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Real Spies, Real Lives

Real Spies, Real Lives

By P. A. Duncan
Exploring the writing life of an espionage writer
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Another Novella!

Real Spies, Real Lives

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No Podcast This Week
P. A. Duncan has been under the weather this week, so no podcast for 9/22/22. Many apologies. We'll be back next week.
00:33
September 22, 2022
Setting as Character
Can the location and time of a story, i.e., the setting, be the same as a character. P. A. Duncan thinks so and explains why. Today and Friday are the last two days of the preorder of PROLOGUE TO REVENGE, which launches on Saturday, September 17. After that, the special preorder price of 99¢ goes away. You can preorder the eBook at amazon.com/dp/B0BCGGVC5L.
25:49
September 15, 2022
Character Development
Duncan explains how an extensive character worksheet helped discover traits about her characters even she didn't know and provides a brief homage to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died recently. Preorder link for PROLOGUE TO REVENGE: amazon.com/dp/B0BCGGVC5L
31:13
September 08, 2022
Introducing PROLOGUE TO REVENGE
A bit of a history lesson about the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s and how that ties into book 2 of Meeting the Enemy, REVENGE. Plus a reading from book 2's reader magnet, PROLOGUE TO REVENGE. PROLOGUE TO REVENGE preorder link: amazon.com/dp/B0BCGGVC5L.
32:47
September 01, 2022
An Emotional Episode
August 29, the launch date for Duncan's new novelette, Old Love Does Not Rust, is also the anniversary of her father's death 40 years ago. Old Love Does Not Rust is a gift for him, one she wishes she could have given him when he was alive. Duncan would also like her listeners to be aware of the National Suicide and Crisis hotline, which anyone can reach anytime by dialing 9-8-8. Old Love Does Not Rust is still available for preorder at a special price of 99¢ at amazon.com/dp/B0B6RWHHCH. The reader magnet Prologue to Terror is still on sale for 99¢ at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ.
33:00
August 25, 2022
Reminder: NO Podcast This Week
P. A. Duncan is at a writer's retreat working on her next book. She'll be back next week.
00:36
August 18, 2022
Prologue to Terror - Part 2
Duncan wraps up the dive into PROLOGUE TO TERROR, the reader magnet/prequel for Meeting the Enemy Book 1: TERROR, and you learn why writers retreat. Special pricing: 1. PROLOGUE TO TERROR - 99-cent eBook at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ 2. OLD LOVE DOES NOT RUST - 99-cent preorder price at amazon.com/dp/B0B6RWHHCH (launches 8/29/22)
30:52
August 11, 2022
Prologue to Terror Part 1
Duncan explains what reader magnets are for, as well as the structure of a genre novel, and provides a brief review of the Amazon Prime movie The 355. Heavy on the writing stuff this week--but a bit of early, American espionage history surrounding George Washington's Culper Ring. Prologue to Terror, the prequel/reader magnet for TERROR, book one of the series Meeting the Enemy, is only 99 cents at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ.
39:03
August 04, 2022
Wrapping Up a Book Birthday
Duncan concludes the month-long birthday celebration for Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules, gives a review of the new Netflix "espionage" movie, The Gray Man, and talks about why she likes reading and writing short stories. July 28 and 29 are the last two days to download a free eBook of Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. You can download it at amazon.com/dp/B093THXD7M. And a new novelette, Old Love Does Not Rust, is available for an ebook preorder at amazon.com/dp/B0B6RWHHCH.
33:00
July 28, 2022
Vary Your Pattern
The "other half" of Moscow Rule No. 6: Vary your pattern and stay within your cover, offers some advice on personal security--without appearing too paranoid. Links for books on sale or available for preorder: On sale: Prologue to Terror, prequel to TERROR, book one of Meeting the Enemy, is 99 cents at amazon.com/dp/B09ZHZXXF8 (eBook only); Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules is 99 cents at amazon.com/dp/B093THXD7M (eBook only). Available for preorder: "Old Love Does Not Rust," a novelette, at amazon.com/dp/B0BHR6VC44. The new episode drops next Thursday, July 28, at 1 p.m.  Oh, and, a minor warning for some adult language in this week's episode.
29:57
July 21, 2022
Stay Within Your Cover
Why do spies need a cover, and why is it important not to blow your cover? Duncan answers those questions and provides an example from her story, "Stay Within Your Cover," from Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. Links for Duncan's eBook sales: Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules - amazon.com/dp/B093THXD7M Prologue to Terror - amazon.com/dp/B09ZHZXXF8
33:21
July 14, 2022
You Are Never Completely Alone
We're revisiting the Moscow Rules for the first book birthday of Duncan's short short collection, Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. In the reading part of the episode, please be advised of some sexually explicit dialogue. For the 99-cent ebook sales mentioned in the podcast episode, you can find them at: Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules - amazon.com/dp/B093THXD7M Prologue to Terror - amazon.com/dp/B09ZHZXXF8
38:11
July 07, 2022
We Have Met the Enemy . . .
