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Archive for the ‘Bob Mayer’ Category

eBook pricing has been in the news a lot lately, because the Department of Justice is investigating the Big 6 and Apple for price fixing.

Right now we have the Agency model where publishers get to set the prices for their eBooks and they’ve set them quite unrealistically to try to hold on to their print sales.  First, one could easily argue that a high eBook price isn’t exactly going to drive a Kindle or Nook user to go buy the print version.  It’s actually driving them to buy a less expensive eBooks.  Which is good news for indie authors like us.  For example, at one point in Men’s Adventure on Kindle, Steve Berry was #1, I was #2 and #3, then there there were two Clive Cussler titles, then I was #6.  So 50% of the top six books in that genre were mine in that snapshot a little back.  In War, I have 11 of the top 50, more than W.E.B. Griffin, one of the masters of that genre.  I have two of the top ten science fiction sellers on both US and UK Kindle (Area 51 and Atlantis).  I submit it’s not necessarily that my books are so great but also an issue of pricing.  At $2.99 to $4.99 , I think my books look a lot more attractive than a $14.99 book from some trad author.

I’ve previously pointed out how pricing an eBook over $10 makes no sense financially.  Frankly, I’m of the opinion that pricing an eBook over $5 isn’t that great and at Who Dares Wins Publishing we recently reduced prices on all our titles to under $5, including our nonfiction.

On the other end of the spectrum is the uproar over the .99 eBook.  John Locke has made a lot of headlines for his savvy move of selling over one million eBooks, except all are priced at .99 except for his book about selling one million eBooks which is $4.99.  I kind of love the logic there.  But I’ve also pointed out that one million eBooks at .99 equals 166,000 eBooks at $2.99, which several indies, myself included, have achieved with much less fanfare.

The big cloud I’m seeing on the horizon is the growing awareness in NY that they need to revise the way they view the eBook.  It’s not competition for their print sales, it’s part of their overall revenue stream.  I predict we will see a lot more books from the Big 6 priced under $5 in the coming year.  I think there will be more direct to eBook publishing, where the book might never even come out in print.

What does this mean?  The playing field is going to level out.  New York is going to get leaner and more efficient and embrace the eBook instead of viewing it as the enemy.  Indie authors are going to have to work harder to keep their readers and also consider, if successful, what to do when NY or Amazon or whoever comes calling with offers.

The biggest thing all writers—trad, indie, hybrid—need to realize is that there is no one ‘right’ path to Oz.  In fact, we’re all starting from different places, not necessarily all from Kansas, and Oz might even mean different things to each of us.  To each their own, but the ones who succeed will be the ones who keep their options open and constantly educate themselves on the business and also are able to act decisively.

The bottom line is that you, the reader, will vote with your wallet.

Readers Rule!

 

 

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FREE 21-25 Feb

FREE 21-25 Feb

From today through Saturday, I have six free books available on Amazon.   A bit of something for just about everyone.  And a Nook First featured title.

For thriller lovers:  Lost Girls is one of my favorite books.  It’s based on the premise:  Who polices the world of covert operations.  Think about it.  If a Special Operator goes rogue, who’s going to capture him?  And then can you even put him on trial with all the secrets he knows?  Regular police would be no match even if they could track him down.  In Lost Girls, we meet Neeley, our favorite female assassin, from Bodyguard of Lies and Gant, as they try to find out who is kidnapping and killing young girls.  It turns out to be a Special Forces sniper team that was betrayed overseas and has come back to the States to wreak vengeance on the families of those that betrayed them.

For those of a more science thriller/science fiction bent, there is Atlantis: Gate.  What if the force that destroyed Atlantis came back to threaten our present world?  Last summer, the Atlantis series was the #2 bestselling series in Science Fiction, just behind Game of Thrones.  “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.” Thus Robert Frost warns the President of the United States at the beginning of Atlantis Gate, before departing on a classified mission on the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus. In 480 BC, King Leonidas leads 300 Spartans to Thermopylae to try to delay the massive Persian Army. Known only to the King, they have an even more important mission: to escort and protect a powerful priestess to a mystical gate through which she can travel to help save the world. It’s a mission for which Leonidas will gladly sacrifice his own, and his men’s lives.  On the Nazca Plain in Chile, an old woman has been studying ancient lines in the ground for decades. Now she finally understands their terrifying message. In the present, tremors deep inside the Earth threaten all civilizations.

FREE 21-25 Feb

FREE 21-25 Feb

Eric Dane races against time to find the key to stopping this assault from the dark Shadow. He must reach across time to the Spartans and the priestess they escort to find the key to this defense. And in doing so, he must travel to the Space Between, the boundary between our world, and the world of the Shadow.

