Dragons and F-18 Hornets don’t fly well together – An excerpt from “The Outlander War”

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The Outlander War: Book Three of the Forever Avalon series

The concept behind my third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War, is magic and technology crossing paths. I really wanted to explore what would happen if magic somehow returned to the real world. A part of that too is the age-old question of which is more powerful of the two … Technology or magic.

I began to dabble into this in a “steampunk” sort of way in my second book, The Dark Tides, with the creation of GunStars and Lancers, weapons that fired magical/alchemical munitions called “spellshots” from their barrels. However, in The Outlander War, we get modern warfare versus medieval might as the Gil-Gamesh and the forces of Avalon brace for a possible attack by the United States Navy.

Here is an excerpt that demonstrates what happens when machines and magic collide, literally.


Soaring the skies around Emmyr was what Rose loved to do best. When she was up there, flying on the back her dragon, Dee Dee, she was in Heaven. Dee Dee was her best friend, ever since she rescued her in the cave-in when Dee Dee was just a baby dragon. Since then, they formed a bond stronger than any magic in all of Avalon.

Rose could fly to the ends of the Earth on Dee Dee and that still wouldn’t be far enough. The only exception was when she was flying with Edan, her one true love. That was when she had the two things she loved in most life all at once.

Unfortunately, she was flying around Emmyr with her brother, Hunter, and he was never fun to be with. In her estimation, Hunter got a real “stick up his butt” ever since he became a knight. She always felt he acted all “superior” over her and Ashley, as the heir apparent to the Gil-Gamesh.

What made it worse was he became the consort to Queen Cadhla and, together, they had a son, Bowen. Not only is he father to the King of Avalon, he gave Bryan and Stephanie their first grandchild. He always had to “one-up” them, or so she thought.

Hunter flew next to her on Tabby, a hybrid dragon called a Wyvern. Unlike its dragon cousins, Tabby didn’t have forearms, only wings, plus her wings were feathered and much larger than that of a dragon. He kept his head on a swivel, his eyes focused on the island and the fleet just off the coast of Avalon.

Rose, on the other hand, was enjoying the sunset, and Hunter noticed that she wasn’t doing what their father had asked. “Rose, keep your eyes on Emmyr or the ships, not the sunset,” he shouted at his sister.

“Oh give it a rest Hunter,” she snapped back at him. “We’ve been out here all day and it’s still the same … Emmyr is slowly breaking into pieces and the jerks are still out there on their ships.”

“That could change at a moment’s notice, you have to be more attentive on a mission like this,” he tried to assert the urgency in her.

“Listen to me, Sir Hunter, you’re not in New Camelot right now,” Rose snapped at him. “You’re in my domain and here, nothing can compare to the wingbeat of a dragon in the skies over Avalon.”

Suddenly, a loud roaring sound started building from behind them. Hunter and Rose turned to see two U.S. Navy fighter jets heading right toward them, catching them both off guard.

“Except for maybe two U.S. Navy F-18 Hornets barreling right at us at supersonic speeds!” Hunter warned.

“How can they be so close to Avalon?” she asked. “They’re going to fly right over Emmyr!”

“I told you the magical barrier was rescinding or didn’t you believe Dad’s warning this morning?”

If Rose could reach her brother right now, she’d smack him in the head; but her bigger concern was the approaching jets. “How fast do you think they’re going?”

“Supersonic, close to 700 miles per hour, why?”

“Because their backwash is going to play Hell with the air currents were gliding through,” she surmised. “We need to move away from Emmyr or they’re gonna throw us right into the rocks!”

“How do you know that?” Hunter asked with a tone of utter disbelief.

“Hunter, for once in your miserable life, will you please trust me! I’ve been flying around here long enough to know what changing winds patterns can do to a dragon’s flight.”

Hunter could see the seriousness in his sister’s eyes so he took her word for it. “Okay sis, you lead, I’ll follow!”

