Monthly Archives: August 2019

Welcome to the “OPERATION IVY BELLS” Blog Tour! @RGWilliscroft @4WillsPub

Greetings! Today on The Indie Spot I am honored to welcome author Robert G. Williscroft on his blog tour.

 

OPERATION IVY BELLS: A MAC MCDOWELL MISSION

Robert G. Williscroft here, with an updated version of my bestselling, semi-autobiographical Cold War Novel. Operation Ivy Bells is a first-person account of a team of saturation divers locking out of the nuclear submarine USS Halibut on the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk. Fearlessly risking death, these dare-devil divers placed a tap on Soviet underwater communication cables and retrieved spent missile parts from the seafloor. They gathered intel that tipped the scales to win the Cold War. This story is reality-based—I led one of the teams depicted in this book.

Am I Mac McDowell? Some folks would say Yes, but even though I based his character on my own experiences, there are many differences between us. I was an excellent submarine and diving officer, but Mac is more capable and smarter than I. I would welcome your visiting my website to check out my background. Then compare the real me with Mac and let me know what you think.

A warm thank you to my host for sharing this blog.

Recognition for Operation Ivy Bells

Here’s what a USS Seawolf sailor had to say about Operation Ivy Bells:

For those who have an interest in Cold War secrets this is a must-read. Some minor details and names have been changed, but most of it is pretty close to the real deal…close as you can get without going to jail. My source of information? Memory—I was an Ivy Bells submariner.

Excerpt from Operation Ivy Bells

“OK, Dive Control.” Jimmy sounded a bit winded. “Now we need you to jack the port shaft in reverse—slowly. With a bit of luck, the cable will pull free and snake to the bottom.”

Once again, Buck moved in from the stern, behind the screw, which gave us a great view of the action.

“Roger that, Red Diver.”

The Skipper started talking on his handset again. He kept it to his ear. The screw started turning very slowly.

“That’s it!” squeaked Jimmy. “Slowly…slowly…” And then, “Stop! Stop!”

Even on the monitor we could see that the cable had crossed itself.

The Skipper said something to the handset.

“The cable crossed,” Jimmy told us. “Jack forward about a quarter turn.”

The Skipper passed it on.

“OK – Stop!” Heavy breathing. On the monitor the cable snapped free from its constraining hold on the other wrap. “Now back slowly…” More heavy breathing, from both divers. “Slow…slow…SLOWER!”

The Skipper stayed with him. And suddenly, the cable started slipping through the screw blades.

“Bingo! That’s it! We did it!” Squeak or no, he definitely was excited. “Let’s get the fuck outa here!”

Buck stayed with them until they reached the bottom of the Can. Then he headed back for the Aquarium.

Ten minutes later we could see Jimmy and Whitey emerging into the outer lock through the lower hatch. Bill had wrapped their umbilicals on the bulkhead hooks as they swam to the hatch, and now he pulled them into the lock. He unhooked the hatch and swung it closed. Whitey stooped to spin the locking wheel.

“Dive Control, Outer Lock, hatch secured.”

“Dive Control, Aye.”

“Conn, ROV Ops, we’re secured and the hatch is shut.” And that was it.

I gave the Skipper a thumbs-up, and he ordered the XO to secure the hover and get the ship underway. I headed back to the dive locker. The guys had been out for about an hour at a maximum depth of 250 feet on standard heliox. Ham or Jack would have already worked out the decompression schedule. I needed to check it, and then we could start bringing the guys back to the “surface.”

It would take a while, but that’s what we got paid for.

Watch the one-minute trailer

Author Bio

Dr. Williscroft is a retired submarine officer, deep-sea and saturation diver, scientist, author of numerous books and hundreds of articles, and a lifelong adventurer. He spent 22 months underwater, a year in the equatorial Pacific, three years in the Arctic ice pack, and a year at the Geographic South Pole. He holds degrees in Marine Physics and Meteorology, and a doctorate for developing a system to protect SCUBA divers in contaminated water. A prolific author of both non-fiction and fiction, he lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his family.

