Wednesday, August 24, 2016


  From John Bentacourt, Publisher:

I'm delighted to announce the release of STEN AND THE MUTINEERS, the first new book in Allan Cole & Chris Bunch's classic Sten series, in more than 20 years. This volume, written solo by Allan Cole (unfortunately, Chris Bunch has passed away), is set between books 2 and 3 in the original series, when Sten is a young officer in the Mantis Corps. Mutiny, space pirates, and romance are just a few of the things Sten must grapple with, as he attempts yet again to accomplish a nearly impossible mission! Ebook: Available now at (by the end of the week everywhere else). $5.99 (half price discount coupon available -- see below)Trade paperback: Available by Monday ($13.99). To kick things off, we have the ebook on sale (starting today) for half price -- $2.99 instead of $5.99. Use coupon code STEN50 to save $3.00 on it. To order other items by the authors -- or other books from Wildside Press -- use coupon code STEN25 to save 25% on your total order (minimum $2.99). Coupon code expires August 31.Happy reading!

Note from Allan: Meanwhile, I'll keep
posting the weekly blot episodes until we reach the ever loving END! There are eight episodes remaining. And now, here's this week's episode:


Venatora’s heart skipped a beat as she watched the distant ship move through the No Being’s Zone and near the mines on the outer edges of the Colony.

It was the Flame, no doubt about it. She was a light cruiser, of recent vintage. What Jane’s “Fighting Star Ships” termed the Radoslaw class. She could see the charred section of the tail—with the ship’s name blackened out except for the “F.”

The damage was the fault of Rual, that misbegotten fool, who had nearly spoiled her plans by attacking Sten.

Obediently following behind the ship on powerful tractor beams was the 125-kilometer space-train bearing all that Imperium X that the Tahn wanted so badly.

“Got a confirmation on the electronic signature, Ma’am,” Marta said. “She’s definitely the Flame.”

She turned to her mistress, worry lines furrowing her brow. “But why is she so early, Ma’am?”

Venatora didn’t reply, she just studied the ship with just a niggling of doubt.

“Shall I contact her, Ma’am?” Marta asked, reaching for the com board.

“No!” Venatora snapped. “We must maintain radio silence as agreed. We don’t want to alert the Imperials that something is amiss.”

There was a hidden buoy at the edge of zone. If the ship was somehow flying under false colors, it would be obliterated when it reached the buoy.

Then she heard was a distinctive series of beeps coming from the com board.

“It’s Station Alpha, Ma’am,” Marta said. “The missiles are armed and ready.”

“Stand by,” Venatora said.

More beeps.

“They’re standing by, Ma’am.”

Just then the ship slowed, coming very nearly to a halt.

A series of high pitched noises poured forth, in the distinctive long short pattern of the archaic Morse Code she and the mutineers had agreed to use.

.- .-.. .-.. / --- -.- .- -.-- .-.-.- / .-. . --.- ..- . ... - / .--. . .-. -- .. ... ... .. --- -. / - --- / .--. .-. --- -.-. . . -.. .-.-.-

“Translate,” Venatora snapped.

“Ma’am, it reads: ‘All okay. Request permission to proceed.’ Just like we agreed, Ma’am.”

Venatora considered. Then: “Signal: ‘Permission granted.’ And tell Station Alpha to stand down.”

A second later Marta reporter, “Station Alpha standing down, Ma’am.”

All her doubts vanished. She personally took charge of the board, sending signals to guide the Flame through the maze of mines and missiles that guarded The Colony.


Sten had cleared the Bridge for an operation that Mahoney warned would likely be declared “Eyes Only” in the very near future.

“We don’t want too many people watching how we make sausage,” he’d said.

And so the only people with him were Alex, Ida, Doc, Mk’wolf, and two techs who had been TDY’d to Mercury Corps operations a time or three in the past.

“They’ve got clearances up th’ clottin’ sheep’s whazoo,” Alex observed after double-checking their creds.

“What in the clotting clot is a clotting sheep’s whazoo,” Ida demanded.

Kilgour grinned. “A bit a haggis in the makin’,” he said.

Only the two newbies, Warrant Officer Murgas and Warrant Officer Tm’beaty, laughed.

Sten glared them into silence. It was not good to feed the machine that was Alex Kilgour. You never knew what would set him off into spotted snake land.

Ida and Doc added glares of their own to underscore the point.

