Three times I wish I hadn’t been right…

When I write, I like to push the limits. Doing so allows you to increase the tension and make a book more engaging and fun to read, obviously.

But at the same time, we all know the moment an author crosses the line into the unbelievable, you’re immediately tempted to stop reading. And not just that book, but possibly even future things the author writes. Thus I tread carefully, before I even get close to that line.

Nonetheless, here are my Top 3 push-the-envelope moments, which have unfortunately all been born out by reality after I published the book. Each in REALLY big ways. (And don’t worry, I’ll keep all three vague enough that they’re not spoiler alerts if you haven’t read the books.)

1 ) Prison breakout, Mexican Heat. In Mexican Heat, I needed to have a cartel leader break out of the country’s most secure prison. I knew there were real life instances of break outs in more moderate prisons, but it would be seriously unrealistic for my character to be placed in a medium-secure facility. So in Mexican Heat, I had to take my chances and write that he was able to break out of the country’s most-secure prison. I thought I could take some heat for this, but thankfully readers agreed that in a country with a drug war that’s killed more than 60,000 people, a prison break out wasn’t that unbelievable. And then just a year after writing the book, ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped — even after our country warned Mexico he might.

2 ) Friendly fire incident, Afghanistan. In Afghan Storm, in order to facilitate some future turns of events, I needed to have a pretty serious friendly fire incident occur. Friendly fire incidents had occurred several times in the past decade-plus, but we’ve gotten better at preventing them. Unfortunately, I needed this to be a pretty serious incident, which I knew would be pretty unlikely. But it had to happen to make the book plot work, thus I wrote what I thought was a push-the-envelope attack, instigated by the Taliban, and hoped I wouldn’t be lambasted for it being outlandish. But just days after finishing the book, a Doctors Without Borders hospital suffered a far more horrendous and difficult-to-explain attack.

3 ) City seized, Afghanistan. Finally, in Afghan Storm, I wanted to have the Taliban seize a major city. But I knew I was pushing my luck BIG TIME on this one. ISIS has been pushing into Afghanistan, threatening the Taliban. And the country has seemed to stabilize and suffer fewer major Taliban attacks in recent years. But I believed I could make this attack believable, so I strategized with a prior Army Captain (and good friend) and did plenty of research on how it might occur. I SOOO did not want to be ridiculed for this scene, or hurt the possibilities for this book, which I felt was easily my best. In the end, I went with my gut, but worried greatly about the entire scenario. How would readers react? How bad would the reviews be? Could I even lose readers over it? But as you all know, while the book was literally publishing, the Taliban captured Kunduz, the capital of one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. And they not only captured it, they controlled it for 15 days and freed hundreds of fellow militants from the local jail — neither of which I would have dared predict.

So on the positive side, my author career is likely safe for at least a little longer. But on the negative side, each of these things were horrendous events that have caused unbelievable harm and loss of life.

I can honestly say I wish none of them had come to pass, and that I was forced to vigorously try to defend such “outlandish” events in my books. That, certainly, would have beat the alternative.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 300 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to keep up with his latest works.

‘Afghan Storm’ has arrived!

AfghanStorm_Cover

Hey guys!

I’m super proud to say that “Afghan Storm” is finally finished and available for purchase! (Well, at least in its ebook version. The paper version will come along in about a week or so.)

I can’t possibly explain how proud I am of this book. It is, without question, the best book we’ve ever pulled off. (And I say “we” because Danah was WAY more involved in this book than she’s ever been — and she’s always been somewhat involved. But on this book, she helped a ton with the characters, with the ending, and even worked on some rewrites of some of the chapters, making them MUCH better.)

Also, Emily Akin​ straight up killed it with the editing, and improved the book significantly.

So, with all that said, please, guys, do what you do best! : )

Buy the book, tell your friends, share on facebook, etc. And if this book rocks your world even half as much as I think it will, please drop a review for it on Amazon.

Thank you guys for allowing me to have the greatest (FULL-TIME!!!) job in the world, and through your support, for letting me take this journey the past year with Nick and his gang into one of the most desolate places in the world.

Danah, Emily, and I lived this book already, and each of us went through the entire gamut of emotions. (Believe me. I’m not lying.) And I’m betting you’ll do the same once you start it, as well.

I’ll place Chapter 1 at the bottom of this post. Just take a look at what Nick and his crew are up to. (Hint: It involves a forty-mile mission behind enemy lines into Pakistan. With just four men. And no support. And I mean none.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me: I write military action books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior USMC Sgt with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business — 9 of them with a newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate or inspire you.

