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Posts Tagged ‘United States Military Academy’

Area 51 is in the middle of nowhere on the road to nowhere.  Nevada Route 375 which has officially been named Extraterrestrial Highway is road you take only if you want to drive by the fringe of Area 51 and stop in the Little Ale’Inn in Rachel, NV.

When my wife and I moved from South Carolina to Whidbey Island, WA almost five years ago, we went out of our way (well I did, over my wife’s protests) to drive up the road.  We got on it and saw not a single car for at least a half hour.  Then, and not making this up, we spotted a car coming the other way.  Right out of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.  Same kind of old car and the people in it were dressed exactly right for the era with the top down.

Now that was weird.

And today (14th) through Thursday (16th) Area 51 Legend is FREE on Amazon.  In fact, I’m giving away a free book every week this year on Amazon.  I’ll update this site, but if you go to my Write It Forward blog, you’ll see not only my free books for the week, but our other authors, such as Mary Reed McCall’s title:  The Templar’s Seduction, which is free today and tomorrow.

Last year I spent a morning with a crew from the SyFy channel filming in Nevada.  I drove down from Whidbey Island—takes two days.  We linked up in Vegas and then drove out, at the unGodly hour of 4 am (reminded me of being in the Army when everything always started at oh-dark-thirty, especially airborne operations) to drive the 120 miles to Rachel, NV.  We stopped at the Little Ale’Inn.  Then I led them out to the main gate to Area 51.  We filmed for about an hour.  I was technically the ‘expert’ about Area 51 for the host of the show.  I’ve done shows before, Discovery Channel about Special Forces, etc, but this was interesting because we were filming in a place where you can’t film.  Big sign says so.  But also, we were on BLM land, not on Air Force aka National Security Agency land.  We could see their cameras filming us.  So I guess my license plate is in the database now.

And we didn’t run into a little grey, aka Paul, on the road.

The episode was about the Spear of Destiny and how it could have ended up at Area 51.  The crew had filmed all over the world, tracking it.  We had to film so early because the entire crew was flying to South America at 4 that afternoon.

I thought about it for the show, and I do have to say as former Special Forces, it would be a hell of a place to infiltrate successfully.  On the west you’ve got the Nevada Test Site where they detonated 739 nukes over the years.  I aint coming in from that direction. On the south, Yucca Mountain where they store nuclear waste.  Ditto.  And then the outer perimeter, which keeps getting expanded, is thoroughly covered by cameras, thermal, motion detectors, etc.  And it’s pretty much wide open desert.  No sneaking up.  No parachuting in, because the airspace is as highly classified as that over the White House.  And if you did get through outer perimeter, you still got dozens of miles to get to the actual facility, which has its own layers of guards and security.  So, all in all, when the host asked me where I would secure something very important, I had to say it was Area 51.

On the drive back, I passed Pilot Peak in northeast Nevada.  I have a scene in my book, Duty, Honor,  Country a Novel of West Point & the Civil War set at the base of that mountain.  It was pretty easy to see why the mountain was so important to early travelers.  John Fremont named the mountain after Kit Carson went there and lit a fire to guide him in when they needed water.  Both figures are in the book as I cover their 1845 expedition to California, where they ended up conquering California from the Mexicans.

One thing I love about being a writer is going to the places I write about to get the feel for them.  When I walked the entire Shiloh battlefield, I was amazed at how places that resonate in history such as The Hornet’s Nest or Bloody Pond, were just these simple spots that you wouldn’t give a second glance to, but on which so much blood was spilled.  Now that I’m back east in North Carolina, I will be revisiting a lot of Civil War locations for the second book in the Duty, Honor, Country series.  For the new series spinning off of Area 51:  Area 51: Nightstalkers, I think I’ve already spent enough time tempting the fates in Nevada.

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From Bob Mayer . . .

The end of the year is a time to reflect.  I just moved across the country and am settling into a new home so we can be close to our son and daughter-in-law, who expect to deliver their first child in early January.  The fact that I can write for a living anywhere in the country made this possible, and it’s readers who make that possible, so I’m feeling very grateful.

And I’m getting psyched because while 2011 was the year of breaking out in eBooks and starting in audio books, 2012 will be the year of writing, when I can push forward several of my series and introduce some new books.

First out of the gate will be I, Judas; The 5th Gospel, a thriller that I’ve just about completed where it appears to be the beginning of the Apocalypse and deep in the Amazon, Judas Iscariot is telling his 2,000 year old story to two intrepid survivors of an expedition sent to assassinate him.

A new Duty, Honor, Country will be published, moving Elijah Cord and Lucius Rumble forward from the ending of the first book, starting on the pivotal first night of battle of Shiloh and further into the Civil War.

