Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blurb and Excerpt: Surviving the Trap


Take one week of extreme training: deep space, limited sleep, next to no rations, and flying scenarios over and over again.

Add in two top guns and stir together with a healthy dose of unresolved sexual tension.What do you get?Two pilots pushed to their limits.
Can they find a way to get through a hellish exercise…and possibly into each other’s arms?


Shaking his head again, Max was confused, and completely turned on. He really was standing there with Maggie looking like she wanted to eat him alive. Not asleep and not one of his many dreams about having her naked.

Hell’s bells…this was real.

His muddled mind finally reached the conclusion his body already had. Except he and Maggie didn’t do this. They danced around it. They flirted, they teased…but never acted on the impulses that bounced back and forth between them.

Not that he didn’t want to. He wasn’t the problem. Flaming hoops weren’t an option with Maggie…they were a requirement.

So what the hell was going on?

Grabbing her hands before she could start on her zipper, Max halted her progress even as his brain and body rebelled. “Maggie…what are we doing here?” Stupid question. It was obvious what she was doing, but he kinda needed to know why now?


“Staying awake. Nothing more, nothing less.” She was such a liar but they didn’t have time to get into everything they needed to about relationships right now.

Seeing that he was still hovering with hesitation, she upped the stakes. “Listen to me, Max. I’m tired. Really, really tired and we still have two more days of this bullshit.” Backing up, her hand went the zipper of her flight suit again. “I either need to fight or fuck…that, or fall asleep where I’m standing.” Slowly lowering the zipper, she held his gaze. “Your choice.”

Max blinked in stunned silence. His choice? Flaming hell. Choose the first and they’d both be brought up on charges, and frankly, he didn’t have the strength for brawling. But choose the second and it could be everything he’d ever wanted or it could mean walking straight into a minefield of recriminations once the dust settled and they weren’t more exhausted than sane.

But Max had lived with, lusted after and dammit…loved Maggie almost from the moment he’d met her. He’d just been smart enough to never tell her the last part.

Narrowing his eyes, he decided to play it cool. “I, uh…choose the latter.” Damn the repercussions. They’d deal with the fallout after catching up on their sleep.

Surviving the Trap, $1.99, Red Rose Publishing

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Salutations once again.

After an informative interview with Lieutenant Max Cutter, I had the pleasure of sitting down with his closest rival Lt. Maggie Harper.

What a breath of fresh air. Less diplomatic than Max Cutter -- but just as sincere -- the pilot provided a unique glimpse into what motivates the people who protect our interests. Take a look at what she had to say.

Transcript follows:

JTF: Lieutenant Cutter had high praise for your ability as a pilot and he seems to genuinely like you. Does being at the top of your game ever get in the way of having friendships in the pilot ranks?

MH: Now that's a great question, JT. Honest answer is yeah. Pilots are a competitive bunch and egos sometimes clash in a big way. That's not always fun to deal with.

JTF: You tend to swap the top spot with Lt. Cutter on a frequent basis so I assume you're very competitive with each other. Does that cause tension between you?

MH: Sometimes. Max and I don't hold back. We challenge each other to push ourselves further, fly a little harder, be that much better. That's not a bad thing.

JTF: How so?

MH: When Cutter and I go up against each other, it's game on. I know when he's my opponent he's already thought ahead to exactly what my next move will be. Same goes for me. I anticipate his strategy and adjust accordingly. Sometimes that means Max comes out on top. Other times, I win. But we literally fight it out, in the air.

JTF: Does that combative edge follow you at the end of a run?

MH: Hmm. Sometimes. Sure it does. There are occasions when we go past the limit and piss each other off. We'll snarl and snipe for a bit then go have a beer. It's what we do.

JTF: You frequently use the word 'we'. Do you consider yourself and Lt. Cutter a unit?

MH: A unit? Interesting word choice. No, I don't think so. A unit implies something singular and we're two very different people. But we work well in tandem because we've developed a deep level of trust when we fly together.

JTF: And when you're not flying? It sounds like you get along well with each other.

MH: Absolutely. We're great friends. And that's sometimes rare in our field. It all goes back to that clashing of egos. But I can honestly say there's no one I'd rather have covering my six, in or out of the cockpit, than Lt. Cutter. He's a good man to have around when things go south.

JTF: After speaking with him, I can believe that. Here's hoping you'll both watch out for each other during Hell Week.

MH: I think you can count on that, JT. It ain't gonna be a picnic.

JTF: Best of luck with your qualifying runs. I look forward to seeing you fly.

MH: Thanks. Grab a good seat and hang on…it's more fun that way.

I'm not sure what she means, but I look forward to finding out. Bright and early tomorrow morning.

