Sightseeing in Manhattan: Modern Thrillers

021Any fan of science/action thrillers has surely read CONTEST (by Matthew Reilly) and RELIC (by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child). Both of these stories largely take place in Manhattan: CONTEST at the Public Library and RELIC at the Museum of Natural History. I loved both of these novels, and in no small way these plots and writing styles have influenced my writing (also science/action thrillers). So, on a recent trip to NYC, I spent a day visiting these buildings, making a tangible connection to the stories that these monuments are the locus of.

The Public Library (above) is an imposing stone building situated adjacent to Bryant Park. Both facts are consistent with the plot of CONTEST. For some reason, Reilly incorporated an attached parking structure into the story, and there is no such thing in reality. Another disappointing discrepancy is that the gazebo, which figures prominently in the climax of CONTEST, is absent from Bryant Park. A pity. However, the interior of the Library is massive and covers multiple floors, and there is a basement with row upon row of stacks housing innumerable volumes (important to the plot). Unfortunately, the basement is not open to the public. I found it easy to imagine running for my life down the wide hallways and getting turned around the many meeting and reading rooms. The grand scale of the building is every bit in line with Reilly’s description.027

I had just finished reading RELIC for the third time the day before visiting the Museum of Natural History (yes, the very same as featured in the “Night at the Museum” movies). The museum is across the street from Central Park—an important fact to the sequel, RELIQUARY—and close to the Hudson River. However, I found it impossible, on the hot June day of my visit, to imagine even a torrential rain causing extensive flooding of this huge stone structure as described in the novel. From the exterior, the building is imposing and covers a city block. Inside, there are multiple floors of exhibits that seem to go on endlessly. Unlike the novel, I did not find a large central room just off the main entrance where the opening gala was held the night the beast went on its rampage. And there was no Hall of Primates, although I can forgive that as exhibits are most likely changed over time. The basement was off limits, and that’s a shame since it is in the lowest levels of the building that much of the mayhem occurs in RELIC.

Although Preston and Child set the story at the New York Museum of Natural History, for some odd reason the movie (also bearing the title “Relic”) was set in Chicago. Another problem I have with the movie is that the Pendergast character, who is featured in several subsequent novels, is completely absent. Unfortunate, since he adds so much to the story—he strikes me as a delightfully entertaining individual that I’d love to meet and converse with at a cocktail party. Although the movie was successful, if you have seen the film but not read the book, I’d encourage you to download it onto your e-reader http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-movies-film-cinema-movie-theater-image27668457or find a used paperback version—you’ll find it more entertaining than the movie.

Speaking of books to movies, if you’d like to be part of the team that brings CROSSING SAVAGE one step closer to film, please make a donation to the crowdfunding site.

My goal is to raise enough money to hire a talented screenwriter to convert this award-winning and best-selling science/action thriller into a screenplay. With screenplay in hand, the marketing effort can be launched in earnest. I need a lot of help with this, and I hope you’ll consider a contribution of any amount (there are some cool rewards too!). Thank you and cheers!

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Commander Nicolaou and team test new ordinance for DARPA

sniperThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) frequently works with Commander Nicolaou and the men and women of SGIT to test new hardware. Recently released unclassified video shows the results of experiments with a steerable .50 cal bullet (code named EXACTO), designed to increase the probability of a first-shot hit.

Since the SGIT operators all carry security clearances and are expert bullet in flightwith a wide range of weapons, including the Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle and extremely long-range precision shooting, this elite group was selected by the DARPA project manager to carry out the field exercise (video). Based on the video, the steerable bullet appears to be a success. You can expect special forces such as SGIT to be the first to use this new projectile in future missions.

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Never forget–always honor

fallen soldiers 1It’s Memorial Day weekend, beginning of summer and barbeque season. If you live in my neck of the woods, it means a better-than-even chance of rain. Despite the picnic-like atmosphere of this festive holiday weekend, we should not lose sight of the meaning of Memorial Day.

I come from a family of veterans who have served our country Fallen soldiers 4proudly. My grandfather was a Naval Captain during WWII; my father an Army medic at the Battle of the Bulge; my oldest brother served in the Navy and was deployed to Vietnam at the height of hostilities; my nephew, an Army sergeant, has completed four combat tours, two in Afghanistan and two in Iraq; and my aunt was an Army WAC in WWII.

Fallen soldiers 3My family members made it home; but there are far too many others who didn’t. We are continually reminded that we live in a time of global unrest as our young men and women fight in faraway lands. Their blood has spilled freely on parched dirt while tears of loved ones flow unchecked at home.

So, with a lump in my throat, I have found myself listening to many musicians who have paid tribute to our fallen veterans through song. Below is my play list; my top five picks for the most moving tributes on this Memorial Day. Just be sure to have a box of tissues within reach as your watch and listen to these music videos.

