I’m Back!

Happy to talk to you all again. Sorry I have been incommunicado for a while. I was prepping for a trip to America, then in America meeting a lot of indy authors (Both at the 20 Books conference and a follow-up get-together of most of the Phoenix Prime group.)

But I’m Back and have at least 3 releases planned for the month: Redemption, Boris Chronicles #4, First Steps ( A Short story that will lead into a series I am calling Good Deeds and Bad Company.) and Operation Blowback (The Pandora Battalion #2) another short.

I also hope to get Mongrel’s Truth and Consequences finished this month for release at the beginning of 2018.

Upcoming, hopefully today, is another Boris snippet.

Talk to you in the coming hours and days

Paul C Middleton

Boris Chronicles snippet #5

Leaving the bodies to be destroyed by the blast had been too disrespectful for Olaf. Maybe it wasn’t the battle wise decision. Maybe it would improve the enemies chance of tracking them, if there was enough of a trace to track after the blast.

Either way, it was still the right, the respectful, decision. Besides, while the digging was going on…

Everything paused as the sound from the earth shattering explosion  hit them. Even at this range, sheltered by a hill, the sound of a catastrophically failing etheric reactor was impressive. The shaking of the earth as the shock wave passed was less so. Most of the energy would be directed up, even with the containment of the alloy hull.

“Andre, Richard, test those railguns. Aim for the blast site. Breaking it up will make investigating harder.” Olaf ordered. He’d known about half of his bodyguard most of his life. He was more comfortable going by first name with them.

An Amazon and two of his bodyguards were the dead. Nestor he knew, but he’d needed dogtags to identify the others. Marina and Timothy. He bowed his head, anger and grief mixing. If he’d not been so confident in the security of the shuttle, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.

Of course then it could have happened to others. No-one had really expected someone on planet to have a weapon that could take out a shuttle. At least not outside of Japan. Any other officer he could have sent would have only had a squad with them. Their chances of survival even if they had taken no casualties would have been lower still.

It had been the right choice to come. Or at least the best choice available.

There was a single whipcrack from the hilltop as one of the railguns fired.

The tears of grief and regret flowed down his face as he dug the grave. Slowly other started to help him. Within half an hour they had it as deep as it would go, about four feet.

Even with all their technology, even relative to life before the fall, certain injuries were truly fatal. A crushed skull. A charred hole through the chest. A bolt of energy through the eye. At least it would have been quick, Olaf consoled himself.

He carefully placed each body into the battlefield grave. Anatoly, one of the Weres, handed him a hip flask of vodka. Nodding, Olaf carefully poured some over each corpse’s lips. They would reach Valhalla with drink on their breath.

Then he threw the first spadeful of dirt into each grave before letting others complete the task.

He saluted as the three rocks were placed to mark the graves, the earth was stomped back into place and the turf put back over to hide them from casual sight.

Olaf would forever remember this moment as the moment he learnt a core soldiers truth. That loss and grief are at the center of war. He was coming to realise fast that glory was no balance to them.

He took a swig of the vodka before he handed it back to Anatoly, who took a swig himself before he put it away in his gear.

Olaf made an oath that moment. He couldn’t stop people dying to protect him because of who his father was. Either out of fear or respect. But he would become a man worthy of any who died for him.

One of the railguns was working. The other would still have to be lugged with them. Olaf would not let it fall into the enemy’s hands. For now, carrying it was better than slagging it with one of his few thermite grenades.

He had a feeling he might be happy for every weapon he had.

It was why the only weapon he’d left with the soldiers to arrive at Valhalla with had been their Tomahawks.

He knew they’d understand when the doorkeeper asked why they were so poorly armed.

Their comrades would put their other arms to good use.

Combat Psychology now live – More fiction coming soon

Combat psychology is the 2nd book in my Writer’s guide to combat series. To write a successful combat scene you need to understand the psychology of a soldier or warrior during combat. To write a successful book with combat present you need to not only understand the possible states of mind during combat but also possible states of mind before and after combat.  This work tries to cover all these factors in a concise and understandable format.

