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, …
…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…
…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…
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.
As you know, I write books and stories based on my time in the Central Intelligence Agency, (CIA). What this means for me is a lot of time spent waiting. And waiting. Waiting for the Publication Review Board (PRB) to approve my manuscripts each time I write one and each time I make changes to one. You see, when you go to work for the CIA you sign a secrecy agreement, and that means that if I write anything for publication, they must review it prior to my exposing it to the world. This is to ensure it does not expose any classified information. Those black lines that you see in my books, called redactions, are segments of text that the PRB has deemed classified, or too sensitive for public exposure.
It was during a particularly long wait on the review of one of my books that I decided to move forward with a project that I had thought up after the birth of my first child. I had an idea for a baby product, but had put it aside thinking it would be too hard to create a physical product, or too expensive – actually, I’m not exactly sure why I put the idea aside, but now seemed like a good time to revive the idea. With a bit of inspiration in the form of a friend who created her own successfully selling product, I decided to give it a shot….
Want to see how it turned out?
To follow the process of manufacturing my own product, please follow the The BurpMitt™ Blog.
…Jay stood in front of the unmarked door and took a deep breath. As often happened in stressful moments, a strange and inappropriately timed memory suddenly popped into his head. Standing in formation at a beginning yoga class that one of his past girlfriends had taken him to, he was admiring the very attractive yoga instructor. The instructor moved around the room assisting the students with each new pose as it was introduced. As the instructor lightly pushed on Jay’s back to guide him into the correct posture, Jay had taken a deep breath and, as she pushed his spine into place, Jay had suddenly broken wind, very loudly. The entire room had gone silent before everyone had burst into gales of laughter. Jay and the yoga instructor had ended up dating for a year after that…
My first full-length book since the release of Single in the CIA is now available! (Although it is still a short book)
Mission: Stand Down is a true to life spy thriller, and my most controversial book yet. Full of redactions, but the story still comes through.
Here’s a blurb about it:
Jay is a covert officer in the post-9/11 Central Intelligence Agency. Risking his life on a perilous mission of high importance to the CIA, he is a rare breed in the culture of bureaucratic stagnancy that the Agency has become. Under cover in a hostile environment, he stumbles upon weapons transactions that should be of interest to the intelligence community and even manages to sustain a love life. He accomplishes tasks of which few in the Agency could even dream.
But Jay quickly learns that while working for the CIA, one must be proficient at one thing – waiting.
When he gets called for an interview with the Secret Police, he begins to question not only his choice of career, but his blind loyalty to the Agency – the Agency that has put his life in danger on more than one occasion.
You can buy it on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and more!
I am so glad August is over. I’m not a fan. No offense to those of you with August birthdays, it’s nothing personal, I just find August to be terribly long and boring. It’s still super hot where we live and school starts in early August these days (at least in the last couple of places we have been), so summer vacation comes to an end. With the average temperature where we live ranging from 99 to 108 (sometimes 115!) degrees every day the weather is not conducive to outside activities with small children.
In my mom life I’ve come to look forward to fall, with its cooler temperatures and string of birthdays leading into the holiday season. I used to hate the holiday season – back when I lived on my own so far from my family. I spent many a Thanksgiving and Christmas alone, wishing for the time to pass, first in the D.C. area and later in South Florida. Of course in South Florida that loneliness was accompanied by a beautiful beach view from every window of my condo, and the constant sound of crashing waves, and maybe a bottle of scotch…. But I digress….
How times have changed. I look forward to the holiday season now – I guess having young children does that for you.
Anyway, I have a few projects that should be wrapping up before the end of this year. One is the release of my first full-length book since Single in the CIA. This latest book, a spy thriller full of humor, is set to release in October. Mission: Stand Down is the result of a compromise with the CIA. Apparently it is very controversial. After many appeals, I am very excited to have the green light to publish this one.
Many of you know that I have a page on this site where I post book reviews. Lately I’ve had some authors and publishers send me free books to review, and I’m very flattered by the attention. I only wish I had more time to read – but rest assured, I will get to reading all of them. Soon I will be adding children’s books to my reviews to go along with my CIA officer-turned-Mom brand. Most likely I will stick to “vintage” children’s books – ones I read as a child or were out when I was a kid.
All in all it has been a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of year for me. I have a couple more surprises up my sleeve that I was hoping to reveal before the end of 2017. Due to the constant roadblocks I’ve encountered this year I’m not so sure they will all be realized by December 31st, but I’ll keep trying.
I hope everyone is having a great summer so far and has a very happy 4th of July!
Just a quick summer update…
As most of you know, my books are available on Smashwords as well as Amazon and many other book retailers. Smashwords is having their 9th annual Summer/Winter Sale beginning July 1st and running through the month of July. All of my books will be 50% off for the entire month of July!
You can’t beat this deal, so check it out on Smashwords.
Lately I have been expanding my own personal brand as a former CIA officer-turned-Mom. This means lots of surprises to come during the next few months. In response to finding myself getting a lot of questions about how to go about self-publishing a book I decided to create a short instructional eBook on how to self-publish on Amazon. It was a little experiment, to see if I could create my own PDF eBook, all by myself. Created for busy moms (or anyone who doesn’t have much free time) who have always wanted to be published authors!
Check out the result on the eBooks page.
Stay tuned in the months ahead! I have lots of surprises in store for you!
From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series – Annie Goes Overseas:
…Andrej poured a glass of wine as he attempted to explain the Basque-French menu to Annie.
Basque? Where is that? Is that some kind of fish?
She tried to disguise her confusion and appear enthralled with every word coming out of Andrej’s mouth. It actually wasn’t difficult; his accent made her feel like she was enveloped in a fluffy pink cloud. She grabbed the wine glass and took a large gulp of the very expensive French wine he had just poured for her. He was so elegant, so charming, so European…