Freehold Friday: Ranking Records and computer snafus

Okay, so I realize that today is Sunday, not Friday…but what can I say ?  Sometimes Windows 8 just flat out sucks and there’s nothing you can do about it but try to recover your work and reload back-up files.  Thank goodness for weekly backups.  I swear, I don’t know what I did without external hard drives in the past.  Oh, wait, I do know what I did…I didn’t worry about it because Windows 7 was so flipping stable.

</rant off>


What a week this was.  I tell you what, I never expected to see my books climb the Amazon bestsellers list like they did.  Apache Dawn and Alea Jacta Est have flirted with and often embraced the Top 100 lists in a couple categories before…but this week?

Apache Dawn hit a new high: #28 on the Medical Thrillers list for paperback books, #32 on the Medical Thrillers list for ebooks, and #42 on the Military Thrillers list for ebooks…

AD #28 med #42 mil 8 Oct 2014

To say that I am blown away is an understatement!  I am so amazed, humbled, and surprised I don’t know what else to do but be inspired!  My fingers are itching to get back to the keyboard.

As a little “thank you” to my loyal fans, I’ve decided to give y’all a little sneak behind the curtain—behind the scenes so to speak.  Think of this next segment like that “extras” disc in that DVD box set you just got.

One of the tools in my writer’s kit for creating realistic worlds is a good map.  For a fantasy novel (think Game of Thrones), it’s damn near indispensable.

It’s easy to do so in a novel like Apache Dawn (for that matter AJE).  I picked a city, pulled up Google Maps, and started describing what my character “sees”.  With Google’s little man-on-the-street view, I can really get some good details for the story.

I put this into practice in the early chapters that revolved around Chad Huntley in Apache Dawn.  The location for those chapters was in Glacier National Park, near Mt. Vaught and Lake MacDonald.  As seen below on Google Maps:

Little Matterhorn region zoom out

All the major locales in the chapters are pinned by me as part of my planning, then I import the file into Scrivener (like I described here) and use the split screen editor feature to be able to write and glance at the map at the same time in orderbto make sure the action that takes place is not only believable, but accurate.  I started out doing this just to make things easier for me to keep track of stuff…then realized it could be a big help for readers too, if I didn’t do a good enough job of describing things.

As a bonus, here’s my cheat-sheet map for Los Angeles, where Cooper Braaten and the SEALs were struggling to…well, I won’t give away the whole story, but if you’ve read Apache Dawn, you should recognize the arrow-shaped building as the ill-fated All Saints Memorial Hospital:

All Saints Hospital area



And now for the weekly update—I’m about 2/3 of the way through the as-yet untitled Wildfire novella (I have been saying it’s set in the world of Apache Dawn, but I really mean to say is it’s set in the world of Wildfire, of which Apache Dawn is the first book…) that depicts a more civilian perspective on the flu crisis faced by the characters in Apache Dawn.  I think it’s an interesting aside that fills in a little detail about the event swirling around outside the scope of Apache Dawn and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I am writing it.  As a bonus, I’m going to make it available to my email list subscribers for free before it’s released on Amazon, so if you haven’t yet signed up, now’s the time to join the ranks and subscribe to the Freeholder Update!

As far as the sequel to Alea Jacta Est, I’m also making decent progress on this front and I’m just about 1/3 of the way through that story.  It’s shaping up to be better than when I planned it out all out so I’m really getting excited here.  I’m trying to get this one done by the Holidays but it may be more realistic to say very early 2015.  Don’t quote me on that…if you want to know the mintue I settle on an official release date, join the mailing list!

All right, muchachos, I hope you enjoyed the maps and—barring any further computer problems—I’ll see y’all again next Friday!


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