frontlines the fourth.

Great news, people of Earth!

Contracts are signed, so I am free to share the news.

1.) There will officially be a fourth Frontlines novel.
2.) It will be called “Chains of Command”.
3.) If all goes well, it will be out THIS YEAR, which means you’ll get two new Frontlines novels in 2015. (Angles of Attack will be released on April 15th, and Chains of Command has a tentative release date of November if all goes according to plan and I don’t overshoot my deadline WHICH I WON’T, HONEST.)

So there you have it. 47North has bought Frontlines #4, “Chains of Command”, and I am doing my best to get it to you before this holiday season so you can all put it on your Christmas Kindles. 

how to story, in sixty seconds.

Yeah, it’s a commercial for a beer, but it’s also a perfect master class in storytelling. Setting, characterization, conflict/motivation, peril, emotional climax, satisfying resolution, denouement. Themes: friendship, loyalty, love. All squeezed into one minute. Not a second is wasted on anything that doesn’t drive the narrative.This is how you do Story.

the “be a space marine” charity tally.

You crazy kids wasted no time claiming the naming rights to the Formerly Anonymous Squad in the Bad-Ass Platoon of Badassitude. We ran over the count a wee bit, but I’ll make some space on the platoon roster because you shouldn’t be penalized for my lack of orderly system when it comes to tallying contest entries.

Together, you have donated a total of $630 to the Semper Fi Fund today. I will match the donated total, so this little naming rights sales bonanza raised $1,260 for a worthy charity in the space of just two hours. Not bad, ya misfits…not bad at all.

I’ll send out individual emails to confirm name choices tomorrow FOR SURE. Until then, pat yourselves on the back, and imagine the wonderful ways in which you will earn glory, get blown to stardust, or possibly both, once I get to writing you into CHAINS OF COMMAND. DISMISSED, you knuckledraggers.

 

want to be a space marine in a frontlines novel?

I am currently writing what will become the fourth Frontlines novel , titled “Chains of Command”.

Without giving away any plot details, I can tell you that Chains of Command will feature a group of folks I’m calling “the Bad-Ass Platoon of Bad-Assitude”. I’ve filled the command slots with some recurring characters that you may remember from the first or second novel, and some you will meet in the third novel. But a platoon has a lot of members (the NAC Spaceborne Infantry platoons have three squads, and each squad has three fireteams of four enlisted grunts), and that’s a lot of names to make up.

So I thought I should have some fun and do something worthy at the same time. To that end, I will fill the roster of enlisted members with names supplied by you. Here’s how it’s going to work:

–Claim a slot in the Comments below. First come, first serve. I have 9 enlisted slots to fill, and 1 squad leader position.

–Make a donation to the Semper Fi fund. (The Semper Fi fund is a top-rated non-profit organization helping injured, wounded, and ill members of our Armed Forces.) $25 will give you the right to name one of the enlisted grunts in one of the squads of the Bad-Ass Platoon of Bad-Assitude. I also have a squad leader slot to fill, but if you want that slot, it’ll cost you $50 at least.

–Forward me the donation receipt via email to marko.kloos@gmail.com.

–First come, first serve. I have 9 enlisted slots to fill, and 1 squad leader position.

For your donation, I will a.) name the character as desired by you, and b.) mention the character in the story at least once. You may live through the story, or you may die a glorious death for the NAC, but your name will be in the book. (Caveat: the character name can’t be out of place in the story–no celebrities etc.)

I will also match all donations dollar for dollar.

So here is your chance to be a Spaceborne Infantry grunt and see your name in print, all for a good cause. Nine squad slots for $25 a piece in donations, or be a squad leader for $50! SUCH A DEAL.

Now get to it, trooper!

UPDATE: All the slots have been claimed. That was quick, folks. Thank you, and I will send out verification emails later today!

UPDATE THE SECOND: Haven’t sent out emails yet, but everyone who donated and sent me the receipt via email today is going to get a named character. We ran over the count a little, but that’s OK. I’ll make some room in the platoon roster.

obligatory 2014 recap.

I really like it when I type up an end-of-year retrospective blog post and find that I really didn’t have a damn thing to complain about in the past twelve months.

2013 was great. 2014 was even better by every measurable metric except for the fact that I didn’t get to see my family in person again this past year. Other than that, things have continued to go swimmingly here at the Castle Frostbite Magic Daycare & Novel Factory. I had a novel published in January (Lines of Departure), and both Frontlines novels have continued to sell exceedingly well all year. Robin quit her job in the spring to stay at home and be my support staff full-time, and we find that we both really enjoy this arrangement, because MY GOD WHO WOULDN’T. I am keenly aware just how damn lucky I am that my writing can support a family of four when most writers I know have day jobs and often spouses with day jobs. THANK YOU, old and new readers, for buying all these books, because it means I don’t have to do anything else to fill the pantry, and I’ll get to crank out more books more often.

I got to do a writing retreat with friends for a week down in North Carolina, which was a booze-soaked week of fun and a nice tribal gathering of sorts. I went to Boskone in February and Readercon in August, both local cons where I get to hang out with friends and recharge the social capacitors. Then I got to do my first ComicCon in October in NYC, which was a lot of fun and also a little overwhelming, but mostly awesome. I signed books, met new fans, and connected with old and new friends.

