Friday, December 2, 2011

Elvis Saves JFK! Approved For Smashwords Premium Distribution

More good news! Somerset House Press's newest e-book, Elvis Saves JFK! has been approved for premium distribution by Smashwords. This means the book has met exacting design and publication standards to be distributed among such fine on-line retailers as Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.

Elvis Saves JFK! which is a collection of original short fiction exploring the different routes history could've taken, is for sale for just $0.99 - that's ninety- nine cents, folks! And of course, it's free to view

Thursday, December 1, 2011

War Plan Red and Defense Scheme One on Strombo Show!

A couple of our favorite topics - Defense Scheme One and War Plan Red - were featured on CBC-TV's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight  in a two-part  "Something You May Not Know About Canada"segment aired last night and tonight.  Of course, readers of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History and visitors to this website already know about this chapter of our history.

The good news is that, War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History  is still on sale. Just by keying in the code HQ75B, you can receive a $1.00 discount off its regular price of $2.99 until December 7th, 2011. It's also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.

And as always...  War Plan Crimson is free to view.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Announcing the Launch of Elvis Saves JFK!

Well here it is!  The e-book edition of Elvis Saves JFK! from Somerset House Press on Smashwords has been launched. It has four short stories and one novella, all examining different aspects of my favorite topic - alternate history. What if:
  • Elvis was a secret agent?
  • Amelia Earhart was a World War Two fighter Ace?
  • Hitler won the Second World War, only to lose it a century later?

These are three of the possibilities I look at.  Also included are a time traveller's mission to a certain date in November, 1963 and a new take on the Rat Pack.
Elvis Saves JFK! is available from Smashwords for just $0.99 and it's free to sample.

####

Meanwhile, War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History ticks on. And by keying in the code HQ75B, you can received a $1.00 discount off its regular price of $2.99 until December 7th, 2011. It's also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.

And as always...  War Plan Crimson is free to view.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ISBNs Granted for Elvis Saves JFK!

Good news is that the ISBN numbers have been granted to Somerset House Press's forthcoming publication, Elvis Saves JFK!  As I said, before, this is a collection of stories themed around the concept of alternate history.  As I also mentioned, it is also an expanded version of small-press edition I ran a few years ago,  with  a new short story and a novella added.

Now the weird thing - the new short story to be included, 11/22/63, which I wrote five years ago - which deals with time travel and the JFK assassination - is also the title of a forthcoming Stephen King novel, which also deals with time travel and JFK assassination. Hopefully, since he deals with a lot of weird things, Mr. King (or his lawyers) won't mind. I don't.

I'll state here there is no link between my novel and Mr. King's novel.  In fact, the only thing of his I've ever read is his book On Writing, which any serious writer should read. 

###

In the meantime, you can also read the newly-revised War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History. And by keying in the code HQ75B, you can received a $1.00 discount off its regular price of $2.99 until December 7th, 2011. 

And as always...  War Plan Crimson is free to view.

Monday, November 7, 2011

War Plan Crimson Relaunches at a Discounted Price!

I'm pleased to report that the revised and cleaned up version of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History has launched on Smashwords.  To celebrate, I'm offering it at a discounted price of just $1.99 (that's $1.00 off from the regular list price of $2.99).  All you have to do is when you go to purchase Crimson, enter the coupon code HQ75B to receive your discount.

This offer is in effect until December 7th, 2011. And as always, War Plan Crimson is free to view.

A New Somerset House Press Publication!

I'd like to announce that a new Somerset House Press publication, Elvis Saves JFK! will soon be available as an e-book through Smashwords. This e-book only publication is an expanded reprint of smaller edition I ran a few years ago, with four short stories and one novella, all themed around the concept of alternate history.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

On the Banality of Evil

It’s odd I’m writing this on the 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolph Eichmann, the architect of the Final Solution.  When captured by the Israelis and put on trial, his defense was simply was that he was just following orders, which was also the defense of many other Nazis put on trial since the war. Ultimately, this defense was deemed unacceptable. Personal moral responsibility said the court, trumped orders.