Rose spurred Dee Dee on as Hunter got in right behind her. She started taking them away from Emmyr, but a sudden updraft lifted them higher than she wanted. That’s when a disaster happened.

The first F-18 zoomed past them at supersonic speed, causing a wicked downdraft and a swirling mass of turbulence. Rose was rocked by the force of the winds, but her experience on a dragon kept her in control. Hunter, however, wasn’t as lucky. Due to her large wings, the turbulence spun Tabby into an upward spin. She flew right into the underside of the second F-18 Hornet, knocking Hunter from the bridle.

He fell down toward the ocean, unconscious from the impact. As the aircraft collided into Emmyr, exploding on contact, Rose took Dee Dee and dove for Hunter. “Come on girl, we gotta catch him!” she spurred her on with fear-laden urgency in her voice.

Dee Dee pulled her wings in tight, for a faster dive, as the dragon tried to reach Hunter before he hit the ocean below. “Reach for him Dee! Reach for him!” Rose shouted, pleading with her dragon to save her brother.

Dee Dee reached out with its claws and grabbed Hunter in the nick of time, as Rose leaned back to help her pull up from the dive, rising in the air back toward Avalon. Rose looked down at her brother, looking for any signs of life. “Hunter! Hunter!” she screamed. “Dammit ‘momma’s boy’ answer me!”

Hunter began to stir, as he rubbed his head. “Don’t call me momma’s boy, ‘Pez Head!’” he moaned as he tried to shake out the cobwebs. Rose couldn’t help but laugh, happy to see that he brother was alright.

Her concern grew again when she heard another explosion as the wreckage of the Navy aircraft fell into the water below. Tabby was falling right with it, killed on impact with the supersonic jet. This wasn’t going to help things, Rose thought to herself. In fact, she knew it would only make it worse.


You can read more of The Outlander War and vote to have it published as part of Inkitt.com “Grand Novel” contest. Click here for a free preview and please VOTE!

A Vulcan, Klingon and Borg walk into a bar …

The cast of Star Trek: Enterprise TV series.

The cast of Star Trek: Enterprise TV series.

CBS announced this week that a new Star Trek TV series will be to television in 2017, just in time for Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Now, I have lived my life vicariously through the evolution of Star Trek, as both a franchise and a way of life, so this means a lot to me.

Gene Roddenberry will always be a personal hero of mine. Here is a man who dedicated his life to one idea about space, mankind and exploration of the unknown. He crossed racial and cultural boundaries when the world was fighting against it. He was one of those, you can definitely say, that was ahead of his time.

I remember watching Star Trek in syndication as a young boy in the 70s. I was equally excited when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out. The movie was long and relied too much on special effects, but it was stunning to see.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came out when I was in college. I spent and entire Saturday, sitting through one screening after another. Back in those days, you could stay in the theater and watch the movies over and over again. I saw Wrath of Khan five times that day. It was awesome.

I could go on about my love affair with Star Trek, from the new string of TV shows to the movies with the original cast and TNG stars (Star Trek:The Next Generation for you non-Trekkies). The real story I want to share with you is about my connection with the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series.

In 2001, I was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). I was the Assistant Public Affairs Officer, responsible for keeping the crew informed about news and events while deployed, and informing the public about the ship and its great crew. Right before our deployment, I heard about the new series Star Trek: Enterprise. I wanted to try to make a connection between the series and the carrier, so I started corresponding with the publicist for Paramount Studios.

We were discussing a variety of options and agreed to get together once we returned from deployment in October 2001. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite that way. The ship had just left the Persian Gulf when the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001.

We immediately turned around and took position on station, awaiting orders for the first stacks against Al Queda and their allies in the Taliban. It was then I received an email from the publicist at Paramount asking if there was anything she could do for us.

They sent us episodes of the first season of Enterprise and, in return, I sent them USS Enterprise command ball caps. The day we returned from deployment, Enterprise was airing that night, and the show opened with the star, Scott Bakula, wearing our ship’s ball cap, welcoming us home. That was unreal, a real PR coup for me, but it was about to get better.

