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Monster Hunter Bloodlines eARC out now!

https://www.baen.com/categories/advance-reader-copies/monster-hunter-bloodlines-earc.html

The actual book isn’t out until August. An eARC is an Electronic Advanced Reader Copy. This is the super early version that most publishers only make available for reviewers, but Baen are devout capitalists so you too can get the early, unedited, manuscript.

People always ask me how different the eARCS are from the final books. For some authors the difference is significant. For me, not so much. My manuscripts are usually pretty clean and I’ve rarely had to make any big changes between the eARC and the final (other than copy editing/typos).

ShivWorks ECQC, Utah 2021

This weekend I attended the ECQC class from ShivWorks held in Utah. To get an idea of what it is like, here’s the official link.

I’ve heard about ECQC for years. Even among my most hard core training junkie friends, this is the class they all recommend and keep going back to. I was supposed to go last year but had to cancel when I got sick (stupid Corona). I am so glad I got to go this time because it was honestly one of the best training experiences I’ve had in my life.

Craig Douglas is one of those instructors that you can tell is passionate about his job. He truly loves this stuff. He’s got a hell of a resume, but he’s also testing, evaluating, and evolving. You can tell he really gives a shit about his students and wants to help them be successful.


ECQC is described as a close range, or entangled gun fighting class, which is true, but it’s so much more than that. The actual live fire shooting portion of the class is only one small part of the block of instruction. And it concentrates on drawing from concealment and going to shooting positions that can be used effectively while still defending your gun from getting snatched by your adversary.

The really cool part is how they take the shooting stuff and integrate it in with what happens while you’re actually being physically attacked. Gun comes out when you are too close and their limbs aren’t controlled and now you’re both fighting for your gun. Which as would be demonstrated a lot over the three days is a really nasty situation to be in!

It’s 20 hours of non stop firehose of information. You go over techniques, apply them against each other, and then test them out in stressful evaluations. This isn’t the kind of class where you take it once and know everything. There were a bunch of guys who were there for their 2nd or 3rd ECQC. You learn, you apply those techniques and tricks, you try to get better, and then you go back to see how you improved, and then set new goals. There were people there with more or less experience than me, but everybody picks up things to make them better.

It’s not all wrestling with guns either. A fantastic portion of the class is about what they call Managing Unknown Contacts, which is basically dealing with strangers in real life, who may or may not be a threat, and managing those events accordingly. I used to do something like this when I was teaching CCW classes, but this was that turned up to 11. Craig does a great job going through pre-assault indicators, and how to avoid getting your block knocked off, without looking like a paranoid psycho. The MUC portion alone makes this class worth it for anyone with a CCW.

Then there’s a whole lot of training about what to do once things get sideways, involving weapon retention, when and how to deploy your gun when entangled. And it’s not just lectures or boring ass Power Point. It’s hands on. Craig demonstrates, then you’re paired up with a different student and doing it hands on.

On that note, a class this physical, with such a wide range of physical abilities among the students could get stupid or dangerous, but Craig does a great job keeping it safe, with some really clear rules about how hard you can go at it. You don’t need to be a super jock MMA fighter to take ECQC, but it is really physical.

Once you’ve gone over the material, it gets tested and applied through a series of evaluations. These involved protective gear and sim guns (think really angry nasty little paint balls that hurt and leave a welt so you are seriously motivated to not get shot) These are set in various different scenarios, with my favorite being a really intense role play (I’ll talk about that one in a bit)

This video is some of my evos, and afterwards I share two showing some of the more advanced students who’d done this a few times so you can compare. The differences in their abilities on the ground compared to a crappy wrestler like me is staggering.

The first two are a weapon retention exercise, where both of us start with our guns out but grabbed. The next two, the guy on the bottom is armed, and the attacker isn’t.

One note on the protective helmets used, you can get hit pretty hard in them and be okay, but the reason I’m slapping instead of punching is that a good wallop to the helmet can still ring your bell and Craig doesn’t want anybody to get a concussion (you can hear him remind me a couple of times to open hand it).

The evos get intense, and they’re physical. In the one where I’m fighting the other tall guy in the bullet proof vest, I was thoroughly gassed at the end. When I “die” and roll off of him, that wasn’t acting. My fat ass needed air. That was at the end of an 11 hour day. (I also screwed up and the chin strap for the helmet rode up into my mouth, so I was breathing through my nose that whole time. Derp).

