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Friday, August 10, 2012

Rocco's Retreads Saddle Up and Move Out

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Most of the survivors from my paramilitary novel, Hell and Gone, are gearing up for another go-round. This time they're on a completely different type of mission, in a different Third World hellhole.

In the first novel I kinda' painted myself into a corner at the end, because the thought of a sequel didn't even occur to me. But a few readers put a bug in my ear and, after stewing on it for a while, I realized it would be a shame to never use those characters again. I also had a specific request from a South African friend (who does some "contracting" work not entirely unlike what some of those characters do) that my next novel should involve modern piracy. So guess who the bad guys are this time?

Of course, after deciding to go for it, I discovered there are quite a few action-adventures out there about pirate-busting. Ah, well. It's hard to be original these days. Nobody has yet accused me of "borrowing" a black-market suitcase nuke plot for Hell and Gone, but with the preponderance of those kind of stories/movies out there, I'm sure it will happen. Rest assured, though: I built the plot around some severely under-reported news I was privy to at the time. I won't classify it as "intelligence," though intelligence journals were just about the only news sources covering it.

Anyway, this time there will be at least as much action, if not more. I'm toying with some ideas for plot twists, too. Should be a lot of fun. I'm hoping to take some time off next week and work on it and a few other projects. It will probably be the only chance this year to build some momentum writing it (instead of this paragraph-a-week exercise in creative frustration) so wish me well.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share the latest Amazon review of Hell and Gone:

On his website, Hank Brown compares Hell and Gone to a novel version of "The Expendables." I'd argue that it's better, and I liked The Expendables. Between the real-world setting, the backdrop of real events, and the portrayal of characters who act and talk like real-life veterans, as opposed to Hollywood's version, it has a plausibility that most movies, and some of the big-name thrillers, don't. The technical details were obviously well researched, and the action was written to draw the reader in. No Clancy clinical detail to make up for lack of experience here. If you're looking for an action fix, look no further. 

My thanks to reviewer Pete for taking the time to share his reaction. It's a real help for working stiffs like me, who are trying to get a foothold in the writing biz, to get reviews and even "likes" on Amazon. While I'm at it, thanks to everyone who left a review. I should share some more of them.


  1. Glad to hear you're thinking about a sequel. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

  2. It's about time, huh? Or should I say, "finally!" ;-) Now you've got 2 that I need to read. My TBR pile is looking like the national debt.

  3. That picture of a nuclear explosion reminds me, I recently viewed the trailer for "Read Dawn 2012." This time it's about a Chinese invasion. I can't wait.

    1. Same here, Walt. It's silly to expect Hollywood to improve anything with a remake, but it has happened so I am hopeful nonetheless. From what little I know about the remake, it seems they at least started with a more plausible scenario. And as much as I like Milius' other films, Red Dawn's screenplay had plenty of room for improvement.

  4. The sequel is going to kill it Hank. My advertising offer is still open to you (and Jack Badelaire) if you want to take advantage of it as I gear up for my next release.

  5. Many thanks, Jack. This past week I took a week's vacation to hammer out the sequel. I got almost to the point of establishing a rhythm Monday. Then Teusday I fell sick with some kind of virus that has just kicked my ass. I tried to keep writing but didn't get far, and what I wrote looks like some kind of experimental abstract poetry written by a six--year-old (non-English speaker)suffering a bad acid trip.

    "This isn't fair" has become my whining mantra. And no offense to your family name but that scumsucker "Murphy" had his fingerprints all over this debacle. I want to rip his head off and cram his Law down his damn neck.

    Anyway I'll email you about your generous and most-appreciated offer.

  6. You know you are screwed when Cpl. Murphy is your Alpha Team Leader for the patrol.


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