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Gypsy Spy: The Cold War Files

In Cold War Europe, a young intelligence operative is making his presence known. Learn his dark secrets and hidden triumphs in this new spy thriller.

Creative Stretching

Writers and artists both do sketches in preparation for the final work. In the writer’s case, they usually take the form of character sketches that begin to flesh out the mind-ghosts trying to turn into story-people. This is exactly how I built the cast of Gypsy Spy. The main players began with thin histories and light descriptions. As ink was added to paper, the lines sharpened and the histories deepened giving flesh, bone, and blood to Carlos, Diego, Drake, and the host of others.

But a glimpse of one particular beauty in my imagination demanded my attention. Bringing Ocha to center stage became a must for Gypsy Spy. She was too strong a character to be denied. I am quite comfortable with sketching out characters with words. My drawing skills leave much to be desired, however.

Creative stretching requires one to push outside one’s artistic comfort zones. Working in different artistic disciplines can bring new energy to a writing project. Below is an example of one such effort. It is my first attempt at a Photoshop sketch effect (thank you Photoshop Training Channel). The stock image is one I chose to represent Ocha in the Prologue Book Trailer. The one below it is what it might have looked like had Carlos paid a Paris street artist to sketch his beloved.

47266002 - image of a beautiful woman on grey

Ocha Sketch

 

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“Stanki nashti chi arakenpe manushen shai.”

Mountains do not meet, but people do.

This proverb is spoken twice in the novel. The saying is hopeful and poignant in its own right. Take heart, we shall meet again.

Covering Tracks

Skills, though hard-won, can still surprise in the full light of day. An idealized scene of father-son bonding time on a lake shore skipping stones seemed a bit schmaltzy for a spy novel. But sooner or later, don’t all fathers and sons enjoy a bit rock throwing together? This vignette comes from Chapter 5 of Gypsy Spy, “Lost in the Storm”. Covering one’s tracks in an urban jungle should be in every operative’s tool bag.

For the next thirty minutes, they rode in silence. The events of the day washed over Carlos’s mind in a whirlwind too fast for comprehension. Why had his father been there? What would they do with him once he was caught? Did Jane really love him as a son? His father made an abrupt turn into a dead end alley and parked the car. He told Carlos to get his duffel bag and step out of the vehicle. Once outside, Shane produced a boxed-end wrench from his pants pocket and removed the license plates from the car.

“Gather some stones, Carlos,” he said over his shoulder while he performed his task. Carlos did as he was told. Shane stood up and stepped away from the car. Once he felt Carlos had plenty of ammunition, he gave his instructions. “I want you to perform the tornado on the car,” he said.

“Why?” the boy asked.

“Do not question, perform,” Shane said sternly.

The tornado was the same as the cyclone with one differentiation. The cyclone was designed as a defensive and retaliatory maneuver. The tornado, on the other hand, was a totally offensive exercise. Carlos concentrated for a moment and then spun into action. The first things to go were the windows. Next, the lights and turn signal lenses shattered into countless shards. Then the side view mirrors were knocked off their moorings. Finally, the body of the car began to show damage. Within a few seconds, the car had the look of long abandonment and subsequent vandalism.

“I present to you two lessons, Carlos. First, remove your trail. Second, take a good look at the car. If you can inflict such damage on metal, then realize what your talent can do to flesh. If your wish is only to stun and not to maim or kill, then guide your missiles with a speed appropriate to your wishes. Understood?”

“Yes, sir,” said Carlos, his eyes viewing the wreckage of the car, his mind seeing the blood on the school ground. “In control lies mastery,” he whispered, remembering the mantra.

“Exactly. Now, let’s go,” Shane said and started walking out of the alley.

“Where to?” his son asked behind him.

“We’ve a train to catch.”

I am well into the research phase of Book II of the Gypsy Spy saga. Serious writing will begin on it as soon as my current project, Wind, Water, and Fire, is published. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying a bit of fun in Photoshop. Stay creative, people!

Gypsy Spy: The Cold War Files is now a Kindle Unlimited title. Click here to check it out!

Tasty treats and fresh baked bread aren’t the only temptations Carlos faces in the bakery.

Training takes flight early in the story. This scene leaps off page 48 of Gypsy Spy: The Cold War Files available on Amazon.

Talking with Authors Interview

I recently had the pleasure of being on Curtis Anderson’s independent press podcast show Talking with Authors. It was great fun and a tremendous pleasure. Curtis is a fantastic host and has the Voice. Give a listen and you will hear what I mean.

Check out Curtis’s other podcasts on his Talking with Authors site.

http://www.talkingwithauthors.com/

Every character is shaped in their own crucible; for Carlos, that was the Warehouse.

A friend informed me that he was somewhere around page 300. Page 301 is one of my favorite chapter closes. This novel scene is for him. Thanks, buddy!

Come to my book signing event at the Book Exchange in Virginia Beach on Saturday, April 8, 2017. I’ll be there from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are located at 2720 N Mall Dr #200, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.

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