We got our code word to conduct our war time assigned mission?
We ran lots of training exercises in Special Forces. I don’t believe we were ever alerted at 9:00 AM on a Monday. It was usually odd hours on odds days.
Occasionally the alert was real: something that had to be done. But we also had a war plan for if the balloon went up on World War III. My team had a specific mission and target assigned to us, as did every team.
Sometimes our alerts said it was for this mission. We’d load on the aircraft with our gear, go wheels up and start flying. If we got our GO codeword, we were going.
This is the scenario played out in the epic movie and book Fail Safe.
It was a scenario that I used for the very first book I wrote which eventually became Dragon Sim-13 (The Green Berets). The title is the name of a simulation of a mission that gets the actual code word to go. Except it wasn’t supposed to happen!
Here is more:
Many people consider the two the same, but I don’t. One is inward oriented, the other outward.
At West Point we had to memorize quite a bit of ‘trivia’ otherwise known as Plebe Poop, which is self-explanatory. One bothered me a lot: In 60 major battles of the Civil War, West Pointers commanded both sides in 55 and one side in the other 5. It made me wonder how men who’d sworn an oath to the Constitution, the same one I did in the same place I did on the Plain at West Point, went against that oath?
The Civil War has always fascinated me. I’ve walked many of the battlefields. Wrote the Gettysburg Staff Walk for the JFK Special Warfare Center, read many books on it.
It was inevitable then that I ended up writing a book, actually, three about West Point and the Civil War. The first book, Duty, is free on all eBook platforms. I do plan on getting back to the series and pushing further into the war, but it starts at West Point in 1842. Here is a slideshow overview:
The Demon Core was one of the original nuclear cores at Los Alamos
In The Rift I use that real core in a story about breaking through into a parallel world. Which, oddly, they’re now working on just up the road from where I live at Oak Ridge.
So maybe we will need the Nightstalkers!
These are my first two books published, written a while ago, but the action and the political forces are as relevant as ever. Dragon Sim-13 is backdropped against the Tianenman Square riots but now we have the Hong Kong riots.
I’m writing prequels to the series now, featuring Dave Riley’s older cousin, Will Kane. The third book, Walk on the Wild Side will be out in December and the first two are already out.
Nothing but good times ahead!
When my wife and I met one of the first things that attracted us to each other was that our bookshelves held many of the same titles.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind was one of those. Not an easy tome and it requires several readings to grok.
The mind has been a topic in almost every book I’ve written. I’ve even used mine in writing most of them. I think its truly the last frontier: how does it really work? What is consciousness? How much of our potential are we using. I examined the latter in a lot of books including Psychic Warrior.
But my most intriguing and strangest book has to be The Fifth Floor, which is free today and tomorrow (11/4 and 11/5). Not just the topic but the various voices its written it, the book questions what is reality? At least for the protagonist of the story.
I went through and tagged all of my titles that are part of Kindle Unlimited. On my fiction page alone, there are 62 titles. Which means you can sample my works if you are enrolled in that program.
The red bar at the top indicate enrollment.
I think this is a great program for voracious readers.
Nothing but good times ahead!
By the way, Scout is one year old today. So does that make her no longer a puppy? Cool Gus thinks so.
Most have heard of New Amsterdam, the iteration of New York City before it became called just that.
However, what I didn’t know, even having grown up there, was that if not for some twists of fate, ended up being New Paris. Or even San Antonio when an early explorer christened the river the Rio de San Antonio, that later became the Hudson.
So here it is:
At times in Special Operations where we’d run into guys from other units and when we were alone we’d ask them if they were doing this high speed thing or that which we’d heard rumors of. And they would say they’d heard WE were doing it. Yeah. Scary.
I used to wonder who was in the black helicopters until one day I looked out the door (there was no door– I should say where the door was supposed to be) the Little Bird I was in and realized ’twas I. Even more scary. But don’t you try to infiltrate Area 51? I already covered that.
Anyway, I was thinking about that and an idea was born out of my dark and devious mind: what if there are things really out of the ordinary that exist? Who handles that? The pitch line was The Unit meets Warehouse 13.
So I invented the Nightstalkers. Don’t jump on me about who the official Nightstalkers are– remember I was in that black helicopter. Actually, I remember when TF-160 was formed and worked with the founders. Also, I watched every episode of Kolchak the Nightstalker. So there.
Anywho. A video of who the Nightstalkers are. Because the books are only .99 this month!
If you remember the scene in Don’t Look Down where JT Wilder comes into his hotel room and Althea is in his bed naked, which BTW, is the scene that convinced St Martins to go for the collaboration, this scene from Lawyers, Guns and Money sort of mirrors it.
Truvey, the woman in the scene, is turning out to be quite an intriguing character as I wrap up the third book in the series, Walk on the Wild Side, even racking up her own body count. And not that way.
