Saturday, July 7, 2012

Novel Update XII

Posting has been rare this weekend because the Internet is down at the homestead. All I have is access via my phone.

Thanks to everyone who downloaded a free copy of Part 1. The downloads put me into the free top 100 of contemporary fiction. Maybe this will translate into some sales. I'm happy to share the story with you, but I am a capitalist also. A little cash flow would be cool.

I'm a little over halfway through with Part 2. Maybe in 4-5 weeks I will have it up on Amazon. I'll probably run another free promo for part 1 once part 2 is up.

Part 2 is coming along nicely, characters are getting a little more fleshed out. I originally did not plan on having a Barrett POV - but he is turning into one of my favorite storylines along with Clayton.

If you've finished Part 1 already, I would love some feedback.

Free Book Day Continues

I've extended the promotion through Saturday. Pick up a copy and post a review on Amazon once you've read it. Thanks.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Novel Update XI

For one day, Friday only (tomorrow), the full part 1 will be free on amazon. Pick it up, enjoy it, and give it a review on amazon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Novel Update X - Review Request

Sales are sluggish to say the least on Amazon.  It's difficult for an unknown, self-published author to break out.  To be perfectly honest, I've sold 13 copies online.  If you are one of those 13, I appreciate your patronage. 

One thing I believe would help with exposure is some reviews on Amazon.  If you have purchased, or plan to purchase the eBook, I would love some honest reviews on Amazon.  You don't have to say I'm the love child of Cormac McCarthy and Brad Thor (trust me - I know I'm not), just tell it like it is.  Grassroots, word of mouth is what builds momentum.  Besides, a steady interest in the book encourages me that it's worth it to continue the series. 

Regardless of sales, I plan to complete Parts 1-3 which will bring some sort of conclusion to many of the stories that have been introduced, and when combined could be considered a stand alone novel in their own merit.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Novel Entry - Chapter 4 - Monday Surpise!

I thought I would throw out one last chapter!  Enjoy!

William Galleani smashed his first cigarette of the morning in the ashtray, rolled out of bed and crawled along the wall to the blinds and peaked through; he had no desire to become a martyr for the cause.  He walked back to the bathroom and took a long look in the mirror to size himself up, he was an unlikely leader; he was short and diminutive with the slightest bit of stubble beginning to show.  His jet black hair was now all but hidden beneath the micro fleece skullcap as he pulled it snugly onto his head; the dark hair was such a stark contrast to his pale skin, it exaggerated his look of etherealness.  His dark brown eyes were deeply set in his skull in a manner that made him look eternally exhausted.  He stumbled into the meager kitchen and started a pot of coffee.    

William had started SPARC (Socialists, Political Anarchists, Radicals and Communists) only five short years ago, and now he was a major player on the new national political scene.  He had speaking invitations at university campuses and meetings with media moguls, behind closed doors of course; he secretly had the ear of powerful politicians, labor leaders and even some foreign diplomats.  To be honest, which he seldom was, more of his organization’s financial support came from outside of the country than within.  His group had exploded on the scene a mere six months ago when the unrest first started in D.C.; while other groups’ leadership was apprehensive at first to openly challenge police, SPARC would employ tactics to antagonize the police into responding with force.  SPARC would then flood social media outlets with videos of their agents being beaten while they innocently bleated like lambs; these videos were soon picked up by major media outlets and delivered into the living rooms of America.  These successful tactics led to the cannibalization of other organizations’ members; SPARC’s ranks quickly swelled with young radicals of all stripes that were demoralized by the endless marching and shouting they had grown accustomed to.  SPARC now had branches in major cities all across the country, and they were adding to their ranks with each new documented clash with police.  His army of revolutionaries was potentially much larger since copycat groups had popped up in the smaller cities where he did not yet have a presence.  William had plans for them as well; if they did not assimilate under his wide umbrella of chaos when he came to town, he would use his powerful contacts to destroy them.  He credited his charisma and powerful oratories as the source of his magnetism; in a world of revolutionaries as varied as the colors in the spectrum, he had managed to bring them together and focus their energy for his goals.

Apparently, his allies in congress were much more powerful than even he had anticipated; he had expected a climactic, highly publicized exchange with the federal government, but they had largely ignored him.  A handful of the more radical politicians praised him and were sometimes even spotted at his rallies.  Or perhaps America had truly become a paper tiger, shackled by the political correctness of this age.  If that was so, it would make things much simpler for him.  The local and state governments alone were no match for his agents of revolution; their budgets were already broken, their pensions already drained.  All they could do was make idle threats at press conferences while SPARC burned their cities to the ground.  And if the city leaders or police did get too heavy handed, SPARC would make a house call and terrorize their families.  He did not want complete submission, however; violence feeds violence:  a well-defined and visible enemy worked to his benefit.

The coffee gurgled as if to announce it was ready to be poured.  William grabbed yesterday’s styrofoam cup and filled it to the top.  Today was an important day for him; today would be the day they had the means to up the ante.  The riots had been successful in that they had brought him respect and power; they had also provided him a platform to leverage so that he could transition to phase two.  