At the time, writer Hannah Arendt, a journalist observing the trial and more importantly, Eichmann, coined the phrase, “the banality of evil.” And Eichmann was just that – banal. He was an ordinary, balding, bespectacled, aging, little man. So what would drive an otherwise ordinary little man to participate in one of history’s most unspeakable crimes? 

In writing War Plan Crimson, I also began wondering what would drive otherwise ordinary folk to commit unspeakable acts. What about the guards of Stalin’s gulags, Mao’s “cultural revolutionaries,” those who participated in Pol Pot’s Cambodia in the ‘70s , the ethnic cleansings in the Balkans or the Rwandan Genocide of the ‘90s and in other places and times?

So then perhaps you’ve heard of psychologist Stanley Milgram. Dr. Milgram, too wanted to find out,"Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?"  In other words, what made him do it?

Dr. Milgram developed an experiment to find out. In the experiment, a volunteer was told by a white lab-coated doctor to sit at a desk and to ask questions to a person in another room and administer progressively higher electrical shocks if he answered wrong. Fortunately, everything about the experiment was a fake – the “doctor” and the person in the other room were actors and the “shock box” didn’t work.  However, the volunteer believed he or she was administering shocks under a doctor’s orders. 

In other words, the volunteers were being tested for their willingness to follow orders from an authority figure.  In most cases, Milgram found that the volunteers followed orders – while some demonstrated qualms – almost to the point where the other person would’ve died had the experiment been real. The video is chilling to watch.

Observed Dr. Milgram: "With numbing regularity good people were seen to knuckle under the demands of authority and perform actions that were callous and severe. Men who are in everyday life responsible and decent were seduced by the trappings of authority, by the control of their perceptions, and by the uncritical acceptance of the experimenter's definition of the situation, into performing harsh acts. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority."

We owe Stanley Milgram a debt of gratitude for this. It shows that evil doesn’t have to wear jackboots or carry a gun. It is a warning that almost anyone of us has the potential for evil inside us.

Another Preview!

Well, the good news is that the revisions to War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History are almost done and a new bug-free edition e-book will be available.  My goal is still to launch a paperback edition of Crimson - I am grateful for your continued interest and support.

So here's another preview of some of the new stuff I've put in Crimson. As I've said, it won't change the plot but I think it will better define it.  Meanwhile, War Plan Crimson is available still as an e-book here - just $2.99 to buy, free to try.



“What’s going on here, Major?” snapped Adams.
“I’m following direct orders from the President,” said Major Shleby Grigsby, turning away from the driver of the olive-drab truck that had just pulled up. He signed what looked like a receipt and handed it back to the driver. ”Political Directorate business, Colonel. Nothing for you to concern yourself with.”
“Everything that happens around here concerns me, Major.”  He walked around to the back of the truck with Grigsby in tow. “So I repeat: what’s in the truck?”
Grigsby went pale, then: “It’s PD business, Colonel.”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass, Major.  I’m in charge here! You will tell me what you’ve brought into my command, or so help me God I will personally bounce you from here to Ottawa.”
Wordlessly, with an air of resignation, the PD officer opened the rear olive-drab flaps to the truck. Four wooden crates lay tied down to the floor with heavy straps.
       “Chemical shells,” said Adams levelly, reading the black-stenciled lettering, “I might’ve known.”
“Colonel, President Cray has placed the control of chemical weapons strictly under the Political Directorate,” said Grigsby, stiffly.
“Get those… things out of here, Major.  This country got a black eye when we used them up at that place in Quebec. The Canadians and British have promised to retaliate in kind the next time we use these…or didn’t you remember that?”
“They’re all weaklings, Colonel. It doesn’t matter what they think.”
Adams gritted his teeth. “Oh? What about our people? The American civilians who might be killed around here by that stuff the moment the wind shifts or if somebody drops it in the wrong place? Did you ever think about that, Major Grigsby?”
“Acceptable losses.”
Adams’ eyes narrowed. “In your obviously limited military career, I can tell, Major Grigsby, that you’ve never been on the receiving end of a gas attack. If you had been, you’d never want to order one.”
The PD man went one of several shades of red.
Adams strode across the road, after dodging a truck towing a 105 mm gun, reached the other side, where a field kitchen stood. A squad of infantry, enjoying the lull provided by the cease-fire, gathered under a large canvas tent, around a large steaming pot of what smelled like chicken stew.
  “Who’s the ranking NCO here?”
“I am, sir,” saluted a weary three-striper. “Sergeant Drummond.”
“Sergeant, take your men and guard that truck over there.” He pointed in the direction from which he just came. “If anyone tries to get close it – anyone except me – shoot them. My orders.”
“Yes sir!” Drummond shouldered his rifle. He saluted and began to bark out orders to his men.
“Colonel,” sputtered Grigsby as he ran up, “you can’t do that.”
“Consider it acceptable losses, Major,” said Adams, walking away. He smiled.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Preview of New Material