For writers and nonfiction fans, there is The Writer’s Conference Guide:  Getting the Most of your Time and Money. A writer’s conference is a large investment in time and money so it’s certainly worth spending a little of that time and money beforehand to maximize your investment. We cover strategies for:

• How to find and pick the best conferences to meet your needs.
• Tips on how to efficiently plan for the conference.
• How to select the workshops that will benefit you the most.
• How to socialize and mingle with those who can help your career.
• Pitching techniques and tactics so you’ll be prepared for the opportunity to discuss your book.
• Finally, we go over an After Action Review and Follow-up so every conference you attend is a great success.

For a mix of science and thriller, there’s The Green Berets: Synbat, where a government experiment to produce the next generation of soldiers goes horribly wrong.  Currently under option for the Syfy Channel.

FREE 21-25 Feb

FREE 21-25 Feb

Then another thriller:  Black Ops: The Omega Sanction, described as “Sizzling, first-rate war fiction.” By the Macon Beacon.

Last, but certainly not least, is my first indie release direct to digital, Chasing The Ghost One of my favorite protagonists I’ve written, Horace Chase has been chasing ghosts his entire life.
First, his Medal-of-Honor winner father who died in Vietnam without ever meeting his son. And left him the legacy of an automatic appointment to the Military Academy at West Point which shaped the next thirty-five years of Chase’s life. Then, the ghost of his mother, who died while he was at war in Afghanistan and wounded, causing him to resign his commission and return to the United States, a lost soul.

Chase now wears two hats as a Federal counter-terrorism liaison to the local police department in Boulder, Colorado where he becomes embroiled in two seemingly un-related cases. Working as a detective with Boulder PD he chases another death, this one the apparent rape/murder of Rachel Stevens, an upscale housewife attending night classes at the University of Colorado. And with his counter-terrorism team he is embroiled in a series of killings involving a militia group, a rogue ex-Special Forces officer, a psychopathic ex-CIA contract mercenary, and ruthless drug runners.

From the streets of Boulder, to the highest railroad tunnel in the world, to a swingers club hiding in plain site in suburbia, Afghanistan starts to look pretty good to Chase.

Feel free to download and enjoy the books–and if you do enjoy them, then perhaps pay back with a positive review!

And if you’re a Nook owner, check out Black Ops: Section 8 which is featured as an exclusive Nook First title.

All the best and Readers Rule.

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Area 51 is in the middle of nowhere on the road to nowhere.  Nevada Route 375 which has officially been named Extraterrestrial Highway is road you take only if you want to drive by the fringe of Area 51 and stop in the Little Ale’Inn in Rachel, NV.

When my wife and I moved from South Carolina to Whidbey Island, WA almost five years ago, we went out of our way (well I did, over my wife’s protests) to drive up the road.  We got on it and saw not a single car for at least a half hour.  Then, and not making this up, we spotted a car coming the other way.  Right out of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.  Same kind of old car and the people in it were dressed exactly right for the era with the top down.

Now that was weird.

And today (14th) through Thursday (16th) Area 51 Legend is FREE on Amazon.  In fact, I’m giving away a free book every week this year on Amazon.  I’ll update this site, but if you go to my Write It Forward blog, you’ll see not only my free books for the week, but our other authors, such as Mary Reed McCall’s title:  The Templar’s Seduction, which is free today and tomorrow.

Last year I spent a morning with a crew from the SyFy channel filming in Nevada.  I drove down from Whidbey Island—takes two days.  We linked up in Vegas and then drove out, at the unGodly hour of 4 am (reminded me of being in the Army when everything always started at oh-dark-thirty, especially airborne operations) to drive the 120 miles to Rachel, NV.  We stopped at the Little Ale’Inn.  Then I led them out to the main gate to Area 51.  We filmed for about an hour.  I was technically the ‘expert’ about Area 51 for the host of the show.  I’ve done shows before, Discovery Channel about Special Forces, etc, but this was interesting because we were filming in a place where you can’t film.  Big sign says so.  But also, we were on BLM land, not on Air Force aka National Security Agency land.  We could see their cameras filming us.  So I guess my license plate is in the database now.

And we didn’t run into a little grey, aka Paul, on the road.

The episode was about the Spear of Destiny and how it could have ended up at Area 51.  The crew had filmed all over the world, tracking it.  We had to film so early because the entire crew was flying to South America at 4 that afternoon.

