Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the City of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 10-12)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Christmas Means To Me

By Mark Young
The meaning of Christmas can easily get lost to our annual holiday traditions. You know the routine: searching for that perfect gift, trying to fit in every last party, visiting every good friend, trying to make magic for children—memories they’ll never forget.  So much to do that we might forget to stop, take a breath, and try to remember what Christmas really means.

Perhaps the best gift of all we can give ourselves, and those we love, is a moment of reflection. About a moment in history when God reached down to earth and gave us His most precious gift—His son, Jesus Christ. This precious baby, born in a lowly stable to a virgin, would someday offer Himself as a sacrifice so that you and I might be saved from eternal separation from God.
God provided this Christmas gift because He loves each one of us. Almighty God! Creator of the universe! He loves you and me. He wants to have a personal relationship with us. Hard to image? Yeah, me too. Time and time again, though, God demonstrates this desire throughout history. He continues to beckon to us today.

How important are you to God? He allowed his only Son, Jesus Christ, to come down to earth and walk among us. Not as a rich and powerful man, but as a carpenter’s adopted son, a God-man who chose to experience—along with us—what it means to be human in all its frailties. And He did it without sin, so that someday he might be the perfect offering on our behalf.

We live in a fallen world. We are in this condition because God allowed us free will, a free choice. He did not want a relationship with robots or slaves. He desired a relationship with those who are free to choose who they wish to serve.

So we must choose. Everyone must make up their own minds because He gave us that freedom. Whom do you wish to follow? I choose this God of love.

Looking at the Christmas manger scene brings it all back to me. A symbolic image of just how much God cares. That He desires that we know Him, that we talk with Him, that we tell him about our hopes, fears, hurts, and concerns. That we tell Him just how much He means to us. How much we appreciate what He has done.

This is what Christmas is about—God’s love.

So, I think I will take this moment and remember. And, my Christmas wish for you? That you will find a moment, too. Enjoy the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saying Goodbye When It Hurts

By Mark Young
My mother went home to be with the Lord last week. For her, the journey is over and she is in a better place. No more pain. No more sorrow. And she is going to finally meet her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face. I can almost see the joy in her beautiful eyes as she meets the One who she has loved above all else. The One she has served since she was a teenager. But for me—and like all those who must say goodbye to those they love—there is this big hole in my heart that time will never erase.

In a way, I feel guilty for being sad. If she were still here, it would not be good for her. Mom is in a better place. So, my internal conflict—between her gain and my loss—seems selfish on my part. But I can’t help the way I feel. Mom and I have been through so much in this world together, shared the joys and hurts, the ups and downs, that her passing cuts me up inside like a shard of glass.

I am not generally one to cry, but as I write this I’m fighting back tears. It is hard to keep a stiff upper lip. My 11-year-old daughter burst out crying when she learned of Mom’s passing and gave me a big hug. “I am so sorry, Dad. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my Mom.” I almost lost it, but I fought back and became the strength and stability she needed at that moment. But in the stillness of the night, in those moments when no one else is around, or as I try to pen these words, tears are hard to keep at bay.

I was never a perfect son. But Mom, like her Lord, always saw the better side of me. Always the mother, she understood—or tried too. When I went off to war, I can remember the tears in her eyes as she said goodbye just before I boarded the plane. Later, huddling down in muddy fox hole, I remember those letters and chocolate-chip cookies that she and Dad sent in the mail. Those letters, if not wet from the rain, were probably dampened by her tears. And those cookies—smashed into small bits—tasted like heaven and reminded me of home. It would be years later, when I became a father to three beautiful girls, that I would start to realize what she must have endured.

Upon my return from war, after the hugs of gratefulness she gave me midst more tears, she patiently watched me act out my rage and bitterness that the war bore down upon my shoulders. Through those difficult times, she remained a constant. Patient. Kind. Jutting out her chin when I said something that offended her, trying to hold her tongue because she knew I must work out life on my own terms. She bore all this as only a mother can, not knowing how to lessen my pain.

Mom’s faith kept her strong when all else seemed to fail. Her unquestioning faith never wavered, never faltered, at least as far as I knew. She always let me know that this was not our home, that we—like Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s classic—were aliens in a foreign land, passing through on our way home to be with Jesus. In those times when my faith wavered, when I lost my way, Mom stood like a rock, like a beacon amidst life’s vicious storms. She led me to Jesus while I was still young, before life, war and college filled me with doubts. Years later, when I finally found my way back to God, when I finally discovered God was always there, I found Mom was still there—like God—watching over my soul.