Duncan provides us with a bit of a history lesson around the adage, "We have met the enemy and he is us," which was the inspiration for the series title, Meeting the Enemy. We wind up the promotion of TERROR, book one of Meeting the Enemy with a reading from near the end. And we get a preview of July's promotions. To get your 99-cent eBook of Prologue to Terror (reader magnet/prequel to TERROR) and either an ebook, paperback, or hard cover of TERROR, go to the series page at amazon.com/dp/B09ZHZXXF8. Starting tomorrow, for its book birthday, the short story collection SPY FLASH III: THE MOSCOW RULES will be 99 cents for the ebook, and you can find that at amazon.com/dp/B093THXD7M.
34:60
June 30, 2022
Why Do Writers Retreat?
Duncan talks about why and how writer retreats are so conducive to creativity, whether spies get retreats, and provides a reading from TERROR, book one of the new series, MEETING THE ENEMY. TERROR launches on Saturday, June 25, but you can still preorder it at amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. TERROR's reader magnet/prequel, PROLOGUE TO TERROR, is now FREE through 6/25. Get your freebie at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ.
29:55
June 23, 2022
REMINDER: No Podcast Today
No episode this week because spy novelist P. A. Duncan is at a writer's workshop.
00:26
June 16, 2022
Who Spies on the Spies
This week Duncan talks about a message that acknowledged she is, indeed, a spy novelist and how that got her out of a slump because she missed her sales goal in May. We'll hear about her favorite writer's workshop and have a reading from TERROR, book one of MEETING THE ENEMY. PROLOGUE TO TERROR, the reader magnet for TERROR, is on sale for 99 cents (eBook only), and you can find it at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ. And after you're done reading PROLOGUE TO TERROR, you can preorder TERROR at amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. To catch the cover reveal for TERROR, check out Duncan's posts on her Facebook Author Page, www.facebook.com/unspywriter, and her Instagram, www.instagram.com/paduncan1.
37:55
June 09, 2022
Suspending Disbelief
All fiction requires you to suspect disbelief and accept a premise you might find unlikely. In her upcoming new novel, TERROR, espionage author P. A. Duncan wants you to accept that a Directorate operative can successfully go under cover in the CIA. It's her world, and welcome to it. Look for the TERROR cover reveal on June 4 on Duncan's social media. In the meantime, you can preorder TERROR at amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS and purchase its reader magnet for 99 cents at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ.
38:13
June 02, 2022
100th Episode!
We celebrate the 100th episode of the "Real Spies, Real Lives Podcast." We learn something about why the right book cover is important, and we have a reading from Terror, book one of Meeting the Enemy. Other authors interested in excellent quality pre-made book covers, take a look at www.SelfPubBookCovers.com. The TERROR preorder is at amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. Get an eBook or a paperback of PROLOGUE TO TERROR at amazon.com/dp/B0B1F64YLQ.
40:33
May 26, 2022
Episodic or Serial Series - Who Said This Was Easy?
Duncan talks about the pitfalls and joys of writing serial fiction, and we get a couple of brief reviews of the spy movies, All the Old Knives and Operation: Mincemeat. Plus, a reading from Terror, book one of the new series Meeting the Enemy. Preorder Terror at amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS.
35:11
May 19, 2022
Public Figures and their Fictional Representations
Writing historical fiction means dealing with public figures, living and dead. Duncan defines public figures and talks about the unique challenges of incorporating them into fiction. Plus a reading from her new novel, Terror, book one of the upcoming new series, Meeting the Enemy. Preorder Terror here: amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. In celebration of Duncan's debut novel's fifth birthday, you can order the eBook of A War of Deception for only 99 cents for the whole month of May. Find A War of Deception here: amazon.com/dp/B06Y5ZZ7FQ
36:46
May 12, 2022
Fact vs Fiction in Historical Fiction
A potential reader asked P. A. Duncan how could she tell the history from the fiction in one of Duncan's books. Today's podcast is the answer. Terror, book one of Meeting the Enemy is now available for PREORDER here: amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. "Out of the Ordinary," the reader magnet for Terror, is still FREE to download here: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. If your book club reads one of Duncan's works, she'll be happy to join you virtually via ZOOM or FaceTime. Email paduncan@unexpectedpaths.com to arrange that.
43:30
May 05, 2022
Sometimes Endings are Hard
Duncan talks about the struggle to bring her ground-breaking series A Perfect Hatred to its logical conclusion. Turns out she had to wait for justice to take its course. Today is the last day you can download to your Kindle or Kindle app all four books of A Perfect Hatred for FREE. Go to amazon.com/dp/B09WZ7HRWS. Quintet, the eBook-only compilation of reader magnets associated with A Perfect Hatred is also available at a reduced price at amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ and books2read.com/u/3R6d6x. "Out of the Ordinary," the reader magnet for Terror, book one of the upcoming new series Meeting the Enemy, is available to download for FREE at dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Make a donation to Doctors Without Borders' work in Ukraine in honor of Duncan's birthday. Go to https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org. 
37:26
April 28, 2022
Femme Fatales and the Woman Spy
Duncan discusses a webinar from the International Spy Museum she recently watched and describes how real women spies who were not femme fatales inspired her woman spy, Mai Fisher. There's also a reading from Descending Spiral, book 3 of A Perfect Hatred. You can purchase QUINTET at books2read.com/u/3R6d6x and at amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ. Download for FREE the reader magnet, "Out of the Ordinary," which serves as the prologue to book 1 of an upcoming, new series, Meeting the Enemy: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Find the rest of Duncan's works at amazon.com/author/phyllisduncan. Consider a donation to Doctors Without Borders for their work in Ukraine.
