Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview with Myke Cole and Giveaway - January 30, 2012

Please welcome Myke Cole to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Myke's debut, Control Point (Shadow Ops 1) will be published tomorrow.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Myke:  I apply military discipline to my writing process. I have an internal Company Commander (what they call Drill Sergeants in the other services) who never stops screaming at me. When I really think about it's a little crazy. I actually have a voice in my head shouting things like: "Oh, are you tired? Don't feel like working? Well, guess what? Your fans don't care. Your publisher doesn't care. Go ahead, take a break. The market will move on without you!" I actually picture the campaign cover (Smokey-the-Bear hat) and the gritty voice shouting at me. Odd, I know, but it works. While my routine is frequently interrupted, I am always, always, always working.

The guard expects nothing less from me when I'm in uniform, and the reading public expects nothing less from me when I'm out of it.

TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Myke:  I have to single out Peter V. Brett, who is the single greatest positive force in my writing life (and, frankly, in my personal life too). He's a *stellar* writer, and much of my economical prose styling and tight pacing was learned at his feet. If you haven't read his DEMON CYCLE (THE WARDED MAN and THE DESERT SPEAR), then you must.

Other favorites include Joe Abercromie, Scott Lynch, Richard K. Morgan and China Mieville. With the first two, I really appreciate the dark, gritty realism and incredibly engaging dialogue (Sam Sykes is also one to read in this regard). With Morgan and Mieville, I am swept away by the incredible florid prose styling that is pure liquid poetry. I could never do it myself, but I love reading it. Mieville is the most original writer I've ever encountered. He pushes the SF/F envelope to incredible degrees. Morgan shares a lot with Lynch and Abercrombie in his ability to portray flawed/broken characters and make us love them anyway.

On the nonfiction side, I'd like every artist out there to read Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art." It is, in my opinion, the only self-help book worth the paper it's printed on.

TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Myke:  Plotter extreme. The military is all about planning, so I have that drummed into me. Also, I find when I pants it, I find mistakes 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the manuscript that have sent unfixable ripples all the way to the beginning, and I wind up having to toss entire manuscripts. My writing process is extremely regimented, with regular pauses to solicit input throughout. Before I write a lick of prose, I have 100-150 pages of bulleted outline completed first. And I only do that after I've done 20-30 pages of "treatment" (rough concept).

TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Myke:  The pressure to be perfect. The market has never been less forgiving. I am committed to making a full time living as a writer (hard to do in the best of times), and I am convinced that the key to success in this business is in the quality of your manuscript. There are no prizes for second place, and all the marketing in the world cannot cover up shoddy work. There are SO many incredible writers out there setting the bar ever higher (I have named a few already), and I have to meet or exceed the standard they set or it's back to cubicle hell for me. I worry about whether or not my work is good enough CONSTANTLY. It is the first thing I am thinking of when I wake up in the morning, and it is the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep at night.

TQ: Describe Control Point in 140 characters or less.

Myke:  Peter V. Brett already did that in his outstanding blurb - It's Blackhawk Down meets the X-Men. If you want another twitterable description, I'd say "Harry Potter just joined Delta Force."

TQ: What inspired you to write Control Point?

Myke:  The military is a fantastic force for good and I love being a part of it. But, like all large bureaucracies, it's intensely conservative, slow to change and more than happy to crush decent people in its efforts to adhere to "proper procedure." While I was working in the Pentagon, I began to wonder how such a culture would handle the existence of magic. What if there were elves wandering the halls of the E-Ring? What if there was a Sorcery Bureau? How would that go?

TQ: What sort of research did you do for Control Point?

Myke:  I went to Iraq 3 times. I responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I helped evacuate the Jersey Shore in advance of Hurricane Irene. When you're writing about war, there's no substitute for a front row seat. For everything else, there's google.

TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Myke:  Oscar Britton (the protagonist) was probably the easiest. He's a soldier, good-hearted and a bit naive. I'm more cynical than he is, and probably less brave/instinctively ethical, but I know his type. I've seen them and worked with them for years.

The hardest was probably Therese Del Aqua (which I suppose some folks will call Britton's "love interest," though I like to think she's a lot more than that). She's a Puerto Rican woman from California who wound up in New York City for a spell. She's had a range of experiences from her earliest days that I was incredibly unfamiliar with. I interviewed several latina women to try to wrap my heard around the cultural/gender distinctions. I really hope I got it right. We'll see what readers have to say about that. On top of that, Therese has a reservoir of compassion that I can only envy. She's been through hell from her childhood, and she hasn't let it touch who she is at her core. She gets angry, but has never let anger take her. That's so far from who I am that I had to constantly check and recheck myself to make sure I was writing her character and not my own.

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Control Point?

Myke:  Oh, wow. That's really hard, because my favorite scenes totally give the book away. Let's just say there's a fight scene that pits a lot of state of the art military hardware against some classical fantasy creatures, and another where the antagonist unleashes the full fury of her magical abilities on a modern military facility. Both are sooooo cool.

TQ: What's next?

Myke:  I have another original series fully plotted/outlined with 75 pages of the first book written. I am looking to pitch that to my publisher some time soon. I am also doing some writing for a media tie-in franchise with the hope I can be a regular for them. My real goal is to diversify and write for video games and comic books as well. I'm hoping the media tie-in work can be a step in that direction.

