Thursday, August 23, 2012

Doc Savage vs. Mythical

I've admitted it- I tried to use the wonderful Doc Savage novels as a model for how the Mythical series should be paced and structured. But that recently got me thinking... how much do Doc and his Brain Trust share in common with the men and women of Mythical?
Let's start with the leaders. Doc Savage and Colonel Mark Kenslir.
Doc Savage is a large man, about 6'2" if I read correctly. He is covered in muscles and is in peak physical perfection. He never seems to age, due no doubt to his clean living and a scientifice diet. He's also a super-genius, an expert in many fields, and the world's greatest surgeon. Doc looks a bit odd as well, with bronze-hued tan skin and flake-gold eyes and his hair cut very short, resembling a skullcap. He is a master at unarmed combat and carries a variety of scientific devices with him at all times. Doc primarily lives on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and has a fabulous, untold wealth of Mayan gold. Doc is an accomplished pilot, diver... pretty much any skill needed, he has. Doc was a fighter pilot in the US Army in World War 1.
Mark Kenslir is 6'4" tall, and also overly muscled. He never does age, due to the multiple curses on him. He's not a surgeon or a scientist, or even a super genius. He has jetblack hair, cut in a short flattop, and has black-green eyes. He is a master at unarmed, and armed combat, and uses a variety of devices and weapons. He resides in a 22 story tall building just outside of Miami, FL. As a sixty-three year veteran of the military, he has undoubtably accumulated a fair amount of money. He is a skilled combatant, who's exact training and abilities remain to be seen. He fought in the Korean War and most conflicts since.
All in all, the two are very similar. If we took it literally, Doc would lose any hand-to-hand fight. Mark Kenslir has super human strength, and can heal any wound. While Doc seems super human, he does face the limitations of mortality. When it comes to crimefighting or solving mysteries, Doc clearly has the advantage. Mark Kenslir is a veteran soldier, skilled at warfare. He may have other skills, but he relies on support from the U.S. Armed Forces to help him solve most problems his own personal strengths can't solve.
But Doc Savage is more than one man, he is aided by his Brain Trust- the Fabulous Five. His former Army companions, who are masters in their own fields, and fearless adventurers who join Doc in his philanthropic globe hopping on a regular basis. They Are Col. John "Renny" Renwick, a massive, 6'4" man who is a master engineer, a taltented brawler and who enjoys punching through doors. Then there's Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair, a gorilla-looking master chemist who is second only to Doc in fighting, and scientific ability. General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, a dapper attorney of wide-renown and master swordsman. Major Thomas J. "Longtom" Roberts, an electrical engineer that possibly rivaled Nickolai Tesla himself. And finally, William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn, a world-renowned archaeologist.
Doc's five aides always seemed to be on hand in the books to help Doc stop evildoers and protect the innocent. They were even aided on occasions by Pat Savage, a blonde-haired cousin of Doc who was a proficient fighter and crackshot.
Mark Kenslir commands a small detachment of super soldiers and paranormal support personnel tasked with defending the United States at home and abroad. In Book 1, Kenslir's has four Stone Soldiers- men turned to living stone, possessing super human strength, and years of combat experience. All but one of the stone soldiers are killed by their opponent. Kenslir soon begins rebuilding his operational team, turning a teenage motorcross rider into a new Stone Soldier, and enlisting the aid of a teenage girl who unlocks her own cryokinetic powers- possessing the ability to freeze things with her mind. In Book 2, Kenslir adds two more operatives, a spunky FBI agent, and her partner, a postcognitive empath who accepts the offer to become a man of living stone himself. The team is aided by the U.S. Military's Ghost Walkers- spies who use astral projection to gather information, first hand, from anywhere on earth- and telepaths who probe the minds of allies and enemies.
In Book 3, Kenslir will be joined by two more aides: Chadwick Phillips, a former super soldier gifted with electrokinesis, the ability to generate and control electricity, and who also becomes a stone soldier, and Dr. Laura Olson, a vampire.
There are similarities, to be sure. But the adventures of Doc Savage tended to revolve around stopping a single villain, a criminal mastermind, for succeeding in some villainous plan to make money. Rarely did Doc deal with politics or threats to national security.
Mythical may incorporate many of the elements of the Doc Savage pulps, but it features super-villains, and broader-reaching dangers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Introduction to Podcasting, 101

