WHAT I READ IN 2019 and the first month of 2020

This topic often comes up in conversation, and I often lead with “I don’t read nearly as much as I did before I started writing.” While that may be true, after doing a little back-tracking into 2019, I came up with a fairly healthy list of books that I somehow found the time to read.

I’d like to share that list with you, to include a few words about the titles or series. I’ll also link these titles to Amazon if you want to dig deeper. No affiliate income is derived from these links. I probably missed a few books…as I created the list, I thought of more.

LITERARY FICTION:

  • We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter – Heart wrenching, based on the true story about one Polish-Jewish family’s epic struggle to survive the World War II. Compelling from star to finish.
  • YES…I need to expand this section in 2020!

HORROR:

  • Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay – Modern day, sublime version of The Exorcist…and so much more. The end will blow you away.
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Trembly – Made me scared to get up in the middle of the night…again.
  • The Outsider by Stephen King – King at his best. Read the book and then watch the HBO series. They compliment each other perfectly.
  • The Institute by Stephen King – Loved this one. Had an epic feel. The end will leave you thinking hard for days to come.
  • We Sang In The Dark by Joe Hart – (Not yet released) This one left me afraid of the dark for a while. Joe has a way of doing that with his novels.

THRILLER (Any subgenre):

  • Recursion by Blake Crouch – Mind-blowing. Just get it right now and take this incredible journey.
  • Don’t Make a Sound by T.R. Ragan – (Not yet released) Takes the revenge thriller to the next level in a gritty and chillingly realistic hunt for a killer.
  • Origami Man by Matthew FitzSimmons – (Not yet released) Hard to beat the first four books in the Gibson Vaughn series, but FitzSimmons does it handily. Highly recommend the series!
  • A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos – Underdog, scrappy lawyer caught up in vicious conspiracy. Edgar nomination for Best Novel.
  • The Killer’s Wife by Victor Methos – Serial killers and a haunted prosecutor. Twists and turns galore.
  • Pray for the Girl by Joseph Souza – Edgy, tense…will keep you guessing until the end.
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty – One of the most inventive premises I’ve read in a long time. Unputdownable.
  • Green Sun by Kent Anderson – A hypnotic cop thriller set in early 1980’s Oakland, California. Couldn’t put it down.
  • The Eighth Sister (Charles Jenkins Book 1) by Robert Dugoni – Flawlessly executed espionage novel and white-knuckle journey through the byzantine world of modern intelligence.
  • The Last Agent by Robert Dugoni – (Not yet released) Book 2 in Charles Jenkins series. Knocks it out of the park with a full throttle cat and mouse spy story.
  • The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler – A mashup of Eisler’s most iconic characters in full-tilt covert operations thriller.
  • Dark Tomorrow (Lisa Tanchik Book 2) by Reece Hirsch – (Not yet released) Cyber-espionage and warfare amidst a high stakes federal manhunt for a murderous sleeper agent.
  • The Spider Heist by Jason Kasper – Not your ordinary bank heist book. Not by a long shot. High octane action and twisty plot.
  • The David Rivers Thrillers (Books 1-5) by Jason Kasper – Gritty, brutal, unapologetic action by a former Green Beret. Burned through these books one after another.
  • Murder Board (Boston Crime Thriller Book 1) by Brian Shea – Brian Shea is the real deal. A veteran detective turned thriller author…It truly doesn’t get any better.
  • The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carre – Classic le Carre. Meticulous. Sets the standard.

POST-APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN/SCI-FI:

  • Bar at the End of the World by Tom Abrahams – Tom takes a killer premise and builds a dystopian world like you’ve never seen before.
  • Winter World (The Long Winter Trilogy Book 1) by A.G. Riddle – Classic A.G. Riddle. End of the world story that takes reader across space and time.
  • Solar War by A.G. Riddle – Book 2 in the Long Winter Trilogy. Riddle does what he does best…pushes the story to unimaginable places.
  • Our War by Craig DiLouie – A second civil war burns out of control across America. Brilliant rendering of a worst case scenario that feels all too real.
  • Sons of War by Nicholas Sansbury Smith – (Not yet released) As always, Smith reboots the post-apocalyptic genre with a unique story of a societal collapse.
  • The Path Between Worlds by Paul Antony Jones – Epic, saga like potential set in a world beyond imagination, but eerily familiar.
  • Forward Collection (short stories by Andy Weir, Blake Crouch, NK Jemisin, Paul Tremblay, Veronica Roth and Amor Towles) – Take your pick…you can’t go wrong with this powerhouse group of authors.
  • The Second Sleep by Robert Harris – Eerie from start to finish. A slow burn, dystopian masterpiece.

NON-FICTION:

  • Red Notice by Bill Browder – A sweeping indictment of Russian corruption and malice. Fast paced, expertly crafted. A must read.
  • Bad Blood by John Carreyrou – Investigative masterpiece chronicling the rise and fall of Theranous, a nebulous and sinister Silicon Valley startup.
  • The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder – Hard hitting book. “A stunning new chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.
  • The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis – “Masterfully and vividly unspools the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works.

THE RAID (Ryan Decker 2) is now available

Book 2 in the Ryan Decker series is now available internationally at Amazon (see links below book cover) in ebook, paper and audiobook formats.

A Border Patrol murder exposes a high-level conspiracy in USA Today bestselling author Steven Konkoly’s explosive thriller.

After exposing and dismantling a deep-state conspiracy that nearly destroyed his life, Ryan Decker finds his covert skills have put him on the radar of influential Senator Steele. Now Steele needs his help. Two patrol agents were killed in a bizarre explosion near the US-Mexico border—and the evidence doesn’t line up with the official story.

Enlisted by Steele to run an undercover, off-the-books investigation, Decker and his partner, Harlow, head to the border town of Tecate. But when they’re caught in an ambush, Decker realizes they’ve stumbled onto something far more dangerous than any of them understood.

The cover-up is rooted deep in the Department of Defense itself. Fearful for their own lives and unable to trust anyone outside their small circle of skilled associates, Decker and Harlow set in motion a risky plan to stop a criminal conspiracy.

US AND INTERNATIONAL LINKS BELOW! Available at AMAZON in ebook, hard copy, hard cover and audiobook form.

CLICK HERE FOR THE U.S. STORE

CLICK HERE FOR THE UK STORE

CLICK HERE FOR AUSTRALIA

CLICK HERE FOR CANADA

THE RESCUE (Ryan Decker Book One) — The #1 Thriller on Amazon during March 2019!

WOW! It has been over a year since I last posted here. Crazy that more than a year has passed since the last Steven Konkoly book. I promise I won’t make you wait that long again. That said, I think you’ll find the long wait to have been well worth it.

THE RESCUE has arrived, featuring Ryan Decker, Harlow Mackenzie and a cast of memorable characters that early readers have thoroughly enjoyed. Don’t take my word for it! Over 600 reviews with a 4.6 out of 5 average speak for THE RESCUE.

US AND INTERNATIONAL LINKS BELOW! Available at AMAZON in ebook, hard copy, hard cover and audiobook form.

CLICK HERE FOR THE U.S. STORE

CLICK HERE FOR THE UK STORE

CLICK HERE FOR AUSTRALIA

CLICK HERE FOR CANADA


Sucked into a FIRE STORM

That’s what will happen when you start reading book 3 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Fire extinguisher is probably the right answer.

FIRE STORM: Book 3 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles is now available in ebook and hard copy format. Audiobook will be available in mid-March.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE KINDLE BOOK

CLICK HERE OT ORDER A PAPER COPY

SOMETHING MERCILESS WATCHES OVER THE OUTBREAK–GUIDING ITS COURSE.

Having narrowly survived the KILL BOX, HOT ZONE’s hardened survivors and their KILL BOX allies separate to pursue different objectives–outside of the Indianapolis quarantine zone.

For David Olson, that means bringing his son south, to the safe haven of his parents’ home–far away from the infected cities. Eric Larsen takes him up on the offer to rest and heal at the house, before departing on the long journey to find his family in Colorado.

For Rich and his secretive black ops team, that means transporting Dr. Chang and Dr. Hale to a secure facility out east, where they will join the nation’s few surviving bioweapons researchers–with the hopes of pinpointing the source of the virus and possibly developing a vaccine.

Neither group will get very far, before the true face of the evil controlling the Zulu Virus arrives–tempting them with irresistible opportunities.

DANGEROUS OPPORTUNITIES, WITH THE POTENTIAL TO SWEEP THEM RIGHT INTO A LETHAL FIRESTORM

Your KILL BOX has arrived

Not something you normally hear! 

FOURTEEN NOVELS—8,000 pages—6,300 Amazon reviews later, I bring you….

A FIFTEENTH NOVEL. 

KILL BOX: Book 2 in The Zulu Virus Chronicles is now available in ebook and hard copy format. Audiobook is on the way (early January).

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE EBOOK

CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PAPER COPY

A LETHAL BIOWEAPON HAS BEEN RELEASED ACROSS AMERICA.

With their daring escape plan thwarted at the last possible moment, HOT ZONE’s motley band of survivors faces a worst-case scenario. Forced to take refuge near the epicenter of the bioweapons outbreak, deep inside in a city gone mad, THEIR TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

Unable to slow or adequately contain the infected population, the government has triggered KILL BOX, a desperate and merciless contingency protocol.

HOT ZONE’s survivors have less than twenty-four hours to escape the KILL BOX.

The Zulu Virus Chronicles places you at ground zero during a chillingly realistic, insidious “event.” This is a story about regular people from different walks of life coming together to survive an unthinkable disaster.

Welcome to the KILL BOX!

 

Author Steven Konkoly and the Wonderful World of Audiobooks

I know. The blog post title sounds like some kind of movie nobody should watch, or an audiobook nobody should listen to! I figured the worse the title, the more curious you’d be. Morbidly curious.

HOT ZONE just hit the audiobook shelves at Audible and iTunes, so instead of a post with a single title, I thought I’d create a post listing all of my audiobook titles. A one stop reference for those of you with long commutes, long walks to take, long breaks at work OR those of you who simply don’t like to “READ.” I know who you are!

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR EACH STORE

I’ll start with HOT ZONE and break it down by series after that. Happy Listening!

HOT ZONE at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES



THE PERSEID COLLAPSE SERIES

 

THE PERSEID COLLAPSE (BOOK 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

EVENT HORIZON (BOOK 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

POINT OF CRISIS (BOOK 3) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

DISPATCHES (BOOK 4) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES (sort of a prequel)



THE BLACK FLAGGED SERIES

 

ALPHA (Book 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

REDUX (Book 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

APEX (Book 3) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

VEKTOR (Book 4) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

OMEGA (Book 5) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES



THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES

 

FRACTURED STATE (Book 1) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

ROGUE STATE (Book 2) at  AUDIBLE | iTUNES

 

Welcome to the HOT ZONE

Not words you’d typically want to hear under any other circumstances.

HOT ZONE, the first book in THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, is now available in Kindle or hard copy on Amazon. The audiobook version will follow in August. HOT ZONE is also enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program.

CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE KINDLE VERSION

CLICK HERE TO GRAB A PAPER COPY

While you wait for you book to arrive or download, check out my recent chat with LEE WEST, author of the Blue Lives Apocalypse series. Lee was one of first to read HOT ZONE, providing some spot on developmental advice. You can also CLICK HERE to check out THE ZULU CHRONICLES VIRUS PRIMER for more information about the series.

QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH STEVEN KONKOLY:

Lee: Having just finished HOT ZONE, I’ll start out by saying “I see what you did there.”

Steve: Is that a good or bad thing?

Lee: It’s a very good thing. For those of you wondering, there’s a subtle tie-in to one of your previous series, I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that it’s brilliant, hiding just below the surface. Obviously, you did this on purpose. Can you expand on that?

Steve: Guilty as charged. When I set out to write another series in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/disaster genre, I wanted to take it in a different direction than most of the books recently written in the genre. I didn’t have to look very far. I had been sitting on a devastating scenario since 2012, when I wrote REDUX: A Black Flagged thriller. I had already created the perfect bioweapon, and put it in the hands of some very nefarious people. They just never got to use it thanks to some skilled and enterprising American operatives. The ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES imagines what might have happened if that virus had been released.

Lee: So this isn’t a Black Flagged book.

Steve: Right. Fans of those books will find a few Easter Eggs, but this is an entirely new story that every thriller reader will enjoy. There’s no homework required to read the ZVC books.

Lee: That’s good to hear. Nobody likes homework. You obviously enjoy unleashing viruses on the world—that sounded kind of odd, didn’t it?

Steve: It did, but let’s go with it.

Lee: I’ll rephrase it. This isn’t the first time you’ve fictionally unleashed a virus on an unsuspecting world. Your first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, imagined what it might take for an everyday family to survive a lethal pandemic and the ensuing societal collapse. In HOT ZONE, I strongly sensed a return to that type of storytelling.

Steve: I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that. I really wanted to return to my roots with the ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, and tell the kind of story that launched my career. The Jakarta Pandemic was an intimate, if not claustrophobic, look at a pandemic’s impact on “normal people.” It focused less on the disease itself and more on the unpredictability of the human factor.

Lee: That’s what made it so fascinating in my opinion. It bucked all previous trends, focusing on regular citizens instead of the usual “CDC scientist running around the world saving the day.” Your characters barely left their neighborhood, and the neighborhood nearly killed them.

Steve: I take a similar approach in HOT ZONE, but the characters won’t have the luxury of lingering in one place for very long. Readers will get a taste of several different walks of life, as the disaster unfolds around this diverse group of characters. By the time the outbreak is in full swing, the characters will be doing what they do best in my books. Trying to survive. Moving frequently will be one of the keys to survival in this series.

Lee: You certainly don’t make it easy on your characters in this one. I can attest to that. I do have to call you out on one thing. There’s a hint of conspiracy in HOT ZONE, and a scientist who looks like he might be in a position to “save the day.” He definitely falls into the regular character category for now, but I see some potential. Am I wrong?

Steve: I can neither confirm nor deny the expansion of his role in future books, but I do like to take characters out of their comfort zones, so we’ll see. As for hints of conspiracy in HOT ZONE—don’t forget that we’re talking about a suspected, widespread bioweapons release on U.S. soil. A conspiracy lurks. I just haven’t decided how much of it will come into play within the series. Right now, it’s in the background, where it might reach out from time to time to hinder or even help the characters—the true focus of the story.

Lee: HOT ZONE is a frighteningly realistic look at a bioweapons attack from several angles on the ground. You obviously put a ton of research and thought into this scenario. So…why bioweapons?

Steve: Because bioweapons scare the $#@% out of me! Seriously. I wrote The Jakarta Pandemic partly because I’ve always been obsessed with viruses and biological warfare. I blame Stephen King’s The Stand, which I read as a teenager. People forget that Captain Trips, the virus in The Stand, originated in a fictional U.S. bioweapons lab. The beginning of that book was brilliant, and stuck with me for years. Still does. I’m rambling. After The Jakarta Pandemic, I didn’t stray far from viruses. No wonder. Right?

Lee: I see where you’re coming from, now.

Steve: I don’t like to be predictable. That’s a bad thing for an author.

Lee: You’re hardly predictable, especially with HOT ZONE. I guarantee readers won’t see where this book is headed. Last question. You claimed to have “created” the perfect bioweapon. What did you mean by that, fictionally of course.

Steve: I appreciate the disclaimer. I don’t need any more black vans on the block. Bioweapons in general are horrifying by nature, designed not only to kill and maim, but to inflict fear. A slow killer that requires the maximum amount of resources to handle. There’s no easy solution when dealing with an effective bioweapons attack. Unlike bullets or bombs, a properly designed bioweapon can cripple everyone, but leave them alive—needing extensive on site care and support. The impact of a bioweapon can’t be underestimated or overstated. It’s more like the “perfect weapon.” And in the grand scheme of terrorist weapons, they can be relatively inexpensive, flying under the radar in hidden laboratories around the world, or right here in the U.S.

Lee: Thanks for scaring the $#@! out of me, Steve.

Steve: Any time. Sleep tight.

THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES PRIMER

WITH LESS THAN TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE PROJECTED RELEASE IN LATE JUNE…I figured it was time to give give you more than just a few teasers about HOT ZONE, book one in The Zulu Virus Chronicles.

Before I go crazy here, I want to highlight an opportunity to be an integral part of the The Zulu Virus Chronicles launch. I plan to provide advanced reader copies (ARCs) of HOT ZONE (and all future books in this series) to a sizable group of readers. I can’t include everyone in this, but for those of you that would be willing to read a free copy of the books ahead of the launch, and possibly share your opinion of the book with the pubic, I will consider you a candidate. I will also form a members only group on Facebook, where we can “hang out,” and I can pass news, launch material and get your opinion on aspects of the story. You don’t have to be on Facebook to be part of this group. If you’re interested in doing this, send me an email at freebooks@striblingmedia.com OR message me directly at my author page on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF. What exactly can you expect from The Zulu Virus Chronicles?

Fans of my Black Flagged books will be somewhat familiar with the Zulu Virus, which has been featured in that series. The Zulu Virus Chronicles, however, takes place in a world mostly separate from the Black Flagged series. An alternate reality, so to speak. Black Flagged readers will catch a few “Easter eggs,” but The Zulu Virus Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic thriller saga, with a strong hint of political/government conspiracy. The setting is current day, in a Midwest city—Indianapolis. Much of the action takes place within a thirty minute drive of my house. I’ve driven the routes. Walked the streets. Shopped in the same stores. Visited the locations. I kind of feel bad inflicting this disaster on my new hometown, but it’s what I do. Scarborough, Maine was never the same after The Jakarta Pandemic. I just hope my new neighbors don’t think I’m crazy…too.

With that said, here’s the cover and blurb for HOT ZONE, BOOK ONE. After the blurb, you’ll find several sample chapters, which will introduce you to all of the main characters, and hopefully scare the $#@! out of you. Keep in mind. The weaponized virus you’ll meet in these chapters was not my idea. Minds far more disturbed thought of this first. I just hope they never successfully create and deploy it.

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

-William Shakespeare’s Macbeth-

SOMETHING INSIDIOUS HAS EMERGED—RIGHT IN THE HEARTLAND OF OUR NATION.

Dr. Lauren Hale, a hospital resident, is nearly killed by a raving mad emergency room patient, in a senseless, unprovoked attack.

Officer David Olson, veteran cop and former Marine, returns from a father-son camping trip to discover that his ex-wife has vanished under bizarre circumstances, and his police department is on the verge of collapse.

Jack and Emma Harper, a young upwardly mobile couple, find their cozy, city neighborhood rapidly descending into madness.

Dr. Eugene Chang, a research scientist for major pharmaceutical company, makes a shocking discovery that might explain the rapidly spreading wave of illness and violence gripping the city.

Eric Larsen, leader of a top-secret, rapid-response unit, circles high above Indianapolis, in an unmarked military transport. Mission still unknown, his team waits to parachute into the night.

WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS, ALL OF THEIR WORLDS WILL COLLIDE, driving them to join forces to survive the living nightmare that has been unleashed on their city—AND THE NATION.

WELCOME TO THE HOT ZONE!



