Tag Archives: Boone

Reading Boone

Leading into next month’s release of Boone’s fifth and epic title, A Garden in Russia, I have the opportunity to hand off the forum to a pair of her biggest fans, Rebecca Johnson and Claire O’Sullivan. Ladies, the floor is yours:

Rebecca: Firstly, thank you, Dale, for allowing us to guest post on your page. Claire O’Sullivan and I are here to nag Dale Amidei about his newest book discuss Dale Amidei’s first female heroine in his Boone series of espionage thrillers, a sort of international/ political Tales from the Dark Side. Dale writes complex, powerful novels that pull his characters into unthinkable situations, which is why I have temporarily given up paranormal fiction in favor of devouring his books.

Claire: Readers and writers alike, no matter their preferred genre, would find Dale’s geopolitical intrigue novels exemplary.

Rebecca: That’s some mighty highfalutin language there, but I think you’re absolutely right.

Claire: All I’m saying is that, as primarily a romance reader, I find his books a delicious departure from my usual reads, just like you do.

Rebecca: Can’t argue with you there … but about Boone: How do you relate to her character?

Claire: I think she’s a bad-arse, and I mean that in the “holy-crap-if-she-was-real” sense (and maybe she is). I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Respect her, yes. Mess with her, no way. I would actually like to be Boone. What about you? How do you see her?

Rebecca: Well, you know, every woman has those days when everything jells, right? The makeup and hair work, the clothes fit perfectly, the job rolls on smooth wheels. Then there’s the rest of the time, when the mirror and the closet are your enemies, and the job develops a square wheel and just clunks along, and the kids track dog poop all through the house ten minutes before the party. Those kinds of issues are hiccups in the greater scheme of things, I know, but they seem like disasters at the time. 

And then there’s Dr. Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt’s world. She’s an intel operative who deals in—how to say it?—correcting political situations detrimental to independence and freedom. She takes on the jobs no one in the real world wants to think about. Her profession involves stealth, constant situational awareness, and occasionally sudden death: both other people’s and possibly her own. She has to be good at what she does, just to survive. Dog poop on the floor is the least of her worries.  And yet, even with her youth and strength, she is full of flaws and desires. She has the same soul shadows and asks the same questions we all do: “What have I become? Did I ever have a choice?”

Claire:  I’ve read all four of Dale’s Boone’s File novels, and I’m waiting for the fifth one, A Garden in Russia. Taken together, they chronicle Boone’s journey from a flawed, confused enforcer of justice to a clear-headed confident woman who manages to reconcile her profession with her soul. She’s a cool, aloof bad-girl trigger mama in the first book, truly someone you’d not want to disrespect. But she changes as each novel unravels another of her protective layers, and she begins to thaw into something more human and fragile.

Rebecca: Exactly! And I think the title of the first Boone book, Absinthe and Chocolate, describes her perfectly. Chocolate represents everything Boone is: rich, lush, exquisite, and extreme.  Absinthe, nicknamed the “Green Fairy,” symbolized a changing social order in 19th-century Paris, a new generation of free thinkers and transformative ideas. The Green Fairy was also the embodiment of rebellion, especially female rebellion. Boone is nothing if not transformative and rebellious.

Claire: Well, you’re just chock full of weird information. But why am I not surprised? Dale’s first book hooked me into the series. It really showed Boone’s skills as well as her flaws. But in the second book, The Bonus Pool, Boone learns from a persecuted Chinese Christian pastor how to find peace in her life, and that we all “go from darkness into the Light.” Dale is a master at crafting Boone’s reflections on the old man’s words, as she moves from her internal conflict toward peace.

That starts the ball rolling for Boone. By the end of the third and fourth books (One Last Scent of Jasmine and Meat for the Lion), she’s moved away from her despair and doubt, and into a more clear-headed sense of her purpose in life.

