Advice by the Kilo

I'll let you decide the value of my self publishing learnings. With a fortune cookie, at least you get the cookie.
I’ll let you decide the value of my self publishing ramblings. With a fortune cookie, at least you get the cookie.

Care to partake of my questionable wisdom? Head over to the Iconoclastic Writer and prepare to be astounded by my list of 5 Things I learned Self Publishing.

This isn’t really advice or another drop in the flood of “I can show you how to self publish, too!” posts and books and seminars and videos. Just my ramblings on the subject and a few straight up lessons I’ve learned. There is no “BUY MY SEMINAR FOR MORE SECRETS!” agenda and, as I plainly state, it could all be bullshit.

I met Carolyn at ConDFW this year during a panel on magazines and e-zines. Like most con panels not moderated by Tex Thompson, the topic sort of meandered and the description in the con booklet was provided mostly out of a sense of obligation than anything else. Apparently the things I said landed somewhere near the mark and she asked me to write a guest post for her blog.

I’m hard at work today on the upcoming anthology. Five stories of Augments, new and old, that shed some light on the murky past of the entire super soldier program in the Crimson Son universe. Let me thrill you with this excerpt (which has yet to be picked apart by my editor) from the story, Codename: Danger

Fear soaked Reggie’s shirt. Well, humidity was mostly to blame, but the fear was there. He’d traveled the world on the government’s dime. Of the places he’d been, the humid ones were his least favorite. Remote ones his second least. This place was both. But the fear was a regular hazard of the job.

Sweat. Jitters. A tug at his stomach which could be anything from a threaded knot to a clenching fist. Right now it was a steady pressure.

“What are we at? Two brownstar? five?” Winston asked Reggie. Winston, which wasn’t his real name, knelt in front of a pile of canvas bags to the side of the runway. A pair of bug-eyed mirror sunglasses rested on his forehead and he squinted at Reggie scrunching a nose caked with sunscreen. An open guayabera and a t-shirt underneath, he looked exactly like a white dude in Central America who was trying too hard.

“I don’t know. Two. Maybe three.” Reggie had worked with his CIA handler long enough to develop something of a code to describe his danger sense. When they were in deep shit, brownstar ten. An annoyance, something that might slow them down but not likely get them killed, a three or less.

“Only the one bag?” Winston stooped and dug for the bottom. “Only this one set you off?”

Standing before the pile, he wasn’t sure. Every last canvas lump tugged at his gut. A steady pull – nothing mortal, but palpable. Winston dragged a bag from the bottom and unzipped it slowly.

Inside were stacks and stacks of white bricks.

Reggie knew exactly what it was. He’d seen it before outside the neatly taped and stamped rectangles. Powder. Stuff you could cook into little white stones like shattered sugar cubes and melt in a spoon. Wedge in a glass pipe.

Winston dug through the bag, lifting the bricks like he were delivering a newborn and placing them on the ground. He tested the weight of each in his hands and examined the lining of the bag. “You sure? There’s nothing here.”

“What the fuck do you mean, ‘nothing there’?”

His handler squinted into the blazing sun behind Reggie. “Nothing that isn’t supposed to be.”

“It’s a pile of coke, motherfucker!” Reggie looked at the dirt road leading to the airstrip. The clearing was edged by rolling hills braided with crops. Further out he could see the deeper green of a jungle canopy rising along smooth peaks. The dust had settled and the soviet truck loaded with rebels was already out of sight. “We just gave a bunch of kids some machine guns for a pile of coke. You don’t see a problem?”

Winston sighed and started returning the bricks to the bag. “What are you, MacGruff the crime dog? We lost the last shipment and nobody can say what happened. I brought you to make sure the delivery wasn’t dangerous. Like a bomb or tracking device.”

“Looks plenty dangerous.”

Winston stood. “Getting soft on me, Danger?”

Amazingly, I’m still on target for our June release. I have yet to decide on a title. Might go with Empty Quiver or the centerpiece story The ‘Cane Train and Other Tales. Yep, that crazy one-legged speedster is back starring in his own story. That will be worth the price of admission alone.

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