Looking for Volunteers

So, the earlier poll (coupled with a mirror version on The Action Thriller Renaissance on Facebook) was pretty definitive.  The votes are for the volunteer Advance Review Copy Reader List.  So, since the first draft of #1 is past half-finished, as of now, I am putting out the call for volunteers who would like to receive ARCs of the Brannigan’s Bastards series.

The signup comes with a caveat: continued receipt of ARCs is contingent on an Amazon review during the first week of release.  A link to said review can be sent to the Contact form here on the blog, or by PM on Facebook.  I’ve got to put that in there just to be sure that there is a purpose to this list, and I’m not just giving stuff away for free.

Also, the list will only include the first 25-30 people who sign up.  I’ve got to cut it off there.  It’s possible that you might still sign up before I yank the form (since I can’t just sit here and watch it), but if you’re number 31 or higher, my apologies.

Sign up here.

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The Barrabas Run

Part of my “creative process” (damn, I hate that term) often involves reading in the genre I’m going to be working in.  Call it “setting the tone.”  I’ve had a few standbys for the shooter genre, ranging from Larry Correia’s and Mike Kupari’s Dead Six series, to Jack Murphy’s Deckard series, to Jack Silkstone’s PRIMAL series, among others.  Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan series has been pretty good (though I’m way behind on that one), along with Dalton Fury’s Kolt Raynor series.  I’ve also gone with some of the older books, such as Forsyth’s The Dogs of War, which I reviewed last week.

Part of the inspiration for the upcoming Brannigan’s Bastards has been the old Pinnacle/Gold Eagle Action-Adventure series, such as The Executioner, Phoenix Force, Able Team, and Stony Man.  But a larger part, among those old pulp shoot-em-ups, has been the Soldiers of Barrabas, or SOBs. Continue reading “The Barrabas Run”

Frederick Forsyth’s “The Dogs of War”

Somehow, I went 36 years without reading this book.  That has now been rectified.

I did see the 1980 movie, with Christopher Walken (very young and not quite as wooden and weird as he is now) some years ago.  It follows the book for the most part, though it adds a few things.

One of the elements that the movie adds is that it makes The Dogs of War an action-adventure.  Which, while there is both, the book really isn’t.  The actual coup, “The Big Killing,” as Part Three is appropriately titled, doesn’t start until Page 335.  There are scattered bits of violence elsewhere, but that’s not really what the book is about.

You see, the book is a manual for the preparation and execution a mercenary-led coup in a Third World country, in the 1960s. Continue reading “Frederick Forsyth’s “The Dogs of War””

Welcome To The Action Thriller Renaissance

As some of you may remember, a few days ago I talked a little about a new plan, both for my writing and for marketing my writing.  Part of that plan was creating first a Facebook Group, later to possibly expand to other outlets, in which we could build a community of action adventure/thriller enthusiasts.  Because as much as I looked for one, that wasn’t specifically tied to a particular author or series, I couldn’t find one (with the possible exception of MackBolan.com, which isn’t so much a forum as a guide).

That group now exists.  There’s not a lot there yet, but it’s young, and that’s why it’s a group.  It’s not just about me or the other authors who joined me in putting it together.  Anyone who joins can add to it, posting about the books, movies, or games they have enjoyed in the genre, as wide as it is, along with anything else that might be applicable (guns, war news, cool military videos, that sort of thing).  Anything that counts as an action thriller is welcome, from Mack Bolan and Casca to Tom Clancy and Brad Taylor.  (And any of us in the recent indie thriller genre, of course.)

A few of us have posted in the group already.  Come on in.  Join the Renaissance.

The Writer Master Plan

Back in June, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach released a military SF novel entitled Galaxy’s Edge: Legionnaire.  I’d been peripherally aware of Mr. Cole for a while, ever since Harper Voyager kicked him to the curb for political reasons.  But what he and Anspach pulled off made me sit up and take notice.

Because Legionnaire, a brand-new, independently-published mil-SF novel, shot to the top 100 on Kindle, and #1 in its categories, and proceeded to stay there.  For weeks.  And they made no secret that they wanted to share how they did it with other authors.  I talked to Mr. Cole myself for a bit, and got the gears turning, even before they released their After Action Report podcast.

