Tag Archives: Black Flagged

Interview with Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

International man of mystery, ex-pat, author and father: Alex Shaw

Alex ShawThe Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview series is back, and there’s no better author to mark its return than Alex Shaw. A U.K. native and international business consultant, Alex is uniquely suited to writing the world-spanning thrillers offered in his Aidan Snow novels—he’s either resided in or extensively visited most of the locations detailed in books. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he’s been to Maine, the setting for Black Line, his Kindle Worlds novella, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his travels have brought him to the Maine coast. Without further delay, let’s have a chat with Sir Alex Shaw. I couldn’t resist that.

91hSmTvBwBL._SL1500_How did you link Black Line to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I linked my story by having it happen at the same time as the Perseid Collapse, but futher up the coast in Camden. None of the original characters appear in the first novella for the simple reason that I wanted to have as much freedom as possible with the story and characters.

And I presume you’ll deny colluding with Murray McDonald (another infamous denizen of the U.K.) to single handedly destroy another American city? I’m noticing a trend with the U.K. authors. ;)

I think you’ve capitalized on a unique feature of The Perseid Collapse Kindle World, by keeping the original characters out of your story. Stories can center on the collapse, and not my characters or specific events. This has the added benefit of widening the scope of writers that will feel comfortable writing in the world. The Perseid Collapse World isn’t reserved for post-apocalyptic writers.

That’s what attracted me to the concept. My story is very much a thriller, as this is what I generally write, and am most comfortable with.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for covert operations thrillers—another reason I was “thrilled” to hear you were interested in writing for the world.

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

The themes of Russian aggression and terrorism are present in my novels, which are partly set in Ukraine (Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East). These two themes are also present in Black Line, however the terrorism now emanates from China.

I heard a rumor that the Russians might be involved Black Line too. Sorry, small spoiler.

Let’s talk about your main character for a minute. I think readers will like Jack Tate. What can you tell us about him?

Jack Tate is a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS), who has been seconded to a new unit within the British Intelligence Service (SIS). He has been posted to the US, and is on vacation before starting his new role. I think readers will like Tate, as he sees the US from a foreigner’s point of view, and is not as jaded by any political, class or racial views. He is almost like one of King Arthur’s nights in his quest to protect the innocent, but he doesn’t ride a horse.

Are you saying Americans have strong views on politics? I’m not sure where you got that idea? ;) Tate is a fantastic character. I particularly appreciate his no nonsense approach and response to American customs and procedures. It’s a fascinating view through a unique set of eyes.

I couldn’t help notice that you like to write about SAS operatives—a trend that extends through your other novels. I’m sure readers that enjoy Black Line will want to know about your core series.

81UJKCNbSiL._SL1500_ 81r00-i5SbL._SL1500_ 81pxJGZ0e3L._SL1500_I wrote a series of thrillers with an ex-SAS character Aidan Snow: Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East. These deal more with Islamic terror and Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. In Black Line, Jack Tate is a way for me to explore what would happen if a character with the same training as Aidan Snow found himself in the US during a catastrophic, EMP induced collapse. Despite the similarity in character backgrounds, Tate is significantly different than Aidan Snow.

I also wrote the first, in what will be a series, of Military vampire books: Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency

Now I’m very intrigued. Maine has hosted its share of vampires in fiction. Most notably Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. This may sound crazy, but I think you could have brought your special operations vampires to Maine, and felt right at home. It would have been a Perseid Collapse first…not that I’m pressuring you. ;)

Speaking of pressure as a writer, most authors contributing to the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I found Black Line faster to write than my novels, as the pace was faster and the story required less research. Jack Tate is a tourist, and like me, he is seeing things for the first time.

Let’s shift to your background. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

When I had the idea to start writing I was living in Ukraine and reading a lot of SAS thriller genre books, what these showed me was that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational stuff, they did not know much about some of the locations they were using. One book mentioned Ukraine, briefly. As no one else was writing about Ukraine (the largest European country) I decided that I would. 

It took me 12 years to finish my first novel, I was writing on and off, and sometimes the off lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could write so wanted to prove to myself that I could. I then took a year trying to get an agent or publisher and failed, before discovering CreateSpace and later KDP. When Kindle launched in the UK I suddenly started to sell quite a few copies. It wasn’t until five years later that, after having written two more books and some novellas, that I decided to approach publishers again. I approached five and got two offers. I now have a contract with Endeavour Press to publish my first three novels. 

That’s a fantastic success story. The world of writing and publishing has certainly changed, and you appear to embody the best of those changes. Do you have a background related to your writing? Interests?

