Second Epoch is launched, #giveaway #kindle6 #epochslaunch

After a resurrection of an old story line and a re-writing into three different novels, I’ve gotten a new series going and launched as of this weekend. 

Epochs is going to be a trip down memory lane, a romp through some history and a glimpse of what happened at the turn of the century to lead to two world wars and now countless regional conflicts. How did we end up with the last 130 years of history? 

Epochs will explore that. It’s not exactly alternate history but it isn’t exactly history either. 

I’ve gotten something else to do as part of this release, give away a brand new Kindle 6″. 

Giveaway ends this weekend, Sunday at 8 PM EDT. 

Second Epoch Giveaway*

One thing I love about this giveaway is that the more you share it, the more chances you can get to win it. You register yourself and then post the giveaway to social media using one of the links presented, once these people register you get credit for 3 more chances! You’ve only got to get your social media followers to register and you are going to have that many more chances. 

How do you get to the giveaway? Click the link and find out. 
*no purchase necessary to enter, go to my facebook page for more information on how to enter. Facebook.

Pushing the envelope

At the beginning of August, my wife and I decided we were going to move the authoring business into a higher gear, rely on it for paying us back some of the treasure we’d already given the business, and to start focusing on making more money than we have just publishing one book a year.

We’ve done well since 2011, but we felt it was time to put more on the earning potentials and refocus our marketing and business insight from publishing books to building our email list and direct contact with fans.

That doesn’t seem like a major change, but it is. There’s a sense in the indie publishing community that the more and faster you write and publish the more you will make. In a sense, that does have some merit. You will earn exponentially more with two books than with one. Three more than with two. But, there’s no scale to that growth. I have found that with four five distinct novels out and a box set, I do earn more than I did two years ago, but it is painfully slow growth and I rarely see it scale well.

What we have done is this: bought a premium course from an indie author and marketer Nick Stephenson, moved our blog site from WordPress.com to a WordPress.org hosted site with SiteGround.com, upgraded my MailChimp account to paid to get the mail automations, and built out a domain with email services, DNS, and ability to host landing pages for collecting email sign ups.

There is a good change in thinking involved with this. I’ve spent the last month and a quarter building out all of this (still working on other pieces of the puzzle) and have not done as much on the publishing front. I released the murder mystery and have another two books in the process of final editing.

It has run a little counterintuitive to not spend more time writing at the moment. Yet, I do understand that the time I’m spending now on getting my platform and branding going will pay off later.

Here is the link that started this all. I’ll post more as I go along and get into how I’ve made some changes, where they were made, and other things as I go along. These videos are free and a good look at a process that focuses on your best direct contact with fans and ones that will buy each book you write.

Full disclosure, this is the course my wife and I decided to buy.

http://www.blog.yourfirst10kreaders.com

WordPress Resources at SiteGround

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New Release and New Series Launch!

For the next two days, that’s 8/13 and 8/14 you can grab Death’s Confessor for only 99c. This is a limited time deal for the launch. Click the image or the link below to take advantage of this great deal.

Want a great read just in time for the weekend?

My wife and I have collaborated on our first civil war murder mystery, Death’s Confessor. It’s a fast paced and dusty (lots of dust and sand here in New Mexico) set during the Civil War and chock full of lots of history and the appropriate amounts of murder, greed, etc. etc. etc. Continue reading “New Release and New Series Launch!”

New Release! 4th book in the Shiloh Series.

 

River of Blood, Murfreesboro, Shiloh Series
River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series)

It’s been a full six months of producing another book. Book 4 released earlier in May and was a long time in coming. All but one of this series has been under 100K word count, and this one at its draft reached 155K. I cut a lot in my rewrite to bring it back down to 130K. These are necessarily long stories, woven around the history of a campaign and a view of soldiering from the ranks while describing an ebb and flow of combattants upon a field and the strategic decision-making of higher command to bring the reader a complete picture. They Met at Shiloh stands at 90K word count but I’ve not been able to get in a story below that since and the campaigns just keep getting longer!

