Home > Writing > THE LAST TOWN #3 Available for Pre-Order

THE LAST TOWN #3 Available for Pre-Order

Just a quick note to let you fine folks know that The Last Town #3: Waiting for the Dead is available for pre-order on Amazon at the following link. I wanted to give the pre-order functionality a trail run, and this seemed like a safe product to do it with. The serial addition should be automagically available on June 15, 2015.


  1. John Goodman
    May 24, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I have purchased and read both previous installments in the “Last Town” series, and enjoyed them. However, I can’t say I will continue to follow this serialization style of publishing for the following reasons. The pre-order details indicate the third installment will only be 30 pages in length. Sorry, but that is too short and not worth even the nominal $0.99 cost or the minimal time required to read it. The publication rate of one installment per six months means this story, if completed, will take several years to finish. While I like the premise of the story, I am not willing to devote that kind of time to a series that most likely will be abandoned, as it seems “The Retreat” series has been. Finally, it is my opinion that this approach to publishing is simply an abuse of the good nature of readers and is intended to maximize profit while providing minimal value.

    • May 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Sorry you’re unhappy, John. In Microsoft Word, The Last Town #3 comes out to 61 pages and 25,621 words–I don’t know how Amazon tabulates their page count in electronic format, but that’s hardly anything I have control over. There are plenty of other serials out there, but do let me correct you on one thing: at 99¢, I receive a remarkable 35¢ per sale. Splitting the earnings across TLT3’s word count (again, 25,621 words) and computing that on a cash per word basis as is common in the industry, that comes out to a staggering .001 cents per word. A princely sum to you, I’m certain. Let’s say I write 1,000 words per hour–that comes out to an absolutely usurious 1.3¢ for those 1,000 words, for that entire hour of my time. Why, that’s highway robbery. You’re right, I’m stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

      To be fair, the pace of publication isn’t what it should be, but the balance between life and business is precarious. I’m paying more attention to that, but the fact of the matter is, when something blows up in life, the writing is the first casualty. This is just how it is. Neither TLT or The Retreat are abandoned–I’ll continue to work out TLT, and Joe McKinney has the first draft of The Retreat 3 finished. All of little value to you, I’m sure. But hey–my apologies for giving you the impression I’m stringing you along. Always sad to lose a reader.

  2. John Goodman
    May 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks very much for your reply and your explanation of author per word remuneration. I certainly don’t consider $0.99 to be an outrageous price for a 25,000 word installment. And I am very glad to see an approximate 61 page count for TLT3, which I consider reasonable. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have purchased TLT1 and TLT2. If the Amazon page count for TLT3 was correct at 30 pages, then that would result in a $9.99 cost for a book of approximately 300 pages. While not a bank breaker, it certainly is at the high end for Kindle books in this genre. Financial success for authors has always depended on the number of people who read their work, not the per reader contribution. Obviously my individual contribution is trivial. My intention was simple… to register my disappointment in what seemed like a diminishing value per installment. I completely understand the pressures of life and the ability to meet work and personal life commitments. Still, if the Amazon estimate of 30 pages HAD BEEN correct, and that trend continued at one installment per 6 months, then it would take five years to publish a 300-400 page story, and that is not a level that would sustain my interest.

    As to losing a reader, you haven’t. Yesterday I purchased “White Tiger” and “City of the Damned Extended Edition”. Why? Because I like your writing style and your plots. Of course, both “White Tiger” and “City of the Damned” are novel length complete stories and their value is clear and self contained in each volume. Based on your previous work that I have read, I expect both novels to be extremely enjoyable.

    I am also very gratified to hear that Joe McKinney has finished the first draft of The Retreat 3. I especially liked the “Clown” zombies as being much more “realistic” than the classic Romero style “undead”. I also would like to complement you and your co-authors on your realistic treatment of the military and firearms in general. As a former combat veteran, I really appreciate your efforts to infuse realism into inherently unreal circumstances.

    Finally, based on your assertion that TLT3 will be in the same ballpark of 25,000 words (i.e. approximately 60 pages), you have convinced me to reconsider my previous assessment. Thank you for your time in clarifying the facts and please don’t spend my $0.35 contribution all in one place.

    • May 25, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, John. I hope you like White Tiger and City of the Damned. The former is completely different from the body of my work, and City of the Damned doesn’t have a zombie anywhere, but it does have old fashioned, malevolent vampires. Those are no longer in style, I’ve been told.

      I’ve not yet read The Retreat #: Die Laughing yet, but I’ve been told the battalion runs into things worse than the Klowns in Philadelphia, things of the human variety. I’m sure it’ll be good with Joe in the wheelhouse.

