Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six Thousand Miles Later

Starting back in February, we had our first scheduled book signing in 2011 for “The Night Eagles Soared.” It was there in Charleston S.C. that I started speaking publicly when I practiced my material on my sister –in-laws book club. I finished the tour over the Memorial Day weekend at a joint book signing with author Jeff Falkel on Fort Knox Kentucky; both of which was a huge honor for me! Since February, we have traveled to the East Coast, the Midwest, up North and down South. I’ve met some incredible authors and fantastic readers in an effort to get the word out about my writing. Now my big “Spring Offensive” has come to an end as my wife and I start our move to our new home in Charleston, South Carolina.

Some of my favorite memories over the last five months came from the times when I was given a chance to speak publicly. I started my “Academic Lectureship” at Lake Erie College by speaking about the “Creation of Legacy”. I finished my speaking engagements at the Task Force Dagger Foundation’s, Ozark Fishing Adventure. It was there that I was given the opportunity to speak at the Bull Shoals Arkansas, VFW Benefit Dinner; which was held in honor of Our Warriors who attended the event.

One of the most memorable events at which I was given a chance to speak was at the 1st Annual Northern Oklahoma, Literary Arts and Book Festival in Ponca City, Oklahoma. For some reason it struck me to tell the story of my mother and her wayward ways. I spoke of how she named me and the dream I had a few weeks after her death in which she confirmed to me that there is a heaven for good people, for everybody with a kind heart, even if…throughout their lives they had claimed to not believe in God. I’ve since titled that story, “The Trust Fund My Son, The Trust Fund” and one day I may put it on paper. Still, the highlight of the NOLA festival was meeting fellow authors; Eyvonna Rains, Elaine Littau, Ursula Gorman, Kristi Burchfiel and many more!

Since we started the New Year, I have also completed my second book titled “Burnt Yellow and Red,” outlined a third book and I am in the process of writing a screenplay just for the fun of it. The places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the fellowship shared has all meant a great deal to me. There were a great many lessons learned as well.

It has been a long road, six thousand miles, fifteen events, the screen writer’s workshop, and an interview on KTLO 101.7 Fm in Mountain Home Arkansas. I hate to admit it, but it was all punctuated by an indescribable need to jump on face book and tell everybody what was going on. For those of you who have brushed across my path during the great Spring Offensive of 2011, I will forever be grateful. Now it is time for me to work on my Southern accent since I hope to become a “Gentlemen Fahmah from South Kha-OH-line-ah.” My accent is like my war face…I need to work on it!

Steve Newman Aka….S. B. Newman, Author

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Taks Force Dagger Ozark Fishing Adventure

Task Force Dagger Ozark Fishing Adventure

This weekend my wife and I traveled to the Twin Lakes area of Northern Arkansas for the Task Force Dagger Ozark Fishing Adventure. The event was staged out of Bull Shoals Arkansas; which is an incredible community of patriotic citizens who went all out to make sure the participants enjoyed their visit. The entire trip was an extraordinary experience for both my wife and I; and so my hat goes off to the Task Force Dagger personnel that made it so enjoyable and worthwhile.

Jimbo Blakeslee and his wife Deb were the driving force behind the logistical organization for the event. They kept the ball rolling with military precision as the participants were given the opportunity to fish for Trout in the White River, visit the National Fish Hatchery below the Norfolk Lake Damn, attend a spaghetti dinner with the entire community of Pontiac Missouri, Fish Bull Shoals Lake several times and then attend an incredible benefit dinner at the Bull Shoals VFW post. The fishing was great, the chow was phenomenal and the local community went all out to show their support for our warriors.

The event revolved around providing Our Warriors with an opportunity to go fishing but the overall effort of the Task Force Dagger Foundation is to provide Our Wounded Warriors an opportunity to discover their new capabilities as they make the transition to becoming a civilian. The “Recreational Therapy” is instrumental in providing our soldiers an opportunity to reconcile their warrior spirit with the reality of civilian life. It is no small task and I salute the efforts of the foundation and encourage my readers to join me in supporting the Task Force Dagger Foundation as we move forward into the summer and fall.