As I mentioned earlier, I was working on additional material for War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History for inclusion in the upcoming paperback edition. I feel that this new material, while not changing the plot, will add more dimension to it. It's also my way of saying thanks to those of you who've waited while I've worked out the bugs in the novel.

The good news, is that while the financing situation remains a little elusive, my edits for the paperback (and e-book) editions are almost complete. When this is done, I will relaunch the ebook version of Crimson with the new sections in it.

I've decided to share one of the new sections of the book for you. I think this has the effect of adding more action while taking a particular character's story arc to its logical conclusion:


“Well that's it, isn't it?” said Billy Higgs, raising his binoculars. The Mountie focused on the train chugging through the narrow valley below them, trailing a black stream of smoke from its stack.
“Sure is.” Deborah Rudd nodded under her broad-rimmed Stetson. The chestnut mare whinnied and steadied itself under her. “Rogers Pass.  That's the rail line the Yanks use to send reinforcements across the Rockies into British Columbia. They couldn't take Vancouver from the front, now they're trying from the back.”
“And they go through every day like that?” Higgs focused his binoculars on the train below him. He could see flat cars loaded with canvas-covered field guns and tanks. The engine sounded a shrill whistle that echoed across the valley.
“One a day, every day," said a third man, easing his horse forward from beneath a stand of pines. Leo Muswaggon frowned. “Like clockwork. You can almost set your watch by them. That bastard Cray did say he would make the trains run on time.”
“Can we stop them?” Higgs lowered the field glasses.
“That's what we came here to do ain't it?” Deborah smiled, a fringe of blonde hair visible under her hat. Her face was tanned by the wind and the prairie sun. “If we blow the train, maybe we can at least buy our boys in Vancouver some more time.”
“It would buy them time,” agreed Higgs. He looked around at his new partners. Higgs has met up with them after riding solo up into the Rockies, about a week after his friend Andy Hyrukla and the others had been mowed down by the Yank fighter planes.  They had all one thing in common despite their different backgrounds: a burning desire to hit back at the Yanks. The woman, Debroah was from ranching territory near High River; all that Higgs knew was that she couldn't go back home again while the Americans occupied the area. The Browning Automatic Rifle that rode under her saddle was mute testimony. Muswaggon, the burly M├ętis trapper was another story: whatever grudge the normally silent broad-shouldered man bore against the invaders was his own.
“We certainly brought enough TNT to do the job, anyway,” said Deborah. She nodded back to the three pack mules burdened down with wooden crates of explosives borrowed from a mining camp. “And the rest of our boys will be here by then, too.”
“Tomorrow then,” said Higgs. He raised the binoculars again. The train was receding towards the west. I’ll stop them for you, Andy.

