Free Hogs short story for Kindle

So here's the story:

It's been a wild and crazy year. Besides Sniper, American Gun, Rogue, Dreamland, TV rumors and movie deals, one of the real high points has been the reaction to Hogs. So I wanted to celebrate my birthday by thanking the people who have been so kind to me over the past year - my readers.

I came up with the idea of giving away a Hogs story. The idea was this: I'd write the story - unlike the books, there is no backlog of short stories - and then give it away for free as my own personal thank you card.

The problem is, you can't give away short stories for free on Kindle Amazon, or at least I can't.* The best we could do was enroll it in a special program that lets us give it away for free for five days. After that, it will cost the lowest price that we can set: 99 cents.

Here's the link.

Happy birthday! (And no, I don't see myself as Skull, in case you're wondering.)

* Other writers may be able to make different arrangements, but this is what the agreement I'm bound by states.


Everyone condemns the use of chemical weapons against civilian populations. But what does that mean, exactly? Tsk-tsk, or consequences for those who use them?

The parallels to Iraq that are so popular in Britain and in some of the mass media are way off the point. Much more relevant here is the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

The Syrian civil war - part of a much larger internecine war in the Muslim community - is a complicated quagmire; from a Western point of view, the choice of winner is none of the above. But if you don't think you've just seen proof of how likely it is that a nuclear weapon will be used once it's built, you're kidding yourself.

If you're serious about curtailing the use of chemical weapons on civilians or even stopping war in general, logic dictates a doctrine that says the use of any weapons of mass destruction will provoke a military response, if not by all, at least by some. And the response has to be very serious and out of proportion with the consequences of the chemical strike. Pinpricks will have the opposite effect.

Such a doctrine is not exactly pretty, and it doesn't have the beautiful internal logic of Aristotle, but it's a hell of a lot more effective than economic sanctions, let alone hand-wringing by talking heads on Fox and CNN.

The Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East is only going to get worse and deeper over the next few months and most likely years. Syria will continue to burn. It's not a conflict that the West can win or even stop.  But if you're looking to lessen the fallout, both in the region and the wider world, you need to take steps to do so.

Free Hogs story

Happy birthday - to me. But don't buy the story until tomorrow, when it's free and I can post the link (or you'll have to pay 99 cents.

I'll explain in a future post.

A-10 watch . . .


 – The Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing left this week for its first full-fledged multination training exercises using its A-10 Warthog jets.
The fighter wing, based in Fort Wayne, is participating in a “red flag,” or high intensity air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, exercise at Eielson Air National Guard Base near Fairbanks. Units involved will use live ammunition, said Tech Sgt. Kurt Briner, a Guard spokesman in Fort Wayne.

In training terms, going to Red Flag is kind of like going to the World Series. These guys are good, and will get even better.
Naming names

One of the things writers do. Charles Salzberg:

Since the technique worked for me once, both creatively and as a nice little inside joke, a kind of cut-rate Nabokovian element, I thought it might be fun to use other names of people I knew. And so when I needed to create a character who was an expert on rare books, I used my old friend and fellow writer Ross Klavan, even giving the character some of Ross’s physical and vocal qualities, as well as his love of books. Swann’s search takes him up to Syracuse University, where he meets an unconventional English professor, one more link in the chain of his search. This became Richard Dubin, a real-life professor friend who teaches film and television at the Newhouse School, where I once taught.
I didn’t bother asking permission of any of these friends, knowing I could always change the names once the book was finished. But when I offhandedly mentioned my little literary parlor game to them, none seemed the least bit disturbed. In fact, they were pleased. The only surprising plea: “please don’t make me a good guy.”
Story. (NYT paywall)
What goes up . . .

. . . comes down gently.

The latest SpaceX test. Seriously impressive.

U2 history declassified

Everything you wanted to know about the CIA and the original U-2 program (and Oxcart, known to the Air Force as the SR-71), but were afraid to ask, has recently been published in a declassified history report here.

Well, not everything. But it's an excellent start.


Is the Hog ready to retire?

Many in the Air Force want them to.


The A-10 Thunderbolt II — better known as the Warthog — was the darling of the first Gulf War, destroying some 4,000 military vehicles and artillery pieces in that conflict.
Today, it remains one of the most requested aircraft by ground commanders in Afghanistan, according to one Air National Guard representative.
But its day may be coming to an end.  

People have been trying to retire the Hog since before the First Gulf War. For an obsolete aircraft, it kicks a lot of ass - and does it better than any fast jet.
Soon in paperback:

The last installment in the Red Dragon Rising series.
I won't ever make this list . . .

The World's Top-Earning Authors:
With '50 Shades,' E.L. James Debuts At No. 1

. . . but some of the pictures make me feel a little better about my recent haircut.

From the article:

If you’re not writing in a genre with mass commercial appeal, you can pretty much forget about making the list. But even if you are, and your books are best sellers, that’s still not a guaranteed in.

Amen to that. Story here.


What's old is new . . .

"Forgotten" Dylan song reemerges. From Spin here. and Rolling Stone here.

It's said to have been recorded during the Self Portrait sessions - if so, it sounds better than a lot of what was included on that album.
Speaking of Gun . . .

We've just celebrated the second month on the NYT best-seller list. Thank you, thank you, thank you . . .

At the same time, American Sniper remains on the paperback list . . . where it's been since publication.

No Gun in jail . . .

The California prison system has forbidden inmates to read AMERICAN GUN . . . it's a dangerous book. From the explanatory letter:

“Inmates may not possess … any writing which describes the making of any weapons”

Because they'll surely go out an duplicate the Spencer from our description, no doubt.

I'm not entirely sure whether this is an honor, or a big blow to prospective sales . . .

August 1, 2013

Old planes don't die . . .

. . . they simply bake away.

The aircraft that once spirited President Dwight D. Eisenhower on cross-country voyages now sits in a field that's part of Marana Regional Airport, decaying under the relentless glare of the sun.
The first plane to be designated as Air Force One is fenced off from public viewing - alone and nearly forgotten on a 10-acre parcel.
"I think it's one of these big secrets that, really, few people know that it's out there," said Steve Miller, airport manager. "It's sad that it's just sitting out there, considering its history over the past 70 years."