Rebecca: Seeing her transformation made me want to say, “Maybe I can do that, too. In my own way I can be better, if I remember that every move is always from the darkness toward the Light.” In these days of turmoil both here and abroad, that’s a good way to think, not only for Boone but for the rest of us who are still cleaning up the dog poop.

Claire: But regarding the writing—you know, Dale writes so well that there are days I wonder why I even bother. And did you ever ask yourself, how does he know so much?

Rebecca: After reading his novels with all those Special Ops and gun-related details, do you really want to ask that question?

Claire: Well, maybe no. But I do enjoy his books, because they’re not just complex in terms of characters and storylines. They address the human condition, whether it’s Boone or another character discoursing on current global and political issues. And in Boone’s case, he manages to hold up a mirror to her soul, so that she—and we—can see her heart laid bare.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.’
-Paul of Tarsus (or 1 Corinthians 13:12)

I feel like I know her better now.

Rebecca: Well enough to mess with her?

Claire: You think you’re so funny. .. 

Rebecca Johnson was born and raised in the southern United States, mostly in North Carolina with brief relocations to South Carolina and Virginia. She is by education a medical technologist, graduating with honors from N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill, and by preference a calligrapher, needlework designer, and graphic artist. She writes paranormal romances by night when no one is watching, and hides her manuscripts under quilting and needlepoint projects during the day. In her spare time she beta-reads for other writers, searching for nitpicking errors. She believes that God’s purpose for her life is to cause as much trouble for as many people as she possibly can, and she spends at least part of each day fulfilling that purpose. 

Claire O’Sullivan was raised in corn and cow country in the Midwest where she learned the nuances of ‘moo’ to PhD level (piled higher and deeper). She attended the University of Wisconsin at River Falls (aka Moo U) with a major in psychology, and changed minors every other week. She left Moo U and attended Lutheran Bible Institute and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies. She has fiddled with writing forever, and currently has several crime/romances in the works, including a comedy noir. She’s pretty sure that Rebecca is indeed fulfilling her purpose by tormenting her daily… er, helping Claire endeavor to write.

Thank you, ladies. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Boone’s novels may be found on the sidebar:
AmazonAppleNookKobo
and other places where ebooks come alive.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In long-awaited production news, the fifth title of my Boone’s File series, A Garden in Russia, has emerged from production editing and is preparing to publish next month. As always, the date will be announced on Facebook and via Twitter. Her Big List of Links will appear here once all retail outlets spin up.

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Our Morally Integrated Universe

Of course, there’s a great deal of trouble everywhere one looks. Why do you think we’re here? The world, according to the laws of standard distribution, has always been half-filled with below-average people and somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five percent reprobative thinkers. Society’s state of affairs, as a result, never has and never will manage itself.

Regardless, the place is what I’d like to call a Morally Integrated Universe. That is to say, a realm universally subject to predictable consequences, from which a reliable set of guidelines may emerge.

Of course, any discussion involving morality is problematic these days. This mostly is due to the vociferous commitment of those who reject established norms, and who oftentimes prove quick to anger at commonsense assertions regarded as judgmental in their camp.

Such irrationality, is, of course, itself a judgment, one made from what Andrew Breitbart used to call the occupation of unearned moral high ground. The heights of polarization being what they are, those who would best benefit from remedial lessons in conventional morality reject the notion in favor of preserving a precariously balanced world view.

The premise of a Morally Integrated Universe is simple: namely, an assertion that whatever is right or wrong remains so everywhere and for all time, regardless of any contravening consensus.

In varied settings, a given perspective might regard behavior to be right action when the same practice is considered reprehensible elsewhere. Who says which determinate factors are valid?

Wisdom is what does so. The ability to reliably anticipate consequences preserves those who acknowledge that life is hard, and gets worse the more often one does stupid things.

The likelihood of whether wisdom will be adopted has dependencies of its own, and those largely are determined by how an individual views his or her place in the order of things. Self has a valuation in creatures who consider their existence. For the purposes of this discussion, there are two primary perspectives: secular and faithful.

Universally, the egocentric, secular over-valuation of self tends toward indulgence in neglect of altruistic concepts such as duty and charity. Such selfish lifestyles give rise to the seven deadly sins and routinely suffer any number of unfortunate consequences. Whether the concept of sin enters into the equation is entirely dependent on intervening external influences, be they social or spiritual.

Faithfulness, conversely, is light against the darkness of self-absorption. This perspective perceives allegiance valued more than self and dedicates to it. It does not disregard personal considerations, but rather places them in an adopted hierarchy of ordered loyalties, some of which are prioritized while others are viewed as predominant.

This is the perspective, given the weight of proofs available, producing devotees with the greatest long-term rates of survival. We may objectively observe this in the worldly sense, and are told of its importance in the life to go on elsewhere.

Valid perspectives tend toward observation rather than consensus. Consensus necessarily includes faithless perspectives, overly influenced as they are by too narrow a focus on gratification. Thus, what seems fine from a myopic viewpoint can easily be revealed as a horrid decision after widening one’s considerations by a single order of loyalty.

Beyond the limit of consensus rules the court of natural law, from whose verdicts there are no avenues of appeal. Its judgments are final and levied in life or death.

Commitment to any sort of deceptively narrow focus—be it on the self, one’s identity, or a given philosophy—generates what I call an ideological bubble: an imagined state of reality prone to being popped by the collapse of an extended false premise. An armed malefactor walking into a designated Gun-Free Zone and turning a declared safe space into a shooting gallery instead is a prime and all-too-current example.

When sufficient offsetting support is available, ideological bubbles may become institutionalized, as is the tragic norm in Blue State America. I’m looking at you, too, London. Should their compensating influences evaporate, it is their inherently unsustainable nature making them suddenly dangerous.

There exists effective insulation against bad decision-making, that being found in conventional morality. This is no accident of culture. Rather, it descends from a long line of observations sifting What Works from What Kills. Valid perspectives, such as morality, are the product of a preserving sense of pragmatism having delivered its adherents through times too many others did not survive.

The assertion of faith is that God, in His beneficence, saw fit to reveal many of those guidelines ahead of time. He did so with the intent that more of us should go on than those who tend to learn things the hard way. This is more than blind hope. It is a conclusion an adequate study of available historical and legal proofs will deliver. That He loves is evident in a portfolio of works in life. The extent to which He does so can be extrapolated from a promise that we may go on with Him, forever, on His terms.

Your ordering of loyalties and consequent valuation of yourself await in an unavoidably essential choice between love, hate, and indifference. We will all see you on the other side, and sooner, perhaps, than any of us think.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Boone’s fifth title, A Garden In Russia, is just over thirty-three percent through production editing. It progresses on a road to publication in September.

Ritter’s fifth, Twenty-Four Hours to Midnight, with its chapters alternating between conflicts in Iraq set in 2003 and 2013 respectively, is somewhere in the neighborhood of the initial quarter of its first draft. 24HtM might appear in 2019 or early the following year, God willing.

 

Boone’s fourth is available!

Actions have consequences, some of which are predictable … and some not. In Boone’s fourth novel, complications arising out of her covert history interfere with an attempt to start a new life.

Following simultaneous attacks in Washington and Moscow, Boone and her allies learn of what was thought to be an extinct breed of predator: Vedro Krovi (VAY-dro KROWV-yi), a company of Russian mercenaries unleashed by patrons uncomprehending of the level of commitment and ruthlessness they have unwittingly engaged.

This, while Deborah Vosse—the premier investigative journalist for her left-leaning ForwardNews network—is prompted by the murder of a colleague to examine the relationship between heads of state and the shadowy figures of international intelligence. Connections never intended for public knowledge begin to unveil those who covertly enabled or interdicted the agendas of masters or enemies.

The plot develops into Boone’s largest challenge to date, with everything she holds dear, including her beckoning life and freedom, at risk on multiple fronts.

