Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

JOURNEY TO AN UNKNOWN DESTINATION: In the Company of Great Americans

Beside Birddog at Vung Tau Apr 67

If you wonder why I haven’t posted anything on this blog recently, it’s because I’ve been writing my memoir for the past several months. It will still be a while before it’s published, because I’m having several people review the manuscript before I submit it to the Department of Defense for security review. Like everyone else in government who had a Top Secret security clearance, I signed a non disclosure agreement that requires me to submit any book that deals with what I did in government for review before I can publish it. Since many of you who know me or worked with me over the years are in the book, I want to keep you up to date as we move forward. To whet your interest, here’s the synopsis.

Synopsis

Life is a journey to an unknown destination, best traveled in the company of Great Americans. Ed Ross’ life is just such a story. This incredible no-holds-barred, first-person memoir reveals the good the bad and the evil of a 43-year career in the military and government, with stories of triumph, tragedy, murder, espionage, suicide, defection, terrorism, bureaucratic politics, sacrifice for love of country and associations with great Americans. It begins with a small child running free on the streets of Swissvale, Pennsylvania. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965, he becomes a highly decorated artillery observer with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, where he comes face to face with the reality of death. Recruited by U.S. Army Military Intelligence, he becomes a clandestine case officer and returns to Vietnam as a covert intelligence operative, running sensitive, deep-cover operations against the Viet Cong. Following his second tour in Vietnam he serves as the chief counter-intelligence/counter-espionage in the 500th Military Intelligence Group, Hawaii, responsible for the Asia-Pacific Theater of operations. Studying Chinese at the Defense Language Institute in Anacostia, Maryland, and the American Embassy School for Chinese Language and Area Studies in Taichung, Taiwan, becoming fluent and literate in Chinese, he receives his master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and is assigned as a senior China analyst in the Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C., where he writes Defense and National Intelligence Estimates on China and Taiwan that help change the course of history. As a U.S. military attaché in the People’s Republic of China, he opens the door to U.S.-China defense relations. Medically retired from the U.S. Army in 1984 with life threatening end-stage renal disease, he receives a kidney transplant the following year and goes on to a 23-year career in Washington, D.C., as the Special Assistant for China in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he is the architect of U.S. arms sales to China and oversees sensitive U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. As Acting Deputy Assistant of Defense for POW/MOIA Affairs, he creates the Defense Prisoner of war Missing in Action Office and leads the Department of Defense through the intense scrutiny of the American people, the media and the Congress of the controversy over accounting for MIAs in Southeast Asia. As Principal Director for Operations in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, he led at the nexus where grand strategy and amorphous bureaucracy converged to train and equip friends and allies around the world. A novelist and a columnist, he is a prolific writer.

Check back for updates.

Filed under: Books, China-Taiwan, Movies-TV, National Security, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“THE TRANSPLANTS” A NOVEL

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 CLICK FOR FREE PREVIEW  OR  BUY ON AMAZON.COM

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UPDATE: “THE TRANSPLANTS” SEQUEL

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If you regularly follow this blog, you know I’m working on the sequel to “The Transplants,” my sci-fi, action adventure novel available at Amazon.com and all major eBook distributors. I had originally planned on having the sequel “The Transplants: Errant Dragons,” available for sale on line this month. However, I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t publish the book unless it was better than the original, which took me almost three years to conceive, organize and write. About half way through I didn’t think I was headed in that direction, and I have gone back and am doing a major rewrite.

Think about it. How many sequels (books or movies) can you think of that were better than the original? Among the most successful movie sequels (James Bond, Star Trek and Star Wars) not every sequel made the grade. What made one better than another was the story, characters and the quality of the script. Add to that something new and original. The exception to that rule is probably the Jason Bourne trilogy. In all three books and movies the CIA is out to kill him and he is out to find out who he is and get to the source of the problem. It works because all three episodes are part of one big action-packed story.

