Category Archives: Stories about my life

Me and Stephen Hunter?!

Wow, is it embarrassing being on video…

At any rate, it was time. (Actually, it’s been time.)

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What’s with the Nazi “SS” symbol on Nick’s chest? And why is he so unlikable?

Sold Out” earned a great review the other day. See it here: http://twbarton.com/reviews.html.

And while we’re on the subject of “Sold Out,”I thought I’d address two recent complaints I’ve recently received about the book.

The first and most serious one concerned the Nazi “SS” symbol on Nick’s chest.

Well, the Nazi “SS” symbol isn’t something I made up. I had a buddy who I served with in 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, who later became a Scout Sniper two years after I met him and got to know him really well. (This was roughly in 1997.) One day, a bunch of my friends were circled around him following his completion of Scout Sniper training and I walked up to see what was causing the commotion. Turns out, he had a Nazi “SS” symbol burned into his chest, exactly like Nick Woods in the book. (Same location, same terrifying font.)

My friend told me it had been burned into his chest with a coat hanger just a couple of days earlier.

When I said, “Man, do you know what that symbol is?,” he answered me with pretty much the exact dialogue that you find in the book. (In short, that it was not about the Nazi connotation but about the strength, quality, and pride portrayed by the German Army in WW II.)

My friend also said that all Scout Snipers got one burned into their chest. (At least at that time.)

Furthermore, I know of several Marine Scout Snipers who have read this book and given me feedback who have served since 1999 (when I got out) and none of them have mentioned the Nazi “SS” symbol scene, so I’m assuming it still happens. (Otherwise, I’m certain these men who provided me feedback would have said, “Bro, no one burns a Nazi SS symbol into their chest anymore…”)

Finally, as further proof, remember this news story from only 2012?

“Marine scout snipers used Nazi SS logo:” http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20120209/NEWS/202090327/Marine-scout-snipers-used-Nazi-SS-logo

I say all this just to provide some context and show where I’m coming from as the author. It’s not like I had some wild-haired fancy idea to put a very controversial thing into the book.

The burned “SS” symbol on Nick’s chest is like every other thing in the book. It’s part of either something I experienced while I served, learned from two of my best friends who went through Scout Sniper school, or researched and documented in the dozens of sniper books I’ve read over the past 15 years.

I’d also like to address why Nick is so unlikable.

Obviously, Nick really is jacked up in the head… He’s about as messed up as they come. Not only does he have PTSD, but he has higher than normal levels of paranoia because he was literally sold out by the government that he trusted.

And given that he’s killed a hundred plus guys in a series of missions he can’t talk about, he’s not your typical vet. He’s a dangerous animal that you don’t want to set off.

No, he’s not like some likable Hollywood character. Instead, he’s precisely like many vets you’ll meet in the real world.

And if I’m totally honest, I’d have to admit this: I wrote much of “Sold Out” right after my exit from the Marine Corps, when I was dealing with some serious paranoia and had spent the better part of four years fixated on the multitude of ways to kill people.

I was in a dark place, and I suppose the book reveals it.

Just as Nick Woods gets into a major fight with his wife over his paranoid thoughts and preparations for an attack on his home, I, too, dealt with that. Nick got caught with a gun under his sink and a secret journal full of suspected people following him.

I got into a major fight with my wife because I was unscrewing the electrical outlets in my home, convinced after a weird interaction at the mall — which I thought was with a CIA agent– that everything I said in the home was being listened to by the federal government. (This was in 1999 or 2000, way before the days of the NSA being in the news for listening and reading to every single thing that we say. Hi, NSA.)

My point is that the Nick Woods in “Sold Out” is far more real than you probably ever want to imagine.

We prefer images of soldiers and Marines returning home with a smile, hugging wives and kids and wrapped in the flag. We don’t want to think about those same men taking different routes to work, being startled in their sleep and seizing their wives neck, or nearly taking a dude out in the mall who approaches them twice with some weird comments.

But the veterans who have actually been through a lot are like that. They have wire triggers, they’re alert, and you don’t want to startle them. (Just ask one of my friends.)

And while many of you will say, “But, Stan, you’re so nice. This is all hard to believe,” you need to know that the Stan you see now is not the Stan you would have seen right after I got out. (And the Stan you see now is still half-crazy, lol!)

Love you guys. Thanks for all the support. Both of books continue to sell better and better and I owe each and every one of you greatly. (And, yes, “Mexican Heat” is still in final edits and get closer and closer to being published every day!)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please consider subscribing for email alerts of new posts.