The last thing I'd like to share is a call for your readers to stand with me in the military reserve. I'm not blind to the horrors of war or the problems with the military, but I believe it is ultimately a positive force for social justice, mobility and the common good. If you want to help, it's one of the best ways to do it. And remember, if you (for physical, background, or other reasons) aren't qualified to join the reserve, all branches have auxiliaries that will take you. I can't do it alone.

TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

About Shadow Ops

Control Point
Shadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 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

Myke Cole is the author of the upcoming military fantasy SHADOW OPS series. The first novel, CONTROL POINT, is coming from Ace (Penguin) in February, 2012. 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.

Myke's Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Control Point (Shadow Ops 1) from The Qwillery and an incredibly wonderful SOC Challenge Coin from Myke:

Photo from Myke Cole's Blog

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What's your magical power? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, February 6, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I am able to bend bars and lift gates with my mind as my magical power.

  2. I have the book and I'm restraining myself from reading it until I've finished my current read. It's hard, I can tell you.

    As far as my magical power goes, that's easy: I can recreate music without singing or instruments. I just concentrate on the piece I want to hear and it plays in the air around me complete with lyrics, instruments, percussion, you name it... Kind of useless, I suppose, but pretty :) I can't stand being without music.

  3. I can create disturbing mental images from ANYTHING.

  4. I can leap over the sofa like a gazelle with newspaper in hand when I hear the sound of a cat starting to vomit. I was successful just this weekend in sliding the paper under cat #1 just in time. I can almost give Superman a run for his money when I hear that sound.

  5. I can heal people and mind control. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aolcom

  6. I would have the ability to transport myself and objects between time and space.

    I actually had think hard about this as I would prefer to have other abilities or at least be similar to Moon Knight with the added benefit of movement.

    Would seriously cut down on travel costs.

    Vhugoate @ g mail . Com!/vha2581/status/164054339906834432

  7. My two superpowers are:

    I can observe things without collapsing the wave function.

    I can divide by zero.

  8. I would have to say some type of mind control and teleportation. The book sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the chance.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  9. Thanks for a fantastic interview! This book sounds fantastic! Me wants!

    I'd have to say that my superpower is like Alice from the Resident Evil movies... super speed, mental powers... and stuff ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. This sounds like an exciting story.

    My power would be teleporting anywhere, anytime. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks in different countries.

  11. Q - What's your magical power?

    A - Mind control, I can make anyone do anything.

    Follower. My GFC name is Cherry.

    Twitted about your giveaway at:!/cherrymischivus/status/164086599506862080

    Thank you for the chance to win! :)

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  12. My magical power is actually real and freaky. I wish I didn't had it.

    I have an EM field around me that makes electronical devices go berseck. Basically, I can't wear a normal watch and I blew up more computer than my budget allows (yup, extended warranties are great for that power...)

    I still have to figure out how to use it to take over the world though!

    catherine (dot) m (dot) breton (at) gmail (dot) com!/BretonCatherine/status/163973843671728129

  13. My magical power is being able to tell when my kids are lying to me! I'm like a human lie detector where they are concerned (or at least THEY think I am!!) :D

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/164109433826324480

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  14. I can freeze time!
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 blog mention
    Thank you for an awesome giveaway!
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  15. My magical power is teleportation. I can get into and out of anywhere I want to, and can carry along someone else if needed as well.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower - Barbara E.

  16. My magical power is to be invisible.

    I follow your blog.

    + 1 comment
    + 1 follower


    Thanks for the giveaway. This book sounds very interesting.

  17. My ability to search the web, both at work and at home

  18. I can sense when a student is doing something he/she should not
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  19. My stomach is a bottomless pit. And I magically win giveaways (okay, this might be wishful thinking...or is it?).

    twitter follower: @arrhyth_mia

  20. I can manipulate time for good or ill. That would be so much fun.

    I follow.


  21. My powers would be to "tele-port" from point A to point B in a blink of an eye.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  22. My magical powers?

    I'm able to become invisible, read minds, and move objects. My only weakness is an affliction for chocolate. Once I give in to chocolate, I'm done for.

    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

  23. Ever since I came across Charmed, I find myself doing Piper's hand movement to freeze time. Unfortunately I only ended up blowing things up :( Sad times.

    Thank you for the interview and giveaway!


  24. Hi.Myke.
    Congrats on the book. I have been seeing this cover around for awhile and was excited to hear that it was released. Your background sounds so interesting (as does the voice in your head - I'm a therapist if you ever need help with that! LOL). I'm definitely reading this book and will buy it if I don't win.
    My magical power? It 's more like a psychic ability and is only important to me on those days where I can't take listening to anymore BS from my patients...if I need someone to cancel so that I can keep my sanity, they always do, 95% of the time. The next ability I have to hone is the one where I tell patients who walk in to the clinic wihtout an appointments on those days where my clients have been affected by my uncanny mind control that causes them to cancel - no! I can not see you today and just because you didn't show for your scheduled appointment yesterday doesn't entitle you to get one today!
    Again, this isn't as exciting as being able to teleport ot time travel, but it saves this overworked and underpaid therapists ass on many an occaision.:)
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB
    +1 Tweet:!/msmjb65/status/164534743717789696

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  25. My magical power, I blog at an amazing speed.

    Follower +1!/gnostalgia/status/164821826000793600 +1

  26. lol My amazing power is I am a human lie detector just ask my boys.
    I am a follower via GFC
    I tweeted!/Pamk258/status/165294468034072576
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com