Focus Friday: The Drone Wars


Book 3 of The Drone Wars

By Frederick Lee Brooke


Matt knew Luke had a drone at fifty thousand feet somewhere above them, watching them with high-powered optical imagery. It was good to know the shooters had only been local Dark Fiber thugs. Homeland Security would have been ten times more dangerous. After Des Moines, and the massive coordinated government crackdown, Dark Fiber militia chapters were on the run everywhere.

However, none of this was going to make their landing in the dirt any softer. Matt glanced at Raine, scanning for the ground, same as him.

They saw you flying low, they figured you were the enemy, Luke said.

Just get us a ride, will you? We don’t plan on dying in this jelly jar.

Luke kept a national database of March22 loyalists, a list Matt had once seen on his twin brother’s laptop. The names and addresses of thousands of March22 volunteers, who lived all over the country, people trained and ready with cars, trucks, houses, boats, guns. Luke had scrolled down the list at warp speed but it went on endlessly, a list so long you would never reach the end.

I’m on it, Luke said. Time to make sure your seat belt is securely fastened, all carry-on items are placed under the seat in front of you, and your tray table is in the upright and stowed position.

Sander caught Matt’s eye. “Did you talk to him?” His tone was desperate.               The helicopter continued to angle down through the darkness. You could feel yourself falling, but the rotors must be generating some lift. Otherwise they would be falling out of the sky like an anvil in the old TV cartoons.

Matt scanned below, searching for a light, a tree, a reflection off water. But everything was just dark down there, like a cellar where the light switch didn’t work.

“He said he would work on it. He’s got our coordinates.”

“Any second now,” Sander said. “Brace yourselves. Only thing is, we’re a hell of a long way from Abba’s. We can’t just hike across the whole state of Georgia.”

“Luke’s got our backs,” Matt said.

The worry lines in Sander’s brow smoothed momentarily. He knew Luke as well as anyone, and there was deep trust among the leaders. All except one leader, that is, Matt’s own father. The one who was so determined to mess up everything March22 had worked for.

Put simply, their mission now was to stop his father. Change his mind. And the leaders were convinced Matt was the only person who stood a chance of it, with Sander, his father’s old best friend, by his side. Today’s mission could determine the future of March22, and possibly the fate of the whole country.

Without further warning, a giant crash jolted Matt’s bones. A shock went through his entire system. The sickening sound of metal bending and crunching, Plexiglas popping, instruments shattering, steam escaping under pressure.

The last thing Matt saw was Raine’s beautiful face next to him, panic in her luminous green eyes.

About The Drone Wars

Matt Carney has nailed every mission underground guerilla organization March22 has given him, beating the odds time after time. But when he gets his new assignment, he quickly sees his chances of success dwindling to zero.

“Find the man,” they tell him. Except the man he is supposed to find is at the top of Homeland Security’s Most Wanted list, an expert at escape and deception.

“Stop the man,” they tell him. Except the man he’s supposed to stop is plotting the murder of millions of Americans in a sociopathic quest for a new social order.

…and this man, the one they want him to find and stop, is his own father.

Malls, airports and factories erupt in pillars of fire, thousands die, and cities teeter on the brink of collapse as Matt and his twin brother, Luke, fight to stop a man on an apocalyptic quest to obtain the final piece of his deranged puzzle—a piece that will allow him to put into motion his plans for the complete annihilation of the United States.

120,000 dead. Entire cities devastated. The country a hair’s breadth from a fate worse than death. Can Matt and Luke stop this nightmare before the world as they know it comes to a devastating end?

About the author

fredbrookeFrederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December 2013, and was followed by its sequel, Inferno, in June 2014.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

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Win A Book Wednesday The Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide


Welcome to Win A Book Wednesday! Leave a comment below and enter to win a copy of the Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide

166_0.667498001436562231_wyap_cv_hrCreating buzz for your book and your career as an author just got easier.

‘The Author’s Platform’ will help you create, understand and use a powerful author platform to sell books!

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind book marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

This book will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success

‘The Author’s Platform’ teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers: 

  • The Difference between a Website and a Blog
  • The Important Items Your Blog Should Contain
  • The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms
  • Newsletters
  • Amazon’s Author Central and many more

˃˃˃ With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create, understand and use an Author Platform to support your career.

Available on Amazon

Barb’s note: 

The whole point of this book was to create something that wouldn’t be intimidating to beginner authors, yet give them enough information to get started building their platform and get ready to move to the next level of understanding about promoting their book. If you have an author like that in your circle, please pass this book on to them as it truly is written at the primer level!

*   *   *

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and 25 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Barb can be found:

Author Website  |    Business Blog  |   Facebook Author Page

Twitter  |    Google+   |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads 

YouTube Channel

Tech Hints Newsletter

*   *   *


Website or Blog


Let’s start with the hub of your author platform—your website or blog. These words are often used interchangeably but can actually denote separate things. Let’s define.

Usually the word “website” refers to a static site on the Internet containing information that isn’t changed frequently. A programmer or web designer versed in HTML coding usually makes the changes on a per-change or hourly basis. Many authors view websites as expensive, and they certainly can be.

I’m rather frugal and prefer not to spend money. As a result, I’m not fond of static websites. Yes, they serve a purpose. However, I don’t think the average author must make the investment.

