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Myke Cole

Fiction and Excerpts [6]

Fiction and Excerpts [6]

Myke Cole and Michael Livingston Reveal Their All-Time Favorite Aliens

If you haven’t heard the news, military historians and Tor authors Myke Cole and Dr Michael Livingston are starring in Contact, a new show premiering Wednesday at 10pm on Discovery and Thursday at 9pm on Science Channel. They lead a team investigating UFO and alien-related phenomena around the world.

To mark the occasion, we asked them to come up with a Top Ten list of their favorite aliens across the media landscape (spacescape?). Their discussion was…eclectic.

[Read more]

Read the First Chapter of Myke Cole’s The Killing Light

Heloise and her allies are marching on the Imperial Capital. The villagers, the Kipti, and the Red Lords are united only in their loyalty to Heloise, though dissenting voices are many and they are loud.

The unstable alliance faces internal conflicts and external strife, yet they’re united in their common goal. But when the first of the devils start pouring through a rent in the veil between worlds, Heloise must strike a bargain with an unlikely ally, or doom her people to death and her world to ruin.

The thrilling conclusion to Myke Cole’s Sacred Throne trilogy The Killing Light is available November 12th from Publishing. Read the first chapter below!

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Brush Up on Ancient Warfare in Myke Cole’s Legion versus Phalanx

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder to shoulder, and with overlapping shields, they presented an impenetrable wall of wood and metal to the enemy. It was the phalanx that allowed Greece to become the dominant power in the Western world. That is, until the Romans developed the legion and cracked the phalanx.

In Legion versus Phalanx—available October 18th from Osprey Publishing—Cole weighs the two fighting forces against each other. Covering the period in which the legion and phalanx clashed (280—168 BC), he looks at each formation in detail—delving into their tactics, arms, and equipment, organization and the deployment. It then examines six key battles in which legion battled phalanx: Heraclea (280 BC), Asculum (279 BC), Beneventum (275 BC), Cynoscephalae (197 BC), Magnesia (190 BC), and Pydna (168 BC)—battles that determined the fate of the ancient world. Drawing on original primary sources, Myke Cole presents a highly detailed but lively history of this defining clash of military formations.

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Why Did it Take Me So Long to Read This?

Confession time: I don’t read much.

Some of the reasons I don’t read much will be familiar. For example: I don’t have time. I find the only real time I have to get reading done is the 30-40 minute subway ride from Brooklyn to One Police Plaza and back each day. When you factor in interruptions for spontaneous breakdance shows, or subway-car religious preaching that rips you out of your reverie, it’s even less time than you think.

[Some of the reasons will be less familiar, unless you write for a living.]

Five Ancient Histories that Make the Past Fantastical

Look, I know this is supposed to be a series on dynamite fiction books that will pad out your reading list in preparation of the long, dark winter days ahead. I understand that history is not fiction, but I would like to present two reasons why it’s okay for me to violate’s prime directive here:

(1) Leslie Hartley’s quote that “the past is a foreign country” is absolutely true, and the further back you go, the more foreign it gets. I’m going to stretch the envelope here and say that, if the past is a foreign country, the ancient past qualifies as a full-blown secondary world—which qualifies it as fantasy. ALSO:

(2) I do what I want.

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Go Behind the Scenes of Law Enforcement with Myke Cole and CBS’s Hunted

So, I’m going to be on primetime TV on Sunday. Nobody is more surprised by this development than I.

Hunted is a successful show in the UK on BBC4. They just aired the second season and are setting up for a third. CBS loved the idea and decided to make their own version here in the US.

It couldn’t be more timely—with the idea of the “surveillance-state” becoming more charged with each passing news cycle, a lot of people have a lot of strong opinions. But what a lot of people don’t have is a front row seat for the process, the inside scoop on how law enforcement and intelligence agencies do their jobs, how the mix of personality, passion, technology and training gel to produce the part-art/part-sciences we call “counterterrorism targeting” and “fugitive recovery.”

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Five Books About the Ancient World

What history can be considered “ancient” is a matter of some debate, but since I’m pretty much known as “the military guy,” I reckon things by battles. To me, the “ancient world” begins with the scrap between the Egyptians and the Canaanites at Megiddo in the 15th century B.C., and ends with the lopsided victory of the Goths over the Romans at Adrianople in 378 A.D.

I love reading about the ancient world for the same reason I love reading great fantasy. The ancient world is familiar enough to feel real to me, but different enough to fill me with a sense of transportation and wonder. Even more, I feel the ancient world resonate in everything I do today. So much of my military service (everything from my haircut to my unit organization) was born in ancient times, concepts so solid and enduring that they persist today. Stories about the ancients are a way for me to tap the back of the wardrobe, and discover a portal to another world, one full of adventure and danger, to which I am inextricably linked, and which has been a part of me all along.

Try these five novels and see if you feel it too.

