Some Good News

If you’ve been watching the major news sources lately then you’ve probably had more than your fair share of bad news. So here is some good news.

On October 31st the fine, young gentlemen of SEAL Team 6 successfully rescued Philip Nathan Walton from a group of armed militants near the Niger-Nigeria border. Several days earlier Walton was taken at gunpoint from his farm by a group of armed locals looking to score some easy ransom money. While the group was not affiliated with Al Qaeda or the Islamic State those groups are active in the region and will buy hostages like Mister Walton. Knowing that the risk of conducting a rescue would go up dramatically if Walton fell into the hands of either group the decision was made to go forward with the raid.

No Americans were injured in the operation. Six of the seven captors were killed.

I will file that under good news.

In other news, the Justice Department shared some good news of their own (link). Earlier in the year several ships carrying sanctioned cargo were confiscated by the US government. Two of them were carrying over a hundred missiles bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen. These missiles included type 358 surface-to-air missiles (made with indigenous Iranian components) and Dhelaveih anti-tank missiles (also made in Iran). Needless to say these weapons could cause a lot of harm in the wrong hands.

In addition to the above weapons, the US government also confiscated oil from four ships totaling 1.1 million barrels. Everything confiscated belonged to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a sort of military within the military of Iran. They carry out special missions, one of which is supporting terror groups across the Middle East that have goals in line with their own. Having been designated a terrorist organization by the United States (and other countries) they are sanctioned from trading oil and so rely on foreign allies to mask their transactions. This is what happened with 1.1 million barrels of oil bound for Venezuela (who was also under sanctions). At current prices that oil would be worth upwards of 50 million dollars. That’s $50 million that would have gone to funding terrorism. You can buy a lot of Kalashnikovs and RPG-7s with that much cash.

The US government has successfully sold and delivered that oil. Funds from that sale will go to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.

I will also file this under good news.

And lastly, if the stuff you just read above interests you then you’re in luck. My new book Escape From Sun City is available for pre-order today. It’s about secret special operations units stopping underworld deals from destroying a nation. And I’m giving you guys a special .99 cent deal for the first few weeks that it’s out. After that the price will go up.

I think you guys will really like it. You can find it here.

Slipstream Shadow is out today

The wait is over, Slipstream Shadow is out. The action picks up right where Slipstream Alpha left off. There’s a metric ton of action packed into this one. It turned out to be a lot bigger than I originally planned but that was because I didn’t want to cut back on a lot of good stuff. I think you guys will really like it.

You can score your own copy here.

The next Slipstream novel is on the way

It’s been a long time in the making but it’s finally here. Slipstream Shadow is the next installment in my Slipstream series. If you enjoyed the action of the first novel, Slipstream Alpha, you should really enjoy Shadow. There will be more special ops action, demons getting punched in the face, and of course lots of explosions.

This book ended up being a little longer than the first novel, but there was simply too much awesome stuff I wanted to put in for me to cut it short. On the plus side it means you guys get more in this installment.

If you liked the characters from the first book you’ll be glad to know they’re coming back. Even Adam, and you’ll find out why in the first few pages.

Keep an eye out for the official release date. It will be coming soon. And if you didn’t get a chance to see it before here is the cover art. I think it turned out awesome.

 

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UFOs and Fighter Jets

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It’s funny how life and fiction sometimes mimic eachother. A few months ago I happened to watch a video that was accidentally released by the US Navy depicting a fighter’s chase of an “unknown aerial phenomenon” (because we aren’t allowed to say UFO anymore). That scene captured my imagination and I felt compelled to make it a part of my next book.

Thus was born the opening scene of Red Flag which went on sale earlier today. By some cosmic twist of fate the US Navy decided to officially release the same footage that inspired that scene today (along with two other videos). You can download and view all three from the Navy’s NAVAIR Freedom of Information Act site (link). Or you can just use your favorite search engine to track down one of the many other copies floating around out there.

The file named GOFAST.wmv is the one you want to watch. You can hear the aircrew chattering away in the background. Perhaps the part that I found most amusing was when one of them (presumably the back seat guy) cheers after getting his sensor to lock onto the UFO. It always amazes me to see the mindset of combat aviators in action.

To me, a normal person would be absolutely awestruck to see something strange, of unknown origin, and possibly generations more advanced than us within shooting distance. But to the people that fly fighter planes it’s not something to be feared but a challenge to be overcome. And so it becomes a sport.