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Feb. 28, 2002 -- Sailors of the Year for the year 2001 meet castmembers of the latest Star Trek television series entitled Enterprise. Pictured here on the set of the series are (from left) Conner Trinneer, who plays Chief Engineer Charles Trip Tucker, III; Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Robert S. Pickering, Sailor of the Year; Personnelman 3rd Class Sarah E. Pizzo, Blue Jacket of the Year; Aviation Electricians Mate 2nd Class Timothy J. Whittington, Junior Sailor of the Year; and Scott Bakula, who plays Capt. Jonathan Archer. The three Sailors were given the opportunity to appear in a scene during an episode which aired recently.

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Feb. 28, 2002 — Sailors of the Year for the year 2001 meet castmembers of the latest Star Trek television series entitled Enterprise. Pictured here on the set of the series are (from left) Conner Trinneer, who plays Chief Engineer Charles Trip Tucker, III; Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Robert S. Pickering, Sailor of the Year; Personnelman 3rd Class Sarah E. Pizzo, Blue Jacket of the Year; Aviation Electricians Mate 2nd Class Timothy J. Whittington, Junior Sailor of the Year; and Scott Bakula, who plays Capt. Jonathan Archer. The three Sailors were given the opportunity to appear in a scene during an episode which aired recently.

Paramount offered three of our sailors walk on roles on an upcoming episode of Enterprise. This was a great opportunity for us to highlight our brightest and best, so we took our Sailors of the Year to California for a true Hollywood treatment.

We met the stars of the show, walked around the sets, got to sit in the Captain’s chair on the bridge set and photos with the cast. Levar Burton (Jeordi LaForge from TNG) was the director for the episode, so meeting him was a dream come true for me. In addition, I gave him my USS Enterprise ball cap in exchange for an Enterprise Stuntman’s ball cap.

We did this for two years in a row and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I also have to say Scott Bakula was so good to our sailors. He went out of his way to make sure they were in the shots, talked to us about everything, even signed autographs and photos. The one regret I have is I was never able to get him out on the carrier for a visit. Our schedules just never synced up.

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The artwork and signed photos from the cast and crew are with me today as a reminder of that visit. The only way to end this blog is by saying, “Live Long and Prosper!”

I visited the Bermuda Triangle and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

article-2555006-1B574E5800000578-140_634x480Last week, the east coast of the United States was under a tropical storm warning as we awaited Hurricane Joaquin. Fortunately, it stayed way out to sea and barely affected us, but it did give me some inspiration. It gave me a great opportunity to talk about one of the “sci-if” elements of Forever Avalon and The Dark Tides … The Bermuda Triangle.

For those who need a little history lesson, the Bermuda Triangle is an area of the Atlantic Ocean between Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the island of Bermuda, more than 1,510,000 square miles of ocean. There are more than 1,000 recorded incidents in the last 500 years in that part of the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle. I remember a movie from the 1975 that I saw as a kid called Beyond the Bermuda Triangle. Of course, who could forget Leonard Nimoy’s TV series In Search Of, where he spent one episode on the mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle and possible reasons behind them. Next to the search for Noah’s Ark, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Rifts_RPG_Ultimate_Edition_2005I even played a role-playing game, in my D&D days, called Rifts. The story was that Ley Lines, lines of magical every that crisis-cross the Earth, intersect in certain places (like the Bermuda Triangle) creating rifts or portals to other worlds in space and time. This post-apocalyptic game took us into the future. It combined sci-if and fantasy, for example, you had Elves that could hack into computer networks through jacks in their heads. Like I said, fun!

There are plenty of logical reasons why all these boats and planes disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, from hurricanes to rogue waves, that can explain the phenomenon. I like to think that there is some truth behind the disappearances which is why I incorporated them into my novels.

