Author Archives: Dana Griffin

About Dana Griffin

Dana Griffin has been flying professionally for over twenty-five years, the last fifteen for a major U.S. airline. Right up with his love of flying, is his passion for books. The three he has written, The Cover-Up, Coerced, and Calamity, are stand-alone airline thrillers. But, the reader would enjoy seeing how the two main characters grow and should read them in the order listed here. He lives in Kentucky with his wife, and two four legged children some people call dogs. When not flying, writing, or chasing after his grandchildren, he and his wife love to travel in their fifth wheel camper, hike, ski, and jet-ski.

Interview with Liz Carson, From the novel, The Seventh Seed, by Allison Maruska

 

Allison Maruska The Seventh SeedI arrived at the designated spot in the middle of nowhere in Virginia. Why would Liz Carson, from the novel The Seventh Seed, by Allison Maruska want to meet here. I realize secrecy is a big issue for Liz, but seriously, there isn’t a coffee shop for miles.

The rumble of a motorcycle comes through the forest. A moment later I catch sight of it driven by a guy with dreadlocks and a bald guy with broad shoulders riding on back.

They stop in front of me and get off it. “You, Dana?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

In a blur of movement, Baldy has me face down on the ground with his foot on my neck. Dreadlocks frisks me and digs out my wallet, then holds my driver’s license up to my face.

My attacker steps back and offers me a hand. “Sorry, we have to be careful. I’m Charlie.”

Dreadlocks introduces himself as Jonah.

Charlie stays behind while Jonah drives me through the woods to a cabin along a creek. Sitting on the porch is a slender woman in her fifties, who after introductions, I discover is Liz, the woman who helped Javier all through The Seventh Seed.

After we exchange greetings, Jonah stands to her side.

“We’ll be okay,” Liz says to him. “Allison vouched for him.”

After he leaves, she gestures for the railing for me to sit on. “Go ahead with your questions.” She’s reflects an unease, like she is not used to being the center of attention.

Where to begin with a book that had so many twists and turns? “Initially, you had no reservations of leaving your life behind and helping Javier escape the authorities who were chasing him. Even when people around you were killed, and you were almost murdered, you continued on without reservation. Halfway through the story, you had a change of heart, and wanted to stop running and leave Javier with the friends you had found. Can you explain why you changed your mind?”

“I’ve been on my own for several years. Part of the reason I worked at the shelter was I could just leave if I wanted to. There’s always another shelter somewhere. Anyway, I think I was getting more attached to the group, and to Javier specifically, than I expected. Once we found others for him to work with I didn’t worry so much about taking off.

Hmm… it seems the keyword in her answer is so much. Well, that’s two words. This begs for me to ask: “When you informed the others you were leaving them, Javier talked you out of it. To me, it seemed he ulterior motives than simply needing another body to fight LifeFarm. It seemed he had come to look up to you as a son would his mother. Did you feel this way?”

“To some degree. I told Javier he reminded me of Travis, my son, who was taken by LifeFarm, and he did. Javier’s mother ditched him so I can’t blame the kid for wanting to connect.”

I knew it. There was more to their relationship than her simply helping a young man who needed her assistance. “Do you feel you would have thrown caution aside and gone on the run with him if your husband hadn’t been killed in the wars and LifeFarm hadn’t taken your son?”

“Nah. I wanted to strike the beast that stole my family.”

I study my notepad while scratching my head. “From your answer I’m guessing you weren’t as rebellious as you became when Javier stepped into your life. Is that true?”

“I was a perfectly responsible adult before Travis was recruited by LifeFarm. I was one of those moms who arranged play dates and volunteered in his classroom. I even ran for the damn PTA. Once Kyle and Travis were gone, I didn’t care so much. Sold the house and bounced from place to place for a while.”

“Do you think you can find your son and undo the brainwashing LifeFarm has done on him?”

“I hope so. My husband got wise to LifeFarm when he was on his third deployment, but he was military, not necessarily brainwashed. Travis has a good heart. He joined them because he thought he could help people. Maybe one day he’ll see LifeFarm does the opposite.”

“Do you have any thoughts of where things might go if there is another story about your existence?”

“Nah. But if I gotta run off somewhere new, I’ll do it.”