By the time the sun rose over the snow-covered peak of nearby Mount Carroll, which loomed over the Rogers Pass like a silent guardian, the rest of the partisan band had arrived.  Billy Higgs watched two soldiers – veterans of the retreat from Calgary he gathered by speaking to them – set up a heavy Vickers machine gun they had packed in on their mules. They had chosen a part of the pass where the rail line had sliced between two rolling hills ahead of a steep gorge. He smiled. The hills were still high enough to work for what they had in mind. Across the way, a couple of Cree hunters were setting up an ancient Lewis Gun on its bipod mount, complete with a dozen drums of ammunition, that they had managed to scrounge from somewhere. 
“We’ll have’em in a pretty decent cross-fire,” said the one of the soldiers manning the Vickers.
Higgs nodded and surveyed the group of eight men digging foxholes on either side of the rail line. Their motley collection of weapons that ranged from hunting rifles to captured Thompsons matched their owners. Down below he could see that Deborah Rudd and Leo Muswaggon had finished setting the TNT charges beneath the train tracks and now were connecting the wires to the detonator. Muswaggon waved at them. Done.
Just then they heard the soft, mournful whistle of the train in the distance. Higgs looked at his watch. It’s just as well, he thought watching Rudd and Muswaggon run up the hillside to join them, the train’s running early.
“That’s the reason the train’s running early.”  Deborah Rudd passed the binoculars to Billy Higgs. “Look.”
  “Goddamn!”  Higgs focused the binoculars. Sure enough this was a different train. And it was enough to make the bile rise to his throat. It was a train but that was were the similarities stopped. It was pulled by two big  engines  – Baldwins if Higgs had to guess – puffing out black clouds of smoke and painted a dull green. Before the engine, it looked like the Yanks had simply taken a tank’s turret, complete with its 37mm main gun and had put it on a special armored boxcar, its sloping sides bristling with machine guns every which way.  He was willing to bet there were more of them behind those big Baldwins, as well.
Leo Muswaggon lowered his own binoculars and whistled. “It’s an armoured train.  Just our dumb luck.”
“Must’ve sent it ahead of the regular supply train to make sure the way was clear,” said Higgs. “We’d better lie low and let this one pass. This is one train we don’t want to catch.” The armoured train was now close enough they could see it without binoculars.
And that was where their troubles began.  The turret gun on the forward boxcar boomed, dropping a shell right on the Lewis Gun position manned by the two Cree hunters, obliterating the men and sending rocks and debris flying.
“We’ve been made!” shouted Deborah, preparing to stand. “Let’s get out of here!”
“No!” yelled Higgs, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her down as another shell thundered overhead and landed, this time long of their positions. He looked at her. “We can’t go now: we’ll be cut down if we try to run. Better stand here.” 
Deborah nodded and picked up her BAR and began to return fire towards the oncoming train. Higgs opened fire with his Winchester, furiously working his rifle’s lever, but the armored colossus kept hurtling towards them, if anything faster now, the train whistle a demonic scream. Higgs heard the big Vickers open up, the heavy .303 gun chattering death. And then the bow tank gun boomed again, its shell rumbling towards them. Rudd looked up.
 Higgs threw himself on Rudd, forcing her into the dirt. “Get down!”
The shell landed a few yards away, raining rock and debris down on them. Rudd and Higgs looked up. The two soldiers and the Vickers gun were dust; all that marked their position was a shallow blackened crater.
“They- they’re gone,” she gasped.
He nodded. Just like Andy. Higgs looked over and saw the men start to stand up out of their carefully prepared foxholes. They’re going to run. “Stay down!” But the men were past listening; the machine guns on the train were close enough now to sweep away the men as they stood.
“Billy!” shouted Deborah.
Higgs picked up the BAR and began to fire from a kneeling position, feeling the rifle’s recoil pound his shoulder. He could see his rounds strike the train’s armoured hide, only to bounce off.  Useless. But we can still blow up the train. He looked over towards Leo Muswaggon last stood, only to see the big man lying dead beside the detonator, hand on the plunger. Wires look intact. He shoved the rifle back into Deborah’s hand. “Cover me!”
Higgs scrambled across the uneven rocks to Muswaggon’s last position even as the ground behind him exploded with machine gunfire from the train. He felt a sharp hot stab in his back that sent him sprawling hard into the ground face-forward. I’m done for now, Andy. Higgs tasted the warm salt of blood in his mouth as he crawled towards the plunger. The train’s demon whistle-scream resounded in his ears as he put his hands on the plunger’s T-handle, his hand overlaying that of the dead man’s. With all of his remaining might, Billy Higgs pushed down on the plunger. So sorry I couldn’t do better.
He saw the flash, felt the heat on his face and then felt the ground shake. He heard the screaming and rending of metal and the explosive hiss of steam as the juggernaut went off the tracks and plummeted into the gorge below. Before his eyes closed for the last time, Billy Higgs managed a smile.
The train to Vancouver would not be going through today.

