Night was falling fast over the rugged hills as Shamil Mashadov took a knee under the short, scrubby pine and looked back at his little strike force. The fifty men were strung along the side of the mountain behind him, following the narrow goat path in single file. They blended in well, especially as the light failed. Much of that was thanks to the brand-new camouflage that the Emir had gotten them; the pixelated tan and green was every bit as effective as the American OCP, particularly amid the scrub and short trees of Paktika Province. Most of the men behind him, except for Dilawar Safi, his Pashtun guide, were fellow Chechens, warriors of the Aswad al Islam. They were a long way from home, but what they would do tonight would be worth it. Turning back toward their objective, he lowered the night vision goggles mounted to his helmet and scanned the valley below. The Americans had said that they would be gone from this part of Afghanistan months before, but, infuriatingly, they still had yet to withdraw. Tonight, Mashadov and his brothers would teach the infidels that they should have fled long ago. He lifted the encrypted Russian
SPOTREPS – A Maelstrom Rising Anthology Foreword
This collection came together thanks to a couple of things. One goes way back to the beginning of my writing career. In a way, it could even be said that this entire book is Dave Reeder’s fault. I sent Dave a copy of Task Force Desperate, in the hopes that he’d review it on Breach-Bang-Clear. He did, and the review was pretty glowing. Over the next couple of years, as the American Praetorians series advanced, his enthusiasm didn’t wane. In many ways, I’m indebted to Dave as a perpetual source of encouragement as an action thriller writer. He also brought up the possibility of writing in one or another of my series. When the idea for the Maelstrom Rising series came to me, I initially worked up a little promotional graphic, a black and white photo of a raging fire on a street, with the following text: Most of the pundits are calling it World War Three, though a friend of mine says it’s really more like Five or Six. Others are calling it the Great Global Breakdown, or the War of All Against All. We Triarii? We just call it work. Dave immediately wanted to know what
A Bit of a Shakeup
I’ve been a bit quiet lately, I know. That’s because I’ve been a little busy. The business side of this author thing is getting a bit of a shakeup. I’ve recently been picking James Rosone’s brain on marketing. He’s been doing rather better at this than I have, and he’s had some wisdom to impart. So, I’ve been trying to put it into practice. The Maelstrom Rising series is now something of my flagship series, and James has strongly suggested that I concentrate on it for the time being. You might have noticed new covers in the sidebar. That’s part of the shakeup. It’s also why Strategic Assets has been moved to the front of the queue. (And yes, if you click on the image, it will take you to a preorder link.) Enemy of My Enemy is still in the works, but the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series needs some more work. I also got Strategic Assets outlined in two days, started the first draft on Friday, and it’s already over 13k words in. Pulp Speed is back, folks. Hopefully I can maintain it, because this series got big. (As in, “probably 14 books long, not counting the anthology” big.) Trying to give the broad
Some Writing Updates
Well, Crimson Star has been out for a little over a week and a half, and it’s doing pretty well. A few reviews are in, and some of you have said it’s actually your favorite of the series so far. Some of that seems to be because a lot of it is much more irregular warfare, more reminiscent of the American Praetorians series. To that, all I have to say is that as the war drags on, and more expensive (and irreplaceable) assets get taken off the board, the more irregular this next World War is going to get. I was planning for Hank and his section to head out into the Pacific after the Chinese following Crimson Star, but now that the first volume of his arc is done, it’s not looking quite so cut and dried. The state of affairs CONUS is bad enough that the response is going to take time. At any rate, we’ll be back to Matt’s Grex Luporum Team in the ETO with Strategic Assets later on this year. Before that comes Brannigan’s Blackhearts #8 – Enemy of My Enemy. That’s going to be fun (we may see a certain Russian mobster again from Fury in the Gulf). However,
4th of July Promo!
