Category Archives: Military

False Flag: #1 Bestseller

About this time last year, Hell and Gone climbed into Amazon’s Top 100 in the overall Kindle bestseller rankings.

That’s no easy task in the present-day book biz. This year the third novel in the series has followed suit. False Flag  reached #1 Bestseller in three categories as of Saturday afternoon, and threatened to take the top spot in a couple more–coming as close as #2 in post-apocalyptic fiction. (It’s actually more “apocalyptic” than “post-apocalyptic” anyway, but I’ll try to resist sperging about that.)

This dystopian thriller (ahem) is currently still on sale for 99 cents at the major E-Book vendors…

…And pretty much everywhere else that sells E-Books.

Hell and Gone was originally written as a one-off military thriller, with an old-school adventure flavor. Fans, however, suggested a sequel. I wrote one, shooting intentionally for more of a throwback men’s adventure/paramilitary fiction vibe, as the cover suggests. Tier Zero was what resulted. Fans thought the sequel was even better than Hell and Gone, and this time I intentionally built some springboards for yet another book.

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With False Flag, I took the same characters and thrust them into a SHTF/apocalyptic scenario.

Unfortunately, politics are interwoven with every part of life these days. This book reflects that. As readers of my blog posts are no-doubt aware of, I don’t pull my punches that often anymore when sharing my observations. So even people who identify as “conservative” (whatever that means) find my outlook to be a little…raw.

Since I hate being sucker-punched with the obligatory left-wing political message in ostensibly apolitical books, I carefully worded everything from the title, “False Flag,” to its product description, so that nobody would be blind-sided when I call it like I see it. In fact, most drones from the SJW Hive Mind run squealing from my portfolio after little more than a couple seconds. Often, just a glimpse at my cover art is sufficient to reveal that I am alien to their echo chamber. For this book I heaped on overkill in the form of a Samuel Adams quote on the product page.

This was my way of ensuring that soy-consuming, rainbow tattoo-sporting, public transportation-advocating manginas and nancy-boys would not read my books…and therefore not be triggered.

But, just like Wikepedia, Goodreads, and…well…every platform on the Web, goose-stepping Commie Thought Police are patrolling 24/7, seeking to quarantine any heretical idea before it can bring The Narrative into question.  They don’t avoid material that “triggers” them–they purposefully seek it out, as part of their holy mission to protect others from exposure to unauthorized wrongthink. Such trolls, however, take my honest warnings as a weakness to exploit; and individuals of this moral caliber have no qualms about “reviewing” a book they haven’t read.

Here’s the one-star “review” one such hero left for False Flag, and my response to it:

Midwit Sage (AKA “Amazon Customer”): If you took out the extended political and poorly disguised racial ranting you would barely have a short story. Good enough for the preachers choir but hardly good story telling. It’s no wonder the author couldn’t get a real publisher to touch his work…Tom Clancy has nothing to fear!

Yours Truly: If you took out the vague, politically-butthurt insults of this “review” by a drive-by Thought Cop who probably didn’t even read the book, you would barely  have enough left over to classify it as a cyber-knee-jerk. But thanks for demonstrating how someone of your integrity and sophistication reacts to this not-really-published work.

Now why, I wonder, would they use the term “poorly disguised racial ranting?” Obviously they’re trying to scare potential readers off by implying  sinister racism. But why not just come out and accuse me of full-blown racism, then? SJWs are certainly not shy about crying “racist” for any and every (or no) reason. It might have something to do with the difference between slander and libel.

More Retreads novels are germinating in my mind, but there’s a couple other books I want to work on before I get back to this series.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t jumped into the series already, now’s a great time to start.

Of course there are paperback versions of all the Retreads novels, and the first two are also available in Audible Books (links below) for those who are on the go. I do want to put together an audiobook for that title, if I can find the time. Same deal with revamping our book section here on the site–it’s on the to-do list; just need to catch a break from Real Life Stuff to get ‘er done.

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Turn: Washington’s Spies – a Review

Not much cinematic effort has been put into the American Revolution, compared to other periods of history, and when it is, usually the effort is lackluster. This series, in some ways, was a pleasant surprise.