Tonight, in less than 4 hours, I go live, sort of, on the internet. It was all part of the self-publishing marketing process.
Podcasting is something I'd never actually listened to- I tend to be more of an orchestral music/movie score kind of guy. I just don't listen to talk radio or podcasts.
That changed with my entry into indie publishing. Some friends of mine happen to have a very long-running, award-winning podcast. Podculture.
Even though I'm kind of a private guy, I went ahead and joined the podcasters for a lengthy dicussion on indie publishing, the latest scifi on TV and of course, the Mythical series.
What did I learn about podcasting?
It's pre-recorded. I'm told some folks stream live, but most pre-record, then stream later, or just offer their podcast for download. I know- I'm probably the last person on Earth to learn this, but it was interesting, nonetheless.
You can get amazing sound in a room jammed with collectibles. To say that Brad, the guy who host's Podculture is a Green Lantern fan is a massive understatement. If there is any GL product on Earth he doesn't own, I would be surprised. It was wall to wall Lantern Corps, Oa, yeah. But despite the lack of foam walls, or headphones, Brad's professional setup records crisp, clean audio- although he did keep telling me to speak up. It was a far cry from the hollow, staticy tape recorder kids used in my day to play radio talkshow.
There's a podcast for everyone. Seriously the variety in podcasts is amazing. In Podculture's case, they talk about a little bit of everything, so they're bound to have a large audience.
Finally, I learned doing a podcast=sales. At least one. One Podcast listener from a previous show where my book just mentioned, purchased via Kindle and gave a glowing, four-star review (thanks, Billy). Actually being on a podcast and talking ought to equate to even more potential readers.
End analysis? Podcasting is good for authors. It's a lot easier than writing out answerrs to questions or saturating Twitter or Facebook with please for readers. Podcasting can be a lot of fun. And you don't have to dress up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What the heck,let's have a SALE!

You know, I was just reading some authors over at the Kindle Writer's Cafe forum arguing about to Free or Not to Free.
Some valid points are made on both sides.
Had I read this before, I might very well have put Book 1, "Heart of Stone" up for free. But since a few of you have purchased it, I don't think it's fair to now.
But let's have a SALE.
$.99, this week only.

Book 3 Has Begun!

Mythical the Series is rapidly approaching it's end- or rather the end of the first trilogy. I knuckled down and foudn the time to start writing in earnest yesterday and got about 40 pages done- something like 8000 words. I would have gone longer, but with a day job and kids to take to school today I finally had to quit and hit the sack...
So what's book 3, BLOOD AND STONE about?
In Book 2, the shapeshifters partially succeeded in their attack on Argon Tower, the base of operations for Detachment 1039. The twin giants manged to resurrect Medusa and steal her heart, granting Tezcahtlip the power to turn men to stone. Unfortunately, it cost him greatly, as his brother Ketzkahtel was finally killed.
Tezcahtlip has fled now, headed west to hit the two placesin America that have the highest concentration of parahumans: Las Vegas and Alcatraz. With a collection of stolen powers to choose from, the giant will do what anyone in his over-sized shoes would do: find a country in need of something to believe in, and set himself up as a God.
Det. 1039 will have to be careful pursuing this adversary into a foreign sovereign nation- to avoid an international incident and to avoid being destroyed by the all-powerful Tezcahtlip.
The team will be aided by two new members as Col. Kenslir rebuilds the Stone Soldiers. First up is his old war buddy, Chadwick Phillips, a paraplegic retiree who once could hurl lightning. A more mysterious figure from Colonel Kenslir's past will show up as well- one he's not sure he can trust, but who will hold the key to finding and stopping Tezcahtlip once and for all.