40:12
April 21, 2022
Why Bad Company?
Duncan explains how book 2 of A Perfect Hatred (Bad Company) came by its title, and she describes the pitfalls of conducing research into people and groups whose philosophy and politics she vehemently opposes. Links to purchase the eBook only box set Quintet: books2read.com/u/3R6d6x and amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ. Link to the FREE download of the reader magnet for the upcoming new series, Meeting the Enemy: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Find all of Duncan's work at amazon.com/author/phyllisduncan. And remember, keep an eye out . . . for spies.
41:46
April 14, 2022
An Old Problem
Duncan gives us some background on the history that inspired the series A Perfect Hatred, and in a reading from book 1, End Times, she shows us the lengths Mai Fisher will go to in profiling a subject to plan her approach and her cover story. You can purchase Quintet, the compilation of A Perfect Hatred reader magnets (plus a bonus story) at books2read.com/u/3R6d6x (non-Kindle ereaders) or amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ (for Kindle). The reader magnet "Out of the Ordinary" for the upcoming series Meeting the Enemy is FREE from dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Find all of Duncan's work at amazon.com/author/phyllisduncan.
40:28
April 07, 2022
Writer Balance: History vs Sensitivity
This episodes winds up the month-long look into the author brand of P. A. Duncan, and, as a prelude to her upcoming series, Meeting the Enemy, she also talks about the difficulty as a writer of historical fiction and an historian in staying authentic to the history knowing that some might find it painful. To download the FREE reader magnet for book one of Meeting the Enemy, go here: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. To celebrate the fourth anniversary of Duncan's first series, A Perfect Hatred, you can purchase the eBook, Quintet, a compilation of the reader magnets for A Perfect Hatred, plus a bonus, previously unpublished story here: amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ or here: https://books2read.com/u/3R6d6x. Find all of P. A. Duncan's books at amazon.com/author/phyllisduncan.
37:29
March 31, 2022
Real Spies and Family Lives
The importance of keeping a low profile and blending in for spies and their families. What on earth is a blood cover? And some teaser readings from my upcoming book Terror, due out on June 25, 2022. Quintet preorder links: For Kindle, amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ. For other e-Readers, https://books2read.com/u/3R6d6x. Terror Reader Magnet Free Download: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Upcoming in-person author events: https://unexpectedpaths.com/about-the-author/events/
33:58
March 24, 2022
Does Romance Belong in Espionage?
It does, but not how you've been conditioned to think of it. Some fans do go for exploitation of either sex, but mostly it's women being exploited, but some fans and some espionage writers think romance, or at least a hint of it, has a place among the spies. Find out how I balance a hint of romance against the action in any of my books at my Amazon Author Page. (amazon.com/author/phyllisduncan). My reader magnet for the upcoming series, Meeting the Enemy, is available to download for FREE. Find "Out of the Ordinary" at dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. And. . . drum roll . . . I have a new preorder available--Quintet, which is now a novella-sized eBook only compilation of the four reader magnets for my first series, A Perfect Hatred, plus a bonus story. Preorder for your Kindle at amazon.com/dp/B09VFQ4SXZ. For other eBook providers, preorder at https://books2read.com/u/3R6d6x. Quintet launches on April 1--no fooling! 
37:48
March 17, 2022
Real Spies With Real Lives - What Does it Mean?
What is a spy's life really like? Well, I found out, from a reliable source. Reader Magnet Giveaway: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc Find out more about my upcoming in-person book events: unexpectedpaths.com/about-the-author/events
40:42
March 10, 2022
Everything You Ever (Maybe) Wanted to Know About Author Branding
Like Apple, McDonalds, or Nike, authors have brands that identify the author and what he or she writes for marketing purposes. This week we delve into how I developed my brand, "Real spies, real lives, a hint of romance." And a reading from an upcoming novel that shows what real spies are like. To see examples of my authorship brand, visit my Facebook Author Page at www.facebook.com/unspywriter or my website, www.unexpectedpaths.com. And don't forget my reader magnet giveaway for my upcoming new series Meeting the Enemy. Download your FREE copy at dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc.
36:14
March 03, 2022
Authorship vs Writing
What does it mean to be an Indie author? A lot of non-writing related "stuff." Plus closing out a month of celebrating Love Death's book birthday. Love Death sale: amazon.com/dp/B08QDLXBCS Reader Magnet giveaway: dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc Phyllis A. Duncan, Author: www.facebook.com/unspywriter Instagram: www.instagram.com/paduncan1 Twitter: www.twitter.com/unspywriter Website/Blog: www.unexpectedpaths.com Newsletter Sign-up: https://unexpectedpaths.com/contact-the-author-2/
42:13
February 24, 2022
Where's the "Love" in LOVE DEATH
A bit about what inspired me to write Love Death and some readings from the novel. Love Death is free for your Kindle or Kindle App through Saturday February 19, and you can find it at amazon.com/dp/B08QDLXBCS. Don't forget my other, ongoing giveaway of a short story reader magnet for my upcoming new series, Meeting the Enemy. You can download the story, "Out of the Ordinary," at https://dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc.