My goal was to capture that spirit in the pages of Red Flag while also telling a fun story of air combat and UFOs. If that sounds like something you’d like then go check it out. It’s for sale at a reduced price to help out during these tough times.

And you can find it here.

 

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Fight Cabin Fever With Action & Adventure

Right now most people probably have one thing on their mind: the pandemic, and rightfully so. But like most people I don’t think its good for one’s mental health to focus on scary stuff like a dangerous virus for weeks on end. It’s healthy to have an occasional escape into a world where there is hope and heroes overcome a great danger. That’s the kind of hope that people need right now. So I’m very happy to announce my next book: Red Flag.

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It is a story of high stakes fighter combat taking place in the skies over the Nevada desert. The book’s name is taken from the US Air Force’s premier air exercise where war planes from around the world gather to take part in the world’s most intense aerial war game. If you’ve read my Century City novels then you’re already familiar with the events of the world taking place in Red Flag. But if you haven’t don’t worry. You don’t need to know the story of Century City to follow along. Red Flag is a stand-alone novel.

There will be international espionage, high-octane dogfighting, super advanced drones, and, of course, lots of explosions. Like us, the pilots of Red Flag are facing the greatest threat mankind has ever known. They’re doing all they can to battle against it and the odds look pretty grim. Like us, I know that they will prevail.

Red Flag will be roaring into the fight on April 28th. You can pre-order it here. Since I know times are hard for everyone, the book will be available at a reduced price of $2.99 at launch (for a limited time). If you like it then I’ve got more for you (also at reduced prices). Southern Thunder is the action packed story of Red Flag‘s main characters before they ended up in their current unit. It’s available for free here on my blog (link is at the top). Century City: Origins is where the main story begins and takes you through the wild and dangerous alternate Earth that produced the famed city that the series is named after. It’s available for just 99 cents.

So if you’re stuck at home there’s plenty of adventure waiting for you and you don’t have to go out into the hot zone to get it. Stay safe everyone and I look forward to seeing all of you after we’ve beaten this virus.

Red Flag is now available for pre-order on Amazon (here).

Writing Update

It’s been a while since I last posted and figured an update was in order. These past few months haven’t gone to waste and I’ve been spending them writing. I hope you’re ready for more two-fisted action because I’ve got a couple books packed with it coming up.

 

First up we have a tale of modern air combat set in the universe of Century City.

If you liked the stories of the Tigers (appearing in Southern Thunder and Century City: OMEGA) then I think you’ll be thrilled to hear they’re getting their own novel. The Tigers are back in action in Red Flag set in the eponymous US Air Force mega-exercise. They’ll not only be competing with the world’s best pilots in simulated combat but will also come face-to-face with a real threat that no one is prepared for. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover. I think you guys will really like it.

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That’s not all that I have in store for you. Following on the heels of Red Flag is the next installment of the Slipstream series: Slipstream Shadow. Adam is back and the world he left behind is a lot different than he remembered it, and he’s facing an even bigger threat than before. There will be more high octane action as Adam and the CTTC fight back against the tides of darkness that threaten to wash over the globe.

Keep an eye out for release dates. They’re coming soon.

 

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The Real Meaning of Christmas

My parents have a picture of me taken on my birthday when I was only a handful of years old. It’s one of their favorite pictures and a few things really stick out to me in it.
For one, the birthday cake is tiny. It’s small enough that you could hold the entire thing in one hand. The presents weren’t anything extravagant, mostly the kind of things you can pick up at the dollar store. This was a point in my life when my family was very poor. We were recently arrived immigrants in the country and all we had was what we could carry in our hands.

But despite all that, I can say that there is one very happy little boy in that picture.
I get told all the time that it’s terrible that there are poor people in the world and how miserable they must be for being poor. But I can tell you from personal experience it isn’t as bad as the social media harpies make it out to be. Oddly enough, I’ve known four separate couples that had a household income of $150,000 (or more) and couldn’t make their house payments. Coincidentally these were all very unhappy people.

So how does that make sense? Poor people are supposed to be unhappy for being poor and those making $150k a year (which only a very stupid person would consider poor) are also unhappy.

Maybe it’s not the money that really matters.

All the money in the world couldn’t fill the void in the hearts of those $150k a year families I mentioned. But the warmth of a loving family made that little boy in the picture smile like he’d just gotten the best present ever.

