For the last two years, Cecilia and I have been under extreme pressure. While writing the first Countermeasure novels had been easy to both of us, and I had used my background in IT to draw some aspects of that world into the series, Alternate Connection created a dilemma. It veered into a very political conflict and took a dip into military service, something none of us was too familiar with other than our fathers having both served in wars in the past and Cecilia having grown up as a military brat, moving around a lot.
When the story gave us an opportunity to create a spin-off about the A.W.E. Crew guys, the cadre of special operators brought in to run the rescue in Alternate Connection, we decided to do our due diligence, as always, and learn about the Service. As much as authors do take artistic license in their fiction, and we can’t possibly know exactly what these men and women experience in their lives at war, we wanted to be able to explore some less talked about parts of the service respectfully and in a way that would not undermine or demean their purpose.
Being a pacifist my whole life meant I couldn’t fully understand what drove those men and women to join the service in the first place, and to write these books, I felt I NEEDED to understand their minds and hearts if the characters were to feel real to me and to those who read the books.
With that in mind, we researched. A LOT. I talked to veterans and active soldiers online about their feelings, their emotional state. We watched documentaries and read a lot of non-fiction books. LOTS.
It wasn’t until we came across Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell that things started falling into place for me. Hundreds of hours of documentaries couldn’t achieve what that one book did. In documentaries, you get the chaos of what they have lived outside the wire, the live fire, all its gruesome carnage, but it’s in that book that you get to dive into their psyche and their hearts.
While I still don’t see wars as the sole solution for the problems in the world, I can now understand the drive behind the men and women who volunteer to join it. There’s a different sense of purpose, of love, of selflessness in them.
I’ve read the last several books since Outlaw Platoon with a completely different mindset and view of their lives, their path to joining the Service, and their sacrifice.
Lieutenant David Grossman, in his book On Combat, says that there are three types of people in the world. The sheep are the regular folk, living their lives, going about their day, working, going to school, etc. Then there are wolves. Those are the ones who feed on the sheep, who are capable of violence, create chaos, and do evil things without a thought to the consequences of their actions, without any care for the sheep.
And then there are sheepdogs. While capable of violence themselves, sheepdogs have a deep empathy and love for the sheep, who will put their lives on the line to face and fight the wolves to protect their fellow citizens.
The warriors I got to meet through Outlaw Platoon and the many other books I’ve read are these sheepdogs. Men and women who go through the hardest selection process and training on the planet to go to war and defend not only their families and loved ones, but total strangers.
I am thankful to the writers of those books, particularly to Sean Parnell, for telling the stories which made that difference clear to me. And thank you to all service members around the world for being the sheepdogs looking after us, the sheep.
Amazon added some privacy settings to user accounts a while back. The settings included the option to hide all personal content (reviews, wish lists, questions, etc) from the public pages by default. Once the change was rolled out, many readers who were also avid reviewers noticed that their reviews were missing from the books they had reviewed.
Since Amazon also removes reviews it views as going against the review guidelines, many feared their reviews had been deleted for good. After some digging, it became clear that, while some people had indeed had reviews removed, a good number of the missing reviews were simply due to the change in the privacy settings.
Those settings can be easily turned off to allow reviews to be public once again. If you are also one of those reviewers with sudden missing reviews, you can check your account for the correct settings.
Check the FULL SIZE INFOGRAPHIC for the steps to correct the problem.
Attention all awesome people! This month is a cool time to be a reader. 101 of your favorite authors contributed to one massive giveaway! Giveaway rules are listed on the rafflecopter. International peeps can play! Got any questions? Feel free to ask. There are 100 ways to enter for a maximum possible 500+ entries per person. The giveaway lasts the entire month of April, so come back every day and hammer away at a few more entries until you're all done!
That's the biggest giveaway I've seen recently! Tell your buds! Don't miss out. You'll kick yourself if you miss this one.
Terms & conditions are listed on the rafflecopter. Read it for full details. The winner will be chosen on May 1, 2016 and contacted via the email address they used to enter. CHECK YOUR EMAIL! The winner's name will also be posted on the rafflecopter widget above.
101 different authors came together to make this giveaway possible. If you've been looking for a new book boyfriend, or you're literally famished between your fave author's releases, check out some of my peeps! They write in various hot romance genres including contemporary romance, new adult romance, erotic romance, steamy romance, urban fantasy romance, dystopian romance, historical romance, futuristic/ sci-fi/ fantasy romance, Teen/ YA romance, inspirational romance and time travel romance!
Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey
Stacey Joy Netzel
Sarah M. Cradit
Katherine Lowry Logan
Nikki Lynn Barrett
Bonnie R. Paulson
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Must be 18 years of age or older to win. No cash value. Void where prohibited. Open to international & US residents. *The winner will receive an e-gift card via PayPal in the amount of $3000USD for this prize.* Winner must have: 1. an email account, 2. may be requested to fill out additional paperwork for tax purposes, and 3. must have a PayPal account to accept the prize. We are not responsible for fees taken by PayPal for this transaction, nor are we in any way responsible for VAT and/ or taxes. We are not responsible for items damaged or lost in the e-mail. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. By entering you agree that we are in no way to be held liable for anything pertaining to this giveaway. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 72 hours after the giveaway ends. You must claim your prize within 48 hours or it is forfeited and another winner will be selected. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email!