There were two types of people in the streets right now, the rioters and the opportunists.  The opportunists used the riots as a means to loot; the rioters of course looted as well, but that was not their goal.  A paradigm shift was their goal; a shift to whatever radical ideology that they held dear to their hearts.  William needed a third type of person in the street, his opposition; the constitutionalist type.  

William simply called them the “opposition”.  There were dozens of derogatory terms out there he could have used, but he preferred to anesthetize them.  Therefore, if you have an opposition to your cause, you simply eradicate it.  Besides, euphemisms worked better around his more sophisticated supporters, so it was a matter of etiquette to settle on the term.

For the most part, the opposition was nowhere to be seen, actually.  The opposition mostly resided in suburban and rural settings and avoided the urban areas at all costs now; those were the areas where SPARC was weakest.  As long as their property was respected, they stayed home.  He expected so much more out of these people; they had been so vocal about rights and liberties, freedom and revolution.  Even now, staring in the face of martial law, they stayed home and barred their doors like cowards.  They hoped to weather the storm, wait for order to be restored, and maybe rebuild their country.  He needed something to strike fear into their hearts, fear for what they believe in; the kind of fear that motivates men to act.

The pre-paid cell phone rudely interrupted his silent contemplation as it vibrated on the kitchen counter beside the coffee pot.  He strolled to the kitchen and topped off his cup as he checked the incoming number.  “Yes?”

“Hey, how are things there?”

The pleasantries only annoyed William.  He should know by now.  “Fine; how is the procurement process?”

There was a long pause; then, “It is taking longer than we anticipated.  Everyone is paranoid, this is serious, Will.”

William rattled a cigarette partially from his soft pack and withdrew the remainder of it with his lips, “I know exactly how serious this is; I wouldn’t have called in my favor to you if it wasn’t serious.  I am on a timeline and I need you to deliver me some results.  No more delays.  Now, tell me the status.”

“Well, the secondary objective is complete and awaiting approval to proceed.  The primary objective is still, being negotiated.  The talks are productive, but like I said, everybody is scared.  I think I can have the terms nailed down by the end of the week and delivery by the end of next.”

He lit the cigarette and took a long drag, allowing the realities of the conversation to sink in.  “That sounds acceptable.  Two weeks, not three, not five, two; got it?”

He could hear the relief in the man’s voice:  “Yes, got it.  Perfect.  Now, what about the secondary objective; execute?”

“Absolutely not; if everyone is paranoid like you say, then that might push them away from the table altogether.  Just keep pushing, but don’t push them away.  Call me in a week; I’ll send you my new number.” 

William smiled as he ended the call and took another long drag of the tobacco.  He strolled to the closet and rummaged for a minute before retrieving a dark hoodie and some jeans.  News like this called for a celebration; after he pulled on the jeans he checked his watch, it was six o’clock.  He grabbed the land line and dialed.  The phone rang five or six times before a man’s voice groaned from the other end, “What?”

“Great news, get up.  Meet me at the spot.”

“What time is it?  I went to bed like four hours ago; I don’t even want to think about drinks.”

“Yea you do; now get up, meet me there in twenty minutes.”  Click.  Days like this are what it is all about.  He adjusted the Kevlar vest under the hoodie before grabbing his Walther PPS and heading out the door. 

Novel Entry - Chapter 3

This will probably wrap up the sample chapters from Part 1 of the series.  Prologue, Chapter 1 & 2 can be found here:
The complete part 1 (through Chapter 8) can be found here:
Geram took his time with his coffee and stared somewhere beyond Jake, as if searching for the proper way to start.  He finally let out a deep sigh and began, “Tell me what you know about Texas and the border.”
“Texas; all we really get is the official word since most of the internet has been shut down.  There are some wild rumors floating around, but it’s impossible to verify anything.  The news basically says the border is hot right now, but the local state guards are supporting the National Guard and Border Patrol in hopes of containing it; the border ranchers are in big trouble, but everywhere else is basically the same as here:  the big cities are full of protestors and riots, the suburbs are getting dangerous and it’s starting to spill into rural areas.  Martial law and curfews abound.”