33:32
February 17, 2022
Accurate History
If you're not a believer in teaching a country's accurate history, you might want to fast forward to 18:53 because this week I was in a mood to rant about book banning and book burning. Here. In the United States of America. Starting on 2/12/22, Love Death will be free right on time for Valentine's Day. You can find it at amazon.com/dp/B08QDLXBCS. And my short story reader magnet giveaway is still ongoing (and will be for a while). You can find "Out of the Ordinary" at dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc.
36:37
February 10, 2022
Symbolism in Writing and Espionage
Writers use symbolism, but so do spies, so why not symbolism while writing about spies? Plus some readings from this month's featured book, LOVE DEATH, which is 40% off (eBook only). Find LOVE DEATH at amazon.com/gp/B08QDLXBCS.  And don't forget about my short story reader magnet giveaway. "Out of the Ordinary" introduces my upcoming new series, MEETING THE ENEMY. You can read for FREE at dl.bookfunnel.com/vpayastekc. Episode WARNING: Sexual innuendo and sexual banter between a married couple.  
34:29
February 03, 2022
Spy Tools, Writer Tools, and a Book Birthday
I'm coming off my social media break soon, so if you haven't already, follow my Facebook Author Page, join my Facebook Readers Group, or follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Don't forget the FREE short story reader magnet, "Out of the Ordinary," available HERE.
37:26
January 27, 2022
Some Excerpts from the Upcoming Novel, TERROR
Some other espionage podcasts you might be interested in, an excerpt from Meeting the Enemy: Terror, and all about the FREE reader magnet you can download and/or read. To read "Out of the Ordinary," go to Book Funnel HERE. Find my other works HERE.
44:10
January 20, 2022
Taking On Sensitive Historical Events in Fiction
When to use dramatic license in writing historical fiction, and a reading from a new reader magnet.
41:27
January 13, 2022
What to Expect in 2022
Happy New Year! Get the down-low on what P. A. Duncan will have published this year and a reading from a brand new, upcoming reader magnet.
29:51
January 06, 2022
The Final Episode of 2021 - Happy Holidays!!!
The only reading is my 2017 holiday story, "A Visit from Grandfather Frost." Enjoy, and my heartfelt wishes for a happy holiday season. See you next year! Starting today, And Justice for All is free through 12/27. Find it HERE. Don't forget, time is running out to enter the And Justice for All Hardcover Giveaway. It ends on December 31, so enter HERE.
34:41
December 23, 2021
Tying up the Loose Ends - Maybe
Just when Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin think their Belgrade mission is wrapped up, something else pops up. Starting December 23, And Justice for All will be free--right on time for last minute shopping. Get this end of year deal HERE. And. . . You can still enter to contend for a signed, hardcover edition of And Justice for All, as long as you enter before December 31. Enter the giveaway HERE.
34:14
December 16, 2021
The Things Mai Fisher Does for a Mission
Would you let yourself get captured in order to close out a mission? Not me, but, then, I have Mai Fisher to live vicariously through. Don't forget book 3, And Justice for All, along with books 1 and 2 of the Self-Inflicted Wounds trilogy, are on sale for the rest of the year for 99 cents each. A whole trilogy under $3.00. Find this bargain HERE. Also, you can enter to win a signed, hardcover edition of And Justice for All by clicking THIS LINK. The giveaway is open for entries through December 31, 2021.
42:56
December 09, 2021
Yes, Another Book Birthday
We're ending season two of the podcast with the conclusion of the Self-Inflicted Wounds trilogy, book 3, And Justice for All. And because December is And Justice for All's book birthday, I have another giveaway--a signed hardcover edition of And Justice for All. The giveaway is easy to enter. Click HERE (https://bit.ly/AJfAHCGiveaway ) to enter. You can add to your entries by following my Facebook Author Page, my Insta account, or sign up for my newsletter. The giveaway runs through December 31, so you have plenty of time to enter, and you can enter as many times as you want.
38:41
December 02, 2021
No Podcast Today
No podcast today because the host is celebrating Thanksgiving with her family. But. . . You can still enter to possibly win a signed, hardcover edition of Dangerous Truths. All you have to do is click (or copy and paste) https://hingsumo.com/g/owor4j/dangerous-truths-hardcover-edition . Better hurry. The giveaway ends on November 30.
00:32
November 25, 2021
Concluding the Book Birthday Celebration for DANGEROUS TRUTHS
Winding up our celebration of Dangerous Truths, Thanksgiving wishes, a holiday special with Dangerous Truths being free, and don't forget the hardcover edition of Dangerous Truths giveaway, which you can enter HERE (kingsumo.com/g/owor4j/dangerous-truths-hardcover-edition). The podcast takes a break next week for Thanksgiving. Have a great turkey day, and we'll be back on December 2.
