It’s Only Fiction til it Mappens!!!

Avitabile, It's Only Fiction til it MappensI am blessed to have a first class mastermind group which guides me in my writing. Experts from many fields who help me stay within the lines as I color the with science in my books. The early warning tip I received on a government initiative to map the human brain, which follows the plot of my first book, The Eighth Day, was something I didn’t report because it was told to me in confidence from someone inside. I only released it when a small announcement was made in NY Times on Feb 17 2013. Today, the President is announcing the multi-million dollar program at the White House. So I thought I could re-map the original blog below, because as you have seen, It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens.
From the book, The Eighth Day:

Doctor Janice Tyler-Hiccock to the President of the United States, James Mitchell:

“No, Sir, but I am talking about the total remapping of the human brain to a level and specificity that, yesterday, I would have told you was two to three centuries away. … The creator of this program has the ultimate blueprint and can go anywhere and do anything inside the human brain.”

“That’s a frightening prospect, Doctor.”

From the New York Times Feb. 17, 2013, the current President of the United States.

“Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain”

Once again, “It’s only Fiction ‘til it Happens” is confirmed. In my first book, The Eighth Day, the mapping of the human mind presented a very frightening series of consequences.  This recent Presidential initiative, the “Brain Activity Map” project, a national effort, like the Race to the Moon, will only bring more energy to the quest.

Of course, the novelist in me, back when I first ‘made this up’ and now that it’s being seriously considered needs to ask, “What of the unintended consequences?”

In Eighth Day, the first test of the Mapping and subsequent mind control it lead to, was the subliminal slanting of a Presidential Election!  Hmm?   Nah!

Even if the “Brain Activity Map” project is totally benign in its intent, can we be sure the human minds that attain that knowledge will be equally benign? How much data will be shared with other governments and factions around the world who might like a shorter distance between indoctrination and devotion. And don’t get me started with Madison Avenue.

Those who have read Eighth Day might be quick to point out, “Oh Tom, you’re just reaching here. In your book it was a machine. Here, in real life, it’s just a study!” To those who point that out I say, “Yes, you’re right.”

Or… maybe not. Especially when you read later on in the Times Article,

‘The Obama initiative is markedly different from a recently announced European project that will invest 1 billion euros in a Swiss-led effort to build a silicon-based “brain.” The project seeks to construct a supercomputer simulation using the best research about the inner workings of the brain.’

Okay, now, even I’m scared… and I “wrote the book!”

Click here to watch a video or click here to read more about this wonderful new initiative.

The Winners to my T-shirt Giveaway Are….

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Amanda Baros

Jane Sizemore Ritz

 Kaycee Mason

Kelly Brasfield

Arinna Black

Scott Brady

JS Ritz

Shaunda Adams Eppes

Ashley Marie Morrissey

Suzanne Gregg

 Congrats to the giveaway winners. Your prize is on its way.  

Tom Avitabile’s “It’s Only Fiction..’til It Happens” T-shirt Giveaway

Authors and other writers alway seem to hold a definitive key to the future. Remember how Jules Vern wrote about space, air, and underwater travels well before it became possible. Well, Tom Avitabile’s work with the House committee on Science Space and Technology allowed him to see ideas emerge as fact. His “Wild Bill” Hiccock thrillogy will take your breathe away as Bill Hiccock embarks on a gripping fear-filled, all-too-realistic thrill ride where science and homeland security are tested beyond consideration.

From Nov. 19-Dec. 23 you can enter below to win one of ten of Tom Avitabile’s famous slogan T-shirts, “It’s Only Fiction… ’til It Happens.” Win this eye catching T-shirt in midnight black, navy, burgundy, and heather grey! CLICK below to enter.

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My Internal War on Woman… Defending my inner female

In a discussion with a friend, I was relating an aversion I was having about pushing for an answer from a Hollywood Studio that is currently considering my third book, The God Particle, as a potential big budget blockbuster.

Now, truth be told, this whole adventure started much like the nine other phone calls that were going to change my life. In every prior case, I was fearless, I aggressively followed up, I dared to ask uncomfortable questions, to probe the true dynamic in play. With this drummed up courage and “damn the torpedoes” attitude I went full speed ahead, braced and buttressed against the disappointing news that eventually came. But the stinging barbs of “oooo so close” and “We love it but…” bounced off me like bullets off Superman.

But not this time! This time I am filled with apprehension. Dreading the phone, not wanting to tempt fate, or anger the Gods. It is a very uncomfortable place for me to be. But the question is why? Why this time, why this manuscript? (the others were mostly screenplays). At first I thought the answer to be self-evident… Age! As you get older you get… well, soft. You become tired of the bumps and bruises you never noticed before. But that didn’t quite fit. During this same time I have put my butt on the line for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of production and media time, by taking on projects with impossible goals and deadlines. I have relished the challenge. Never shrinking away but embracing the opportunity to perform beyond 100% and prove to myself that I can adapt, innovate and overcome any situation, in life and in business.

So why the timid, little boy, “scaredy-pants” act over this book? Over this tenth “life changing” opportunity? What is different?

Then it hit me. Everything I have done before was in my wheelhouse. Part of my success was always assured by the fact I was only playing on home-fields, at games I had a chance at winning. These were situations where I was in control of all the elements, and confident in the product.

Ahhh but this story is my first, full-fledged jump into the life, psyche and thought patterns of a female! Specifically my FBI agent turned Quarterback Group Operative, Brooke Burrell. At first I thought this was a kind of starter kit into the female mystique, in that I already had a good character base for her developed over two books, where she not only grew into her character, but into her life. And the safety rail for me was, she was in a traditionally male line of work, she had to interface and meld into the workplace mindset. Therefore, if I went too heavy male in her actions or motivations, I felt and hoped the reader would allow it, as her reacting to a male dominated environment. Easy to write a woman in that context! Piece of Cheesecake.