I lived in Ukraine, and still visit when I can (my wife’s side of the family are in Kyiv), which is why I write about the place and the life of ex-pats, as I used to be one. I travelled extensively with my work in the past, so I generally try to write about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. This is most noticeable in my second novel, Cold Black, when I write about Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Moscow and Kyiv. I wasn’t in the military or the Secret Intelligence Service, but have friends who have been in both, who are a great help to me. I’m interested in world affairs, which probably is apparent in my writing…and I tend to attempt to be funny.

I’d say your attempts at humor hit the mark. Conversing back and forth with you is always a pleasure.

This may seem like a silly question to you, but your answer will be informative for American readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

We don’t tend to have preppers or homesteaders in the UK, but I do have a few spare tins in the cupboard. When I was kid I was fascinated by a fact I heard (it may have been nonsense) that in Sweden all new houses had to be built with nuclear fall-out shelters underneath. My Nan had an old WW2 underground shelter in her back garden which had been filled in and I used to daydream about what it would be like to use it. I suppose the Walking Dead really rekindled my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction but what also annoyed me (and made me want to write for the Perseid Collapse Kindle World) was that they only showed a very small part of the picture in the US. I wanted to know what happened in the UK, or in the Caribbean or on a military submarine base or in the Artic. Could, would and did it also happen there?

I think the Cold War and the nuclear threat stoked the post-apocalyptic fires around the world…not to mention The Walking Dead. Would it be fair to say that you still see nuclear weapons as the most likely threat today?

At the moment I think the biggest threat to world stability is the possibility of an idiot detonating a nuclear weapon. Be it the Islamic State, Putin or the fat baby in charge of North Korea.

The skinny, underfed Generals surrounding Kim Jong Un wouldn’t agree with you. In their eyes, he’s svelte!

What are you working on next, aside from a vampire installment to The Perseid Collapse Series World?

My third Aidan Snow novel, COLD EAST, was published a few weeks ago. It follows the storyline of a missing suitcase nuke that has been found by al-Qaeda. But being a thriller, it’s not that simple. The question quickly becomes: who really has the nuke and what is the target?

Ah, the good ole’ days of twists and turns. I wrote more of those than I care to admit in the Black Flagged books.

Beyond my latest release, I have three works in progress, which will hopefully appear later in the year. One is my second military vampire novel, the second is a crime novel and the third is an offshoot of the Aidan Snow books.

Sounds like you’ll be busier than ever this year, which is a good feeling!

Check out Alex Shaw’s website at http://www.alexwshaw.com, where you can find news and links to all of his works.

Of course, don’t forget to check out Black Line, Alex’s novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

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The Definitive Interview by Robert Bidinotto

photo-robert-bidinottoRobert Bidinotto (pictured left) and I share a little history. Our first novels were featured by Amazon (in the same promotion) during a CyberMonday sale three years ago, essentially launching our book writing careers. Robert’s political/espionage thriller HUNTER sold untold thousands of copies. It became an overnight sensation, and rightfully so. We’ve kept in touch over the years, sharing strategies and comparing notes. I was thrilled to hear that Robert would feature me in an interview, adding me to an incredible list of authors that have “sat around the table” with him. Check out his interview page HERE. Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, J. Carson Black, Ian Graham, Allan Leverone…this list goes on. Well, I’ve rambled on long enough.

Check out the Definitive Steven Konkoly Interview

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The Black Flagged Series gets a facelift by Jeroen ten Berge

Published nearly three years ago, Black Flagged’s cover has morphed to reflect the ever changing Technothriller market. Check out the evolution of Black Flagged’s cover, followed by Jeroen ten Berge’s latest design concept. I’m beyond thrilled to share these.

0440 Steven Konkoly ecover Black Flagged

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1142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_2

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Redesign:

1142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_21142 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_21144 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_APEX_51149 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_VEKTOR_2

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Cover reveal and blurb for Point of Crisis: Book Three in the Perseid Collapse Series

Getting close to the end now. With a launch date set for July 20th, I thought it was time to reveal what I’ve been slaving over for three-month, in between boat work, garden prep, yard prep, spring school festivities, dance recitals, book revisions…a little sleep here and there. Poor me, right? Not really.  Take a look at Jeroen ten Berge’s knock out design for the third, and possibly the last installment to The Perseid Collapse series. I haven’t decided if this is the last Fletcher adventure. Truly, that’s up to you—the reader. I will return to the Black Flagged books next, no matter what you say. I promised, and I keep my promises. A teaser blurb follows the cover, so keep scrolling. I’m extremely excited about this story.