      Regarding costs: $9.99 is actually what a “legitimate”–i.e., released by the Big 5–ebook starts out at. I just glanced at the page of Dean Koontz’s Saint Odd, and his 354 electronic pages will set you back a massive $13.99. I may not be as popular as Koontz and don’t use the word “sluice” as often as he does, but there’s just no way in hell I would price a book that high. Or at $9.99. Or even $7.99. But then and again, his book is at #2,234 currently, and my co-authored work These Dead Lands: Immolation ($5.99, for 528 print pages, which is the only real way to arrive at a proper page count) is at #2,789. Maybe ol’ Deano and his publishers are on to something.

  3. John Goodman
    May 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Stephen, again thank you for your response and comments on e-book pricing. Please don’t think that pricing was the focus of my first post. It was almost incidental to my actual concern, a reduction in installment length. I think you have resolved my issue on that point.

    The price of a book is a function of many things. Length is typically not an issue for me in a single standalone work. In a serialized story length is an issue because it is indicative of rate of story progression, which in my opinion, is paramount. Dean Koontz (my wife loves his work and I have not read even one of his novels) is certainly an established author with a clear track record. I have paid big buck prices for certain published works and afterward asked myself if the book provided a good cost/benefit ratio. More often than not they don’t, but higher prices tend to track with an author’s past sales performance/popularity.

    Relative to sales rank, I am glad to see “These Dead Lands: Immolation” is doing well. I already own the Kindle edition, but have not read it yet.

    Relative to vampires, I am looking forward to your treatment of them, having written the book when vampires were evil and not the sexy little immortal darlings of today’s teen sex fantasies.

    On a side note, I just finished reading “Dead In The City of Angels”. It was good. Two points of note: 1) Poetic license aside, no legitimate FFL establishment would ever leave firearms unlocked. They are stored in a safe at night or the store itself is secured with shatterproof glass and barred windows. Just walking in and picking up guns (especially in California) is less credible than zombies themselves. Furthermore, no FFL would ever keep illegal high capacity magazines unlocked in a drawer. ATF agents show up unannounced periodically and can inspect any portion of the establishment. Who would risk prison just to have a 30 round mag in the store? Finally, Springfield XDM .45’s do come with 13 round magazines, but NOT in California. So, Orion’s pistol was equipped with an illegal magazine. 2) I really enjoyed the segment in the F350 Super Duty, since I was the 2nd-in-command Engineering Manager of the Super Duty vehicle program before I retired. FYI, at the initial program launch back in 1998, for a 10,000# GVW F350, it would take a 60 mph head on impact with a Taurus sized vehicle just to get the air bags to deploy. Plowing through zombies would be a “piece of cake”.

    • May 27, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      All good to know, and good to know that California is as oppressive with gun ownership as Konnektikut and The People’s Republic of New York. All that aside–it’s fiction, man. 🙂 Liotta set the pace, as you wisely deduced in your review, and I had to work with what I had.

      With regards to the Tiara, while I’ve never piloted one in CA, I have here. I can pretty much guarantee you the damage to the vessel is bang-on at the speeds it hit the zombies–insofar as I’ve never piloted a boat through zombies. Have dinged gel coat, though.

      The F-350 is going to be the replacement for my F-150–not because I need the capability, but just because I want one, the same way I want a Springfield XDm (in .45 AND 9) and an LWRC REPR. But alas, those items will have to await my return to Texas, there’s no chance of getting them here.

  4. John Goodman
    May 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Where to draw the line between realism versus the practicalities of producing an entertaining product, that is the question. I always prefer authors who do sufficient research to make stories as real as possible within the framework of the story. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves aren’t real but everything else is supposed to be. I prefer accuracy in fiction where defying the laws of physics isn’t required within the world of the story. Guns are critical in zompoc fiction for obvious reasons. Unfortunately too many inexperienced writers make no effort to become familiar with a tool that is usually critical to their story. So, I’m pretty stringent in this area because there is so much misinformation and distortion on the subject in the media that people wind up believing nonsense because they read it in a book or see it on TV. I think having been an automotive engineer and having been deposed several times by lawyers intent on deceiving jurors may be part of this character flaw.

    Regarding the boat physics, I will defer to your greater experience. My question was how many zombies does it take to fill the estuary in Marina Del Rey sufficiently that they can somehow reach the surface and become a hazard to navigation. Can zombies swim, do they become water logged and sink to the bottom, or do they float. Regardless, Zombie physics is whatever the author wants it to be. So, I won’t argue that point… it got the characters back on land, and that was required.

    If you get a Super Duty I hope you like it and I hope the product exceeds your expectations. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to drive a great many different types of vehicles under many extreme conditions. From race tracks to mountains, deserts, and swamps.