As always, keep those news feeds set to update for the latest, breaking information.



Oh my.

Let me start by saying I did indeed find a crewman to explain what 'running the circuit of the ship' means. It's nothing more than a workout (a solid one…this ship is huge) by making laps around the outer corridors. And yes, that's exactly where I discovered Lieutenant Max Cutter. His call sign is 'Ripper' and if he didn't get the name from the array of well-defined muscle he has, I'll be shocked speechless.

I happened to catch him, conveniently, at the end of his run and begged for a few moments of his time to answer a few questions. He graciously granted access while he cooled down en route to the showers.

Again, what follows is the complete unvarnished exchange:

SS: So, lieutenant, are you a love 'em and leave 'em or keep one in every port kind of guy?

MC: I'm—wait---what? I thought these were questions about the preparedness training.

SS: They are. Yes. Which type are you?

MC: Uh, neither.

SS: Come on, Lieutenant. It's a simple question.

MC: A simple question would be 'Hot or cold?' or 'Blue or green?'

SS: Okay. Blonde? Brunette? Redhead? Or do you go for something more little more exotic?

MC: Hell, I don't have a preference. And frankly, if I did, I wouldn't share them with you. They call it privacy for a reason.

SS: Privacy. Hmm…what a concept.

MC: Look, I don't have time for this. Quals start in less than 12 hours. Do you have any idea what that involves?

SS: Yeah, yeah. Flight scenarios, strict rationing, alert status 24/7 for a week. We've been hearing about it ad nauseum ever since this exercise was announced. No one cares about that. They want the dirt, the inside scoop on what you guys do on your downtime. I intend to show people that.

MC: Christ lady, you're—what was your name again?

SS: Stella Snupe. I'm very close, personal friends with one of the admirals backing this exercise.

MC: Close…personal...that explains a lot. But it doesn't change the fact that you, Ms. Snupe, are a menace. You've been let loose on a crew that's about to enter hell and you're trying to dig shit up?

Give it 48 hours and you'll get all the crap you want. Huge, steaming piles of it. And trust me, it'll be as ugly as it sounds.

SS: Wow, that's kind of an intense reaction. No need to bite my head off. I'm just doing my job.

MC: Yeah, well, your job sucks. Happy shoveling.

And with that, my friends, the handsome lieutenant walked away. And just when I thought I was at the end of my quest, I received an interesting piece of advice from the ace pilot.

MC: You know, I'd lay odds your close, personal friend, the admiral, never lets you near a space carrier again. I suggest you enjoy it while you can.

So, after a rough start, that was a rather nice way to cap off the interview, no? I didn't quite find the level of detail I was looking for, but all in all I think we've got a better picture of the two top pilots in the fleet.

Lt. Cutter obviously takes all this M-PAT and qualification stuff very seriously. That's probably for the best. Add to it the fact that Lt. Harper doesn't suffer fools gladly and I'd say it's a solid one-two punch when they're in the air.

Something tells me that's a very good thing.

If anyone can survive the rigors of the upcoming week, my money's on them.

All for now—

The Skipper


Salutations once again.

Great news. Managed to land some face time with one of the two top pilots going into Hell Week, Lieutenant Max Cutter. He made several interesting points that I'd like to share with you.

Here's a transcript of our conversation:

JTF: Lieutenant Cutter, the ratio of male to female personnel in the military is close to an even 50 percent. Why then, are there so few woman pilots?

MC: I'm not sure there's all that much of a gap in the pilot ranks, but it is harder for women to qualify for fighter pilot status.

JTF: Why is that? Would the deck be stacked against them?

MC: Depends on how you look at it. Mental and physical limitations affect both sexes. Women have an advantage over men when it comes to multitasking. It's why they tend to excel as transpo pilots and make more efficient and cost effective decisions on their runs.

Physically, it takes a lot of stamina to fly a spacecraft weighing close to two tons. It makes sense that men would have the advantage when pulling out of the turns or flips used to maneuver the fighters. But the physicality can hold men back, too. A guy over 6'2" can't fly combat missions…he's too tall to fit in the cockpit. But that doesn't mean he can't fly other types of crafts.

A pilot has to withstand and hold out against tremendous force while flying at high rates of speed. Women who make the grade as fighter pilots are at the top of their game both mentally and physically.

JTF: Speaking of women who make the grade, Lt. Maggie Harper is one of the few. What are your thoughts about her ability?

MC: Lt. Harper is, without a doubt, one of the best there is. She's a straight up, natural born pilot.

JTF: So, she's not only qualified, she excels at what she does. Do you find that it challenges you to be a better pilot?

MC: Because she's a woman?

JTF: Yes.