###

In the meantime, you can always pick up the ebook version of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde here for $2.99, or free to try.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Now for Sale on iTunes Store

Even as I continue to work out the pre-paperback launch bugs out of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History,  I am pleased to report that the book is now for sale on iTunes.  I recently became an Apple person, and I discovered my book is available to Apple users.

Meanwhile, Crimson is also available on other retail sites such as Barnes & Noble as well as from Smashwords, where it's just $2.99 to buy and free to try on Smashwords.

Watch this space for more updates!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Speedbumps on the Way to Publication...

Unfortunately, we've hit a few snags on the way to our initial launch date. As I went over a final review of the layout file I was prepared to offer the printer, I was astonished to see typos. So... I started going through them. Still am and I apologize. This is no-one's fault. As well, other things have happened in my life recently that have slowed things down but not stopped it.

As a result, as my token of thanks, I am adding four additional scenes to the novel that do not currently appear in the e-book version. I do plan to add these scenes to the e-book upon the launch of the print edition.

So hang in there. And in the meantime, you can always by War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History,by Michael Cnudde, as an e-book from here. It's just $2.99 to buy, free to try.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Estimate from Printers!

War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History is one more step to seeing life as a printed book. This week I received the estimate for how much it would cost to go ahead with a print run. I will meet with the printers rep next week to finalize a few details.

More as this as it develops!

Meanwhile, you can still purchase War Plan Crimson as an E-book. Just $2.99, free to try. What more could you want?

Editorial: A Whirlwind of Irrationality

I wrote this in the online Comments section of the Globe and Mail in response to an article the tells how US Tea Party Candidate Michelle Bachmann believes that the HPV vaccine causes "mental retardation."

If I don't sound too puffed up with myself, I think it bears repeating...

The United States (and Canada) is now caught up in a whirlwind of irrationality where our worst nightmares happen: vaccines make us sick; President Obama isn't an American; 9-11 was an inside job; global warming isn't human caused or isn't happening and is itself a conspiracy; we didn't land on the moon; the Illuminati and their brethren secretly rule the world through such organizations as Skull and Bones and the Bhomenian Grove; little grey aliens are working with the Hidden Government to produce human/alien hybrids; chemtrails and HARRP are secret weapons designed to depopulate the planet and much, much more...

Such irrationality is bred out of our insecurities and fears where we try to find explanations - conspiracy theories - that satisfy ourselves by "connecting the dots" and disregarding all evidence to the contrary. Sometimes this is done to an extreme, almost fanatical, level. Sometimes that evidence is even twisted around to be used in support of the theory. However, for all their sound and fury, seldom are these conspiracy theories correct. As Jung once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Or something like that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Book Sold Through Retail Site!

First the good news: we sold the first copy of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History from a retail site. Of course,it continues to be available through Smashwords where the price is a mere $2.99, zero to try. Meanwhile, we're still working on getting the paperback version launched... I hope to have more on this in the near future.


Finally, here's a picture of me reading at the newly renovated The Well from an earlier self-published effort, a collection of alt-history short stories entitled Elvis Saves JFK! I hope to have a Somerset House E-book edition of it available soon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

War Plan Crimson is Now Available at Barnes & Noble!

Good news!  War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History by Michael Cnudde is now available at Barnes & Noble for just $2.99! Meanwhile, Crimson, is also available at Smashwords, $2.99 to buy, free to try.

Good news also is that we should finally have an estimate for the trade paperback edition of Crimson sometime next week so that we can begin our long-awaited launch of the paperback version.  I'll keep you posted on this as things develop.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Literary Wars: Canada vs. the United States

I'm not the first author to write about conflict Canada between and the United States. I'll write today about two of my favorite novels in this genere. The first is Exxoneration, by Richard Rhomer (1974: Paperjacks).

The novel is the sequel to Ultimatum (1974: Paperjacks) which details a 1980 showdown between Canada and US over oil. Ultimatum ends with the President of the United States ("a Texan facing re-election"), announcing the fait-accompli annexation of Canada by the United States.  In a maneuver worthy of Defense Scheme One,  with waves of of US occupation troops on their way to land at major Canadian airports, the outgunned Canadian army is able to trap the US forces on the ground as they land, thus saving the day and forcing a US withdrawl.

