Tag Archives: american terrorist

Did you know… The Buffalo Soldiers were borne of an experiment to utilize black soldiers to bolster the Army’s ranks in the aftermath of the Civil War. It has been said that after the fierce Civil War, it was not hard to recruit soldiers, but it was definitely hard to get good ones.

According to published journals and memoirs of army officers, no detachment of Buffalo Soldiers ever bolted under fire or failed to do its duty. Their desertion rate was among the lowest in the entire Army.

The famed group of black troopers of the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments protected settlers, pioneers and the interests of the United States as the nation continued its westward expansion in the late 19th century. In 1866, the 9th Cavalry Regiment was formed in Greenville, La. The 10th Cavalry Regiment followed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Initially, the units, which were led by white officers, trained in squalor. But they quickly proved their mettle, gaining a reputation as some of the toughest and hardest-fighting units in the Army. They did so despite encountering racism from the very people they were charged with protecting.

Various Buffalo Soldier regiments served at Fort Bliss, Texas, and at forts in southern New Mexico from 1869 to 1885. The Buffalo Soldiers were awarded many Medals of Honor for actions during the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I.

For a very realistic look at frontier life for the Buffalo Soldiers and the native warriors they fought, visit my website to get a FREE pre-release copy of my newest historical western, Warriors, coming in mid-April.

In my next post I’m going to talk about a famous Apache warrior named Nana. He caused all sorts of problems for the US Army. So follow me below on your favorite media for more revisionist history.

Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Sign up to get an email notification of the FREE pre-release historical western ebooks “Warriors” and “Courage” (coming early 2014) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks

warriors_hi-resIt should not surprise people that the politics of what was known as “The Indian Wars” are not much different from the politics of war today. As I got deeper into historic research for my new historical western, Warriors, coming out in mid-March, I was intrigued by the political maneuvering involved in preventing the wars from ending sooner than they did.

Until I wrote Warriors, like most people, I believed the reason behind the wars was to tame the wild west frontier. In reality, though, the wars were fought to conquer the west. As I read the journals written by high-ranking military campaign officers and of prominent politicians of the era, I learned the US was in a state of perpetual conquest – a land grab, if you will. That was the purpose of the westward expansion, the Louisiana Purchase, the war with Mexico (which brought the southwest states into the US), and the Indian Wars.

But did you know…?

War is, and was, big business. There were many powerful politicians who lobbied against a quick end to the Indian Wars because their wealthiest campaign contributors were making millions by selling supplies, food, and horses to the US Army. Also, huge weapons manufacturers in the east would have gone bankrupt overnight with a premature end to the Wars. In addition, there were hundreds of black soldiers stationed throughout the southwest, and many citizens were afraid that if the wars ended the unemployed black soldiers might settle in their towns.

Why did the government keep taking back the reservations that were promised to the indigenous peoples forever? After the reservations were established, it was discovered that some were established on mineral-rich land. It was far easier and less costly to have the Army take back the land rather than to negotiate with the native people for the land’s fair value.

I portray all these themes from both sides in my new action-packed historical western, Warriors, which pits the famous Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth Cavalry against the fierce and proud Apache Warriors.

In my next posts I’m going to talk about the origins of the famous Ninth Cavalry and the Native leader whose name the army thought no one would ever remember. So follow me below on your favorite media for more revisionist history.

Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Sign up to get an email notification of the FREE pre-release historical western ebooks “Warriors” and “Courage” (coming early 2014) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks

There’s a lot of discussion on the Interwebs about the utility of professional editing for indie and self-published authors. I don’t think anyone would argue that such editing is essential for turning out a top-quality novel that rivals the production standards of traditional publishing houses. The main issue for indie authors is the not-insignificant cost of editing. I’ve paid for two rounds of pro-editing so far with “American Terrorist”, my latest thriller novel, and I also have proof-readers standing by.

But what’s all this talk I’ve been hearing lately about BETA readers, and what is it exactly? Really, it’s the same as beta testing new software or web services. You sign up and check it out to see how and if it works for you. You note bugs and send feedback about how awesome or terrible it is. Then the creator fine-tunes the product and fixes the bugs and releases the finished product into the world.

I first learned of this concept from Guy Kawasaki in his APE book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur). He released his beta book to thousands of beta readers and he says the feedback he received was invaluable.

I saw the concept expressed a bit differently by Joanna Penn in her ebook “How To Market A Book.” She advocates releasing a beta version of your book to a few hand-picked readers that you trust.

The result is the same. You get feedback and so you get a better book. Personally, I think it’s an incredibly helpful part of your editing strategy, but I agree with the pros who say only release your beta version in its near-finished state.

As it turns out, I happen to be releasing “American Terrorist”, my new thriller novel, TODAY to beta readers. So if you want to help a fellow author create a more perfect novel, sign up at this link for your free BETA copy: http://eepurl.com/AqAQ1

Find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks

warriors_hi-resAs an author of Historical Westerns it’s easy for me to exploit my uniqueness. I know, a black guy who writes Westerns… crazy, huh? What can I say… my childhood hero was Clint Eastwood. I loved Westerns so that’s what I wrote.

I published a paperback, a hardcover, and two audiobooks. I actually have the distinction of being the only black author ever to have a Western published in hardcover by a major New York publisher with THE main character being black. But when I sent my books out to be reviewed and to get promo blurbs, I actually had “established” big-name Western authors tell me a book about a black outlaw cowboy was not realistic. They told me not to put my picture on the back cover because… well, you know. But that was 20 years ago.

