Posts Tagged ‘Tribes’

THE LAST TOWN Collection: Coming on August 31

So as is the standard for serials, I collected the six novellas of The Last Town and put together one enormously fat book, currently standing in at about 722 pages. I grew to like this story more and more as I wrote it, and in the end, I’m more-or-less happy with it. I have taken the opportunity to further expand the storyline however, adding a good six thousand plus words here and there, as well as altering the storyline just a touch by tossing in some more character development. Reese and Bates have more history, and the relationship between Norton and Danielle gets a wax and wash. I’ve also made Booker a little less of a useless tool, and eased Sinclair further along the road toward becoming more of a human being as opposed to just a noisome foil for Corbett. And I’m still looking to add a bit more luster to Victor and Suzy, as these two characters became my favorites. I’m not sure why it is, but I became especially fond of Victor. That seems to happen from time to time; in The Gathering Dead, I thought McDaniels would be my go-to guy, but it became Gartrell, instead.

I’ve also paved over some of the inconsistencies in the story, and added more detail to the suddenly-appearing contingency plans that popped up in #5 and #6. If I have the time, I’ll add in more combat after my editor, the ever-tenacious Lynn McNamee at Red Adept has her first slash at this mountain of text, so there’s some chance the release might top out closer to 800 pages by the time it’s ready for birthin’ at the end of August.

Pick it up here:

And yes, a new cover is on its way. The one here (with stenches a-burnin’) is just the placeholder work that I use for the series. It’ll have a different look than the others. I expect the print version to follow shortly thereafter, and I’m already looking down the road to getting an audio book presentation pulled together. That will be an extremely expensive proposition, as I’ll do what I did with Charges and pay it out up front.

All that having been said, other work continues: post-production on the audio version of These Dead Lands: Immolation, working on the sequel, These Dead Lands: Desolation, the still as-yet untitled The Retreat 5, as well as the prequel to The Gathering Dead, called Whispers of the Dead and Earthfall 2, the follow-up to Earthfall.

Some surprise snap releases also approach: Tribes and Plague City. Tribes is a standalone science fiction thriller set in the Antarctic, and Plague City is the first book of a trilogy about a super-plague that leaves the world a much less crowded place. Tribes is a book I’ve been messing around with since 2010, and it’s a more along the lines of City of the Damned than, say, any of the zombie stuff to date. Plague City has no supernatural features, and is essentially a post-apoc book, but full of chargin’ action.

Anyhow, more to come as things progress. I hope everyone is ready for a great summer!


Back In The Game

November 28, 2012 18 comments

Well, now that the dust has settled and things are mostly back to normal–as normal as things get around here, that is–I’m back at it, and banged out around 4,700 words last night on the latest book. I have to finish it by December 3, as that’s when I’m supposed to release it to the editor. Of course, it’s only 65% done, but hey, I’m up for it.

I was going to release Tribes as my next book, but it wasn’t coming along all that well for me, so I’ve tabled it for the moment until I can figure out how to make it more exciting and fun, something which has eluded me for some time. I like the general story, about researchers at the South Pole uncovering something from the distant past that has a great amount of value in the present day, valuable enough to finally push the United States into direct conflict with the happy People’s Republic of China with our intrepid researchers caught in the middle (and where their outpost is suddenly ground zero between U.S. Army Rangers and Chinese Marines), but while the framework is there, I’ve had a lot of trouble building up the body mass that such a story should sport. So, Tribes is out of the running for the nonce.

But reaching into my vast collection of old stories, scripts, and half-completed novels, I pulled out a work that thrilled the socks off me when I first wrote it. In 1983.

