Why I Write Mercs

  Mercenaries haven’t really been a staple of mainstream thrillers since the ’80s.  Tom Clancy introduced Jack Ryan, an analyst, as the hero of his techno-thrillers, and it seemed to set the tone for much of the genre to come.  Harold Coyle’s heroes were mostly tankers.  Dale Brown’s were bomber pilots.  As the GWOT got started, even the more shadowy operatives, like Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp and Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan were still directly operating within the government apparatus, if so black that they “didn’t exist.” So, why did I go with mercenaries for the Praetorian series, Kill Yuan, and the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series?  Well, I think that has several answers.

It is Go Time

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #2 – Burmese Crossfire is now live!  And it’s still $0.99 for a few more days (going up to $3.99 on the 20th).  I approved the proof for the paperback on Saturday, so it’s available too (though still not linked to the Kindle page for some reason). A Search And Destroy Mission…Deep In Hostile Territory The Golden Triangle. One of the biggest heroin-producing regions in the world is also home to squabbling ethnic groups, clashing militarist paramilitaries, and Communist rebels. Drugs are a means to an end. Drugs sell for money. Money buys guns and ammo. It’s how many of the small armies of the region have stayed afloat for so long. And now, another player is getting their hand in. Intelligence suggests that North Korea’s Bureau 39 is hiring out the Light Infantry Guide Bureau as advisors in return for heroin to sell on the black market. It’s an unacceptable situation, but northern Burma is a long way from support. And the powers that be don’t want the signature on the ground that a full-scale operation might need. So, they’re turning to a man who can get it done on a shoestring, and have a hope of

Burmese Crossfire Chapter 3

Well, there’s less than a week until Burmese Crossfire comes out.  One last peek before it’s go time. Joe Flanagan was not a man given to many words or noticeable outbursts of emotion.  He was often best described as “laconic,” and he took some pride in that fact.  He was a quiet man, often a gray man, passing unnoticed through the crowd, and he liked it that way.  He and Brannigan were of similar temperaments in that respect, as both preferred the wilderness to the hustle and bustle of the city. Right at the moment, though, Flanagan’s eyes were smoldering, and his jaw was tight under his thick, black beard.  He was not a happy man. He checked his watch again.  He knew he was in the right place.  The Vegas apartment complex hadn’t been hard to find.  It had been a long drive to get there, and now Curtis was late.  He would have let the man make his own way, but he’d been hiking in Utah, so he’d been close enough to swing through Vegas and pick the other man up on the way up to Colonel Brannigan’s place in Idaho.  But they still had a long way

The Guns of Brannigan’s Blackhearts (So Far)

Realized that I could have done this for Fury in the Gulf, but didn’t.  So, with the release of Burmese Crossfire now less than two weeks away, here’s a little gratuitous gun porn covering both of the first two novels in the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series. Chinese Type 03 Commander Esfandiari’s troops in Fury in the Gulf use Chinese Type 03 rifles.  The ones they use are the export variant, chambered in 5.56. Russian Makarov Both the Iranians and the Blackhearts use 9mm Makarovs for sidearms on Khadarkh. AK-12 The Blackhearts go ashore with top-of-the-line Russian AK-12s, in 5.45. (As shown on the cover.) PKP Pecheneg Curtis, being Mr. Machinegunner, carries a PKP Pecheneg on Khadarkh, in 7.62×54. Type 88 The North Korean advisors in Burma carry Type 88 rifles, an indigenous North Korean AK variant. Type 73 light machine gun The Nork advisors also have a couple Type 73s, another indigenous North Korean design. Type 56 The Kokang Army uses various AK clones, the most common of which is the Chinese Type 56. HK G3 Since it is commonly used by the Burmese Army, the Blackhearts go in with HK G3s. Rheinmetall MG3 With a bit more numbers, two of

Burmese Crossfire Chapter 2

The paperback proof is here, the Kindle pre-order is up ($0.99 until Jan 20, when it goes up to $3.99), and here is Chapter 2 to whet more appetites. The unimaginatively-named “Road-House” lay just off the highway, about twenty miles from the nearest town.  It didn’t get a lot of traffic, except for the occasional motorist stopping in to grab something to eat, either at the gas station attached to the “Road-House” or at the restaurant and bar itself. John Brannigan nearly filled the doorway as he stepped inside.  Six-foot-four, broad-shouldered, he retained the leanness and power of a man much younger than his nearly fifty years.  His hair was going gray, as was the thick handlebar mustache he’d grown since he’d retired—not entirely willingly—from the Marine Corps, some years before.  Deep lines surrounded his icy eyes as he swept the interior of the restaurant with a practiced, professional gaze.  This was a man who had never stepped into a room without knowing the layout, who was in it, and how to get out. It wasn’t that he was paranoid.  It was simply a fact that twenty-three years as a Marine, both enlisted and commissioned, had hard-wired certain habits into