Static websites pose another problem. Because new and exciting information doesn’t appear in a timely fashion, these sites don’t attract the attention of Google and therefore often don’t rank very well in a Google search.

Think of Google as a toddler with a new toy. Those of you who have had exposure to toddlers know the toy doesn’t stay new long and, before you know it, the toddler is on to other toys—always looking for something new and different. If the content on a website is rarely updated, Google won’t pay much attention either.

Why should you care about this? As an author in need of visibility, you must rank as high as possible during a Google search. If you have an uncommon name such as mine, ranking on Google is a slam-dunk. Search my name and you’ll discover I own the first page of Google in a name-based search.

If you have a common surname like Smith or Jones, or share a name with a celebrity, you’ll probably never own the first page of Google. A client of mine shares his name with a moderately successful country singer. That’s a tough row to hoe. Ranking higher on Google than a famous person is difficult, but it is possible—as long as your name isn’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Why do you want to rank high on a Google search? It’s true that the majority of your readers will come from word of mouth. But not all. If a potential reader wants to find you quickly, or they’re looking for books in a specific genre, they frequently perform a Google search. They’ll glean the first entries found, but rarely look beyond the first few pages delivered by Google. Make it easy for readers to find you by ensuring you rank high on a search.


Tech Hint: I have lots of people tell me they “Google” themselves or search for themselves on Google all the time and they rank really well. Google is a responsive search engine. In other words, it learns. The more you perform a certain search, the better Google gets at finding what you want. If you Google yourself all the time, Google will get really good at finding you. Go to the local library and do the same search without signing on to your Google account. You will likely see a very different result. You likely don’t rank as high as you think!


Let’s return to our discussion of websites versus blogs. If websites feature static content, blogs offer a constant stream of new information. To my mind, blogs offer a second benefit: an author can maintain a blog with minimal paid help. Most important, a blog’s fresh content ensures it will rank higher in a Google search. (Remember the toddler example.)




During the 1990s, a blog was known as a weblog, indicating that it was something found on the Internet as a serial recording of information—a diary, if you will. Today, blogs are quite different, personalized and modified to display information in a variety of ways. But ultimately, a blog is still a serial collection of information.

In my experience, most blogs are designed by highly technical people with little understanding of the needs of authors. Even if your first blog seems a technical wonder, it is likely to change once you decide how you will use your blog. Please use the information below to make informed choices about your initial direction, or to modify the blog you’ve already developed. Whether you are a new or seasoned blogger, I hope that by the end of this section you will have a better sense of the components required for a successful blogging experience.

This brings me to an important point: regardless of your web designer’s opinion, ultimately your blog must be easy to use and tailored to your needs. If you have a blog that is too complicated for your skill level, ask for help. Make sure that help is qualified and is used to working with authors. We are a niche group with unique needs.

There are many different platforms for blogs including Blogger, free WordPress (also known as and self-hosted WordPress (also known as Each platform has positive and negative aspects.

As of this writing, a self-hosted WordPress blog costs no more than $100.00 a year. There are some additional startup costs. For example, how much you spend depends on the graphics selected for your blog.

For a nominal charge, you may also register a domain for your free WordPress or Blogger account. Doing so allows use of your author name unless the domain has been registered by another writer with the same name. For example, I own the domain and it is attached to my author site.

Do you care if you register your own domain? Only you can answer that question. In my opinion, you should.



Monday Musings: To Prologue or Not To Prologue


by Kathleen Valentine Recently novelist Earl Staggs wrote an interesting blog post that he called The Bastard Prologue. He said that when he first set out as a novelist, he was told to never use a prologue. One day, while in a store waiting for his … [Continue reading]

Focus Friday: Heavenscribe: Part Three

Nolfi Author Photo1

By Christine Nolfi Chapter One Cinching the belt of her bathrobe around her waist, she appraised the figure strolling gracefully into the moonlight to reveal stature far beyond the human norm. The woman stood more than seven feet tall. A tunic of … [Continue reading]

Win-A-Book Wednesday: Deceive

By Raine Thomas   What type are you? This week's book giveaway You can win a copy of the bestselling Raine Thomas' newest book, the first in the Estilorean series while getting a free personality evaluation. In the Comments section … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: The Allure of the Deeply Flawed Character

As a writer I am continually amazed by the reactions readers have to certain characters. I can never quite predict which character my readers will take a fancy to and am often delighted, although surprised, at their choices. I like this because it is … [Continue reading]

Focus Friday: Forgive No More

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Win-A-Book Wednesday: Broken Places

By Rachel Thompson   Win a free copy of Broken Places, Rachel Thompson's acclaimed memoir, just by leaving a comment below. About Broken Places Within one week of its release in January 2015, Broken Places, reached the Top Five in … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Yet Another Bright Idea


by Kathleen Valentine Authors are always trying to come up with ways to promote their work. Free and discount books has always been a popular promotion but these days there are so many low cost books it is hard to compete. Even the big publishers … [Continue reading]

Focus Friday: Jet – Stealth


By Scott Bury “Be ready to leave everything behind.” Maya had never seen eyes so blue before. She could not ascribe any other logic behind her actions as she retrieved her handbag, took two prepaid credit cards from it and slipped them into her … [Continue reading]