So 2012 was pretty darn good, writingly-speaking. I’ve managed to churn out a few more manuscripts and BLACK DOG has been pretty successful so far, and it’s all thanks to you guys–the readers. I hope we have many more adventures together, if only through the shared telepathy of writer and reader.
Just to keep you all up to date, here’s a list of projects coming up this year and next year. I have a ton more that hopefully will fill the next five years or so after that, but those will keep until I have somewhat of a release date.
BLACK DOG: PROPHET IN THE WILDERNESS–The sequel to BLACK DOG: THE LONG DARK ROAD. It’s being edited right now and has tallied-out at a little over four-hundred pages. There’s a few more stories in this volume than the first. The two books were actually one book originally, but that would’ve had the page count at just over eight-hundred pages, so it was deemed necessary to split the book in two. I think the flow from one book to the next is pretty smooth. Since they’re episodic short stories (and as a result, resemble the episodic nature of a TV series), you can read either one on its own, but if you want the full story, it’s better to pick up the first volume. In the second volume, readers will see what happened to Amos to turn him out on the road as a hobo, how he got his special guitar, when he first saw the phantom black dog, and how his road finally ends. Out in April!
NIC ARCHER: ARROWHEAD–The first in a planned ten-book YA/Teen series about a boy who discovers his parents were soldier-agents for A.R.R.O.W.–a clandestine secret army that has been protecting America since before the American Revolution. He also discovers that he was a test subject for the Arrowhead Initiative–a plan to create the perfect agent, one who will spearhead their army in a terrible looming conflict. No one’s asked Nic what he wants, but now that he’s been targeted by SCARAB–A.R.R.O.W.’s ancient nemesis–he may not live to make up his mind! Mid-to-late 2013. (Fingers crossed!)
THE MARK OF CAIN (The Book of Cain–Vol. 1)—The first book in a Civil War supernatural trilogy about Ira Cain, a Confederate cavalry captain who is cursed by an old Haitian slave woman. Cain must not only survive the final year of the Civil War with Hell literally on his trail, but must also wander the Antebellum South, searching for the slave to remove the curse before he is dragged to Hell. The second and third books are called GONE SOUTH and HELL ABORNING, respectively, and will find Cain and a Buffalo Soldier named Deke Sherman searching through the post-war South for the slave woman, dodging bounty hunters, and fighting the forces of Hell itself.
ALONE—A stand-alone post-apocalyptic novel set in rural North Georgia. No zombies, no vampires, but plenty of Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, and especially Man vs. Himself. I wanted to do something in the vein of George Stewart’s Earth Abides mixed in with a little Jack London and the Tom Hanks film Castaway. Too many post-apocalyptic novels have a protagonist that’s ex-military/Special Forces/Super-Prepper and is all kitted-out and ready for the downfall of civilization. I wanted to show what a normal, average Joe-Schmoe would do if suddenly pressed to survive. How would he learn to shoot? To hunt? To dress game or make shelter or preserve food and keep a fire going? So the main character is a guy who, like most of us, has become so dependent on the Internet, cell phones, and prepackaged food that he’s at less than Square One when he starts out. I also wanted to explore the effects of being alone on a person (which the protagonist is for most of the book.) What would it do to their mind? Would they crave human companionship or shun it completely? And when other humans do show up in the story, what then? Find out late 2013-early 2014.
If you’ve read BLACK DOG, please take a moment to write a review on Amazon.com, B&N.com, Goodreads.com, FaceBook, and anywhere else you can paint Internet graffiti. Believe it or not, word of mouth still makes the best advertisement!
Thanks again for reading!
Sorry no posts in so long. Just got back from vacation in the Texas Hill Country. Do yourself a favor and go, go, GO. It’s amazing real estate out there.
So Lee Goldberg’s writing contest for the next book in his DEAD MAN series is over and… no love for Matty.
And that’s cool, because the first book in my NIC ARCHER series is rolling along nicely. For those that haven’t read about it here on the blog, it’s a planned ten-book teen series about a boy who finds out his parents were agents for A.R.R.O.W., a clandestine soldier/spy organization that’s been protecting America since the early days of the American Revolution, when they were a loose-knit group of French-Indian War veterans-turned-spies called the Sons of the Arrow, answering only to Washington.
Since then, they’ve evolved to become a sort of crossbreed of G.I. Joe and SHIELD, and they fight the secret wars on American soil no one ever hears about–everything from mole-men under California and crazed lunatics trying to blow the Moon into the Earth, to cyborg masterminds and nuclear assassins. Nic is an anomaly–he’s been hardwired since birth with mental conditioning that would allow him to be the ultimate agent when he comes of age from a Jason Bourne-esque program called the Arrowhead Initiative. But Nic isn’t sure what he wants, mostly just to be a kid, but he also can’t turn away from what he feels is a responsibility.
All ten books have been outlined and are just sitting there waiting to be written. I just finished Chapter 13 of Book 1–a sweet car/stealth helicopter/sci-fi motorcycle chase through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel!
Hopefully, we’ll have some art up here soon; the cover artist is working out the designs now.
Keep checking back to find out more!
It’s rare you find a movie where plot, character, setting, pacing, story, and dialogue are all (a.) present and accounted for, and (b.) really, really freaking good.
It’s rarer still when you find all that in a superhero movie.
Avengers had it all and then some. It was just all there.
After five movies–across which an expert laying of background, supporting characters, and over-arching storyline was constructed with the finesse of a card-shark and the cold calculation of an NASA engineer–a two-and-a-half hour culmination was born that included everything the previous movies set up and was the first true summer blockbuster movie I can remember seeing in years.
Credit goes to Joss Whedon, and like him or lump him, he was the only guy who could’ve pulled this off. He gets comic books. He gets people. He gets action. He gets humor. He gets all of these to the extent that he knows not to let one of them outshine the others. There was action (a-plenty), witty and well-timed humor, all the Marvel trimmings made believable, and the words he wrote for people to say were actually words people would say. (Hear that George Lucas? Just let’ em be real, homey.)
Whedon also excels at giving each member of the cast quality face-time, which is a feat in and of itself, but also manages to develop each of their stories in the allotted time given so that we feel like we know these people as individuals instead of just “The Strong Guy,” The Leader,” “The Norse God,” “The Spy,” “The Genius,” etc. They all live and breathe and have individual identities beyond their costumes, makeup, and armor. This could ONLY happen because they laid the groundwork with a series of individual movies prior to Avengers, and then had someone who understood character so well at the helm of the “team movie.”
Some of my favorite things about Avengers and then I’ll shut up. They’re brief, by no means comprehensive, and contain no spoilers:
The Prologue (something that’s been missing from movies since James Bond took a hiatus)
Black Widow’s first scene
HULK, HULK, HULK! (It’s not bandwagoning if it’s actually true)
Tony Stark’s smart-ass nicknames for everyone (His name should be Tony Snark)
Big Final Battle (not confusing and unwieldy; actually very… wieldy)
Hmm…maybe now that there’s a successful formula for bringing a superhero team together the “Direct Competition” might try their hand at giving us a Justice League movie, but something like that would take two things that DC’s comic book movies (and comic books, really) don’t have that Marvel’s have in spades: vision and heart.
Avengers definitely assembled.