Thank you Robert! I’m on it!
Hey Bill, I am about 10% into “Standing in the Storm”. So far I really like your books. I pick the books or series that I read by reading the 1 Star ratings. I saw that some people complained about characters not being realistic. Who cares it’s Sci-Fi. I also saw that most of the bad reviews were people complaining that the books were America-Loving, Leftist-Hating, Muslim-Bashing, Red-blooded American Patriotism BS. I knew right away that this was a series that I wanted to read. So far the only criticism I have is some of the slang or use of acronyms. I just retired in 2018 after serving 25 years in the army. 12 as an infantryman and 13 as a Green Beret. (Side complaint, no Green Berets so far). I will list the things I am referring to and my opinion on how they should have been stated to more realistically relate to soldiers who served. First is Burp, I don’t really have a problem with the acronym I think it is a pretty good one. I personally have never heard the term of endearment for for our beloved Muslim friends across the pond. I know Rag-Head is part of the burp acronym but It is used mostly by itself. Others are Towel-Head, Goat-F#%ker, and my personal favorite Booger-Eater or Booger for short. That covers the slang, now on to the acronyms. A LRRP is a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. I know you know this, and yes it is pronounced “lurp” when spoken but a soldier would never spell it that way when writing. Also, “Task Force Kicker will conduct a recon to the southwest” is how it would be said, not “Task Force Kicker would be lurping to the southwest.” LRRP is a noun and would never ever be used as a verb. It is a HMMWV (Highly Mobile Multi-Wheeled Vehicle) not a Humvee. What I am trying to say is spell out the actual Acronym, not the term phonetically. Anyone who has ever served will automatically pronounce it correctly while reading the acronym. I say this because these are how things would be written in an After Action Report and only an idiot or someone who doesn’t know anything about there job would write “lurp” or phonetically spell any acronym in an AAR. I am not calling you and idiot and I know you haven’t served, I am just trying to inform you of the way someone in the military would write it even in a story. I can tell you are an awesome dude, you are very patriotic, you love and respect our Nation’s Defenders, and I would love to get hammered with you sometime on that Tennessee Whiskey you always write about. I am just trying to give you some constructive feedback to help. Also if you don’t want to confuse non military readers that may not know how some of these acronyms are pronounced, then maybe introduce an acronym like so: LRRP (pronounced “lurp” when spoken). I hope this is helpful because I really like your books so far.
First and foremost, thank you for your service. I have so much respect for all members of our armed forces. On to the acronyms and slang. BURP was my invention, so it’s no surprise you have heard it before. As for the rest of the slang, terms and the like, the first draft of the book did everything you say, but early reads by non-military readers caused us to edit most of that out. It’s a fine line between putting in too much but enough to create the illusion of being inside the unit. But I’ll definitely take your comments into account in the future and might even call on you for advice. As for getting hammered…it sounds great, but at my age getting over it is akin to getting hit with a sledgehammer. However, one or two drinks never hurt anybody. My best to you! Bill
Could there perhaps be a platoon/company of volunteer patriots descended from/led by veterans just waiting quietly somewhere secluded for legitimate leadership and resources? Like maybe Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? Sign me up!
LOL…you bet there could be! If you know somebody to write the story let me know! Thanks for the comment!
Cant wait to see what happens at groom lake. I love books like this .
Thanks Mark! Truth is, I love books like this too. And Groom Lake looms large in the new book, I’m actually working on that part right now and having a blast with it! Thanks for reading my work!
Hi William I have just finished all 3 of the last brigade books 1 -3 and was hoping there was another book as the ending of the 3rd book left me high and wanting more.
By the way your books and story lines are great they put you in the scene .
Hi Kym – I’m working on Book 4 at this very moment! And thank you for the kind comments, I’m grateful to you for them. If you haven’t already looked into The Ghost of Voodoo Village and The Hairy Man, those might also be something you’d like. Happy New Year and I’ll get to work on the next book!
Please please keep the Nick Angriff work going this is the best series I have read.
Thanks Lawton! If you look at the Future Projects you’ll see the titles for Books 4 and 5, plus the new prequel series Task Force Zombie.
Just a thought, we know some stayed on the bases in America after the fall. What about naval bases and our bases around the world? All our nuke ships and subs could still be around. Like whole carrier groups…. Could there be American colonies at our bases around the world? Just waiting on book 4…….
Ha! You’re on the right path Rob! The Navy is definitely not gone for good.
Does the real USA have any allies left in this world? Are there any countries left at all? What about the South? Surely we fought back! Go Dawgs and Roll Tide guys should have fought hard!
Thanks for your interest Rob! Actually, I’ve already started plotting books leading up to all of those revelations. The series will be called Task Force Zombie, and the final book will be titled Collapse. But yes, there are still remnants of civilization around the world.
I know from chatting with other authors that it’s almost impossible to give a publication date for an unfinished book. Are you currently working on additional book’s in the Standing series? I have been checking on Amazon regularly hoping to see that the next book in the series has dropped. I’m very excited to find out what happens next. Thanks for introducing me to your work, I’m sure that I am not the only fan that’s gotten hooked on your stories. Know that as long as you continue getting the book’s out I & those like me will continue to show our support by purchasing them.
Cpl Stephen Carter US Army Retired
I am so flattered and gratified when members of our armed forces take the time to write me, so thank you Stephen! And yes, Book 4 is in the works! I’m currently finishing the edits for my non-fiction WW2 book Killing Hitler’s Reich, the Battle for Austria 1945, but Book 4 is 20% finished and it’s next. I’m also writing the origin story for Task Force Zombie.
I hope if I’m ever in your area for a book signing you introduce yourself, it would be my honor to shake your hand.
Hey Bill, I just finished Standing At The Edge and have thoroughly enjoyed the series. As a former Army gunship pilot and Infantry Officer I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I started the first book and encountered General Angriff and his Desert Eagles. I thought, “Oh no. Here’s another super-soldier book written by a 14 year old.” Not the case at all and your research is impressive.
