Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Writer's Observations: What to write?


First, if you don't read  Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Business Musings blog post she does every Thursdays, do so, Go here: http://kriswrites.com/ click on the "Business Resources" tab, and the Business Musing link is right at the top. She back to writing about the business of writing, and like her previous series, under the "Business Rusch" banner, I believe they are important topics from someone who knows the publishing business like few do. (Don't forget her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, who's website can be found here: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/ He's just posted the first two chapters of his work in progress, HEINLEIN’S RULES: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing.)

Anyhow, the last couple of weeks, Kris has been discussing what a writer should write; Do you try and chase public opinion and write what is hot, or do you maintain your cool and write what you want to write?

My own view on the question is simple: Write what you want to write.

The problem with chasing what is hot is that trends will cool off, and what was big last month isn't this month. You can't chase after that's hot --- it's like a dog trying to track a rabbit, but being distracted by other smells, and running from one scent to another, only to be distracted by a stronger scent. All that's going to happen is the dog is going to get tired running to and fro and won't find the rabbit.

To chase after what is hot simply because it's hot is a fool's errand. Unless you like the sub-genre in question (Say, for example Vampire Romance), writing is going to be a pain. You have to waste time reading novels from the genre, to get a feel for it, work out the plot so it fits the genre, write in a style that fits the genre, then publish it, all the while hoping the fan-base hasn't moved onto Werewolf Romance in the meantime. Of course, if Vampire Romance is a genre you like, it because easier to write that sort of story, just don't expect to beat Twilight novels in sales.

Which leads me to the following statement --- "The best-selling writers don't follow trends: they set them."

Simply put, those writers set the trends, while others follow along, trying to grab onto the coat-tails of those trend-setters. For every unique novel setting a trend, you have half a dozen, a dozen, a score of authors putting out their own version of that original novel. The Harry Potter novels are a prime example, as are the Twlight novels. Look into each genre, and you'll see others trying to capture the same magic (and money) as those big-name novels. Some succeed, most fail.

But unless you like writing that genre, it's more chore than craft. Writing something you don't like to read is a chore. A woodworker who doesn't like working with wood will produce crappy wood items -- the parts will be uneven, the legs won't be the same length, and the pieces put together poorly. Same thing with any other craft work -- unless you like it, the product produce will always be inferior to someone who loves what they do.

The same thing applies to writing -- unless you love reading the genre, writing in that genre will be a waste of time. The product will be inferior, and time, money and energy spent working on it will be wasted. It also starts to burn out the creative juices as you try to force yourself to write without enthusiasm. Do it enough times and you become an ex-writer or a failed writer.

If I can't generate any enthusiasm for a story, I won't write it, simple as that. The two Outcast Ops novels I co-wrote were a task, but if I had not enjoyed the genre, I wouldn't have been able to hold up my end of the partnership. That's why anything I write and publish is something I loved to do, be it genre or universe. No sparkling vampires, no bodice-rippers, and no profound slice of life novels for me. That isn't me.

Well enough trying to sound profound --- Kris does it much better, so go read what she has to say.....

Short update on The Assassin Prince; Nothing new on the outline, but some thoughts about the background has been percolating. The fun thing about fantasy novels is that you can take bits and pieces from different times and places, mix them together and produce a unique civilization for your story. I'm already considering parts of the Roman Empire, 15th-17th Century Europe, and 15th Century China, with sprinkling from other eras. Nothing firm yet, needs to brew a bit more. In the meantime, I'm working on Battlecorps stories to sooth my writing urges.

If you want to read the novels I co-authored, African Firestorm is on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those over the pond in the UK, click here! If you want to read Red Ice, it's also part of Kindle Direct program: Outcast Ops: Red Ice on Amazon!. and for those in the UK, Go here!

Later,

Craig

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NaWriNoMo Bust and Future Plans


As the title says, this year's NaWriNoMo is a bust.

I couldn't get the writing traction I needed to write those 50,000 words. I went in with only a half-formed story idea, one or two sentences for the first dozen chapters, and little else. It's not the story idea was bad --- it's just I didn't do enough groundwork before NaWriNoMo to make it a successful month, and that's my fault. I also had a couple of days when I didn't feel well enough to write, so that was an additional hurdle in my way.

Still, it wasn't a total bust -- I did writing 31K worth of words and I did work out a nice chunk of the story's background. But that should have been done beforehand. I need to let it marinate a little more, but I think I can go back in a couple of months and do the groundwork and resurrect the novel. If I have my say, the novel, Operation Skyfire will see the light of day sometime in the future.

So, now what?

Now, it's back to plotting The Assassin Prince, and writing short stories. I need to firm up the background of the novel, make sure the story holds together at the outline stage and maybe expand the chapter details out a little more. As for the short stories, I have several I need to revise, plus another I just started, so I can relieve my writing itch with them while I work on The Assassin Prince. I'm aiming to have the outline finished by the end of the year. 

Still, I haven't forgotten about the two Outcast Ops novels I co-wrote. Red Ice has been ding well, staying above the 100,000 rank level, and has a couple of reviews --- 5/5 Stars. African Firestorm has been bouncing up and down, but it has a reviewer's rating of 4.7/5 Stars. So, while they're not megahits, I am happy that people like the novels.

African Firestorm is on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those over the pond in the UK, click here! If you want to read Red Ice, it is here: Outcast Ops: Red Ice on Amazon!. and for those in the UK, It's here!

That's all for now -- back to writing!

Craig

Monday, November 16, 2015

Red Ice and NaWriNoMo


I should have posted this last week, but I got caught up in NaWriNoMo.....

Anyway, Outcast Ops: Red Ice is out and available for you to wither buy (or to borrow) at Amazon. The link is here: Outcast Ops: Red Ice.

It's great seeing Red Ice finally out. It was more of a challenge to write. It's longer, more involved and a lot more action than African Firestorm. I hope that you read it and enjoy it. If you do, I have done my part as a writer, Rick has done his part and everyone wins. It's off to a great start, steady in the mid-40K ranking, but I really want to see it go higher. So please do your part to get it up there.

