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I live at Crackeredog Ranch in Wimberley, Texas where several scenes of Apogee and The Typhon Affair take place. For those of you who don't know what "Crackerdog" means here is what the Urban Dictionary says about it:
crazy, psycho. to be off one's rocker in a particualarly locomotive, active, or athletic way. May give off an impression of specific, albeit insane, motivation. one sandwich short of a picnic; having misplaced one's marbles. Having gone totally beyond the realm of reason. see also batshit.my boss went completely crackerdog this morning - the stress is really getting to him.by zz January 16, 2004
There is also a wonderful story that describes the the origin of the term that is absolutely worth a read from the wonderful website "Chronicles of a Country Girl" which you can link to here:
By the way, I love cowboy hats and boots and so does Mac Sisco.
Interview with Lou Earle, CEO, Austin Fit Magazine
on the publishing of his first novel
December 2022 AFM Best Of Issue
I understand you have some exciting news to share with us today?
Yes, I do and I appreciate the opportunity to allow me to share it with our wonderful AFM readers. On October 31st I published my first novel.
That is indeed very exciting. What motivated you to author a novel and how did you go about it?
Well, I have always enjoyed writing and have dabbled with authoring several works over the years. I have written many poems, one children’s book for my grandchildren and one non-fiction philosophical work, none of which I have published. Some of our readers may even remember my monthly Publisher’s Letters which I authored for about 10 years in Austin Fit. But quite a long time ago I set an objective to one day write a fiction novel and during the Covid Pandemic, I finally found the time to give it a try.
What genre did you select for your book?
For me that was the easy part. I am a big fan of action/thriller novels, especially spy books.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are so many great authors like Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Mark Greaney, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Ben Coes, Daniel Silva, Nelson DeMille. They are all fantastic at developing awesome protagonists like DeMille’s John Corey, Child’s Jack Reacher, Coes’ Dewey Andreas and Clancy’s Jack Ryan and their storytelling is epic.
OK, but how did you actually go about authoring your book?
Because I have read so many of these works, I had a kind of sense about how my writing style would work. They provided so many wonderful examples of approaches and techniques, but in the end, you must adopt your own style. For example, how much detail do you want to provide in each scene. Some authors will spend pages to describe a situation while others may only invest a paragraph or two. For me it was a real journey of discovery.
In the end, I found that the story told itself. Some describe this as a gardening approach where you put down the seeds and then wait to see what grows. I just started writing by imagining a scene and then describing it. When it was really working, it was like the images just popped into my mind and then I just wrote about what I saw. That is one reason that my original “Apogee” novel got to be so long. The images just kept coming and eventually I had to end it.
It sounds hard, did it take long to write the book?
When it worked, it was much faster than I thought. But sometimes you get “stuck” and that is tough going. I wrote the original novel in 4 months, but when I looked into publishing it, I was told by literary agents and publishers that it was too long.
Why was that and what did you do?
Well, I must say, it was a real downer at first. I didn’t feel I could edit enough out of the book without ruining the story and I worried about how to create good linkage between the first and second books. But fortunately, I was able to split the book in two by creating a cliff hanger ending on the first book and a new beginning on the second book. That is also how I was able to plan to publish the second book, “The Typhon Affair” in less than 6 months after publishing the first book, “Apogee”.
Did you have any background to pull from that helped you in your storytelling?
Some. I spent four years in the Navy during the Vietnam War and the last two years I was stationed at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland. It was a very unique experience and gave me a place to start and a basis for building my hero, “Mac Sisco”. But as the story unfolded, I found I had to do significant research to accurately describe details to make the story plausible and engaging.
Can you give us a peek at your novel and share how you went about writing it?
Sure, but please understand, I am a “newbe”, so my approach is at best undisciplined. The book is entitled “Apogee” and is the first book in the “Mac Sisco Trilogy”. The second book is “The Typhon Affair and the final book in the series is “The Maslow Conspiracy. “The Typhon Affair” is planned to be published in March 2023 and “The Maslow Conspiracy” should come out in the fall of 2023.
Apogee is a very relevant tale and details many facets of today’s world as it poses the question of how and why things are happening and who is really pulling the strings.
Here is the blurb from PHiR Publishing Co. that will give you a quick snapshot.
A Mac Sisco Novel
Book one of the Mac Sisco Trilogy
"An insidious conspiracy threatens the governance of nations worldwide. The evidence is subtle at first. As the layers are peeled back, however, a picture of politico-economic and social manipulation on an unimaginable scale begins to take shape. Ex-Navy Seal and NSA intelligence agent Mac Sisco is given limited resources and a seemingly impossible task: to strike a crippling blow before it’s too late. Can Team Apogee stem a tide of evil set in motion by a shadowy cabal that has been planning and executing its strategy for over half a century?"
