Writing Combat, After Combat by John Mangan

 

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Writing Combat, After Combat

 

Like many young men I was raised on a steady diet of thrillers and military action novels. After devouring hundreds of books, ranging from Tom Clancy’s techno wizardry, to Robert Ludlum’s classics, and The Outrider series by Richard Harding, I figured that I had combat figured out. After all, I’d read thousands of action scenes that described in excruciating detail every conceivable combat move, gunshot, reload, judo chop, wound and scream. I’d lived through numerous dogfights, firefights, fistfights, bombings and ambushes. I’d sighted down my rifle, pulled the
4.5 lb match grade trigger, felt the recoil, and watched as my 62 grain, boat tailed hollow point bullet impacted a target, center of mass, at 3200 FPS. I was ready.

 
Then I was in combat, and what I realized within the first 30 seconds was that all those books had gotten it wrong. Phenomenally, epically wrong. Contrary to what I’d read, the experience of combat wasn’t just a linear series of physical events; instead, it was an enormously personal, tidal wave of primordial impulses and scalding, mind blanking fear. My  favorite authors hadn’t only missed the mark, they’d been shooting in the wrong damn direction.

 

 

aim

 

 
In retrospect, trying to understand combat by reading a thriller is like trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you will arrive at a detailed understanding of what goes where, and who does what to whom, but ultimately, you won’t see the human side of the game. This is what separates pornography from explicit romance; One depicts a series of discreet physical acts, the other communicates a subjective human experience. Perhaps that’s the crux of the issue; one depicts, the other communicates. Like love, grief, or joy, combat is a complex emotional phenomenon that leaves a deep and wrenching impact upon the people who experience it.

 
So what was combat like? Imagine that you are on a rafting trip with your friends, thoroughly enjoying the adventure as you explore a new stretch of river. Suddenly, you enter whitewater and the raft begins bucking and spinning. You are tossed about and spray drenches you, but you find it exhilarating because your team responds as a well trained unit, working together, guiding the raft successfully through the chaos. You are going to make it. You are in control. Right up to the moment that you aren’t…

 

 

 

combat

 

 
With a heave the raft overturns and you are thrown into the river. You and your team are now being swept along by the power of events far beyond your control, smashing into each other and off of rocks, rolling through rapids and tumbling off of falls. Your actions become base and instinctual, you reach for your comrades, hold your breath, stroke for the surface, and try to guild yourself around obstacles both seen and unseen. But you intuitively know that the best of your efforts are merely token gestures and that you are being carried along by a force more powerful than any single man caught up in it. This force has a will of its own and your attempts to influence it are more illusion than anything else. You will be released at the time of its choosing, not yours. For me, that was combat; being immersed in a force that was terrifyingly intimate, unknowable and beyond any measure of control.

 
So how did that experience guide the creation of Into a Dark Frontier? First and foremost, I think readers have grown numb to elaborate scenes describing combat in excruciating detail. In today’s world of hyper violent entertainment, the firing of a gun has become routine, the spattering of blood trite, the death of a human meaningless. That doesn’t mean that an artist should shy away from depicting violence, for it is part of the human experience. But how do you do it in a way that stirs your audience, leaves a lasting impression and advances the story? Strangely enough, I think that the poets of old did it best.

 

 
While eulogizing World War I in his epic poem, “The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats didn’t even mention the horrors of trench warfare, instead, he said that a “blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned,” and “what rough beast, its time come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” In one short poem the entire terrible spirit of 1914-1918 is laid bare before you. By omitting physical details, Yeats swept away the clutter and unearthed the soul of the event, not only of the war itself, but what it meant for the future of humanity.

 
But a poet’s verse doesn’t always have to span continents and nations; Tennyson spoke of “men that strove with gods.”

 
Sir Walter Scott described, “The stern joy that warriors feel in foemen worthy of their steel.”

 
And who could forget Henry V’s blood curdling speech to the people of Harfleur?
(Edited for brevity)

 

 
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up
And the fleshed soldier, rough and hard of heart
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell mowing like grass
Your fresh fair virgins and your flow’ring infants
While your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation.