I mentioned NaWriNoMo earlier, and I'm doing it again -- 5th year in a row. So far, I'm only 2 for 4, and I really want to push my average up to .600.

The problem is that I had planned to use October as my planning time -- outline, detailed synopsis, the works. But reviewing Red Ice took up so much of my time, I had only time to create a general outline for the first several chapters, the basics for a series like Outcast Ops, and away I went. I'm making it up as i go along folks, and I'm behind the 8-ball and about 5,000 words behind the word target. I have only a vague idea of the protagonists, a little firmer concept for the bad guys and a general direction to take the story in.

Now, I have surprised myself -- I found myself writing a chapter I didn't have in the first scribbled notes, but I think would look great on the film screen, something that sets the tone for what I want to see. The back-story on the main organization is coming in bits and pieces that are finding homes in the words I write.

That's it for now. I will expand a little more on the story once I actually know where these characters are taking me on this NaWriNoMo ride.

If you want to read African Firestorm, it's on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those in the UK, click here! Again, Red Ice is here:  Outcast Ops: Red Ice on Amazon!. and for those in the UK, It's here!

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Red Ice Final Check is done and future plans



Well, Red Ice's final check (from me) is done......

It was like crawling over broken glass. I went over the novel, word by word, making spelling and grammar corrections, cutting words here, adding words there. And I noted every change in another file (I don't have a full-function Word program to use --- I've used WordPerfect 8.0 for years, and I like it. Besides, I don't have the money to buy Word and even if I did, I wouldn't). Below is an example of the changes I made....

Prologue
Page 3, 3rd Paragraph, 3rd line --- Changed "he'd hadn't" to "he hadn't"
Page 3, 6th Paragraph, 1st line --- Changed "begin" to "begun"
Page 5, 5th Paragraph, 2nd line --- Changed "sub as the" to "sub was the"

I had to note the changes because Rick needed to know what I changed when he makes his final check. So, the manuscript has changes in red, and the second file has entries like the ones above, telling Rick what changes I made, and in a few cases, why I made the changes.

Going over the manuscript word by word is tedious and slow. More than once I was asking myself, "Who the *#&@^ wrote this?" There were many, many changes that had to be made, all types , each one changed and documented like the example above. Sometimes, changes in one place cause a cascading effect down the page, leading to several more corrections that had to be made.

But it's done.

Now, what am I going to do? Well, three things:

  • Work on several Battletech short stories.
  • Continue plotting The Assassin Prince
  • Start plotting my own thriller for NaWriNoMo
So, Red Ice is done, onto the next project(s). I'll be expanding on two of these projects in future posts. (The Battletech stories will be handled in my other blog, The Battletech State)

If you want to read African Firestorm, it's on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those in the UK, click here! Red Ice should be be for sale early in November.


Take care,


Craig

Friday, October 9, 2015

Red Ice -- The Final Run-Through


Rich Chesler finished up his part of Red Ice and sent it back to me for my final go through. So, The Assassin Prince outlining has been put aside as I go through Red Ice. It should be simple and straightforward, right? Just read through it again, stamp my approval and send it back, done in a day, right?

Er....Not exactly.

One piece of advice I have always heard that once you finish a story, you set it aside for a period of time before you go back and edit it. This is so you can see the story with fresh eyes and find things you would otherwise miss. It's been a while since I read through Red Ice, and my read through now is. . . .humbling.

I have found so many minor and a couple of less minor mistakes in the first four chapters that it stunned me. Things like missing possessives, wrong tense, extra spaces, missing commas or dashes. In less minor mistakes, I wrote a scene about meeting of four people with five people speaking, and having people smile or scowl while wearing industrial-grade dust masks!

I doubt there are any major plot problems, or Rick would have pointed them out. But this isn't going to be done in a day or two. If the rest of the novel is as error-filled, it's going to take a few more days of reading every line, testing them, and noting changes. Making sure everything is as near perfect as I can make it.

One of the reviews for African Firestorm said the following:

 A fun easy beach read need to be more careful about misspellings, bad grammar. And duplicated words in same sentence. Tighter editing.

Mind you, the reviewer did give it four out of five stars, so the clearly liked it. And to be fair, I didn't do such an intense scrutiny of African Firestorm as I'm doing this time with Red Ice. And the reviews have been great for African Firestorm -- 4.7 Stars out of 5 --- but for some reason, that short, mildly critical review is the one that's stuck with me. So, maybe I'm a lot more critical with Red Ice than I would be otherwise. To the reviewer, if you ever read this, thank you for reminding me that an author's job isn't over when they write the last word of the story -- it is only half the job.

Now, I need to get back to Red Ice.....

If you haven't read African Firestorm, it's on Amazon, but NOT part of the Kindle Direct program (I was wrong about that....) but is part the Kindle Unlimited Program, and is free to Amazon Prime members -- African Firestorm on Amazon For those living in the UK, please click here

Take care,

Craig
(The last paragraph has been edited several times in the last ten minutes, due to my incompetence. Will try better next time....)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Outlining The Assassin Prince


For most of the time I've been writing, I've been winging it. Most of my short stories and my attempts at novels have involved me sitting down and banging away at the keyboard with only a few scenes and a vague idea of where the story is going. Fine for short stories (Though I have outlined a few when I pitch for an anthology), no so fine for novels.

One thing that writing both Outcast ops novels is that I need an outline of some sort for a novel. Now these outlines aren't hard and fast -- both African Firestorm and Red Ice have changes from the outline to the first draft, but for the most part, they follow the outline that Rick Chesler and I created.

So, I'm taking that same concept to The Assassin Prince. I am writing a chapter by chapter breakdown of the action in the chapter. I have a few names, some idea of the world-building I need to do, and how the action is going to happen. At this stage, if I come up with a subplot several chapters in, like I did the The Assassin Prince, I can go back in the outline, add a sentence or two in a previous chapter and continue on, adding the subplot when I need to.

