The second book in the series, “What War Brings” is scheduled to be released in late 2013.
For updates, stories, videos and to share comments, don't forget to head over to my facebook page!
As I've said before... I think making the video trailers is more fun than actually writing the book!
Enjoy! And if you like it, spread the word!
Time to open a little Jameson's, kick back and celebrate.
But not for long.
There are two authors who influenced me to write at a young age: Tolkien and Clancy.
Back in 1989 as a teenager and trying my first hand at writing, I wrote to Clancy, asking for a bit of advice.
He not only replied with a personal letter, he tried to call me. I was blown away. The letter still sits next to my computer. A little fuel to keep the creative fire lit.
Thank you, Tom. You will be missed.
First, the good news:
I’m in the home stretch (of the first draft) on the second book! Finally seeing the light and the end of the tunnel. And so far, I’m immensely happy with how it’s falling into place. If all goes well, it’s going to hook you on page one and not let you go until the end. And, for me, it's a been a lot of fun to write.
So now the bad news. Well, it’s not necessarily bad news, as the final result was actually kind of good.
Originally I had named the second book “Incursion”. I thought it fitting, with the coming attack on Phobos, and the counterattack by the STO.
Only one problem. Someone beat me to it:
The last thing I want is to bump heads with another sci-fi title. So, back to the drawing board I went.
And in the end, what I came up with was better. It’s an actual line from the book, and pulls together nicely all the various stories that take place along the way.
The new title: “What War Brings”
Sub title: “Book 2 of the Sol War 1 Series”
And… the newly revised and improved cover art.
So there you go! Look for it later this year.
I may be entirely off, but I like to think that it was the success of the movie “Moon” in 2009 that paved the way for the recent indie film, “The Europa Report”. Moon came out of nowhere and proved itself as a smart, entertaining low-budget indie sci-fi movie – a thing not seen (at least as far as I’m aware) in a very long time. And, perhaps more importantly, Moon showed that such a movie could make a profit. Not blockbuster-level profit, but profit nonetheless. And perhaps it was that profit that made people suddenly take a look at funding a small sci-fi movie who wouldn’t have funded such a project before.
Is that how The Europa Report was born? I like to think so, just as I like to think that between these two movies, the future of sci-fi looks especially bright right now.
And perhaps even more importantly, it shows how an intelligent, well-written story can outshine and outclass the GDP-busting, CGI-laced ‘big boy’ movies out there whose marketing budgets are five times the overall cost it was to make The Europa Report alone.
I’m talking to you, Prometheus! God, how I wanted to like that movie.
The Europa Report tells the near-future story of a scientific crew heading to the Jupiter moon of Europa to search for life below the ice.
The film takes the “found footage” approach. Normally, I’m not a fan of that tactic, but here I think it works as you get a sense of their isolation and confinement. This isn’t the USS Enterprise they’re flying, after all. Instead, it’s a larger version of the ISS, with every available space taken and serving a purpose.
Which brings me to one of things I loved about this movie: its accuracy. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory consulted on the movie, and it shows – even in the little things. For instance, when a crew member prepares to leave the ship, it’s told that they will have to wait a half-hour for the chamber to decompress. And, for once… when someone’s spacesuit is torn, their head doesn’t explode. Doesn't happen in real life, and doesn't happen in this movie.
There are dozens of other examples, right down to the water containers they sip from, and each little detail made me smile.
What also impressed me was the lack of cliché’d characters. You didn't have the “smart one”, the “maverick”, the “antagonizer”, the “funny one”, the one with a consistent quirk or pet. They were all professional, all intelligent, and their dialogue rang true.
You’d think with all that accuracy and truism that the movie would be a bit dry. At least for me, it wasn't. The tension was dealt out very well, taking lessons from such greats as Jaws and The Abyss.
In the end, it’s one of those movies that, as a writer, I watch and think, “damn… I wish I had been involved in that.”
It’s my kind of movie. And with its hopeful success, perhaps in a couple years we’ll get Europa’s offspring.
Looking forward to it.
Knocked out a few great pages today...
Author J.L. Dobias wrote a great and informative review of my first sci-fi novel, "Day One". Well thought out about what he liked, and didn't like.
Check it out!