It’s loosely based on the book Washington’s Spies: the Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose. Rose is British which, ironically, is probably why the account is more fair to the American side than it would be if written by one of our own cucked revisionists. The Netflix mini-series starts out with at least a passing interest in historical accuracy. Every series degenerates eventually, though, and this one is no exception.

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On the plus side, the acting is pretty solid with exceptions I’ll mention later. Not sure why pretty much all the Americans have a Scottish or Irish brogue, but the acting are believable. I’m also pleased with some of the directorial choices made–little stuff most people miss and I won’t bore you with. And the writing is not as horrendous as one would expect. Whereas most TV scripts would score a D- to F, this show averages a C+ to B- over three seasons.

It would rate higher than that if consistent, but some lazy contrivances and lame efforts to ramp up the tension really drag it down. One particular character who starts out on the British side, for instance, is built up to be invincible through a succession of episodes. But evidently a different villain probably became more popular with focus groups or something and so was elevated. When these two characters faced off, the formerly invincible character suddenly became incompetent in order for the new heavy to prevail handily. And no explanation was even hinted at how the new heavy became such a badass out of nowhere.

Another reason to watch the series--and she's almost scrawny enough for certain Manosphere denizens.
Another reason to watch the series–and she’s almost scrawny enough for certain Manosphere denizens.

Speaking of characters: Benadict Arnold is a little overdone, and George Washington seems more like a parody than a character. In the former’s case, the writer may be more at fault than the actor, and visa-versa in the latter case.

The OPSEC (operational security) of most characters on both sides (but especially on the American side) is a piss-poor joke. It’s hard to imagine any country winning any kind of war against anyone with breakdowns in OPSEC so flagrant as depicted in this series.

As the third season progressed, my willing suspension of disbelief seriously faltered. And the finale reached a new high of unbelievability.

For all its faults, I’m glad I watched Turn. There are few productions these days done as well as this.

 

Proelium Veritas by John Murphy – a Review

Vaughn Killian had risen to the top of the candidate class for Black Saber by the end of the first novel in the series. Now he’s ready to graduate…but the Brass isn’t happy with him.

Even in an elite unit like this, there’s an emphasis on by-the-book procedures. Killian is more of a field soldier–hands-on, seat of the pants. While that’s the kind of guy you want in combat, maybe he takes it a bit too far. And it turns out his instinctive warrior ways have backfired on him: because of his disregard for regulations, he’s being held back as cadre to train other candidates while his classmates get deployed. This is the last thing he wanted.

Nonetheless, he’s about to see action anyway. It seems the Carthenogans have somehow discovered the location of Black Saber’s secret training facility, and have dispatched a force of barbaric neandergrunts to capture some personnel and wipe out the rest.

With this second book, the storyline becomes increasingly complex. Murphy bounces around an ensemble cast to weave espionage, political intrigue, combat, and personal drama into the narrative. By book’s end, it’s still a mystery how some of these plot threads will tie together…and where all they will take us before they do. However it all weaves together in the third novel (???), it’s shaping up to be something huge.

It’s probably impossible for any author to write something I can’t nitpick in some way (myself included). But my biggest complaint here has to do with storytelling technique. Specifically: the cliffhanger ending. I think some plot elements could have been tied up a little better…there could have been a bit stronger sense of resolution…and likely we’d still want to read the next book. As is, it kind of feels like a much longer novel that was cut in half.

You may have read military sci-fi with similar elements before (Ender’s Game is one that comes to mind), but chances are you haven’t read a series with as much going on as this one.

Every Blade of Grass by R.A. Mathis – A Review

In this third novel in the Homeland series, there’s a turning point in Civil War II. Some Americans saw the writing on the wall, and bugged out just before “The Second Founding.” They organized while in hiding, and are now coming out to tangle with the forces of the new regime.

The state governments have been dissolved, and what was once the continental USA  has been divided into 10 regions under the totalitarian government of President Tophet. But in Tennessee, there are enough surviving patriots (even in the legislature) that resistance to the takeover is made official. Tennessee will not lay down without a fight.

