I became interested a year ago in the "what if" scenario of a cruise ship being taken over by terrorists to extort cash or power over an American-owned ship. Although my story tells of American passengers being mistreated, on the cruise my husband and I took, we were the only Americans on board. Most the passengers and all the crew were either Brazilian, Italian or German. In fact, very little English was spoken during our month-long vacation.
Here's a little treat, a sample narration from my very talented narrator, J.D. Hart, who doesn't just read the story, but acts it for your listening pleasure. He becomes one of the characters, in a way:
It actually was rather nice to learn all sorts of cultural things at every meal, on every tour.
As I did my research, I discovered that it isn't a matter of if but a matter of when there will be a terrorist takeover of a large ship like in my story. There have been attempted takeovers in the Greek Islands and around Cypress and Turkey. In those cases, most the passengers at risk were Israeli.
In my story, the head security officer is Israeli, trained in the Israeli Special Forces. One of the Jr. Officers is a former Italian frogman, and named after a famous early frogman from WWII era, Teseo Tesci from Elba. Some of the equipment he invented, particularly the early rebreathers, were crude versions of equipment our current Navy SEALs use to this day. He became known as the human torpedo. Due to the technology he invented, he could swim under water virtually undetected. From what I understand, the Allies had tried for years to get their hands on this and only could do so after his death.
I also wrote in a Ukrainian officer with his counterpart, the Chief Engineer, who were part of the terrorist cell, and made strange bedfellows with others in the group, namely the Moroccans. Maksym is a very hunky, tall, handsome officer with a Czech girlfriend. The terrorists are thus an international group, with sometimes
conflicting reasons for wanting to ransom the ship and put the passengers in harm's way. This becomes part of the conflict.
All this is with the background of the ten Navy SEALs who are taking their wives on an excursion, a holiday, just precious weeks before their next deployment. Of course, it turned out to be a working vacation in more ways than one. One of the SEAL wives is ill with an early pregnancy.
I traced the routes we actually went on, through the souk at Marrakesh, sipping coffe at an open-air cafe that had previously, the year before, been blown up by an Al Quaeda-styled group. It was odd seeing Sharon Stone wandering the shopping areas and rug merchants, that an international film festival was going on, where a year before it had been chaos. And might be again some day, perhaps soon. Who knows? I could feel all the underlying tension in the crowds as we "mingled" with this unfamiliar culture.
On the ship, I spent time crawling up and down stairways, learning about the series of staff elevators that snaked everywhere away from passenger's eyes, and the lifeboats on board, where some of the love scenes take place.
I felt stories lurking behind every marble or mosaic column, every cobblestoned street. In these ancient lands, I felt the presence of stories carved out in the temple walls and shopping stalls outside. It was very inspiring, and the words flowed easily.
As with all my stories, I try to let the reader understand a little bit about the culture of the SEAL Brotherhood, which is really all I care about as a reader, personally. So I hope I've given readers a little slice of life into the "what if" scenario, because, even if it does happen some day, we are never going to know about it as up close and personal as readers will in my novels. I was delighted to discover this morning Amazon has selected several of these books as free reads with the purchase of the audio versions.
Part of the wonderful things about being a Military Romance writer is the community we have together, a sort of Writers' Brotherhood, if I can borrow a little something from the SEALs. I have teamed up with writers Marliss Melton, Stephanie Tyler, Teresa Reasor, Gennita Low, Elle James, J.M. Madden, and Delilah Devlin, some who have been writing about SEALs for more than two decades.
We created an anthology of ALL-SEAL stories, novellas, and all new material for the most part. Some of these stories will be full length books later on in the year. My contribution is SEAL My Destiny. I have never before worked with such a talented and cooperative group of women. It has truly been an honor. Right now, our anthology, SEALed With A Kiss, is only $.99, which is a bargain any way you slice it. But it's first class material from some of the best military romance writers on the planet. Won't you give it a try as well?
I'm feeling generous, as I have been doing lately. I'll give two people an audio book from one of my four SEAL Brotherhood series, to someone at random, if you leave a comment. We'll announce Sunday night who the winner is on this post. Here's the question: what do you love most about reading military romance?
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.