I finally got the ending to “Lonesome Cove” just the way I wanted it and sent it off to the publisher again this morning. “Lonesome Cove” is the fourth novel in my tales from the life of Terry Rankin, a somewhat stumbling but determined hero. It pits Terry against the Italian Mob, MS-13 and crooked cops. It also pits him against the institution of marriage.
Terry could fend off the Mob and MS-13, and the crooked cops might be able to slow him down a bit, but hat last fight is one Terry never had a chance of winning.
In any case, it’s done and out of my hands until I get the edits back from the publisher some time in May, I guess.
So tomorrow I begin writing full time on “A Silent Star”, a novelization of the lives of three CIA agents sent into Yemen to collect Osama Bin Laden immediately after the attack on the USS Cole in the harbor of Aden in October of 2000. This really happened, folks, and my co-author on this novel, Tony Attanasio, has enough of the details from the survivors of that raid to put together a great story.
Tony is one of the most interesting people I have met in many years. Click on this link to learn a little bit about this man: http://www.s2institute.com/content/_pages_about/_instructors/attanasio.php
Writing with a co-author actually puts more demands on a writer, rather than less. All of a sudden, you have someone depending on you for all sorts of stuff. You also have to establish very clear guidelines over who does what, and when deliverables are scheduled, you have to deliver them (that’s whey they’re called ‘deliverables’). In our case, Tony provided the initial research and the outline and stands ready to answer questions as they arise. My job is to ‘novelize’ real events and provide sufficient masking for the characters so that nobody can figure out who the real people were in the actual raid.
In effect, most of the research has been done for me; I’ll have to do enough spot research to establish local color for the scenes, many of which occur in Portugal, Lebanon and a few places in Israel. I’ve got two out of three covered, since I’ve been in Lebanon on a few occasions and I know Israel like the back of my hand. Portugal, well I do know a few people who’ve been there/lived there, and since many of these scenes are indoors, I don’t foresee any real problems in that, either.
I’m looking forward to this one. A lot. Not only does it get me away from Terry and his motely crew for a while, it puts me back to writing about a place I know and love, and writing about people I admire for their professionalism and dedication to duty. I’ve worked with people like that several times during the course of my life, but I’ve never before this tried to put them down on paper.
And here’s that problem in a nutshell; it is way too easy to get wrapped up in long-winded descriptions of training and detailed explanations of personalities. If your goal is to create a white paper on Spec-Ops training courses or a psychological profile of the ideal Spec-Ops Warrior, that’s the way to go. but you can’t do that in a novel. You have to give the reader enough detail to understand that these people really are in many ways just like the reader – they are, in fact, human beings; but there are some subtle things (and some not so subtle) that set them apart.
For the most part, they do not swagger unless they are clowning around with their buddies. They are not muscle-bound like Sly Stallone of Arnold – but they are normally blessed with very fast quick-response muscles, and they are normally very competent and confident in their ability to acquire and maintain control over others through martial arts.
They are warriors. Many of them come up through Special Forces, US Army Delta program, the FBI HRT team, the DEA (with prior combat experience and often Ranger/Airborne qualifications). In other words, before the CIA sends these people out into a high-stress environment, they have already been there and done that a few times.
These people are not cowboys, they are not high–strung prima-donnas; they are team players because that is how men and women survive in combat today.
If you passed any of these people in your grocery store you would not notice anything odd about them, if you noticed them at all. But they are each and every one of them a hero.
So I will write the tale and do the best I can to describe the characters and their background and their dedication without producing a recruiting manual for the CIA. I’ll make it as real as I can for the reader while masking the truth as much as I can.
Golly, gee, Gary, how you gonna do that? No idea, but I’m gonna get started on it first thing in the morning.