However, then she was always a supporting character. Therefore, I could, by reflection in the other characters, define her. It was my choice to go as deep as I wanted or leave it to the observation of the other characters to fill in the blanks.

Now, Brooke is the main character of my third book with my usual main characters taking a more supportive role. Many times in the story there isn’t anyone around to reflect off of, so I have to go inside her. It’s scary in there! I adhere to the adage, “You are a piece of all the characters you write.” So hello Brooke, welcome to my inner female. Not much organic female development in here within me, so my external observations of females have to be reversed tracked into the woman I am defining, creating motives and histories; impulses and predilections that become the cause that affects her behavior.

When writing about her, I can throw the world at her, and make her deftly respond, win, lose or draw. But going into her being, writing “her,” needs a feminine map with symbols and marks on it that most males are genetically incapable of reading.

So that’s it. That’s the fear. If they decide to make the movie, that would be nice, but if not, nothing changes, no big deal. But the reason for my nail biting apprehension, however, is the fear of them saying, “SHE doesn’t work for us.” Or worse, “you wrote a guy with breasts!”

Well, Brooke is all written now, she’s out there in the big world, I hope I have given her all the attributes of character and flaws of humanity that make her a compelling figure, but like most fathers, I pray that I just made her a good woman.

When you shouldn’t write…

I get a lot of people inside government, the scientific community and law enforcement agencies who “tell” me things off the record. You know, “You didn’t hear this from me but…”

Well, last week I got a tip on something, I’ll call it “Installation X,” a really good piece of reality that would make a beautiful plot point and revelation. For me revelation is as important as a tight story. I use “fiction” in my books to plant a few seeds on things that governments and media soft pedal or aggressively ignore into obliteration.

So I get this information that I could center my entire 4th book on. A juicy, real, almost unbelievable fact that I can fictionalize. Except, last week I got a note that asked I forget what I was told. The reason? Apparently, it’s hotter than even the person who shared it with me thought it was.

Professional dilemma: respect my source or go for it? Well, I decided to not only respect my source but also join into the spirit of our national secrets, which is mainly to keep them secret. So I took a deep breath and moved on. This happened with my first book, when I deduced, based on available technology, a technological process that could protect the President. I “made it up” and wrote it into my story. Then a person who was a protector of POTUS asked me to “not go there.” Fair enough. I broomed it for the sake of Presidential security and my acquaintance, and the folks he works with, lives. Easy decision… then.

Two days ago, I met a guy who tells me almost the whole “Installation X” story! Now this guy is a new source. I could go with his version of the events and situation since he so far has not asked me to forget it. (He may not be as in the loop as my original source.) But that would just be a way around what I said I wouldn’t do to my original source and my own feeling of obligation to the men an women who risk their lives carrying out our nation’s security that has to be done in secret.

So no. I am still not going to go near this thing. I will however scour the Internet, go to the library and see if any of this can be open sourced. Meaning if it’s already out there and thus I won’t be jeopardizing a source or my country. Although I hope it’s not.

Benghazi and Impotence

I received many E-mails the night of September 11th and Wednesday morning, most from fans and readers, but a few from friends as well. They all pretty much echoed the same theme… Did you see where they kidnapped an ambassador, just like in your book?

Even though this blog is called “It’s only fiction ‘til it happens,” I hate when something as God awful as this happens. I have been lucky enough to know a few ambassadors and my thoughts immediately went to them and their families.

When I wrote The Hammer of God, I thought that the taking of ambassador would be the high level type of offense that would serve as a prelude for my President Mitchell to send in Special Forces… Those forces then stumble across a dastardly plot to kill millions of Americans and so my plot had its inciting incident.

The last ambassador to be attacked was back in the late 70’s. In the early hours of the morning of September 12th, the grim reality was very soon revealed when the kidnapping became murder. We found out that our Ambassador was brutalized and killed along with 3 other Americans. I only wish it were fiction.

The threat matrix against which my stories are set is often deemed exaggerated or indeed a work of fiction. Then something as horrible as this happens to real people, real Americans and it makes me feel angry and impotent. The angry part of me wants to fly to Libya find the bastards that did this and deliver swift justice. Then the reality of my civilian impotence sets in and I realize that the closest I’ll get to avenge this act and assuage my anger is this keyboard and the creation of another cautionary tale wrapped up as fiction for people to read and sense the threats – between the lines.

To my friends and readers; although in Hammer, it is the American Ambassador to Egypt that is kidnapped, the reality of this real act of war, which played out in Libya this week, does not follow my storyline.

I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those slaughtered. They were dedicated professionals, who in the end, were representatives of diplomacy. Diplomacy being the last step before hostilities, these radical fools may have just killed, along with the Ambassador and his staff, their best chance, to avoid being ‘terminated with extreme prejudice’, and talk their way out of this. At least I hope that’s the way this story ends.

In The Hammer of God, Bill said to Janice upon learning the news that an ambassador was kidnapped, “…This is just a guess, but I’d say there’s a Delta Force or SEAL strike team warming up the coffee right about now…” I hope that bit of ‘Fiction’, happens.

And the Winner is…

CONGRATULATIONS

Having never won anything in my life, it’s interesting to be on this side. I
am so glad for Rachel Robertson  and I hope the luck continues… So Rachel if I
were you I’d go buy a lottery ticket!