Monday, January 24, 2022

What is White Ops?


White Ops is my first book, and therefore, it is a very long story just to detail how it became a novel that long.

If you’ve followed my ravings online, the story of my writing career—and the story of my life— can be summed up in one phrase.

“And then it spiraled.”

White Ops started as fan fiction. It was going to be a short story to get something out of my brain.

Fifteen months and six novels later, you could say that it spiraled.

Much of the book as is came about in the last few years. I’ve been rewriting this space opera epic for the past two decades, and so it looks very little like what I started it as.

For right now, the overall effect is looking at it like Lord of the Rings. Because when I steal, I steal from everyone.

And I do mean

In the beginning, we have a massive war. A relatively backwards race called the Pharmakoi have had a massive technological spike. For years, they had been harassing the Renar race, but the Renar put them down and moved on with their lives.

Then, seemingly overnight, the Pharmakoi became the technological equals to the Renar, and all Hell broke loose.


But, like Lord of the Rings, we have an emerging evil getting ready to rock and roll across the galaxy. No, they’re not some ancient threat like Sauron, and they’re not some alien enemy from a thousand years ago, like Babylon 5. They’re not even from a different part of the galaxy, like Deep Space 9. No, these guys are from a different galaxy.

But like Lord of the Rings, these monsters have the ability to reach into the blackest part of the human heart, and bring forth the darkness within.

While he doesn’t realize the full scope of the coming threat, one man sees it coming. His name is Sean Patrick Ryan. The Pharmakoi’s sudden technology spike make Sean think that the Pharmakoi either found the technology, or was given the technology.

If the Pharmakoi found the technology… how and where did it come from? Who left it? And how likely is that?

If the Pharmakoi were given the technology… whoever is behind the Pharmakoi wouldn’t have handed over their best weapons. They would give out the equivalent of muskets while owning nuclear weapons.

When the Pharmakoi go down, it’s only a matter of time before whoever’s behind them comes out of the woodwork. While everyone prepares, someone has to keep watch, and counter any moves this new race makes.

These people will be White Ops, and Sean Ryan will lead them.

Toten’tanzers / Rangers

This is the point where we have to explain what the Hell Sean Patrick Ryan is.

And this is where the background on the book gets complicated.

While White Ops is the first book I wrote, it didn’t even have that title. The original title was Tales of the Rangers.

Then I realized that “Rangers” is a term so overused, it might be the most generic thing in the SFF genre. The books became Tales of White Ops. Then, simply, White Ops.

Then I went off and wrote a dozen novels. Half of them ended up with Sean A.P. Ryan, because the Ryan family won’t leave me alone. More on that here. Later on in life, the 21st century Ryan wanted to be a pirate.

Okay, he would be a privateer. He would kill terrorists, steal their loot, then use that to finance killing more terrorists—repeat.

While I haven’t written those books yet, they’re in my head. They’re can(n)on in my universe. They are a thing.

Then I went back to perform a massive rewrite on the world of White Ops.

And Sean AP Ryan had screwed up my ENTIRE UNIVERSE. How?

Somehow, and I don’t know why, but the Renar had made first contact on a covert level sometime in the late 21st century. They reached out based on their own cultural assumptions. The Renar culture is big on robes, and the colors in the robes explain a lot about your position in society—well, robe color and weapons.

When the Renar observed Earth to see who to reach out to, they made a decision that this one place near the equator —the center of the planet — must be the place where the leader of Humans lived. And there was one guy who wore pure white robes, with constant international communications. Even the name, Pontiff, implied he was a great leader.

So, the Renar visited the Pope.

The Vatican said, “Please hold, we want to talk with someone.” In comes Sean AP Ryan’s privateer company to consult on the matter.

The Renar hear what Ryan does for a living, and thinks it’s a great idea. The merchant caste thinks it’s a great way to make money. The religious caste thinks it’s a way to do good. The soldiers think it’s a great idea to get into fights, and for good causes. The peasant caste … doesn’t really get a vote, but it seems like a good way to get out of blue collar work.

Take the idea back to Renar, filter it through an alien culture, and shake well for 300 years. Privateers became Toten’tanzers.

In the Renar language, a Toten’tanzer is “one who dances with death.” In context, it reads as “a sentinel against death.” You can translate it as a Ranger, if you want to.

If you’re reading the word and wondering “Is Declan using German and passing it off as an alien language?”