A couple of things I felt were missing – no Warrant Officers. The majority of the Army’s helicopter pilots for almost 60 years have been irascible, irreverent, incredible Chief Warrant Officers. The second was the absence of Little Birds, the OH-6 Cayuse (Loach). The original concept of the Apache as a tank killer was they would operate in hunter/killer teams. The LOH would target a tank with a laser using a snorkel from one site and the Apache, also sighting through a snorkel, would pop-up from behind a ridge line, punch a rocket, then drop out of sight and move before the enemy could return fire.
Now. For the $64 question I’m sure you’ve never been asked. When the heck is book 4 coming? Great series.
You know what? Now that I think about it, maybe they thought nobody would want to be stranded inside a mountain with a bunch of Warrant Officers who had nothing to do. Charlie Mike, my friend.
Nolan – First, thank you so much for the kind words. It is for you and all of your brethren in our armed forces that I write the series. You have my eternal gratitude.
The Eagles were a conscious choice. I knew how ludicrous it was for someone to carry them into battle, but I also knew that if Patton could wear Colt Peacemaker’s then Nick could wear Desert Eagles. If nothing else it was fun.
As for Warrant Officers, there ARE some in the unit, I just haven’t written about them yet. But I will. As for the OH-6, I thought about giving them a few, and may yet find some stored away somewhere. I also thought that I did the pop and shoot thing with the gunships during the battle against the Chinese, but maybe I didn’t make that clear.
Anyway, God bless you and all your fellow American warriors!
Greatly enjoyed the series. Please hurry with book 4!
Thank you Will! I’m rounding third and heading for home on my non-fiction history of the Battle for Austria in 1945, and Book 4 of the LB is next! I can’t wait to write it.
Love this series! Ready for more of this world! Book 4 please!
Wow, thanks for the kind words Rob! I’m working on two different things for that universe, and Book 4 is top of the list!
You must have spent some time in or near Clio! Beautiful place, with the meadow to the west and the Forrest to tea east!…. and the couple of sharp turns in Hwy 70 there. Thanks for including in you story!
Thanks I’m glad you liked it!
This is my favorite series!
Thanks Rob! What do you like most about it?
Do you have a anticipated release date for the 4th book in this series?
Soon. LOL…I HOPE to get the principle writing done this month, and the book out soon after, but that’s iffy. If not, early next year. Thank you for asking!
hope to be able to read it soon
If you do I hope you enjoy it!
No problem at all. It was merely my military mind side tracking LOL.
Bill, is there anyway to contact you directly?
Yes! Sorry for the long delay. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes Dave there is. I’m emailing you directly from my personal email.
Your writing style is very enjoyable, fast moving, understandable and a good read.
My only complaint is that you have the geography of my home state all muddled up. It threw story for a loop because a lot of it was just wrong….. For example, Cordes Junction where I17 intersects 69 is 40+ miles from Prescott, 10 does not go anywhere near Prescott. The inaccuracies threw me off and interfered with the story line. Otherwise, a very enjoyable series.
Hi Dave, thanks for writing this. I’m flattered that you took the time to write me, and I very much appreciate your kind words.
Obviously I did a poor job describing the geography. I was aware of what you wrote but if it didn’t come across clearly then that’s my fault. I love Arizona and clearly want to get it right, so I apologize if it was inaccurate or I didn’t make it clear.
In your lead in you discuss the strength of the various Pander divisions. You give a total armor strength as tanks &/or AFVs. Vehicles like the half-tracks are armored and should be counted separately from those vehicles that have powerful weaponry such as found on the heavy tanks.
Hi Neil, I probably should have phrased that better. SPWs were a separate category but by the time in question the Germans counted any tracked vehicle with a large main gun as a panzer for purposes of authorized strength. Sturmgeschutzen, jagdpanzers, Mark IVs, Panthers, whatever. SPWs were technically armored, you’re right, but only against small arms fire.
The term AFV is one I used to simply shortcut having to explain what I meant by ‘panzer’ every time I used it. But thanks for caring enough to drop the comment.
By the way, I’m under contract to produce a full length book on this topic due out next year from Helion Books.
I just finished Standing on the Edge and I can’t wait for the next one, I am enjoying this series alot. Keeps me engaged and is a great story. Love this, keep up the good work!
Mike, I’m stoked you like the series! Thanks! Are you on my mailing list? A few months ago I sent out the first part of Operation Overtime’s origin story, In At The Start. I’m going to write part 2 soon and will send part one out again at the same time.
Actually that’s not such a big thing zzz as SEALs, I believe take men from other services.
Bill – You’re 100% correct, SEALs can transfer to the Navy from other services. And the rules for Task Force Zombie are different anyway, since the whole point is that the members have no identity that can be traced back to the US. No dogtags, no name, nothing. That lets them do jobs the regular military can’t. But Green Ghost personally is in the Army, for reasons that become clear in Book 3. If you’ve read it then you know what I mean.
In one of the first two Books, Green Ghost tells someone “I’m a SEAL.” But later he is a Colonel?
Whoa, great pickup! You’re the first. The Zombies told people that, since they mirror the skill set, but the SEAL thing was always a diversion. Honestly I thought we’d removed that from the book because it was too confusing, so I’ll attend to that. It was supposed to say ‘think of me as a SEAL.’
Man, that’s great attention to detail. Would you be interested in joining my circle of consultants on future books?
Hug fan of “The Last Brigade” books. I also am a student of military history, I used to live in Arizona in an area called the Verde Valley which is between Prescott and Flagstaff, is that where Overtime Prime is located in this series? I love and miss that area, it is amazing and beautiful.
Hi Eric – First of all, thanks so much for the post! You’re awesome! Overtime is in that general area, yes. I don’t want to narrow it down too much because I like the idea of everybody using their own imagination to fill in the details. I would love to visit the area myself, and plan to soon.
It is truly one of the most amazing places on the planet. The beauty of the high desert is uncomparable. You should try to catch it in the Spring. There is nothing more awesome and a true testament to God’s power than watching a Thunderstorm move through the Valley.
Wow, I can only imagine its awesomeness. I’ve been to Arizona several times but never into the countryside. But I will, I can assure you of that!