Look for BLOOD AND STONE at, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords October 1st.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mythical Extras: An Alternate Reality

Writers tend to do a lot of research on works of fiction- particularly those that take place in alternate realities. Sadly, a lot of that work is never seen by the reader- it is backstory the author keeps for themselves.
One of my recent reviews by a reader called me out on this- they wanted to see more of the world Mythical takes place in.
To that end, I'm going to start a new feature here on the blog, going over some of the backstory you'll more than likely never see in the novels.
This might seem like a really odd thing to worry about in a work of fiction, but I think it has great import on a series of novels that center around a military unit. Presidents are the Commanders-in-Chief, and have the final say-so on a number of military programs. And what spy novel series doesn't at some point feature a political figure?
In the Mythical, super powers are an accepted and widely known fact by the general populace. People with thos powers, parahumans, are celebrities just as much as sports stars are in our world. As such, parahumans are bound to be involved in politics. And that could have some interesting ramifications...
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 6th President of the United States
It is a little known fact that Pres. Lincoln formed the National Sciences Academy on March 3, 1863. Lincoln had a vision of science helping America. In Mythical, that mandate went a little further, and paved the way for the research not just of science but of the mystical. Alas, even with magic, Lincoln was assasinated.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th President of the United States
By the 1960s, the Mythical United States was using parahumans in the military and for intelligence gathering. It isn't much of a stretch then to assume that with that added layer of protection, President Kennedy was not assasinated in 1963. Rather, an attempt was made, but the President's Secret Service detail was alerted in time to avoid catastrophe.
Sadly though, despite winning his next election, Pres. Kennedy's philandering ways would prove his downful, and he would resign the Office of the President in 1965, citing health reasons to avoid scandal and embarrassing the office. Pres. Kennedy would then retire to a lifetime of devoted public works, in the United States and abroad and become a leading humanitarian in the waning days of the 20th Century.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, 36th President of the United States
Serving only a three year term, Mythical's President Johnson had far less of an impact on American history, but followed the course he otherwise would have taken had the assassination of Pres. Kennedy proven successful.
RICHARD M. NIXON, 37th President of the United States
Following the unpopularity of the war in Vietnam, Richard M. Nixon was able to defeat Lyndon  Johnson and became the 37th President of the United States in 1969. here history attempted to correct itself, with Nixon performing in much the same way he did in our universe. With one notable exception: Watergate.
In the Mythical universe there was no need for a break-in at the Watergate hotel to steal Democrat secrets. Instead, telepaths were employed, and Nixon was able to quietly win re-election, aided considerably by endorsements from the new celebrities in the world: super heroes. These parahumans in flashy costumes astounded the public in 1971 and 1972, and were embraced by the White House and the Nixon administration.
However, history again corrects itself when it is discovered that the White House used telepaths in the re-election of Pres. Nixon. A scandal erupts, and Watergate becomes synonomous with the use of parahumans to influence politics. Nixon pardons his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, then resigns and Gerald Ford becomes the 38th President of the United States, serving a little over a year before losing his bid at election in 1976. While Nixon leaves in disgrace from the White House, it is generally accepted he did not know about the use of telepaths to spy on Democrat party officials, and his resignation is viewed as an honorable act to the public.
JIMMY CARTER, 39th President of the United States
As in our world, Mythical's Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford and became the next President of the United States, riding a wave of public distrust of the Republican Party. President Carter further rose to fame when Operation Eagle Claw, the rescue of U.S. hostages from Iran was successful, thanks to parahuman forces (Detachment 1039).
RONALD REAGAN, 40th President of the United States
Despite Pres. Carter's success in freeing th hostages from Iran, American heroes in 1980 revealed to the world that the Soviet Union had its own parahuman forces, and that they were a threat to the United States. Pres. Carter's previous efforts to downsize the U.S. Military and pursue peaceful recourse with the Soviet and Chinese Empires did not go over well in light of this new threat. The public clamored for a strong President, and elected Ronald Reagan, himself backed by the leading parahumans of the period.
Ronald Reagan enjoyed two terms as President, rebuilding American military might and staying the hand of the Soviet Union in much the same way as he did in our Universe.
GEORGE BUSH, 41st President of the United States
Riding on the success of his former President, and endorsed by the superheroes, George Bush managed to win election and re-election, and continued the efforts of the Republican party to stregthen the United States and stay Soviet aggression around the world. Ross Perot, and popular grassroots politician was brought into the campaign for re-election, and proved a deciding factor for many voters. Perot was later named Secretary of Defense.
WILLIAM CLINTON, 42nd President of the United States
Following his defeat by George Bush, William Clinton once again ran for election and defeated Dan Quayle and Robert Dole in the 1996 campaign. Without the surge of popularity enjoyed by his real-world rival, President Clinton led a more subdued first term as President and avoided the Monica Lewinsky scandal. After his failure to win re-election in 2000, Pres. Clinton and former First Lady Hilary Clinton went on to become leading human rights advocates.
DAN QUAYLE, 43rd President of the United States
In 2000, history was made when Elizabeth Dole was made the first female Vice President of the United States- with her parahuman endorsements allowing her and Presidential Nominee Dan Quayle to narrowly defeat William Clinton's re-election efforts.
Pres. Quayle soon became a butt of jokes in the media who portrayed him as dull-witted as they had when he served as Vice President. On September 11, 2011, that changed when Al-Qaeda terrorists succeeded in killing thousands of American citizens on U.S. soil. Pres. Quayle launched an immediate counter-attack, employing U.S. conventional and parahuman forces within 24 hours. U.S. forces first attacked and invaded Afghanistan, libertaing the country from Al Qaeda rule. Within a month, U.S. forces moved on Iraq, which had been ignoring U.N. demands for inspections for many months. In the swift invasion into the country it was soon discovered that the regime of Saddam Hussein was actively violating the Gulf War cease-fire treaty of 1991 by continuing to build weapons of war and fund an underground nuclear program. President Quayle enjoyed great popularity when U.S. forces captured several convoys attempting to move nuclear and biolgical weapons out of the country and into neighboring Syria. 
President Quayle narrowly defeated John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Campaign- a campaign marked by Vice-President Elizabeth Dole declining to continue serving in office due to health concerns and a difference of opinion on the conduct of the ongoing war on Terror in the Middle East. President Quayle's running mate in the campaign was George W. Bush, the son of George H. Bush. President Quayle's second term as President was marred with constant protest against the war, and calls for the troops to come home.
JOHN EDWARDS, 44th President of the United States
In the 2008 Presidential Election, the Republican party was divided in its support of John McCain and George W. Bush. Bush managed to win the nomination from the party but could not muster the votes to defeat the ticket of John Edwards and Baron Hill. Voters chose the democratic candidates on the promises of universal healthcare and an end to the long hositilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In early 2013, Pres. Edwards' presidency was rocked by a scandal follwing his re-election. It was disclosed that he had an affair and a child without the knowledge of the First Lady, who had garnered a great deal of public support for her work in promoting cancer research.
Mythical: The Series begins in the summer of 2013, when Pres. Edwards is facing intense scrutiny from Congress and the public. Popular belief is that he will resign from office before the year ends.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Story continues...