I have the first eight-plus chapters plotted and it's going along pretty good. I haven't determined a lot of the background or the details, but right now, it's getting the plot down on paper. Once the plot is down, I can start looking at the details and decide on what to go with for the universe's flavor. I have no idea how long it's going to be -- it will depend on how the story unfolds.

If you want to read African Firestorm, it's on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those in the UK, click here!

Take care,

Craig

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Future Plans


Rich Chesler is still working his way through Red Ice, but he's busy juggling several other writing projects and it looks like he won't be able to commit to another Outcast Ops novel in the near future. I may go ahead and outline another OO novel, but it won't be a priority.

So, what does this mean? It means that I am free to work on my own projects and I've already started outlining a fantasy novel, The Assassin Prince, which I hope will be the start of a series I plan to call The Night Blades.

Why the change in genre? A change of pace. I love technothrillers, both reading and writing them, but I also love fantasy and decided was the time to try. It more worldbuilding then with technothrillers, because, it's literally a whole other world that has to be built from scratch. While I wait for Red Ice to be sent back for my look-over, I want to use this blog as a guild to how I build this world.

I won't bother with the African Firestorm updates anymore, but if you want to read it, it's on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm on Amazon! For those in the UK, click here!

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Red Ice is done!


Well, at least my first run through it......

The revision is done and I sent it off to Rick Chesler to add his part of the story. He'll go through, note what he sees as problems, list questions he wants me to clarify, makes his additions to the story, then send it back to me for my review. Which means with a little luck, Red Ice will be in the Amazon Kindle store by the end of September!

This novel is longer than African Firestorm --- 80,000 words or so, in comparison to Firestorm's 65,000 words -- and takes place in one city (See the picture above.) It didn't start out that way, but the story didn't fit into the smaller word count. After discussing it with Rick, we decided to try for 80,000 words --- and that's what it ended up as.

Why is it longer? For one, there's more action in Red Ice, on both sides of the table. After some discussion, there was some altering to the outline, but it did add more action. I was willing to increase the length, because I want to see if I could sustain the story for another 15K words. And I think I have!

As I wait to hear back from Rick, I'm working on other projects. Once Red Ice is out, I'll talk about the writing process more and maybe even answer some questions about writing.

And for the snapshot of AF's current standings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

#170,808 Paid in Kindle Store
#482 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military
#1129 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military
#1256 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

While that doesn't look like much of an improvement, it's only because I caught it on the downside. The last three weeks have been up and down -- as low as #368,051 (August 30th) and as high as #56,604 (September 11th) On September 14th, it was ranked at #57,154. Sales are still steady, so we shall see.

As for overseas.....Amazon.uk

#85,096 Paid in Kindle Store

#277 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Military
#1438 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Action & Adventure
#1601 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

Again, higher than last time.......

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! For Amazon UK, click here! And please check out the other two (soon to be three) novels in the series!

Back to writing!

Craig

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Red Ice -- The Rewrite Begins.....


I started the rewrite of Red Ice on Wednesday, and I've finished the Prologue, Chapters 1&2, and most of Chapter 3.

I read somewhere the following: "You can't edit a blank sheet of paper." I translate that into "Finish what you start. It doesn't have to be perfect, polished or ready to be published, just done." The first draft is a piece of stone, and I have to sculpt my final draft out of that stone.

I have said before I do not write perfectly. The writing is rough, extra words pop up in the paragraphs, plot lines are dangled but are not followed up on, exposition need to be made, and scenes trimmed. Bits and pieces came to me deep into the writing. Sometime, I go back and something into the story before, other times, I move on and make note of where to go back. Things like foreshadowing events, introduction of characters and locations earlier in the storyline.

For example, in Red Ice, the Main Bad Guy (MBG) attends a meeting with his allies in crime in Chapter 7. I wrote the MBG being accompanied by two of his own men. After that, I found myself using these two characters more and more and near the end I realized these two were the MBG's chief lieutenants. In the rewrite, I being my introduction of them early in Chapter 2 and flesh them out more in a new scene in Chapter 3. I also plan to expand of one of the main plot lines in the novel, and alter a few other things to bring them into line with the new flow.

What it all means is that I have only done half of what I need to do; I have my Stone; now I need to create the story as a smoothly-running novel.

And for this weeks' snapshot of AF's current standings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank 
#240,765 Paid in Kindle Store
#593 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military
#1441 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military
#1494 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

The sales are still strong (Believe it or not) but the borrow amounts are still way off. Hopefully, the Borrows will pick up in the last week.

As for overseas.....Amazon.uk

#118,973 Paid in Kindle Store
#319 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Military
#1725 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Action & Adventure
#1988 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

A corresponding drop in the sales rankings over here too, but I think sales will leap again, as they have in the past.

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! For Amazon UK, click here! And  please check out the other two (soon to be three) novels in the series!

Back to (re)writing!

Craig

Monday, August 17, 2015

Red Ice is finished!


At least the first draft is done. . . .

I finished the first draft this afternoon. It's a little longer than I expected, and a couple of decisions will have to be made after I go through and rewrite it. I'm going to lay this off to the side for a couple of days, then dive back in and rewrite it and see what happens.

Red Ice took me 108 days to write -- a little more than three months. A bit longer than I expected or planned. But I pushed through (one of the reason why I haven't posted in three weeks) and it's done.

Right now, I want to rewrite this and get it into Rick Chesler's hands before the end of the month. If everything goes right (Murphy, he whose law rules supreme, is a writer), I hope to see Red Ice up on Amazon by mid-September.

And the snapshot of AF's current standings:


Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#479 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military
#1104 in Kindle Store > eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military
#1217 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

Again, watching the sales raking going up and down is like watching an insane roller coaster. The funny things is while sales are ahead of last month, the borrow rate is way off from July -- off by over 3,000 pages. There was a glitch on Amazon earlier in the week which did screw up the page count. We'll have to see if that comes back, or if it's a lingering problem in Amazon's system.