What every crusade needs. A carefree woman ready and willing to go when needed. “Thank you for your time. Can I get a ride back to my car, or has Charlie stolen it?”

HauGHnt, by David C. Cassidy

david-c-cassidy-haughntFrom the opening scene where an estranged father on his deathbed reveals a devastating secret to his son, to the last scene where that son contemplates committing the same hideous crime, David C. Cassidy pulls you into the dark edges of humanity.

 In HauGHnt, the slide for protagonist Paul Steele from responsible, carefree writer, to potential killer is subtle in each chapter, but it was a slippery one. Cassidy’s writing puts you into Steele’s head so that the logic behind his decisions is understandable, yet you hate them at the same time.

 My only regret with this story is how short it was. Cassidy’s other stories are long and involved so that the reader really knows the characters and either loves and feels for them, or despises them. Cassidy did an excellent job in this short story creating Paul Steele’s world and the situation confronting him before concluding the story in a logical way. But this lover of Cassidy’s words would have loved a longer story.

 Don’t let that deter you from reading this. If you enjoy short stories with depth of character and a chilling situation, this is one you shouldn’t turn down.

Reader Comments on Blamed

 

BLAMED Small-promoMy airline thriller, Blamed, has been available as an eBook on Amazon for a month. The paperback version should be available the third week of September.

So far, thankfully, it is selling better than my other books. Although I’m not complaining, I have to ask why since I haven’t promoted it more than the release of my other books. Is it readers of my other books have been silently waiting a new release from me? Have those who have read it enjoyed it so much they are raving about it to fellow readers? Or, the fact it was posted on Caleb and Linda Pirtle’s Book of the Moment webpage generated more interest for it than I could have on my own? Thank you again, Caleb and Linda.

Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining. There are no reviews for it yet (hint hint) so I’m not sure what readers reaction to it are, other than this unsolicited post on Facebook from my sister in-law, Nancy:

So I have “listened” to your book on my Kindle…. in the car, with Bluetooth headphones on everywhere else, and hardly stopped for sleep! This was a work of art that showed your passion for your profession as a pilot as well as your knowledge and dedication to making words share that passion with your readers! It was riveting! Thank you!

And this one on Twitter from @GayRainbowAnarchist:

75 percent through Blamed. Thoroughly entertaining.

These comments made my day.

If interested in reading Blamed, you can find it here.

First Chapter of novel, Blamed.

 

BLAMED Small-promoChapter One

 

The crushing pain radiating up from my legs yanked me out of unconsciousness. My arms dangled above my head and my hands rested on the overhead panel of the aircraft. Comprehending I was upside down was difficult to grasp with the fear of blacking out again threatening to overtake me.

I yelled and squirmed in an attempt to stop the slide into nothingness and to relieve the agony in my legs. Neither relaxed the all-consuming pain. If anything, my thrashing sharpened it.

We were on approach to Dallas-Fort Worth when… what? Nothing came forth that explained why I’d be upside down and in such misery. A black hole occupied my memory of what happened between everything being normal as we approached the runway and… now.

Wind whistled through the smashed cockpit windows, ruffling my hair. Shards of glass littered the overhead panel. Smoke that stank of burned jet fuel and something else I couldn’t place drifted in.

Where there’s smoke, there’s… Fire! I had to get the flight attendants and passengers to safety! Then a realization hit me. We had been ferrying the empty aircraft from a maintenance facility in San Salvador.

Ned! Why hadn’t the first officer, who had been the pilot flying, made a sound?

When I looked across the cockpit, I shrieked.

The overhead panel had bowed in and crushed the forty-something husband and father’s head backward at an extreme angle against his headrest. A lifeless eye bulged from his distorted, bloody face. It stared straight ahead.

The laid-back pilot with a dry sense of humor looked like a ghoul from a Hollywood movie.

How could he be dead? He’d been joking with me just moments ago.

To distance myself from the sight, I squeezed my eyes shut while fumbling for the seatbelt buckle of my five-strap harness, then hesitated. If I released it, I would plant my head into the overhead panel, which was filled with numerous toggle switches. Even if I didn’t impale on a switch or break my neck, the agony in my legs made me question if I could work them enough to crawl from the aircraft.