This isn’t something they taught in Ranger School or the Special Forces Qualification Course. By the way, ‘breaking sheets’ is the term we used at West Point for the only night we actually got between the sheets of our beds, since the laundry went out the next day and we had to remake the bed anyway. Otherwise, we slept on top of an already made bed, using just our comforter. Time was precious.
Here is the excerpt:
MEATPACKING DISTRICT, MANHATTAN
Kane drew his forty-five when he saw the matchstick on top of the black iron gate. A note was taped to his door. He recognized his landlord’s scrawl by the glow of the street light, but didn’t holster the gun since he was having a bad twenty-four hours and didn’t see any reason for it to get better.
Kane entered, expecting to see Toni in the small sitting room, but it was empty. Kane went to the doorway to the bedroom. It was dark, but someone was in the bed. He flipped the overhead fluorescent, gun at the ready.
Truvey was in Kane’s bed, the sheet strategically layered along the upper curvature of her bosom. She lay on her side, head propped up with one hand held aloft by her elbow, a pose that was too perfect to be random. She looked pretty good despite the awful lighting.
“How come you didn’t ask if anyone wanted to kill me last night?” Truvey asked.
“Are you alone?” Kane asked.
“Am I not enough?” Truvey pouted. “Are you going to shoot me?”
Kane holstered the pistol. “You broke the sheets.”
“What are you doing here?” Kane asked.
Truvey raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?” She sat up, the sheet falling to her waist, revealing her prominent assets.
“Seriously,” Kane said.
“I didn’t ‘break’ your sheets,” Truvey said. “I got between them. The idea is—“
Kane interrupted her. “By the way, there’s a bomb under the bed.”
Truvey blinked hard several times as if that helped process the words. “You’re joking.”
“I’ve been accused by a number of people of not having much of a sense of humor and at this moment, I would trust their opinion.”
Truvey scooted out from between the sheets, revealing a pair of thong panties and a plethora of skin. Kane tossed her the sundress draped over the books on top of the dresser.
As she pulled it on, he told her: “Let me dispel with the possibility so we don’t waste time. I’m not interested in having sex with you. I’m more concerned with who attacked us last night and why.”
As the dress settled over her body, with some hard tugging, Truvey backed away from the bed. “The bomb?”
“It’s under the bed,” Kane said. “But it’s not armed. Technically it’s just the explosives. For it to go off it needs–”
“Why do you have a bomb?”
“It was on the boat last night.”
Truvey’s voice climbed a few octaves. “What?”
Kane indicated the sitting room. “Come on. I’ll explain.”
Truvey sat on the couch while Kane took the chair that allowed him to see the foyer and the couch.
“My apologies for my social faux pas last night,” Kane said. “Do you know anyone who’d want to kill you?”
Truvey shook her head. “No.”
“You sound pretty certain.”
Truvey spread her hands in innocence. “I’m a B-level actress trying to make my break. Who’d want to kill me?”
“That’s what I was asking,” Kane pointed out. “Why are you here?”
“I liked the way you handled things,” Truvey said. “I wanted to express my gratitude. I think it could have gotten bad if you hadn’t stepped up.”
“A thank you card would have worked.”
Truvey frowned. “You’re a weird man.”
“I’ve been told that.”
“You’ve a Vietnam Vet.” She said it in a way that could it could taken as a question or statement. Kane chose to go the latter route and didn’t respond. “A Green Beret. I deal with actors all the time. They pretend. You’re the real deal.”
“You also deal with people like Crawford,” Kane said.
“The hardest part of show business is getting the money,” Truvey said. “I’m surprised any movie is ever made given how difficult it is. Producers like to mix me in with their pitch to the money people.”
“The producer is a dear friend,” Truvey said. “I believe in his vision.”
“You’re talking about Selkis, right?”
“How long have you known him?”
Truvey frowned and Kane thought he heard little clangs as numbers moved. “About three months.”
“And he’s a dear friend?”
“Oh! Not like that.”
Kane had his own little mental clangs as he processed what she meant by ‘that’ which wasn’t what he had meant.
Truvey explained further. “He’s, well, you know. Let’s say he prefers different delights.”
“Right. When did he ask you to meet Crawford?”
“Selkie, that’s what I call him, phoned me yesterday morning and we had lunch. He explained that a big money man he’d worked with before was coming to town and he had a project he thought would interest him and that there was a role in it that I would be perfect in and that I’d definitely be cast if it got greenlit so of course I said yes.”
Kane unpacked the run-on sentence and pronouns. “Why didn’t Selkis come along?”
Truvey appeared shocked. “That would have been weird, wouldn’t it?”
“I guess so,” Kane said, having used his quota of ‘right’ in this conversation. “Did an Indian named Yazzie talk to you this morning.”
“Oh, yes. Have you met him? So tall. His skin is so perfect. He could so be my leading man!”
Kane indicated the bedroom. “I thought I was going to be?”