As for overseas.....Amazon.uk

#61,928 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#224 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Military
#1141 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Action & Adventure
#1216 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

Remember, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! For Amazon UK, click here! And check out the other two (soon to be three) novels in the series!

Red Ice Final Stats (First Draft):

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-41, Epilogue
Words Written the last twenty-two days: 18,985
Total Word Count: 72,400 (111.38% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 670/day (+49)

Later!

Craig

Monday, July 27, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Eighty Through Eighty-Six


Has it been almost three months since I started writing this? Wow, times flies when you're writing.....

Anyway, I'm in the final stages of the next to last action piece in the novel. I finally got through Chapters 27 and 28. After I'm done, it'll be a set up leading into the climax and the climax itself. Maybe three or more updates. After that, it'll be going back through and editing and rewriting. But the first step must always be, Get the First Draft done!

There have been a few changes from outline to the actual writing --- I need to go back and add a few foreshadowing bits to set of actions that happen later in the book, maybe switch around a few scenes, proofreading and some editing. It's about halfway done -- the easy part is the first draft.....

And a snapshot of AF's current standings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,852 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#494 in Kindle Store >  eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military
#1105 in Kindle Store >  eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military
#1199 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

These are the lowest rankings since I started doing this --- but it only takes a couple of sales to boost it back up into the top 100,000. We'll see if the downtrend continues.

As for overseas.....Amazon.uk

#45,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#160 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Military
#886 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Action & Adventure
#949 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

So they finally broke the sales down on Amazon.uk by category. While the sales look much better here than on Amazon, there is less competition here, where a couple of sales here have a greater effect on sales. Right now, one out of every four sales of African Firestorm come from the United Kingdom.

It still making money -- It's not a mega bestseller, but I'm not looking to write one. I'm looking to write books books that sell consistently, over a longer period of time. More books means more money. It isn't a sprint, but a marathon.....

Remember, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other two novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-30, 40% of Chapter 31
Words Written the last six days: 4,070
Total Word Count: 53,415 (82.18% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 621/day (-4)

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Seventy-Two Through Seventy-Nine


I took Sunday off, as it was my Birthday, but I still managed to add a nice chunk of words to Red Ice. I have noticed that there's a twist in the plot I hadn't considered, so when I'm done the first draft and go through it again, I need to add bits and pieces to strengthen this subplot.

Chapters 27 and 28 have needed some reworking, for several POVs, make sure plot threads stay current with each other, and to make the action scenes flow better. I have them just about worked out and they should be done before the next update.


And because I'm a sucker for punishment, Here are the latest sale rankings for Amazon :

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:  #37,208 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#189 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military

#309 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

#376 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

It bounced up father than I expected. Under the new system, there is a surprisingly large number of pages being read. How that will translate to actually money at the end of the month is not known. We'll see. I have a target page count in mind by the end of the month, and we'll see how close it comes.

I welcome reviews, so if you have read it, please post a review!

Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank: #65,205 Paid in Kindle Store

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-26, 85% of Chapter 27, 65% of Chapter 28
Words Written the last seven days: 6,025
Total Word Count: 49,345 (75.92% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 625/day (+15)

Later!

Craig

Friday, July 17, 2015

Outcast Ops: Red Ice Cover!


I'll post an update on the progress of the writing of Red Ice in another day or two, but I thought I'd post this; the novel's cover.

Rick Chesler and I went back and forth on it over a couple of days, and we came up with this concept, which he sent to the cover guy. A few tweaks later and we have the above image. The above image was not in the original outline, but it will be in the final novel.

Great, isn't it?

I'm going back to the writing end of things, but I thought you should see what the cover's going to be. It also gives me the push to press on and finish this story.

Later!!

Craig

Monday, July 13, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Sixty-Seven through Seventy-One



Well, it's been a good few days. I have a new Chapter Twenty-Five that wasn't in the original outline, but should help ratchet up the novel's tension by a few degrees and add menace to the main villains. It's been a detour, but one I think helps the story. I'm going to use that to expand on a few things for the second go-through. But I need to finish writing it first....

We have a cover for Red Ice! I need to talk to Rick about whether or not I can post it, but I think it's a great cover that fits in well with the rest of the series.

Now, the writing is coming along well, I have twenty-five chapters done and Chapter Twenty-Six should be done tomorrow. I had to finagle some of the original timeline, but I think I'll add some headers to hep keep things straight.

Now, in case you'er wondering, the latest sale rankings for Amazon :

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,431 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#276 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military

#531 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

#625 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

Again, a few sales will have an effect on the sales ranking, but I think the reviews is just as important. So, if you read it, post a review!

Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank:  #61,434 Paid in Kindle Store

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm is on Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-25, 50% of Chapter 26
Words Written the last four days: 3,670
Total Word Count: 43,320 (66.65% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 610/day (+10)

Later!

Craig

Friday, July 10, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Fifty-Seven through Sixty-Six



A short update tonight -- it's late.

Managed to continue rolling forward, closing in on 40K, but I ran into a a timeline problem, and a discussion with my co-author means I need to add in a chapter that promises to up the stories tension a few points. So, that took some time, but I think the story is still on track, maybe a little longer than I had planned, but it should help the story a bit.

The latest sale rankings for Amazon :

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#337 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military

#725 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

#789 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

A few sales (or lack of) will make this number jump up and down a lot. But Rick and I are watching the borrow stats for the Kindle unlimited and Amazon Prime programs. This is the first month Amazon is paying by the page for borrows, which means more pages read = more $$ at the end of the month. The last two months (May and June) we were looking at a 75/25 split and a 60/40 split between sales and barrows, but this month so far, it's more of a 50/50 split. We'll have to watch this some more.....

