Tag Archives: thrillers

The Yemeni Package

By convention, it’s recommended that an author read in his or her own genre and thereby enhance the ability of “writing to market.”  I generally do not, because these days works need to be well conceived, structured, and written to hold my attention, and those increasingly seem few and far between. Besides, I want to write my words, not a rehashed version of theirs. The market can decide what it wants afterward.

Heroes in some very popular series seem to evolve little, if at all, over the span of their respective runs. Life, of course, doesn’t allow stagnation. Each of us change day by day, growing or diminishing or managing both at once in different measures. That people will change makes character stagnation in series fiction a point of departure from reality, and over the long term, in my opinion at least, degrades the sense of attachment between the reader and the characters they engage. Being real, in and out of the bubble of immersion, is a vital part of maintaining any relationship.

So, as Novel10/Sean4 The Yemeni Package opens, we have a non-typical vision of the subject of its story, Daniel Sean Ritter. At this peak in both his career with Air Force Special Operations and physically, the man is also worn down by an invisible op force: pain, grief, and accumulated postoperative trauma. In having experienced more intensity in his thirty years than some will accumulate in a long, comfortable lifetime, he is paying the price. At the branch of his trail is one path leading to a summit, and the other descending into decline.

What sort of life produces a man like Ritter? What grants him the will to win without making him a brute? What price has he paid for taking so many lives in the course of duty? He’s not fragile, not weak by any means, just human. Ritter embodies the noble spirit of longsuffering and resilience related by Kipling’s mighty poem, If, a portion of which reminds us that one can:

 …force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Ritter, as his Sean’s File series chronicles, held on through the events of the 1990s to appear as the iconic lone wolf AFSOC operator attached to U.S. Army Intelligence’s General Peter McAllen in the first title of Jon’s Trilogy, The Anvil of the Craftsman, where we initially met him under the nom de guerre Matt Kameldorn. In The Yemeni Package we see how, when, and why that happened … as well as why an Air Force major remained, at age thirty-eight, unattached other than by his interservice agreement with his handler.

Everything in my catalogue followed, once the decade of his back-story was completed. The three volumes of Jon’s Trilogy are set in the first decade of the new century, with Boone’s File following in the next. Ritter is there through every one of those stories to date, adding to the fabric sustaining their integrity.

He’s just a man, but a spectacular man. Daniel Sean Ritter was preserved through his formative experiences by essential strength and the hope for a possible future. It’s one he achieved in my second novel, by the way, but it would be better that you learn the details for yourself.

Here’s the blurb:

The year is 1999. Following a failed attack on a USAF base, the leader of an emergent and radical Islamic organization is offered to the United States by his captors. Under political oversight in the persona of a beautiful and deadly female case officer and aided by an apostate cleric, a mothballed Air Force Special Operations unit designated Deep Recovery is tapped for the mission. Their task: quietly deliver a captured terrorist, held overseas, into American custody.

Blindsided by the scope of an opposing force drawn from the ranks of a fanatical cult of personality, Daniel Sean Ritter’s mission intensifies once matters turn deadly. A simple detainee transfer then becomes a hunt for the most wanted man in the region.

Domestic and international political pressures erode their civilian leadership’s resolve. Its operators in the field are left diminished and isolated, forced into a quandary of whom their government wishes to prevail … and into the realization that true strength sometimes is found where there is no one to trust but oneself.

Approx. 81,800 wds. / 300 pp. print length

As usual, an update will be posted later this week as buy links go live.

Choose to Love, -DA

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Characters in a Godless Universe

Before writing, one reads first, of course. After writing and further developing the skills needed to do it well, however, reading is never quite the same. That epiphany is a seed of thought especially relating to what I write, which is fiction from the perspective of a conservative and a Christian.

Characters I encounter in the writing of others—nearly universally now—seem to have little regard for the spiritual aspects of their existence. Plot lines develop, conflict is engaged, and crescendos pass … often without any soul-searching, spark of enlightenment, or flashes of revelation in the minds of the people with whom we travel through their story. The result can be constructed as well as fiction can get, be presented in flawless elegance, and yet for me is one notch away from truly satisfying … because an element of completeness is missing.

When someone asks what my fiction is “about,” the short answer is: “people, and the perspectives that guide their decisions.” Conflict, challenge, adventure and romance are all elements as well, but as my character Jon Anthony says, some questions are essential. This means we will all answer them in some fashion, whether or not the subject is ever intentionally addressed.

Whether one proceeds from a faith-based perspective is one of those attributes. We are all encouraged in polite company to avoid talking about the subject, along with politics, and that reserve spills into the world of literature as well. I cannot help but think it is as limiting there as it is elsewhere in life. In writing Political Fiction, I cannot avoid the latter. As a Christian, I have a Commission to engage in the former … come what may.

In Stephen King’s novel The Langoliers, the test of dimensional validity is the “rightness” in the taste of foods and vitality of materials for the passengers of an aircraft “out of synch.” So, in a way, is  reading the works constructed out of a secular perspective.

Certainly, judging from the state of the world, too many and an increasing number of people are living their lives in that same, flat, unfulfilled state King described. Blaise Pascal, in his Pensees, wrote:

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?

This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

The results in fiction and in life are the same. Absent a foundational quickening, no recovery can be made without addressing one’s most fundamental deficit. As Christians, it remains our burden to watch and pray and counsel where we can. In fiction, I present the internal struggles and dialogues that steer a soul on a bearing toward Home. That likely is the primary distinction between my fiction and the majority of authors in my genre.

We need a nation and a world revived in Spirit through valid faith, and thus given to acts of love rather than self-indulgence. I believe that we need novels written just that way as well. Toward that end, we here at Single Candle Press will continue to do what we can.

*****

In TBP112x169production news, May promises to see Novel6/Boone2 The Bonus Pool complete primary editing and the title move into pre-publication on a schedule for release next month (June 2015). Boone’s first, Absinthe and Chocolate, is an absolute prerequisite to her latest novel.

Doctor Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt returns in style. The Bonus Pool, as did the second novel of Jon’s Trilogy, brings together characters and set pieces established in the introductory volume into a storyline and presentation so energetic and excellent that we truly feel it shakes the blessed earth.

You will not want to put this one off, people. My advice is: get started now. Boone’s File Book One, Absinthe and Chocolate, is available now where your ebooks are sold and linked on the sidebar.

Choose to Love, -DA