31:41
November 18, 2021
More Readings from DANGEROUS TRUTHS
Alexei is alive, but some disturbing news about his family dampens his relief. And there's the matter of his connection to Irina Pishkatova and the fact Mai wants to get on with her mission. Don't forget the book birthday giveaway of a signed, hardcover edition of Dangerous Truths, which you can enter HERE (kingsumo.com/gp/owor4j/dangerous-truths-hardcover-edition).
36:05
November 11, 2021
Happy Book Birthday to DANGEROUS TRUTHS
Yes, another book birthday for book 2 of Self-Inflicted Wounds, Dangerous Truths. A mini-review of the new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy and a mini-book review of Say Nothing by Patrick Keefe. To enter a drawing for a signed hardcover of Dangerous Truths, go to https://kingsumo.com/g/owor4j/dangerous-truths-hardcover-edition, fill out the form, and your name is entered. The site I'm using, King Sumo, will randomly select a winner on December 1. Good luck!
30:30
November 04, 2021
We're All Done Celebrating WELCOME TO BELGRADE
Readings from the ending of Welcome to Belgrade, a mini-review of Denis Villenueve's Dune, and don't forget the giveaway. If you want to put your name in contention for a signed, hardcover edition of Welcome to Belgrade, go to this podcast's Facebook Page -- www.facebook.com/RealSpiesRealLives -- and leave a comment about any of October 2021's episodes. I'll put all names in a random name selector to come up with a winner. You have until 10/31/21 to comment.
30:44
October 28, 2021
Another Reading from WELCOME TO BELGRADE
Three-quarters of the way through Welcome to Belgrade during its birthday month, we'll see that Alexei will do almost anything for the mission; a review of a sci-fi/alternate history series on Apple TV; and don't forget this month's giveaway of a hardcover edition of Welcome to Belgrade. Go to the podcast's Facebook page--www.facebook.com/RealSpiesRealLives--and leave a comment about this episode or episodes 40 and 41. After October 31, I'll select a name at random to receive the hardcover edition.
31:21
October 21, 2021
More from WELCOME TO BELGRADE
We delve a bit deeper into Welcome to Belgrade, book one of the Self-Inflicted Wounds trilogy, and I have a mini-review of No Time to Die, the latest James Bond film. For Welcome to Belgrade's book birthday this month, I'm giving away a signed, hardcover edition of Welcome to Belgrade. To put your name into contention, go to the podcast's Facebook Page and leave a comment along with the episode number. It has to be a comment about one of this month's episodes, so far, number 40 and 41. Here's the link to the podcast's Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/RealSpiesRealLives. After October 31, I'll place all the commenters' names in a selection randomizer app and pick a winner. This giveaway has nothing to do with Facebook.
31:16
October 14, 2021
Happy Book Birthday to WELCOME TO BELGRADE
We're celebrating the first book birthday of Welcome to Belgrade, book one in the Self-Inflicted Wounds Trilogy. As part of that celebration, I'm giving away a signed, hardcover copy of Welcome to Belgrade. Here's how you can enter: Go to the Real Spies, Real Lives Podcast Facebook page. www.facebook.com/RealSpiesRealLives Leave a comment on today's episode, number 40. At the end of the month, I'll put the names of all commenters in a randomizer tool and have it pick the winner, whom I will contact via Facebook Messenger. And since I've mentioned Facebook, I have to say that this giveaway has nothing to do with Facebook; it's my offering. Thanks for celebrating Welcome to Belgrade's book birthday with me!
33:54
October 07, 2021
Wrapping up THE BETTER SPY!
Some final readings from the novel in stories, THE BETTER SPY, a mini-review of American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally, and what's coming up in October.
28:53
September 30, 2021
The Conclusion of THE BETTER SPY
Two readings from "The Better Spy," the title story for the novel in stories, a Netflix series review, and a book review. I was quite talkative this week.
44:01
September 23, 2021
You Always Were THE BETTER SPY
Why writing conferences are cool, a reading from my novel in stories, The Better Spy, and the expected COVID/vaccination rant. If you want to learn more about the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity (C3) Con, click HERE.
37:38
September 16, 2021
Finishing Up BLOOD VENGEANCE
The IRA kidnaps the daughter of U.S. Secret Service Agent Henry Munro. Who can he turn to for help? A woman he met briefly in the aftermath of the Kansas City bombing - Mai Fisher. Enjoy some excerpts from one of the stories in Blood Vengeance, "A Father's No Shield for His Child."
36:41
September 09, 2021
The Podcast is Back!
After a two-week hiatus, "Real Spies, Real Lives" is back with more about writing, spies, and writing about spies. Oh, and some books are on sale, too.
40:04
September 02, 2021
Oops! Another Delay
I'm at a writer's retreat with limited internet access, so tune in next week for a return to our regular programming! Have a wonderful weekend.
01:13
August 26, 2021
No Podcast This Week
Explaining why there’s no podcast this week.
01:36
August 19, 2021
Winding up A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
Reading from the second half of A Change for the Better, a couple of mini-reviews, some baseball talk, and, yes, the weekly COVID rant.
44:04
August 12, 2021
More Novellas
Some readings from a recent novella, A Change for the Better, and how it came about. Plus, wear you d****d mask!