Folks, I hope this Christmas you’re able to spend time with loved ones and enjoy a full belly and the warmth of their company. It is important. Those happy memories you make today will give you strength throughout the year.

Of course, I would be a failure at being a Christian if I didn’t mention that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but I hope that everyone (even my non-Christian readers) will take this message to heart. Christmas isn’t about spending money, it is about spending time with people that care about you.
And I hope you are all able to be with those people.

Merry Christmas

The Centurion has arrived!

Two thousand years before there was a Century City, there was Rome. And just like the modern day inhabitants of the world of Century City, the Romans had no shortage of powerful foes trying to wipe them out in their quest for world power.

This is the story of a loyal son of Rome and his band of brothers as they try to survive the Jugurthine War. The gods have taken sides in the war and are throwing everything in their mystical arsenal into the battle. With these forces at work the men of the Roman Legion are more likely to be pounded into the desert sands than reach retirement. They’ll need everything just to survive.

And you can read all about it right here.

I think you guys will really like this book. There are every-man heroes and maniacal villains like you would expect in one of my books but there’s also magic and legendary beasts. And if you pay close attention even some hints into the origins of some of the artifacts from Century City.

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The Centurion Is Coming

It’s that great time again where I get to announce another book release. This time it’s something that’s a little different (but also the same). In the world of Century City there are objects of extreme technological advancement floating around that border on being magic. No one knows where they came from, only that they are thousands of years old and beyond anything mankind could create.

So what happened thousands of years ago?

This is where the Centurion comes into play. Even in ancient Rome they had to puzzle through the mystery of these powerful artifacts and the mighty beings behind them. But it would be a boring story if there wasn’t some action and adventure to go along with it.

If that sounds intriguing you can pre-order your copy here and have it available the day it is released.

I think you guys will really like it.

 

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When the headlines mimic my stories

This week I ran across an interesting bit of news (link). There are oil tankers now turning off their AIS transponders to hide their movements to and from ports in countries under embargo. In this case they are taking on oil from Venezuela which is under embargo by the US because the current government likes to run over protesters with armored vehicles.

Why is this significant? Two reasons.

One, this is pretty much the plot for my story Southern Thunder (which is a free download at the top of this blog). So I can pat myself on the back for calling this one ahead of time.

Reason number Two has more global ramifications. Since the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela, the US government has applied penalties (in the form of litigation and massive fines) to companies that have ignored the embargo. You heard that right, embargoes aren’t regarded as highly as the news likes to make you believe. For a ship captain that doesn’t live in the US or do business in the US and has a government that could care less about the US there really is no penalty for displeasing the authorities of the US.

That was why the federal government pursued a Chinese shipping company in court to levy fines. So in response others have simply turned to just shutting off their AIS transponders.

The reasoning behind this is simple. Once a ship goes about 14 miles from the nearest radar source the curvature of the Earth actually blocks the signal from that radar. Oceans are big places so it’s easy to disappear this way if you’re a ship. The only way to let anyone know where you are is with a transponder that sends a signal up to a satellite which then beams it back to regional authorities. And that’s just a button press away from making your ship disappear like a ghost.

In the article a Russian oil tanker named “Dragon” was found taking on oil in Venezuela after having disappeared from the AIS network for almost a month. The company that owns Dragon issued a statement claiming that none of their ships have violated the embargo. They’re saying “We have no record of breaking any laws” with an implied “and neither do you”. That’s why this practice of deactivating the AIS transponder is so effective.

Civil authorities can’t show in a court of law that the embargo was violated. The US government could up the response by getting the military involved, but that has its own risks. Simply showing the record of the ship’s passage might give away a classified capability. Using military forces to seize a ship may very well be viewed as an act of aggression against the citizens of another nation.

National leaders probably won’t be for the use of force. And this is where the real problem manifests. It means that civilized ways of resolving disputes no longer work.

The skippers sailing out of Caracas with millions of barrels of oil know that they can make a killing this way. Current market prices of crude are about $60 a barrel and so far this month 11 million barrels of crude have snuck out of the country. Do the math and realize that huge pile of cash is funding a dictator and a bunch of smugglers.

Again, this is the troubling part. It means we live in a world where there are only two options: Dictators and smugglers running rampant OR war. Frankly, it would be nice to have some options in between those two. That’s called civilization.

While I don’t mind seeing the military apply boots to the asses of bad people, I’d rather see that be confined to the pages of my books. And there is a quite a bit of that, so check ’em out if you’re into that.

 

Hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new from it.