New sci-fi/fantasy series:
The Psyop System
Book 1: Lights in the Sky
Intelligence Analyst Steven Spurlock has gone missing from his life in Washington DC.
“Emotions are severe liabilities, Mr. Spurlock,” a serene female voice intones, as he struggles to find his bearings in an unknown place, “you must learn to suppress them if you hope to survive this perilous mission of yours.” The voice, his Operator, commands him to spy on select subjects across a distant planet, but offers no reason why—why him, why them, and why now?
Among Spurlock’s subjects are royal brothers Ethyn and Tae Solis. Ethyn dabbles in diplomatic and romantic ventures too delicate for his brash methods, while Tae’s meekness prevents him from seeking any venture at all. Haiyen Sün is a pilot assigned to deliver provisions to her former muse, exiled on a bleak mountain top. And Salmen Fleurys is a foreign ambassador harboring explosive intent. As his subjects converge upon one another, Spurlock’s desperation for answers—how he fits into the grand scheme of it all—starts to boil over.
Driven by a deep affection for the missing analyst, low-level federal employee Haley Kenmore undertakes to investigate Spurlock’s sudden disappearance; unraveling secrets held within the U.S. Intelligence Community’s highest levels in the process. If her efforts prove successful, it could be enough to save her own world, but just may (in turn) destroy another, along with all for which Spurlock has worked to preserve.
I was working as an intelligence analyst in Washington, DC when the real teeth of the story began to develop. I’d had ideas floating around in my head for years, but a central concept came upon me suddenly at some point during that time, and I knew I had to get it down on paper in a creative way. It was a real pressure cooker kind of atmosphere I was working in every day, all hours; the work was in many ways fascinating and dynamic, but it was very consuming. Reality sort of starts to bend around itself at a certain point when you become steeped in that kind of environment, you develop this tendency to cloud your own understandings of the world and more importantly also, of yourself—so I began to wonder what might happen if I floated so deep into this new reality that my tether snaps; that I just start to essentially drift along without any real solid ground beneath me to support my weight. And what if all the strands of my identity were scattered and lost in the process; could I find them again? And if I could, would they remain strong enough to construct a new tether back to the reality from which I’d come? Would I learn anything in the process? Context, perspective, the ability to determine the meaningful from the meaningless in life?
Invariably, as an emotional person at my core, I found in my then-fiancé (now wife) a deep comfort from which I could possibly draw the strength I needed to do that—to construct the new tether. And so, there the concept was born. …Most of my favorite stories are deeply allegorical, so I wanted to follow that framework to an extent. I wanted to write a story with all the fun and adventurous trappings found in science fiction and fantasy novels of earlier generations, but that was also steeped in this commentary that is so enormously relevant today, using a contemporary voice. Trail blazing along life’s journey; mental health and commitment; love and the epic human discovery that goes along with all of that. It’s a tall order. I don’t know if I succeeded or if, really, anyone can succeed in this; forging some kind of psychological treatise that works on a universal level. I suppose I can consider some measure of success was achieved, if something like this at least works on a personal level for readers. And on that level, at least, it has for me. It’s essentially been my own form of therapy, and if I hadn’t sat down to write it, and if I hadn’t kept returning to the keyboard to continue the saga, I’m not exactly sure where I’d be in my journey today. I guess the great mystery of life is what keeps us going, and although I’ve fully plotted Spurlock’s story arc through this three book series, I know there are still plenty of mysteries waiting for me (and the reader) to discover along the way ahead. We should probably resist the urge to answer all our burning questions about the vagaries of existence, I suppose, lest we render our lives boring… Just enough to keep us sane will do.