“Burmese Crossfire” Chapter 1

Roi Tri Somboon Sirpreecha was nervous. It had been a whole fifteen days since he had reported to his post as the youngest, least-experienced platoon commander in the Thanan Phran, the Thai Rangers.  It hadn’t been an easy fifteen days, either.  While the Royal Thai Army provided the Thanan Phran with its officer and NCO corps, many of the men had their own ideas about discipline and responsibility.  He’d long heard that many of the Rangers had been criminals, pardoned of their crimes for joining up, but he hadn’t realized just how shadowy the interior workings of the Thanan Phran could be until he’d caught one of his more experienced and respected Rangers brazenly stealing from one of the villagers when they’d passed through Ban Pha Hi on patrol. When he’d confronted the man, he’d found himself half-surrounded by suddenly surly Rangers, all with weapons close at hand.  He’d held his ground, backed up by Sip Ek Klahan Phonarthit, and the Rangers had slowly backed down.  The culprit, Kamun Amsir, had finally handed the stolen food back to the bent old woman, giving the Roi Tri a smile that promised that he would learn how the Thanan Phran worked, or

“Fury in the Gulf” Pre-order

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #1 – Fury in the Gulf is up for Kindle pre-order on Amazon.  (Paperback is still going to have to wait until release day.) It’s actually been up for a couple of weeks now.  I haven’t said anything about it before now because I’ve been attempting to do something similar to what Chris Fox talks about in this video, attempting to get more organic growth and exposure with Amazon Marketing Services.  Of course, the whole Brannigan’s Bastards vs Brannigan’s Blackhearts fiasco put me back by a week, so I’m not seeing anything like the numbers Chris talks about in that video.  (Admittedly, I’m starting to wonder how much that works with Action Adventure vs Science Fiction & Fantasy.) The tiny island kingdom of Khadarkh, strategically placed in the Persian Gulf, has swung back and forth between the Saudi and Iranian orbits for years. But when a mysterious force seizes control of the island, executes the tiny Khadarkhi Army, and takes any Americans they can find hostage, it appears that Khadarkh will be an Iranian puppet for the foreseeable future. The politicians are afraid of risking the hostages. And as the Western powers dither, some people start to look

“Fury in the Gulf” Is Coming

We have a cover, and a release date.  Brannigan’s Bastards #1 – Fury in the Gulf, will be out November 15.   Iranian Fanatics, American Hostages…And The Clock Is Ticking! The tiny island kingdom of Khadarkh, strategically placed in the Persian Gulf, has swung back and forth between the Saudi and Iranian orbits for years. But when a mysterious force seizes control of the island, executes the tiny Khadarkhi Army, and takes any Americans they can find hostage, it appears that Khadarkh will be an Iranian puppet for the foreseeable future. The politicians are afraid of risking the hostages. And as the Western powers dither, some people start to look for another solution. They find that solution in John Brannigan. Brannigan already has a rep for pulling off the impossible, through a combination of audacity, ruthlessness, and ferocious loyalty to his men. His military service is over, but now he will pick up a rifle again, putting together a squad of mercenaries to land on Khadarkh and rescue the hostages, in a hail of bullets and swift, sharp violence. Brannigan’s Bastards are about to strike. Kevin Granzow, the guy who did the new Kill Yuan cover, is doing the Brannigan’s

Soldiers of Barrabas #2 The Plains of Fire

This was my first SOBs novel.  And at the time, I was simply interested in the premise.  Iran goes nuclear.  It was a pretty high-profile concern a few years ago, and has been simmering in the background ever since.  There was even a documentary made about it, Iranium.  With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an avowed “Twelver” as President of Iran, the likelihood of Iranian nukes soon being used against the US and Israel seemed to be pretty high.  So imagine my curiosity when I found out that an obscure, 1984 Gold Eagle pulp mercenary story had been written about just that: stopping Iran from launching a nuclear attack.