On the morning of July 2, 2012, in the most dangerous warzone in the world, Lieutenant Clint Lorance took command of his small band of American paratroopers at the spearhead of the American War in Afghanistan. Intelligence reports that morning warned of a Taliban ambush against Lorance's platoon. Fifteen minutes into their patrol, three military-age Afghan males crowded on a motorcycle and sped aggressively down a Taliban-controlled dirt road toward Lorance's men. Three weeks earlier, outside the massive American Kandahar Airfield, Taliban terrorists struck by motorcycle, riding into a crowded area, detonating body-bombs and killing twenty-two people. Sixty-three days before that, three Ohio National Guard soldiers were murdered in another motorcycle-suicide bombing. Suicide-by-motorcycle had become a common Taliban murder-tactic against Americans. Lorance had seconds to react. Either open fire and protect his men, or ignore the speeding motorcycle and pray like hell that his men weren't about to get blown the hell up. In a split-second decision, Lorance ordered his men to fire. When no weapons were found on the Afghan bodies, the Army betrayed one of its finest young officers and prosecuted Lorance for "murder." Hiding crucial evidence from the military jury, and ordering his own men to testify against him or face murder charges themselves, they railroaded Lorance into a 20-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, where he remains today. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE chronicles the true story of the most despicable political prosecution in American military history. A true-life thriller...page-turner...
Don Brown is the author of Thunder in the Morning Calm, The Malacca Conspiracy, The Navy Justice Series, and The Black Sea Affair, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia. Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the inner workings "inside-the-beltway" as an action officer assigned to the Pentagon. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He and his family live in North Carolina, where he pursues his passion for penning novels about the Navy.
QUESTION: Your new book about Clint Lorance is ready to take flight, before it does what does this book mean to you as a writer personally?
DON: It means everything to me personally, and as a writer. This is my 14th book, and I have written about injustice before. But this book about Clint Lorance is the first time that I have ever written about an injustice where an innocent man is sitting in a military prison based upon a political prosecution, where the United States government has turned its back on an American patriot who volunteered to give his life for his country, and was only trying to protect his men who could have gotten blown the hell up in a very tense situation on a hot battlefield in Afghanistan.
Not only was the railroad political prosecution and court-martial against Clint Lorance a despicable TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE at the time for the prosecution, but for every day that Clint Lorance sits as a common criminal behind steel bars at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, that travesty is relived every day. And the only thing Clint did was try to save his men, by ordering them to open fire on what appeared to be a certain suicide attack by motorcycle carried out by the Taliban. These attacks have become numerous and killed many Americans service members.
Only three weeks earlier, Taliban jihadists had attacked by motorcycle, at the gates of the large U.S Air Base at Kandahar, killing 22 people and injuring another 50. Less than ninety days before that, the Taliban struck in another incident by motorcycle-suicide-bombing, killing three members of the Ohio National Guard. The motorcycle speeding toward Clint's platoon in the early morning hours of July 2, 2012, appeared to be an yet another attack by suicide- bombers on a motorcycle to kill American troops.
When Clint ordered his men to defend themselves by opening fire, the Army under the Obama Administration dubbed Clint to be a war criminal, and ordered Clint's men to testify against him or face murder charges themselves. The prosecution hid evidence from the defense at the time of the trial and from the military jury, evidence that showed beyond a doubt that the motorcycle riders were in fact Taliban bombmakers. The Army did everything they could to suppress evidence and railroad Clint Lorance, to deliver his scalp on a silver platter to the Afghans, and to enforce to suicidal rules of engagement which were in place at the time. It is time to right this wrong.
QUESTION: A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. Your books include all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone.
DON: That's a great question and you set it up well. Years ago, Stephen King wrote a small book, a primer on the art of writing called ON WRITING. It is a very good book, and outside of his normal genre is a horror writer, but it sets out how different writers have different approaches to get to the same goal. So therefore, what I do may not be what works for someone else. But one thing I like to do is write down ideas they come and keep a journal of them in a Microsoft Word file on my computer.
I also read a lot I also am curious about national and international affairs and I'm also interested in how other writers approach the craft in terms of how they turn a phrase. Years ago, when I first began as a professional author, I kept the journal of several great writers who I admired, and we keep notes on how they would turn phrases, and studied the differing styles of a number of great authors. In other words, for example, I studied how it they would describe the dew on the grass, or the cool breeze wrapping around her face, or whatever the descriptive phrase might have been. I think it's important to study the craft, to study the great writers who have gone before us, and also just to keep our eyes and ears open and to keep notes as we go.
I found that by doing this, that by keeping notes, many ideas will flow from there, and I would encourage those who try that as well. To summarize, do a lot of reading, and do a lot of journaling, and log those ideas. Then, the creative juices will flow.
QUESTION: What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
DON: The most difficult part is the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day. So many ideas, and not enough time to write them all down. But I suppose that's a good problem to have because I'm doing something that I really love.