Yepper Bill-san! Free Style saves energies for forward travel. I can applaud that. Fewer entanglements in neural responses. Imagine a swimmer looking back on feet movements and 2nd guessing the lower digits movements. Trusting oneself to perform is monumental. Ya done well in Angriff-san’s duties on keeping America he has encountered viable. Swinging the political correctness professor around to support the aims of the country is ……..(whatever word structure fits). A nice touch in the digital realm of fiction. We’re it so. Was that da wind…or a sighing sound? I’m on to other projects whilst awaiting Angriff-san generalship on future shenanigans from his opposition. Am not having any results canning this present cold weather for future use in summer.
Last year during winter I opened some buckets and let in the cold air. Then, in July, I opened them expecting refrigerated air to be inside.
Alas, it didn’t work.
Here’s hoping you listen to your Positive Energy Kayla. As the arbitrator of our personal mental domain, we wield the keys of opening the spigots of our thoughts. Those energies gather where we wish them to flow. As a father, mother, fellow earth inhabitants we’re only constrained by time allocated in our day. How we use it is not regulated if we maximize our ability to self limit the negatives. Easier said than done I believe BUT that is how we humans REFINE our objectives. I’ve learned that it’s OK to trip. Know how & why will enable a safer course in trailblazing along the way. Knowledge of our strengths and areas where lacking is Culimative don’cha think? Awareness can be Numbed. Let me quote you a story here Kayla, if I may. Keep your eye on da ball or Not! Plse bear with me. Experiment time. Place 2 teams inna row facing each other. One team dressed in Black. The other in White. The contestants observing are to count the # of passes in a time limit. Say 30-45 seconds. Some when during this, a person dressed in a Gorilla suit will jump in the picture & wave its arms a bit then exit. Afterwards, the # passes of the ball will be tallied from the contestants. Simple right? But ask the players if they seen a Gorilla. Many or all will reply: Say What! What Gorilla? This condition is termed : Inattentive Dissonance. Tunnel Awareness is not being totally aware. Our tasks often makes us ignore the Big Picture. Aspirations keep us jogging upon life’s roads. Recall the verse : When our Father is with us then who can stand against us? Simple. Ourselves!
Prayers & blessings upon you and your family.
Thanks for the opportunity to give my thoughts.
Regards from Az. Chung
Hiya William-san! I am aware you make your own ‘luck’ with your talent & staff , But, Rotsa Ruc to Ya anyhow. I Am tickled of your decision to expand your Standing In The Storm story. Blessings to all there.
More than 70% through my edits for the next book. Then off to the publisher so they can cut it to bits. LOL
Hiya William-san! It’s All Good. Imho, you’ve got it half right. You as the Chef, labor on your creations as is proper for a connoisseur. By the Sweat of Your Brow Your Recipe Is Refined to Your Expectations. The Other Half, Us, Requires Absolutely No Effort To Enjoy. We The Diners, Who Only Expend Eyelid Blinking Energy Devouring Each Descriptive Word. It’s Much Mo Difficult To Make a Vehicle Than Just Buying One To Drive Don’cha Think? Regards from Az.
Btw, however you choose to season the menu is okidoky with me. Much Appreciation of your talented staff & yourself in continuing this saga. As a vet, I’m liking the patriotic theme. Ooorah! Bigly. Did you limit yourself to 1 dessert at thanksgiving time? My bad! Please don’t incriminate thyself. ?
As you know from my site, I deeply thank you for your service.
It’s Thanksgiving day William-san! Don’t forget da dessert mind you.
Dessert is what makes eating so much fun! My best to you and your family.
Your voice is clear and distinct … and distinctive. It’s hard to tell how your voice will translate to a novel involving multiple characters, but if you’re speaking in the first person, you’re golden!!
Thanks John, that’s very helpful stuff and I appreciate it!
I like it, Bill. It would be interesting to hear a full chapter of one of the actual books, if only to hear how you handle dialogue, but on the basis of this short clip, I think your search for an audio reader could be a remarkably short one.
Thanks Craig, that’s very useful to me. One of the reasons I’m starting with this non-fiction book is to get used to the whole process, including getting to know the program I’m using, engineering the final cut, etc. I’ve sort of started creating character voices in my head but haven’t gotten around to putting them down yet.
Please be more specific. Helpful in what way to you?
What are you attempting to do?
An excellent parsing of verbage from a diehard writer for those of us with utterly rapacious appetites for consuming any and all compilations with a patriotic leaning coupling with a widdle dash of outa da box science. FYI, science is simply the examination of factual events that can occur in our physical world. Science Fiction is self explanatory. William our maitre d’ will enhance your reading pleasure immensely. Not complicated one iota. Just come & you’ll find something tasty. I’d give a star rating but I wouldn’t wish you to have preconceptions now. Splurge a bit of time with W A Webb.
For the suspicious and cynical among us, NO, I didn’t pay for that review or write it myself. But boy, do I appreciate it! Thanks!
I Am anticipating William-san, your next compilation. Am also hoping you will reach out and explore the viability of a continuation past book #3. I’m not suggesting stretching it to 20-40 books as it tends to diminish the essence of the story. The core characters has a strength to travel a longer path in resolving many issues you’ve brought forth. As the head chef in da boutique kitchen, i can but only bow to your needs as a suburb author. You know best. My favorites are those that i reread as time permits. Lika movie, not every nuance of penmanship by the director can really be appreciated in 1 go. Folks aren’t enabling their taste buds just gulping stuff down. We are inna microwave society. To Savor is to Enjoy Don’cha Think? Regards from a velly satisfied diner.
Mucho thanks for the kind words. I think there a lot of books in this series, heck, #4 is already over 10k long, but they won’t all have the Angriffs in them. It’s a big ass world out there.
That’s great news, Bill – a much earlier potential release date for Vol 3 of The Last Brigade – I may need a beer to celebrate this news! 🙂
LOL…tell me you’re a Quo fan and you could be my long lost brother! One day I’ll get over there Craig, and the beer’s on me!