MC: Maggie's ability as a pilot challenges me. Being female has nothing to do with it. She'd be spitting mad if it did.

JTF: Then equality is important out there?

MC: Of course. I think a case could be made for it being important everywhere. I'd be strung up if I didn't note that.

JTF: Excellent point. And tying into the equality theme, you and Lt. Harper seem to alternate in the one-two spots whenever there's a new qualification run. Any chance either of you will let some new blood into the top seeds this go round?

MC: There's always a chance for that kind of opportunity. We all have off days. Anyone can bust a maneuver, blow a landing or completely miss the trap, which will cost them points and lower their score.

JTF: Even you?

MC: The brass isn't telling us much, but this is the most difficult scenario we've ever dealt with, so everything's up for grabs. I know I'm ready. I also don't plan to make it easy for anyone. I doubt Lt. Harper will either.

JTF: Do you work together to make it harder?

MC: Maggie and I? No way, it's not set up like that. But we fly together a lot, so we're good at knowing what the other will do.

JTF: And that's helpful?

MC: Absolutely. Being able to anticipate what your wingman will do not only looks good, it could save your life. Yeah, it's a big help.

JTF: Then, I'll wish you the best out there, Lieutenant. Thank you for the exceptional information.

MC: You're welcome. Enjoy the show.

Fascinating discourse about what it takes to be a fleet military pilot. Interesting that Lt. Cutter didn't discount the non-fighter ranks but also seems to respect them.

With less than a day to go for the program launch, it's a safe bet that all personnel whose qualifications hinge on the outcome are feeling the heat.

Even the best and brightest.

Keep those news feeds set to update. Lieutenant Maggie Harper is up next.



Greetings Blogorama Readers!

It's been a crazy 24 hours.

First of all, a ship the size of the Mythos makes chasing down anyone a daunting challenge. But I did it! I found Lieutenant Maggie Harper, better known as Magpie to her fellow pilots, in the galley of all places. She'd just filled a tray with loads of food, so I knew she'd stick around for a while.

I plopped down beside her and launched into a quick fire interview. Here's the down and dirty (completely uncensored):

SS: Lieutenant Harper, I appreciate your time and willingness to answer my questions.

MH: (after swallowing a huge bite of food) Yeah, well, make it fast. I still have to hit the showers and grab whatever sleep I can before we start quals in the morning.

SS: Right. No problem. First up, how do you combat the sensory overload from being surrounded by so many hot guys?

MH: Excuse me, what?

SS: Oh, come on. You all but trip over extremely attractive men every time you turn around. Do you find it all distracting? I know I would.

MH: Gads…who are you? And who the hell let you loose on the ship?

SS: Stella Snupe, Blog reporter for the Daily Dash. I, um, have some pull with one of the admirals behind this project.

At this point I believe Lt. Harper may have rolled her eyes, but it was hard to tell with all the noise and confusion of a new group of pilots lining up to binge one last time before strict rationing.

The lieutenant took several more bites of food before answering my original question.

MH: Okay, Ms. Snupe, for your information, the military is damn close to a 50/50 mix of men and women. I'm as much in danger of tripping over a woman as I am a man. Does that answer the question to your satisfaction?

SS: For now, thanks. You mentioned hitting the shower. Is there any possibility you'll be hooking up with someone -- male or female -- before, during or after?

I don't mind telling you, dear readers, I thought Lt. Harper might need emergency intervention. Apparently my question so completely threw her it made her choke and spew the rather large gulp of water she'd just swallowed. Needless to say, I gave her plenty of time to recover. I even handed her a napkin, to wipe her face.

MH: Stars above, you've got some guts, lady. First, no comment. Second, I'd dial the personal questions back if you don't want to get kicked off this ship. And third, if you've got 'pull' with an admiral, maybe you can interview him and find out why we're all out here doing mass preparedness crap when we've been in peace time for over 70 years.

SS: I'm sure I could, but nobody wants to know that. The public wants to know what's going on behind the scenes. You know, who's doing who and whether the sex is great or not.

MH: That's a truly sad statement and I guess you should consider me nobody. Because I'd really like to know. Especially since my flight qualifications are tied into this whole M-PAT thing. And while we're on the subject—

Unfortunately, Lt. Harper didn't finish what sounded like the beginning of a tirade. Her watch alarm beeped, signaling her turn to hit the showers. She abruptly ended the conversation, but not before I got one final answer out of her.

SS: Lieutenant? Do you know where I might be able to find Lieutenant Max Cutter? I'd really like to speak with him also.

Friends, I'm not sure if it was a trick of the lighting, but it looked to me like the beginnings of a grin might have curved over Maggie Harper's lips before she gave me an answer.

