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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Falling into Fall

“The best laid schemes o'mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”
--Robert Burns, "To a Mouse"


It's October, and Fall is in the air! Or, in my case, I fell through the air...

It was late September and I was working on a project at home when I took a bad step and tumbled down my stairs. While no bones were broken, I did twist and hyperextend one ankle, producing a loud pop and lots of pain. And thus ended my plans for an October release...

You would think that not being able to get around very good, with an immobilizing boot on one's ankle would mean lots of writing time. Alas, that is not the case. Try as I might, the pain from my ankle has become a writer's block of epic proportions. Despite having my evenings free, my wife and kids waiting on me hand and foot, I just can't get thoughts to paper. 

This means that in all likelihood, Spectral Ops: Island of the Damned (Book 3), won't be available for sale this month. it also means that Spectral Ops #4 won't be out before the end of the year, the entire schedule being bumped a month or two off. 

Work continues on FM 3-10-80, the US Army Preternatural Combat Operations manual---a free bonus encyclopedia of all things Stone Soldiers, and free for mailing list subscribers. This bonus book of content from the blog and new content will be launching on December 25th. Print copies will also be available for purchase and the ebook version will appear sometime in January. 

In the meantime, keep spreading the word and enjoy a spooktacular Halloween!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hauntings Just Went Nuclear!

Available now, in print and digital editions, on Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords, Detachment 1039 is back, and facing their most dangerous adversary yet: an angry spirit tethered to an American nuclear missile silo!



Recruited by the U.S. Military, Professor Richard Merlo and his assistant, Omorose Nasser, are transported from their University paranormal studies to the middle of the Arizona desert, investigating a haunted military outpost abandoned decades before. The academics soon find themselves in over their heads, investigating a spectral murder at the invisible hands of the entities that have made a deactivated missile silo their home. The hunters soon become the hunted, caught between non-corporeal hostiles and a military unit comprised of supernatural soldiers in a battle to prevent an ancient evil from unleashing a very modern armageddon on the innocent.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Welcome to the Dark War...

Spanning sixty-seven years, eleven short stories, and fifteen novels, the Dark War has become a pretty big place in just five years. If you’re new to Stone Soldiers, Shadow Raiders, or Spectral Ops, you’ve probably seen the list of titles in the front or back of what you’ve read and wondered if you really need to read them all. That’s entirely up to you, but to help you reach that decision, here’s a quick rundown on what you might have missed:

ShadowDetachment, set in 1950, tells the first story of supernatural soldiering by Mark Kenslir, a young Army Lieutenant with a unique ability to nullify magic. During the Korean War, Kenslir finds himself attached to a unit of special soldiers tasked with countering supernatural forces from China and North Korea.

Dark Invaders: It’s 1954, and we are not alone. Strange visitors from afar land on Earth and claim to want to help mankind with extraterrestrial technology. But all isn’t as it seems, and Mark Kenslir uncovers a dark ruse perpetrated by supernatural beings from not another planet, but from our very own world.

Stone Soldier, set in 1962, tells the tale of a supernatural soldier’s death and rebirth, when Mark Kenslir is killed in a violent explosion, only to return to life more powerful than before. Capable of much more than just nullifying magic, the super soldier is sent to Southeast Asia for his first mission, to take on a sorcerer working with Communist forces.

Spellbreaker finds Kenslir in Africa, in 1968, working alongside a British agent to investigate a Voodoo Warlord.

Blood Traitor marks the meeting of vampire M.D. Laura Olson and Mark Kenslir. From a university in the Midwest to a vampire nest in North Africa, supersoldier and newly-minted vampire team up to track down and eliminate the undead.

Infernal Machine, set in the 1980s, introduces a new kind of character to the Dark War—an artificial intelligence, built by demons and powered by human souls. Designed to help bring about the end of the world Five has decided it doesn’t want to exterminate mankind and sends out a call for help.

X-Ponent, set in 1995, chronicles the end of the superhuman era in North America, as a mentally-unbalanced super-psychic tries to spark World War III. As Mark Kenslir tries to stop the magical madman, he finds his way blocked by a meddling pair of FBI agents trying to unmask the truth.

Satan'sServers, set in 1997, sees Mark Kenslir and his A.I. partner tracking down a cabal of sorcerors in Hong Kong who’ve been using the fledgling internet to murder victims around the world in a technological blood sacrifice.

Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire skips ahead to the 2000s, with a new generation of supersoldier entering the war against the darkness: Stone Soldiers, men turned to living stone. Working together in the Middle East, Mark Kenslir and a resurrected Navy SEAL take on a Fire Elemental enslaved by insurgents and turned against U.S. forces fighting against terrorism.

Stone Soldiers: City of Bones more stone soldiers have been created, completing a squad of four petrified commandos. For their first mission, the supernatural soldiers are deployed to West Africa to investigate a horrific airborne plague that devours flesh, leaving only skeletons behind.

Stone Soldiers: Sea of Monsters once more has the Stone Soldiers deployed to combat the supernatural, this time in the Gulf of Aidan, fighting paranormal pirates capable of shapeshifting into horrific man-beasts.

Mythical (Stone Soldiers #1) The first book in the Stone Soldiers series, Mythical, follows Mark Kenslir as he rises from the dead and sets out to remember who killed him with the help of two reluctant teenagers.

Brothers in Stone (Stone Soldiers #2) The shapeshifter from Mythical is back, and this time he has help, as not one, but two antediluvian monsters from the distant past set out to rebuild their strength and their empires, one victim at a time.