Sure, aliens are the most prevalent theory behind the myth, but I like to stick to the magical. Using the Bermuda Triangle as a portal to Avalon gave the back story to my novel some credence. The people who survived the storms ended up in the shores of Avalon. There they either blended into the medieval society or died, it was that simple.

866683_f520One of my favorite tales from the Bermuda Triangle is the story of Flight 19. Flight 19 was the designation of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945 during a overwater navigation training flight from the Naval Air Station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All 14 airmen on the flight were lost. Investigators could not determine the cause of the loss of Flight 19 but said the airmen may have become disoriented and ditched in rough seas after running out of fuel.

I came up with a better answer … They arrived on Avalon. The flight leader, Lieutenant Charles Taylor, became an essential part of the Forever Avalon story. He was a mentor and friend to Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh, from the moment he arrived on Avalon. I originally meant for him to be just a small part of the back story, but in The Dark Tides, I was able develop his story as part of the character development of the Gil-Gamesh.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the Bermuda Triangle will always be a place where sci-fi/fantasy authors can twist and turn their stories in any direction possible. Just be sure not to get lost in there. You never know where you’ll end up.

Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.

Never forget September 11, 2001

firefightersToday is the Day of Remembrance, honoring victims of terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I wanted to take the time to tell you where I was on 9/11.

On September 11, 2001, I was station aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. We were near the end of our six moth deployment, beginning our trek home. The ship just left the Persian Gulf and we were sailing in the North Arabian Sea, heading south.

The plan was for the ship to make a port call in South Africa, the first for a nuclear aircraft carrier, before crossing the Atlantic and returning to our home port in Norfolk, Va. We were even planning our “Crossing the Line” ceremony for when we crossed the equator, a proud tradition in the U.S. Navy.

I was the Assistant Public Affairs Officer, leading a division of seven Sailors in operating the shipboard radio and television stations as well as publishing the daily newspaper for the crew. I was looking forward to getting home. My daughter was turning 16 in October and I was going to make it home just in time for her party.

It was in the middle of the afternoon and I was listening to the morning news from the U.S., live via satellite. That’s when I saw the first tower, smoldering as smoke billowed out. Reports said a plane flew into the tower.

At first, I thought it was a terrible accident, then I watched in horror as a second plane flew into the other tower. I knew then something was wrong.

The first thing I did was to send out an email to all the Chief Petty Officers onboard, telling them to “turn on the news, I think the U.S. Is under attack.” I continued to monitor the news and saw that a plane flew into the Pentagon and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

Though you couldn’t actually feel the ship turning around, we all knew what was going to happen. We were going to stay right where we were, waiting for orders on who to retaliate against for this cowardly attack.

Over the next few days, we all watched in horror at the devastation left behind; but I also saw our country coming together and the pride of America grew strong. All around the ship, people were hanging up pictures and cartoons related to the attack. Most of them demonstrated the resolve of the American people to strike back against the terrorists who attacked us.

Everyone on the ship was ready to do our duty. Weapons were readied, aircraft were maintained and the crew was anxious to get going. As much as we wanted to get home, we also wanted to be the ones to lead the first strike.

It was ironic that, on the night of the first wave of air strikes against the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, the chaplain who led the evening prayer that night was Muslim. I think that demonstrated to everyone that were striking back at enemy forces, not the Islamic religion.

We were eventually relieved by another carrier and started our return home, one month late but it was worth the extended deployment. I am proud to have been a part of that mission and to tell the story of what the brave men and women of the U.S. Navy did that day.

It is something I will never forget.

The most dangerous place to work in the world — An excerpt from “The Dark Tides”

originalToday is Labor Day and I was thinking about the hardest jobs to do. One I can say with absolute assurance is the work done by the men and women of our military. As a veteran myself, I know firsthand the great job they do.

The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is known as “the most dangerous place to work” in the world today. Jet engines, propeller blades, jet fuel and explosive ordnance make for a deadly combination. You have men and women under 18 years of age working daily in this hazardous environment.

It takes strong leadership to make it work like the well-oiled machine it is. That’s why I made the protagonist of my novels in the Forever Avalon series an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handler) or ABH. Chief Bryan Drake was such a leader, making sure the job was done safely and efficiently.

This excerpt from The Dark Tides demonstrates his strong leadership that took him from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier to the magical island Avalon to become Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon.


As Bryan walked down the ship’s ladderwell, he heard a loud commotion coming up toward him. Yellow shirts—flight deck aircraft handlers—were running up the ladderwell, telling people to get out-of-the-way. Bryan recognized one of the handlers from his division, Petty Officer George Rodriguez, but everyone just called him “Georgie.”

“Georgie, what’s going on?” Bryan asked.

“Helo 951 broke loose Chief; it’s sliding around on its rear wheel,” the Hispanic sailor yelled as he stormed past him. Bryan followed behind, heading toward Flight Deck Control to get an update from “the handler,” Lt. Cmdr. Derrick McGregory. “The Mad Scot”—as he is known to his sailors—controlled all aircraft movement on the flight deck.

Inside Flight Deck Control, Bryan rushed into a flurry of activity. McGregory was on the phone with the “Air Boss”—the officer in charge of air operations on Enterprise while others peered out of the small windows to get a peek at what’s happening on deck.

“Clear away from the window,” Bryan shouted to the sailors. “If you don’t have any business in control, get out now!” The sailor’s groaned and filed out as the Handler hung up the phone. His mustache twitched—a sign Bryan came to learn as trouble.

“Chief, the Boss doesn’t want that aircraft damaging any others,” he said to Bryan. “It’s already clipped another helo and a Hawkeye. Think you can secure it?”

Bryan looked at the Handler, tense and nervous. He’s always relied on Bryan for the tough jobs, and he knew it had to be done.

“Yes sir. Just give me Georgie, Bartman and a couple of blue shirts and we’ll lock it down.” The Handler picked up the sound-powered phone while Bryan grabbed a flight deck vest and helmet off a hook on the wall. He’d need the safety gear out on the flight deck, especially in this weather. George, Petty Officer Mike Bartman and two blue shirts—sailors who chain the aircraft down to the deck—arrived in Flight Deck Control.

Bryan finished buckling his helmet as he relayed orders to his crew. “Georgie, you drive the tractor. I want that bird hooked up and holding steady. Bartman, you guide him into the helo. Once that’s done, you two lock it down tight. Ready?”

They all chimed in at the same time. “Yes Chief!” Bryan opened the hatch to the flight deck, the wind and rain blowing them down almost immediately.

Once everyone is outside, Bryan moved his crew toward the swinging helicopter. Its rear wheel remained chained to the flight deck but its front wheels broke free, causing the aircraft to swing like a pendulum. Georgie and Bartman go around the island and start-up a tractor while the two blue shirts stayed close to Bryan.

The ship was listing heavily to right as huge waves crashed over the flight deck. The wind and rain added to the problem, making it hard for them to get good footing. Complicating things even more was the multiple aircraft around them, strained against their chains by the storm.
Georgie backed the tractor on the helo’s rear wheel and, with Bartman’s help, locked the helo down. Once steady, Bartman signaled a thumbs’ up to Bryan to send the two blue shirts in. Heavy chains hung on their shoulders, chocks in their hands, Bryan ordered the two sailors to get to work. He watched as the chocks were placed under the wheels and the chains are hooked on to tie the aircraft down.

Bryan was pleased with his team. He had a great group of sailors working for him. The blue shirts gave the thumbs up and they all started to celebrate, fists pumping and cheering, until without warning, things went from bad to worse.

The ship hit a big swell that caused the carrier to drop fast and list heavy to starboard. Bryan can only watch as Bartman slipped and started to tumble backwards toward the edge of the flight deck. He acted quickly to save his shipmate; without regard for his own life or safety, he dove after Bartman.

The momentum of the listing deck flung him through the air. He reached Batman and knocked him into the catwalk, saving his life, but his life saving gesture propelled him over the side of the ship into the water.

