Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brainstorm, by Gordon A. Kessler

NOTE - At the end of the column, find out how you can enter the running to win an eReader!
My guest blogger today is Gordon Kessler,  a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader. As well as Brainstorm, he has Indie published the thrillers Jezebel and Dead Reckoning, as well as a how-to book, Novel Writing Made Simple.  His websites, www.WritersMatrix.com and www.IndieWritersAlliance, are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors. 
Here are what two bestselling authors say about Brainstorm:
“...as exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down...based on an actual black CIA program known as ‘Project Stargate. Kessler...really knows his stuff. An outstanding novel.”— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Codex, Relic and Book of the Dead and many more.
"...a wild ride into the reality of human consciousness...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."— James Rollins, bestselling author of Black Order, Sandstorm and Map of Bones as well as many others.

Gordon Kessler

Thanks for having me on your blog, Alison!
 I love talking about my books—Brainstorm, in particular. I enjoyed writing this one so much that I decided to make it into a series, and I’m busy working on the second “Daniel McMaster” thriller, now. (Note - Brainstorm is also available on Kindle, at this link, for only 99 cents!)
The research for Brainstorm was nearly as much fun as the writing. All my novels involve heavy research in order to not only create a believable world for my reader, but to do the same for me.  For Brainstorm, I delved into CIA black projects from years past, and I was amazed at what I found. Projects like Grill Flame, Stargate, MK Ultra just to name a few. There were telepathy and thought-projection experiments and, of course, remote viewing. Stemoceiver implants, hallucinogenic drug experiments, hypnotism and brainwashing—such fun they had back in the fifties, sixties and seventies (and maybe still are?)! I also dug deep into the cutting-edge technology used in nonlethal weapons and defensive measure of today, many of which are still in concept or experimental: incredible things like invisibility cloaks, acoustic cannons, sticky foam, EMP devices and holographic projectors.

Real life invisibility cloak being tested
CIA dog

In all my thrillers, the main characters must interact with nature, adjust to it and, in some cases, overcome it. There’s always at least one dog (dozens in Jezebel, or rather a horse in Dead Reckoning), a storm, a past that plays a huge role in the plot, at least one US Marine, Native American, Oriental and African American character, and they usually play major roles. But I’m careful to not make these standards in my stories contrived. Oh, and I almost forgot (typical man, right ladies?) there’s always a deep but conflicted romance—a passion that proves strong, perhaps unexpectedly so, in the end.

Also, I draw considerably from my own past.  None of my experiences measure up to the tension and drama of my stories, of course, but I put a lot of myself in the stories.  I’m a former Marine recon scout and paratrooper, I’ve fired all sorts of weapons and I’ve been all over the world—mostly the seedier ports-of-call. I enjoy SCUBA, sailing, snow skiing and marksmanship, so don’t be surprised when I draw on those things for my stories. 
Writing has made me more objective and insightful, especially because of having to write believable antagonists—to make the bad things they do make sense, so that readers can almost understand how the “bad guys” can be so-o-o bad.  Character depth is paramount to a good story. It helps that I’m a people watcher. I observe folks at the mall, on the street, at the local Starbucks. I imagine the thoughts going through their minds, what their families are like, their jobs, their homes, where they’re off to, where they’re coming from.
Writing is the most pleasurable thing I do.  It’s an escape for me.  I’ve seen the ugliness in the real world, and I don’t like it—I hate it.  In my fictitious story worlds, very bad things happen—terrible things—but the bad guy always gets it, one way or another, in the end.  However, there’s always a huge price that’s paid, and a bittersweet, but happy ending…mostly. My personalized license tag says “FICTION”. It’s a statement: my fiction is my reality, because the reality I see around me doesn’t make sense. I’ve used my passion for writing, not only in my stories, but to help develop other writers’ skills, in one way or another.  I’m a founder of the Kansas Writers Association and was their first president. My latest project is the “Indie Writers Alliance,” an alliance of independent authors formed to help put their fiction in good shape, get it published and promote it so that readers can enjoy these talented writers’ stories. You can check it out at www.IndieWritersAlliance.com.  
It’s all about emotions, for me. That’s what entertains. Not the frowns and smiles, but the deep-down emotions that you can feel is there, but hidden between the lines. I hope you take the time to read Brainstorm.  Watch for those little gold nuggets and those insignificant hints that will make sense in the end.  I hope you can feel those emotions I’ve hidden between the lines.
Also, please check out Jezebel and Dead Reckoning—I know you’ll enjoy them.  And while you’re at it, look for my short stories “Jack Knight” (a dramatic romance, set during the Vietnam War era), and a short story you won’t recognize as mine: “Toothpick for Two” a humorous romance, of sorts. They’re all available as eBooks.
Thanks again, and happy reading!
Here's an excerpt  from Brainstorm:
Sunny looked away and wiped the moisture from her cheek. When she turned back with her jaw clenched, her eyes set hard on Jackson. Through the crimson glow inside the armored vehicle, she stared—face stone-like and expressionless—and Jackson did his best to hide his anxiety. She seemed to look through him, gazing at something just out of reach in the past. Her tears were gone, any redness in her eyes imperceptible in the red night lighting. In her face was a grittiness Jackson had seen in only a handful of men, the ones sure to become great soldiers. But the major wanted no part in making the beautiful redhead before him into a Kevlar-tough warrior. He wished he had another choice, but today Sunny could play an important role in bringing in her husband and saving dozens of lives.
People were disappearing. Scientists, surgeons and men and women of special abilities were vanishing from all over the world, particularly from the United States. Jackson hoped that at least one of those presumed abducted, Daniel McMaster, hadn’t become a traitor—that he wouldn’t have to kill his best friend.

One lucky commenter during Gordon's blog tour will win  a choice of a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook! To increase  your chances, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.


Gordon Kessler said...

How about a contest?

The first person who can email me what Robert Weller raises above his head defensively (in the first part of my novel Brainstorm) wins an eBook copy of the novel!

How are you gonna do that without first buying the book, you ask? Simple: you can view the first 20% of the book on Amazon or Smashwords.com for free! Check it out, find the answer and email me (to my email address under "Contact Me" at www.gordonkessler.com) with the answer. Then, don't forget to read the entire book and, if you like it, give me a good review on Amazon, Smashwords.com, iBooks, eBooks, Border and/or Barnes & Noble, etc. You know the drill!

tammy ramey said...

great interview and the excerpt was wonderful. i can't wait to read the book to see what happens next.

Dianne Greenlay said...

Great guest blog! This book sounds awesome. Thanks, Alison for presenting Gordon's novel. I'm heading over to the Kindle store right now. :-) Have fun on your book tour, Gordon!

Na said...

I agree that in writing the words should be meaningful and the story insightful. Whether this is the result of a well-researched book or your own experiences they should mean something to both reader and writer. I find stories that go deeper than surface level, have hidden information and requires a little mental digging fascinating. It's often the type of book, I may not "get" immediately but I am intrigued enough to re-read. I like that you make it a point to include a dog in every story. Aside from being a man's best friend, they are very astute to their surroundings and can be therapeutic and provide comfort, that is when they're not busy tracking down the bad guys.


Gordon Kessler said...

Thanks, ladies!

A question for you—for a series character, is an "available" protagonist attracted to women--perhaps with an ex-wife—somehow more interesting to the female readers, or a married protagonist who has an undying love for his mate?

I know this depends mostly on the story and the character himself, but, let's say generally?

The reason I'm asking is that I'd like to do a sequel and possibly a series with my male lead from my first novel Jezebel. I think it'd be a blast. In the first novel, he's tempted by a younger woman while going through a mid-life crisis. I'm trying to decide whether to make him single and divorced, a widower or a happily married man.

Your thoughts, bloggers?

BTW, Jezebel is available for $.99 in eBook everywhere you'll find Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning.

Na said...

If the story is a romance, hands down it would be an available protagonist who is attracted to women. Then there would be an issue to solve and a relationship to develop. The end result, would be the HEA where he is likely to be happily married to his mate.

Yes, it depends on the story. If the romance is a minor one and more perfuntory I wouldn't mind a married protagonist, after all he has his love life in order and now he can focus on saving the world or whichever problem presents itself. Genrally I would prefer the protagonist to develop his personal relationships as he his solving other problems. It always makes a great balance. With an action-packed story, it can get too intense, whereas while he's working on personal relationships the reader gets the opportunity to see another softer side of him.

Alison DeLuca said...

My internet was down today, so I didn't get to check in all day. And it looks as though I missed a great conversation! Thanks so much for stopping by Gordon; I'll head over to Twitter now and spread the word about the eBook contest.

Gordon Kessler said...

Thanks, Alison! Follow me on Twitter, if you'd like--I'm brand new to it, so I need followers!


Alison DeLuca said...

Heading over to follow you now.

Gary said...


Those CIA types were wild and crazy guys back then, weren't they?

Gordon Kessler said...

Yes, Gary, they were. It's too bad they hurt a lot of people in their research--it wasn't just "staring at goats".

Anonymous said...

Great interview! And I loved the excerpt! I can't wait to read it!


jayjay said...

awesome post! thanks for sharing this!

fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks for all the comments and for coming to check out Gordon's amazing book.

Darryl said...

Hah, I had forgotten about that movie, "Staring at Goats" -- need to add that to my Netflix queue. Cool license plate -- FICTION. Will have to keep an eye out for that next time we're in Colorado. ;-}

Oh, and since still nobody has answered -- it was Robert, with a back brush, in the bathroom!

fb-ad *at* darryl *dot* com

test said...

I'm checking out this book really! thanks for sharing!

wefancybooks AT gmail DOT com

IdentitySeeker said...

Wow! It sounds as if you've lived quite an adventurous life and I'm sure you've seen some pretty nasty things, but it's heartening to know that despite all of that, you are able to write books in which the bad guys gets what he deserves and, by drawing on your experience with weapons, I expect that this would be an informative book as well.


Lovely said...

great post, fun and engaging totally love the excerpt!