But if you were looking for a more practical suggestion to the question, I would say the most tedious process in writing, certainly, is the editing process after the initial draft is done. I have several lay editors that I work with, before I turn my book over to professional editors, which is all part of the editing process the process by which the manuscript is polished, burnished, and turn into something that's hopefully presentable. When to draft the book is finished, that's when the work really starts. Editing, in-and-of itself as laborious as the writing, and just as important.
I don't think that it would be accurate for me to describe this as a difficult part of the writing process, but it is certainly laborious and time-consuming, which produces fatigue, and fatigue sometimes leads to mistakes. To me, to be honest, there's nothing difficult about the writing process. But if done right, is very time-consuming and very laborious. But it turns out for me to be a labor of love.
QUESTION: How do you feel the media/technology revolution has changed our intake of stories and storytelling?
DON: The technology Revolution, and that includes the publication of eBooks and the availability of books in so many different multimedia forms, has been the most revolutionary and significant event in the world of literature since the invention of the printing press, in my opinion. My very first novel released, TREASON, a military Thriller based upon a young JAG officer his called upon to prosecute three Islamic imams who are part of a terrorist sleeper cell in the Navy, was released in 2005. The book languished in sales a little bit for the first four years, but then, at the beginning of November 2009, the terror attacks at Fort Hood happened, carried out by an Islamic jihadist name major Nidal Hassan, carrying out the attacks as a U.S. Army officer planted inside Fort Hood.
About that time, my publisher, Zondervan, now owned by HarperCollins, decided to put TREASON on Kindle, and because the book had a storyline that some say "predicted" Fort Hood, the book the exploded to the top of the Amazon bestsellers list, and the rest is history. Amazon, as you may know, is the largest bookseller in the world, and while there are some old-fashioned folks like me to like the hold our books and smell them and cuddle with them by the fire while we're having hot chocolate or whatever, the fact is that Amazon has sold more eBooks than paperbound books. In other words, now, in the age of the e-book Revolution, eBooks outpace all other books in sales, and I don't see that changing anytime in the foreseeable future, although I remain partial to paper-bound myself, largely for nostalgic reasons.
QUESTION: What's your favorite drink that you like to toast on after pumping finishing up a new novel?
DON: - Great question. Well if you were envisioning for some sort answer evoking a celebratory alcoholic libation, although there are many options, I'll probably say a nice glass of Castle Rock Pinot Noir, in part because they say that red wine is good for the heart :-) With that, a smorgasbord of hors d'oeuvres would be in order. Maybe a bit of caviar or pepper jack cheese. Yes, that sounds like a celebratory scenario.
But if you want the realistic answer, and I know this doesn't sound sexy or anything like that but it's realistic, as soon as a book is released, I'm ready to go back to work with some hot, black coffee just as hot as I can get it and with as much caffeine as possible. That's because I'm eager and excited to get back to work on the next project. Now as far as coffee goods, I got addicted on coffee in the Navy, and use it for those late-night edits and writing projects and to help me get moving early in the morning.
Coffee helps me to get back into work mode, and for anyone serious about wanting to be a writer, writing has to be approached as that, as lots of work. Yes, writing can be lots of fun, but fun combined with work which can be rewarding if folks would just stick with it.
QUESTION: In your view what message do you feel Clint wants to convey to everyone who reads this book?
DON: Clint Lorance stood for his men in the war in Afghanistan, and his only goal was to keep them alive. He ordered his men to fire to defend themselves against what appeared to be a suicide attack by motorcycle, and he had only a few split-seconds to make a decision. He acted to protect his men.
For that, the Army bowed to political pressure and prosecuted him for "murder," for trying to protect his men on the battlefield which was planted with hundreds of landmines all around their position, and where the Taliban have been taking shots them every day. The Taliban ambushed them with sniper fire on the very same road the day before, the road that the motorcycle was speeding down towards the platoon. as a Taliban patrol road.
What was Clint supposed to think? Just let the motorcycle riders charging his position blow up his men?
Clint Lorance is an innocent man and the victim of a railroaded political prosecution. He should be freed immediately. I would encourage everyone to read TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE, and then to contact the White House, and Leave a message at the White House switchboard at 202-456-1111, urging the president to use his authority as commander-in-chief to vacate all charges against Clint, to grant Clint a "DFS," which is a Disapproval of the Findings and Sentence and to restore Clint to active duty with back pay in full benefits, immediately.
I also encourage everyone reading this to please email the White House at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and ask the President to pardon Lieutenant Clint Lorance, to vacate all charges against him under his authority as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, to grant Clint a "DFS," which is a Disapproval of the Findings and Sentence and to restore Clint to active duty with back pay in full benefits, immediately. Clint is sitting alone in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, an American patriot who put his life on the line for our country, but is being treated like a traitor. It is time to end this TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE. If anyone has any questions, you can contact me through my Twitter page at @donbrownbooks
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