ADVENTURER, AUTHOR, ENTREPRENEUR.
I was born in a small rural town in Southern Maryland in 1970. I spent my first eighteen years anxiously waiting to go see the world. I grew up in a good home and loved my family dearly but the desire to see the world burned inside of me. With good grades and an opportunity to go to a great college, I went with my heart and dropped that plan to enlist in the United States Marines Corps. There I hoped to see the world and truly experience life. Of course I didn't sign up for any MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), I picked infantry.
In 1989 I was born again, this time as a Marine on Parris Island, South Carolina. My life would never be the same and the wild ride I was about to go on was something I had only read about in books.
From recruit training I went to Marine Combat Training and Infantry School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina then onto my first duty assignment with Anti-Tank Company (TOW), 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA. Traveling to the West Coast was something I had always wanted. In one year's time my unit rotated to Okinawa, Japan and in days of arriving we were informed of our immediate deployment to Saudi Arabia to defend it against Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces in Occupied Kuwait. To say I was scared would be an understatement, I was terrified. In late August we embarked on ships and sailed to the Kingdom arriving in September 1990. My time in the sand box is full of memories, some positive, some negative but all enlightening. Once the ground war began we pushed hard and fast and fulfilled our mission objectives quickly with minimal casualties. Overall, my combat experience was something less than what I had expected as it seemed more like a massive EPW exercise versus the epic combat I had imagined or seen in movies.
Upon returning to Camp Pendleton in April 1991 I was still hungry for adventure and the only place to get that was being forwardly deployed. I transferred to Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines and deployed on a Wes-Pac, then followed that up with another UDP (Unit Deployment Program) to Okinawa. After 5 years, ten months in the Marines I had deployed three times, traveled around the world and spent over 1/3rd of my 6 year enlistment forwardly deployed. I had obtained the rank of Sergeant and had been part of special operations capable missions (not to be confused with Special Forces.) I was the team leader for a Mobile Training Team, in a nutshell besides my duties as a section leader for TOWs and Heavy Weapons, I was an instructor on weapons and tactics organic to Marine Corps infantry. I conducted missions in Okinawa, Malaysia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. Given all this travel and adventure it wasn't enough to keep me interested. In November of 1994, I was done and when I say done, I was done. I ended my enlistment sixty days early with terminal leave and went looking for adventure elsewhere.
I found another outlet for that in Houston, Texas. There I attended a commercial diving school (diver not driver). Six months later I graduated and was certified to work the oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. I went to work for a company called American Oilfield Divers and after several months an opportunity to start their Inland Dive division came up and I took it. However, my life as a commercial diver would be short lived. One, it doesn't pay what you think it does and second, I was almost killed. So, when an opportunity came my way to begin a new career as an executive protection agent (bodyguard), I took it. You might be thinking, almost died as a diver but now becoming a bodyguard? Yes, because it paid better and c'mon, how cool is it to say you're a bodyguard?
I moved to Northern Virginia, attended some intensive training and upon graduation went to work. My first detail was working residence post for the Saudi Royal family in Beverly Hills and Washington, DC. That first detail set me up and I met some great men that I still know today. I continued as an executive protection agent for ten years and worked for many different clients around the world, but one thing I lacked was a solid family life. That all changed in 2002 in an old Irish Pub north of San Diego. A beautiful young woman approached me, handed me her business card and flatly stated, "If you ever need a piece of land, give me a call." When I looked at her card I laughed because her last name was Land and she was a real estate agent. I was smitten from the first look, right there I just knew she was the one. As I watched her leave the pub I knew I wanted a piece of Land.
Fast forward from that day and I'm a blessed man with Tahnee (Land) as my wife and two sweet little daughters, Scarlette and Savannah.
My itch for writing came back in 2012 but this time I approached it differently. I decided then and there to make writing a career not a hobby and what a difference a shift in mindset can make. I began my first novel even though I didn't have any clue how to do it but just used the advice from one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway and that was. 'Just write.'
And writing is just what I did. I was fortunate enough to get a literary agent, however, due to creative differences we ended the relationship. In April of 2013 I hit the button on self-publishing and for ten days I questioned my decision. Then to my shock, I woke one morning to find my book was selling very well. I wasn't sure what was happening, but day after day, the sales kept coming. I knew I had a once in a lifetime opportunity staring me in the face. I approached my wife and told her I needed to get a sequel out as soon as possible, which meant I'd have to quit my job. She was doubtful of that idea until she saw how much I had made my first month. With her permission and the wind at my back, I left my job and went to writing full time and completed THE LONG ROAD in four months. With the sequel done I didn't think my life could get any better until I got the call in the fall of 2013 from Penguin/Random House. After much negotiation I signed to a large four book deal with them and set out as a full time novelist with the largest publisher in the world.
Since, I've written dozens more novels, many of them translated into other languages, and have exceeded over one million books sold combined across all my titles.
My plan for the future includes writing of course as I'd love to end my career with at least 100 books, but screen adaptations, consulting and other products aligned with my books, characters etc. are all apart of the road going forward.
When I'm not writing, I stay active within the writing and veteran community by mentoring new authors. I also make my family a priority because in the end nothing matters more.
I live in San Diego, CA.