Life physically separated us many times, the last when I moved out of state with my own family and left her with my siblings in California. Living so far away, it seemed hard to stay in touch, to be there for her like she was there for me, but she was always in my heart, in my prayers. She will remain in that special place until I go home to see her someday.

We made a trip to visit her a few weeks ago, fearing the end might be near. It was hard to see her in pain, in the frailty of age that we all must go through if we live that long. I remember giving her one last hug and feeling how frail she had become, wrapping my arms around a body that once was strong and vibrant. She brought three sons and one daughter into this world, nurtured them, raised them, and lovingly disciplined them. That strength was gone when I last hugged her, but her love was as strong as ever. I saw it in her eyes, felt it in those frail arms that returned my embrace.

She fought the good fight; brave to the last breath here on earth. She is heading toward that mansion in the sky, but for Mom, it is much, much more than Heaven's glories. It is anticipation of coming face to face with Jesus, to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Mom is finally home.

And this I write to you, Mom:

I must say goodbye for now. I could never adequately tell you how much I loved you here on earth. Words—just like these I scribble now—seem so frustratingly inadequate to express all that you mean to me.  To us! To everyone you left behind. I will sorely miss you. I love you. Until we see each other once again, all my love, your prodigal son, Mark.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Burkas, Niqabs and Barbies: My Daughter's New World

By Mark Young
A game my daughter played with her best friend  brought home how our world impacts our children. She thrust a Barbie doll in my face. “What do you think, Dad?” Most of Barbie’s face was hidden behind a cloth, and the doll wore what looked like a hajib over her head, but with the face covered except the eyes. A niqab.

Her friend held up another Barbie doll, similarly dressed. In that one encounter I realized how world events creep into our children’s lives. My daughter was born a month after 9/11, the day our world changed forever. Travel on aircraft will never be the same. Interaction with Muslim countries—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse—will never be the same. It has become my daughter’s world.

My daughter’s Barbie sparked a conversation about how cultures are different, how religious beliefs and ethnic differences change even within our own country. We live in a rural farming community, and the town has a population the size of a large apartment complex. Very small! My girl’s exposure to larger city populations is limited. When we go to the Big City, she soaks things up like a sponge and fires off enough questions to fill an encyclopedia.

The other day, our family rushed through another busy airport back east. As we worked our way through the crowd, I saw her spot a woman in a black burka, the woman covered head to foot with a dark, heavy cloth. with a veiled grill across her eyes. The tempature was in the high eighties, and humidity outside was oppressive. I watched my daughter glance at this woman for a moment, and then turn toward me, questions looming in her eyes which she was too polite to air until we were in a more private setting.

She knew I had been doing research on my new novel, FATAL eMPULSE: A Gerrit O’Rourke Novel, (to be released before Christmas). This thriller deals with an international crisis in which the U.S. and Israel square off with several Arab countries. I had been doing research on Muslim beliefs, differences between Shia and Sunni populations, and related cultural differences.

Looking over my shoulder as I researched this on the computer, she’d ask me about this part of the world she’d never traveled—Iran, Syria, Israel, Azerbaijan, and the city of Dubai located in the country of United Arab Emirates. This conversation must have sparked the Barbie incident. I glossed over about the impact religious fanatics had on that fateful September day—air travel, Gitmo, military  and civilian casualties, the and rainbow-colored threat levels issued by our government. After all, she was just playing with her Barbie.

As I answered her questions, I realized that she has never known the way things used to be before the attack on September 11. She entered this world a month later, and everything that happened since that attack has become her reality, her world view without the opportunity to measure it against what used to be. Her innocence—and, in a way, all of ours—diminished that day when fanatical killers attacked America and we were forced to live with the consequences.

But there is another side to this changing world that I am glad she has witnessed.  She has watched this great nation come together, men and women  sacrificing their time and lives to ensure that we can enjoy the freedoms that other countries can only dream about. She has seen a nation pull together and face an uncertain future. She has seen America rise from the ashes to fight back, to take this war to those who try to fight from the shadows of tyranny, using the bodies of innocent victims to shield them from the wrath of this great nation.