Cole pointed me toward the non-fiction work of Chris Fox, who has been studying what works in independent publishing, specifically Amazon, for some time.  I started doing some more reading. Continue reading “The Writer Master Plan”

“Drawing the Line” Is Out!

The Beginning

The security situation on the Arizona-Mexico border has gotten bad…very bad. The Border Patrol is all but helpless, as narcos, terrorists, and common criminals cross the line with impunity.

One Arizona rancher has put up the money to hire a PMC to secure his land. He can’t afford much, or for long, but with work hard to come by, the former Special Operations contractors of Praetorian Security have jumped at the job.

It’s hot, boring, and uneventful at first. But when a bloodthirsty mob of cartel sicarios set their sights on taking over the ranch, the Praetorians have to dig in and fight.

It is a bloody, bullet-riddled siege in the desert hills. And it is Praetorian Security’s baptism by fire.

The novella that tells the story of just how Jeff and the boys got their hands on the cash they used on Socotra in Task Force Desperate is now out on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  (No plans for a paperback version for the moment; I might look at a collection of short work sometime in the future.)

Now, it might come to some people’s attention that it’s actually been out for a couple of days, and there was no pre-order.  This was by design.  I’ve been learning more about how to make independent publishing work lately (there will be a far more thorough post about that coming up soon).  Part of that has been learning how to “train” Amazon’s algorithm to better target a book.  This kind of cold launch has been an experiment in that learning.  Still got some bugs to iron out, but I might be getting the hang of it.

More to come.  In the meantime, go enjoy some more blood, bullets, and mayhem.

Six Miles West of Nogales

If it hadn’t been for the earpiece, I never would have heard the radio over the snarl of the four-wheeler’s engine.

“Hillbilly, this is Plug,” Hank called.

I eased off the throttle and took one hand off the handlebars to key the radio.  “Send it, Plug.”

“Can you push up to the top of that ridgeline just to the east of you and take a look to the south?” he asked.  “Tell me what you see.”

“Sure thing,” I answered.  It wasn’t like we had a set patrol route, or even any particular need to be anywhere.  So far, this job had consisted of little more than long hours just hot-wheeling around the hills of southern Arizona on four-wheelers and the occasional pickup truck.

I gunned the engine and sent the sturdy little ATV surging up between the mesquites and the creosote bushes toward the ridge that Hank had indicated.  It wasn’t a long climb, but it was steep and rocky, with plenty more sagebrush and creosote bushes that I had to weave around.  But it still only took a couple of minutes to reach the top.

Halting my ATV, I stood on the running boards and pulled my binos out of the saddlebags.  As I lifted them to my eyes and scanned the open ground to the south, I quickly saw what Hank had been talking about.

There were four figures trotting through the grass and brush in the next draw over.  They were moving pretty quickly, and heading generally north.  Given that Hank and I were the only ones out on patrol at the time, and all of Manuel Lopez’s ranch hands were either working around the house and barns, or watching the herds to the east of us, that kind of narrowed things down.

“Plug, Hillbilly,” I sent, keeping the binos trained on the four.  “I do believe we have some uninvited visitors.”

“That’s what I saw, too,” he replied.  “Just wanted to corroborate it.  Meet you down below, and we’ll go say howdy?”

“Sure,” I answered.  I wasn’t going to complain about actually having some work to do.

The truth be told, even though we were all experienced warfighters, with years of work in the military and some in the contracting world, we had perhaps been a touch naïve when we’d started up our little company.  After all, we owned Praetorian Security, and we knew the score better than any of the soft-clothed financiers who owned most of the rest of the PMSCs out there.  We could determine our own equipment, pick our own jobs, and find the jobs that would keep us in the thick of it, in the shit.

We were finding out the hard way that those kinds of jobs were few and far between, and often involved a lot more shady business to get than we’d necessarily expected.  Most of the time, they were either outright illegal, or in some kind of gray area that tended to get all kinds of scrutiny, so the clients who had those sorts of jobs didn’t tend to be very forthcoming about them.  We’d set up our little private Special Operations company, only to find that we didn’t immediately have clients running to our doorstep. Continue reading “Six Miles West of Nogales”