Geram rocked back in his chair, balancing on the two back legs as he closed his eyes and began, “It’s much worse bro, I’ve seen it myself.  The border isn’t hot, it’s on fire; we’ve basically lost soil a hundred miles deep in most places along the border.  San Antonio and Corpus Christi are on the front lines of the war, fighting in the streets for their southern suburbs.  Tucson is behind enemy lines and Phoenix is split in half.  People are fleeing north like refugees to places like Houston, Dallas and Albuquerque.  Many who have seen the worst aren’t even stopping there; they’re leaving the border states.  The citizens down there are convinced the feds are willing to cede those states as a sort of pacification.  Besides, they say, we can’t afford or aren’t willing to push back hard enough for these cartels to fear us.”
“War?  Like a real war?”
“Yep, like a real war except it’s on our own soil; but wait, it gets worse.”  Geram’s eyes were wide open now, and he was leaning forward intensely.  “We were told that six Humvees had been stolen by the drug cartels from a National Guard armory and it was our mission to search and destroy.  Their last known whereabouts was in Raymondville; that’s northwest of Brownsville, not far from the border.  We headed south on Highway 77 from Corpus Christi in four M-ATVs on a night run; there were twelve of us. It was eerie; the northbound shoulder of 77 was lined with cars that had broken down or simply run out of fuel.  Some cars never made it to the shoulder, people just left them in the highway; like I said, a real foreboding feeling.  It looked like I-10 after Katrina, except much worse.  The fact that our trucks were completely blacked out and we were viewing these scenes through the green hues of our night vision equipment only added to our unease.

Southbound 77 was wide open, so we made good time to Raymondville.  Jake, I swear this is the truth, the sign at the city limits said ‘Gringos turn back or die’ and had a pike on each side of it.” Geram paused for a moment as if to collect his thoughts, and continued. “There were heads on the pikes, human heads – Americans’ heads.   We slowed down to a more reserved speed and each put a man up top.  I was one of the four; you could say we had the best, or maybe the worst, view.  I had an M2 Browning; the rest of the guys had M240s. 

Mission briefing said to be alert for signs of territory disputes between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, but that was an understatement. It looked like a war zone: burned cars, buildings destroyed and piles of rubble – in America.  

But here’s where it didn’t make sense to us – we were ordered to stay on our secure frequency.  They said several squads had been ambushed after being contacted by English speaking hostiles posing as local farmers or friendly patrols.  Under no circumstance were we to monitor outside communications.  The mere thought was simply ridiculous to our squad leader, to say the least; his thought was we might as well be going in blindfolded.  It wasn’t in his squad’s best interest, so it wasn’t in his playbook and we weren’t about to argue with that. 

Raymondville isn’t that big, so it didn’t take long to find a good observation point and locate our S&D.  We stopped on the overpass on the east side of town and positioned three guns on the southbound lane looking west, straight down Highway 186. The fourth gun was on the northbound lane covering our rear.  The place was like a ghost town, so it was easy to detect movement.  The drive south had put us all on edge and we were ready for a pound of flesh for what was happening here.  From my vantage point I could see churches, fast food restaurants, all sorts of stores and shops – it was your typical small town.  My chest was burning with anger.  After about an hour, we saw them.

It couldn’t have been any more perfect:  we heard the gunfire before they were in our line of sight, then two sets of faint headlights.  Two small Toyota trucks were screaming east on 186, straight towards us; they were approximately three miles out when we first had a good view.  Behind them were four of our six S&Ds in hot pursuit but losing ground.  From that distance, we had a little over two minutes before they would be under our us; the two cartels were focused on each other and even if they did see us, it’s not like either group would stop trading fire with each other to engage us.  Our squad leader ordered us to hold our fire until they were almost under us; we would then send a wall of lead down at a thirty degree angle and let their momentum push them through it.  Any surviving vehicles could be picked off at leisure on the other side by the fourth gun and small arms fire.

We scanned the radio frequencies and heard what sounded like an exchange between the two groups – fast paced heated Spanish peppered with expletives that our even our translator couldn’t make sense of.  As they approached, we set our sights as ordered; waiting, waiting – it seemed like a lifetime.  Finally, we were given the order to fire; in an instant I had taken a deep breath and engaged the butterfly trigger on the back of the rifle.  The world exploded around me in gunfire and explosions, but it took me a second or two to realize that I wasn’t firing – I forgot to remove the spent brass I had wedged behind the trigger as my safety!  By then it was too late, the vehicles were careening under the bridge at varying angles with bellowing smoke, flames and screeching tires.

One of the pickup trucks veered off and slid sideways along the right shoulder of the highway.  The truck continued down into the ditch, then up and out as it performed a magnificent flaming barrel roll aided by a concrete drain pipe’s sloped headwall.  The second truck spun and almost managed to come to a complete stop in the middle of the highway, but instantly was punted to the left shoulder as the two front Humvees slammed into its side simultaneously.  To our surprise the four Humvees accelerated out from underneath us two-wide, straddling the center of the Highway 186.  Our rear guard opened fire on the Humvees, but we never imagined what would happen next.  A booming voice came across their radio ‘Sheee-yit!  We’re on the same team!’  The booming voice was in that undeniable west Texas cowboy drawl.  I immediately felt sick; there was no doubt in my mind we now had American blood on our hands.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Novel Update IX

About 20-25% complete with Part 2 of the series.  This coming week is totally up in the air - depending on several things, I may continue to be quite busy with other items or I may be able to get in some writing time. 

Also, if you're the praying type - keep us in your thoughts.  We have some pretty difficult things going on in our personal life.  The last 2-3 weeks have been increasingly strained.  If it wasn't for my wife, I probably would have threw my hands up and walked away from the entire mess.