Links

Website

Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  
Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

Welcome to the “UNDER A FALLEN SUN” Blog Tour! @JohnCoonSports @4WillsPub

Greetings! Today on The Indie Spot I am hosting author John Coon during his blog tour. John is sharing his thoughts on writing a compelling and entertaining story! Take it away, John. . .

 

 

Who’s Driving Your Story?

Ever watch a horror or science fiction movie and quickly become frustrated with the direction that the story takes? We’ve all experienced this feeling from time to time.

One trait common to these bad movies is characters who take a particular action simply because the script requires them to do it. Their actions and behavior defy logic and don’t ring true to how a real person would react when confronted with the same situation. What was designed to move the story along only serves to shatter the suspension of disbelief.

Taking this approach to building a story as an author will only alienate your readers.

Never underestimate or insult the intelligence of your audience. Readers will notice when you construct  plot armor and force your characters to do your bidding like puppets on strings. And they will not like it one bit.

Let Characters Drive the Plot

There’s a simple thing you can do as an author to move a plot in a plausible and realistic direction. Invest sufficient time in creating each character you intend to place in your story.

You should know each character as well as you know a family member or close friend. Sketch out their life histories, physical characteristics, personality traits, hobbies, personal beliefs, and other pertinent backstory details before you write your novel or short story. This will give you a better idea of how a particular character will react if you drop them into a particular situation.

Creating dynamic fleshed-out characters will take your story in unexpected directions. Let those characters hop into the driver’s seat and steer through the twists and turns of the plot. You will create genuine tension and suspense and your readers will be unable to put your story down until they finished the final page.

Say No to Cardboard Characters

One glaring sin common to poorly written novels and stories is an abundance of stock characters who are walking and breathing stereotypes. Even good authors can fall victim to relying on a cardboard character.

You can’t always avoid using stock characters. If stock characters didn’t have so many real world counterparts to draw from, they wouldn’t exist.  On the other hand, you can avoid populating your narrative with a slew of cardboard characters. You can even take the stock characters and give your own twists.

In my horror novel, Pandora Reborn, I took a stock character of a crazy hermit in Dean and gave him a dynamic presence in the plot by fleshing out his story. One way I did that is to give him a tragic backstory where the antagonist murdered everyone he loved in their previous encounter 55 years earlier. It turned Dean from a potentially laughable character to a deeply sympathetic figure.

I took a similar approach in new novel Under a Fallen Sun. I let my audience see an inside perspective on the antagonist alien race through the eyes of Melody. It lets them learn the aliens’ motivations for coming to Earth and the tragedy and desperation driving their actions and behavior. It helped make what the aliens do in Travis feel more believable and, ultimately, even more terrifying.

When characters drive the plot, everyone wins. The author gets a more dynamic and engaging story and the readers are rewarded with a richer reading experience.

 

BIO:

John Coon has possessed a love for writing since age 12 when he typed out his first stories on an old typewriter belonging to his parents. For 15 years, John has worked as a sports journalist. His byline has appeared in multiple publications and on multiple websites nationwide. John currently writes for the Associated Press and Athlon Sports. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and currently resides in the Salt Lake City metro area. John published his debut novel Pandora Reborn in 2018. Under a Fallen Sun is his second novel.

 

Links to purchase Under a Fallen Sun:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

John’s website and blog

Social Media

Twitter: @johncoonsports

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jcoon

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  
Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

 

 

A Solid Collection of Essays!

The Reclusive Writer & Reader of Bandra: Essays

Rating: ★★★★★

The Reclusive Writer & Reader of Bandra: Essays by Fiza Pathan is at once heartbreaking and uplifting. The author shows within this wonderful collection of personal essays that life can be whatever you make of it. Through rejection by her father for the sin of being born female, to her own discovery of new friends found in the pages of books, Pathan shares the course she plotted for herself in this world.

These essays offer snippets from the life of the author. The reader is invited to tag along for the coming of age of a young woman dealing with a reality so many of us couldn’t possibly comprehend in our own insulated little corners of the world.