Up until the Falklands, I had not witnessed war (from the comfort of my couch). The Vietnam War, for me at the time, might as well have been ancient history. And fleet battles were a thing only seen in old black-and-white footage on PBS. So as I watched the nightly news as the British fleet left Portsmouth for the South Atlantic and their counter-attack, I was riveted. I studied all the ships and their capabilities, read every article I could find about the Harrier and the Mirage. And, I made predictions about what a cakewalk it will be for the British Navy to crush the Argentinians.
And then, a few weeks later with the British Navy off the coast of the Falklands, the HMS Sheffield was hit by an Argentine missile attack and sunk. Twenty sailors were killed. Images and footage of the burning ship and its wounded crew were soon on every newspaper and television.
I was stunned. The good guys weren't supposed to lose ships! And beyond that, Argentina was just some two-bit country out of South America. They certainly were not the mighty Soviet Union… so how was this possible!
In the days and weeks ahead, the HMS Sheffield wouldn't be alone, as several more British ships would end up at the bottom of the South Atlantic, along with many more sailors dead and severely injured.
It was sobering. And, at the age of 14, it was educational. This was war. Unpredictable. Unfair. Shocking, and brutal. And that even a powerful country with a strong military could be dealt a wicked blow by a much smaller and determined force. Later in life, I would study the Falkland War further. For those who haven’t read “The Battle for the Falklands” by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, I highly recommend it. It shows just how precarious things were for the British Navy at the time.
To begin, they were forced to fight a battle they weren't prepared for. By that time, the British Navy was focused primarily on anti-sub warfare in the event of WW3. Fleet battles and amphibious landings were well off their radar at the time. A far greater challenge, however, was having to fight a war eight thousand miles away, far from supplies, support and reinforcement. Added to that, they were fighting in the insanely cold and harsh environment of the South Atlantic.
It was no cakewalk. And it was no sure thing. In the end, the British took back the Falklands but it was costly. Combined between Argentina and Britain, nearly a thousand would die, over two thousand wounded, along with 16 ships and over 100 aircraft destroyed.
So what does this have to do with my book, “Day One” and the Sol War 1 series? There are many parallels, and many aspects I have transferred over from the Falklands War. In my books, the two alliances (the Sol Treaty Alliance and the Colonial Federation) are powerful and control much of the Outer Colonies. When the Outer Colonies revolt and seize a small fleet of combat ships, it would seem that they would be easily crushed by the alliances. A cakewalk!
But the alliances are not prepared. And they must now fight a battle millions of miles away from supplies, support and reinforcement against a small determined force in an environment that makes the South Atlantic look positively tame.
Like the Falklands, like Sol War 1… war is unpredictable, shocking, unfair and brutal. And nothing is a sure thing.
Here was an article I recently found on io9.com (written by Annalee Newitz) that lists out the 11 Rules of Good Writing that was developed by the late author, Iain M. Banks.
For military scifi (and any writing for that matter), there is some great meat in here.
There was one item that stood out for me above all others. In the article (#9 in the list), it talks about the subgenre that Newitz calls “Astropolitics”.
In Newitz’s definition of Astropolitics: ‘Instead of Golden Age star-hopping adventures, ala space opera, the Culture novels are complicated tales of solar system regimes and galactic empires.’
For some time I’ve been asked to describe my book, “Day One” and what genre it falls under. I’ve been calling it military sci-fi, but that has always seemed a bit lacking, as military is only a part of it. Astropolitics, in my opinion, nails the description more accurately. I think I’ll be using that category in the future.
I'll put that in perspective. The day after I released the book on Amazon last September, I was notified that 4 people had purchased the book. I was absolutely thrilled. Somewhere “out there”, 4 people were reading the book.
Back then, I said if I sold 100, I’d get to work and start writing the second book in the series. I said if I sold 1,000, I’d be over-the-moon.
By the end of September, I had hit the 100 mark. By December I had hit the 1,000 mark. And after December… holy crap. It really started taking off.
And now, in May, I’ve surpassed my old “over-the-moon” goal in a singular month.
Simply amazing. A HUGE thank you to everyone out there.
As another author said to me recently, “now your second book has to be even better.”
Hard at work. No pressure. Plowing ahead.
In print and Kindle format!