RoB is centered around the late 1862 maneuvers in Tennessee around Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN as winter is settling in and the soldiers are looking forward to rest in winter abode. This is denied them and the story of familiar characters moves forward along with the armies.

I always have a choice to make when starting a new novel. Who will continue on? Some of that is decided for me. If I’m to tackle another campaign then I need to know what regiments participated in that campaign. For instance, after They Met at Shiloh’s story was completed, men from the 25th Missouri Volunteers (Hube and Robert) were consolidated into an engineering regiment and their term of service took them elsewhere and out of the Army of the Tennessee. Others, like Michael Grierson of the amalgamated Texas and Tennessee battery under Major Polk were so decimated after Shiloh that the battery was disbanded. I managed to redeploy Michael in order to continue his story into the third novel but after 2nd Corinth, his historical destiny with General Price’s Army takes him out of the immediate series for the time being. There is also always the choice to keep a character alive or to make them a casualty as I chose to do with another character from They Met at Shiloh. For this novel, I wanted to highlight another type of unit in the Civil War, the regular. I then had a choice, Confederate or Union.

The Confederacy didn’t employ regular soldiers in great numbers. Though one had the option of volunteering for a regular force that the new government was putting together, this force was never filled out. Instead what you find in researching orders of battle on the Confederate side are units that look like they were regular formations. This lead to my discovery of the history behind the 3rd Confederate Infantry. What made them a little unique was the presence of a single company of Arkansas soldiers. The Confederacy, like the Union states, called for all states to contribute a quota of volunteer formations. What happened in Arkansas was something out of a Vietnam movie storyline. A troublemaker is given a choice, volunteer for the army or face prison. At the time of the state secession movements there were in Arkansas men who opposed secession and formed a secret society for mutual protection and warning as those who favored secession were targeting those men who vocally opposed it for threats, beatings, and lynchings. Acts of sabotage were blamed on anyone who opposed secession and might be a member of the Arkansas Peace Society. Once the secession ordinance passed the Arkansas Secession convention these men became fair game to be rounded up and given a choice: volunteer or face prison and loss of land.

Discovering this also lead to another interesting find: there were several men who deserted during the Murfreesboro campaign. From there, a storyline was born.

River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series) Amazon 
River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series) iBooks

Shiloh Series cover reveal

20131219-180752.jpgBook #3 is nearing that exciting stage where the final edits are happening and the cover has been produced!

The Shiloh series of books had their start back in the day, 1987 to be exact when I first began to research and plan my characters. Of the first two books, #2 and #3 are the most closely tied together as far as character continuity and timeline. As I was writing A Certain Death I removed and then re-added several characters and started a story line that I just found didn’t fit with the conclusion of the novel and the ending hit the cutting room floor. That ending offered instead a perfect beginning to the next novel and Iuka to Corinth can really be treated as a sequel to A Certain Death in the story lines of Philip Pearson and Will Hunter.

Iuka to Corinth also comes back to a battle narrative in a similar style of They Met at Shiloh where A Certain Death was more an adventure story, Iuka to Corinth develops the campaign and the action that takes place around Corinth, Mississippi in the last weeks of September and the first week of October, 1862 as William Stark Rosecrans’ divisions find themselves isolated and unsupported as General U.S. Grant’s armies are spread out over Mississippi and western Tennessee leaving the crucial cross roads town of Corinth only lightly defended.

Shiloh Series News
Iuka to Corinth, (Shiloh Series #3) ARC versionIuka to Corinth, (Shiloh Series #3) ARC version

Finally, They Met at Shiloh is currently $0.99 for the Christmas holidays. Read the first in the series or send it as a gift to that civil war buff you know. Kindle or iBooks.