 
O’erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villainy.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters,
Your fathers taken by their silver beards

 

And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted on pikes
While the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herods bloody-hunting slaughtermen

 

 
Just look at those incredible words! Foul hands, slaughtermen, shrill-shrieking, and heady murder. Not only is the poet allowed to paint with a more vivid palette, they are also given the freedom to strip away irrelevant physical details until they find not only the humanity of an event, but its enduring meaning as well. I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose. That is why lovers turn to music and poetry to express themselves. Perhaps warriors can as well.

 

 

“I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose.”

 

 
So who describes combat best in these modern times? My favorites are Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier, Anthony Loyd and James Salter. They are masters of lyrical prose, telling a sharp and detailed story that swerves into poetry at times and then back again before you even have time to hear the rumble strips. The beauty of their words are a counterpoint to the horrors they describe and I find myself drawn to their stories again and again.

 

 

 

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Having said all this, am I satisfied with the action scenes in my novel Into a Dark Frontier? No, I am not. There’s a sentence here and there that I am proud of, maybe even a paragraph or two. I have a long way to go, but I’m confident that I’ll get there someday, and that’s what keeps me writing.

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Have a reply for John? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

John Mangan
Author of Into a Dark Frontier
www.JohnManganBooks.com

 

 

 

 

Into the Dark Frontier with Author John Mangan

Into a Dark Frontier

 

 

Only 0.99 on Amazon!

 

 

Editorial Reviews

 

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is cut from same cloth as the best of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, a story written with authority and military authenticity. It’s a harsh look at a continent-wide battlefield, waged not only for land but also for the heart of freedom. Timely and exciting.” ―James RollinsNew York Times best-selling author

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is a powerful, realistic, and daringly unique international thriller. Its near-future plotline is as brilliantly crafted as it is dark and foreboding, and the action scenes are visceral and utterly thrilling. Tormented but able Slade Crawford is a perfect anti-hero to root for, and Into a Dark Frontier is a surefire winner of a debut.” ―Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“A riveting imagined what-if so real you wonder if it might even be possible. Tense, intelligent, harsh, and surprising, this thrill ride is drum tight in its execution.” ―Steve BerryNew York Times best-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is an international thriller of rare depth and complexity that would make the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum proud. But John Mangan goes both of them one better by injecting into the mix a loner hero with a gunfighter mentality fit for taming continents as well as frontiers, with Africa subbing for the Old West. A vision splendidly realized and tale wondrously executed.” ―Jon LandUSA Today bestselling author

“Mangan’s debut reads like he couldn’t get the words out and onto the page fast enough, which translates into a…blazingly fast and fun action thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier plunges the reader into the chaos of an African continent where anarchy reigns. A near-futuristic scenario, one that could really emerge. Expect an overdose of action and danger that careens off the scales.” ―Robert K. TanenbaumNew York Times best-selling author

“Its relentless opening chase sets the tone for Into a Dark Frontier, a winner for fans of techno-action novels. After eight deployments as a combat rescue pilot, its author knows what he’s writing about and does so with speed and insider details.” ―David MorrellNew York Timesbest-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is a hell of a debut novel with a terrifying plot and relentless action that made sure the only time I wasn’t turning pages was when I was looking over my shoulder.” ―Joshua Hood, author of Clear by Fire and Warning Order

 

 

 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

 

 

What made you venture into writing?

Initially, it was simply a love of story telling, but as my novel
developed it was the feeling that came from creating complex
characters and the environment that drives them. I think that the only
way to create an authentic story is to study yourself, your
relationships, and the human condition in general. People are what
drive a good story, and so you have to become an observer of
people. The pleasure of writing doesn’t just occur while sitting behind
a keyboard, it also comes from watching the world around you,
grabbing little tidbits of dialogue, vignettes, or interesting human
interactions.

 

 

 

 

storytelling word in wood type

 

 

 

Do you have any favorite books or authors that influenced you
early on?

As a boy I loved the Jack London stories where life has been
distilled down to its most base, uncivilized components, where a
man’s fate is decided by fire, food and fang. In Jack’s world, that’s
where you find out who you are.
My novel starts off with our protagonist living squarely in the
modern world, surrounded by gadgets, technology and civilized
mores. But by the ending he has descended into a world that has
more in common with the bronze age than any other, a place where
the day is won by the strength of a man’s will and his willingness to
harness medieval savagery. Perhaps Mr. London would approve…

 

 

How long did it take you to finish Into the Dark Frontier?