1114 Steve Konkoly ebook POINT OF CRISIS_3_4L

 

“In the aftermath of the brutal attack on his family compound, Alex Fletcher embraces his rapidly expanding role within the New England Regional Recovery Zone (RRZ). Fueled by a limitless drive to protect his family and a rekindled sense of duty, he enlists the reluctant aid of a local militia commander—to help ease the public’s fears of a federal government takeover and maintain civil order within the Security Area (SA).

As Captain Fletcher digs deeper into the government’s plans, he starts to question the federal government’s intentions—and capability to stabilize the situation in New England. With the region’s major port facilities destroyed and the nation’s electrical grid crippled, Alex can’t envision how the government can supply the camps throughout the winter. He predicts a human cataclysm, with several hundred thousand desperate refugees marching north—into Maine.

At the same time, Alex learns that Eli Russell has started to rebuild his militia. Obsessed with finding and eliminating the psychopath that attacked his family, Alex scours the back roads to find him before he can destabilize the tenuous security situation in southern Maine—unaware that Eli’s plans are far more personal.

With the world swiftly unraveling around him, Alex will face his most difficult decisions ever…”

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Podcast interview with Tim Knox

at Interviewing Authors. 

I’m going to come clean right now and tell everyone that I went into this interview thinking Tim Knox was “just some guy” putting together author interviews. To say I didn’t invest in a little due diligence is an understatement. I’ve been so busy lately, I devoted all of my prep time to outlining talking points for the interview and securing a pair of headphones (with mic) that didn’t make me sound like I was talking from outer space. I travelled really far to find them too…my son’s room (I knew he wasn’t talking to himself while playing games online).

With the bulk of my “spare” time exhausted, I really had no idea “who” I was talking to when I donned the headphones. Well, Tim Knox is not “just some guy.” Holy %$#! I’m glad I took this seriously! Tim is a widely respected talk radio host, author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker…the list goes on. Check out his official website. The man gets around. He’s been there and done that…twice. Not only that, he’s a great guy, or maybe the southern accent disarmed me.

Needless to say, the interview was fantastic. Take a listen or read the transcript here. With a focus on entrepreneurship, Tim convinced me to give up my million dollar secret…unfortunately, that secret involved non-stop writing for several more years. I was looking for a quicker method.

 

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The Perseid Collapse goes live

Not that this comes as a big surprise. Still, it’s a little surreal to know that another book is out there, for anyone to read.

It’s a little scary too, since this is what I do for a living now. Write books. I no longer have a convenient paycheck rolling into my bank account, on top of what Amazon pays me. It’s actually a lot more exciting than scary, and it couldn’t feel better.

With that said, The Perseid Collapse is now available on Amazon. You can download the ebook or pre-order a hardcopy(will be shipped Dec 6th), or wait for the audiobook in January—can you really wait?

Apparently, someone has already read and reviewed The Perseid Collapse. It’s an incredible review, capturing the essence of the story.

Check it out: First Amazon Review for The Perseid Collapse.

Another review just hit Amazon from award winning writer and apocalyptic author, Joseph Souza: Souza’s Review

Welcome to  The Perseid Collapse world! 

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One for the Black Flagged fans

I realize all you have been hearing lately is “Perseid Collapse this and Jakarta Pandemic that.” I’ve admittedly been in POST-APOCALYPTIC mode for nearly five months at this point, and I haven’t spoken a word about Black Flagged and the Petrovich’s, aside from assuring everyone that THEY WILL RETURN.

While writing the acknowledgments for The Perseid Collapse, I commented that my wife has been instrumental to the difficult shift between The Petrovich’s in the Black Flagged series to the Fletcher’s in The Perseid Collapse. After writing FOUR Black Flagged novels, it wasn’t easy.

Writing those lines reminded me of a short story I had written about Daniel Petrovich’s early years, when he went by a different name, Marko Resja. I haven’t mentioned this piece in a while, and some of you may not be familiar with it. It’s buried in Black Flagged Redux, at the end of the novel. At some point, it will fit into one of my novels…when I go back and tell Daniel, Jessica and General Sanderson’s stories. Black Flagged Beginnings. Until then, I still owe you Black Flagged Book Five, which will end the current CORE series. I hope to start working on this in the spring of 2014. Coming up soon.

