Special Access

The ramblings and ruminations of suspense-thriller novelist, Mark A. Hewitt

Month: August 2015 (Page 1 of 3)

New Book, New Ideas

A recap. Some “things” that pop up in the Duncan Hunter books are from the labs of Quiet Aero Systems, Hunter’s little business venture and former CIA front company. I made reference to Ian Fleming’s “Q” who built and provided a range of what I call “interesting tools and toys” for James Bond to combat the bad guys.

Unlike Bond and Q, the Weedbusters laser is one of those tools that Duncan Hunter conceived, developed, and employed to kill illicit drug crops. And in Special Access, a laser disables a really bad dude.
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The basis for the idea came from one of my closest friends. He and I worked on the concept. He ran down and performed the due diligence on the biology of the plants. My job was to find an appropriate airplane that could do the job. To me the only aircraft that could “perform the mission” was the YO-3A. As I said during my fifteen minutes at the lectern at the Quiet Aircraft Association’s annual reunion, there was “the rest of the story” of how their airplane got on the cover of my book. I think he is the last of the YO-3A pilots, and actually flew the NASA airplane to its new home in Concord, CA. He had a YO-3A that needed to be restored. I needed a YO-3A for Weedbusters.
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But we could never sell the concept to the big box aviation conglomerates. It was a fantastic idea. So with no buyers, I put Weedbusters, the ultimate counternarcotics weapon, in my books. And the ultimate counterterrorism weapon, when the worst of the worst terrorists are hiding and only dare move at night, there is no finer tool than Duncan Hunter at the controls of a YO-3A. There is a market for such a capability. Someone, someday may eventually develop such a capability. Maybe even build a small unit and sell it on Amazon.

More to follow.

No Need to Know is at Amazon Signed Copies on Ebay

My publisher pushed up the release of No Need to Know, the paperback version was officially published August 28th. Find it at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1612965784?ref_=pd_ybh_1
The electronic version should be posted next week as well as a Barnes & Noble listing. Don’t forget to leave a great book review!
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Copies can still be ordered from the publisher with a 10% discount. Use http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/no-need-to-know and use the promo code: PREORDER2015 to receive the discount.

For those that wanted a signed (and dedicated) copy, please use the Ebay link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/111757646229? I’ll get them in the mail just as soon as I receive my copies. Please know I’ll include some of my custom bookmarks and such.

And if you’re in the Washington DC area on the 30th of September, drop by the International Spy Museum, if not for a book, then at least for a grip and grin.

Buy two and give one to a friend. 😉

More to follow.

New Book, New Ideas

No Need to Know, the third in the Duncan Hunter books, was approved and is off to the printers. The process from manuscript submittal to contract signing to copy editing to publication was much better, less stressful, and more productive than my first two books. Hopefully that’s a good trend. I have an editor that is fantastic–critical but fair. My manuscript readers are solid, providing the necessary feedback to help me make the books much better.

Now that the process is over and I await my books to be released–look for it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble next week–I was able to let the old mind wander a little and came up with a couple of other ideas. I assume this is normal. Tom Clancy eventually had his Ryan character (from The Hunt for Red October) eventually ascend from indifferent historian and reluctant CIA dude to the presidency. I can see how something like that happens now when you write a continuation series. I’ll try not to fall into that.

One of the other “things” that happen in the Duncan Hunter books is the introduction of something new, from the labs of Quiet Aero Systems. James Bond had his Q who provided all the interesting tools and toys for 007 to whack bad guys. The Weedbusters laser is one of those tools and toys for Hunter to kill illicit drug crops and maybe injure the occasional bad guy. Someone may eventually develop such a capability. The next installment, I’ll discuss how that idea came to fruition and how it found its way into my novel.

More to follow.

