Where is my John Wayne
Where is my prairie song
Where is my happy ending
Where have all the cowboys gone?
–Paula Cole, Where Have All the Cowboys Gone, This Fire.

 

The Real Man Dead Pool is filling fast. The hero archetype in novels is dying of testicular divestiture.

Remember those authors who filled their pages with testosterone instead of chardonnay? Recall the days of whiskey-drinking, gunpowder-stained, hairy-armpit alpha males who could punch a thug in the face, fire off a quip or a cannon, and then melt a woman right down into her nylons with a wink?

In other words, remember when men in books had balls?

These are some of the many icons of masculine writing gone to that gin joint in the sky: Elmore Leonard, Louis L’Amour, Ernest Hemmingway, Donald Hamilton, John D. MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Shell Scott, Earle Stanley Gardner, Frank Roderus, Zane Grey, Robert A. Heinlein, Mack Bolen, Richard Sapir/Warren Murphy, Elmer Kelton, Donald Westlake (as Richard Stark), Evan Hunter (as Ed McBain), Clive Cussler…well, Clive’s alive, but his fiction is a walking dead replica of his original work. And before you ask, Robert B. Parker doesn’t count, because although Spenser and Jesse Stone were tough sumbitches, they needed way too much psychoanalyzing to be true icons of the American Male Hero, Mark I, Break Glass in Case of Danger.

“But, but, but,” you say, “Lee Child!”

Yes, and do you wonder why Child has been so wildly successful writing the same damn book over-and-over (and over-and-over) for so long? Because Reacher is a take-no-shit, all-male Hero with a capital Take No Shit From Nobody. A tarnished knight worthy of Travis McGee. A ronin. Richard Boone as Paladin. The kind of hero all too rare in this day of emasculated, emotive, environmentally-aware, psychoanalyzed plastic cutout characters used in place of Real Men.

Thank God for Robert Crais (Joe Pike) and R.M. Meluch (Tour of the Merrimack), Michael Connelly (Bosch) and a few brave souls who carry on against the tide of politically correct protagonists who abhor guns and want to empower women instead of tumble them into the sack. (I would have included Stephen Hunter in this group, except for G-Man. SPOILER: The gunslinging hero in G-Man has a secret. Guess what it is? “I want to lay with men!” Oh, for fuck’s sake, Steve.)

They say men don’t read much anymore. Well, let me take a wild ass guess as to why that is. Let’s take a look at the Bestseller List. Which one? Doesn’t matter. Any Bestseller List will do.

  1. Female author, female character being treated badly by men.
  2. Any author, gay character being treated badly by men.
  3. Male author, liberal. Anti-gun polemic with a side of angst.
  4. Gender unknown. Examines feeling for 600 pages.
  5. Any author. Capitalism bad. White males bad.
  6. Harvard-educated author. Two gay male main characters whine about men.
  7. Lee Child. Same book he’s always written.
  8. James Patterson. Tripe written by a no-name hack, covered by Patterson’s name.
  9. David Baldacci. Boiled tripe, poorly written.
  10. Nora Roberts. Romance being labeled as something else.

Geh. I can’t even…It’s enough to make a man want to go write a book.

Oh. Wait. I’ll be back.

 

From now through May 9th, I’m giving away three signed copies each of my four published novels through Goodreads.

Beginning today: Yeager’s Law and April’s Fool

Beginning April 24th:  Yeager’s Mission

Beginning May 1st: Working Stiffs*

*I’ll add the link when the giveaway goes live.

(You’ll need a Goodreads account, but they’re free for the price of a click or two.)

This something:

working-stiffs-sci-fi-2-draft

Go here. Click the button. Wait by the mailbox.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/225451-working-stiffs

Now available for pre-order from Amazon, Working Stiffs. Here’s a look…

Chapter Three: I Can Quit Anytime I Want.

Coffee.

Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee. Where was the fucking coffee?

We had coffee yesterday, didn’t we? I rummaged through the last cabinet in the kitchen, the one where we kept the dishes, as if the packet of coffee might have snuck under a chipped plate or snuggled down in one of the three mismatched cups. All the other cabinet doors hung open, having been raided, pillaged, and left for dead.

No coffee in the plate cabinet, either.working-stiffs-sci-fi-2-draft

It’s a law—federal, state, and natural—when in doubt of an object’s location, ask the woman. “Chelle!”

“Joe!” Her voice came through loud and clear from her permanent place of residence in the john. In a three-room government apartment with Xerox-copied walls, we did not need an intercom to communicate.

“Where’s the coffee?” While the question traveled across time and space, penetrated Chelle’s hard crust of annoyance and generated a response, I checked under the sink. Nothing except for a bottle of liquid soap (so old, it had cemented itself to the cabinet floor), some Drano, a can of unopened greenish powdery substance (for cleaning?), and an empty box of scrub pads.

