Who Am I?
I am a former military officer. I left service at the rank of Captain. I mainly served at Ft. Hood, TX but deployed to some interesting locations during my time. No..I didn't serve in Afghanistan nor Iraq. I am still very close to the military in my full time job and every day I am face to face with real heroes. This story is for them. I am a fan of military thrillers but often I find the heroes to be the basic tough guy that wants to leave his life of espionage, but some how can't.
The story is always the same. Our super secret ninja sits in his kitchen, or at a cafe in Paris sipping coffee (really? bad ass super ninjas drink lattes?) promising that was his last mission. The phone rings and it's the President, or maybe it is the head of some secret covert intelligence agency.. Either way our hero is back in the mix before you moved on to Chapter two with never a thought to the life he wanted in the opening of the book. This doesn't include the thinly veiled political diatribe you have to wade through.
It is a formula I find trite and old. Don't get me wrong there are basic themes and other templates authors use that are time tested and true, but the cliches are too much.
So I said to myself, "self, real heroes have flaws". I served in the Army and have met some of the most amazing men and women. They have suffered injuries that would cripple most people yet they still serve and perform difficult missions. That story is never told. So I created a hero that is as flawed as us. Who struggles with injuries sustained on the battlefield that would put down most people.
What Is The Story About?
Eric West’s peace is shattered when he is framed for murder and for trafficking military weapons to foreign nations. On the run and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress after ten years in the Army Special Forces, Eric is forced underground. His back against the wall and his friends in danger, Eric stands up to the demons of his past in order to find out who was behind the murder and framing him. Eric’s Special Forces training is the only thing keeping him from one step ahead of his enemies as he plays a deadly game of cat and mouse across the city of Detroit.
What he finds is a conspiracy far larger then he imagined possible.
I am already well into the novel, at the time of this posting about 70,000 words of an estimated 100,000. I write daily, minimum 2000 words (I can do more but I do have a full time job). I expect the book to be ready for publishing in 1 May 2013.
What will this pay for?
Well first I am a believer in the digital age. Ebooks, eReaders, the whole nine yards. I would like this to be an eBook only, but will bow to a demand for physical books if one turns up.
1. Professional editing. Even though I am trying to do this the self publishing route a good editor is still needed.
2. Commission professional cover art. Good covers sell. Books are judged but their covers even today.
3. Professional Ebook formatting (there is such a thing) People choose an eReader for various reasons. Who am I to judge? For that reason I need to make sure the book can be read on as many eReaders as I can.
4. Promotions. Since I am self publishing I have to advertise the book.
Once funded if there is time left I offer stretch goals. Possibilities include an audiobook and a physical book. I will be diligent and add more rewards and stretch goals as I think of them or as the community suggest them.
Your First Reward
As an Incentive to all I am posting the first part of Chapter 1 here. ENJOY!
A SOLDIER'S TRUTH Chapter 1:
Three Years Earlier….
Sand kicked up from the wheels of the ragtag mechanized force. Seven Toyota Hilux pickup trucks, loaded with Afghan soldiers and tribesmen bounced along the valley floor heedless of their own safety. Out in front arrayed in a more disciplined tactical formation were 5 Ground Mobility Vehicles, GMVs, of the US Army Special Forces. Sergeant First Class Eric “Hooch” West, riding shotgun in GMV 221, turned to look back to the vehicles following him. The door of his GMV had been removed, his company commander, Major Williams, had called him careless. But Eric often wondered what the thin piece of metal was going to stop. Certainly not an IED. To him it was better to unass the truck in a hurry than feel better cruising along the road. It was not just that, but Eric had come to appreciate that the heavily armored vehicles were separating the soldiers from their mission of building rapport with the people of the country. From the eyes of an Afghan, American forces were arrogantly riding by and not sharing in the dangers that were now rampant in their country.
He sat side saddle, ready to engage anything with the M240 machine gun attached to a mount on the side of the truck. Eric was unofficially the team sergeant of ODA 012, or by their team nickname Wolfpack. He was the senior sergeant on the team, so it was his to lead, but he had not been promoted to E8, Master Sergeant. He had assumed the position of Team Sergeant when Master Sergeant Wittoffe had been sent home after suffering a wound from an IED that denoted on the last patrol, leaving Eric in charge. Typically his role on the team was to be its private investigator, or intelligence sergeant. He had to analyze all the information and break it down for the team. What was useful what was not, what gave them the best chance of mission success. He was good at it and loved sifting through the data to find the treasured information that lead to the bad guy, or allowed the operation to go off without a hitch. Most considered him nuts. Many more preferred to be the weapons sergeant or the medic, those were sexy and well known roles, but Eric figured out fast that all the weapons and medics in the Army could not help if you did not even know who or where the enemy was.