Here is the excerpt I wrote for Black Flagged Beginnings. Unedited. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Black Flagged Beginnings

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The Perseid Collapse series concept

The past few weeks have yielded a changes. Big changes. I’ll share one of them with you now, and the other in a few days.

First, after an impromptu strategy session with cover designer, Jeroen ten Berge, I decided to expand the Perseid Collapse universe into a multiple book series (three minimum).  I had originally planned a single novel, with the possibility of a sequel, but 50k words into the story (200 pages), I had only finished one-third (barely) of my storyboard. Not only was The Perseid Collapse heading into uncharted page-count territory, but I felt like I was holding back to keep the novel length under control. I don’t like to hold back in my novels, so I picked a logical break point on my storyboard and divided it into two books, adding additional scenes and incorporating a new thread into the overall series concept. Nearly 20K words later, I can assure you this was the right decision. The new thread binds the books together far more tightly than I had originally envisioned. I’m extremely happy with the result.

What does this mean for you? The Perseid Collapse books will be shorter (325-375 words), but they will arrive more frequently. Since book two is already plotted, I will start it immediately upon completing book one. I typically take a month off between books…not this time. I anticipate launching The Perseid Collapse in early December and The Perseid Collapse: Event Horizon in March. The third book, The Perseid Collapse: Point of Crisis, will likely arrive in the fall of 2014.

At this point, the Black Flagged series readers are probably scratching their heads, wondering what has happened to Black Flagged Reprisals. Have no fear, Reprisals is on target for early summer 2014. I had to push it back, just slightly to accommodate the revival of the apocalyptic world started with The Jakarta Pandemic. While The Jakarta Pandemic and Black Flagged series are distinctly different worlds, The Perseid Collapse series incorporates more of the technothriller flair that I’ve developed over four Black Flagged books. Without reading The Jakarta Pandemic (though I highly encourage it), Black Flagged readers should be able to sink right into The Perseid Collapse series, feeling very comfortable in a gritty, fast paced, plot twist rich environment.

The fall promises to be an exciting time. More big news on the way! Be sure to sign up for my new release updates list HERE

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Sample Chapters of The Perseid Collapse

I have decided to release “unedited” chapters of The Perseid Collapse periodically until the novel’s release in December. A fair number of you have waited VERY patiently for me to return to the apocalyptic genre, so I thought I would give you something to hold you over until the launch. I anticipate posting roughly one chapter per week through November, which should bring you about a third of the way through Alex Fletcher’s latest survival journey.

Yes, the Fletchers are back, just as the United States has effectively settled into a comfortable, but tenuous post Jakarta Pandemic routine. A new era of isolationism has emerged, with the economy stabilized and the population better prepared for disaster.  On the surface, its business as usual in the United States, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that one thing has remained the same. Trust in the government is at an all time low. The collective memory of twenty-six million deaths (nearly one in every ten citizens) during the Jakarta Pandemic runs like a shallow current, waiting to break through the thin facade of prosperity and confidence. The Perseid Collapse takes place in 2019, six years after The Jakarta Pandemic. It starts with a “Mass Event” that instantly shatters the fragile barrier…and unleashes a torrent of fear, panic and mistrust.

Of course, the Fletchers will be caught up in the middle of it…and they’ll no longer have the option of secluding themselves in the comfort and safety of their “prepper” paradise. I’m taking all of that away from them in The Perseid Collapse…from the very start. If you enjoyed The Jakarta Pandemic, or my Black Flagged novels, I guarantee this one will grab you from the beginning. Part technothriller, all apocalyptic…The Perseid Collapse is the best of both worlds.

You can find and download the chapters from my blog, either at the top right corner of my blog or on The Perseid Collapse page accessible at the very top of my blog. The chapters are available in Word or PDF form. You can save these on your computer and upload them to your Kindle. If you don’t know how to do that, let me know…it sure beats reading on a computer screen.  

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Doubleshot Review of Black Flagged

I’ll come clean on this one. Through the wonders of Facebook and the internet, I consider the reviewer and her husband friends…HOWEVER, I was biting my nails waiting for “Headshot Heather” to read and review Black Flagged. “Headshot” does not refer to photography (she’s a zombie genre fan…one shot, one kill) and I knew going in that she was a big fan of Jack Bauer and the series “24.” Big shoes to fill, or at least stand in. All of this produced a little “anxiety.” Headshot Heather is a straight shooter (bad pun…I know), so this could have gone sideways on me very quickly. Nothing risked, nothing gained. I’m breathing a little easier now.

Check out Doubleshot Reviews’ take on Black Flagged. 

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