Author: MichaelLachmanWrites

BLACKCOATS BOOK FOUR IS OUT TODAY!

Blackcoats: The Dragons Below (Book 4) is out today! That makes four Blackcoats books in under one year! Check out the description and links below:

THE HOLLOW EARTH. DINOSAURS. LIZARD PEOPLE.
STILL EASIER THAN HIGH SCHOOL.

After being abandoned by her former mentor, Holly finds herself questioning all her life choices. Before she can fully process everything, she and Adam are thrust into a new mission, deep within the Hollow Earth. With dinosaurs and Dragonkin lurking behind every corner, Holly’s skills as a Blackcoat are constantly tested. But while she has their back, can she trust C.H.E.S.S. her have hers?

When things start to spiral out of control—with the fate of the surface world in the balance—Holly has to pull herself together if she hopes to survive.

E-Book: USInternational
Paperback via Amazon: USInternational

Quick Update: Blackcoats 4 & 5 + Trailer

Just a quick update on Blackcoats. You can check out the series trailer on the books page of the website. Had some fun throwing it together. As for book 4 of Blackcoats, I’m currently making some final edits, it should be ready soon. Meanwhile, the outline for the 5th book has been finalized last week, and I’ve officially started writing the first draft. The fifth book will have to tie up all the loose ends, as it’s basically the finale to the Wrain story arc. (I’m looking at the sixth book as the begining of “season two,” and it’ll feature a completely new storyline and a major change in the status quo going forward.)

One last thing, the first book, Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking, is a quarterfinalist in the SPSFC. I’m honestly very surprised, and I’m under no illusions it’ll win or even be a finalist, but it’d be nice to make it as a semifinalist. (A number of the judges have admitted bias against YA books, so the fact that it made it this far is a major accomplishment.)

SPSFC: Quarterfinalists

Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking is a quarterfinalist in the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest. I’m honestly surprised it made it this far. Next up, semifinals! Who knows, maybe Blackcoats will make it! On a related note, if you’re looking for some solid indie scifi books, check out the books below. They’re all pretty solid and deserve a look.

After much consternation, deliberation, and probably another unnamed “ation” or two, Team Space Lasagna is proud to announce the quarterfinalists for The SPSFC. Each team member read at lest 10-20% of 31 books this fall. We chose the 10 best books to move on to the quarterfinals as follows (in no particular order): A Star […]

SPSFC: Quarterfinalists

Blackcoats Book One is on sale!

Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking, the first book in my Blackcoats series is currently on sale on Amazon. The kindle edition is $0.99 and the paperback is $7.99. If you haven’t read it, now’s a great time to pick it up!

On a related note, the first draft of book four is nearing completion. I should have it finished within the next two to three weeks, at which point I’ll commission the cover while working on the subsequent drafts. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year, though early next year is still a possibility.

Book Review – The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker

An Orthodox Jew’s review: It’s not every book that I’ll stay up to 3 am on Shabbos just to finish it. Helene Wecker’s The Hidden Palace, despite being a direct sequel, is a different sort of book than The Golem and the Jinni–but that isn’t a bad thing. It focuses on a longer period of time, but it still has all the characters you love, and the prose is still so gorgeous yet fun and easy to read, I’d read it even if I didn’t care for the plot. And I do like the plot–yes, it can seem a little simplistic at times, and it could be argued that it relies too much on coincidence, but for me, the story just jelled really well. Besides, coincidence in stories like these feel more like the hand of G-d pushing things along, l’havdil like Megilas Esther, which is full of coincidences, until the end where everything ties together and it was all meant to be. Yeah, some folks may not like that in their storytelling, but here it really worked. It probably helped that I loved the characters, I loved the writing, and I loved how all the separate threads masterfully wove together to create a cohesive story.

My only real gripes were minor nitpicks, specifically regarding one character, who despite clearly being ashkenazi is learning Hebrew from her father with a sfardi pronunciation, when she’s reading what is clearly supposed to be gemara, she refers to it as Hebrew when it is actually Aramaic, and despite being uncompromising in her orthodox judaism, writes on Shabbos several times and doesn’t ever mention that it’s something she shouldn’t be doing, or rationalizing it. Oh, and there’s a scene where *spoilers* a character mentions the Golem of Prague, and how accoridng to some stories it went on a rampage, so he names his golem after a reletive of his who was very calm–and names the golem Yossele, which was the very name of the Golem of Prague–you’d think he’d know that, right? *end of spoilers*

Clearly though, these are minor nitpicks that unless you are an orthodox jew yourself, you probably won’t pick up on. As a whole though, this book is fantastic. Is it perfect? No–no book is. But it’s about as close as a perfect book could be, for me anyway. Jewish folklore, major historical events, magic, compelling characters, and a focus on storytelling that reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. This book is timeless, and anyone who picked up the first book would be doing themselves a disservice if they missed out on this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the third.

Blackcoats Update

So the first Blackcoats book was released four months ago, and the third book was released within a month of the first. They’ve been selling alright by my standards, but not particularly well–at the rate I’m going, it will be years before I make my money back. That’s fine though, I still plan on publishing more books, and the reviews I’ve gotten have been great, so that’s been a good motivation.

I was really hoping to have the fourth book finished by now, but my work laid off a huge chunk of its employees, so I’ve been busier than I thought I’d be. Still, I’m over halfway through the first draft of the fourth book, and it’s coming along really well. Also, as a Holly-centered story, which it fun, but difficult to write sometimes–she’s so different from me in terms of personality, and I have to constantly make sure that it’s her voice that’s coming through. While the third book was a take on those alternate dimension/time travel stories, this one is a riff off of those old ‘hollow earth’ books, like Journey to the Center of the Earth and ERB’s Pellucidar series. I think you’ll all really enjoy it.