In “The Transplants,” Rion and Sena arrive on earth from the planet Auria, pass themselves off as humans and cross two continents looking for each other while evading and escaping the U.S., Russian and Chinese governments. What’s different about “The Transplants: Errant Dragons” is that the tables are turned. These governments aren’t so much chasing them as they are after the Chinese government that abducted their children in a failed attempt to abduct them. And after ten years on Earth, the couple have become human psychologically and emotionally. On Auria, God, religion and faith were alien concepts to them. On earth they accept them, while not becoming overly religious.

If you have read “The Transplants,” I welcome your suggestions and recommendations on what you would like to see in the sequel. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll find links to where you can purchase it at http://ewross.com/transplants.htm. For updates and blogs on a variety of topics you can subscribe to Ed’s Blog at the link to the right in the center column beneath the picture of Washington, D.C.

All the best, Ed

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VINCE FLYNN – KYLE MILLS, THE SURVIVOR A REVIEW

THE SURVIVOR

I was one of the few people fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of the new Mitch Rapp novel that comes out on October 6, thanks to Vince Flynn.com and Simon and Schuster. Here’s my review with no spoilers.

Like most Vince Flynn/Mitch Rapp fans I’ve read every one of Vince’s books and was saddened and disappointed when he died from prostate cancer on June 13, 2013. Vince had begun his next book in the Mitch Rapp series, “The Survivor,” before he died, but hadn’t completed it. Judging from what we learned on Vince’s webpage, most people, like me, believed the book would never be published, and the Mitch Rapp series had come to and end.

Along comes Kyle Mills. Kyle is an experienced New York Time best-selling author like Vince with 14 political thrillers under his belt written between 1997 and 2015. You can check him out at http://www.kylemills.com.

Nevertheless, there was only one Vince Flynn, and I wasn’t sure Kyle could love the colorful and complex characters Vince created, like Mitch, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, Stan Hurley, Scott Coleman and a host of other allies and villains. Most important, I didn’t think anyone but Vince, could capture the complex character of Mitch Rapp. After all, when it comes down to the essentials, it’s not the plot that makes or breaks a book. It’s the characters and what the author does with them. Assassins kill bad guys and occasionally a not-so bad-guy. How and why the kill them makes all the difference.

Mitch often is brutal, but he isn’t a cold-blooded, emotionless killer, it’s-all-in-a-days-work-kind’a guy, at least not all the time. He’s a patriot who loves his country and puts his life on the line for it, which is what makes Mitch Rapp such a compelling character. All the Mitch Rapp books have counterbalanced plot lines, and the survivor is no different. One is Mitch in the field doing what the world’s most feared assassin does. The other is Mitch in Washington, D.C. fighting an often corrupt political system and CIA haters that are true to contemporary headlines.

Unlike just about every other fictional assassin, Mitch wasn’t an ex-military, ex-special forces veteran used to killing for a living. He was an All-American Lacrosse player at Syracuse University when Libyan terrorists blew Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing his sweetheart Maureen, whom Mitch had known since he was 15, along with 35 other Syracuse students returning from a semester overseas. Determined to make the terrorist who had done this pay, he was an easy recruit for then case officer Irene Kennedy. The rest is literary legend.

Whether you begin with the Survivor, or American Assassin and read the books in story vs. published order, you won’t be sorry. American Assassin and Kill Shot are prequels, the last two complete books Vince wrote, but they begin at the beginning of Mitch’s professional life and I recommend that anyone new to Vince/Flynn and Mitch Rapp begin there.

Finally, allow me to put in a shameless plug for my novel “The Transplants” http”//ewross.com/transplants.htm. Vince was a big inspiration for me and I tried to create characters that he would like and understand.