She pouted. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
“You are indeed. Did he give you money? Or did Crawford pay you in the limo?”
“I’m not a hooker.”
“To not say anything about what happened,” Kane clarified.
“Yeah. Crawford did. Did he give you some?”
Truvey nodded. “Two thousand. Not bad for doing nothing.”
“Except for the getting shot at and almost blown up.”
Truvey frowned. “There is that.” She frowned further. “How much did Crawford pay you?”
“Two thousand. What did Yazzie want to know?”
Truvey gave him what Yazzie had told them in the meeting. When she was done, she pouted slightly. “He’s really handsome but there’s something missing in him.”
“He’s crossed the river,” Kane said.
“Seen the elephant.”
Kane moved on from the combat references. “Can I ask you something else?”
Truvey became wary. “What?”
“Did you bring the cocaine or did Crawford?”
“You won’t rat on me will you?”
“Selkie supplied it. I don’t use myself. I tried it a few times but I’ve seen what can happen. I want to have a career, you know? Not be here today, gone tomorrow.”
“Good plan,” Kane said.
Truvey changed the subject. “What’s with all the pictures?” She indicated the framed prints leaning against the wall, everywhere there wasn’t cinderblocks holding makeshift bookshelves.
“I like maps. They’re mostly of New York City and show the evolution and history of the city.”
“See? That’s part of what the movie is about. New York City. I think. At least Selkie said it was. He never really gave me the script. He said it was about the dark underbelly of the Big Apple. Did you see Taxi Driver? DeNiro? Wasn’t that some acting? Selkie said it was like that, thematically.”
“I haven’t seen the movie. But I think I’ve experienced that part of the city.”
“Anyways, it opens with a scene like that one in Godfather. Or was it Two? Kid on the boat seeing the Statue?”
“Haven’t seen either of them either.” He pointed at a book. “There’s The Godfather.”
“The book the movie was based on,” Kane said.
“There was a book?” Truvey leaned forward, her sun dress looser at the top. She suddenly spoke as if they were being listened in on. “You know there weren’t any storyboards, don’t you?”
“I kind of guessed.”
Truvey sighed, having exhausted small talk. “You obviously like to read,” she said. “What else do you like?” She walked over, settling on the arm of the chair.
Kane forced himself to remain in the seat. “Run. Go to the gym and workout and spar. Work the heavy and light bag.”
“You look like you’re in good shape.”
“I gotta do two hours every morning,” Truvey complained. “And I can’t eat much of nothing. People think it’s easy to look like this.”
Kane didn’t know what to say to that.
“I appreciate a man who takes care of himself,” Truvey said.
Truvey became inspired. “I’ve never done it with a bomb under the bed.”
“I doubt that’s an exclusive club many have aspirations to,” Kane said.
Truvey frowned. “What-da-ya mean by that?”
“I mean not many people have done it with a bomb under the bed. That they knew about.”
“Oh.” She reached for him and he flinched. “What’s wrong with you?”
“I got shot in the head,” Kane said. “Kind of messed me up. Plus, I’ve had a bad day.”
“We can work on that. And really, the head’s over-rated.”
“That’s an interesting take,” Kane said.
Truvey got off the chair and went to the light switch for the sitting room. Turned it off. Her body was silhouetted inside the sundress in the doorway to the bedroom, which strangely was more enticing than almost completely naked in the bed. “You know where I’ll be. Above the bomb.” She turned the bedroom light off.
End of excerpt: LAWYERS, GUN AND MONEY
If you want to read what came before, it’s on Wattpad.
I just finished The March of Folly by Pulitzer Prize winning author Barbara Tuchman and highly recommend it.
It details how humans are not only foolish, but rush into stupidity, eyes wide, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. She spans history with her examples and one can get bogged down in her obvious extensive research, but many parts jump out at you. At the very least, I recommend reading the section on Vietnam as it resonates with us today. There was hardly a person in the Pentagon, or in the various administrations, who believed we had any chance of victory. Yet we persisted, first helping the French and paying their way. Most Americans don’t realize the French lost as many soldiers there are we did.
Dien Bien Phu is a classic of what not to do militarily, but it is WHY they were even there that stuns you.
I do remember in the Special Forces Qualification Course learning that early American advisors in Vietnam after WWII, recommended we side with Ho Chi Minh. That he had the will of the people with him. So, of course, we ignored that and propped up the French.
Then, when the French failed, we somehow thought we could do what they couldn’t. After all. They were French. Right.
We’re in our longest war and I’ve searched in vain for what will let us know when we’ve “won”. Why did we stay? “Nation-building” worked with the Marshall Plan, but that was when those countries were utterly devastated and surrendered. A country with an insurrection?
We humans are foolish and have learned few lessons from history. This is a book to help us at least get started.
Cool Gus recommends it because dogs have certainly learned. After all, I feed him, go out and pick up his dropping and he sleeps in a nice bed. If only we had as much common sense as dogs.