No Need to Know: One Week to Publication

Pulled many late nights getting No Need to Know ready for publication. My copy editor and I worked the last of the changes just this morning. It is so much easier (and appreciated) to have an experienced and accomplished editor to help an author through the final processes to get the bookblock approved before it is sent to printing.
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It’s out of my hands now and I must reflect on the people I’ve met over the last three years that have asked how I got an agent and a publisher. All the distractions of listening to people who think all you have to do is just throw the manuscript on ebooks and everything will be ok. That may happen in some areas, but I don’t know what planet they are from. If you want to be proud of a good book, you cannot do that. If your goal is to throw enough crap on the wall and hope something will stick, good luck with that.

Some of the things I’ve learned along the way. The biggest think is you can never edit your manuscript too much. Up until the last day, editing (or what I call buff and polishing) continued until I was happy with it. Deadlines have a way of pushing yourself to perform. Perform well? I can only hope so.

You get better with every book. When you tackle something as large and complex as a Duncan Hunter book, you have to show improvement or your publisher will just cut you loose.

Hat’s off to my publisher: Black Rose Writing.

More to follow.

Order No Need to Know

My publisher offers a 10% discount when you order directly from Black Rose Writing. Use the code PREORDER10 @ http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/no-need-to-know and my book will be shipped the day it is released, 3 September. My editors and readers say, “Buy two and give one to a friend!” Sounds like a winner to me.

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Demetrius Eastwood is an Interesting Character

There are several minor characters in the Duncan Hunter books. Demetrius Eastwood is loosely based on an Oliver North-like character. They had similar trials and travails, in the Marine Corps and after their time in uniform. The difference is largely Eastwood is given much more latitude to investigate and report on the things he finds. I wanted a character that wasn’t afraid to tackle some of the more politically-sensitive things that is “out there” adversely affecting Americans. The Duncan Hunter books are heavily steeped in counterterrorism, but less counterinsurgency, but more counternarcotics. Eastwood is naturally inquisitive, and he has every right to be. Terrorists have continually targeted him and his family. He’s been the subject to a fatwa; a Islamic death sentence and bounty for his life. Like Salman Rushdie, Eastwood pokes radical Islamic terrorist-types with an in-you-face special, such as, “Is your neighborhood mosque a sleeper cell?” He doesn’t have the top secret clearances any longer so he cannot get the FBI to answer his questions why they have stopped investigating the going-ons in mosques around the country. This is reference to some poorly reported failures of the FBI where they have been taken to court and can no longer have spies inside mosques. For Eastwood, that’s a problem. He knows there’s something going on there but is forced to report on other terrorist groups across the globe.

And then there is the obvious conflict of the CIA pilot, Duncan Hunter, having a relationship with a reporter. CIA types are allergic to reporters. Hunter finds Eastwood useful, even helpful at times. And since Eastwood was instrumental in the rescue of Nazy Cunningham, Hunter is forever in his debt. Sometimes they’re able to share a story or two.

More to follow.

The Development of Greg Lynche

There’s another aspect to the Lynche character. He knows who he is but has always desired to be like of those special operations guys, someone that can shoot a squirrel’s eyes out at 100 yards with a .22, someone who can jump out of an airplane and land on a paper plate in the middle of a football field. And he always wanted to be like one of the amazing men in their supersonic flying machines, flying a jet and pulling Gs and making your vision shrink to the size of a golf ball just before you pass out. Lynche always had a desire to be the man Hunter is. As well as the Director of Central Intelligence. Hunter has no desire to be the man Lynche is.

No longer encumbered with a guy in his back seat, Hunter is free to do more kinetic or challenging missions that would have scared the Johnston Murphy’s off Lynche’s feet. He continues to make the impossible happen with the quiet airplane. Lynche misses his friend and would like to get back into the airplane but his political leanings prevent him from doing so.

Hunter still has a need for his best friend. He just needs the right opportunity to plant the seed. Where Lynche tried to recruit Hunter for the CIA, Hunter embarks on a little role reversal. And Lynche wins one of the prizes he’s always coveted. When he becomes the Director of Central Intelligence, he thinks he can better control Hunter as Duncan is working directly for him. Expect more from the liberal Lynche as Hunter’s boss.

More to follow.

What is Greg Lynche’s Real Function?

