Father Manuel “Manny” Dorantes

Wanting to build upon the theme from my last post—Los Angeles—I thought I would share the interesting circumstances of how I met, Father Manny.

No, I’m not going to mention angels or moral dilemmas, but I might bring up divine intervention a time or two.  Divine intervention?  Is there such a thing?  Or is the following story simply a series of unusual happenstance? Continue reading “Father Manuel “Manny” Dorantes”

Several months in the life of a Secret Service Agent— (including a trial, protecting Sarah Palin, and a visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

2008 was a busy year.

It started off with me getting married (New Years Day), and then several months later, being transferred to the U.S. Secret Service flagship officeNYFO (the NYC Field Office). Continue reading “Several months in the life of a Secret Service Agent— (including a trial, protecting Sarah Palin, and a visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)”

A Family Divided

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”  – Saint Pope John Paul II

Pretty accurate quote, huh?  I think so.  Just take a look at current events.  Go turn on your television, or check the latest post to your Facebook or Twitter feeds, or pickup a newspaper—it is all clear as day.  Our families, our nation and quite frankly the world is divided. Continue reading “A Family Divided”

What happens when 20 lbs of C-4 explodes?

Read to the end and you will see…

C-4 is classified as a high-order explosive (HE), that produces an over-pressurization shock wave.  It is similar to TNT, Semtex, nitroglycerin, dynamite, and ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO).

It is very stable and cannot be detonated by a gunshot or by dropping it (unlike the explosive TATP, commonly referred to as the “mother of Satan,” because it is highly susceptible to accidental detonation).  In order to detonate C-4, you need to utilize a detonator or a blasting cap.

Because of its stability and destructive power, Continue reading “What happens when 20 lbs of C-4 explodes?”

Medal of Honor Recipient, Paul Bucha

Paul Bucha

 

Several years ago, I had the honor of meeting Paul Bucha.  At the time, I only knew that he was a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.  We spoke at length about the current state of politics and his vision for the future of our country.  I listened politely, not knowing exactly who he was. When he left, he shook my hand and gave me the challenge coin you see in the picture above.  To say I was stunned would be an understatement.  His heroic story appears below… Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient, Paul Bucha”

Easter

Jerusalem

Easter- the Holiest of days on the Christian calendar.

Back in 2008, I was fortunate enough to travel with then Vice President Dick Cheney to Jerusalem, Israel.  My particular assignment was to guard the main entrance of the King David Hotel, where the Vice President was RON’ing (Secret Service slang for “Remaining Overnight”).  It just so happened that the VP’s visit coincided with Holy Week.  And since I was working the midnight shift, I had a “day off” to sight see. Continue reading “Easter”

Sending out a Query Letter

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So what’s a query letter, you ask?

The short answer:  It’s a sales pitch an aspiring writer makes when they are seeking representation with a literary agent.

The long answer:  It’s the dreaded “one-pager” that each writer must write if they want to see their book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble or any other book store for that matter.  The writer must squeeze a 400+ page manuscript into roughly 500 words, throw-in some “catchy” lines to grab the literary agent’s attention, and finish it off with a short bio.  This one-pager is all a writer has to impress a literary agent,  and without it, the writer has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting their manuscript looked at by one of the Big-5 publishing companies. Continue reading “Sending out a Query Letter”

How many drafts did you write?

In his book, “On Writing,” Stephen King said when he finished writing a story, he would put a physical copy of it in a drawer and forget about it for at least six weeks.  This was so that he would have “fresh eyes,” when editing.

My story, sat on top of my desk for “only” three weeks, her siren call to powerful to resist. So I grabbed my red pen and started re-reading it.  My brother’s assistance was instrumental during the first edit.  Hell, after me, he knew the story better than anyone else.  In fact, he helped out a lot while I was writing, giving me numerous style and plot ideas  (I tell him every day he missed his calling in life —which he promptly reminds me that he’s still young). Continue reading “How many drafts did you write?”

“I want to write a book.”

 

I wonder how many people have said that?  Probably a lot.  But, I wonder how many have actually followed through and did it?

I can remember as a kid wanting to see my name on the front cover of a book and a picture of my ugly mug on the back.

When I was eleven, I sat down at the kitchen table and tried writing my own story, one involving a knight that hunts down and kills dragon (At this age I was heavily influenced by fantasy novels—mostly Dragonlance and Ravenloft). I think I wrote two lines before giving up.  Back then reading the stories was a much more rewarding and satisfying way to spend my time (especially those crafted by Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman or Dan Parkinson) . Continue reading ““I want to write a book.””