God Bless them all!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Support the Task Force Dagger Foundation

My name is Steve Newman and I am the Author of a book titled, “The Night Eagles Soared.” On the cover you will notice that I have used the pen name S. B. Newman and I did that for a reason. You see, there are a million and a half Steve Newman’s in the world and they have all written or composed a poem, a song, a book or a movie. I had to find a way to differentiate myself from the crowd. That is why I used my initials as a pen name and they stand for Steven Boyd Newman.

I haven’t been a writer my entire life. I am a veteran…a twenty year veteran of the United States Army Special Forces and I have become a writer since my retirement from the Green Berets in 2003…after having spent close to a year in Afghanistan.

It was during that time that I came up with the idea for the premise and the title for my book. We used to say that “You have to fly with the Turkey’s before you can soar like an Eagle.” The title also calls upon the memory of that night…that night that was not unlike the Doolittle raid during WWII. That was the night the United States first struck back against our enemies. The book draws it premise from that night we struck back against those who had attacked our great nation on 9-11.

This is my first book, and I have the sequel titled “Burnt Yellow and Red” going through the production process as we speak. I’ve also started work on a third book that hasn’t been titled as of yet. It will be the third book in a series of three. I am also currently working on a screen play based on the story in the “The Night Eagles Soared.”

Often I am asked why I wrote the book and for me I know that there were many reasons. Deep down inside I knew that I had a story to tell, a story worth telling and so I put it in writing. And…even though it is told in first person narrative, the story isn’t about me…it is about all of us who have served at any given point in history. It is about the progression of a young man as he becomes a warrior who leads others into combat.

Today our military is an all volunteer force of young men and women who have been fighting a shooting war for over ten years. The hardships endured…are no less difficult or violent…than in any other conflict in our nation’s history. The difference today is that…this war has a different and some would say…more difficult setting.

One thing I hope that folks will take away from my work is that even though these volunteers become warriors…they are still human beings…with a heart and soul… just like everybody else.

In the following scene from the book, titled, “The Heart of a Soldier,” Mike the protagonist has just performed his cherry blast right out of Jump School. He has performed a Tailgate C-130…Full Combat Equipment…Static Line Parachute operation into Camp Mackall to start the Special Forces Qualification Course. He lands on the drop zone and we pick up the story from there.

(Excerpt from the book, page 44)

I laid there for a second, eyes closed, trying to collect my senses. One of the instructors began yelling, “Get the hell off my drop zone, Airborne.” And the C-130 swooped in, landing as it screamed past me only a hundred feet away. The roar of its engines was amplified as the sound reflected off of the tall pines that surrounded the airfield. The plane spun around, lowering its ramp, ready for another load.

My platoon was forming up. The sergeant gained accountability as we turned in our parachutes and reported back. Once we were all together, we marched back to the camp, singing slowly in a low baritone voice, keeping rhythm with our steps. The sun slowly sank behind us, below the trees, as we marched through the dust and into the shadows.

The heart of a soldier is the soul of a man. He is a knight without armor in a war-torn land. A fast gun for hire is an SF soldier. SF soldier, SF soldier, where have you been? Around the world and back again!

Our first day in the Special Forces was almost over as we marched in the darkness down the hill and into the camp. There were lights on in the large classroom; and the mercury light on the telephone pole outside the camp headquarters was already on, lighting up the gravel parking lot but blocking out visibility of anything beyond that.

That is how life is isn’t it? It is hard to see beyond the light that shines on the moment we are in. Through my writing, I also hope to shine some light on the legacy we leave behind as soldiers and how we all come to that point in our lives, in our lives as warriors when we realize … that we all get out of the military, eventually…for one reason or the other.

It is at this juncture in our lives that we must learn to reconcile our warrior spirit with the reality of being a civilian…with the reality of our new capabilities. That is when we must ask ourselves this question.

“What is it that I can do with the rest of my life that will benefit those I love and care about the most for generations to come?”

It doesn’t matter how old you are. If we can answer that question, we will know exactly what it is we are meant to do with the rest of our lives. The answer will give us a goal that we can strive to accomplish a little at a time by doing something every day in order to achieve it.