You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

You’re also reading a guy who stole Gaelic out of a Dublin phone book for an alien language. I just throw the kitchen sink in and see what works.

White Ops...

Sean Ryan’s White Ops team is a subsection of the toten’tanz. They’re going to seek out new threats and new conspiracies, and they’re going to send them all straight to Hell.

Why why Ops? Black Ops are usually the sort of thing you don’t want people to hear about, because they may be morally iffy.

White Ops are fighting the good fight, but right now, we don’t want the enemy to know that we’re onto them.

You might be able to tell, but I had fun here. I’ve got a small cast of characters, only six or seven. It shouldn’t be too cluttered or confuse too many people.

So, White Ops comes out tomorrow, and this link should have most of the available vendors.

The second one comes out in a month.

The third one the month after that.

The complete books.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Sex and Violence

 [PG-13/ R. And, for the record, this is a completely amoral blog post—preaching morals gives me a headache and upsets my ulcer. So I’m not going to comment on “X was immoral.” This is a WRITING POST.]

1. Sex. What is it good for?

Were this a song parody, the next line would be “absolutely nothing.” But, given that I've had bad experiences with song parodies, I will forgo that.

But, seriously, sex in books… why bother? In the context of the written word, almost any novel with a sex scene in it has been, in my opinion, a horrid waste of time, energy, and irritates, at least, this reader.

I don’t use sex scenes. Why? Because I find them boring.

I am not certain how much of this is my own personal opinion and how much of it is a critique of how sex scenes tend to be inflicted on the reader.

One of my major problems is the OSS, or the Obligatory Sex Scene.

For example: In the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child novel Mount Dragon, our protagonists, after having found shelter and water in the middle of the desert, after nearly dying from thirst, while on the run from a nutcase with a gun… are so happy they start having sex…

Huh? What the Hell?

The OSS I just mentioned is quick. If it's longer than half a page, I'd be surprised. But it was just dropped into the middle of the book, and was so jarring it broke the pace. It had been a nice, solid thriller, our heroes on the run from a psychotic killer with a rifle, and then… they're stopping to have sex? Really? Weren’t you two just dying about a minute ago?

Looking at it objectively, what is the point of an OSS?

  • “Physical intimacy shows the the relationship involved has gone to another level and has thus impacted the characters.”

Perfectly true, but does that necessitate a five page sex scene? Or even a page? If one wanted to tell the reader that, yes, two people slept together, I can do that right now: “X and Y fell into bed, kissing passionately as they stripped each other's clothes. They then turned off the lights and hoped they wouldn't wake the neighbors.”

Done. Two lines and a bit of smart ass can carry something a long way.

  • “Things can happen during the scene that are relevant to the rest of the novel.”

True, but rarely does it necessitate going into intimate details. In fact, I would suggest that anything interesting that happened could be covered in the next chapter. “On reflection, s/he noticed something odd while lying on his/her back. S/he didn't really notice it at the time, but now that it's quiet…”


Exceptions can be made to this rule, obviously. If the couple rolls off of the bed as someone walks into the room, be it with room service or with a gun, then that is a useful detail.

Now, I’ll admit, there are moments when character can be served, strangely enough. I have seen a few sex scenes done well. I don't mean the sex scene in the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, where he dwells on a nice neat serial killer, his girlfriend comes in, starts kissing and disrobing him, and the next line is, literally, “How did that happen?” I mean a sex scene, rating R to NC-17.

John Ringo’s “Paladin of Shadows” series (Ghost, Kildar, etc), has sex scenes and nudity. However, the point of the hero, nicknamed Ghost, is that he is not a “nice guy;” he hangs out in strip clubs, and some of his contacts are strippers… it’s rather amusing reading a scene where a stripper is informing him of pertinent information during the course of her duties.

The sex scenes themselves are surprisingly thought out. The first novel, Ghost, is a series of vignettes. The second vignette is described as "two-thirds bondage porn and deep sea fishing, and who knows which is worse" (I’m paraphrasing). Before the sex scenes take up whole chapters, the character Ghost has a discussion with the two young ladies he’s dealing with… and their parents. The conversation that follows is one part dissertation on bondage subcultures, and five parts comedy routine.

After that, you can skip read, unless you really want to learn more about leather goods than you ever really wanted to.

So, here we have someone who makes sex funny without it being gaudy. In fact, the amount of thought put into his later sex scenes shows a lot of character, intelligence, and humor.

