Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interview with Myke Cole, Review of Breach Zone and Giveaway - January 29, 2014

Please welcome Myke Cole to The Qwillery. Breach Zone (Shadow Ops 3) was published on January 28, 2014.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery again. Your 3rd (and final?) Shadow Ops novel, Breach Zone, is out on January 28th. How has becoming an author changed your life? Is there any advice that you'd give debut authors?

Myke:  Becoming an author has changed everything, but mostly because I completely uprooted myself and changed skins. When I got the book deal, I was a senior government official in DC, but the truth was that I didn't like my life there, and was looking for a way out. I've been in New York City for 3 years now, and I think I'm finally starting to settle in and feel like this place is home.

It's interesting how quickly goal posts move when you get what you want. Before I had a book deal, I was absolutely convinced that all my problems would be solved if I could just get published. When it happened, my horizons immediately shifted. Now I have a little voice in my head telling me that everything will be great if I can just make the New York Times Bestseller list. Should that ever happen, I know that they will shift again, just as quickly. Doesn't mean I stop striving for that brass ring, though.

Advice for debut authors? Don't quit your day job, even if you hate it. Financial uncertainty and struggle can take a murderous mental toll. Wait until you are on certain financial footing (or that you have some other safety net, such as a working spouse) before you take the plunge. You can't write effective work if you are busy going insane from anxiety from flying without a net.

TQ:  Has your writing process changed from Control Point (Book 1) to Breach Zone (Book 3)?

Myke:  Not terribly. I outline a bit less, but otherwise it remains the same in that I write in every spare second of every day. Portable technology (the miniaturization of computers) has absolutely made my career possible. Thanks to laptops, tablets and smartphones I'm able to write anywhere at anytime, and promote at anywhere at anytime. If I had to do this back in the days before the laptop, I'd be screwed.

While my process hasn't changed, my focus has. The more I write, the more convinced I become that character is really the only thing that matters in a story, and the better I become at crafting great characters.

TQ:  What is Military Fantasy? Do you have any favorite Military Fantasy novels, movies, etc.?

Myke:  Military fantasy is a genre classification that publishers use to assist booksellers in organizing shelf-stock. Beyond that, it has little value. My stories do center around the US military, but they also address a wide range of other topics and issues. The idea of "military fantasy" is also based on a false concept of what makes a "military." I have a piece coming out on soon that discusses this very topic.

As for military fantasy novels, I'd argue that nearly every fantasy novel is "military" in the sense that it revolves around organized violence. Joe Abercrombie's THE HEROES is a good one if armies clashing is the aspect of military life you're after. Naomi Novik's TEMERAIRE series is another great one if you want to see traditional fantasy elements mingling with Western Napoleonic conceptions of what makes a military.

TQ:  Would you change anything in the Shadow Ops novels if you could?

Myke:  Tons of things, but it doesn't help to ruminate on them. You can tinker with a manuscript right up to the moment it is released. At some point, you have to resign yourself to it being the best you can make it, and let it go.

TQ:   Tell us something about Breach Zone that is not in the book description.

Myke:  About 25% of the book takes place on a Coast Guard Cutter. There's also a sea monster.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Breach Zone.

Myke:  "I never had a chance. I never had a choice." - Scylla. Also, "Sometimes, you win." - Bookbinder.

TQ:  Who is your favorite ethically ambiguous character from the Shadow Ops series? Which character has surprised you the most?

Myke:  The same character is the answer to both those questions: Scylla. Readers of BREACH ZONE will see the method behind her madness. You may not agree with the choices she makes, but if I did my job right, you'll understand them.

TQ:  What's next?

Myke:  GEMINI CELL is the next book under contract. It's done and well into its 6th draft, which is most just first chapter hair-splitting arguments with my agent. It takes place many years before CONTROL POINT and starts a completely different storyline. I'm also working on THE FRACTURED GIRL, a dark medieval fantasy that I hope to convince my agent to take to market. Lastly, I'm 12,000 words into a first draft of JAVELIN RAIN, the 5th book in the SHADOW OPS universe, that will follow GEMINI CELL.

Breach Zone

Breach Zone
Series:  Shadow Ops 3
Publisher:  Ace, January 28, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began “coming up Latent,” developing terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Those who Manifest must choose: become a sheepdog who protects the flock or a wolf who devours it…

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…

Qwills Thoughts:

Breach Zone is a stunning novel. Myke Cole takes the helm assuredly in the 3rd novel of his Shadow Ops series. The novel is centered on the battle in New York City between the government forces led by Lt. Colonel Jan Thorsten/Harlequin, an Aeromancer, along with General Bookbinder who has a magical ability all his own. We've met both characters in the Trilogy before. On the other side of the battle is Scylla, who is a Probe. She has a magic that is forbidden. We've also met her in prior novels.

While the story obviously involves the battle raging in New York City, the story moves on both a grander and smaller scale.  This is a story about the rights of Latents (humans who have magical abilities) and humans who don't. It's about the fear of Latent humans and laws put in effect to ostensibly to protect non-magical humans. You could insert other words for Latent and non-magical and see an even larger story here.

It is also the very personal story of Harlequin and Scylla and their interactions 6 years before the battle in New York City. Getting to know both of these characters made Breach Zone a wonderful read.  While you may side with Harlequin or Scylla or neither, you will certain understand their motivations. There are no black and white caricatures of good and evil in Breach Zone.

In addition, Oscar Britton, Sarah Downer, Swift, and other characters from the prior novels return. Oscar is the government's enemy Number One (see the first 2 novels). While Oscar may act very differently from Scylla, their goals are very similar - rights for Latent humans.

One of the things that Cole does very well is develop his characters. I have enjoyed seeing the characters really grow as individuals throughout the series. In addition the worldbuilding and mythology is exceptional. Cole also writes believable fantastical battle sequences and takes you behind the battle to understand the chain of command and the logistics in a way that enhances the story.

Breach Zone is a well written, emotional, exciting, and a superb end to the Shadow Ops trilogy.

Cole provides a glossary of terms and a guide to magical schools at the end of the novel so you are able to understand all the terminology. While not completely necessary, I recommend reading the prior 2 novels in the Trilogy.

Shadow Ops

Fortress Frontier
Shadow Ops 2
Ace, January 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Control Point
Shadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar's government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.

About Myke

Photo by Tim Lundin
As a secu­rity con­tractor, gov­ern­ment civilian and mil­i­tary officer, Myke Cole’s career has run the gamut from Coun­tert­er­rorism to Cyber War­fare to Fed­eral Law Enforce­ment. He’s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deep­water Horizon oil spill.

All that con­flict can wear a guy out. Thank good­ness for fan­tasy novels, comic books, late night games of Dun­geons and Dragons and lots of angst fueled writing.

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads


What:  Three copies of Breach Zone (Shadow Ops 3) - 3 Winners/1 book each - from Ace. US/CANADA  ONLY

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on February 8, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I was delightfully surprised by the story in Breach Zone.I have...thoughts I need to articulate into a review.

    1. I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts in writing!

  2. This series sounds fantastic! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  3. Congrats to Myke on the new release! This series sounds fantastic!!!

  4. I love finding out about new series. I enjoy them so much. Thanks

  5. The first two books in the series were really good. I have been eager to read the 3rd.