SAMPLE CHAPTERS BELOW. Keep in mind, these have not been professionally edited. This is a raw, sneak peek into HOT ZONE.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE CHAPTERS IN WORD FORMAT

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE CHAPTERS IN PDF FORMAT

 

MAY DEALS

THE DEALS AND NEW RELEASES KEEP ON COMING! I’ll keep this short, in bullet format, because my wife informed me that I have a tendency to ramble…and she’s the boss.

1.) Both novels in my Fractured State series (near future covert operations and conspiracy thriller) have been discounted by my publisher to $1.99. They aren’t free, but at $1.99 each, you’re looking at a 75% discount for the series. Click the images below to grab a copy from the U.S. Amazon store. Sorry, but the deal is not available outside of the U.S.

 

 

 

 

2.) Long time good friend and fellow author, Lee West, just released Resist and Evade, sequel to the smash hit, Survive and Escape. Lee’s Blue Lives Apocalypse Series focuses on the police response during a widespread EMP event; a unique twist in an overworked genre. At my recommendation, Lee keeps the series at a very affordable $2.99 each. Trust me. These books are a steal at the price. Check out this series if you’re looking for something new in the post-apocalyptic genre. CLICK ON THE IMAGES for the U.S. Amazon Store.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Bestselling author and good friend, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, has taken the post-apocalyptic genre by storm with his TRACKERS series. Nick rocked the military post-apocalyptic thriller world with his EXTINCTION CYCLE series, bringing that same expertise to the TRACKERS books. THE HUNTED, book 2 in the series hits the shelves (ebook and paper) on May 4. THE STORM, book 3, comes in October 2017. This is a very reasonably priced, rock-solid series of books. The first book is $2.99, a complete steal for this USA Today Bestselling author. CLICK ON THE IMAGES for the U.S. Amazon Store. You can also follow Nick through his newsletter by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Later this week, I’m going to reveal the full premise of my upcoming series, THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES, to include a few initial chapters. I’m beyond excited about this series—the first book will be available in June 2017.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED READERSHIP AND SUPPORT!

 

A CONSPIRACY COME FULL CIRCLE—THE BLACK FLAGGED LEGACY AND BEYOND

***Post-apocalyptic fans will find some VERY exciting news at the end of this post (new series), so keep reading. Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the Black Flagged series***

I’ve led readers on a wild ride through the Black Flagged series, most of that ride centered around a particularly nasty, weaponized virus created by Dr. Anatoly Reznikov, a devilishly unhinged, former employee of the Russian Federation’s State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute).

REDUX (Book 2) followed Dr. Reznikov to Monchegorsk, Russia, where he infected a city of 60,000 inhabitants with the ZULU Virus—in a twisted revenge plot against the Russian government. Readers saw first hand what can happen to a populated area hit with the virus.

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APEX (Book 3) brought the ZULU Virus to the United States, where it was snatched from the hands of Al Qaeda, by a sophisticated domestic terrorist group that had orchestrated the creation and delivery of the virus from the very start.

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VEKTOR (Book 4) extinguished the bioweapons threat created by Dr. Reznikov, along with the illegal bioweapons research program at the Vector Institute—ALMOST.

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OMEGA (Book 5) brings Dr. Reznikov and his designer viruses back into the spotlight, amidst political turmoil in the United States and a blossoming conspiracy.

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VORTEX (Book 6)—TO BE RELEASED IN 2017 OR EARLY 2018—will marry Dr. Reznikov’s lethal creations to the ultimate conspiracy against the United States.

Excited yet! I am. The conspiracy introduced in REDUX (Book 2) will come full circle in VORTEX (Book 6), which I promise will be unlike anything you’ve read before. I know, that’s a tall order.



Why should post-apocalyptic readers and fans be excited by all of this?

Think The Jakarta Pandemic meets The Perseid Collapse, with a hint of conspiracy. Still not convinced?

CLICK HERE (PDF) to read a few of the hard core post-apocalyptic chapters from Black Flagged Redux to get a taste of what’s to come. This series will not be directly linked to the current Black Flagged books. It is a standalone, post-apocalyptic series based on a worst-case scenario release of the ZULU Virus in the United States.

virus-imageWHAT IS THE ZULU VIRUS? Check out the description of the virus taken directly from the Black Flagged novels. 

“A weaponized form of herpes simplex encephalitis, genetically modified to aggressively attack the brain’s temporal lobe. Left untreated, herpes simplex encephalitis has a high fatality rate. Near seventy percent. Treated aggressively, we can reduce this to thirty percent.”

“If the Zulu virus is released into a public water source, containment of the disease itself will not be our biggest challenge. Physical containment of the impacted community and the management of information will be your biggest priority. Weaponized encephalitis is the ultimate biological weapon.”

“Herpes simplex encephalitis does more than produce casualties…In those treated aggressively, less than three percent regain normal brain function. This can vary from very mild to severe impairment, depending upon several factors. Early treatment with high dose, intravenous acyclovir is the only modifiable factor scientists have identified.”

“If released in a municipal water supply, unknown to the population, it has the potential to affect nearly everyone. Take a small town of twenty thousand people. Even if we discovered the attack immediately after the virus circulated through the drinking water and treated everyone in the town with acyclovir, 95% of them will suffer neurological impairment at varying levels. 19,000 citizens. Neurological impairment will range from full homicidal rage and hyper-aggressive behavior to minor seizures. Brain damage in almost every case.”

Media Report regarding situation in Monchegorsk, Russian Federation taken from Black Flagged Apex—IMAGINE THE SAME REPORT COMING OUT OF INDIANAPOLIS.

“Confirmed news from the area is scarce, but persistent rumors of a deadly epidemic continue to surface. So far, nobody has been able to confirm the shocking and unbelievable footage sent anonymously to Reuters, suggesting that the Russian military is systematically destroying the city and killing its inhabitants. Russian officials have made no comment. One thing is for certain, the Russian government has taken extraordinary measures to seal off the area surrounding Monchegorsk. What is truly frightening is the fact that the world hasn’t seen an emergency government response on this scale from the Russian government since Chernobyl.”

MORE NEWS ABOUT THIS SERIES TO COME! Enjoy this cover reveal. 

OMEGA

1160 Steve Konkoly BLACK FLAGGED banner

FINALLY! Three years isn’t that long…right?

Don’t spend another second waiting. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

1543-steven-konkoly-omega_2THANK YOU for very patiently waiting for this book. I released Black Flagged VEKTOR (Book 4) in the summer of 2013, after deciding to take a short break from the series. I’d written four books back-to-back in two years and was starting to see the Black Flagged characters in my sleep. That short break turned into a long detour. Six books and several novellas, in two different series, to be exact. I really appreciate your loyalty and patience. I think you’ll find OMEGA worth the wait.

I had a lot of time to ponder the fifth book, which I thought would be the last novel in the core series. I’m very pleased to let you know that there will be a sixth book. Halfway through OMEGA, I realized that the finale I had in mind for this story was worth a full novel, so you can expect book six within the next year or so. I don’t want to give too much away, but the scope of the conspiracy unveiled in OMEGA is vast and devastating, unlike anything you may have read before.

On that note, I need to make a statement that I’ve never included in my books before OMEGA:

All characters and corporations or establishments appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Why the disclaimer? You’ll soon find out. Here’s a little background and a hint. In 2012, I created a fictitious political movement for Black Flagged APEX, called True America. Some similarities in core beliefs between the Tea Party movement and True America existed, but my intention, as stated in APEX, was to create a third, viable party vying for political power. I had plans for True America later in the series. Fast-forward to the spring of 2016, when I finished the first third of OMEGA, in which True America shocks the establishment and wins the 2008 (series time) presidential election. You can probably see where this is headed.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t” — Mark Twain.

Black Flagged OMEGA takes place in 2009, roughly two years after the events of Black Flagged VEKTOR.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER OMEGA TODAY

OMEGA is available in Kindlebook and Hardcopy. The audiobook version will be available in April 2017.

THREE YEARS LATER—HOW DO YOU REIGNITE A SERIES?

WITH A BIGGER CONSPIRACY, AND A COMPLETE SHAKE-UP

 

1543-steven-konkoly-omega_2OMEGA: A BLACK FLAGGED THRILLER (Book 5) redefines the characters, organizations and all of the relationships readers have come to known in the Black Flagged series. At the same time, OMEGA introduces a blistering conspiracy perpetrated at the highest levels of power.

VORTEX: A BLACK FLAGGED THRILLER (Book 6—COMING IN 2018) will unleash a disturbingly familiar, but entirely reimagined conspiracy to the American people.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER TODAY AND GET IT TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT!

“A joint U.S.- Russian Special Forces raid against a hidden laboratory yields an alarming discovery. Anatoly Reznikov, the deranged bioweapons scientist stolen from U.S. custody a few years earlier, vanished minutes before the attack—taking his deadly work with him.

In the United States, Beltway power brokers grapple withTrue America’s surprise presidential win, finding the new administration to be anything but easy to work with. Karl Berg, demoted within the CIA due to the sudden shift in agency leadership, seeks to stay out of trouble, and retire quietly—a task he finds impossible when news of Reznikov’s near-capture unofficially reaches his desk.

Oblivious to the growing threats domestic and abroad, Daniel and Jessica Petrovich finalize their plan to abandon the “Black Flag” business for good, only to have it delayed by close-hitting news. A last minute trip to the United States drags them closer to an unfolding plot in the heart of Washington D.C.

A plot connected to everyone and everything the Petrovich’s have touched. A diabolical conspiracy none of them saw coming—AND ONLY ONE GROUP CAN STOP!”

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Five—THE UNFOLDING BATTLE OVER WATER

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For those of you who’ve read FRACTURED STATE, you’ve probably guessed that the key conflict of the series revolves around WATER. While the public faces of the One Nation Coalition (anti-secessionists) and the California Liberation Movement (secessionists) fight over the fate of California and the disposition of its natural and man-made resources in Fractured State, a game changing plot has been set in motion that will be exposed in ROGUE STATE. A plot that could potentially undermine the billions of dollars invested by One Nation Coalition supporters to ensure the future of the profits in the Golden State. 

Nathan Fisher’s family, along with David Quinn find themselves at the very heart of a second conspiracy aimed at virtually guaranteeing California’s secession from the United States. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll leave you with a few clues.

1.) The image below shows a recent picture of Lake Mead, on the reservoir side of the Hoover Dam. The light colored rock represents the water level several years ago. The drop over the last decade has been drastic, unlike anything seen since the dam’s construction. The continuing drought has dropped the water level of Lake Mead to critical levels. In the 2035 world of Fractured State, the level would be at least four to five times lower,  at the point where water trickles downriver. At that level, no water can be pumped to Las Vegas, or diverted to Arizona. The electrical power plant run by the flowing water has been decommissioned. California receives little to no water from a source that had once provided most of Southern California’s water supply.

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2.) In 2035, the only peaceful way to restore the Colorado River flow would be to either convince multi-billionaire agriculture barons in the Great Plains to stop illegally diverting water, the only way for them to currently water their crops, OR, to convince the U.S. government to stop the illegal redirection of water from the Colorado River. Southwestern states have pursued both options for nearly two decades, but nothing has changed.

3.) Another option exists. Rivers flow naturally, unless they’re obstructed. You can probably guess the rest.

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If you’re interested in digging deeper into the politics,history and controversies surrounding the Colorado River Basin and other major fresh water sources, you can explore this links:

Overview of the Colorado River Basin

The disappearance of ground water throughout the world

Lake Powell slowly vanishing

Lake Mead sinks to record lows

$650 million pump station constructed to draw water from lowest levels of Lake Mead

California continues to draw from Lake Mead water bank despite record low levels

Spoiler article for Book 3. Read the entire article. 

Draining of the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest source of fresh water in the Great Plains.

Speculative article about what happens if the Colorado is denied to California

Dust Bowl days are here again.

Return of the Dust Bowl.

CLICK HERE TO GRAB A COPY OF ROGUE STATE 

Read Behind the Scenes PART 1, PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4

 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Four—WHAT’S NEW IN ROGUE STATE?

If you missed them, read Part One, Part Two and Part Three of Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State series!

Konkoly-RogueState-21878-CV-FL-V1With the launch of ROGUE STATE (Book 2 in the Fractured State Series) a few days away, I wanted to give readers and fans a look behind the curtains of the upcoming release. I thought I’d go with a TOP TEN list, because it’s early and I don’t have to come up with clever seaways between paragraphs. I have a 10 hour writing day ahead of me, so bear with this streamlined process. What this really means is that 1.) I haven’t had enough coffee yet. AND 2.) I’m getting a little lazier, truth be told.

HERE’S WHAT READERS CAN EXPECT ON JANUARY 10th!

predator-invisible-camo1.) Adaptive Camouflage: Sometimes called “active camouflage,” this fledgling technology today will be fully developed and available to the military and highest bidder in the 2035 world created for Rogue State. You can imagine the tactical benefits of rendering a vehicle or operative invisible to the naked eye or infrared detection. Check out a few links describing today’s efforts to harness this technology. The image to the right is from the movie Predator, I couldn’t resist…the ultimate in adaptive camouflage.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a11105/behold-the-octopus-inspired-adaptive-camouflage-17108661/

http://www.military.com/video/logistics-and-supplies/military-equipment/new-hi-tech-adaptiv-camo-system/2450498175001

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-01/active-camouflage-system-uses-e-ink-make-tanks-invisible-battlefield

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3072599/US-Army-developing-invisibility-suit-soldiers-say-begin-trials-just-18-months.html

rifle-camera2.) Rifle mounted, goggle integrated cameras: This isn’t exactly something new, but it isn’t routinely fielded today. I got the idea from playing Call of Duty and did some research. Like anything that might provide the modern day field operative or soldier an advantage, companies are putting consider time and money into development. Consider the benefit of being able to stick your rifle around a corner, see a target and shoot it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2649051/The-app-lets-shoot-round-corners-Smart-rifle-uses-Google-glass-sight.html

https://defensesystems.com/articles/2016/10/31/wireless.aspx

face_recognition_fr_pic33.) Facial Recognition Software is widely, publicly and openly used by law enforcement and government agencies in 2035. A few states have declared it unconstitutional and prohibit the use of FRS technology. This isn’t new either, but as far as we know, proactive, wide scale use by the government hasn’t been implemented yet—OR HAS IT?  Here’s a quick paragraph from Rogue State describing the problem.

“Federal law enforcement agencies devoted significant funding to co-opting municipal and state FRS feeds, posing a significant detection risk. The Department of Homeland Security maintained a massive persons-of-interest FRS database, reportedly tracking the real-time movements of nearly a million people.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2016/10/20/from-cellphone-tracking-to-facial-recognition-minority-report-is-here/#25840ce6742a

4.) Most of  Texas, the American Southwest and the western half of the lower breadbasket states have become the New Dust Bowl, an area ravaged by drought severe weather patterns. Massive dust storms and firestorms have driven most of the population, in the worst hit areas (Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas) away permanently.

mexi35.) Taking advantage of the population resettlement, drug cartels from Mexico have seized control of most of Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S.-Mexico border no longer exists as a barrier in those areas, and fierce battles rage between well equipped cartel soldiers and National Guard units in key border cities along the Texas border. It’s fair to say that the State Department has issued a travel advisory to Americans thinking about vacationing in Mexico. Much of Rogue State takes place a few miles south of the border or in these lawless U.S. areas.

6.) Social Media Network monitoring provides real time crime and terrorist information for law enforcement agencies and our government. Once again, this isn’t something I imagined. It’s happening today—I just took it to a new level in Rogue State.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/computers/item/7248-fbi-pursues-social-media-surveillance-to-gather-intelligence

https://it.ojp.gov/documents/roleoffusioncentersincounteringviolentextremism_compliant.pdf

i-qyrtdrhisa7.) Mercenaries used by corporations to achieve their “goals.” You already got a good taste of this in Fractured State. CERBERUS is essentially a high-end mercenary outfit retained by corporations to safeguard their financial interests—or create new ones. In Rogue State, you’ll meet a slightly less refined group of mercenaries, comprised of former Russian Special Forces (GRU) operators. They specialize in murder and mayhem, which will unfold spectacularly and gruesomely.

https://informnapalm.org/en/russian-private-military-companies-as-licensed-tool-of-terror/

8.) New Characters: Sounds kind of boring, but trust me, you’ll like some of the new faces that appear in Rogue State. David Quinn’s father, Stuart Quinn plays a key role, along with David’s brother in-law, Blake. The Russian mercenary commander, Chukov, won’t fail to make an impression. He’s a piece of work, and was a pleasure to write. Nissie Keane, a hacker employed by CERBERUS will play an important role in Rogue State and future books (spoiler). Finally, readers will get to know Jose (Nathan and company’s mysterious savior from book one) very well, along with some of his most trusted California Liberation Movement operatives.

9.) Fracking: And not the kind from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica show. I won’t say much about this, because it would be a big spoiler for the rest of the series. Let’s just say that CERBERUS isn’t looking for oil in the California desert.

shutterstock_12301414310.) A Bigger Plot Unfolds: I’ll talk more about this in the fifth Behind The Scenes article, but it will become clear to Nathan Fisher and David Quinn that the California Liberation Movement is far more than what it seems to the public. They’ll face a tough decision when confronted with the full scope of Jose’s plan.

Click here to order ROGUE STATE TODAY for $4.99 and grab FRACTURED STATE for $1.99. 

Check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Five of Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State series!

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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW (Part Two): Thriller reads

(Click here for Part One-Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian novels)

If you’re read this in the other post, go ahead and skip this paragraph. Instead of the traditional “end of the year review” about what I’ve accomplished as a writer, I wanted to highlight something different this year. What I accomplished as a reader. 2016 was without a doubt my best year as an author from every angle, but it was also one of the best years I can remember as a reader.

2016 introduced me to new writers and firmly solidified my commitment to some of my previous favorites. Below you’ll find my 2016 THRILLER reading list, in no particular order. This is not an all encompassing list by any means. I’ll probably add to the list as the days go forward. It’s also worth mentioning that you should strongly consider checking out the backlists and earlier in series books for ALL of these authors. 

Poisonfeather by Matthew Fitzsimmons

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch 

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Embrace the Fire by Stephen England

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The Last Girl by Joe Hart

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First to Kill by Andrew Peterson

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The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

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Pushing Brilliance by Tim Tigner

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Furious by T.R. Ragan

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Need to Find You by Joseph Souza

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Written in Fire by Marcus Sakey

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Once Was Lost by Matt Iden

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Captive in Chief by Murray McDonald

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Jihadi Apprentice by David Bruns and J.R. Olson

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The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

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Rules for Revenge by Ian Graham

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Cold Blood by Alex Shaw

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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW (Part One): Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian reads

(Click here for Part Two-Thrillers if post-apocalyptic/dystopian isn’t your kind of story)

Instead of the traditional “end of the year review” about what I’ve accomplished as a writer, I wanted to highlight something different this year. What I accomplished as a reader. 2016 was without a doubt my best year as an author from every angle, but it was also one of the best years I can remember as a reader.

2016 brought some exciting new names to the POST APOCALYPTIC and DYSTOPIAN genres, in addition to plenty of releases from the “tried and true” PA authors of the past several years. Below you’ll find my 2016 reading list, in no particular order. Some of the books are first in a new series. Some are a 5th or 6th in a series. Each author is worth checking out in full! Many have written multiple series. I hope you get as much entertainment out of these as I did.

