Tag Archives: Jeffrey Poston

Black History month isn’t only about distant history. Sometimes, it can be about just-last-year history. I wrote American Terrorist before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the related unrest that sparked a vigorous debate about law enforcement’s relationship with African-Americans and police use-of-force doctrine nationwide.

I wrote the novel because ten years ago I was jacked up by police, and for ten years I’ve been dealing with the trauma of that experience.

1406691483000-sue-e1406929710931So I decided to write a novel about the event because writing is my way of dealing with my own trauma. Of course, I didn’t get shot or tortured or even beat up. But loss of dignity hurts for a very long time. That is the essence that elevates such violence from an individual assault to a collective racial issue.

Of course, a good novel needs plenty of action, suspense, and plot twists. So what if an innocent Black man was assaulted by federal cops who take everything from him? What if he goes berserk and decides to do to them what that they did to him? But what if he is the only person in the world who can find a missing child who will surely die if he doesn’t find a way to work with the same police who destroyed his life?

American Terrorist 1: Where is the Girl?This is a work of fiction, but the perceived violence of police against non-white citizens is a complicated topic. What I’ve tried to capture in this story are the thoughts and feelings and fears of a wanted man trying to deal with the loss of his family, his dignity, and his very reason for living.

In honor of Black History Month 2015, American Terrorist: Where is the Girl? is free on February 27th and 28th. CLICK HERE

Enjoy the adventure!
Find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @booksbyjposton
Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston
www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks
Amazon Author Profile: http://amzn.to/1zmHupb

 

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

courage_hi_resIn my last blog post, I mentioned that revisionist historians report that as many as one in four cowboys was black. Some estimates go as high as one in three and this is from new research since about the year 2000 into actual US Census data from that era.

This should not be a surprising premise since after 1865 there were thousands upon thousands of newly freed and unemployed blacks moving westward. I’ve also learned recently that between 1/6 and 1/3 of ALL frontier settlers are African or mixed-race ethnicity, that is, a mix of black, white, native, and/or Mexican.

But did you also know…?

A number of cowboy detectives were actually… women! That’s right. Alan Pinkerton established the Pinkerton National Detective Agency originally in Chicago. In the beginning his employees had a reputation of hired thugs with badges who busted organized strikes for the big companies.

Later, though, across the frontier, well-educated and highly skilled hunters and detectives were needed to help bring justice across the land. In fact, cowGIRL detectives were hired right along with cowboy detectives to do research and intelligence-gathering work to profile frontier criminals. These Pinkerton women were every bit as skilled with guns (some were even sharpshooters) and as educated as their male counterparts.

Get a realistic look at Pinkerton cowboy and cowgirl detectives in my new historical western Courage, as they employ their hunting skills against Jason Peares, the most notorious outlaw gunfighter in history, coming really really soon in ebook.

In my next posts I’m going to talk about the politics of the Indian wars, the famous Ninth Cavalry, and a 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 ebook “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

legacy_of_an_outlaw_hi-resAs an author of historical westerns it’s easy to get into debates about “what history was really like.” After all, it depends on what history books you read. What may be documented fact according to one source might be countered by the documented facts of another source.

Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve found that the trend is toward “revisionist history.” It seems that historians are setting out to debunk previously held historical truths, and they’re backing up their claims with, for example, census data from the era.

When I got my first hardcover western published by a major New York publisher (The Peacekeeper, 1997 – soon to be republished in ebook as “Legacy Of An Outlaw”), I had well known western authors tell me that my premise of a black outlaw-gunfighter was unrealistic in the American West. Now, however, revisionist historians report that as many as one in four cowboys was black. Some estimates go as high as one in three! These estimates are based on documented census data on file at the time.

This should not be surprising since after 1865 there were thousands upon thousands of newly freed and unemployed blacks moving westward. These folks scratched out a living doing the same things that everyone else did – Anglo, Hispanic, Native, Asian, etc. They wrangled cattle, sought gold, worked on farms or ranches or railroads, and they built towns. Some became outlaws and gunfighters.

Traditional historical assumptions derived from a narrow perspective and pre-1990 media reinforced what was commonly believed to be true. Readers nowadays, however, understand that revisionist history presents a new and more diverse set of possibilities, and I’m convinced that modern readers are looking for something just a little bit different from mainstream.

In my next posts I’m going to talk about women Pinkerton detectives, the politics of the frontier wars, the famous Ninth Cavalry, and a 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 ebook “Warriors” (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-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