He hit the water hard and momentarily blacked out. His safety gear kicked in, though, and his vest auto-inflated. He rose to the surface and regained consciousness. The waves, wind and rain battered him around.

He saw the ship in the distance. The sound of “Man Overboard” can be heard, even with the storm. The ship started to turn around, but to Bryan it seemed to be getting further and further away from him, as if he was being pulled away from the carrier.

The waves continued to beat him about, practically drowning him in its fury. Bryan became disoriented and fear started to grip him … The fear of dying. He thought about Stephanie and the kids. He remembered birthdays, anniversaries and holidays as images flooded his mind.

Suddenly, he saw a glow in the sky. Bryan thought it was the light from a rescue helicopter, but the ship couldn’t have launched one in this weather. “Is this it? Is this the end?” he thought as the light grew brighter and brighter until it enveloped him. Bryan closed his eyes and accepted his fate.


The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.

Texting has ruined the English language for this and future generations

People on phones with social media icon chalkboardIf you think about it, acronyms were the precursor for the shortened words we use in text messages today. These are, as I like to think of them, the death of the English language.

I doubt millennials could write a complete sentence without shortening a few words in it. You can’t talk about your BFF who’s SOL 2MORO without OMG ROFLMAO, LOL? But if you think about it, acronyms were just the beginning of these often used words and phrases.

The military is very bad at using acronyms for everything and, though military journalists are taught not to use them, they find their way into anything and everything. Speaking as a “DINFOS Trained Killer” I can honestly say acronyms are overused more often than not.

To give you an example:  When I was on active duty, I worked for the PAO at SACLANT, the NATO HQ in NORVA at NSA Hampton Roads, next to FFSC, SUBFOR, MARFORCOM and JFCOM. (If you can decipher every acronym in that sentence, post in the comments below. First correct answer gets a free ebook of my novel, The Dark Tides.)

Of course, writers are taught to spell it out and not use acronyms, but that still hasn’t changed the new acronyms in texting. Now that texting terms have been added to the dictionary, it makes it even worse.

Can you imagine Shakespeare using texting terminology to write his great plays? “2b? Nt2b? ???” “Romeo, Romeo _ wher4 Rt thou Romeo?”

Though many may dismiss texting terminology as cheat notes for an attention-deficit generation, John Sutherland, a University College London English professor, said “they could act as a useful memory aid.”

I understand the methodology behind that, but to me, texting is dumbing down a generation. English is slowly becoming a language where soliloquies and poems are a thing of the past. Short quips, sarcasm and verbal trolling are the new norm.

Mark Zusak, author of The Book Thief, wrote “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this.” That speaks volumes about the importance of words in our lives, our culture, our very existence.

I remember as a boy, growing up in the 70s/80s, my parents and teachers telling me that slang was the beginning of the end of the English language. Those words were very prophetic as I look at the slang of today in text messages.

We are becoming a culture of 140 characters or less, losing the history of today’s generation to a megabit of data.

Family will always be there to give you advice, raise your spirits or kick you in the butt when you need it

f0ccc3b6-4243-49a0-878d-11e449bd63aeI’d like to take a moment to talk about family. Family is at the heart of the Forever Avalon series. It’s the very core of my own life experiences and I can’t imagine what my world would be like without it.

Everyone has their own experiences when it comes to family, both good and bad. I can honestly say I’ve been on both sides and I’d like to think that it’s made me the man I am today.

Through writing, I’ve tried to share my love for my family through my stories. It’s not the exact picture of the perfect little family, but what is? They have been, and always will be, an inspiration to me. My family kept me strong during long deployments with their love and support. I kept that going through my novels, Forever Avalon and The Dark Tides.

In this excerpt from The Dark Tides, I wanted to show how family comes together in times of adversity and demonstrates the strength of love, faith and courage. Caution, SPOILERS!