As for Amazon UK, the ranking is below:

Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank: #123,973 Paid in Kindle Store

If you and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow Outcast Ops: African Firestorm though Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-22, 75% of Chapter 23
Words Written the last nine days: 3,610
Total Word Count: 39,650 (61.0% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 600/day (-44)

Later!

Craig

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Fifty-One through Fifty-Six


And Red Ice is past the halfway point!

It's going well, bouncing between this and a short story submission for an Anthology and both are proceeding smoothly. But as I said in my other blog, I'm expecting something to go wrong --- it's the way of Murphy!

So, what have I been looking up for Red Ice lately? More street level looks at San Francisco (Google Maps are a writer's best friend when they need to describe a place they have never been!), how to breech a door, 12-Gage breaching rounds, and several shotguns to find the right one. Make of that what you will.....

And African Firestorm has been bouncing up an down on the sale ranks. Starting today, Amazon  has changed the way authors get paid for Kindle select titles. Before, an author got paid if a reader read 10% of the book -- in African Firestorm's case, 24 pages. But if an author write a 20-page story, they would get paid the same rate as I would after a reader read 2 pages. Now, someone read African Firestorm entirely, Rick Chesler and myself will get paid more than some author who wrote a 20-page story. It's only fair.....

Now, the latest sale rankings for Amazon:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#252 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military

#439 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military

#537 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

As you can see, it's popped up again. A few sales will do that, and if you brought it after visiting this blog, I thank you. Looking at where the sales are coming from, over 70% are in the US, over a quarter from the UK and 2% combined from Canada and Australia. Interesting......

As for Amazon UK, the ranking is below:

Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank: #45,253 Paid in Kindle Store

Apparently, Amazon UK hasn't gotten around to breaking down the rankings below 100 in individual categories like Amazon US has. Hopefully that will change in the future.

If you haven't gotten Outcast Ops: African Firestorm yet, and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it though Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-20, 5% of Chapter 21
Words Written the last six days: 5,000
Total Word Count: 36,040 (55.44% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 644/day

Later!

Craig

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Forty-One through Fifty


I wish I could say that I've been working hard at the novel, but there were several days in the last ten I didn't add a single word to the novel. Part of it was an opportunity to pitch for an anthology, while another part was to work on rewriting another story for hopeful publication down the road.

But I still managed to get nearly 4,000 words added to Red Ice, so I'm still making progress. The novel all the way to Chapter 18 has been done and I've just started Chapter 19. The immediate goal is to be over 50% before Monday of next week. Chapter 16 will need to be rewritten, but that's for after I finish the story. I came across this little gem of a image over on Facebook which should be a mantra to all writers:


And, as an experiment, I am adding the Amazon rankings for African Firestorm. The stats are taken directly from the webpage and are as close to being fresh as I can make them. The stats for Amazon:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#369 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military
#758 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > War & Military
#821 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military

Looks bad, doesn't it? But that is the first time African Firestorm has been on the wrong side of the #100,000 level since May 4th, when it was ranked #138,516 --- seven-plus weeks (53 days!). The high point was when it reached #11, 231 on May 6th. Between then and now, it has bounced between mostly between #20,000 to #50,000 range, with a few days here and there sprinkled where it was higher or lower than that. And that is out of a MILLION Kindle Books!

As for Amazon UK, the rankings are below:

Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank: #109,459 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I'll go into detail about Amazon UK in another post.

If you haven't gotten Outcast Ops: African Firestorm yet, and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it though Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Red Ice Progress:
Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-18, 5% of Chapter 19
Words Written the last ten days: 3,895
Total Word Count: 31,040 (47.75% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 620/day

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Thirty-Six through Forty



Not as good, as the past three days, but I did manage to finish a chapter and start the next chapter. The book is still going forward according to the outline, and as long as it's moving, I can claim progress.

One of the fun things about being an author is being about to plan a crime for the book you're working on that if you were to do for real would have Law Enforcement knocking on your door. For example, I spent most of the day plotting an assassination of a city mayor. And as if I was planning to do it for real, I have to look at where the assassination is taking place and plot not only for the bad guys, but for the good guys --- I have to be the assassin leader, the bodyguard leader, and the main characters.

First up is the assassin leader. What is the lay of the land and how can you take advantage of it? I used Google maps (Both overhead and street level) to scout the real building I'm using in the story to get an idea of the location. Then it's choose the method I want to carry out the assassination with, followed by how do the assassins escape.

Then it's the Bodyguard team leader. They has an obstinate person who they are protecting, so they have to protect the principal. Like with the assassination team, I have to follow what I think is common sense and plausible for the scene.

As for the main characters, I have their starting location plotted out and their actions out. I know where the ending is going. Now I just have to get there......

And if you haven't gotten the best-selling Kindle novel, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm yet, and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it though Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon! And check out the other novels in the series!

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-15, 30% of Chapter 16
Words Written the last three days: 2,475
Total Word Count: 27,145 (41.76% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 679/day

Later!

Craig

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Thirty-Three through Thirty-Five



Another short update, because it's way past my bedtime.......

Still, it was a good three days -- three chapters completed, and still on the outline. Chapter 15 started, and I'm a third of the way through it. Had to look up a few foreign words, and figure out how to translate them without translating them, if you take my meaning. Let's see if I can duplicate the same result in the next three days.

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-14
Words Written the last three days: 4,070
Total Word Count: 24,670 (37.95% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 705/day

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Thirty through Thirty-Two


A short update tonight -- there was some sad news in the family, which has put a damper on the mood here. An uncle of mine died on Monday, and it's hit the family hard. He was a good man, leaves a wife, a couple of sons and several grandchildren. So, no long rambling post from me tonight.

Two more chapters done, start Chapter 12 tomorrow.....

If you haven't gotten African Firestorm yet, and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it though Kindle Direct. Use this link: African Firestorm on Amazon

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-11
Words Written the last three days: 1,460
Total Word Count: 20,600 (31.69% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 644/day

Later!