 If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after finding himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

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I will no longer feel guilty for my Diet Coke addiction

I came across some new information recently that makes me feel a little better about my addiction to Diet Coke…

I found this research as part of my never-ending search on the safety of drinking it, since I’ll probably never be strong enough to drop the stuff — see Diet Coke, Guilt, and the Taliban for a hilarious discussion on my (and other’s) thoughts on the matter.

It turns out that the European Food Safety Authority is now saying that “A 150-pound woman could drink twenty 12-ounce cans of diet soda a day without exceeding the safety threshold for the artificial sweetener.”

Story here: We’ve Got Good News for Diet Soda Drinkers.

Honestly, I trust the European Food Safety Authority more than I trust our own FDA. And, as the article points out, the safety of aspartame has also been OK’d by the the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

I also spent some time today re-reading what the Mayo Clinic says about aspartame, as well as what the the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness proclaims — yes, I know who all is involved in that organization…

At any rate, after probably two years of fretting about my Diet Coke addiction, I’ve decided I’m going to stop feeling so guilty or searching for an alternative. I have read probably 50 websites that go on and on about how dangerous it is for you, and I’m certainly not arguing that it’s good for you, but I’m no longer going to buy into the fears.

Just a couple hundred years ago, you could literally starve to death in this country. And I’m thinking back then, you probably didn’t fret if you lacked a balanced diet and had to eat potatoes every day.

And probably back then, you didn’t worry if your water had been purified a half-dozen times.

I’m not saying to be an ignorant oaf in this day and age, but I am saying that we’ve allowed anxiety and fear to completely dominate our lives. And I’m officially done with it. (At least until the next absurd facebook post comes up talking about how you can use coke to scrub off rust or something stupid… Nah, I’m done with that, too. Especially after reading this article…)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please consider subscribing for email alerts of new posts.


 If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after finding himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

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Some pretty big news, and a big thanks to my supporters

So, members of Mitchell’s Militia. I’m kind of on Cloud 9 right now and I felt like I had to share it since you guys are completely the reason for it — and for some reason are tagging along with me on this journey.

Just a bit ago, I was getting in some much needed relaxing, and doing some kung fu before planning to get back on editing “Mexican Heat.”

And I had stopped to check my sales for the day — I do this way too much — and noticed my sales had jumped up a bit today. Immediately, like all newbie authors, I decided to check Amazon to see how high my ranking had climbed.

Unbelievably, Sold Out was at the following in its two listed genres:

  • #78 in the Top 100 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Political.
  • #89 in the Top 100 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Political.

Can you believe that?! (Click this link here to see, if you look fast enough — they change hourly.)

I’m in the Top 100 of the same list that includes Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Tom Clancy, Nelson Demille, Scott Turow, and others.

And I’m somehow in that list with no marketing support, no nationwide distribution, no big shot editor, no major publishing house behind me.

Without question, the only reason I’m there is because of you guys, so I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Thanks for following me. Thanks for encouraging me. Thanks for telling folks about me.

I know I won’t stay in that list for long — I don’t have enough reviews, name recognition, etc.– but for right now, I’m about as pumped as a man can get!

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

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Gen. Zinni and I go way back…

Wow! Just saw this link below!!!

Yes, yours truly is being quoted as part of the editorial reviews for this hardcover book that was just published out of New York. If you flatter me enough to look, click on the link and scroll down to “Editorial Reviews” and I’m the fifth one down. And for those keeping track, that’s only:

[ ] Three down from Gen Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM Commander.
[ ] Two down from Small Wars Journal.
[ ] One down below War on the Rocks, an influential magazine for analysis, commentary, and debate on foreign policy and national security issues.

Then, there’s me. Yes, little ole’ me. They quoted from a book review I wrote a couple months ago.

Now, I could pretend they asked me to quote that, or orchestrated the words I wrote, or even, well, even just informed me they were going to use it because I mattered that much! lol : )

But the truth is they didn’t. So, I’m not like VIP, big shot yet, but man, quoted on the same page as Gen. Zinni?

Or, even quoted at all as if I matter?

I’ll take it!!!!!

And in all seriousness, I owe you guys.

My book sales have set an all-time record this month, and there’s still like five days left to go and I haven’t even dropped my next novel Mexican Heat down yet. So, a super huge (SUPER, SUPER HUGE) thank you to all those who have believed in me, supported me, read me, touted me, and shared me!

Thankfully, my sales and fiction career continue to climb nicely and I’m as hungry and motivated as ever. Look out fiction world! The little engine that could is about to bust out onto the scene big time!

Thanks again everyone for letting me jabber on about this. And I apologize for being so dad-gone excited about it! I feel as excited as the time I talked back and forth with a Three-Star General in January of last year!

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

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