Monday, March 23, 2015

A No Good Itch by S.D. Skye ♥ Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Romantic Suspense)

IN THE GAME OF ESPIONAGE, SPY TAKES TRAITOR.
J.J. MCCALL TAKES OVER.


The FBI and Italian Mafia make strange bedfellows when a vicious Russian Organized crime figure, operating at the behest of Russian Intelligence, lands in The Big Apple. The Russian intelligence hench-man, infamously known as Mashkov, avenges the death of slain a Russian sleeper agent and accidentally hits the son of an Italian crime boss, sending J.J. and Task Force Phantom Hunter to the streets of New York. They are stepping into a possible war between Russian and Italian organized crime factions, while trying to dismantle the financial hub of the most insidious Russian illegals network in U.S. History.

Meanwhile, CIA Case Officer Grayson “Six” Chance is in Moscow trying to capture a fugitive American who has stolen White House intelligence and is planning to pass it to the Russians—putting Six in a moral dilemma he may not be prepared to handle.

And when J.J. finally learns the truth surrounding her mother's death in the line of duty, her life may never be the same.

If you enjoy this book, you will love Book 1--The Seven Year Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel) and Book 2 -- Son of a Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel).
1. J.J. McCall and Tony Donato are loosely based on a real life FBI Special Agents.
J.J. McCall is an African American, female FBI Special Agent. When I first conceived the idea for this FBI Espionage (counterespionage) series, I wanted to write a heroine modeled after an African American agent with whom I worked at the FBI. One of the things I remembered about the agent is that I admired her because she had an almost innate ability to walk into a room, command it, and then cut through the BS. We worked on a task force together, and she waded through all the white noise to get to the nitty gritty and take care of business almost immediately. But she did operated in a smooth, classy way.

In terms of the character, she’s great at her job but is fighting some demons with an alcohol addiction and a mystery surrounding her mother’s death which has been dogging her since her mother’s passing.

Tony Donato is also based on an agent that I worked with briefly in New York on a couple of special cases. He was Italian and the nicest guy, but a good agent. However, I’ll most remember him for the best ever cannoli he scored from a bakery in Brooklyn. They were the most divine pieces of baked goods I ever tasted. Yum. Yum. Yum.

In terms of Tony’s character, the complexity comes from his background. His father is a mob boss who was convicted and is serving time—at least until book 3. He broke away from the family and decided to become an FBI agent despite their protests…and of course that has caused major tension in the family, but it also shows how strong minded Tony is. He is J.J. McCall’s primary love interest.

2. A No Good Itch quite coincidentally mirrors a recent FBI bust of a Russian Spy Ring.

Russian spy cases such as the ones I talk about in my book really do STILL happen! Even after the so-called end of the Cold War.

"More than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War — Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst," said US Attorney Bharara after the FBI announced that they busted a spy ring on January 26th of this year.

One of the storylines in A No Good Itch is about a Russian Non-Official Cover (NOC) operation that is financing spies in the United States. J.J., Tony and their task force are headed to New York to take it down. Imagine my surprise when I woke up about a month after I published my latest novel to find that the FBI had busted a spy ring in New York that involved a Russian NOC. I couldn’t believe it on one hand—yet, on another I had just written about it.

What's so interesting about this case is the fact that a Russian intelligence operative, Yevgeny Buryakov, held a position in a Russian commercial entity—a Russian bank—rather than operating from a diplomatic establishment. But he passed the information to Russian spies under diplomatic cover.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out through diplomatic channels and how the Russians will respond. This would be a groundbreaking case for the FBI in terms of arresting a NOC. If he's a Russian intelligence operative, the Russians are going to want him back; they won't want him to be prosecuted--which means a possible spy trade. Very spooky stuff and cool news in the spy world—stay tuned.

3. Son of a Itch (Book 2) was loosely based on a real case involving Russian spies who installed a listening device in a government building.

As a brief set-up to this particular story, in 1999, it was widely reported in the press that the FBI found a listening device in the walls of a State Department conference room. In Son of a Itch, a new breach is found and J.J. McCall develops theory centered around the reason for the 1999 operation. What if the 1999 operation was a precursor to an even bigger operation? And if so, who is responsible?

While I can't speak on the specifics of that case not reported in the media, I thought it would be interesting to mix in a little reality with the fiction--especially with a case that shocked and baffled a lot of people in the intelligence community.

4. The “Itch” in the title is just a play on words.

The “Itch” in the titles is really just a play on words because the character has the ability to detect lies—and hearing lies makes her feel a sensation akin to an itch.

When creating the J.J. McCall character, I wanted to somehow infuse her with the same ability to cut through the BS that was inherent in the real-life Special Agent that the character is based on. I wanted it to be something of a superpower, but not really a superpower because I don’t write paranormal, fantasy, or science fiction. I don’t have the imagination to world-build.

