Pleased To Announce…

If you’ve been waiting for the chance to get a good look at Wilford Saxton on his own, the Complete Saxton is now available. The stories have been available for a while, but I know some folk prefer to read a series once it’s complete. Think of it as binge reading rather than binge watching.

The Saxton spin-offs filled a void between the events of Arise and Transmute, and covered the adventures of the on-again-off-again antagonist of the Henchmen series. Simply put, he became too interesting to let go of.

This short series compiles the four complete Saxton stand-alone novellas into one epic collection that reads like a shot of whisky and a punch in the gut. At the end of Arise we find Wilford running from Eve after she threatens to pull his spine out through his nose. He’s been shot with a serum made by neo-Nazis that makes him nearly invulnerable to everything and is packing a weapon stolen from one of the otherworldly minions of Fear.

How he goes from wanting to hunt down and kill every monster to focusing on going after The Brotherhood of the Sane takes him down dark paths where bogeymen stalk him, a poof of smoke teaches a young woman to kill, werewolves stalk the Navajo reservation, and he promises a favor to the spirit of the land. In the end, he comes face-to-face with his own monstrosities and learns to accept who he is.

This collection contains the following novelette and three novellas:

  • The Hunt
  • Uneasy Allies
  • Yee Naaldlooshii
  • The Brotherhood

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A unique blend of horror and adventure, the Saxton series follows the adventures of Wilford Saxton and his talking gun. He started out as a simple DHS agent, but found himself caught up in the events of the Henchmen series. After confronting gods, Nazis, and Valkyries, Saxton finds himself mutated beyond belief. Struggling to understand a world that’s not as simple as he expected, Saxton soon finds himself hunting monsters and wondering what he’s gotten himself into.
As if the monsters weren’t enough, Saxton has attracted the attention of the people that made him like he is and they’re willing to kill his only friends if he doesn’t accede to their demands.
This collection includes The Hunt, Uneasy Allies, Yee Naaldlooshii, and The Brotherhood. If you’ve ever wondered what Wilford Saxton was up to between the events of Arise and Transmute, here’s your chance to experience adventure with a new kind of hero.

Get your copy on Amazon or read it on Kindle Unlimited

The (Not So) Great Experiment

Toward the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to spin off Wilford Saxton into a kind of serial set of stories. None of them would be terribly long. If a novel is a movie, Saxton’s tales were supposed to be more like T.V. shows. I kind of followed the idea of a single plot per story, but with an overall arch to the series that would let me explain a bit more about the sometimes good guy, sometimes bad guy from Henchmen and Arise. It would also give me a chance to do some of the setup for the forthcoming Transmute, expanding on the bad guys and giving a closer look at why Wilford changes so much between Arise and Transmute. Plus it has Nazis, home-brew monsters, and Sanngrior.

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Well, I’m happy to say that series is done and the events of The Brotherhood take place mostly at the same time as the events of Transmute. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to say the experiment was pretty much a failure in terms of sales. Oh, ah. At some point in the distant future, someone will discover the stories and they’ll give that person a bit deeper look into one of the main characters from the Henchmen series. At some point in the near future, I’ll compile all the stories into an omnibus edition.

If you happen to be interested in the Saxton stories, the links are to your right. Or at least were when I published this. They’re fun reads and only $0.99 each. The compiled omnibus edition will drop at $2.99.

What can you take away from this? I’m not entirely certain. The advent of digital publishing has taken a lot of constraints off things like word count. Traditionally, novels are considered to be over 40k words, although in reality most sit between 70k and 300k. The Saxton tales clock in at about 27k each, which puts them firmly into the novella arena. Since it costs exactly as much to publish a 60 page story as it does a 400 page novel, digital publishing and print on demand technology open up the ability for authors to do more exploring and experimentation. Hopefully, the future will see more authors looking at how the written word can be handled. Not every story needs to be a thousand pages long and you don’t always get the same depth or length of story from 60 pages, but it’s nice to live in a world where both the epic novel and the shorter novella can live together.

What do you think? Are novellas just not as inherently interesting as novels?

Mark Your Calendars. Saxton is Coming Back

It would figure that the world would collapse right as he was settling in to a quiet life in a quiet town. Wilford Saxton just got a date and donut when a call from an unknown number sends him speeding toward Shiprock, New Mexico. Get there and fix the problem, the caller said, or the girl in Albuquerque dies.

Against his wishes, Wilford is dragged into a game of evil that spans three generations and this time the stakes are dangerously high. If he fails, it won’t just be the girl in Albuquerque that he fought so hard to save getting killed or a handful of people slaughtered horribly. Something is slumbering on Shiprock and if gets loose, the whole Southwest will be doomed to an eternal nightmare.