You’ve got a myriad of subplots in the making in the first two books, interesting characters with complex motivations. Lots of balls in the air. Gonna want to see you catch them one by one without dropping any by the time the series wraps.
Good eye Mark, that’s actually the challenge for Books 3 and 4. I want to follow EVERY subplot, but then you get a 300k word book. And of the 26k words I’ve written so far, it’s all characterization and pursuing those subplots. As you know, it’s the story of the characters that drives you.
I’ve read both books on Kindle. Great stuff! Its interesting with warfare on several fronts and a secret agenda mystery. If there are two bases, there could be more… I would be interested if there would appear naval hidden units and airforce. Carry on the good work.
Thanks Anders! You’re not the first to ask about the other military branches…I can’t give anything away just yet, but I think you’re going to be happy with the direction I’m going. If you haven’t signed up for the mailing list, go ahead and do so, I’m finishing up a few fun freebies to send out.
haven’t had a chance yet to read them, but they’re on my TBR list.
I popped in just to add a pat on the back and a cheer from the peanut gallery.
Keep writing and let your characters lead the way!
Thanks Jeff, it’s awesome the way you support other writers. Your karma score must be way off the charts.
LOL. Yeah, I’ve got karma out the wah-zoo. Ha.
You and I have many shared interests, as well as a common publisher. We’re practically blood-brothers.
May your sales go through the roof.
Thanks Jeff! I’ve gotta tell you it felt good getting back to the WW2 stuff for a while.
I’ve got two WW2-themed stories started… and both are substantial starts. Just need time and concentration to finish them.
Excellent! If you need any technical help let me know.
will do. If I ever complete those drafts, I’d definitely need a knowledgeable beta-reader!
Gimme a holler when and if.
Thank you Jeff, I think you know how much I admire you. If you get a chance to read them I hope you enjoy them both.
Subscribing? That would be great! I posted my review of the first last brigade book (under ScifiNerd) and was very honest. My review for the second book was honest and gave an extra star (4 stars). I wrote that I was happy you had a prologue saying that heroes are over the top and that as such a hero, Angriff would be over the top. I would very much enjoy being an “editor” with emphasis on the quotations. I don’t know if I’m subscribing but please let me know. My email is listed below
Hi Chris, I’ll check into it and let you know if you’re subscribed. Thanks for caring enough to give me some feedback, I truly appreciate it.
Awesome Chris, thanks! I guess you can tell that I concentrate on the characters a lot…if it doesn’t show then it’s my fault, because that’s certainly my intent. The stress of the action is fun to write, yes, but for me the interest lies more in how the characters react to the dire circumstances in which they find themselves than anything else. And I’ll make sure you’re on the list! Thanks again!
Just wanted to greet you. We’ll be on a panel together at MidSouth Con. Looking forward to meeting you.
Hi Janie, sorry I missed this, it was great meeting you!
Hi Neighbor, saw you in The Falcon, is the last attack available in “book format?” I’d sure like a copy.
Hi Kurt! Thanks for finding me! The book is available, sure. If you’d like a signed paperback, I have those on hand to save you ordering from a bookstore or Amazon. I’ll drop you an email with some details!
Whens this book coming out please, Also I have tried to find a release date for
Bloody Roads West: Army Group South and the defence of Austria, 1945. Could you please let me know.
Great questions, thanks! The Last Attack is out now on Amazon, here’s a link: The Last Attack
Although The Last Attack is an overview, the research was very demanding.
Bloody Roads West will now appear in volumes, due to the immense size of the project. I have it penciled into the schedule for mid-2018, which might be ambitious, unless a publisher comes along and would like it prioritized. The first volume will cover April 1-end of the war, the period that is not usually covered much. So if you know any military history publishers who might want me to speed this up. send them me way!
Thanks again for the great questions, sorry it took so long to get back to you!
Simon – I am so sorry, I just now saw this comment. Bloody Roads West has a new title, Killing Hitler’s Reich, the Battle for Austria, 1945. The proposal is currently in the hands of a major publisher but I haven’t heard back from them. I’m sorry I don’t have a release date for you yet.
I’m about a third of the way through STFW, and I’m loving every page of it! Great work, and I’m so glad to read that the sequel is on its way. I picked my copy up on Kindle, but from the comments about bookstore tours above, can I assume that good old fashioned paper copies aren’t that far away?
Keep up the good work!
Wow, thanks Craig, I’m delighted that you’re enjoying it so much! I begin post-production work on book two next week, so wish me luck! Oh, and paper copies are available through any bookstore (you may have to order it) or on Amazon.
Thanks so much for the fun interview!
It was my pleasure!
Thank you, Britt, you're awesome!
Can't begin to say how proud I am for you!
All it takes is 1 person with vision. All it takes is 1 vote of confidence. In sales, like life, it takes a ton of people to tell you "no" before that one special someone finally gives you the "yes" we all crave.
My favorite saying is "Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times." I love it because it takes so many failures to be the greatest success we can be.
There is no shame in getting knocked down 100 times. The shame is not getting up 101 times.
Stay resilient my friend. Success is just around the corner.
I like that, it makes perfect sense. Thanks for the comment~
I love this idea, and it really is true. But I think any personalized response should count as a half-yes, because it helps you to see what changes you can make to improve your odds at a "yes" next time 🙂
Wow…I do like that. A lot. Not sure I can write it, but you've sparked my interest, for which I am very grateful. Thanks!
I like the first version. I dont know how you would pull it off so ive adapted the concept a bit….
Maybe your main character dies in some way everday. So each day they lose a part of themselves. That could be interesting.
Hope that gave you something to think about.
Katie – Your awesomeness is on display for all to see. Thank you!
I agree with pretty much everything you said. Your comments on my hook echo what I've heard from most before, but it's always good to get reinforcement. Like all of us, I'm busily collecting rejections.
Thank you! If you read this, could you send me a link to your blog?
Hey! This is Katie dropping you your freebie critique! While seeking advice is always for the best, remember to stay true to your voice and your concept. If the suggestions don’t fit, don’t use them! Hopefully I will give you something you can use that will help you earn that coveted contract!