So, James Rosone, the author of the World War III, Red Storm, and now the Second American Civil War series (why yes, we write about very similar stuff), has put together a group promo on Bookfunnel for the 4th of July. James and I write similar stuff, and he offered to bring a bunch of other thriller authors on board. Since I just ran a KDP Countdown on Escalation, and I’m currently working on outlining Brannigan’s Blackhearts #7, I threw Kill Yuan in there. So, if you haven’t picked that one up (it seems like quite a few people haven’t, since it was originally a complete stand-alone), you can get the ebook this week for only $0.99! And you can add the Audible version (yes, this is one of two of my books on audio; if more people buy it, I might be able to get some more done) for free when you buy the ebook. A twofer! A Warrior Without A War Slowly Dies But a warrior looking for a war should be careful what he wishes for. Dan Tackett feels like he’s on a downward spiral, and has been ever since his wife died. But he should have known that
Maelstrom Rising Tech: Kamikaze Drones
The Maelstrom Rising series already features some “cutting-edge” tech. Some of that tech has already been fielded; some of it is in development. One of these pieces of tech are “kamikaze drones,” which get employed to devastating effect in Escalation. A couple of my readers have commented on how scary they are. But they’re real, and we’re going to see more of them in the years to come. (Side note: While tech will feature in the Maelstrom Rising series, it will never be depicted as the panacea that you might find in a lot of ’90s techno-thrillers. Anyone who has read my stuff before should already be aware of that. High tech complicates logistics, and logistics are already hampering everybody’s war effort in Maelstrom Rising.) These kamikaze drones have been in development for some time. The US and Israel appear to have been the primary developers. The US has begun fielding the Switchblade drone several years ago.
Larue OBR: guns of the Triarii
The thunderous report of the 7.62 echoed across the hills around the town, shattering the early morning calm. The dark-clad man with the FAMAS bullpup staggered, staring down at the widening dark stain on his chest for a brief fraction of a second before he crumpled, crashing to the deck with a thump and a muffled clatter as he landed on top of his rifle…
Setting the Stage Part 7: European Defense Council
Recruited in secret, trained and equipped in secret (there was plenty of money for the Corps’ equipment; it was mostly in “black” accounts and various other secret and officially illegal shelters and revenue streams), the European Defense Corps was built on the bones of the old Euro Corps and trained and commanded by French and German veterans of Afghanistan, Mali, and the Balkans. Impressed and indoctrinated heavily with the mission of a united Europe, and the evils of nationalism and traditionalism, the young men who were recruited, many of them foreigners, were subjected to a harsh training regimen, rivalling that of the French Foreign Legion
As I’ve written before, writing about mercs or military NGOs provides a certain freedom of action in a storytelling sense that I don’t get with writing about regular military. Call it a certain degree of wish fulfillment (I’ve characterized some of my fiction as “shooter wish-fulfillment” before), but it helps telling the kinds of stories I want to tell without the pains of dealing with a lot of the red tape and crushing bureaucracy of the actual military. I knew going into Maelstrom Rising that a small, special-operations-centered PMC like Praetorian Security/Solutions wasn’t quite going to do the trick. So, The Triarii were born.
Setting the Stage Part 4
As the 21st Century has matured, the divide in the United States has gotten more and more pronounced. While in many ways it is tribal (simply look at what either major political faction will scream bloody murder about when they are the opposition, and then look the other way when it is done while their people are in office), there is a fundamental fracture in the fabric of American society. And that fissure is deepening. More and more voices call for the utter destruction of anyone who disagrees with them, no matter how petty or nonsensical the disagreement is. A side with more and more power is demanding that things that are more and more demonstrably false and counter-factual be held up as right, true, and good, and threaten the livelihoods, or the lives, of anyone who refuses. The fracture appears to be largely along political lines. But it has become much deeper than that, a cultural divide between people who assume the worst of each other, in some cases simply because of the color of skin. And the politicians and tech giants who make their millions use that divide more and more, stoking the fires of the mob for