In one way, I regret my daughter must live in this new world where these dangers exist. However, I am thankful that—if she must grow up in this new world— my daughter has seen the hope our nation, and its allies, give us each new day. As our brave military stand in the gap, shielding us from those who seek our country's demise, she knows what this great nation can achieve as its people come together.  As we near a presidential election, sometimes we lose sight that we are one nation under God. That we—at different times in history—have joined together as one nation. I never want her to forget what our nation is capable of even as the pettiness of politics emerges all around us
In her classroom, my daughter rises each morning with her classmates and utters these words:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

May she never forget these words...and what they have cost.

God bless America!

Friday, May 25, 2012

What A U.S. Marine Taught My Daughter About Life

By Mark Young
[Editor's Note: This has been re-posted this Memorial weekend in memory of all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country]

My nine-year-old daughter excitedly edged through the fair crowd, going from booth to booth collecting free stuff—toys, pens and pencils, candy, free bottles of water, and balloons. She was a walking advertisement for the Republicans and the Democrats, water softeners and water savers, tree huggers and tree cutters. Everyone had their stuff out for the taking—and she took. With a cute smile and a polite “thank you,” she shoveled her loot into free bags collected on the way.

And she wasn’t the only one. There were a string of takers right behind her, of all ages and shapes. But she is a pro. This was her second fair this month, and she quickly learned the best places to grab free stuff. Forget the exhibits, animal barns, and the rodeo show. She was a girl on a mission.

It was almost inspiring how she swooped in to clean house. And no one seemed to mind.

Then she came to a small booth wedged between the carnival lot and a performance stage, where a country western band rocked out. One man in a U.S. Marine uniform stood tall, his knowing smile and friendly eyes greeting all visitors. A small crowd of teenagers—boys and girls—gathered around the Marine and must have caught my daughter’s attention.

As we drew closer, I saw the Marine sergeant holding a leather exercise ball and standing next to a convex sit up bench with a rack bar. One young man lay back on the bench, his head touching dry grass and his feet in the air, wrapped around a dumbbell bar. As the teenager raised himself, the Marine threw the ball at the young man’s midsection. With a straining red face, the teenager caught the ball and threw it back on his way up. I heard the Marine chant “fifteen” and the boy seemed to collapse.

I heard the goal was twenty reps which the boy failed to achieve. He walked away dejected amidst smirks and jeers. Another young man took his place, and this guy reached his goal. He was given a U.S Marine poster, and walked away beaming as if he’d been given a pot of gold. I heard the Marine tell him and his companions something, but I couldn’t make it out.

My daughter stood watching until all the teenagers had sauntered away. Then she bravely walked up to the Marine and asked if she could try. Without wavering, the Marine nodded and smiled. I watched with some trepidation. I knew the exercise ball would be too much for her to handle. Wisely, the uniformed sergeant modified the rules so that she only needed to do a complete sit up, hands clasped across her chest, twenty times or more to reach her goal. Still, this was a daunting task for a young girl.

I watched her sit up, face taut, arms folded, as she grimaced to complete the first rep. Then she dropped back for another. And another. And another. She passed the twenty sit up mark and made it to 21. She surpassed most of the teenagers who proceeded her. I was one proud dad.

As she finished, my daughter climbed off the bench and stood up. The Marine shook her hand, then reached into his pocket and removed a very nice silver pen with Marines and the logo inscribed on it. As he handed the pen to her, he quietly said, “Earned…not given.” She clasped the pen, pride showing in her expression. This was something my daughter worked hard for—something earned, not given.

Of all the things she gathered at the fairs this summer, this one pen meant more to her than all the free stuff combined. That Marine taught her a lot about life in just that one encounter.

Those words flashed in my mind as I traveled back to the first days of my Marine boot camp, and the subsequent training that finally led to Vietnam. To battles waged that cost the lives of my friends and fellow countrymen. That precious ground we fought for was “earned, not given.” I saw that look in the eyes of that Marine, as he handed her the pen, a look I’d seen in the faces of many other Marines. He knew the cost.

As I wrote Off the Grid, I introduced my readers to the main chaacter, Gerrit O’Rourke, a Marine lieutenant, whose Recon unit is fighting for their lives in another war, in another time.Though this international thriller is not about that war, Gerrit brings the things he learned as a Marine into his experiences as a Seattle cop, and into his struggles to stay alive as he battles against forces bent on killing him and those he cares about. As I grew to know Gerrit, I saw a lot of him in the Marines I knew in times past, and I recognized the code he learned to live by. Life is not always easy. And the important things in life are earned, not given.