I still think I can have it out by the end of the year, but it’s just as likely it won’t come out until the first quarter of 2022. I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes.

Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking

Diary of a Nerdy Bookworm

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. :)*

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Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking

by Michael Lachman

My stars: 5

Zombies. Cryptids. Secret government agencies.

And Adam thought high school was tough.

When Adam arrives home to find his house swarming with government agents, he quickly discovers that his father was a secret government scientist specializing in fringe science and the paranormal. An agent reveals that Adam’s father was caught performing illegal experiments, including genetically modifying Adam’s DNA.

Now, with his father missing and the genetic tampering beginning to take effect, Adam’s only chance to find a cure is to help the agency track down his father. The mystery deepens as agents go missing, and all the evidence points to a man long dead. With the clock ticking and hints of a mole within the agency, Adam must uncover the traitor, find his father, and secure a cure—before…

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Blackcoats: A Brief Overview

Cryptids, alternate dimensions, zombies, lizard-people—all that stuff is real. That’s where the Cryptid Handling and Extranormal Secret Service comes in. Adam and Holly are two teenagers drafted into C.H.E.S.S. against their will after being genetically experimented on by rogue government scientists. Now they’ll have to learn to work together if they hope to make it out alive.

Blackcoats is a new series, though I’ve been working on it for years. It began as an attempt to create my own Animorphs-inspired series, throwing in a healthy dose of Chuck, Fringe, Men in Black, and Spider-man. The end result is basically Alex Rider meets Maximum Ride.

The first book, Dead Man Walking, will be out on Tuesday this week, and the following book, The Next Mutation, will be out two weeks later. The third book, One World Over, will come out two weeks after that. All are available for pre-order on the Books Page. The plan at the moment is for the series to be comprised of five books, which will closed out the story and tie up all the loose ends. I have plans for further books, but whether or not I write them depend on if the demand is there and how well the initial five books sell. Like Animorphs, the books are written in first person POV, with each book being told from a different character’s POV. The first five books only rotate between Adam and Holly, but that will change if a sixth book is made. As of this writing, the fourth book is fully outlined and the fifth books is heavily outlined as well, though it won’t be finalized until the fourth book is finished. The goal is to have the fourth book out by the end of the year, and the fifth book out by June 2022 at the latest (though hopefully before then).

The books take place in the same world as A Spark Ignites, but other than the Inventor appearing in both, and a few blink-and-you-miss-it references and cameos, Blackcoats is it’s own separate thing. If you haven’t read A Spark Ignites, you’re not really missing anything, but if you liked Blackcoats, then maybe you should check Spark out.

Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking

The cover for my next book, Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking, is finished! This is the first book in a planned five book series, and will be released on March 9, 2021. (The next book will probably be a few weeks after that, and the third book will be in late April or early May.) I’ll update this post with the preorder link when it is available.

The goal was to make an Animorphs-style book, but I ended up with what one beta reader called Alex Rider meets Maximum Ride (I hope he meant the early books). I’ll post the blurb the cover. I’m really excited about this release. It’s been too long since I released anything (under my own name, anyway), and I can’t wait to share Blackcoats with the world.

When Adam arrives home to find his house swarming with government agents, he quickly discovers that his father was a secret government scientist specializing in fringe science and the paranormal. An agent reveals that Adam’s father was caught performing illegal experiments, including genetically modifying Adam’s DNA.

Now, with his father missing and the genetic tampering beginning to take effect, Adam’s only chance to find a cure is to help the agency track down his father. The mystery deepens as agents go missing, and all the evidence points to a man long dead. With the clock ticking and hints of a mole within the agency, Adam must uncover the traitor, find his father, and secure a cure—before it’s too late.

State of my Writing

I’ve been less productive than I’d like, but I figured I’d post a bit about where I stand with my current projects, if only to give myself some accountability.

A Spark Extinguished – The sequel to A Spark Ignites has a first draft, which I’d written years ago, but it just wasn’t working. I set it aside for a while, and it was only recently that I figured out how to make it work. It’ll require rewriting half the book, and it will be less conventional than the first book, but it can work. I plan on getting back to it sometime in 2021, probably in the latter half.

Untitled Jewish Fantasy Novel – I have a solid outline and wrote and rewrote the first chapter several times, but I still can’t figure out how I want the story to be told. I put it off to the side for an indefinite amount of time, until I figure it out. Maybe once I finish The New Avalon Chronicles.

The New Avalon Chronicles – A fun Animorphs inspired YA SFF series with zombies and werewolves and secret agents. The first book is done– I’ve written twenty drafts, might give it a once over before publishing. Initially I’d hoped to have it traditionally published, but while numerous agents showed interest, they all ultimately passed. The most common reason I heard was that they would not be able to sell it in the current market, and I’d written a book that would’ve fit in with the market a decade or two ago. So self-publishing it is. Anyway, the series is intended to be a total of five books, the second of which is in middle of the third draft, but will need at least two more to be presentable. The third book already has a detailed eleven page outline, and the last two have decent five page outlines. I plan on publishing the first book early next year, and the second book within three or four months from the first book. Still considering whether or not to try out commissioning an audiobook. I’d be expensive, so if I do, it’d be just for the first one, and I’d see how it does.

I have a handful of other projects in various states, but nothing as far along as what I have above. Well, there are two other books I outlined recently, but I doubt I’ll have time to work on them before finishing the projects mentioned above. Things can change though.