The creation of the story wasn’t linear, with a precise beginning
and ending. Imagine dozens of seeds scattered across a garden, and
over several years the sprouting seedlings are gradually bound
together, trimmed away, uprooted and replanted until 6 years later
they have been woven into some semblance of a story. Then spend 4
more years pitching that mess to agents, re-writing, editing and
eventually hacking out 60K words. So to answer your question, it was
about 10 years.

 

 

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Describe some challenges writing your first book.

One of the biggest problems was settling on a point-of- view.
Initially, I chose Third Person Omniscient and the narrator rotated
between the intertwined, converging stories of the Hero, the Sidekick,
and the Villain. This seems to be the most popular format in modern
thrillers but I couldn’t get it to work. The story always kept collapsing
back down to Slade and the peripheral stories always became
lackluster and fell apart. Eventually I realized that this was because
the story belonged to Slade and Slade alone, it was about his
journey. I started over and confined the narrator to Slade’s head and
his immediate surroundings, so the reader lives the story entirely
through his eyes. The advantage of this technique is that it makes it
very easy to generate a sense of mystery and spring surprises on the reader.

The downside of this technique is that it leaves a lot of unfilled
space in the story line, and readers will begin to fill that blank space
with their own preconceived ideas. Overcoming those preconceived
ideas can be extremely difficult, and if not overcome, can lead a
reader to misinterpret what the author is trying to communicate.
For example, IADF devotes only a few paragraphs of backstory
to illustrate Slade’s time in prison and subsequent decision to jump
parole. Recently, a professional review of IADF came out and they
mentioned how Slade had busted out of a “black-site” prison.
It sounds interesting, but unfortunately there was no black-site
and no thrilling jailbreak. The reviewer had filled in details that didn’t
actually exist. It’s only after you have feedback from a broad
audience that you can begin to see where you left holes for readers
to fall through. Actually, feedback like that is priceless, it shows how
much I have to learning about crafting a story.

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most?

When the characters began to say and do things that surprised
me, or they took the story in an unexpected direction. Once that
happened I began to feel like it was their world and I was just a visitor
to it. After that I wasn’t creating the characters or their story, I was
just a novice painter struggling to draw them properly and my
greatest responsibility was to make sure they weren’t
misrepresented.

 

 

What motivates Slade Crawford?

Slade is a tragic character torn by competing and irreconcilable
instincts. First and foremost he is a wolf, with a wolf’s passion for the
kill. But he also has a sense of duty to his country, family and those
that depend upon him. Unfortunately, his killer instincts compel him to
return to the fight again and again, leading him to forsake the very
people that he claims he is protecting. Fighting is what he does best,
but a wife and child don’t need a fighter, they need a husband and
dad. So, he fails them, bigly.
Slade is also entering the autumn of his life and has begun to
look back on, and examine his failures. His doubts concerning his
own morality, and his need for atonement become central to the
story. In order to explore this side of his character I surrounded Slade
with a supporting cast chosen for their varying moral codes, ranging
from devoutly moral, to ambivalent, to amoral and then downright evil.
Watching Slade interact with these different people was one of the
most rewarding aspects of writing the book. I painted this facet of the
story with a very light brush as I did not want to come off as preachy.
If I was successful then I think that an attentive reader will experience
something a bit deeper than a straight action novel.

 

 

What was it like crafting a character like Slade?

It became extremely personal, as Slade is an amalgamation of
myself and several people that I know. Slade’s internal struggles are
not fiction, they come from the life stories of people that I care about.
The central tragedy that haunts Slade was taken from the real

experience of a soldier that I befriended a few years ago. I asked him
if I could use his story and he eventually gave me permission. I was
hesitant to use it, but in the end I was hoping that if my buddy could
externalize the tragedy, see it happen to somebody else, then
perhaps he could gain a healthier perspective on it.
So to answer your question, it was not easy, I felt like Slade’s
actions and responses had to be true to the real people that he
represents.

 

 

Lead us into your decision to choose Africa as a setting. 

I wanted to create a modern story in the tradition of the classic
Westerns, and a Western requires two things: #1, a lawless land that
nobody controls, and #2, a place that settlers (pioneers) would
actually want to emigrate to.
There’s lots of places in the Middle East that fit the bill for
characteristic #1, but I can’t picture anybody packing up and
emigrating to Yemen. Conversely, Africa has the right combination of
political volatility, simmering violence, fertile lands and untapped
resources in which I could create a believable story.

