Getting Buzz

I was recently on The Business Buzz with host Jeff Sherman and Marty Keena to discuss aspects of writing a novel including character and plot.

 

Out from behind the curtain

Meet my site administrator Jenny

Much like the wizard stepped out from the curtain in The Wizard of OZ, now it’s my chance to do the “big reveal” here at “It’s Only Fiction ‘til it Happens.” 

Why you ask?  Well, it’s to give you easier access to discover what Tom’s doing and how to you can be apart of it.  

Don’t Fall Behind

The blog is the place to dig deep into the “Wild” Bill Hiccock thrillogy and the politically faced-paced, techno charged world Tom created. Access trailers of The Eighth Day and The Hammer of God or head on over to the store and purchase the books at Amazon, B&N, or iTunes.  

But it’s 2014, and everyone wants more, more, and (let’s face it) a little bit more. “Like”-ing Tom’s Facebook Page gets you unlimited access and “cool” freebies.  You can sign up for his newsletter, learn about giveaways, and get a preview of The Eighth Day, that’s the first 10 chapter for you–FREE. Got questions, want to know what Tom’s doing next, or just want to say hello–follow Tom’s Twitter or tweet @tomavitabile.  

But his social circle doesn’t stop there (he is the modern Renaissance Man after all). Venture to The Story Plant where Tom can often be found guest blogging.

The Secrets Out 

For the “newbies” out there looking for a new emerging author, check out these reviews at Goodreads and Amazon.  

‘The Hammer Of God’ is a rip-roaring thriller that I simply couldn’t put down. A mixture of plausible and implausible elements results in a gripping thriller that doesn’t let up until the final page .

-Wayne McCoy (Goodreads)

Tom Avitabile is a new author who I recently discovered. I read his first novel and thought it was a very good debut novel. I just finished The Hammer of God and could not believe what a great writer Mr. Avitabile is becoming. This book grabbed me from page one and just got better as it progressed. The author is apparently privy to all sorts of insider information about the intelligence community and high tech. I highly recommend this book to all thriller fans.”

-Fair Reviews (Amazon)

If you haven’t been following the blog closely, the highly anticipated conclusion to his “thrillogy’, The God Particle, is coming July 17th.  Check out the mini trailer below.  You can also expect more from Tom in the fall when The Devil’s Quota storms in.

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.

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!

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.