I just released another fiction short story, “Hong Kong Brawl”. It’s about an hour’s read and only in ebook. You can get it at the following places:
What’s it about?
Special Forces soldiers, CIA operatives, stuff like that. But really, it boils down to Tai Chi Chuan vs. Boxing and who will win…
Here is some background about it.
This story is the result of many different elements coming together over a period of several years. Let’s start with the first one: me ending up as a character in one of Barry Eisler’s novels.
I’ve known Barry for many years now, first as a client and later as a good friend. We still train together whenever our schedules permit and post-training usually involves great conversation, laughter, good times and the occasional alcoholic beverage.
When Barry first asked me to train him, I started reading his John Rain series and absolutely loved it. He created not only a plausible world but also engaging stories that included real world events, impressive action and of course, steamy sex scenes.
There I was one day, enjoying the hell out of “Redemption Games” when all of a sudden the bad guy, Hilger, gets a phone call from one of his men, “Demeere”. My friends can attest to the fact that I am rarely at a loss for words, but I sure was speechless then. I got in touch with Barry and thanked him; it’s pretty cool to see your name show up in a hugely successful book series.
Fast forward a bit and Barry asks me if he can use my full name to flesh out that character in an upcoming book. He needed some specifics about an operator’s potential military career in the Belgian armed forces and I did my best to provide him with that information. Fast forward again and “Demeere” shows up for a bigger part in “The Killer Ascendant” along with the rest of Hilger’s team. I will not spoil that book for you, go read it and you’ll know what happens, but of all the bad guys in John Rain’s world, I like this particular cast the best. Primarily because I know the people who were (in part) the inspiration for the characters “Garza” and “Guthrie”, they’re good friends of mine. But also because they all have specific skills that complement each other, which makes for some great twists and turns in the story.
Early on in “The Killer Ascendant”, Hilger mentions a sparring match in a hotel room between Garza and Demeere that almost got out of hand. I smiled as I read that because Frank and I did indeed have a sparring match at one time and I’ve been told it was interesting to watch. I thought it could be fun to fill in the back story of what Hilger mentioned there in passing and “Hong Kong Brawl” is the result.
Wait, what? How?
Barry had joined Kindle Worlds, an Amazon company that licensed his work so others could write in that world as well. A form of “official” fan fiction if you will. I had contacted them before starting my story, to check if as a non-US citizen, I could enroll in their program. Their response was that it was no problem. All I needed was a US bank account, a Tax Identification Number and we were fine. So I went ahead and got those, at considerable personal expense, and wrote the story.
Turned out we weren’t fine.
When I wanted to publish it, all of a sudden I needed a US address for IRS purposes. I called the IRS: they said they didn’t need one and used foreign addresses all the time, which I explained to the folks at Kindle Worlds. After some emails, they admitted that their administration systems weren’t set up to accept foreign authors. But… They were working on it, it was a top priority!
My question of why they had previously confirmed there was no problem on that front when I specifically asked about that, remained ignored.
After a year and a half and some more attempts on my end to find a workaround (thank you Joe Konrath, much appreciated!), their top priority still wasn’t resolved so I mailed them again. Their response was that it would be fixed “soon” and they were “eager to roll it out”. I asked for a specific date and they repeated the “soon” line. My response was that I no longer believed them, so I took a different course: starting over.
I had prepared for this contingency a while ago and already created a new world with different characters, backgrounds and so on, changed the plot and re-wrote the story from scratch. That said, if you read the John Rain novels, you won’t have a hard time figuring out which characters they would originally have been…
All in all, I’m happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy it too.
I’m primarily working on two manuscripts right now: The Leg Kick and Boxing For Self Defense. The first is 75% done. The second is in the beginning stages, but these two will be released in that order. Afterwards, I’ll continue on the Self-Defense Tips for Men book, which has proven to be a lot more difficult to write. I’ve been extremely busy professionally and my writing time is much more limited than before. That’s why it’s taking so long to release new material. But it’ll get there eventually and if you sign up here (it’s free) I’ll let you know via email when it goes live.
In the mean time, you can enjoy some of my other fiction stuff here, a bunch of urban fantasy/supernatural short stories. I only write fiction if I need a break from non-fiction, which is in-between projects. So it’s not like I release a ton of fiction material. But I’ve found that it helps me clear my head from the previous non-fiction work before starting another one.
That said, I have 10 martial arts and self-defense books at the information and idea gathering stage right now. 15 if I count the ones I’m not sure I’ll eventually write, but am gathering thoughts for to find out just that. Every now and then, I have new ideas for books and add them to the list.
So there’s lots more to come.
Thanks for all of you who buy my stuff and support my writing. I very much appreciate it.