Then a curious thing happened to me. I went to my first booksigning at a Western book expo. There we were, all 50 authors. 49 of them were guys in cowboy boots and hats. And then there was me.

The black guy who writes Westerns

I was an anomaly, a curiosity. Everybody came over to see who I was. And they all bought my book! The other authors sold maybe 10 books and I sold a TON. The same thing happened at almost every booksigning I went to. I was a rock star. I was different, and I discovered that readers want something different. Not VERY different, but kinda different. A little bit different.

My westerns are just like those of every other Western author. My thrillers are just like those of every other thriller author. My characters – heroes and villains and sidekicks alike – look just like all the other authors’ characters, except maybe just a tad more diverse.

What’s different about my books is ME and I’ve learned to use my uniqueness as a marketing tool. People remember me as the black guy who writes Westerns (and high-octane thrillers, too).

You, too, have something unique about you. Discover what that quality is and exploit it. Use it as your marketing angle so you’ll stand out among your author peers. Use it to find readers who want something just a little bit different from mainstream.

Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Get the FREE pre-release ebook “American Terrorist” (coming Dec 2013) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks

easy thrillersYears ago (when I was writing westerns) I learned that there is a “formula” for that genre, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that there is a similar formula or template for writing thrillers. If you ever wonder how the most popular authors in the genre continuously produce excellent thrillers, Rob Parnell [Google Plus: +Rob Parnell, Twitter: @robparnell] will tell you how in his latest reference, “The Easy Way To Write Thrillers That Sell.”

The thriller genre has changed over the last twenty years and Parnell discusses the how and the why of it, as well as the essential ingredients that must be in the modern thriller. Sure, you can deviate from the modern form and function, but you run the risk of alienating your readers. As Parnell points out, thriller readers are an astute bunch of folks and they have particular expectations.

“The Easy Way To Write Thrillers That Sell” is a short book and a quick read, but it’s stock full of useful tips and strategies for crafting a successful thriller. He didn’t invent this stuff. In fact, he gives plenty of examples of highly successful authors that write their thrillers this way.

For example, he covers everything from the essential combination of characters to how to create and maintain tension to the “right way” to do research to a nifty method of saving a lot of time and effort by plotting your thriller from the END to the BEGINNING. And he gives us a single continuous example as he creates a template for a thriller that follows the techniques he presents in the book.

Seriously, if you want to write quality thrillers the right way – that sell – this book is for you. Look, you can spend hundreds at conference workshops or you can get this ebook for less than $5US. It’s a must-read for thriller writers looking for success.

Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Get the FREE pre-release ebook “American Terrorist” (coming Dec 2013) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks

Structuring Your NovelIf you’re serious about your writing craft and ONLY buy ONE how-to book this year, make it “Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story” by K.M. Weiland. All successful authors incorporate these essential elements of structure in their novels. Also, all READERS inherently realize that if your book is NOT structured properly, they’ll get confused or bored and never buy anything else from you.

This is the book that explains why an agent or publisher says he/she can tell if your book is ready for prime time by reading only the first chapter or first ten pages. It gives specific insight why many excellent writers keep getting rejected or why very talented indie authors can’t get those rave reviews.

In the first half of “Structuring Your Novel” (which I read in a day) Weiland tells us the specific essential elements of a novel and precisely where they should occur in your story. She uses multiple bestsellers that everyone has heard of to illustrate those structure elements. In the second half of her book Weiland gives us an iron-clad formula for crafting perfect scenes that your readers (or agent or publisher) won’t want to put down.

In fact, I compared a couple of my novels to Weiland’s criteria. My 1997 western “The Peacekeeper” from Walker & Company (now called “Legacy of an Outlaw”) had perfect structure, but I’d expect that from a major New York publisher. A couple of my other upcoming novels… well, they still need some work.

 The problem for authors is that publishers and agents won’t tell writers why they’re rejecting a book, so a lot of writers don’t know they need help with structure. Of course, you can go to writers’ conferences and shell out a few hundred dollars for courses that teach structure. Or you can pay your professional editor a couple thousand dollars to tell you what Weiland teaches in a $4 ebook!

“Structuring Your Novel” is the kind of how-to book that, even if you only read the first half, you’ll be miles ahead of 99% of other writers. It’s a must-have resource for all writers (and multi-published authors) who want to take their writing career to the next level.

Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Sign up to get the FREE pre-release of “American Terrorist” (coming Dec 2013) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter or Google Plus or Facebook.

Make your hero "real" and believable.

To make your audience really like and identify with your main character, you must make your readers journey emotionally with your main character as he or she tries to overcome a life-altering event. Your readers must feel what your hero feels and then truly believe the change process that the hero undergoes is realistic and reasonable as he or she goes on to save the day. If you can pull that off, then you have a first-rate hero.

Of course, anybody can kill off a minor character or an “assistant-hero.” However, in my upcoming book American Terrorist I really wanted to move my readers. I wanted to manipulate their emotions and make them sit up and say, “What the hell?”

So I killed my son… in the book. What I did not anticipate, though, was how deeply it would affect me, the writer.

Now, you have to understand that my adult son and I are very close in real life, so I gave my hero that kind of relationship. And when I wrote the scene of the death of the hero’s son, I put my heart and soul into that scene. I literally cried. In fact, I cry every time I edit that scene or even just read it or think about it.

I figure if my audience has even a fraction of the emotional reaction that I have had, then I have succeeded in creating a hero my readers can bond with, no matter what good or bad deeds he does throughout the rest of the book.

So… share with us what you have done to create a memorable hero or heroine?