Survive and Escape by Lee West

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Trackers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Surrender the Sun by A.R Shaw

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Spaceman by Tom Abrahams

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Push Back by R.E. McDermott

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Blood Honor by Russell Blake

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Unexpected World by Chris Pike

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Devil Dog by Boyd Craven

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Canine Plague by Burt Walker

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Cry Havoc by Angery American

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Locker Nine by Franklin Horton

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Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Trial by Murray McDonald

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Razor’s Edge by G. Michael Hopf

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Gavin’s Woman 

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99 CENT CHARITY BOXSETS for the holidays!

UPDATE 12/14/16: The THRILLER THIRTEEN boxset raised close to $4,000 for the International Justice Mission. A HUGE THANK YOU to the thousands of readers that supported this cause, and grabbed a great compilation of stories. On top of that, the boxset hit the USA Today Bestseller List! See below:

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SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE HERE! Each boxset on sale for 99 CENTS! The best part? One of my stories is included in each set! Already read my books? No worries. You’ll find novels and novellas by some of the top authors out there.

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UPDATE 12/11/16: THIS BOXSET IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR THE LIMITED TIME OFFER OF 99 CENTS. 

THRILLER THIRTEEN  features novellas and short stories by bestselling authors in thriller, mystery and crime. All proceeds go to the International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to fighting human slavery and trafficking around the globe. You’ll find ORIGINS: A Black Flagged Short Story in this boxset, which takes readers back to Daniel Petrovich’s early years as a Black Flagged operative. It’s a gritty, brutal look at Daniel’s undercover mission to infiltrate a Serbian paramilitary group during Slobodan Milosevic’s reign of terror in Yugoslavia.

 

KILLS, CHILLS AND THRILLS features a “first in a series novel” from seven bestselling authors that spawned fan-fiction Kindle Worlds. Proceeds will go to Read Aloud America, an organization dedicated to promoting family literacy in the United States. I have contributed The Perseid Collapse to the boxset; a book that has spawned 35 fan-fiction stories set in that post-apocalyptic world. The fan-fiction worlds created by seven authors featured in the boxset have inspired more than 200 stories set in those worlds.

AN EARLY HOLIDAY GIFT! Sort of…

The long awaited fifth book in the Black Flagged series is now available for PREORDER. Ebook version only for the preorder. Hardcopy and audiobook versions will be available closer to the FEBRUARY 20, 2017 release date.

BOOK FIVE has been renamed OMEGA (Reprisals and Vortex are gone), to symbolize the events and circumstances that will unfold in the story. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and Alpha is the first. It is no coincidence that the series starts with Alpha and ends with Omega. Beginning and end. And that doesn’t mean the series ends with OMEGA. It means things as series readers know it will change significantly…you’ll see what I mean. GRAB A COPY OF OMEGA TODAY!

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OMEGA: A Black Flagged Thriller (Book 5)

“A joint U.S.- Russian Special Forces raid against a hidden laboratory yields an alarming discovery. Anatoly Reznikov, the deranged bioweapons scientist stolen from U.S. custody a few years earlier, vanished minutes before the attack—taking his deadly work with him.

In the United States, Beltway power brokers grapple with True America’s surprise presidential win, finding the new administration to be anything but easy to work with. Karl Berg, demoted within the CIA due to the sudden shift in agency leadership, seeks to stay out of trouble, and retire quietly—a task he finds impossible when news of Reznikov’s near-capture unofficially reaches his desk.

Oblivious to the growing threats domestic and abroad, Daniel and Jessica Petrovich finalize their plan to abandon the “Black Flag” business for good. An unforeseen, last minute personal trip to the United States drags them into an unfolding plot, based in the rotten heart of Washington D.C.

A plot connected to everyone and everything the Petrovich’s have touched. A diabolical conspiracy nobody saw coming—AND ONLY ONE GROUP CAN STOP.”

POST ELECTION DAY MADNESS SALE

Update: Due to a small mistake, the deal for The Perseid Collapse books will commence in the UK on Nov 11. I can’t offer the discount on The Jakarta Pandemic in the UK at this time.

Because a relaxing book about SOCIETAL COLLAPSE is just what the doctor ordered after this election. I don’t know about you, but I’m SO GLAD it’s over. 

ALL OF MY POST-APOCALYPTIC BOOKS ARE DEEPLY DISCOUNTED FOR A LIMITED TIME. 

—You can grab THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC  for FREE if you’re a member of Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, if not, it’s half price at $2.99. CLICK HERE FOR THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC

1390 Steve Konkoly ebook THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC_symbol_2015

 

 

 

 

 

THE PERSEID COLLAPSE books are $1.99 or less—EACH. OR, you can grab the entire series for less than $7. CHECK OUT THE PERSEID COLLAPSE BOOKS

Book One

Book Two

Book Three

Book Four

 

IT’S FINALLY HERE!

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After more than a year since my last novel sized release…

I finally have something to prove that I haven’t been on a 14 month sabbatical from writing! 

FRACTURED STATE is now available for purchase as an ebook, audiobook or hardcopy.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO GRAB A COPY AT AMAZON.COM (U.S)

FOLLOW THIS UNIVERSAL LINK if you’re outside the U.S.

I know you’re going to love Fractured State, and the rest of the books to come. The series promises to be incredible. I just delivered the second book to my publisher, Thomas and Mercer, and they’re busy tearing it apart—in a good way.

Check out Thomas and Mercer’s series description for a taste of the entire series. This paragraph absolutely captures the essence of what I set out to accomplish…almost like mind reading!

“Steven Konkoly’s Fractured State series charts a nightmarish near-future vision of America, ravaged by environmental devastation and teetering on the brink of political collapse. When average family man Nathan Fisher unwittingly learns of a terrifying conspiracy at the highest levels of power, he and his family must run for their lives, pursued by ruthless killers and aided by a resourceful Marine with a mysterious agenda of his own. Unrelenting suspense; rich, relatable characters; and a vividly imagined, all-too-believable future world of high technology and low-down violence: welcome to Fractured State.”

Thank you for checking out the series. Don’t forget to check out some of my earlier “behind the scenes” of Fractured State posts!

BEHIND THE SCENES of Fractured State

The Perseid Collapse World

HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN THE FUTURE!

When author Richard Stiller reached out to me earlier in the year to discuss his possible participation in the Perseid Collapse Kindle World, I was instantly intrigued. Unlike the rest of the Kindle Worlds canon, Richard proposed setting the books hundreds of years in the future, long after the collapse. The link between the Perseid Collapse story set today and Stiller’s imagined future was Aaron Fletcher, a direct descendent of Alex Fletcher from my original series. The more I learned about Richard Stiller’s imagined world, the more excited I became about the Perseid Oracle series. What I read blew me away. Richard has created an epic story, extending the Fletcher legacy far into a dystopian future. I encourage you to take a look at what he has created.

518L7-84A5L._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Perseid Oracle: Book of Aaron

A hundred years have passed since the Perseid Collapse. Aaron, a direct descendent of Alex Fletcher embarks on a journey across a post apocalyptic North American Continent in a last ditch attempt to stop the pandemic that is killing off mankind. The answer lies with a solitary oracle named Sybil who is located in the mountains of the continental divide. First Aaron must navigate a world where civilization has slipped backwards. Where the strongest rule and the enemies of man are in ascendance.

GRAB BOOK of AARON HERE!

51nGL8SnPDL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Perseid Oracle: Book of Sybil

This is the second book in the Perseid Oracle series. It is a century since the Perseid Collapse. Aaron Fletcher travels westward to find Sybil, the oracle that holds the answer to the virus that is slowly, but surely killing off mankind. The world that we know has been ripped apart. Mankind and civilization have slipped backwards. Aaron must navigate what was once known as the USA, but is now a series of ruined cities, fortified towns and open country where the strongest rule. In the west a new nation has arisen. In a remote mountain cavern Sybil awaits the coming of those who would seek her help while destroying those who would annihilate her.

GET BOOK 2 in The Perseid Oracle series!

Book 3 is due in late 2016: Perseid Oracle: Book of Daniel

Aaron Walker reaches The Red Mountain and encounters The Oracle. He sees the bleak future of mankind and realizes that he holds the fate of the human race in his hands.

Behind the Scenes of the Fractured State Series: Part Three—THE FULL SERIES MAP

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THE SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES HAS RADICALLY CHANGED BY 2035

THE FRACTURED STATE series sweeps you through this vast, twisted landscape with reluctant hero, Nathan Fisher, as he fights against all odds to keep his family alive.

Click on the map to enlarge and explore.

ORDER Fractured State today!

Also, check out Behind the Scenes PART ONE , PART TWO, PART FOUR and PART FIVE.

Fractured State Map3

Behind the Scenes of THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES: PART 2

Fractured State coverBuilding the greater world surrounding THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES was a serious blast, but inventing the details of a near-future world was the proverbial “icing on the cake.” This is the kind of stuff I live for as a writer, and Fractured State was a fertile playground for these details. That said, it wasn’t easy.

Set 20 years in the future, I found myself walking a thin line between advancing technology far enough to create a “wow factor” and keeping it familiar enough to the reader. The last thing I wanted to do was create a new vocabulary for readers.

Here’s a fantastic example of that struggle, with a slightly disappointing ending. What do you call a cell phone/smart phone 20 years from now? The answer isn’t simple, or is it? I got a crazy idea during the developmental edit, based on a suggestion from my developmental editor (I blame David!), to replace every instance of smartphone with the term LINK. We’d discussed the technology upgrades evident in the manuscript and agreed that the device served as more of a communications link, but we couldn’t call it a COMLINK. That term had been coined by the Star Wars franchise years ago, and it didn’t sound right, anyway.

But what about LINK? That’s simple, catchy…hey, 20 years from now, people might be looking back at Fractured State and saying, Steven Konkoly used the term first, now everyone calls their phone a LINK. Communications companies will be paying me billions to license the term…it sounded fantastic, until it didn’t. Actually, it was my editor at Thomas and Mercer that essentially said something to the effect of, “I don’t know. It’s cool and all, but forcing readers to use the word LINK instead of phone throughout the story might get a little annoying.” Too kitschy, so I dropped LINK and went back to phone or satphone. Lesson learned. The device had more bells and whistles, but it essentially did the same thing it does today…let’s you talk to people. Why complicate matters?

But one creative disappointment can’t ruin the creative process for me. NOT EVEN CLOSE. That was ONE device out of hundreds used in the novel, and I had a ton of fun with the rest. Too much fun, probably.

mq-9-reaper_001-ts600If you’ve read any of my books, you probably can guess that I like weapons. From knives to attack helicopters, I don’t shy away from the details, and I like my characters to make the best use of the weaponry available to them. Fractured State gave me the unique opportunity to take systems currently in development, and imagine them in widespread use 20 years from now. Every firearm is more compact and versatile, ammunition is far more lethal, heavy duty weapons systems normally employed by armies are now available to mercenary groups, and the effectiveness of personal protective equipment has increased to counter this new lethality. Take a look at the following links, along with a brief explanation of how I chose to employ that technology in Fractured State.

Guided sniper munitions – Used by assassins in a coordinated attack against a politician at his reinforced mansion. The effect is rather gruesome, as you can imagine.

ge5mcdjxhbxj9sfxla38Color night vision technology – I call it synthetic daylight…heard it here first! This actually presented a bit of a challenge, since describing what the characters see through these goggles is no different than what they’d see in the daylight. At times, my developmental editor couldn’t remember if it was night or day. To remedy this, I added some additional features to the goggle’s display, which measured light intensity and could tell the wearer how dark it was outside.

Liquid gel body armor – This has so much promise for the future in my opinion. Form fitting and reactive, liquid gel body armor can potentially stop any type of munition, evenly spreading the brunt force of the impact to reduce internal injuries commonly seen with solid plate armor.

Dragonskin armor – Recently rejected by the U.S. Army, I see a future for this type of armor. Lighter, shape conforming and effective against armor piercing ammunition…I could see this as standard issue.

Rifle launched missiles – I don’t actually use these in the books, but damn if this isn’t cool.

xm25Smart grenade launchers – I take this one step further, and apply the same range finding automation to an automatic grenade launcher system. The effects are spectacularly devastating…and messy of course.

Hand launched surveillance drones – Nothing new about the Raven, except the newer versions can fly longer and transmit more data. Putting two of these in the air, one of the teams in the book finds a “needle in a haystack.”

See through wall radar and imaging devices – Can you imagine looking at a 3-Dimensional schematic of a building and seeing a live image of everyone inside? It’s not really possible today, but in 2035…

Bullet resistant glass (nothing new, but this video is COOL) – I find some creative uses for glass like this in the series…in ways you might not expect.

Missile firing drones – Over U.S. airspace? You bet, especially when operated by Cerberus International…and to make matters worse, the drones are mostly undetectable.

Active or adaptive camouflage – Can you turn a vehicle invisible? With enough money and 20 years of research and development. Why not?

Converting seawater to energy – This method is energy intensive, but when co-located with a nuclear power plant?

Desalination plants – Reality today, and critical to survival in a drought parched future.

This is a very short list of some of the types of technology upgrades found in Fractured State, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything is slightly reimagined in this series, from sinks that recycle water for rinsing to mandatory  GPS tracking systems installed on every vehicle to measure fuel efficiency and restrict movement. Life has changed…it’s up to the reader to decide if the change is for better or worse.

PREORDER FRACTURED STATE

READ Behind the Scenes Part One, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five

Behind the Scenes of THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES: PART ONE

Fractured State coverWith the release of FRACTURED STATE less than a month away, I thought I’d give readers and fans a look behind the scenes at the creation of the near future, dystopian world supporting the story. As most of you know, I spend a considerable amount of time envisioning and creating the worlds behind my fiction. The process is time consuming, and if left unchecked, can take on a life of its own. I know this from experience. When I started to create the world for my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, I reached a point, long into the early stages of development, where I asked myself: “When are you going to actually start writing the story?” I didn’t have an answer, which in itself was my answer. It was time to quit researching the world, describing characters on notepads, creating maps, developing timelines—AND TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. I had spent months world building, when I could and should have been writing.

With that lesson SORT OF learned—a few times, I’ve developed a rough world-building process that gets me started and keeps me on the right track.

IMG_13421.) Creating a world to support a series requires me to create a ALTERNATE HISTORY, or in the case of Fractured State, a FUTURE set 20 years from today. Either way, I start out with a TIMELINE OF EVENTS. This is outside of the story plot. For the Fractured State series, I started in 2016 and envisioned the world, national, state and personal-level events that would land the reader on page one. As you can see, this sheet has endured coffee and beer stains, many on-the-fly changes and an accidental “throw away” since I created it in early 2015. It rarely leaves my side while I’m writing.

2.) For the kind of deep background and expansive geographical reach involved in writing a series like Fractured State, I find the use of MAPS to be invaluable. I create them throughout the entire process, starting with big picture world building maps down to individual scene orientation maps. Every complex, action oriented scene likely originated with a sketch.

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First map created

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Map of California’s present and future energy sites

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Motel scene in Rogue State (Book 2)…little spoiler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Whether based in the past, present or future, I also create lists and descriptions of the organizations involved in the story. Past and present is easy…a few clicks on Google and you have a nice organizational chart of the CIA. Future requires a little more work. In Fractured State, I envisioned San Diego County as an entity that effectively absorbed every municipality throughout the current county, providing town administration, resource management, leadership and police functions for the entire geography. San Diego County Police Department (SDCPD) officers patrol the streets of Chula Vista, CA, south of San Diego, just he same as the streets of Carlsbad, CA—40 miles away.

In Fractured State, Nathan Fisher, the story’s main character, works as a water reclamation engineer at the San Diego Water Reclamation Authority, an entity that does not exist today. Since water reclamation is a critical part of Californian’s lives in my story, I gave it an organization separate, but subordinate to the existing Water Authority. Of course, in the resource stressed world of Fractured State, both authorities serve under the San Diego County Resource Authority. Yeah, I have fun with this stuff. Sorry to put you to sleep!

4.) Throughout the creation of the TIMELINE, MAPS and boring ORGANIZATIONS, I’m constantly researching topics related to the big picture to generate new ideas, validate previously envisioned plot points or expand the story.

lake meadFor Fractured State, I spent a lot of time studying WATER sources in California, the rest of the southwest and the Great Plains. While the events in my story are purely fictional, the historic, ongoing drought in California and the U.S. Southwest is REAL. Frighteningly real. California’s current drought started me on the path to writing this series. The more I researched, the more I knew I had the background for an incredible story. What if the drought continued for another 20 years like many climatologists agree is possible? AND what if the effects of the drought were intensified by corrupt group of greedy industrialists and enforced by a ruthless mercenary army on their payroll? Secession? Mayhem? All of the above.

Check out some of the original bookmarked links that I used to get a feel for the drought issues facing California and the nation. It’s scary stuff. All of it. I just listed them as LINK. Click on any or all to give yourself a fright.

LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK.

ORDER FRACTURED STATE TODAY!

READ BEHIND THE SCENES PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 and PART 5

Introducing FRACTURED STATE

Fractured State coverI’m so excited to get this book into your hands, I barely know where to start. Seriously, I’ve been staring at the same few sentences for the past ten minutes. I’ll make this easy on both of us, and start with an emotionally charged statement.

Fans of my previous novels will absolutely love this book! I know that’s a bold claim, but I really believe it. Fractured State brings the best of the Black Flagged and Perseid Collapse books to life in a fast paced, stylish thriller series. At its very core, Fractured State is a story about an innocent family—inadvertently dragged into the middle of a lethal struggle to determine California’s fate.

I’m going to vastly over simplify the story here, but picture Alex Fletcher and his family ruthlessly pursued through a near future, dystopian southern California, by a Black Flagged-like group with unlimited resources and an unquenchable thirst for murder. Unlike Alex, the new main character, Nathan Fisher, doesn’t have the hard skills required to keep his family alive against professional killers. He’s crafty—the son of a retired Marine Sergeant Major—but he’s in way over his head in Fractured State. Nathan gets help from an unlikely source—a Marine officer thrust into the situation by chance. Together, they fight to stay one step ahead of the shadowy group’s relentless efforts to silence the Fishers. You’re going to love these characters just as much as the story.

PREORDER FRACTURED STATE NOW! (That’s just a suggestion)

For those of you thinking — “Wow, Steve couldn’t describe one of his books to save his own life!” Here is the official description for Fractured State.

“In 2035, the southwestern United States is ravaged by drought, reeling from an environmental catastrophe that has left the landscape a chaotic, depleted ruin. California, still viably inhabitable due to its oppressive social controls, marshals state-of-the-art surveillance technology and totalitarian policies to preserve its fragile hold on rapidly dwindling resources and an increasingly unsettled population.

After a prominent California congresswoman is assassinated for her support of the state’s secession from the United States, Nathan Fisher—accidental witness to a clandestine military-style operation—is drawn into an unraveling conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of power and threatens the lives of Fisher and his family.

Hunted by ruthless killers seeking to ensure his silence, suspected by the authorities, and aided only by a loyal Marine officer with a mysterious agenda, Fisher and his loved ones must somehow stay a step ahead of their relentless pursuers, navigating a ruined world in a desperate search for sanctuary.”

