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!


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! 


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 



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)


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)



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)


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!



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!


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!


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!

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 ( ) 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.



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.