Here’s the blurb:

“Boone, now a former covert operative, looks forward to a fulfilling marriage, new career, and brighter days. Investigative journalism by one of her country’s most prominent news personalities, however, begins to unravel a thread of actualities thought to have been classified out of existence. Actions once undertaken in the national interest threaten her new life.

When not only Boone’s people but the servants of the ill-intended and powerful are targeted for elimination, the result is an undeclared war between the keepers and the kept. Forced back into a high-stakes game against international players, she will need to call on all her resources in order to defend those whom she loves against two of the world’s most powerful men … and sins of her past.

Approx. 92,370 wds./ 323 pp. print length”

Boone’s Big List of Links:
Kindle – iTunes – Nook – Kobo – Smashwords – Scribd

Trade paperbacks at Amazon and CreateSpace!

As always, your contributions toward signal boost in spreading the word are appreciated. Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In more production news, Ritter’s fourth title, The Yemeni Package, has entered Content Edit in preparation for an anticipated first quarter 2018 release.

Your Part of the Story

Or is it You’re Part of the Story? Either sense is correct. Interconnectedness is a vital aspect of the human experience, and without an appreciation of the precept, we would each develop into someone far below our potential.

You, however, are my readers. I’m not content to leave you there.

Many worthwhile things can be accomplished on an individual level, and some of those in no way else. Even the most independent achievement, however, is the culmination of capability fostered by affecting influences. Those are the drops and rivulets contributing to the flow of who we are and what we do … for better or worse.

Likewise, each event in the past contributes its part to the composition of the current scene. Frank Capra did a better than adequate job of illustrating totality in It’s a Wonderful Life, so I won’t bother to recap his conclusions here. It’s a pity, though, that sometimes this essential realization drops while reading fiction when we so wholeheartedly embrace it watching that film. I sometimes wonder if its absence also contributes to a less-than-sufficient grasp of history generally, much less the problems this can cause with dedicating attention to a novel.

I mention every so often how much I dislike encountering formulaic fiction. Emphases vary between plot-driven and character-driven structure such as mine. One won’t find action leading the way in a Dale Amidei novel, for the same reason that unanticipated, out-of-context conduct in real life generates confusion and anxiety in its witnesses. The ideal here is removed from pulpy exploits and steeped in substance instead, and the distinction sometimes requires the accumulation of momentum in defining a character’s situation.

Structure, done from farther out than a singular or first-person perspective, sometimes requires this. I’ve never written under the latter restriction, much preferring the weave of multiple points of view I encountered in my best formative reading. Reading first was a process that stretched across four decades before attempting my own serious novel, one that ran somewhere past thirty consecutive five-stars on Amazon and once was, by one website’s weighting, the second highest-rated fiction title in the Kindle store.

Character-driven fiction requires an investment on the part of the reader in the imaginary folk he or she is encountering. Its dividend must be paid by the author, but this takes time. It also, sometimes unfortunately, requires depositing a span of attention nearly every aspect of modern life seems intent on degrading. No one, if you’ve not noticed, ever dies in a Dale Amidei Chapter One. In Chapter Two and following all bets are off … but by then you will at least have an inkling of what’s happening and why.

What and Why, now that Boone is about to appear in her fourth novel, both play a vital role in her latest adventure. The interconnectedness to which I alluded in beginning this post is coming full circle; the cascading implications of fulfilled duty in her previous title, One Last Scent of Jasmine, extends from Washington to Moscow as two of the world’s most powerful men turn to ruthless pragmatism in seeking to distance themselves from their moral culpabilities.

Boone’s fourth is now set to appear on June 28, 2017. I hope you’ll be coming along on a trip not to be missed, whether you jumped into my interconnected character universe through Jon’s Trilogy, or Sean’s File, or with Boone’s debut in Absinthe and Chocolate. She and I need your reads, your reviews, and your help in boosting my signal on social media. You’re part of this story, and once it’s finished, I promise that Boone’s will remain part of you. To produce a novel that shakes the blessed earth is my prime motivation of course, but also to go forward with you from then on. Afterward, both of us will hopefully fulfill the clear vision of our Craftsman within the remainder of what He intends.

You do your part. I’ll do mine.

Choose to Love, -DA

*****

In production news, as mentioned above, Boone’s fourth novel, Meat for the Lion, is progressing through its final quality assurance steps before publishing later this month. Once retail pages are live, her Big List of Links will appear here as a separate post.

Arcs

It would be great from a business perspective if my characters stayed static throughout the course of a long series of novels. Adventure after adventure could follow in the endless timeline of a cast from whom the audience knew just what to expect. From the standpoint of realism and plausibility, of course, that’s not how things happen in the Dale Amidei universe.

Jon’s Trilogy is an example. His three titles took things, it seemed to me, as far as the character was going to go. When they finished, I had the distinct impression it was time to let Doctor Jon go back to a normal life … as normal as it could be remaining in association with Deborah Vosse, Daniel Sean Ritter, and eventually Boone, anyway. Those are different stories and ones we will address here eventually, God willing.

Ritter has Sean’s File, which is the man’s story from age nine onward. Growth there is a natural part of his continuing exposition. Portraying the change of the same person across years is possibly a factor leading to many readers designating him as their favorite character. That the man appears in every one of my novels to date likely says something about my personal attachment to the Colonel as well.

Boone’s File was meant to be a story of change from the beginning, where perhaps previously it was engineered out of a commitment to plausibility. My bio has always stated that I write in the real world, with real-world language and violence (and, when appropriate to the storyline, sexual situations). Constructing tales where the reader may easily suspend disbelief means persons appearing therein will change and grow. Every good guideline for storytelling says as much.

OLSJ_225x337DSWith Boone’s third on the horizon, I’m able to reflect on her very satisfying development. She has character and romance arcs spanning the six novels in which she appears and which will, again if we are so blessed, be brought to market over the course of the next three years or so. Writing as I have has made her tangible for me, and the results comprise a wholeness I am so glad to have been allowed to witness before anyone else.

Change should be embraced, not feared. In Professor Tolkien’s universe, the great failing of the rulers of Men in Numenor was the inability to accept their limited span. They envied the Uttermost West its Undying Lands, and so eventually brought ruin on themselves. As usual, though he denied any intent of allegory, with that theme J.R.R. Tolkien was portraying the essential link between valid faith and character.

The philosophy necessarily entails accepting limitations for one’s characters as well. They will not operate at a peak level of efficiency through thirty novels. They cannot dispatch endless numbers of villains without paying the price of self-doubt and conscience. They are unable to avoid necessary pain inherent in living well. Embraced, such seems to have only produced added dimension to my work.

My virtual people seem real to me because they have experienced stages of personal development I have observed in others, in persons both characterized and actual. From feedback so far, it seems others value the same effect to an even greater extent.

Boone’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, is now preparing to publish next month. The project has remained eminently satisfying throughout the process of bringing it forward. My longest novel prior to The Anvil of the Craftsman’s Revised and Extended Edition, it is, as described by the Editress, an amazing weave compiled into a great ending.

Boone’s story goes on as of this writing, of course, but it will not always. I know it, and she knows it. Though neither of us has been graced with having seen that ending yet, it will be the process of living through to the end which neither of us takes for granted or fears in the least. This, as Tolkien intimated so well, is what the Powers require of the faithful, lest we lose vital hope to futile delusion whispering the world is otherwise.

Choose to Love, -DA

Boone’s second is in full release!

TBP225x337DS

Boone’s return in her second novel, The Bonus Pool, sets her in an adventure capturing the same second-in-series energy of developed characters and synergistic story line as did Jon Anthony’s return in The Britteridge Heresy. In addition, the rich content, international settings, high-voltage action, and substantive themes made the title a true pleasure to produce and, as I’m sure her fans will agree, an experience to be relished.

Here is the blurb:

“A Chinese dissident, targeted by his government for assassination, flees to asylum in Paris through a joint effort of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Peter McAllen’s InterLynk. A rogue intelligence agent, now freelancing, accepts Beijing’s contract to eliminate the man as a threat to Communist regional control. It is an opportunity to damage McAllen’s organization in the process.

A pool of InterLynk contributors is exposed, and the life of a man capable of changing the spiritual direction of the world’s largest authoritarian regime is on the table. His guardian and her allies in InterLynk must match wits with a ruthless adversary.

The challenge before Boone Hildebrandt and InterLynk Field Operations: find and neutralize a deadly assassin. At risk with a spiritual leader for a movement numbering in the tens of millions is ongoing contributor confidence vital to the existence of the West’s preeminent private intelligence firm.

Approx. 87,000 words / 298 pp.”

As promised previously, here is her Big List of Links to the various retail venues hosting TBP, now that the title has achieved full release:

Kindle Paperback  iTunes Nook Kobo Smashwords Scribd

As always, remember the motto of the Dale Amidei reader: Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat. To this we now add Ready Yourself. Boone will, God willing, be back this winter in One Last Scent of Jasmine.

Choose to Love, -DA

A word from the Editress / Boone June

And now let me diverge from my usual blog format to feature a few words from the woman who contributes an equal number of hours to each Dale Amidei novel. Take it away, She Who Must Be Obeyed:

As Single Candle Press releases The Bonus Pool, I am reminded of when we first began. After agreeing to edit The Anvil of the Craftsman, I really did not know what to expect. I thought the novel would be filled with weaponry specs and other references that would leave me confused. I was wrong, in fact, very wrong. What I found instead were many well-developed characters set in an intricate, well-managed, thoughtful story line.

When I finally finished my part of preproduction, I was impressed. Knowing by that point reviews, particularly good reviews from readers, were extremely important to the independent author, I wanted to post my opinion on Anvil as soon as it made its debut. Instead, I found that I was prohibited from reviewing SCP’s maiden offering because I had been personally involved in its making. My options were to either keep my thoughts to myself or to impersonate someone else and post them anyway. The latter choice was clearly wrong, and the former seemed unfair since I had not been required by the author to like The Anvil of the Craftsman—I truly did enjoy it.

So as difficult as it was, I refrained from reviewing it and left others to provide the commentary. In the few years since that time, the vast majority of Dale’s reviewers have come to see what I saw in the very beginning with the very first novel:  a real talent for writing. More than once I have reminded him that no amount of editing can fix crap. And it’s true—I merely provide some polish. I’m the Monday-morning quarterback of the literary world. I can suggest a more accurate word to use to better convey meaning, and I can check that we are following our grammar conventions. But I don’t do the heavy lifting. I cannot create in my mind a multitude of solid characters, motivations and settings and then intertwine them all into a meaningful whole that magically comes together by the end. Anyone who thinks writing a good novel is easy has obviously never tried it.

With Boone’s latest installment, I think readers will find a continuation of what they have come to expect from Dale Amidei: great characters, flinch-worthy action, light-hearted humor, a roller coaster of emotion and an important message underlying it all. The Bonus Pool begins shortly before  Absinthe and Chocolate ends. Familiar characters return for further development alongside new ones. Boone’s prowess gives way once more to her poetry. Varying tactics of conflict management provide even more business for building contractors, auto body shops, emergency rooms and morgues around the globe. There are the twists and turns to keep readers guessing. And, just as in life, there is a point to it all. No, this isn’t the same old same old. It’s the best one yet. I hope you all will enjoy reading The Bonus Pool as much as I have enjoyed helping to produce it.

~ The Editress

*****

In production news, our sixth novel and Boone’s second, “The Bonus Pool,” is publishing as I write this. Later this week, an update will feature the retail links once they go live.

Choose to Love, -DA