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”

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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 Colonel Has A Plan Part 3

They hadn’t gone far when Lewis was tugging on Brannigan’s sleeve.  “Sir, we just got a message from Team Two,” he yelled in the Colonel’s ear.  “They are mission complete, but are pinned down under fire, and cut off from the beach.”

Brannigan glanced forward, where the wounded Lance Corporal Clark was lying on the deck.  Time was short, but he had a responsibility to those boys down on the ground, too.  He started working his way forward, stepping over and past knees, boots, M27s, and two LSATs, carefully moving around Clark’s supine form, until he got to the cockpit.

“We need to divert to Shilka Position Two,” he shouted to the pilot.  “Some of my boys are in trouble, and need some support.”

“This ain’t a gunship, sir, and we’ve got a casualty aboard,” the copilot protested.

“Don’t try to bullshit me, son,” Brannigan replied.  “We’ve got a minigun and a 240 mounted for a reason, and it’s more than that team on the ground has.  Take us in.”  He stayed where he was, but motioned for Lewis to hand him the handset, cursing the multiple tac frequencies that went along with combined arms warfare.  The recon teams were on one channel, the Battalion Combat Team was on another, and the birds were on a third.  And that was after he’d ranted and raved to simplify matters as much as possible.

Lewis handed him the handset and he flipped his right-hand Peltor headpiece out of the way, pressing the black plastic to his ear.  “Tiburon Two, this is Kodiak Six,” he called.

The answering radio call came after a moment’s delay.  He could hear the rattle of gunfire in the background.  “Kodiak Six, Tiburon Two,” Staff Sergeant Holmes replied.

“We are inbound to your position with air support, Tiburon Two,” Brannigan said.  “ETA two mikes.  Give me a sitrep and a position.  We’re going to lay waste, and I don’t want you boys getting burned down by accident.” Continue reading “The Colonel Has A Plan Part 3”

Soldiers of Barrabas #2 The Plains of Fire

This was my first SOBs novel.  And at the time, I was simply interested in the premise.  Iran goes nuclear.  It was a pretty high-profile concern a few years ago, and has been simmering in the background ever since.  There was even a documentary made about it, Iranium.  With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an avowed “Twelver” as President of Iran, the likelihood of Iranian nukes soon being used against the US and Israel seemed to be pretty high.  So imagine my curiosity when I found out that an obscure, 1984 Gold Eagle pulp mercenary story had been written about just that: stopping Iran from launching a nuclear attack. Continue reading “Soldiers of Barrabas #2 The Plains of Fire”

Short Update

I know, I was going to blog more.  Twice a week or so, I said.  Well, it’s been busy, but here’s a quick rundown as to why.

I had to take a few days “operational pause” on Lex Talionis to do some re-thinking.  As originally outlined, the final chapters were a bit too episodic, as in, “This happens, and then this happens, and then this happens.”  Good storytelling ties things together a bit more.  It should be more along the lines of, “This happens, which leads to this happening, so then this happens, but then…”  The new direction should tighten things up and get it more into the latter model.  Still a lot to do; probably 20,000-30,000 words left, which will put it as the longest Praetorian story to date, a title presently held by Hunting in the Shadows, at 148.5k.

Audiobook production on Kill Yuan is about half done, and it’s coming along well.  That’s bitten into writing time a little, as well, as I’ve got to review each chapter as Cody finishes and uploads it.  But it’s solid.  He’s doing a great job.

Somewhere in there, the idea that led to the “New Ideas” post down below began to solidify.  I’ve even got the beginnings of the first book put together in my head.  Still don’t know exactly when it’s going to fit into the schedule; it’s going to depend on how much I can get done in the next six months, and how Jed Horn #4, Older and Fouler Things, comes together.  But look for Brannigan’s Bastards #1 sometime late this year or early next year, as things presently stand.

 

Now, back to the word mines with me.