was already snapping pictures. We’d done a few recon passes just by driving through the neighborhood, with the passenger looking like he was texting while he took pictures with his phone, but the bigger Nikon provided better quality, and the van meant that we could get better pictures in general. Trying to be discreet with the phone usually meant that the angles were poor. Sitting in the back seat of the panel van, I had a lot more freedom of movement. Right at the moment, my viewfinder was filled with a relatively fit young man with a pencil mustache and immaculately gelled hair, wearing shiny pants, an equally shiny black shirt open nearly to his sternum, and a short, white jacket. A thick gold chain around his neck and mirrored aviator sunglasses completed the image. I couldn’t see from our vantage point, but I was sure there was a pistol in his waistband. The handful of other young men around him weren’t as fancily dressed, though they were still wearing that sort of northern
The wrecked, bullet-riddled cars had been dragged away from the gate by the time we got back. With the uproar in town, the sheriff’s department hadn’t showed up yet, either, though I was sure they were on their way. It was going to take them a while, though. I pulled the truck up in front of the porch and got out. Tom was waiting in the doorway. “Where’s shithead?” I asked. The fury was burning pretty hot by then; I’d been feeding the flames most of the way back from town. It might not have been the healthiest way of coping, but as long as it kept me from breaking down, I was going to stick with it. I had so damned much bottled up grief and fucked-up shit in my head by then that I didn’t dare open that floodgate. That way lay madness and fatal alcohol poisoning.
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…