It has arrived!
The second novel in everyone’s favorite far-future mech western is now available!
Check out Fighting Iron 2: Perdition Plains! Clay and Gibbons are in way over their heads in this one!
Barred from crossing the NorthAm border, Clay McAulay, his AI co-pilot Gibbons, and their battle mech, are forced to flee into the warped and twisted territory of the Midlands. A desolate, dreary landscape filled with denizens of questionable character, the Midlands has the reputation of a place folks want to avoid on their travels.
Few ever enter, almost none ever leave.
Clay is quickly embroiled in a conflict between the townsfolk of Perdition Plains and a mad scientist that may have discovered the secrets to immortality. Clay tries to extricate himself from the volatile situation, but as always, trouble keeps its grip on him and he is soon fighting against a foe he’d never thought possible: a mech made entirely of dead flesh!
A long time ago, in an office far, far away, a novel called Dead Mech was begun…
Okay, it was 2008, so not that log ago. And the office is in downtown Asheville, or was, which is only a ten minute drive from my house. I was being hyperbolic with that opening sentence. I was going for an attention grabber. Did it grab ya? Did it grab your attention?
So, a strange thing has happened to my fiction. At least to a good many of my novels published by Severed Press. Without ever truly planning it, I have created a universe that stretches from the first Z-Burbia novel to one of my latest scifi novels, Fighting Iron. How? Well, keep reading and I will tell you how it all came together.
When I first wrote Z-Burbia, I expected it to be a completely separate world from the zombie apocalypse that is already history in Dead Mech. Z-Burbia was a series that should never have been able to fit with the narrative presented in Dead Mech. From what was told in DM, the zombies came about in totally different ways. The histories didn’t match.
Except I noticed a nice nugget of storytelling that allowed them to match. Or specifically allowed them not to match and yet fight together perfectly. You see, the prologue in DM makes it very clear that history has been tampered with. That the “truth” is relative and solely controlled by those that tell it. What should be a solid background to how the zombie apocalypse happened, quickly becomes propaganda when the reader realizes that maybe, just maybe, what they have been told isn’t exactly how it went down.
I also noticed I had a way to incorporate that misdirection in the Z-Burbia series. By the third book, it becomes very apparent that the survivors in Asheville, NC are part of something way bigger than their little mountain valley. It becomes obvious that major players are moving pieces on a board that the Stanfords and everyone else didn’t even know they were on.
Bam, continuity achieved!
How does this fit with Fighting Iron, which is a far-future mech western that doesn’t have a zombie in sight? Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to go into detail. What I am going to do is talk a little about the element that binds everything together then give y’all a handy-dandy list of the novels in their chronological order.
What is the element that binds them? The Stronghold. Some of you may have noticed that already, but for others that are hopping in here and there, it may not be so obvious. The Stronghold is mentioned in the Z-Burbia novels, and becomes a major part of the characters’ journey by the end of Estate of the Dead. It is also a pretty important factor in the Apex Trilogy (Dead Mech, The Americans, Metal & Ash). And don’t get me started on Dead Team Alpha! Those two novels are nothing but the Stronghold!
A sanctuary, a place where military ethos becomes the foundation for the survivors’ new society, the Stronghold stands as the thread that runs through all of the novels. It may not be mentioned in Fighting Iron, but there are plenty more of those novels to come, so be patient. It will show up eventually.
Once I realized that I could tie everything together by using a specific place, it suddenly opened up the entire geography of the long narrative. I realized there were so many stories that could be told, about all kinds of different subjects, if I just moved the timeline along. Want to change what the landscape looks like? Just add a couple hundred years and viola! Need to tweak the history of something? Add another massive continental war! The victors control how history is remembered and maybe those victors aren’t exactly being honest. Feel like switching up the genre completely? Add a few more hundred years and take out the zombies (maybe)!
Time and the Stronghold. Those are my secrets to how a good portion of my novels became part of one long timeline. What is that timeline? I’m glad you asked! Below you will find a list of the novels, from first to last, and how they all fit together. The absolute great thing is that a reader can hop in at any point and not get lost. Want to start with DTA instead of DM? go for it! Only want to read Z-Burbia? No problem! Each series stands on its own yet is easily connected to the others. It’s been kind of fun to write and watch it all unfold.
So check out the timeline and if you have missed some of these gems then maybe grab one up and dive in. It’s almost like you are a genre archeologist. Almost. Okay, maybe not. Oh, shut up and read the timeline.
Books 1-6- The story of the Stanford family and their fellow survivors as they deal with the recent zombie apocalypse.
Books 7-?- The story of Elsbeth and her “sisters” and how they handle life out in the wasteland while the Stronghold is being built.
