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. Continue reading “Why I Write Mercs”

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The Unity Wars

A little while back, I mentioned that I had started work on a space opera epic.  Well, there’s more to it than just writing books (though that’s the main effort).  In true Galaxy’s Edge fashion, I’ve put together a website with some content to hopefully whet some people’s appetites leading up to when I start releasing books (hopefully in the summer).

Welcome to The Unity Wars.

I won’t be posting about it much on here; it’s its own thing.  The books will be published under the pen name P.L. Nealen (because Amazon’s algorithm tends to market things differently for “new” authors in different genres).  But if any of my current readers are also science fiction fans (particularly those disappointed in where Star Wars has gone), I’d welcome you over there.

Now back to the word mines with me.  Got more Brannigan’s Blackhearts to work on, too.

More SOBs: Butchers of Eden and Show No Mercy

Been a bit behind on these posts; it’s been a busy couple months.  While I don’t have the complete series, I have a good chunk of the Soldiers of Barrabas, and I’ve been working through them.  While Stony Man was kind of my gateway drug to the Gold Eagle paperback scene, the SOBs series is generally, in my opinion, slightly better (in no small part because it becomes evident early on that none of the team members–except maybe Nile Barrabas himself–have plot armor).  There are a number of influences in the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series, but the SOBs are a big one, in large part because I’ve adopted some of the storytelling tricks of a short, team-based, fast-paced action adventure story from them.  (Introducing each of the team members in the first couple chapters as the team gets rounded up is one of the main points I’ve adopted, as opposed to the in media res, on-the-fly intros we got in the Praetorian series.)

So, let’s get started. Continue reading “More SOBs: Butchers of Eden and Show No Mercy”

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 getting back out.

Brannigan’s Blackhearts are going in.

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 to go, and here he was, sitting at the curb, and there was no sign of the little man.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket.  “Where the hell are you?” he typed.

Joe!  Just in time!  I need extract!  I’m in the Blue Lagoon!  Hurry!

“Son of a…”  Flanagan had to fight the temptation to punch the steering wheel.  “Leave it to him to go to a damned bar and get into trouble now of all times,” he muttered, as he put the truck in gear and headed down the street.  Only having something of a working knowledge of Curtis’ favorite hangouts in Las Vegas gave him a general idea of where he was going, without looking at a map.

Ordinarily, it would seem to be too early for anyone to be in a bar, but it was Vegas, it was mid-afternoon, it was a weekend, and it was Curtis.  The man had never seen a bar that he hadn’t wanted to go into, and Flanagan was pretty sure he knew just why the little man was in trouble, too.

He was fuming and ready for a fight when he stalked through the doors of the Blue Lagoon.

The place was dim, lit by blue neon lights set above the bar and in abstract patterns on the ceiling.  The walls, ceiling, and most of the floor were black, except for the mirrors behind the bar, which just reflected the blue light even more.  The atmosphere was somewhat relieved by the Nevada sunlight coming in the tinted windows at the front, but not by much.

It was easy enough to pick out where Curtis was, even though he couldn’t see the little man behind the knot of belligerents gathered around him.  He could hear the gambler and erstwhile machinegunner’s slightly high-pitched voice clearly enough.

Say what he will about Kevin Curtis’ judgement, he could never accuse his old friend of being a coward.

“Oh, look at you, big man!” Curtis was saying.  “Bow up all you want, it don’t matter to me.  Or to her, apparently!”

The other man said something, probably intended to sound threatening.

“Oh, look at me, I’m so tough, in my Hard Rock Café t-shirt with the sleeves cut off,” Curtis mocked.  Even without seeing him, Flanagan could picture Curtis puffing his chest out and pulling his chin in to ridicule the man.  “Man, get outta here with that noise!  If you were half the tough guy you think you are, she wouldn’t have needed to get to know me, now would she?’

Flanagan was halfway across the floor when the man raised a fist.  “Try it, bitch!” Curtis called.  “See what happens!”

The man let the punch fly.  At the same moment, his half-dozen buddies also converged, fists flying.

Flanagan waded in. Continue reading “Burmese Crossfire Chapter 3”

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 the Blackhearts go into Burma carrying MG3s for fire support.

So, there’s a bit of a look at some of the things that go bang in the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series so far.  Hope everyone’s enjoying Fury in the Gulf, and if you’ve finished, please consider going on Amazon and leaving a review.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that Burmese Crossfire is still only $0.99 for pre-order.  It’ll go up to $3.99 on the 20th.