There is a Christmas footnote to this story about the Marine. On Christmas morning, I unfolded the wrapping of a present from my daughter and saw the pen she had earned at the fair. As I wrote this article, I glanced at that pen next to me, a gift that I will always cherish. Later, I learned from my wife that my daughter—from the moment she earned that present—intended to give it to me for Christmas. She knew what the U.S. Marines meant to me. And she knew what the gift meant to her, a gift earned—not given.

Above the walkway at the San Diego marine recruit depot is written these words. “To be a Marine, you have to believe in: Yourself—Your fellow Marine—Your Corps—Your Country—Your God. Semper Fidelis.” Always Faithful. These words echoed in my mind as I wrote Off the Grid, a story about always being faithful. About the pride of earning your place in this world, about sacrifice and commitment.

It is my hope that what my daughter learned from that Marine at the fair will stay with her forever. Semper Fi.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Creating Fictional Characters A Deadly Business (Part II)

By Mark Young
[Editor’s note: Some readers may be joining us for the first time. In the last post, I was in my office—fuming over the fact that Gerrit O’Rourke failed to show up for an interview—when heavily armed bad guys kicked in my front door and tried to kill me. You may want to hit the link here to catch up with the action before reading further. Here is what happened since we last met.]

I hear a metallic ping.


Someone hurls the widow maker up the stairway in my direction. I must have heard the metallic click as it was released. I backpedal into my office and leap behind a lumpy couch.  Not sure how this might shield me from a fragmentation grenade, but it’s better than trying to stop shrapnel with my bare skin.

An explosion rocks the building. Oh, man. I can only imagine what that did to my walls. If these guys don’t waste me, my homeowners insurance fees will finish the job.

Gunfire erupts outside. I hear bad guys downstairs excitedly calling out to one another. “Incoming. One of our guys went down.”

Boots again clomping across the main floor. I hear another man scream. “Two down. We’ve got—”

Another explosion rips the building. This time there is a detonation near the front foyer. More screams. I run the length of the hallway and scramble down the stairwell. As I round the corner and peer across the living room, I see three men on the ground.


More footsteps at the front door. I raise my handgun, finger on the trigger.

“Hey Writer Man. Stand down!” Gerrit O’Rourke’s voice booms out.

“Three down in here,” I yell back.

“Four outside eating dirt. Any more bad guys?”

“Don’t know,” I yell back. “Let me clear the rooms in here. Hold the perimeter.”

“Roger that.”

I slip from room to room. Each room—empty. “Main floor clear. Need to check the basement.”

“We’ll get that,” Gerrit yells back. “Cover our backs.”

I watch as Gerrit and Alena Shapiro move past my position, heading down the stairs. Alena, her long black hair tied back in a ponytail, taps Gerrit on the shoulder. You’ve got point, babe? I’ll cover your backside.”  He nods, grinning,  before moving down the stairway toward the basement. Alena shoots me a wink. “Glad to see you’re still kicking, Young. If they take you out, we’re in big trouble.”

I nod, watching them head down stairs. Man, I’m so glad I created these butt-kicking characters. Never thought they’d save my backside like this. A few minutes later, I hear Gerrit yelling up. “All clear. Everybody stand down.”

In a moment, Gerrit and Alena emerge, rifles slung over their shoulders. I hear sirens wailing in the distance. Someone must have dialed 9-1-1. “Cops are on the way, Gerrit. You’d better let me handle this.”

He nods, putting his arm around Alena. “For the record, I tried to make the interview, Gerrit. A Marine always keeps his word. But we found out you were about to have some nasty visitors and needed to make a detour for equipment.” He hefted his assault rifle the air. “Didn’t think you’d mind.”

I shake my head, looking around at the bodies and the holes in my walls. “You made it just in time. By the way, how did you guys know this crew was coming my way?”

Willy Williams, his caramel skin glistening from exertion, pops through the doorway. “I heard that, Mr. Why. You know us! We got to make sure our Number One writer stays healthy.”

I shoot him a scowl. “You got my house wired up?”

Willy grins “Audio and visual, baby. Perimeter covered, and every room but the bedrooms and the bathrooms. You gotta have some privacy, right?”

“You’ve been listening…to me!”

Willie gives me a sheepish look. “Just kidding, Mr. Why. You remember from OTG how I slipped a daemon file in their system, so I can monitor all those bad guys. Your house is flagged in the system, and we got wind that they were planning a surprise party here—hoping to catch Gerrit meeting with you.”

