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The forbidden dog…

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

…During his early days in Konigstan, Jay had toyed with the idea of adopting a dog. Konigstan was not a particularly dog-friendly environment and stray dogs were often shot on sight or killed in very inhumane ways. One morning, Winston had spent an entire car ride complaining about how his daughter wanted a pet dog, but religious leaders claimed that dog ownership was                       , or forbidden                       . Winston, a doting father, had explained to his tearful daughter that dog walking had been prohibited, and it would not be fair to keep a dog cooped up in their small apartment. He had told Jay about a rare dog shelter just outside of Furstville and on one exceptionally long day of waiting for Headquarters to acknowledge Jay’s existence, Jay had asked Winston to take him to the shelter.
Pulling up outside of the desolate building that housed the shelter, Jay had recalled a dark memory from his childhood. One afternoon, woken from a drunken slumber, Uncle                        had become enraged by the persistent barking of a neighborhood stray. Jay watched in horror as his uncle produced a switchblade, and trapping the dog under his legs, had begun slicing the dog’s flesh as it screamed in pain and tried to wriggle free of                        grasp. At five years old, Jay watched in shock as                        left the dog, still alive but cut in pieces, to die a slow death in the dirt outside of their house. The dog had been one of Jay’s favorites, and he had often smuggled table scraps out to the dog…

Oops! I hope I didn’t just break it!

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

…Jay was drained. He patiently explained what the box was, while Andrew and Grover looked out the window and exclaimed excitedly about the gorgeous pool area view.
“Oh wow, okay. I don’t know anything about                                  , but that sounds pretty cool,” the logistics officer commented, before heading over to the window to join Andrew and Grover in their people watching. Grover was just commenting on how large one woman’s breasts were.
Jay sat, defeated, on the sofa and stared at the television, where a daytime talk show was playing, and the man on the screen was denying the paternity of a sobbing woman’s child. The logistics officer suddenly realized what time it was, and broke away from the group, explaining that she needed to get back to the office. As she was leaving, she casually announced that she would ship                                   out in the next few days, and it would take a few weeks to get up to Headquarters. With that, she hurried toward the door, dropping the bag on the marble floor as she hustled out.
“Oh gawd, I hope I didn’t just break it,” she giggled, looking at Jay and shrugging…

I’m a lover, not a fighter…

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

…The old door swung open to reveal a long table covered with machine guns. William began explaining where he had gotten them with Winston serving as a translator. Apparently the guns had been “discovered” along the border with Kriegland. They were American weapons, and Jay wondered what had happened to the soldiers that they had belonged to.
William was offering to sell the weapons to Jay. While he was sure that this had some sort of relevance to U.S. intelligence, Jay also knew that he would open a huge can of worms if he reported this to Headquarters. Not to mention, Headquarters would have a massive freak-out. He took note of some of the serial numbers, which he knew would soon be defaced, and tried to casually explain                                  , and that he would have to pass. William did not want to let it go so easily, but Jay managed to convince him with a little bit of humor.
“I’m a lover, not a fighter,” Jay explained, holding up his hands with a sheepish smile…

September 11th

One of the reasons I went to work for the CIA was September 11th. I’ll never forget seeing the Pentagon burning on the horizon that day. I had just been in New York City looking at the Twin Towers a couple of weeks before. Typically, the Washington DC area was such a cutthroat, grouchy area, but after the attacks everyone came together, regardless of beliefs, and people were actually nice and respectful to each other – even while driving in the miserable traffic of the area.

Never forget.

Busy Work

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

…followed by an inevitable stay in Folter Prison.
Winston appeared in the doorway with his usual pained expression on his face.
“Uhhh… Sir. Uhhh, I have the car ready for you,” he mumbled, looking down at his hands.
Jay grabbed his briefcase and bustled past Winston into the hallway, giving him a hearty slap on the back.
“And how is your family? Your son is feeling better, no?” Jay asked, pretending he cared at all about the well-being of his driver and his family.
As Winston babbled on with his usual tales of life peppered with plenty of “uhhs”, Jay drifted off in thought about the tasks ahead of him. He was to                                                                                                                                                           , and Jay knew that Headquarters had no idea what they were looking for. This was all just a form of busy work, because they really did not expect Jay to be successful in his work in Konigstan. They needed to keep him busy, which translated in their minds to keeping him out of trouble…

Close and Continuing Contact…

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

Jay scowled at the words from Headquarters that were displayed across his screen. He winced internally at the knowledge that his cable documenting an uncharted area in northern Konigstan was completely ignored because Headquarters had only cared that Jay had taken a “date” on a day trip. A German citizen, no less. The next cable in his queue was brief, straight from the desk officer covering his account, directing him to complete the security forms pertaining to close and continuing contact with a foreign national. He slammed his laptop shut with a loud clap and looked out at the smoggy Furstville sky, wondering for the millionth time why he left his happy,             to risk his life in this shithole.

A knock at the door brought him out of his self-pity. Knocks at his door never failed to elicit a bit of an adrenaline rush and visions of being taken away by the Secret Police for questioning, …

Cold is the Counsel of Women

…While most of the men I encountered in the Agency were a particularly narcissistic and womanizing bunch, the women of the Agency definitely took the cake when it came to viciousness and backstabbing. It was as if destroying your fellow female colleagues was a requirement for success as a woman in the Agency. This was rarely accomplished in public view, it was most often a behind-the-scenes demolition of another woman’s reputation…

Airport Security Lines…

From my latest book, Mission: Stand Down:

…He looked over at the heavyset man who had bumped into him, who was currently in the midst of a coughing fit and completely drenched in sweat. The chador-clad woman was now blocking the progress of the line as she attempted to control her toddler son, who had gotten loose from his stroller and was trying to grab onto Jay’s belt. The humor of the moment did not escape him, and he suddenly felt the insane urge to giggle…

My First Media Appearance!

I was recently on the show Politics & Profits with Rick Amato to talk about my first book, Single in the CIA. I was pretty nervous, but it was a great experience. I’ve never been a good speaker, and you’ll see what I mean when you watch this. Also, please forgive my recording – my internet froze for a moment while I was taping it.

You can check out my very first media appearance here.