It’s time.

It’s time for a drink and let’s talk. My book is coming.

I am beyond excited to announce that my third book, “Whiskey Theorem”, will be released on October 10th, 2017, 8 weeks from now!

PRE-ORDERS are available now! The link is below and in my bio!

Secure your copy now!

2 1/2 years I started this book, and it is amazing to see it coming out now. A lot of work went into it. @jr4287, @you__have__mel, @wordsbyirahcoreen, and @the_drowning_siren helped me in the writing of this book, all the while @mitch_grn has ingeniously crafted its cover art and chapter break designs.

A contest for signed copies may ensue. I am aiming for at least one copy signed by everyone who contributed in its making.

Thank you all for everything! I hope you guys enjoy this book and that I made everyone proud. I wish I could have written more. There’s enough bourbon for everyone.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1536816361/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ZT3Kzb2XPP82V

It’s Not Over. 

IMG_6291Once seeped in, a dark void that can crack open our hearts, pulling us into a blackness that will consume all. An eternal end. Although, there is a way to stop it from ever spreading, festering within. There is a moment when the light inside will decide to either fight back, or fade into a structurally unstable memory. We think letting go will help with the pain, the misery. However, that is what will break us beyond repair. Excepting the evil from the outside to infect our insides. Tragically, there is no coming back from it. Forevermore over.

It will not stop us. The end is not now, not yet. Remember the voice in the back of your mind that rang your soul that told you to stand up for what is right, when there is only everything that is wrong around us? That is the Light; the thing that separates us from the demons that lurk in the shadows. Our Light, the fighting angst that will not go gently into the night, will hit back with a vengeance, much, much harder than the dark ever could.

Perhaps, we evolved over time this way: allowing the wretched of the world soak in, just so we could learn how tough we really are, what we’re made of, how far we are willing to go down that stormy path before we turn back and return to the passion that once fueled us. It will again, and again charge us to the end.

This, this darkness, it isn’t our end. We decide what our end is, not the grueling blackness. It may seep into our bones, and leak out in a vapor that suffocates us by surprise. Let it.

When things come easy, we soften up. Staying hardened helps remind us what we went through to be here today. You are here, and now take a breath. Life is a journey, and we are all in it together. It’s not over yet, not until you choose otherwise.

Ghosts and Shadows (Part I)

Preview

Hello, everyone!

This is my first post towards my promise. “Ghosts and Shadows” is a thrilling shorty story full of espionage, secrecy, and  action that will hopefully keep you at the edge of your seat, wanting more at the end of each part released. Feedback is appreciated, but not necessary.

 

“Ghosts and Shadows” – (Part I)

 

Downtown Berlin, Germany - 0900 Hrs. 20th of June 2017 

There are only two ways out of the secret warfare: killed in action as a shadow or missing in action as a ghost. Work for the enemy, or a known enemy. Either way, you were dead the second you sign up on whichever side. The only difference is what your file reads. And for those in this line of work, there will always be a war between ghosts and shadows. Evil versus lesser evil. Might as well work for the evil you know, right?

My grandfather always told me, “Is there something you can do about it? No? Then don’t worry, it’s out of your power… Yes? Okay, then don’t worry. Do what you must to fix it.” And I took this to heart throughout my life, and it worked wonders on my anxiety. After I graduated MIT second in my class in cyber communications and reprogramming, someone from the military, a Marine, approached me with an opportunity to “do good,” he said. I am not one to fire a gun, but if there was any chance for me to save a life behind a computer screen, then sign me up!

My name is Jack Morrison and the CIA gave me the codename “Shepard,” probably so if I were ever captured the bad guys could not track down my family and have their faces show up on CNN for a beheading. When I was newly recruited, I was sent to aid in a sensitive mission to stop someone from building a piece of software that could hack into any system and rewrite it to whatever the user wished. Controlling everything electrical in the world is something that some people at the Pentagon do not like.

On my flight to Europe, sleep was going to be an old friend I knew I had to say good-bye to once I landed, so I caught my last full-night’s sleep for a while the entire way. I walked into an Spec Ops room on the third floor of a CIA Black Site in northern Germany and it was full of faces I have never seen before except for two, the only two men standing.

One was squad leader of Echo-9 aka “Shadow Brokers,” a somewhat newly formed unit made up of left over operatives from other teams that has accomplished several successful missions that did not exist. His name was unknown, like most in the agency, but his codename was “Skip.” Presumably because he is or was at the rank of a Naval Captain. He was not the tallest, nor the biggest, but the way he held himself demanded your respect and attention. I was given limited access to everyone’s records on my way to the Black Site and read every little detail, even the whispers covered in black tape the CIA hid behind specially encrypted firewalls.

The other man I knew was Andrew Baker. He was the Sargent from the Marines that showed up to classroom and asked me why I was second in my class. Well, the professor could not properly read my algorithm that could backdoor itself into a program and rewrite any security measures of the program and trick it into thinking all of the lights were shutting downalthough more lights come on instead. I called it the “Blind Switch.” He laughed and said himself that what I created “was over everyone’s head at the campus, and quite possibly the world.” Baker was reassigned back home for “Special Teams,” he called it. He is who recommended me to replace the fallen comrade the Team lost a week prior to this mission. This is the first time the team has been mobilized since the funeral. The room was silent and cold the moment the door shut behind me as I walked in.

“Hey, Skip, why do we always get stuck with the fresh meat to try and replace heroes?” said a man with the codename “Goblin.” Slender, lean, and always has a calculating look on his face. Probably coming up with his next smartass remark. Goblin’s file read that he was dishonorably discharged from the Green Berets’ Special Operations Sniper Team for insubordination and assaulting a superior officer. Although there were conflicting reports from his former squad members that their Sargent gave up Goblin and his spotter’s (best friend) position to the enemy to draw them away from the target in a rescue mission 3 years ago in east Africa. After they returned to base, the target was unharmed, however Gob’s spotter was not so lucky. He took a bullet to the head warning Gob they were being ambushed.  But of course, Command rewrote the reports and covered their asses.

Skip smirked and said, “Easy, Gob. He’s our new tech man.”

“Great. Someone from IT will be getting us killed this time,” Goblin sarcastically said.

The room began to chuckle a little among themselves. Skip cleared his throat that ended the silence out of respect, but at the same time, everyone knew if they spoke out of turn right now, a glare from the man alone could kill you in your sleep. Everyone crowded around a large table in far end of the room. Field tablets and paper maps covered every inch of the table. I sat his bag on the ground at my feet to as I stood next everyone else after Baker waved me over closer, because all of the chairs were taken.

“Okay, boys, here we go,” Baker said as he used his data pad to bring up a 3D map on the bigger one laying on the table. The CIA always had the best in experimental gear; a playground for the kid inside me to thrive. “At 1700 hours last night, a high-jacked bus crashed into the side of a Swiss bank. Three men got in and out easily with an NSA Black Box containing a highly classified hard drive. The hard drive made a secured stop in Switzerland in transit back to the states. The robbery was all done under five minutes. They got in and out, nothing on forensics.”

Skip chimed in quickly, “There was no trace forensically because whomever did this covered their tracks very carefully.” An image of a destroyed building laying in ruin projected a foot above the table. Sheets of light danced above the table with many colors to form an HD image without any loss of resolution. “The bus was loaded with an untraceable explosive that we’ve never seen before that leveled everything to a cinder–professionals. However, a CCTV camera picked up a license plate number of the getaway car. It’s something, but it’s all we have as a lead.”

The largest man in the room slightly raised an open hand. “Any idea what was on that hard drive, so we know what we’re looking for, Chief?” Cookie, as the team called him, was a nickname to his codename, Cook. A bit of irony, given that he’s 6’6 and 290 lbs. and an ex-Navy SEAL. His composure was well crafted, but anyone can see the caged monster inside. Cookie’s file did not have anything other than the normal SEAL stuff–covert Ops, backwater missions, lots of medals. Good man. I would want him watching my back in a knife fight any day.

“No,” replied Baker as he pointed to Cookie, “not as of yet. We will be update as the mission goes on and someone appointed will give further instructions once we locate the hard drive.”

“Figures. Leave it to the pinheads upstairs to tell us how to do our job–” Goblin was interrupted before he could expel that breath.

A man codenamed “Moose” sitting next to Gob hit him in the side, silencing him, and said, “Quit your bitching, Gob. We’ll get the job done, anyways. Like we always do. And when we get back, you can file a complaint to CIA’s HR.” Moose was highly trained in close quarters combat (CQC) and specialized with knives and shotguns. Quick reflexes and precise brutality were some words you could use to describe how he keeps his friends going home to their families alive, instead of in coffins. Moose always knew how to pack a punch, being the second largest of the group. Once during training, Skip said Moose hits harder than Cookie.

“Listen up,” Skip said in a stern voice. “The license plate tacks us to a little shack in the countryside of northern France. We need two undercover as deliverymen asking for a fake address–Moose and Sheppard–two on sniper support–Goblin and Cookie–while Baker and I monitor from a drone flying overhead.”

“Questions?” asked Baker, as if there was ever going to be any with this team.

 

Introductory: Promise

This is me, who I really am.

Medicine and writing are natural companions.” – Kevin Patterson.

 

Hello, my name is Ben.

I, like everyone else in the world, have a story. Before I get into what I will be promising to do from here on out, I would like to introduce myself so those who read this knows where the words are coming from.

My full name is Benjamin Albert Browning, born in the famous Palm Springs, Ca and lived my whole life of 24 years in a town just 9 miles north called Desert Hot Springs, Ca. Other than watching the great iconic movies from the 50’s to the 90’s, I spent a lot of time playing outside. Baseball influenced me greatly growing up, as well as playing other sports. My family is filled with highly educated and wealthy people. However, my parents I were not. My father a mechanic and my mother a dog trainer for the blind, I had fun like most kids, but I did have difficulties. I know what it is like to go to bed hungry, uncertain if I will get bullied at school, and Saturday morning cartoons could not come quickly enough.

Academically I was always within the top 5 in elementary, but struggled with reading, somehow. My spelling and writing were above average, I just was not able to read well. However, in middle school, I was taken aside out of class to take a “special reading test.” The results were clear to the staff. I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. That was the answer to my problem. Ironic, right? Well, the irony will come later.

Passing through middle school and high school, academics bored me because they were too easy. Baseball was all that challenged me. I struggled transitioning from little league to high school ball. Every day, during season and in the off-season, when I got home from practice or school, I practiced at home–throwing a baseball against my brick wall with a duct-taped strike zone. Tirelessly trying harder, and harder, and harder.

I became better in every aspect of the game. I had to, or I would not be the best; my goal. One year after graduating high school with a 3.6 GPA and in the top 60 out of 417 of my class, I went from throwing 80 mph to 89 mph–barely professional speed. Maybe it was because I was 6’2 at the age of 17. A local scout that worked with the Kansas City Royals. They were interested in signing me as an outfielder and pitcher to their AAA team. Unfortunately, before I could make the trip to Fresno, Ca to sign the contract, myself and 3 friends were in a terrible car crash.

Thankfully, everyone survived with minor injuries, except for me. Head and arm injuries ended my chances of ever playing professional baseball again. Nauseously painful headaches became as common as breathing. I had them every day, even now I still suffer from them. Since baseball was not a career path for me anymore after being a dream since I was six years old, continuing college was my next choice. Military was another option, however, it went out the door just like baseball did. It did not matter that I scored a 92 on the ASVAB test, no branch would take me after sustaining my lifelong injuries.

A month after the car crash, I continued college in my pursuit of becoming a nurse, thanks to the heavy influence my grandmother gave me from her nursing experience, in addition to my already established fondness of the human biology and its resiliency. Our bodies can endure, adapt, and survive a lot of brutal punishment mentally and physically, it is amazing. Two years later, a blessing in disguise changed my life forever.

On July 15th, 2012 I became a father to a wonderful little girl.  1 year in, with my daughter and school, I could not afford both. So, I made a risky decision and switched my field of study from General Nursing to Literature. It was cheaper and faster to graduate, fortunately for me. Subsequently, my family did not see eye-to-eye on my choice. “It won’t pay the bills”, “It’s not a real career”, and “Stop this act and get a real job”, my family has said to me. Their disapproval and lack of support has not only been extremely hurtful, but also motivating.

Now, 2 1/2 years later, I have 2 books published (“Beautiful Nightmares” and “Love’s Syntax”), 16 articles published across five websites, poems featured on 2 websites, poems published in “The Summer Solstice” collection, and I also did the cover art for a band called, “Crow Effect” for their new album along with a custom poem to be on the front cover art and wrote my first 2 songs ever for them to be produced…two months ago. Adding to all of this, I am also working on 5 short stories that be published.

On Facebook and Instagram, I am known as B. A. Hunter (and his evil half M. E. Hunter, like a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing), my pen name. Through this pseudonym I have created, many have said my writing reminds them of the legendary Ernest Hemingway and Charles Bukowski. Of course I do not see it, however I will take the complements to better myself and try to invent my own style as they did themselves in their time.

I have lost much sleep doing all of my writing. Mostly waiting until my family goes to be before I start at it, next the housework, then the writing, and sleep would only happen if I were lucky enough to get a few hours. Writing has become my medicine; expressing myself in ways I could not before, like many others have before me. Being the black sheep in my family, I choose to continue my “real career” and do more each and every day. All of this brings me to my promise. I would like to regularly post and blog about short stories and pieces of mine that will be exclusively for here, but copyrighted.

I am sorry, I must explain the irony I mentioned at the beginning of all of this. A writer…dyslexic… I am a dyslexic writer. Of course, some may see this as my destiny determined at such an early age and I “did not see it” then, but it was a happy coincidence through a series of events that were, at the time, unseemly, but now everything is where it should be, and I am happy to be here.

I hope you like what I have to write, and I wish I could have written more.