    The guns you mention, I already own, along with a variety of Glocks, 1911’s, S&W M&P’s, Sigs, Colts etc, and a few AR-15’s including two uppers in 300 Blackout with an appropriate suppressor (legally owned with the ATF tax stamp to prove it). Great fun to shoot, compete, hunt and even provide a means of self defense against zombies, if necessary. I also have developed sufficient skill (through lots of practice, formal training, and competition) to make headshots on slow moving targets at reasonable ranges with pistols or rifles. Again, books, TV, movies, and video games make people believe anyone can just pick up a gun without any knowledge or experience and effortlessly drop zombies at will. Hope they never have to find out.

    Thanks again for sharing your time in this dialog and best of luck with all your projects.

  5. May 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Forgot to mention, am the proud owner of a SIG P220R3 and a S&W Shield 9mm, which is my current personal carry. Also the ubiquitous Mossberg 500, of course!

  6. John Goodman
    May 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    The SIG P220R3 is the one with the full size frame, but short slide for carry, correct? SIG Sauer makes good guns. While I have a SIG P220 Equinox (very pretty gun) and a SIG P229 E2 (9mm) I am not a big fan of double action/single action pistols (although the smoothness of Sig’s trigger pull makes the transition from DA grip hold to SA hold doable with a minimum of effort). The S&W Shield is a good carry gun and with proper ammunition, the 9mm is just as effective in a defensive situation as .45 ACP and has more capacity.

    While I have some excellent compact handguns, I still prefer to carry a full size pistol. If I’m not carrying one of my favorite 1911’s, I will typically carry my Gen 4 Glock 17 or XDm 4.5 in 9mm. I also have a 5″ S&W M&P Pro Series C.O.R.E. (with the Deltapoint optic), which is very accurate for open classification matches ( I also use Glock 34 and XDm 5.25 pistols in matches as well).

    Shotguns??? I have an equally ubiquitous Remington 870 with extended capacity tube and Surefire Tac lite as well as a semi-auto Mossberg 930 JM (Jerry Miculek model) with 9 round tube. I use both pump and semi in various club 3-gun matches. Of course I have a half dozen other shotguns to shoot skeet, trap, and sporting clays… and hunting fowl.

    I will make one further comment regarding Damned in the City of Angels, not as a criticism but as a point of information. Being a native of Connecticut, I infer Jarret Liotta is not particularly versed in firearms, although he has obviously done some good research because most of his firearms references are accurate. But in the gunshop, Orion makes such a strong point about having to clean the Ruger LC9s because it is new in the box. While all firearm manuals recommend cleaning before firing (just like McDonald’s coffee cups warn you the coffee is HOT) no manufacturer would ever ship a gun that was unsafe to fire without being cleaned first… nope! Liability lawyers would just love that! I will say the Ruger LC9s (striker fired) pistol was a good choice for Samantha, but it still has 9mm recoil which is snappy for an inexperienced shooter, especially with a 17 oz. pistol. Also, “full metal jacket” and “military-grade ball ammunition” may sound sexy, but given a choice I would definitely go with 9mm Federal HST 147 grain hollow point ammo for Samantha’s LC9s. And if you want to sound sexy, refer to the 5.56x45mm AR-15 ammo as “M855 green tip ammo with steel penetrator”, which of course is military-grade. From Orion’s description we don’t know if he’s carrying 55 grain/M193 or 62 grain M855. But, if given a cornucopia of choices, I would have gone with either Mk 262 Mod 0/1 77 grain or Mk 318 Mod 0 (SOST) rounds which are OTMBT (Open-tipped Match Boat Tailed) projectiles. Sounds a lot cooler to me. Also, Orion should have added an XDm 9mm as his personal sidearm in order to have a commonality of ammo between him and Samantha. In subsequent books in this series, consider swapping out the LWRC upper for a 9″ 300 Blackout upper (7.62x35mm) and add a quick disconnect suppressor. The 300 Blackout, with 220 grain sub-sonic ammo is the perfect zombie killer out to 200 yards (i.e. 450 ft-lbs energy at 200 yards, about the same as a .45 ACP at the muzzle). And it’s quiet, about 125 decibels. Still not the “pfft” heard in movies, but about like a loud air gun pop. If you swap to supersonic ammo (bullets available from 115-167 grains) you will have approximately equivalent energy to the AK-47 7.62x39mm.

    I could drone on for hours about this stuff, but I’ll spare you and end it here.

  7. John Goodman
    June 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Glad Amazon corrected their word count estimate of TLT3 from 30 to 70 pages. Looking forward to reading this latest installment when it comes out on June 15.

    Best regards.

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