Somebody should throw that out.

My guest post for A New Look on Books

A New Look On Books

scott bell 04 a.jpg
Meet Scott Bell.
ScottBell holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University, is a Certified Fraud Examiner and has had a long career protecting people and property from harm. With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love—writing. He has three published novels with more on the way. His short stories have been seen in The Western Online, Cast of Wonders, and in the anthologies Desolation and Person Suit. When he’s not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?
Author Links:
Twitter: @ScottBell_Wrtr
Facebook: @ScottBellAuthor
Available Books:
Yeager’s Law by Red Adept Publishing
Yeager’s Mission by Red Adept Publishing
April’s Fool by Dirertir Publishing
Guest Post – I’m Sorry, You Broke My Sense of Disbelief

Our heroes, stuck on a boat with a ten-ton nuclear…

View original post 481 more words

At a time when civil liberties have been eroded and unemployment has exceeded Great Depression levels, nano technology provides the ability to reanimate the recently dead. Far from zombies, but nothing like their former selves, “Revivants” are a ready source of cheap labor able to perform simple, routine tasks. Great news for some sectors, but for many, the economic and social impact is devastating.working-stiffs-sci-fi-2-draft

Enter Joe Warren—an unemployed college dropout, who is self-absorbed and disinterested in the world’s problems. All Joe wants is a job, food on his table, and a cure for his girlfriend’s lingering illness. What Joe gets is a stint in jail with a bunch of self-proclaimed freedom fighters, and forced to become an informant by federal government agents.

Joe is forced to examine his me-first attitude, and in the process learns that some things just might be worth fighting—or dying—for.

Release Date: March 21st, 2017!

(Ask me how to get a free Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an Amazon review.)

Y’all ready for this? Here’s a sneak peek at Working Stiffs, coming sometime in March. Unless stuff happens and then, you know, whatever…

Chapter 1:  First Class Felony

 

The three dead guys on the freight elevator had a personal odor reminiscent of vomit with an undertone of road kill.

“You freaks need to stand in the rain, you know that? Take a shower.”

My formerly-living companions swayed with the motion of the elevator, but kept their thoughts on hygiene to themselves. One of three, his name tag read “Larry,” belched—an editorial comment or random gas bubble?  Hard to say. working-stiffs-sci-fi-2-draft

Sixty-seven more floors of asphyxiation. Why their owner didn’t wash down his

Revivants was a mystery. They didn’t decay like regular dead people; it they did, body parts would be strewn around the city like the remnants of a jihadi bomb factory.

Take shallow breaths.

I adjusted my stolen waiter’s jacket to hide Grandpa’s old, bullet-firing pistol. The weapon made my pants sag.  Since I quit eating anything more solid than tomato soup prepared from ketchup packets, everything—including a sudden change in barometric pressure—made my pants slide down.

Dampness blotched the jacket’s red sleeve from the cold sweat off my forehead.  C’mon, Joe, pull it together.

Two of the Revvies rode in silence. Larry, the talker, vaguely resembled a classic comedian from the early 2000’s.  The hell was his name?  A funny guy, I’d caught some of his stuff in all the old bootleg videos Grandpa made me watch.

Jay Leno.  

Unlike Jay, Larry knew only one joke.

The dead comedian leered over my shoulder and, in a zombie voice, moaned, “B-b-bbrainssss!”

“That wasn’t funny the last six times you said it. You’re not a zombie.”

Larry laughed, a sound like an old gas-powered car trying to start on a cold day, “Hhnhhhnh-hhnh.”  He wore a unisex coverall, once brilliant red, now faded to Pepto Bismol pink.

The nametag curled, unstuck at one corner.

“Keep your day job,” I grumbled.

The elevator shuddered and clanked to a stop—the damn thing was older than Grandpa Warren’s firearm—and the doors ground open. Larry, hit of the graveyard comedy tour, stayed aboard and bared his gummy teeth in a grin.  Since Revvies didn’t eat, I refused to speculate on what might be stuck in his incisors.

The two silent dead guys scuffed away in their worn shoes, heads canted to one side in that odd zombie-walk favored by the revived. Larry stayed with me on the empty elevator.

Me and the Walking Dud.

Hhnh-hhnh-hhnh.  Braaaiiiinnnssss.”

“Whoever programmed your nanos for comedy needs to be punched in the throat.” I hit the up button and focused on the groaning doors.

The gun poked my testicles. Grimacing, I resettled it, finger most definitely off the trigger.  The gun hadn’t been fired since the second Ms. Clinton administration, but now was not the time to test it.  Wish I’d thought of that before I left Ding’s apartment.

Soon, though.

Thirty more floors.

I tugged at the damp collar of my white dress shirt with its built-in bow tie.

Hhnh-hhnh-hhnh.”