Blood andStone (Stone Soldiers #3) The final book in the shapeshifter trilogy, Blood and Stone finds Detachment 1039 headed to Mexico to stop the last antediluvian shapeshifter, who has plunged the region into chaos, revealing himself as the ancient god Kukulckan. With the help of a vampire M.D., the team of supernatural soldiers rushes south of the border for an epic showdown.

Shades of War (Stone Soldiers #4) An enemy from Mark Kenslir’s past is back from the dead, raising an army of spirits to march on Washington D.C. to take revenge on the country that killed him.

Black Knight Down (Stone Soldiers #5) When a coven of modern witches manages to knock an antediluvian satellite from orbit, they get more than they bargained for. An ancient evil is set loose on the land, and it’s up to Mark Kenslir and Detachment 1039 to save the world.

Armageddon Z (Stone Soldiers #6) For precognitive psychic Kenji Nakayama, the end of the world isn’t pretty, no matter how many times he has to live it. Fortunately, Nakayama’s dream-like glimpses of the future eventually have a happy ending as he is able to guide the Stone Soldiers to victory over an enemy working to unleash a zombie apocalypse.

Seven Deadly Sons (Stone Soldiers #7) Detachment 1039 find themselves in Antarctica after a series of battles with a new kind of monster: a synthesis of vampire and werewolf, engineered by Nazi scientists at the bottom of the world.

Terrorcota (Stone Soldiers #8) A rogue Chinese General intends to start World War III by using the greatest magical weapons of history, stolen from a secret vault beneath the Forbidden City. The only thing stopping him is a Master of the most mystical of martial arts and Detachment 1039.

Pale Horseman (Stone Soldiers #9) When a supernatural serial killer arrives in America and begins reaping the souls of the paranormal, Detachment 1039 must team up with an aging Private Detective and his ghostly partner to save the innocent.

A Lucky Day toDie (Stone Soldiers #10) Mark Kenslir is on his own when he heads West to investigate the murder of his nephew, uncovering a plot by a witch to harvest the souls of desperate gamblers who she’ll turn into dark servants of unbridled paranormal power.

One Dark Step (Stone Soldiers #11) With the unlocking of the secrets of ancient portal technology unlocked, America is finally going to do something about the supernatural marauders that have been posing as aliens around the world: they’re taking the fight to their doorstep and invading the far side of the Moon.

Shadow Raiders (Book 1 in the Shadow Raiders series) finds Detachment 1039 journeying not just off-world, but to another reality when an ancient portal is opened in Greenland—leading right to the home of the North gods, Asgard. Together ith a pair of paranormal archaeologists, the Detachment must invade another reality to prevent supernatural raiders from bringing Ragnarok to Earth.

Winters Fury (Stone Soldiers #12) Josie Winters is back from the Moon, living a life she doesn’t remember, her entire memory of the last four years of her life erased. But a mysterious stranger helps Josie escape her captors and recover the truth about who, and what, she really became so she can seek revenge on those betrayed her.

Spectral Ops, set in spring 2017, finds Detachment 039 hurrying to Eastern France to investigate a mystical storm covering a small village. There they quickly find themselves on the defensive, surrounded by an army of angry spirits ready to bring about Hell on Earth.

Spectral Ops:Ghostwalker: Somewhere in the American Southwest, a deactivated missile silo becomes the site of a paranormal murder, when a haunting turns deadly. Detachment 1039 recruits a Professor of Parapsychology to help investigate, discovering an ancient evil beneath the surface.


If you prefer compilations, you can pick up a copy of A Cold, Dark War on Amazon, in print and digital copies, combining Shadow Detachment, Dark Invaders, Stone Soldier, Spellbreaker, Blood Traitor, Infernal Machine, X-Ponent, and Satan’s Servers in one volume.

For Stone Soldier prequel action, Elemental Warfare combines Stone Soldier, Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire, City of Bones, and Sea of Monsters onto one volume of petrified paranormal action.

For the Stone Soldiers series, there are four compilations, Stone Soldiers Omnibus 1, 2, 3, and 4, with a Stone Soldiers: The Series compilation of all twelve novels coming to digital format only in September 2017.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Change is in the air...

Big change is in the air here... as the Stone Soldiers takes a long hiatus. Detachment 1039 continues their war against evil in an all new series: SPECTRAL OPS.

For all the latest information on Spectral Ops, Shadow Raiders, Shadow Detachment and the eventual return of the Stone Soldiers, you need to PUNCH THE RABBIT...

What did a rabbit ever do to you? Rabbits are evil, or rather, the magic they represent is. 

When there's an incident involving a nuclear weapon, the military can declare a COVERED WAGON, or a BROKEN ARROW. But what about when supernatural forces are on the move?

MYSTIC STORM signifies an impending supernatural event--it's the supernatural equivalent of the COVERED WAGON. 

When something does happen, it's labelled BRIGHT THUNDER--the supernatural equivalent of a NUCFLASH. 

But what about when magic sighted in an area, and its uncertain there's any danger or impending catastrophe? LOOSE RABBIT is declared, and anti-supernatural forces are deployed... to punch the rabbit. 

Look for these and other Detachment 1039 happenings in book 2 of the new Spectral Ops series, GHOSTWALKER, releasing August 7, 2017 on Kindle and in print. 



And if you don't want to have to check in at the blog, don't despair, a newsletter for Detachment 1039 updates is coming with monthly RABBIT PUNCHES for all.

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