I’m currently working on a new book series, but I wanted to talk about the books in my old book series for a moment. All In: The Globe Trot Shuffle, Cash Me Out: Life and Death in Paradise, The Buildup to Operation Intense Freedom, Run The Table: Operation Intense Freedom, and The Aftermath of Operation Intense Freedom.
Its been a long time since I posted my thoughts, and I wanted to do something special, seeing how it’s almost Easter and all. How about some Easter Eggs!
An Easter Egg in a book is an intentional inside joke or secret feature. Something not known to many, sometimes only known by the Author. I like to think of it as something fun only a select few will get, and that select few will appreciate it.
Now, what did I put in my books that people didn’t catch onto? Here’s one of a few Easter Egg “themes”. If you read all 5 of them in the series, you will have seen football references. But did you know, there is more to it than a casual reference? I didn’t mention teams by name, but there are many allusions to them. Warden plays Fantasy Football, something that I do every year.
John Gabriel Warden, the main protagonist, is from San Diego. That’s where I’m from, but that’s also where the now defunct, San Diego Chargers are from. Renaldo Enteria Diaz is from Denver, home of the Denver Broncos. Kyle Anders Madson is from Kansas, in honor of the Kansas City Chiefs. But Noah James Marcs is from Houston. If he was from Oakland, the home of the soon to be defunct Oakland Raiders, we’d have the whole NFL’s AFC West Division in attendance. Well, in book 1, a crew member on the cargo ship the characters find themselves on is a Raiders fan. There you go, the whole AFC West.
Why is Marcs from Houston though? Is it some reference to the Texans? Nope. I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. I wanted that Texas connection for the Cowboys, but why Houston? Only because I have a buddy from the Houston area and thought why not.
Not only that, but some characters are named after football players. You’ll see a Troy in the series, from Troy Aikman. A Tomlinson (Chargers RB), a Philip (Chargers QB), a Gates (Chargers TE), a Bell (Steelers RB), an Emit (Cowboys RB), and many others. Did you spot any that I didn’t name here? A hotel name possibly?
Another major theme is the Philippines. I am half Filipino (though you couldn’t tell it from looking at me) and wanted to post obscure aspects of my heritage into the series. There wasn’t much in eggs, but most mentions of the Philippines probably wouldn’t have been picked up on by casual readers. Warden is half Filipino and his family background is very similar to mine. Parents met in the same place. He hates dictators because of the stories his mom told him when he was young about her life under the Marcos Regime. Same thing with me. I even included some Filipino minor characters in book 1 and had Tagalog dialogue. The Filipino seafarers and hotel workers come from my past experience or through family members. I spent many years in the Middle East, and always made friends with the “Kababayan” staff. Means fellow countrymen.
There were other casual references to the Philippines, even small things like asking Warden if he was part “flip-a-pino” or something, like I had been asked while I was in the Marines.
The last major theme is the Marine Corps and there were a few hidden USMC Easter Eggs in the books. The story will reverberate with all Veterans, but it will reverberate more highly with Marine Veterans. There are situations that only Marines will know and smile about. I tried to write the most accurate portrayal of junior enlisted Marine Corps/Military life as possible. I even have references to the Marine Corps in Book 2, which takes place solely on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Warden is visited by NCIS and USMC C.I.D. He hangs an Eagle Globe an Anchor on his bar’s walls. I like to believe many Vets can see themselves in Warden or his friends, and will feel a bond with the characters because they went through the same B.S.
There are some Easter Eggs only people who lived in the Jacksonville, North Carolina area will find. That area is home to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. The base where my characters were stationed at. I included popular Marine frequented establishments with slightly tweaked names and other parts of the surrounding area. I included local North Carolina University and College names because I live in North Carolina and went to UNC Wilmington.
That’s gotta be it for Easter Eggs right? I had hidden references, but what about things I hid in plain sight? The story itself seems so implausible that it has to be made up. All of it, even the military parts. I can only say, sure bout that? My hope is that somebody will read the story one day, and spit their coffee out all over their eReader. They will run to their significant other and say, “Holy sh*t, this dude wrote something that really happened! I was there, I saw this for myself, this isn’t made up at all!” I hope that person runs to the computer and posts a comment to my sales page in the review section, and tell me how they can’t believe I just wrote that, and that they were there.
What part is so unbelievable, it has to be fake? Ask me about a scene, and I’ll let you know. I can tell you right now that we didn’t steal money or take a cargo ship ride. But did someone drop a Ka-Bar knife into a port-a-john, get on a plane thinking they were going to California but woke up in Spain, or did a cow almost run someone over as they were defecating? You would be surprised on what was based on fact and what was completely made up.
Oh, and I almost forgot!!! Warden, Diaz, Madson, and Marcs aren’t based on any single person. Warden is not based on me, even though we have similarities. The four are made up but have characteristics of Marines I know. They live out my experiences and my friends experiences. They have personality traits of several Marines I know and have background info of several Marines I served with. All the other Marine characters in the books? Almost all of them are based on the real people who were out there with me. The biggest Easter Egg is that I’m in the book! Lance Corporal Parker is me. Even though I’m in the book, I gave Warden many of my experiences, thoughts, and actions during the war. How is that for an Easter Egg?