The Duncan Hunter books have a political bend to them. Hunter is a conservative; Lynche is a liberal. Instant conflict. Between friends. The mild, urbane, and polished Lynche is the aggressive, not-so-polished, type-A Hunter’s political counterweight. Hunter grew up in a household where his parents didn’t have a high school diploma between them. Lynche is Ivy League. A wine drinker. Comfortable in executive or foreign relations settings. Hunter plays racquetball competitively. Lynche sails; from a yacht club. He gets sweaty from being in the sun on his sailboat, playing with the wind to fill a spinnaker, then tacking into the wind to race ahead of the competition. Hunter serves little blue balls with a crushing swing of a racquet and dives for 100 mph racquetballs, smashes them back to the front wall. One is refined, one is rough. Lynche needs someone that is not only rough but knows how to handle a mercurial little airplane…as well as other situations. One needs the other.

In Special Access, Lynche is faced with a situation that, as a liberal, he never could have conceived being a part of: interrogating a master terrorist. Convinced any form of “torture” doesn’t work and years of listening to the liberals in the Agency that those activities will never yield good intelligence, Lynche cannot be any part of it but Hunter doesn’t flinch and takes up the challenge. And on a spectrum of torture, Hunter starts off slow and then threatens the terrorist with the ultimate horror. If he doesn’t cooperate and talk, Hunter threatens to hook up a car battery to the man’s testicles. The refined liberal Lynche has never seen a man tortured and die; Hunter nearly makes Lynche faint when he grazes the battery cables together to make sparks and molten metal fly, a demonstration that the battery is the man’s worst nightmare. After all, his partner had been hooked up to a battery and barely lived. The cowardly terrorist talks and Hunter disposes of the man in a gruesome manner, but out of sight, out of mind. Lynche realizes the escalation of violence necessary to accomplish the new missions is something he is not cut out for. This is not his type of work; it’s getting too crazy. He blames himself for creating a monster. But he realizes that he has also created a hero, someone that is not afraid to tackle the ugly politically-sensitive, politically incorrect work. The work is necessary and they are on a timeline. Hunter figured it out.

Hunter has little use for liberals, with the sole exception of Lynche. Lynche tries to keep him grounded and not go off and do something crazy and stupid. In No Need to Know, Lynche’s relationship is strained to the breaking point when “Maverick” apparently “wanders off the reservation.”

More to follow.

Greg Lynche is an Interesting Character

Unlike the other characters in the Duncan Hunter books, the Greg Lynche character came from a single source, a single person. The only real alteration to his character is the Greg Lynche character is a liberal. At best, he might be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The real guy isn’t really like that. Mostly. He is an amazing man who I consider one of my very best friends. In real life, we go back to my days in the Border Patrol. The scene where Hunter and Lynche meet in Special Access is a reasonable representation of what happened that day in Del Rio, Texas. Hunter’s introduction to the world of quiet airplanes. In Greg Lynche’s world, or former his life before he retired, he ran a number of airplanes in counterdrug and counterterrorism roles. The Lynche character spent 30+ years in the CIA. He had some of the most interesting jobs in the agency. He was Chief of Station–at multiple locations. He was a troubleshooter. A fixer. When an embassy was having a problem with their spooks, the Director of Central Intelligence would ask him to go and settle them down, fix the problem. Get back to the business of intelligence. He was a senior intelligence service member–probably a three star general equivalent. In other words, he held some of the highest positions in the Agency and then he was retired, like Hunter. Working for someone else. In a lesser exciting job. Away from the most exciting things that had ever happened to him, he missed the fun and excitement of being “in the game.”

