Tomorrow, January 31, 2012, marks the official launch date for Shadow Ops Book 1: Control Point, by Myke Cole.

You should totally buy it.

It's no secret that Myke and I have been friends a long time. Heck. I remember back in 1991, when he spelled his name M-i-k-e like a normal person.

Yeah, yeah. Like I should talk…

Anyway, Myke and I have a long history of kicking each other's asses editorially (and with weapons). I met Myke briefly while we were in High School. It was the early 90′s, and we both had crazy heavy metal hair. We didn't really become friends until college, where we played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons (For those who speak fluent geek, we played Edition 2.0 which evolved into 2.5, Forgotten Realms setting) together.

I've spoken before about how Dungeons & Dragons has made me a better storyteller. I used to run friggin' EPIC games, where I would take the map of Faerun in the Forgotten Realms, pick a spot that hadn't been explored in any of the novels or boxed sets, and write up a huge, complex story set in that obscure place. I would create plots, sub-plots, characters, backstories, twists, turns, and emotional motivations.

Then my players, Myke included, would just go in and kill everything. And I would have to toss aside my careful plans and dance like a motherfucker to keep up with them, and more importantly, keep them going in the direction I intended. They would deliberately seek out loopholes in my storytelling and try to game the system, or just ignore the boring "talky" parts and get down to dicing and dividing treasure.

Because there are two parts to storytelling: What you want to say, and what your audience is going to hear. Sadly, the two are almost never the same, and the purpose, after all, is to entertain an audience, yourself included.

A year or so later, Myke ran a game, and I gleefully fucked with his the same damn way.

We were also preparing for the pain of rejection letters by ritualistically hitting each other with bamboo swords:

Fast forward to 1998. I have moved to Brooklyn and he to DC. We don't talk much anymore. Myke tell me he's been working on a fantasy novel. I say, "Huh. Me too." I sent him whatever shit project I was working on at the time, and he sends me the first draft of a book called "Latent".

It would later be renamed, "Control Point."

In the ensuing 15 years we have relentlessly broken each other's books, finding tiny weak spots and driving knives into them, forcing each other to improve our craft and pass the other's gauntlet. We would cover each other's work in red ink, and call each other saying, "Nice try. Here are the parts that suck, here's WHY they suck, and here's my suggestions on how to fix them."

So there are a lot of Myke's ideas in my work. The Krasian Watchers, for instance, are laddermen on his suggestion. There are also a lot of my ideas in Myke's work. For instance, he wanted to call the water sorcerers in Control Point "aquamancers". I told him tying them forever for the lamest superhero was a bad idea, and suggested he go with "hydromancers". Really glad he agreed.

Sometimes, we would argue:

So believe me when I say, I couldn't be more excited about this launch if it was my own book. Because in some small way, it is.

This is not to say that Myke doesn't deserve all the credit for how awesome Control Point is. The man works obsessively and ruthlessly to make ever second of his books riveting.

Seriously. Stop reading this and go read his reviews. There's like a million of them already, and they're all glowing.

Control Point is a military fantasy story set in an alternate version of world where magic ebbs and wanes over the course of every thousand years, much like the waxing and waning of the moon. When it waxes, people with latent magic ability suddenly manifest incredible powers.

They are then drafted, broken down, and trained to fight America's enemies in the Supernatural Operations Corps. They're the lucky ones. Those who manifest prohibited powers like necromancy (zombies) are shot in the head.

Lt. Oscar Britton starts as a 'normal' human, serving the army in hunting down magical fugitives. That is, until he manifests a prohibited magic himself, and overnight becomes Public Enemy #1.

The fun starts there, and doesn't stop till the end.

Oh, and I've read the sequel, Fortress Frontier. It is even better.

If you want to hear us discuss writing and our history of alpha reading, you can check out our recent podcast interview with The Functional Nerds.

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Published on January 30, 2012 23:13 • 171 views

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