Innocents abroad in post-Collapse America face slavery and death, until Nick Angriff and the Seventh Cavalry ride to the rescue. —This is solid. You could probably tighten it a little, but it's direct and to the point, giving a good hook.
The terrorists who slaughtered General Nick Angriff’s wife and daughter fulfilled their leader’s purpose, by leaving him one mission in life: to kill the killers.
Obsessed with revenge, Angriff needs a new reason for living before anger eats him alive. Miraculously, a higher duty calls, except nothing about it is divine.
With no loved ones to miss or mourn him, he agrees to command Operation Overtime, an elite military unit stored in suspended animation against the possibility of national collapse.
He awakens after sixty years to find the United States government destroyed, with a bizarre religious sect dominating the wreckage and enslaving the survivors. Resurrecting America becomes Angriff’s sacred duty.
Before he can save others, however, he must first stay alive. Angriff quickly discovers opposing plots within his brigade, including one to assassinate him. They are remnants of the extremist politics of the dead U.S.A., still fighting old battles, and he’s a target for both sides.
Without knowing friend from foe, Angriff leads the last Americans into the wasteland of North America, armed only with their guts, their wits and a determination to rebuild the United States.
— Honestly, I think what you have is pretty tight. You have a good hook, you lay out the direction and drive for the MC, and the stakes are clear. Well done.
STANDING THE FINAL WATCH, complete at 89,000 words, is a stand-alone science fiction thriller that can also be the first in a series, with book two already completed. This novel should appeal to fans of John Ringo’s Ghost series, David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers and Dan Abnett’s Warhammer 40,000.—Just a side note, you won't need this paragraph for Son of a Pitch.
Chapter 1October 12thLake Tahoe sparkled under a high sun in a cloudless sky. Somehow, the vultures wheeling high above the water knew Winslow Buffer was about to die. Mary Buffer, however, did not. From the warmth of the tour boat’s passenger lounge, she was delighted to watch her chubby CPA husband enjoying himself on their first vacation since Emily was born. The red-haired toddler stood on tiptoes and waved at her father.
Her breathed frosted the glass. — I think this should be "Her breath frosted" maybe?
Winslow stood at the bow rail, despite the cold spray, and waved back.Out of the chill, Mary was content just to watch Winslow act like a little boy. He often told her about his fantasy of feeling wind over the deck of a sailing ship cutting the clear waters of the Caribbean, and she assumed that’s what he was doing now. She certainly hoped so; her husband was a workaholic and deserved a few hours to dream and play.Mary heard the muffled buzz of a speedboat –Passive. Try something like: The muffled buzz of a speedboat growing louder as it drew near caught Mary's attention.
and glanced to her left, but there were people in the way.–As a hint, if there is a was or were, the sentence is more often than not passive. Try to write out as many as you can.
It was no big deal, Tahoe was covered with all kinds of boats. She looked back at Winslow in time to see something metal hit the deck and bounce toward him, stopping near his feet. It seemed vaguely familiar, but her mind did not recognize it before the blast of the grenade ripped him apart.—What a way to end! but what do these people have to do with the query? Just something to think about.
I hope that helps!
Mark – Thank you for your comments! Based on the first 250 words I can understand why you don't see Hammer's Slammers or Abnett's work, but there is no back story involved here. None. It is all part of the continuing narrative.
Dana – Thank you, I think your points are very well made and quite helpful. Made my day, as they reflect about 25 different people who have read this, with 24 agreeing with your assessment.
Anyway, thanks again to both of you!
The query jumps around a lot and left me confused at several turns. IMO it would be best to present things in chronological order from Nick's POV. As it stands, I'm left assuming that Nick, his family, and the Terrorists are all in the post-apocalypse era until mid-way through the query.
I like Hammer's Slammers and WH 40k (although I'm more of a WHFB guy myself) but I can't see much common ground between the two and even less common ground between them and what you've just shown me in the query. Comparables are great, but IMO it's better to skip them than have them misfire (as they are for me in this case).
I get what you're trying to do with the first 250, start out really idyllic, then BOOM! but it's not working for me. IMO it needs a bit of a sense of building wrongness to get some tension going, preferably from the first line of the story. When I started it, I thought Winslow must be dehydrated, perhaps wounded, crawling through the desert, because vultures aren't psychic. Then it turns out he's on a boat and in perfect health. It really hurts the flow of a story when I build one set of images in my mind only to have that scene yanked away to be replaced with another. I can't immerse myself in the story because I never know what images will be shattered.
Also, since the story is all about the post-apocalyptic world, I think it would make the most sense to start there. Let Nick's back-story be back-story, it gives color and meaning to the story, but it doesn't have to all be spelled out in this detail.
Good morning, William! The book sounds so exciting! Suspended animation is almost like a more realistic time travel!
I found your query to be concise and interesting. I was confused on the second sentence, however. You say, "fulfilled their leader’s purpose," but whose leader are you referring to? I read that as Nick is the leader of the terrorists, or that the purpose of the leader of the terrorists is to kill the killers? Just double check that wording, and otherwise everything sounded great.
I also love that the prologue is a completely different POV. I'm actually interested in Mary, too… Is she law enforcement or military? Her attentiveness to her surroundings gave me that impression.
Good luck on the contest!
Hi Anne- I'm afraid I don't know this answer. I was unable to discover the answer even after doing some fairly extensive research. I'm sure someone knows, however; thanks for reading the blog!
Did Fritz Heppler survive the concentration camps?
I read this in JHS back in the early mid 70s. What a great book. I was able to find a paperback about 5 years ago and re-read it.
Hi Anthony- I'm glad you could at least see the photos, however, I sold this book quite some while back. That's my job, I'm a used bookseller. Sorry I couldn't help you, but thanks for finding my blog. I'll be maintaining it better in May, once school is over.
Holy smokes! An actual original, unabridged copy! In 35 years of searching, I've only been able to find the Scholastic abridged paperback. Have you ever leafed through the latter to see if the editing was severe?
