Thursday, September 30, 2010


One of the things people often ask me about writing is, what are you working on now? The lingo is, your 'Work in Progress' or W.I.P.

Some author friends of mine that blog will often post their WIPs, detailing story development, progress, weekly word counts. I think it helps to have an external accountability.

Others have even gone on to publish their works as serialized, online novels (covered under creative commons copyrights).

Since I started this blog I really haven't started a new work. I finalized and worked on the marketing of StG, and I edited the novelization of my were-hyena story (Gift of the Bouda) but I really haven't started anything new. Two big reasons were my Army Reserve commitment- I'm doing a Masters degree for the Army through distance learning (a combination of online, group chats and residence phases) with the US Army War College (pretty cool- but also very time consuming) in additon to my weekend army job and my job job. I was bumped up a notch at work and this requires me to travel. I've done 3 round trips to the Republic of Georgia (Tbilisi, not Atalanta) since June.

So I've been pretty much leaving everything on the field and don't have much to devote to writing.
But thanks to poor food prep hygiene, I was gifted with the nastiest case of the shivering-fever-trots that I've ever had. It was great, I lost 10 kilos and was confined to bed. What does a writer do in such a circumstance? He makes lemonade, and begins a new WIP.

Inspired by some of the destruction in Georgia due to the war with Russia, and the scenery in general, I penned out 3 pages of rough outline, and the first three chapters (6k words) of first draft material. It looks pretty good.

As with most of my work, I don't feel strictly constrained by genre conventions but this one would largely fall under 'Military Science Fiction', with a liberal infusion of postapocolyptic science fiction horror (zombies and alien monsters), hand to hand combat, military hardware. Even a hot chick. You'll love it.

I use an alternating first person POV (the Captain of a Transatmospheric assualt craft or -drop ship- which is a cross between a vietnam era huey-of which I have much experience- and a normandy era landing craft) and a close 3rd person POV. Right now the primary 3rdPOV is a fourth generation planetary settler whose world was been blasted from space by aliens and is now in the 'mop up phase' with bioweapons and urban assault forces. The good guys go in light due to civilian oversight. Mayhem ensues. Yes a little bit of an Iraq war influence.

I see it as 90K words based on the story arc I have so far. A lot of Military Science fiction crosses over into what is know as 'space opera' and these books can be monsters (140K words, 300+ pages). I write books about monsters, not monster books. I find with those I tend to skip pages(other people's stuff, I try to pay attention to my own pages), so heeding my friend Elmore's rule number 10...don't write the parts they skip, mine should come in around 250 pages. But that's on this side of the story- there's no telling what the characters will need once they start to have lives of their own...

That's my WIP.

A funy aside, I was editing the second chapter and working on the third on my flight from Munich to Dulles. An early twenty something guy sitting next to me asked, when my laptop battery gave up, and I quit, if I was working on a novel. "Why yes I am," I said. He asked in a manner that made me unsure if it was derisive or impressed, if I'd ever had anything published. "Why yes I have," I replied. Must be hard, he said. "Yes it is," said I.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reviews, reviews!

The reviewers are finishing my book and the reviews are starting to come in.

My first Review is live on Horrorview (click on horrorview)!

My second Review is live on Paperback Horror.

My third Review is live on Dread Central.

My fourth Review is live at the Antibacterial Pope.

My fifth at the horror fiction review.

So far they're all pretty positive.

Go...check them out..I'll wait.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

StG Now in Kindle

Thanks to the staff at Reliquary press, my Debut novel,
Succumbing to Gravity, is now out in a kindle edition!

I encourage those of you have read it to post a reveiw or 'TAG' it on Amazon (either the paperback page or the kindle page- or hey how about both?).
I am a member of the Horror Writers Association and they have a program where they pair up junior members with more senior members for mentorship. More how the biz works than the actual mechanics, but that too if needed. My HWA mentor is Dan Keohane (a Stoker nominated author- Stokers are like the oscars of horror fiction) just left a generous review on Amazon. Blurb-worthy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Pirates

I've been a longtime fan of the Richard Bolitho tales of Alexander Kent, but the Last Raider is the first Douglas Reeman book I've read. The irony here being that Kent is the pen-name of Reeman. I wasn't disappointed.

In war one expects to see enemy troops meet on the battlefield. Victory generally consists of one force defeating the other. But what if one of the forces can't take to the field because they lack equipment, supplies, transportation, food; logistics. Then the one combatant would win by default, right? Targeting an enemies ability to get supplies to the fight is a strategic consideration. In WWII US strategic bombers destroyed factories, infrastructure, fuel depots, all with the aim of keeping assets out of the hands of German soldiers. A sea-going version of this approach was to sink supply ships. When done by easily identifiable warships it seems like an 'in-bounds' move. But another approach was to mount guns on a civilian ship, in Navy service, with minimal disguise and have it sink civilian cargo ships...this is the 'commerce raider'.

The last raider is a fictionalized account of the last German commerce raider of WWI. A satisfying read from before I was born, both the content and the book itself ( it published in 1963!) I saw many similarities with the Bolitho novels. Reeman (a WWII British Navy veteran) writes with authority on how men in war behave with one another. I saw echoes from my own combat experiences (though I was a US Army officer- some things seem universal).

This was an older novel than other Reeman/Kent stories I have read. So I presume he was newer at the craft, though I couldn't tell. The books are written in third person, but he has this disconcerting habit of switching around through dozens of people's POV. It was also an ensemble cast, and when you POV wobble like he does it can be hard to follow. I think it worked well, given that this is only the second WWI novel I have read from the German side (All Quiet being the other with most graduates of the American public school system).