Even then, are they necessary? Surprisingly enough, some are, and two are crucial to the stories they show up in. Almost all of them impact the characters in some way. And almost all of these scenes can be entertaining for reasons that are anything but sexual.

Why Ghost does what he does (and I don’t mean sexual maneuvers or positions) tells the reader more about the character than a hundred pages of sex scenes from any given novelist…

Laurell K. Hamilton, I’m looking at you.

Seriously, when discussing unnecessary sex scenes, she is the elephant in the room.

Laurell K. Hamilton created a novel series about Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter. It was a nice, solid series, set in St. Louis, with a well-constructed, detailed world, where vampires were public figures, werewolves are treated like HIV cases in the 80s, crosses work against vampires, and demons aren’t the actor in a suit you see on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

For eight or nine novels, the series went well. There was sexuality here and there (a major character was a French vampire, after all), but it never really got in the way of the story. By book seven and eight, the main character was sleeping with both a vampire and a werewolf, but the OSS’s were few and far between, and they were easily skipped by turning a page. Quite painless, overall.

After book #9, Obsidian Butterfly, I was warned off several novels because they opened with a hundred pages of vampire rituals of who gets to have sex with who. I went back for book #15, because it featured the return of Hamilton's best, scariest character: a mild mannered, white-bread fellow named Edward… he’s a mercenary who started hunting vampires because humans were “too easy.”

However, I had to skip a hundred and fifty pages of the novel. It was one, long and drawn out OSS. Not a menage a trois, but a bisexual sextet among Vampires and were-creatures. Much of the rest of the book had pages of Anita Blake defending her sex life. “The lady dost protest too much.”

When the author herself was asked about the overabundance of sex during a Barnes and Noble interview, Hamilton’s defense was

“I only get complaints from men. I had two reviewers tell me that they're disturbed that a woman is writing this sort of stuff. ”

Uh huh.

This feels like the story should end with “and then everybody clapped.”


If I may respond…

And this is my blog, so I can…

Dear Madam, Hamilton,

I get disturbed with John Ringo writing about a man and two coeds on a boat with bondage gear. For the love of all that’s Holy, what makes you think that a bi-sexual sextet with were-furries would go over any better, no matter who or what you were? You’re going to defend against criticism with some kind of strange faux-feminism based off of two reviewers who may or may not exist? How about "I want more plot than sex scene," are you going to blame that on me being male? Really? Really?

Again, I'll go back to John Ringo, only a different series — The Council Wars. One short story is seriously NC-17, and reading through it, I would be hard-pressed to see how it could be written otherwise.

With Hamilton’s novels, I could skip over a hundred pages of sex and not miss a single plot point.

That’s not “you wouldn’t object if I were a man.” That is just screwed up.

Make it sextets with were-furries, it’s even worse.

2. “I want a Heroine not an excuse for sex.”

As I said, as a rule, I don’t do sex scenes. I will, on occasion, have moments of physical intimacy off screen, that the reader doesn’t see, but that’s about it.

Can I write a sex scene? Sure, they’re easy. In the past, I’ve gotten requests from lady friends of mine for erotica (don't ask, long story).

But are they necessary in fiction? No. And no. And hell no.

Did I need intimate details to add to the plot, the character, or anything related to the story? No.

Frankly, I think a PG-13 novel sometimes requires more skill than an NC-17 rated. I find that sex sequences are a cheat, sort of like premium cable—just because you can use four letter words doesn’t mean you have to write them into every single line.

I have actually made my lack of OSS’s in my novels work for me.

(For a quick example: The character of Sean A.P. Ryan has had a long term girlfriend… they’ve never had intercourse because every time they do, someone tries to kill them.)

Just because an author can throw in a sex scene doesn't mean s/he must do so. Doing sex scenes well takes skill, and making them relevant takes talent; most people don't have it.

  • Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer had several moments where our heroine's sex life really was going to get people killed.

  • Sherrilyn Kenyon, a ROMANCE NOVELIST, wrote at least one book where the LACK of sex was a key plot point, and another where intimacy between the hero and heroine was surprisingly crucial to the story.

  • Ringo was mentioned above.

So, it has been done well. Just not very often.

To answer the opening question: Sex, what is it good for?

In novels... it can be good for something. It just rarely is.

The Next Elephant

We’ve covered sex.

Now a quick word on violence.


Violence: what is it good for…?

A lot more than sex is.

I have heard multiple answers to the question: “Why put fight scenes into a novel?

David Drake, author of dozens of sci-fi novels, and Vietnam Veteran, has said that he puts fights scenes in to honor those that served, who had been there, done that.

That is a great, good, and noble answer.

Not mine.

My answer is: “A is trying to stop B. B will not be stopped with words. Time to incapacitate B. Chaos ensues.”

I will not say that violence is always required in a story. If you watched the series Burn Notice, it was practically built around a limited use of violence—tricks, blackmail, lying cheating and stealing, but rarely violence. It is like Mission: Impossible, or MacGyver for the dark side.

Like with sex, violence can be a cheat, a substitute for a plot. This is more obvious in the novels where the violence is more about brutality than anything else. When you consider that the average fight may top out at around five seconds, a long, drawn out, Steven Seagal-type battle royale is more of a dance routine than anything else.

Tolkien’s novels were part of a war story. In the current day and age, much of warfare has been / can be done with Special Forces troops. A war waged with SpecOps is still a war.

And, the bible aside, there are few audiences that will allow a book to get away with something as simple as “The two of them struggled, rolled towards the edge of the roof, and the enemy fell off.” Right there is a failing grade in any creative writing class.

Jackie Chan pointed out that there is a difference between violence and action—it's hard to think of his action films as overly violent when you consider that he came out of a ballet company. When one observes the original A-Team, one of the running jokes among tv watchers is that there were thousands of bullets fired, but no one was shot.

Like with Burn Notice or MacGyver, guns are tools, not solutions.

In the case of my books, have both fight scenes and action sequences. Have two people stand there and pound on each other is boring at best, gratuitous at worst. Have a running battle leading someone into a trap? Slightly more interesting.

For example, in A Pius Man, every fight scene serves a function. It leaves a clue, tells the audience something about the enemy, their motives, and their identity. Why would X group attack Y person? The level of force and determination can indicate the enemy's strength of numbers, the weapons they have access to, what intelligence they have access to, etc.

I tend to overthink things in my day to day life, so fight scenes occasionally get the same treatment.

I also try to have action sequences and fight scenes serve character... granted, in some of the oddest ways imaginable. For example, one thing they all have in common is that the only fair fight is the one they win. Letting the bad guys draw first is for suckers and dead men.

Some examples, and I’ll use one of my earlier works, A Pius Man.


Matthew Kovach: Appears briefly in A Pius Man, but is a primary character in the second novel, he’s interesting in terms of fighting style. His thumbnails are grown a little long (“the better for gouging, my dear”) and his main weapon—his pens. He knows twelve ways to kill someone with a ballpoint, and several more ways to disarm and incapacitate them. When things get really nasty, he has his fountain pens. He also spends most of his time running, so he can hide and get into a good position to attack from. He's basically an academic with an odd past; as he says, violence finds him.

Sean AP Ryan: being a former stuntman, his fighting style is… psychotic. “Why are you using moves out of The Matrix?” Answer “Because I can do it without the wirework.” He carries a tactical baton around with him at all times—because there are occasions when he needs to take someone alive. 

I’ve practiced with a self defense system called Krav Maga, which is about practical defense. Krav Maga even disdains the title “martial art,” if only because there is no art. We practice eye gouges, train for anti-weapon tactics, guns, knives, long guns, uzis … and any other weapon added to the itinerary. 

In the case of Sean Ryan, he has an “expert” level in Krav Maga—which means he can face multiple attackers with multiple weapons. However, he uses moves that most Krav practitioners look at and say “No. Flipping. Way.” When he is outmanned and outgunned, Sean tends to become even deadlier. There's a reason he lists his resume by property damage.

Giovanni Figlia: as a former soccer player, Giovanni prefers a good solid kick to the groin, or headbutt to the face. As well as the occasional suicide dive into someone's stomach. “SCORE!” Also, being a former cop, he believes in the power of handguns and body armor.

Maureen McGrail: elegant and deadly. For reasons undisclosed, she started taking martial arts from a relatively young age, well before she got into double digits. MMA for the dark side, she has used bits Krav Maga, some have said Kung Fu, as well as penjakt silat (an Indonesian fighting style where punch defenses equal lethal force). She doesn't carry weapons, she is the weapon. The only people she needs to kill are the ones who just won't stay down any other way. And in A Pius Man, a stake to the heart may be required.