It’s a post-apocalypse science fiction adventure script called Earthfall, which I’ve been busily converting into a standalone novel. It takes place in the not-so-distant future where an unforunate nuclear exchange between the U.S. and a resurgent nationalist Russia pretty much altered the course of human history, as the detonation of several hundred nuclear weapons will do. The U.S. had a sustainment plan since the Reagan years called Harmony Base, a subterranean facility buried several hundred feet below the surface of western Kansas, where a mixture of civilians and military types essentially shelter in place for a decade before emerging from the base to rebuild and renew. A freak accident places the installation in jeopardy, and a team of explorers is dispatched to distant California, where they have to locate items that can restore Harmony Base to functionality–otherwise, everyone in the base will kick the bucket in two weeks.

Readers of The Gathering Dead series of books will instantly identify Command Sergeant Major Scott Mulligan as Gartrell’s progenitor. Like Gartrell did in the Dead books, Mulligan carries the dramatic weight of the story, a fifty-something warrior who is tasked to carry out one final mission in a world that’s just not as lifeless as it looks. I liken the work to The Road Warrior meets Damnation Alley with a little of The Hills Have Eyes thrown in for good measure. It should be released in ebook and print in the middle of December.

And after that, I start winding up on another McDaniels/Gartrell ouvre with some support from Sergeant Jorge Roche, presuming I can come up with a suitable story.

That’s all for now, folks. Next up, an update on The Gathering Dead film. Stay tuned.

Books, Movies, Comics: A General Update

I hope everyone’s doing well, and are healthy and happy!

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but it’s not because I’ve lost interest, have been abducted by aliens, or wound up as Scarlett Johansson’s newest boy toy. (Though she apparently does like dalliances with older guys, so I might still have a chance at that.) While I needed some downtime after moving heaven and earth to knock off The Rising Horde books, I’ve also been busy at work on other related projects that I’ll briefly detail here.


Sales for The Rising Horde: Volume 1 and The Rising Horde: Volume 2 are moving right along, especially on Amazon. Even better, their release caused some renewed interest in The Gathering Dead and, to a substantially lesser extent, Left with the Dead. I’m very, very happy with the pace of the sales of all the titles, but I see the spillover hasn’t touched any of the non-zombie books. I’m a bit concerned about this, because it makes me wonder if I’m going to wind up as a one-note writer: those guys who can only sell one specific type of property. I have a widely divergent list of interests and skills, and I’d hoped to be able to tap into that for fun and profit in the years ahead. But when I see some pretty rich fare such as City of the Damned and White Tiger essentially withering on the vine, it does make me take pause. This is a business for me, after all, not a hobby. So I need to be mindful of what I can and can’t do.

Which leads me to wonder if I should release Tribes, a decidedly non-zombified science fiction adventure novel set in the Antarctic, under the Stephen Knight monicker or if I should consider breaking out with another name. There’s a lot to be said for this approach, and there is some data that indicates folks only buy specific books from specific authors. While I like writing about zombies, their retinue is fairly limited, and I’ve already encountered resistance even to my mild attempts to spice up the genre by inserting some feral intelligence into some of the stenches. I get the desire on the part of the reader to want to enjoy similar good experiences, but as a writer, it does leave one feeling a bit boxed in. This is stuff I’ll have to contemplate strongly over the next couple of months as I finish Tribes and send it into the editorial stage.

After that, I have several other projects waiting for my tender ministrations. I haven’t decided which one I’ll do next, though I do have a lot of folks clamoring for more Gathering Dead-like fare. Will I, or won’t I? I’m afraid I don’t know myself, just yet.

Oh! And if you’ve read any of my stuff, please do leave a review wherever you purchased it. That’s always a thrill!


Yeah okay, the Indiegogo crowdfunding stuff is kind of sucking wind. But that’s all right, because at the end of the day, I wasn’t expecting a groundswell of support from that venue. The Gathering Dead is a very specialized product in that it deals with the military response to the zombie apocalypse, then specializes it even further by focusing on Army Special Forces. A lot of folks know about SEAL Team 6 (which hasn’t been called that in years, by the way), but the last time the Green Berets were on anyone’s mind was during the Vietnam War and because John Wayne played one who miraculously took in a glorious sunset where the sun somehow set in the South China Sea. But to that end, look for an Indiegogo Version 2.0 campaign sometime in the summer. By then, I’ll have my multi-thousand dollar trailer locked and loaded, and I’ll be able to better show people what I’m looking to do.

