The Thrill-ogy Of It All!

Untitled.jpgGood things come in threes: Three Dog Night, the Musketeers and Coins in Fountains. Three legs, as on a tripod, always find an even plane. So like coffee beans in the after dinner aperitif Sambuca, you always want three. Therefore, after I wrote my first book, The Eighth Day, of course the last thing I ever thought of was three.

Then The Hammer of God hit me – hard. The stars my second book created swirling around my head formed more than just one book’s worth of storyline. So I decided that two books were needed to flesh out the arc of the characters and the fulfillment of their goals.

If you are following along with your calculators or spreadsheets, then =Sum(1+2) yields 3. And thus my “Thrill-ogy” was born. “Three” + “Thriller” compacted neatly into a freshly minted term: thrillogy.

The third leg of my story tripod lands on solid ground June 17th with the publishing of The God Particle by The Story Plant. It encapsulates the maturity and development in my character’s lives plus the evolving threat matrix that continues to drum up scarier and scarier techno-nightmares.

From an author’s perspective, but not maybe a marketer’s, being able to move the lens around to investigate other characters and let them take it for a while is very attractive. The marketer would have it always be the same as my first. “Don’t change a winning formula” would be their advice.  Well, I “dood” it anyway.

In The God Particle, Brooke Burrell, my female FBI agent who had significant supporting roles in both previous books, takes the brunt of the action as she faces death and, worse, the question of what to do with the rest of her life, While the world hangs in the balance.

These were fun to write, and I hope my readers have fun reading all three. So don’t believe that old saw about, three’s a crowd; cram your bookshelf or Nook with my thrillogy and have three times the fun. Sorry, that got a little slogan-y.

Well, it’s off to an Italian dinner and dessert. I think tonight, instead of a Tartufo, I’ll have a Tar-three-fo.


AutoSynopsis Deficiency Syndrome

Open book with charactersI create, write, pitch, produce and direct ads for a living. It pays for my writing. Everyday, my whole universe is usually 75 words or 30 seconds. Someone spends millions on a company, idea, product or service, and turns to me to sell it in 75 words or less. So when I am asked to do a two page synopsis of my 106,000 word thriller, The God Particle, you would think, “Easy. Do it all day long. A snap!”

Well, three attempts later, and what I have created is a shorter book, 70 pages. Next it was a 10-page rambling, confusing essay on something based on my book and finally…a two-page ‘treatment’ that, unfortunately, reads like it was written on a roller coaster with a fountain pen.

So I got nothing. The ability to encapsulate the work of others is my bread and butter, but the ability to do my own is a crap sandwich.  I do not have the ability to perform autosynopsis. I am too close to the work. I know and birthed every one of the 106 thousand words. I know how interconnected and woven into the fabric of the story they are. As I try to summarize one thread, it leads to another, which, at this point in the garment I have sewn, is equally important. So off I go, pulling on that thread. Do that 10 or 20 times and you get to a short, crisp 70 pages without even approaching the climax.

But wait, a synopsis is not a legal contract, nor is it regulated by any federal law. And really isn’t the job of a short version of your book to sell the mother lode? So why not be more dramatic? Leave out the connectors; hit the big points, the flashy and the showy. Wow, I got it. The Synopsis isn’t the book, it’s a road map of the book. Great, with that kind of thinking…wait, that went nowhere. (50 pages of maps)

Okay, I got it, what does it matter? I mean, lets say I write the following synopsis.

Boy meets girl they have sex, more sex, good sex, then bad sex, somebody gets killed, the other wrongly accused, then the dead one reappears, they have sex again, get married, live happily ever after (or words to that effect).

The agent, publisher or reviewer reads it and the document does its job, and gets them to read the book. Which of course is nothing like the synopsis, except what I just outlined is the plot of a book one of the characters is reading in my book. But they like the whole book.  Who’s going to bitch? Which publishing professional is going to say, “Hey, you know, you turned the tables on us, like we do with practically every cover where we put a sexy girl, a gun or the American flag, to lure the reader, but once they buy the book, we’ve succeeded, nice job doing that to us. “

Eventually I solved the problem of not having been born with the synapses in my brain to perform autosynopsis. I hired a pro to do it.

Tom Avitabile, AutoSynopsis Deficiency Syndrome

Tom Avitabile

The God Particle Versus The Pope

god_particle, higgs boson, big bang, science, cern, lhc,

Have you read the papers, heard the news, know what is happening?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, then you’ll know why I feel like I just missed The last copter out of Hanoi, The last train from Gunhill, The last song I’ll ever write for you, The last chance to save and save like never before!

Both Science and Religion had BIG NEWS this week. The God Particle was found within hours of a new Pope being found. Here are two news stories, one each from traditionally opposing forces existing in the same moment of time. Science had maybe a tad more edge on the angle because, although the new Pope is a huge story, and an issue that has impact on 1 billion or so Catholics around the world, the Church has had 226 Popes throughout history. But there is only once, so far this mankind, that Science has found the God Particle.


Now many people find God, but not so much with the science crowd. So their acknowledgement (at least casually) of anything ‘God’ connected to science is, in and of itself, a first.  And… we are not just talking of some token attribution; we are talking the center of science here, the key to everything, the point of origin for all existence, the glue that holds all of creation together. Imagine that which is no longer an elusive bit of theory, but the first, smallest piece of reality, has been hailed as a Particle of God.

Well, actually, any real physicist will deny they found the God Particle, they will however, cop to the more secular moniker, “Higgs-Boson.” But nobody swears to Higgs-Boson, prays to Higgs-Boson in foxholes or screams that name during sex, so…

If you are still reading this, and not bored out of your skull, let me tell you what was NOT discovered this week.

The God Particle.  No that’s not a typo I am referring to my book, entitled, The God Particle. It has science and religion going at it pretty good. It has Popes vs. Scientists vs. Politicians, all swinging for the seats. It has drama treachery, love, geeks and kidnapping and murder.  (hmmm a ‘Geek Tragedy’??? Better save that one.)

It also has missed the bus, missed the perfect storm of events, the once in a lifetime (of a universe) convergence of a new Pope and the discovery of the ‘Particle’ his boss created 6-billion years ago in the first instance of existence.

How great would it have been if somewhere in New Hollywood York City, some gruff, fire and brimstone emitting head of a house, a salt and peppered icon in Publishing, Movies or Television, were to do a spit take of his Soy Mocha latte Machiato, with a shot of wheat grass, all over the New York Times piece reporting on the discovery of the God Particle. Yelling clear down the hallway, reverberating off every cubicle wall plastered with pictures of kids and company softball picnics,

“Somebody get me that manuscript that was here the other day, the God thing!  The God Principle??? The God Particible??? Damn, just somebody get me that, right now!  Found out who wrote it and get him in here 5 minutes ago.”

Of course, if Justin Bieber, or Lindsay Lohan had found the God Particle, the story would live for 100 news-cycles. But alas, since the Eureka moment of all time (literally of all – Time) was brought to us by Technosapiens, not Thespians, it will quickly recede, like the background radiation noise of the Big Bang, to somewhere far out beyond the galaxy of news.  In two weeks, the TMG list of things people really care about will have the item ‘God something or other’ down around 126,234th on their list. And my book, The God Particle, will not be the beneficiary of any lift from the news.

Unless of course they find a way to make the God Particle enhance your sex life, make you feel younger, re-grow hair and make aches and pains, and that annoying belly fat, disappear. Then maybe I’ll get another shot.

The MUSE is on the loose- II

Earlier in this blog, I wrote of M.U.S.E. or Metaphysical Universal Story Enlightenment.  Recently the spooky apparition appeared again, while I was doing final research in preparation for the publishing of my third book, The God Particle.  I was (leisurely) looking through a jaunty romp of a dissertation on sonar dynamics as it relates to thermo layers and cavitation anomalies of audio wave propagation in salt water.  Well as you know, when you are that deep into a subject you stumble on other things.

In my research of (here’s another ‘couldn’t put it down read’!) Deep Water Submarine Tactics of the Cold War 1962-1970, I stumbled across a mild reference to the undersea tapping of Soviet military phone lines (see the original M.U.S.E. blog for the amazing story of how I conjured up the name U.S.S. Halibut) but what I didn’t know then, when I wrote that blog, was that there was another Metaphysical shoe about to drop.

When I was writing the sub-plot of the nuclear missile submarine which introduces my main character, Brooke Burrell’s love interest, Captain Mush Morton.  I had already used the Halibut phone tap in the story, but now I needed a super-spook, retired. An individual who was a master spy and designer of some of the biggest and most effective spy missions ever, (like the tap) to tie that plot to Bill Hiccock at the White House.

Reaching into my character name bag, I played with a few names for this super spook. I played with, Marshall (too obvious), Mack (no, I already had a Mack in The Eighth Day). Then I randomly heard on the radio in the background someone mention an old radio personality, Gene Klaven.  I liked Klaven, so bang, my super spook retired, was now Russ Klaven (friends call him Clay) but that was months ago, last week in military history files I found this…
Later, in a brainstorm, Commander John Craven dreamed up the idea of tapping a Russian undersea telephone cable under the Sea of Okhotsk…   The sub, Halibut, was refitted for the mission and a “tap” was designed for the effort.

Okay, Craven – Klaven.  Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Close enough to make the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up and take notice.

