How Would You Like To Be A Part Of The Supernatural Ops Core?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 15.678% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

shadow_ops_myke_coleMyke Cole is one of the up-and-coming superstars of the military sci-fi world.  And I was excited to read his debut novel Shadow Ops #1: Control Point, as basically it’s the X-Men told from the army’s point of view – what happens when you put superpowered wizards under military discipline and training, complete with the usual bureaucracy and bullshit, and then turn them loose on the world?
And lo!  Control Point turned out to be one of those helter-skelter novels you chew through in two days.  It was the equivalent of an intelligent summer blockbuster – full of exciting and creative action sequences (what kind of force multiplier do you get in combat when you have a man who can open up teleportation portals that cut through anything?), with brutal and blunt truths about what happens when terrorists can get their hands on living flamethrowers.  (Hint: when backed against the wall, the United States does not always take the high moral ground.  Though the question is also correctly framed as “But can they really afford to?”).
It also doesn’t hurt that as a veteran, Mike’s blogging provides an interesting point of view in the mostly-pudgy-and-combatless-liberals-like-me world of sci-fi.  In particular, his essay “Uniform in the Closet: Why Military SF’s Popularity Worries Me,” which details how veterans are becoming an increasingly foreign culture to most Americans, raised some points about the military that have been troubling me for some time.  (Seriously.  I’d advise you to read it, because it’s a good look at a problem I know I’m not certain how to solve.)
So when it came time for the Clarion Blog-A-Thon, I said to Myke, “Dude, can you donate anything?  I know you’re not connected with Clarion, but I just wanted an excuse to pimp your book.”
But oh my, did Myke come shining through.
What Myke has to donate is the Challenge Coins from his world.  As Myke describes them, “They’re somewhere between a medal and a shinier, cooler version of business cards.”  And so he had some very pretty versions of the coins for his own supernatural ops divisions – and if you donate $5 to my Clarion Blog-a-Thon, you have the opportunity to win one of them!  (And if you haven’t read Shadow Ops, I’ll throw in a copy of the novel at my own expense.)
Seriously.  Look at that!  It’s pretty spiffing.  (Even if I’m not sure Myke would be thrilled by me describing the coin as “pretty,” but what the heck.)
And even if you don’t win Myke’s challenge coins, there’s still going to be twelve prizes for the Clarion Blog-A-Thon, which you have an opportunity to win!  Here’s how it works: Every $5 donated to the Clarion Write-A-thon gets you one entry into the raffle, which will be held at the beginning of August.  When the raffle is drawn, the first winner will have first choice of all the fabulous prizes to offer, and the second winner will have second choice, and so on.
The thus-announced Clarion prizes are:

And what you get for your donations:

  • Every $5 donation gets you an entry into our raffle pool
  • $10 total donations will get you access to the Clarion Echo community, where I am live-plotting my novel in progress in an attempt to teach some of what I have learned at Clarion.  (You’ll need a LiveJournal account to join, so email me with your name and I’ll make sure you get in.)
  • $25 will get you a story critique, if there are slots available.  You’ve got three left!  Go!

As a reminder, the Clarion Blog-A-Thon helps keep one of the shining traditions of sci-fi writing alive.  I was blocked for twenty years before I went, writing a lot but with no sales to speak of; four years after graduating, I’ve sold twenty-two stories and snagged a Nebula nomination.  It changed my life, which is why I kill myself blogging every summer to help keep it alive.  So please!  Donate!

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