I Drive Your Truck; Lee BriceFallen soldiers 5

Just a Dream; Carrie Underwood

If You’re Reading This; Tim McGraw

For You; Keith Urban

Some Gave All; Billy Ray Cyrus

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Praise for Relentless Savage

Lisa Weidknecht, blogger at Planet Weidknecht, posted a wonderful DNAreview of Relentless Savage, suggesting it “could easily be turned into a blockbuster movie.” Truth is, when I am writing I see the scenes in my mind, looking at the interplay of characters and events from many different angles. My thinking definitely is based in images; visual thinking.

Col Ming 1Readers have made similar suggestions about Crossing Savage as well. So, I have started to research hiring a screenwriter to write the screenplay for Crossing Savage. This is not a project I would tackle personally as I have no experience in writing screenplays. Hiring a writer is not cheap, but the solution may be in crowdfunding. I’m research the process now, and will have more on this shortly.

However, if you are a fan of Peter Savage novels, I’d love to hear your thoughts on who would be a good choice to play Peter Savage in the movie. I have several ideas, but would like to hear your suggestions. Same for Commander James Nicolaou–due to his Greek heritage, I’m stumped on who would fit the description.

I’m waiting to hear from you…  Cheers!

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Giveaway 2 copies of Relentless Savage

DNAHead on over to Sweeps 4 Bloggers where you can read their review of Relentless Savage and enter to win one of two copies. The contest closes on May 2.

The reviewer, Valerie Mitchell, writes “The first book, Crossing Savage, had a story that centered on energy independence. In the second book [Relentless Savage] the theme is biological terrorism. The books feel very real – as if things could almost happen exactly this way.”

Well, the only thing stranger than fiction is reality.

In Relentless Savage, the plot addresses genetic engineering of DNA researcher 1human DNA by a brilliant Chinese scientist named Colonel Ming. Yes, he’s also a lunatic. Today you may have heard the news reports of DNA research conducted by Chinese scientists at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Their controversial research, published in the online journal Protein & Cell, involved modifying the DNA of human embryos. Although the stated goal was the elimination of a rare blood disorder, there is no limit to where this knowledge might lead.

Yes, Colonel Ming would be delighted.

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Manuscript for Book #3… an update.

Bone low-levelI must say, the past several weeks have been extremely busy. Relentless Savage has been fully released in digital and print formats. So far it is generating a lot of buzz, and iBooks even declared it a “best new mystery and thriller”! Remember, if you’d like to purchase a signed copy of Relentless Savage or Crossing Savage, just contact me through this web site (click on the Contact tab at the top of the page).

A few weeks ago I completed the first draft of Peter Savage Book #3. KGB HQ MinskAlthough I do have a working title, I’m reluctant to share that just yet. After some discussion with my editor and the production staff at Light Messages, and we’ve agreed on the title, I’ll let you know. But until then, I’ll just refer to it as Book #3.

Most authors will claim that they hate their first drafts. Maybe this is overly dramatic, maybe not. Generally, I feel disappointed as I am constructing the first draft as it never feels to me (while writing) that the draft manuscript will live up to reader’s expectations. Perhaps this is because the process of writing the first draft spans many months. In truth, I put at least a year into research, concept invention and refinement, and finally writing, before I have a draft. And yes, the first draft is rough.

It doesn’t really take shape, in my opinion, until the second pass. I’ll wait a few weeks after completing the draft before re-reading and Russian mobile missile launchercrafting the coarse, unrefined collection of pages into a manuscript that I fell good about. Imagine painting a large scene, and working very close to the canvass, seeing the minute detail of each brush stroke, yet not appreciating how those streaks of color and texture fit into the overall painting until you step back. That is how it is for me as I write these stories. Not until I read the first draft can I fully feel how the various pieces fit together. Consequently, this is a very exciting–perhaps the most enjoyable–time in the journey of writing a novel.

Without giving away too much about the plot of Book #3, I thought it Minsk Independence Squarewould be fun to share a few clues about where the story unfolds, and key plot elements. Each of the images attached to this blog relate directly to major aspects of the plot. Share with me your guesses–feel free to ask questions. I promise I’ll answer truthfully, but perhaps vague and obtuse depending on the question (LOL).

The manuscript will be off to my editor before the end of April (I have to have deadlines, otherwise stuff just doesn’t get done). Light Messages is aiming for a late November release. There’s a lot to do between now and then, but I’m optimistic we can meet the schedule. More to come. Cheers!

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Relentless Savage and Crossing Savage both available @iBooks

oil-well-art-d0e8499fbec07478The past month saw Crossing Savage a Nook Daily Find, a Barnes & Noble best-seller, and an INscribe Digital best seller. Thanks to all the fans of Peter Savage and friends, we appreciate your continued support.