Afghan Storm

Chapter 1

Present Day — Just inside Pakistan near the border of Afghanistan

Nick Woods took a knee and wiped the ample sweat from his forehead, adjusting his pack in the cool night air. He made a mental note to thank the gods of war that this was the middle of summer, and not the freezing, bone-chilling winter that drove even the tough locals into their compounds and caves.

The three men accompanying him used the short break to adjust gear and sip water, while Nick’s brain worked in overdrive as he scanned his sector. He was definitely putting his men out on a limb this time — more so than when he had led the assault on the Mexican slum of Neza-Chalco-Itza just six months ago.

The unit’s overall mission this time was as simple as it had been in Mexico: take down Rasool Deraz, a venerable elder who inspired hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters across the country and into Pakistan.

Over the years, Rasool Deraz had grown so powerful that most analysts and several computer simulations reported that under his leadership the Taliban would soon topple the Afghan government. And America felt that it had invested too much in the past fourteen years to allow the Taliban to once again assume control of Afghanistan.

Thus Nick’s company — Shield, Safeguard, and Shelter, or S3 — had been contracted by the Afghan government to ostensibly provide training for their police force and consult with the government at the highest levels to assist them in reducing the threat from the Taliban. Or at least that’s what it looked like on paper. S3, however, wasn’t just some private security firm. In reality, S3 was an arm of the CIA. A private company that filed annual paperwork and paid its taxes, which helped create enough distance to allow the U.S. government complete deniability.

S3’s job in Afghanistan had nothing to do with training the police. Although Nick and his band of headhunters had severely limited resources, the plan was simple: find Deraz, shoot Deraz, and hopefully set the Taliban back as much as they could.

However, actually executing the plan would prove to be no small challenge.

So far, they had made it past their first obstacle. The four men of S3 had snuck across the border of Afghanistan and into Pakistan nearly an hour ago with no problems. That, of course, was the easy part. But now, on this side of the border, they were completely on their own. Just four men with no chance of backup, air support, or extraction. In fact, the only guarantee they were given was that America would deny any ties to S3 if they were captured or killed.

You sure know how to dig a deep hole, Nick thought to himself.

But at least he had brought three of his best men with him. He had Marcus, the tall, commanding Marine drill instructor, who served as his right-hand man. He had Truck, the merciless, insubordinate Special Forces trooper, who had seen as much combat as any man alive. And he had Red, the cocky, quick-tempered Marine, who carried a trainload of fight on his 5’5” frame. Red was also one of the best point men Nick had ever encountered.

Their objective on this raid was to infiltrate forty-plus miles into Pakistan (moving only in darkness). They would travel along a moderate mountain range, trekking at higher altitudes to avoid detection. Thankfully, this wasn’t the Hindu Kush mountain range, which spanned as high as 20,000 feet. Instead, this range had much lower elevations, being as Nick and his team were crossing into Pakistan roughly 100 miles south of Khost. That mean much lower elevations, which were much easier to traverse.

At the end of this forty-mile journey into one of the most dangerous countries in the world, they planned to raid a single compound and locate a man named Ahmud al-Habshi.

Ahmud al-Habshi was the primary communications man for the Taliban. Therefore, his private compound promised computers, probably several servers, and loads of files. Essentially, it was a smorgasbord, a tide-turning honey hole, of invaluable intelligence.

Then there was Ahmud al-Habshi himself, who knew the habits, movements, and possibly every hiding spot used by Rasool Deraz. Nick Woods and his three S3 shooters planned to wake him up late one night and take him on a one-way field trip to Afghanistan. If they failed, a drone strike would quickly silence al-Habshi, but it would in turn also destroy tons of evidence and any chance of taking down Rasool Deraz.

Thus, it was critical that Nick and S3 properly execute this raid. Failing to capture the intel from al-Habshi and eventually take down Deraz would certainly doom Afghanistan.

Deraz was seen as a respected leader and legend by the people in Afghanistan, most of whom supported him. Blessed with high esteem and a nation’s loyalty, his power and reach were difficult to fathom.

With just a few words delivered by messenger, Deraz could call upon local fighters among the people, who would spring up and strike an Afghan compound before disappearing into the countryside.

And the strength of Deraz knew no bounds. He had supporters in the countryside. He had supporters in the farmlands. He had supporters in the cities.

Without question, Rasool Deraz was the spiritual leader for many of the Afghan people, and Nick and S3 had to find a way to take him down or Afghanistan was doomed.

Link to “Afghan Storm.”