 

 

 

Africa map with African typography made of patchwork fabric text

 

 

 

Have you ever been there?

No, it’s one of the few places I haven’t been yet. For research I
read extensively about the Victorian explorers of the 1800’s and their
exploits in Africa. Much of the story’s sense of wilderness is based

upon what they experienced. I also spent a good bit of time doing the
ol’ Google Earth research expedition.

Describe your experience writing about action scenes versus
being out in the field.

I found that actual combat is far different from how it is depicted in
most thriller novels. Modern combat scenes are typically very detailed
and they portray combat as a series of discreet, separate events that
the subject is aware of and in control of; “He turned 45 degrees to his
left, raised the glock 9mm, aligned the sights on his targets center of
mass then squeezed trigger until…”
This technique builds a picture of what is happening, but it’s like
trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you’ll
end up understanding what goes where, but you will be completely
clueless as to the human side of the experience.
The authors that I tried to emulate, and who best describe the
fear, confusion and altered-state reality of combat are James Salter,
Cormac McCarthy, James Frazier and Anthony Loyd.

 

 

Will this be a standalone or part of a series?

It’s set up to be a series. I’ve got the second book plotted out
but I am waiting on reader reactions to the first book before I make
some big decisions. I can reveal that Book 2 will focus on the
character Elizabeth and her response to what happened in Book 1,
but how I will tell her story is still in doubt. I don’t know if I’ll keep my

narrator confined to Slade’s head, share time inside Elizabeth’s head,
or shift over to her entirely. To be honest I’m terrified of trying to
represent what’s going on in her head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a hash
of it and end up getting loads of female hate mail. We’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Mystery Thriller Week begins Feb. 12-22, 2018. Sign up HERE.

 

Don’t miss the 3rd MTW 2018 Brainstorming session this Saturday 9/9/17 11am-12pm EST. Click HERE  to attend.

 

 

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About the author:

Lt. Col. John Mangan is a decorated combat rescue pilot, novelist and coffeehouse poet. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was an instructor at the Survival Escape Resistance & Evasion (SERE) school, and is currently an HH-60G, Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has deployed to the Middle East eight times and has commanded the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His actions in combat have been documented in the books Not a Good Day to DieNone Braver, and Zero Six Bravo. He has flown combat missions with PJs, SEALs, Delta, Rangers, and the SAS. John has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor twice, The Air Medal twelve times, and the 2009 Cheney Award.

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Ted Galdi and An American Cage

 

An American Cage

 

 

 

 

Expected Publication date: October 16th 2017

 

An American Cage

 

Goodreads

First Chapter Preview

 

 

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TED GALDI

 

 

Ted Galdi

 

 

 

Ted Galdi broke out with his debut novel, Elixir a bestseller and winner of Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. His second novel An American Cageis due this Fall.

 

 

 

 

 

How long have you been writing?

 

Ever since I was a little kid, doing stories in crayon. “Professionally” since 2014, with the publication of Elixir, my debut.

 

 

 

Elixir

 

 

 

Are you a plotter, panster, or a little of both?

 

A little of both. I won’t start chapter one until I have an outline. I make sure not to go into too much detail on this initial outline though. In my opinion, your idea of plot can’t be fully baked until you really know your characters, and the only way to really know your characters is to start writing. Needless to say, my outline evolves as I get through the first draft.

 

 

This is your second book. Compare your experience between the two.

 

I learned a lot along the way with my first, Elixir. That isn’t to say I didn’t learn a lot with An American Cage, but with your first everything is so new that you don’t even have a sense of your “rhythm.” You know, your way of approaching it all…conceptualizing, outlining, writing, self-editing, etc. AfterElixir, I knew what worked for me and what didn’t, and approached An American Cage through that lens. There was a lot less rewriting and deleted scenes the second time around, which saved me a headache or two.

 

 

Name at least three things that influenced you to become a writer.

 

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been doing this in some form since I was a little kid. I really enjoy it. Nothing was needed to “push me” toward me. You asked for at least three things here and I technically gave you zero. #QuestionFail

 

 

Do you write up character arc for your characters?

