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STANDING IN THE STORM, The Many Worlds of William Alan Webb

We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Category: Bill’s Non-Fiction Page 1 of 2

Obligatory year end blog entry

I always thought that when you reach a certain age, say, your early 60s, you’d begin to slow a bit. Stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Take more trips to warm locales and read more books, visit museums and do all the stuff you once thought sounded boring, back when you could party all and still function the next day. You’d spend your days arguing with the government about all the personal stuff they never had any business getting into in the first place, like social security and medicare, and your grandkids would prop their heads in their hands and pay attention to every old story you told them. Regardless of how many times you repeated the same story, they’d always hang on every word.

When you weren’t arguing with some government bureaucrat, or refilling prescriptions to keep bodily functions running smoothly, maybe you’d play a lot of golf, or maybe you’d go fishing, plant a vegetable garden or tend bees. Maybe your spouse or significant other would shoo you out of the house because you were driving them crazy, or maybe they’d hand you a ‘honey-do’ list longer than your arm. All of those and more, either in full or in part, were what I envisioned life post-kids would be like. What I never, ever thought is that I would be busier than I ever have been in my entire life, and damned glad that I am.

I’ve been a writer for going on fifty years. My first (unpublished, thank God!) novel was finished in 1986, but it wasn’t until 30 years later than my first book came out, the one that started my diversion from a semi-sedentary life into an even more sedentary one, Standing The Final Watch, The Last Brigade, Book 1. Since then I’ve sold somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 books, in all formats.

None of that happened because I’m such a great writer. It happened because I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends and family in my corner, without whose support it could never have happened.

Next weekend, the first weekend in January of 2020, I will attend my first convention as Guest of Honor, SHADOWCON. It’s gonna be epic, not because of me, but because of the awesome people running it. In February I’m going to Colorado Springs for SUPERSTARS, a conference featuring some of the top writers in science fiction and fantasy teaching others how they became successful, and how to improve your craft. March will be MIDSOUTHCON, where I will again be a panelist and have a table in the dealer room.

In 2019 I was lucky enough to attend LIBERTYCON, and got up at 6 am on a Saturday to get a spot in the June, 2020, convention. If you know me at all, you know how nearly impossible that is for me. The convention sold all 750 spots out in 29 minutes and 9 seconds. I hope to get a spot at the 20booksto50k conference in November of 2020, but that’s not a guarantee yet.

See what I mean? Sedentary.

In March of 2019, my novella The Hairy Man, A Story in the World of the Last Brigade, was First Runnerup for the Darrell Award, and in October it won the Imadjinn Award. Jurassic Jail, The Time Wars Book 1, was First Runnerup for the Imadjinn Award. For me, and I suspect for every writer, awards are confirmation that others appreciate what you’re doing and the way you’re doing it. They help alleviate that voice in your head that whispers “this sucks” about everything you write.

August of 2019 saw Jurassic Jail as part of my first bundle with Science Fiction Writers of America. It sold close to 1,000 copies in three weeks. I could never have dreamed of such a thing even a year ago.

In 2019 I published one long novel, Standing Before Hell’s GateThe Last Brigade, Book 4, one novella, The Nameless, Task Force Zombie 1, four novelettes, Kill Me When You Can, Hit World #1; Shoot First, Hit World #2 (with Larry Hoy); The Sting of Fate and Grinning Soul (with my writing mentor Thomas Lyon Russell), a Time Wars short story, Tail Gunner Joe, and my non-fiction magnum opus, Killing Hitler’s Reich, The Battle for Austria, 1945. I cannot conceive that I will ever write a book with more long-lasting impact than that one.

Already written and scheduled or contracted for in 2020 are novella Hitler a la Mode (on pre-order now); novelette The Granite Man (in the Cthulu Universe!); novelette The Moles of Vienna, A Story in the World of the Last Brigade; novelette The River of Walking Spirits, A Story in the World of the Last Brigade; novelette Nalusa Malaya, A Story in the World of The Last Brigade, novellette Drumsticks Along the Mohawk and novelette Roland the Headless Mecha Driver, my first entry into the magnificent Four Horsemen Universe.

I have publicly vowed to try writing 1,000,000 words in 2020. For many writers that’s a drop in output, but for me, with all of my hand problems, it will be quite a challenge.

Novels already in various stages of writing and planned for release in 2020 include my first full length book in the Four Horsemen Universe, with the working title of High Mountain Hunters; Standing In Righteous Rage, The Last Brigade Book 5; Cretaceous Kill, The Time Wars Book 2 (with J. Gunnar Grey); The Demon in the Jewel, Sharp Steel & High Adventure 4; Ghosts of the Coast, an alternate history of the Battle of France, 1940, and Not Enough Bullets, a Task Force Zombie novel.

Novels planned for next year, but not yet begun, include Standing Among The Tombstones, The Last Brigade Book 6. Out For Blood, Task Force Zombie 2 will likely be a novella, as will Beyond The Dead River, Sharp Steel & High Adventure 5. On the horizon, but highly unlikely in 2020, are The Dragons of Anthar, Sharp Steel & High Adventure 6 and Dark Time, The Time Wars 3. I also have a sequel to High Mountain Hunters forming in my mind, but not yet planned or gotten permission to attempt.

