I discovered quite early in my writing career that I like action, and lots of it. In order to write about all this fun action, I felt it was my duty to learn what I was talking about so that my characters could act it out for you in an entertaining, yet believable, fashion. The first thing I did was join a kenpo karate class. I got a few belts in (brown), and viola! Levi was fighting like a pro. Of course he's a little better at it than I am, but that's because I expect nothing less from him. Kiser uses more of a taekwondo technique (though I didn't actually study that). He likes to kick. This is a bad thing if you happen to be the object of his attention when he does this. Anyway, if that doesn't work for him there's always the 9mm beretta. I needed a different fighting style for Jose who joins the story later in the series. His style is more krav maga---very high energy style. Anyone fighting on the ground in my story is using brazilian ju jitsu which is an awesome workout by the way. Others use basic boxing. I didn't do much boxing.
Carson, as you know, is my knife thrower. I did learn to do this, though I probably should admit I never mastered this art. I am decidedly more dangerous than Carson when throwing. This is because you never know where my knives will land. Did you know throwing knifes bounce off a wooden target? I didn't. I nearly impaled myself. This little detail landed in ENTANGLED in the locker room scene. I'll leave the knife throwing to carson for now.
The airplane ride, for those of you who like aircraft, was actually a C-130. I had the opportunity on several occasions to fly on these. While everyone else was sleeping, talking, vomiting, etc., I was busy taking notes (if you happened to be on one of those Alaskan flights with me, I was the one with the silly smile, tiny notepad, and the general's ink pen). Later in the series, we visit the team's pilot Matt on the flight deck. How am I able to describe a C-130 in flight? I actually got to fly a C-130! And how did i manage that? C-130 training simulator! Yeah, baby! The military is awesome, isn't it? Oh, the toys they have! Not to mention some really awesome people. I successfully took off---actually, I almost crashed the plane on take off---flew around the city, and then landed safely after only missing the runway once. I did not take notes in the simulator, for those of you who might wonder. I did that on the car ride home. Oh, and I never vomited either.
The commandos. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn't able to get my notepad within range of a real Navy SEAL, but I did spend quite some time studying their training techniques, behavior, mannerisms, and fun banter. I learned about Army Rangers, found absolutely nothing on Delta Force, and bumped into an actual Marine Recon commando in a store on base, which was really neat. Of course, I wanted all the juicy details of these organizations, yet I was pretty certain none of these groups would cooperate with me regarding such a request. So, I created my own civilian commando unit and shaped them into an awesome team. Then, like a bonehead, I made them all fluent in Spanish. I didn't know Spanish! You know what that means. I'm not fluent yet. I'm still learning. I really must be more careful when I write.
You know what else I did without thinking? I had Kiser and Mandy jump out of a C-130! Yes, I did. This was a bad idea. You see, by now I've developed a reputation. If I write it, that means I've researched it, tried it myself, or at least made a darn good effort to understand it---up to this point anyway. No way was I going to jump out of an airplane. Ever! Story or no story, it wasn't going to happen. The military has jump simulators. I'm still working on this. One of these days---late, of course---I will get into the jump simulator, but I'm not jumping from a real one. You can forget it. That's right folks, D.C. Sargent chickened out. I really, really must be more careful when I write. xo, dc