Sten turned to the big holomap on the com board. Before Venatora had so rudely shut down their bugs aboard the Flame, Ida had carefully copied Shaklin’s depiction of Possnet Sector, with the emphasis on Venatora’s fortress lair.

As they came to the edge of what Shaklin’s map declared a No Being’s Zone, He could see a wavery yellow line play between two red points.

“They’ve got missiles at those points,” Ida said, as she guided the Flame toward the yellow line.

“Steady,” Sten said.

Ida pressed forward.

Then she said, “They’re arming the missiles!”

“GA,” Sten said.

Ida kept going.

Her eyebrows rose and she said: “they’re clottin’ painting us!”

“Hold on,” Sten said.

Ida held on, hand poised over a “jump” button that would hopefully get them out of harm’s way in the nick of a decaying atom.

An odd feeling—a weak electronic tingle—passed through the Jo’l Cash. It was as if some Hellhound of a Presence was sniffing them.

“They’re checking to see if we’re the Flame inside as well as out,” Ida said.

She leaned back. A little more confident. There was no one in the Mantis Section who could create a better electronic disguise than Ida.

If the charred over painted name on the ship was the Flame, then so was every other electronic signature aboard the phantom that was in reality, the Jo’l Cash with a tail section bearing a fake wound.

“I think they’re satisfied,” Ida said. “But there’s still a little doubt.”

“Transmit the code,” Sten said, and seal the deal.”

“Aye,” Alex said and sent the coded passwords: “permission to proceed.”

The two red dots turned green.

Even so, Sten didn’t breathe again until they’d passed the yellow line


Venatora eased back and stretched out a languid hand. Marta instantly filled it with a Venatora’s favorite drink—a mildly fermented mixture of lemon and honey chilled to perfection.

She sipped, examining the Flame as it moved through an elaborate maze, the hundred and twenty five kilometer long ore train trailing behind.

Then she frowned. There was something…not…quite…right.

She leaned forward. Eyes scanning the entire length. No. Everything was as it should be. Even so… There was a…lack…of something.

And then she realized that what she wasn’t seeing was the usual activity that went on outside the Flame.

Normally, swarms of little maintenance and repair bots would be sniffing around, looking for any possible breakdowns, or places holed by a meteorite that gotten through the ship’s shields.

“Marta,” she said, hesitantly. “When was the last time—”


“Ah, drakh and clottin’ fall back in it!” Ida shouted.

“What’s got yer Gypsy knickers in a twist, lass?” Alex asked.

“I forgot the clottin’ foofarah,” she said, turning to her left and palming a switch.

Immediately, little multi-colored lights starting running up down the board.

“What’s that all about?” Sten asked. Should he be worrying?


Venatora caught herself mid-query when she saw a little bot scurry out from under the damaged tail section.

A few seconds later a whole swarm followed and got busy on other parts of the ship.

“You were saying, Ma’am?” Marta asked.

Venatora waved her away. “Nothing, dear, nothing,” she said.

The bots had obviously been busy repairing the damage caused by that fool, Rual. She was ashamed that she shared the same gender as that hot-headed fool.

Pity Venatora was a woman of her word. Otherwise, after the deal had been completed, she would have done everyone a favor and eliminated Rual. And that toad-face Zheng along with her.

Oh, well. She sighed, then savored another sip of her lemon and honey drink.


On the holomap, Venatora’s fortress looked like nothing more than an great ugly hunk of dirty gray ice.

There were great crater-like cracks running along the surface. Many of the craters seemed to be in permanent shadow.

Ida glanced over at Murgas and Tm’beaty, who were busy doing backup scans of their own.

“Guys?” she asked.

“Black ice,” Murgas said.

“Confirmed,” said Tm’Beaty.

Ida turned back to Sten. “Perfect camouflage,” she said.

Sten nodded. The ice would hide any heat given off by weapons batteries.

Circling the fortress were several smaller ice bodies, orbiting like miniature moons.

“More guns and missiles and mines and bombs and drakh,” Ida said, her hands flying across her weapons’ board, palming buttons, turning dials and toggling switches.

She checked with Murgas and Tm’Beaty. “Still with me, guys?”

“Affirmative, boss,” Murgas said.

“Those are basically sentries,” Ida told Sten. “One false move and they’ll all open up on us. So, my advice to you, young Sten, is to be very picky about the timing of our false move.”

“We can do a lot of damage when we strike,” Sten said. “Even crippling damage. But there’s no way we can take her out all by our lonesome.”

