Andy is back - hide your coffee

My new book featuring FBI agent Andy Fisher is out today - more information and buying links here:

PW called it pointless. Kirkus gave it a starred review as one of the best books of the year. Go figure.


For reasons known primarily to my host company, the home/landing page for my website has changed to

If you look real close, you'll notice that the extension is slightly different. It's not a problem if you get there from the flash opening at, but if you've bookmarked the shortcut, it may end up as a problem.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

BTW, there are audios from the American Sniper work sessions inside, as well as material on the new book, The Helios Conspiracy.

Shameless promotion - for indies

I love bookstores of all sizes and shapes. When run well, superstores are fantastic places to browse and shop, full of chance and surprise.

But I also love small bookstores. The best ones are not just a good place to shop, but a valuable contributor to the community. One of my favorites, Merritt Books, runs any number of programs that help a variety of people, and plays an important role in encouraging young people to read.

To get my new book - or any new book - at your local independent bookstore, you can order it through this website:
Dreamland audio

Some of the early Dreamland novels have not been available on audio. That's going to change this spring.

This is a concept cover from the new series - I don't know how close it will be to the final product, but it already looks very, very cool.

I don't think Dale or I ever dreamed of how popular the series would become. I'm sure I speak for him when I say we're both extremely grateful to our readers, and humbled by their continued interest.
Finding the independents

Looking for a good local independent bookstore? Here's a page that will show the closest ones in your area:

Sample chapter

You can get the first (and maybe even the second) chapter of Helios on this page (scroll down):
Code Name Caesar

A book I'm looking forward to this summer . . .

Among other things, the book will document secret technology transfers between the Germans and Japanese during WWII.
What does a solar tornado look like?

A serious lack of imagination

“All the pundits who talk about ‘Oh, yeah, bomb Iran,’ it ain’t going to be that easy,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who retired last year as the Air Force’s top intelligence official and who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Gulf War.

NYT story, which is as clueless as the rest.

Ya think? So what would they do? Give up?

Or use all of the resources at their disposal?

There's a reason pundits and reporters are pundits and reporters, not military planners.

Another take 

. . . on the Fisher Helios trailer. . .
Iran, Israel & the U.S.

How much influence does the U.S. have over Israel when it comes to Iran?

Not as much as some think:

“A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives,” [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin] Dempsey said of the Israelis. “I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion.”
Dempsey doesn't think a strike would be prudent "at this time." But he didn't predict the future - or the present, for that matter, given his candid comment about the Israelis.

Pandora's Box revisited . . .


The full details of recent experiments that made a deadly flu virus more contagious will be published, probably within a few months, despite recommendations by the United States that some information be kept secret for fear that terrorists could use it to start epidemics.
The announcement, made on Friday by the World Health Organization, follows two months of heated debate . . .


A star is born . . .

Kirkus, the book industry trade publication, gave The Helios Conspiracy a starred review in its latest issue. (Web page here.)

I'm extremely grateful for the review, and also for the feedback and help I received while working on the book from a host of people, including the Guru, who as always gave me very useful notes.

Don't worry about my head getting too big - the book was smashed by PW (the other major industry reviewer) last week. Just goes to show how personal reading is.

I think Helios, with its satiric and comic tone, may be hard for some to adjust to after Leopard's Kill and American Sniper. I can completely understand that. We all have different moods and interests; Helios and Fisher represent a particularly bent set of both on my part.

Helios will be available March 1.
Blundering their way to war


Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the belligerent moves by Iran actually underscored weakness.
“If there’s a meta-narrative here, it’s that Iran tends to speak loudly but carries a small stick,” Mr. Sadjadpour said. “Their alleged terror attacks projected incompetence more than fear, their announced nuclear progress is likely exaggerated, and their threat to pre-emptively cease oil exports to Europe turned out to be another bluff.”

(NYT story here; the analysis is somewhat better than elsewhere, and corrects some of the knee-jerk reaction of their earlier stories.)

Massive miscalculations - the perfect prelude to a war.

Happy Valentine's Day...

I hadn't seen Dogboy in many months, so when he ran into the bar the other night, my initial response was something along the lines of happy shock. The Dog is always good for a story and a laugh, though not always together.

Then I noticed the troubled look in his face as he ordered a double Jack.

"You OK?" I asked. "You look like you just saw a ghost."

"I did. An old girlfriend."

The details came out in bits and pieces. Dogboy had been in the local supermarket, stocking up on beer and pizza, when he saw his old girlfriend at the other end of the aisle. He was stunned.

"She looked like bag lady who'd been in a train wreck," he told me, pushing his glass back for a refill.

"This is a bad thing?"

"You don't understand. I think about this woman all the time. I always thought she was the one. I always thought . . ."

