The Story of “Nighthawks…”


Nighthawks at the Mission is returning to the electronic book shelves with a vengeance tomorrow, October 21st. “Nighthawks…” has been my baby for quite a while. For the last, oh god, three years. The product of sleepless nights, way too much time researching, and a fair amount of pushing from my wife.

“Nighthawks…” was the first book I ever wrote. In fact, I had never done a short story before nor had I ever sold a single article. I did play around with writing screenplays in the past, and technical paper after technical paper while studying political science at California State University, Long Beach. For years I had been practicing, though again, I was selling nothing, and showing no one a single page of material. Just twiddling around with terrible ideas, boring plots and wafer thin characters.

Writing screenplays were just a way to relax and dream about something other than the Frankfurt School, international relations, and text after text about this political theory or the other. By the time I had finished my Master’s Degree, I was done with political science and politics in general. I had my fill. I wanted to do something that had been fun and enjoyable, just for myself. No more essays or thesis statements. Just scifi stuff. I didn’t want to give another crap about re-hashing the same terrible issues that will probably haunt the American Republic until its dissolution. I was burned out. And I was turning thirty years old.

So, as an exercise in personal entertainment and personal achievement, I decided I would write the sort of science fiction novel I wanted to actually read but hadn’t seen on the store shelves. See, I was sort of burned out of most fiction at that point as well. Reading wasn’t as fun as it used to be, especially when it came to new scifi or fantasy books coming out of the large publishing houses. The tropes were played out, the characters blurred together, the plots recycled. There would be only one cherry to be found in a giant basket of lemons, in my humble opinion about the time. And I decided that I would try to hopefully add one more cherry to the whole thing, or at least try to add a different type of lemon that would at least taste sort of different from the same awful ones. I mean, what could I lose?

The beauty of self-publishing is and always has been the great freedom to just throw whatever you wanted onto the Kindle Direct Publishing program and see what could happen. I didn’t need to wait around for agents or for a publisher. I just needed to write the damn thing, get some one to do a cover on it, a professional editor to proof it, format it, and upload it into Amazon as an e-book. There were no gatekeepers, in other words, no middle men or potential delays that would hinder publishing. I could just try to fly it out there and see if I could stick the landing.

So, inspired by Hugh Howey’s story and again figuring the only thing I had to lose was some personal time, I got off my ass just after my thirtieth birthday, wrote up “Nighthawks…”, got all the needed parts together for a proper book, and launched the sucker.

And, after a while, reviews began to trickle in, and they were good. This assuaged my ego a bit; after all it was nice to see complete strangers say the thing was good as opposed to just relying on the word of personal friends.   And a few months in, I got a call from a indie publishing house in North Carolina.

I was excited at the time, and then slowly became disappointed. I was doing most of the heavy relations work at the time, and there were was no real publicizing of the book. The place wasn’t doing anything untoward or unethical; rather it was going for the idea that it should grab up every decent self-published book out there, put it under it’s label, and then send it out into the world and see if anything really took off. And “Nighthawks…” was put back into the world as a published book, and it just laid there.

So, I parted ways with that publisher. I got some good word of mouth amongst the indie crowd from “Nighthawks..”, and got into doing some other works with other editors and writers that I loved to do (“Apocalypse Weird”, “Tales of Tinfoil”, etc.). And I’ve been blessed to be around such a generous and helpful crowd of fellow writers and editors who want to see good fiction succeed.

It really has been a great journey that I’ve been happy to make since launching the first self-published version of “Nighthawks…”, and it’s been something that I have zero regrets about, except for how “Nighthawks…” was originally treated. But that’s been rectified, big time, with this new release from Auspicious Apparatus Press. A beautiful new cover, and some incredible new short stories set in the universe I made up back in 2013 (with talented authors Todd Barselow, Jason Anspach, and Fenton Cooper all contributing).

It’s the same story I’m proud of, along with a few extras and a company proud to get the word out. I couldn’t be more excited to share the novel, and I hope that if you haven’t had a chance to read it, please do so. You’ll enjoy it. A lot of others have already:

You can buy it here on by clicking on the link.



“…[A]t the heart of this fun romp through the shimmering dark of a fascinating alien world and a classic “finding yourself” tale is well cut, enthusiastic, mindbending prose that seems tailor-made for a tale of high adventure set in a strange alien world where anything can happen. So get your butt to Oberon and have an adventure! I highly recommend this book.”

~ Nick Cole, Bestselling Author of “The Wasteland Saga” “Soda Pop Soldier” and “Ctrl Alt Revolt!”

“I’m not sure what all to say about this book. So I’ll start by answering the question “Why 5 Stars?” Well, because it is brilliant. In the way a scary, off-kilter, and dangerous genius is brilliant. Nighthawks at the Mission is an epic, fantasy, sci-fi, tour-de-force. It is also a slightly demented, scatter-brained, fragmented, meme-dropping, allusion-riddled, drug-addled, Jack Kerouac-like, stream-of-consciousness mind thumping that dares you to “get it.

~ Michael Bunker, Best Selling Author of “Pennsylvania”, “Brother, Frank” and “Osage Two Diamonds”.
Five Stars from Readers’ Favorite: “As the voyage to the new world begins, the reader is pulled into the story and taken on a roller coaster ride of continually unraveling pages of adventure, emotional storms, incredible beings, conflict and testimonies of human endurance and the human capacity to adapt to each and every nightmarish scenario that the universe can open up. This is a very well written novel opening new vistas of imagination for the reader.”

~ ReadersFavorite.Com


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About Forbes West

Forbes West was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated with a Master's Degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach. He currently lives and works mostly in San Francisco, CA and owns a home in Ojima, Japan- a village five hours south of Tokyo by car that is in the foothills of Mt. Fuji.

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