PREORDER TODAY!

STEADY ON THE HELM, EYES ON THE HORIZON

Note: I talk numbers later in this post, lots of numbers, so bear with the more didactic start to my year end post.

I DON’T DO PREDICTIONS

2016There’s nothing wrong with predictions, I just think other authors tackle the subject better. Why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Take a moment to read Russell Blake’s End of an Era and Joe Konrath’s New Years Resolution for Writers. Each author takes a different approach, but you’ll notice a common theme at the core of each post. Indie authors need to write, AND WRITE A LOT, to be successful. Not exactly rocket science, but it’s worth repeating. I’m going to make a small tweak to that message, which I think is critical to success.

WRITE WHAT YOU ENJOY WRITING—A LOT. Once again, no atoms have been split so far, but this is an important distinction, and part of the overall theme of this post. You can probably guess why.

Ship in wavesThe past two to three years has been tumultuous for both the indie and traditional publishing industry. Authors have seen ups and downs, like waves, and panic has ensued when they starts the downward journey into the trough. Of course, the waves come in different sizes for each author, and in some cases, the ride down is indeed scary—just like the ride up a massive wave of sales can be exhilarating. Kristine Kathryn Rusch does a far better job describing the wave metaphor in one her most memorable 2015 posts—The Hard Part. 

HERE’S THE THING. Storms always pass, leaving mostly calm seas.

You need to build a career strong and stable enough to weather these storms (real and perceived)—so you’re still around when the winds die down and the clouds part. 

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What’s worked for me? You’ll be glad you didn’t pay for this. Ready? In keeping with the nautical theme:

KEEP A STEADY HAND ON THE HELM—WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE

KEEP AN EYE ON THE HORIZON—PLAN FOR THE LONG HAUL

ADVERTISE SMARTLY AND FREQUENTLY—I know, that’s not a nautical term. 

Feel let down? You’re not alone. I felt the same way when I dug into what has brought me the most success over the past five years. No tricks or gimmicks. This is it! And this is why I don’t do predictions. I don’t care what’s predicted for the next six month or year. Predictions have never changed the CORE of my approach. They’re little more than distractions. That’s not to say I ignore trends or pass on sudden opportunities. I just make sure they fit into one of the CORE tenets of my approach.

And I’m not claiming this was my master strategy all along. Far from it. It somehow naturally developed, likely while I was juggling a day job and publishing two to three books a year. I didn’t have time for distractions. I spent 95% of my available time WRITING and the rest developing long-term GOALS. Many of those goals seemed unattainable and SO far away at the time. Like a dream—but I saw the importance of pursuing them, regardless, in order to build a CAREER that could smash through waves. READ MY 2014 POST ON DIVERSIFICATION to learn more about these strategies.

I still have a long way to go, but based on 2015 numbers, I feel good about my  strategy. 

WHAT HAVE I DONE IN 2015? 

I released a grand total of one 75K word book and one 25K word novella (in Russell Blake’s Kindle World). Not exactly my most prolific publishing year. I typically release about three times this amount.

I wrote and delivered Fractured State (105K words) to Thomas and Mercer. Being the first book in a new series, I spent a considerable amount of time building the Fractured State world before writing in it. A sacrifice I was willing to make in order to realize the long term goal of publishing with Thomas and Mercer. More on that later.

I launched The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, which took an extraordinary amount of time and energy to coordinate. WELL WORTH THE EFFORT on many fronts. The world has attracted top notch authors across several genres. I couldn’t be happier or more humbled to be a part of it. Thank you to every author involved, and to Sean F. at Kindle Worlds for believing in The Perseid Collapse. To date, 25 novellas wait to be read by fans of post-apocalyptic and thriller fictionwith more on the way. 

I moved from Maine to Indiana. Don’t ask. Needless to say, this was the BIGGEST, unavoidable distraction of the year, and likely cost me the writing and release of a book. From March through the end of June, it was a non-stop event.

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I had a mediocre sales year. We all know the formula for success, right? Publish, publish, and publish again! While there’s certainly truth to this. I’m going to show you some surprising numbers, based on a very modest publishing year by my standards.

Underachiever

THE NUMBERS

-Overall income is UP 61.5% over 2014. Remember, 2014 was UP 57% over 2013. NOT A BAD YEAR AT ALL, considering my modest production schedule.

Ebook sales are up 20% (units sold increased by 25%), not including  Kindle Worlds or Kindle Unlimited numbers.

Paper is down by 25%, but this has never been a significant income area.

Audio unit numbers are down 6.5%, but sales are up 37%. Head scratcher, but deeper analysis shows that the royalty escalator clause (no longer offered) kicked in big time this year for The Perseid Collapse books, and I’m getting paid more per audiobook. I can’t stress the importance of audiobooks to building a strong career. Audiobooks account for 15% of my total business, and they seem less susceptible to some of the sales cycle storms that occasionally strike. Do some research here. It’s not a guarantee of quick income, but it is a viable long term strategy. It has paid off handsomely for me in both genres, more so in the post-apocalyptic books. Invest in audiobooks—NOW!

Kindle Unlimited. You’re either going to love this part or hate it. For me, it’s a love story. Let’s start at the beginning. All of my titles are in Kindle Select, but it hasn’t always been this way. My Black Flagged Series had spent nearly two years out of select, gaining LITTLE traction in the wider world of ebooks. When I finished the series in 2013 (4 books over two years), I took the series wide after enjoying enough success with the books to quit my day job (the books sold well to say the least). Good thing I had a hot post-apocalyptic series in the works, because going WIDE didn’t work. Not even BookBub could not ignite a steady income stream outside of Amazon. It took me until June of 2015, right before the advent of KU 2.0, to throw it all back into Kindle Select. Good timing. KU 2.0 boosted income across all of my book.

Units borrowed increased 132% over 2014. Close to 25K units total. After July, I divided pages read by the KENPC calculation for each novel to arrive at unit numbers since the program was now measured by pages read. For 2015, sales through KU increased by 158%, and much of that came from the second half of the year under KU 2.0. The Black Flagged franchise was a big part of that.

Kindle Worlds. It’s hard to compare this from year to year, since 2014 was my first year publishing on Amazon’s fan fanfiction platform. Here are the raw numbers. Between three novellas and an omnibus, I’ve sold close to 9,000 units in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines Kindle World. I had a big surge in  sales when Wayward Pines hit Fox Network as a mini-series. That was the business side of why I wrote the novellas in 2014. I mostly wrote them because I loved the series and can’t get enough of Blake’s work. That said, a little looking ahead made it a no brainer decision to take time away from The Perseid Collapse series to indulge in Wayward Pines. I also used some time in 2015 to write a novella for Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, adding another 1,500 units to the Kindle Worlds mix.

ADVANCES made up 10% of my income in 2015. I can’t get into specifics, but 2015 was the first year I was ever paid an advance. I like the concept, and hope to that percentage increase.

Foreign Translation of The Jakarta Pandemic? Let’s just say that German readers weren’t ready for an intense pandemic survival story based around an all-American in New England. Who could have guessed? I was pushing for the translation of my international espionage thriller series. I made money, but thankfully did not invest any of my own capital.

HOW DID I DO THIS?

I aggressively advertised multiple books in both series. This is listed first, because it had the biggest impact—and it’s a bit complicated to pile onto this post (another will follow). In a nutshell, it’s no secret that BOOKBUB is a powerful advertising and book marketing tool…depending upon how you use it. I use it to generate buy through for an entire series and expand readership. A short and long term goal. I don’t mind giving away free books to meet that end.

I experimented with Facebook ads. I’m not going to lie to you. I haven’t seen uber success selling books directly through Facebook, though like any hardcore gambler, I’m convinced my luck is about to take a turn for the better with the next ad.  Always experimenting. With that said, I have seen considerable success growing my mailing list with targeted Facebook ads.

I grew my mailing list from around 1,000 to 9,000 (not all through Facebook!). They bought a lot of books, full price and at special discounts. My goal for early 2016 is to better engage this list and turn it into a powerful marketing and promotional tool to launch books. Sounds all business-like. Let me rephrase this. I want everyone on the list to look forward to my updates and special offers, especially the ones announcing a book launch.

I resisted the temptation to write another purely post-apocalyptic series, and instead, created the story I’ve been dying to write. Fractured State. No genre is a sure thing, but post-apocalyptic books sell. I know from experience, which is why this was a hard decision to make. I had my reasons. I made some contacts at Thomas and Mercer in 2014, with the hopes that they sign me in 2015. I’ve had my eye on this goal since 2013, when I became a full time writer, knowing that they don’t publish post-apocalyptic novels. By the time my talks with the editorial staff at Thomas and Mercer blossomed, I was in a position to present a full series synopsis and 10K words of the first novel in the series. Fractured State will be published by Thomas and Mercer, in May 2016, followed the second book in January 2017. I have no doubt this decision will make 2016 my most successful year ever.

I diversified in 2014. Every time one of my book titles rose in Amazon rank during a promotion, buyers, borrowers and audiobook listeners alike were drawn to the commotion—and all of my books. Sales across all platforms increased, contributing heavily to the bottom line.

I had a little help from my friends. I certainly didn’t do this alone. I can’t stress enough the importance of community for writers. We all sit behind desks most of the day, by ourselves, and there is only so much you can do to get the word out about your books. I love helping other authors, and find that I’m not alone in that feeling. THANK YOU to everyone that helped. This includes writers and READERS!

Those readers keep buying my books! And to that, I am eternally grateful.

SHALL I END HERE? WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY?

2016?

-I shall write the books I want to write. As many as I can. It’s worked for me so far.

-I shall advertise aggressively.

-I shall stay in Kindle Select, even if the seas look rough.

-I will continue to look as far ahead as possible and steadily build the sturdiest ship for those waters.

-Hopefully go on a nice vacation.  

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST IN 2016!

What are your plans for the NEW YEAR?

 

 

 

 

 

The Pine Cones Writers Den is on fire…

with awards, new releases and milestones reached.

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What is the Pine Cones Writers Den? PCWD is a robust writers group based out of the Portland, Maine area. Comprised of ten members, spanning just about every genre you can imagine, each monthly meeting takes on a life of its own, as thriller writers critique memoir and chic lit writers critique post-apocalyptic tales. Without a doubt, the depth and variety of critique has led to vast improvements in my writing over the years, pushing me in directions that I likely wouldn’t have considered if I sat around, high-fiving with other thriller writers all the time. Not that I don’t like hanging out with other thriller writers!

The group is always busy; submitting to agents,  publishing on their own and striking deals to expand their author footprints. Each meeting brings exciting news and new manuscript samples to the table. There’s never a dull moment. With that said, I’d like to highlight a few of the most recent accomplishments/releases.

Tim QueeneyFirst up, Tim Queeney, with his second release in two months! Seriously, that’s impressive. Starting with his Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds release, The Borealis Incident, in February, he follows up with book 3 in his Perry Helion thriller-adventure series, The Ceres Plague. I just finished a review for The Ceres Plague, which sounds something like this:

A1BejJmuU2L._SL1500_“The Ceres Plague, Tim Queeney’s follow up to The Atlas Fracture, takes the Perry Helion series to the next level. The action is more intense, the plot is deeper and the scope is wider. Carrying elements from The Atlas Fracture forward, Queeney continues Dr. Randall Crandee’s diabolical plan to manufacture a genetically programmed virus to “save” humanity in the most unexpected way imaginable, landing Helion and his reluctant partners in the middle of a deadly international conspiracy.

The story starts with agent Perry Helion, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencey) agent, caught in the crossfire of a doomed salvage diving expedition. Never satisfied with the obvious, circumstances surrounding the diving operation lead Helion to dig deeper. What he uncovers sends shockwaves through the U.S. intelligence community, pointing to a shadowy international cabal with a reach so vast, Helion may no longer be able to trust the very people he’s relied upon for years. Cautious at every turn, he begins to assemble the devastating truth about the Paracelsus Group, and their burning obsession with Dr. Randall Crandee’s work.  

Queeney’s vision for the series expands throughout The Ceres Plague, briefly exposing the demons and exterior motivations that drive the enigmatic DARPA agent’s actions—clearly opening a channel for future exploration. Supporting characters are further developed, and the story’s antagonist—the twisted, but insanely rational Dr. Crandee—is delivered with a stunningly, devilish brilliance.

The author has a penchant for cold, desolate settings, because the reader is once again taken to the end of the earth—Alaska and the Bering Strait—the perfect backdrop to hatch an apocalyptic plot. With a surplus of abandoned Cold War bases spread among hundreds of islands of Alaska’s coast, Queeney couldn’t have chosen a better backdrop for the type of scientific research Dr. Crandee has in mind. I couldn’t help imagine the types of nefarious activities that could be conducted today on these islands, never to be discovered. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For now, Tim Queeney has cornered that market. I can’t wait for the next installment in the Perry Helion series.”

61fMsCBfW0L._UX250_Next up, Joseph Souza, award winning author and prolific writer. Joe’s most recent novel, Unpaved Surfaces, was selected by the prestigious Kindle Scout program for a publishing deal with Amazon imprint publisher, Amazon Press. Unpaved Surfaces is a bit of a departure from Joe’s recent reign of terror, which includes three zombie/undead novels and two post-apocalyptic plague thrillers (one is on the way). Unpaved Surfaces is vintage Joseph Souza, tapping into the core writing node that launched his career. Not that he can’t write a mean undead thriller…HE CAN. Trust me.

Check out my review of Unpaved Surfaces:

814JpmlQayL._SL1500_“Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces, is a hauntingly beautiful story of loss, redemption and reconciliation. Set in Portland, Maine, Unpaved Surfaces weaves an unforgettable tapestry of sorrow, guilt and struggle around Keith, the father of a young boy who disappeared one year earlier. With his life derailed in more ways than one, Keith is starting to come unglued. Surreal visions of his missing son, Auggie, start to fill this void, creating a tempest of doubt and renewed vigor to uncover his son’s fate. Keith’s story is just one of several told by Souza, in a tightly wrapped suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

Souza explores sach family member’s private journey through the aftermath of Auggie’s disappearance, masterfully putting the reader inside a family on the verge of falling apart. The experience is both heart-wrenching and rewarding—heavy and uplifting. Souza takes his considerable talents to the next level in Unpaved Surfaces, delivering an emotionally charged, exquisitely tuned suspense story.”

1414094820407Last but not least, Bryan WigginsBryan has hosted PCWD from the start, graciously opening his home to the group once a month. When he’s not writing, he’s a creative/graphic designer…the PCWD logo at the beginning of this post is Bryan’s creation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His graphic designs have become iconic Maine business logos.

Bryan recently finished Autumn Imago, a brilliantly constructed, exquisitely written literary fiction novel. Bryan delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story about loss, love and redemption set mostly in Baxter State Park, a raw, often chaotic wilderness in the shadows of Mount Katahdin—at the northern most tip of the Appalachian Trail. The setting, vividly and beautifully described by Bryan, is just as powerful as the narrative itself.

Bryan’s journey is about to take a serious leap forward…I can’t wait to see where he lands.

The Women of The Perseid Collapse series Kindle World

AR shaw
A.R. Shaw

Tim Queeney
Tim Queeney

Two contributing authors to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World talk about the female lead roles they created for the post-apocalyptic world that unfolds in the series.

Make sure you check out their novellas, Deception on Durham Road and The Borealis Incident.

A.R. Shaw and Tim Queeney, you have the stage:

“Steve Konkoly’s The Perseid Collapse Kindle World launched in February 2015 with nine novellas. Two of those original Perseid Collapse novellas had female lead characters: The Borealis Incident by Tim Queeney and Deception on Durham Road by A.R. Shaw. In this joint blog post, A.R. Shaw and I talk about those female characters and how they fit in The Perseid Collapse world and the even right here in the real world.

Tim Queeney: Going back even just a few decades, it’s hard to imagine a female deputy commander of a U. S. Air Force Base. Yet today, writing a woman lead character like Lt. Colonel Dana Wright in my Perseid Collapse novella, The Borealis Incident, is not something that requires a great leap of faith from readers. Woman have made huge strides in the military, with female pilots and ship drivers not an unusual occurrence. The biggest issue Dana has to face in Borealis is that the base security officer doesn’t want her driving alone to the missile warning radar site 13 miles across the Greenland tundra from the base itself. Perhaps he’s concerned because Dana is a woman, but maybe he’d be just as uneasy with the practice if the deputy commander was a man.

A.R. Shaw’s Deception on Durham Road also has a female lead, Jamie Michaud. But instead of a military officer, Jaime is a mom working to protect her two daughters…”

Read the rest on Tim Queeney’s blog

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

shutterstock_76904563Instead of TIDE, a better word is WAVE, since The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds launch has been been an incredible tsunami (pun intended) of co-promotion, cooperation and buzz surrounding all of the novellas in the series. I couldn’t be happier with the level of participation, encouragement and sharing by all of the authors involved…not to mention the readers and fans that have multiplied our efforts. The whole thing has been awe-inspiring.

One of my sincerest hopes from the start, was that The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World would Lift All Boats, helping to cross-expose readerships. My readers would check out other authors’ novellas and novels…their readers would check out mine. I know this has been Sean T. Smithhappening, but the extent of the impact didn’t sink in until recently. I received a message from Sean T. Smith, author of the novella Sunshine Patriots and The Wrath Series, which blew me away.

Rather than recap what Sean relayed, I’m going to turn this into a guest post. Take it away, Sean!

“When Steven Konkoly invited me to write a novella for his newly minted PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t know much about Kindle Worlds, but I figured that since Steven was writing killer books in a similar vein to what I write and actually selling lots of them, it was a no-brainer.

My first novel, OBJECTS OF WRATH was published by Permuted Press last year, and I had absurd expectations about what my sales were going to be like. The novel is the first in a trilogy, and the second book released in August of 2014. The final book came out on February 2, the same day as the PERSEID COLLAPSE world launched.

My publisher is primarily known for zombie books, although that’s something which has been slowly changing. But my books aren’t horror in any way, and I struggled to find readers. I’ve had good reviews, but not nearly enough of them. It was a let-down for me, watching the slow slide into oblivion that my books were taking.

But…

After the launch of the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World, several things happened. First, I got to see a nice Amazon ranking for the first time; SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, the novella I wrote for Steve, made it up to number three in Kindle Worlds for thrillers and mysteries, and it’s still at number 9 last I checked for top-rated thriller/mysteries.

The other authors, Bobby, Steven, and AR Shaw in particular, did a fantastic job at cross promotion, all across social media. Steven blogged and tweeted to his fan base, and the other authors did the same. I tried to pitch in, but my reach is still rather limited. Over the period of the last month and a half, I’ve seen my blog outreach increase, my Twitter following grow, and my sales rank spike dramatically. And it didn’t just go up for SUNSHINE PATRIOTS, all of my books saw nice jumps.

The increase in sales for my other novels led to my first book being approved for a Book Bub promotion, which is happening today and tomorrow. I should see another spike in sales beyond what I’ve already experienced, and find new readers. In particular, I think my books are getting in front of the RIGHT readers for the first time, and that’s a vital thing for an emerging author.

Not to share my dirty laundry, but here’s a screen shot from this morning. The long, consistent tail over the last month is a direct result of participating in the PERSEID COLLAPSE Kindle World. Obviously, I’d like to see my author rank and my sales get a whole lot better, but the difference thus far has been dramatic.”