I thought about it for the show, and I do have to say as former Special Forces, it would be a hell of a place to infiltrate successfully.  On the west you’ve got the Nevada Test Site where they detonated 739 nukes over the years.  I aint coming in from that direction. On the south, Yucca Mountain where they store nuclear waste.  Ditto.  And then the outer perimeter, which keeps getting expanded, is thoroughly covered by cameras, thermal, motion detectors, etc.  And it’s pretty much wide open desert.  No sneaking up.  No parachuting in, because the airspace is as highly classified as that over the White House.  And if you did get through outer perimeter, you still got dozens of miles to get to the actual facility, which has its own layers of guards and security.  So, all in all, when the host asked me where I would secure something very important, I had to say it was Area 51.

On the drive back, I passed Pilot Peak in northeast Nevada.  I have a scene in my book, Duty, Honor,  Country a Novel of West Point & the Civil War set at the base of that mountain.  It was pretty easy to see why the mountain was so important to early travelers.  John Fremont named the mountain after Kit Carson went there and lit a fire to guide him in when they needed water.  Both figures are in the book as I cover their 1845 expedition to California, where they ended up conquering California from the Mexicans.

One thing I love about being a writer is going to the places I write about to get the feel for them.  When I walked the entire Shiloh battlefield, I was amazed at how places that resonate in history such as The Hornet’s Nest or Bloody Pond, were just these simple spots that you wouldn’t give a second glance to, but on which so much blood was spilled.  Now that I’m back east in North Carolina, I will be revisiting a lot of Civil War locations for the second book in the Duty, Honor, Country series.  For the new series spinning off of Area 51:  Area 51: Nightstalkers, I think I’ve already spent enough time tempting the fates in Nevada.

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(Information on free eBooks at end of post!)

My first assignment after graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course was to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a First Lieutenant.  I was one of the last officer executive officers on an A-Team (Now they are Warrant Officers).  Then I was chosen to command ODA 055 (Operational Detachment Alpha, which is where A-Team comes from).

We did a lot of really interesting stuff some of which I still can’t discuss.  There was a then classified program being run in 2d Battalion initially called, seriously, Jedi Warrior.  They changed the name to Trojan Warrior (the symbol for 10th Group is the Trojan Horse, not the condom).  My team got the distinct honor of being chosen to take all the evaluations for Trojan Warrior without getting any of the training (we were the standardization score to judge the teams taking the training).

The team in the program did things like blood-packing, biofeedback to control heart beat and body temperature, martial arts, meditation, and a lot of other interesting stuff.  When I was watching the movie: Men Who Stare at Goats, I was stunned at how much of that movie was real and from either the Trojan Warrior program or the First Earth Battalion which I was briefed on while a cadet at West Point.  I’ve always been attracted to strange things.

Then, when he was at the height of his career, which one can debate how high that was, Steven Seagal called me to ghost write a book for him about Operation Grill Flame.  This was the classified remote viewing unit run by the CIA.  We’d had some experience with Grill Flame in Lebanon and when General Dozier was kidnapped in Italy.  Anywho, Seagal claims to have been in the CIA and been affiliated with that program.

Whatever.

I’m a novelist.

Buy at Amazon

So I started doing more research.  I learned the Soviets had investigated paranormal activity extensively.  One theory is that they actually sunk the USS Thresher using remove viewers.  This became the opening scene of my book Psychic Warrior.  What I did was punch things forward, where the Trojan Warrior program was completed, and then a deeper program launched, where not only would Special Forces soldiers be able to remote view, they would be able to project avatars onto the virtual plane and then bring that avatar into the real world to conduct real missions.

Psychic Warrior is now available for the first time on all eBook platforms.  The follow on book, Psychic Warrior Project Aura will be released later this year.

Oddly enough, despite their training, my team scored as well, if not better, than the two teams that received the training.  I believe that was because I had a superb team sergeant who made us a truly cohesive team.  We implemented things that I teach in Who Dares Wins:  For example, when we went to Denmark to go through their Combat Swimmer School, during the morning runs, we’d put our two slowest runners at the front of the formation and no matter how much the Danish instructors taunted and challenged us, we never broke formation and always finished together.  In the same manner, my team sergeant taught us to clip together as buddy teams on a center line when we swam.  We always swam as a team.

Free on Amazon

Today, The Green Berets: Eternity Base (until Wednesday) Black Ops: The Line (until tomorrow) and Black Ops: The Gate (today only!) are free. Please, download the free copy and if you love it please take the time to write a review on Amazon. Reviews really do help out authors.

2012 is going to be an exciting year and we will be sending out newsletters to coincide with some of our FREE book offers, including later this month when 6 of Bob’s book will go free for five days.

