Red Army Inc.: A Thread in ‘Beware the Spider’

China’s Red Army, formally the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has a long and extensive history of controlling civilian companies, with the earnings accruing considerable wealth to generals and their families.

China Emblem PLA.svg

Emblem, People’s Liberation Army (Source: Wikipedia)

By one estimate, PLA-owned profit-making firms — “from conglomerates to small factories and shops” — numbered as many as 20,000 in the early 1990s.

In my forthcoming Black Orchid Chronicle, Beware the Spider (due out June 3), I wondered what would happen if one such firm encountered my protagonist, Sebastian Arnett, and his power to kill with his thoughts.

As you might imagine, things get complicated, then confused and finally don’t end well at all.

Watch for Beware the Spider, and enjoy the adventure.



Beware the Spider: Status, Closing in on Publication

That big sigh heard ’round the world last Friday was me as I wrapped up the last edits suggested by beta readers of my new thriller, Beware the Spider.

Beware the Spider Banner

Banner image for Beware the Spider

I sent the completed manuscript — 432 pages, 75,650 words — to my editor. She has four weeks to work her magic.

I’ll take a week to clean it up and then we’ll go to pub on at least half a dozen platforms and hard copy. I’m looking at mid to late May, but definitely before Memorial Day. I want to hit the summer traffic. It’s going to be a great beach (or mountain) read.

Meanwhile, all of the digital design work is done, including the ebook cover, the bookmark and the banner (see above). All that remains is the print cover, for which the designers need the completed MS so they can determine how wide the spine should be.

So, we are rockin’ and rollin’.

Don’t Forget …

The Mark of the Spider, book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, is still available in digital and print editions. You don’t have to read The Mark to enjoy Beware the Spider, but it won’t hurt either.

And you probably already know how important reviews are to authors.

If you read the book and liked it, jot a review. It’s not like doing a book review for homework in high school. Just say that you liked it and maybe why or how excited you are to see the next installment of the Black Orchid Chronicles.

Thank you. But most of all, enjoy.

The Mark of the Spider, Book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, is available in digital and trade paperback (5.5 x 8.5″, 334 pp.) formats at these fine booksellers.

Enjoy it today; review it tomorrow.

Cover Design Winner for Beware the Spider

Thank you to everyone who shared their opinion of the cover design concepts for my forthcoming thriller, Beware the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.Beware the SpiderB

By a two-to-one margin, people preferred Concept B / Tracks.

That design will grace the paperback and digital covers, the Web site and Facebook banners, bookmarks and other marketing materials.

It is more than a worthy successor to The Mark of the Spider and keeps the bar high for book 3 in the Black Orchid Chronicles, tentatively entitled Spider’s Blood and is scheduled for release in 2020.

Thanks to the crew of, who produce such great designs.

Book Status

I have all the feedback from beta readers, and over the next week or two I will tweak the manuscript to address their comments and concerns. (Thank you, beta readers.)

I’ve promised my editor that she’ll have four weeks to go over the book with a fine-toothed comb and weed out my errors.

After that, it will go back to for internal design and formatting and then out to readers.