Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome our first guest of 2021, my friend and author, Gwen Plano. Gwen is here to share her latest release, The Culmination, a new beginning with us. I know you’ll be excited to learn about this one, so without further ado, take it away, Gwen!
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Marcia, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. With the New Year upon us, this is a perfect time to focus on the book.
What’s it about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.
I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and through the process, I learned intensely..
To celebrate the New Year, the Kindle edition will remain on sale through this week and then will return to its full price of $2.99.
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
In his hospital suite, Admiral Parker sits by the wall of windows. Since the second attempt on his life, he’s found himself unable to sleep. Parker keeps hearing gunshots and has flashes of scenes from his service in Vietnam.
Drowsy, his head grows heavy and falls to his chest. His mind takes him back to Vietnam. Grisly scenes flash before him of mangled bodies, thundering missile explosions, and shrill screams. He shudders and recoils. Then he startles when someone touches his shoulder. When he opens his eyes, he finds the base chaplain stands next to him.
“Hello, Admiral. I’m told you might appreciate a friend to talk to. I’d like to be that friend if it’s okay with you.”
Parker shrugs his acceptance. “I suspect you’re here because I’m remembering things. I, ah … I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I keep having flashes of Vietnam. It’s like I’m reliving it, but why? Why now?”
“My understanding is that the sniper’s bullet came within a hair of your heart. One centimeter more, and we wouldn’t be talking right now.”
“That’s true, but still …”
“And, it was the Medal of Honor that protected you.”
“Awarded because of your extraordinary valor in Vietnam, right?”
“Maybe it’s time to remember your experience there and make your peace.”
“Some things are best to forget, chaplain.”
“And yet, you’ve discovered that you haven’t forgotten. The experience lives and haunts you with its devastation.”
“I don’t understand it. After all these years, it feels like it happened yesterday. I keep seeing the same scenes over and over.”
“Tell me about what you see.”
Parker looks away, his eyes welling, and his jaw tightening. “Marines got trapped at the Delta. They needed help, badly. The sub Commander asked for volunteers to go ashore, and I offered. The sub got as close to land as possible, and I swam to shore and found mayhem. I could barely see through the smoke. The thumping sound of the Hueys mixed with desperate cries for help. It was a scene from hell. Bodies strewn everywhere. Torsos without arms. Without legs. Arms and legs without bodies. Hell.”
Parker stops and wipes his eyes. “I arrived too late. Yet I searched for any injured. There were none. It was a graveyard. I decided to go back to the sub, and when I drew close to the shoreline, I heard a moan. It turns out that I’d stepped on a Marine’s arm and broken it. The Marine lay buried in the mud but was alive. That man was Samuel Williams.”
“As in President Samuel Williams?”
“Yes. I called in for a patrol boat and got Williams into the craft. Though I did what I could, I was too late, except for Williams.” Parker slumps, and his head falls.
The chaplain breaks the silence with a question, “Do you pray, Parker?”
“Do you mind telling me how you pray?”
“I say the Lord’s Prayer, and usually, I hold my mom’s beads.” He raises his hand and shows the chaplain an old wooden rosary.
“Do you bring that prayer into your memories?”
“Not really. The past is past. Until recently, I thought I’d moved on.”
“Time isn’t linear. We can be a young child one moment, and an old man the next. The past is as real as the present through our memories.”
Buy The Culmination HERE
Letting Go into Perfect Love – https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth – https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes – https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning – https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9