This makes me smile. Congratulations, Sean. I can’t wait to read the continuation of The Sunshine Patriots series.

SeanT

Author Spotlight: Angery American

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: A. American

917Z35X27zL._UX250_When most readers think of modern survivalist/prepper fiction, A. American’s Survivalist Series is at the very top of their list. I’m honored and excited to have such a brand name in the genre join the team of writers contributing to The Perseid Collapse Series world.

A. American got his start by posting the first story in his Survivalist series on a forum, where it exploded with popularity. Before long, he’d signed a series deal with 9145x8VvIbL._SL1500_Penguin Group…the rest is history. His novella for the Perseid Collapse Series signals his return to self-publishing, where he plans to hang his hat for now. I have no doubt he will find the change refreshing and liberating. Best of all, readers will get his books quicker, and from what I’ve read, they’re in for a real treat.

Angery is the real deal, and it shines in his work. He truly talks the talk and walks the walk so to say…makes me feel like a personal readiness weekend warrior. While you wait for his novella, please check out the Survivalist Series and his comprehensive website, Angery American News. There’s a ton of good stuff in both.

 

Interview with Murray McDonald

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World Interview Series:

Bestselling thriller writer and Highland warrior: Murray McDonald

Photo-on-2011-05-04-at-16-241x300Murray McDonald is a long time friend in the grand scheme of my writing career. Pretty much from the very start. We both rose through the Indie ranks with covert operations/political thrillers, sharing strategies, comparing story ideas and having some good laughs along the way. He’s been unflaggingly supportive of my writing, and didn’t hesitate to offer a story for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

As a native Scot, and a denizen of the U.K., I didn’t expect Murray to write a story about Doomsday Preppers surviving the Perseid Collapse “event.” Prepping hasn’t caught fire in the U.K., like it has in the U.S., and it’s not for a lack of post-apocalyptic imagination or a spirit of rugged individualism. Murray offers a bit of hilarious insight into WHY, a little later. I had something else in mind for his story, and so did Murray! As a matter of fact, he far exceeded my hopes and expectations with the story he pursued, helping to answer one of the primary questions readers posed about the series. Obviously, he had some of the same questions.

Without further delay, let’s hear it straight from Murray.

Being the questioning type, I wondered how the Chinese managed to pull off the attack, and how could the US have been blind sided. A quick call to Steve revealed we had roughly the same idea as to how they would have done it, although most definitely from a fictional sense!

Murray is being kind here. He essentially confirmed that I had taken some liberties with the story’s initial set up. I think he more accurately called it “bullshitting.” Sorry. Had to set the record straight. 😉 Your story?

Yes. My story therefore centers around the final 24 hours before the event and the massive operation to ensure that Red Dragon succeeds.

For those that don’t know, Red Dragon is the multifaceted operation led by the Chinese that is responsible for The Perseid Collapse.

Rockland2The Perseid Collapse Series obviously falls under the post-apocalyptic genre, but it also delves into the technothriller realm. I hear you’ve come up with a new genre to describe ROCKLAND.

Technoprepper, I more or less just made that up. I wonder if it will catch on?

I think you’ve just redefined a thriving subsection of post-apocalyptic writing. I hope to see this category on Amazon shortly. 😉

One of your strengths as a writer is character development. Tell us a little about your main character. What will readers like about him or her.

There are a few, the goodie, the Police Chief, a large powerful guy who lost his wife during the craziness of the pandemic and is struggling to have a relationship with his son because of it. He also is convinced another event will happen and has prepared his town to make up for his previous failings during the pandemic in DC. The baddie, Special Agent Eva Young, is a calm, beautiful—cold hearted killer. Her job is to make sure the Chief’s son is killed.

Both characters make quite a splash in your novella, particularly Special Agent Eva Young. She really embodies some of the sinister characters you present in your other work. Ruthless, brutal and single focused. She leaves one hell of a trail of dead bodies in her path.

Fans of your books will absolutely love Rockland. This is classic Murray McDonald. For those not familiar with your work, how would you describe your stories?

I try to write books I’d love to read myself. Plenty of action with a twist and turn here and there that once you see it you kick yourself as the clues were there. I also take a view on storylines that pretty much anything is possible, when it comes to fiction I sometimes consider the things that have happened in the past. For example, had I written in the 1930’s (and maybe even early 40’s!) of a fascist state that would commit the holocaust that would kill 6,000,000 Jews and another 4 million+ ethnic or religious peoples in death factories, it would have been slammed as unbelievable, inconceivable in the modern world, as they viewed it then. Even recently, Rwanda, almost 1,000,000 people slaughtered in 100 days, hard to believe but that happened only 20 years ago. There are many more examples, as I’m sure you know. Sometimes as strange and ridiculous we make our fiction, if we look back to the past, we don’t even come close to how ridiculous reality can become. 

Whether fiction imitates reality, or the other way around, is often difficult to distinguish. Let’s just hope that none of our plots materialize in the real world. I don’t think the people are ready!

You’re another one of those authors that picked up a pen (or keyboard) later in life and started writing stories. No Master of Fine Arts and twenty years of querying agents. How did this all come about?

My son couldn’t find anything to read when he was fourteen and I had an idea for a story, I started to write it and who knew… especially given my background is in business with a degree in Chemical Engineering!!

I should have consulted you on my Black Flagged series. I delve into the world of designer chemical and biological weapons. Or maybe not! Your bullshit detector is pretty strong. 😉

Murray’s backlist is impressive. I’ll post a few of them here. Kidnap is the first in the series he wrote for his son, and is appropriate for that age. The rest are Rated R action/espionage thrillers.

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I alluded to the answer to my next question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. I suspect a hilarious answer. Are you a prepper in any way, shape or form?

I’m European, our governments will make sure we’re safe – LOL!

Glengoyne 17I nearly spit out my Scotch laughing, which would have been a grave crime. I can sense you tensing up at the thought of it. Don’t worry; it’s not the good stuff. If you’re ever looking for advice regarding Scotch, look no further than Murray. He introduced me to fine Highland Scotch Whisky, Glen Goyne 17 Year to be precise, and I haven’t looked back.

Besides a critical shortage of Scotch Whisky, what do you see as the most likely threat to modern living in our lifetime? In other words, what might cause TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)?

Definitely an object from space crashing into us, it’s happened before….

And I didn’t pay him to say that, though I should have. Though the chance might be remote (if we spot the incoming threat…and that’s a big IF), it would be catastrophic.

What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? 😉

Something a little different, still an action based novel, just a different kind of action, cough, ahem…

I hear a Barry White song playing in the background.

You can check out the rest of Murray’s bestselling novels at his website HERE. If you’re a fan of fast paced thrillers filled with twists and turns, you can’t go wrong with ANY of his novels. And of course, check out ROCKLAND to uncover more of the mystery behind The Perseid Collapse.

Interview with Ian Graham

The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:

Thriller writer and Virginian: Ian Graham

Ian GrahamToday we hear from one of my early thriller writer buddies. Ian and I met while I was heavy into writing the Black Flagged series, a hardcore covert operations/political thriller saga. Ian had recently launched his first Declan McIver book, a story about a “reformed” IRA black operative thrown back into a world of violence, and we hit it off grand—as his character would say.

I admire Ian’s writing style and the story building he demonstrated in the Declan McIver-Black Shuck series, so it was natural for me to reach out and ask him to contribute a story to the Perseid World. We’d talked in the past about my leap from writing thrillers to post-apocalyptic books, so I hoped this might pique his interest. I think it did more than spark a little interest. Ian has published one novella, The Amsterdam Directorate, and is feverishly working on the second installment. It probably goes without saying, but The Amsterdam Directorate is a natural extension of his talent as a thriller writer, and an unveiling of new skills in a new genre. Without giving away the rest, let’s here it straight from the man himself.

I mentioned your story building talent in my opening paragraphs for a reason. Beyond the taut thriller beats and compelling action found in your Declan McIver novels, I gathered a sense that you had spent an immense amount of time creating the background surrounding Declan’s early years. In my view, this contributed heavily to the success of a complicated and tortured character, and I wasn’t surprised to see that you took a similar approach to The Amsterdam Directorate.

Right. I chose to make the only connection between the original series and my novella the initial event. Everything else is entirely new. The Amsterdam Directorate explores a new geographic area and new characters, but in a familiar post Jakarta Pandemic United States where the economy is decidedly weak, militias are a part of everyday society, and the government is largely invisible outside of the larger cities.

Ian Graham

I know readers will agree that you’ve created a complex, rich world that stands on its own within the Perseid World. With The Amsterdam Directorate, you’ve demonstrated one of the key approaches to writing in Kindle Worlds, especially in a world as vast as The Perseid Collapse. The “event” described in the original series affects everyone in the United States, and has serious repercussions around the world. Introducing readers to a new perspective reinvigorates the series and proposes new challenges. Plus, it gets readers out of New England…even I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic in my series. 😉

Beyond your knack for world building, what else really transfers strongly from your previous work?

My stories always revolve around characters that have very traumatic past experiences in their lives that color and even dictate their actions in the present to a degree. That’s continued in The Amsterdam Directorate. As I read myself into the Perseid series, what I really wanted to know more about and delve into was the experiences of people between the events of the Jakarta Pandemic and the Perseid Collapse. What did they have to do? Did the world just return to normal when the last vestiges of the plague were gone? History would tell us no. If you look back at major medical events like the Black Plague, you see that the aftermath was a time of enormous societal change. The old ways died and each time a sort of new world was born. But sometimes it took decades for the change to take hold and like anything, the old ways didn’t just go away quietly—they fought hard for their survival.

That’s the world I dropped my characters into. Like the Fletchers in the original series, the characters in The Amsterdam Directorate are at a point where several years have passed and things almost seem like they could become normal again even though there’s still a deep fear and uncertainty about the state of the world.

Like Declan McIver, in your Black Shuck books, Reverend Jacob Craft is indeed a character defined by personal trauma. His presence in the story is like a dark, overcast sky, lending an emotional anchor to a post-apocalyptic situation already wracked with trouble. We’ll talk about him in more detail shortly.

Before that, I want to address a unique aspect of your story. When we first discussed your idea for the novella, you had a ton of questions about my vision for the post-Jakarta Pandemic world. I had to do some deep thinking…scary thought for me. To me, the story in the Jakarta Pandemic was more about what happened to the Fletchers and their friends, within the narrow scope of their neighborhood. As the story progressed, the focus pulled inward, until they were essentially locked inside their homes. You had a different vision of the post-Jakarta Pandemic world, based on the story setting you chose, which once again demonstrates your strength for world building.

All right. Let’s hear more about your main character.

In just about every way, Reverend Jacob Craft was your typical rural-to-suburban American male. He was a high school football star with an ego to match his status, until a mid-season injury put an end to those hopes and dreams. Then, in the fever of patriotism that many Americans experienced after the events of September the 11th, he joined the Army and shipped off to Afghanistan. Unfortunately real war wasn’t quite the heroic Hollywood-like experience he’d imagined, and after a few tours in country, he returned to his community with a host of demons gnawing at him. After attempting to chase them away with alcohol for a number of years, it was a determined member of the opposite sex that set him right and introduced him to a higher calling. Then the Jakarta Pandemic happened, and events like those in Afghanistan came to the home front. Fortunately for those around him, Jacob was able to hang on and pull his community together in the face of more than one type of threat. The aftermath of these events is where we find him as The Amsterdam Directorate opens.

I wanted to make all of the characters, but most certainly Jacob, realistic and relatable, giving readers the sense that these could be your neighbors. They could be the guy next door, the farmer down the road, the pastor of your church, and I hope that comes through to people as they read it.              

I think you nailed his character, and the characters supporting him. The story has a strong “regular people rising to exceptional circumstances” feel, which readers in the post-apocalyptic genre appreciate. I could probably take a lesson from this.

The elements found in your thriller series successfully support The Amsterdam Directorate. How do you feel about stepping into the post-apocalyptic realm?

I tried to follow the post-apoc and prepper themes, because those are what interested me most about the world. I’ve been a big fan of the Walking Dead since it began airing, but my primary interest in that series has never been the zombie / horror elements, which really serve more as a backdrop to me. What interested me from the beginning is the idea of TEOTWAWKI or “the end of the world as we know it.” I’ve been itching to explore that for awhile now and The Perseid Collapse Kindle World provided the perfect opportunity.

I think you’ve found a new home, or a cabin in the woods (more prepper friendly), when you want to take a break from the covert ops thriller world.

This is a fun question for me, because it’s a matter of public record how often each of the authors writing in the Perseid World publish work. When I discussed the details of launching the world with my “handler” at Kindle Worlds (shout out to Sean-he’s good people), I remember saying, “I think we’ll have two, maybe three novellas at launch.” We had a tight timeframe to get novellas ready for the launch. The first wave of authors, which included Ian, blew my theory away! What happened? Red Bull. Methamphetamines? I’m not liable for any substance abuse addictions incurred while writing in the Perseid Collapse world. I think that might be in fine print, somewhere.

From the moment you contacted me about this and told me the launch date, I knew I was going to have to work extremely hard to get finished on time, much less have a sensible, edited, and formatted product. This is the first time I’ve worked on a deadline and I must say that I’m very happy with the results.

That’s it? Hard work? I’m tired of hearing that. It sets the bar too high for me. I was hoping for a Misery like story, where the crazed creator of the Perseid World, or Sean from Kindle Worlds, takes you prisoner and subjects you to enhanced interrogation techniques until you’ve finished the novella. Hobbling if you try to escape. Hard work, huh? Not even a few Sam Adams beers? Ian’s nodding in my mind. I knew there was more to it than hard work. 😉

I’ve mentioned your Declan McIver character. I think readers will be interested in this well received series. Care to expand?

VeilofCPatriotsSignsMy other works are primarily in the political thriller genre and tell the story of a former IRA volunteer named Declan McIver. Declan has tried to move on from his past, but is pulled back into the shadows by circumstances well outside of his control and is forced to fight for the life he’s worked so hard to build in America.

Like The Amsterdam Directorate, the Declan McIver series is centered around characters fighting to keep hold of the things they hold dearest. As such there’s a high degree of action and adventure in each and a lot of common themes. There’s even a sort of prepper element to Declan in that he’s prepared himself and his home for the possibility that someone from his past will one day come looking for him. That possibility is never far from his mind and that shows in how and where he lives as well as the kind of things he’s invested his time and money into.

Characters fighting to keep the things they hold dearest. I believe this is the core of thriller writing. I didn’t know this before I started writing, but when I look back, this is the nexus that connects all of my stories. Awesome.

Everyone’s story is different, which is why I always ask. How did you become a writer?

It was a dark and stormy night and there sitting on my grandmother’s antique roll top desk was a typewriter…

No, not really. It was much more mundane than that. Ever since I was a little boy I’ve simply loved stories. It didn’t matter what it was as long as there was a larger-than-life hero, soaring deeds of daring or a quest to save the world from some sort of wicked fate, I was there and more than happy to act it out in the living room and daydream about it for days afterwards. As I grew older and people started looking at me funny when I rolled across the floor in my Indiana Jones fedora, I turned to scribbling down daydreams in notepads with the idea of “someday” doing something with them, though I had no idea what.

In 2010 my daughter was born and at the same time the industry I was involved in was going through a rough transition. So I saw the writing on the wall that it was time to start looking for something else. For some reason that’s really hard to explain I just couldn’t get the idea of writing a novel out of my head. So I said a disbelieving “okay…” to that still, small voice in my head and went to work. Three years later my first novel Veil of Civility was published to great reviews and here I am. I couldn’t quit now if I wanted to. Writing has become a part of who I am and has given me a creative outlet for all of my ideas and seemingly useless knowledge that I’ve collected over the years.

That’s far from mundane. In fact, we share the exact same motivation for taking the leap to putting our words in a novel. After three “restructurings” at my job, I knew it was only a matter of time before the game of corporate musical chairs would leave me half standing, half sitting, trying to squeeze myself onto a chair that had been occupied by someone just as worried as me about job searching in their forties (or fifties) in a shrinking job market.

Do you have a background related to your writing?

Nothing spectacular to speak of. My background is in small business. I’ve owned and operated (and still do) several businesses including real estate rentals, car washes, and mobile auto glass replacement, but my passion has always been reading, watching, or listening to stories (fiction or non-fiction) about incredible people involved in incredible things.

When I began my own writing journey I was convinced that the popular writers must have backgrounds in things like the military and intelligence and was shocked to learn that two of the most popular authors in the thriller genre, Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn, actually had backgrounds similar to mine. Tom was an insurance salesman with a lifelong interest in naval warfare and Vince was a self-described “grape nuts salesman.” This was hugely motivating to me and despite never having met either man, I owe each of them a little debt of gratitude simply for being who they were.  

Tom Clancy was always a favorite of mine, which fueled my temporary jump out of post-apocalyptic writing. I think most of the truly popular genre fiction authors have little background in the writing world.

I confess this often, but I’ll do it again. Prior to writing The Jakarta Pandemic, I had never heard the word “prepper.” Survivalist, sure, but I was neither of these things. What about you? And I’ll completely understand if you don’t want to share the details of the forty-story silo buried on your property, as long as I’m invited.

The “end of the world as we know it” is something that has transfixed me for a long time, but always in a fictional setting. I never considered that it could actually happen until I realized just how fragile our society really is during a recent, unexpected windstorm.

During this storm trees fell, windows shattered, and most significantly, the power was knocked out for a large portion of the area in which I live. My family and I live in a newer section of town where the utilities are almost all underground and fared pretty well, getting our service restored within about 24 hours. So, no big deal. But for other people in the older areas of town where poles had to be dug up and replaced and wires had to be restrung it became a very big deal as the outage stretched from days into weeks. All said, it took about three weeks for every single resident to have service restored to their homes. In that time, there were shelters (at churches and schools) full of needy people, fights breaking out in places like public libraries where people wanted to use the power outlets to charge items like cell phones, and a collective shrug from the local government who wasn’t the least bit prepared for any of it. To make a long story short, there was a general sense of anxiety throughout the area for several weeks and it made me realize just how little it would take for things to spiral out of control.      

I think becoming a father was a major factor in the realization as well. The idea of not being able to provide for my family, especially my little girl, is terrifying to me. So, my family and I are having some conversations about emergency preparedness and such. I won’t say I’m a full on “prepper” just yet, but I may be before too long.

I can only think of one response to your last sentence. You have to cue up the raspy Yoda voice. “You will be. You will be.” For obvious reasons, The Jakarta Pandemic got me thinking seriously about what it takes for a family to survive a disaster. The Perseid Collapse series was like a PhD study, with Randy Powers as an adjunct professor. It’s hard to create these stories, without changing your mindset. Within a month, you’ll start to notice that your Amazon browsing history is mostly prepper related items, then the brown packages will start arriving weekly, if not daily. My advice is to somehow intercept these packages before you wife sees them. Less questions that way.

Inevitably, your wife is going to figure it out, and want to know why a significant portion of the children’s college savings is going to things like tactical tomahawks, waterproof matches, MREs, and rifle optics. What will you tell her? What is your most convincing, and fully vested end of the world scenario?