The shapeshifting Antedeluvian giant Ketzkahtel is back from the dead, once again tearing out and eating the hearts of American citizens.

Colonel Mark Kenslir will need the help of a new generation of stone soldiers and one brave girl to track down and stop the giant before it amasses enough power to become unstoppable.

Unfortunately for Kenslir, the giant is no longer alone. He’s resurrected his twin brother and the two giants decide to take the fight to the Colonel.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MYTHICAL: Brothers in Stone... almost here.

I had previously posted that the next Mythical book would be up and ready today, August 1st. Alas, the editing, and some rewrites requested by the Beta reader have delayed that. "Brothers in Stone" may not be ready for a few days. Not a very good start to any career I was planning in writing, but things happen.
To hold anyone over, here's the blurb for "Brothers in Stone"

The shapeshifting, Antedeluvian giant Ketzkahtel is back from the dead, once again tearing out and heating the hearts of American citizens.

Colonel Mark Kenslir will need the help of a new generation of stone soldiers and one brave girl to track down and stop the giant before it amasses enough power to become unstoppable.

Unfortunately for Kenslir, the giant is no longer alone. He's resurrected his twin brother and the two giants decide to take the fight to the Colonel.

Finally... a Review!

A great big thanks to the kind folks at Long and Short Reviews! They have up my first official Book Blog review today.
I have to agree with their review 100%. "Mythical: Heart of Stone" is slow at the beginning. Painfully slow. But that's because it started as a screenplay and I was going for the slow, mysterious build up to action. That's been corrected in the sequel.
Thank you again, Orchid for your time and review!