And about the trailer? Work is coming along nicely. Very nicely, but it’s not stuff that I can easily show. This is going to have to cook for another couple of months, and to reveal anything that’s not fully formed is going to hurt the initiative more than help it. I haven’t even shared it with my partners yet, because I know seeing partially-formed footage is going to be something of a downer at this point in time. They want something they can use to raise funds, and gray scale polygons and non-rigged animatics ain’t gonna do the trick. So I need to wait, and let the effects team do what they need to do.

But, there are other things happening on this front as well. I can’t speak about them directly just yet, but people are beginning to take notice of my little zombie picture and are inspecting it here and there. Some of these people are quite famous people as well, people the casual reader of this blog would know and say, “Really? XYZ is interested in The Gathering Dead? Wow!”

But interest is a fleeting thing, and balances are all very delicate. So for now, the less I say on that, the better. But things are continuing to progress in this area, albeit in more stealth mode than I would normally like.


I’m still following up on converting The Gathering Dead into a 100+ page graphic novel. Since I’m a bit of a control freak, I need to ensure that I fully vet the possible printers out there and understand their requirements fully. The folks who print my current books, Lightning Source, aren’t really adept at this kind of product, so I need to determine just who the final contenders will be and move from there.

In addition, I’ll need to assemble the following team:





Production engineer

Overall, it looks like the project will have an out-of-pocket pricetag of around $7,500-$15,000, which is enough to make me take it slowly and ensure that I take the right steps in the right order. Because hey, I really don’t want to have to spend twice as much as I need in order to get this done.

And for all three projects, it’s pretty much the same set of circumstances. I’m committed to doing as much by myself, for myself as I possibly can. Why? Because it’s my property, and while I recognize I’m going to need the participation of others–especially for the film!–I’m not going to cede any control unless it’s absolutely necessary. Because at the end of the day, everyone else gets to walk away from these projects with money in hand. I’m the one who has to shoulder the mistakes and failures, while everyone gets to share in the glory.

And my aim is ensure there’s more of the latter than the former. Approaching it in any other way is just looney, and I’m sure you guys would agree!

Anyway, more to come. Stay tuned, folks.

In The Pipeline: TRIBES

February 9, 2012 2 comments
Tribes cover art

Once I put The Rising Horde to bed–and it goes to the editor on March 26, 2012, which is a hard date–I’ll start work on my next project, a science fiction adventure set in the Antarctic called Tribes. Jared Rackler provided me with a cover mockup last year, and I’d hoped to have the book finished and available in January. (Alas, such grandiose plans go awry!) That obviously didn’t happen, but the wheel slowly turns, and what promises to be a crackling good adventure read is coming around again. I have a fair-sized portion of the book complete, and will post some snippets once I’m comfortable with the book’s progress.

Readers of my past efforts will doubtless expect some feats of derring-do, including some nice military pieces. In Tribes, I’ll be offering a glimpse into what might happen if the United States and the People’s Republic of China square off in what would be considered a contingency operation. That is, U.S. Army Rangers and PRC Marines going toe-to-toe in the frozen wastelands down under, while a group of scientists and their game-changing discovery are caught in the middle.
No zombies in this one, I should tell you. And CSM Gartrell won’t be making a cameo either, just in case anyone might have hopes for that. This might be a bit of a divergence from my past works, perhaps closer to Hackett’s War as opposed to The Gathering Dead, but the general thrust will be the same: rug-pull adventure, high drama, a high-stakes game, and even a bit of romance for once. (I threw that one in for the ladies.)
Stay tuned for that. I command you!
And also check back in a few days for some news about The Gathering Dead. Things are getting interesting, now that The Rising Horde shambles closer and closer to eventual release…