The author, Richard Rhomer is no slouch: a  decorated RCAF fighter pilot, he is credited with piloting the reconnaissance plane over Normandy in July, 1944 that directed the airstrke that killed none other than the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, who is a major character in War Plan Crimson.

The second novel, Bruce Powe's Killing Ground: the Canadian Civil War (1968: Peter Martin Associates), was written at a time (pre-October Crisis) when English Canadian and French Canadian tensions were just beginning to boil and no-one knew which direction things would take. Fortunately, in reality, cooler heads prevailed on both the federalist and sovereigntist sides and the violence never largely happened.



The book ends with the concerned United States government, under the guise of UN intervention, launching an invasion of Canada. How realistic is this particular scenario?  During the previously mentioned October Crisis, which placed parts of Ontario and most of Quebec effectively under martial law due to two high-profile kidnappings by the FLQ, in October 1970, a former professor of mine at the University of Otttawa took a roadtrip to Morrisburg, Ontario, which is on the Canada/US border.  He said he could clearly see American armor and other mechanized equipment lined up on the other side, ready to go. Although I can not confirm or deny this, I am still inclined to believe him.

Fortunately, neither scenario has come to pass and have remained just some very interesting fiction.  In the meantime, you can always read another interesting fiction, War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History,  by Michael Cnudde ($2.99 to buy as an e-book; free to sample).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More New Top-Secret Defence Scheme One Documents Uncovered!

This is very good news.  Not only can I tell you that I have received the final version of the cover and inside for the trade paperback version of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History by Michael Cnudde, I can also share with you some more Defence Scheme One documents.

These two unsigned and undated pages were part of a call for criticism of the plan.  One of the major points the anonymous author makes is that "...the most difficult point in the Scheme, is that, in fact, is drawn up with Forces which are to a certain extent, non-existent... it would take a considerable time to organize, train and equip."

The author, while agreeing with the concept of advancing into the U.S. to buy time and gain sufficient depth warns that "...the American Forces are considerably stronger and better equipped." It makes for interesting reading and shows some of the very real challenges any presumptive Canadian advance would've faced.


....Meanwhile, until we launch the eagerly-awaited trade paperback version of Crimson (and I've had more than a few inquiries), you can always get an E-book version of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, here at Smashwords. Just $2.99, free to preview. As I said, a bargain at twice the price.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Mystery Truck

 



Ah... sorry for the fuzzy image.  This was taken with my cellphone camera from my balcony of a strange, rather anonymous white truck parked on my street, down from my apartment. The image doesn't do it justice - it doesn't look like a typical vanilla van. There were what looked four exhausts for cooling fans on the roof of the box portion, for example. It was parked there for most of the evening -until after I went to bed - right in front of a fire hydrant.

 Don't mean to sound paranoid, of course.  Is this somebody's reaction against yesterday's post? Why send a truck then? I'm sure the Powers that Be have other technical means to conduct surveillance on increasingly paranoid writers.

Hey, the good news is that we should have the final proof of the paperback version of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, very soon. Meanwhile, you can always read my novel, War Plan Crimson, $2.99 as an e-book, free to sample.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The More Things Change...

Here's an article in today's online edition of the Globe and Mail that alleges the CIA secretly kept a watch on the Canadian economy, the then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and our natural resources, including with a degree of prescience, the Alberta tar sands: “The sands rank with the U.S. shale deposits as the world’s most extensive known, largely untapped oil source... The pollution issue and opposition to defacing Alberta’s landscape may arise but has not as yet."

The information, with some of it still redacted, was released by the CIA in response to a Freedom of Information request, goes to the heart of the theme of War Plan Crimson that nations look after their own interests first - only others after that.

Of course, Canada has spied upon on its southern neighbour.  In Spyworld: How C.S.E. Spies on Canadians and the World, (1995: Seal/Bantam) by Michael Gratton and Mike Frost, it's alleged that Canada through its Communications Security Establishment (Canada's equivalent to the NSA) was able to undercut the United States on several lucrative wheat sales to China, by electronically eavesdropping on the U.S. Embassy.

