Wounded warriors and the making of AWAKENING MACBETH

Wounded warriors and the making of AWAKENING MACBETH

My great-uncle Nicky was the second-to-the-youngest of my grandfather’s five brothers. He was missing most of his right index finger.

During WWII, while my grandfather turned out copper ship hulls as a foreman at the Revere Copper and Brass rolling mill, Nicky and four other brothers were GIs. I think Nicky was the only one to see combat.

What’s ANZIO?

“Uncle Nicky was at Anzio,” my mother confided. “And the South Pacific.”

As a child, I had no real idea what she was talking about, although Anzio was a cool and somehow romantic word. I used to say it to myself as I waited to fall asleep. Anzio, Anzio. I pictured Uncle Nicky as a fierce soldier dressed like my cousin’s GI Joe action figure, with a gun that blew up, taking his trigger finger with it.

It was only much later that I found Anzio on a map and learned about the bloody and pivotal battle that took place there in the first six months of 1944. Uncle Nicky saw hell in Italy, then was sent to help mop up the Japanese. As if this wasn’t enough for him to handle, Nicky’s young wife died shortly after the war.

Despite his experiences, when I knew him, Uncle Nicky was a lively, wiry, and good-natured man who occasionally visited my grandparents. It was many years later that I learned that he hadn’t been wounded in the war but lost his finger as a kid in a kitchen accident.

VETERANS and WARRIORS

Uncle Nicky may have encouraged my love of history and geography but many veterans have impacted my life. When my parents met, my father was an Air Force meteorologist at a Strategic Air Command base.. My uncle served in Vietnam as a Navy chaplain. A good friend parachuted into the first Iraq War and later taught my son how to be an altar server. A close friend’s husband served in Afghanistan. He survived multiple IED attacks only to face an indifferent and inefficient VA system.

The courage and strength of our vets have moved me, especially when I see wounded warriors rebuild their lives and go beyond what most of us could do. If like me, you are a fan of Dancing With The Stars, you saw double amputee Noah Galloway compete a few seasons ago. His resilience and determination resonated with millions.The same with BT Urruela, a combat wounded amputee, purple heart recipient, contemporary author and veteran activist. Photographs of BT by photographer Michael Stokes captured the character of veteran and amputee Joe Birnam in the thriller  AWAKENING MACBETH.

BT Urella by Michael Stokes

Indeed, I pay tribute to our veterans in the character of Joe Birnam in the thriller AWAKENING MACBETH. In the story, Joe is a Marine Corps vet who lost a leg in Iraq. When we meet him, he has retired from the military and rebuilt his life. Almost.

THE PRIZE

Not to give the plot of AWAKENING MACBETH away, but a centuries old game is being played every night as we sleep in which the devil steals souls that wander in search of answers.

In history professor Brodie Macbeth’s nightmares, Joe’s soul is the prize.

Why this particular soul?

The would-be thief—call him evil or a demon or what you will—knows that a warrior’s soul is special. Hence he answer.

“After all, the soul of a warrior is the biggest prize in the game. Warriors’ souls get insulated by pride and patriotism and discipline. Dedication to duty. They’re hard to come by.”

But can your soul truly be stolen? Read AWAKENING MACBETH and find out . . .

Awakening Macbeth

Find AWAKENING MACBETH on Amazon. #FREE for Kindle Unlimited readers!

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CARMEN AMATO

Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.

 

Romance’s Newest Hero is a Wounded Warrior

Romance’s Newest Hero is a Wounded Warrior

Two weeks ago, I posted this picture on my Facebook page. (You can thank me again later, dearest reader Karen)

WoundedWarrior

The wounded warrior in the picture is Brian Taylor “BT” Urruela, taken by photographer Michael Stokes, and he serves as visual inspiration for the character of Joe Birnam in AWAKENING MACBETH, my romantic thriller with a paranormal twist.

Related: Read Chapter 1 of AWAKENING MACBETH

Like Joe Birnam in AWAKENING MACBETH, BT Urruela was a sergeant in Iraq when his armored vehicle was hit with an IED, resulting in the loss of a leg below the knee. Urruela’s commander was killed and members of his team lost limbs as well. Suffering from PTSD and depression, Urruela turned to his love of sports–notably baseball–to recover. Fictional warrior Joe Birnam used swimming and water polo to do the same.

Urruela started VETSports, a non-profit organization that provides physical, emotional and psychological rehabilitation through adaptive sports as well as helping wounded and combat vets reintegrate into civilian roles. PEOPLE magzine readers in 2016 voted him one of 30 everyday heroes recognized by Major League Baseball s Tribute for Heroes and Urruela was also recognized with Rare Media’s Under 40 award. Beyond his sports rehabilitation organization, today Urruela is a model, student, fitness trainer, and budding fiction author. The video clip below is from a 2014 PBS special about him.

AWAKENING MACBETH was written, and the character of Joe Birnam created, before I ever saw the provocative yet powerful picture of Urruela. Both the real and the fictional wounded warrior have stories that capture the imagination and the heart.

When Brodie discovers the shocking supernatural cause of her nightmares, it imperils not only her relationship with Joe, but both their lives. The author expertly interweaves historical facts, drawn from the books Brodie is reading, into the character’s bad dreams. 

Both Brodie and Joe are relatable characters; indeed, he’s so perfectly flawed that many readers will fall in love with him, too. 

A suspenseful, page-turning paranormal romance — KIRKUS REVIEWS

While I hope readers enjoy AWAKENING MACBETH and its story of love versus evil, my greater hope is that we all support our wounded warriors and salute their sacrifice and service.

Meet the Cast of AWAKENING MACBETH

See the Sights of AWAKENING MACBETH

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CARMEN AMATO

Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.

 

Romantic thriller with a paranormal twist hits #KindleScout

Romantic thriller with a paranormal twist hits #KindleScout

“She inherited a secret her soul doesn’t know.”

That’s the tagline on the cover of AWAKENING MACBETH, my latest romantic thriller.

I want your vote

Amazon’s Kindle Scout program allows readers to nominate books they would like to see published and AWAKENING MACBETH is one of the books competing to be nominated. Readers can only nominate 3 books at a time and a book has 30 days in which to garner votes.

Awakening Macbeth novel

Click to cast your vote

The nomination page for AWAKENING MACBETH went “live” today with the cover, a lengthy excerpt, and this romantic thriller description (limited to 500 characters!):

Shattered by her father’s death, professor Brodie Macbeth has terrifying nightmares. In her sleep, people will kill for a secret Brodie doesn’t know. It’s grief, everyone says, and when Brodie meets Joe Birnam, an Iraq War vet with his own demons, she’ll finally learn to love. Yet a colleague’s shocking claim and demand for her father’s secret makes Brodie realize that the nightmares are a real and deadly game. Joe’s immortal soul is the prize. But Brodie doesn’t know how to play, let alone win.

Nerves

This is my first book not set in Mexico and I’m a bit nervous to see how it will be received. Regular readers of this blog will remember that the novel was excerpted here last year. Since then, I’ve amped up the story and included more sizzle between Brodie and Joe.

So check out the nominating page, read the excerpt and please nominate AWAKENING MACBETH for publication with Kindle Scout.

Thank you

Thank you so much for walking with me on this writing journey from Mexico City to Acapulco and now to Virginia. My readers are smart, savvy people with a wealth of interests and I love connecting with you. Thanks to each and every one of you for your reviews, enthusiasm and great ideas.

All the best, Carmen

P.S. To be the first to know if AWAKENING MACBETH makes it to the Kindle Scout winner’s podium, subscribe to my newsletter.

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CARMEN AMATO

Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.

 

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