Neither one of us spoke for a bit. I gathered from what he had been saying that his marriage -- yes, the Dog is married - had been somewhat rocky lately. But that seemed to have changed in a supermarket instant.

Finally, I asked what he'd said to the old girlfriend. He shook his head.

"Never got close to her. I pretty much fled the store," he said. "But on the way out, I bought every rose they had. Tomorrow's Valentine's Day, you know."


"Sometimes you don't know what you've got until you see what you might have had."

Black Eagle Force

Our friends over there recently updated their website. Check 'em out . . .
Loss of an icon

Sadly noted:

The Miss Albany, a streamlined metal diner fabricated to look like a railroad car, has been a fixture of north Albany since Herbert H. Lehman was governor, but it is closing on Friday.


Of purely personal interest - me and the Blaze Boys shot part of a (very, very short) movie there before time began . Said movie is now fortunately lost to humanity.

Deleted enemy

In one of the original drafts for Assault Horizon, I wanted to have a ground effects airplane/ship similar to the Ekranoplan as part of the rebel attack. (The game version would have had an array of weapons, unlike its real-world inspiration.)

It was deleted for various reasons, but I still love the concept . . . some day, we'll find a place to get it in.

James Patterson on writing . . .

"Today, I've got a job that I don't even think of as a job."

-and -

". . . it's better to keep moving . . ."

Is writing or making coffee the higher calling?

Speaking as a writer and coffee drinker, many days I think I'd have to go with the coffee . . .

I realize that no matter where I go in life, how much money I make, or how much fun I have making it, I will always be a barista to somebody.

From a blog op-ed in the NY Times, here.

Great piece, and not just about writing . . . or being a barista.

Andy's back . . .

Andy Fisher makes his comic return in The Helios Conspiracy, due out at the end of the month. Here's a sketch of the trailer we're working on.

If you don't get Andy, you won't get the book ... in more ways than one, I guess.
One perspective on Afghanistan

And not the one you've seen in the media.


 I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.
Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

The rest of the story.

The writer is a lieutenant colonel in the Army.
If you're looking for a NY hotel room . . .

. . .  try this one.

The Iran watch continues

From today's NYT - Israel leaders mean what they say:

“The leader has to decide when to act and when to wait, when and what to declare and when to keep silent,” [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak told the annual Herzliya Conference devoted to Israel’s security.
He said that never in Israel’s history had a topic of such import been debated with such thoroughness and frankness as this one. An Iran with nuclear weapons, he asserted, would be “far more complex, dangerous and costly in blood and money than stopping it today would be.”
“Those who say ‘later,’ may find that later is too late,” he warned, and added, “We mean what we say.”
More here.

Soap dialogue

Him: Say, there's something weird going on with the soap in the bathroom.
Her: What weird?
Him: It's got crust or something.
Her: Those are pine crumbs to add scent.
Him: Pine crumbs? And did you know, it's turning green?
Her: It's not turning green. Those are different scent swirls.
Him: It's that way on purpose?
Her: It's fancy - I put that soap in there before Christmas. Does that mean you haven't used it until now?
Him: Who do like in the Super Bowl?

Why I love Russian planes

It's an Su-30 . . .
The Helios Conspiracy

Summaries, et al, on the publisher's site.
Epitaph for a war hero

The Guru sent this out last night, as the last words for a (fictional) hero who happens to be a contract worker:

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;They stood, and earth's foundations stay;What God abandoned, these defended,And saved the sum of things for pay.

-A.E. Houseman

Now all I have to do is write a book to go with it . . .

Powering up

A brief video on some of the technology in The Helios Conspiracy. The satellite itself is incidental to the plot . . . well, except when it blows up.
Amazon - friend and enemy?

. . . or the terrible bind for publishers (and therefore, authors):

And now this. Amazon could be an unstoppable competitor to big publishing houses. If history is any guide, Bezos, who declined to comment for this story, doesn’t care whether he loses money on books for the larger cause of stocking the Kindle with exclusive content unavailable in Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Apple’s iBookstores. He’s also got almost infinitely deep pockets for spending on advances to top authors. Even more awkwardly for publishers, Amazon is their largest retailer, so they are now in the position of having to compete against an important business partner. On the West Coast people cheerfully call this kind of arrangement coopetition. On the East Coast it’s usually referred to as getting stabbed in the back.

Full story in BusinessWeek.

Chris Kyle with Conan

The evidence on copyright

Item (from a short entry by Terry Hart on

The fact that evidence backs up one of the central premises of copyright law is, however, only a precursor to the real question: what, if anything, should be done to address the harm from online copyright infringement? The role of law in answering this question attracts perhaps the most heated debate. That leads to the next question: does copyright enforcement work?

Definitely worth reading the whole thing (and following its links) here.