I find the whole thing interesting, of course. We've only been able to get a partial glimpse of what really goes on... Meanwhile, you can always read my entirely imaginary -of course- War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History.  It's just $2.99 to buy as an e-book and free to sample.

Meanwhile, work on the trade paperback rollout continues. I will have more on this as it comes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

That's Me Reading At The Well!


I read tonight for the second time at The Well, Victoria's up-and-coming arts spot on Fort Street. I read a chapter from War Plan Crimson and some of my poetry (betcha didn't know I wrote that) to some very polite applause. Why not join me there, have a coffee and watch some other great local artists next Wednesday?

Meanwhile, work continues on the trade paperback version of War Plan Crimson. I have sent another round of corrections to designer Tristan Tinder and have approached our local printer for an estimate for the print run. I hope to have news of our book launch soon.

Meanwhile, you can still buy War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History at Smashwords. It's just $2.99 as an e-book, free to sample!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

War Plan Crimson Approved For Smashwords Premium Catalogue

War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History has been approved for Smashword's premium catalog. This means not only will the novel be available through Smashword's own site, but through major retailers such as Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble and a much wider audience.  Meanwhile, work continues on the trade paperback version, which I am now hoping for a late August/Early September launch.  

Of course, you can still buy War Plan Crimson at Smashwords for $2.99 or download a free sample.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Front and Back Cover for War Plan Crimson

Well, we're getting close to launching our print edition of War Plan Crimson: A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde © 2010, Michael Cnudde.  Here is the full front and back cover, courtesy of Tristan Tinder:
















I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out. I've had a lot of interest in the paperback version... the price on the cover may not necessarily be the final price.

Meanwhile, War Plan Crimson is also for sale as an e-book on Smashwords for the princely sum of $2.99. A bargain, I tell you.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Revised War Plan Crimson E-book Posted on Smashwords

In order to get War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History through Smashwords.com rigourous autovetting system, and into a wider distribution that includes Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I've had to upload a third text file of the book. There have been no changes to the book, but it should be easier to read because I've removed the inconsistencies in the paragraph formatting.

My apologies to anyone who has been inconvenienced by this.

Hopefully, this one will do it. Meanwhile, our efforts towards producing a trade paperback version of the book are still going forward. More on this as it happens.

War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History by Michael Cnudde is now available for $2.99 as an E-book on Smashwords. Have a look.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Excerpt from War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History

To celebrate the release of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History by Michael Cnudde as an ebook  on Smashwords.com, here is another excerpt from the novel:


The Port of Montreal:

"Fais attention!" Jacques Bedard snarled at the dockworkers that were unloading the cargo ship tied up along the pier. They had been unloading ship after ship steadily for the entire night and he was a fine mood. He snarled again at the burly men as they manhandled the bulky boxes into the cargo slings and loaded them onto the cranes and then took them off the ship, in English, for good measure. "Pay attention, you idiots."

Tabarnac! A large wooden crate slipped out of the cargo net and crashed to the ground, spilling its contents all over the dock. A large, square-shouldered man with a barrel chest and calloused hands, Bedard blinked in the dim light at the long lethal shape before him. Four years in the trenches in the last war had taught him what a heavy machine-gun looked like. Saw too many like these at the Somme, pointing at me from the other side. The weapon’s unmistakable corrugated cooling jacket told Bedard he was looking at a Vickers .303, one of the best heavy machine guns around. He looked again at the box. The stencilling read Machine Parts. Bedard frowned and looked at his clipboard to check the cargo manifest. It confirmed what he already knew. There were a lot of boxes of "machine parts" on board that ship. Snarling yet again, he motioned for the dockhands to clean up the mess.

"Is everything all right, monsieur?" An Englishmen, one of the ship's officers, hurried over.

"No problem, sir," said Bedard. Something about the man's tone made him stiffen to attention, like he was still a mud-splattered sergeant. "A slight accident, c'est tout."

"Very good." He smiled at Bedard and winked. "We wouldn't want to damage any of those machine parts, wouldn't we?"