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Series: Five Books About…

In History and Fantasy, Diversity is the Tradition

Fantasy wargamers are fascinated by race. From Warhammer to Warcraft to the all the major conflicts in The Lord of the Rings, race, and the racial composition of armies, is almost always the pivot point. In any fantasy wargame, the question, “Who do you play?” is always answered by race. “I play Dwarves,” or “I play Orcs,” or “I play Eldar.” Each race has its own Order-of-Battle, its own advantages and disadvantages. Dwarves are typically known for their ability to “tank,” soaking up and delivering damage in close quarters. They’re slow and plodding, but usually well armored. Elves are fast and agile, great archers, effective at a distance but unable to stick in a stand-up fight. Humans tend to do well all-around, generalists who provide balance to a battlefield.

Perhaps the most famous fantasy battle of all time, Tolkien’s Battle of Five Armies in The Hobbit, also pivots around race. It was fought between the Orcs, Eagles, Men of Dale, Wood Elves (note the sub-category there, races within races) and Dwarves. This doesn’t even account for the Wargs and Giant Bats that participated. There was even a Werebear if you count Beorn.

Ridiculous, right? Total fantasy. What a hoot!

[Uh, not really, actually.]

Javelin Rain

Being a US Navy SEAL was Jim Schweitzer’s life right up until the day he was killed. Now, his escape from the government who raised him from the dead has been coded “Javelin Rain.” Schweitzer and his family are on the run from his former unit, the Gemini Cell, and while he may be immortal, his wife and son are not.

Jim must use all of his strength to keep his family safe, while convincing his wife he’s still the same man she once loved. But what his former allies have planned to bring him down could mean disaster not only for Jim and his family, but for the entire nation…

Myke Cole’s Javelin Rain—the fast-paced, adrenaline-filled sequel to Gemini Cell—is set in the same magical and militaristic world of the acclaimed Shadow Ops series. Available March 29th from Ace Books.

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Five Books About Deeply-Flawed, Despicable People

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to recommend five books based around a common theme. These lists aren’t intended to be exhaustive, so we hope you’ll discuss and add your own suggestions in the comments!

Stories are about people. When you get to the heart of what makes a compelling narrative, the only thing that ever really makes a story resonate is fascinating characters. Watership Down? Rabbits that are people. Temeraire? A dragon that’s really a person. Basin and Range? Rocks that are… well, people. A novel with complex and believable characters and a wooden plot is a great book. A plot heavy book with wooden characters isn’t worth your time. We’re pack animals. This is why reality TV is so incredibly popular, because the noisome wretches on Jersey Shore or Duck Dynasty are PEOPLE, and we want to know what becomes of them, for good or ill.

And here’s the thing about people: they aren’t perfect. People make mistakes, frequent and horrendous mistakes. We screw up early and often and horribly. The best protagonists in all genres, fantasy included, are equally flawed, not so horribly that we want to see them burn, but enough so that we see our own errors reflected in theirs. Because if our favorite fantasy characters can fall so far and find redemption, then maybe we can too.

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Series: Five Books About…

Military Fantasy: What is “Military”?

Diversity in speculative fiction is a hot topic lately. We want our stories to reflect the world around us, in all its unfathomable variety. Authors and fans alike are drawing attention to underrepresented cultures in genre fiction, and the result is a broadening of the market in response. It’s a great time to be a writer and a reader. We’re making great strides.

And we’ve still got a long way to go.

I get accused of being a writer of “military fantasy” with alarming frequency these days. I’m not a big fan of genre designations. They’re designed to help booksellers shelve stuff, and lack real utility in helping readers dial in on books they might enjoy. But hey, life is competitive for blades of grass and bunny rabbits. If you’ve got a chance to stand out, you take it.

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That Was Awesome! What the Bad Guy in Daniel Polansky’s She Who Waits Really Wants

I’ve written before about Daniel Polansky, who I consider to be one of the most under appreciated voices in fantasy, owing largely to some really unfortunate cover design choices on the part of his publisher. The don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover adage comes in awful handy here, and it’s a real tragedy that Polansky’s work hasn’t found a larger audience. I’m confident that it will, in time. Gold has a way of not staying buried for long.

Polansky’s Low Town series consists of three books: Low Town (or The Straight Razor Cure in the UK), Tomorrow The Killing and She Who Waits, which was just released on December 1st. The series tells the story of Polansky’s drug-addled and hard-bitten protagonist, The Warden of Low Town, a tough as nails crime lord who leans a lot closer to Heath Ledger’s Joker than Marlon Brando’s Godfather. The Warden is cunning, the Warden is witty, the Warden is resourceful. What the Warden isn’t is nice.

[But what he wants…]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Breach Zone (Excerpt)

Check out Myke Cole’s Breach Zone, the third novel in the Shadow Ops series, available January 28th, 2014 from Ace Books.

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil?.

[Read an Excerpt]

Centuries Ago, a Man Made a Piece of Armor That Changed the Course of My Life

I recently wrote a blog post about unintended consequences. I talked about my resignation to the fact that once I complete a manuscript and send it out into the world, I lose all control over how the audience reacts to it. I write the words, but it is the reader who draws meaning from them, filtered through the screen of their own life experiences, varied and vast and completely beyond my control.

And because I have an artist’s ego, I naturally assume that this experience is unique to me, or at least, to my particular corner of the art world.

When you’re done laughing, take a breath and read on.

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Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier (Excerpt)

Take a look at this excerpt from Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier, sequel to Shadow Ops: Control Point. And take a look at the book trailer (also at the bottom of the excerpt!):

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

[Read more]

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