Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bishop's Gate - Now Available

I am pleased to announce that the 3rd installment in the James Maguire series, Bishop's Gate, is now available on the Kindle e-Book platform.

As you read this book I would like to remind you that the draft of this book was written a year ago. So as you consider the timeliness of the topics discussed, remember that many of these subjects had yet to happen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

ISIL, Terrorism, War, Religion and America's Tepid Response

In my book, Queen’s Gambit, one of the central issues is the threat posed to this nation by radical Islam. It is a theme that is carried over in my forthcoming book, Bishop’s Gate.

I wrote the outline for Bishop’s Gate last January. One of the amazing things that I discovered was how, more than a year later, many of the things I had written about would come to fruition and be significant issues that we are dealing with, even now.

Several days ago, U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, made the following statement:  

We cannot kill our way out of this war,… We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs.” 

Immediately, there was a backlash that resonated through the political world like a California wildfire in August.

Later she doubled down, saying that her comments might have been too nuanced for some to understand.

I guess I am not as intellectually astute as Ms. Harf.

In her defense, there seems to be a mindset within this current administration that believes it can simply redirect the attention away from the real problem and create a new narrative that they are more familiar with, i.e. if we redistribute wealth and provide those downtrodden would-be jihadists with more financial opportunities, then they won’t take up arms against us.

Really? Maybe your comments weren’t so much nuanced as they were naïve.

Perhaps Ms. Harf can explain to me how she believes that radical Islamic extremists, pursuing their religious ideology, can be converted into peace loving, hedonists, simply by giving them a 9-5 job. What part of radical Islamic extremist are you a little fuzzy on? 

It's about religion, not about the credit limit on your Visa card.

Several weeks ago the President made the following statement at the National Prayer Breakfast:

Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Now, I’m really not sure why he felt that it was an appropriate time to bring that up, but he did raise an interesting point that I think a lot of people missed in the ensuing outrage, including the President.

Man’s pursuit of religious dogma can, and often does, cause him to commit unspeakable acts of barbarism in the name of God.

Many people in this country, and around the world, do not want to believe that the current battle we are fighting is a religious war. They, like Ms. Harf, and probably many others in this administration, want to believe that there is some other root cause. That Jihadi Johnny wasn’t nurtured enough as a child or that Falafel House isn’t hiring. Those are issues they can accept. Those are the neat little socio-economic issues they can champion. It’s sort of like social media diplomacy.

You know: #OccupyAleppo or some other little catchy slogan, in 140 characters or less.

The first problem is: they know it’s a lie. The second problem is: they have no clue how to address it.

It’s time to start being honest. We are at war with radical Islam. Why is that so hard to accept? Notice, I didn’t say we are at war with Islam, just an extremist segment of it.

Does this administration believe that we will offend the Muslim world by saying that? I think they do. Yet, when I saw the response of King Abdullah II of Jordan, to the slaying of his pilot by ISIL, I wonder why this administration can’t admit it. We are at war. Why do I say that? Because, and here is a news flash for those of you who just woke up, they are at war with US!

I’m sorry, but just because you do not want to accept it, doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in what they are saying. In 2014 the Islamic State (otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL) declared a worldwide caliphate. In doing so, they claim religious, political and military authority over all Muslims, worldwide, and that the legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null and void by the expansion of their authority and the arrival of their troops into those areas. They also said that they would “humiliate U.S. soldiers in Syria” and “raise the flag of Allah over the White House.”

Does any of that seem ambiguous to you? I’m thinking worldwide is a fairly self-explanatory as is flying their flag over the home of the President.

The sad thing is that they are only one of many who believe that they are at war with us. Pick any Middle Eastern terrorist group, look at their fundamental beliefs and you will see a remarkable trend. They all believe that the United States is their enemy, and not just any enemy, but the Great Satan.

Does it sound like they are just longing for a cost of living raise or an extension on unemployment benefits? If these economic issues were correct, then why do we see citizens of western nations going there to fight, instead of coming here for jobs?

The vast majority of Americans need to turn off the Real Housewives of Wherever, or American Idol, and start to educate themselves. If you have no idea what the difference is between a Shia and Sunni, you are part of the problem. Do you understand the ideology of Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia?

If you don’t, then how can you even begin to comment on the current threat we are facing?