A new series spinning off of Area 51 will launch in 2012:  Area 51: Nightstalkers.

Chasing The Dead will feature Horace Chase from Chasing the Ghost in a new adventure.

And The Kennedy Endeavor will take the characters from The Jefferson Allegiance and thrust them into another national security issue based on a historical secret dating back to Robert Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile crisis.

On the non-fiction front, 2012 will bring The Green Beret Survival Guide for the Apocalypse, Zombies and Other Lesser Disasters.  I’ve set up a crossbow range in my new backyard and am honing my skills.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are a couple of other projects in the developmental stage that I’m very excited about.

So, thank you for 2011, and let’s hope 2012 is just as exciting and fulfilling!

From L. J. Sellers . . .

I love this time of year because it marks a milestone, and for me, each New Year is a fresh start. It’s a time to reflect on the past, express gratitude for the bounty in my life, and make plans for the coming year. Last year, I gained a huge new readership, people who love my work and reach out to me to express their enjoyment. This has been such a blessing. Thank you for buying my novels and offering your verbal and emotional support as well. I am deeply grateful.

In 2011, I published four books: 1) Dying for Justice, my best-reviewed novel yet, with nearly all five stars, 2) The Arranger, a futuristic thriller, with almost as many great reviews, 3) Write First, Clean Later, a collection of blogs and nonfiction articles, and 4) Liars, Cheaters & Thieves, my latest Detective Jackson mystery, which released a week ago. Next year, my goal is to write and publish three more novels. I also plan to take some time off in the summer and to read more, year round. Best wishes to all of you in 2012.

From Laura Taylor . . .

Christmas is a time when we gather to celebrate the season and to set goals for the coming year.  Because of you, Readers, 2011 has been a joyous year for me.

I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of my romantic suspense readers for your enthusiastic reception of INTIMATE STRANGERS (which is currently free at Amazon Kindle), FALLEN ANGEL, DESERT ROSE, and MIDNIGHT STORM.  Thanks, too, for all of your supportive emails and 5 star book reviews – they mean the world to me.

I’m particularly blessed to celebrate this holiday season with the release next week of HEARTBREAKER.  2012 will, no doubt, be a hectic year for all of us. Under the heading of setting goals, my publisher will release several more of my romantic suspense novels.  You can visit my website (www.AuthorandEditor.com) for book release updates, or you can contact me on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter (AuthorLTaylor).  Drop by and say hello.

Meantime . . . thank you, Readers!  My wish for each of you is a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Hugs all around, LT

From C. J. Lyons . . .

During this holiday season I would like to take the time to thank all my readers. 2011 has been a banner year, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you!

2012 looks to be even busier. BLIND FAITH, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times list and spent six weeks on the list, was bought by St. Martins Press and will be re-released in August, followed by two more in the Caitlyn Tierney FBI thriller series.

You guys asked for “More Lucy, please!” so early 2012 will see the release of BLOOD STAINED, the sequel to SNAKE SKIN.

Readers have also been clamoring for Book #3 in the Shadow Ops Series, and it’s coming this summer! Finally Billy and Rose will have their chance at a happily ever after while they search for a traitor in their ranks.

FACE TO FACE, Book #3 of the Hart and Drake medical suspense series, debuted last month and immediately hit bestseller lists on Amazon. More importantly, it led to hundreds of readers writing to me and begging for another Hart and Drake story. I’m working hard to make it so.

While I’m busy writing, please feel free to keep writing or posting on my Facebook page. And if you want to keep up with all things CJ, sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.cjlyons.net

As always, thanks for reading!

CJ

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From Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point & the Civil War

“Cadets!” Master of the Horse Rumble snapped as he took the familiar spot on the floor of the riding hall.  “Assemble, in-line, one rank.”

The cadets of the class of 1862 scrambled out of the stands and fell in to the left and right of Rumble.

When all were in place, Rumble issued his second order. “Cadet George Armstrong Custer, front and center.”

With a self-confident grin, Custer stepped out of the ranks and double-timed to a spot just in front of Rumble. Custer was just shy of six feet, broad shouldered and athletic.  He had blue eyes and golden hair that lay on his head in a tumble of curling locks.  The word circulating in Benny Havens was that Custer was quite the lady’s man off-post.  The word circulating in the Academy was that Custer was not quite the academic man, the Immortal in every section, overall ranking last in his class and lingering very close to being boarded out.  In some ways, Custer reminded Rumble of Cord, but there was a dark edge to Custer that disturbed Rumble.