I don't imagine you'd lend this to me 🙁
Hi Terry, thanks for dropping by. It's amazing what we forget, isn't it? I had forgotten all about that, too, even though I was just in Rome last summer, picturing not only romans strolling through the Forum but also Mussolini strutting about. It makes you wonder what might have been if her aim had just been a little better.
I hadn't recalled that bit of history until you brought it up through your book review.
Hey Suko, welcome! I'll try to do a better job of keeping this blog up to speed. What do you like to read?
Hi, Bill. I came over here from Kim's terrific blog.
Sounds like a good, concise biography!
Heya Kim, thanks for finding my blog. I'll try and do a better job of actually, you know, blogging.
Hey Bill the Book Guy! I surfed in and found your blog and lo and behold! we are kinsmen! Well, not exactly but we hail from the same area!
I have made you my Thursday Traveler over on my blog at http://www.writingspace.blogspot.com and I hope you will stop by and leave us a comment!
following your blog now BTW!
Ha! I like that Tully. I'll have to steal it. Thanks!
When I'm asked "Do you buy books?", I have a stock answer.
I say no, I sneak into people's houses at night and steal them.
This immediately separates the daft and humorless from the people I'd probably enjoy spending some time with. 🙂
Hi, thanks for finding my little corner of the world. If I ever turn up that book I will sure let you know. And I'm really glad you enjoyed looking at the cover, that it brought back nice memories for you. That really makes the work on this blog worthwhile.
I enjoyed looking at the cover of this precious book on your blog. I had my own copy when I was a middle schooler oh so many years ago, but regrettably loaned it out without getting it back before a move. My great-grandmother was Helen Knopf and she gave me this book as a gift. It was inscribed. I'd shed tears of joy if I could find it. Let me know if you ever run across an inscribed copy (To : Jocelyn, Love: Great Grandmother Helen)… Thank you and happy reading.
Hiya Tully- Naturally, we are the exception that proves the rule.
Having spent many years in the bookseller trenches myself, I agree that most bookselleers SHOULD be viewed with suspicion. Except us, of course. 🙂
Bill, the 2009 Southern Festival of Books author lineup has been announced! Find the list here: http://www.humanitiestennessee.org/festival/authors.php
Hi Thomas! I love getting messages like this, it's why I do this blog in the first place. And I think you will pick up quickly that I'm a WW2 buff/historian, currently compiling research for a book of my own.
As for a store, I did have one until 3 years ago but now operate completely from my home, online only. It's just the state of the book world today, unfortunately.
And I'm jealous that you were in Poland. I would love to go…by the way, on what basis would someone compare Rowan Oak and Graceland? Home owned by famous southerners? Sounds like your wife knows how to sell an article idea to an editor, which is a skill all unto itself. I admire her.
just got MAN ON THE DONKEY from you and thought if you had a shop we'd stop by on the way back after leaving off the son in LA at Pomona College.. the daughter is at Vanderbilt and the wife lived a year in Memphis and I wrote a piece for The Guardian in London comparing Graceland and Rowan Oak.. but I don't think you have a shop but I discovered your neat site: we are just back from Cracow where my wife had business for Elsevier where she is a publisher (I went to Auschwitz and Birkenau) and then on to her mother country Estonia… so you have both sent me something to read and a blog to read
Hi Mike- I’m glad that I could maybe help you with a scammer. They are out there, no doubt, and the listings companies never take the side of the seller. Makes it tough, doesn’t it? Thanks for reading the blog!
Holy smokes, no sooner had i read this blog than a buyer for a book I had listed on ebay messages me.
He states he had received the book he won, but it was not a first printing as I had stated. I suspected the same kind of scam you talked about Bill. Since I do my own auction listings and photography,albeit poorly. I know what the number line on the book was, and in fact included it in the description.
I messaged him back stating that I knew the book to be a first and have yet to hear back from him.
By the way, It was for a $5.00 sale and $3.50 shipping for Matthew Pearls first book. Quite a deal even if it was a later printing.
Mike R – Nashville – aka vinyljeopardy.
I’m with you Bobbi. Just knowing he was out there made things seem better, somehow.
I will miss him. He was there when I was very small and now when I am older than dirt. So Long and for the rest of the story…we’ll pick it up when I meet you there 🙂
Sorry to hear you can’t go, Snap. Can’t the Dragon family just fly that far? For me, while my beloved Memphis Tigers are supposed to be improved this year, the mere thought of baseball brings with it the promise of warmer weather. No matter how cold it is when the season starts, when it ends you know it will be warm.
We’ve been to most of the Owl workout/scrimmages starting Feb 1. Young team. Very fast. They open the season this weekend in California — Cal Poly (the one in San Luis that is next to impossible to get to since the airlines cut back). No, we aren’t going this time.
It’s funny how memory will trick you, isn’t it? I remember that part completely differently, Ann. Now maybe it’s time for me to re-read!
Well, I simply had to check… So I ended up rereading the entire trilogy (how could I resist).
Frodo did NOT make Sam leave – not at any time during their entire journey. Here is what happened:
Gollum vanished from sight just after they entered Shelob’s tunnel. Frodo and Sam continued through alone and began using Galadriel’s light. They drove off Shelob. Frodo had Sam hold the light while he cut a web blocking the exit. Frodo saw the end of the tunnel and ran ahead. Gollum grabbed Sam from behind, but ran off again when Sam fought back. Sam continued and found Shelob binding an unconscious Frodo. Sam grabbed up Sting from where Frodo had dropped it, and using it and Galadriel’s light fought off Shelob successfully.
Sam believed Frodo to be dead and took the One Ring, Sting and the light to continue the quest. He soon discovered his error when Orcs came and picked up Frodo. Sam followed them invisibly and heard them discussing Frodo being only unconscious. As Sam had repeatedly said that he never would leave Frodo, and as in the book he never does, I found the event as presented in the movie so far out of character that it made me very upset.