The enemy we are facing believes that they are engaged in a holy war against the west, what we call it does not matter to them. All that matters to them is how we fight it. I keep hearing how this nation is war weary, and that might be true. This might not be a fight we want to wage, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have to.

Consider pre-WWII German. The signs were all there: Re-arming of the German military (1935), Annexation of the Rheinland (1936), the Flower Wars: Austria (1938), Sudentenland (Czechoslovakia 1938), Memmeland (Lithuania 1939), and the German-Romanian Economic Treaty (1939).

By the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939, even Helen Keller could have read the tea leaves. The appeasement and admonitions did nothing more than to embolden Hitler, convincing him that Europe had no stomach to fight, and he was right. They only prolonged the inevitable. If we had put a stop to it early on, he would never have been strong enough to inflict the level of damage that he did throughout the whole of Europe.

In fact, unlike our allies, the one thing that we, as America, didn’t have to face at that time was a direct attack on our soil (Before some of you scream, Hawaii didn’t become a state until 1959).

9/11 proved that we don’t live in that world anymore.

Whether we are war weary, whether we don’t have the stomach to fight, means nothing to our enemies. They have the desire. They are not fighting for a single piece of land, or the invasion of another country. No, their goals are much loftier, a worldwide caliphate where you will bow to Allah or die. It really is just that simple.

Whether we choose to fight means nothing to them, they will fight us, and they believe that they have God on their side in this battle. Make no mistake about it, this IS a religious war. It may be, as the President has said, a perversion of Islam, but it exists nonetheless.

More often than not I take exception with the policies and principals of the President, but I do agree, in part, with what he said at the National Prayer Breakfast. Human beings can, and do, perpetuate terrible atrocities in the name of religion. I also believe in the quote, often attributed to Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

I don’t want to shed the blood of another member of the United States Military, in some God forsaken sandbox around the world, but I do know that we will one day have to re-fight this battle that we irresponsibly walked away from.

Whether we fight it there or here is the only question.

I am not naïve to think this battle will not come, and there is nothing nuanced about the threat we face. I just pray that when the battle does come, that we have leadership that has the resolve to end the threat, once and for all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who is James Maguire ?

"Who is James Maguire?"

It is a question that I get asked on a fairly regular basis by readers of my books. Sometimes I answer with a wink and a nod, just to keep some semblance of the mystery alive. The truth is, Maguire is much more complex. He is one of those composite characters, drawn from a  multitude of  different people.

When my wife first challenged me to write the story, creating the character was quite easy. I just had to do some simple descriptive work. When the challenge went from 'short story' to an actual novel, that's when the reality hit and the hard work began.

It was Mark Twain who famously said: "Write what you know."

So I took that advice and first began to craft the character based on what I knew. If you think about it, it makes sense. I like a wide variety of fiction authors, but some are just that, authors. They bring no real world experiences to their books, just what they have been told or researched.

You can kill a great story, just by using the wrong terminology. However, you can create an even better story by immersing your reader inside a world that they will never experience, by having them live it through your eyes. Spending twenty years with the NYPD afforded me the opportunity to share with my readers some of what I lived through.

So I first structured the character based on myself and my career, and, once I had that foundation, then I started to add characteristics of people I knew or had worked with. I'd been very fortunate to have had the pleasure of knowing an extremely eclectic group of people during the course of my law enforcement career, from highly decorated military veterans to tough as nails cops.  I drew on some of their tales to craft certain aspects of the character. Even some of the verbal exchanges between Maguire and some of the secondary characters are based directly on my relationship with others. It's a comedic, sometimes dark, gallows humor, type of conversation that you find between people who have shared similar experiences.

I tried to make James Maguire someone who I felt most readers would be drawn to. He is a combination of hero and every-day man. Someone who has spent time in the valley's of life, as well as the mountain tops.

So who is James Maguire ? He's the kid from rural, upstate New York who wanted to excel in the arts and become a professional photographer. Then, in a cruel twist, his life was irrevocably changed in a moment. A romantic dreamer who saw one life crushed and another began. A young man who ended up at a fork in life's road, and who traded in the love of art for the art of war. A decorated military veteran who transitions from one uniform for another, becoming a member of the NYPD.

Perfect Pawn is a 'phoenix rising from the ashes' story, where love and redemption are found, in one of those curve-ball moments that life seems to throw at us, when we least expect it.

A.E. Albert: A Writer's Blog: Author Interview: Andrew Nelsonby A.E. Albert@ae...

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by the amazing A.E. Albert over at her site: A Writer's Blog.

You can check it out here: A.E. Albert: A Writer's Blog: Author Interview: Andrew Nelson
by A.E. Albert
: Author Interview: Andrew Nelson by A.E. Albert @aealbert23 Title: Perfect Pawn Genre: Mystery/Suspense What inspired you...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cover Reveal - Bishop's Gate

Here is the cover artwork for the 3rd installment in the James Maguire series: Bishop's Gate

Check out the not-so-subtle clues for a hint at what will be in the next book.

The e-book version should be available on Kindle next week, while the print version should be out by the end of the month.

If you haven't read the first two books: Perfect Pawn & Queen's Gambit, you'd better get caught up before this ride begins.

Thanks again for your interest, and please remember to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information.

Update on the new James Maguire novel: Bishop's Gate

First, I would like to say that this evening I will be doing the cover reveal for the new book, Bishop’s Gate, which is scheduled for release next week. I hope that you will check back and let me know what you think.

If you are a first time visitor here, you can stay connected through this website, or via Facebook and Twitter.  

As I close the book, literally, on the new James Maguire novel, I am left with a feeling of sadness. It is hard to explain, but it’s like being on a wonderful vacation with friends and then having to say good-bye. I know that I will see them again, but that doesn’t do much for the moment.

However, as I did my proof read, I was struck by something that was kind of shocking to me and I wanted to share that with you. As you read this book, I want you to understand that the premise behind the story was drafted last February. That is going to be significant as you read the story. It hit me that I am either extremely prescient or we live in a world that is stuck on stupid, inclined to keep repeating mistakes. Whether it is the threat of global terrorism, political scandal, or race / class warfare, we never seem learn.

It is amazing to me how a story, which I dreamt up in my mind over a year ago, would be so timely. Hopefully, when I sit down to do the draft for the next one, I can again channel that insight.

For now, it is time for me to move on to the next story, which will be a sequel to the Alex Taylor novel, Small Town Secrets. I have the luxury of having most of that one done, and I am hoping for a shorter release time, toward the end of Spring.

Till then, I hope that you continue to enjoy my stories, and I welcome your feedback.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Update (Winter 2015)

Well, I am sure that a great many of you have imagined that I fell off the face of the earth. Actually, that probably would have been a bit more relaxing. Truth is, it has been nothing short of chaotic around here.

What was supposed to be a Fall launch for the next book in the Maguire series unfortunately got pushed off, due to a variety of different factors. First, one of our son's was diagnosed with MS back in September, which kind of put us in a take-spin. It's not the type of news you'd expect, but you just have to learn to deal with it and move along.

Next we undertook a re-publishing effort for our dear friend, Larry Wilson. Larry is a paranormal investigator who is currently writing his third book on the subject. Over the course of the last few months we re-edited and updated his two prior books: Chasing Shadows and Echoes from the Grave. If you are interested in the paranormal or just like to be scared, you'll find both books quite interesting. For his part, Larry has continually asked me to accompany him on one of his investigations, but, as I informed him, "if I can't shoot it, I don't want any part of it."

It's bad enough that he has forever scarred me and ruined any chance of me ever traveling within a hundred miles of Villisca, Iowa or Atchison, Kansas. Heck, I'm considering a full-on embargo of those two states, as should HE !!! Larry will understand !!!

Although, he did mention a haunting at an old Irish pub..................

That being said, I do have some exciting news to share. While our lives have certainly been a bit busy, and I have been a bit re-miss about engaging in my social media responsibilities, that doesn't mean that my writing has taken a break. No, far from it. I am happy to say that the 3rd Maguire book, Bishop's Gate, will most likely be released on Kindle next week and in print by the end of the month. While it has been a long time coming, I believe that you will enjoy the book and see that it has certainly been worth the wait.

In addition, I am nearly done on the 2nd Alex Taylor book. For those of you not familiar with this character, I suggest you run over and check out Small Town Secrets.

Stay tuned, because in just a little while, I will be doing a cover reveal for Bishop's Gate.

Happy Reading, Folks !!

Remember to follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson