September 8th, 2011
Airline Captain Frank Braden and his wife Nicole are suddenly stalked by professional assassins who have a deadline to make their deaths look like an accident or a suicide. And the couple doesn’t know why they are being targeted. They don’t realize that they stand in the way of a deadly conspiracy. Little by little they are pulled into a dangerous web of intrigue by a murderous criminal network that deceptively offers the pilot his wife’s life if he will concede to their demands. This is a thriller that rocks the highest levels of Washington. Dangerous Past is a story of a man who must choose between doing what ought to be done or keeping his family alive by allowing a murderous and powerful VIP to escape his past.
It was nine at night, when the FBI agent watching Frank’s house decided to drive down the road to get a cup of coffee. He figured it would take no longer than twenty minutes.
Inside the house Nicole made some coffee and gave a cup to Frank to take outside to give to the agent. Frank went out the front door and looked for the agent’s car. He peered into the darkness and started to cross the street when he heard a voice from the side of the yard. “I’m back here.” Frank turned around and walked into the dark beside his house. “Over here.” Frank thought the voice now came from the back yard and he continued toward the rear of the house. When he got to the rear yard, Frank still couldn’t see the agent.
“Hey, where in the devil are you? I got some hot coffee.” “I think I saw someone run into the foliage near the lake. You better go back inside where it’s safe while I have a look around.” “No, I’ll help you search. Wait a minute.”
Frank jogged towards the voice that seemed to be closer to the lake now.
Standing in the shadows, John smiled. For whatever reason, whether his victim was a macho know-it-all type or just naive of the danger, many of the men he had killed had swallowed that bait. He also figured from the fax sheet he had received, that the Austin police had taken Frank’s .38-calber revolver. Under the new waiting law, John knew it was impossible for Frank to get another weapon so soon unless his intended victim wasn’t a law-biding citizen. And John was counting on Frank to be a law-abiding sort.
As Frank neared Town Lake, he wished he had brought a flashlight. He couldn’t see the agent at all. So he went toward the shrubbery where he last heard the voice.
“Hey, fellow, where are you?” Frank said. He felt foolish that he didn’t know the agent’s name.
“Here, right behind you.” The voice startled Frank and he whirled around to face a well-built man wearing all black as though he was on a Special Forces recon night team. I’m in trouble, Frank thought, as he looked down the silencer barrel of a 9mm pistol. God, this guy is really good.
“Did you kill the agent that was watching me?” “I wasn’t paid to do that. Now, Frankie boy, let’s me and you take a walk to the shoreline.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE TOUGHEST CRITICISM GIVEN TO YOU AS AN AUTHOR? WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST COMPLIMENT?
Probably when I joined Kindle Select program and used three of my five giveaways free books offerings and 11,600 readers like my book’s premise and downloaded it. Briefly I zoomed up to number 40 and later to number to 60 on Kindle’s Best Sellers list.
Prior to that I enjoyed a high ranking between 4.5 out of a 5.0 ranking. But the high ranking being in the top 100, however briefly, attracted the attention of four “proof readers” who ignored the storyline and concentrated on a missed quotation mark or two, and found a couple of misspellings. They said the story was without editing (untrue) and gave it low rankings. At first I was dismayed that they ignored the story itself and gave me low review rankings for a few typo errors. But they showed the actual errors in their reviews and bragged of their so called proof reading abilities. This enabled me to make lemonade out of their lemons. I corrected those few mistakes and reprinted my eBook with those corrections. I’m now back to a 4.0 plus ranking and climbing. “Thanks guys.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST COMPLIMENT?
When my first hardback edition came out I received the following email from an individual whom I never contacted and have never met. He lives in Wimberley, Texas, about 40 miles from Austin. Here’s his email.
“My brother bought me a copy of Dangerous Past at the Austin Christmas Bazaar. I am a very avid reader, reading everything from ‘beach trash’ to Hemingway, London and Gabriel Garcia Marquez… I just finished your book (in one day) and I wanted to tell you that it is a damn good book! It is a well written page turner with an intriguing plot. As I live in Wimberley, I really love the hill country setting. I even think that this would make a good movie!
I hope that the book does well. I have seen a lot worse do a lot better, and it makes me mad. If you could put James Patterson’ name on the cover it would go right to #1. Well done.”
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHAPTER TO WRITE AND WHY?
I really enjoyed writing the exciting scenes in the first chapter. As an airline pilot and a graduate of the aircraft accident investigation school at USC, the idea of a cabin explosion and decompression in flight always intrigued me and the options available to an airline crew when one occurred. My annual military training in a simulator required undergoing a rapid decompression inside our pressured simulator. I always remember the foggy atmosphere that erupted inside the simulated trainer when decompression occurred.
I recall reading about the terrible incident that happened on a Boeing 747 flight to Australia a number of years ago at 23,000 feet when a cargo door blew out in flight and nine passengers were ejected from the fuselage out through the opening. Depression explosives are rare but sometimes deadly when they occur.
The main problem is, outside of the possibility of severe airframe damage, is that at a high altitude, in a pressurized aircraft cabin the air rushes out the opening until the air inside the cabin equals the outside air pressure. At altitude, say at 30 or 40 thousand feet, the difference between the two can be great, causing the sucking rush of air, momentarily taking everything not tied down out the aircraft hole. The suction is brief and ceases to stop when the inside and outside air equalizes.
This happened a number of years ago to a Hawaii airline when metal fatigue ripped a portion of the upper top roof of the airliner. That not only endangered the integrity of the airframe but caused a flight attendant to lose her life when she was ejected out through the opening.
The copilot on that flight later flew with a captain friend of mine on another airline and he learned the details of everything that went on inside the cabin after the decompression. He passed these details to me. So in my story, I was able to describe an accurate scene in my fiction story.
And I added a number of additional realistic problems to the story that I knew could happen when airframes suffer damage like that. I almost could feel myself in the captainâ€™s left seat trying to overcome these problems to get the crew and passengers to a safe landing. During a desperate attempt to make it to a safe landing field, parts of the damaged airframe which sent vibrations throughout the aircraft, flew into one of the two jet engines and caused the engine to catch on fire. The landing gear and flaps became inoperative and the captain had to descend to thick fog that dropped to 200 feet above the ground with visibility less than a quarter mile. Plus he had to touch down without a landing gear at a high speed to keep the wings level.
Did he make it? Read the chapter and find out.
HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR WORK?
HOW TO SELL YOUR FIRST HARDBACK NOVEL. WHAT AVENUES HAVE YOU FOUND TO WORK BEST FOR YOUR GENRE.
A news item once cited that the average mid-list author from a publishing house only sells about five books in a book store during his signing day. Unless, of course, he has a superstar name. Under my marketing system, I sold from 15 to 27 books at $25 each during a seven-hour sale day. And the income, minus vendor lease space costs and year-end taxes, was all mine.
Where? How? Simple. I got a vendor stand and state license, tent and sold them on weekends at festivals, fairs, and community market days in the central Texas area. And I had never sold anything before. I had neat, inexpensive posters that praised the novel and listed what the book was about and placed photos and reviews all over my vendor stand to attract attention. These fairs are usually held on Saturdays once a month. During a time period of about three years, I sold approximately 2,000 books in two hardback editions during this part-time sales effort.
The best part of this was that I got to interact with my buyers, before and after the sale, when nearly a quarter of them would see my booth at future fairs and come over to personally tell me about how much they enjoyed the book, some saying they stayed up reading till 5 a.m. the next morning to finish It. And all of them wanted a sequel. I knew then I had a winner.
And this is important. When a person comes over to your booth to look it over, get up and talk to them, offering to tell them what the book is about. Have a short but exciting spiel about the novel to tell them. Don’t be silent, thinking the buyer will talk first. He’ll probably look and leave.
But don’t order too many books at the start until you see how they sell. Maybe even try Print on Demand. I took a big chance by ordering 1,000 books at the start. But I’ve been a professional writer for decades and I felt my debut book was good.
Now of course, I sell my novel mainly as an eBook on the internet.
About The Author:
A. F. Ebbers, a journalism graduate of Ohio University was a reporter/writer for major newspapers, ad agencies, and in public relations for Cessna
Aircraft Company. He also graduated from Army Flight School and flew for the Ohio and Kansas Army National Guards. Later he was called to active duty and served two flying tours in Vietnam. After retirement from the military, he flew for corporations and for regional airlines. A dual rated ATP pilot, he has written for numerous national magazines, Sunday supplements and trade and travel magazines and has written screenplays and short stories. Today he lives with his wife in the Austin, Texas area and, when not writing, enjoys tennis, golf, flying and piano. Dangerous Past is his debut novel.