As if that doesn’t sound like enough, in the non-fiction realm I’m planning on finishing Killing Hitler’s Reich, The Battle for Velikiye Luki, 1942-43; Unsuck Your Writing Career, What I’ve Learned; Essays on the War for Southern Independence and, should I somehow run out of things to write, there are further projects already in the works.

Four years ago today, December 31, 2015, I had the first draft of the longest novel I’d ever attempted, totaling about 175,000 words. I had no idea what to do next, absolutely no clue about the publishing industry of the 21st Century, no website, no Amazon author accounts, no twitter account or contacts anywhere in any genre. I literally had no concept of what to do next.

The point of all of this is to encourage others never to quit pursuit of your dreams, no matter what happens. For my fellow writers, I revel in every success you achieve and find inspiration from you. The list of amazing people I’ve met in the past four years is too long to list here, but nearly all of them are new to writing within the past five years. It really is a brave new world out there. Go get you some.

 

 

Writing goals for 2020

You can’t say that I overwhelm you with blog entries, now can you?

Among other things in 2020 I need to find a really good, really reliable cover artist. Not that I have much self-publishing to do, but even so it would be great to know someone.

For year 2020 my daily writing goal will be 3,000 words. That may seem like a lot, but many writers I admire would consider that a bad day. Given the arthritis in my hands, however, I have to be realistic about what I can accomplish. I also have something weird called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome that limits me.

3,000 words a day will equal about a million for next year, and that seems pretty darned good to me.

Keep in mind that the more non-fiction I write, the more that daily average plummets. Research intensive projects might only progress by 500 words a day, and yet have taken eight hours to produce.

Nevertheless, here’s my intended schedule. See if there’s something you like in the works.

The Last Brigade Books 5 and 6 – Standing In Righteous Rage and Standing Among The Tombstones, The Showdown Trilogy Books 2 and 3. These should equal no more than 300k words. One in Spring, one late Fall. 300,ooo words.

The Demon in the Jewel, Sharp Steel and High Adventure Four – Hoping to finish this before the end of 2019, but if not allotting 20k words to finish it next year. 320,000 words.

Cretaceous Kill, The Time Wars Book 2, with J. Gunnar Grey. First quarter of the year. Currently at 19k words, probably top out around 80k. If I do half that’s 30k, so let’s add that number to get us up to 350,000 words.

Not Enough Bullets, Task Force Zombie Book 2. Currently at 19,600 words. Want this out by mid-year, between the two Last Brigade books. Probably another 80k word maximum, so let’s add 60k to the total.  410,000 words.

Killing Hitler’s Reich, The Battle for Velikiye Luki 1942-1943. Non-fiction and needs a LOT of further research. This will slow things down. But currently at a whopping 69k words. This will end up around 125k, probably, so I’m adding 56k to the total allocation. 466,000 words.

Anonymous SF novel in an existing universe that I can’t reveal yet. VERY EXCITING stuff. Haven’t started, will require some research and reading. 80k words, aiming for mid-year. 546,000 words.

Those are the high priority books for next year, not in a particular order. Once those are done, these will come next.

Beyond the Dead River, Sharp Steel and High Adventure 5. Projecting this as a novella at 30k words. 576,000 words.

The Dragons of Anthar, Sharp Steel and High Adventure 6. This is a novel, probably in the 100k words range. 676,000 words.

Dark Time, The Time Wars Book 3. A novel, call it 80k. 756,000 words.

Kill Me If You Will, Hit World 3. Novelette, perhaps a novella. Probably 9k words. 765,000 words.

Double Down, Hit World 4. Novella, 15k words. 780,000 words.

Last Brigade world short story for an anthology of same. 10k words. 790,000 words.

Unsuck Your Book Career: What I’ve Learned. Sequel to Unsuck Your Book. Guessing at 30k. 820,000 words.

Ten opportunity short stories. I’m reserving time to write up to 10 stories for anthologies I might be invited into. Alternately, this could be a 100k word novel or multiple novellas. 920,000 words.

Ghost of the Coast. Alternate World War II history novel. Most likely 100k words. 1,020,000 words.

There…now that wasn’t so hard now was it?

I must be out of my mind.

 

Non-fiction World War 2 book coming in 2019!

It is with incredible pride (and more than a little astonishment) that I announce having signed with Helion Books to write a book on a long-ignored campaign of World War 2! The book is due for the market in 2019.

More details will be coming later, but for now here’s a link to their website: http://www.helion.co.uk/

But be careful! They have so many amazing books you’ll end up buying something!

 

Check off #10

If anybody is following my writer’s checklist that I posted last week, I can now check off item #10, the book proposal for my World War Two book.

I finished it today when a friend on facebook gave me the winning formula to put the page numbers where I wanted them using Word 2007. All of the procedures on google were wrong, including those by Microsoft themselves.

Sheesh.