Doc sighed. “Naturally, in human affairs the easiest solution is one you’re forbidden to take.”

He scratched his furry chin with a single extended claw so sharp it glittered in the light. “Eventually, our orders are to kill her,” he said. “Unfortunately, just not now.”

“Aye, we ken only sting ’er,” Alex said, “Ain then run loch heel when she sets the dogs oan us.”

“Never fear, Ida’s here,” the fat Rom chortled as she moved a hand across the board.

An area of the Fortress was enlarged and Sten saw a large yellowish hump, like a ripe boil, between two craters.

“What do you make of that?” she asked the techs.

Murgas and Tm’Beaty got busy digging into their data stream.

A minute later, Murgas said, “That’s their primary operation center, boss. Take that out and they’ll be blind.”

But Tm’Beaty was still going at it. “Hang on,” he said, fingers hammering away at his board. Turned to Sten.“They’ve got all kinds of backup, Captain. If we knock that out, in about two seconds flat a whole mess of other systems will come on line.”

Ida studied the stream. Nodded. “In other words,” she said, “all hell will break loose.”

Doc broke in. “I calculate that it’s more than just an operation center,” he said. “I’ve come to admire Venatora’s cunning. And it is my observation that she’s purposely put an attractive target in plain view.”

Sten chuckled. God, he admired that woman.

“Bait for a trap,” he said.

“A wee bit of cheese for th’ rats,” Alex said.

Ida’s hands began flying across her board again. “I’ll look for a better clottin’ target,” she said.

“Hold on,” Sten said. “Considering our purpose, we have already found it.”

Ida frowned. “What are you thinking?”

“That we grab the cheese and then run like hell,” Sten said. “And do as much damage as possible on the way out.”

He turned to Murgas and Tm’Beaty. “I want you to sus out all possible danger areas,” he said. “When the drakh hits the fan, I want to know the most likely places the attacks will come from.”

Then to Ida: “Take out everything they throw at us. But don’t get too antsy. I want Venatora to have plenty of muscle left when we get to Stage Two of this little operation.”

And now to Alex. “I know you’ve got the escape route mapped out,” he said. “But I’m not fooling myself Venatora won’t try to close that off before we can shake free.”

“Nae a problem, laddie,” Alex said. “Ah’ve got uir wee jump point primed an’ ready tae gang.”

“And how about you, Doc?” Sten said. “You’ve been in constant contact with Shaklin. How is he holding up?”

“Better than I expected,” Doc said. “In fact, he’s so calm that I wonder if he has something else planned.”

“Do you think he’ll turn on us at the last minute?” Sten asked.

“Not as yet,” Doc said. “Just be warned to expect the unexpected.”

“Tha’s th’ Kilgore clan’s first rule ay war,” Alex said. “If things can go wrang, you’d best coont on it.”

Sten moved over to Ida’s side.


She laughed. “Now comes my favorite part,” she said.

“And what would that be?”

“You say ‘Fire.’”

“Okay, then,” Sten said. “Fire!”

Ida stabbed a fat finger at the button.



NOTE FROM ALLAN: My multi-talented brother, Drew Cole, has just released a marvelous new album of original songs – “The Shook Souls.” Some of the songs will make you cry, some will tickle your irony bone, and all of them will take you back to moments in your life, both painful or joyful, that will never be forgotten. The songs are free, but you can feed the kitty if you like them. Click on this link and hear for yourself. 


Ever since my British publisher put all eight novels in the Sten series in three omnibus editions, American readers have been clamoring for equal treatment. 

Well, my American publisher – Wildside Books – was listening and is issuing all three omnibus omnibus volumes on this side of the Atlantic. Sten Omnibus #1 was published 
last month. Sten Omnibus #2 debuts this week. Stay tuned for the publication for Volume Three. 

THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions. 

NEWLY REVISED KINDLE EDITIONS OF THE TIMURA TRILOGY NOW AVAILABLE. (1) When The Gods Slept;(2) Wolves Of The Gods; (3) The Gods Awaken.


Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.

Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
Canada ........................................ Italy
Germany ..................................... Japan
Brazil .......................................... India


A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.



A True Story About A Boy,
A Teacher, And Earthquake,
Some Terrorists And The CIA

LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher. 

He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.

Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide: 

Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
  • "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus. 
  • "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke,



What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm- ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 



Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.

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