The Elves helping out at Helm’s Deep was not so out of character, IMO – and I was able to tolerate the substitution of Arwen for Glorfindle. I still don’t see why they felt Aragorn tumbling off a cliff enhanced the movie in any way, unless it was to emphasize the mortal/immortal choice Arwen was making. I think that may also have been why they chose to have Elves die at Helm’s deep. And, btw, I found NO comments in the book regarding any Men being angry that Elves were not there to help in the Helm’s Deep Battle; the only comments along this line were between Gimli and Legolas wishing they had a few of their folk to help out. The Appendices made it clear that both the Dwarves and the Elves had their own wars with Sauron going on at the same time as the events in the main books.
There were many changes made in the movies that were not in the books, but most of them were acceptable to me as within “creative license” – all but Sam’s abandonment of Frodo. I might have been willing to accept it if Sam had chosen to follow at a distance instead of going back down Dimrill Stair. They just went too far for me.
Gail- Long time no see, thanks for dropping in. In the Woods is outstanding, almost captivating, but The Likeness is even better. I was genuinely sorry when it ended.
I beat you to the new Tom Rob Smith, The Secret Speech is every bit as good as Child 44. The new Hall and White I could really enjoy.
As for what happens when east meets west, well, this year west wins.
Okay Bill, I am buying In The Woods based on your glowing recommendation. I had passed on it because of some reviews, but yours pushed me the other way. If I don’t like it, you know what happens when East meets West……….
PS already have James Hall, Randy W. White and Tom Rob Smith.
Ah, got it. It’s probably my fault, I should have made it more apparent what were hyperlinks. But obtusocity, which isn’t a word, is acceptable here.
The problem was that the hyperlinks didn’t appear to me to be such because they weren’t underlined in my browser view.
Sorry for being so obtuse.
JJ- No problem about the repeats. Did you need another link besides the one to the publisher’s weekly article? If so, I don’t have a specific link, but you might look at powersellersunite.com, we have had numerous discussions there with many links to news stories. Hope that helps.
Okay, I get it. The message at the top of the screen was not visible until I scrolled up.
Sorry about all the repeats, Bill.
Bill, do you have a link to the text of the legislation or to a site with a reasonable discussion of its merits/demerits/implications?
Inquiring minds [and mine!] want to know.
Laura- That is a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. Stan Lee and Neal Adams are two of my favorite people, Adams being my second all-time favorite comic artist behind Barry Windsor Smith.
The odd parallel is that here in Memphis there was a German POW who worked at one of our hospitals during the war. He also painted a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, I knnow that Disney was quite popular overseas before the war.
My point with the Rosenblats wasn’t that what they did was right, it’s that the book should have been published as fiction to illustrate the horrors of the holocaust.
Thanks so much for your comments, I hope you continue to find my blog valuable.
How awful that the Rosenblats lied about their story and that the publishers and movie makers and Oprah didn’t figure it out. So sad.
Some Holocaust love stories are true. The NY Times featured a story about the famous comic book artists Stan Lee and Neal Adams and a story they were publicizing.
The story is about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt who was a 19 year old art student at Auschwitz. There she was asked by the Jewish head of the children's camp to paint something to cheer them up. Dina painted a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and in the end, Dina's art became the reason for her salvation.
Painting the mural for the children caused Dina to be taken in front of Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but she bravely stood up to Mengele and he decided to make her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber.
After the war, Dina applied for a job to be an animator and the person interviewing her turned out to be the man who created Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs for the movie. They fell in love and got married. Show White saved Dina's life twice!
Glad to hear it Snap, let’s hope the New Year continues the goodness.
I agree about Atkins, a grade-A human being.
The Dragon family had a delightful Christmas. Thanks for asking and visiting.
I’m happy to hear you thought the new Ace Atkins is very good. He’s a nice guy who deserves support for writing a very good book.
Hi Susan- Wow, thank you so much for the nice comments. I hope I can keep it entertaining, if you have any suggestions or news tidbits I would love to hear them.
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Bonanzle to you and yours!
Merry Christmas to you too Bill! I too have found Bonanzle to be such a good site, I keep forgetting that eBay is still around!
You know, it’s not that I don’t want to read the Harry Potter books, for some reason I just never have. Maybe I will, though, if time permits.
A passing tought: have you read Zelazny’s Amber series? If so, then you know, if not, hihgly recoomend.
I did think that the extended versions of the LOTR movies were drastically better than the theatrical release, partly because there was more interplay between Legolas and Gimli, but also because too much was left out otherwise. In the first one, Fellowship, in the theatrical release, they didn’t even show Galadriel giving them all her gifts. That’s pretty important.
But I did think Peter Jackson did a great job, in the main.
As for Children of Hurin, oh yes, read it for certain. Parts will feel like the Silmarillion, but in places it feels a lot like LOTR. Very well worth the effort.
Well, I just knew I should have double-checked, but I didn’t find my copy instantly. How they presented it in the movie just felt totally wrong (and still does, even if the facts are right) – it’s strange what we remember, or don’t, even in a well-loved, well-reread book. What I remember was the separation because Bilbo ran ahead too quickly… Ah, well – me wrong again. I regretted they didn’t have enough time to really highlight the great interplay between Gimli and Legolas, but overall I gave the movies an enthusiastic thumbs-up for managing to translate The Lord of the Rings to movies as well as they did. I hope they plan to do the Hobbit as well.
No, I haven’t read The Children of Hurin. I take it you recommend it? I tried to read the Silmarillion (sp?) but found it heavy going and little fun and gave it up. Maybe I might like it more now that I’m older?
Regarding Harry Potter… I suspect from reading your Beatles comments, that you, like me, kind of instinctively avoid the way-too-popular. However, I must assure you that you should at least treat yourself to reading the first Harry Potter. Her fame and success are, IMO, thoroughly deserved, although quite a surprise as well. The book is in no way derivative of anything else I have ever read, though it feels totally comfortable as well. She is an excellent writer, and the book is a great read. The series also maintains a high standard as far as I have read (I think I haven’t yet read the last one). I do like young adult fantasy, but this one feels a bit more adult, actually. I have loved Narnia and E. Nesbit and The Dark is Rising and Lloyd Alexander, to name a few of a similar caliber to Rowlings. Anyway, I suggest you give it a try if you find yourself in a fantasy mood. And, of course, the movies (as well-done as they are) are not as good as the book – just not enough time in a movie.