There’s a ton of scenarios that could technically happen, but I think the major one is something like I just mentioned above; a natural disaster of some sort that effects a broad section of territory and just throws things into a tailspin. In that situation you wouldn’t want to be out on the road trying to get somewhere else. You’d be better off in your own home with enough supplies to ride out the panicked reactions of other area residents.

When I think of prepping, this is really what I think of. I don’t think you can prepare for everything and nor should you try. I think you should focus first on the short term. Can you stay in your home for one, two, three weeks, maybe a month and be able to eat, drink, warm up, cool down, protect yourself, and ultimately live a relatively normal existence without having to rely on grocery stores, gas stations, and the availability of public utilities? That’s the question I think every head of household needs to take a hard look, answer honestly, and then get to work. That’s where I’m at.  

Make sure she reads your novellas, and all of mine. I’ve been able to slide quite a few items past the censors that way. I think I added a .308 to my collection (I mean necessary stockpile) by including a chapter that reinforced the need for a heavier caliber rifle. This writing gig pays off in more ways than one. And anyone that tattles will be unfriended on Facebook.

What will you write next in that beautiful writing cabin? Check out his digs. Amazing.

Next up for me is two more Perseid Collapse novellas that will round out the story of The Amsterdam Directorate. The first “sequel” if you will is going to be ready on or around March 20th and the last installment on or around April 30th.

After that, it’s back to work on the long-awaited second Declan McIver novel. I have it nearly completed, but might wait until the third quarter “reading season” begins to publish it. Generally speaking spring and summer aren’t good times to publish because that’s when people are putting down their e-readers and looking outside for sources of entertainment. We’ll just have to see if I can sit on a completed product that long. I’m horribly impatient. 🙂

The Amsterdam Directorate being your first foray into the post-apocalyptic genre, do you think you’ll revisit the genre with your own future books?

I can totally see that happening. My first love in any story is action and adventure and I can’t imagine a genre with more unexplored opportunities for that than post-apoc fiction. While on vacation last summer I had an awesome idea for a post-apoc novel that involves a family on the run from a truly gag inducing TEOTWAWKI and an old civil war fort. So, who knows…it might happen sooner, rather than later. In the mean time, I hope readers will check out the Declan McIver series for a look at what I’m capable of in novel-length fiction.

I sincerely hope we see a stand alone post-apocalyptic novel by Ian Graham. Until then, it sounds like readers have a full novel length read ahead of them with The Amsterdam Directorate series.

Take a look at Ian’s website HERE, and check out his other work. You won’t be disappointed.

Dispatches, the 4th and final book in The Perseid Collapse Series

1245 Steve Konkoly ebook DISPATCHES_2The launch of Dispatches signals the end of my work in The Perseid Collapse Series. It’s hard to describe how much fun I’ve had writing the Perseid books and reconnecting with post-apocalyptic and prepper oriented readers. It has certainly kept me busy for the past year and a half.

How did I end up writing a fourth book in a planned trilogy? The short answer? Little goes as planned when writing a series. After finishing Point of Crisis, I thought The Perseid Collapse series was done. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. As I walked away from the series, glancing fondly over my shoulder, two major questions emerged from emails, reviews and blog comments. 1.) What’s happening in the world outside of New England? 2.) What’s going to happen to the Fletchers after the winter?

Ideas formed, and before I knew it, a new concept emerged. One that would address both themes voiced by readers. A hybrid novel—essentially two stories in one.

Dispatches is broken into two parts. Big Picture and Little Picture. Big Picture takes readers across the globe, to conflicts arising in the absence of the United States’ foreign presence. Of course, America is not out of the fight—she’s just taking a quieter, more satisfying role in the unfolding events. Little Picture pulls you back to Maine, to once again walk in Alex Fletcher’s shoes.

Without a doubt, writing the final lines was a bittersweet moment. Time to start something new, but hard to say goodbye. Fortunately, the world lives on with nearly 20 authors working on close to 30 novellas to complement the original series. The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, brought to readers through a special arrangement with Amazon, will keep the world alive and well long after I’ve stopped writing. I invite you to check out the incredible selection of novellas written by talented authors across several genres. You won’t be disappointed.

Check out the Kindle Worlds novellas. 

What am I working on now? A romance novel set in the 1920’s. Just kidding. In my ample spare time (sarcasm), I have  created the framework for a new series set in a dystopian, drought wracked California. Talk of secession is in the air, in a frighteningly familiar, yet ultimately alien landscape. More to come on my new series soon.

Interview with A.R. Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:

A.R. Shaw—Post-apocalyptic thriller writer and former Texan

AR shawA.R. Shaw is unique within the initial wave of launch authors, because she’s the first post-apocalyptic writer I approached with the idea of writing in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. Her popular series, Grahams Resolution, tackles the idea of a devastating pandemic, but goes much further than I ever did in The Jakarta Pandemic. Her first novel, The China Pandemic (she’s on the no visa to China list with a growing number of Kindles Worlds authors), launches a much deadlier pandemic—on par with the “Captain Trips” superflu in Stephen King’s The Stand. This change alone yields an eerie, dystopian feel to her series, which readers will find mesmerizing.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

She takes this same approach in her novella, Deception on Durham Road, creating an unnerving feel to a mostly quiet and serene setting in the neighborhood featured in The Jakarta Pandemic. Of course, Durham Road immediately following the “event” is anything but safe and placid, as readers quickly learn. I’m straying into spoiler territory, so let’s get on with the interview.

When we discussed your story idea, I was really excited by the prospect of going back to Durham Road to see the disaster from a different perspective. What motivated you to return to Alex Fletcher’s neighborhood and pick up where he left?

After reading the series, starting with the Jakarta Pandemic, I chose to explore Jamie McDaniels character to explore. She was unique in the fact that she succumbed to the virus and survived where her husband did not. She was a fighter and she had two children that she knew who would be more or less orphaned without her. Six years later, during the Perseid Collapse, after remarrying a bad guy, she again proves she’s a fighter, when she tries to alert Alex to her situation.

This is where I picked up her story and continued to develop her character to prove she had what it takes to survive. So after the Fletcher’s and his group bug out, I had Jamie assess her situation on Durham road and stay there to deal with the challenges. All of the characters in my story are found in the original series, except for bicycle guy and the dog characters. Steven did such a great job seething up the world, I found plenty of material to work with. It was a great experience as a writer to play in someone else’s world.

Most writers brought their own characters to the table, interacting lightly with the original Perseid Collapse crew. This is one of the things I enjoyed the most about your story. Seeing Jamie in a different light, as a survivalist and protective mother was a view of her that I never had time to explore. Jamie’s not the only character you brought back to readers. Another, shall we say, disturbed character still lives on Durham Road. I don’t want to give this away, since it plays such an important role in the story, but readers of the series will HIGHLY appreciate what you did with (or to) that character.

I sense genre crossover in your novella, and your Graham’s Resolution series. Elements of suspense, horror…among the more obvious. Which genre or genres do you explore the most in your story?

I had not thought about this until this question but I’m surprised to say elements of the story do cross, not only from post-apocalyptic, dystopian prepper fiction but even horror to a small degree. Perhaps the most frequent is post-apocalyptic.

I couldn’t agree more. You have several very suspenseful scenes that I’d classify as horror, plus the dystopian element is strong. Like your Graham’s Resolution series, there’s also a solid prepper-themed fiction base. Jamie has learned a lot since The Jakarta Pandemic, and the skills you chose to give her come in handy to meet the challenges in your novella.

I think I just hinted at my next question. Themes. Jamie seems to embody your view of survival and readiness. Am I on the mark with this?

Survival certainly is a theme in my own series, with a flair of ingenuity. Having a female mother explore ingenuity the way Jamie does, with a sense of humor, is new for me. I think it works…we’ll see.

I would never have guessed this was a new theme for you. I think it works well within the context of Deception on Durham Road, and adds dimension to the survivalist/survivor character meme.

Tell us a little more about your main character. Why do you think readers will like Jaime?

I believe readers will like her because she’s innovative in her approach to the serious situation she’s cast in. She’s also a mother and a woman in her forties, with a sense of humor. She does it with grace, and I think this is a refreshing change for the genre. Not too many female lead roles in the genre today. It may not be a die-hard prepper novel but it’s a small look into how we as individuals look at situations differently. For Jamie, this disaster, wasn’t such a bad thing.

HAHA! Yes, she had a big reason to celebrate when events conspired to “remove” her second husband from their lives. You don’t want to mess with Jamie McDaniels. I think she’s a clever and much-needed addition to the prepper-novel world. She takes a more subtle approach to survival, and provides valuable lessons about readiness, while entertaining the reader.

I ask everyone this question. Did you have any trouble jumping into a novella based in someone else’s world?

Quite the opposite. I never realized before how much time a story’s foundation took. Having that environment set up for you made it so much easier.

One author described it as coloring between the lines. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but I agree based on my own experience writing Kindle Worlds novellas for other authors. The amount of time put into creating a realistic, viable world for a series is immense. Kindle Worlds shortcuts that process…somewhat. I know you weren’t typing this while watching TV!

China PandemicCascade81kchkI6zML._SL1500_Tell us about the Graham’s Resolution series. I briefly explored how your novella is similar in tone and theme to your other novels. Can you expand on that a little? Are there any differences?

In the Graham’s Resolution series, I start off with a pandemic and I’d say it’s a true dystopian event. I explore a survival situation, but the theme is very different. It’s darker. Most families are completely destroyed. My characters have to reform connections. Deception on Durham road is lighter and the family bonds that remain are strengthened for the most part.

I never thought of it that way. They’re both dystopian and dark, but the family element is a huge difference between the two. The China Pandemic takes away 98% of the population, and tears families apart, literally right in front of each other. I sensed a profound sadness in Graham’s Resolution that wasn’t present in your novella. Still, I’m not going to file Deception on Durham Road under the “uplifting, beach read” category any time soon. 😉

Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

Mine is similar to Stevens, really. I wrote the China Pandemic, not really knowing what I was doing. I never submitted to a publisher and I don’t have an agent. It was very well received. I was surprised. I certainly learned some do’s and don’ts right away, but I put up the second one and then kept writing. It’s been an amazing experience.

I knew exactly what I was doing when I first wrote and published The Jakarta Pandemic—about a year later. Isn’t it amazing? Indie publishing has really changed the landscape. I went from an obscure idea to a full-time writing career all because I decided to give the novel to readers on my own terms. Time for a self-publishing high-five!

What else are we missing?

I’ve always written as a hobby but publishing is new to me. I was a radio operator in the Air Force Reserves. I’m a mom to four and married. I have a HAM radio operator license. I have a yellow lab named Oakley. I read a lot…really, I’m very boring but I like it that way.

Another author that claims they are boring. I suppose your reading is boring too?

I’ve always read post-apocalyptic fiction. I’m drawn to it without knowing why. I feel like something tells me, as a society, we’re headed in that direction. But I’m not a doomsday person. It’s more of an instinct. I might be wrong, but what if I’m not?

I don’t mean this to sound rude, but I hope your instinct is wrong. What do you see as the most likely threat to our safety?

Stupidity. Pick the avenue…government, CDC, terrorism… Or, it’s possible, Mother Nature. She’s proven to be a sly caretaker. She’s done it before and she’ll do it again.

Yeah, I’m not sure which one will win that race. Human Nature or Mother Nature. I hope it’s a really long race, or the race gets called off. I’m not holding my breath for either.

What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? I’m like a bad comedian, returning to the same joke for a laugh.

I’ve left an opening to go back into Deception on Durham Road to write a sequel. I might do that at a later date; it depends on how well it’s received. Now, I’m working on the fourth novel in the Grahams Resolution series. There will be a fifth in the series and possibly a prequel, as well. After that I may move on to a new series.

It had been received really well. Time to continue Jamie’s story on Durham Road. I have to try. Well, I’m looking forward to book three in the Graham’s Resolution series, and I’m psyched to hear that you have a fifth planned…and possibly a prequel. I get the feeling there’s more to the pandemic in the series than you have let readers know. Very exciting!

Check out A.R. Shaw’s website to learn more about her series, and please pick up a copy of her novella, Deception on Durham Road. I want to know more about what happens to Jamie and her daughters!

Interview with Tim Queeney

The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:

Tim Queeney—Renaissance man and thriller author

TEQB&WHeadShotIITim Queeney is one of those rare authors I’ve met in person. Quite a few times, actually. We are members of the Pine Cone Writers Den, a diverse collection of hardworking, talented authors living in and around Portland, Maine. In this day an age of virtual friends, social media contacts and email buddies (all good), I can’t tell you how satisfying it feels to sit down with in front of live writers (Skype doesn’t count…though it’s a step in the right direction). Tim anchored the action/thriller contingent of the group, treating us to his Perry Helion Series, which he explains later.

Tim is an avid sailor, and coincidentally keeps his sailboat less than fifty yards from mine. I could easily swim to his boat from my mooring—if I didn’t mind the cold water. We didn’t figure this out about until a year ago. I’ve resisted the temptation to head out on Tim’s boat, because I heard a nasty rumor that he doesn’t like to rely on electronics for navigation. Old world brute. Tim explains his disdain for GPS and all things non-Christopher Columbus era in the interview.

Sit back and enjoy my talk with Portland’s renaissance man.

We might as well start with your stubborn refusal to accept the GPS gods above as the primary method of knowing “where the hell” you are. What is wrong with you? 😉

I’m actually the member of the world’s most obscure sect, the teachers of celestial navigation, you know, using a sextant to find your way. There are only two of us left, and the other guy lives in shack in Patagonia. I actually teach people how to navigate across oceans with just a sextant, a watch and a book of sight reduction tables. No electrons, no satellites, no app store — wild thought, huh? And it’s actually so easy to do. Gives you a great feeling of self-reliance — like the first time you changed a tire or unhooked a girl’s bra. A rush of satisfaction — “I can definitely do this!”

I’m not sure how unhooking a bra relates to self-reliance, but I’m sure many of my male readers are nodding their heads in agreement. Ladies, feel free to chime in with the female equivalent. Why do I have a bad feeling about the responses I’ll get.

Where were we? Yes, Celestial Navigation. I gave Tim some hassle about not trusting GPS, because I’m very familiar with the timeless navigation methods he teaches. Once upon a time, they taught this at the United States Naval Academy (ended in 1998), and I was subjected to an entire semester of Master and Commander-esque adventures with the sextant. Times lost.

As for Tim’s claim that it’s easy to do, well, I’ll chalk that up to “instructor enthusiasm and optimism.” One thing is for sure. In the event of an EMP, the sun, moon and starts will still be there (those lights never go out), so if I’m planning to escape the U.S. in a sailboat, Tim has earned a berth on my boat…as long as he comes with his own set of reduction tables (heavy books from what I remember).

Tim Queeney
Tim Queeney

Let’s talk about the novella you wrote for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. How did you link your story to the original series?

While many of the Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds (gonna go all acro here and shorten that to PCKW) are set in the U.S., my story, The Borealis Incident, takes place far away at Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. The connecting events to The Perseid Collapse series are the meteor strikes and the EMP. Even though the Chinese target mainland U.S. for major EMP effects, my story has the EMP energy concentrated by the magnetic lines of force at the Magnetic North Pole (only 500 miles west of Thule AFB) and so Thule is hit hard too.

Since we know Alex and Kate Fletcher & company never get to the Greenland in the series (howz about an extended road trip, Steve?), there aren’t any meetings between the original characters and the folks in The Borealis Incident. I thought about what the character tie-in could be and since the main character in my story is a woman, I decided to invoke “sister power” and so Lt. Colonel Dana Wright is Kate Fletcher’s older sister.

After the events of August 19, Dana is certainly concerned about Kate, but she also knows that Alex and Kate have been through the Jakarta episode and that Alex, in particular, is almost born to succeed in an environment where he must use his training, experience and smarts. As a woman who has risen to deputy commander of an Air Force base, Dana is no slouch herself and it would be interesting to bring the two of them together in a story. They’d both have strong ideas about how to proceed — sparks, baby!

Judging from what I’ve seen when my wife and sister-in-law are in charge of family get togethers, I don’t know if the post-event world in The Perseid Collapse series could survive! No doubt that Alex would have to take a back seat. Not a bad idea for a sequel to The Borealis Incident. I wonder who could write it? Hmmm.

This is a loaded question for you. I probably had your novella in mind when I wrote it. The Perseid Collapse can be classified under a number of sub-genres. Obviously, it falls under post-apocalyptic, but it also delves into the realms of technothriller, prepper fiction, military, dystopian and even horror. Which of these genres do you explore the most in your story? Hint…all of them.

Borealis is a fun house ride — plenty of thriller elements mixed with some other nastiness popping up. Whereas preppers in the U.S. have to deal with the collapse by themselves, the characters in Borealis are members of the military or ex-military contractors and have resources most people don’t have. Yet, as the saying goes, we’re always preparing to fight the last war, so when “the ejecta hits the air circulation device,” the result is not what anyone expects.

Without giving anything away, readers will not expect the devious twist you through at them with Camp Amorak. Shortly in the novel, readers will begin to suspect that the camp isn’t what it seems, but you have no idea. I’ll shut up.

Given that you’ve pretty much covered every genre possible in your story, let’s talk about themes. What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

Early in the story Dana thinks she really has a handle on the deputy commander job. Then a meteor strike and the EMP knock everything ass backwards and her eyes are opened, learning firsthand what has been going on right all around her.

shivaatlasMy Perry Helion thrillers (The SHIVA Compression, The Atlas Fracture and soon to be released, The Ceres Plague) exhibit a similar sense that hidden priorities and dangerous groups lurk within structures we think we understand. Who can you trust? What is really happening and what does that mean for the future?

One iconic scene from the movie The Matrix said it well (and referenced the similar scene from Alice in Wonderland): “Do you want to swallow the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes?”

Your main character is a woman? Dana? I was thinking Dana Carvey. I don’t know if I would have approved your novella if I knew Dana was female. How can this be a cool apocalyptic tale? For the record, I’m totally kidding…and looking over my shoulder for my wife, who could no doubt sense me typing that.

Dana is tough and smart, and though she starts the story a little naïve, she rolls with the punches and thinks well on her feet. She thinks the main challenge as deputy commander of Thule Air Base is to keep everything running smoothly as it has for decades. Then August 19th happens and she is forced to deal with events way outside her training, including rescuing her husband and daughter, who are nearby the base on an expedition to the ice cap. Dana has to make some tough decisions along the way.

As for pandas, they aren’t indigenous to the Arctic, but what if an air shipment of the critters crashed near Thule AFB and the ravenous fiends escaped and as they scampered toward the base… ah, never mind.

Like my wife, Dana is not to be messed with or underestimated on any level. I particularly like how she quickly hardens to the situation, giving no quarter when it comes to the people under her command or her family.

I know you wrote The Borealis Incident in record time. Do you care to explain why we don’t see at least two full size novels from you per year? Does this feel like an interrogation?

Without Russell Blake’s direct line to cartel warehouses, I had to sleep. So I didn’t get it done nearly as quickly. Was a fun effort, though. Glad to be a part of the PCKW launch.

I’m not sure what’s in those warehouses, but we could all use some of it. I know you busted your butt to meet the deadline, and sincerely appreciate that…readers will too.

You’ve written three books in the Perry Helion series (the third to be released soon). How are they similar to your novella?