MH: You might find him running the circuit of the ship. He mentioned working out before turning in for night. Good luck with that.

And she left. No explanation as to what the 'circuit of the ship' meant or even a good bye, but that's okay. I'm sure some kind soul will be happy to point me in the right direction, after I complete this update.

Wish me luck, my faithful readers, I'm off to wrangle an interview with the very eligible (rumor has it anyway) Lt. Max Cutter.

Stay tuned!

The Skipper


JT Faxt, reporting directly from the ASC Mythos just prior to the launch of the military's newest program, Mass Preparedness Assault Training (M-PAT). As previously reported by numerous news organizations, the goal of Hell Week, as the M-PAT training has been not so affectionately dubbed, is to prepare our fleet for anything and everything.

The question burning up the wireless relays is why? Why do our top pilots need to complete a series of next to impossible attack and landing sequences in order to remain qualified for active flight duty? And why strip them down to basic rations? We're a peace-time society with more than enough food, water and personnel to go around. Why make our already highly trained pilots repeat scenarios every few hours with slight alterations each time? What will less than four hours rest between launch and land do to this elite group?

Is the whole exercise nothing more than an elaborate way to separate the wheat from the chaff? And, if so, again the question to be asked is: why?

So far, those answers have not been forthcoming. But they will be. The press corps has finally been allowed into the inner sanctum of the space carrier and we have brief access to the pilots and crew. We'll see what they have to say about gearing up for an intense week of training.

Keep those news feeds set to update.


JT Faxt is brand new to the Wireless News Group. Fresh out of university, his curiosity motivates him to seek answers by asking questions that discover the 'why' and 'how' people do what they do. He's made a name for himself by chasing down the details of the story and reporting them first. Keep your news feeds set to update and watch JT climb the ranks.


Greetings from Hell Week!!!

Yes, I said Hell Week.

Your favorite on the beat blog reporter scored a coveted spot aboard the ASC (that's Aircraft Space Carrier for those not in the know) Mythos just when things in the military space program are gearing up to a fevered pitch.

But seriously? Who hasn't heard about the Mass Preparedness Assault Training or M-PAT? Ah…the military and their acronyms. And who isn't tired of the same recycled information, covered 24/7 since the announcement of this exercise? Is anyone not bored to tears yet?

I know I am.

What do we really care about? Certainly not silly war games in a peace time society. No, we care about the ins and outs of the behind the scenes drama.

Am I right?

That's why this reporter will be taking a different approach to gathering information. Will I wait for the daily briefing, containing the same carefully reworded information we've received since day one? I don't think so. What do we really want to know about the inner workings of a spacecraft carrier?

Yes, you wanna know as much as I do. What do the elite of the elite pilots really think about each other? Who hates whom? Where do they go for downtime on a ship the size of small city? And of course the big questions. When do they find time for sex? Where do they have it?

Yours truly has made it my personal mission to chase down the two top pilots, Max 'Ripper' Cutter and Maggie 'Magpie' Harper, and find out the burning answers.

Wish me luck!
The 'Skipper' (<-- a="" by="" call="" cute="" given="" isn="" it="" moi="" pilot.="" rookie="" sign="" span="" sweet="" t="" to="">

Stella Snupe is an award-winning investigative journalist. After 25 years, she walked away from the trenches to focus on something fun and exciting, instead of dreary and depressing. Five years ago, she established the Daily Dash and it quickly became the most highly visited blog in the blogosphere. Her philosophy on life is: Live for fun, laugh for life, but always get the dirt.

Ahem *tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on?

I'm so excited!!

And well, I'm also a bit behind but I'm pleased to annouce the release of Surviving the Trap from Red Rose Publishing.

Come and find out what happens with Max and Maggie.

Feedback has been great and I appreciate everyone who's commented on it so far.

And since I'm neck deep in NaNoWriMo, I'll add that a continuation of our pilots' story is in the works. Tentatively titled Bucking Convention I hope to submit it to Red Rose sometime in December.

As part of the fun of release time, I'm going to turn my blog over to two individuals reporting directly from the Mythos. They'll provide some up to the minute details of what Hell Week is all about.

Catch everyone on the flip--

M.L. Skye

Buy Now: Surviving the Trap - $1.99

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finally a new update

Finally! Time for an update!


November 5, 2009!

I also have a new cover. The wonderful cover artist, Annie Melton did excellent work.

Here's the new one:

We couldn't use the previous version since it had been released through a different publisher. I was disappointed, but I have to admit, I got super lucky to have two covers that I fell in love with.
So...coming soon! Here's a link to a blurb and excerpt.
And hopefully a link to a trailer for the book. :D
Check back!