44:43
August 05, 2021
An Introduction to an Upcoming Trilogy
A reading from book 1 of a new trilogy starting in 2022, Meeting the Enemy, about 9/11. A couple of mini movie reviews, too.
33:58
July 29, 2021
Concluding Our Look at The Moscow Rules
Readings from the final two stories of Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules, a bit about the writing life, what's coming next month, and, of course, my COVID safety reminder.
39:30
July 22, 2021
"Pick the Time and Place for Action"
A couple of reviews: the Netflix series "Spycraft" and. . . Black Widow! And some readings from another story in Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules, "Pick the Time and Place for Action," which features the return of Olga Lubova. Where did she go? You'll have to read the story!
43:43
July 15, 2021
"Lull Them Into A Sense of Complacency"
Moscow Rule number seven's story introduces two hapless SVR officers given the task of following Cybill Fleming in Moscow. A beta reader called the two officers the "Keystone KGB"--so you get some humor amid all the drama. Enjoy!
35:57
July 08, 2021
Vary Your Pattern/Stay Within Your Cover
The next Moscow Rule is "Vary Your Pattern and Stay Within Your Cover"--again a somewhat long and cumbersome story title, so I wrote two stories. "Vary Your Pattern" takes us back to the early 1990s when Edwin Terrell, Jr. is still alive and Mai and Alexei are struggling to accustom their lives, personal and professional, to raising Alexei's granddaughter Natalia. "Stay Within Your Cover" is an examination of debating whether or not to do the right thing. If you don't someone might die; if you do, your cover's blown. Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules launches in 10 days.
29:08
July 01, 2021
"Don't Look Back; You're Never Completely Alone"
The 4th Moscow Rule--Don't Look Back; You're Never Completely Alone"--was a bit long for the title of a single story, so I split it and wrote two stories for Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. And it's 16 days to launch!
30:11
June 24, 2021
"Everyone is Potentially Under Opposition Control"
Moscow Rule number 3 and story number 3 from SPY FLASH III: THE MOSCOW RULES. If things seems too good, like this really beautiful woman--or guy--paying attention to you, better be careful.
31:19
June 17, 2021
"Never Go Against Your Gut"
The second Moscow Rule and the title of the second story in Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules--Never Go Against Your Gut. Sage advice for anyone. Preorder Spy Flash III at amazon.com/dp/B09673NDHJ.
44:59
June 10, 2021
Assume Nothing
Assume nothing--the first Moscow Rule, and the first story in my new collection, Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. Hear some excerpts and learn about the special preorder price.
35:23
June 03, 2021
Winding up MY NOBLE ENEMY
This episode concludes the look back at two of my novellas, The Yellow Scarf and My Noble Enemy, and it has a tease for my July new release. Also the podcast now has a Facebook Page. Follow it HERE.
01:02:20
May 27, 2021
Another Novella!
This episode features the second novella published in 2015, My Noble Enemy--where I, gasp, kill off a character. A bit of a warning: adults discussing sexual situations and some sexual innuendo; nothing explicit.
53:17
May 20, 2021
How THE YELLOW SCARF Got Its Title
This episode wraps up the focus on my 2015 novella The Yellow Scarf before we move onto the other 2015 novella My Noble Enemy. Also, you get a movie recommendation and a warning about some sexual banter between a married couple and some pretty harsh language. Enjoy!
47:59
May 13, 2021
What's a Novella?
A brief discussion about novellas and reading from my first novella, The Yellow Scarf. It and my second novella, My Noble Enemy are on sale this month. Find them on my Amazon author page.
51:01
May 06, 2021
Concluding a Look Back at A PERFECT HATRED
A writing lesson, some readings from Collateral Damage--the concluding volume of A Perfect Hatred--and a little preaching about civics. Plus, two days left to get all four books of A Perfect Hatred for free.
53:50
April 29, 2021
Revisiting Descending Spiral
Readings from Descending Spiral, book 3 of the series, A Perfect Hatred, and a bit of a chat about ethical dilemmas facing undercover operatives. Look for a birthday gift next week -- from ME to YOU for my birthday; all four books of A Perfect Hatred will be free from 4/26/21 to 4/30/21. 
56:02
April 22, 2021
Revisiting Bad Company
Continuing my revisit of my series A Perfect Hatred, I read from book 2, Bad Company, and discuss music and writing. WARNING: Both readings end with a leave-it-to-your-imagination sex scene; nothing explicit.
58:12
April 15, 2021
Revisiting A Perfect Hatred
It's the 3rd anniversary of the start of the series A Perfect Hatred. What better way to celebrate than with special pricing and a reading from Book 1, End Times.
57:04
April 08, 2021
Reading from a WIP Plus a Movie Review
Some readings from my rough draft of a new novel and a brief review of the new movie, The Courier, with Benedict Cumberbatch. To celebrate the three-year anniversary of the launch of the series A Perfect Hatred, all four books are specially priced.
35:19
April 01, 2021
The Conclusion to A War of Deception
We tie up all the antagonists' threads in this episode, and you get a preview of the books I'll be featuring in April--my four-book series, A Perfect Hatred. (Warning: some salty language)
46:22
March 25, 2021
Real Spy Results vs Fiction
More reading from A War of Deception and a brief discussion of an interesting, unclassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
51:08
March 18, 2021
More from A War of Deception
And A Face in the Crowd. Some thoughts about Bobby Sands on his birthday, and the podcast has its own website: realspiesreallives.com.
