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Writing Fighting by J.T. Nicholas | The SINdrome Book Tour | Silver Dagger Tours Presents Science Fiction, Artificial Intelligence

SINdrome by J.T. Nicholas is on virtual book tour. The science fiction (artificial intelligence) stops at the blog with an author guest pos...

SINdrome by J.T. Nicholas is on virtual book tour. The science fiction (artificial intelligence) stops at the blog with an author guest post and excerpt. Enjoy!

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for a $20 Amazon GC and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

Writing Fighting

by J.T. Nicholas

I love fight scenes.
Nothing quite gets the blood going like a good action sequence.  For as far back as I can remember, my favorite scenes from books, movies, comics, et al. have been gripping, life-or-death, seat-of-your-pants battles where the heroes and heroines have to risk everything to succeed.  In addition to being my favorite thing to read, they’re probably my favorite thing to write as well.
So, what makes a good fight scene?  Here are my rules for writing fighting:
Rule 1: (in your best Jerry Maguire voice) Show me the action!
The first, and most obvious, is the age-old rule of writing in general: show, don’t tell.  Nothing kills my enjoyment of a book faster than a fight scene breaking out only to have some cut away that prevents us from seeing the action.  Convenient unconsciousness, blacking out in rage, or just simple scene breaking and moving on all leave me feeling cheated. It’s not really a fight scene if you don’t show the action!  Give me details. I want to feel the blows, smell the sweat, bathe in the viscera. Okay… maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
Rule 2: Don’t Break the Suspension of Disbelief
If you’ve never heard the term, “Suspension of Disbelief” is what lets us enjoy all forms of entertainment without having to go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on them.  The problem is, there’s a point at which even those of us who embrace over the top action have to take a step back and go, “Wait a minute… that guy’s been firing on full auto for like three minutes straight and hasn’t reloaded once.”  In other words, there’s a point at which we stop suspending our disbelief and start getting distracted by the things that don’t make sense. You have to find a balance between badassery and reality – once you move over into the realm of the impossible, unless you have a good explanation for it, you’re going to lose your readers.
Rule 3: Know whereof you speak.
There’s another adage in writing: write what you know.  This doesn’t mean “only write what you yourself have personally experienced and never stray from those bounds.”  That would make for some boring fiction indeed. But for the most part, we have the sum total of human knowledge contained in a magic box that we carry in our pockets.  It’s a good idea to make use of it. Research is as important to writing a good fight scene as it is to writing anything else… maybe more so.
The internet can take you far, but I’m a firm believer that hands-on research is the best kind, particularly when it comes to action.  Plus, it’s fun! Writing about fighting? Why not get some more practical experience (and no, I don’t mean go pick a fight)? Go take a martial arts class somewhere.  Learn what it’s like to get punched in the face. It’s amazing how quickly it will change your perspective on just how much your hero can bear. Go to your local range – almost all of them offer basic gun safety and handling courses and firearm rentals.  Or, go talk to the people who know – experts in any field are normally excited about sharing information, particularly with aspiring authors. Ask a doctor about gunshot wounds and how likely it is for someone to get shot “just a little bit” and be ready to go by the third act.
Really, this rule is an extension of Rules 1 and 2… or maybe a prerequisite.  The more you know about the mechanics of fighting, the more you can show and the less likely you are to break the bounds of disbelief.
Rule 4: Setbacks are drama.
We all want our heroes to be bad asses.  Of course, we do! They’re there to win it all.  But you have to be careful to never make it too easy.  Think of Die Hard. John McClane is iconic not because he blasts through the bad guys, but because he takes a beating doing it.  He literally has to drag himself across a field of broken glass to save the day. Setbacks make characters more relatable and they also build the drama and tension.  They make us worry for the heroes. They make us wonder how they’re going to pull it off this time. If your character walks through every fight scene without a scratch, there’s no danger.  If there’s no danger, there’s no risk. And if there’s no risk, there’s no real action. It’s the difference between watching someone jogging (yawn!) and watching a race in the Olympics.
Rule 5: Know when to break the rules.
What about the pirate code?  Well, it’s really more just guidelines.  Look, there are times for your good guy to mow down the bad guys like wheat before the scythe.  There are times to throw realism out the window and go full gonzo. There are even (begrudgingly) times to skip out on the action.  The trick is knowing when it’s the right time to break the rules. This is definitely more art than science, but a good rule of thumb is it should always be the exception and never the norm.  Did your protagonist just have a drawn-out fight scene with a villain? Maybe it’s okay to hand wave his way to victory against the mooks that rush in after. Love interest about to plummet to his or her death?  All medical science aside, maybe the protag can manage to save the day despite the bullet that should have long since caused a catastrophic drop in blood pressure. Sometimes, doing the impossible is exactly what we need to see a character do.

The New Lyons Sequence #3
by J.T. Nicholas

Genre: Science Fiction, Artificial Intelligence

Pub Date: 9/18/18

The Sickness unto Death

The Synth revolution has come at last. The supposedly synthetic beings humans crafted to do their dirty work for them have fully actualized their own humanity—and they no longer acquiesce in their enslavement. Victory in the struggle to tear down the institutions of oppression seems just a matter of time. But the halls of power are not so easily shaken—and a counterstrike is inevitable.

Former Detective Jason Campbell has pledged his life to the Synthetic cause. So when a mysterious virus starts wiping out Synths left and right—and shows signs of mutating to target everyone else—he must lead a race against time to prevent the outbreak of the most horrific plague the world has ever seen. If he succeeds, he’ll expose the moral bankruptcy of the depraved elites who will stop at nothing to restore the old order. If he fails, it could mean the end of life on this planet. For both Synth and Human.