Sergeant Cole has found the organized resistance–in this instance led by LTC Lee, his old battalion C.O. But concern over his family leads him to undertake his own mission to find them even as the flames of civil war spark to life across the country.

There is significant character development in this book–not just of Cole, either. Eduardo Garcia has quite the interesting character arc, which culminates here.

Author Mathis has masterfully woven a tale of one possible future history of the USA in the Homeland trilogy, which doesn’t bog down in technical details at all, or read like an advertisement for gold, survival supplies, or anything else. What this third novel does deliver is hope. The collapse of the USA as we know it may be inevitable, but it’s comforting to imagine there will be enough people with the wisdom, courage, and competence to mount an effective resistance.

I recommend you read the entire series. And speaking of that: the three novels have been combined into one omnibus edition now.

The Mystery of Dunkirk

Why on Earth was the British Expeditionary Force allowed to escape in 1940?

That is the question everyone with a modicum of military savvy has to ask when examining the story of Dunkirk. (Well at least after coming down from your outrage due to underrepresentation in the film of Pygmy hermaphrodites, transgender unicorns, and Badass Warrior Womyn in front-line combat formations.) One positive side effect of the recent movie I’ve noticed is that some folks are indeed asking that question.

The Wermacht steamrolled over Poland and France despite the disparity of numbers, displaying a functional combined arms doctrine the world had never seen before… and yet allowed Britain’s army a second chance to fight them (when they inevitably returned with a more powerful ally), despite being poised to cut them off from the sea and destroy their ability to fight.

Not every fan of history knows the reason Dunkirk was allowed to succeed. Historians usually explain it away with one dubious claim or another. When I found out the truth, I just had to shake my head. And yet…it made sense.

A British historian spent the post war period interviewing the German high command, and its field marshals. The book he wrote clears up this and many other curiosities about WWII in the European Theater. I highly recommend it.

An added bonus is the reactions you’ll receive just toting the paperback around. On the cover is an image of a Nazi-era German flag, which happens to have a swastika on it. Rabid SJW thought police will be triggered, while public-educated FaceBorg junkies will often just run away. It’s Wolfenstein 3D all over again–but without intrusion into your gaming fun!

 

 

Proelium Veritas by John Murphy

The sequel to Mission Veritas is finally out. I haven’t yet had a chance to start this dystopian military sci-fi novel (my categorization–not necessarily the author’s), but will post a review once I’ve consumed it. Meanwhile, here’s the skinny:

 

Vaughn Killian knows two things: what brutal combat is really like, and that the Carthenogens are anything but benevolent.

The good news is he’s completed the elite Black Saber training and is ready to deploy. The bad news is he’s being held back from assignment due to a technicality. When disaster strikes, he helps plan a counterattack, only to wind up adrift in space, stranded half a galaxy away from Earth, where his skills are needed most.

The people of Earth are still under the Carthenogens’ utopian delusion. The Global Alliance does their bidding, carving up city after city in a grand relocation plan, but most relocated people never arrive. Instead, they’re disappearing somewhere by the interstellar boatload. But the media mentions none of that. The population is kept in the dark, and the only ones who can stop them are all but vanquished. How can one isolated fighter help his fellow citizens from the cold vacuum of space?

Slaughter City: The Sergeant #6 – a Review

When we last left Master Sergeant Mahoney and Corporal Cranepool, Patton had tried to force Eisenhower’s hand to get the war blazing along the Moselle River, so he could drive on to Berlin. But Ike called his bluff and the 33rd “Hammerhead” Division was left caught between Perdition and the deep blue sea.

Well, a deep river, anyway, and more brown than blue. With no artillery support or air cover and little in the way of supplies, the Hammerheads were thrown back across the river even though the defenders are hardly Germany’s finest.

But now, Patton has scrounged up some support, and is driving his boot into the 4th points of his subordinates to make the attack work this time.