44:36
March 11, 2021
A Trip Back in Time
In March, I'll be reading from my 2017 debut novel, A War of Deception, and its mini-sequel, A Face in the Crowd. Find them HERE.
58:18
March 04, 2021
A New Novel and Spycraft
I'm reading from the rough draft of a new novel, The Devil Passed By, and discussing episode 4 of the Netflix series Spycraft--"Clandestine Collection."
50:32
February 25, 2021
Love Death and ... Sexpionage
A final reading from the new novel, Love Death, and my thoughts on Spycraft Episode 3, "Sexpionage." Note: Though not explicit by any means, I do discuss the use of sex as a way to recruit, control, and blackmail subjects.
45:04
February 18, 2021
Nearing the End
Alexei's incursion into The Annex is complete, and he's escaped with Gunter Metz, who wants only to see his family. A glitch at Checkpoint Charlie means Mai has to be the diversion to get Alexei safely into West Berlin--or she'll be the target. This episode is marked clean but warning for a post-sex scene between a married couple; nothing explicit.
51:18
February 11, 2021
Planning and Spycraft
There's mission planning, but then there's Mai Fisher's intuition. Alexei has learned to trust it, even when she strikes out on her own. Also, I discuss episode two of a new Netflix series, "Spycraft." The episode fits right in with Love Death; it's called "Deadly Poisons."
45:35
February 04, 2021
Going Off Topic
More reading from the upcoming new novel Love Death, but also NASCAR and baseball. What? (Note: I've marked this episode "Clean," but there is a scene of a married couple in bed, post-coital.)
54:38
January 28, 2021
Always Good To Have A Plan
Mai learns something about Alexei she didn't know when she meets Kolya Bukharin.
52:33
January 21, 2021
Approaches and Pitches
Warning: I talk a bit about politics. Otherwise, get a glimpse into how two different spies make their approaches and pitches.
49:52
January 14, 2021
New Year, New Mission
Another taste of my upcoming book, Love Death, with some history and German politics. Oooh, exciting. 
41:56
January 07, 2021
Out With the Old...At Last!
Some refections on 2020 and a reading from an upcoming new novel, Love Death. Happy New Year!
37:27
December 31, 2020
Old Spies Don't Die...Until They Do
My personal appreciation for John le Carre, who died this past weekend at the age of 89. Also, no podcast for 12/25/2020. Happy holidays--whichever one you celebrate or not. Be safe!
32:32
December 17, 2020
Character Origins
In this episode, I talk about who inspired the characters Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin. You'll get a little back story and an insight into how much fun writing these characters is for me.
57:30
December 10, 2020
The Trilogy Concludes
The final few chapters--and some editorializing about Slobodan Milosevic--of the trilogy Self-Inflicted Wounds, after its conclusion with the publication of And Justice for All, book three. Tying up loose ends seldom happens for spies, but Mai Fisher generally gets what she wants. Find the trilogy HERE.
01:10:24
December 03, 2020
The Last Mission?
We're closing in on the conclusion of And Justice for All. Mai and Alexei wrap everything up in Belgrade and prepare to return home--but is the mission really over? And is it, as Mai promised, their last? Please note: There will be no podcast on Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy your holiday, everyone!
01:03:57
November 19, 2020
Improvising
It's well known that Mai Fisher will risk almost anything to have a successful mission, but let herself get captured? Not the first time. Trigger warning: Mention of rape.
48:14
November 12, 2020
The Beginning of the End...of the Trilogy
And Justice for All brings Mai and Alexei's mission in the Balkans to a close, but in the process, they deal with an old enemy, discover a devastating betrayal, and save a marriage--not theirs. And Justice for All is available for preorder HERE.
46:16
November 05, 2020
We Reach the End of Book Two
The final chapters of Dangerous Truths, book two of Self-Inflicted Wounds, also end on a bit of a cliffhanger. You might say all of book three is the denouement!
37:46
October 29, 2020
Plausible Deniability and Dangerous Truths
Some more chapters from book two, Dangerous Truths, and my philosophy on sex scenes in thrillers. That got your attention, right?
58:48
October 22, 2020
A Fateful Encounter
Mai and Alexei get a hint of who might be involved in the murders of the "friends of Milosevic" and someone takes care of a complication for them. More from Self-Inflicted Wounds book two, Dangerous Truths. Preorder book two HERE.
45:23
October 15, 2020
The Plot Thickens
Another reading from Self-Inflicted Wounds Book Two, Dangerous Truths. Mai Fisher confirms that if it is Russian mercenaries behind the murders of Yugoslavian officials, they're a sadistic bunch, and she finds that out the hard way. 
47:33
October 08, 2020
Dangerous Truths
Launch day for Welcome to Belgrade (which you can buy HERE), a resolution to our cliffhanger from Welcome to Belgrade and a few chapters from book two, Dangerous Truths, which you can preorder HERE.
44:44
October 01, 2020
A Cliffhanger!