ETA:3/24/14 – Iuka to Corinth has now been released! Find your copy here:
Amazon.com

Writing and Researching the battle of Corinth

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What I love about writing historical fiction is that I get to dramatize the little things that I dredge up in my research. Reading the after action reports on Corinth and heavy note taking I often find little things that tie people and events together. One of them is from the 63rd Ohio’s report and that of Major General Price and Captain Hoxton regarding a mishap that occurs early on the morning of October 4, 1862 in front of Corinth.

General Price was desirous that any and all advantage be gained from the position the Confederates occupied almost surrounding Corinth, close up to the town and under the cover of woods and ridges that shielded them from the incomplete defensive works Rosecrans had ordered built to command the Mobile and Ohio rail line, the Memphis road, the Chewalla road, and the cross point of the Memphis and Charleston rail line; a series of fortified positions that were spread out 800 yards apart containing heavy caliber cannon. Rosecrans never suspected that these would be the positions he’d have to use to defend the town with from a numerically superior force but that the outer former Confederate works would be.

The ground around the town and the cover allowed Price and Van Dorn to marshall their divisions close to the Union positions without being subject to artillery fire. Hoxton and several other batteries were ordered to take positions upon the ridges to the northwest of the town and before first light begin to shell the town and anything that they could engage, as the battle was to be initiated at first light.

Hoxton’s section under the command of Lieutenant Tobin was busily moving his section into place when two companies of the 63rd Ohio blundered into them. Companies B and G were ordered to buttress the skirmishers of the 27th Ohio of Fuller’s Ohio brigade and to push up the Chewalla road up to the trees and ensure that they controlled the road. The two companies were just as surprised as Tobin was to run into the enemy, only that running into a battery in the blind was a prize seized too easily.

Tobin’s section lost a gun and himself and his bugler as prisoners of war and the two companies were soon beset by Price’s skirmishers and the troopers of the 7th Tennessee cavalry who nearly bagged the whole lot themselves.

It is the little anecdotes like this that I love envisioning and dramatizing through the use of historical characters doing what they would have done. This little episode will be features in the third novel of the Shiloh Series, Iuka to Corinth.

Shiloh Series email list sign up for the Shiloh series news to stay informed on new releases and other promotions.

Gods and Generals: Chancellorsville

I’ve gotten to the end of the movie, through some of the more droll scenes in between Fredericksburg and the final engagement of the movie. The portrayal is a little stilted, only showing Jackson’s Corps assault on the 11th Corps and not the other fighting until it leads up to Jackson’s wounding, but I appreciated the construction of those scenes, the reenactor extras who took time to run silently out of the trees tens of times to get the scene right, and the view where this video spot starts of several brigades worth of Confederates at right shoulder shift arms at the double quick showing how it probably looked had one been there to witness it.

Visiting the battlefield is interesting. There are gun emplacements still visible, emplacements that were dug before the battle started pointing to something of Hooker’s mindset at the time. These emplacements had to be repositioned, faced in a direction Hooker suspected he might be attacked and they had to be swiveled as Jackson’s attack drove the 11th Corps in on the III Corps positions. These are small burms now, preserved and cut into the earth to protect field batteries. They are sort of unique for this time period on a civil war battlefield save for Petersburg and Vickburg where long term siege lines were constructed. Emplacements such as this were constructed when one thought they were going to occupy this spot for more than a day.

Union Artillery facing Hazel Grove’s confederate batteries, dug in emplacements in the foreground facing towards the Orange Plank road.
View of Union Artillery positions looking towards Hazel Grove, emplacements in the background.

Joseph Hooker had stolen a march on Lee, placing the bulk of the Army of the Potomac on Lee’s flank and leaving two corps back on Stafford Heights overlooking Fredericksburg to demonstrate – which Sedgewick does and takes Maryes Heights finally. Why Hooker paused and waited and why he waited for Lee to make the next move is up for debate. The fighting was  a precursor to what fighting would be like in a year when Grant pushes the AoP into the Wilderness and Lee meets him again near the site of the bitter two day struggle known as Chancellorsville. Jackson’s attack is commenced with limited daylight left and is able to push in the 11th Corps but is unable to do more, the other attacks by Lee’s army also fail to drive into the Union left and center and a stalemate ensues the continuing day with neither side gaining any advantage. Hooker finally pulls back across the Rappahanock river and the rest is history leading up to the invasion of Pennsylvania and Gettysburg.