I’ve heard it said that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time is today. Think about that for a second?

It is impossible to become a huge oak tree over night…it takes time. If that tree hasn’t already been planted, if it wasn’t planted twenty years ago, then it needs to be planted today and that is why I support the VFW and Task Force Dagger Foundation.

Both organizations are planting seeds of hope! Seeds of hope that will enable warriors like us to accomplish great things with the rest of our lives…seeds of hope that enable us all to see beyond our present circumstance…to visualize a future that will ensure a legacy of pride and hope for those we love and care about the most for generations to come.

God Bless our nations’ finest…God bless our warriors…God bless the VFW…God bless the Task Force Dagger Foundation! (Pause) Thank you and God bless you all!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost Famous!

Life as an almost famous author has really gotten exciting! Last week, I set out for the great state of Oklahoma to attend the first annual Northern Oklahoma Literary Arts and Book Festival and it was fantastic. On my way there, I stopped in Oklahoma City for an excellent visit with my marketing representative and then I attended a Screen Writers Workshop hosted by Ken Farmer and Buck Steinke. It was an exciting, entertaining, and educational weekend in which I met a variety of fellow authors, and fantastic people.

Ken Farmer and Buck Steinke gave an all day seminar on screen writing that was not only colorful but also very informative. Ken and Buck’s combined knowledge of how to make a movie from all perspectives gave the attendees an invaluable insight into the industry. To write a screen play it isn’t necessary to know everything about how movies are made but it is good to have an understanding of what takes place behind the screen as one creates the product that will guide the entire production. For their effort I am grateful and hope to attend more workshops with Ken and Buck.

I arrived to Ponca City Oklahoma early Saturday morning and the sun was shinning down through the clouds like a spot light from heaven. I arrived about three hours early so I had a fantastic breakfast at Happy Days restaurant. Then the book festival started. I shared a table with fellow author, Ursula Gorman and we signed a lot of books! I also met a great many people and then spoke in front of a room full of readers. I choked up and almost cried as I finished my reading for them and I thought to myself, “Dude, you have turned into a Mambi Pambi!” Still I had a great time and enjoyed it all so much! Life as an “Almost Famous” author is starting to get very exciting. Perhaps next year, I will be famous! Now back to working on the screen play for “The Night Eagles Soared”!


P.S. I would like to say thank you to Eyvonna Rains, a fellow author but also she was the person who set up the Ponca City event. She did an excellent job on everything from the location, to the awards dinner! Thank you Eyvonna!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Excerpt from BYR

For several weeks the Americans, along with the help of their brothers of the Northern Alliance had been pushing the Taliban back. They had been destroying every attempt the Taliban made to defend against the insurgency that had so quickly transformed itself into a formidable conventional force. Now, the Americans along with the help of their Northern Alliance brothers were threatening to take over the sacred capital of Afghanistan, Kabul.

The Taliban commander had been busily organizing his defensive positions in the last pass through the mountains, along the road leading into Kabul from the North. This was it, if he couldn’t stop the Americans here, the capital would surely fall into enemy hands and his faith in the beloved Prophet Mohamed and in Allah would be shaken.

“How could Allah allow this to happen,” he asked himself as he watched the Northern Alliance race across the valley floor below on horseback, heading directly towards his position.

He had moved his artillery pieces, Russian artillery and tanks along with what he had left of his infantry units into the Kabul side of the pass. He hoped to block the Americans and their insurgent force that had been defeating his every effort to stop them since the beginning. They had been defeating him at every turn since the success of the glorious attacks against the United States had taken place a little over a month ago.

Many of his men had been killed or captured and now, their backs were against the wall as the onslaught of American air power had not only confounded his every effort, but also had destroyed most of his Army. Still, he continued to fight. Still he continued to defend his beloved capital. He would hold on until the last man was killed if it should come to that.

Watching the action unfold through binoculars he noticed a reflection off to one side of the valley floor. Focusing in on it, he saw that there was an American soldier looking through a large, yet oddly shaped set of binoculars directly at him and his position. Quickly the Taliban Commander picked up his hand held radio and called for an artillery strike on that very location.