It explores the wealth of data that is being gathered over the centuries, both deliberately, in modern times, by psychologists, and by the description of authors. It follows the challenges soldiers face from their mind before, during, and after, combat.

If you are having problems writing a believable combat scene, this may well be the book for you. Often authors portray warriors or soldiers as somewhat flat characters. This book will give you the tools and information you need as an author to create a fully fleshed out character that takes part, or has taken part, in combat.

It also describes the psychological stages a person goes through in a combat situation, allowing you to deepen the feel of any combat situation you write. It explains and expands on pieces of information critical to the writing of any believable combat situation, from a bar fight brawl to an assault on a beach.

This book was written with the significant support and aid of Kat Lind, an Industrial Psychologist of note. Without her input and aid in piecing together this work, it would not be the book it is. She has been an awesome partner to collaborate with, and mentor on improving my fiction and non-fiction works.

You can purchase the book here

ANZAC Day: We Remember the Sacrifices made.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

ANZAC Day is placed on the first day of possibly the greatest military boondoggle and fuck up of all times: The Gallipoli Campaign. On the 25th of April, 1915, a half-bungled landing, with barely a troopship getting the troops to the locations they were supposed to be, started the campaign.

It went downhill from there. In fact, the only truly successful part of the campaign was the withdrawal, that was performed with an efficiency and a near-zero casualty count that occurred at no other point in the campaign.

It resonated with a sense of Australianness that Austrailia Day will never achieve.

In many respects it is similar to the US Veteran’s Day – But in Australia, it signifies something more as well. It also has an undertone, though grim, of our Nation coming of age. Standing up amongst other nations. Almost like if you added Veteran’s Day to Independence Day and roll it into one in many ways

For me, after studying history for 20 years with a significant focus on Military History, it is a day to remember all the fallen. In some ways, it has become a day that holds a significant centrality to my thoughts along with Remembrance Day.

The Poem that has come to signify this, for me, speaks of any soldier fallen in any war. It is called For The Fallen, by Robert Laurence Binyon.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

It is a day for remembering a history that we should reflect on at the very least, if not be proud of. It is a day when people of all the ideologies, all the nationalities that have made up the melting pot Australian, should stop, just pause from the regular life, and take the time to think about the notion of sacrifice.

Word of warning for those who just wish to reflect on the day: STOP HERE, RANT INCOMING!

Now we get to the meat of the post. There is something I hear with increasing regularity which has gone from causing me a mild annoyance to downright anger over the years.

“ANZAC Day is about glorifying war.”

It is nothing of the sort. It is about respect. Respect for those among us who served, and their comrades who are no longer with us.

Most of all it is about respecting the sacrifices willingly made in time of war by so many soldiers.

The Second criticism that really gets me is

“Australian soldiers were not exceptional and should not be portrayed as such.”

The problem with this one is that it is not backed up by the historical record – There are commentaries from both sides in both wars praising the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. Their courage, skill and stubborn defiance in World War One is so clear on the record that the Turkish government treats Anzac Cove with immense respect. The respect they give it is just short of the respect given to a Holy Site. It is a matter of record how much they were respected in communications.

In World War Two they were involved in the Tobrok and Kokoda Campaigns, most significantly. On both sides of the world, the Australian force was massively outnumbered. Yet at Tobrok they stopped Rommel and the German forces cold. In Kokoda they stopped the Japanese Army cold.

These were both Exceptional achievements.

But my biggest problem with this criticism is it entirely misses the point of the day – to think back on the sacrifices made by all in wartime, but particularly by the soldiers. Many of them were hardly more than kids, but they fought with a gallantry, courage, and honor that is fast fading from the modern world.

That is another thing that is important to reflect on.

The final criticism I have – They always make these comments on the day before or the day itself.

For the Gods sake couldn’t they wait til after and let us reflect on this in peace? Apparently not. The most insulting arguments I’ve heard is ‘it is only appropriate for us to criticize Anzac Day on Anzac Day.’ This is one of the biggest fallacies I can hear, to be honest. Criticizing it, especially two or more days afterwards, would at least show respect for the people who respect the day.