 

I think the character arc is one of the most interesting elements in fiction. Danny, the protagonist in An American Cage, definitely changes through the book. The entire story takes place over a twenty-four-hour period, which was a lot of fun to write, but presented a bit of a challenge in terms of arcs. Getting across a major change that happens in just a day was tricky.

 

 

Who is Danny Marsh and what does he want?

 

Danny Marsh is a twenty-four-year-old graphic designer who never committed a crime in his life. Then an incident of bad luck throws him into one of Texas’s toughest prisons. He wants to get out, get to Mexico, and start afresh with a new name and new identity.

 

 

What motivates him?

 

He’s an upper-middle-class kid with no crime experience. Obviously, he doesn’t fit in very well at a maximum-security penitentiary. Being inside psychologically tears at him. Not to mention, he’s had a few horrific run-ins with other inmates. He feels he won’t be able to survive there much longer, either mentally, physically, or both. Escape is the only answer for him.

 

 

What is your creative process for characters?

 

Like I’m sure most other authors do, I start the character-creation process with my protagonist. I start the book-creation process, however, with my theme. I’ll have a solid idea of the book’s theme before I begin with the characters. It’s critical for the protagonist’s arc to mesh with this theme. The supporting characters I consider “forces” that push the protagonist in directions relevant to the theme. Once I have a general idea of the main arc and the supporting forces at play, I then try to think about these characters as people. I do a lot of this off of feel. It’s not really a formal process. However, like I said before, it isn’t until I actually start writing, giving characters a voice and having them interact with each other, that I believe I really “know” them.

 

 

Tell us a few things about the setting for American Cage.

 

The whole book takes place in Texas. It opens in East Texas, then works its way west across the state. The cities in it are a mix of the real and fictional. It was important for me to make sure the setting felt authentic, so in cases where a town is fictional, I tried to give it the spirit of its region. I grew up in a New York City suburb and have been living in Southern California the last seven years. I’ve been to Texas a few times, but am no resident. I put a nice amount of time into setting research so I wouldn’t screw anything up.

 

 

What are some things you learned during your research?

 

Austin has kickass bars. That’s one of the Texas cities I have personally been to. Barhopping is a very high-end form of literary research in case you didn’t know.

 

 

What’s next?

 

I’m on a first draft of another thriller. I’d be happy to come back and talk about it when it’s ready.

 

Sincerely,

Ted Galdi

ted@tedgaldi.com

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

Chatting with Author Allison Brennan & her new book Shattered

 

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Please welcome an awesome writer,  Allison Brennan. She’s a New York Times and USA today bestselling author who’s penned over a dozen thrillers and short stories over the years.  Her new book Shatteredwill be released Tuesday August 22nd as the #4 book in the Max Revere series. I’m reading this title now and it’s absolutely stunning.

 

 

 

Shattered Alison Brennan

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

BOOK BLURB

Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.

 

 

 

 

A wall clock with Tick Tock face design in pink and gold isolated on white

 

 

 

 

*Who is Maxine Revere and what makes her tick?

Maxine Revere spent the first ten years of her life traveling the world with her mother on the whim—Martha Revere never wanted to put down roots. Shortly before Max’s tenth birthday, her mother left her with her very wealthy, very traditional grandparents and then disappeared—sending Max occasional postcards until they stopped after Max’s 16th birthday. Her mother lied to her about her father—she still doesn’t know who her father is—and Max still doesn’t know what happened to her mom.

When Max was a senior in college, her roommate Karen Richardson disappeared while they were on spring break. There were signs that she had been murdered—a lot of blood—but no body was found, and no evidence to convict the playboy Max was certain killed her. Max hounded law enforcement for a year, and finally wrote a book about Karen’s disappearance and the police investigation. She found she had a knack for gathering information and a skill for writing about crime. She ended up writing four true crime books and numerous articles, mostly about cold cases and missing persons.

Now, Max hosts a monthly newsmagazine on a cable television network, highlighting cold cases (think an in-depth America’s Most Wanted, but where the suspect is an unknown.) She is driven to solve crimes for others because she’s never been able to solve the mystery of her own life. Max is abrasive, intelligent, independent, and never gives up.

In SHATTERED, Max is compelled to look at evidence from three cold cases of young boys kidnapped from their bedrooms and murdered. She thinks there’s a connection, though the police haven’t put it together. Once Max is convinced she’s right, she isn’t going to stop until she solves the case.