There’s a lot going on in those that you can’t really grasp from video. Like in the first one, I lever my gun free, go to shoot him, but it was out of battery and I couldn’t clear it one handed, so I tossed it and went for his gun instead. In the one where I shoot the guy in the chest, but then lose my gun, the reason he couldn’t shoot me was that I’d already shot to slide lock. This stuff gets kind of crazy.

But then you compare it to the experienced guys who have jujitsu training and the difference is stark. They’re more technical. They’re more aware. And when they’ve got the option, out come the knives. It’s amazing to watch guys like that in action.

I didn’t post any videos of the role playing evo, because for some of those I was playing a bad guy, and when I play the aggressor I go all in. The last thing I need is videos of Larry Correia being that level of cruel and insensitive asshole on the internet. I’ve already got enough people who hate my guts. 😀

One of those evos that didn’t get recorded is a great example of the value of ECQC, because in parts I did well, reinforcing the good stuff I’d just learned, but then I ultimately failed because under stress I reverted to something I’d been trained to do years ago, which wasn’t nearly as effective. And if I’d had the sense to use the technique Craig had just taught me, I would’ve been a lot better off. So even in failure, there’s learning. (ECQC is one of those classes where you check your ego at the door, because no matter who you are, you’re gonna make mistakes or get your ass kicked, but better to do it in a controlled environment than in real life)

That one started with me getting approached by a very angry (possibly psycho) man accusing me of some evil shit. I tried to de-escalate, avoid, and be verbal. When he moved on me, I eye poked him to make distance. Which was when the second “good Samaritan” jumped in, thinking I was the bad guy, and he was going to helpfully kick my ass. So then I had two angry guys, one I think is still actually murderous ragey, but neither of who I wanted to kill. I tried calling 911 but they kept moving on me. So then I went to pepper spray. And that turned into a fist fight. I’m still a pretty good striker, so I’m still dealing with this. Only when pyscho goes down, now he’s going for my legs, trying to trip me, and I’ve still got the other guy trying to punch me. Oh shit. I get knocked down. I get back up. They’re still coming. One up, one down. At this point I’m like, fuck they’re gonna kill me (CCW hat on, ability, opportunity, immediate threat, check, check check) and I try to make enough distance to clear my gun. I still don’t want to kill anybody and am hoping they’ll back off when they see it. Which is when I fucked up, and rather than do the thumb pectoral index, I went back to years of training and punched out like normal, which was when good Samaritian grabbed for my gun. He got shot in the hand, but then psycho took my legs. I went down hard this time with both of them. Psycho gets on my chest (knocked the air right out of me) and the guy I just shot in the hand now understandably executes me with my own gun.

So it was like handling my business, handling it, handling it, oh fuck that’s bad, I’m dead. And I lay there, utterly wrecked, panting, knowing exactly when I’d screwed the pooch, and learning occurred.

Like I said, these things get intense.

And it’s not just the ones you participate in, but every one of these is different, and you learn by watching everybody else go through this stuff. Some people are great fighters but make bad calls. Some people are tactical wizards but struggle elsewhere. Some guys can do verbal judo and others get tongue tied. Some evos resolve peacefully and deescalated. Others you start out in crazy town and it goes to hell from there. But you learn something from watching all of these.

One evo where I was playing a real dickhead of a bad guy, my last words were “Motherfucker, you don’t got the balls to shoot me!” And then I got some sim rounds right in the chest as I charged.

On that note, those little buggers sting. I got shot multiple times in the chest, stomach, side, arm, and head. And even two days later, I’m sore. It turns out that the muscles needed to type books all day are different than the ones used in entangled gunfighting, go figure. You don’t need to be in super shape for ECQC but I bet it sure helps.

This was a great bunch of guys to train with too. Nothing builds camaraderie quite like beating each other up. Everybody in my class put in a lot of work and showed a lot of heart. They were all there to learn and help each other. Like in the video where I got my arms pinned and then head shot, I was actually happy for the other guy, because right before that we’d been practicing gun snatches from each other, and he levered that against my thumb exactly as we’d practiced.

One note, if you are in Utah, check out:

https://pewpewsolutions.com/

They’re the people who brought Craig out here. They’ve been bringing a bunch of great instructors in from all over the country to teach classes in Utah. Of the three classes I’ve tried to take with them, this is first one I’ve actually been able to attend because of illness or scheduling conflicts, and every time they’ve been awesome to work with.

I learned a ton. I was shown lots of things that need work. And it was a blast. In conclusion, if you can, take this class.