At the bottom is a Google Maps view of land that the Civil War Trust is trying to save on the Jackson Sneak Attack and marshaling area. You can see from the patchwork of colors that this area is only partially preserved. This battlefield is hemmed in by lots of development and a fight was waged several years ago to prevent a Walmart going in on ground that abutted the park.

In other news, work on Iuka to Corinth has gone into its final phases, the first pass edit has come back from the editor and I’m busy rewriting a few chapters to flesh out the Michael Greirson character introduced first in They Met at Shiloh and his involvement with the renowned 2nd Texas Infantry. The rewrite is always an interesting exersize as you cover stuff you are already over familiar with but need to read with a new eye for the detail that needs to be added. The conflict had already been set when I first wrote the manuscript out and fortunately this is just bringing certain things out and not a full alteration of the text.

ARC versions of Iuka to Corinth will be available soon, if you’re interested in a copy in electronic format, sign up for the news letter as I’ll be letting members have first stab at copies.

 

Satellite view of Jackson’s Flank attack, noting the land preserved by the Civil War Trust (blue), CVBT (brown), and the National Park Service (green). The 2013 target properties are highlighted in yellow. (Google Earth)

Gods and Generals – Fredericksburg

20130828-102528.jpg
20th Maine assault up to Maree’s Heights, Fredericksburg 1862.

I’m again on this topic as I watched a brief scene last night before bed on my iPad; movie watching this way is punctuated and drawn out and takes me days sometimes.

From the movie we know that Burnside was a stubborn boob, Hancock was a prescient anti-boob, and Lee talks too much with a pseudo southern lisp. We also know that of all of the other brigades that stormed Maree’s Heights the Irish Brigade is most remembered. It’s a movie, so you have to cut some stuff.

General Sumner, in command of Burnside’s Left Grand Division, and Hancock have a little chat about the probably outcome of the battle and Hancock exclaims that Jackson’s line will not be turned. Well, it almost was in the real battle, not the movie one. Jackson’s Corps occupies Lee’s line on the right and extends along a treed and forested area parallel to the Mine Road and behind the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac railroad.

The following is excerpted from the NPS Fredericksburg web site about this action:

Burnside had reinforced Franklin’s sector on the morning of battle to a strength of some 60,000 men. Franklin, a brilliant engineer but cautious combatant, placed the most literal and conservative interpretation on Burnside’s ill-phrased instructions. He designated Major General George G. Meade’s division — just 4,500 troops — to spearhead his attack.

Meade’s men, Pennsylvanians all, moved out in the misty half-light about 8:30 a.m. and headed straight for Jackson’s line, not quite one mile distant. Suddenly, artillery fire exploded to the left and rear of Meade’s lines. Major John Pelham had valiantly moved two small guns into position along the Richmond Stage Road perpendicular to Meade’s axis of march. The 24 year-old Alabamian ignored orders from Major General J.E.B. Stuart to disengage and continued to disrupt the Federal formations for almost an hour. General Lee, watching the action from Prospect Hill, remarked, “it is glorious to see such courage in one so young.” When Pelham exhausted his ammunition and retired, Meade resumed his approach, Jackson patiently allowed the Federals to close to within 500 yards of the wooded elevation where a 14-gun battalion lay hidden in the trees. As the Pennsylvanians drew near to the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad north of Hamilton’s Crossing, “Stonewall” unleashed his masked artillery. Confederate shells ripped gaping holes in Meade’s ranks and the beleaguered Unionists sought protection behind wrinkles of ground in the open fields. Continue reading “Gods and Generals – Fredericksburg”