Lynche and a retired special operations buddy from the Army had an idea. They knew there was a huge capability gap at the Agency. The CIA, the US Air Force and Army tried valiantly to bridge “the gap” but failed. The technology just “wasn’t mature enough,” a necessary capability that just “wasn’t there, yet.” One unsurmountable problem was that CIA Directors vowed to “never again” put a man in an airplane over hostile territory. The DCIs’ prohibition stemmed from the 1960 shoot down of Gary Powers flying solo in an Agency U-2 over the Soviet Union. The race to develop unmanned systems began. Drones. However, unmanned aerial systems were not mature enough for a large part of intelligence gathering work. And the sad part, it would be years before it ever got there. So the Agency had these tremendous needs but didn’t have the equipment or expertise with which to do them. The retired Greg Lynche proposed to the DCI a temporary manned system, using an unusually capable manned airplane. He would assume all the risk and the Agency would have their plausible deniability if anything ever happened to “a contractor.” Faced with countless important missions going unfilled, the Director of Central Intelligence agreed and awarded Lynche a very lucrative contract. All Lynche had to do next was find the right pilot. He had someone in mind. Someone he wanted to recruit into the Agency from the moment his name popped up on a list, but that gentleman resisted without even knowing he was resisting. When Duncan Hunter of the Border Patrol called the CEO of the manufacturer of quiet airplanes, that CEO forwarded the call to his business development vice president, Greg Lynche.

You can only imagine how Lynche responded when he realized the man he had so vigorously pursued while he was on active duty in the CIA had just called him. Lynche brought a quiet airplane to the quiet little town of Del Rio, Texas to not only demonstrate the capability of the quiet aircraft in a nighttime environment but to meet the quiet man who called him, Duncan Hunter. Would he be able to recruit him this time?

More to follow.

The Development of Bill McGee

Hunter has been primarily engaged in counternarcotics work. Flying his quiet airplane, killing plants, finding narcoterrorists, rescuing a few dozen hostages held by the FARC and Shining Path terrorist groups. McGee’s the muscle. He’s the special operations brains. McGee is instructor and mentor to Hunter, who is really, just a pilot with an amazing airplane. There’s a reason Bill McGee was awarded a dozen Purple Hearts for combat wounds. He was able to engage the enemy and survive the encounter. McGee initially thought his goal was to turn Hunter into a killer like him. A killer of America’s enemies. Maybe not from the air but on the ground. What he finds, however, is that McGee is becoming much more. The only thing missing is the 1812 Overture playing loudly in the background as McGee is the white knight, the rescuer of the fallen or of the injured or the damsel in distress. Or the occasional special project assigned by Greg Lynche, the Director of Central Intelligence. Sometimes Duncan Hunter lives up to his call sign–Maverick. Sometimes, the DCI needs McGee to rein in the Maverick when he gets too far over his skis. And sometimes, McGee is the only option. McGee gets a workout in No Need to Know.

Then there is the racial component. Duncan Hunter is a product of a military upbringing and grew up with kids from different backgrounds and races. He is truly clueless when it comes to race and looks up to McGee in awe, as a friend, a mentor, and a brother. Hunter may be a pilot but McGee is a SEAL. There is a pecking order in the military. Hunter may have flown jets off carriers but McGee goes toe-to-toe with killers. Hunter knows his place.

McGee is well aware of the racism in the special operations community, the racism his father faced as a pilot in WWII, and the racism he faced when he was growing up. His and Hunter’s relationship is not like that of the I Spy crew, Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, where spies were thrown together to accomplish a mission. Reverence and respect goes both ways with McGee and Hunter. McGee always wanted to be a pilot–like his father, a master of Mustangs. McGee and Hunter are also Mustangs–prior enlisted guys that rose to the ranks. Not many enlisted guys ever get the opportunity to do the stuff McGee and Hunter did.

When McGee needed help, Hunter didn’t think of race and ran to render unqualified help. When Hunter needed help, McGee didn’t think of race just the situation at hand. That was never more the case than when McGee worked furiously to repair the injuries sustained to a very naked Nazy Cunningham after Muslim men tried to dissect her. This is a guy where love, compassion, and trust are paramount to life without qualifiers. That’s the reason why liberals hate him too. He “should be” one way but isn’t. He’s well past that intersection on the road of life. he doesn’t suffer fools lightly, especially the race hustlers. MLK would honor and respect McGee.

More to follow.

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