 

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DIAMONDS ARE A SPACE ALIEN’S BEST FRIEND

Diamonds are a space aliens best friend http://bit.ly/1cnpMZ1 #BookBubble via @BublishMe #xplants http://ow.ly/NBEUP

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WHY I WROTE “THE TRANSPLANTS”

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Numerous reviews of “The Transplants” and comments made to me individually by people who have read the book say the same thing. “I don’t read scifi books, but when I read “The Transplants” because someone recommended it to me the story and characters seized my attention and I couldn’t put the book down.”

I think that’s because the scifi aspects of the novel are only there as a vehicle to delve into deeper questions about the values and beliefs we live by, not to create a futuristic, space-traveling world of fantasy and yet undeveloped technology. Creating two characters, Rion and Sena, from another planet who come to earth and who look and behave much like us, sets up the dichotomy between the English-speaking world’s Judo-Christian heritage and something entirely different and uninfluenced by it.

Would space aliens that look like us share our human values. Would they believe in God? Would they share our code of moral ethics? Would they love each other as we love others?

I wrote “The Transplants” because I wanted to explore these questions while entertaining readers and motivating them to think about what they believe in and how they might react if they encountered Rion and Sena. Perhaps the passage from “The Transplants” that best exemplifies what I mean is Rion’s exchange with Father Harris, who doesn’t know who Rion really is.

“Thank you.” said Rion, as Ed handed him a bottle of beer. They both sat there quietly at first looking up at the sky. “Do you believe that intelligent life exists on these other planets?” Rion asked.

Ed thought on the question for before answering. “You know, I’m torn on that question.”

“Why is that?”

“I know there are probably billions of planets out there that could support life. Odds are there has to be intelligent life on other planets. On the other hand, the priest in me wants to believe that Earth is something special, and that God sent his only son to lead us to salvation. If intelligent life, like us, does exist out there it would have a profound impact on Christianity and Catholicism, not to mention how man views himself. Fortunately, it’s not likely we will ever know the answer to that question. The distances between the stars are simply far too great to find out for certain. Earth stations have been searching the stars for decades for communications signals from outer space, but we’ve never received one.”

“None of this means that life doesn’t exist out there.”

“That’s right, and that’s why we will never stop looking and listening.”

Rion continued. “Do you think it’s possible that if there is life on another planet, it could look just like us?”

“I doubt it. I believe in evolution. It’s not likely that the evolutionary process that’s taken place here on Earth would be replicated that closely somewhere else.”

“Let’s say that it was and that someone from that planet arrived here on Earth and you were the first person to meet him, what would you ask that person?”

“I’d ask him if he believes in God,” Ed responded seriously.

“And what if he didn’t?”

“I’d tell him never to play poker.”

Rion chuckled, Ed’s answer surprised him. “What does that have to do with it?”

“People who don’t believe in God are bad gamblers.”

“How’s that?”

“Think of it this way. If you don’t believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you lose. No heaven, no afterlife. If you don’t believe in God and he does exist, you lose. You may have an afterlife, but it may not be a desirable one. If you believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you lose, no heaven no afterlife. But if you do believe in God, and follow his commandments, of course, and he does exist you win, you have eternal life. Why put your chips on any other bet?”

“That’s awfully simplistic.”

“True, but it alone won’t lead you to God. What happened before the big bang? If man can conceive of perfection how can perfection not exist? Look at the world and Universe around us. Evolutionists say all this just happened randomly. Random leads to chaos. Evolution isn’t chaos; it’s a work of beauty. It’s not just survival of the fittest, its survival of the beautiful and the search for perfection.”

“That’s a lot to think about, Ed.”

“I’ve been thinking about all my adult life. It’s one of the reasons I became a priest.”

“I just don’t know how you reconcile all the things you’ve just said and that you say when you’re standing in front of that altar in church with science.”

“You don’t. Science tells us how. Religion tells us why.”

Rion thought about that while looking up at the stars as he finished his beer.

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GET A FREE COPY OF “THE TRANSPLANTS”

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Starting today for the next 21 days I’m offering fre copies of “The Transplants” in exchange for your review at StoryCartel.com. Check it out.

Of the potentially billions of planets in the Universe that could support intelligent life like that on Earth, is it not reasonable to assume that at least one of them contains life that very much resembles humans? If so, would they share our beliefs in God, religion and human love?

“The Transplants” is a science fiction novel about Rion and Sena, two refugees from just such a planet who travel across the galaxy to Earth to save their species from extinction. Arriving on Earth, they are separated at sea in a hurricane. He washes up on the coast of Georgia. An Australian billionaire on his yacht rescues her and takes her to Australia. Pursued by an obsessed NASA scientist, an FBI agent and multiple foreign intelligence services, they must find each other, survive, evade and escape capture. It’s a science fiction story, an action adventure story, a love story and the eternal story of intelligent life’s relationship with the Universe. 

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PRESS KIT

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Here is the link to the PressKit for The Transplants.It’s purpose is to put everything about the book in one place. It includes the synopsys, the video trailer, an exerpt, reviews, my profile, and all other information about the book. Im still offering two free copies a month to people who follow me on Facebook or Twiitter, at EWRoss.com or this blog. If you are interested in a free copy all  you have to do is ask. Not everyone reads eBooks and picking people at random hasn’t worked well; so I slect from among those that ask. Also I’m still looking for reviewers. That includes people who will review the book on their blog or on Amazon.com.

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THE TRANSPLANTS – FREE COPIES FOR REVIEWERS

My SciFi, action adventure novel “The Transplants” http://youtu.be/20qcD1ouxJs The Transplants has been available on Amazon for 90 days now. So far I have 9 five-star reviews. I am still offering free copies to reviewers. If you are interested please contact me at ewr@ewross.com. I wrote “The Transplants” as a vehicle to examine several questions. How would we and the U.S. government react to first contact with intelligent life indistinguishable from humans. How would aliens from a planet more advanced than Earth but where belief in a supreme being and religion had disappeared react to these ideas when they arrived on Earth. Is our concept of love unique to Earth or is it universal. Can we ever coexist with extraterrestrial life.

As a kidney transplant recipient of 30 years, I chose the title “The Transplants” because in an organ transplant a health organ is taken from a dead or dying individual and transplanted into a sick or dying one, giving it a new lease on life. Rion and Sena escape a doomed planet and come to Earth with knowledge and expertise that gives Earth a new lease on life. Will Earth reject them as a human body often rejects an organ transplant or will it accept them and prosper? The Transplants

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THE TRANSPLANTS A NOVEL BY ED ROSS

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THE TRANSPLANTS

“The Transplants is selling briskly on Amazon.com. Thanks to everyone who’s purchased a copy. For those who haven’t yet; remember, you don’t need a Kindle device to read the Kindle edition. Just download the free Kindle app from “The a Transplants” book page on Amazon.com. Also e-books make great gifts, especially for people far away like troops serving overseas. All you need is an email address.

For those of you who don’t generally read SciFi books, “The Transplants” isn’t your normal SciFi novel. No aliens with superpowers, no little green men; just a story about two people from another planet who look just like us in search of a planet where they can save their species and live anonomyous lives. On the run from the U.S. government that wants to lock them away and study them and from foreign governments that want to do the same, they survive, evade and escape across two continents before a final confrontation with their pursuers, It’s a SciFi story by definition, but it’s much more. It’s a love story, an action adventure story, and a Washington, D.C. bureaucratic politics story.

Try it you’ll like it. If you don’t, I’ll provide verified purchasers their money back.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEMK7FQ

Watch the trailer/teaseer at https://www.youtube.com/user/EWRossdotcom

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THE TRANSPLANTS TRAILER

THE TRANSPLANTS AVAILABLE AT http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEMK7FQ

 

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My Novel The Transplants Available at Amazon.com

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My novel, The Transplants, now is available as an e-book on Amazon.com. It’s a story about the lone surviving couple of a doomed planet who travel across the galaxy to save their species and across two continents to save themselves. It’s a science fiction story, an action adventure story, a love story and the eternal story of intelligent life’s relationship with the Universe. You can find it at the link below or just enter “The Transplants by Ed Ross” in the Amazon.com search bar.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEMK7FQ

If you don’t have a Kindle device or the Kindle app already installed on your smartphone/iPhone, tablet/iPad, or computer, you can download the free app from the book page.