Here’s an excerpt from a scene where Patton comes to motivate the troops personally, down at company level:

 “Now listen here, men,” Patton growled, “I know what you went through last night. A lot of your buddies were killed, and all of you nearly got killed yourselves. Now we all know that it’s no fun to lose a battle because Americans aren’t losers. By nature, we are winners. Given half a chance, we will win any battle in which we are placed. That’s because we’re tough and strong and because we love to fight. Yes, by God, we love to fight.”

Patton made a fist and held it up in the air. “We love to beat the shit out of our enemies and step on his face afterwards. We love to rip open his belly and tear his guts out. We pray for the chance to kick him in the balls and split his head open. Is there any man out here who doesn’t feel that way?”
Nobody said a word, just as Patton knew they wouldn’t.
“Good,” Patton said. “I knew there weren’t any cowards or queers in this company. I knew because you’re all good, red-blooded Americans. I know you’re just itching to get across that river over there and lay your hands on those Germans. By God, I feel sorry for those Germans when I just think about it. I really do because I can imagine what you’re going to do to them.”

Patton pointed to the Moselle River. “You’re going to make that river over there run red with their blood for what they did to you last night. There’ll be so many dead Germans over there you won’t be able to put your foot down without stepping on one of their noses. I feel bad that I have to hold you back until midnight because I know you want to go over there right now. But you have to wait just a little while longer, and I want you to use that extra time to clean your weapons and cover them with a light film of oil so they won’t get rusty. If you have some extra time after that, you can sharpen your bayonets so they’ll cut deeper into those Hun bastards over there. You might want to make sure your canteens are filled with water because you’re gonna get thirsty while you’re killing all those bastards. And as we all know, tonight is going to be much different from last night because tonight you’ll have plenty of artillery preparation and support. By the time you get across that river, those g****mn kraut-eating bastards won’t know where the hell they are. Their eardrums will be bleeding, and their brains will be upside-down in their heads. The poor bastards will probably try to run away from you, but I want you to go right after them and kill them like the dogs that they are. And I don’t want you to shoot over their heads or at their legs. I want you to aim directly for the center of their backs and bring them down. We’re not going to play with them after what they did to us last night. And they probably know it. I’ll bet they’re shitting their pants over there right now because they know they’ve made us mad, and a mad American soldier is a fearsome thing.”

There’s a lot else happening in this book, including an SS death squad using a seductress to kill GIs; a panty-raid at a USO show; both Mahoney and once-innocent farmboy Cranepool wounded in action; shooting a locomotive with bazookas, and some down & dirty urban house-to-house combat.

After a relatively slow-paced departure in the last book, Len Levinson is back on the offensive in Slaughter City, and in fine blood-splattered form.

Doom River: The Sergeant #5 – a Review

Due mostly to my schedule, my blogged reviews of this blood’n’guts war series stopped at #4. But my negligence stops, now!

Master Sergeant Mahoney and Corporal Cranepool have just returned from their attachment to a French unit liberating Paris. It was supposed to be cushy duty, but only the end of it was cushy–in the arms of some French floozies in a fancy hotel.

doomriverpaperbackThe Sergeant and his sidekick are back just in time to meet Charlie Company’s new C.O. Captain Anderson is a young, inexperienced officer, but one of the good ones (a rare combo, in my day). They’re also just in time for one of Patton’s “recon in force” missions, to push across the Moselle and keep the pressure on the Germans.

Patton is out of gas for his tanks, and frightfully low on artillery, ammo and supplies. He assumes if he is able to stir up some action, Ike will be forced to send him what he needs, so Patton can push on to Berlin and finish the war before Christmas. But Ike isn’t having it–all the supplies will be diverted to Field Marshal Montgomery, who is tasked with taking Antwerp.

(Historical note: Yes, Patton’s 3rd Army could have reached Berlin and ended the war before Christmas of ’44 if their supplies hadn’t been cut off. Also true that all those resources were given to Monty–somewhat less than a daring or decisive general–for Operation Market Garden (of A Bridge Too Far fame), which had less chance of success and, even if successful, would have had a lesser impact on the grand strategic situation. Most likely, Patton’s onslaught was intentionally delayed in order to give the Red Army time to capture the half of Europe which had been promised to Stalin by FDR at the Yalta conferences.)

