Thursday, October 04, 2012

Special Forces

My new favorite website to visit is called SOFREP. It stands for Special Operations Forces Situation Report.  There, you can get various former SF operators' take on current events. As soon as I finish this current manuscript, I'm joining as a member. (Trying to be disciplined.)

Why do I like SOFREP so much?

Informing articles like this one about an organization that claims to be not for profit to benefit SEALs' families (Be careful who you donate money to!) as well as interesting analysis on what's happening in the world from a different point of view than I'm used to hearing.

I like that the comments are also intelligent. No one is trying to be "First" or telling me how their aunt makes some ridiculous amount of money each month using her computer. I've found very informative links to other articles and websites that add to the discussion at hand through comments. I have no idea who these people/avatars are, but if I were putting together my own Zombie Apocolypse Team, I'd want a few of them covering my back!

I also think the website is cool because it's Special Ops!

I still remember the summer before my senior year at Stanford. I was working at NUWES (Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station) in Keyport, Wa. I was a few weeks away from my 21st birthday and a bunch of engineers were going to play paintball. I thought that sounded fun so went down to the local army surplus store in Seattle and purchased camo gear so I'd be coordinated from head to toe. Some of our opponents that day were Army guys from Fort Lewis.

The very first game was Capture the Flag. My team sent me to get the flag (yeah, sacrifice the only female on the team), and I surprised everyone, including myself, when I stole the flag and made it back without a paint ball coming close to me. I even asked the person running the game if maybe the other team let me win and he said no. Those guys would not have let me win.  I was awarded a star that went on my collar, then placed on the Army guys' team for the next game. It was something like 7 of us vs. everyone else. One guy, who turned out to be a Ranger, told me to come with him and he'd tell me what to do. He did. He must have taken out half the other team on his own. I was in awe of his abilities, a little scared of him and definitely attracted. I had zero doubt I was in skilled hands. In spite of the lopsided numbers, our team won. Hands down.

A big part of my SOFREP infatuation is I would love to write a military hero. Let's face it, Special Forces guys are sexy, even if there isn't any sex in my books. The more I read, the more I learn about this intriguing Special Ops World, the better I can create a 3-D hero and realistic story.

Those who've read this blog for awhile know how I love to research. In spite of my fear of heights, I learned and fell in love with climbing while researching mountain rescuers for my Mount Hood series!

My current Special Ops obsession isn't all that surprising. The background for it was put into motion when I was writing Expecting Royal Twins. That story features a crown prince, also a soldier, whose Balkan country fought a devastating civil war.

To research that and him, I spoke with Roger Carstens, a friend I knew during my high school years who graduated from West Point and starred in NBC's The Wanted (that gig was just coming up for him when he spent hours on the phone answering my never ending list of questions!) Roger introduced me via Facebook to John Fenzel, an Army Colonel who also wrote a novel set in the Balkans called The Lazurus Covenent.

So right now, I'm in sponge mode, soaking up what info I can, and seeing what kind of story idea and hero emerges from the gray matter inside my head after percolating a bit. The first question will be Delta Force or SEAL hero? Which kind of hero would you prefer reading?