If you like The Transplants, a positive review on Amazon.com and recommending the book to friends and family by forwarding this email is greatly appreciated. Also feel free to email me with your comments.

Thanks much, and I hope you enjoy the book.

Ed

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VINCE FLYNN

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Vince Flynn was a novelist. He Wrote fiction about a CIA assassin named Mitch Rapp. Many great novelists have come and gone; among those writing today, Flynn was one of the best. Novel readers all have their favorite writer. Vince Flynn was mine. If you are a fan of Flynn’s Mitch Rapp books you know what I am talking about.

I worked in the clandestine intelligence world for seven years during my U.S. Army career. I had the honor and the privilege of working with many of America’s finest intelligence operatives. Flynn had a way of capturing their qualities and synthesizing them into his characters.

What also endeared Flynn to his fans is the way he interacted with them. He published there letters and their pictures of where they were when they read one of his books. He invited them to help him build a list of all the characters that he had referred to in his books. He cared about his fans.

I only hope that Flynn’s books make it to the big screen with the right script, actors and director.

RIP Vince and thanks for everything.

You can read my column about Mitch Rapp (here).

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THE HUNGER GAMES

I saw The Hunger Games at 9:50 AM, Friday, March 23, having only made it halfway through the novel before seeing the movie. I have to agree with the positive reviews that it’s an excellent movie. Jennifer Lawrence is exceptional as Katniss Everdene; and unless you’ve seen her great performance in Winter’s Bone, it’s difficult to reconcile her coal-miner’s daughter appearence in the movie with her sexy-woman look in X-Men: First Class; but that’s the magic of Hollywood.

I agree with the reviewer who wrote that his only complaints were that the movie wasn’t long enough and that it couldn’t be told in the first person like the book. I would add to that, Hollywood too often these days gives in to eye-popping computer-generated imagery effects at the cost of story, climatic tension, and buildup. The Hunger Games has it all without overdoing the CGI.

Of course, not everyone will like The Hunger Games. I still speak with people who have never read a Harry Potter book or watched a Harry Potter movie–their loss.

The Hunger Games is different from Harry potter, although both series have plenty of violence. The violence in Hunger Games, while toned down from the book to obtain a PG-13 rating, is still more realistic and true to life. A sword, spear, or arrow inflicts a much different wound than a magic wand.

What he Harry Potter and Katniss Everdine series have in common is that they speak to fundamental human emotions and values–fear, love, loyalty, hope, and the resiliance of the human spirit. That’s why both are blockbusters. Contrary to Hollywood’s operating principles, the American moviegoer wants more than entertainment and special effects. They want to be moved and inspired.

The Hunger Games should appeal to both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives will find the anti big-brother government theme appealing; both liberals and conservatives should like the strong female protagonist. If anyone is contemplating a “war on women” they should consider that there are a lot of Katniss Everdene’s in real-life America. You don’t  want to mess with them.

I never figured out what was appealing about damsels in distress. We’er all a lot better off with women that can take care of themselves and us when the need arises. If The Hunger Games inspires more young American women to be like Katniss, the country will be a lot better off.

I give the movie four and a half stars out of five. I highly recommend it. Everyone now has time to  read all three books in the series (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) before the second movie comes out in about a year or so.

I believe you get a lot more out of the movies when you read the books first. It allows your mind to fill in what the movies necessarily leave out. I read Gen. Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur as a child before I saw the 1959 version of the Movie with Charlton Heston. The dozens of times I have watched that move since in 55 years, I can still fill the rich story about Ben Hur’s experiences in Rome and his other romance that the movie left out.

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