I really like Max Revere’s straight-forward personality. Her determination and intensity truly shines. She’s not afraid to step on toes to get what she wants. 




Motivation




*What motivates FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid?

When Lucy was seven, her nephew and best friend Justin was killed. It changed her and her family forever. Her older brothers and sisters changed their career focus and all went into some aspect of law enforcement or the military. She didn’t realize how much these events impacted her, until after her own tragedy when she was eighteen—she was kidnapped and raped live on the internet, and would have been killed if not for her family tracking her down.

Now, nine years after that horrific event, Lucy has realized her dream of becoming an FBI agent. She’s on the second year of her assignment to the San Antonio field office. She is recently married to private investigator and security consultant Sean Rogan, and has grown tremendously from an insecure trainee to a confident investigator over her now 12-book series.

Lucy is motivated by justice—to help victims by catching those who prey on the innocent. She has a keen insight not only in victim profiling, but in criminal profiling.

I love Lucy! She’s a very interesting character, especially the whole Kincaid family. Seeing what motivates characters and what they want is very satisfying.

 

 

*Explain the relationship dynamic between Maxine and Lucy. 

Max and Lucy meet in SHATTERED. Justin Stanton is the possible first victim of an unknown serial killer. Justin’s father, long-time D.A. Andrew Stanton, agrees to help Max in her cold case investigation on the condition that Max work with Lucy. Lucy is more than willing to take time off of work to solve a crime that has pained her and her family for so long. Max doesn’t like working with cops for many reasons, largely because they have rules they must follow that she doesn’t. Lucy is intrigued by Max’s theory, and reminds her that without her, no one in San Diego will cooperate. They don’t trust each other, and when Max starts digging into Lucy’s past, Lucy threatens to cut Max out of the investigation completely, which infuriates her.

However, Max and Lucy are both driven by the need to see justice served—that the truth needs to be uncovered at all cost. That tentative bond can be strengthened or severed … it was very fun and satisfying for me to challenge these two strong women.

Seeing these two clash and work together on the page is quite explosive. Very entertaining to say the least. The tension is palpable. 




 
*What did you enjoy the most in writing Shattered?

Putting Max and Lucy on the same page. At first I was really nervous about it because I wasn’t sure how they would work together. They are both so clear to me, they are both so well-defined in my head, that I was afraid that they would absolutely detest each other and not work together. There is a lot of distrust and even some misinformation between them, but as they worked together they gained a mutual respect.

You might be on to something here, Allison. These two are dynamite!

 



*What were some challenges writing Shattered?

Figuring out the logistics of what happened to Justin and the other boys. I was never going to solve Justin’s murder unless I knew why he was killed. When I figured out the why, I thought it was going to be “easy” to solve the crime. But I was tied to some information I’d released in earlier Lucy Kincaid books, and I had to make sure I was consistent in this book. It took a lot of thought and choreography to make sure it worked! But once I had the motivation of the killer understood, it fell into place.

Your’e motivations are great! The plotting has been spectacular. Your choreography paid off 🙂


 

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

 

 

*Will Maxine and Lucy partner in future books?

I don’t know — I would like to put them together again. I might bring Max into a Lucy book. (SHATTERED is technically part of the Maxine Revere series though Lucy plays an equal role in the story.) It would be fun … but I’d have to have the right idea for them. I’ll never say never!

Well, I certainly hope they team up again in the future. They have a wonderful chemistry about them. Even their resources, backgrounds, colleagues are ripe for a collaboration. Guess we’ll wait and see what happens!





Partnership 3d Word Collage Team Association Alliance

Thanks Allison!!

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads

 

—————————————————

Allison Brennan
SHATTERED coming August 22, 2017

RT Top Pick!

PW: “Intricately plotted … psychologically complex characters … heart-pounding.”

www.allisonbrennan.com

Audio Forensics Book Review: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

 

Hear the sound wave

 

 

 

 

Hear ye, hear ye!

 

Welcome to another edition of Audio forensics! This is where I attempt to usher you into the marvelous experience of recently assimilated stories. You do… Have them right? Audiobooks? I do! The Camel Club, by David Baldacci is kind of a blast from the ‘recent’ past, published in 2005 by Hachette Audio.

 

 

 

The Camel Club Audio

 

 

 

Written by: David Baldacci

Narrated by: Jonathan Davis

Length: 16 hrs and 10 minutes

Series: The Camel Club, book 1

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 10-21-05

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Audio sample

 

 

 

Goodreads

Existing at the fringes of Washington D.C., the Club consists of four eccentric members. Led by a mysterious man know as “Oliver Stone,” they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the “truth” behind the country’s actions. Their efforts bear little fruit — until the group witnesses a shocking murder … and become embroiled in an astounding, far reaching conspiracy. Now the Club must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil — an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. And all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes.

 

 

 

My Rating:

 

 

Awesome Word Rubber Stamp 3D Rating Review Feedback

 

 

 

 

There are books, good books, stories, then there are STORIES. The kind that suck you relentlessly into it’s core and wont’ let you go until the last page! The books of this category are completed at a much faster pace. For an audiobook of 16 hours it’s bit long, but it still felt timeless.

David Baldacci crafts some of the deepest plots I’ve seen of any author, and still maintains characters that are just as deep.

If you’ve never read the Camel Club, they’re kind of a rag tag, quirky group, not to mention the least likely to be heroic. But that’s what makes it so interesting.

 

 

Narrator Performance: 10/10

The narrator Jonathan Davis was excellent. The best narrators catapult you into the core of the story without being noticed at all. And he did just that.  Superb.

 

Story Connection: 10/10

This is where I determine how well the narrator is connected to the story itself. This would definitely include protagonists, antagonists, sidekicks, love interests, male and female characterizations etc. Again, Davis did a phenomenal job throughout the book, bringing the story alive.

 

Voice Switch Over: 10/10

This is where determine how well the narrator switches back and forth between characters, genders, dialects and narrative voice. I’m sure there’s a more technical term for this, but it’s just what I call it. This is also where the better narrators are further separated from the rest of the pack. How well they switch from character to character without flaws, mistakes, or drawing attention to themselves and thus away from the story. Believe me, this is no easy feat.

Davis again does a marvelous job. In the Camel Club, there’s male, female, Arabic, polish, and a variation of American voices. Now switching between them, accurately, consistently, and making them believable, is difficult. Those who can not only manage this, but excel at it, are rated higher in my opinion.

 

Sound Quality: 10/10

I’m not sure if this is an old school thing, but this audiobook was sprinkled with touches of dramatic effects. It wasn’t overpowering or distracting and I thought it added to the overall performance. Thumbs up!

 

Overall Performance: 10/10

Highly recommended. Can’t wait to listen to the next book in the series called, the Collectors. 

 

 

What do you think? Are you fan of Baldacci? Have you read the Camel Club? What do you think of my format? Are you a fan of audiobooks? Let me know in the comments!!

 

Benjamin Thomas

Magical and Mysterious Cenotes by A.K Smith

Magical and Mysterious Cenotes

What is a cenote?

 

First things first, let’s learn how to pronounce it correctly. The word Cenote is pronounced “say-no-tay.” It is not pronounced “see-note.” It is a flowing three syllable word, much like the wonder of nature it describes.

 

Okay now that we know how to pronounce it, do you know what a cenote is?

Continue reading “Magical and Mysterious Cenotes by A.K Smith”

Stalker by P. J. Lazos

 

It is not as you believe, my Angel. I am not a bad man.  You may think it odd that we have never spoken.  I stand within ten feet of you, my Love, and the words falter, trapped in my throat.  I wait for you on the platform this morning and when I don’t see you I begin my search.  I spy you in the last car, walking to your seat.  You prefer the solitude of the quiet car.  I get that.

Continue reading “Stalker by P. J. Lazos”

GUEST POST: WRITING LESSON 2 BY DAVID KUMMER

Continue reading “GUEST POST: WRITING LESSON 2 BY DAVID KUMMER”

Guest post: lesson 1 by David Kummer


Welcome to this lesson of David Kummer’s writing course. That’s me, by the way. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, success stories, or just something fun to say, email me at davidkummer7@gmail.com. I’d love to talk about anything and everything, especially if that everything has to do with books, basketball, or Chinese food. I am a teenager, after all. So that’s that! Head on down and read what might be the best writing course of your life, but also might be the worst 😉 You won’t know until you try!

Continue reading “Guest post: lesson 1 by David Kummer”