Cliffhangers are a tried and true thriller trope, perhaps overused on occasion, but certainly a good way to keep a reader reading. Welcome to Belgrade is still available for preorder and launches a week from today.
37:25
September 24, 2020
Let's End This on a Cliffhanger
Why not? Cliffhangers are one of the oldest tropes in a thriller. I try to avoid cliches, but a trope? Sometimes they can be an author's best friend. Welcome to Belgrade is available for preorder and will launch on October 1, 2020.
47:41
September 17, 2020
Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave...
Episode 14! A few more chapters from Welcome to Belgrade, book one of the trilogy Self-Inflicted Wounds, and I ramble on a bit about John le Carre, British interrogation techniques, and 9/11.
51:56
September 10, 2020
Deception Shouldn't Surprise a Spy
From Self-Inflicted Wounds: Welcome to Belgrade (book one): Mai Fisher arrives in Belgrade for her mission to stop the political murders in Yugoslavia, unaware that Alexei has reactivated himself and is following her surreptitiously. Mai visits an old acquaintance, now a low-level Russian Mafiya boss in Belgrade to see what information he might have on the "friends of Milosevic" murders. Alexei, however, can't quite convince himself that Mai isn't behind some of those murders. Preorder Welcome to Belgrade HERE.
37:53
September 03, 2020
Small Talk
Episode 12! We're moving along--and the audience is growing. Wish I knew what caused that so I can keep it up! This week's episode revolves around the opening scene of the first book in my trilogy Self-Inflicted Wounds. In Welcome to Belgrade, my character Mai Fisher meets with the notorious Serbian war criminal Arkan, and he insists that they make small talk so as not to raise suspicions about his motivation in meeting her. His version of small talk, however, means bringing some of Mai's worst memories. Welcome to Belgrade is available for preorder now.
50:07
August 27, 2020
He is Finished!
"He is finished" was the opposition's campaign slogan against Slobodan Milosevic in the election of 2000. It took a couple of weeks post-election to accomplish that, but it did happen peacefully. I'm winding up readings from my reader magnet, Dateline: Belgrade this week. Next episode--more background on why I wrote a trilogy about a European election.
01:09:55
August 20, 2020
When Protesting Made a Difference
More reading from the new reader magnet Dateline: Belgrade, with an emphasis on a change in the purpose and nature of street demonstrations in Belgrade in the year 2000. Why did the police lay off--most of the time? What did a student group and a radio station have to do with activism? And a hint about how changing a constitution backfired on the man it was supposed to benefit. I'm talking 20 years ago; I swear. You can still preorder Dateline: Belgrade at a special introductory price (99cents) here.
59:34
August 13, 2020
Introducing a Reader Magnet for a New Trilogy
Some background on a reader magnet entitled Dateline: Belgrade came about, and an introduction for the upcoming trilogy, Self-Inflicted Wounds. You may learn more about the Balkans than you ever wanted to know. And, yes, a thunderstorm passed over while I was recording. This episode contains some excerpts from Dateline: Belgrade and the trilogy. One excerpt touches on the disturbing topic of human trafficking. 
01:02:36
August 06, 2020
Absolute Power Can Corrupt--or Not
In the final story, "Brave New World," from the collection, Spy Flash II, we see that even the most sincere of politicians can succumb to the temptations of power, even if for good reason. And it takes a spy to show the way back to the light. Stay tuned next week for excerpts from an upcoming novella, Dateline: Belgrade, and be prepared to learn more about the history of the Balkans than you ever wanted to know.
59:55
July 30, 2020
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold
What role does a Klingon proverb play in the third story from the collection Spy Flash II, "Best Served Cold"? Listen and find out. Though this story's inspiration was four years ago, it unfortunately encompasses a topic still timely today, still unbelievably making headlines today: the killing of unarmed Black people by the police. A human story, not a spy story per se, "Best Served Cold" was difficult to write and record. Please note this story was reviewed in 2016 by sensitivity readers, and I made corrections they suggested. To hear past episodes of this podcast, go to Past Podcasts on my website.
01:04:09
July 23, 2020
Manipulation--It's What Spies Do
Story number two from the collection Spy Flash II. "Promise her anything" is the instruction to get an asset to agree to a marriage she doesn't want. But some spies fulfill their promises.
58:18
July 16, 2020
"Spymaster"
Trying to be more spontaneous instead of scripted, even when reading the excerpt. I may have, well, employed my limited ability to mimic accents. Be kind.
01:01:01
July 09, 2020
Second Guessing the Second Guessing
Some thoughts on including extremist characters and their philosophy in fiction, and an excerpt from A Change for the Better.
25:38
July 02, 2020
When is History History?
My thoughts on whether an event is history or a current event. Oh, and an excerpt from my novella, A Change for the Better. You can hear more excerpts at my website. Just click on the "Past Podcasts" tab.
32:16
June 25, 2020
The Lure of Historical Fiction
Some insight into why I write historical fiction. 
07:33
June 18, 2020
The Dark Side of Writing Thrillers Remix
Let's try this again--after some much-needed tutoring on sound editing. Enjoy!
07:04
June 12, 2020
June 11, 2020
00:28
June 11, 2020