Three weeks into team leadership, Eric found himself in command of a mission that was his alone. Afghan tribal leaders, confirmed by American contractors, had reported that the Taliban had fortified an area using the hard packed grape drying huts as makeshift bunkers. While these earth built constructs could withstand an immense amount of firepower. Eric had ordered that ODA take larger weapons and plenty of recoilless rifle ammunition. That had made Jack Ingram pretty happy. Jack was the junior weapons sergeant and a devotee of the Carl Gustav, the recoilless rifle that had become a staple of the Special Forces outfitting. Even still if the Taliban were allowed time to dig in deep those huts would make it hard to dig them out. Still, this is what ODA 012 was looking for — a fight. 012 had been training with the Afghan forces for some time now and were itching to get them into a fight. One to build confidence in their training, and to show the country that they could defend themselves. Like all Special Forces missions mission success was someone else’s. Eric and his brothers usually worked in shadows, they were the men behind the men that got things done, yet they were no less deadly. When word came down that Bin Laden had been taken down by Seal Team 6 Sergeant Clyde Baker on Team 014, 012’s sister team, was said to remark. “38 minutes. Fucking SEALs need to put the donuts down. Army woulda dun it in 20 flat.”
So it was a fight Eric was looking for. His team had come to Afghanistan, his fourth deployment to the area, to take the fight to the enemy. While most other ODAs were conducting Village Stability Operations, VSOs, or training Afghan National Civil Order Police, ANCOP, his team was outfitted and assigned Direct Action missions. DAs, or Direct Actions, were exactly as they sounded. Taking the fight to the enemy and destroying specific targets or denying the enemy use of an area. For Eric and ODA 012, that meant adding firepower to assigned ANCOP units and helping them remove the enemy from the area. Intelligence reports estimated the enemy strength to be 25 to 30, Taliban fighters in the village of Lash Bar'ga.
Eric considered the analysis some what questionable. He recognized part of this was that he was uncomfortable with any analysis but his own, but he wanted the team to see him as the Team Sergeant not as the intel sergeant just filling in. Good or bad intelligence, the situation was still the same. An enemy strongpoint was being constructed and it needed to be removed. To overcome any deficit in the intel report, Eric packed enough firepower to overcome the situation.
He sat back in the seat. They were deep in the valley, a good 60 miles from their Forward Operating Base, or FOB. That was still too far away for Eric’s liking. An SF team is supposed to operate that far away, further in fact, but 012 was headed into an assault on a fortified objective. This far out there would be no reinforcements coming in time should it be needed. Eric glanced at the sky. Somewhere up there was a predator drone at 9,000 feet watching the small convoy scoot towards it objective. He knew it would be armed with two hellfire missiles, but that was precious little comfort. He had requested a C130 gunship, but had been denied. The one in the area was already supporting a Delta mission. Some guys get all the girls.
He glanced over at his driver, Strange Ed. Strange Ed was not his name of course, but a nickname. Named so because he had a habit of accusing others of rifling his gear. He would stalk out of his tent and yell at the others about talking this piece of gear or that. So it goes with long separations from family that a perverse sense of humor takes over. Ed’s fellow SF brothers decided that you cannot be a criminal if you do not commit the crime and every day they would move Ed’s things just to inspire his paranoia. Wild eyed he would storm around whatever hill or wadi they were in, or in the team room, looking for the criminal that took his gear. “Come now, Ed. Do you really think we would take your stuff?” “Did you check in the humvee, Ed,” “I’d look in the shower if I were you,” and so it went. Eric often wondered if Ed knew what was going on. He sure did put on a good show if he did, if not, then he was the most paranoid guy on the team.
Ed glanced back, quickly putting his eyes back on the road. “All good, boss,” Ed shouted over the roaring diesel engine. Eric nodded, his mind still on the plan, running through it one more time.
“All good, Ed,” Eric patted him on the shoulder he returned to looking front when three rounds splashed across the glass. The ballistic shielding did its job and webbed, stopping the bullets from getting their target. Strange Ed, gunned the GMV picking up speed, “Ambush,” Ed yelled and he could hear the .50 cal mounted on top erupt, sending withering firepower to their front.