I also wanted her “gift” to be grounded in some reality.

Espionage, spying, and intelligence collection is all smoke and mirrors. When I thought about the major challenges counterintelligence agents face, one significant problem is differentiating the truth from a lie. When an FBI Agent pitches an officer in a foreign intelligence service and he refuses to speak with the FBI, does he really mean it? Or is he putting up a front because he’s afraid of getting caught by his counterintelligence service? When a new diplomat enters the United States and claims he’s legitimate, is he clean or is he an intelligence officer? Operational covers, legends, operations the spy world is built around lies. Counterintelligence is the search for the truth. Imagine a character who could detect a lie in this world?

Pretty cool.

So, I created a character that could mitigate the “lying” problem by detecting them. Then I wondered if I had made her job too easy. As writers, we can’t make anything easy on our characters or it’s not fun for the reader. Readers like to see characters that are challenged, that suffer before they succeed.

After some thought, I realized such a gift was limited in its use. First, she couldn’t be everywhere at once. Her gift would only be useful if she was speaking to a bad guy at the time they were lying about something related to a case or operation. Secondly, if you think about why people lie, we tell lies for a multitude of reasons. In addition to attempting to deceive others, we tell lies to protect other people’s feelings. We may lie to protect someone else from harm. All sorts of reasons. So, even though J.J. can tell whether someone is lying, she cannot answer the very important question of why without digging a little deeper. So this gives her an “edge” in this spooky world but limits her ability to leverage it.

5. J.J.’s ability to detect lies is based on an FBI class I took on interviewing subjects.

Years ago, I took a class taught by an FBI agent regarding interviewing subjects, and he taught us methods to detect whether someone might be engaging in deceptive behaviors. We watched videos of people undergoing questioning and interrogations. Sometimes when people tell lies it actually does make them itch and they scratch; others shift their eyes to the left or the right. Some blink; others don’t blink. With each person, the action might be a little different but there was a pattern between when they were telling a lie and the truth and the pattern was usually the same. I distinctly remember one instance in which we were watching the video of a subject being interviewed and the subject would scratch his nose only moments after telling a lie. Using these techniques, agents learned HOW interview subjects. They knew when to emphasize a particular subject or when to skip topics altogether. And this is really how J.J. McCall uses her powers in the series. It helps her to develop methods for questioning her subjects to get to the root of the truth, no matter what kind of lie the subject tells (little white lie versus a bold faced lie). And I think this ability makes her pretty unique and cool.
“THE SUPREME ART OF WAR IS TO SUBDUE THE ENEMY WITHOUT FIGHTING.” ~ SUN TZU

Fear, failure, and the fear of failure turned enemies into friends like nothing else in the convoluted world of intelligence and spying. No doubt the reason FBI representatives had been summoned to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

"We'll need a dump truck for the BS about to be heaped on us today," J.J. whispered to her co-case agent, Tony Donato. As the lead case agent behind the ruckus, she'd been ordered to attend the meeting, listen, and respond to nothing.

"Shhh," Tony whispered in reply. "The walls have ears."

Resident Andrei Komarov, the Russian equivalent to the CIA Station Chief in Moscow, led J.J., Tony, and Assistant Director of Counterintelligence John Nixon through the hallowed embassy halls until they reached a well-appointed conference room. It contained mahogany-paneled walls, large open armchairs, and an oversized table large enough to seat Komarov's ego and attitude, both massive in her past experience.

Komarov settled in at the head of the table, his face reddened and contorted. It was as if every word he was about to speak, no doubt carefully selected by the Foreign Minister, would sear his throat and exit his lips like sharpened razors carving him from the inside.

"We've all met before and are quite familiar with one another," Komarov began, shooting a slicing glare through J.J. "So, I'll feel free to dispense with the introductions and pleasantries since we all understand why we are here today." Her aggressive targeting of SVR officers for recruitment was legendary...or infamous, depending on which side of the table you sat. She suppressed the awe she felt. He was the personification of the Russian James Bond in looks, dress, and devoid of any semblance of accent.

J.J., Tony, and Nixon exchanged strained glances before she took a deep breath to brace herself. Komarov was about to progress through the four steps of surviving a massive operational failure.

Step 1: Admit nothing.
♥ Get the FREE app to read Kindle books on ANY device ♥



♥ Click on the image to learn more ♥
S.D. Skye is a former FBI Counterintelligence Analyst in the Russia program and supported cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own—FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hansen. She has spent 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

@LadylitPub @SDSkye1 @GoddessFish http://goo.gl/sCXWBB pic.twitter.com/FlgT9cM3ZP

29 comments :

  1. What's the author's dream cast for the movie based on the book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An earlier stop on my tour--queenofthenightreviews.blogspot.com covers the dream cast in its entirety. It's a cast of beautiful stars indeed.