Relentless Savage has successfully launched, first in e-book formats and now in paperback format for those readers who, like me, have a fondness for bound paper books. iBooks has selected Relentless Savage for best new Mystery & Thriller… this is very exciting! I had to attache a screen shot from the iTunes store, and there on the right you’ll see Relentless Savage. Only in my wildest dreams would I have imagined one of my action-thrillers listed right there with Clive Cussler, Steve Berry, Harlan Coben, James Paterson, and others… but there it is. All I can say is thank you.iBooks best pick

Okay, now for news of a different type. I’ve completed the first draft of Peter Savage #3 and am working over the manuscript now. Shortly it will be sent to my editor. If you had a chance to see my conversation with Kerri Stewart (host of My Window), you already know that book #3 is set in Eastern Europe (if you missed it, here is the link). This was fun to write, and I drew heavily from conversations with a colleague who is from Belarus (he went to college in Minsk). There is new science and engineering, and some new characters… more about that in the months leading up to the release. Gary Porter will be back, so if you are a fan of the sharp-witted computer security specialist and part-time hacker, you’ll be in for a treat.

There will be a book #4. I am already turning over plot ideas and will start outlining and then drafting soon.

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Dave Edlund discusses recent thriller Relentless Savage

Recently I had the pleasure of discussing the sequel to Crossing Savage with host of My Window, Kerri Stewart. It’s always enjoyable to talk about what motivations push my writing in one direction or another, as well as what is coming next. If you are curious, Russian AA batteryplease watch this short video (it’s only a few minutes).

The rough draft of the third Peter Savage novel is completed and it will go my editor soon. This installment in the Peter Savage series was fun to write, and is based on factual science and geopolitics, as is my style. Stay tuned for more!

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Awards for Crossing Savage

BFA-LogoThe last week has been filled with wonderful news. Crossing Savage is a finalist in the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Popular Fiction, plus it is a finalist in the INDIEFAB 2014 Best Book (thriller/suspense), sponsored by Foreward Review Magazine! To say I am excited is an understatement, and I am deeply appreciative to all those at Light Messages Publishing who helped bring Crossing Savage to life, and thanks to all of you, the readers and fans of Peter Savage.indiefab-logo-name

If you are a reader of Nook books, mark your calendar. On March 22 Crossing Savage is the Daily Find and all day it will be priced at $1.99, so don’t miss out!

Also, two copies of Relentless Savage will be given away by Goodreads on March 31. Follow this link to enter on Goodreads, and good luck!

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Book of the Year Finalist!

Crossing Savage cover angle viewIt’s been just about a year since Crossing Savage was released, and within a few weeks the second book in the Peter Savage series, Relentless Savage, will also be publicly available. So it seems like a good time—as good as any—to pause from the high-pace pre-launch activities, and reflect on the accomplishments of past 12 months.

In October, Crossing Savage rose to the ranks of best-seller for a thriller novel on Amazon. That was a very exciting month to say the least as the title steadily climbed, first breaking into the top 50, then the top 20, and finally into the top 10 (peaking at number 7)… WOW! And it is all the more significant to me because it means readers were buying the book. Personally, I can assure you that the feeling of satisfaction I get when readers enjoy Crossing Savage is genuine and extremely rewarding.

Just prior to Christmas I did a couple of benefit book signings to support the Central Oregon Youth Orchestra, and that venue offered a lot of opportunity to talk to readers. It was great! Plus we raised a significant amount of money to support this group of young musicians.

With the elation and smiles fading as the year drew to an end, it was time to focus on completing Relentless Savage. Fortunately I have a wonderfully talented team at Light Messages Publishing to help—and help they did. The front and back cover design is second to none, and the same for the interior layout and editing. With so much energy being put into the forthcoming release, I had more or less forgotten about Crossing Savage until a phone call yesterday from my publisher…

I’ll digress for a moment to share a widely known secret—authors tend to be insecure. Thus, my anxiety level shoots up several ticks when my publisher calls and leaves a message that goes something like “I have some news but feel it’s best to tell you directly.”

It turns out the news was good, Crossing Savage is a finalist in the 2014 INDIEFAB Best Book of the Year contest sponsored by Foreword Reviews. Oh my, I don’t believe my heels touched the ground for 10 minutes, maybe longer. I’m still a churning caldron of emotions, but to say I feel honored is a gross understatement.

Whether or not Crossing Savage wins Best Book of the Year award, I am thrilled that it is a finalist. And I have so many to thank because crafting a novel is not a single-person exercise. The folks at Light Messages have been fantastic, and there have been so many who have helped with marketing and publicizing the book. But mostly I continue to thank the readers who have given me support and encouragement—this is for you.

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