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Embedded Far From Home
The Divided House of Embeds, Thinking about Audiobook Editions, and Another Indie Scifi Author
The Embed Experience
My embed group and members of the Afghan National Police. ANP members got me a Titanic cake for my birthday. I blocked out their faces to protect their identity. To this day, I do not know what has happened to them.
There is a story told by State Departmenters and military alike. The tale has President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles having a routine when meeting with an outgoing ambassador. Upon the ambassador arriving at the office, Secretary Dulles would motion towards a globe and say, “What country will you be representing?” The new ambassador would point towards the state they are heading out to. Dulles would respond with “No, no,” and then point towards the United States. “You are representing America,” he would say. The story’s purpose, whether fiction or truth, is to remind everyone that they are Americans no matter where they are, and their loyalty is to the flag.
The Global War on Terrorism transformed this simple truth, however. No longer was it Americans in embassies or “observers” leading foreign troops to complete American missions. Instead, battlefields and offices in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places to this day had and have American “hands” assigned to host country civilian agencies. In Iraq and Afghanistan, uniformed and civilian military officers were embedded into host country units in a command capacity for the long term. These men, and on a few occasions women, were told to lead their units and respond to the host nation government’s orders. Balancing two chains of command was difficult enough. What was most challenging was how the American senior leadership would view the embeds as compromised by “spending too much time with the Hajjis [a negative slang term for Muslims] while the host nation’s political leaders would view the embeds as spies.
Some successful embeds managed to become accepted by the locals, but this resulted in a kneejerk reaction amongst the American senior leadership. Some of the fear of going local was not unfounded. For embeds, taking on the local cause as their own proved challenging to overcome. Objectives did not neatly overlap all the time, and sometimes calls would have to be made in helping one side and not the other. At the end of the tour, several embeds told me how their men would appeal for them to stay and lead them. A handful received offers of Afghan citizenship and officer positions offers. However, all those I talked to knew that accepting would make them persona non grata amongst the United States political and military leadership, thus limiting their effectiveness. None accepted.
A weird imbalance formed in them because of the mixed messages they had received. Born and raised in the United States and veteran deployers, their patriotism was unquestionable. Yet, they had adopted some customs of the host nation and felt a special, sometimes protective, bond for their embedded country. When the two clashed, this made those who made bridges angry. A case in point was when the United States allowed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, head of the Shia Islamic State of Law Party, to steal the 2010 election from the recognized winner, Ayad Allawi, of the secular Shia and Sunni Islamic Iraqi National Movement. Those who were embeds gave their warnings to the State and Defense Departments. They claimed their warnings were ignored because they were seen as advocates for the groups they were embedded in.Within four years, the Islamic State of Iraq renamed itself the Islamic State, and then took over vast swaths of Syria and Iraq.
While staying within the United States, those who served in an embedded capacity in Afghanistan took the 2021 fall of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIROA) hard. They saw in one week the failure of those senior Americans who the embeds tried to warn, as well as the utter collapse of the home their host nation military members tried to build. Used by two countries to build a better future, all they have to show for it is a GIROA that only exists in the history books while the United States has moved on.
On a side note, several people I discussed their situations with mentioned how private military groups are recruiting for Ukraine’s military. The appeal of once again going into combat, helping others, and being accepted by a new group of people is appealing, yet no one has signed their name on a contract.
How this ties in to Fallen and Risen
Brendan Murphy was ordered to embed himself as a liaison to the Sabia, not only to relay messages but to serve and advise the Sabia on intelligence matters. His following orders created ire amongst his own superiors while endearing himself to some of the Sabia.
In the current work in progress Risen, the United States has cut off Brendan while Esfirs pushes for him and her to relocate to the Sabia homeworld so she may birth their daughter Roxin there. The emotional tempest between settling down with a family after everything he has experienced and knowing he may never be allowed to return to Earth again is something he must confront. Shutting down like he did during the worst of his PTSD days is no longer an option. Meanwhile, other factions are aligning their forces for their desired endgame for humans and the Sabia.
Read Fallen Today
Berina, Esfirs, Malcolm, and Brendan.
A hand full of people have been pressing hard for an audiobook version of Fallen. Right now, I am in talks with two narrators. At the same time, others are encouraging me to explore various AI voice options. Audiobooks can be pricy, yet going with an AI prevents one from putting the book on Audible, which is where most audiobooks are purchased. Also, I take pride in supporting indie developers, so the AI option is out.
Please let me know if you know any narrators who would be interested in possibly doing audiobook versions.
Bowen Greenwood, Fellow Indie Author
Bowen Greenwood is a friend of mine on Twitter. He’s also a publishing machine with 21 books right now on Amazon. Right now, he is offering the book Distant Thunder, an introduction to his Exile War, series for free. Check out the synopsis below
Once, telepaths almost wiped out humankind. Centuries later, a brotherhood called the Gentle Hand lives to keep it from happening again.
At 22, Langston Wheeler chomps at the bit to graduate and join their ranks. But when he finds a fellow student murdered in Servants’ Yard, his last few months in school take a mysterious turn, and the hunt for the killer borders on impossible.
Cleo Sable cuts short a meteoric career in the field to return to the Yard and teach others her craft. When Wheeler turns to her for help solving the murder, her comfortable post as a professor plunges into dangerous waters. Wheeler and Sable must catch the killer before a terrifying secret from the past brings the whole order down, and that may be the least of their worries. Every Gentle Hand lives under strict rules to control the gene for telepathy: who they serve, who they obey, and who they are allowed to love.
Bringing a murderer to justice draws Lang and Cleo inexorably together, but the system won’t be satisfied until they’re apart. A killer stalks Servants’ Yard, and an ancient evil stands ready to rise again. If they fail, any hope Lang and Cleo have for happiness could be lost, and Human Space plunged into the thunder of interstellar.
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I’d Love to Hear from You!
The best experience from an author is getting feedback from readers. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Fallen universe as well as related topics. Don’t be shy to hit me up! Feel free to share this newsletters with others, as I would love to have others read Fallen and hear from them as well!