Does it seem The Blind Puppeteers is a long time coming?

You can’t imagine the roadblocks to this little project. Despite the detours, Jena’s new thriller has returned from our primary editor, has been polished a couple times and sent to our Alpha readers, as well as to our copy editor, which means we’re close.

Here’s how it beings:


I spent a chunk of my teenage years as an avid reader of all things fiction. Rohmer to Tolkien, Asimov to Kerouac, Huxley to Poe, I read all the underground heroes. Many are still my faves.

If I recall, I was seventeen, coming up on draft age in the Vietnam era. Not wanting to fight or kill (or die, for that matter), I had a strong urge to avoid the military. Anti-war protests ran rampant while the so-called “police action” raged. Dalton Trumbo’s cult classic, Johnny Got His Gun was making the rounds. Brutal, it is still one of the most personal tragedies told in a wartime setting. I remember both the outrage and devastation as I pored over Trumbo’s pages. Stricken, I passed the book along to my mother, urging her to read it.

The next morning, she caught me by surprise, scolding me for giving her Johnny Got His Gun. On the verge of tears, she told me she spent the World War II years suffering from terrible nightmares of soldiers wounded and dying. I felt horrible. I had no idea. To this day, I’m cautious to recommend a read without disclosing the nature of the content. The ‘New Reader Warning’ at the beginning of my books is evidence.

My mother’s anguish hit me hard. I suddenly saw war as more than a threat to me and my generation, witnessing how other people who lived through war were impacted. All combat soldiers and their families were affected in some way. Many died. Many more were wounded, damaged for life. Some ended up living in alleys. Some used the experience, pushing themselves to live quasi-normal lives when they returned, doing whatever it took to get by.

Vietnam wasn’t the only tragedy. My paternal grandfather was a foot soldier who survived the trenches and mustard gas of World War I, ‘the war to end all wars’ only to come home ‘shell-shocked’—a term that exploded into ‘PTSD.’ Staggeringly, there are more casualties of armed conflict every day.

It wasn’t until years later I realized not everyone was as adamant about ending war. Some people feel it is necessary and fully justified. And in rare cases, I’m forced to mostly agree. However, I’m still of the opinion that there are other, less destructive ways to resolve conflicts. We humans have far better things to do than sacrifice ourselves on battlefields.

Maybe here is a good spot to remind you of my earlier warning. Parts of this story’s opening sequence are taken from a YouTube video before it was pulled—live combat footage in an Afghan war zone. Inspiration comes from the oddest places. That said, this is very far from a war story. Anyway, I digress, and an entertaining read awaits. Time for me to get off the soapbox and let you ride along with Jena on a journey, new and strange.

If you’ve followed Jena so far, you know she has her ways, but not so much with interpersonal relationships. You’ll witness her private whirlwind, blowing from sea to shore. How it ends . . . Read on and see for yourself.


After reading The Blind Puppeteers, more than one of the Alpha readers predicted Jena’s future with some accuracy. She must be rubbing off. I’m roughly 25% into the first draft of the fifth book in the series. If you’d like to share your predictions, you can bounce them off me here: