Fiction Research: Black Hole or Thousand Points of Light?

The answer to this question depends on the genre. I’ll stick to what I know and focus on Technothrillers.  Walking a fine line: Reading reviews for my novels can be confusing. “If you like Clancy, you’ll love—” “Doesn’t overwhelm the reader with technical details.” “Too many equipment descriptions.” “Not Clancy.” All true, depending on the reader. For story details, I strive for the middle ground, with a tendency toward descriptions that would satisfy the pickiest Clancy readers.  On the flip side, Clancy-esque minutiae is NOT for everyone, including myself. I’ll be the first to admit, that I’ve read about three quarters of every Clancy novel. Readers skip passages no matter what you write, that’s reality—my goal is meet readers half way.  This has always been my personal preference as a reader, but as a writer, it’s necessary for survival. With most of my books purchased ($5.99 or below) and read on an e-reader, I can’t afford to lose a reader’s attention for very long. Within seconds, they can switch to something new and forget about me. Been there. Done that: Many of my readers are convinced that I’m 1.)  a D.C. insider 2.) a former covert operative 3.) still involved in intelligence agency READ MORE

Veterans Donation Campaign Update

Given today’s tragic significance to our nation’s military, most specifically our selfless Special Operations community, I have decided to announce the results of the donation campaign surrounding the launch of my latest book, Black Flagged Vektor. Fictional, yet accurate renditions of service members, (particularly our Special Ops heroes) figure prominently in my novels, so I thought it only appropriate to split my target donation amount between two groups that best represent our nation’s finest. I have donated $1000 to the Wounded Warriors Project and $1000 to the Navy SEAL Foundation (my military roots begin with the Naval Special Warfare community). Both of these amounts will be matched, bringing the total to $4000. This brings the total amount given to these (and other) worthy Veteran’s organizations to $11,000 over the past two years. Your support of my books has made this possible, so please accept my sincerest and most enthusiastic THANK YOU! Spread the word, and lets continue to support dedicated, heroic men and women that TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY. Historical Background: Two years ago, on August 6th, 31 Special Operations service members were killed when their transport helicopter brought down by enemy fire. They were on their way to READ MORE

Black Flagged Vektor live at Amazon

  I’m very excited to announce that Black Flagged Vektor is now available as an ebook at Amazon. The hardcopy version should be available by the end of the weekend (always takes me a little longer to put that together…sorry Greg). DONATION CAMPAIGN NEWS! As always, I will donate a significant portion of the initial proceeds to veteran’s charities. For Black Flagged Vektor’s launch, I have decided to split the donation between The Wounded Warrior Project and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Both organizations serve the unmet needs of veterans and their families, bringing the concept of “no man or woman left behind” to the often overlooked battle these families face even after they return from combat. WE have raised $7000 for organizations like these over the course of the last three book launches. My goal is to donate $2000 and have that doubled by my company’s matching gifts program, raising the total to $11,000. You can help the cause by spreading the word…and dare I say it…plunk down $4.97 for 420 pages of pure covert operations/political/espionage enjoyment!  Purchase Black Flagged Vektor Today READ MORE

Memorial Day and upcoming veterans charity campaign

Memorial Day weighs heavily on the hearts of veterans and service members. We all know someone, or all too often, MANY…who have fallen in service of our nation. Memorial Day weighs even more heavily on the parents, spouses, children and family  of those same men and women. It’s a solemn day for them. A day in which most of us go about our business trying to enjoy the very same things the aforementioned can not fully embrace. They attend the barbecues,  picnics and parades, but someone is missing. Someone is always missing for them. Take a moment today, to quietly remember the fallen and their families. I decided to start Memorial Day with two things. First, I just donated $100 to producer Tracee Beebe’s film The Unremembered. She’s tackling a difficult subject affecting Vietnam Veterans, one of whom is her father. The Unremembered is a dedicated effort to bring attention to thousands of veterans that have been denied the benefits they deserve, and their friends died to preserve. Consider making a donation and bringing their plight into the open. Link to The Unremembered. Second, I decided once again to coordinate a charity campaign with the launch of my next book, READ MORE

Today Was a Good Day…

Black Flagged Apex is live, the Charity Campaign is decided, I kept my job,  and the first Black Flagged reached #1 in the Free Kindle Store…and “I didn’t even have to use my AK.”  I felt that an Ice Cube reference was in order. Here’s why. I waited around the phone yesterday to find out if December 21st would be my first day as a full time writer. I decided to time the launch of my new book with this phone call, in case I received the thumbs down. Regardless of what happened, I’d have good news. Fortunately, my company decided to keep me in place. Not all of my colleagues had a good day, which made my news bittersweet to say the least. Before I share the details of Black Flagged Apex, I need to acknowledge two people who made it possible to launch this book before Christmas. Felicia A. Sullivan and Stef Mcdaid. Felicia has been my editor from the start and very generously agreed to meet my Christmas deadline for a 170K word novel. A few days ago, she probably wondered if I had hidden the total word count from her. I know she worked her @#! off READ MORE

Black Flagged Apex Donation Campaign…

UPDATE 12/23/12 The Donation Campaign is bringing out the best in everyone, and I feel better about NOT counting book sale numbers to determine the final amount. A good friend and reader has generously kicked off the campaign…ONCE AGAIN…with a $100 donation. Thank you, Greg. That immediately brings the total to $2100 (with match). I have commitments from others, which I haven’t counted, but suspect will bring the total to $2200.  The Black Flagged Series has contributed nearly $5000 to wounded veterans so far…I expect this to increase over the holidays.  Thank you to everyone for a great start! UPDATE 12/21/12: Based on your votes, I will once again donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, an undeniably worthy cause. I’m taking a different approach to the donations this time. Instead of counting books and stressing myself out, I am starting at the $850 mark, which has been “our” contribution for each campaign over the past two book launches. At the end of January, I will decide whether to increase it. I very likely will. Any individual donations outside of book sales will be added to the $850 mark. Keep in mind that the total amount raised is matched by my employer. GET READ MORE

Black Flagged Apex Coming Soon

DECEMBER 2012 Book Three in the Black Flagged Series. “A tense alliance between the CIA and General Sanderson’s covert operations group narrowly averts a deadly bioweapons attack by Islamic fundamentalists against Europe. With the virus canisters still missing, Daniel Petrovich’s “black ops” team is sent to investigate a lead provided by Dr. Anatoly Reznikov, the twisted scientist responsible for handing the virus over to Al Qaeda. What they uncover will shake U.S. authorities to the core. Every canister of the Zulu Virus has been shipped to the United States… Back in Washington D.C., the grim reality of this discovery is compounded by a startling revelation. Suspected Al Qaeda cells under FBI surveillance have been simultaneously murdered, targets of a shadowy domestic terror organization with ties to a rising political movement within the United States. When Special Agent in Charge Ryan Sharpe discovers that Al Qaeda lost the Zulu Virus canisters in the coordinated massacre, he deploys Task Force Scorpion to hunt down a new breed of terrorist and recover the virus. As Sharpe’s task force unravels the curious fabric of True America’s plot, they start to assemble the chilling details of a possible domestic bioweapons attack–on an unimaginable scale. With READ MORE

In defense of our nation’s service academies…

against a surprisingly ill-informed source. For those of you that know me from my Academy days, I think this response will hold a ton of merit. Those of you that know me from my fleet days will appreciate and understand my “retort” even better. I have my own way of doing things, and neither the “Fleet” nor the United States Naval Academy made much of a dent in that mentality. If anything, they provided fertile ground for me to further hone that “talent.” Though I often found myself at odds with either establishment (often at the same time), I firmly respected both of them. I never felt disillusioned at Annapolis, or while on active duty. This came after resigning my commission, as I watched politicians send our nation’s finest young men and women to war in Iraq, and then proceed to bungle the war at great cost to our society…but that’s a different story. Professor Bruce Fleming’s opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education didn’t strike a single chord with me. Maybe that’s not altogether true. Some (few) of his points bore validity to my life as a midshipman, but viewed from an outside context, after years of maturity in READ MORE

BLACK FLAGGED REDUX hits the streets….

Running! It only took me six months to bring this one to market. Black Flagged took me a year and The Jakarta Pandemic spanned three years. I’ll have the next one done in three months…probably not, but I’ll try. I think you’ll enjoy the second book in the Black Flagged Series. I have significantly upped the ante with Black Flagged Redux. Frankly, I have no idea how I am going to top this one. As one of my pre-readers, told me: “Steve, you have a big problem with this novel.” I froze on the phone, wondering exactly what I had done to screw this one up so badly, especially since I really value his opinion as a reader. I waited until he broke the silence. “This one makes your other two look like @$%!” Well put, Bill. I agree…in a way that doesn’t imply that my other books are crap. Similar to Black Flagged’s launch last November, I am once again sponsoring a charity campaign to support our VETERANS. A hefty portion of May’s book sale proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. You can check out the the details of this charity campaign here: Black Flagged Redux Charity READ MORE

Black Flagged Redux and the Wounded Warrior Project

FINAL TALLY  $1700 Raised For Wounded Warrior Project Black Flagged Redux will be available to readers on Friday, May 11th. Continuing in the tradition of giving to our nation’s heroes, I have chosen to donate the proceeds from my next charity book launch event to the Wounded Warrior Project. With Memorial Day right around the corner, May is the perfect month to honor veterans who carried the war back with them from the front-lines, facing challenges at home that few of us can possibly imagine. The Wounded Warrior Project helps these brave men and women tackle their unique challenges head on, with a variety of services designed to assist and empower . The charity campaign surrounding Black Flagged raised over $1700 for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization. I hope to double that amount for the launch of Black Flagged Redux. With that said, here are the details: Stage One: The Launch Weekend 1.) Starts whenever the book goes live on Friday May 11 and ends when I check the number of sales on Monday morning. For each Kindle sale: I will donate the entire purchase price of the e-book and match that price with my own funds. I am READ MORE