P.S. Where’s CJ? 😀
Hi again PRG. I don’t have this book, it’s newly published. Les is a great guy and a wonderful writer. His first non-fiction book was about the building of the Miami railway in the early 20th century. I haven’t read either but his prose was first-rate in the John Deal books so I’m certain these are very entertaining.
If you’re a member of Border’s Rewards, they sent me a 40% off coupon just today. But you can probably Google it. Who knows, there might even be one on Bonanzle!
PRG- How are you? THanks for stopping by. As for Sam, this is what happened in the books. Smeagol/Gollum warped Frodo’s mind and he made Sam leave. That’s how they were separated when Frodo bitten by Shelob.
In the books, Men were bitter because the Elves did not come to help when they were needed.
Have you read The Children of Hurin? I was fascinated by this tale from the First Age of Middle Earth.
Re the elves at Helm’s Deep – I didn’t really mind that so much, what I truly was offended by was having Samwise abandon Frodo, even temporarily. That was so out of character!
I think a copy of Les Standiford’s book might make an excellent Father’s Day (or maybe sooner) present for my Dad in CT (who collects Dickens and reads mysteries). Is there a way I can buy it through you, or shall I use Amazon? 😀
Thanks for the comment, MH, I think you are correct, at some point Ebay will began seeing a net loss of customers and the whole thing will crash.
Fortunately for me, I gave up on them in May and haven’t looked back.
Thanks for the good wishes on the site, I can’t wait to get it cranked up, too.
I believe eBay will continue to slide downhill and will come crashing down around summer. Paypal will survive and is probably the only thing keeping eBay afloat these days. I hope that everyone else out there joins my cause and drops eBay on January 1st. You can read about it in my blog!!
Why wait you ask? Well for one to make a little Christmas money but more importantly so we can see the effect.
Can’t wait until your site opens to check it out.
Thanks Henrietta. I try to make this as entertaining as possible.
Nice turn of phrase.
Glad you liked it. It does seem pretty accurate, doesn’t it?
“Ebay’s continuing effort to drive every person from their site is beginning to meet with success.”
Oh that’s priceless. I am literally laughing out loud at that one. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Michelle, welcome. I agree with you completely on all counts. Indeed, the fall of Ebay is becoming a topic of conversation everywhere I go.
I just got back from some physical therapy and the first thing the therapist said was: “My daughter agreed with you about Ebay, it’s become a horrible place.” I stopped off at the library on the way home and a lady I know who works there began with a horror story about Ebay and Paypal. Amazing. What a disaster.
As I told them both, Ebay’s biggest problem is that their sellers were also their buyers.
This is a very, very common story. Things like this are bound to happen when eBay demands a minimum of 4.3 out of 5 stars for customer satisfaction on every level. That’s 86 percent completely, totally satisfied. How many huge retailers can claim they consistently have 86 blissful, perfectly satisfied customers out of 100? And let’s put the question this way: How many people are perfectly, blissfully satisfied with ANYTHING? Two factors are destroying eBay as we speak, as evidenced by the CNN article, “Has eBay Hit Its Twilight?” One, their demands upon sellers for customer satisfaction are unrealistic. Two, their “new search experience” is completely ignoring the small-volume sellers, burying their items on page 72 of 75, while Target-type superstores like Blue Nile get listing after listing after listing on page 1. Blue Nile doesn’t need eBay. The small sellers do. They depend on their income from eBay, whereas Blue Nile would be fine if they sold nothing on eBay at all. It’s the small sellers that made eBay the worldwide flea market it used to be, where people could find unique items at bargain prices. Now they’re being forced out of business by John Donahoe’s insane changes. There are bound to be lawsuits for years to come, because people are losing their livelihood. And slowly but surely, eBay will crumble and fall. There’s even a petition circulating to force John Donahoe to resign as a result of the CNN article. Personally, I think he’s an idiot. Only a low-grade moron would mess with a winning formula, making change after ridiculous change, until a once-unique and once-ultra-successful site becomes a mere shadow of its former self.
The fact that a French-man won the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature will certainly annoy the anglophiles. After all, everyone now accepts that English is the international language.
I apologise for the satire, but speak as a native English speaker. Then, if English is unacceptable, on grounds of linguistic imperialism, what about Esperanto?
Yes Esperanto was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, in the name of Icelandic poet Baldur Ragnarrson.
This is true. Esperanto does have its own original literature. Please check http://www.esperanto.net to confirm.
You are most welcome.
Merci for the mention!! Love Your Blog!The English Major Herself
Great! Hope we see you in a few weeks!
Hi Margie- So glad you found my little corner of the world. I have not decided yet if I’ll be attending. If I do, however, I don’t think I can blog live as I don’t have a laptop. But it’s not out of the question. I’ll look into this and get back to you.
I hope you might subscribe and let me know what is going on in the bookworld around the state. Thanks for reading!
I’m the gal working with Humanities Tennessee to promote the Southern Festival of Books. Thanks so much for the blog post. Will you be joining us at the festival? If so, would you consider live blogging on your site? We’d love to have you share the events with your readers.
Let me know if you are interested! We’d love for Memphians who are unable to join us to have a direct line to what’s going on. Margie (at) hallstrategies (dot) com.
Thanks for helping us spread the word!
Ah’m danged proud to have ya!
Ah like yer blog! The English Major
JJ_ Proud to have you as the first to comment. As always you’re succinct, interesting and correct. Let’s see if Justice rears up to be this guy in the behind or not.
There’s the ticket!
Great job, Bill, of nailing the commoditizating jerk of a CEO.
You know the flavor: the bean-counting suit on the Publishing House’s board who wonders why the publisher “can’t only sell the bestsellers, instead of all those other nobodies?”
Do you know what I saw in the news that I liked so much that applies to this situation? That US law snipped the strings on the Golden Parachutes of the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Be nice if this applied to all such riffraff for making a mint while driving a company into penury.
Give’m hell, Bill.
I’m liking what I’m reading thus far — good analysis, literary flavor, personal tastes inspected.
Keep it up!
In long and frequent bursts of creativity.
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