I’ve got great news for all of you…I’m writing a serial, and you can read it live, right now!
My story The Armored Satchel, an action-packed World War II spy thriller, has been accepted by the serial publishing website JukePop Serials, and the first chapter went live this morning. It’s here. I’m very proud that I finally got this story into print, and I’m also intrigued to be taking part in what I believe is a full-scale revival of the institution of serial fiction!
What Is The Armored Satchel and What’s It About?
The Armored Satchel is a spy thriller, taking place in German-occupied Europe in 1944, and featuring a rather unlikely hero. Here’s the write-up.
Max Volcker may have been born in Kaiserslautern, but his heart is back home in Brooklyn. His name is carved underneath a seat at Ebbets Field, his last school assignment is still in his locker at Brooklyn Tech and his Bushwick boyfriend is serving on a U.S. Navy battleship in the Pacific. Forcibly deported to Germany after his family was mistaken for Nazi agents, Max will do anything to get back to America, but driving a Wehrmacht officer around German-held France doesn’t offer many opportunities to escape. That is, until a French Resistance bomb takes out Max’s employer and breaks the lock on the officer’s steel-reinforced briefcase full of forged passports, papers and counterfeit cash.
When Max appropriates the identity of the officer–a crack Nazi intelligence agent known as “the Specter”–he decides he’ll work secretly for the Allies as a mole, and when the war ends they’ll reward him with U.S. citizenship and a ticket back to New York. But there’s just one catch: the Allies don’t know Max is a double agent. He must convince them of his sincerity while pretending fealty to Hitler’s goons and staying one step ahead of everyone who ever saw the real Specter in person. Considering Max is only 20 and has no intelligence training, that’s a tall order. Now he’d better become an expert in high-level espionage, and fast–before his blunders lose World War II for the good guys!
How Can I Read the Story?
Chapter 1 of The Armored Satchel is already live on the JukePop site. You can read it here, without registering, signing in or doing anything.
As I write each chapter of The Armored Satchel, it will be published on the JukePop Serials website. However, to get past the first chapter, you must register on the JukePop website. Registration is free and easy. If you get hooked on the story–as I hope you do–come back periodically to read more chapters!
I hope to add a chapter a week, or at the outside every 10 days. I can’t promise clockwork regularity, but I will be updating the story regularly.
What You Can Do To Help
Here’s where I need a little help from my fans: if you read Chapter 1 of The Armored Satchel and you like it, register on the JukePop website and vote for it. JukePop promotes serials based on the number of votes they get. Please vote! If The Armored Satchel breaks into the top 30 serials on the JukePop site, I will start getting paid for each subsequent chapter. That means more chapters–more adventure–more thrills! So it’s a win-win for you.
What Is Serial Fiction?
One of the reasons I’m excited about The Armored Satchel is it’s a return to the old days of serial fiction. From the early 19th century until roughly the 1960s, top authors usually wrote their novels one chapter at a time, with each chapter being run in sequence in a major magazine. Charles Dickens, for example, wrote almost exclusively in serial format. Did you know that one of the first appearances of James Bond in world literature was in serial form? Argosy magazine ran chapters of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels one at a time in the 1950s. Very occasionally, modern authors have also utilized the serial format. Tom Wolfe, for example, originally wrote his classic novel The Bonfire of the Vanities as a serial in New Yorker magazine.
Today, print publications don’t run fictional serials the way they used to, but the Internet has radically changed the rules. Now sites like JukePop are starting to offer serial fiction. I am happy and proud to return to this tradition, although I admit writing a book chapter-by-chapter is going to be an interesting and challenging experience for me!
Literary serials have also cross-bred extensively with movie serials, especially those of the 1930s and 1940s. I’m a huge fan of movie serials, and if you’re familiar with that genre you will notice The Armored Satchel sort of resembles some of the old Republic serials from the time in which it’s set. Each chapter will end with an explosive cliffhanger!
The Background of The Armored Satchel: It’s Based (Very Loosely) on a True Story.
The Armored Satchel came together in its final form very recently, since the beginning of 2013, but it’s been a long time in the making. I have had a hankering to write a World War II spy thriller for over 20 years. They’re tricky to write, though, and as I do not have a background in espionage fiction, every idea I tried to come up with fell apart pretty quickly.
Then, while I was browsing microfilm of the New York Times from 1945 for a historical research project, I spied a small but very intriguing article about a captured German spy who had recently been arrested by the FBI. The spy’s story was, shall we say, quite unique and stuck in my head. It struck me that the real-life story was the perfect launch point for a World War II spy thriller. In a future blog I’ll explain the real-life basis behind The Armored Satchel, and the first thing you’ll note is that truth really is stranger than fiction!
A Special Angle for LGBT Readers/Authors.
One thing you will notice when you read the first chapter of The Armored Satchel is that its protagonist, Max Volcker, is gay. In fact his entire motivation for going underground in the Nazi spy apparatus is to get back home to Brooklyn to reunite with his boyfriend. While I do not intend The Armored Satchel to be “gay fiction,” I think that in this era of rapidly increasing tolerance and acceptance toward LGBT persons, the time is right for an action-adventure hero to have a gay background.
So, if you support LGBT writers (I am bisexual, myself), please do vote for the serial as its chapters unfold, and help spread its reach!
Okay…So When’s The Next Chapter Out?
Chapter 2 of The Armored Satchel is in the works as we speak! I will certainly publicize the crap out of each chapter as it goes up, so if you follow my Twitter or my Facebook page you’ll know when new chapters come out. I will occasionally be doing blog posts on topics related to the serial as well. In the meantime–vote, vote, vote, VOTE!