Announcing Some New Book Projects

I mentioned these in the last update, but couldn’t elaborate because contracts were still in the mail, but I’ve got three new projects on the way.

Up first, there will be two more volumes of noir sci-fi/fantasy anthologies like Noir Fatale, and I’ll be editing them along with Kacey Ezell again. The first one the theme was femme fatales. This next one is called No Game for Gentlemen, and the theme is detectives. The third volume the theme is the city, and it’s called Down These Mean Streets. I’ll announce the authors once that is totally pinned down, but we’ve got some great and talented authors lined up for these.

Kacey is awesome, and I loved working with her last time. Noir Fatale did really well, so I’m excited for this opportunity to do more in this genre. Noir is great. Sci-fi/fantasy is great. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate. 🙂

In the last update I mentioned that there will be more Monster Hunter Memoirs novels, in the style started by John Ringo, but featuring different hunters in different time periods away from the mainline series, where I’ll collaborate with a different author.

This next one is called Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever, by me and Jason Cordova. It takes place in California in the 1970s.

Many of you are already familiar with Jason’s work, but if you’re not, he is really good. This one is already pretty far along already, and will be the next book in the production line for me once I finish the trench fantasy collaboration with Steve Diamond.

EDIT: and I just realized what today’s date is, so probably not the best time to announce new projects, but these are actually legit. When I prank my fans I reach for the stars. I once had a bunch of people convinced that they’d just started filming the MHI movie starring Robert Pattinson as Owen and Janene Garafolo as Julie (with Alec Baldwin as the voice of Skippy).

Coming Soon: Lost Planet Homicide – a new Audible exclusive by me

A little while ago Audible asked me if I’d like to do a novella for them. Could be any of my settings or something new. I had this one idea that I’ve wanted to do something with for a while, but it was too big to be a short story, not fleshed out enough to be novel size quite yet, so this was a perfect spot (this is the same reason Tom Stranger existed in audio before print).

I wanted to do a Gritty Cop Show in Space kind of story. It is set in the same universe as Gun Runner, except it is a lost colony (like we mentioned briefly in passing in GR) that has been cut off from the rest of humanity for over a century.

I wrote 20,000 words last week on this thing (that’s about double my usual production rate), and it came out awesome. It is rare that I finish a piece of short fiction and I’m that excited about it, but on this one, I’m really hoping you guys like it, because now I really want to expand it into a whole book, or at least enough other novella size case files to compile it into a book.

No idea on release date or narrator yet. When will this be in print? I also don’t know that. It has to be audio exclusive for a year, but what I’ve done for my other audio stuff is I put it into my Target Rich Environment collections once it is no longer exclusive. I’ll probably do that here (and interestingly enough, I think I almost have a full third volume worth of short fiction again already).

To give you an idea of my enthusiasm level on this project, I was wrapping up Bloodlines when Audible contacted me about this. Then I had to read another rough for an as yet unannounced collaboration (contracts are in the mail on that and another project, so I’ll be announcing both of those later this week probably). Then I looked at Audible’s emails, said oh man, this is my chance to do Space Gritty Cop Show, and said I’d do it. I spent a day brainstorming, doing research (realizing that I could do A LOT with this setting), and then got started. We emailed back and forth for a couple of days about contract stuff. They came back and said when do you think this would be done by? I said here’s the rough draft. 🙂

Boom. Professionalism. 😀 (also, because it was contractually 20k words max, so I turned in a manuscript that was 19,999, just on general principles)

The main character–an honest detective in a really corrupt city–also happens to be a sci-fi version of a character I played in a fantasy RPG campaign about six or seven years ago. Which is why author-gamers never throw away our notes. The good bits of that kind of stuff are fiction gold (Lorenzo in Dead Six was basically a rogue I played in a college D&D game).

I’m really hoping you guys enjoy listening to this one as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Nominate for the Dragon Awards! Free and open to everyone

http://application.dragoncon.net/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

The Dragon Award nominations are open. They’re free to participate in and open to anybody. Now is your chance to nominate your favorite books.

I’ve won a few times, so I always tell my fans to nominate someone else to share the love. However, on collaborations, that’s not fair to my coauthors, so if you want to nominate Gun Runner by me and John Brown for sci-fi, that’s great.

But in Fantasy/Paranormal, I have two words for you Jim Motherfucking Butcher. If Peace Talks doesn’t get nominated, that’s just wrong.