Pathan is an overcomer. She found her refuge in the bookstores and libraries of Mumbai, India. It is between the covers of many books that she found who she really can be—her true identity. And it is here, in this collection, that she lures us readers in for a glimpse of her world.

This book is beautifully crafted by an accomplished storyteller. Fiza Pathan’s style puts the reader right there beside her, listening to an incredible woman telling her own stories as only a true author can.

Get your copy HERE

Grace VanderWaal: New Music, New Video, New Tour!

Rating: ★★★★★

Grace VanderWaal is a busy young lady these days. The 15-year-old songstress has recently released her fourth single this year, filmed three new videos, spent part of June opening shows for Florence and the Machine, and has just kicked off her own headlining tour across the United States.

“Waste My Time” is VanderWaal’s latest single. The track is quite a departure from the indie-pop sound cultivated on her debut album, Just the Beginning. The vibe here is more in line with the synth-pop sound that is common with dozens of other singers today. That could be dangerous for a performer looking to stand out from the crowd. But it’s the voice that sets “Waste My Time” apart from everything else on the radio today. VanderWaal, simply put, is a gifted vocalist. Her tone is rich and melodic, easily identifiable within the first word or two, and carries an honesty that cannot be faked. And her lower ranges are just incredible!

If I’m being truthful, this one took a couple of listens to grow on me—though it is now on repeat on my iPod. The change in sound is something I (and other FanderWaals I’ve heard from) didn’t expect. And that’s a good thing. Grace VanderWaal will never be accused of growing predictable or complacent with her music. My two favorite bands (Led Zeppelin and Metallica) never recorded two albums that sounded alike. This is what sparks longevity with music fans. It’s what creates classic songs that generations will continue to appreciate.

The accompanying video for “Waste My Time” is quirky and funny and sweet—much like the singer herself. She wanders through an empty convenience store after stepping out of a late-night rain. The only other person in the store is a lifeless clerk named Miguel. Grace is often the brains behind, not just her music, but also the videos. I’m guessing that’s the case with this one as well.

VanderWaal is not yet a superstar—at least not on the Katy Perry/Taylor Swift/Ariana Grande level. Again, I believe that’s a good thing. She seems to be well-grounded and able to handle the success that has come her way thus far. Time is on her side. Grace VanderWaal hasn’t even hit her stride. Her best music has yet to be created. If you have the opportunity to catch her on the “Ur So Beautiful” tour, I highly recommend you do so.

 

Grace VanderWaal’s Ur So Beautiful Tour Dates

 

August 10 – Lexington, KY @ Railbird Festival
August 11 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
August 13 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
August 14 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
August 16 – Dallas, TX @ The Granada Theater
August 17 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
August 18 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
August 21 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
August 25 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory – Orange County
August 27 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
August 29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
September 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
September 3 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
September 6 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
September 7 – Chicago, IL @ Park West
September 9 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
September 11 – Toronto, ONT @ The Opera House
September 13 – Boston, MA @ Royale Boston
September 14 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
September 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
September 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
September 20 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
November 22-24 – San Diego, CA @ Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival

 

 

Get Ready for FALLOUT!

Greetings! Author Harmony Kent has a new release in the works. I’ll let her tell you all about it! Take it away, Harmz. . .

Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Beem for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

 What will happen to Sasha now that she’s underestimated President Terror?

What does John plan for her?

Can anyone stop these two evil despots?

Excerpt

Stunned, John sat there. What other ways had Sasha used him? Abused his trust? The irony that he had used her too didn’t pass him by, but still, how could she? The little b***h. He would show her.

After a couple of minutes, he calmed enough to speak again. ‘Then why have you agreed to have her around?’

Terrence showed his teeth. Straight and white and polished. Menacing. The sort of teeth that would rip out your throat without blinking.

‘We can use her. You and I.’

John scoffed, ‘We can get sex anywhere.’

Denis grinned. ‘Yes, but it’s more fun letting her think she has the upper hand, don’t you think?’

John nodded. He could use her in other ways too.

Fallout Blurb

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?

Author Bio

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

 

Links

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/

Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

 

 

FALLOUT Pre-order Link: mybook.to/FALLOUT