Saturday, 18 April 2015

My latest Civil War horror novel The River of Desperation out now!

I've just released my latest Civil War horror novel, The River of Desperation. It's the sequel to A Fine Likeness. While the first book in the House Divided series stands on its own, The River of Desperation continued the story of the primeval struggle between Order and Chaos. A blurb is below.

In the waning days of the Civil War, a secret conflict still rages. . .
Lieutenant Allen Addison of the USS Essex is looking forward to the South's defeat so he can build the life he's always wanted. Love and a promising business await him in St. Louis, but he is swept up in a primeval war between the forces of Order and Chaos, a struggle he doesn't understand and can barely believe in. Soon he is fighting to keep a grip on his sanity as he tries to save St. Louis from destruction.
The long-awaited sequel to A Fine Likeness continues the story of two opposing forces that threaten to tear the world apart.
Length: 103,000 words (356 pages)

It's available as an ebook on Amazon, all Amazon affiliates, Smashwords, and soon to come to Barnes & Noble, the Apple store, and more.

In order to celebrate the release, I'm discounting A Fine Likeness. It's only 99 cents until April 26, the 150th anniversary of General Joe Johnston surrendering the Army of Tennessee. It will then be $2.99 until May 21, the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Jesse James, who makes an appearance in both of these books. A Fine Likeness is available on Amazon, all Amazon affiliates, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and almost everywhere else ebooks are sold.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Civil War Photo Friday: Confederate Prisoners Waiting To Go Home

As I'm sure you've heard, April 9 was the sesquicentennial of the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House. In the following weeks, more Confederate armies would surrender and tens of thousands of men would soon be heading home. This photo shows Confederate prisoners in Belle Plain, Virginia. While it's undated, scenes like this were common in April 1865. Large masses of men, no longer carrying guns, waited transport back to their home state.

Since the above photo is a bit small, I've zoomed in on part of the crowd. I like the ghostly figures of the ones who moved, and the guy in front looking at the camera. I wonder what happened to all of them after the war?

Photo courtesy National Archives.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Which cover do you like better?

Below are two mockups for the cover of my next novel, which is a sequel to my Civil War horror novel A Fine Likeness. Which do you think is better? You might want to click on the link to see how the first looked like. I appreciate your input!

Back from Eastercon!

I've been a bit silent of late, and that's because I was up in Oxford for my usual research/relaxation trip over Easter. In addition to seeing friends and burying myself in the Bodleian Library like I always do, I also attended Eastercon.

This is an annual science fiction convention in the UK. There were heaps of events and signings, plus lots of panels. I was on a panel about asymmetric warfare that was well attended, although not as well attended as the Real Ale bar! You can read my con report here.

Anyway, I'm back and excited to be finishing up We Had Flags, book three of my Toxic World series. There will be more posts up here too.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Book Review: How to Write a Western in 30 Days

Write a Western in 30 Days: With Plenty of Bullet-Points!Write a Western in 30 Days: With Plenty of Bullet-Points! by Nik Morton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Want to write a western? This book will tell you how, more or less.

Much of the advice long-time western author Nik Morton gives is good, standard fare for any beginning writer. More experienced writers will find many pages not giving them anything they haven't seen in plenty of other how-to books and will end up skimming some sections.

Really only the research and theme chapters are specific to westerns, and they go over a huge topic too quickly. There are even occasional lapses, such as the list of Confederate states that doesn't include North Carolina, Alabama, and Florida! The border states that fought on both sides are also not mentioned, even though these provide the most grist for the writer's mill. There's also a handy appendix of western publishers which is still up to date, although of course it soon will be.

So what about the "30 days" part? Morton does, indeed, give a good overview of how to write a western novel (or indeed any novel) in a month. He relies a bit too heavily on planning and outlining for this author's taste, but all writers work differently and "plotters" will like his technique.

Books on specifically writing westerns are rare, so anyone interested in dipping into the genre should check this book out. Just don't expect to get a thorough treatment.

View all my reviews

Friday, 27 March 2015

Old West Photo Friday: Chief Satanta of the Kiowa-Apache

This is Satanta, a chief of the Kiowa-Apache who spent many years fighting the U.S. Cavalry, most notably at the First Battle of Adobe Walls where he fought a cavalry detachment under the command of Kit Carson. During the battle, Satanta used a bugle to imitate a cavalry bugler, giving false commands to the enemy.

Satanta was the last Kiowa war chief and was eventually imprisoned in 1874 after countless fights with the encroaching American settlers and the cavalry that protected them. Given a life sentence without hope of parole, he killed himself in 1878.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Travel Tuesday: Ruined Old Farm in Backwoods Missouri

When I still lived in the U.S., I loved taking road trips on little county roads to find tiny towns and old, abandoned buildings. Missouri was especially good for that. Many farms got abandoned in bad years, and the forest and prairie are slowly reclaiming the land. These shots are from a trip I took while writing my Jesse James book. This barn is from after Jesse's time, though.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.