The New Lyons Sequence #2

The Post-Modern Prometheus

Synths were manufactured to look human and perform physical labor, but they were still only machines. That’s what the people who used—and abused—them believed, until the truth was revealed: Synths are independent, sentient beings. Now, the governments of the world must either recognize their human nature and grant them their rightful freedom, or brace for a revolution.
Former New Lyons Detective Jason Campbell has committed himself to the Synths’ cause, willing to fight every army the human race marches against them. But they have an even greater enemy in Walton Biogenics, the syndicate behind the creation and distribution of the “artificial” humans. The company will stop at nothing to protect their secrets—and the near-mythological figure known to Synths as “The First,” whose very existence threatens the balance of power across the world . . .

The New Lyons Sequence #1

The Artificial Evolution

They look like us. Act like us. But they are not human. Created to perform the menial tasks real humans detest, Synths were designed with only a basic intelligence and minimal emotional response. It stands to reason that they have no rights. Like any technology, they are designed for human convenience. Disposable.

In the city of New Lyons, Detective Jason Campbell is investigating a vicious crime: a female body found mutilated and left in the streets. Once the victim is identified as a Synth, the crime is designated no more than the destruction of property, and Campbell is pulled from the case.
But when a mysterious stranger approaches Campbell and asks him to continue his investigation in secret, Campbell is dragged into a dark world of unimaginable corruption. One that leaves him questioning the true nature of humanity.

And what he discovers is only the beginning . . .

J.T. Nicholas was born in Lexington, Virginia, though within six months he moved (or was moved, rather) to Stuttgart, Germany. Thus began the long journey of the military brat, hopping from state to state and country to country until, at present, he has accumulated nearly thirty relocations. This experience taught him that, regardless of where one found oneself, people were largely the same. When not writing, Nick spends his time practicing a variety of martial arts, playing games (video, tabletop, and otherwise), and reading everything he can get his hands on. Nick currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, a pair of indifferent cats, a neurotic Papillion, and an Australian Shepherd who (rightly) believes he is in charge of the day-to-day affairs.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

SINdrome - Chapter 1

You went into a knife fight knowing you were going to get cut.

It was one of the cardinal rules of weapon defense, and the reasoning behind it was simple: you had to prepare yourself for the inevitability so that when it happened, you didn’t freeze up. When blades came into play, inaction was synonymous with death.

The chow line at the New Lyons City Prison moved slowly, a long line of orange-clad men shuffling forward, trays in hand. It reminded me, more than anything, of my time in the Army. Sure, the uniforms were different, but the sense of routine, the loss of any sort of control over your day-to-day life, those were…familiar. Easier to adjust to than I’d anticipated. Boot camp had just been a different flavor of prison.

Of course, in boot, I’d only thought the instructors were out to kill me.

Here, in the loving hands of the New Lyons Department of Corrections, things were a little different. I had not—technically—been convicted of any crime. At least not yet. But the charges leveled against me—which included everything the prosecutors could think of but could be best summed up as domestic terrorism—had equated to an automatic denial of bail and ensured that Momma Campbell’s favorite son was headed to the big house for holding. Normally, former cops wouldn’t be put into the general population. But somewhere, somehow, a clerical error had been made. The guards assured me—with the biggest shit-eating grins they could muster—that it would all get straightened out soon and I’d go into protective custody.

In the meantime, I was sharing a cell block with a few hundred inmates who knew that I was a cop. The guards hadn’t even had to tell them. Denying inmates ’net access had long ago been determined “cruel and unusual” punishment, access to the web being deemed as vital a service as electricity or clean water, and with hours on end of sitting in a cell with nothing but a screen to occupy their time, damn near everyone knew who I was.

They’d all seen the first ’net hijacking that Silas and the other synthetics had engineered, showing the world Evelyn, the synthetic impregnated by her human rapist. That wasn’t supposed to be possible, or course, since everyone know the synthetics were genetically sterile inhuman things and not people at all. Right. They knew about Silas’s demands, that all synthetics be granted full rights of citizenship and freed from their captivity. They knew about the stick that those in the revolution—myself included—claimed to have, the mountain of secrets that could bring down governments. And, they’d all seen Hernandez, my former partner and friend, escort me to the precinct and turn me over into the fat, greasy hands of Francois Fortier.

They didn’t know why or how that had happened. They didn’t know that I’d turned myself in, after nearly a month of avoiding the cops and feds on my tail. They didn’t know about the documents Al’awwal, the first synthetic, had helped us recover from his “father’s” lab. The documents that proved not only that Walton Biogenics knew the synthetics were human, but that they had deliberately suppressed that information along with significant medical advancements that could have benefited all of humankind, in the pursuit of profit.

But they would. The deadline was up. Sometime this evening, Silas, LaSorte, and the rest would flip the switch or press the magic button or whatever the hell it was they did, and that information would go out to the world, along with the first round of skeletons aimed at discrediting the most vehemently anti-synthetic politicians. And my presence here, turning myself in, was all in an effort to get some of that information into the official record, somewhere where an army of paid ’net trolls couldn’t try to muddy the waters with a focused disinformation campaign of their own. Evidence presented at trial became the subject of deposition and investigation almost by default, and there was only so much Walton Biogenics could do to hide the truth.


  1. Sounds like a great book! Best wishes on your tour.

  2. Best of luck with the book and book tour! I included the tour in the Sept. 22, 2018 edition edition of The BookTube Your Shelf Daily Reader:

  3. I really like both covers, my favorite is Sinthetic.

  4. Both covers look great and I enjoyed the excerpt!

  5. Looks like really interesting reads

  6. What do you think of the books or the covers?
    well of the 3 SINdrome is the most amazing one,it looks realy cool and well made!!


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