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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My book is available.

Link: "Mukhabarat, Baby!" website:

It has been a strenuous, educational, and at times, frustrating experience, but my book, "Mukhabarat, Baby!" is available for purchase online at my website, and Amazon.  I have
Click here to read a free sample
received a bit of grief regarding the choice of the name for the book.  Actually, for me it was a no-brainer.  "Mukhabarat" was one of the first Arabic words I learned in Iraq.  I spent a good amount of time in Baghdad with the U.S. Army, and even though I was armed, I stood out because of my civilian attire.  The kids immediately started pointing me out, with the word "Mukhabarat" being repeated.  I asked the military linguist the meaning of the word, and he replied that it was common word used to describe Secret Police and spies.  The more time I spent on patrol with one particular military humint (human intelligence) collection team, the more I heard the term. Some of my military buddies started calling my partner Mark and I "The Mookies".  This explains the evolution of my choice for a book title.  To be reasonable, I understand that most people will not understand the word.  But I'm confident that it will engender enough curiosity to encourage folks to take a closer look.  And "Viola!", I have planted the definition right at the top of the back cover of all versions of the book.  The definition is also included at the very beginning as well.

Trying to decide which company to select for the printing and dissemination of the book was a tiresome task.  Thank goodness a few people have done my homework for me, and broken down/ranked the numerous companies in all the important categories, including prices, time, quality, people skills, history, and, most importantly, reviews.  I chose BookLocker for two reasons: their immediate, clear, useful response to my initial inquiry, and the reams of positive reviews from satisfied customers.  Up to this point, you can certainly add my name to the list.  The interaction with BookLocker is totally in email, but I can't recall the last time I received such one-on-one attention.  I was uniformly happy with the work that was done, especially the amazing cover, but the real positive thing about the company is their sincerity.  The charge a pittance of what some of the others charge, and if you get things done quickly up-front you might just get a discount like I did.  I realize that it sounds a bit moronic to say that BookLocker buys in to the success of every book, because of course they do; they make money off of the sales as well.  But these folks want you to succeed on a real personal level, and any guidance an author might request regarding marketing, etc., will be addressed.

The next paragraph is where I will hide my subliminal message to everyone that they MUST buy a hardback copy of my book for themselves and for every member of their family, including left-wing Great Aunt Olive, who stills brags about voting for Adlai Stevenson for President in '52.  The truth is, the only way for a self-published book to be successful is through word-of-mouth.  It's what makes the process so special.  Its truly rewarding that people might enjoy my book enough to take time to recommend it to family or friends.  For books that have opted for the traditional, Publishing company route, the path to success truly is smoother.  Of course the Publisher is determined to see the book sell, so the company reaches out to contacts in the media, and in no time at all, reviews in major newspapers have been scheduled.  Then it's time for television.  The Author's Literary Agent and Publisher will set up short interviews on CNN, Foxnews, MSNBC, etc.  And all the while, as a Self-Published Author, I'm sitting in front of the local VFW (a quiet crowd of thirteen or fourteen), listening to someone else's war stories.  The real rub is that I know I have a good book, and that I have really unique experiences to share with folks.  I was raised in a two-language household, and traveled to Africa to work, right out of college.  After returning to the U.S., I accepted a job as a Federal Agent in Laredo, TX., for INS (formerly Immigration & Naturalization Service), and gained tremendous life experience working on the International Bridges to Mexico.  Eventually I accepted a position with the CIA, and during my career I was fortunate enough to serve on four continents.  I was poisoned early on in my career, but I continued working, and completed a tour in Iraq.  A great deal of my book focuses on my Iraq experiences.  That is my book, in a nutshell.  And Brandi Glanville of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" writes a book about her life, and it gets launched directly onto the best-seller list.  Sometimes all you can do is say, "screw it", laugh a little, and move on.

I'm not the first person who ends up in this position: trying to adequately thank the many folks who read my blog regularly and who will be reading my book.  You can't imagine how grateful I am to the validation that comes with a book sale.  Writing the book was not easy.  This book is extremely personal, and writing was a bit of a cathartic experience.  God bless all the amazing people who I've been fortunate enough to know, and thanks again to everyone out there, for being my friend.

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