      Delete
  2. I want to read all the books in the series. How many more will there be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd planned to write five books in the J.J. McCall series, but the more books I write, the less I think I can truly finish the storyline in 5 books. Maybe 7. The good thing about the series each, the main case in each book is different so you only have to read that particular book to see the end of the case. As for the, relationships? To find who ends up together in the end, you have to read through the series. Right now...I'm thinking maybe 7, but I'll go where the story takes me. If 5 feels like the end, I'll stop there. If I need to go further, I'll go further.

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much for hosting me today! So excited about sharing the fun facts of the series. To all the visitors, thank you for stopping by and please don't forget to enter to win the Kindle & GC. I'll be here throughout the day to answer questions, so please ask away!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cool excerpt and trailer!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks like you use your background in the FBI in the writing of your books. I'm not familiar with your work but enjoy spy books from way back when I first read Helen McInnes' books which I keep on my shelves to this day and then Robert Ludlum, especially his Jason Bourne series. So far it looks like you are staying with the current series...are you planning to branch out and do something different in the future where the FBI doesn't play such a major role? I liked the trailer and excerpt by the way and believe I would enjoy your books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. The series is very much based on fictionalized aspects of my career and people with whom I worked. I definitely like writing outside the spy genre and got my start writing chick lit and category romance. J.J. is a departure from that for sure, but I love the characters. The J.J. McCall novels present a fairly realistic view of how the spy world works inside the Beltway in D.C.--largely counterintelligence. So, if you like spy novels, you should really enjoy this series. Yes, it's different from anything you've read...but good different.

      Delete
  6. What was your inspiration for writing this story?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first thing that came to me was the name J.J. McCall when I woke up from a dream. I didn't know who the character was but at the time I had a self-imposed rule that I would not write any books based on my career. And then something said, "J.J. is an FBI Agent," to my dismay. After fighting it for a few months I decided to write the series loosely based on the agent I worked with. It was a reluctant choice just given the nature of counterintelligence which is to stay in the shadows, but I knew I'd never go back to that field, so I allowed myself to write it.

      Delete
  7. Liked the Trailer & Fun Facts. 😊 Thx for an awesome giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen! Glad you enjoyed it. That was my first try at a trailer.

      Delete
  9. This sounds like a fascinating series. My husband enjoys reading this type of book. Can you compare your work to any other author out there ? Would your say your books are written more towards men or women to read ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is truly written for both men and women. There's just enough romance with the love triangle to keep the women interested. And there's just enough intrigue, action, twists, and thrills to keep the men interested. I wouldn't feel comfortable comparing my work to any other author's simply because I feel like I've written the books I've never read before. Other readers have compared my work to Tom Clancy but said it's easier to read (not jargon heavy) and compared J.J. to Jack Ryan. It would be easier to compare the books to TV shows--probably a combination of Scandal, The Americans, and Covert Affairs. And if you watch Suits, J.J. is probably closest to the character Jessica--but with a badge, gun, and working in FBI Counterintelligence.

      Delete
  10. what inspired you to write this book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The inspiration mostly came from the FBI agent I used to work with. I always admired her and her work ethic. Even today, she's one of the top female agents in the FBI. So, she inspiring to me and probably many others.

      Delete
  11. who is your favorite author and inspiration ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't name a favorite author if I tried. I have so many--and I'm not inspired by writing so much as I'm inspired by experiences. I really love out-of-the-box thinkers who dared to do things differently when everyone around them told them they couldn't be successful that way--so people like Stephen King, Steve Jobs, Terry McMillan, Oprah, and a kazillion others who became successful being themselves, those are the people who most inspire my life and give me energy. They make me feel like writing a series about a lie-detecting black female FBI agent who catches Russian spies and itches when people lie is not only okay, it's what I'm supposed to be doing. When I'm writing, at least in my current collection of books, the inspiration for the stories mostly comes from life and the experiences I want to share with others.

      Delete
  12. what is your favorite place to write

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any place I'm writing is my favorite place, truly. I would love to get a place by the beach and write by the water...but the closet I've been is writing in my bedroom while the bathtub is running. Mostly I write in bed, on the couch, and I'm fortunate enough to have an office with doors. Lots gets done there.

      Delete
  13. That's so cool that your former job was with the FBI! It must make your books that much more believable! Can't wait to dive right in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of the best compliments I get. The stories are loosely based on activities that really do/have happened so it's very realism based.

      Delete
  14. That's so cool that your former job was with the FBI! It must make your books that much more believable! Can't wait to dive right in!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really enjoyed the 10 Fun Facts and the excerpt so that you for those.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's close to the closing time for this giveaway. Are you pleased with the exposure?

    ReplyDelete

♥ Thank You for Your Comment! (It's how I know you stopped by!) Good Luck in the Giveaway!!! ♥