Hashim Abasi: He is, at heart, a street cop. A street cop from Egypt, but a street cop nonetheless. While he has some experience with a sword, that's not exactly practical for carrying around in the street. He prefers using his bulk for a standard kick-punch-elbow combination, and knows most ways to disarm someone. Think of it as an abbreviated Krav Maga.

Scott “Mossad” Murphy—a brilliant spy, but his philosophy is that if he needs a gun, his job had failed. Also, the last time someone gave him a handgun, he nearly blew his foot off. In a fight, he prefers to use his innate ability to blend into a crowd the shadows, and anything else available. On an intellectual level, he knows how to fight. On a practical level, it's a good day when he doesn't kill himself during practice drills. When possible, he prefers improvised weapons that he can launch from a distance—the further the better. If he must go up close and personal, he prefers a heavy object he can deliver to the back of someone's head.

As I said above, I tend to overthink everything, and at points, so do my characters. I have yet to have one novel that did not have a scene of analysis immediately following an action sequence. The protagonists examine the weapons used (local? Foreign? Military? Civilian? Homemade?), the tactics (professional or amateur? How many operatives?), and, if there are any survivors, the people themselves (accented? Languages spoken? Do they respond to interrogation?). You can see why a two page fight scene can be broken down into a three page discussion about the implications.

So sometimes, even the fight scenes are a clue.

When we get to White Ops… well, now we’re just back to a war story.

As you can see, there are more things that can be done with violence than with sex. Violence can move the story forward a lot more easily than sex can.

Sex can move the story forward, but very rarely, and it takes a deft hand. Violence is conflict, and conflict moves the story. Sex… is very much not conflict, and if it is, I’m not quite sure I want to read it.

You want sexuality and art, check out Martina Markota on any of her visual media. You want porn, read

If you want a story… then tell a damned story.

My other books


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Character Creation: Sean P Ryan


Sean Patrick Ryan was my first creation. He was born sometime in 1998. Technically, he was part of a fan fiction I wrote… but back then, I didn’t know that fan fiction was a thing, and what little I knew of was basically “insert self into X TV episode” … which was always boring.

But by the time I was done with the first draft of the White Ops saga, the story looked nothing like the TV show. I had made up more background data and mythology than I had ever gotten out of the show… and that show had a LOT of history and mythology in it.

My premise started fairly simple. In the TV show, a comment was made that that a fixer and gangster who made two appearances in season one had “been taken down.”

That was news to us. We hadn’t heard the name in four years by that time. Who took it down? Why? How?

Enter Sean Patrick Ryan.

I originally designed his physical build on St. Thomas Aquinas—who, depending on who you listened to, was either short and fat, or two meters tall and one wide. It’s hard to tell, considering Aquinas had started all of the fat jokes told about him.

I was young and stupid, and made Sean … I won’t say perfect. He’s not a Mary Sue. He didn’t get beaten up as often as Jim Rockford or Harry Dresden (The latter wasn’t even published yet) but he wasn’t invulnerable. Every time I made him look invulnerable, I came up with some new way to hurt him. This is science fiction, after all, I can always arrange something.

I had him grow up in a monastery so he could be well-educated… maybe over educated. I gave him an eidetic memory so he could make offhand references.

He was a telepath, because why not?

He was Irish, because I was more of a cultural chauvinist back then than I am now.

He was an orphan, because why burden him with parents.

By the time I was done with the first draft, I had written “2,000 pages” and four “books” in fifteen months.

Why the quotes?

My “2,000 pages” were full, 8.5” x 11”, one-inch margins, and single-spaced. Yes, single-spaced. I probably wrote closer to four thousand pages in that time.

By the time I was done, I was a writer, damn it. I had rewired my brain so much that ideas wouldn’t shut up until I wrote them down.

But I knew I could do nothing with fan fiction. It’s trash. Maybe work on it later.

Over 20 years, it’s later.

Unfortunately, Sean Ryan would not leave me alone in the meantime. When I started the novel It Was Only on Stun!, the book would simply not just start until I had a main character… who turned into Sean AP Ryan…

Damn it, Sean!

Okay, fine, it’s one lousy book. Big deal. How much harm can Sean do in one lousy book? Obviously, he had to be different. He ended up a foot shorter, and more athletic, less academic … and much tighter wound. Seriously, much tighter wound.

Then somehow, Sean AP Ryan ended up in A Pius Man. I don’t know why, he just showed up. He wasn’t supposed to be in that book. Then the character who was SUPPOSED to be the lead got killed off, and guess who took over?