Bryan and Stephanie stepped outside their tent, where Ashley, Andrew, Rose and Edan are waiting. Bryan looked over at Edan and saw he was holding Rose’s hands as he talked to her. Before Bryan could say anything, Sarafina and Hunter joined them, bringing the whole family together.

“Captain O’Brian, are the guns ready to go?” Bryan asked.

“Yes milord, we have 20 canons with about 100 rounds each standing by.”

“Good, stick to the plan. If I have any changes in my orders, I’ll relay messages to you through Maverick, alright?”

“Yes Gil-Gamesh, it will be done,” he said with a bow. As he turned to depart, Rose ignored protocol and, in clear defiance of her parents, kissed him goodbye. Once Captain O’Brian was gone, Bryan glared at Rose, but he knew this wasn’t the time or place for it.

As they gathered together, Hunter broke the silence hanging in the air. “The King asked me to tell his Grandpa good luck today,” Hunter quipped. Everyone just laughed at that, except for Ashley and Rose who were in the dark. “Ask Mom, she’ll explain it to you later.”

“I’m not going to say anything except to tell you all how proud I am of each and every one of you,” Bryan told them. “You have all grown and matured into the best I could have ever hoped for in my children … that includes all of you!” he added, looking directly at Sarafina and Andrew.

“I never really believed in fate or destiny until I arrived on Avalon. Though I still believe that we are in control of our own future, everything that happened has led us to here and now. No matter what, this doesn’t end here. This is only the beginning.”

Bryan’s words inspired them as they hugged each other one last time before leaving … brother and sister, parents and children, husband and wife. Hunter and Andrew head off with Sarafina, leaving on the Gil-Gamesh as he said one last goodbye to Stephanie.

“I love you husband,” she said as she kissed him.

“I love you wife,” Bryan added with their traditional goodbye.

He turned to leave while Ashley, Rose and Stephanie headed toward the hospital. “Okay, now what was Hunter talking about?” Rose asked. “Is Bowen his …”

“Uh-huh …” Stephanie interrupted, trying to be discrete.

“You mean, Hunter and the Queen, they …”

“Yes …” Stephanie cut her off before she said anything out loud.

“Holy …” Ashley cursed.

“Oh that little player,” Rose quipped as they continued to gossip amongst themselves.


The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.

Navigating the maze of a writer’s mind

mazeistock_000018139778smallJ.K. Rowling said, “I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book!” I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much.

Writing is a very difficult profession to get into. Many famous writers talk about the difficulties they’ve experienced in their career, but they always end that with how much it was worth it.

That part I have to agree with. Writing has its ups and downs. There are times I find myself trapped in a writer’s block that, to me, resembles the hedge maze in The Shining. Then there are times when an idea hits me and, as soon as I get it written down, I am flooded with an overwhelming sensation of joy. The hard part, it seems, is navigating your way through your ideas and putting it down on paper.

I spent my formative years dreaming about being a comic book artist, the next Jack Kirby. I was okay but there were many others better than me. Even after one year of art school, I never improved so I left. I switched from artist to writer when I joined the Navy and became a Navy Journalist. That’s when I really got the writing bug.

I’ve written constantly for more than 30 years, in one form or another. I get excited about what I’m writing, whether it’s a press release on an event on base or another chapter in my next book. What makes it so exciting, on the very of pure exhilaration, is to see your words in print. I will never forget the day I opened a box from my publisher and held my book in my own two hands. It was, as J.K. Rowling said … magical.

Like in other areas of the arts, like music, art and acting, writing is a gift. Some have the ability to take ideas from deep inside and turn them into words, weaving stories that resonate to anyone who reads it.

The ebb and flow of writing can galvanize a writer; it makes us want more. I think the same feelings of elation and disappointment can be found in many professions. One year, Halle Berry earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 2001 movie Monster’s Ball; then, a few years later, she wins the Razzie award for worst actress in the 2004 movie Catwoman. Through it all, it didn’t change her as an actress or the roles she received.