Armed only with his talking gun and his last two friends in the world, Wilford Saxton is about to walk into a bloodbath as faces the yee naaldlooshii. The skinwalkers are out and no one is safe.

Saxton: Yee Naaldlooshii

Available Friday, July 15th.

©2016, Eric Lahti

©2016, Eric Lahti

And Away We Go

I hit publish on the first Saxton story last night. Actually, it’s the first two, but one was originally part of The Clock Man. The second (and much longer) story is called Uneasy Allies and does a couple things. I’d said I wanted to create something episodic – a kind of monster of the story, but with an overarching story line that will continue throughout the series. Uneasy Allies introduces the first monster of the series, but also gives a hint about the longer story line.

I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I want to go with it, and even have a halfway decent idea of how to get there. This whole series is an offshoot of the Henchmen series and details what Wilford Saxton is up between the events of Arise and what will be happening throughout H3nchm3n (still need a better title). He was a key player in both Henchmen and Arise, but won’t figure too heavily in the new book. However, Saxton’s actions will have ramifications, and the things he does will impact the events of H3nchm3n. Steven, Eve, Jessica, and the rest will all feel those ripples.

And this is where things get murky. The Henchmen series is written in the first person, from Steven’s point of view. While this can be a fun way to write and it allows me to really get into his head, he can’t truly understand things outside of his direct experience. I could have shoehorned some information into place, but it would have been clunky.

I don’t like clunky.

As the Saxton series continues, it will start to fold in more and more of the world of Henchmen and Arise, but it will also start to show how some of the elements of The Clock Man stories that aren’t part of the Aluna series fit into the broader narrative.

Plus, the Saxton stories are a cracking good read. You’ve got Wilford himself, who’s an interesting character in his own right, the bombastic chief of police from Cuba, New Mexico, and a bruja who will exhibit some amazing powers. Besides, how can stories about hunting monsters get boring?

So begins my attempt to see if I can leverage Kindle Unlimited into an X-Files kind of experience for readers. Hopefully it’ll be good enough to keep people interested.

Saxton: The Hunt & Uneasy Allies is available now. Each installment will come approximately every other month and all will be $0.99. All will also be available on Kindle Unlimited.

Go grab a copy. It’s the best buck you’ll spend today.

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Episodic Saxton

We’ve been watching the X-Files recently. The old-school, classic X-Files that were so wonderful until the ongoing plot really started to drag things down because it didn’t really ever get resolved. Then Mulder left and it just wasn’t the X-Files anymore.

But the early stories were the shit. An underlying, long-term plot about alien invasion? Weekly monsters including voodoo and devil worshippers and that thing that stalked people over the early Internet? Hell, yeah. Sign me up.

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Admit it, you just started humming the theme song.

The thing that was so brilliant about it was how some stories featured stand-along pieces and others covered an over-arching exploration of the aliens. It kept you coming back for years. The fact that the characters were interesting and the acting was good just flat-out made it a good show.

Now, I’ve never written for a TV show, so I don’t really know the process, but I have written books. It takes me close to a year to get a full novel written, edited, formatted, and out the door. That’s kind of a long time and a full-length novel isn’t exactly the best medium for handling smaller stories and one larger story.

Enter Saxton. I’ve blogged about this idea before, and I’ve been Tweeting snippets of Saxton here and there while I work on it. The idea was to make better use of Kindle Unlimited – Amazon’s all you can read plan – while making shorter tales that each told a complete story and helped evolve the overarching story. I won’t give away the overarching story line here, but I will tell you the first edition is almost ready to go.

With a bit of luck (and no small amount of marketing), this process will help keep up interest in my work without having to hurry novels along, introduce my writing to people who don’t necessarily want a full-length novel (or find the politics and religion of the Henchmen series to be a turn-off), and it lets me stretch a bit so I don’t get writer’s block while working on H3nchm3n and dysRUPT.

They won’t be short stories, either. The first entry is almost 20k words now, well into novella territory. For those who don’t have Kindle Unlimited, each entry will be 99¢. Depending on the results, I may compile the whole lot into a single bulk book at the end of the year.

Saxton: Uneasy Allies should be ready by or before April 1 (yay! my birthday). After that, expect a new Saxton story every other month. Mystery, magic, secret societies, and monsters will all converge in the end to create an epic tale of good versus evil and one man’s changing view of exactly what constitutes good and evil. I’ll get blurbs and stuff up shortly, but I would like to show off the tentative cover art.

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