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Monday, June 12, 2017

The End is Here: Stone Soldiers #12, WINTERS FURY

The 12th and final installment of the Stone Soldiers series!

Josie Winters has awakened from a strange nightmare only to find herself thrust into a life she does not remember, married to a man she knew only as a friend, living in Miami, Florida, with no memory of how she got there, or the past four years of her life. Assured her amnesia will only be temporary, Josie reluctantly settles into an idyllic routine that just doesn't seem familiar. Plagued by terrible dreams she cannot remember upon awakening, Josie begins to question her sanity and her surroundings. Is this really her life or someone else's?

When a mysterious woman reveals it is all an elaborate lie, Josie has to find out who she really is and why her memories have been erased. But is she ready to learn the dark secrets of her past, or should the truth remain forgotten?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book of Stone: Zone 6

For April, Stone is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries about the people, places, and things of the series. To view past and present entries visit the Book of Stone by clicking on the link on the righthand side of this page. 


A circular area designated extending out from a supernatural/preternatural threat (LOOSE RABBIT, RED TITAN, BRIGHT STORM, etc.) the minimum safe distance. ZONE 6 varies in size based upon the threat, extending outward as far as necessary to prevent hazardous exposure. Armed forces are instructed to either retreat to Zone 6, or beyond Zone 6.

Command orders may specify over radio that the Zone 6 is expanding or contracting, e.g. "Zone 6 now 3 to 7 kilometers" specifying the closest armed forces may be allowed to a specific threat.

The civilian population is prohibited from being within Zone 6. Evacuations initiated under these conditions call for all civilian personnel to be moved outside of Zone 6, with conventional armed forces confined to the innermost point of the Zone, or farther. Only preternatural forces with Command-authorized access are allow to pass beyond Zone 6, into the designated threat area. 

The term is loosely modeled on the Nuclear safe zones (I, II, and III).  

Behind the Scenes

One of the biggest challenges of writing any military series is balancing the need for authentic "military speak" with reader familiarity. While many readers might know all the jargon, non-veterans might not. Throw in a science fiction twist, like the preternatural forces of Stone Soldiers and Spectral Ops and you have to start inventing military terms to cover the situations, creatures and conditions now part of the created world. 

Fortunately, writers can turn to history for examples on how to do this. In the 1940s, the advent of nuclear weaponry resulted in a shift in warfare tactics that necessitated a whole new lexicon terms. The War on Terror and our Information Age Cyber Threats re doing the same thing. Using these as examples, it's possible to come up with appropriate terms. The trick is to just not over use them...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Book of Stone: Yūrei

For April, Stone is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries about the people, places, and things of the series. To view past and present entries visit the Book of Stone by clicking on the link on the righthand side of this page. 

 Yūrei by Sawaki Sūshi (1737)


First Appearance:  Spectral Ops: Island of the Damned

Description:  Japanese Spirit-being


Known by a variety of names around the world, and appearing in different types and kinds, spirits, or non-corporeal entitites, are known by all cultures. In Japan, the term Yurei is one of many used to describe NCEs. Some consider the Yurei as spirits "temporarily" released from hell to complete an outstanding mission.

Souls who die violently, do not receive proper funerary rites, or die while consumed by a desire for vengeance, Yurei are believed to not pass on peacefully to join the spirits of their ancestors in the afterlife. Instead, their souls become ayurei souls, capable of travel back to the physical world.

Buddhist beliefs claim that the journey from the world of the living (konoyo) to that of the dead (anoyo) can take 49 days. In this limbo-like phase, ayurei can attend to unresolved issues.

It is further claimed that there is a correlation between the degree of suffering in life and the severity of actions in the afterlife. It is reported that the intentions of ayurei are not always evil, but it should be noted that their actions are almost always damaging to the living they encounter. 

Finally, it is believed that a yurei can only receive release from the prayers of the living--allowed the soul to pass into the underworld.

Acceptance of the existence of these disembodied souls was so widespread in Japan that by the 1800s they had begun to influence art and theater, inspiring Kabuki and Yūrei-zu (painted or woodblock print images).

Behind the Scenes
In Shades of War, readers were exposed to the shade, a remnant ghost some believe is more of an after image of the deceased. In Pale Horseman, a demonic entity capable of possessing the living and existing for centuries was introduced. In A Lucky Day to Die, formerly-human souls were corrupted into pale imitations of demons, trapped and harnessed for their power. In Spectral Ops, the spirits unleashed on the small French town of Moyenne were of greater variety, including what appeared to be traditional ghosts, banshees, poltergeists, and possessing spirits. 

Spectral Ops: Island of the Damned continues the ghostly theme of the series, with the spirit war moving to the Pacific where readers will learn about Asian spirits.