I risked a glance. Whatever had happened to us had bent the instrument panel down, trapping my lower extremities under it. The femur in my right leg poked out through a tear in my pants. A constant stream of blood ran from the tip of the broken bone.

I recoiled, and the bone moved.

An intense spike of nausea erupted, emptying my stomach. Vomit burned my throat, ran into my eyes, and up my nose.

I swiped my face with my arm to clear my vision. This movement sent a wave of blackness rolling through me. A part of me welcomed it to end my misery. Another part worried I wouldn’t ever wake from it. I couldn’t leave my wife, son, and daughter.

The sounds of large diesel engines approached. Air brakes hissed. Were they from the crash and rescue trucks?

“Help.” My cry was a gurgle from the vomit in my mouth. I spit.

The smoke outside was now so thick, I couldn’t see the ground. Would they find me before I was consumed by fire? “Help!”

I didn’t detect any movement or hear any voices. I would not become a victim. I had to get out.

A stabbing pain in my side had grown in intensity, making it harder to breathe. When the yoke was rammed into me, had it broken a rib or my sternum? Punctured a lung?

A shove on the yoke to move it forward proved futile.

With a heave, I pushed against the edge of the glareshield, normally at shoulder height but now waist level, hoping to ease the pressure against my chest. The crushing force didn’t slacken.

It also intensified the torture in my legs. I doubted a chainsaw cutting into them would hurt worse. The bellow I unleashed didn’t summon the strength needed to distance me from the yoke.

I sat as still as I could, panting.

The gulps of air I took didn’t relieve my shortness of breath.

If I could slide the seat back, I might breathe easier and free my legs.

Why hadn’t I thought of the seat adjustment lever?

Twisting to yank that lever at the base of my seat felt like a knife stabbing my chest. With my free hand, I shoved on the crushed instrument panel. The intensity of the torment was so great, I almost blacked out.

If I did, I might either bleed or burn to death.

Through gritted teeth, I pushed on the glareshield yanking on the seat adjustment lever. When I didn’t move, I unleashed a howl.

I stayed rammed against the yoke.

When I attempted to shove with my feet, unimaginable agony consumed me, bringing on the darkness I’d been fighting.

Book Review, Absence Makes The Heart Go Ponder, by Nels Gartus

Absence Makes the Heart Go Ponder by Nels GarthusI enjoyed this book.

 That being said, it took me several chapters to get into it. Those early chapters are full of backstory explaining why the three main characters are the way they are, something in any other genre I loathe. But in this case, some of it may have been needed, but I feel it could’ve been layered in throughout the story.

 The other reason I was less enthused initially is I usually read thrillers that start off with a bang and carry that pace throughout the story. This is a slower read about the issues affecting these three male characters as they go through life. There also was some repetition in the writing I feel could have been edited out.

 But once I settled into the story’s rhythm, I began to steal time to read a chapter or two. Often, I found myself nodding at what one of the characters was going through as I’ve experienced that same feeling, situation, or emotion too.

I loved the ending and was glad it worked out the way it did for the three. The last sentence makes me hope there is a follow up novel.

Blamed Is In Editing

BLAMED Small-promoAfter almost three years of on again, off again work, I’ve sent my fourth airline thriller off to Susan Gottfried for editing.

I’m ashamed it has taken me that long to write this story. It would be easy to blame life’s demands for getting in the way of my writing, which there is some truth to, but if I had managed my time better this book would’ve been written sooner. Or, I’m not a writer who can pump out a huge volume of books in a short time. I need to let my ideas germinate in my head before fully realizing the story.

Now that the book is in Susan’s capable hands, and depending on her schedule, and David C. Cassidy’s who will format it for both eBook and paperback, I plan its release around Mid-September. I am anxious to get it out there as I’m proud of this story.

This is a departure for me. All of my books open with the reader witnessing an airline incident or accident through a throwaway character, an air traffic controller. The remainder of the story the protagonists try to figure out what happened. But this time, instead of being told in third person through the eyes of NTSB investigator Lori Masters and her airline instructor husband Kyle, I wrote Blamed from the point of view of Bill Kurz, the captain of the accident flight. Written in first person, I found it easy to put myself in his position and imagine what he’d go through.