So the book proposal is off to Helion Books, a publisher who has supported my research over the years with encouragement. I don’t honestly think it’s the sort of book they would like, but I owed it to start with them.

So now that #10 is finished, it’s on to the next one! As Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

World War 2 book

I thought some of you might like to read something I just wrote five minutes before making this blog entry. What you might find interesting is that the two paragraphs below took maybe three minutes to actually write, but represent about 45 or 50 minutes worth of research. Not only that, but I had to buy the book I used for the research, since it’s not something you can find on Kindle or in the library.

The cheapest copy currently on Amazon is $195. I bought it from the publisher years ago for, I think, about $75. My personal library for producing this book exceeds 300 volumes of all kinds.

Near the southern end of the Vienna Woods at Heiligenkreuz, the storied 1st Panzer Division re-grouped and counted its losses. The town had long been an island of solace close to Vienna, with a backdrop of firs and pines to ease the pressures of the capital. The ancient Cistercian Abbey in the town had been continuously occupied since the Twelfth Century and was not abandoned even as war approached its gates.

Typical of the time, 1st Panzer was assigned to whatever corps headquarters made sense at the moment. At the beginning of April that was IV SS Panzer Corps. A strength return on the 1st indicated how devastating the material losses had been during the retreat across Hungary. Total manpower (ration strength) remained high at 11,473 men. But the equipment ready for combat tells the true story. 3 Mark IV panzers were on hand, but none were operational. A whopping 39 Mark V Panthers remained on the rolls but just a single tank could fight. The SPW numbers were about sixty percent of authorized numbers. The division’s heavy flak regiment was reorganizing at Bratislava, where the flood of war washed it away.[i]

[i] Nevenkin, pp 85

3 at once

Not that.

Books.

Today I’ve written parts of three different books. I didn’t plan it this way, it’s just how my mind works. Or doesn’t work.

Inspired by suggestions from my street team and in brain-storming with the world’s best publisher, Gunnar Grey, the plot points for Book 3 of The Last Brigade are really coming together. As the series goes on the stories become bigger, because the 7th Cavalry’s influence spreads and they encounter new friends, and new enemies. I keep getting ahead of myself writing it because I’m so excited by where it’s going. October 1 is the target date for release.

Meanwhile, the fantasy stories are coming along nicely. The publisher has a semi-edited version of Two Moons Waning, the first of the four novellas I’m working on. Today I worked more on The Queen of Death and Darkness, the second one. It’s 95% written, I’m just doing some back fill and minor editing. A Night at the Quay is about 98% finished, with one minor scene change to write. The last one, The Demon in the Jewel, is about 20% done.

And the third book is my WW2 history of the Battle for Austria in 1945. Still without a final title, I’ve cranked it back up in a big way and made a lot of progress. Now I’ve got to write a synopsis, which I dread.

So that’s a fast update for now. As always, if you have any questions just ask me!

Bill

ZERO TO HERO: 8 Months from First Draft to Top Seller

I’m thrilled to have published the first part of my story about writing Standing The Final Watch. I hope readers find it interesting and writers maybe find something helpful to their careers.

Purchase it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Zero-Hero-Months-First-Seller-ebook/dp/B071DWNFV9/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=28W0W0JAQ82WDM99S6HN

Zero to Hero: My 8 Months From First Draft To Top Seller

I’ve just completed the first draft of a short new book, Zero to Hero: My 8 Months from First Draft to Top Seller.

When my first book launched last August 17, Standing The Final Watch, a number of long-term friends wanted to know how I came to write a book so fast.

Fast?

To me, writing both Standing The Final Watch and Standing In The Storm back-to-back seemed to have taken years, whereas it really only took thirteen months. Now, for some writers that is agonizingly slow. But I hadn’t written any fiction in thirty years, much less two novels, and compared to my usual output it was a whirlwind.

Anyway, I tried to explain what all I did but it just never seemed clear, even to me. What exactly had I done? Then I focused on the final eight months leading up to publication and it was all a blur.

So for those interested I created a timeline, did my research and wrote an account of what I did and when, all leading up to publication day. I also want non-writers to get some taste of what it’s like to be a fiction writer in today’s saturated, hyper-fast market.

Challenging would be an understatement.

I’m hoping to finalize it and get it published within the next two weeks.

The Twitter Tornado

Fellow Memphis writer H.C. Playa requested a guest entry for her blog, and this is the result.

On January 1, 2016, I did not have a twitter account. I didn’t know what a hashtag was and I didn’t care. Now, four and a half months later, I have 1500+ followers, more than 1400 tweets, am following more than 2000 people…oh yeah, and I sold my first novel, because of twitter. Within six weeks.

Say what?

Read More

DOESN’T EVERYBODY WANT A TOASTER?

Crowd fund your honeymoon!Tiedinabow

Did you know that was even possible? Check out Bill’s review of the most popular honeymoon crowd-funding site on the net, Doesn’t Everybody Want A Toaster?

Pages 22-24.

 

https://www.joomag.com/magazine/tied-in-a-bow-november-2014/0362538001411700900?short

Tiedinabow2

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