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.
So, a couple posts back, I spoke of a 22,000 word story that I couldn’t really talk about. Well, now I can. A few months back, Mike Kupari hit me up with the idea of doing a short story for Baen.com with him, set in the Dead Six universe, created between him and Larry Correia, between Swords of Exodus and Alliance of Shadows, which comes out next month. Being a big fan of the Dead Six series, myself, I readily agreed. The end result is Rock, Meet Hard Place, Part 1 and Part 2.
Today’s the day. Kill Yuan is out. Amazon’s being a little slower getting the paperback up than they have previously, but it is on the way. The Kindle link is here. As previously announced, the ebook is presently Kindle exclusive. I’m giving Kindle Select a try, which also means that if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow the book on your Kindle. Signed paperbacks are now available for pre-order on americanpraetorians.com, to go out June 10.
Kill Yuan is finished. Editing is done, the final file has been uploaded to KDP, and we’ve just got a couple more formatting things to take care of (including the final cover file) and the paperback should be ready to go. I actually hate editing, even though that’s where a lot of the work happens. By the time I’ve finished going through the work three times, beginning to end, back to back, I’m not only getting sick of it, but I’m pretty well convinced that I’m a talentless hack who has no business selling his awkward mangling of the English language to anybody. But enough of y’all apparently still enjoy my hackery enough to pay me for it, so I will continue. Anyway, here’s another snippet, since I did say there would be a few more forthcoming:
Two chapters left on the rough draft, and then editing and re-writes can start. So, in the meantime, here’s Chapter 4. Dan had to admit that this was the fanciest training setup he’d ever seen. While the initial impression of the compound had been eye-opening, the most sophisticated training modules weren’t readily visible from outside. He was presently standing on the deck of a small container ship. All around was sea and sky, with what looked like a green-cloaked island off in the distance. All of it was projected on screens, that would recognize the laser light from the otherwise very real-feeling facsimile of a SIG SG553 in his hands. It was the most expensive and sophisticated ISMT he’d ever seen. The freighter itself was a full-sized, complete mock-up, almost indistinguishable from a real ship, except that they had arrived in the trainer through a passage that led up through what would have been the hull, where he’d seen that it was in fact a purpose-built structure. If he hadn’t, he might have believed that they had somehow gotten an actual ship inland and buried it. The entire trainer was underground; they had descended about ten flights of stairs to
98,000 words in the bag. Five or six chapters to go on the first draft. The gear list hadn’t been a long one, so when the plane landed in Fort Myers, Florida, he walked off with his carry-on and didn’t even pause at the baggage claim. He headed straight for the ground transportation doors, his bag slung over one shoulder. Spotting the group was fairly easy. Men in the contracting world have a certain look, and there were at least a dozen there on the curb who had it. All of them were of a certain age, fairly fit for the most part, short hair while still being outside of military regulation, some beards, jeans or khakis, collared shirts. Granted, some broadcast their “contractor” status more openly than others, sporting coyote tan backpacks, 5.11 shirts, tan desert boots, expensive Oakley sunglasses, and often worn, sweat-stained ballcaps in either tan or green, with velcro and patches on them. Those were generally the guys that Dan found he disliked. They were usually, though not always, more interested in projecting the tough-guy contractor image than actually being professionals. There were a few others hanging around that he suspected were probably there for the
The draft has just passed 85k words. It’s coming along quick now. So here’s the second chapter, to continue whetting the appetite. Chapter 2 Four Months Earlier Amy and Tom were already outside on the curb waiting when Dan Tackett pulled up to the daycare center. It was already dark, and the clock numbers on his truck’s dash shone accusingly at him. It was already almost eight at night. Sandra Crawford was standing on the curb behind the kids, a stiffly impassive look on her face. He parked the truck, grabbed the envelope off the dashboard, and got out. It was time to pay the daycare bill already, and he mused bitterly that every cent he made working extra hours was going into paying for those extra hours at child care. “Good evening, Mr. Tackett,” Sandra said stiffly, disapproval at his lateness in every word. “I trust you know what time it is.” The Happy Circle Child Care Center was supposed to close at seven, and he was just getting there to pick up the kids at fifty minutes past that. “Yes, Sandra, I do know what time it is,” he replied tiredly. “Work went late tonight. I couldn’t afford
Since I did a bit of an Area Brief for Kill Yuan, I thought I’d give a little run-down of most of the weapons used in the novel. Since this isn’t a Praetorian novel, things are going to be a little different. Graphics heavy post ahead, because who doesn’t like a little gun porn?
Kill Yuan has a cover: Huge thanks to Adam Karpinski, whose fan art of Jeff Stone some of you might remember from a little while back, who is tackling this cover. Pre-order is coming soon. Stay tuned.
Since Kill Yuan is set in an AO I haven’t ventured into before, I thought it might be useful to set out a bit of an orientation. The setting is the South China Sea, recently the scene of extensive maritime territorial disputes between China, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Other countries have become peripherally involved (including the US), to include Indonesia and Malaysia. To get a bit of a picture of the overall geography of the disputes, here’s a map: As part of its program of expanded influence, China has not only been expanding its naval presence in the Spratlys and the Paracels, but it has actually been building artificial islands to further cement its claims. A good brief of the overall situation by the BBC is here.