Dead Team Alpha series:
Books 1 & 2- A hundred years after what happens in Z-Burbia. The Stronghold is built and thrives as a culture and sanctuary that is structured like a military organization. There might be a major connection with a certain character from the Z-Burbia books.
The Apex Trilogy:
Dead Mech– Hundreds of years after Dead Team Alpha, where society has rebuilt itself with the help of fifty-foot tall battle mechs. Still a ton of zombies. A ton. And some of them are in the mechs! Bam!
The Americans– Sidequel to Dead Mech. It tells the story of what is happening in the rest of the world, not just North America. Still, there be zombies, but they are not your Romero zombies!
Metal & Ash– The coming together of the storylines of Dead Mech and The Americans. Epic conclusion to the trilogy.
Fighting Iron– Hundreds of years after the Apex Trilogy, Fighting Iron is all about the mechs. Are there zombies? Mmmmm, maybe. But they may not show up for a couple books in this series. Like I said, this is all about the mechs. And it’s a western! I kid you not, people, it is a full on, totally awesome western!
Other possible series? Yes. There is a lot of time where people are in the Stronghold itself. That needs to be told. There is also a huge gap between the Apex Trilogy and Fighting Iron. I don’t just mean the Bloody Conflict, but how civilization got to the point of basically going back to cowboys and ranchers, land barons and outlaws. All that good stuff. I have plans. You’ll see.
There it is, y’all. The timeline from Z-Burbia to Fighting Iron. Now, how does this relate to my other novels? It doesn’t. I could probably tie in Salvage Merc One since that takes place thousands and thousands of years later, but no need to go there.
Hope this helps. If you have questions, well, read some of the novels you haven’t read and see if they answer those questions. If not, then I guess I better get back to writing so all is revealed!
That is correct, folks, there is a new release by yours truly (that’s me)!
Let me introduce to you: Fighting Iron!
For Clay MacAulay, none of that matters as he roams the land in a war machine from a time gone by. He wants nothing to do with small desert towns or brutal dictators. He only has his sights set on a new life. Unfortunately for Clay, too many ruthless people want what he has. They want the war machine he pilots. They want the battle mech that shouldn’t exist anymore.
They want his Fighting Iron.
But they will have to pry Clay’s cold, dead body out of that pilot’s seat before they can take it from him. And he plans on fighting them every massive mech step of the way!
A far-future mech western, Fighting Iron is a rip-roaring scifi adventure filled with six-shooters, plasma canons, rough and rowdy saloon brawls, showdowns, corrupt landowners, and fifty foot battle machines ready to crush everything in their path!
Get to the clicking on that pic, y’all! Time to read some badass mech fiction!
Time to get your Drabble on! It’s Party time!
I have actually prepped tonight’s drabble, and post, well in advance due to the fact I’ll be in Charlotte, NC when this posts. I’ll be on panels and have an author table at ConCarolinas! Come on out and see me, yo!
But int the meantime, how’s about you read some micro-fiction that will blow your mind!
Under The Influence
The speedometer read “TWORK”. No worries, he’d seen TWORK before. Just a hallucination. He was sure he was going only 20 lps. Totally safe.
“Next left,” Bisch said. “Past the third asteroid.”
“Your left or my left?” Hollis asked. He didn’t want to ask about the asteroids; he assumed the giant floating baby heads were probably what Bisch was talking about.
“We have the same left!” Bisch snapped.
Hollis took the left and slammed on the brakes, sending the spacecraft into a power slide.
“No way I’m driving through that marshmallow,” Hollis said.
“Griff! How high are you?” Bisch yelled.
Disclaimer: Just drive!
Happy Friday, Y’all!
And yes, I did capitalize the “Y” in Y’all. You deserve it!
First, a great big thanks to everyone the helped spread the word with the $.99 Z-Burbia sale! Second, thank you to everyone that helps me in any way at all!
You people rock, therefore I salute you! Or something metal like that…
Now, as you can see from the title, tonight’s Drabble Party is DEAD MECH themed. You may or may not know that my very first novel, the one that begins the Apex Trilogy, is a Drabble Novel! The one and only (as far as I know)! A novel written in 100 word sections! EXCITING!
That’s why, down below those crazy asterisks, you will find not one, not two, not three, but NINE drabbles taken straight from DEAD MECH! Yes, I know I skipped five, six, seven, eight in that count, but I needed to save time. Which I totally have lost by writing this explanation! Dammit!
And why do this mighty excerpt extravaganza? Because it’s on sale by Severed Press for $.99! CRAZY!
Bisby came up firing, his plasma cannon glowing red hot with each successive blast.
Red Legs agilely dodged to the left, taking cover behind some debris. Chunks of ancient concrete and steel filled the air as Bisby followed Red Legs’ movement, trying to aim his blasts ahead of the deader.