(Side note: sipping cocktails on your publisher’s dime while chatting with your writer pals at midnight just a few blocks away from Times Square will definitely serve to make you feel like a REEL WRITUR for a little while.)

Also in October, I got to hold a little talk at the Army Chief of Staff’s Strategic Studies Group down in Washington, D.C., and that was certainly a novel experience. It went very well, the SSG fellows seemed to enjoy my stay, and I found that a.) I’m not bad at talking to a room full of people for a few hours, and b.) I want to do this sort of stuff more often. Like a reading or a signing, it’s a public performance of sorts, and even though I am an introvert, I enjoy having to switch on the performing persona for a limited and predictable amount of time. My convention dance card isn’t full yet for 2015, but I am leaving myself room on the schedule for a BEEG EEMPORTANT RESEARCH TREEP sometime in the second half of 2015. I will, however, be at Readercon in Burlington, MA in July just like every year, and I’ll be an adjunct instructor at the Paradise Lost workshop in San Antonio in April.

So, yeah–2014 was all sorts of sweet, especially on the professional front. I hope 2015 continues the trend. I’ll have another novel out on April 21, and there’s enough stuff in the works right now that it’s possible you may see another novel from me in 2015. Let’s see how it goes.

I hope your 2014 was a good one, and if it wasn’t, may 2015 crank the Awesome to 11 for you. Happy New Year to all of you.

invasion! der! sterne!

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There’s a cover for the German-language edition of Terms of Enlistment! And a release date: June 15, 2015, from Heyne. Here’s the link to the German Amazon page.)

They shortened Andrew’s name to “Andy” and took some creative license with the title. (“Invasion of the Stars”, presumably to sound Star Wars-y. The German name for the Star Wars franchise is “Krieg der Sterne”.) The blurb for the book is also a little fuzzy on some of the plot details unless the translator did some major surgery on the story. But hey–German translation, from one of the major names in German publishing. This is sort of a big deal for me.

(In other news, I still really dig Marc Simonetti’s capital ship design on the cover of Terms of Enlistment. It’s not quite the way I had pictured any of the ships in my head, but it’s so cool that I find this design popping up in my head when I write about the NAC warships now.)

you should totally support this anthology.

I’m a big fan of crowd-funded fiction anthologies. In fact, my second professional fiction sale ever was to a crowd-funded anthology, Alex Shvartsman’s “Unidentified Funny Objects”. (That was the short story “Cake Whores From Mars”, written on a dare from Chuck Wendig, and a crowd favorite at readings.) The UFO sale was a major motivation boost for me at the time, so I’ll always have a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes to SF/F anthologies.

Allow me therefore to draw your attention to just such a crowd-funded SF/F anthology. This one is called “Athena’s Daughters: Women in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Vol.2”. My good friend and fellow Viable Paradise XII alum Tiffani Angus has a short story in there, and if the anthology has writers of Tiff’s caliber in it, I can assure you that it will be worth the money. Go check it out and see if it’s something you may want to drop some coin on, and support some great up-and-coming writing talent.

Athenas Daughters 2

audiobook review: “terms of enlistment”.

There’s a pretty sweet review of the audio version of Terms of Enlistment over at Audio Book Reviewer. You should go check it out.

The audio version of the third Frontlines book is currently in production, from what I hear. I am really happy with the work of Luke Daniels, who read the first two books for Audible, and I hope they managed to rope him in for the third book as well.

(I’ve also seen some of the preliminary cover images for Angles of Attack, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that they look pretty frickin’ sweet. I think this cover may turn out to be the coolest in the series yet. I’ll share as soon as I am allowed.)

I’m always happy when I turn in a finished book, but it’s also kind of a sucky phase–I’ve done all the work, and now I have to wait for everyone else to do their magic, and things are out of my hands and no longer in my control until the book is released. Luckily, I can keep myself busy by going full speed ahead on the next book.

it printed in cuneiform.

brother_wp1b

That monstrosity is a Brother WP-1 word processor. I recently found this picture online, and boy, did it trigger some memories.

I got one of those babies in the late 1980s, when I was just out of high school. I kept it throughout my four years of military service, and it got dragged to every duty station where I spent more than a few weeks. And “dragged” is the right word here–it was an all-in-one unit with an amber-and-black CRT, a floppy drive, and a daisy wheel printer, and it weighed probably close to forty pounds. (It did have a convenient carry handle, so it was somewhat portable, but let me tell you that this thing was no MacBook Air. It tested your commitment. You really had to want to write if you chose to take your word processor the weight of a car battery with you.)

I filled up many a 3.5″ disk with my early attempts at Fictional Noveling, let me tell you. And I only got rid of the trusty Brother when I got my first PC, a 486 DX2-50, which had Windows 3.1 and Microsoft Word on it.

Man, I’ve been at this writing thing for a while. I already had dreams of making this writing thing a profession when I was still in high school. And it only took 25 years of pounding away at the keyboard!