Criticizing the day on April 25th is not only disrespectful to the people who respect the day, but to what it signifies for them.

But that’s a problem with the world today, isn’t it? If they criticized it two or three days later, their criticisms would get nowhere near the publicity.

Rather than try and respect others and what they find significant, people would rather get extra exposure than risk showing someone some respect. Publicity is all that matters to them.

This is what’s causing the disintegration of societies. It is no longer acceptable to show respect for the people with differing opinions to you. Instead, it is acceptable to condemn them, and if condemning them on a particular day, no matter how disrespectful that would be, would get you extra publicity? Fuck the disrespect, go for the publicity, is the opinion of too many.

They forget that this is a day for people who sacrifice things so others would not have to. They risk their lives, risk physical injury, risk serious mental harm. They risk their life long mental well-being and their lives. They did in all past wars and still do today. It is their day. That certain people cannot resist the temptation to disrespect those sacrifices is an extreme disappointment. Am I emulating them? I feel not. I feel I am fighting for their right to be respected.

I seriously consider delaying this post, or at least the second half of it. However, my reflection on the day has already been destroyed by those who have openly disrespected it. So I came to a compromise, one that I added with no little amusement. I placed a trigger warning for those who simply wanted the day to be one of reflection. The irony of placing a trigger warning as a radical centrist does not escape me. It is not something I would normally do in any circumstances. The circumstances of Anzac Day, what it means to so many, and what it should mean to so many more, are hardly normal.

Also, Clubs advertising ANZAC parties and sporting fixtures on ANZAC day that pump up the ticket prices? These should be banned. As in the people who try to profit off a day built on remembrance and respect? Make a buck of the sacrifices of others, sacrifices that they obviously cannot comprehend? Lock up those responsible and fine them into poverty. This is probably worse than the three above point in some ways, although most of the sporting events try to show respect and some don’t increase the standard ticket price. IF they respect the day, and price it like any other I have fewer issues with it. I still have qualms over the tendency of comparisons between the players, who are richly paid, and the sacrifices of the soldier, who is poorly paid and, since the 70s, demonized by parts of society. There is no comparison. The simplest way to fix the problem is to simply ban special Anzac Day promotional events, be they sport or buisness.

Perhaps now I’ve gotten some of the anger out of my system, I can return to a day of reflection myself.

Paul C. Middleton.

Cursed Mother 2nd Snippet

I have long since come to the belief that if there was a God, he’d stopped listening some time ago. He sure as heck hadn’t heard my prayers.

When I married my first husband, Dan, I would never have believed that my husband even believed in cursing people. I used the excuse that he was at work so often for why I cheated on him. He never seemed to have time for me. I see now that he was working so hard for us. After all, when I broke his heart he didn’t just try and curse me himself. No, he found a real professional and paid her.

Then he ended up marrying her.

The curse his new wife put on me came in two parts. The first part was that I would never give birth to a human child. The second part was that I would be fertile for more than a century. It’s been 15 years. I still didn’t fully believe the curse was over me until after the birth of my fifth child.

My first two children seemed normal, although my eldest daughter has always had a green tint to her hair. Following the birth of my third child, I found myself thinking that the curse that had been placed on me might actually be real. That was my final child with that father. When she came out with scales covering her legs, unlike the medical staff,  he hadn’t been able to ignore them. Thankfully I’d had a prenup. With no evidence or actual cheating I’d taken him to the cleaners. I also became afraid that some of a Fury’s nature might have crept through from the curse.

I have two more children from discreet one night stands, despite using every method of birth control known to man. The only sex I’d had in the last twelve years. The final one had, despite my own needs, forced me to reconsider having any sex life beyond those dandy little devices. It still caused me some despair at times. A woman has needs, Okay?

I loved all my children, but in desperation had needed to find a new home for the youngest. He’d been an Imp. Horns, a Tail, the works. Of all people, Alecto’s grandson, who insisted on being called the Mongrel, had been the only one willing to help me with that problem. Even he refused to cross his grandmother on helping me find a way to break the curse problem I have.