Readers Rule!

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From Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point & the Civil War

“Cadets!” Master of the Horse Rumble snapped as he took the familiar spot on the floor of the riding hall.  “Assemble, in-line, one rank.”

The cadets of the class of 1862 scrambled out of the stands and fell in to the left and right of Rumble.

When all were in place, Rumble issued his second order. “Cadet George Armstrong Custer, front and center.”

With a self-confident grin, Custer stepped out of the ranks and double-timed to a spot just in front of Rumble. Custer was just shy of six feet, broad shouldered and athletic.  He had blue eyes and golden hair that lay on his head in a tumble of curling locks.  The word circulating in Benny Havens was that Custer was quite the lady’s man off-post.  The word circulating in the Academy was that Custer was not quite the academic man, the Immortal in every section, overall ranking last in his class and lingering very close to being boarded out.  In some ways, Custer reminded Rumble of Cord, but there was a dark edge to Custer that disturbed Rumble.

“Double-time to the stables, Mister Custer, and bridle your horse.” Rumble made a show of looking at his pocket watch.  “You have three minutes.”

Custer dashed off.

“Cadets, at ease,” Rumble ordered.

An instant buzz of excited conversation filled the riding hall. War was in the air.  And not just war, but Civil War.  Many southern cadets had already left the Academy, the first as early as the previous November, when a South Carolinian had departed, in anticipation of his state’s secession.  He was followed by all the rest of the cadets from South Carolina, three Mississippians and two Alabamians.

The divide touched the highest ranks of the Academy as the Superintendent appointed back in January, G. T. Beauregard, had lasted only five days before being relieved for his southern sympathies after advising a southern cadet who sought consul on whether to resign: “Watch me; and when I jump, you jump.  What’s the use of jumping too soon?”  With his departure, old Delafield resumed the post for several months before a permanent replacement was appointed.  Delafield was still on post, awaiting his next assignment.

The overwhelming feeling in the press was that most of the Academy was pro-slavery. But that was only to those outside of the gray walls.  Rumble knew the cadets better than they knew themselves and it was more the fact that the southerners who remained were the loudest and most outspoken, airing their opinions freely and to anyone who would listen.  The northern cadets had some sympathy for the plight of their southern brethren, but that sympathy had not been put to the test.  There was a sullenness and brooding among the Northerners that few could interpret.

Behind Rumble, seated in the corner of the stands, writing in a leather journal, was Ben, now a young man of twenty. He’d grown with a spurt when he was sixteen, and was now two inches shy of six feet, but as slender as Grant had been as a cadet and Rumble feared his son would never fill out.  Ben had his mother’s face, soft, freckled and open.  His most distinguishing feature was his bright red hair.  He could be recognized all the way across the Plain from that alone.

This was his first trip back to West Point since Rumble had maneuvered his son’s dismissal from the Corps and his entry into college in Maine. The few days had not been enough to thaw the chill between the two and Rumble had little idea where his son’s feelings lay or what his thoughts were.  But he had kept his promise to Lidia and saved his son from four years of hell and that was enough for now.

Custer came galloping back into the riding hall with a flourish.  He urged the large horse toward the far end of the hall. Despite it’s size, the horse was no York, at least a hand smaller than the long-deceased legend of the riding hall,

“Cadets,” Rumble cried out.  “Attention!”

The line snapped to.  Rumble called out the names of two cadets to take the center position. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Delafield, his hair whiter than ever, had entered the hall.

“Gentlemen, hold in place, wings forward to observe,” Rumble commanded.

Using the two cadets as anchor, the lines on either side moved forward until all could see the two men in the center.

Custer reached the far end of the hall and waited.

Rumble turned to the line of cadets and raked his gaze left and right.  He remembered Matamoros and the Mexican line, the steel glinting in the sunlight.  He shivered and focused, once more grateful Ben did not wear the cadet gray.  “Mister Custer, you may—“

A plebe came running into the riding hall, uniform collar unbuttoned, face flush with excitement.  “It’s war!  Fort Sumter has been fired upon!”

Discipline vanished as the remaining southern cadets broke into cheers.

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From Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point & the Civil War

Seneca had his cane in one hand, saber in the other and was screaming insanely.  He tripped over a body, scrambled to his feet and kept going up the hill.  The Union guns were less than a hundred feet away.

The two Union batteries erupted.

Seneca was aware he was flying through the air.  Everything moved slowly.  Seneca saw a private hurtling back next to him, head missing, blood spurting out the carotid arteries from a still beating heart.

