On April 5th, 2022, I published my 7th book DIRTY BOMBS. Here is a look into my process and strategy for deploying this work.
The Story Behind the Story
I served as an Army Medic for ten years. My first deployment happened during what CNN referred to as “The Surge”. Under President George W. Bush, US and Allied forces pushed into Iraq with great force in 2007. Army deployment changed form 12 months to 15 months to better sustain the high number of troops in country. I was assign to Baghdad ER.
Those 15 months was the best worst time of my life. I saw and treated traumas which have stuck with me to this day. But my comrades and I also went to great lengths to maintain our sanity, our humanity. We played a ton of Rock Band, had the occasional BBQ, and, when it was safe to do so, participated in organized sports. We also read our fair share of books.
A friend gave me his copy of World War Z by Max Brooks. This book was my introduction into zombie horror (though I regret it was not The Rising by Brian Keene). I make a reference to the film adaption of World War Z starring Brad Pitt in the first couple of chapters. AMC’s The Walking Dead wouldn’t come out for three more years.
For the last three months of my deployment, I was posted in the emergency room on Contingency Operating Base Adder in Tallil, Iraq. There I lived in a room in a metal trailer we called CHUs (containerized housing units). They have nearly zero insulation and the desert gets HOT. So, when I was on night shift I would be forced to sleep in the heat of the day in an oven. This sparked the start of stress dreams. I will give you two guesses as to what they were about.
From then, I wondered what survival would look like in a war torn country away from home. How would we rally and contain the threat? How would standard operating procedures change? How would our command manage the threat from afar? For nearly 15 years, this is where the story stopped: in these musings.
When my army contract ended, I started writing fiction. Apparent Power took a few months to write, but my progress had stalled, as it was my very first attempt at fiction. I turned to short stories and even college to learn my way out of writers block.
In 2019, I released The Brightest Firefly: A Collection of Short Works. My first musings of Staff Sergeant Miranda St Claire appeared in the collection. But I had not progressed past 5,000 words. Then the pandemic hit and stopped all my fiction writing as I seemingly spent every waking moment in response and management.
During the pandemic, I observed the military’s response to the virus. This helped me form an idea of how the highest command might treat such a biological hazard as a zombie virus. When we moved away from the breakneck atmosphere of Denver to a slower, easier life in Pennsylvania, I found my footing to write again.
I hope you enjoy my nightmares in the form of this story. It was 15 years in the making and is finally available for your reading pleasure. You can purchase a signed copy right here on my website. Or head over to Amazon for a digital version.
I LOVE assisting authors in elevating their writing with subtle, easy to apply shifts in their habits. Writing coaches are so much more than editors. They provide encouragement, but would never tell you to publish your first draft because the writing is already perfect like your best friend might. I spend as much time answering general questions about the publishing industry and processes as I do carefully considering a plot structure. The sooner you partner with a writing coach, the faster you’ll move from having an idea for a story to seeing your hardback on the shelf of your favorite store.
Can a Writing Coach Help You?
Are you interested in a free 30 minute consultation with a writing coach? Check out the services I offer, schedule a meeting, and let me help you reach your publishing goals.