Lori, from my previous novels, has a minor role in the story helping Bill uncover what really happened that left him crippled and killed his first officer. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dana Griffin novel without numerous organizations involved in the accident trying to absolve themselves of any blame.

I’m anxious to hear what readers think of the story.

Until I get the first chapter back from Susan, here is the blurb as a teaser. Look for more updates as I get closer to publishing.

Sphere Airlines captain, Bill Kurz, awakens trapped in the wreckage of the aircraft he’d been piloting that came to rest upside down. His last memory is putting the landing gear down on what would be a normal landing before an approaching thunderstorm closes the airport.

The NTSB and news media blame him and the deceased first officer, Ned Partin, for the accident that killed thirty-eight, and burned or severely injured ten.

Bill knows by experience from flying with Ned that they would have prevented the accident. While recovering from his debilitating injuries, Bill investigates why data that would exonerate him has disappeared. And why the NTSB cannot figure out there was something wrong with the rudder. And why his airline’s management thwarts his attempts to prove he shouldn’t be blamed.

Those who caused the accident will go to extreme lengths to assure Bill does not uncover their secret agenda.

Hunter’s Journey

IMG_0386[3697]In a blink, my pain is gone. I have the energy of a pup again.

I hop to my feet like I would have years ago to look for a toy.

A light, as bright as the ball in the sky, catches my attention. I can’t look away from it.

A figure begins to take shape. As the being becomes more defined, it’s apparent it’s another dog. There’s something familiar about this canine. Is that… “Casey?”

The dog fully materializes. “It is you. I haven’t seen you since Becky and Dana took you in the car without me. You never came home after that. Where you’ve been?”

Casey looks the same as the last time I saw her years ago. Her face, which had been predominately white, hasn’t aged a bit.

She stares at Becky and Dana’s bed where Becky lays alone. “Thanks for looking out for them after I left.” She wears the smile I feel I portray when Becky and Dana come home. Then she looks to where I’m standing.

A motionless Golden Retriever lays on the floor near my bed.

Is that… me?

It can’t be. How could I be looking at myself? Then awareness comes to me. “Have I gone where you went?” I ask.

“Yes.”

Somehow, I knew that. “I’m going away too?”

Casey doesn’t answer. She doesn’t have to.

“I can’t go. I haven’t felt good for a while and I don’t have the energy I had, but they still need me. Charlie loves them, but he doesn’t follow them around the house like I do. How will they know they are loved? He’s sick and may not be with them much longer. Who will look out for them? Greet them when they come home? Show them they were missed? Who will keep them company when the other is away?”

“Those are all questions I asked myself too,” Casey says. “Yet, it worked out.”

The longing need to jump on the bed and get petted is dwindling. I’m coming to realize, I can no longer show them they are loved.

“Will I see them again?”

“Yes,” Casey says. “Time is meaningless where I’m guiding you to. Before you’ve realized they’re not with you, you’ll see them again.”

“How can that be? I already miss them.”

So many regrets flash through my head. “I wish I could thank them for rescuing me. For all the walks we took in the woods with all the interesting smells. That I didn’t mean to make them upset when I rolled in deer or goose poop, but couldn’t help it. For taking me with them in the camper instead of leaving me with strangers. For letting me sleep with them. And most importantly; for showing me my love for them was reflected back unconditionally.”

“They know,” Casey takes one more look, than walks into the light.

I take a last look at Becky. “Wait, Dana’s away. I need to see him before I go.”

“Follow me.”

The room changes to a bedroom I’ve never seen. Dana sleeps in one of the two beds. Is this where he goes when he leaves for several days?

While we stare at him, he opens his eyes, then closes them.

Casey sighs, then walks into the light.

“I turn to follow her, then stop, taking a last look over my shoulder seeing both of the beds they sleep in. “I don’t want to leave them?”

“It’s okay. They’ll be sad for a while. They’ll miss you. In time, they’ll find peace in knowing you aren’t suffering. They’ll never forget you. You’ll always hold a place in their heart.”

Casey wouldn’t lie to me.

“Come on” she says. “Ella’s got a ball I know you’ll love.”

“Ella? She’s here too?”