Craig

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Twenty-Four through Twenty-Nine




Well, progress is still being made, though not as fast as I want.  Real life keeps getting in the way, so it's not as consistent as I want it to be.

Still, finished up a couple of chapter and most of a third, so it's still going. Batted a couple of ideas around for a cover with Rick Chesler, but I'm not worried about that now. Been finding locations for different scenes via Google maps, so, I'm doing all right.

And if you haven't gotten African Firestorm yet, and are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it though Kindle Direct! Use this link! African Firestorm on Amazon!

Short entry tonight. Time for bed!

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-9, 90% of Chapter 10
Words Written the last five days: 3,550
Total Word Count: 19,140 (29.45% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 660/day

Later!

Craig

Monday, June 1, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Thirteen through Twenty-Three



I realize that going ten days without a post is not a good thing, but I've been bouncing around between writing projects a bit, handling a couple of family matters, and making a suggestion to the gaming company I freelance for.

But I still managed to get over 4500 words down, complete two more chapters and well into Chapter 8. I also had to do some shifting around of scenes; Chapter 6 was to follow one group of characters, while Chapter 7 was supposed to follow another group of characters. Bu as I was writing those chapters, one scene went in a different direction than I intended, so I had to pull back and alter the scene from what was in the outline. And halfway through Chapter 6, I realized that if I took a scene from Chapter 7 and put it into Chapter 6, I had a cliffhanger to lead into Chapter 7.

So, close to a quarter through Red Ice's first draft and it's going to plan. I can't ask for anything more than that.....

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-7, 60% of Chapter 8
Words Written the last ten days: 4,570
Total Word Count: 15,590 (23.98% of 65,000 words)
Average Words Written per day: 678/day

Later!

Craig

Friday, May 22, 2015

Writing Red Ice; Days Eleven and Twelve


Well, I managed to break 10,000 words before the weekend. I don't know how much writing I'm going to be able to do over the weekend, since it is a holiday, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm now into Chapter 6, and the novel is coming along. It's a matter of plowing forward and worry about rewriting when the novel is done.

Interesting research of the day: Finding a couple of quotes from Kim Il-Sung. I won''t say now why I need the quotes, but it works. Also had to dig up some data on North Korean Cartridge markings.

Not much more to add to that tonight. It's time for bed.

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-5, 50% of Chapter 6
Words Written the last two days: 2,670
Total Word Count: 11,020 (16.95% of 65,000 words)
Average Words per day: 918/day

Until later!

Craig

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing Red Ice; Days Eight through Ten



It was a good three days -- averaged over a thousand words a day and nearly doubled the word count. Prologue and first three chapters done and now working though Chapter 4, which is a groundwork chapter --- explaining some plot background, giving the characters some depth, and reinforce the series premise.

I had to do some research on organized crime for what amounts to a couple of throwaway lines, a couple of organized crime groups that are only mentioned once each in the entire novel. But I don't mind. While these novels are gear towards action, I also want the story to be plausible throughout, and that mean anchoring as much as I can in the real world. I mentioned this before in regards to the weapons and equipment used by the characters. The same thing with the locations I use for the most part --- I do fudge a few things, and some places don't exist when I say they do. But I usually try and keep things grounded in reality.

That doesn't mean I have to stay 100% in reality. The main bad guys' gang is 100% fiction, as well as spots where the gang has businesses. The drug that forms the main plot point is fictional, yet grounded enough in reality to make it believable. In short, I take a few facts and build a story web around them.

My goal for the next blog post is to have Red Ice up over 10,000 words. Hopefully by the weekend!

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1-3,  40% of Chapter 4
Words Written the last three days: 3,470
Total Word Count: 8,350 (12.85% of 65,000 words)
Average Words per day: 835/day

Until later! 

Craig

Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Days Four through Seven



Well, the weekend has come and gone and I managed to get in nearly 2,000 words done on Red Ice. That covers the introduction of the heroes and most of the first combat sequence. But there were a couple of things that had to be done and the big thing was the local Hurricane Seminar on Saturday.

You can tell it's Spring down here -- May is the time of Hurricane Seminars down here in Florida. And over ten years ago, I saw the power of a hurricane up close and personal --- Hurricane Charley. And with the area have a 60% turnover in population every eight years, that means that roughly 2 out of 3 people living in the area have never seen or felt the effects of a hurricane. SO, I make it a point to attend these seminars every year, pick up information, and hope we avoid another hurricane this year.

So, that disrupted the writing some, but progress has been made. I'm also going to start including a words per day line, in part to see how I'm progressing, but also to remind me that I need to pick up the pace.

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1, 80% of Chapter 2
Words Written the last three days: 1,990
Total Word Count: 4,880 (7.50% of 65,000 words)
Average Words per day: 697/day 

Later!

Craig

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Day Three and Four


I didn't post a Day Three blog, so I held off until tonight and combined both Day Three and Four. I may do that more often.

I had to sidestep from Red Ice to edit a couple of short stories and get them ready for the next step. I'm bouncing between more than one project in order to keep me fresh. There may be days in which I work on Red Ice for most of the day, while other days may see only a couple of scenes written. There may be days in which I don't write at all (Hopefully very few).

The first chapter is done and it ended up being more complex because I had to add some details to the plot that weren't in the original outline. There are five scenes, all very short, but needed to help explain what happened. Tough to do when you're lacking the right expertise and knowledge.

But it's done and it's on the chapter two. I want to devote the whole weekend to Red Ice, so there may be another delay for this blog. But I will keep you up to date, either every day every couple of days, or maybe every three days. Depends on what gets done when.

Done: Prologue, Chapter 1, 5% of Chapter 2
Words Written the last two days: 1,280
Total Word Count: 2,890 (4.47% of 65,000 words)

Craig

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Day Two



Well, Day Two didn't go as well as Day One did, but I did complete the Prologue and I'm working through the first scene in Chapter One. Only managed to get a little over 600 words today, but it does introduce two of the novel's major supporting characters and goes a long way to setting up the first combat scene. Important progress.....

