Please welcome Gwen M. Plano who has stopped by on her blog tour to meet you. The special occasion is the launch of her intriguing new release, The Culmination, a new beginning.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Sarah.
It’s my pleasure, Gwen. How are things with you this morning?
I guess UK fans – existing and new – will be delighted too. It’s showing as 77p here. I’ve grabbed my copy, and I have a reason that my readers will recognise! Go ahead, Gwen.
I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys.
Folks, the lady uses an office! I never have dusted mine, but characters being bossy is so familiar. What’s it all about?
The Culmination can best be described as a political/military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.
What an utterly fascinating scenario. Definitely the place to quote from an Amazon review – “The scope of the plot is vast. The reader moves from what appears to be simple situations of trouble to complex machinations that could lead to World War Three. The story involves multiple nations and heads of state. There are some surprising moments, as well as a tender love story.” – and that is from just one of some fab 5-star reviews. Now, I gather this standalone novel is the third in a series?
Yes, this is my description, Sarah.
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
I’m looking forward even more to reading it now, and you’re letting us have a peep.
Margaret Adler, the Vice President of the United States, has flown to Moscow at the request of Russia’s President. He has asked her to address the Russian people about the Disarmament Treaty. She stands on a platform overlooking the Red Square and the crowd that fills it. In this excerpt, she acknowledges those who have served or are currently serving in the military.
“Thank you all for your service. You know the worst and the best of life. You know what it is to risk everything for your country, your family, and your principles. It is possible we—you and I—supported opposing sides. We may have fought valiantly for different ideals. I want you to know that I respect your fearlessness and courage. We are soldiers. We have done what we were told to do faithfully. Thank you for your service.” She begins to clap, and the assembly joins her.
Margaret waits for people to resettle. “Almost two decades ago, I served in the United States Army in Afghanistan. I suspect that many of you also served in that country in the 1980s.” She looks around the audience. Some of the men nod.
“Afghanistan was my first and last deployment.” Margaret pauses and removes her four-button cardigan to reveal her arm prosthesis. A gasp carries across the expanse.
“I lost my arm to a mortar attack and was near death when a Russian soldier on diplomatic business got caught in the same battle. It wasn’t his battle to fight. It was mine. America was at war with Afghanistan because of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. This Russian soldier and his men tried to get out of harm’s way, but there was no safe direction to turn. As he walked through the destruction, he heard my moans. The last thing I remember was his demand to his men, ‘Pomoch’ yey!’ ‘Help her!’
“His men put a tourniquet on my arm and went on their way. This one action saved my life. Yesterday, I met this soldier once again.” She turns, looks at the President’s son, Ivan, and asks that he join her. As he walks to the stand, she extends her hand to him, and he grasps hers firmly. The people clap and stand. Adler returns to the microphone, and the people quiet. She puts her cardigan on and says, “We Americans and Russians have known much pain over the centuries. We take care about who we trust for good reason. We’ve lost loved ones, we’ve lost properties, and we’ve lost hope. Sometimes the reasons for our fighting has not been clear, but the fighting has been gruesome, nonetheless.
“As time passed, our two countries became experts at destruction. We know how to inflict damage better than anyone. Our nuclear weapons are so powerful that they can destroy ALL life. One aberrant warhead, and the world we consider our home will no longer exist.
“The treaty we have signed directs us to progressively reduce our nuclear stockpiles. Your President and I have decided that our two countries will cut our holdings in half over the next two years. Even with this notable reduction, we can still destroy the planet. We will monitor our progress continually, and within the next two years, we will meet again to, hopefully, cut the stockpile in half once more.
“We are not naive. Much can change in two years, including our leadership. To ensure that we keep our promises, we will use drone surveillance and arrange for multiple investigative visits each year.
“Trust does not happen overnight. It takes time for confidence to emerge, and that is a burden that any leadership must bear. We are creating a new frontier—one that we travel together. We will not stockpile more weapons. Rather, we will learn to depend upon each other through trade and negotiations. We can do this. We, you and I, can create a future for our children founded on mutual understanding—on peace.”
World Peace, mankind’s eternal hope. While we ponder on that, I have a personal question for you, Gwen, and it will only surprise new visitors. What sort of music do you like, and who are your favourite singers and groups?
Music…gosh, Sarah, I love everything from Classical to Country. But, there are a few artists who pull at my heartstrings. Leonard Cohen is high on that list. As for a group, I like the Eagles.
Interesting, but there’s a lot more to find out about Gwen – you’ll find links at the bottom – but before you rush off, please leave your comments and questions. Gwen will be popping in and out today, ready to tell you anything I’ve forgotten to ask or include. There are so many aspects of her work and her life I haven’t dipped into, including that she co-authored a book with best-selling author, John Howell.
Amazon Author’s page: https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt
Letting Go into Perfect Love – https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth – https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes – https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning – https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9