Seneca hit the ground on his back.  He blinked dirt out of his eyes and stared blankly up at the blue sky for a moment.  He raised his empty hands.  His cane and saber were gone.  That was the first cognizant thought that passed through his mind.

He grasped for the pistol, determined to rejoin the fight.  His holster was empty.  Seneca cursed and looked for it.

His left leg was gone from knee down.

Then the pain reached his brain and he screamed.

*****

The volley of canister had decimated the Confederate lines, but they were too many and too close.  There was no time to reload or limber up the guns to retreat.  The wave of soldiers over-ran the two batteries.

From the flank, Rumble threw the Henry to his shoulder.  He saw a General yelling orders, waving a sword wildly about.  Rumble fired three rounds as fast as he could lever in the bullets and pull the trigger.

The first one shivered the General in the saddle, the second knocked him back a bit, and the third sent him tumbling to the ground.

The assault broke, rebels running to the rear in disarray, but the guns had been over-run and spiked, putting them out of action.

More Union troops came charging over the top over Matthews Hill behind Rumble and down into the low ground in front of Henry House Hill.  Right into a scathing volley from the solid line of Confederates who were holding the position there.  The Union officers tried to rally their men, but southern artillery was now supporting the rebel infantry and the assault wavered.

Rumble ran forward.  He found the General he had shot.  A Confederate lieutenant was trying to stem the flow of blood from his commander’s stomach.  The lieutenant didn’t stop his efforts, even seeing Rumble approach with the Henry at the ready.

“Who is it?” Rumble asked, but then he recognized the wounded man.  Class of ’45 and one Rumble had tested with York’s jump.  He’d stood fast.

“Barnie?  Barnie Bee?”

General Bee looked up.  “Master of the Horse!  Did you see Jackson?  Stood fast.  Didn’t support me.  I had to order my men to halt.  To halt, damn it!  Why didn’t Jackson follow me?”

“He’s holding the line, General.  He did the right thing.”

Bee raised his body off the ground and cried out in a command voice:  “Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.  Rally behind Stonewall Jackson and the Virginians, boys!”

Then he collapsed.

“Take him,” Rumble said to the lieutenant.  “Take him back to your surgeons.”

The lieutenant looked at him in surprise.  “We aint got no surgeon with the regiment.  Just some old country doc.”

The lieutenant grabbed a couple of scared privates and got them to put General Bee into a blanket.  They hurried away with him as the volume of the battle increased, the Union forces in the low ground unable to maintain their charge, Jackson’s Virginians holding the high ground in front of them, pouring hot lead into the Yankees.

The Confederate left was saved.

Rumble picked his way back among the bodies littering the ground, Henry at the ready.  He passed by a dead man, mouth open in a final scream that had not found voice.  A man in gray was crawling, facedown, clawing at the dirt with his hands, leaving a smear of blood from a severed leg behind him.

“Easy, soldier,” Rumble said, uncertain if he was Union or Rebel, not that it mattered in his condition.

Rumble grabbed the man’s shoulder and turned him over.

“Brother!”

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Scattered throughout Shiloh National Cemetery are plaques with portions of the poem:  Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara.  Here is the opening stanza:

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last Tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.

It is a most appropriate ode to not only the cemetery at Shiloh, but the entire battlefield.  I spent last weekend visiting Shiloh and going over the battlefield.  Over the next month I will be posting video clips from my visit there, but the first clip is at the cemetery:

The battle of Shiloh is the climactic scene of Duty, Honor, Country a Novel of West Point & the Civil War.  In fact, somewhere in the land that became the cemetery, on the first night of the battle, Ulysses S. Grant sat under an oak tree in the rain, contemplating whether to withdraw after horrendous losses that day, or fight on the next day.  Also, somewhere on that land, was a wood cabin where surgeons plied their bloody trade and a scene in that cabin changes the course of history.

At its conclusion, Shiloh produced more casualties in two days than all previous American Wars combined.  Walking over this hallowed ground was humbling.  I walked the entire length of the Sunken Road (which really isn’t sunken) that as the front edge of the Hornet’s Nest, where Union troops repelled eleven Confederate assaults.  Until 62 cannon were lined hub to hub, producing the greatest artillery barrage ever seen on the continent and the Union line was broken.

I walked around tiny Bloody Pond, just behind the sunken road, where casualties from both sides crawled, desperate for water on a hot April day.  I stood at the spot where General Albert Sidney Johnston was shot, still the highest ranking American officer ever to be killed in combat.

All of this is quite strange for a place called Shiloh, which means ‘place of peace’.

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