Seems the main characters in thrillers are either hyper-capable and super intelligent or are just resilient men or women doing their best — like Alex Fletcher (although Alex is so well prepared and experienced, he sometimes fits into the hyper-capable category). The main character of my Perry Helion books falls onto the Alex side of the spectrum. Perry, an agent for DARPA is resourceful and savvy and does whatever he can to get the job done. In the upcoming The Ceres Plague, Perry turns a 95-ton Belaz 7555 mining truck into the world’s biggest lock pick to gain entry into a Russian mobster’s luxury compound.

Dana in The Borealis Incident is a lot like Perry. She has to decide on a course of action without a lot of information or time. She and Perry are both good at thinking on their feet. They’d make a pretty good team.

Lock pick is an interesting term for battering ram. A bank heist with you might not be a great idea…unless it’s Fort Knox.

Here’s the question readers are waiting for. Are you a prepper or homesteader?

Not a prepper, as such, but I respect the desire to be prepared and self-reliant. That’s a great way to be. I’ve always thought I could peddle my knowledge of celestial navigation to folks after the apocalypse. You know, how to get around using sun and the stars in exchange for a side of beef? Hmmm, yeah, maybe I should start buying survival gear.

I’m trying to picture you carting around your sight publications, sextant case, recording logs and reams of paper through the post-apocalyptic streets of Portland. Might be easier to spend an afternoon at Cabelas with a credit card.

What do you see as the most likely threat to modern living in our lifetime? In other words, what might cause TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)?

Nuclear war remains the biggest threat. And not even a general thermonuclear exchange between Russia and the U.S. or China and the U.S. Some studies have predicted that even a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause sufficient burning to throw vast amounts of smoke and soot into the atmosphere. The result could be “a death shroud” of nuclear winter that would end all food production for years. Any larger exchange of nukes between the major nuclear powers would be a foregone conclusion to produce a nuclear winter. So, although all the fear of nukes may have been pushed aside by zombie and plague phobia, they are still the most potent danger on the planet. You can read how Perry Helion keeps the world safe from a U.S./Russia nuclear war in my book The SHIVA Compression.

Some type of killer pathogen would also have to be considered a huge threat. Although the human immune system has been kicking ass and taking names for millennia, there’s always the possibility it’ll run up against a bug more badass than any it has encountered before. If our immune systems screw the pooch then we’re probably in big trouble, too, right? What about an organism brought up from a subglacial Antarctic lake that has had a million years to mutate? That’s a chilling element to my Perry Helion thriller The Atlas Fracture. How the hell does Perry deal with that one?

Perry Helion shout-out! This is a scary thought. Whether it’s a virus buried in the ice for thousands of years, or released from a meteorite (ala The Andromeda Strain), the concept of a virus novel to our immune system makes for great nightmares.

What’s next? I assume another Perry Helion story?

Yes. Working on the next book in my Perry Helion series, The Proteus Evasion. Perry gets himself in another bind. Hope he knows how to get out of it because I sure don’t!

That’s kind of how it works for us, isn’t it? The plot kind of works itself out.

Check out Tim’s website HERE. You’ll find an eclectic range of fascinating articles, along with more information about his work. And don’t forget to grab a copy of The Borealis Incident. It’s a great addition to the Perseid Collapse World.

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: Alex Shaw

Alex Shaw An international thriller/covert ops writer by trade, Alex and I have a lot of common ground outside of the post-apocalyptic genre. Like many of the authors writing in the Perseid World, he broke onto the scene with rapid fire, timeline driven thrillers. Hetman, his first novel, received critical acclaim in the UK and has been translated into several languages. Follow up novels featuring Alex’s signature protagonist, Aidan Snow, include Cold Black and Cold Blood. 

Alex  spent many of his earlier years in the Ukraine, teaching and business consulting out of Kyiv. Currently, he splits his time between family in the UK and business development opportunities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When I first spoke with Alex, I was particularly intrigued by his character, Aidan Snow, a former SAS trooper living in Kyiv. Coincidence? Write what you know? I’ll quit speculating now, before I get in trouble. 😉

cover 3 cyanReaders are in for a treat with BLACKLINE. He’s remained quiet about the plot, but I have learned that novella features an SAS trooper “on holiday” in Maine…during August 2019. I know—Bad timing. As you probably guessed, this won’t be a story about sitting around a dark hotel room, parsing food and hoping the lights come on. An unruly group of tourists, with thick Russian accents, has taken residence nearby, and their presence in Maine, on the cusp of the “event,” is not likely a coincidence.

Check out Alex’s website. 

Author Spotlight: Greg Ferrell

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: Greg Ferrell

Greg FWhen I heard the Greg was interested in writing for the Perseid Collapse World, I quickly did a little research into his books. Zombies. Now we’re talking! With the Walking Dead midseason premiere a week or so away, the genre was on my mind, so I was excited to speak with Greg about his idea for a novella.

I wasn’t expecting zombies, but I’ve often said that zombies might be a little easier to contend with in a post-apocalyptic world, mainly because they’re predictable. They don’t gain your trust, then stab you in the back for your supplies, nor do they kidnap your children for slave labor at the nearest FEMA camp. Yeah, I might prefer zombies oddly enough. I just need a katana. Probably cut my own head off with one of those.

I’m off on a tangent. Back to Greg! I spoke with him at length about his writing, living in Florida (yeah, he’s another one of these lucky $#@#@!&! in Florida!) and his idea for the Perseid Collapse novella. First, I learned that his Humanity’s Hope series is far more than a zombie story. I won’t spoil more than that, but it’s an epic saga. Second, Greg has two 50K world novellas planned for the series. The concept is awesome, with twists and turns designed to keep the reader guessing. I can’t wait to read it.

Check out Humanity’s Hope at Greg’s website while your waiting!

 

Interview with Sean T. Smith

The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:

Sean T. Smith—author, songwriter, family man.

Sean smithDid I mention Sean lives in Florida? I’m a little focused on Florida these days, thanks to the five feet of snow accumulated on the ground in my yard, so I particularly enjoyed the setting of Sean’s Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds novella—The Florida Keys. Not the Keys I remember from Spring Break, but the descriptions of the mangrove swamps, sweltering heat and lush vegetation took me away from a harsh New England winter for a few hours.

Sean T. Smith
Sean T. Smith

Of course, Sean’s novella was not a peaceful Margaritaville interlude. Set several months after the “event” that paralyzes the United States in the original Perseid Collapse Series, things are vastly different. Sprawling FEMA camps dominate the landscape, providing the only refuge for the vast majority of Americans caught off guard by the “event.” Not everyone lives in the camps, which is where Sean’s novel starts. Unfortunately, life outside of the camps is dangerous—in a Mad Max kind of way within  Sunshine Patriots.

Without giving any more of the story away, let’s kick off the interview.

Sean, your story is the first novella published in the Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World that is set several months after the collapse event described in the original series. I was really excited to learn that you would take this approach, which turned out to be a fantastic look at life, in the post “event” world, from the eyes of a family man that had prepared for a major disaster. Which of the apocalyptic genres do you explore the most in your story?

The story is a thriller, with strong prepper themes. After the Jakarta Pandemic, the family decided to become better prepared for a catastrophic event; their preps did indeed allow them to fare better than most after the Event. Some things are impossible to prepare for, though.

Right. I hinted at the fact that he was prepared, because the main characters in the original series fall into the same category, but as you quickly highlight, there’s absolutely no way to fully prepare for an event like the one described in The Perseid Collapse. Eventually the circumstances catch up, taking the story to a whole new level, which is what happens in Sunshine Patriots. 

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works? Don’t hesitate to share!

I’m drawn to the struggle between light and darkness, and how this conflict affects those engaged in the battle. How does a good person drive out evil without drowning in it? Evil cannot be negotiated with…it must be destroyed. It’s bloody work, and the wounds often linger. This theme is intertwined with a family in peril, and the question of “what would I do to protect my children?” I never thought about how consistently this appears in my books, but it’s in all of them. Probably because I wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about my kids.

wrath1Wrath2wrath3The Wrath trilogy is published by Permuted Press, beginning with Objects of Wrath, which was released last February. It’s a post-apocalyptic epic, spanning four generations following the next world war. The themes of faith, family, and firepower are strong in the books. The conclusion to the trilogy releases on Feb. 3, the same day as the Kindle World launches! http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Volume-Sean-Smith/dp/1618682245

Beyond the light and darkness theme, how is the Wrath series similar to your novella? I sense there’s more.

The themes are definitely similar. Beyond that, there are other similarities. The main character is a soldier, heroic and flawed. There is an element of lawlessness and anarchy in the Wrath world similar to that of the Perseid Collapse universe, although in my trilogy, the whole world is smashed. I try to write characters that face terrible hardships, not because they make stupid decisions, but in spite of their essential goodness and intelligence. Also, shooting. I like lots of shooting.

Tell us more about your main character. Why do you think readers will like him?

John Goodwin is a retired combat veteran, an Army Ranger, trying to keep his daughters alive in the wake of the Event. He is tough, resourceful, and smart, but deeply wounded by the loss of his wife, barely keeping it together for the sake of his kids. His older daughter, Alexandria, is also a viewpoint character, a high-school senior who is forced to grow up faster than she should. I think readers will relate to this family and the way that their love for one another sustains them despite their brokenness and the deadly adversity they face.

I enjoyed the addition of Alexandria’s point of view. Seeing the apocalyptic world from a more vulnerable point of view really added depth to the story, giving us a dual tale that is almost too relatable for me. I couldn’t help but imagine my own kids in a similar nightmare scenario. Gave me goosebumps.

Let’s talk about your experience with the process. Most writers in the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I did. Some of this was out of necessity, having a hard deadline of about two weeks to crank out twenty-thousand words. There was a great deal of caffeine involved. There is also a kind of freedom in not having to worry about the world- building aspects of a story, since this story exists within the Perseid Collapse universe. I was able to focus on one family, and a small region affected by the Event.

I can relate to the caffeination process, Sean. I still wake up far earlier than I should, a habit I picked up while writing before heading out to the day job. I’m usually two cappuccinos into the day before most people’s alarm clocks buzz.

Songwriter and author? Obviously, songwriting came first—when did you start writing fiction?

I’ve wanted to write for a living since I was in college at the University of Florida. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet managed to pull it off. I moved to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career, and I lived there for ten years. I was lucky to be mentored by some great writers, guys with armloads of hits, who wrote songs with me and made me a better writer. I ended up moving back to Florida and starting a family right about the time my songwriting career was kicking into high gear. I don’t regret it for a minute, though.

Once I moved away from Music City, I started writing Objects of Wrath, finding that I needed to keep writing in order to stay sane, and enjoying the broader canvas that fiction afforded me. In a song, you’ve got three and a half minutes, a total of sixteen lines, and every single word has to count. The scale of a novel is much larger. I love crafting a world, filling it with characters that feel as real to me as people I know.

The Nashville days must have been amazing, as will the full time writing days I have no doubt are in your near future. Outside of writing, what makes you interesting? I’ve found that authors are some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

I love the outdoors. Whether it’s fishing down in the keys, diving for lobster and making the run from Largo to Flamingo across the flats, or climbing in the Rocky Mountains, I’m happy. I like the wild places off the beaten path where there is always danger lurking, and the danger makes whatever it is I’m doing more vibrant. It might be that shark circling while I’m spear fishing, or it might be the Grizzly bear a mile down slope, but knowing those things are out there makes the whole experience more memorable, makes me feel alive. I’m a history buff, and intrigued by patterns over time. I like to shoot firearms, although I no longer own one. I’m thinking about purchasing another one.

Quick question for the SHTF readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? Worrier?

I’ve got a bug-out bag, but really, I’m woefully unprepared if the SHTF. I live close to a huge military base, and if there’s war, I’ll be dead before I’ve got the chance to run. I do have some contingency plans in the event of something less catastrophic, all of which involve getting the hell out of the city!

Living next to a military can have its advantages, as long as your SHTF event isn’t a full scale nuclear exchange, or something that involves a base-wide FEMA camp, like Sunshine Patriots. 😉

How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

My father read Lucifer’s Hammer out loud to our family when I was maybe twelve or so. This lead to long discussions about what we would do in the event of a war or other great calamity. This was back in the eighties, at the height of the cold war. These long family talks lead to an abiding love for post-apocalyptic fiction. The whole “what would I do?” idea is very appealing. Some of my favorite PA books are The Road, The Stand, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Wolf and Iron.

Wow, was your dad trying to scare you guys to death? LOL! Must be something about dads. Lucifer’s Hammer was one of my dad’s favorite books. He especially loved to describe the guy that surfed the tsunami that hits Los Angeles.

I get the feeling from the Wrath series that you’re not a comet guy. What do you see as the most likely threat to life as we know it?

World War Three. It’s only in the last seventy years that man has possessed the ability to cause his own extinction. With Russian aggression on the rise, China building a navy, and global warming leading to the melting of the arctic ice pack. As that ice melts, new opportunities for oil drilling are opening up, and now the Russians are reactivating bases, shifting their fleet around to militarize the arctic. The Chinese are doing the same thing in the Pacific, turning disputed islands into airstrips. A conflict between nuclear powers frightens me more than terrorism, although I believe terrorists may well trigger the global conflict. That’s how the war in the Wrath books begins.

Unfortunately, it’s not unrealistic at all, especially given the resurgence of political and military posturing we’ve seen from the Russians and Chinese lately. What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? 😉

I plan to publish The Tears of Abraham in the late spring; it’s a novel about the next American Civil War. The premise is that Congress is broken, Democrats have been in control of the White House for sixteen years, and Texas secedes from the union. A special forces soldier tries to make it home to his family in Key West, hunted by the Directors, who caused the war—because the soldier holds the key to the global conspiracy.

I’ve also got a series of novellas I hope to release. The Fate of the Fallen is about an angel who has lived and died many times over the last two thousand years. He is unique in that he has free will, and his decisions ripple through time as he attempts to stave off a nuclear apocalypse.

Finally, I’m part of the development team for a post-apocalyptic video game called The Seed, for Misery Development. It’s a two-D interactive novel, a “choose your own ending” experience for readers, in which the choices the reader makes lead to different branches in the plot. That project is a blast. The developers did photo shoots all over Eastern Europe and Russia.

As a parting note, thank you for including me in this project! It’s an honor and a pleasure, and it’s been a great deal of fun.

Sean, the pleasure has been all mine. Seriously. Sounds like you have a lot of “irons in the fire,” enough to keep you busy for most of the year, if not longer. Thank you for taking the time to write Sunshine Patriots. Readers of The Perseid Collapse books and fans of post-apocalyptic fiction everywhere are in for a treat.

Check out Sean’s website and learn more about the author of The Wrath Series and Sunshine Patriots.

Interview with bestseller Russell Blake

Next in The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview Series:

Bestselling author and tequila connoisseur Russell Blake.

Russell3smallRussell Blake has been at the top of my “to read” list since his first two novels, Fatal Exchange and The Geronimo Breach, two crash courses in what a fine thriller novel contains. I read both of these novels on my sailboat, and reached out to Blake when I returned—to congratulate him on an incredible “breach and clear” style entry into the Indie book scene. That’s covert ops speak for “explosive,” and his books are nothing less than explosive…all 35 of them. You heard that correctly. Since 2011, Russell has released 35 novels in a variety genres—mostly thrillers. It’s an incredible accomplishment, which has required Russell to put in unearthly hours and put down untold quantities of tequila. To this day, he will not reveal which was more important to his production.

Tequila jokes aside, there’s a reason Russell is an unmatched publishing phenomena. His stories grab you from page one, and he can write two to three times faster than most authors, while maintaining an unblemished level of quality. Let me tell you a quick story about Russell’s involvement in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World project.

Russell was excited about the idea, so I put him in touch with my “handler” at Kindle Worlds. They arranged a phone call, and I receive a text message from Kindle Worlds stating that “Russell is in.” Awesome. I knew Russell was up against a few of his own deadlines, so I was a little worried. About an hour later, I get an email from Russell with an attachment and a message. “Looks like I’m in. I knocked out the first two chapters. How does it read?”

Russell Blake
Russell Blake

Huh? I open the document, and find 2,500 words that didn’t really need any editing. As a matter of fact, it was perfect from my perspective. Tied into the Perseid world, hitting the right apocalyptic beats. With a few emails back and forth, Russell knocked Deadly Calm out of the park. I know readers will agree. Just download it now and forget the interview. Actually, read the interview too…always interesting to hear from the legendary Mr. Blake.

Fair warning: interviewing Russell Blake carries risk to your good reputation in the community. The responses below have not been altered in any way. Clear your children from the room. 😉

Mexico, huh? How did you link your story to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World?

I use an EMP as the basis of the end of the world as we know it, as experienced through the eyes of a single dad living in Mexico, who’s also grappling with the aftermath of a hurricane that hits that same evening.

Without giving too much away, I was thrilled to hear that you would base the story in Mexico, and essentially share your own experience through the story. For those unaware, Russell endured the sheer terror of Hurricane Odile—waiting out the category four storm, at ground zero in Cabo San Lucas. You can read about his harrowing experience HERE. I suspect much of what you’ll read about at the start of his novella is directly related to this once in a lifetime experience. Check out some pictures HERE. It makes the carnage in my series look like child’s play.

Your novella explores more than one genre. The hurricane sequence qualifies as horror in my book. Which genre do you explore the most in your story?

It’s firmly prepper and dystopian. What would you do if you were caught outside of the country, in a world gone mad, and had to get back to the U.S. at all costs in order to save your family? What lengths would you go to?

This question is often found at the core of these stories. How far would you go to protect family and friends? Deadly Calm hits this note firmly. Beyond genre consistency, what major theme comes across the clearest in your story?

The primary theme is one of redemption, which is a common theme in my fiction. The main character gets a chance at reinventing himself while learning harsh truths about his past choices and his worldview. In doing so, he’s redeemed.

Russell makes it sound so simple…trust me, he does far more justice to this theme than he lets on. As the story unfolds, he explores this redemption in a relationship between two unlikely allies. Care to take over from there?

There are two main characters – Evan and Rick. One, the single father; the second, the crusty prepper. Evan is a civilized guy out of the corporate world, with progressive, some might say, naive, views about things like self-defense, guns and the role of government in his life. I think he’s relatable – he’s followed the rules, done everything right—but he feels a sense of foreboding, like maybe he missed an important memo on the meaning of life. Rick is a Vietnam veteran with a diametrically opposed worldview, who’s been to hell and back, and understands the evil that men do. It’s the play between these two visions of reality that I think make the book interesting. One could view them as two sides of the same character, really, but I thought it would be more interesting to create a ying and yang character set, both of whom learn important life lessons from the other.

Most writers in the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

Is this humor?

Just kidding, we’ve already established that he’s a prolific writer. So, tell us about your other books. How are they similar to your novella?

My fiction, especially my bestselling JET and Assassin series, are approached in the same way: breakneck pacing, unexpected twists, a roller-coaster ride of surprises and action beats, and characters with unexpected depth. The novella showcases my approach to storytelling, which is character-driven action adventure.

cusslerLet me take moment here to better showcase Russell’s books. First, he has nailed the character-driven action adventure market. It was no surprise that Cliver Cussler chose him to co-author two novels. Eye of Heaven is the first, to be followed by The Solomon Curse later this year. At the core of his novels is a well-crafted character that you care about…surrounded by all kinds of well-constructed plot, mayhem and twists. I’m basically restating what Russell said, but I feel compelled. He truly nails this aspect, and we can all learn from this.

I know you don’t mind compliment showers, but let’s move on. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

I was born a poor white child and raised by bears. The only way I could break out of my career as a celebrated porn actor was to start writing. So far so good.

That’s what I figured. You can probably see where this is going. Dare I continue? Why not? What makes you interesting outside of your books…in my opinion, authors are the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

Besides being a serial killer and having a lovely singing voice, I’ve lived in Mexico for a dozen years, and have done everything from being an entrepreneur to an architect/builder to a music producer to an investor. Now I write lies for a living rather than telling them. Came naturally.

I know how to get this back on track. I hope. Are you a prepper or homesteader? Worrier? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

Living in Mexico, I’ve learned to be self-sufficient, and after going through a number of big storms, the last of which was a hurricane that flattened my area, I’m definitely a prepper. I’m also deeply worried about the course the U.S. government is on in the development of a police state, as well as creating a nanny state dependency on it. Neither are desirable, and I think a reasonable idea as framed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights has run off the tracks and morphed into what Eisenhower warned about in his final presidential address: a nation operated by the military/industrial/financial complex for its enrichment at the direct expense of everyone else, including at the expense of their liberty. A steadily eroding quality of life in the U.S. for the middle class is an unavoidable byproduct of this, as is increased racial tension, constant stress over the future, and a colonialism approach to foreign policy wherein the nation positions its corporate interests as national security interests, and goes to undeclared war to further those aims. Not that I have an opinion on it or anything.

Yes. Russell may have an opinion. His stand alone novels, which I absolutely love, explore these themes, in an entertaining, high shock value way. Upon a Pale Horse, Silver Justice and the Zero Sum books really delve into deeper conspiracy theories related to the military/industrial/financial complex. Not to be missed, if you have a suspicious mind…or just want to read one hell of a story. By the way, I’ve given up linking to Russell’s books. With 35 of them, I’d have to outsource this job to a Myanmar sweatshop.

Since we’re on the topic of world scale conspiracies. What do you see as the most likely threat to modern living in our lifetime?

Number one worry I have is the rise of a superbug that wipes out most of the world. Whether lab created as part of our clandestine bio-weapons development, or naturally occurring, if you look at the history of humanity, about every 100 years something comes along and kills a big chunk of the planet. Last time we had that rinsing effect was in 1918, with Spanish Flu. Want to worry? Look at a calendar. If somehow this time is different, which I deeply hope it is, then look at the history of paper currencies, especially those which were used as de facto reserve currencies in their time, and look at the nations that rode that wave into oblivion. Rome. Portugal. Spain. The UK. History doesn’t predict stellar things for the U.S., and as they like to say on Wall Street, only a sucker fights the tape…

Now we know why you live in Mexico. What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? 😉

I’m creating a musical based on the extremist philosophies of Pol Pot, Adolph Hitler, and Osama Bin Laden, written in iambic pentameter and entirely performed by singing pandas. Hollywood’s super interested in a tie-in with the Tranformers or Bourne franchise, as are the Ice Capades. We’re all very excited.

And there you have it. I’ll be the first in line on Broadway to see your musical. I knew pandas would make a cameo.

Check out his website, and as Russell is fond of saying, “Buy some of his crap.”

Interview with author and journalist Tom Abrahams

First up in The Perseid Collapse Kindle World Author Interview Series:

Accomplished author and professional journalist Tom Abrahams.

Tom AbrahamsI’ve known Tom for most of my writing career. We met online…wait a minute, this sounds like a Match.com testimonial. Rewind. Tom and I became friends during my Black Flagged Series days, when I was writing globe-spanning covert operations novels. His first novel, Sedition, a political thriller set amidst a nation-toppling conspiracy in Washington D.C., captured my attention, along with his blistering follow-up, Allegiance. The rest was magic…there’s really no way to write this without sounding like we’re couple.

Tom Abrahams
Tom Abrahams

Tom Abrahams
Tom Abrahams

Tom has penned a three novella series for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. Fans of my series will undoubtedly enjoy the story he has custom crafted.

Let’s get started. Tom, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing life.

Im a husband and dad who works for a television station. I love reporting on politics and traveling around the country with our political leaders. Its fascinating and fun and gives me a real appreciation for how a representative democracy works (or doesnt in some cases). More than that I like watching Downton Abbey and Homeland with my wife, seeing my son kill it on the golf course, and my daughter jump and kick on the dance floor. Other than that, Im a dullard.

A dullard indeed. I think you forgot to mention “travelling the globe.” Tom has been to Chernobyl for his “boring” work, spent time inside the hallowed halls of the Capitol Building (he essentially described it from memory in Sedition) and has produced a widely popular new segment covering the Keystone Pipeline controversy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Trust me, it shows in his novels. Read more about Tom here. 

When I contacted you about writing in the Perseid World, I was ecstatic that you said “Yes.” Match.com again. I was even more impressed that you formed a story idea so quickly. How did you link your story to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I created my central characters, the Rockwell family, on a scene in Chapter 27 of PERSEID COLLAPSE when Alex and Charlie attacked the militia compound in Acton, Maine. Alex sees a family being led to slaughter and he takes action against the would-be-assassins: A third shot passed through the mans neck, showering the pavement with blood and dropping him instantly. The family ran for the tree line, screaming.

That family became James, Leigh, Max, and Sloane Rockwell. And its where CROSSING begins. The Rockwell’s never meet Alex, who saved their lives, but they do come across several characters from the PERSEID COLLAPSE who encounter the Fletcher’s at various points in the story.

The tie-in’s are exceptionally clever. When I read his first chapter, I enthusiastically nodded my head, muttering, “this is going to be awesome.”

The Perseid Collapse is different than your Sedition or Allegiance novels, with I would classify as political action thrillers. We’ve talked about writing in the post-apocalyptic genre before (Top Secret discussion), so I knew you’d be interested in this type of story. Outside of post-apocalyptic, what genres do you explore the most in your story?

I most explore the worlds prepper and dystopian aspects. The Rockwells, having survived the Jakarta Pandemic, and are moderately prepared for another SHTF scenario. But theyre not nearly as ready as the family they encounter in REFUGE, part two of the PILGRIMAGE series. Thats when the prepper element is fully explored. The dystopian aspect runs throughout the novellas as the Rockwells try to navigate their way home from a tsunami-ravaged island off the coast of Maine to their home in northern Maryland. Its not quite Cormac McCarthy, but its close.

While we’re talking about overarching aspects of your work—what major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

SeditionAllegiI think the theme of self-discovery amidst crisis permeates all of my works. In SEDITION, the heroine, Matti Harrold learns the world is not black and white; there are shades of gray. She has to navigate that reality to stop a violent political coup. In ALLEGIANCE, Jackson Quick is the protagonist. Through the course of his action-filled adventures across the globe, the reader learns his back story and how hes become the man he is. That man changes and evolves as he weaves his way through life-threatening challenges. And of course, the Rockwells are forced to face their fears (and demons) as they attempt to survive in a brutal post-apocalyptic landscape.

The theme of self-discovery is powerful, and you explore them perfectly in all of your novels. Jackson Quick, from your Allegiance books, is a case study in self-realization, starting out as a confused victim of an international/regional based conspiracy, and morphing into one of the hunters. James Rockwell felt similar. Easily underestimated, “Rock” rises to the consistently rises to the occasion to protect his family. I’m jumping ahead here.

Tell us more about the “Rock.” Why do you think readers will like him?

James Rock Rockwell could be a panda. But hes not. And hed likely find sharpened bamboo a weapon rather than a snack. James is a high school physics teacher whos taken up extreme adventure vacationing since the death of his eldest child (in the Jakarta Pandemic). Hes coped with her death by forcing his remaining family to adopt his coping mechanisms of life-affirming risk. Hes a smart man who loves his family. And as the story evolves, we learn hes willing to do whatever it takes to get his family home, no matter the cost to his soul or sanity.

Let’s shift gears a little and talk “the process” again. Most writers in the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

At least double. I normally write about 500 words a day. It takes me about seven months of writing to complete a novel. I completed CROSSING (at 27,000 words) in 11 days. I finished REFUGE (32,000 words) in 12 days. The tight deadline helped me push harder than I would normally. And I think its some of the best writing Ive put to paper. Im a journalist by trade, and so I work very well under deadline pressure. Ill probably finish ADVENT (the third in the series) in about two weeks. Theres no deadline now

That’s what you think. I expect it much sooner. 😉

Were you able to carry any similarities from your previous work to your novellas? Anything to smooth the transition?

My books are similar only in that the characters are thrust into a dangerous, life-altering dilemma not of their own doing. They have to use their wits, ingenuity, and limited survival skills to prevail. Though, truth be told, political fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction aren;t that dissimilar. Both involve egomaniacal villains, well-meaning, out-matched heroes out for the common good, greed, violence (or the threat of it), and the illuminati. Maybe the illuminati. I can neither confirm nor deny it.

One of the major discoveries I’ve made since writing The Jakarta Pandemic, is that prepper-themed fiction can be an amazing way to spark an interest in readiness. This is one of the most common themes I see in emails, reviews and comments from readers of my novels. Without a doubt, readers will walk away from your Pilgrimage stories with PLENTY to chew on. You go into great detail about the Rockwell’s travel/mobile preps (which saves their lives) in Crossing (book one) and you top it with an incredible “prepper” compound in book two (Refuge). Readers will want to know. Are you a prepper or homesteader? More of a Worrier?

I should be. The best I can do is tell you I have a gas-fueled generator. We bought it when we lost power for two weeks after Hurricane Ike.

Worrier/beginner—that’s exactly where I stood when I wrote The Jakarta Pandemic. I have no doubt you will start to get the “fever” as the lessons you’ve distilled in your novellas will take hold.

Speaking of worries. What do you see as the most likely threat to modern living in our lifetime? In other words, what might cause TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)?

Algorithms.

Amazon Algorithms, undoubtedly.

What are you working on next, aside from the next novella in The Perseid Collapse Series World? 😉

I have two ALLEGIANCE novels written and sitting with my publisher, Post Hill Press. ALLEGIANCE will be re-released as a paperback, with a new awesome cover, on July 28, 2015. ALLEGIANCE BURNED is out August 25, 2015. And HIDDEN ALLEGIANCE will be available December 22, 2015. I am currently writing INTENTION, the sequel to SEDITION. It has a tentative release of 2016.

Tom, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer these questions…but most importantly, I know my readers will thank you for expanding The Perseid Collapse World. I’m both excited and humbled by your effort. THANK YOU!

I you haven’t already, check out Tom’s website. 

Welcome to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World!

1161 Steve Konkoly PERSEID banner

Have you heard about this Kindle Worlds thing? 🙂 I can’t imagine you’ve missed the news at this point. Instead of re-announcing the entire Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, I thought I would give you some links and a round of basic information.

You will find NINE novellas HERE, with links to Amazon.  Up to TWENTY (total) will be available by mid-March, and that number has been rising weekly. Make sure to check back frequently to catch the latest addition.

Read about the authors HERE, and don’t hesitate to visit their websites. I know you’re going to like what you read in the Perseid Collapse Kindle World, and that you’ll enjoy their wide range of novels. Who knows, you may pick up a new favorite author. My feelings will not be hurt. 😉

Want to write in The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Seriously. This isn’t restricted to published authors. Kindle Worlds is a form of fan-fiction, with a twist. You get to use characters, elements, plots and the settings found in the original world…and get paid for it. Not a bad deal. If you found yourself reading the Perseid Books, wondering how you would have survived in the post “event” world? Maybe plotting it in your head? Guess what, YOU HAVE A STORY.

START HERE to begin your journey.

QUICK JUMP TO THESE TITLES ON AMAZON!

Tom Abrahams
Tom Abrahams

Tom Abrahams
Tom Abrahams

Russell Blake
Russell Blake

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

Ian Graham
Ian Graham

Tim Queeney
Tim Queeney

David P. Forsyth
David P. Forsyth

Sean T. Smith
Sean T. Smith

 

G. Michael Hopf Coming Soon
G. Michael Hopf
Coming Soon

Murray McDonald Coming Soon
Murray McDonald
Coming Soon

Author Spotlight: Murray McDonald

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: Murray McDonald

ROCKLAND1Murray McDonald has been a long time writer and friend, eventually introducing me to “good scotch” made in a distillery (Glengoyne) just north of the Scottish highland line. This alone was worthy of his inclusion in my Friends Hall of Fame (I just made up that organization). Beyond picking out fantastic scotch, his true talent lies in his writing. He can spin a masterful, international thriller, which is why I was ecstatic to learn that he would write a novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

His novella, Rockland, set in Maine, will shed light on the complex, nebulous Chinese conspiracy leading up to the “event” in The Perseid Collapse—exposing the brutal, human side of Operation Red Dragon. With Murray’s track record of delivering unexpected twists and turns, this is guaranteed to entertain. Look for this soon after the launch!

See what Murray’s doing, and check out his novels here!

Author Spotlight: Tim Queeney

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: Tim Queeney

Having Tim onboard for The Perseid Collapse Series World was a big treat for me. Tim is key part of the “thriller” contingent in the Pine Cones Writer’s Group, a diverse, Portland, Maine, based group of writers that meets once a month to critique our latest works. He has an impressive range of writing, honed by years of work as a magazine editor, author and celestial navigation instructor…not sure how navigating by the stars corresponds to writing, but it was too awesome not to mention.

975x1455-Tim-Queeney-The-Borealis-Incident_rgbI’ve enjoyed Tim’s Perry Helion adventure series, which pits his main character, a DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency) agent, against an array of James Bond level villains. Given the theme of The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, I knew Tim could have some fun writing in the world—and he knocks it out of the park with The Borealis Incident.

Set in Thule, Greenland, The Borealis Incident will take you where you least expect. Perfectly tied into the greater Perseid Collapse world, the remote U.S. Air Force base operated on Danish controlled Greenland contains a startling discovery—uncovered, or shall I say, unleashed by a series of events set in motion by the collapse. Part technothriller, part horror…ALL APOCALYPTIC. Make sure to check out Tim’s addition to the world on February 3rd.

Visit Tim’s website to read his entertaining blog and catch the Perry Helion series.

Author Spotlight: G. Michael Hopf

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: G. Michael Hopf

detachment cover 2Author of the New World Series, G. Michael Hopf is no stranger to the prepped-themed post apocalyptic scene. With four books in the New World Series published by Penguin Press, he brings a powerhouse presence to The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, along with a three novella story about a conflicted group of Marines in Boston.

When I first spoke with him about the possibility of a collaboration in the World, I really hoped he’d be interested in writing a story with ties to the Marine battalion featured in the Perseid books. Geoff is a combat veteran of the first Gulf War, having thrived and survived as a Marine infantryman. I couldn’t think of anyone better suited to expand on the story of Lieutenant Colonel Grady’s Marines. We have a lot to look forward to in his story, as he leads a tight knit team of “Jarheads” from one coast to the next in search of a safe haven from The Perseid Collapse.

Check out his books, bio, radio show…all kinds of good stuff at his website.

Author Spotlight: Ian Graham

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight: Ian Graham

Amsterdam directorateIn The Amsterdam Directorate, Political and covert operations thriller writer, Ian Graham, explores the impact of the Perseid Event, on the dynamics of a township still recovering from The Jakarta Pandemic. Set in rural Virginia, less than 150 miles from the largest recorded land strike in The Perseid Collapse Series, Ian puts his characters in the crosshairs of a natural and manmade collapse. The town of Amsterdam has mostly recovered from the 2013 pandemic, thanks to the directorate, but their hard won independence will be tested by outside forces hell bent on their destruction. 

I’m in the middle of reading Ian’s novel, which I guarantee will please fans of the series, along with SHTF readers everywhere. Ian is no stranger to gritty, no holds barred action, so hang on for a fast-paced ride through a unique post-apocalyptic landscape.

To dig a little deeper into Ian’s world, check out his website.

Political/Covert Ops thriller readers will be pleasantly surprised by his Black Shuck series.

 

Author Spotlight: Sean T. Smith

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: Sean T. Smith

Patriots cover finalAuthor of the Wrath Series, a post-apocalyptic series set in the aftermath of a collapsed United States, Sean’s Kindle Worlds novella takes readers south to the Florida Keys, at a time when thousands of college students should be descending on the islands for spring break. Obviously, things are a little different several months after the “event.” Unrecognizable might be a better term. 

I’m deep into reading Sean’s novella, which explores the complex and tenuous relationship between the Federal Government’s disaster relief program and the rights of individuals in the Perseid Collapse World. Sean’s experience tackling this topic in his novels shines in The Sunshine Patriots. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the play on words.

Check out Sean’s blog, and be on the lookout February 3rd for his novella.

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: Tom Abrahams

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight:  Tom Abrahams

Tom was the first author to take me up on the offer to write in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, and I couldn’t be happier to have him onboard. I’ve read all of Tom’s work, and can attest to the talent and enthusiasm he’ll bring to the World. Tom’s political thrillers are tightly written, well paced novels, rich in details and cleverly peppered with unexpected twists and turns. Readers are in for a treat on February 3rd, when two of Tom’s three novellas launch with the World.

Here’s a sneak peek at Tom’s stories. I read them back to back, enjoying every second of the ride. In the first novella, you get a few surprise visits from the original Perseid Collapse cast. I won’t say who or how, but it’s a clever tie-in.

abrahams-crossingCROSSING: 

“James Rockwell is on vacation in Maine with his family, when an earth-changing explosion sends them on a race for their lives.

Their first step is escaping an island in the midst of a tsunami, and it only gets more dangerous from there.

Can they find their way home as civilization crumbles around them?

Set in the post-apocalyptic world of Steven Konkoly’s best-selling Perseid Collapse series, CROSSING follows the same timeline of cataclysmic events from one family’s perspective. It’s a bullet-train of a thriller riding on the edge of the rails to the last page.

CROSSING is a novella and is part one of The Pilgrimage Series.”

abrahams-refugeREFUGE:

What happens when a safe harbor isn’t so safe?

The Rockwells have survived the first leg of the journey home against the wake of a reality-bending disaster.

But patriarch James is violently ill.

His wife finds help in a detour to rural Pennsylvania.

As James recovers in a seemingly secure compound, the outside world is plotting violently against them and the well-prepared survivalists who’ve given them refuge.

Set in the post-apocalyptic world of Steven Konkoly’s best-selling Perseid Collapse series, REFUGE follows the same timeline of cataclysmic events from the perspective of new, meticulously hewn characters who fit seamlessly into Konkoly’s work. It’s a page-turning tumble into a dangerous rabbit-hole, where survival comes at a cost.

REFUGE is a novella and is part two of the The Pilgrimage Series

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: A.R. Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World

Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: A.R. Shaw

DRD4 (2)Creator of Graham’s Resolution, a three novel series about survivors navigating the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a super-flu, A.R. Shaw brings a unique voice to the World. In her novella, readers will return to Durham Road, to follow Jaime McDaniels story of resilience and survival. See the novella description below!

I’m particularly excite