“Shut up.” I stalked over and stabbed a finger in Larry’s chest.  “Just shut up, okay?  Every time I look at one of you, you know what I see?  I see failure, asshole.”  I poked the gaping Revivant again.  “I never would have been put in this spot if it wasn’t for you!”  I shoved

Larry and he swayed in place but didn’t fall. “Fuck it.  Why am I even talkin’ to you?”

Larry grinned, his keyboard teeth spackled with mortar. “Hhnh-hhnh-hhnh.”

“Yeah, very funny. You don’t have to eat, don’t have to sleep… just work all day long without even a piss-break.  You make people sick with your germs; give them fucking brain tumors…Steal their lives.”  My mouth snapped shut.

And how stupid am I, lecturing a corpse.

The elevator shuddered to a stop, the P button flickering on the panel. The penthouse.

Showtime.

I adjusted the pistol and waited for the doors to part. They chunked open, showing a dingy white service corridor.  Another pink-suited Rev waited by the doors, placid as a cow, carrying a black plastic trash bag in one immobile hand.

“Tah-rash,” it said.

The newcomer handed Larry the bag as I stepped around them.

“T-rash,” Larry repeated. He leered at me, churned out another creepy laugh.  The doors closed on his grinning pumpkin face, shutting Larry away.  Gears clanked, a spark flared, machinery whirred and the elevator started down.

The remaining undead janitor wasn’t as chatty as Larry. He rotated in an old man shuffle and tottered toward the door at the far end of the service corridor, his coverall yellowing under third-rate LEDs lighting the corridor.  Who used LEDs anymore?  Spared every expense, these guys.

Which is a good thing.

The financial straits of modern America in the year 2051 should work in my favor. For once.

Please.

Two doors flanked the service corridor on either side. One bore the label Mantenimiento.

The other read: Seguridad. Security.  Spanish language labels in Chinese-owned buildings. ¡Bienvenidas a los Estados Unidos! Foreign spices seasoned the melting pot, sometimes creating a tasty stew, sometimes a belly ache.

“Well, let’s find out if this works.”

I fished the preprinted finger cot—it resembled a short condom—from my waistcoat pocket and slipped it over my thumb. Gingerly.  Tearing it now would be bad.  I had lifted the molded fingerprint from a Revivant in Moline, the former security chief of the Huateng Tower.  Programmed to pick tomatoes, he kept trying to get back to the field, becoming more anxious the longer I held him down in the back of my van.

Which sounded pretty freaking sick, right?

When I let him go, he hustled off in jerky little steps, head cocked to the side, like the actor in the latest V-Real remake of Rain Man III.

“Thanks, Chief. I hope you’re enjoying the afterlife.”  I placed my covered thumb against the biometric and held my breath. “All right, guys.  Did you reprogram the locks, or were you having a sloppy day?” Buzzz-click.  “Yes, baby!  Score one for cheap and lazy.”

I palmed the door to the security room, one hand on the pistol in my waistband. If they left a human guard to watch the cameras . . .“Nope.  Too cheap for that.  Heh-heh.”

Monitors glowed. Light flickered.  Computers hummed.  Air circulated.

Anti-climax exhaled.

The main display fluttered to life when I pressed my fake thumb against the reader on the desk. Locking down the passenger elevators sucked up thirty seconds.  Deactivating and memory-wiping the surveillance nodes took only a few minutes.  The remaining building security devices went down one-by-one.  Activating the signal-damping field required a little more time, but everything seemed simple enough.  Tap-tap.  Done.

Easy as pie. My Comp Sci minor, aborted upon my departure from college, would serve some use.  At least I could find my way around a server.

“Time to get a little payback,” I murmured, dragging the antique pistol from my

waistband. Joe Warren, gunslinger.

The damn thing was heavy.  Steel and lead and grim death, all in a hand-sized package.  Bright nickel finish, wood handle adorned by a stylized S&W medallion.  A revolver, grandpa said when he showed me how it worked.

I settled the revolver in my waistband and buttoned my jacket over it.

Showtime!

 

 

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Download a free sample of my latest, April’s Fool, here. Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, iBooks and other odd places in the interwebz.

 

 

 

YL

Yeager’s Law is now reduced to $4.99 for the e-reader version. That’s a WHOLE DOLLAR less than before.

 

 

 

 

 

And Yeager’s Mission is locked and loaded.

If it weren’t for bad luck, esteemed Texas Ranger, Sam Cable, wouldn’t have any luck at all. Cable wakes up next to controversial US Senate candidate April Marie Fortney. She’s dead. Trouble rolls downhill from there. All eyes are focused on Cable, who finds himself smack dab in the middle of a fervid racial divide, […]

via RE:View April’s Fool — The Devotional Guy

Blue Light Special

Posted: October 30, 2016 in General Topics of Interest

Release day price of $2.99 for your Kindle. Hit the link and buy, buy, buy!

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