What has been the greatest challenge for you so far in your quest get you work published?
I think there are two huge hurdles for new writers. The first is finding a publisher who will take a chance on your work. It’s like being discovered in Hollywood. I was very fortunate to find a Publisher, John Casey of PHiR Publishing, who gave me that chance. I am eternally grateful for his support.
The second daunting challenge is marketing your book. There are so many elements that go into getting exposure, but as my Publisher has said, there are three critical elements that make a book successful…..
1. First, tell a great story
2. Second, execute great marketing
3. Third, luck!
I sincerely hope my books do tell a great story and what you are helping me with today, is an invaluable marketing step in getting the word out. For the third, well I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed. And no matter what happens, thanks so much for allowing me this opportunity!
If you want to learn more, here are some useful links to check out:
Apogee Press Release -
Shoutout Dallas Magazine Interview with Lou Earle https://shoutoutdfw.com/meet-lou-earle-lou-earle-is-a-writer-entrepreneur-and-business-executive-and-us-navy-veteran-with-roots-in-corporate-america/
Apogee Review - By Diane Donovan, Editor, Donovan's Literary Services - Apogee
Apogee is available from many book retailers in stores and online including Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Google Play, etc. in Kindle, E-Book and Paperback.
PHiR Publishing Home Page - https://phirpublishing.com
PHiR Publishing Titles page -https://phirpublishing.com/titles
PHiR Publishing Authors - https://phirpublishing.com/authors
I live on a ranch outside of Austin, Texas and we have lots of furry friends. We love nature and all the marvels it creates in our lives. Here are just a few of our family that we share our time with.
Some History on How Apogee was Written
May 20th - June 20th 2004
Do you have certain talents for writing, dear Gemini? You seem to have a very precise and clear way of expressing yourself. And it's possible you use this gift of yours in your career. Today you might want to use it for another purpose: for expressing your feelings about someone. Whether you write to a family member or compose a wonderful love letter, you will be particularly inspired. Get writing!
December 13, 2004
A young man getting out of the NSA stumbles on a document that gets him entwined with an international terror organization that plans to use the a unique strategy of disruption to bring the US to its knees. The strategy uses technology (cell phone and internet), pharmacological disruption (drug quality and FDA delays) and economic disruption (import/export and balance of trade and illegal immigration) to disable the US ability to function.
I Finally wrote Apogee
(18 years later)
August 2020 - October 2020
Dec 8, 2022
Across the world something very strange is happening. Social disruptions and cultural conflicts seem to be ripping societies apart at an alarming rate and intensity. While the masses seem unaware of first subtle then more and more obvious evidence of massive manipulation, America’s National Security Agency is paying attention. A subtle pattern, barely noticeable appears on the Agency’s massive sigint computers and Project Apogee is born.
One man finds himself on the precipice of this inevitable human collapse with an opportunity to turn the tide before it’s too late. But can he actually stop the forces of evil that have been planning and executing this strategy for half a century?
Mac Sisco, ex Navy Seal and NSA intelligence agent is charged with digging deeper into this global phenomenon and soon finds himself immersed in a desperate search to unravel the mystery. It seems the deeper he and his eclectic Apogee team dig, the more nefarious the realities appear and time is running out as mankind faces its greatest challenge in human history where no one can be trusted and the enemy is everywhere!
From The Author: The times we find ourselves in are indeed unprecedented. Modern technology has allowed us to amplify and magnify our behaviors, attitudes and values across the globe instantaneously and not always with positive results. Such is the environment in which the world finds itself in Apogee.
The book’s setting is entirely contemporary by design. I have been struck by the intensity and velocity of the changes we are seeing across the world and posit that such massive and consistent activities are simply not natural. And if that is so, they must be artificially driven. But how could such a massive conspiracy be possible? And so the plot thickens in this first book of the trilogy.
Mac Sisco is also a contemporary hero, but not a common one. A man of strong character and values, tough exterior, driven to succeed, but with an empathetic and often humorous inclination. He is the kind of hero that I would like to be, admired by his friends and feared by his enemies. The Apogee team is a wonderful collection international characters, each selected for their world class craft and a delightful collage of personalities. The villains are equally intriguing and deserving of close scrutiny as one begins to understand what drives their salacious behaviors.
All this begins a journey of intrigue and discovery as it weaves its way through The Typhon Affair and the final book, The Maslow Conspiracy after which you must finally ask yourself, could this really be happening and who is pulling the strings?