River of Flesh

I was initially a bit leery about this one, noticing on MackBolan.com that it was written by Robin Hardy.  My last go-round with Hardy was Show No Mercy, which was really, really poorly written.

But, a weird, double-entendre back cover notwithstanding (a double-entendre which has no bearing whatsoever on the story), River of Flesh turned out to be surprisingly solid.  Hardy still has some odd descriptive flourishes in this one (not to mention an overly high opinion of the lethality of 5.56mm), but the writing is generally a tier above what came in his last standalone SOBs title. Continue reading “River of Flesh”

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Eyeing the Backlist

I’m reading Chris Fox’s book, Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life into Your Backlist.  With The Unity Wars launched, and so far doing just about as well as Brannigan’s Blackhearts (rather than exponentially better, as I’d hoped), I’ve started thinking about the fact that my backlist isn’t quite earning as much as it should be.

I’ve already done a little bit along these lines, with the new cover for Kill Yuan.  Reading Chris’ work, however, it could probably use some more tweaking, mainly in the blurb, keywords, and marketing aspect.

American Praetorians and Jed Horn get a bit thornier.

At this point, I think that a full relaunch of both series would be in order.  Jed Horn hasn’t ever done as well as the Praetorian books, in no small part because I simply marketed it to my fans, such as there are, and they were looking for military action.  It didn’t really make it in front of the more MHI/Repairman Jack sort of audience.  So, in addition to new covers for the first two at least (and probably new type for all four), it would benefit from a full relaunch.

The Praetorian books get a little more complicated.  Task Force Desperate was my first novel, and even going over it for the audiobook, I was seeing some of the rough spots.  Even worse, it has become dated by my use of real organizations and a geopolitical situation that was current in 2011, but has faded into the past.  It could do with a bit of a rewrite.  Similar problems apply to Hunting in the Shadows and Alone and Unafraid, especially since Daesh is currently on the run.  That problem wouldn’t be too hard to fix; simply rename ISIS in those novels to a fictional resurgent Sunni insurgency (which is inevitable, especially given the current Iranian domination of Baghdad).  I was getting my feet under me by the next two, so they shouldn’t need much.  The first two also definitely need new covers; Derrick was learning at the same time I was.  All of them are definitely going to need new blurbs and keywords.

The trouble with this idea is the fact that it is going to take time, time which will have to be carved out of an already busy writing schedule.  Not insurmountable, by any means, but it would take some extra scheduling.

What do you think, readers?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

High Desert Vengeance Chapter 1

Yes, despite launching a new series last month and all the associated work that’s gone into that, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5 – High Desert Vengeance is coming soon.  The preorder should be up shortly.

You might remember from Frozen Conflict that Gomez was having some troubles at home.  Well, they got worse…


Juan Gomez was elbow-deep in the old F-100’s wiring bus when a yell from the house startled him.  His head snapped up, cracking his skull on the underside of the hood.

He didn’t swear; it wasn’t his way.  None of his children had ever heard a word of profanity pass Juan Gomez’s lips, and even fully grown, they were often the targets of his dire glare when they indulged in his house.  Even Mario, Marine that he had been.

Rubbing his head, he glanced up toward the house.  Emilio was standing on the porch, shading his eyes as he stared south, pointing with the other hand.  “Dad!” he called again.  “Look!”

Juan almost didn’t have to.  Slowly, heavily, still rubbing the sore spot on the back of his head, he turned and looked.  Sure enough, there were three plumes of dust coming up the valley.  Coming from the south.

Nothing good ever came from the south, these days. Continue reading “High Desert Vengeance Chapter 1”

Safe Havens – Shadow Masters

So, it took me a while to get through this one (sorry, J.T.!).  J.T. Patten did warn me that he considered the second novel, Primed Charge, to be much better written.  While I can see why, this book is no slouch on its own.

Sean Havens is a spook’s spook.  He doesn’t have a formal cover; he doesn’t even directly work for any agency.  He’s a contractor, who goes to various countries as a corporate drone of some kind, blends in, learns the human terrain, and then manipulates it to a desired outcome.  Somewhere nearby, people die, and he goes home to his family, completely unconnected.

Except that, despite his paranoia (which is impressive, by the way), there are still people who know who he is.  And they know where his family is.  That leads to a personal tragedy that draws Havens into something far darker than anything he’s been involved in yet (and he’s been hip-deep in some pretty dark stuff, as you discover as the book goes on). Continue reading “Safe Havens – Shadow Masters”

Quick News Update

That’s Mickey Spillane, not me.  But that’s a manly writer photo, right there.  Seemed fitting.

So, I’ve been busy.  Really busy.  Too busy to do much blogging, either here or over on The Unity Wars.  Going to try to start picking up the slack on that soon, once I get draft writing somewhat stabilized.

Given some market research, and seeing how the last book has done, The Unity Wars is moving somewhat to the forefront for the moment.  That doesn’t mean that Brannigan’s Blackhearts is going away anytime soon; it is, however, going to slow down just a bit.  Probably going to be four books per year, rather than six.  I’ve barely scratched the surface on High Desert Vengeance, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5, but I should be able to hit it hard after the next couple of weeks.  Look for it in August.

I’m also working on a pitch for another project that hopefully I’ll be doing with another author and good friend of mine.  Can’t say much about it yet; we’re still hashing out the details, and he’s got to sell it to his publisher.  Keep your fingers crossed.

And with that, back to the word mines with me.

Red Hammer Down

Since there’s a lot of inspiration from the SOBs series behind Brannigan’s Blackhearts, I’ve been slowly working my way through the series, in part as research to see how Gold Eagle ran a long-running action series.  I slowed down a bit, due to missing a few volumes in the middle, but since those gaps have been filled, I’ll be getting back to it.

Red Hammer Down is SOBs #6, following directly on from Gulag War.  In a very real sense, they form a two-parter; Red Hammer Down goes into the backlash from the mission to Siberia in Gulag War. Continue reading “Red Hammer Down”

The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes

What’s the key?  What makes a combat scene really “authentic?”

Pain.

There’s an old saying in the Recon community: “Recon ain’t fun.”  It’s pain and agony and suffering, only faced with the grit and perseverance to get through it and survive, to kill the enemy before they kill you.

Over on Tom Kratman’s wall on FB, the subject has come up of a young woman on a panel at Life, The Universe, And Everything 2017.  She claimed at one point that “gamers can write good action scenes, because we’ve experienced that.”  No.  No, you haven’t. Continue reading “The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes”