Novel Links

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 Soldiers.info 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. 




 ZONE 6


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 Soldiers.info 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)

  
Yūrei



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.




Friday, April 28, 2017

Book of Stone: X-Ray Seven

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.




  
X-RAY SEVEN



First Appearance:  Spectral Ops: Island of the Damned

Description:  Warrior-monks of the Japanese Emperor

  
Long ago, the Empire of Japan was plagued by oni, demons that rampaged throughout the land, terrorizing the people. The Emperor of Japan decided that something must be done, and gathered his most trusted advisers, wisemen and sorcerers.  

The Emperor's servants gathered the finest warriors in all the land, training them in the dark arts so that they could  defeat any foe, mortal or supernatural. Of the trainees, seven were chosen and named Senshi Onmyoji, the Warriors of the Garden.

Aided by the sorcerers who trained them, the Warriors set out and quickly defeated and imprisoned all the Oni they could find. Their ethereal prisoners were bound to talismans that the Warriors then took far out to sea, to a secret island-prison constructed at the Emperor's order, to be imprisoned for all eternity.

Their mission complete, the Warriors returned to Japan and resumed their protection of the Emperor and his people from all otherworldly threats, and trained their successors, each Warrior taking on seven disciples to one day replace them.

By the 21st Century, the Warriors of the Garden have evolved, adapting to the changes both in their homeland and around the world. Operating under the name "X-Ray Seven", the Senshi Onmyoji strike at any supernatural threat, while guarding the secret of Jigoku no Shima--the Island of the Damned. 


Behind the Scenes
The third book in the Spectral Ops series, Island of the Damned takes place in a remote corner of the Pacific Ocean, on a forgotten island shrouded from sight by ancient magic. Imprisoned on the island are many Oni. For centuries, they have plotted their revenge, awaiting the day someone would be foolish enough to set them free. When that day finally arrives, Detachment 1039 finds new allies in an ancient order of sorcerer-warriors who have secretly served the Chrysanthemum Throne for centuries: The Warriors of the Garden. 

Look for Island of the Damned on Kindle, Fall of 2017. 



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book of Stone: WALLACH, Javan

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.






Javan "Javi" Wallach



First Appearance:  Seven Deadly Sons (Stone Soldiers #7)

Description:  MOSSAD Operative

Last Known Status: At large/Whereabouts unknown




Investigating the murder of a number of retired Nazi Hunters around the world in late 2013, Agent Javi Wallach eventually found herself in Miami, Florida, where she was discovered by Detachment 1039, and recruited in their mission to track down and stop a band of werewolf-vampire hybrids created by Nazi Scientists after World War II. 

Wallach accompanied the Detachment to Antarctica and a sub-glacial, antediluvian base the Ahnenerbe and Wehrmacht had discovered in the 1930s and converted to their use as a remote thaumatological research site. 

Once the threat had been eliminated, Wallach was offered a position with the Detachment, despite her lack of any supernatural abilities or training. She declined and returned to Israel where she was fully debriefed on her supernatural activities in the United States. 




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book of Stone: Valhalla

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.




  
VALHALLA

First Appearance:  Shadow Raiders

Description:  Capital city of the planet Asgard

Last Known Status: Captured by US Forces in 2015

  
Originally thought to be the stuff of myth and legends, the city of Valhalla was discovered in 2015 after a wyrmhole leading to the planet Asgard was discovered in Greenland. Ruled by the Fallen Angel Aurgel through his avatar Odin, Asgard's population appeared centered around the Ymir Crater, located in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet. Valhalla, the capital of Asgard's Fellish settlements, lays midway between the center of the massive crater, and the outermost edge. 

Valhalla is constructed around Odin's Throne, a stone megalithic structure built in a style very similar to that of the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico. The city itself is comprised of ring of battlements and fortress walls of varying ages and styles, and stone and wooden structures within the walls.

Travel from Valhalla to the wyrmhole network of Yggdrasil is by means of a simple dirt road that runs parallel to the river Hvelgemir, which originates in the epicenter of the Ymir Crater. 

Following the events of Operation COLD FLARE in 2015, U.S. Forces established a base of operations in Valhalla, seizing the massive fortress-city. The roof of Odin's Throne, the size of several football fields, serves today as a helicopter gunship base, ensuring the remaining Fellish population does not interfere with the further exploration of Asgard.



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book of Stone: UH-60 Blackhawk

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.






UH-60 Blackhawk


Designed in the late 1960s, the UH-60 first entered active service with the U.S. Military in 1979, replacing the venerable UH-1 Iroquois as the primary helicopter of the US Army. 

With a crew of four, including to pilots and two gunner/crewchiefs, the Blackhawk is used by all the branches of the US Military and and by allied nations around the world. The helicopter can carry eleven passengers and has a maximum takeoff weight o over 23,000 pounds. The Blackhawk can reach speeds of 220 miles per hour and a maximum ceiling of 19,000 feet. It's maximum range is 1,380 miles. 

The Blackhawk has countless variations an configurations, capable of carrying external fuel tanks, machineguns, rockets, missiles, and can even be used to lift cargo from the ground bu means of external cargo lines. Stealth variants of the Blackhawk exist, capable of ferrying special operations soldiers to targets behind enemy lines. 

As a mainstay of US forces, the Blackhawk is often used by the Stone Soldiers, ferrying teams to sites or aiding in the clean up of supernatural battles after the fact. As such, all combat-ready members of the Detachment receive pilot training for the Blackhawk, as well as rudimentary technical training to maintain and repair the aircraft in the event a situation would arise where the team had to operate in a region where conventional support and maintenance crews could not venture. 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Book of Stone: Templars

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.






TEMPLARS


First Appearance:  Spellbreaker

Description:  Anti-Supernatural Arm of the United Kingdom

Last Known Status: Infiltrated by Druidic Forces

  
In 1326, several conspirators attempted to kill the King of England, Edward II, by enlisting the assistance of Magician John of Nottingham. The plot failed and Nottingham and his employers were all put to death. However, in the aftermath of this incident, Edward II ordered that steps be taken to ensure no further attempt could ever succeed against the Crown by those abbling in the dark arts. 

Four years earlier, the Knights Templar were disbanded and fled Europe, many secretly seeking sanctuary in England. Several Templars were called before Edward II and were Knighted as the Order of Plantaganet. These Knights of the Crown were tasked with seeking out and eliminating those who opposed English rule by any means necessary. 

In the modern era, the Templars are a considerably larger Order, still answering to the sitting Monarch of the United Kingdom, with operatives placed around the world. The Templars absolutely do not tolerate magic or supernatural beings in any way, shape, or form. No psychic or mage is allowed within the Templar organization, although a number of thaumatological experts conduct research and craft weaponry for the Knights to use. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

World Book Day!

Nothing to read for World Book Day?

Download one of these two Kindle versions FREE to continue the Stone Soldiers story:

Shadow Raiders, http://amzn.com/B01NBUVELA

and

Spectral Ops, http://amzn.com/B01L4RACR8

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book of Stone: Spirits

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.





SPIRITS


Description:  Term for a non-corporeal beings


Arising from the Latin word spiritus ("breath"), the term Spirit is soften used interchangeably with words like ghost, phantom, specter, spook, or apparition. That is, a being believed to be on of the dead, roaming the world in an incorporeal form, often invisible and ethereal. 

It should be noted, however, that spirits are actually distinct from ghosts. In the pre-Christian era, the ancient Greeks voiced the distinction between the spirit and the soul. In the Holy Bible, there is of course the Holy Spirit, one of the trinity of God, Holy Spirit, and Christ. 

Many paranormal researchers distinguish between the spirit and the ghost, attributing the term ghost to a being that once lived as a human. What then are spirits?

A number of non-corporeal entities are claimed to exist, from cultures and societies around the globe. There are demons, who many believe are the ghosts of dead nephilim, djinn--a kind of middle eastern demon-like entity--and even the nature spirits many might call elementals. 

Overall, it is best to be cautious when dealing with any non-corporeal being or entity. Never assume a spirit is a ghost. Their very nature makes it difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain their true origins. The best course of action is to simply acknowledge that an intangible, barely-detectable being is as ephemeral as the breath we named them after. 


Behind the Scenes
One of the key points in the Spectral Ops series will be the exploration of the spirit world and those who seek to manipulate it for their own ends. In the Stone Soldiers series, supernatural enemies often were tangible, mortal (or at least killable) creatures of flesh and blood. But for the new series, the spectral battlefield will be considerably more difficult to navigate as enemies who may or may not be killable interact with the physical world. 

Book of Stone: RTB (Return to Base)

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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.






RTB
  

Description:  Military acronym for "Return to Base"
  
In the early days of radio communications, connections were poor and static often ruled the airwaves. Everyday conversations could prove difficult, or you might not have time to spit out everything you want to say. The solution was to come up with a sort of spoke shorthand that could be spoken over the radio to convey messages. 

RTB, short for Return to Base is one of those verbal shorthand words. But what does it mean, really?

RTB is not the same thing as "retreat!" or "fall back". It's not an indicator of urgency or emergency on its own. It's simply an order to come home. Patrols searching the area might be ordered to RTB. Or they might be needed to reinforce a base in anticipation.

RTB is also not to be confused with RV--not a recreational vehicle, but rather a command to rendezvous, or meet up. 

And there's also RTO, a radio operator. This is the person most likely to be sending or receiving the RTB or RV command.

ROE, or Rules of Engagement--pre-made instructions for when force is authorized to be used against the enemy--might include instructions for when to RTB, for example, after engaging in combat. 

And finally, in the analog radio days, ART might sound a bit like RTB. An ART is a USAF Alarm Response Team--a squad of Security Forces that head out when alarms sound on Priority Resources. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book of Stone: Zhongli Quan's Fan

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. Catch up on previous entries by following the link on the righthand side of this page, Book of Stone, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




  
Zhongli Quan's Fan



First Appearance: Terrorcota (Stone Soldiers #8)

Description:  Magical Talisman from the Immortal Zhongli Quan

Last Known Status: Secured by the US Military




The Eight Immortals of Chinese Legend each employed various items to perform their otherworldly feats. Over time, these talismans became imbued with their own magical abilities. In 2015, General Zhou Zheng Duan seized a number of these talisman's from a secret vault beneath the Forbidden City.

Following Zhou's unsuccessful attempt to trigger World War III by using the Immortals' talismans and other magical weaponry, the fan of Zhongli Quan and several other artifacts were transferred to Argon Tower for further study.

The fan itself is described in legend as having the ability to raise the dead as well as to transmute minerals. During the siege in Colorado, Zhou was able to resurrect his troops killed by the Detachment. 


Behind the Scenes
If you've read Terrorcota, you may recall that General Zhou may have been killed, but that he was not completely put of the picture. Since 2015, he has been haunting Detachment 1039's headquarters, quietly observing the operations of the unit. Zhou's spectral fate will be revealed in a future installment of Spectral Ops

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book of Stone: Paladins

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




PALADINS


First Appearance:  Spectral Ops

Description:  Anti-Preternatural Combat Arm of the French Armed Forces

Last Known Status: Active worldwide


Since their establishment in 1767 by Louis the XV, the Paladins have protected France from supernatural threats--human and otherwise. 


In the modern era, the Paladins are concealed within the French Military, a special forces unit headquartered in Paris, comprised of the most capable soldiers of all the branches of service of the country. 



Operationally, Paladins operate in teams of twelve, with a Captain, Lieutenant and ten enlisted men and women. Each member of a team is trained in counter-Preternatural operations, and are experts with modern and traditional weaponry. Able to deploy anywhere in the world within only hours, the Paladins effectively neutralize any threat without turning to preternatural means themselves, much like their English counterparts, the Templars. 




Behind the Scenes
Since the beginning of the series, readers have been introduced to supernatural soldiers of many other countries including China's Masters from the Temple of Perfection and England's Templars. While the Stone Soldiers fight fire with fire, employing magic and monsters in their dark war, not every other country combating supernatural threats do the same. 

For Spectral Ops, more international organizations and units will make appearances, as threats continue to appear around the globe. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book of Stone: The Occulum

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. Catch up on previous entries by following the link on the righthand side of this page, Book of Stone, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




THE OCCULUM



First Appearance:  Shadow Raiders

Description:  Experimental Wyrmhole Generator

Last Known Status: Damaged




Following the discovery of the transport ring in Greece, the U.S. military began extensive study of wyrmhole generators. When modifications to another transport ring were discovered at the antediluvian site in Antarctica, it became possible to create a wyrmhole generator from scratch. This first device was built at Groom Lake Air Force Base in Nevada, and filled an entire chamber, with wyrmholes of only a few inches across being formed during tests. 

Experiments with the Occulum quickly led to perfection of the technology and the construction of much larger generator, dubbed the Sprocket.

During Operation Cold Flare, the Occulum was activated once more, quickly earning the name it had been giving by providing high altitude observation of the planet Asgard. 

While severely damaged during the events of Cold Flare, the Occulum remained basically intact.

As a wyrmhole generator, the Occulum operates in the same manner as Valhalla Station's own antediluvian ring portal modified by the SS, and the Sprocket. Once a harmonic connection is estblished with a target, the Occulum is able to form a wyrmhole--the distance from the target being adjusted so that a portal appears beside a target, or miles above. 

Partially electromechanical in nature, the Occulum's wyrmhole remains open as long as power is applied to the apparatus. 



Book of Stone: Omorose Nasser

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.





OMOROSE NASSER



First Appearance:  Spectral Ops: Ghostwalker

Description:  Graduate Student of Paranormal Studies

Last Known Status: Government Consultant


A first-generation American, Omorose "Rose" Nasser was born to Egyptian Coptic parents who had emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, fleeing oppression in their native land. 

Rose was raised in the U.S., entering college where she found herself drawn to studies of he occult and the paranormal, despite her strict Christian upbringing. 

In 2015, Rose began studying under Professor Richard Merlot in pursuit of her own Doctorate in Paranormal studies. By 2017, Nasser was Merlo's most trusted confidant in the development of a system for viewing non-corporeal entities. 

Nasser accompanied Merlo to Arizona, aiding the Professor in his consultation with the USAF at a haunted missile silo. At the completion of the investigation, Nasser joined Merlo in accepting an indefinite assignment as a consultant for Detachment 1039. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book of Stone: Professor Richard Merlo

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.





Professor Richard Merlo

First Appearance:  Spectral Ops: Ghostwalker

Description:  Paranormal Researcher specializing in Non Corporeal Entities

Last Known Status: Government Contractor




After years of research into the phenomenon of hauntings and spirit sightings, Professor Richard Merlo perfected a method for observing non-corporeal entities by means of Synchronized Polarity Opposed Ocular Lenses. Despite not widely disseminating his findings, Merlo found himself approached by Department of Defense representatives in 2017 who requested his consultation on an apparent haunting at a USAF missile silo.

Merlo's SPOOL system proved of great help in resolving the situation at the missile silo, and the Professor reluctantly agreed to remain with Detachment 1039 indefinitely as a consultant. 

Book of Stone: LOOSE RABBIT

For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.




LOOSE RABBIT 

  
Description:  Reporting Classification for Preternatural Incidents and Threats


For the purposes of secure military communications, the armed forces have a variety of code words and classifications. Some are for secrecy, some are to impress upon recipients of messages the importance of the situation. 

Recognizing the danger and frequency of occurrence of supernatural events, the U.S. Armed Forces adopted specialized terminology for use in preternatural incident reporting. Among these, LOOSE RABBIT was one of the earliest terms, chosen to designate a situation where a magic-user was confirmed to be operating in a specific area or with a specific goal in mind. 

In all instances where a LOOSE RABBIT is reported, forces are required to report to and coordinate with US SOCOM. 

In instances where a preternatural threat is determined to be a Fellish entity, rather than a human magic user, a RED TITAN is declared. 

In the event a LOOSE RABBIT (or RED TITAN) entity engages in preternatural activity, a BURNING STORM is declared. Alternatively, a suspicion of preternatural activity, or an imminent threat of preternatural activity is declared a BRIGHT THUNDER. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Book of Stone: Keegan, Pam

For April, Stone Soldiers.info 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. 




  
PAM KEEGAN
  

Description:  Agent & Departmental Liason, JIDTF




FBI Agent Pam Keegan worked as a Special Handler for psychic consultant James Hornbeck in the early 2010s. In 2013, she and Hornbeck were recruited by Detachment 1039, assisting the unit in tracking antediluvian threats in the United States and Mexico. 

After several successful operations with Detachment 1039, Keegan was formally reassigned to the Joint Interior-Defense Task Force, headquartered at Homestead AFB, Florida. In this position, Keegan assists Detachment 1039 by monitoring supernatural reports gathered by the FBI.