Archive for the Books Category

2014 is here and it started off with the flu. First I had it, then my children. Thankfully, my husband has alien DNA and is immune. As you can imagine, all my wondrous plans for implementing new goals went by the wayside. To say I’ve been discouraged would be a vast understatement.

Yet despite all the obstacles in my path, the flu was one of many, the universe was sending me a message. I didn’t hear it at first, but it all came clear today.  FCRW chapter mate, Alesia Holiday shared a link to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s inspiring speech from the 2011 RWA® National Conference. Do yourself a favor and read it. It really spoke to me.

Previous to this, I saw the movie, Lone Survivor and read the book the movie is based on by Marcus Luttrell, the one Navy SEAL who survived Operation Redwing. The movie is awe inspiring, but the book broke my heart. I was literally crying for the loss of such wonderful men, but mostly for the bond they shared and their never say die spirit. They are always in the fight.  I thank God for men like Marcus and his brothers and they will never be forgotten by me.

I added this together, and while writers and warriors have very different jobs, our attitude needs to be the same. You can’t give up, you can’t quit, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how insurmountable the odds. And you need a support system. Like the brotherhood of the SEAL teams, writers need other writers to succeed. Every time you support another writer, you’re supporting yourself.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution – Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Have you ever heard of the Culper Spy Ring? Were you aware that they were Patriots who provided key intelligence which enabled George Washington to defeat the British? If not, this book is for you. I love history and was both fascinated and inspired by this account of the original American spy ring.

Outside CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, you will see the statue of Nathan Hale who famously said, “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. He was the first American spy to die for his country, executed by the British for espionage.  Inside Langley, new recruits are told about the Culper Spy Ring whose methods and practices are taught to trainees and utilized in spycraft today.

Washington recognized the value of intelligence. He realized it was the one tool that would even his odds against the British who at the time were the most feared fighting force on the planet. They had more men, weapons, and supplies than he could ever hope to match.  But the efforts of a small group of Patriots, unafraid to act with the courage of their convictions, turned the tide.

A young cavalry officer, Benjamin Tallmadge, was tasked with creating a homegrown group of spies capable of getting intelligence out of British held New York.  Five men and a woman made up this group: A farmer, Abraham Woodhull, a boat Captain, Caleb Brewster, a merchant, Robert Townsend, a tavern keeper, Austin Roe, a printer and coffeehouse owner, James Rivington, and an unidentified lady, Agent 355.

Invisible ink, aliases, dead drops, and true daring in the face of insurmountable odds make this story seem like a work of fiction rather than historical fact. Meticulously researched, I was amazed by how even to this day we know so little about this group of people. They were that good! There are no monuments to their achievements, no accolades, they lived and died in secret, content with the reward of the birth of a new nation founded on the cause of liberty.

Being a romantic, I have to think that the lady spy must have been involved with one of the other members who closely guarded her secret. It’s known that she was captured and likely died on one of the British prison ships, but no true account of her fate has been uncovered. Regardless, she did not betray her fellow operatives.  Her efforts, along with the other members of the ring, are the reason we live in a United States of America today.

Would you be willing to risk all you hold dear, even your own life, for a cause you believed in? These people answered yes, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