“Double-time to the stables, Mister Custer, and bridle your horse.” Rumble made a show of looking at his pocket watch.  “You have three minutes.”

Custer dashed off.

“Cadets, at ease,” Rumble ordered.

An instant buzz of excited conversation filled the riding hall. War was in the air.  And not just war, but Civil War.  Many southern cadets had already left the Academy, the first as early as the previous November, when a South Carolinian had departed, in anticipation of his state’s secession.  He was followed by all the rest of the cadets from South Carolina, three Mississippians and two Alabamians.

The divide touched the highest ranks of the Academy as the Superintendent appointed back in January, G. T. Beauregard, had lasted only five days before being relieved for his southern sympathies after advising a southern cadet who sought consul on whether to resign: “Watch me; and when I jump, you jump.  What’s the use of jumping too soon?”  With his departure, old Delafield resumed the post for several months before a permanent replacement was appointed.  Delafield was still on post, awaiting his next assignment.

The overwhelming feeling in the press was that most of the Academy was pro-slavery. But that was only to those outside of the gray walls.  Rumble knew the cadets better than they knew themselves and it was more the fact that the southerners who remained were the loudest and most outspoken, airing their opinions freely and to anyone who would listen.  The northern cadets had some sympathy for the plight of their southern brethren, but that sympathy had not been put to the test.  There was a sullenness and brooding among the Northerners that few could interpret.

Behind Rumble, seated in the corner of the stands, writing in a leather journal, was Ben, now a young man of twenty. He’d grown with a spurt when he was sixteen, and was now two inches shy of six feet, but as slender as Grant had been as a cadet and Rumble feared his son would never fill out.  Ben had his mother’s face, soft, freckled and open.  His most distinguishing feature was his bright red hair.  He could be recognized all the way across the Plain from that alone.

This was his first trip back to West Point since Rumble had maneuvered his son’s dismissal from the Corps and his entry into college in Maine. The few days had not been enough to thaw the chill between the two and Rumble had little idea where his son’s feelings lay or what his thoughts were.  But he had kept his promise to Lidia and saved his son from four years of hell and that was enough for now.

Custer came galloping back into the riding hall with a flourish.  He urged the large horse toward the far end of the hall. Despite it’s size, the horse was no York, at least a hand smaller than the long-deceased legend of the riding hall,

“Cadets,” Rumble cried out.  “Attention!”

The line snapped to.  Rumble called out the names of two cadets to take the center position. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Delafield, his hair whiter than ever, had entered the hall.

“Gentlemen, hold in place, wings forward to observe,” Rumble commanded.

Using the two cadets as anchor, the lines on either side moved forward until all could see the two men in the center.

Custer reached the far end of the hall and waited.

Rumble turned to the line of cadets and raked his gaze left and right.  He remembered Matamoros and the Mexican line, the steel glinting in the sunlight.  He shivered and focused, once more grateful Ben did not wear the cadet gray.  “Mister Custer, you may—“

A plebe came running into the riding hall, uniform collar unbuttoned, face flush with excitement.  “It’s war!  Fort Sumter has been fired upon!”

Discipline vanished as the remaining southern cadets broke into cheers.

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Scattered throughout Shiloh National Cemetery are plaques with portions of the poem:  Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara.  Here is the opening stanza:

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last Tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.

It is a most appropriate ode to not only the cemetery at Shiloh, but the entire battlefield.  I spent last weekend visiting Shiloh and going over the battlefield.  Over the next month I will be posting video clips from my visit there, but the first clip is at the cemetery:

The battle of Shiloh is the climactic scene of Duty, Honor, Country a Novel of West Point & the Civil War.  In fact, somewhere in the land that became the cemetery, on the first night of the battle, Ulysses S. Grant sat under an oak tree in the rain, contemplating whether to withdraw after horrendous losses that day, or fight on the next day.  Also, somewhere on that land, was a wood cabin where surgeons plied their bloody trade and a scene in that cabin changes the course of history.

At its conclusion, Shiloh produced more casualties in two days than all previous American Wars combined.  Walking over this hallowed ground was humbling.  I walked the entire length of the Sunken Road (which really isn’t sunken) that as the front edge of the Hornet’s Nest, where Union troops repelled eleven Confederate assaults.  Until 62 cannon were lined hub to hub, producing the greatest artillery barrage ever seen on the continent and the Union line was broken.

I walked around tiny Bloody Pond, just behind the sunken road, where casualties from both sides crawled, desperate for water on a hot April day.  I stood at the spot where General Albert Sidney Johnston was shot, still the highest ranking American officer ever to be killed in combat.

All of this is quite strange for a place called Shiloh, which means ‘place of peace’.

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