“You could have called. Given me a heads up.”

“And spoil the fun. Not on your life, Mr. Why.”

Gerrit kneels down and begins going through one of the dead guy’s pockets. “We have you covered, Writer Man!”

The sirens get louder. I tap Gerrit on the shoulder. “You guys better clear out. After all, you’re living off the grid. Don’t want the cops to show up and blow your cover. I’ll handle this.”

“We’ll be listening,” Willy said, as he moved toward the front door.

I shake my head as I watch them climbing into their van and taking off. A few minutes later the first police unit pulls into view. In the distance, I see Gerrit and the others crest a hill about a mile away as they pull onto the highway. My heroes moving on to the next chapter in their lives.

Semper Fi, Gerrit. Semper Fi.

Hey, Readers. It’s really weird. I keep running into these characters—Gerrit, Alena, Travis Mays, Frank White Eagle, and others—in the strangest situations. In fact, there are a few instances in which I have to drop my pencil and pick up a gun to help out. If you regularly visit this site, I promise you some exiting—and sometimes, funny—scenes. All the character from Off the Grid, Revenge and a new series beginning with Broken Allegiance (A Tom Kagan Novel) will make brief appearances on any given day. So, don’t be a stranger. Drop by for a visit whenever time allows.

Oh, one more thing. If any of you spot one of my characters—please drop me a line. It’s hard keeping track of these people all by myself. I could use your help. But be careful! These guys always seem to invite trouble, so keep your head down. Thanks for your help.

Stay safe!

P.S. If you subscribed to this blog by email, you’re going to automatically get a notice to remind you the next post just came online. You can stay up with the action and not lose any sleep over it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Creating Fictional Characters A Deadly Business

By Mark Young
Let me start out with a red-faced apology.  Gerrit O’Rourke, my main character in Off the Grid, failed to show up for an interview this morning. At the moment, my favorite U.S. Marine is AWOL. This really ticks me off because he knows I’m up against a deadline. Even worse, I promised readers that I’d interview him in the near future—those who read the novel and can’t wait until OTG’s sequel, The Daemon File, comes out later this year.

So…I’ll just wing it. Let’s start with characters. How dependable—”

A door splinters downstairs. An explosion rocks my house; heavy boots pounding across Brazilian Cherry wood floors. I hear them fanning out throughout my sanctuary—my home.

“Clear.” A stranger yells out below.

“Clear.”  Another voice, further away. At least three—maybe four—intruders methodically clearing the main floor like a SWAT team. No knock and notice. A black ops?

I dash to the window of my second-story office. Glancing outside, I spot a black Suburban idling at the edge of my property, its nose pointed toward the front door like a black leopard eying its prey. Its windows have been ominously tinted all around, doors left wide open. Two heavily-armed men—decked out in jungle-camouflaged fatigues—standing guard out front, one at each corner of my house. I can only assume others have moved to the rear to cut off any escape. No markings on their clothing. These are not cops. Not even angry neighbors.

Why are they here? Trying to steal my The Daemon Files manuscript before I release it later this year? Maybe I unwittingly released government secrets. I know I have a few outstanding parking tickets. What are they after?

Thank goodness, my better half and the rest of the family are gone. This is going to get messy.

Reaching for the telephone, I start dialing. The line is deader than John McCain’s jokes on the David Letterman show in the last election.  Grabbing my cell phone, I see hackers have one upped my cell phone provider. I have no service instead of lousy service. Need to focus!

How the heck did they cut me off? Are they some kind of government-sponsored Blackwater mercenaries? Where’s Gerrit when I need him?

I recalled a conversation with Willy Williams, one of Gerrit’s teammates from OTG, telling me how they’re going to do this in one of the upcoming scenes of The Daemon Files novel. Willy—a former gangster-turned-hacker—learns his questionable skills from Gerrit’s uncle, Joe O’Rourke, aka Joe Costello and a string of other alias that’d make the CIA proud. Willy shoots me a big grin. “Simple as pie if you know what you’re doing, Mr. Y. I can cut your cell phone off faster than Obama can raise taxes.” Oh yeah. Willy likes to call people by the first letter of their last name. Just a peculiarity he picked up that we’ve learned to live with. Willy dubbed me Mr. Why.

Getting back to the action: all my communications links have been hijacked. These guys—
whoever they are—are as serious as the IRS on tax day.

I need a little firepower!