“Fucking stand still!” Bisby yelled. And Red Legs did, using the girder to block several of the plasma blasts. The undead machine hurled the warped and melted chunk of metal straight at Bisby.
Bisby brought an arm up to deflect the attack, the collision forcing his mech to stumble backwards.
“Themopolous,” the Doctor answered, checking Steve’s vital signs.
“Doctor? I have General Powell on secure com. I hope you have a few minutes for to speak privately?”
Themopolous glanced at the doorway as Harlow came in, sleepily stretching. She motioned at her com ear and Harlow nodded, shooing her away and taking over Steve’s assessment. Dr. Themopolous left the infirmary quickly.
“Of course, sir. I’m almost to my office now.”
“Excellent, Doctor,” the General chimed in. “I have some great news regarding the newly developed retrovirus Dr. Lisbon informed you of.”
Themopolous froze and forced herself not to be sick.
Red Legs took immediate advantage of Bisby’s faltering and opened fire. Bisby took a graze to the right shoulder, the smell of scorched metal overpowering his environmental filters, as his mech slammed to the ground. He checked systems and saw he had been lucky, sustaining only minimal damage.
Quickly, Bisby tucked his mech back behind a half buried transport, hoping the shell still had enough structural integrity left to take the onslaught. Red Legs’s blasts began to slow, the concussions weakening.
Bisby checked his scanners and smiled. The deader was losing power.
“Okay,” he said aloud, “no more fucking around!”
“I’m ready to proceed, sirs,” Themopolous said, settling into her desk chair, apprehension clawing at her, forcing her to keep her voice even.
“Excellent. I’ll keep this brief as I know you are both busy,” the General said. “At approximately 1700 hours tomorrow, a supply train will be arriving with the inoculation for your base personnel.”
“Sir?” Capreze said, stunned.
“Yes, Commander. We have already inoculated all of the city/states and security outposts. Your base is the last on the list. We didn’t want to rush the process, seeing as the mechs are an integral part of our overall survival.”
Bisby rolled his mech to the right into a tight crouch. Red Legs circled, trying to get the advantage, its cannons glowing dully.
“Looks like you’re almost out of juice, deader!” Bisby taunted. Red Legs roared.
Bisby sprang, his mech launching into the air, twisting away from the cannon blasts. Three, two, one… The two mechs collided in a massive, ground-shaking crunch.
Bisby didn’t lose stride, tucking his mech’s left arm up under Red Legs and lifting it into the air. He brought the right arm down fast, smashing at Red Leg’s cockpit, hoping to crush the zombie pilot inside.
“Is there anything I need to have prepared, sir?” Themopolous asked, her voice audibly shaking now.
“No, no, we have everything taken care of. There will be two med techs to administer the inoculations and a small security force to accompany them.”
“I’ll be sure and have accommodations ready, sir,” Capreze said, picking up on Themopolous’ faltering poise, hoping the General hadn’t.
“Not necessary, Commander. They will only be there long enough for the techs to complete their work and for the train to refuel and re-supply.”
“Well, sir, the Doctor and I will have the base ready for them.”
Bisby raged as he pounded away at Red Legs’ cockpit hatch, so close he could smell the rot and decay.
The dead mech tried to ward off the blows, but it was no match for Bisby’s close combat skills. For every maneuver it tried to make, Bisby expertly countered, never letting the bludgeoning slack.
After only minutes, the dead mech’s power reserves gave up and the giant machine became dead weight. Bisby threw the deader to the ground and shoved his 50mm into the cracked cockpit, ready to vaporize the barely moving zombie pilot.
“Biz? Talk to me!” Rachel crackled.
“Now, I do need to verify all base personnel will be present,” General Powell said casually.
“Well, no sir. I have a team on a supply run to Foggy Bottom as we speak. They won’t return for a few days.”
“Their names, Commander?”
Capreze hesitated. This wasn’t protocol. There was no need for a First General to be inquiring about the roster; that was why he had an assistant.
“Pilot Masters, General Mechanic Rind, and our new Rookie.”
There was a slight pause. “Excellent, Commander. Thank you. I’ll let both of you return to your busy schedules.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Whatcha want, Rache?” Bisby asked, exhausted, trigger finger itching to depress and obliterate Red Legs’s zombie pilot.
“What do I want? WHAT DO I FUCKING WANT?” Rachel exploded. “I want to know that you aren’t deader food! That you are still alive and in one piece! That’s what I fucking want!”
Bisby took a deep breath and removed his finger from the trigger. “Yeah, I’m in one piece. Red Legs is out of commission.” Bisby undid his harness and opened his cockpit. “I’m descending now to retrieve the head for Themopolous.”
Bisby snorted and climbed down his mech.
If you dug that, and haven’t already purchased the ebook, then get to it!
Disclaimer: There are naughty words up there. But I guess it’s a little too late for the warning. My bad!