Friday, April 15, 2011


OK this is where my head is at right now:

I've been writing for years, but I really got serious about ten years ago; the year I lived alone, all by myself in a marble palace on the outskirts of a dusty, sand baked Nowheres-ville, on the edge of the great Sahara. I have the better part of two novels (based on my adventures, exploring the deepest recesses of the human psyche, all alone on the Road to Infinity, etcetera, etcetera . . .) already written down, and ten thousand times more than that bouncing around inside my skull.

What I want to do is save them as pdf's and post them online - a form of e-publishing - release them a chapter a week. For people to read them they click an icon, a dollar per chapter.

How to set this up? I know Pay pal is involved somehow; I put the question out there and true to form the Heroes of Team STORMBRINGER came back with all kinds of detailed instructions . . . give me a week or two to crack the code on this thing and we'll see how it goes from there.

All I know this thing is long overdue - the stories going around in my head have been screaming for an outlet for years now . . . decades even. I know my stuff is good - everybody I've shown it to cries out, "Sean! You've GOT to get your work out there! In the name of all that is Good and Holy, man, you've GOT TO GET PUBLISHED ! ! !" Now we're talking editors, writers - some pretty respectable figures in the literary world here - THE WOMEN even like what I write so I KNOW it's not just macho bravo sierra . . . and then sometime last week suddenly it dawned on me: This is what STORMBRINGER is FOR!

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

BTW another journalist/writer has been querying me for technical advice for his sci-fi novels (involving a Special Forces desperado) and I have been feeding him institutional knowledge of the profession. I hardly told him anything about Special Forces . . . little drips and drabs . . . and what little I told him seemed mind-expanding:

Journalist/Writer Guy: I did read that there is some specialization among the SF companies, so that many specialize in some aspect. In addition to specializing in language, maybe one company is more highly-trained in underwater infiltration methods, another in mountain warfare, another in who knows what, and the one best suited (if available) is used in any given mission. So it's not as if all companies and A detachments need to know everything to the same degree. Just as there are focus roles in an A detachment with some cross-training (weapons, engineer, medical, communications, operations, commanders), so individual A detachments have areas of specialty.

Is this correct, or are they all basically interchangeable except with regards to language? I did read that all the 5 active groups are spending significant time in Afghanistan and Iraq despite their geographic responsibility. Maybe the two reserve groups are there as well.

As far as SF compared to Rangers, it appears that the Rangers, while I assume they could be used for any of the 9 SOF missions or 7 collateral activities, engage in more DA, CT, and SR than anything else. Well, I guess some FID. They're light infantry that goes in usually with bigger numbers than SF would. As far as the culture goes, and I know all individuals are different, but from what I understand, Ranger culture is more hooah gung-ho warrior macho than SF. Kind of "give me the target and I'll eliminate it." In, bam-bam, out.

"THIS . . . IS . . . STORMBRINGER ! ! !"

SF is more relationship focused with its UW and FID missions. They still perform DA, SR, and CT missions. They’re deadly snipers (isn't it SF and Marines that have the top sniper training?) But there's also a lot of training friendlies—insurgents, military, and law enforcement. And they're not mainstream soldiers, but more independent-minded. I think someone will shoot me if I say they're the hippies of the military, but that's what I'm getting. They're wearing beards and riding horseback into battle. You probably want to shoot me yourself (grin). Maybe "unconventional" is a better term.

So what of the above is not right? Also, I guess it depends on the current needs, but is my assessment that Ranger’s = DA while SF = UW, FID, SR accurate?

StormBringer: This is going to take me WEEKS to answer - especially since it's tax time of the year and I'm a freelancer, a privateer; my accountant has a love/hate relationship with me.

“Great Patriotic War on Towelhead-ism” - yes, cynicism; sarcasm, black humor - we're allowed to engage in it; we pay the price.

Special Reconnaissance (SR) - it used to be called "Strategic Reconnaissance" to differentiate from "Tactical Reconnaissance" which occurs within a mile or two of the front - "STRATRECON" became "Special Reconnaissance" when it enveloped the various disciplines of reconnaissance - think living in a sniper hide for a week, keeping a recon log, shitting in plastic bags then humping them out - electronic surveillance, photo reconnaissance, clandestine urban operations - teams patrolling the cities of Western Europe for Red Brigades, Red Army Faction cells; later doing the same thing tracking al Qaeda cells - this genre crosses over into "Special Activities" when you involve running cell organizations, collecting HUMINT from assets, etc.

Journalist-Writer Guy: This stuff is gold. Plastic bags of crap? Never in a million years would I think of that. As well as the “spy” crossover. A book I have on my list is Hunting the Jackal and I thought it interesting that it was CIA and SF. But now I see why. And I really like that business about spy versus scout. Take the time you need. I can’t wait to get the rest.

StormBringer: Of course this is the most important mission - "Time spent in Reconnaissance is never wasted." - George Washington said that.

This is the discipline where I made my most money. I was in the Atlanta airport, in the international transit lounge and some old guy was telling me, "I was a spy, I was in Austria after the war," and his wife was nodding her head up and down. I was just nodding and smiling and not saying a word. It was 1995, I was enroute to Sarajevo, and I was in civvies.

For what it's worth, very few intelligence professionals actually meet the dictionary definition of a "spy"; to be a spy, one must betray. I was a scout, a reconnaissance soldier.

Journalist-Writer Guy: “This is the discipline where I made my most money.” Is that a turn of phrase, or do SF actually get paid by the job?

StormBringer: That was turn of phrase but military pay works three ways: you get your base pay, then you get your special pay & allowances (jump pay, special duty pay, language pay, scuba pay, demo pay, housing allowance, cost-of-living-allowance, etc) then there's mission-related pay (TDY pay, per diem, hazardous duty pay, imminent danger pay, combat zone tax-free exclusion, etc).

You end up trying to connect the dots. Twenty-plus years ago I saw a brass plaque hanging over a team sergeant's desk, in one of the team rooms over in Torii Station, Okinawa. It said it all:


"The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior . . . I'm a little man, he's a great man."


Today's Bird HERE.



  1. Good Illustration...Conan the Barbarian (Cimerian) loved reading those forty years back.

  2. "Low-intensity war in a high per-diem area".

    Ha! My favorite cartoon from Navy Times (must have been in the mid-1980's) depicted the pilot of a P-3 Orion pointing and exclaiming to his co-pilot; "Look! It's a per diem check, on the water, 3 miles at 10 o'clock!"

    (We P-3 weenies had a well-deserved reputation for having the cushiest assignments and the highest per-diems of any job in the Navy!)

  3. I have heard that getting folks to pay for serialized work is like trying to find rocking horse crap. Too many have been burned when the author suddenly loses interest.

    I would recommend posting or making available a sizable teaser sample- even one complete work for free. Not many fish bite an unbaited hook!

    Myself, I have my first book and the first two parts of the next one available free. Exposure and getting my name out there is my priority,but you can bet the next one will cost!

    I'm using the Smashwords platform, which lets me set or change the price as I see fit.

  4. Good on ya, mate. Like Willie Sutton replied when asked why he robbed banks:

    "Because that's where the money is"

  5. Seriously, though, you want to look at Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book programs. That's where the readers are.

  6. I would recommend posting or making available a sizable teaser sample- even one complete work for free. Not many fish bite an unbaited hook!