I dash to a secret compartment hidden in my office where my weapons are stored. My arsenal is stashed in a gun safe, well oiled and unused since I left the police department a few years back. It only takes a second to punch in the code and yank the door open.  I grab my .40 caliber Glock 27 Subcompact handgun and wish I still had my department-issued .40 semi-auto S&W. Better yet, I wished I could get my hands on some of those lethal toys our SWAT guys play with. This little baby will have to do. I snatch up several loaded magazines that I leave in the safe…just in case. This is one of those situations I never dreamed would happen outside of my novels.

I can’t even begin to think about what this is little war is going to do to my homeowner’s insurance.

Right now, I need to figure a way out of here without getting dead. Analysis: Trapped on the top floor of the house, one stairway leading up, no other sane way out. I can smash one of the windows and leap outside, but then I face a twenty-foot drop. Defying gravity like that would cost me both knees—or worse.

Better try to fight my way out!

I angle toward the door leading from the office. Beyond the opening, a long hallway leads to the other end of the house where the stairway emerges. It will take a few minutes for these gunmen to clear the house below. Sounds like they searched the main floor first. Next, they’ll send a couple guys downstairs to clear the basement. Once that’s done, they’ll work their way toward my office. Even these morons know that if they control the two bottom floors, I’ll be caught like a rat in a trap up here. Okay, maybe that’s not a good metaphor since I’d don’t want to be likened to one of the most hated creatures on God’s green earth—but  you get the picture.

Somehow, they must have learned I’d be home alone. That sounds like a movie! Oh, yeah, Macaulay Culkin when he was a kid. Focus on the target, Marine!  Just a little history that Gerrit and I share in common—the Corps. And now you know another one of my little secrets. I talk to myself and my fiction characters all the time. Generally, no one can hear me. So, if I get out of this mess, maybe all you can just forget this little quirk of mine? I’d appreciate it.

Brakes squeak outside. Oh, no! More bad guys? I dash to the window and spot a van down the street. A woman and several men dart toward my house carrying assault weapons. Hey, they look familiar. Then it hits me and I smile to myself. Gerrit O’Rourke and the others are coming to my rescue. At that moment, I could have kissed them. Okay, maybe I’ll kiss Alena Shapiro and hug the guys. Then, I remember Alena and Gerrit have a thing going. Don’t what to tick Gerrit off, so I’ll just give her a hug, too.  Boy did I create the right characters for my book.
My heroes! Wait a minute! How’d they know I was in trouble?

I shove that thought aside as I hear intruders downstairs starting to regroup. They must have realized that I’m up here. One of the wooden steps leading to my office gives a loud squeak. The first gunmen must be moving my way. If I can just hold them off until Gerrit and the others get here. I edge toward the door. One good headshot is all I’m asking when the gunman makes that turn halfway up the stairs. He is probably wearing body armor.  I wished I’d brought mine to the party. Gotta work with what I have.

A shadow of a man looms across the far wall in the stairwell, cast by the point man coming up the carpeted steps. Bad mistake, fella.

Here he comes!

I tighten my grip, interlock my fingers, and steady my breathing as I sight down the barrel. I know I’ll only get one clean shot. They’re carrying automatic weapons; I’ve got this little pea shooter.  I calmly squeeze off one round as the gunmen’s head emerges. I reel back for cover, not waiting to see if I hit my target.

I can hear the body falling backwards. One down. How many more to go?

(Continued on Friday, February 24, 2011)

Hey, Readers. Wish you had some information about your favorite characters between the release of my novels? Little tidbits to let you know they’re still alive and kicking? Well, now you you do that right here. If you subscribed to this blog by email (see top of right column), you’re going to automatically get a notice to remind you the next post just came onlinee. You can stay up with the action and not lse any sleep.

It’s really weird. I keep running into these characters—Gerrit, Alena, Travis Mays, Frank White Eagle, and others—in the strangest situations. In fact, there are a few instances in which I have to drop my pencil and pick up a gun to help out. If you regularly visit this site, I promise you some exiting—and sometimes, funny—scenes. All the character from Off the Grid and Revenge, including a new series beginning with Broken Allegiance (A Tom Kagan Novel), will make brief cameo appearances on any given day. So, don’t be a stranger. Drop by for a visit whenever time allows.

Oh, one more thing. If any of you spot one of my characters—please drop me a line. It’s hard keeping track of these people all by myself. I could use your help. But be careful! These characters always seem to invite trouble, so keep your head down. Thanks for your help.

Stay safe!