What took time today was finding the right locations for the first two chapters.While Google Maps can give me a lot of street-views, there are areas where there are NO street-level views and I have to stare hard (and use the zoom-in feature) to get a feel for the location so I can describe it in the novel.

So, why didn't I make up a location? I could, but I like using real places as much as possible. I do mix them up a bit -- For African Firestorm, there was a hotel where I had the team stay, but I didn't use the actual hotel's name, description, or floor plan in the novel. Instead, I replaced  it with another hotel. For a couple of the houses, I use real house descriptions, but the house I describe is actually the next street over, or up the street from that location.

But a few places you can't fake. Red Ice's prologue's takes place in a well-known San Francisco tourist spot. So I have to "block out the action that takes place so anyone who knows that area can imagine the action taking place instead of saying to themselves, "That's not right! There's no road there!" or, "There's no pier in that location!"

That's just the way I write.

That's all for tonight.

Done:  Prologue, 30% of Chapter 1
Words Written Today: 630
Total Word Count: 1,610 (2.47% of 65,000 words)

Later!

Craig

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Red Ice: Day One


And we're off and running....

First day of writing the new Outcast Ops novel Red Ice, and it was a good one! Most of the prologue is written and I only had to spend a little time checking San Francisco street views and making sure a character's mindset was plausible for someone on a certain drug. The writing flowed decently and I managed to get over 900 words of a novel that will be around 65,000 words.

(The Word totals at the end are rounded off to the nearest ten.)

A good start, let's see if I can duplicate that in the morning.

Done: 75% of the Prologue
Words Written Today: 980
Total Word Count: 980 (1.5% of 65,000 words)

Craig


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Outcast Ops: Red Ice is a Go!


Rick Chesler got back to me a lot quicker than I expected and he gave me the go ahead to start writing Outcast Ops: Red Ice!

So, starting tomorrow, I will be working on the novel. I expect to be working on it during the mornings, while other writing projects will be worked on during the afternoons. I will be keeping you updated on my progress. While I won't be able to work on it every morning, I will endeavor to put in at least five morning a week and keep you updated.

Unlike African Firestorm, I didn't do the in-depth research for Red Ice when I wrote the outline. Instead, I will be researching as needed. I do have some research left over from African Firestorm that I can use for Red Ice. I'm going to be looking at Google Maps a lot, as the area where the action takes place I've never been anywhere near.

I'm excited about this new novel, and I hope you will be too!

Later!

Craig

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Outcast Ops: Red Ice First Draft Outline is Done!


Well, the first draft outline for Outcast Ops: Red Ice is done and sent to Rick Chesler for his look over. I have no doubt that there will be changes made, as it is a first draft, but I think the basic story will work.

I learn a lot about writing African Firestorm, and one of the things I learned was writing the outline.. I overdid the African Firestorm outline --- I outlined it as 53 chapters and 14,500 words. I wrote extremely detailed chapters, to the point of breaking the action scenes down step by step. But when I wrote the novel, I found the plot was too complex and detailed for the novel I was writing, So, I did some cutting on the fly, and ended up with a 45-chapter novel with a prologue and epilogue. The first two-thirds of African Firestorm stays very close to the outline as I wrote it, but the last third was a major rewrite.

With Red Ice, I went with a less detailed outline. It comes in at 45 chapters, with a prologue., and weighs in at just 7,800 words. The plot is more streamlined then the original outline for African Firestorm was. I have one set of bad guys, a few good guys, and one US city. I also went with less detail in the outline, leaving that to the actual writing.

I use the term "Outline" when I describe the plotting part of the book. Actually, it's a summary of the plot, broken down into chapters. Who, where, when, what happened, a cliffhanger if possible, then onto the next chapter. The fights are described in general terms, and individual actions are noted where needed.

I figure it's going to take Rick a few days to look over the outline and we'll discuss what works and what doesn't work. I expect there'll be changes. Unless there are serious problems, I expect to start writing the actual first draft before the end of the month. I will be keeping anyone reading this blog up to date on my progress.

Until later!

Craig

Thursday, May 7, 2015

African Firestorm is an International Kindle Bestseller!


African Firestorm on the Kindle

African Firestorm for the Nook

Yes, I can say that.....African Firestorm is an International Kindle Bestseller! (The word "Kindle" is mandatory --- as Rich Chesler pointed out to me, if I was to just say "International Bestseller," people would think I was claiming African Firestorm was on the NYT bestseller list. A nice thought, but no....)

The result of the Games of Drones two-day giveaway has resulted in boosted sales for both The Poseidon Initiative and African Firestorm. Both broke into the top 20,000, and the highest rank I saw African Firestorm was #11,231 (That's out of over a million kindle books on Amazon) Right now, it's fallen to #17,701, but still, that's pretty good, still in the top 2%. It reached #82 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military category. On Amazon UK, the book is doing better ---  #15,848 and currently #62 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military category.

The The Poseidon Initiative is currently ranked at #12,190, but that understandable, as it's been out longer. It's also #89 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military. On Amazon UK, it's #9,413 and #40 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military category.

(For some reason, the series is a bigger hit in the UK than the US. I don't know why....)

How do I feel? GREAT! In the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Military category, for a little while, the book I helped write was rubbing shoulders with authors like Tom Clancy (#4), Brad Thor (#15), Dale Brown (#37, #54), Larry Bond (#39), and Clive Cussler (#83) .

So, it is time to kick back and enjoy the feeling? Yes, for about five minutes. Then it's back to work on Red Ice and other writing projects. I just have to outline the final battle for Red Ice, then I'll send it to Rick Chesler and see what he thinks of it.

For those who bought it, I thank you, and I truly hope you enjoyed the ride. I hope you let other people know about it, and you leave a review on the website you bought it from.

Back to writing!

Craig

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Game of Drones is Free for a Limited Time!!


I was just talking to Rick Chesler, my co-author on African Firestorm, and he told me that he and co-author for Games of Drones, Rick Jones, have decided to make the kindle version of their Outcast Ops novel free to everyone for the next couple of days! So, if you wanted to read and see if the series is one you want to read, there's no reason not to download this novel and read it! Go here for the novel! http://www.amazon.com/OUTCAST-Ops-Game-Drones-Series-ebook/dp/B00KH11U4M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_8?ie=UTF8&refRID=16MXSM6Z0HBH2DTRMRM8

And if you're a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow Game of Drones for the next three months or so at no charge! Sn there is no excuse if you have a Kindle! And if you don't have a Kindle? You can download the free Kindle software that allows you to read Kindle books on your PC, or the Calibre E-book software (http://calibre.en.softonic.com/ ) that reads all the major E-book formats.

So, please, try the series. All three books that are out so far have gotten great views and the price is only a third of a physical book, and the first book is free for the next couple of days!

And that's it for the sales pitch!!

As for Red Ice, I have it outlined through Chapter 37, and preparing to outline the climatic battle between the team and the bad guys. Hope to have it finished and off to Rick before the end of the month! As for African Firestorm,  it's doing well, especially in the UK.

That's all for today, I'll try and get that post about the thriller authors I like up in the next couple of days, but this news about the free Games of Drones novel could wait.

Later!

Craig

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Influences When writing African Firestorm -- The Series

I mentioned in a previous post that the key was write something you wanted to read. When Rick Chesler put the word out he was looking for co-authors for his new action series, I stepped forward because those of the type of novels I like to read. So I decided to put forward a post about what sort of novels I liked and why I I wanted to write African Firestorm.

So, I divided this up into two different posts. This one is about the adventure series that I enjoy reading. The next is about those authors whose adventure/thriller novels I enjoy reading. There's different set of authors I enjoy in other genre, but that 's for another post.

Here they are:

Doc Savage

Before Superman, before most super heroes as we know them today in the comics and the big screen, there were the pulp heroes whose exploits were in the monthly pulp magazines of the early 1930's through the end of the 1940's. One of those heroes, mostly forgotten to mainstream readers is Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze.

Trained from birth to be a hero, Clark Savage Jr. ("Doc") was both a physical marvel and a mental giant, who traveled the world with his team of men, fighting evils in all forms. Villains using science-fiction weapons, lost civilizations, and monsters were taken head on with Doc and his team's brains and brawn. Like the cliffhanger serials of the 1930s, Doc saved the world from all sorts of danger. The most interesting this is that a lot of the futuristic technology in these novels are commonplace today.

I can to these novels through the 1975 George Pal Movie and the first one I brought through the Scholastic Book program through school. When I was old enough, I would haunt through used book stores, looking for the Bantam paperbacks. The reprints by Vintage Library I have the first dozen, but my budget hasn't allowed me to continue buying them or the new ones written by Will Murray. But I have most of the Bantam run, and when I need to escape into a cliffhanger, that's where I go.

The Shadow

If Doc Savage and Supermen are related (Both had Fortresses of Solitude, for example), so are the Shadow and Batman. Both are dark avengers who strike fear in the hearts of Criminals everywhere. Both are rich men who rub soldiers with the movers and shakers (Even though the Shadow's isn't really Lamont Cranson, but an impostor using Cranson's name)

But while Batman is (mostly) a solo act, the Shadow had a network of agents to aid him in his fight against evil. But the Shadow and his twin .45s were never far away, and bad guys never knew when he was coming.

While I was aware of The Shadow (Though the radio show), my first exposure was the comics of the 80's. After that, the Movie, then the Vintage Library's reprints. Sadly, like with the Doc Savage, I haven't been able to keep up with the series. but I have a few radio shows, a few of the Vintage Library reprints and if my mood takes me, both the modern movie on DVD and the movie soundtrack (I like Tyler Dane's "Original Sin" from the soundtrack).


Mack Bolan: The Executioner

If I had to name one series that I consider my key series, it would have to be this one. It was the first adult series I read, taking my dad's copy and reading them starting at the age of thirteen., and when I can, I read them today

For forty years, Mack Bolan, special forces and war vet (Originally the Vietnam war) has been fighting the evil man brings to his fellow man. When most of his family died, he was called home to bury them. Once there, he found that the mafia had been indirectly involved with their death. Untouchable by the police, the local mafia saw themselves above the law --- until Bolan decided to declare war on them. For the first forty or so volumes, Bolan's war was against the Mafia, going across the country, conducting a guerrilla war. Later, he took on terrorists, criminal cartels, madmen of all types, at first for the US Government agent, then as a lone wolf with an arm's length relationship. With his near trade mark 9mm Beretta and his .50 Desert Eagle, Bolan wages a war against anyone who threatens innocents anywhere in the word.

In addition to Bolan series, I also read two related series, Phoenix Force and Able Team. All operate under an umbrella of Stony Man group. They too fight threats against innocents and good people.

The Death Merchant

This is probably the least known and the oddest series of the four series I like.

Richard Camellion is a mercenary working for the CIA, taking extreme missions and leaving a high body count behind him. He is cynical. nihilistic, and has a high IQ. The stories are a little more out there --- Mind control drugs, Clones, underwater cities, man-triggered natural disasters are a few of the plots Camelion must stop.

While the plots are on the edge, the action is realistic and brutal. Someone isn't just shot; instead, where each round goes and what damage it does is described in detail. The same with other forms of mayhem. There are also small nuggets of information to pick up on. This is not everyone sort of series; Camelion is a bit of an asshole, and holds strong views. He also has a low regard for most of the human race, and doesn't hide it.

But I like the series because it is different. There's enough little things I can pick up on for use elsewhere, and it showed me how to write a anti-hero and make still the good guy besides his faults.

Well, that's it. Next time should be the authors I like in the adventure/thriller field.

Later!

Craig