So, I regularly came to The Menagerie, hoping to find someone crazy enough to cross one of the ancient Furies. Tonight was no different. I braved the unique and disgusting ambiance of the front bar to reach the main venue. Stale beer, dried blood and a hint of urine were not my favorite odors.

Thankfully the rear section had some form of ventilation that kept the foul odors from settling. Only once had an overwhelming smell of blood assaulted me, when one of the local packs was holding an Alpha challenge. Both the current Alpha and the Challenger had died that night, requiring more challenges to sort out the mess.

 

Cursed Mother Words complete (and snippet)

Finally. After a flu, getting a Wisdom tooth ripped out, Allergies and sinusitis, I’ve completed Cursed Mother. Sending it to the tender hands of my alpha readers, and hope to be able to send it to the editor tomorrow.

*Jumps for joy*

Snippet

I was always nervous as I headed into The Menagerie. After all, it’s not a safe place for people like me.  It catered to a unique mix of Supernaturals, and was the only place like it in Australia. Publicly, it was kind of dive that made biker bars look like havens for saints. You might find places where demons and angels would frequent simultaneously. Not as unusual as you’d think, as they both had an agenda to scare people away from the Supernatural, and towards the God they followed.

Not the kind of place people expected a wealthy woman like myself to enter. The number of propositions I received were somewhat ego swelling, although I looked at least a decade younger than I was. It was part  of the nature of my problem. I’d give up all those years of youthful looks to solve it, and gladly.

Behind the doors and the front bar, which often had Weres fighting each other in their human form. It was a venue that catered to any peculiarities that a Supernatural might desire. Except murder. For the vampires, there were ‘groupies’, recruited for their desire to be bitten or hopes to be chosen to become a vampire. Or so I assumed. I did not want to associate with blood givers and drinkers. For shapeshifters, a pit where they could conduct training and challenges. For the Fae it was considered neutral. In a way. Some place where they could meet without violence being guaranteed, no matter the mix of courts.

I came once a month, like clockwork. People assumed it was to get a piece of ‘rough’ on the side when they found out. I wish. I was looking for someone willing to take a big risk and help me remove the curse my ex’s new wife had placed on me on their wedding day.

The thought always brought a tear to my eye. I had loved Dan, deeply. I had played around on him because he was always at work. He even slept there four or more nights a week, making me feel like I was a piece of eye candy to him. Someone to be on his arm at events. He’d objected to any attempt I made to help him at work, or find a job of my own. I became bored and lonely, so I’d lashed out.

When he found out what I’d been doing, it nearly killed him. His love for me became a burning hate. Though I hadn’t known it, Dan believed in the Supernatural. He’d started looking for people to curse me. Unfortunately, both of us were angry at each other in different ways. Witches had been unwilling to curse a woman who felt scorned. So he’d looked deeper and darker for someone… some being… Willing to curse me.

He’d found Alecto. The Fury of Anger. As both of us were enraged at the other, and he lost most everything in the divorce he’d insisted on, her payment had been to curse him. A curse he found he enjoyed. They’d ended up married.

I’d ended up convinced it had all been faked.

What I’ve been doing: Phoenix Prime – and the first 30 shorts produced.

So here I sit, wondering how to explain Phoenix Prime to you all.

Phoenix Prime is basically a pressure cooker for authors. So, hopefully over the next months I will have at least one release for you a week.

And I’ll try to post regularly about releases from other authors in the program. For instance Lee Hayton has done a couple of collaborative works with me. ‘WereEagles fear to tread‘ and ‘A Mongrel, a Bard and Witches, oh my!’ The first of them was released earlier this week, and the second one is planned to be released on Friday (pending my RL problems which I will not go into here)

But I already have the first fruits of the programs labor. And for the time being, they’re available free, HERE, through Instafreebie. 10 anthologies of three free stories each. Enjoy.

The direct link to the anthology containing my Short story

‘Flight of the Phoenix’

 

Speak to you soon.

Paul C. Middleton

‘Sometimes knowing there is a battle is half the battle’