The gun crews busied themselves, locking rounds in the breach of ten large Russian artillery pieces. The battery commander held a whistle in his mouth with his left hand, his right hand raised high into the air. As the last gun was readied, he blew his whistle and dropped his hand. Each of the guns fired simultaneously and then began to reload. After that, they all fired at will, six more rounds for each gun; seventy rounds all together were fired at the position that had been identified by the Taliban Commander. The first round had yet to hit the ground when the last round had been fired and then a few seconds later, the gun crews started cheering as they heard the first of the rounds start to explode off in the distance, fifteen miles away.

Mike watched from a mountain top vantage point on the opposite side of the valley, as his team accompanied their Afghani counterparts down into the valley below that had been cleared the night before during the early morning hours using close air support. Plumes of smoke were still rising from the burning tanks and vehicles that had been abandoned by the Taliban as they had retreated from the valley.

He heard the sound of the artillery being fired and called on his hand held radio for everybody to take cover and then he watched in horror as the position taken by his TAC-P, Kyle Black was engulfed with the explosions and dust created by the rounds as they started to impact all around his friend.

The Teams Medic, Sanchez, in complete disregard for his own safety immediately started for Kyle’s Position in the dual cab Toyota pick-up that he was using as a medical vehicle. He raced towards Kyle’s position as Mike directed the teams Junior Weapons Sergeant to get his mortars into action against the ridge line to their front. It didn’t take long for the they young Weapons expert to respond and soon the mortars started falling on the Taliban positions along the ridge line, forcing the Taliban commander to move.

Twenty Afghani soldiers, members of Kyle’s security element that had survived the barrage, rushed to where he was and recovered the airmen who had been severely wounded but was still conscience. Three of them picked him up and moved him about two hundred yards back as the Teams’ Medic and now Mike raced towards them in separate Toyota trucks. Kyle’s Afghani brothers found a piece of low ground and carried him to it, taking what protection they could find from the Artillery barrage that continued with its impacts only a few hundred yards away.

Kyle knew he had been hurt badly as they laid him down gently in a patch of green grass that had been grazed to the nub by sheep. There was a tree with no leaves nearby and he could hear water trickling through the aqueduct that ran the length of the wadi, down to a watering hole he had passed earlier that morning. His body was numb and he could still smell the dust and smoke from the barrage but he couldn’t feel a thing as he drifted off to sleep.

To Kyle the world wrapped itself in a prism of brilliant colors, burnt yellow and red as he slipped into a deep, comfortable sleep, feeling no pain, feeling no fear. Completely unaware of reality he dreamed vividly and found himself watching as his life passed before his very eyes.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just a Few Thoughts About This and That, Not a Word about UBL

It sure is a nice day outside, I think I may go for a walk. That sounds like fun, a long walk through the historic neighborhood near my complex. The historic district has been there since before the civil war. Back then they called it Twickenham; no wonder they changed the name.

While I am walking, I think I will contemplate the meaning of all the events that have taken place over this last week. Try to make some sense of it all. I’ll meditate on the memory of the tornado outbreak. I was lucky that day, many were not. One reminder from that experience that has stuck with me is the truth in that; we are all the same you know, basically. We all need and want the same things, food, shelter, security; because without that, life becomes an exercise in survival.

While I am walking, I think I will stop and take the time to enjoy the grandeur of the old live oaks that make Twickenham so nice and I’ll contemplate just how important our most precious national treasure is. I think everybody will agree with me that it is the young people of our nation that are our greatest national treasure. You know; the young people who have taken a stance for freedom through their service to our great nation. You know; the ones who are winning the war.

Before I finish my walk, I think that perhaps I should take the time to thank the Lord for my good fortune and ask him to take care of those less fortunate than me. I think I will ask God to bless our men and women of the armed forces for the sacrifices they make on our behalf and I will say thank you for the blessings I have received.

You know, it sure is a nice day outside, I think I will take that walk now.

S. B. Newman, Author