Yes the Muse is on the loose again, and I take it as a sign that I am doing something that resonates with the universal intellect.

You may now readjust your writing shockra.

The Jersey Shore and a Million Dollar Pair of Nikes

This Labor Day weekend, spontaneity ruled the day.  Without planning or intending to, I found myself on the Jersey Shore close to New York City on a peninsula called Sandy Hook.  I write a lot about America and defending her.  Admittedly, I look for the more non-traditional methods to fuel my novels.  On this beautiful late summer day, I suddenly found myself looking at two Nike Missiles.  Surface to air, interceptor missiles that fortunately only played an active role in the black and white science fiction movies of the 50’s, as the best defense we had, being vaporized by the flying saucer’s death ray.  (See Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and the like)

As the day unfolded, I was surrounded in cold-war iconology.  To say I was astonished is to minimize the impact this discovery had on me. I never knew that 17 miles away from Midtown Manhattan, was a nuclear missile base. Part of a defensive shield, a blanket of comfort for the Dashing Dan’s of the 60’s (See Madmen) who just wanted to win the American Rat Race and make a better life for their kids.  I was one of those kids, ducking and covering under my school desk, trusting the old guys on TV in Washington D.C. to protect me from the ‘Sireen.’  The siren in my neighborhood was atop P.S. 76 and in that school we practiced air raid drills weekly. The nightmare we lived under was, if it started wailing, we would be bombed into ashes, leaving nothing but shadows on walls and sidewalks. (See Hiroshima) Everyone, flash immolated, except, for some reason, those of us that were hiding under our desks facing away from the glass windows.

The Nike’s are rotting away now, you can see huge chunks of metal eaten away in the launch rails.  Some might take comfort in this; that this missile shield was now a relic, a remnant of a mentally tortured childhood and, to some, a comfort that those days are behind us.

Bullsh*t!  The Nike’s and everything else in the DEW line, defense early warning system, didn’t go away because the threat went away. The new technology of extreme mass destruction, just made them obsolete, the nightmare is still in play.

Today, there are less warheads, not because we did something good, but because the new warheads are 1,000 times more accurate. So they need less weapons to do the exact same job. The numbers are smaller but the mega-tonnage yields are 10,000 times higher.

We have improved our technology to the point where there is no defense. No longer are missiles, like the Nike, needed to shoot down Russian or Chinese long-range strategic bombers because those bombers are obsolete. Multiple re-entry warhead tipped, Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles and similar sea launched rockets are more efficient. Satellite eyes and the men and women in our Silos and Nuclear Subs (Boomers) are the only calculus a would-be attacker has to roll the dice against.

In part of my third book, The God Particle, we go inside the nuclear submarine SSBN-739, the U.S.S. Nebraska, America’s current random chit in the highest stakes game of total nuclear destruction that we still play today – albeit without the air raid drills and nightmares, but even more deadly nonetheless.

Today the Dashing Dan’s clutching their Fedora hat’s have been transformed to telecommuters, the dutiful secretary is now the virtual assistant, the duck and cover drills have gone the way of dodge ball and the Nike’s are rusting in National Parks, but the Madmen still have their fingers on their button, so our nation must remain vigilant.

Scientists find God on Mars… Sort of

Like at least 204,329 Earthlings “Early in the morning of Monday Aug 6th, I watched the feed from NASA and rode the 2.5 billion dollar roller coaster ride down to the dusty red planet with it’s “7 minutes of terror” drop.  What a ride!  500,000 lines of computer code had to be flawless, least a single semicolon, out of place, relegate Curiosity to a smoking hulk of debris marring Mars.  At 350,000,000 miles (14 light minutes away) it was the greatest robotic/engineering feat in all of human history.

In my upcoming book, The God Particle, I delve into the science/religion divide.  A topic that underlined the Stokes Monkey Trial in the early 20th century, which “evolved” into the movie, Inherit the Wind. There was also vehement religious objection to the first inroads of nuclear energy.  As the third installment of my Bill Hiccock “Thrillogy,” my action-adventure book focuses, in part, on this same divide. It’s alive today as the rift between the “Black-Holers” and the scientists.

That night, the word most spontaneously uttered by the crew at the JPL was “God”. Think about that, in the epicenter of the greatest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math minds the human race has ever assembled, and at the moment of their and our greatest triumph, they collectively and individually acknowledged – God! Be it in unconscious comments or pure out praise, it just slipped out.

The lesson: If the great parishioners of science can see the resonance of the divine in the perfection of their accomplishment, why do we allow petty differences over religion and tradition impede our progress over war, hate, intolerance and evil.

If the smartest folks in creation can recognize the role of the “supreme inertial guidance package” in the red dust, 350,000,000 miles off, shouldn’t it be some what more obvious closer in… like on this planet?