Bedard didn't have much time to reflect on that as the night wore on. As soon as the ship was unloaded, another took its place alongside the dock. He looked at the new ship's cargo manifest: tractors. He watched as the mighty cranes went to work, carefully reaching deep into the hold of the ship and pulling out their cargoes like penny-arcade prizes. His mouth opened as the first machine, gleaming under a fresh coat of olive drab paint, was gently set down in its cargo net onto a waiting railroad flatcar. As it was covered up with a black tarp, Bedard smiled. Tractors, merde. He had also been in the army long enough to know a tank when he saw one.




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Defense Scheme One Documents Released!

To celebrate the release of  War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, as an e-book on Smashwords.com, I am sharing two more Defense Scheme One discussion papers, presumably written by Sutherland Brown. I have two versions of this document - neither go past page two. Notice the hand-written in changes on page one of this document. 



We're on Smashwords!

Great News! War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, has "soft launched" as an E-book on Smashwords.com, for the intro price of $2.99!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Front Cover Art!

Here's another draft of the front cover for War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, courtesy of the magnificent Tristan Tinder. I'm very excited by this (can't you tell?) I can see it on shelves of better bookstores already....


Front cover art for War Plan Crimson: A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde © 2010, Michael Cnudde

More Defense Scheme One Documents!

Like our own little Wikileaks, here's another Defense Scheme One document.  This one, actually written by then-Colonel James Sutherland "Buster" Brown, whose alternate-universe counterpart plays a major role in War Plan Crimson, is a think piece on the possibility of war between Canada and the United States.  A fascinating bit of reading, that with the hand-written annotation and signature on page two, lets you know that these were real people who wrote these things.

Initial Cover Layout!

Here we are, courtesy of the amazing Tristan Tinder, the first layout for War Plan Crimson:


... so as you can see we really are getting there.  Meanwhile, final adjustments continue to be made with the electronic book format.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Preview!

Here's another preview of War Plan Crimson: A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde © 2010, Michael Cnudde, inspired by the DS1 document I posted yesterday:


     Sergeant Harry Orsini shouldered his Springfield as he carefully walked along the wall of Fort Ontario in the predawn darkness. The crumbling fort that overlooked the small harbor of the town of Oswego, New York hasn't seen so much action since the War of 1812. The Army had hastily moved a company of National Guardsmen and a battery of 155s to cover the harbor...from what?
      Orsini looked out to Lake Ontario as the searchlight beam swept across the harbour and over to the locks of the Oswego Canal, part of the larger Erie Canal system. Nothing. The harbor was quiet and the night was dark. A couple of small craft bobbed lazily, while a new arrival, a large lake ore carrier that had just managed to get away from the Canadian side in time, tugged gently at its anchor chains. Quiet.
      Quiet. That's the way it should be. He tugged at the shoulder strap of his rifle and walked along the battlements. Suddenly, the rattling of chains echoed from the darkened harbor. He turned and shouted,“Get a searchlight out there, now!” Orsini brought down his Springfield. What the devil...? In the searchlight beams, he could see the anchors being raised on the big lake freighter, even as men in black scurried back and forth along her length and smoke streamed out of her funnel. He stood there numbed, even as the scene played out in front of him. There shouldn't be anyone on her. And then slowly, but then with gathering speed, the ship began to move.
      As alarms began to howl and men ran to their stations, the ship sailed serenely across the harbor, as if she was unaware of the commotion she was causing. Clutching his rifle, but able to do little else, Orsini watched as the freighter ignored the orders that were shouted over bull-horns for her stop and kept sailing towards the canal locks.
      Now what ? Suddenly, there was a rendering sound of metal on metal that echoed across the still waters as Orsini watched as the ship's bow knifed through the canal locks. As the lakewater rushed in around it, he saw the freighter begin to settle into the harbor until she sat on the bottom, with her decks awash. Orsini fumed. Bastards. It'll take months to get the canal open again. Must've filled that ship with cement by the way she went down.
     A little later, when the ship's black-clad crew were brought past him under guard, he thought they looked very satisfied. But for the life of him, he didn't know why.