Now, I’m no Pulitzer Prize author, by no means, but that doesn’t stop me from working on my craft daily. I may be 51-year- old, but I’m still learning and developing my writing style. I can see the changes within my writing from when I first started all the way to today.

If you are a writer or want to be a writer, you have to work on it every day; and no, texting doesn’t count. To me, texting has ruined the English language, but I’ll save that for another blog.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you believe in yourself and what you’re writing about, then don’t let anything get in your way. Find your niche, that genre that works best for you, and stick to it. Remember, if what you write brings magic into someone’s life, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Happy Fourth of July! It’s okay to be patriotic!


Happy 4th of July!

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July! I hope your weekend is filled with fireworks, barbecue, family and friends. As a retired veteran, I am always proud to be a part of our nation’s birthday. I like to think it’s a sense of pride, although some in the world today might see it more as arrogance.

Is it arrogant to be proud and patriotic? I don’t think so. People have pride in their looks, in the job they do, in celebrating achievements through life, like graduations. What’s wrong with pride in one’s country?

To me, that pride is transcendent of not only who you are but where you live. People who come to America from other countries are proud of their heritage but that changes when they raise their hand and take the oath to become American citizens. I’ve witnessed such a ceremony and, believe me, it’s a very emotional moment when an immigrant proudly calls him/herself an American for the first time.

In the Forever Avalon series, Lord Bryan MoonDrake starts out as a simple Sailor, devoted to God, duty, country and family, while serving in the U.S. Navy. That patriotism—that pride—transcends when he finds himself stranded on Avalon, after he discovered his extraordinary  lineage with one of the original Knights of the Round Table.

At that moment, he changed his loyalty, devotion to duty and his patriotism from the United States of America to Avalon. Though his world changed completely for him, he took it in stride as he stepped up and assumed the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh. Instead of answering to the President of the United States, he now answered to the King of Avalon.

This may seem simple enough plotline for a story but it’s really not. A lot of thought and emotion goes into decisions like this. The real question is, what happens if those loyalties are tested?

This is a tease for the next installment of the Forever Avalon series I’m currently working on, tentatively title The Outlander War! I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. Now, those of you who’ve read The Dark Tides know what little twist I’m talking about; and for those of you who haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to pick up my book. I guarantee that, after you do, you’ll be eagerly anticipating the third book.

In any case, I guess what I was really trying to say is that, though it may not be “politically correct” to be patriotic anymore, I wear it with a great deal of pride. I am proud to have served my country, I am proud to live in the greatest nation on the planet and I am definitely proud to be an American. Have a safe and happy Independence Day! God bless you and God bless the United States of America!

The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.

“The Dark Tides” book signing event this weekend in Historic Yorktown

SKU-000941753Navy veteran and author Mark Piggott will be in Yorktown, July 5, signing copies of his latest novel, “The Dark Tides,” at the Gallery in York Hall from 1-4pm. York Hall is located on the corner of Main Street and Ballard Street in Historic Yorktown.

A 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Chief Journalist, Mark Piggott has dedicated his life to writing and serving America. He continues to serve the Navy as a civilian public affairs officer.

His passion for writing, his love of “Dungeons and Dragons,” and a recurring dream during his active service in the Navy led to “The Dark Tides,” the second novel in a fantasy series that explores the ties that bind families together, duty to one’s self and one’s country, good vs. evil and magic.

“The Dark Tides” takes the age-old tale of King Arthur, Merlin, and Avalon and provides a “what happened next” approach to the story: Lord Byran MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon, fights to stop the evil Morgana le Fey and her power called the Dark Tides from claiming the throne of Avalon.

“The story for ‘The Dark Tides’ came to me in a recurring dream that happened every time I went to sea, it was my way of connecting back to my family while deployed,” Piggott said. “I am very passionate about the story and the characters I’ve created here.”

“The Dark Tides: Book Two in the Forever Avalon Series” by Mark Piggott is available in paperback and ebook at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and bookstore.iuniverse.com