Seriously, I can’t get away from him.

Then something else happened offscreen. After Pius, Sean AP Ryan of the 21st century wanted to be a pirate. He was going to steal from terrorists and countries as an alternate revenue stream. Technically, he was a privateer. He was even going to call it the “Impossible Mission Fund,” because all the Ryan’s are smartasses.

So, when I had finished The Pius Trilogy, I went back to White Ops again. Unfortunately, Sean AP Ryan had altered my timeline. The entire timeline. What he was pulling in 2022 was screwing up 2360. In fact, he ended up warping an entire alien culture.

Because of course he did.

Other things had to be rewritten of course. As I grew up and took more physical training, like Krav Maga, I knew that Sean Patrick Ryan of the 2300s needed some sort of martial art. Bar fights are nice, but barroom brawling and size will only go so far. Especially when there are aliens that are bigger, meaner, and stronger.

In this case, I didn’t need to change Sean much. I added something to the Holy Order of Saint Patrick. Now, they ran RennFaire—the intergalactic version. This time, Sean’s memory became useful for picking up martial arts from across the universe.

Sean was not just an orphan left on a doorstep. He had a family reputation. And a family business. And a family fortune.

As with everything else I’ve ever written, it simply spiraled from there.

Buy White Ops Here

My other books


Monday, January 17, 2022

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Politics Kills

One of the more entertaining emails I’ve gotten lately in response to the substack was “How dare you talk about politics with your readers!?”

Long time readers of mine will eventually stop laughing.

I’ve spent over a decade trying to avoid politics. Somehow, it never seems to work. 

Then again, as the saying goes, “Just because you’re not interested in politics does not mean that politics isn’t interested in you.”

And good Lord, has anyone noticed that politics has an unceasing interest in us?

Once upon a time, I described my politics as “leave me alone and no one gets hurt.” I would have used the word “libertarian” until the Libertarian Party made it a dirty word… also, I met some “big-L” Libertarians, who insisted that I was doing it wrong every time.

But yikes, the government has decided that it needs to be involved in everything. I’m fairly done with it.

I would love—dearly love—to go back to a time when I could be apolitical. I miss those days when I just told everyone to go to Hell, I don’t need to pick a side, be gone with you.

It took several books of Saint Tommy just to get away from politics. Because politics was the scariest s*** I could think of. And some of it was. Some of it is made scarier in that my horror fancies have become current events. Because OF COURSE THEY DID.

One of the nice things about doing science fiction: I can get away from current events. 

Sure, there are some things that are still kicking around that are political in nature. Frank Herbert’s quote is still good.

Not to mention that the old axiom “The more government can do for you, the more government can do to you” will still come into play.

Also, that people are stupid, governments are corrupt and power hungry, and the more things change, the more they stay insane.

Things like that.

But I get to play with certain elements that don’t really come up that often. Look at organic technology. How well does it plug into a ship? Or a person? 

At the end of the day, the short version is that this is very much Babylon 5 or DS9, if it were written by Baen authors. 

This isn’t really a surprise, my main SF influences are Babylon 5 or Baen: Weber, Ringo, Zahn. I’d like to think that this is more space opera than anything else.

Hopefully, I can get through the rest of my life without needing to do politics ever again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Mildra the Monk Podcast

So I was on another podcast. This time, I had the embed link this time.


So here… we … go. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Happy New Year, I'm Back

I know I’ve been incommunicado for weeks now. Part of that is that I drove all the way to Ohio for Thanksgiving… then I drove back. Yes, that’s an 11 hour trip, and about 700 miles. One way.

Then I promptly started updating my substack, and all but forgetting the blog.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve done two podcasts. Here’s one: if only because I can’t embed the video.

I’ve started work on my next book series: Honeymoon From Hell. Book 1 is The Neck Romancer. 

More on that later.

I’ve been setting up advertising and future podcasts for my new release, White Ops — which is just book one. Feel free to click on the link, for the simple reason that this one is going wide. It’s not in pre-order for hard copy yet, but that’s coming. But if you don’t want to go near Amazon, you don’t have to.

I’ll see about what happens with book two and book three.

This of course, doesn’t even count that I have more books in White Ops in the works. They are already drafted. They just need me to hit them with a hammer some more.

Yes, I know, I’m juggling the creation of one series while editing the other. But remember, this is me. With my writing speed, I hope to have all five books done by the time I have reports on the White Ops series already in the queue.