So the 33rd “Hammerhead” Division conducts a river crossing at great cost, since they didn’t have much in the way of artillery support, and their men and boats are chewed up pretty bad by the German defenders. Still, they now have a beachhead from which the Wermacht has to throw them. Mahoney’s regiment bears the brunt of this counterattack.doomriverebook

The Americans are in a bad position, but Patton doesn’t like surrendering ground once he’s taken it.

This installment in the series could launch a character study on the sort of men who populate the officer corps of an army. Whether a commander wants to make a name for himself, or simply doesn’t want a sub-par evaluation, it is their troops who are used like cannon  fodder to enhance or maintain their egos.

Mahoney himself has some moments in this book in which he demonstrates more humanity than is normal for him. (Also, in this one we are introduced to PFC Butsko. I can’t help but notice the similarities between him and the platoon sergeant of The RatBastards–also named Butsko.) Still, this is a transitional phase for Mahoney, and the real plot dynamics focus on other characters.

An Cosantoir reviews Hell & Gone

An Cosantoir is the official magazine of Ireland’s Defense Forces. Sgt. Wayne Fitzgelarld, the editor, has recently reviewed Hell & Gone.

From his review:

Henry goes for all action with his ‘Dirty Dozen’ like squad sent on a daring mission in Sudan, with a final battle that reminded me of Black Hawk Down.

The ending of the book is explosive; you are in the thick of it.

Nice to find out that folks across the pond appreciate it, too. My thanks to Wayne for taking the time and effort to share his thoughts. His complete review is available in An Cosantoir, or on Hell & Gone‘s Amazon page.

And speaking of that, Hell & Gone has been picking up some reviews lately. In fact, it has received more reviews in the last couple months since the BookBub promotion than in all the preceding years. Wish I had done this much earlier…but then, I did almost everything wrong with my first few books, and squandered or missed out on numerous opportunities out of my marketing ignorance.

Don’t forget: the first two Retreads novels are available as Audible downloads as well as E-Books and paperbacks. If you’re like me, then listening to a book is the best way to “read” these days, with our busy schedules and drive time. Hell & Gone is narrated by David H. Lawrence XVII, and Tier Zero is narrated by Johnny C. Hayes. Both voice actors have their own style of delivery, and the contrast is interesting. I’m toying with the idea of recording the third book in the series, False Flag, myself. Don’t know if/when I’ll get around to that, or if it’s a good idea. We’ll see.

Anyway, if you can’t spare the time to read the first two normally, buy the Audible versions and let us entertain you while you work, drive, or whatever.

Bam! Hell & Gone is a Bestseller

Recently I organized a little media blitz for my debut shoot-’em-up, and ran a 99 cent promotion. The results have been encouraging.

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I’m not a full-time author (I still work a “real” job, drat the luck), so I’m not able to sit at a computer all day and track rankings. The best I saw was that Hell & Gone hit #1 bestseller in war, pulp, and men’s adventure, and reached #70 on the top “paid in Kindle store” on Tuesday night. It was inside the top 50 in some other categories, too, but I don’t know where it peaked. Could a healthy number of reviews/increased visibility be forthcoming? You can bet I’ll be paying attention, when I can.

I’m not sure how many sales I’m getting on Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble, where it’s also on sale for 99 cents. (BTW both Hell & Gone and Tier Zero are also available as Audible audio books.)

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I also have a 99 cent promotion scheduled to start Saturday (November 5) for False Flag, the third book in The Retreads series. I don’t have the same level of media blitz lined up, and it’s a darker/more controversial storyline, so I don’t expect the same caliber of spike. However, Election Day happens right in the middle of the promo, and approximately 40% of those who go to the polls will be voting to make this speculative dystopia a reality. So it’s kinda’ fitting.

UPDATE: The sales reports are trickling in from other stores, starting with Barnes & Noble. Don’t know where it put me on their algorithm, but I see a boatload of sales. I need to do this again.