James Bond vs. Mitch Rapp
Recently, the stars aligned and I was gifted with a new James Bond movie, SKYFALL, as well as a new Vince Flynn novel featuring my favorite CIA Assassin, Mitch Rapp. This got me to thinking, how do these two heroes matchup?
Both work for their respective governments in the clandestine service. Bond, or 007, is an MI6 covert agent who carries a Walther 9mm short and whatever cool gadgets Q may have sent along. He’s a classy dresser and ladies man, but not afraid to get his hands dirty in a brawl. Bond has demonstrated his ability to operate multiple types of machinery, although they usually end up destroyed. He answers only to M, his female boss.
Rapp is the type of agent the CIA doesn’t even acknowledge exists. While 007 may work in the shadows, Rapp is completely in the dark. His targets never see him coming and there’s no evidence he’s ever been there, other than the bodies. He also answers to a female boss, CIA Director Irene Kennedy. But while M tries to rein Bond in, Kennedy generally lets Rapp work with autonomy as long as he gets results. Dress and weapons are very different as Rapp is a master at blending in and going unnoticed, and always packing more than adequate firepower.
From the romance standpoint, both men are driven by painful loss. Bond’s love died trying to protect him, but he cannot forget her lies or betrayal. Rapp joined up after his fiancée was killed by terrorists. Both fear growing close to anyone as it usually results in a death sentence. While Bond has yet to do so, Rapp tried love again, but she and his unborn child died in a blast meant for him.
While there are many similarities between the two men, who would I want at my back in a fight? To be fair, I am using only the Daniel Craig incarnation of Bond to compare. And it is three movies vs. many books. Although if all goes well, there will soon be Mitch Rapp movies. If I had to choose, I have a soft spot for Mitch. And, I feel he’s better prepared and more knowledgeable than Bond who often seems to be led around by his latest leading lady and falls into trouble rather than having a plan. Plans often go awry, but Rapp always has a contingency to fall back on and I think I’d have a better chance of getting out alive.

Note: Sadly, my favorite author, Vince Flynn, tragically died before his time this past June. His publishing journey from dyslexia to self publishing his first book, to the New York Times list, and now a movie deal is inspiring. Vince, you will be missed. RIP.

 

 

 

I was crazy excited to attend the FL Author’s Book Fair in Lake Helen yesterday. Why you ask? Because good friend and chapter mate, Connie Mann was signing her new book, ANGEL FALLS. Afterward, I met my critique partners for lunch and inspiration.

Being a writer can be a lonely business. We need to support one another. Be there for not only the highs, but the lows. On my refrigerator, I have a magnet that says, “Have you hugged a writer today?” If you haven’t, go find one right now, and do it. Even if it’s a virtual hug.

One of my favorite shows of all time, Dexter,  premieres Season 7 on Showtime tonight.  Season 6 ended in quite a cliff hanger.  Lt. Debra Morgan finally came face-to-face with brother Dexter’s DARK PASSENGER!

“The only thing worse than not knowing what she’ll do, is not knowing what I’ll do.” – Dexter Morgan

I personally can’t wait to find out. Tune in tonight.

Also, check out Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter books. But be warned, they are not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.

Lilith Saintcrow has two series of books I seriously love. They are urban fantasy with butt-kicking heroines.

Caitlin Kittredge has the Luna Wilder series about a shape-shifting police detective. Can’t get enough of it.

And finally, JUSTIFIED, on the FX channel is one of the best shows I’ve seen in years. I was thrilled to hear it’s been picked up for a second season.

Not a lot to report. I just realized it was half-way through the month and I had yet to blog. I’m working on a new story idea to pitch at M&M the end of the month. And, I just read a great book by Toni Andrews called BEG FOR MERCY. Check it out.

Loads of fun this AM. I had to haul out at the crack o’ dawn to have 4 vials of blood sucked out of me. Always loads of fun. <g> Luckily, I had a good book with me to read. I always like to have that. What books do I consider must reads? You know authors that I automatically buy without even looking at the back cover blurb…

I recommend:

J. R. Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
Laurell K. Hamilton- Anita Blake and Merry Gentry Series
Kim Harrison-Rachel Morgan Series
Janet Evanovich- Stephanie Plum Series
Vince Flynn- Mitch Rapp Series
Patricia Briggs- Mercedes Thompson Series
Suzanne Brockmann- Navy Seal� Series

I’m sure I could think of others, but these are some of my faves. What do they all have in common? A great character that I can’t read enough about. Characters I identify with and root for. Characters I care about. As writers, that’s what we have to do, evoke emotion in our readers. These authors do a fantastic job.