But that’s one disaster at a time.

As for Honeymoon From Hell

The late and somewhat lamented Harlan Ellison used to perform a trick.

He would sit in the window of a bookstore and pound away at a typewriter, grinding out short stories. As each page was written, he would post it in the window of the bookstore so people could read the short story as it was written.

It was a cute trick.

And if you’re on my Patreon account, you can see this unfold in real time. 

Because Marco and Amanda are back. 

And they're going to get married.

You may recall, some time ago, that I said that Love at First Bite was over. Finished. Fine.

It still is.

Honeymoon From Hell is the sequel series.

And my trick? I will post a chapter a week over on my Patreon. Once a week. For as long as it takes for me to finish writing it. This will be the raw footage, if you will.

And after that, I will publish the books.

So far, the outline to Honeymoon from Hell is like this.

Book one: The Neck Romancer: Our heroes get married and go on a honeymoon (by train). The first stop is Chicago (only the good parts). So of course they run into a Necromatic alderman.

Book two, Blood Country: Marco and Amanda go to California (wine country). They get sucked into a problem involving state senator Roland Lee, who is also dealer in magical weaponry.

Book three, FangCon: The honeymoon ends with WyvernCon, and an old enemy of Amanda’s surfaces.

Book four: Saints and Monsters, THE NOVEL. Marco needs some training in Rome. And he’s going to meet a New York cop who’s a little saintly.

Book Five, Family Business: Someone was behind the monsters of books 1-4, and he's sick and tired of our heroes screwing around.

The posting on Patreon begins January 5th, 2022.

My publication date is … I don’t know yet. You’ll know when I do.

I’m working as fast as I can.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cover reveal: Main Street DOA

My White Ops space opera is set in the 2360s. My main character, Sean Patrick Ryan, is different from Sean A.P. Ryan of It Was Only On Stun! and Pius.

First, this is the original Sean Patrick Ryan. His temperament is more… even. He likes to read books. He doesn’t exercise an insane amount, but he’s 6’6,” he’s a tough sumbitch.

But he’s a Ryan. Being forced to relax and have fun … isn’t in his nature.

Unfortunately, he’s also a smartass.

So, when his alien boss asks “Sean, you’ve been through three wars in the last two years. What are you going to do now?” His kneejerk reaction is to say “Of course, I’m going to the Happiest place in the galaxy.”

The joke doesn’t translate.

Which is how Sean Patrick Ryan and his team of interstellar Knights Templar end up being sent to an amusement planet.

At least for a few days, Sean is going to content himself by looking at the security arrangements. Genetically altered dinosaurs and prehistoric sharks aren’t his thing. Nor animatronic tour guides.

But when terrorists take over the planet, this is Sean’s idea of a party.

It’s time for a show down on Main Street: DOA.

It comes out in the ides of March. 

You can pre order the book here:

Also, the cover.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

White Ops #2 Cover Reveal: Politics Kills

 In the first novel of the Space Opera White Ops, I explode a looming threat to the galaxy from a Mongol cannibal horde from another galaxy. They are dark. They are evil, and they are HUNGRY.

Unfortunately, they’re also really powerful, and that’s when the fun starts.

By book two, there is no hiding from the threat. It’s out, it’s ready to declare war on … everything.

Now it’s time to get people to work together.

The politics of that is going to be a killer.

Book #2 is here. It comes out in February.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Enter: White Ops

Many moons ago, when I was 16 (1998), I started writing. Soon what started as one lousy collection of short stories spiraled into a Space Opera epic over 4000 pages. I wrote all six books of them in 15 months.

Does that sound impressive? Well, I was under the impression that a book was 300-400 pages.

I did not know at the time that the pages of any given novel DID NOT EQUAL the same number of typed pages… on 8.5 x 11 paper… single spaced.

So, yes, this spiraled a little. I don’t even know what the original word count is on each book.

In the years since, I’ve rewritten these Space Operas countless times. Seriously, I’ve completely lost count. There are few things that resemble the first draft. There are days I can’t recall what’s in the final draft (I hear Jim Butcher has similar problems with some Dresden books).

Think Space Templars versus cannibalistic Mongol hordes from another galaxy.

Why is it White Ops? Because unlike Black Ops, this is covert ops for the army of light.

If you’re interesting in taking a look at the series, it is already up for preorder. It will be out January 18th. Yes, it will be available on hard copy. Eventually.

And now, the cover to book one.